L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Always. Grateful.

I often have days that veer out of control. Sometimes they just get bent right at the beginning. Like when the morning is cloudy when it's supposed to be summer - bright and sunny - and when I barely made it through the winter. Or when I can't kowtow to my stupid food sensitivities another moment, and have a tiny piece of cheese or a scrap of bread or a potato, and I wake up the next morning feeling like crap. Other days, things might start out fine and then go off. I'll get that creeping dread knowing I'll have to go to work in a few hours. Or, later, stewing that I'm stuck at work. Or just dwelling on the fact that I don't have enough money to do what I want. Or that I can never produce enough artwork to get anywhere with it as a career. Just leaving the house and coming in contact with the crude, mindless world can be traumatic for silly and overly-sensitive me.

I can easily get overwhelmed by all this - honestly - trivial stuff. I lose any perspective or sense of proportion. To be fair to myself, I've been struggling with PTSD for some time; worse in the last few years but probably, to some degree, most of my life. And I understand now that one of the most common issues with this is a difficulty in retaining perspective or a sense of proportion. I know there are things I can do/need to do to help balance things out - breath work, exercise, eating right, going to bed at a reasonable hour, getting in enough painting each week - but when I get negatively over-stimulated - a stranger stands too close to me; Gigi is late coming home; a co-worker acts like a jerk to me; I'm stuck in a too-small, window-less waiting room - it can be very hard for me to stand back psychologically and see the "big picture", to discern what's important and what's not important. I panic. And when I panic, I go into warrior mode. Me against the world.

As I mentioned above, being at work can be especially hard. I want to be able to graduate from that place. And though a lot of my frustration is centered there, I can't move on just yet. I've made a huge amount of progress in the last several months making it a healthier, happier place for me to be. But it's only to be expected that some days won't be entirely my best.

So I want to thank the people who, at those times, help me out. Almost always they don't know they're even doing so. They just do or say something that takes me out of myself and helps me back into the world. Shakes me out like a wadded-up shirt, gently smoothing down the wrinkles. Coming up to me, telling me some good news. Joking or teasing me. Just acknowledging or interacting with me in some small way. Some small, mindless thing, but it helps me so much. And I want to say thank you for that. In those moments, there is never a way to say it, to express my gratitude. For the help you give me. For that light. I will always be grateful.


  1. thanks for this honest post S. i grapple w/ many similar sensations myself, eager to graduate from the peculiar constraints of current employer, struggling w/ proportionality between desire and actuality and post-traumatically struggling between feeling trapped and feeling grateful to draw breath at all. it's a daily battle. when it starts to pull me under i try to shift focus to the work - ie not the job, but the work - head down, onward. not always sucessful. but i try

  2. Thanks, BP. Always good to know I'm not the only knucklehead dealing with this sort of thing. And then you put it so much more poetically!

    One of the hardest things for me, trying to pull myself out, is to not feel so damned guilty about having an "issue". I feel like such a weenie - "You think you have problems?! I'll show you problems!" I live such an easy, sheltered life - I have so much, I can do so much - so what right do I have to feel bad? I think about all the horrors in the world and I want to slap the shit out of myself.

    Work. Yes. The things we do well, the work that we have to do. And work for work's sake. Trying not to have expectations about where it'll go, just trying to make it the best you can. Sometimes it's hard to even get to the place where you can do that work but, if you can, it's such a health-giving, balancing thing.

  3. One of the things I love about you is your open and honest approach to the difficulties life presents to us. We all try to deal.. sometimes we do a good job , sometimes we botch it up... but few can articulate this as well as you do. Just as Gi can also paint.. you, my dear, can also write. You both blow me away..

  4. Oh, Lucy, you are so sweet and thoughtful.... Thank you for saying that. Thank you.

  5. No kidding, this is an amazing post. I feel exactly the same way, every day. People ask me how I stay so "positive", but I am also struggling with being overstimulated by the people/trucks/leaf blowers around me. I have to really work at ignoring it and finding the beauty that makes me feel light again. I often force myself to focus on something wonderful: Julie Andrews, horses, beautiful fabric, a lovely building. Even though I worry about the possible onset of madness I create movies in my head that carry me away from the daily stress of life. I stay very clean and neatly dressed, and try to bring grace to my movements, if only to avoid the stress of spilling my coffee on my clean dress. It works, for the most part. Your writing, Monsieur H. is beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Yes, madame Huiteuse, you always seem very clean and neatly dressed; I really like that about you! ;)

    It's always so good for me to hear how other people struggle with "the world", that they do struggle with it. It's so easy for us to think that we're the only one bugged out. And I'm totally down with finding "tricks", for lack of a better word, to make a sort of safety wall. To be available and well-functioning in the world, but have something, some things, to keep oneself from being swamped by it.