Survival Mode

I bought a blow-dryer the other day. I haven’t had one for years. It didn’t even cost five dollars, but it meant something very real to me. It meant I am trying to make myself comfortable. I’m no longer “doing without” because everything feels temporary or unimportant.

The very next day, I felt really exhausted for no particular reason. That’s when I realized I have been breathing easier. I am no longer in survival mode. And so since I had some time to sit and think about it, I tried to remember when my survival mode actually started. It started the day Osa left. I have not been able to relax since that day. I have had no room to breathe calmly. It’s been one thing after another after another with absolutely no down time or recovery.

When I went to the hot springs the last time and realized that I had forgotten how to relax, it was as strange to me as the first time I tried to eat applesauce during my cancer recovery. My mouth had forgotten what to do. My tongue didn’t move. My throat didn’t swallow. I had to wipe it off of my tongue. Here, I had a past of taking 3-5 yoga classes a week for hours, and after four years of fighting battle after battle, I forgot how to relax.

It doesn’t mean I’m battle free. I still have things to face, but it’s manageable. Mostly it’s manageable due to some really terrific friends. I’m starting to think that I’m feeling somewhat normal –whatever that means.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kate Spyder says:

    Believe it or not life is about struggle.. It is about overcoming, persevering, and finding ways to get through those things which challenge us and if not then learning to live with it. It is about adapting. It is about change. Every single minute of every single day is there to help us adapt, what was once foreign to us becomes part of us, second nature, it joins with who we are as we change. Learning to breathe and relax through these changes means we are learning to survive and continue to live. Nothing is forever. Some would probably disagree with me on that, some would say death is forever, and some would be amazed if I told them I don’t agree with that. I believe death is temporary or better yet, a door we walk through to our next existence. Whether that next existence in re-incarnation, or another dimension, or heaven. It is good at times to look back at what has happened. It is even better to look back so we can see how we have grown, changed, adapted and become who we are. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ except in how you perceive you and your life to be and that ‘normal’ will constantly be changing, adapting, just as you do.

    The other day while driving, thinking of the recent changes in my life, I found myself actually looking forward to many of them, in fact all of them. I feel as though I am stepping through a doorway into another life. Stepping through the door will be hard, but because of what my journey has already brought to me, where I am going will be extraordinary.

    Katheryn, you have stepped through a similar doorway, many in fact. You are living an extraordinary life. Each challenge you have faced has been a stepping stone on your journey. Don’t ever lose sight of that. Look forward more than backwards, know that no matter what comes into your life, take time to breathe, remember to find ways to relax, and look at the beauty that shines between the cracks, the more you look the larger the cracks will become until one day instead of trying to look through the cracks at the beauty you will realize the challenges have become the cracks.

    What you are going through is ‘recovery’. Life is a cycle of challenges, battles, and recovery, sometimes we are lucky to have a period of time where at the end of the recovery we can coast and just enjoy life for a while. I honestly believe that we are given the challenges or battles in our lives to the degree we need them. We often, or at least I do, wonder why it is some people are faced with much harder challenges or battles than others and why for some the rate of frequency is so different than for others. It might not make it easier to know, however, I believe it is because some of us are at a particular phase in which we need to grow in leaps and bounds much more so than others around us. Or we require the stimulus to grow in particular ways and those challenges force us to make choices we might not have normally taken in life in order to put us on a particular path. You have been brought to a place which has allowed you to find those things you need to learn again, like relaxing and breathing. These are healing and essential for recovery. Don’t feel guilty about trying to find comfort especially in the simple things. I’m finding the comfort in wearing a hat. Some may find that silly but you and I know how essential it is, so enjoy your blow dryer and find other simple things you can add every day that will bring you comfort. I probably didn’t need to say that, because from your other posts I know you do this whether you realize it or not. It isn’t the fact you found a food you can eat again after your illness, it is the comfort that brings you which makes you feel so good when you discover it again.

    I’ve written a book here, you don’t have to post it, you can keep it for a private comment if you like. I just felt the need to reply and said far more than I thought I would, but that is me. Take care and enjoy your comforts without guilt and allow yourself to recover.

  2. Ryn Cricket says:

    As usual, you see the things I don’t see, and you hit the nail on the head. Being guilt-free is difficult. This may be where my struggle is. I think my next phase is working on forgiveness, and that seems a bit difficult right now, but the strength I have gained by not being a victim is a big step in the process. Patti, You amaze me so often, and this reply is no exception. Many people are going to tell you what an inspiration you are to them, and how strong and brave you are. The thing is, they may not have noticed it before, but it has always been in you, and I have always seen it. And I am so thankful you are my friend –and really, my family.

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