Two cups of coffee can make all the difference

Breakfast is served

I’m coming off a long week of ups and downs and extremes, topping it off with two cups of coffee with my cereal this morning, instead of the customary disciplined routine of having just one cup, interspersed with exercise and stretching and a cooking up a soft-boiled egg.

I’m feeling a bit all over the map this morning, so it’s good to just sit down and have some coffee and blog a bit.

It actually feels good to let myself off the leash, now and then. I tend to be so diligent about everything I do, it’s nice to just kick back and stop with all the intense adherence to a rigorous schedule. Every now and then. Every now and then. Not all the time, mind you. I have far too much going on in my life, to just scrap the whole shootin’ match.

Last night I stayed up till about 2 in the morning, hanging out with a friend who’s visiting for the weekend. Woke up at 6:30. Four and a half hours of sleep does not a happy puppy make, but when I woke up, the adrenaline started pumping, and it woke me up — making me jittery and sick on my stomach and anxious in the process. So, after lying there for a little while, checking Facebook on my phone, seeing what everyone is up to, first thing on Saturday morning, I decided I felt too revved to just lie there anymore, so I got up and did some sitting and breathing before starting my day in earnest. As it turns out, my day picked up after I got up and started to sit and breathe. Kind of like night and day.

I feel like I’ve come a long way with my breathing. It used to be that when I started doing my steady breathing, my heart would race and I would feel so uncomfortable. But recently I’ve noticed myself being able to settle into the rhythmic breathing without having my heart race. So, I think that’s progress. I can get to “the zone” much quicker, these days — that place where my body and mind feel really balanced, and even though I know there is a lot that’s not working out, still I can find a settled, peaceful spot inside where I can focus and just be.

And after about 15-20 minutes, I started to feel myself relaxing again, getting sleepy… not all revved and jazzed, and actually needing to lie back down.

So I did. I lay back down and dozed for a while.

Something weird happened this morning, though, while I was lying there, drifting between sleep and wakefulness. I had these mounting waves of sadness, remorse, confusion, dread… Just wave after wave of increasing discomfort with myself, with my life, with everything about me. I felt so keenly that sense that I am so messed up, I can’t manage to get anything right. And those old thoughts of how stupid I am, how damaged I am, what a waste of space I am… it all started washing up on shore.

What a way to start the day, right? I lay there for a while, feeling totally useless and despondent, not wanting to do anything, say anything, see anyone, plan anything, promise anything. I felt so used up and broken and washed out, it was like my world had ended and there was no redeeming either me or it. And I just started crying — softly, so I wouldn’t wake up the others in the house. I hate to cry. It feels terrible, and I end up with a splitting headache most of the time. I do my best not to cry, actually — it’s just not comfortable for me, and it doesn’t make me feel good like it does for others. But this morning I just had to have a good cry, so I did. I just let myself lie there and feel like crap, feel like a useless, used-up, washed-up waste of space who was never going to get their act together or redeem themself from all the stupid sh*t they’ve said and done over the years.

It felt strange — really out of place for where I was. I’ve had a full week, I know, and I’m behind on my sleep. But it didn’t feel like this rush of emotion was really proportional to all that stuff.

It made me feel even more freakish, lying there and crying — over what? So, I just lay there and let myself be. And eventually the tears stopped. And I blew my nose, wiped my eyes, and lay back down to rest some more.

Screw it, I figured. I’m just too messed up to figure out.

Then something occurred to me — it was probably a couple of things that brought on this crashing wave of emotion:

  1. Fatigue and overwhelm from this week — even the good kinds of activity and fun over-doing it are still overdoing it, and I know that can screw with my emotional equilibrium.
  2. Being able to chill out the fight-or-flight means that the adrenaline walls that constantly hold back the waves of emotion actually came down a little bit, and as a result, a lot of pent-up stuff that didn’t have anything to do with today — or even me — got released, and it had to go somewhere, so it came out. I’ve been holding it together for months, now, and I haven’t really let myself really feel a lot that’s been going on with me, so that pent-up emotion is going to need to go somewhere, sometime.

This made me feel a lot better, so I got up and made myself some breakfast.

With two cups of coffee. And no intently focused morning routine.

Because sometimes you need to just let that all go for a little while. So you can see what else is “in there” besides all the discipline and focus and deliberate intention.

Sometimes you just gotta let it all be. And that includes yourself.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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