Mount Everest

The Wonder Therapist is on vacation so I’m seeing Back Up Therapist again. It’s been a totally crazy and often totally overwhelming week. I was talking to Back Up Therapist the other night, talking about everything that’s going on and how overwhelmed I’ve felt:

Me: “You’re looking at me like I’m a crazy person.”

Back Up Therapist: “Well, yes, kind of. You’re telling me you’ve got a mother with cancer, you’ve just put your father into a nursing home, you’ve got issues at work, and health issues of you’re own, and you wonder why you’re upset and feel overwhelmed? It’s like you’re climbing Mount Everest and complaining that it’s cold!

7 thoughts on “Mount Everest

  1. You know, it actually makes sense to me — here’s how it works, I think. Before we start to heal, we are able to tolerate unbelievable amounts of stress, pain, etc. with comparative aplomb because we’re not really feeling anything much. I think most of us are surprised by our lowered tolerance once we’re “better.” Our lives are usually really demonstrably much improved, but I don’t know any abuse survivor who’s in successful therapy (as you obviously have been and are) who isn’t kind of taken aback by that reduced capacity to endure past the point where anyone should have to endure. Because you’ve been doing that all your life, right? And you’ve been healthy and self-preserving for a lot less time. It’s less that you’re climbing Mount Everest and then complaining that you’re cold…it’s more that you voluntarily divested yourself of ten thousand insulating layers that kept you safe from the cold (and removed from all good feelings too) and good God, it’s a shock.

  2. Yeah, she got you! 😉
    On the plus side, it is actually pretty normal to push feelings to the side and be sort of on auto pilot in the face of lots of stress like that. The feelings are there, but you can’t put the pieces together because it’s like you don’t have time. You’ve gotta do this, you’ve gotta do that. Then you find yourself wondering why you’re all “discombobulated”. Normal, really…. You have so much going on so fast right now, it’s all blowing past you faster than you can process it. It’s understandable. Keep trying to make time for yourself and slow things down where ever possible. Not easy, but every little bit helps.
    Hang in there,

  3. and then there’s the lack of oxygen…

    Being human has it’s advantages. Watching the sun set over the ocean is one of my favourites. But, being human comes with all sorts of messy emotions which get in the way. It hurts, but also comes with benefits… remember to stop and admire the view as you climb.

    I’m sorry you’ve got so much going on for you at the moment… It’s a cliché, but it’s true… One moment at a time.

    Take care,

  4. @ Sanity – thanks.

    @ David – You’re absolutely right. In fact the Back Up Therapist said almost exactly this, only not as eloquently. 🙂 This whole healing, being healthy, feeling the emotions stuff… sure, I’m experiencing life, but it feels so much harder, so much more difficult to cope with things now, than it was when I ignored things. The lower tolerance really is difficult to take. A shock? Hell yea!!

    @ Lothlorien – She did get me, huh? You’re right about autopilot – and here’s something: I guess that’s something even “normal” people; people who aren’t survivors experience, too. I definitely haven’t been taking enough time for myself… I will definitely be doing that more!

    @ CG – yea, that lack of oxygen, it’s just the icing on the cake, really. You’re right about the advantages of being human. I get to experience the highs now… sunsets, waves lapping at my feet, soft blankies… they’re all too good to give up now!

  5. This lower tolerance idea is really interesting. It’s something I’ve wondered over myself and I find this makes perfect sense now. I wish it were different!

  6. I can relate to this so much. I think David really said it well and, sadly, this is one of the tradeoffs we must accept of healing. Our capacity for dealing with stress is constantly in flux. Sometimes you really do need to try to climb Mount Everest. And sometimes it’s just better to climb a small hill.

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