The wind blows my hair across my face as I sit on my mare. It's a beautiful day to ride. Should we go off the property to trail ride or work in the ring? "Where should we go girl?" I ask this animal which has been mine only after riding her for a solid year. She turns her head back to look at me as if she understands me then looks towards the ring. Yeah, I want to work in the ring too, but the trail would've have been nice. I squeeze my legs to urge her forward feeling my hips loosen to move with her as we walk towards the ring.
For the next hour we work until she's sweating, I'm sweating. It's felt so good to work her and think about nothing else. I miss those days of being able to go out to the barn and lose myself in the smells, the heat of the day. Even the worst day was a good day at the barn. Living across the street had been a godsend. There had been days I'd even taken my violin, set it up in the aisle and practiced as oh I the horses stuck their heads out of their stalls while I played.
Looking back I can see there were a lot of ways I had of dealing with stress. Good ways. Take a walk to the store, or walk to the library. Sometimes it simply was a long ride out in the country. Plus there was always the barn, the horses and barn work to do. Stress overwhelms me now. I learned to develop new ways to approach stress. Running was a kindness to me after losing over 200 lbs. It allowed me to get away from myself in many ways as did the weight training.
Then came the day I couldn't do any of these things. Pain overwhelmed me. Fear consumed me until I couldn't leave the house anymore. The excessive pain led to a stint of addiction to pain meds which left me sweating, unable to sleep and cramping until it all passed. I chose to leave my family for a month to detox and to wean slowly off the pain medication. This was a trip where my wolf/dog accompanied me. Four long weeks, painful weeks. Pain passed. I walked each day. I'd chosen to come to a place to spend a lot of time alone where if I'd only reached out? There were people I could have visited. Yet I'd chosen to be alone, held hostage by the embarrassment of not having been stronger than the pain medication.
Today, I am free of these things which held me back, yet I know in an instant I could fall backwards into addiction. Each day I make a choice to move forward, to face my demons head on. I choose joy, love, and life each day.
There are no regrets in these choices.
(Also published to Life Beyond PTSD Wordpress)