There is a lot from my past that I want nothing to do with. People and places that are tied to traumatic experiences are just…I’m out. Even if that person didn’t do anything negative to me, there are just some things that I would rather leave in the past.
I was working retail when the car wreck happened, and a combination of a super-hateful and negative, passive-aggressive coworker, getting betrayed by my bosses and having undiagnosed PTSD while working 20+ hours a weekend and going to grad school 12 hours a semester during the week…I don’t even want to see former customers. Yesterday I saw a woman with whom I had developed really great rapport at the store, and I was so glad I managed to slip by her unnoticed. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to bring up that period of my life, I didn’t want to talk about what I’m doing now and I really don’t want to talk about how I’m doing now. I had two good days followed by a rough day, and it was enough that I worked almost a full day in spite of the down day and cooked meals for myself, handled some business for my grandma, reached out to my completely checked out boyfriend and still engaged in some mindfulness work. I didn’t need that shit too.
And I feel no need to face any of that head-on. I think avoiding these things is fine. I think knowing my limits is fine. I think loving myself enough to choose myself and my own well-being over social norms and obligations is fine. And if I’m fine with it, that’s all that matters to me.
Thanks, PTSD. I was wondering if this would happen.
I was minding my own business when I got hit with mental hell. Not really a panic attack, not really anything I can successfully describe, but it was like I got my mental teeth knocked out, and I was reeling. Shit. I still am.
This morning was another episode of unwilling to get outta bed. I have no problem with this, thankfully no one and nothing needed my immediate attention, and I am determined to get as much sleep as I can this week. I’ve had a lot of problems with memory lately – I have a hard time recalling events and feelings, and I have no clue for the most part who I used to be. I was surprised, then, that this morning I clearly remembered the day of my car wreck and the day after.
I remembered that I didn’t stop.
I hydroplaned early afternoon. By 4pm I was at the doctor being checked for a concussion and internal bleeding (which I didn’t have). By 7pm I was at my grandma’s for our weekly tv watching, acting as if nothing had happened (she still doesn’t know I had a car wreck). By 7am the next morning I was at Enterprise renting a car and by 9:30am I was sitting in law class, on time and with my books and notes.
It never stopped after that. I worked 50 hours a week and was in grad school full time (12 hours a semester). The couple of times I have tried to slow down I’ve had a close family member have an critical injury or a medical crisis.
I’m not really surprised that I’m starting to see some of the harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. All the digging around in my brain I’m doing is likely to stir up some hard to deal with moments, including the ones I can’t explain or understand or manage very well. And I have very little capacity for additional stress right now, so work emails and some text messages are setting me off.
But dammit, I’m going to do this.
My experience with PTSD has included a lot of grief, which tends to be delayed in presenting itself for processing. If I’m stressed (most of the time), if I don’t feel safe (a lot of the time) or if I feel like I have to have my performance face on (also most of the time), my ability to grieve trauma isn’t there… until it is. Usually when I have other things to do, or find it inconvenient to have a tear – streaked face.
I had the weekend off. Actually off, as in no working and no grandma. I hiked, I napped, I went to church for the first time in a while, I slept… all supposedly restorative or restful things. So I was annoyed by increasingly severe anxiety this afternoon. I woke up with anxiety, it ramped up through the morning and after a four hour nap I couldn’t even make myself go to the store for some aloe gel for my sunburned shoulders.
I thought it was because I had to be back at grandma’s tonight, and I’m almost at my limit of being able to be pleasant while dealing with her situation. I get treated like a custodial parent, with a lot more worrying and nagging about how much money my family is spending (which, thankfully, we can afford, but she cannot, and she will not let up about it).
Grief hit me hard, and suddenly. I realized I was grieving for the relationship I lost when my forever turned abusive. The fingers my brother lost in an accident. I don’t even know what else… maybe the part of my brain I lost from the car wreck? I couldn’t stop crying.
And when I needed to sit with the grief and cry it out, I had to get in my car and get back to grandma’s for my shift, which has no space to grieve.
My life, interrupted has pushed off so much of what I need to do to heal, and I’m not that surprised it’s starting to bubble out at inconvenient moments. I wish it were easier to schedule, but trauma processing never is.