My birthday was last weekend.
I turned 35. Oddly, I felt a lot of anxiety along with the usual joy and gratitude that comes from being alive one more year. Why this year instead of past years? Honestly no one in our system can answer that.
35 just feels like a big year. A turning point. A crossroads perhaps. So much good is happening that the memories are flooding in fast & furious. Body memories connecting with emotional or cognitive memory fragments create complete memories of past experiences. Those memories come in dreams and immense pain from my neck down.
In spite of all that, waking up to birthday wishes from friends and family made me feel blessed. The warm messages brightened my morning and had me excited to start the day. And it was an amazing day in spite of the pain.
I did not do anything special. It was a day for self care and exploring spent in blissful solitude broken up with visits to appointments and interesting people in different stores. Time did not manage me that day. After my appointments, I took my time enjoying the beautiful day as I headed back home.
For the first time that I can remember, my birthday was spent in an enjoyable way with full awareness of everything that occurred. Not one of us (the alters or myself) dissociated, split, switched, or forgot anything that happened. We laughed and played and watched movies or read books or knitted while relaxing and waiting for the stew to finish.
The pain did not stop any of us from enjoying the day. We simply adjusted to the physical limitations of neck/shoulder pain by carrying the shoulder bag on the other arm and using both hands to cook. Took a lot of breaks in between our travels. And remembered to eat or drink fluids throughout the day.
And maybe that is what made us all feel so anxious. A birthday without expectations or obligations to anyone. Pure joy. Simple fun. Interesting, kind people. Yummy food. A good night’s rest.
The joy and peaceful feelings continue even now. A different set of Chinese herbs are helping with triggers, sleep, and pain issues. I did not expect help with the pain, but it’s been helping. The herbs have made everyone sleep a lot, but that’s okay. We needed the rest. And something has changed inside too because the adults finally managed to do laundry!
Plus, the colder temperatures are not bringing up scary feelings or memories for the children as much this week. It helps that many of the shopping packages were delivered over the last few days. But really, the herbs are working with our body and mind this time instead of trying to manipulate changes. And that feels really good.
Maybe even good enough that mornings will stop being scary too someday. And maybe good enough that bathrooms and small dark spaces like under sink cabinets will also feel safer too.
Thanks for reading.