Most days I make myself leave work no later than 5, work out 2 or 3 times a week, and have dinner with at least one friend during the week. On the weekends I am trying to make sure that I have one thing planned ahead of time to do for myself, whether it's going shopping for a new pair of shoes, movies with a friend or just an hour to lay out by the pool.
It's crazy. I never thought that I could be happy being so busy. I was always terrified of not having time to be at home, by myself, to sleep all day, or to cut. But I'm finding that as I'm making more of an effort to surround myself with people who I truly trust and WANT to be around, I am okay with giving up "my" time for "us" time.
It's a baby steps process though. I still give myself permission to hole up at least one night a week so I can have my alone time. I still feel the most comfortable when I am alone, but as I'm building stronger relationships that is slowly changing. Some weekends I still find myself wanting to sleep all day Saturday (because I can!) and not make the effort to connect with anyone. That is still a struggle. The little voice in my head keeps telling me I deserve my time, but it's a fine line I have to keep my eye on to make sure it doesn't turn back into socially withdrawing and feeding the depression.
I've felt very disconnected from the abused side of me since I left IOP a month ago and returned back to normal life. At first it was so frustrating to me because that has been my only side since 2008 and I felt like I didn't even know who I was. I hated it. I felt so uncomfortable without that weight inside of me that I have grown so accustomed to. After a while I found that I actually was able to enjoy things that I hadn't in such a long time. I felt light, clear-minded and happy. For the first time in YEARS, I did something for someone else. I actually thought of someone else first and wanted to do something for them... and not only that, I was excited to do that! Before I was so buried in my own pain I rarely even noticed what was going on with other people, let alone think about their pain and how it might be affecting them.
But in the back of my mind, I see this guillotine raised above me, just waiting for something to come swooping in, cut the rope and send the blade back down on my life. I don't ever want to be thrown back into the depths of darkness like I was when this first happened in 2008, and again this last January. I don't want to put myself in a position where I don't see it coming, or can't act in time to keep myself safe.
I went out on a date last night for the first time in almost 2 years... and I actually enjoyed myself. I wasn't in my head, freaking myself out about the what if's and trying to predict the future. I was just there, in the moment and it was great! I had such a blast and really liked hanging out with this guy.
The ride home, however, was not great. The smile on my face faded after about 5 minutes and my weight suddenly reappeared. I honestly don't remember driving home after that. I remember focusing on trying to keep the memories and old habits, thoughts, feelings from taking me over. I know I had a panic attack. But the 20 minute ride home is a black hole... and I got home and had to put just about every strategy I learned from IOP into play just to keep myself afloat. After about an hour I was able to pull myself out of it and calm down enough to go to bed.
I'm feeling better this morning, but am more afraid of life today. I feel the guillotine blade on the back of my neck and I'm afraid to move. But I'm not going to let this discourage me. My life is new now, and I've got to re-learn how to live with my scars.