The triggers have certainly increased, some completely new and some I haven't had in months. Bits of memories flash in my head. So, now, it's about paying attention to what they are and being able to anticipate and breathe my way through. Over the first couple of months my breathing was awful, but it had become my new normal. I didn't even realize it. One day, I noticed that I had very shallow breathing. It hit me that I had been breathing that way for months. I had become so used to the breathing and the tightness in my chest, that I didn't even notice it anymore. I made a conscious effort to teach myself to breathe again. And it worked. At least, for a while. Fast forward a few months and here we are. For two weeks, my breathing has been shallow and that all too familiar weight in my chest is back. I try to breathe and it doesn't quite work yet, but I know it will over time.
The last time I wrote was Sunday morning. I worked all day taking photos of beautiful families and in between, I would cry a little. The good thing is that I can pull it all together to do what I need to do and then I can let myself feel it in between. I had a trigger in the afternoon before my last shoot that I had to ignore so I could give my all to my clients. I felt it build up over the next few hours and when I was home that evening, one more small trigger sent me into one of my "episodes". I felt it coming and went to my bedroom. I let it come. One thing I've learned through this experience is that it's important to let it hit. The more I let it come before, the better I felt over time. When I would hold it in, it would make me feel so much worse. This episode felt so much worse for some reason. In the moments of it happening and the time after, I got angry. I wanted it to just stop and I had some time where I felt I may not be able to deal with this all anymore. After 4 days of this, I felt like I was hanging on by a thread. Once I came farther out of it, I decided I needed sleep and I needed to try and figure out how to turn it all around.
I didn't sleep well, but I woke up Monday less sad. I cried less throughout the day both Monday and Tuesday and although the weight in my chest remains, I only had a few small anxiety attacks since Sunday. I consider this success. It's the little things. It also helps me believe I can get through this again.
Now it's Wednesday. The day the Red Sox could potentially win the World Series. I have to be honest, I have been dreading this. I have been anxious about the thought of a big game here that would bring out large crowds. I have been especially anxious about a potential Duckboat parade sweeping through the city (and right by the office I am working in). I heard on the news this morning that cops were being stationed all over the city and I mentally tried to prepare myself. As I walked to work, I felt small flutters in my chest as I passed cops and black SUVs. I am not sure if or how I will come into the city should a parade happen, but I feel facing it could be the best things for me (and it's just what I do). I guess we'll see when it happens. Until then, I will continue to breathe and focus on the wonderful people who have reached out to me. Feeling supported through all of this even with a few words here and there certainly helps.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It has helped get me through all of this and the other personal things that have happened in my life over the last 6 months. At times, it's frustrating waiting to know what that reason really is, but I have faith that as time goes on, I will figure it out. Whatever happens, this has changed me, not in a bad way. I have a whole new view of the world, myself, and the people around me. I have to believe there is a bigger purpose, that I will come out of this even better than I was before, and that I can hopefully help others. I just have to face that the timeline I established in my head to move on is not the timeline the universe has set for me.
As always, thanks for reading,