I couldn’t answer her. She listed a selection of things to choose from like a pedicure, a long bubble bath, walking the dog in a beautiful place... and I just couldn’t seem to commit.
I ended up telling her that when asked point-blank like this, nothing comes to me or really seems to fit. I often find it hard to figure out what I need to do to feel better while I'm not feeling good.
I was talking with my Occupational Therapist from CBI Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre and it’s my second or third visit with Lori. I’ve been referred to Lori by my disability insurance rehabilitation consultant to assist me in my return to work.
What’s interesting is that I was at a workshop about codependency at Serenity Renewal for Families on Saturday and found myself commenting on self-care then too. I talked about how I’ve always thought that I do look after myself. Afterall, I have a good job, I own my own home, I wear nice clothes, I eat well, I exercise when I can, I have pets, I maintain my good health and I do many things just because I like to. I also love many people who love me back.
The result was that I had a hard time being on time for my 12:40 appointment with Lori today even though I live only about a 10-minute drive away.
All I had to do this morning was get up, get showered and come to the appointment. And I was late.
The clock said nine something when I got up. And what struck me was that I was so far into my head this morning that I lost track of time.
After I got out of the shower I went through my t-shirt drawer several times before deciding on one.
I got into my car and ended up taking the long way and it wasn’t until I was halfway there before I realized I was doing that.
I sat down in the lobby, ten minutes late, and realized I was there with a little gel in my still wet hair, only a bit of mascara on, no jewelry, wearing my least favourite t-shirt and I forgot to put on some deodorant. I looked down at my Dollar Store flip flops and looking back at me was how apparent it is that I haven’t painted my toenails in awhile.
It’s not always like this though.
Thursday night, I got dressed to the nines in one of my favourite dresses and went to the Ottawa Police Service Association annual reunion dinner. It’s held every year to honor our retired members and this year I signed up to be a designated driver. There were about 200 people there and I got more than my fair share of hugs and giggles. I had fun!
I found myself telling Lori that the frustration lies in not always being able to keep an even energy level; that some days are so much better than others. It's also frustrating globally knowing I have the capacity to be a high-functioning police officer but just not right now.
I’ve demonstrated successful ability for many years to operate at an executive level as an investigator bringing criminal cases before the court. But what is hard to accept right now is that I had such a genuinely frigging hard time just picking a t-shirt today. And that after the appointment, I might have to go home and nap.
I find this stuff hard to deal with and it's like I continually mourn my old self.
Lori told me about Buddha’s teachings that we can be hit with two different types of arrows. The first arrow is the one that causes pain to begin with. Buddha refers to this first arrow as the one that comes when life causes us physical pain for any of the reasons we cannot avoid.
But the second arrow is the one we direct at ourselves once we are struck by the first and it causes us mental pain. It’s the one where we anguish and hit ourselves over and over again with self-defeating questions like: “Why does this always happen to me? Why do I deserve this? Why am I so weak?...”
And so we end up with two pains, instead of just one and Buddha suggests the second one is within our complete control. "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."
Perhaps the notion of removing that second arrow is the clearest explanation of self-care I’ve heard yet.
Thanks Lori… and I think I’ll book a pedicure tomorrow!