I still feel like I was just in a car wreck, and I have a lot of neck and upper back pain. PTSD is a weird animal. I slept 12 hours last night and spent a lot of it dreaming about whether I experience schizophrenia. It was a main point in my dream sequence, questioning myself about it and evaluating and seeking out evaluation.
When I was diagnosed with PTSD I was evaluated for numerous mental health conditions, all of which were ruled out, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I don’t believe that’s what I’m experiencing now, but I’m also curious as to why that condition specifically. I don’t know much about it so I’m not approaching the question with a lot of knowledge, and I’m not aware of knowing anyone with that diagnosis, so I don’t have personal experience to speak to. I don’t know why that was part of my unconscious processing. I don’t know what, if anything, it means.
I do know that this week, the anniversary of the trauma that got me an altered brain, has been painful and limiting. There are so many things that I want to do that I am not able to access because my body’s memory of being under life-ending threat is so powerful that it is blocking my attempts to live. I’m not even talking about jetting off on a last-minute weekend trip or kayaking on some of the fast rivers created by recent flooding, I’m talking about cleaning my floor and pulling out the cold weather clothes I’ll need for Monday. I’m listening to The Body Keeps Score, but I’m not making it through fast enough to know how to address this and what I can do differently. It feels like I’ve reached a sticking point in recovery – as in I AM STUCK and don’t know how to wiggle past. Somewhere in my brain below the trauma I have the desire to wiggle out and start living, but that desire is under a mountain of trauma that does not want to budge.
are vital to my recovery and well being and are worth my time and energy.
is not in conflict with the joy of living.
As I’ve worked – so hard – to repair what I can of my brain, I’ve hidden at home a lot. Leaving the house for work and necessary errands is usually enough for me to handle, and it feels like a long time since I’ve been social. I don’t go out. I don’t have that many friends nearby (most of my close friends are in other states or countries and I keep them forever but also don’t see them often) and I haven’t really exercised in something like a month (the weight loss thing has made me stay in more than usual, and I reckon will keep me in until I can fully resolve that one). I haven’t always been like this, and it’s not a form of existence I particularly like, so I find myself increasingly pondering thoughts like, “I wish I were strong enough to do ___________________________ (fill in the blank).
It’s not just weight loss.
Some friends asked if I wanted to join them in a few months for a short trip, and invited my boyfriend to join. I’m really looking forward to this, and a lot of the trip will be new to me. I couldn’t get boyfriend to commit to going, so I decided to book my own trip and leave him to join later if he wants.
Living. Making bold decisions. Doing what I enjoy. It’s what I’ve worked so hard to do – go on a trip with friends I know I’ll value for years, and for no better reason than they asked and I want to. So I let my boyfriend know I was going without him, booked my flights, and promptly had a meltdown.
Doing what I want, for me, is a trigger. Living a big life is a trigger. Doing things that hold connection and enjoyment for me is a trigger.
No wonder I stay home and work.
I’ll just add that to the list of neuron paths to reprogram…
I really struggle with fear of what people I care about are doing. Even a little bit of unknown can send my anxiety skyrocketing, and when some of my family or other people close to me are out and about, it can be really challenging for me to stay calm. I like for everyone to be home safe. I like me to be home safe too.
Part of it is I don’t trust them. And I’m not sure why in particular? Because none of them have given me a reason not to trust them. But instead of being happy about what they’re doing or the opportunities they have or going about my own business, I worry endlessly about their well being and safety. It is emotionally exhausting, and not something I even want to do. It’s one of the instances in which a PTSD symptom seems impossible for me to get a handle on or control, and I feel scared and beaten by it. It can really affect my sleep, and certainly affects my ability to be calm.
I don’t go out much at the moment unless it’s necessary because just getting back to full steam with work has been challenging enough. I also like to have a plan, and planning is hard because I only have so much mental energy before I burn out for the week and have to recharge. So I work hard as much as I can, then get to a point in the day (which is earlier in the day as the end of the week nears) that that’s all I can do and I need to rest.
It’s infuriating at times, because I feel stuck this way and don’t yet see a way past it.
I slept hard and dreamt again. While I don’t remember much of the dream, I knew very shortly after I woke up what it was about. I was processing having a hidden illness.
I don’t know if it’s because I could realize it or because it was processed, but I don’t feel hung up on having an invisible illness anymore. It doesn’t feel like a burden or weight to have experiences that no one else can see. I don’t feel a need to run around shouting about being broken by trauma, but I also don’t feel my usual aversion to humans in the context of debating whether to hide or reveal my struggles. I simply feel neutral on the topic, and that whatever I choose to hide or reveal is exactly that – my choice.
I’ve made a few steps forward in being regulated – I brushed my teeth and went to bed on time last night. The next step for me is beginning to journal.
I had a post-trauma ritual of recording re-traumatizing experiences as a sort of recorded narrative that served to reinforce the trauma rather than release it. For that reason I have a negative association with journaling. When my therapist suggested I try it, I was not interested until she pointed out that may be something I take back – reclaim as a beneficial thing instead of a negative. I think it’ll help me to sort out the dreams, the slowness and the feeling that only my lowest level cognitive abilities are functioning.
And I am not going to go buy a new journal and go through some ritual of needing a new book and a new pen and nice writing and whatever. I am using the small, blank book the stalker gave me the day I met him in Paris. That day and what happened after made my experience of enjoying myself and attracting energy a liability, and I have not been that person – A PERSON I ENJOYED IMMENSELY – since. Maybe this will help reclaim that too.