Grounding in Threes

Some sort of self-regulation may have finally been attained in these past few days and I am hoping against hope that I can continue with it. I actually think I can because so much has happened lately, both positive and heartbreaking, that the intensity has broken me . . . I need a break. Yet circumstances won’t allow for a break: my life is like a person trained as a sprinter being forced to run marathons and if I don’t find a way to catch my breath in a healthy way then the gasp for air is distressing, demoralizing, devastating, and damaging.

How do I get more air? I count to three. My living space clutter is a major source of stress so I choose three things to pick up before I leave the room – only three. One of my children angers me: I’m quiet and count to three. I ask myself many times in the day “what can I do in threes?” My brow is furrowed: I close my eyes for three seconds. My heart is heavy: I sing three verses of a song. I’m about to leave the house: I turn off three lights. As I move from moment to moment of my day and I am drowning in impossible tides I look for the threes and it helps.

DPDR (Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder) and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) will never completely disappear from my life. I have been thinking about this and how I get so disconnected and numb and also jumpy and angry and on edge. I move in slow motion and often speak in slow motion. I forget things. I shut down and have trouble hearing and understanding what is going on around me. I have a hard time focusing and functioning. When I feel the disconnect taking over I do two things: I tell myself that I am not bad for not being able to think clearly, that it’s not my fault and I count to three. Sometimes I can’t count properly in sequence if I’m having a really hard time but I can always make it to three. It helps.

Right now I am very tired and needing to go to bed. I am fearing it: the possibility of not being able to fall asleep because of racing thoughts, nightmares, being woken up by one of the kids . . . I’m trying to think of how to apply my rule of three to help. I think I will alternate between taking three deep breaths and thinking of three positive moments of the day such as my daughter’s delight in the smallest things like the spout of her water bottle popping up, my son pushing his little sister on the swing, my other son thanking me for getting his water bottle and telling me that I’m sweet.

It’s too easy in just a moment to think of three times three times three things that mark me as a failure, a fraud, and a lost cause; a puzzle who’s pieces are scattered and damaged and won’t ever fit together properly again. I’m looking for the three good things about myself that I can find . . . such as I’m a good writer, I have nice eyes, and I have a decent singing voice (those took a really long time to come up with).

It’s not easy but it’s a good starting point. I hope, dear friend, that you may find this encouraging and helpful in some way. I’m on your side and am rooting for you.

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