4. Jun, 2020

Going out of your comfort zone

I'm not going to lie. In a way with the Covid-19 lockdown, it has enabled me to live in my safe "home bubble" again. I am lucky in that my home is a designated "safe" place. For some of us, our home is not so safe & my heart goes out to those people. Because I know how I would feel if that were me. If that applies to you, please get in touch as there are some helpline numbers I can let you have.

A few years ago I wouldn't leave my house at all. I would hide if anyone knocked on the door & it took a lot of work for me to get to the point where I could go out. I feel proud of all that work I did & the coping mechanisms that I put into place. It's also true that the more you do something, the easier it gets.

But that's why I'm not going to lie... In that... Covid-19 happened & suddenly I have found myself working remotely from home. I have a good system in place for this.

But.. here's the thing... The lockdown is being lifted & suddenly we are all beginning to go out again. Except that to look after other people & ourselves, it comes with restrictions & face coverings. And it's this that scares me.

I encourage my class ladies to be open & honest & this applies to me too. Going out into the "new normal" scares me. I get what it's about, what it's designed to do, but that doesn't take away my fear. I'm scared of being restricted to the one way system, having to navigate it & being taken to task if i accidentally wander from that, I'm scared of feeling hemmed in, even with a two metre distance between me & the next person. I'm scared of being snapped at in a shop if I go in & do what I would normally do & pick something up to see if it feels right & ok to me, I'm scared of feeling like I'm going to have to walk everywhere because of all the restrictions on public transport, I'm scared of being told exactly where I need to sit on a bus & where I am not allowed to sit, I'm scared of it being compulsory to wear some kind of face covering if I want to use the bus, the feeling of having something covering my mouth, I'm scared of the panic & anxiety that I know it's going to generate for me, & I'm scared that a lot of the good work I did after my trauma may unravel & become undone.

I'm trying to think about it rationally, remind myself of what & why the "new normal" is the "new normal"... But it still scares me all the same. 

I'm trying to take control of the situation, trying to think one step ahead, to be ready. Face coverings... I have tried making one out of some material I have at home, lightweight, it just needs some fasteners to finish it, I've bought from a local seller a regular little facemask, one that loops over my ears (again as lightweight as possible), & as you can see from the photo, my summer scarves now have a new use. All of these I've needed to experiment with because I'm scared of the feeling of the covering, I'm scared of feeling restricted with the covering, I'm scared of having to keep putting it on & taking it off, I'm scared of not being able to take the face covering off at all.

The one thing I do know is that it's ok to not be or feel ok about any of this. PTSD can be short term, it can be long term, it can disappear & resurface again, I suffered a trauma that was not my fault, I was a victim of that trauma but I am also a survivor. 

I'm not going to lie.. the "new normal" is going to be so far out of my present comfort zone... But that's ok too.. because it means that my comfort zone is a "present", a gift.. and that means that I can still get to choose: to stay in my comfort zone, or every so often to dip my toe out of my comfort zone or to decide to take one giant leap.