This evening I spent some time on a great blog site, Band Back Together. Usually I travel over the Mommy, Alcoholism and amusing topics….I fell upon some PTSD posts tonight.
PTSD is something I was diagnosed with in May when I visited a therapist who sat me down and did a simple checklist with me. Imagine that that one Big Black thing can be determined with a checklist.
What it is like in my head is so difficult to describe because words get mixed up in my head, it has been almost impossible to describe because it is unclear to me.
I lose words.
As I write blog entries I have volumes of words in my head and just cannot get them out, they elude me. So I tend to type paragraphs or sentences while Chapters are locked in this prison of my mind.
It is a very dark place which I rarely explore outside of therapist offices where they seem to have the right questions, the ones that open the cell door a bit.
But it hasn’t changed on a day to day basis.
If I had a new ball of yarn, tightly and neatly rolled I can easily begin to knit a scarf.
Now I take that new ball of yarn and allow a puppy to play with it for an hour it would still be a ball of yarn with the same length, color and overall properties but it would have imperfections.
I can still use this yarn to knit a scarf that will keep me warm but the imperfections can be apparent if you look closely and the strength may not be the same.
I have a phone in which all my appointments are stored as are daily tasks such as picking up my kids from school, eating, sending paperwork, calling a friend to help with paperwork.
I lose time.
For example, last week I had a form to fill out to send away to the car insurance company.
It was a very straightforward form but I would have to access other forms in my file folder to access my policy numbers and other information.
I sat down to do this with the file folder beside me, everything I do has to be organized and focused.
Got up to get a pen and ended up in a different room of the house doing something entirely different with no idea how I got sidetracked. I didn’t even realize until I walked past the table with the file folder on it, I was immediately angry at this lost time.
I sat to complete this task.
A while later my heart rate was up, my right leg was bouncing, I was becoming frantic because I just couldn’t understand it. I had rifled through my file folder countless times to find my Policy number which I knew was on so many of the pages in there yet couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember how many times I’d looked through it. Did I look through it? I think I did. Try again.
My phone beeped to let me know I had to pick up my daughter in an hour from school.
What??? I’d lost 2.5 hours!
The pressure was too much, a huge breath exploded from me, I pushed up from the kitchen table knocking over my chair, I was furious!!! My head was pounding, there was stabbing pain at the base of my neck and my back was in spasm. My hands were tingling, the black doom was closing in upon me.
I ran to the bathroom and ran the cold water over my inner wrists, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, crying silent dry sobs. Then I was numb, breathing normally I washed my splotchy red face and reapplied my makeup.
I went to the kitchen and took Extra strength Tylenol which does almost nothing to help but I don’t take the anti-spasmodic medication for my back because all of the meds make me a zombie. I then sat in the Sleekcliner trying to relax in my numbness and lost time until the alarm rang telling me I had only 15 minutes to pick up my daughter.
15 minutes until I had to be Mom.
The Mom I want to be, the smiling, patient Mom. Not the numb, auto pilot Mom.
So I put on the happy Mask and prepared to give my daughters the memories they deserve knowing that God provides me the strength and until I can truly experience it, I will mimic it for them.
Just typing this makes me uneasy, it’s the tip of the iceberg for me.
I don’t want to address the iceberg, I implement controls for my daily activities remaining hopeful that one day the PTSD will give up this lock on me.
Imperfectly Healing says
My husband battles PTSD everyday as well. His behaviors are different than yours but I have watched him battle for almost 4 years. His manifests itself when we go out to eat if he doesn't have his back to a wall so no one can walk behind him, or when he is sleeping and not in control of his thoughts, or in a million other ways. Thank you for blogging about this. It's important.
work in progress says
I have PTSD too. I'm sorry it is so hard sometimes, When I fall into a trauma space I forget things and feel like I can't function. But it's so good to name it. A therapist once taught me to remind myself that the worst has already happened, it's not happening now. I wish you healing.
Kristin H. says
I worked for years in brain injury rehabilitation and I am very familiar with what you have described.I commend you for doing your best with what each day brings. It's all you can do. I will pray for you :)
Jess Mistress of Mischief says
I have those moments where I start to do one thing and like a magpie following a million little sparkly trails (as I now call my distractions) I find that I've lost 1/2 a day on my inability to just focus on one task fully without distraction.My sponsor called that alcoholism (restless, discontent) not irritable until I realize that my restlessness and discontentedness manifests in all those things that just STOLE MY TIME and I've nothing to show for it but this unfinished project. :OPI'm grateful that it's being relieved a little at a time as I really come to grips with how that stuff dis-ease manifests. I find that I can complete things under extreme pressure. I sadly, used to say, both I procrastinate and then explain to people (reasonable justification) I work well under pressure.The insides of me were completely horrific under pressure but, I found that pushed with that kind of do or die, I completed projects and then beat the crap out of myself because I knew I could do better if I could just apply myself and organize myself better.Thank God for the alcoholic who said, hey… me too! That's all about control, and the behaviors we exhibit in dis-ease. :) There is a solution! :)Keep up the good work Julie, you really help me to see better the wonders of the program and our awesome abilities to keep seeking, keep trying and keep coming to rely on God more and more!
Sober Julie says
Man this blogging this is amazing, your words of encouragment truly help.Perhaps I'll blog more on the daily struggle with PTSD avoidance/fury stuff as I go, either way it's amazing to know there are others out there.Funny how my alcoholic mind immediately says "suck it up buttercup" and move on….or is that the PTSD? Does it matter?
You brave girl. You'll face it when you are ready. You know it's there, just keep building your strength, so it doesn't crush you. I can get sidetracked at work. I know what I have to do, but I can find a million other things to do to prevent me from the big project I need to do. I have trouble staying focused at home. When I'm cleaning I have to stay in just one room. If I go into another I will start working in there and before you know it, I've lost tons of time. Easy does it, slow down, take it simple. I have to repeat this mantra a lot in order to keep myself focused. Hang in there girl, this too shall pass….