No!  This can not be happening.  I pushed on the gas pedal over and over as my car started coasting.  I looked up to see the gas gauge blinking on empty.  Ahhhhhh!  Where was the warning?  I get almost 50 miles to the gallon, I had to have been running on low for quite some time……. how had I not noticed?  Running out of gas in my brand new car….how glorious.  On the freeway of all places and with a friend in the passenger seat.  Thank heavens it was a trusted friend that I love, we both started laughing.  Luckily we were able to coast to the side of the road and there was an area wide enough on the shoulder to pull over. We got out of the car and started walking to the gas station about a mile in front of us.

Anxiety

Our moods were light and the anxiety that would have normally accompanied such an event was not so poisonous as I was not alone.  Somehow just having a trusted person at your side can make a world of difference.  We had not walked far before a charming older couple asked us if they could offer us a ride.  We gladly accepted.  We went the the gas station, got gas, and they drove us back to our car.

“Now, don’t forget to stop again to finish filling up.”

The old man helped me fill up the tank and offered some cute advice.  He said, “Now, don’t forget to stop again to finish filling up.”  It sounded as if he spoke from experience, I smiled and teasingly said, ‘this prius can go at least another 50 miles on that gallon. His smile faded until I told him I was kidding.  We did stop again….we did fill up, and we had a great trip.

The old guys message has stuck with me, but for whatever reason there are times when I just forget to fill up.  Fortunatly I have only run out of gas one additional time, but I have come too close a couple of other times.  The warning on my new car is a tiny little beep and I miss it over and over again.  In my other vehices I never run out of gas because the warning is so noticeable.

This reminds me of my life and my own personal gas tank.  How often to I miss the warning that I am getting low?  How often do I fill up my personal tank with one gallon just to run out of gas a few hours later?  How often to I do too much for those around me and forget to do self care?  The answer is….all of the time?

When will I learn?

Recognizing and Getting a louder warning Signal

The first time my Prius ran out of gas it was becasue I didn’t know what the warning signal was.  I didn’t know what I was looking or listening for.  Honestly, in my personal life I don’t know what I am listening for either.  I know when I am empty, but how do I figure out when I am getting low?

Signs my tank is empty

I get irritable at my kids and I am impatient with them.  I have no energy to do anything.  I begin to isolate myself from others.  I start watching excessive amounts of T.V., My house gets messier, I don’t want to be at home.  I want to go shopping to feel better.  I overeat. I quit taking care of myself.

Do you have signs that tell you that you are empty?

How to tell I need to fill up

For what ever reason I have a hard time telling when I need to fill up.  This has been a struggle I have always had.  I am great at making sure everyone elses needs are met, but not great at meeting my own.  It seems that I go from full to empty in a heartbeat.  Like someone punched holes in the tank.  I guess the lesson that I need to learn is that I can’t tell, so it is even more vital that I just stay filled up at all times.  I know what fills me, but I don’t do those things consistently.

Do I feel that I am not important enough?  Do I think that I don’t deserve it?  Is it co-dependence?  Am I in the drama triangle playing the victim, wanting someone else to do the work for me?  Although I don’t love to admit this…it makes me feel some shame, each and every one of those reasons have been true at one time or another.

How do I change it?

Since I don’t hear the warnings, I need to stay full.  I know that when I am full the world around me benefits because I have enough energy and love to share with everyone.  I love myself when I am full and dislike the empty Norma.  This week I am recommitting to do the things that make me feel full, and I want to find additional resources for filling myself.  I don’t want to be knocked on my ass again like I was last week.  If I am full when Trauma comes I am better able to handle it and it doesn’t take me down for so long.

I can change this, I am the only one who has the power.  You can change it too?  What do you need to stay full?  Can you recommit to not letting your tank get empty?

Sending Love,

Norma

How I stay full:

  • lunch with friends
  • cuddles from my kids
  • pedicures/manicures
  • massage
  • being around people that love me
  • dancing
  • babies….they are so precious
  • crafting
  • walks with friends