It goes in cycles for me ... that is the world feels like it is beginning to cave in, but I don't notice it until I am feeling consumed by the darkness. When I look back, I see the signs that I ignored, mostly in my own behavior. Short tempered, touchy, overly sensitive. These are the not generous descriptions. There are equally not generous descriptions of those who I feel put upon by.
Ultimately, though, I know that these are just the symptoms of my boundaries collapsing, and the first casualty is always myself.
I have been super careful with my workouts and even meditation. Even on the days when I haven't made it to weekly meditation, I am still finding time to be mindful, even if it is just a few minutes. I have tried to incorporate at least my metta practice into my walking. I use these mantras to counter the obsession and ridiculousness when I feel it rise in my chest.
It is helpful ... but it doesn't take the place of a more holistic self care that includes getting work done for myself.
My little breakdown a few weeks ago that led to my little breakthrough (and shift in my attitude and perspective -- for the better!) seems to have shortened the amount of time I can go before I FEEL the boundaries dangerously melting away.
It's a good thing -- better to feel it sooner than wait for the complete meltdown. Like the toddler kicking and screaming, tears streaming down his face, on the floor, my meltdowns leave me feeling utterly helpless, vulnerable and like there is no way out. It is never pretty to get there.
So, after all the good work I did when I debriefed the last breakdown, I am moving forward. This afternoon I will retreat from my parents' home to a friend's house for some writing. My plan is to write long hours the first five days before I have to add back in work for money, but then to continue writing for at least half days for another week or more.
I have to make progress on these papers -- and my PhD program -- or decide that it is really not the right thing for me.
I decided it was better to really give myself the space, emotionally and physically, to try rather than to just throw in the towel. If at the end of my writing retreat I am still inclined to quit, then, at least, it will be because I have made that decision. I am trying to remove any possibility of resentment - perhaps an even more useless emotion than regret or guilt.