Holding Hearts on the Editing Side

Being an ally helped heal my worst PTSD trigger.

Jessica Ball
Dec 2, 2019 · 4 min read
Chris Ensey on Unsplash

Since Daphelba DeBeauvoir brought me on board inkMend, I’ve had the honor of handling some important pieces of work.

To be perfectly honest, it was as much self-serving as altruistic on my part. You see, there’s a point in our healing where we simply can’t go forward without drastic change. Not easily, at least.


I still struggle to work past PTSD triggers while using my laptop. The sound, look and feel of the process brings back all the dirty-carpeted past for me. I’ve written most of my life, and therefore all the chaos is stored in the inputs of my favorite activity: writing.

For the past year, I’ve been slowly relearning how to participate in life without slamming into a shock of flashback. I still can’t create my fantastical, intricate line drawings I adore. It’s still much too much to even make a single mark, though I’ve been frozen above paper regularly lately.

But writing? Honey, I dream in prose.

First, it was daring to even write again through the mobile app. It was maddeningly slow, but the new input tactic allowed me to face the fear of memory while writing enough to retrain my brain.

I put out an impressive amount of content on this tiny screen, learning about Medium as I went. Even scored some curations and got my toe in the door of awesome publications. A hella win on an old Android with practically no Medium common sense.


But it wasn’t enough. Every time I tried to hop on my laptop to more efficiently publish according to best practices, my mind would blank out. I’d end an attempted session out of breath with my heart pounding behind my eyeballs.

So I wrote about it.

One of my favorite tactics to beat the monsters is naming them. Once I said out loud what seemed insurmountable, its crushing mass shrunk on my chest. I was able to preplan a few minutes of laptop usage, in a very recon-like style.

Make a clear plan on what needs done, breathe through opening tabs and gogogo! And remember not to slam it shut and throw the damn thing at the end of a session.

Progress, but again it wasn’t enough for me. I’m a writer, have been since my Grandmother bolstered my little butt with pillows to reach the keys of her writing station. She would faithfully print out and file every baby story or journal entry my little fingers typed up.

So, how dare these memories think they can keep me from what I love to do? I needed a new tactic.


While trying to figure out how to log more laptop time (without feeling like I was in a B-list horror flick), I started dedicating more space for online networking. Helping others has always been a great distraction for me, like many other trauma survivors.

And that’s when I heard inkMend needed a little help. Is it possible to manage a publication on mobile? Yes, so long as you switch to desktop mode for nearly-full functionality. Viewing and adding private comments is still almost impossible on mobile though, FYI.

It’s also totally possible to commute on a Chihuahua-pulled cart, but it’ll drive you mad by the time you get there.

The only thing to do was force myself to face the thing I’d so desperately wanted to conquer. The laptop had to come out frequently to best serve others, and that’s precisely how I wanted it.


This is the first article I’ve written almost completely on my laptop in nearly a year. I feel… free. Like my mind and skills belong to me for the first time in… ever.

Did I complete the whole thing before it became too much? No, but I know this is conquerable now. I trust I can regain all of myself, even surpass my old skill level. Why?

I know I can do this because I am. Even my boys cheered me on tonight as I sat crumpled up on the floor in front of the laptop. They scattered to make room after I blurted out, “I need to use that!”

I did it by thinking of all the amazing writers who dare to bare their souls by submitting their stories to the world. The writers of inkMend deserve an ally who reliably attends (on an appropriate device) to give their work the respect it deserves in a timely manner.

And I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you to Daphelba DeBeauvoir and the beautiful souls who contribute to the pub. Thank you for helping me regain control over my creative life through serving you.

Now, where do I find someone who needs help with visual arts?

inkMend

inkMend is a writer’s safe space on Medium to express experience with pain and write to heal from trauma. Inspired fiction, poetry, and non-fiction/memoir welcome.

Jessica Ball

Written by

City mouse in a country house, training the trauma out of the family tree. Sharing 20 years of intentional observation with my kids and the eternally curious.

inkMend

inkMend

inkMend is a writer’s safe space on Medium to express experience with pain and write to heal from trauma. Inspired fiction, poetry, and non-fiction/memoir welcome.

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