After a very long day on Friday with my son’s doctor appointment and etceteras we had a martial arts tournament to attend on Saturday. Martial Arts have been a part of our family’s life for ten years now. My son is an instructor now had a student we wanted to be supportive of while he competed on Saturday. I had no idea they’d changed the competition schedules which made us be there for nine and a half hours.
This was a strain big time on my PTSD issues as people crowded against each other in the stadium. They passed by us and bumped into me, kids stood next to where I was seated and leaned on me, bumped into my knees as they went past. To say my crowd issues were triggered would be an understatement. Even the restroom held no solace for me on Saturday. It was always full, always crowded with mothers, children of all ages. I just wanted a moment in the stall to myself without a time limit you know? Just a few moments to breathe, calm myself and return to our seating.
All that touching by strangers, all the bumping into me pushed my limits. My son said I seemed to be OK on the outside. Inside though? I wanted to stand up and tell the one woman who seemed to be unable to stay seated for longer than 4 minutes (I used a timer, really I did) to sit the H**l down and stay there for God’s sake! I only cursed 5 times in the entire day which is actually pretty good considering I can’t censor very well.
We left for lunch and went to a restaurant I’ve not been to since I was a teenager. It was good, and yet I realized sitting there I’d chosen a corner booth and sat with my back to the wall. In fact when I sat down I said to my son, ‘wow, I can see the entire room and all the entrances and exits from here.” I realize what I did. I do. But at this point in my day I was so hypervigilent I couldn’t really help myself. I chose to not do this behavior other days and felt kind of entitled to indulging my feeling of safety by doing this at that moment.
We found better parking at the tournament and got back in time to watch the ‘opening ceremonies’ which began after lunch. Exciting as always I got lost in trying to watch the exhibition team. There was a constant movement of people in front of us and the bumping into me no matter how tightly I tucked my legs under my seat pushed my triggers again. It would be fair to ask why didn’t you sit higher up where this wouldn’t happen? Good question. My M.S. makes my hamstrings tight and it’s difficult to lift my legs to go up the stairs without tripping. Coming back down is quite scary because of this stiffness. During the time I was seated the routine of tuck my legs under, stretch out and repeat again period I had to just lift my leg using my arm to lift it and to get it to move. One side is much more affected than the other so this causes some gait issues which aren’t always apparent to others.
My brain hurt. Is this even possible? I was beyond exhausted, I wished I could lay down and sleep. I wished my son was better at directions to drive home so I could just close my eyes and sleep on the way home. I honestly think I probably could easily have slept. I really do. My son had committed to drive today which is good, I am glad for that. Often he just lets me drive and today if I’d been in ‘charge’ of driving I’d have driven home at lunch.
I would say Saturday was a challenge, I met it and won. I didn’t lose control and yell at a stranger. I didn’t punch a stranger. Oh wow, that sounds kind of like I have anger issues. Well, I do. The TBI makes it really difficult to hold those impulses down but I manage to do so. I only cussed 5 times. I made sure to eat. I let my son know when I was struggling. These are all good things. We supported his student and this was all good. We saw a lot of totally adorable kids as they compete even younger than when he started out. We saw kids struggle with their forms and cry because they couldn’t remember them. We saw kids who punched the other competitor during sparring and saw a young man get injured. All in all it was day like no other and I was grateful to have stayed the entire day. I was grateful I didn’t stay home and miss the experience.
Progress seems come in packages which seem ordinary but aren’t. I had progress today and it was exhausting!