Dealing with PTSD & The End of DST

Hello!

This post started as a simple recap of my weekly workouts, but once I started typing, there was so much more to say. Blogging has a way of keeping me in check with my thoughts and emotions (so it’s basically like free therapy except for the “safe space” is the entire internet). Today I’ve got all. the. feels. to share.

Monday: 8 easy + 3 easy

Monday was a turnaround day for me! After hobbling around for a couple of weeks, my knee finally wasn’t bothering me. All of that RICE-ing I did finally paid off. I knew as soon as I walked down the steps Monday morning that I was healing. The stairs had become my nemesis in the previous two weeks. The sprain that I had in my knee ligament was angered by bending my knee, which is crucial for walking down stairs (and a lot of other things).

I started the week off with an easy run on the treadmill + Netflix watching. It was a good start.

After work Daniel wanted to go for a short run and I was more than happy to join in. You know because “oh em gee, my knee feels amazing!” The time change was a bit of an adjustment this week for sure. If given an option, I think I’d rather just stay on Daylight Saving Time (DST) year-round. I appreciate the additional hour of light in the mornings once DST ends, but the darkness in the evenings is no fun (as far as running is concerned). I think I’d probably feel differently about it if I didn’t run.

When the sun goes down, I feel like I am supposed to go to sleep. I like to rise and set with the sun! I’ve had to remind myself several times this week that 6 or 7 p.m. is a tad early for bedtime (only a tad though :)).

For whatever reason, running in the dark in the morning doesn’t bother me as much as running in the dark in the evenings. It’s probably because in the morning it is always getting lighter as you run and in the evening it’s not. Regardless, running in the dark in the evening feels more ominous. In actuality, I rarely run by myself when it is light out anyway, but I definitely don’t run by myself in the dark. Period. Once DST ends, I feel like I can’t safely go out for a run by myself after work. It’s as if a freedom (even one that I rarely exercise (pun intended)) is replaced with fear.

It is difficult, challenging, frustrating, scary and a host of other negative emotions to lose your sense of safety and security. Around this time each year, my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms seem to resurface or worsen. Feelings of depression and despair set in and I always have this general feeling that something bad is about to happen. It’s as if I am just waiting for some sort of disaster to take place.

Side note: It was only in writing this post that I realized that PTSD is DST backwards and without the P. Coincidence? I think not.

What I have only somewhat recently (in the last two or three years) been able to recognize, is that these feelings come up at about the same time every year. Like clockwork, when the time changes and fall arrives, I find myself depressed, anxious, sad, and kind of paranoid, but not in a normal seasonal affective disorder sort of way. It happens every November and it is because my body is remembering a traumatic season in my life (even if my mind isn’t specifically acknowledging it).

So this year fall came and I literally fell. Hard. As silly as it seems, that dang fall sent me spiraling into a deep funk. I am not saying that falling down is the same thing as being attacked (i.e., raped (I hate that word)), but regardless of severity, it was a trauma. My body felt trauma and remembered past trauma and I got depressed, anxious, sad, scared, etc. (like I said … all the feels). All I wanted to do was sleep and isolate myself from the rest of the world. I did a pretty good job of this for about 2 weeks. I didn’t go to work. I didn’t want to see my friends. I was in a major funk.

Luckily, I am acknowledging it (very publicly at that … go big or go home, ehh) and am now dealing with the feelings instead of trying to stuff them away. My first inclination when I feel anything negative is to shut it out completely. This is NOT a healthy coping mechanism. Ignoring or avoiding the feelings has been compared to putting a band-aid on a severed limb. It just doesn’t work. Eventually the feelings will bubble up and spill over until they are properly dealt with.

Safety is defined as the state of being safe; free from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss. This definition of safety is relative to the physical sense. It relates to the notion that the absence of risk of physical harm creates safety. However, when dealing with PTSD, the definition of safety takes on a different meaning. When it comes to PTSD, the idea of safety deals with the notion of feeling safe. So for now, I will be focusing on self-care and making sure that I feel safe.

Speaking of safety, let’s segue this post back to running by using this picture of me in my Nathan Streak Vest. This picture quality is terrible. My apologizes. The vest, however, is great quality and keeps me nice and visible during our evening runs. Safety first!

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Daniel also carries a flashlight (the Nathan Zephyr Fire 100 Hand Torch) when we run in the evenings. The flashlight also has an alarm on it and charges from a USB port (no batteries). I highly recommend it!

Tuesday: 2 mi. WU, 4 mi. progression tempo (6:30, 6:24, 6:21, 6:16), 2 mi. CD + RW Group Run

I wrote a little bit about this workout already, but this was my first workout in over 3 weeks. I was so thankful to get it in and to feel good afterwards!

I almost passed on the group run Tuesday evening, but Daniel wanted to go and in the spirit of not isolating myself from the world, I decided to be social and join him.

Wednesday: 5 easy

Not too much to say about this one. I was [this|close] to taking the day off, which would’ve totally been fine, but Jessica texted Wednesday afternoon to see if I wanted to run. Duh! Time with friends > time alone.

Thursday: 3 easy

Easy breezy. Loving the extra daylight in the morning and the cooler temperatures!

Friday: 5 easy + 5 easy

Saturday: 9 easy w/ RW Group

After our run Saturday morning, Daniel and I had a quick post-run breakfast date at Warehouse. He ran 16 miles and decided to get the Bayou Breakfast Benedict (it’s a biscuit with eggs, sausage, fried okra and creole tomato sauce). I went with a slightly healthier alternative and got their granola with fruit and almond milk.

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We have been reading through Galatians this week. A few verses really jumped out at me today. Galatians 5:13-15 says: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Can I get an AMEN?! Can’t we all just love our neighbors (regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political views, etc.)? We were all created equally. I know that is a complete oversimplification of things, but really … sometimes there is a very simple solution to very complicated issues. Spread love. Share the Gospel. Share Jesus.

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Really guys, it starts with you. Be the change that you wish to see (paraphrased from Gandhi). Focus on what you can do to make the world a little bit better and go do it!

Sunday: Battleship 12K! Race recap to come tomorrow (Lord willing).

Tell me: Do you love or hate the end of daylight saving time (or are you indifferent)?

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5 thoughts on “Dealing with PTSD & The End of DST

  1. I don’t like this new time… I find it hard to sleep. Mainly because I already go to bed fairly late and before the time changed I used to sleep later than I do. Now I can’t sleep past 7 no matter what I do, and I really NEED the sleep this week due to my knee injury and trying to recover. I am just hobbling around. It sucks. I don’t know if I should shut my training down or just hope it clears up since it does seem a little better each day.

    I agree that running in the dark in the morning feels safer than at night. I guess it just seems like any attacker or something wouldn’t be out so much in the morning? I rarely run in the dark at all (unless it’s a group run and then, I’m with a group)… but I would feel safer in the mornings when most people are on their way to work or whatever.

    I hope you feel better soon, both physically and mentally. It’s been a very emotionally draining week for so many with the election (no matter how you vote) and with injuries *hugs*.

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  2. I really respect and admire your honesty. I agree- it’s best not to stifle the feeling because they will bubble up. You have to deal with them. You are really brave and strong, and it’s good to see you running despite these negative feelings.

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  3. This post was refreshing in the fact that I go through major depressive bouts starting about this time. I’ve been through some “stuff” and reading your post it’s like a lightbulb went off. The past two years have been better because I’ve been replacing ugly memories with beautiful memories with my now husband and amazing son. Running and blogging are my therapies! Although I haven’t blogged in a bit…I’ve lost nearly all motivation! I do like earlier sun but I don’t like earlier night. I’m ready for bed by 6 pm! 😀 I love that verse you shared. Quite timely. We crazy humans tend to over complicated so much! When all we really need is love. Truly this is what it boils down to.

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