I figured out why I am struggling to manage my bandwidth smoothly, and it’s because desensitization as a byproduct of CPTSD essentially gaslights your body into believing it’s not exhausted.

Earlier tonight I tweeted, “Sometimes I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is a sign that I’m hardworking or a sign that I’m lazy or not managing my time efficiently enough.” One of the things that survivors of childhood trauma often face is the inability to know when we’re allowed to not be ok; for those of us who were mocked for our needs or told to toughen up, we’re never sure where the line is for when we need to let up, because we know we can always endure more.

In later years we cease enduring as a coping mechanism and we replace it with the holy grail of self-care, but too often self-care can become another means of perfection we’re striving for, and then we beat ourselves up for not taking better care of ourselves and end up worse than where we started. We want to operate at our optimal efficiency all while understanding that our desire for optimal efficiency is burning us out.

Going into the depth of feeling required to restore this kind of sensitivity, where I know intrinsically when my body is being called to work or called to rest, and furthermore what kind of work or rest it feels called to, has been a process of deep examination and quiet. Losing sensitivity was very much like losing my hearing (which also happened to me in 2013 due to a prescribed mood stabilizer), in that in order to begin to start feeling my body again I had to tune in and listen, to cup a hand behind my ear and lean in, energetically speaking; to turn the car radio down while slowing down looking for the street numbers. I had to find the tiniest seed of sensation and then let it grow from there. I listened to music and tried to hear every single part of the arrangement individually. I started noticing the difference in taste when I baked from scratch rather than from a mix. I practiced my fine-tuning in every possible sense and modality.

It was less complicated when I just tuned everything out, but I reached a point where I was no longer willing to pay the costs accompanying that. I’m learning my body like it’s been a stick shift the whole time and I’ve been driving automatic. The payoffs are already seeping in in ways I probably don’t have to describe, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I’m a black belt in myself, what kinds of things I can accomplish when I attain my own mastery.