As I sit here staring at my hands hovering over the computer keyboard in the pale light, I’m struggling with the words to write. While driving home from therapy tonight, I completely composed a post in my head and now that it is time to type it out, the thoughts have disappeared into thin air.
I guess I will just blurt out what I’m feeling now.
Over the past week my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms have been…extreme. They have truly hampered my existence. During this time, I finally accepted the reality that those people who should be the closest to me, totally do not understand my struggles. Actually, they are oblivious even though I have tried to explain it until I’m blue in the face. Since they do not understand, I wonder how much good I’ve actually done by sharing any of it online or with anyone face-to-face. The pointed accusations and subtle hints that have been abundantly thrown in my direction are never ending. It has left me baffled.
Underneath, on the inside, I am still me. Looking from the outside, I appear mostly normal, but my mind, spirit and soul are currently trapped in a world of turmoil and upheaval. On top of it all, the stress of coordinating everything to move is almost more than I can bear. My mind struggles desperately to stay on task and remember even the simplest of things that must be completed.
I make lists and post notes everywhere. I read the words and there is no comprehension. A simple note on my computer monitor read, “Call power company.” I saw it. I even remember reading the words, but it was like reading a foreign language. It meant nothing to me. There was no connection between the words and the action I was supposed to be completing. THIS inability has frustrated and angered people causing them to strike out or ignore me.
Over the past two plus years, I have tried to understand why they can’t see my struggles and pain. I want to be understood! My inadequacy of being able to convey the message of my horrific pain and constant struggle at normalcy has plunged me even deeper into a black ocean of suffocating depression. Time and time again the words that I write on my blog have calmed my mind and comforted my aching soul. However, my blog always seems to become a victim to the anger people feel when I am unable to perform as the “old” me.
No one misses the old me as much as me. The woman who could keep fifty things going all at once without letting any hit the ground. I realize that I wasn’t understood then either, but at least I served a purpose and made everyone’s life a bit easier at times without being a burden. I didn’t ever “give” to the people I love so that I would “get” anything back. Stuff like that never crossed my mind. Well, it never crossed my mind until those same people kicked me while I was down.
Obviously, I’m not naming names because that really isn’t the point of this post. In the back of my mind, I always thought that I could count on people to be there and pull me out if I ever fell into the ditch. The ditch was actually the Bermuda Triangle and instead of a life raft, I was told to try harder, it makes no sense or was completely ignored because I wasn’t who I used to be. I look back and wonder why they didn’t all rally around me when I had always been there whenever they called for help or I just knew they needed help. No one had to make me help them when they had a need. I just did it.
Well, I’m not who I used to be because having no control in whether my daughter lived or died threw me into a world of terrorizing pain. It was a pain beyond anything I had ever suffered. I wasn’t able to just “get over it” and keep living like I had always lived. I was traumatized. Every cell of my body was traumatized. I lost control of my own self – thought processes, body functions and emotional responses. I have been fighting a war without troops or with unwilling troops.
All the cute sayings like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” or “Everything will turn out better than before,” sound hollow, meaningless, trite and mocking. I have my smiling face in the header, so I look like I am okay, but inside I have been crumbling in pain. I am not ashamed of what happened to me or how I feel now. I do not feel that I am less valuable of a person because I am having problems. My entire life isn’t shared on this blog, but many of my deepest emotions have been shared in hopes that I would be understood, accepted, comforted and could have other people see they are not alone in their heartache. Even more than that, I want it to be a written reminder to Alyssa that I haven’t given up and I love her.
Do you know that this same thing could happen to you at any time or on any day? I am not an oddball. Millions of people are suffering with PTSD and they are not all military personnel. Trauma and pain is trauma and pain. At any point, your mind and heart could fall prey to the lurking PTSD monster. So this is where that old golden rule comes into play. You know the one, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or in other words, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” That action requires sacrifice, patience and long-suffering.
There was a long period of time when I was completely hopeless that I would ever get the help that I needed. At times I still feel that way and I can feel myself slipping into the darkness where it is very quiet. Hopelessness is not a friend. It is a cunning enemy to the essence of the soul.
Take your time to look on the outside, but if you care for someone, go out of your way to look on the inside. Everyone, in one way or another, is just like me. We are all humans going through this experience together and alone.
I’m still here. I am the same woman who worked eighty hours a week to put my first husband through school. I’m the same woman that let my sister live with me for almost twelve years. I’m the same woman who raised my niece and enjoyed being a mother before I was blessed to be Alyssa’s mother. I am the same woman that cooked Sunday meals fit for a king and while they all took naps, I washed all the dishes. I am the same woman that as a teenager massaged my mother’s back for two hours each night because I appreciated her working so hard to support us. I am the same woman who picked up prescriptions, washed laundry, ironed business shirts, paid for other people’s professional licensing, bought cars for other people, gave of my time and talents. I am the same woman who can knit, crochet, embroider, sew, cook and write. I am the same woman that enjoys the apple festival, long walks, being in love, passionate embraces, holding hands, eating ice cream in the middle of the night, going on Sunday drives through the country, taking long showers, listening to Alyssa breathe as she sleeps so peacefully…I am still me – a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a friend, an employee, a business owner, a woman. On the outside and on the inside, I am still me just trying to be understood, loved, accepted and healed from this terrible PTSD.
Believe me…If I could be or do any better than I am now, I would be it or do it. However, right now, this is me.