What It’s Taking to Stay Calm

Grandma gets up between 1 and 2am to move from her bed to her recliner because she sleeps better in her recliner. Which means I get up to move her. She says her legs hurt when she lays in bed, but she won’t sleep all night in the recliner because she wants to not be sitting for a couple of hours.

She makes everything hard.

Despite demanding that the air conditioner be turned off at night because it wakes her up when it kicks on (she claims she doesn’t sleep anyway so hell if I understand why we need to be unnecessarily warm), she pulled her throw over her legs after I moved her, and tipped her recliner forward. You know, like you do as a kid on purpose.

But this wasn’t (was it?) On purpose, so there’s a thunk and a panicked help and me bolting off the couch to set her upright before she lands on the floor.

I have PTSD. Bolting out of any excuse for a bed in the middle of the night is not great for me, because the sudden rush of adrenaline can be a trigger. And usually is.

Since my family won’t support me and I’m left managing my condition by myself, I’m trying to stay calm, take on as few responsibilities as possible and keep my panic response in check until I can go home tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’m exhausted by 5, hungry all the time and still not really getting back the brain function that’s shut down by anxiety. I have very little energy, and will likely spend the weekend in bed.

A New Box Full of Trauma

I was thinking I could close the chapter on therapy and roll on down the road.

As it happens, 6 weeks of caring for grandma and working full time with one day off has pushed my stress levels back up to anxiety – producing, and I found a whole lot more trauma that hasn’t been addressed.

I never know what my brain will read as a threat. I am realizing that if I have a lot of stress I tend to start spinning with anxiety, and if I don’t have a way to back out of what’s causing me stress, something will inevitably trigger me. It feels like it comes out of nowhere, but if I think about it, I’m almost anticipating it. Because PTSD brain looks for trouble, looks for negative, likes to be destructive… Ugh.

Then I have to get to safety and quiet so I can start calming down. There’s no calming down when there are perceived threats around me.

Basically, I go home.

And try again tomorrow.