The Trouble with Milestones

Been struggling a little bit this last week with something other than nanowrimo.  The anxiety seems to be welling from a source that ought to cause joy: The one year anniversary of my current relationship.

I really suck at special occasions. That might be a personal anomaly, but I suspect most people with trauma related disorders have a similar hang-up. I love everyday, normal routines, while important holidays makes me want to hide under the bed.  I don’t know if it’s just fear that makes everything wonky, but-

In the last week I’ve tried to sabotage stuff six ways to Tuesday. Almost like- in my head I don’t think we’ll make it to a year or something, or I’m too anxious to face disappointment on that day so I keep looking for ways to minimize risk. It’s messed, and not conscious, either, but I wish my brain would stop that. We’ve been doin’ really good- maybe that’s the other part: Feelings get intense, and then I feel pretty vulnerable.

My S.O. in these situations has been about as kind and steady as anyone could possibly be. He’s the one who recognized that these troubles seem to be arising in direct correlation to the upcoming anniversary. He works with troubled families, so there’s some context and background he can call on to understand what rationally makes no sense.

We talk now and then about ‘a middle part’. I don’t have middle parts, historically, when it comes to romance. I have falling deep in love, and then the destruction part where things go terrible. I’m not sure what a middle part feels like, or if I’m capable of it, and I’m sort of afraid that I’m not.

So- it’s a little scary, yeah. A year. In the ptsd mind, there’s so much fear associated with intimacy, that it can feel like a ledge, a little bit. There’s a million ways to go plunging into that angry, victimized state of mind.

There is a single image, a visualization that seems to help me feel optimistic: The sensation of surfing. I’ve never actually stood on a surf board, but I can feel that balance, my feet on the board, the ocean, the roar that surrounds you so you feel like a part of the sound. Surfing is the improbable balance of so many elements coming together in harmony. If you try too hard, if you get tense, you get thrown.

But you still have to be present enough to stand up, to try. You’re there, but not. It’s the act of letting the elements guide your benevolent will.  You step onto the board and let it happen. It looks impossible, but it’s a miracle that’s been repeated a thousand times. People find their improbable balance.

That physical representation of a miracle is what I go to in my head, each time I’m drowning in the state of my own mind. We’re staying afloat, so here’s my daily dose of optimism: Happy Anniversary to Us.

13 thoughts on “The Trouble with Milestones

  1. I misread the title, for a moment, as “The Trouble with Millstones.” That might be equally accurate, in a subtextual way.

    Happy Anniversary, and honor to both of you for keeping with it. Well done!

  2. Happy Anniversary :)

    I love the way you described surfing. It’s my go-to visualization when fears mess with my mind and try to intrude on my reality, too.

    I haven’t tried to stand on a surf board since I was a child (when an older cousin let me have one or two tries at it). It’s on my list of things to do before I die, if I can ever stop letting myself get in the way of it.

  3. Once you shoot the curl the world kind of stops and nothing else really matters. Maybe there is no middle ground — for any of us. Just stages of intensity.

    Happy anniversary. Enjoy the music of the surf.

  4. Happy Anniversary.
    And bravo to you for recognizing your own part in miracles.
    A kid will eat the “middle” of an oreo first, but a scared and hurt adult can find all manner of ways to sabotage the cookie outside before getting there.

  5. Happy anniversary! This whole post was very inspiring…it’s awesome that the SO has the background in this and can help logic you out of an illogical mindset! Good luck!

  6. This makes so much sense to me. I’m glad your SO is able to see it for what it is and not just run away thinking it’s about him.

    You’re doing good. Keep on doing.

  7. Let me also chime in and give you mad props on making it a whole year despite your worst instincts.

    Love the image of the surf board and balance. I use a similar image except for far less athletic. For me, when the depression hits, I always just visualize myself floating on the ocean – not fighting the waves or the turbulence, just floating while I regain my strength to swim out of it.

    Happy anniversary my dear Am.

  8. I also love that image of surfing. How wise it is. Also, the middle part. What a long and glorious (and inglorious) part that can be. Hope you give yourselves a nice-sized bash.

  9. Happy Anniversary! I hope you make it through in one place.

    Life often feels like trying to balance on a surfboard to me, too. I also don’t surf. I’ve been taking horseback riding lessons, which is also all about strength and balance, and when you should be cruising along, you’re bouncing up and down in pain. Hmmm.

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