It has certainly been easier to breathe over the last week. Helps me to know for certain that I made the right choice (withdrawing from school) last Wednesday. And contrary to the last few weeks of doom and gloom, things are looking up here.
First, the late August/early September PTSD quagmire has ended. For the last week, any stress I’ve had comes from current issues rather than six-years-old retained trauma memory. Better yet: during the several weeks of PTSD triggers this time, I did a better job of coping than I have in the past. I can definitely say for sure now that I’ve transferred my self-medicating coping mechanism from wine to iced coffee. Yay! This gives me hope that I can transfer it to an even safer substance in the future. I also didn’t have any major breakdowns involving the old trauma. It certainly influenced my vulnerable, easy-to-tears state of mind, but I never ended up wracked with fear, sobbing, or anger over Old Things. Running, behavioral therapy, new associations, and general rebuilding-my-life is REALLY helping. I hope that within a year or two, my two major trigger periods (May/early June, and this Aug/Sept one) will go back to being normal!
Second, the carpet. Oh, the carpet. Construction always sucks, especially when you have to do a big portion of it yourself. I don’t deal with chaos very well. It’s my kryptonite. I become paralyzed when too much is going on, especially if there’s no order to it. And, true to the stereotype about marriages, my husband is a pure chaos kind of person. This is in many ways a good thing – I can deal with all the stuff that needs order and rigidity, he can deal with the chaos that makes me curl into a whimpering ball in my room. Which includes ripping out half the carpets in the house, pulling off baseboards, leveling and sanding floors, and installing new floors while waiting for the carpet professionals to come rip out the rest of the carpets and install new stuff. The house was a wreck. Furniture moved from one room to another. Stuff in boxes, as if we were moving again. Construction dust everywhere. No way to even reach the oven or stove or microwave.
But Jason got the hardwood floors down early last week. (We were supposed to get cheap laminate, but there were a few boxes of hardwood that had been on the shelf for eight months, and were thus being sold for less than laminate – lucky us!) He got the baseboards up, the cat-scratch-wall reassembled (it looks different now, with new pieces!), and the furniture back where it belonged by mid week. He and I both got all the loose stuff put away in the two rooms where the professionals would work, and then they came in on Thursday and got all their work done in a few hours. This led to quite a few wonderful things:
- Even though our old carpets were old and disgusting, there was no water damage on them, which we’d worried about, and the subfloor was in near-perfect condition, whew!
- We got to rearrange both our living room and my bedroom because the furniture had to be moved anyway, and both rooms are far superior now to the way they’ve been the previous nine months!
- The new carpet is beautiful, far more beautiful than we expected (especially since our first choice of color turned out to be unavailable re: covid delays in manufacturing), and soooooo nice to walk on! It’s higher-grade carpet with a 30-year warranty, and the extra money we put into upgrading from “builder’s grade” was 10000% worth it.
I took a run on the new carpet on Monday. My room has been rearranged to have a wide U-shaped path that allows for longer no-turns distance and wider turns at the end of each U. This allows me to mimic an outdoor pace a lot more closely, without worrying about tight turns on my ankles/knees/hips. Indeed, I ran two miles in about 33 mins – the same pace I would do on an easy run outdoors. And my feet felt like I was running on air the whole time. It was amazing. I’ve never actually had brand-new carpet in a house before, so this has been a novel and awesome experience!
In addition to the new carpets, our a/c system got completely replaced over the last two days (indoor and outdoor units both). As anyone who lives in the south can testify – summer heat is excruciating and never-ending for about half the year, and a good a/c system is priceless. Our former unit was about 25 years old and didn’t work well, so the house was always mildly hot and our electricity bill was through the roof. Already we’ve noticed a major difference in how well the house cools! (Pic: Surprise gift from Jason after the construction was finished!)
Then, there are my career goals. Of course, I don’t have a 100% great idea of where I plan to go next in my life, but since switching away from the university path, I’ve been drawn toward digging back into my first love: writing. I haven’t done any major writing since the spring of 2016, and I’d all but given up on the idea. However, I’ve realized that these intervening years have helped me to see writing and publishing in an entirely different light, and helped me to break some mental barriers that I’ve had my whole life. I’m not going to say too much about this right now because it’s still early days, but I’m excited to potentially begin with some new projects soon!
So yes, it really feels like things are looking up despite the stressors that have been around for the last month. I can see cooler temps in the extended forecast, I have several group hikes scheduled, and I see hope ahead of me again.