The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Wednesday Challenge: “Need” versus “Want”…

Wednesday Challenge: “Need” versus “Want”….

via Wednesday Challenge: “Need” versus “Want”….

READ THIS. Seriously.

What Good Is Being a Bird, If You Can’t Fly?

I was going to write about how being forced to talk about events has made me feel lately, but not now. I was recently informed that a friend of mine’s sister was murdered a few days ago. There are not enough words to aptly describe how I’m feeling right now. I remember listening to him talk about her… and this feeling of sickness overtakes me. She is about the same age as my own younger brother, and I just can’t… I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d feel if he were taken from me like that. I just can’t. It angers me to know that there are people in this world who are so selfish that they could end another’s life without even bothering to think about how this will affect the families and friends left behind. And don’t tell me he didn’t consider killing her a possibility… when you decide to get in a car and follow them several miles away WITH A GUN, the thought has crossed your mind. When you decide to pull that gun out and point it at them telling them to do something or else, the thought has crossed your mind. This wasn’t a spur of the moment reaction, this was to some degree, premeditated and if he hadn’t killed himself after taking this beautiful young woman’s life… you don’t even want to know what I’d want to do to him.

Friend, if you happen to be reading this, know this: I wish with every fiber of my being that this hadn’t happened. I also wish I could be there, because even though I have no words to act as a salve in the wound, I could bring you a beer. Or a tissue. Or shit, I dunno, SOMETHING. I’d give you the biggest hug I could and just be there. I know how much she meant to you, I remember our conversations at Offutt. I am so sorry.We talk as a people so often about how certain notions are romantic. One of those notions is the idea of a love that if it can’t have the other, no one else can. That isn’t romantic. That isn’t even love. That’s selfishness exemplified. It’s the ego, wounded by rejection, arbitrarily deciding whether or not the “offender” gets to live. How is that love? Men and women, listen. If you love someone and they decide to leave you, let them go. If you claim to really love them, then you must mean unconditionally, and if you love them unconditionally, them leaving should have no bearing on your love. It will hurt, yes, but as I have quoted before:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Do you see that? Do you understand that? I don’t give a flying fuck how much you thought you loved her, stalking her and then getting angry when you saw she was in a new relationship via her facebook was not okay. To get into a car with out-of-state tags and follow her for miles, to her boyfriend’s house was “seeking its own”. Getting into an argument with her and pulling a gun on her because she wouldn’t do what you wanted was “being provoked”, and ultimately pulling that damn trigger was not only thinking, it was DOING evil. I could have forgiven you for stalking her, and even for violently confronting her, but I can not ever forgive you killing her. I might not have ever met her, but what you did was irrevocable damage to my friend, her brother, and the rest of her family and friends left behind. Not to mention your family. You had a wife… did you even think about what this would do to her? You selfish bastard. May you rot for all eternity in hell.


Now that I got that emotional rant out of the way, how does that tie in to my title? Simply put, I’ve always felt like a bird, who flew away whenever and wherever she wanted. It’s one of the reasons I have never married, because I always felt like my would-be spouse wanted to put me into a gilded cage, and no matter how gilded or bejeweled, it was still a cage at the end of the day. Today, I feel like a bird who can’t fly, like a penguin. If I could fly, I’d fly to be with my friend. Instead, I’m stuck here, writing this blog. My heart hurts for him.

I’ve been feeling flightless for a little while though, to be fair. All of these appointments for my ratings board have taken their toll, and I have been on edge. Normal, day-to-day tasks have been difficult if not outright impossible. This is the longest amount of time I’ve been able to focus on any one thing/task in about a month. I’ve been having problems sleeping, and this lack of sleep causes even more stress, not to mention its effect on my speech. I hate it when my speech slurs and I can’t remember words. I feel like an idiot. This, of course, only exacerbates my stress levels and my speech worsens even more. I can feel so stupid, even though I know I’m not. I’m intelligent and capable of intelligent conversation, but on these days when I can’t count on my speech to be clear or understood… I feel so incredibly stupid. The lack of focus makes it impossible to get through my coursework, and then I feel guilty and ashamed of not having it done. This makes me want to hide, because I feel terrible for letting my teachers down. This- you guessed it- creates more stress, which means I won’t sleep, again, creating more stress, creating more problems…. Such a vicious, vicious cycle.

I am so tired.

I need to fly away. I need to spread these wings and just go, but I don’t know where to, and I don’t know when I can. For now, I really have to force myself to get these tasks done, because failure really isn’t an option. Failure would just be allowing myself to fall victim again, and I’m tired of that cycle. I’d love to find tips and tricks for making this easier, but so far haven’t found any. If any of you have any that you use, please let me know. I’d love to hear them.

On Being Objectified/The Walking Wounded

There is just about nothing I hate more than being objectified. If you are trying to get me so angry that I want to break your nose, openly objectify me. I triple dog dare you. It makes me incredibly angry.

Today while walking around this small town’s idea of a mall, I came face to face with being objectified. I walked into a store and came across a small group of male soldiers. One of them was looking at posters of a naked woman bent over and said “That’s my kind of woman!” I wanted to respond with, “And that’s why you’re single!” but I held my tongue. Then he saw me. His eyes immediately went to my cleavage and I knew what he was thinking. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure that out. My blood boiled. He and his buddies went quiet as I walked by and he continued to objectify me. It was humiliating and angering. I wanted to bash his face in, and if he had have made the slightest move towards me, I probably would have. I was so angry and could feel the desire to commit violence rapidly rising.

Even after I left the store, I was livid. I could feel every inch of me just seething. It took all I had to not turn around, march back into that store and punch him in the face. I forced myself to keep walking and left the mall. I couldn’t be in the same building as him, not when all I wanted to do was commit violence. So I left. I removed myself from the problem.

Some might say my reaction was overboard. Let me tell you why it was not. Jackass douchebags like that prime example are the asshole who statistically rape and abuse women, especially in the military. If he has not already committed a crime against a woman, I don’t give him that long before he does. The military will cover him though and hide the crime. They always do. My rapist was a lot like him. Arrogant, condescending, and objectifying. I know that type and I know it well. Breaking his nose might not have changed his ways, but it would have made me feel better. I wish a woman had have broken IK’s nose. Or has. If that makes me wrong, tough cookies. I’m cool with being wrong. One thing I am not wrong about is that douchenozzle. I wish that by recognizing asswipes like him (I refuse to refer to him as a man, as I believe men are respectable beings and there was nothing respectable about this asshole), we could take care of them, as in removing them from society, because I know that if he has not already, he WILL assault a woman. That is guaranteed. If we could remove him, we could prevent some woman from having to go through hell, but we can’t. He is allowed to walk around, objectifying women, before he finally snaps and assaults a woman and it will be “all her fault! She was flirting with me, she wanted me!”. Trust me on that one. I think that’s what sickens me the most about this. Some poor woman could have been saved, but won’t be. She’ll be another walking wounded. Like me. Like some of my dearest friends. Perhaps even like you.

Doesn’t that just make you sick?

Now that my blood pressure has gone down, this situation makes me want to cry. Cry for me. Cry for those that I love who have been through this. Cry for the people that are affected by what I’ve been through indirectly. Most importantly, cry for the unknown, unseen woman who is about to go through what I’ve been through. When are we going to say enough? When are we going to change our culture in order to ensure that there are no more walking wounded from sexual assaults? When are we going to hold our military accountable for the crimes against women they have committed, continue to commit, and will commit? When do we let them know that it’s not okay?

How much longer will you enable our attackers?

Division of Head and Heart

I’m unsure of the trigger, but I know that somewhere over the past week a trigger was pulled. I began to notice it in dance. I was uncomfortable with people being too close to my face. Like somehow they’d see something in me that I didn’t want them to see. Perhaps I am afraid they’ll see me, and really see me, and decide I’m not worth their attention. Sometimes I think they’ll see that I’m not as strong as I pretend to be, and they’ll see all the cracks in my defense system.

Honestly, I don’t even know where to go with this.

I’ve always been able to write things out, but this time I’m not sure I can. I don’t know how to put into words what I’m feeling, or even what I’m thinking. It just is. I just am. I ran into two friends earlier after rehearsal and they asked me how I was. I couldn’t think of how to answer it, so I just nodded my head. I just said “yes”. Hah.
“How are you?”

…I am yes? I am existing. I am. In that respect, I totally am “yes”. They laughed. I wrote it off as me still being sick and tired, but honestly, that’s the only answer I have right now. “Yes”.  I’m not good, but I’m not bad. Then again, I suppose that’s relative, and that answer might change depending on who you ask. For the moment though, I’ll take existing. It’s better than the alternative at this point.

I met this nurse who works in mental health, and deals primarily with combat veteran males who suffer from PTSD. Turns out she’s a part of my team in one of my classes. We’d never talked before. We talked about some of the differences in different disorders, and a little about my experience in therapy. She told me that she thinks I’ll make an excellent advocate for women some day. I’m not sure what I think of that. I’m not sure if I even want that. Why is it, that all these people, most of whom I barely know, tell me what they think I will be? Or should be? I know I shouldn’t, but now I feel the expectation is there.She said I have the right personality for it, and due to my background, could really make a difference. Could I? Or would it just be me banging on pots and pans in the middle of street, with my body painted in vivid colors? Screaming at the top of my lungs: “LISTEN TO ME.”? I told her I still feel so broken, I don’t know if I could be of much help in that department. I told her that I didn’t know if I could pull my pieces together to make a shape coherent enough to make a difference in a world of sharp angularity and vulgar obscenities. Not in those exact words, as I wasn’t feeling like being forcefully admitted into a psychiatric ward, but in a saner way. In a less poetic way, that’s exactly what I said.

Our conversation continues its course, and it somehow turned into symptoms. She mentioned that women vets she had met had problems not attaching emotions to everything. I told her I had the opposite. When I am triggered, I withdraw. I have a hard time feeling connected to anything or anyone. I live in a complete disconnect from the world around me when going through an episode. I can look at someone, and know in my head that I love them. I care about them. They MEAN something to me. But during these episodes, I don’t feel it. I don’t feel hate. I don’t feel love. I don’t feel connected. At all. My heart goes cold, like black ice, and I can’t make a spark even to bring a hint of emotional connection back to any relationship I have. I have to wait it out, and wait for the episode to be over so I can reconnect. I hate it. I hate looking at someone I care about and not feeling a goddamn thing. I feel like somehow, that makes me less than a person. Isn’t that what humanity is? The continuous process of making, growing, and breaking relationships? Making connections with others? How can I be a part of humanity, when I can’t always do that?

I’m there now. It’s not complete, but it’s just about complete. I look at people who I know are supposed to mean something to me, but I can’t feel anything. I might as well be looking at a complete stranger.

What does that make me?

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