Thursday, January 29, 2015

Post Workplace Abuse: A sign of recovery

Parasailing with my best friend - and hubby - South Padre Island, Texas 2010

This week, so far, has been an interesting week as I've more human contact in just a few days than I normally have in weeks.

It's amazing what human contact, good human contact that is, does for the soul.  And the attitude.  How it encourages and affirms.

There's all kinds of human contact:  good, bad and indifferent.  With all sorts of shades in between.

Bad human contact is what I experienced on a continuing, long-term basis in the workplace where every word I said, every action was placed under the microscope of someone else's ideas and thoughts of what I should be and then minutely dissected - and twisted.  Not in my favour.

Indifferent human contact is when I'm out and about and I pass people on the street.  Or maybe instead of the word "indifferent", I should use the word casual.  I might smile or nod or even say "Good morning" and get a smile, nod or greeting in return.  But I'm not going to engage in a long-term relationship with these people.

And then there's what I call good human contact.  A meeting of the minds.  Two people who know a lot about the other - and choose to associate with them anyway.

And so, I've had some good human contact this week.

While talking with one person whom I've never seen before outside of the church context, I realized how far I've progressed on the road to recovery when I made one simple comment:  "I've been able to cook lately" and saw the happy expression on her face.  She was genuinely impressed and happy for me.  I saw, for the first time, what a huge accomplishment the simple act of being able to cook consistently is in my journey of recovery.

Early on in the journey, in the Fall of 2011, when the acute entered the chronic phase and the emotional entered the physical phase, all I could do was lie down.  Sometimes I couldn't even sleep.  I couldn't read.  I couldn't crochet (I hadn't learned to knit then).  I was physically unable to do any of the things which I usually enjoyed.

I was well and truly down for the count.

I had to give up so many things during that time.  I could no longer go to the women's weekly events at the church as I didn't have the energy to sit for an hour or so.  I badly stuttered.  People scared the living heck out of me.  I even had to give up driving for a time as my cognitive skills were so bad that I was an accident waiting to happen.  I decided it was easier to voluntarily give up driving than to have to tell an officer why I turned directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle.  (It's much easier to give up driving voluntarily for a time than it is to get your license back if it's been taken away.)

I tried, oh how I tried!  But it didn't work.

Finally I asked my therapist about healing as she's been through some traumatic junk herself.  I asked her what to do when there was both physical and emotional at the same time as with emotional the general train of thought is to bull through, to keep as much as possible to a regular schedule, etc.  With physical, though, the theory is just the opposite.  To rest.  To pay attention to your body.  To do what it says.  Not to push it.  If you can't adhere to what was once your regular routine, don't.  If all you can do is lie down, then lie down.

Her answer:  the physical always takes precedence over the emotional.

She encouraged me to pay attention to what my body was telling me.

To rest.

So I did.

Sometimes, recovery is so gradual that you, the person going through the journey of recovery, don't notice it.

When I was talking with this friend the other day, I realized that I've come from someone who couldn't do hardly anything to someone who is able to cook dinner more or less consistently at this time.   I've even been able to go through my recipe books and read and follow new recipes.  More than once.

It was exciting to see this accomplishment reflected in the eyes of someone else.  Someone who has been privy to part of the journey - the worst part.

Someone who knows me better than most people - and loves me anyway.

Until next time, dear friends ....

(Hmmmm, now what can I put in the crockpot today?)

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