Friday, June 20, 2014

Post Workplace Abuse: Everyday victories on the road to recovery

Today.  Friday, the 20th of June, 2014.  The day before the summer solstice.  I wake up tired.  Not really wanting to face the day.

Or write another blog.  My fifth consecutive this week.  Another small victory in my journey post trauma, post workplace abuse, post PTSD.

But let's sidestep that for the moment.

As my mind slowly - and rather unwillingly I might add - came to consciousness today, I was thinking of this past week.  Of the small things which most people take for granted.   Which are no big deal for them.

The dailyness.

So today, I decided to write about the everyday victories.  The ones that most people take for granted.

This week, I made a meal every day.  I was able to think, plan and prepare an evening meal every day this week.

What!?! you might think.  I do this every day.  I don't consider it a victory.

But look at it for a moment - or at least for the duration of this blog post - from a completely different perspective.

For those of us working through the devastation, the aftermath of trauma - which workplace abuse is - even being able to do simple everyday activities is a struggle.

Many years ago, during the reign of Ho Chi Ming in China, I read an article by a journalist who was enthusiastically being shown how great the Chinese leader was and how much life had been improved during his leadership by a group of villagers.  They proudly showed this journalist their hospital.  The journalist was appalled as it was very rudimentary and he commented, if this is after what was before?

If this is after in my life, what was before?

If being able to cook dinner every day for five consecutive days is a victory, a success after workplace abuse, after trauma, what was during?

If being able to write a blog for five consecutive days is after.  What was during?

So today I concentrate on and share with you the daily victories that have occurred this week.  The things that make life good on a daily basis.

I made a loaf of bread in my breadmaker this week.  Not a usual occurrence any more because I have to look through my recipe books and choose a recipe which I have the ingredients on hand for. Next,  I have to go to our storage room in the basement and lug up the breadmaker.  I also have to lug up the flour from same storage room.  All of these things take thought.  Cognitive skills.  To be able to read and follow the recipe.  To lay out the ingredients.

Throw in a dash - or more - of lagging energy into the mix and you have a general idea of the uphill battle (literally in the form of the basement stairs) this one small activity involves.

Inhaling the yeasty small of the bread as it rose, made me feel like a David who had just conquered his Goliath.

I went to the Farmers Market yesterday with hubby, even though my energy levels were still very low after the Writers Conference last weekend.  I went with a purpose - to buy vegetables to make salads for us.

I also went with the purpose to continue taking control of my life by doing things I used to do on a regular weekly basis and thought nothing about.  And what better way to do this then to go to the market and mingle with the vendors - and other assorted people who are there.  This is taxing for me as as the season progresses, the crowds multiply.  Especially in the indoors market.  I have to closely monitor my "inside" feelings i.e. anxiety, hypervigilence.  Sometimes, I have to tell myself that it's OK.  These are simply people.  They don't know me.  They're not going to hurt me - at least not intentionally.  I have to do with all sorts of emotions and reactions, that I never had to deal with pre workplace abuse.  It is both taxing and tiring.  But again, after all is said and done, I feel like I have conquered another giant in my life.

My garden.  Or rather what I call "Mom's garden" - the one I'm creating in her memory as she loved flowers and taught me everything I know.  Literally.  In more ways than one.

No, I didn't have the energy to get out the old Japanese Farmer's knife this week  and tackle the weeds, but I did take daily walks to the very back of the yard - over 200 feet and counting - and let the beauty of the newly blooming flowers sink in and create peace in my soul.

I got out my knitting needles - the double pointed ones at that! - and knit - count 'em ... one ... two .... three ... four! - yes four coffee cozies which I hope to be the basis for upcoming craft tables in the fall.

You might wonder what the victory is in that since I knit and/or crochet - or both - routinely as part of my right brain therapy.

What you don't know is that there are not only days - but periods of time - when I'm so sunk in lethargy that I cannot think ahead to choose a project.  Nothing excites me.  The hands, the needles, the yarn.  They all lie idle.  Even recently.  To create, to have a purpose in that creation ... that is another victory.

These and more - things you can't catch in the lens of the camera - all make up the seemingly small, every day victories that made up this week.

And, as I push the button to publish this post, another everyday, seemingly small, victory occurs.  That of another post.

I am content.

Life ... while not perfect ... is good.

Note:  I don't post on the weekends.  Even - and perhaps especially - with all the victories happening in my life, I need rest.  Downtime to stop doing and just be.

See you on Monday with more of the story.

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