It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Life has been going at a faster clip than normal and I’ve been letting time when I should be doing something slip away into sleep. Now, thanks to the coffee I drank at 9:00 at night I’m wide awake (it’s 10:30 now and thanks to my sleep meds I should be moving towards my very, very drugged state but the caffeine seems to be overriding that at the moment). I have been helping at my church. They are presenting “The Streets of Bethlehem” which is an interactive experience where people are guided through Bethlehem and hear the Christmas story. I am only an usher which means I take people from our Sanctuary down to the gym where the elaborate set is but it is more social interaction than I have experienced in a long time.
The people are moving fast. The noise level is one that I am not used to. Sometimes I am involved in several conversations at once. I sometimes have to take charge and sometimes have to sit back. Sometimes people may get tired of waiting but I can’t do anything about it and I panic and feel frantic. I have seen people I haven’t seen in a long time and I never know who is going to walk through the door. Basically, I’m overstimulated.
The grounding factor in all of the this, the thing that let’s me stay and help is Ben. I rarely talk about my service dog Benjamin on here because I have another blog where I go into the in’s and out’s of our life together, With Ben. However, in all honesty Benny saves my life a little bit everyday. This is the first time since 2008 that I have been home for the holidays. The holidays are a stressful time of year and many trauma anniversaries occur around this time. Ben has been my rock. Since he arrived in late July I have not self-harmed, have not attempted suicide or ended up in the hospital. I owe all of this to Benjamin.
When I have needed to I have either slipped away or simply sat down where I was and asked Ben to do some deep pressure. Deep pressure is where Ben lies across me and literally applies deep pressure. This calms my anxiety, brings me back to reality and reminds me that I am safe. Sunday afternoon I was so anxious and beginning to dissociate that I took Ben to a corner and sat for fifteen minutes with him spread across my legs. I felt my breathing calm down, the room spin back into focus, my mind slowly come back and the anxiety leave me.
I’m thankful for the church people who allow me to do this. Who ask questions about Ben but who I never feel are prying. Who check in with me but take my word for how I’m doing. I’m thankful that they didn’t ask questions about why I disappeared but simply let me be. And I’m thankful that they have accepted Ben as one of their own.
I have felt welcome at church. And it’s a wonderful feeling. And so because of that I am looking forward to returning next week to help with Streets of Bethlehem. It will push me to my limits. But Ben will be there. He will be by my side and together we will make it through.