De-stressing with Bente (#5)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

After my first session with the therapist, I believed that my recovery would be an upward curve. ‘A little better every week’: that was my motto. But after this horror of a week, I’ve had to rethink that.

I had my first yoga class at the gym booked in for Monday evening. “It’ll be good for you,” my therapist said. But come Monday morning, I already felt that I wouldn’t be going to class that night. I didn’t even make it across the threshold of the gym. I didn’t want to have to think about putting myself into a pair of yoga pants, and then sitting in awkward postures for an hour. I was afraid that I would breathe incorrectly and that the lesson would end up being a huge fiasco.

And the rest of the week was exactly as I had imagined the lesson to be: a huge fiasco. I refused to lie on my rug and connect with myself; I didn’t want to ask my body how it’s doing, how it feels. I was done with those cozy little tea parties. I didn’t feel like drawing, and those daily walks could, as far as I was concerned, take a hike themselves. It seems like I ended up in the adolescent phase of my recovery period.

Then one day, after a long day at work, I came home, feeling like it had all gone pretty well. I even gave myself an imaginary high-five. But my mood quickly turned when I walked into the living room. The entire place was an absolute tip. I was overwhelmed by how restless I felt, and so finally gave myself over to the rug. I tried to focus on the music, but all I heard was my boyfriend chatting on the phone, the planes flying overhead and the television of my downstairs neighbor. I gave up after five minutes. I actually felt more like crying, but I couldn’t even manage that.

Until my next session. “I think your emotions are very high,” my therapist said. “But they haven’t quite reached your ears yet.” Instead of laughing at her quip, the long-awaited cry came.
“I’m so scared,” I told her. “I’m going to up end up right back at square one any moment now.”
She looked at me and said, “Bente, you won’t. But keep in mind that recovery is not an upward curve; it’s a process with high peaks and deep valleys. Right now, you’re in a small valley.”

I laugh at the word ‘small’, because we both know that this week’s valley was a bit deeper than that. But I now know that this is all part of the process. And luckily there is also a silver lining: next week can only get better.

  • Bente’s other blogs can be found here.

Photography ©Zelda Gardner/Unsplash