TheLL, Me and PTSD
Several people have jokingly said they practically had PTSD symptoms just from reading TheLL, which was never my intention, but of course it makes it that much easier to understand how I have ended up with the condition. Thankfully most people now understand that PTSD does not belong to military personnel. (Although in my case the military still played its part)
I suffer from the classic PTSD symptoms very severely. I suppose the worst part is waking up from the nightmares, waking up sick, and in a sort of animalistic reflexive state of stress. There are many mornings when I wake up in full panic attack and I have to deal with that before I can even start my day.
As recorded in TheLL, I “slept” under a bridge for one night when I was fifteen. The next day as I climbed down from my perch my body was so sore. I was bruised all over, I could barely move my legs. I wake up some mornings fresh from nightmares, and my body still feels that way. Yes, I have the physical disability caused by the AVM in my brain, and arthritis, and that all causes me pain. But this particular pain is memory imprint pain.
I have extremely huge issues with trust, and one way I think I have coped with that is by finding a part of myself that cannot be touched. I share almost all of my thoughts almost to find out if the worst will happen if I do. A lot of these trust issues have made a big impact on my marriage, as some part of me associates M with housing, safety and security. We sort of fell into marriage while I was in the middle of the greatest nervous breakdown of all time and in the beginning of our marriage there was a very codependent vibe there. In the 15 years that we have been married, I have almost gone through a second childhood of sorts, so in that sense, M and I have had to grow up and learn how to cope with life together. There have been times when our methods have been at great odds, but for the most part we have found our balance of need and care. Nevertheless M certainly has had to learn what it is to live with someone who has severe, disabling PTSD.
(Now playing “Guts Over Fear” Eminem)
“Sometimes I feel like, all I ever do is, find different ways to word the same old song”
There are days when I wake up and I’m in this state, and I don’t know if I can go on. I don’t know if I can cope with life without the people I’ve lost. The world without them hurts too much.
My writing is probably the most obvious produce from my PTSD… There were days when I wrote to myself repeating “you will not kill yourself” “you will survive this” filling up pages of these repeated sentences. Now I have Facebook… And I have Twitter, and blogging and even still more writing that will not be shared, just as there always was. There was much I didn’t disclose in TheLL. How was I to know when it was finished? It was the story of how I survived my first twenty years and went on to create a new life, when by all rights I should have been a statistic.
I can’t point to any one moment when I can say – “That is why I have PTSD…” There are many moments. There was a small lifetime of almost constant trauma that I bounced from one to the other. If you want to know why I have PTSD read my book. If you still can’t understand why I wake up with sore legs from walking all night (in my nightmares, being rejected from one home after another…) then I don’t think we’re speaking the same language. Or I failed utterly as a writer by somehow not conveying to you the horror that was my daily life.
Today is a bad PTSD day. I’ve had to take the meds I have for panic attacks. My mind is full of memories, my body feels fragile. Yesterday I triumphed as an adult and Mama and successfully survived my son’s tenth birthday party. At the zoo, with 13 children no less! Today I gave myself permission to rest. And for some reason that says to all my old memories that it’s time to come and crowd my resting head. So I’m here, writing to you, recording my panicked pulse because putting one word in front of another helps keep me calm and less afraid.