One of the things I like least about my experience with PTSD but which has perhaps been one of the most important lessons for me is that I don’t have enough energy to go around.
Anxiety, depression and my misprogrammed neurons suck up most of the energy I have, leaving not much else available. What is left goes to maintaining myself (food, bathing, drinking water, staying somewhat organized) and working, which means that I have very little left for anyone else.
I now avoid a lot of people, crowds, noise and social “obligations” because I do not have the capacity for it. If it is an energy suck (and a lot of people from my life before PTSD are), I do not engage, or engage at a minimum. The capacity to do so is just not there. I got called a misnathrope the other day, which I think was unfair. If my mental illness were visible, y’all would be shocked that I do as much as I do. I think that is true for a lot of us with “invisible” illnesses.
But please know that I see you, and I respect and admire what you are able to do and who you are able to be. So often Life finds a way, even in the darkness.
And this is very different from my life previously, in which I had so much energy for other people and building community and volunteering hundreds of hours a year and working long hours and working out 7-11 hours a week and dating guys that put very little effort into our relationship…which is a different story.
I’d like to be able to direct more energy externally, I’d like to not have to qualify relationships by how draining they are for me and I’d like to be out and about more. But I don’t have the capacity, so I do the best I can with the people I can and go from there.