Thursday, December 28, 2017

Twenty Seventeen

It's December 28, which feels like a good day for a little end-of-the-year reflection. I have no idea where this will go, which is fitting, considering that most of 2017 was completely unpredictable. Looking back, I recall a big mess of messiness.

I started the year as an Interim Director at my alma mater, where I had recently earned my Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Policy Development. After working most of my adult life in Higher Education I still had a passion for University life, but by the time my contract had ended in January my gut was telling me that it was time for a break. There was a feeling of my life being out of sync, if that makes sense. Having just spent around ten years taking classes, teaching classes, and doing research, I was physically and spiritually exhausted, living with fatigue that was making an eight hour work day close to impossible.

It felt necessary to focus on my health. Working with a team of professionals, and doing my own research into what I had been experiencing, I soon received a diagnosis that would bring much of my life into focus. I had been living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). I won't go into too much detail about CPTSD here, since there are plenty of online resources that explain it much better than I can. One of most helpful things that I've learned about CPTSD is that it is more of an injury to the brain than it is a mental illness. Of course most CPTSD survivors live with mental illness symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Treating CPTSD, however, can be far more complicated than the treatment of its individual symptoms.

From March until August my life focused on learning about, and treating, my CPTSD. There is no cure for those of us who live with Post-Traumatic Stress, but with time, patience, and dedication we can learn new ways of processing life events.  I am very happy to say that as of this writing my life is far more manageable than it was 10-12 months ago.

It was around August that I started getting the itch to work, even though I was not well enough to take on a 40+ hour work week.  As a way to generate some income I set up shop on eBay and began selling records online. My therapist jokingly suggested that I call the shop Dr. Jeff's Fancy Vinyl, and a business was born. Within a month I incorporated Jeff's Fancy Vinyl, LLC, and created a new online record shop: jeffsfancyvinyl.com. Between August and December my sales have more than doubled, as I continue learning the ins-and-outs of running my own business. "Small Business Owner" has certainly never been on my professional radar, but for right now it serves me well. I work when my body and mind are at their best, which is usually in the mornings and prior to bed. I take breaks whenever necessary, and if I need a sick day there is no shame or guilt - I just do what I need to do.

It hasn't been easy, but in 2017 I have learned ways to integrate self-compassion into my life. For the most part I approach 2018 with a healthy dose of optimism and confidence.  In closing this post, I raise a glass to whatever the new year brings. I hope it's all sunshine and rainbows, but whatever 2018 throws at me I feel more prepared than ever before. Bring it on. You heard me.

Peace and happiness -

~Dr. Jeff


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff!
Congradulations on treating your PTSD. Long story short, as a longime AID/HIV
survivor, PTSD is really doing us long term survivors in. It almost got me.
I discovered the herb it may be illegal in your state called "Kratom", take a
look at the herbal supplement, it really saved my life. There are plenty of books
on Kratom (and some good threads on reddit.com (Kratom Korner).
Most importantly, you found your calling and enjoying the music.
I wish you best of luck and will keep listening to your podcast and checking
your listings. By the way, I listen to your podcast on my iPod when I sleep,
but you woke me up when you played a "Yes" song, after a set of eighties tunes.
Nice personal touch.
Take care and happy new year!