Day 43 of 100 intentional reflective steps.
It was the rickety-est ladder I had ever been on. The narrow, uneven rungs threatened to snap under my weight. It felt like I was climbing out of a three story deep cement pool. Near the top, with just a couple of rungs to go, I made the mistake of looking down and got queasy. This made my legs turn to jello. I tried to gather my courage and steady myself but just within reach of the top my leg tremors and the loss of equilibrium caused me to lose my balance. The ladder, not secured at the top, started to first slide, then fall away from the wall. Panicked I started yelling for help even though there was nobody at the top to steady the ladder. What a terrifying feeling to be in free-fall with nobody to help.
Then I woke up.
One of the very real struggles of C-PTSD can be sleep deprivation. Because the nervous system is running on hyperdrive all the time your body cannot relax. This happens even when you aren’t aware of what is causing the anxiety.
After years of insomnia I finally found meds to help me sleep, which is AWESOME, except for when they give me nightmares. I wake up drenched in sweat, scared and anxious. Some days it feels like I’m damned if I do take meds and damned if I don’t because I know I won’t rest.
Working with psychiatric meds feels like juggling knives, blindfolded.
Day 33 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.
This is my life. When I finally received a diagnosis it was so relieving because somebody could finally describe to me what the heck was going on with my brain and emotions. I am high functioning in my illness and have been really fortunate to have lived a really amazing life so far, with lots left to life. I have also had great resources and support systems. God has been so good to me and I can see His hand on my life and my days. But, this is still my life.
- Complex PTSD is a very isolating, exhausting and devastating severe illness. It has been referred to as the psychiatric equivalent of cancer.
- It affects every part of your life, magnifying every problem intensely and affecting daily function.
- PTSD is a very severe, but normal reaction to severe abnormal trauma. But, there are days, weeks, when I feel so far from normal.
- Complex PTSD affects every relationship/friendship I have, with my husband, my children, my friends. People, have no idea the impact they cause when they hurt someone with Complex PTSD.
- Complex PTSD makes you never want to trust anyone, because every time you do, you get hurt and the cost is too high.
- Complex PTSD is a devastating, life threatening, exhausting, disabling, isolating, extremely painful severe psychiatric illness.
- Complex PTSD does not “get healed” or “go away”. However, with help a victim can learn to avoid triggers and learn to manage the symptoms.
- It does require specialized, professional therapy.
Day 22 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.
It promised to be a wonderful day by myself. I was to spend part of the day in one of my favorite places in the world. I love the hustle, crowd, smells, diversity and artisans of the market. The weather was perfect and I really looked forward to it. But, like so many other things this year, the experience was tainted by my new found recognition of my own needs.
Less than one hour into my adventure I started to be sick. My anxiety kicked in full force. I found a couple of quiet spots to step outside the overwhelming pressing crowd to catch a deep breath. I put my earphones in and listened to some happy country tunes.
I think I am a fringe person now. I love the activity of the world. I just need to be on the outer rim where I can experiences the sights, smells and activities without being obligated to participate.
A sad and clarifying experience. The upside? I am getting better at recognizing what I need and being willing to take care of myself! This is the learning curve of PTSD. I may be a slow learner but I can be taught!
Day 19 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.
A door slam, twig snap, weird sideways glance, chair screeching across the floor, standing too close, jostling, emotional weirdness.
My heart races. I start sweating. Eyes race back and forth looking for an exit in case I need it. Hands tensing. Muscles twitching and taut. I think, consider what I need to do, say, throw etc. to get away, the quickest route to safety. Play and replay conversations in my head of how to end relationship, terminate conversation, leave.
I don’t have the ability to consider whether or not you are here to hurt me. History and instinct tell me that is a certainty. I will protect myself at all costs. This is my PTSD.
You? You want me to pray. Stop. Think it through? Calm myself with talking to God? You’re so foolish.
Pray. YES! This is what kept me alive. This is what keeps me going. This is what gave me my survival instincts. This is what gives me strength to go out into public and interact. This is what heals my soul. I pray before I’m scared and I pray for peace in spite of fear. All the time.
But don’t mock my “in the moment” need to survive. Allow me to respond instinctually, animalistically, and reactively. It is a base survival skill that God gave me. You respect that. Respect it.
Day 14 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.
I have a dog and I love him.
Sometimes I love him more than I love people.
The therapist said my C- PTSD qualifies me to get him registered as a companion dog.
But he’s stupid.
The dog. Not the therapist.
So there’s that.