Be present

This week has been one of the more challenging weeks for me in a long time. Tonight, despite all of that, my heart was touched in a new way. I want to just share what that looked like. Because to me it was just a powerful way that showed that I was cared for and loved. 
I haven’t had night terrors and intense flashbacks nearly as often as I used to, sometimes even making it almost 2 weeks without any. This week, it has been a constant daily occurrence. I remembered a different piece and it has been a bit much, and quite a bit of overload. But usually these things happen in the middle of the night and I may message with someone if they are up, but I also just ride it out. Then try and push through the next day as best as I can. Tonight was a bit different. I fell asleep while watching tv on a friend’s couch. Usually, if things have been a struggle, it means I am tired and then get some sleep and can get refocused and back into the swing of things. Tonight, it wasn’t a restful sleep, it was a night terror, flashback type of sleep. When my friend woke me up because she was heading to bed, and so I could drive home, I woke up in that panic in that terror. She asked if I was okay, and once she realized I wasn’t she just stayed there and say on the couch with me. She was right there and I knew that, as I had the panic and went from that to a place of frustration, exhaustion, and sadness and cried. She was there by me. When I said I was sick of it all she said “I’m sorry” when I said I was tired and just wanted to sleep she said “I know.” That was all I needed. I was heard, I wasn’t alone, but I could also just be. 
It was just, what I needed and let me share a little bit of why. That way if you are ever with someone maybe this will help. Everything was at a safe distance. She didn’t sit right next to me against me, but close with a little bit of distance. Touch wasn’t until I was ready. She simply extended her hand for me to hold. I wasn’t asked questions or told anything. She just waited. She waited for me to say something or for me to look at her when I was a bit more grounded. So, when I have a flashback or night terror, it is sensory overload, I have adrenaline running, emotions running, and can feel disoriented. A little bit of distance just to me said I was alright, and my space bubble is going to be respected and I can let that guard down. Then just answering to what I verbalized but simply acknowledging. My brain is already going a million miles an hour, so simple short phrases that validate things is nice. I didn’t feel like I was being rescued or looked down on, but just supported. Then there is the touch. That one is probably the biggest. I know that when someone is crying my first instinct can be to hug, but with all my senses are on overload a touch can hurt or cause more panic. So the fact that it was an offer that I had a choice to take helped put that guard down, and said that was in control. That I had a say, even if I didn’t have a say in my memory, I had a say right there. Then she prayed. And it was a powerful prayer that I could just feel and knew that God showed up as the father, the healer, the protector. And then once I was a bit more calm and through it. She offered for me to stay the night there if I wanted, but I wanted my pup for some cuddles. And then let the conversation flow. It wasn’t focused on anything that just happened. It was about some adorable kids, cute pets, and light hearted. This part to me said, I was okay, that it doesn’t change anything, and that I’m me and that I am fine just where I am. It was a sense of normalcy. The actions all spoke to being cared for, being loved, and being accepted. I didn’t ever feel like I was a burden, even thought I kept her up, I never felt like she was trying to fix me, and I felt safe and not alone. Sometimes being present is all it takes to make a world of difference.
Thank you friend for being there, giving up a bit of sleep, and letting your actions speak volumes to the fact that it was all okay and all valid all at the same time. Thank you for the gift of your presence and for creating a safe environment that made me feel cared for and loved. And mostly thanks for just seeing me as me and the normal conversation that took place after. Love you! 

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