Perhaps one of the oddest sensations is feeling my brain "come back online," and learning how predictable that really is.
A little over a month ago, I ended three years of therapy. Well, really it was four years by the calendar, but I took nearly a year off when I first moved out because I was pretty strapped financially. But it was a long three years of a lot of work. Boundaries, self-care, listening to myself, and digging out a few of the reasons why I had so much trouble with those things.
I'm not "cured," but I am better. Often that means I can recognize a problem and course correct, but it also means that I've probably drifted a bit into old habits before I notice. Gradually my "course corrections" get smoother, but sometimes, these days, they are still a little jerky.
Look, the long and short of it was that I picked workaholism as a socially acceptable way to self-harm, and sometimes I don't notice that I'm overdoing it until I'm waking up from anxiety dreams and my teeth hurt from clenching my jaw. But then I give myself a relaxing week or something, and not only do I start to feel better, but I start to FUNCTION and THINK better too.
Which brings me to the morning's navel gaze. It has been a comfort––a little weird, but nonetheless a comfort––to feel myself return to a functional headspace so predictably after I stop mistreating me. I take too much work on, get stressed, can't think properly about basic things like paying bills. But then I realize what I'm doing, reduce my workload, and within a couple of days I'm standing in the shower triaging what responsibilities I need to take care of next without really even thinking about it. The number of times my higher "adulting" brain function, creativity, prioritization, and general decent mood has simply "flipped" right back online after a couple of days of rest and relaxation is a steady reminder to take care of my goddamn self and stop worrying that I'm "broken." I work just fine if I will just treat me with a little care.
I know this isn't a truth for everyone, but it's nice to be reminded so consistently and pointedly that I have a marked influence on my ability to handle life.