The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

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?”
“Yes.”

…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”. Ā 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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4 thoughts on “Division of Head and Heart

  1. I think you will be the one person who can topple a centuries old,continents spanning conspiracy to destroy the world! How’s that for pressure? I’d go with that pots and pans thing,that sounds pretty easy… šŸ˜‰

    That makes you awesome! and i love you very much ā¤

  2. It makes you human, struggling to understand a damaged spirit which is in the process of healing. And truth be told, we’ll never be “healed” or “cured”, but in my opinion, this makes us far more unique with the capacity for empathy and understanding that many may not have.

    As for expectations, I wouldn’t bother with that. I felt the same way for awhile, but finally discovered what others were telling me was a form of encouragement based upon their positive perceptions of me. The expectations I felt were my own. Honestly, I agree with them. šŸ™‚

  3. An amazing article, thanks for the writing.

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