Day Nineteen

Today was a rollercoaster.

During relaxation this morning, I imagined myself on a beach with my wife and daughter, playing in the sand and the waves. It made me cry. And then a new person in the program, Helen (name changed for privacy), came up afterwards and told me she had trouble during the parts of the relaxation when the woman guiding us stopped talking. I gave her some advice about how to approach those–mainly that she could relax into them, and that whatever was happening, even if her mind racing, it was really okay.

Then I went into the bathroom and sobbed. That moment of kindness to Helen made me realize how hard I have been on myself this week. Trying to sit to please others, worried that the authorities at the program won’t think I am doing my best, and struggling to keep my gains and add to them. All the tension poured out of me in a wave of self-compassion.

Which led to our minigolf outing. It began in difficulty, with intense knee pain, but as I gently leaned into it, the pain got easier and softened up, and by the last hole, I felt confident standing and taking my time to hit the ball. Then my three closest friends at the program and I went to lunch at Pret a Manger. I walked there, stood in line and paid for my food standing, and sat for lunch and laughed and talked without much difficulty. An unthinkable thing three weeks ago. It was a similar empowered, painless place that I accessed at the zoo with my family.

The afternoon was hard, and I spent most of it lying down–I still feel like I’m being judged for lying down, and that makes me scared and angry and makes me think about leaving the program–but I did have some real successes today, remarkable also because I went into today in what I used to think of as major flare-up land, lots of sitting pain, a state that would’ve made me feverishly avoid sitting for a few days. Maybe my limits are further than I think.

I still feel stress tonight, worry about being expected to sit more than I’m able next week, but I have a whole weekend to recuperate, and some successes to be proud of.

Week 3 complete. Way to go, Jake.

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