Just a little bit of down time works wonders for the mind

If you read my frantic post yesterday, you’ll know I was pacing the inside of a cage. I longed for just a little time of my own and just like I promised myself yesterday, I took it. I’ve made a habit of putting my mental wellbeing to the side, all for the functionality of daily tasks.

I learned the hard way last week that is never a wise decision; and I learned today that there’s room for both.

The morning began by taking the kids to school. A normal daily task, I know but often times it’s the most stressful part of the day. But everyone woke up in a relatively good mood – this is rare especially on the part of our youngest son. I prayed it was a foreshadowing for the rest of the day.

I dropped them off and found myself thinking “now what?” I haven’t felt that in a long time.

Freedom.

I could stretch my legs. I only had to worry about me for those precious few hours. I could do all those things from so long ago.

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I got a doughnut and coffee while enjoying a quiet moment at a table without having to referee fights. Instead of struggling to make peace between feuding brothers who insisted his brother had more of the table than him, it was just me.

Just quiet.

I took a drive to Cherokee Blvd aka Sequoyah Hills Park. If you’re not from Knoxville, it’s a beautiful place and one you should visit if you’re ever passing though.

Strolling from the parking lot up to the walking path, I realized I got to decide if I would go left or right. I decided when and if I wanted to go down to the water. I even got to set my own pace.

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There’s something about being one of the first ones out there. It was quiet and still cool. The humid heat of the day hadn’t begun to beat down on that spot – my spot – if only for a few moments. I walked down the path, finding myself by the water. I sunk down onto a smooth rock and just sat there and listened.

Of course I heard the water and city noise far off in the distance. I heard a familiar sound, too. It was the sound of my body. The pace of my heart slowed and it beat in perfect rhythm. My breathing was even and full. This was a far cry from the woman who had had a major panic attack just days before.

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I’m really not certain how long I sat there. What was important is that I got to decide. There was no one pulling on my shirt. No one screaming in my ear and no one begging me for my attention. It was my own.

When I left and joined the masses again, I headed to the crowded and usually deafening mall. I’ve had plenty of small panic attacks in this place. Sometimes it overwhelms my ability to function or concentrate. Today I really enjoyed watching the people. There was no stress or annoyance. Again no one was pushing their agenda on me.

I have several girlfriends in one of the larger department store’s cosmetics hub. I was dumbfounded when I actually felt the urge to socialize. I have often avoided that area because there were days when I just couldn’t … On those days I didn’t want to apologize repeatedly for the lipsticks tossed to the ground or the glass smeared with sticky fingers

It was a wonderful day I even got to take a nap when I got home before leaving to pick up my boys. The pick up line is where I’m penning this post. My boys will come out and find their mother, not the normal raw ball of nerves, but excited and renewed. I got to chose left or right on my path today. And what do you know, it still led me back home and straight to them.

As I said yesterday, I would never long to be free of them but stretching my legs gave me a renewed sense of peace. I really don’t have the words to describe the feeling of today. Only that I did not rage when I returned home. I smiled as I walked in the door. I was smiling at myself for finally taking some time for me.

I was smiling because I was free of dread and panic.

I was free to be me.

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