The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

Archive for the tag “disconnection”

Hearts Held Together With Duct Tape and Superglue

    One of the things you begin to realize as you go through the healing process after an assault, is that there are parts of you that are irreparably broken. It’s not that you don’t want to fix them, it’s that they can’t be fixed. Other things can be fixed, and they get fixed in time… if and when we are ever ready to handle those broken pieces. Regardless of whether or not they can be fixed, we try to superglue and duct tape the pieces back together anyway. This usually causes deformed shapes.  Honestly, most of the time I wonder if on the inside I’m like the hunchback of Notre Dame, just instead of physically being deformed, my emotions and means of processing the things around me are deformed. These internal deformities cause me all kinds of problems, but this even more compounded when a man is in the mix.

 From what I understand, no one likes to be rejected. You can correct me if I’m wrong, and you either are or know someone who greatly enjoys being rejected, but I have never met anyone who does. This sense of rejection, whether falsely or not, is heightened in the walking wounded. Every little action, behavior, and word is analyzed to death. What did he mean by that? By this? Obviously he’s rejecting me. Whether or not I was really rejected, probably remains to be seen. However, that is how *I* see it. Rejected. Every little slight, perceived and actual, beat down on every chink and hole in my poorly held together emotional state of being. It turns out that a heart held together with duct tape and superglue while missing pieces, has no real defense. Like any good captain though, I remain at the helm. I will go down with my ship.

     You may wonder why a person would allow another in anywhere near the chinks in their armor, if they’re not sure if they’re going to be rejected or not. Valid question. In my experience, it is better to open yourself up to the possibility of pain, then to keep everyone out until they have shown they will not reject you. Besides, they’re humans. Humans hurt humans. That person is going to hurt me eventually, might as well see what they do from the get-go, right?

     I have been up since 8am on Thursday. PTSD triggers have been pulled, and I can’t sleep. I feel insignificant. Unimportant. Unattractive. I want to vanish. It would be great to pack up my bags and just leave. No telling anyone, just leaving. Unfortunately, I can’t. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t run anymore. I will face this monstrous beast of laughing insecurity and torturous self-loathing head on. I want to bleed. I am feeling less than human again, and bleeding always serves as a release and reminder that I am human. I will not cave. I will not start a fight, nor will I harm myself. I can’t. I always feel so weak afterwards, like I might as well just concede defeat. There has to be a better way to remember I’m human; to get that release. These ugly things that I am reminded of as this latest episode rolls across my life like a tsunami, pick their way through the holes in my defenses even more, creating huge, gaping holes. I feel so beat up and used. I can’t seem to remember what it feels like to not feel like a broken doll. Again, I torture myself wondering, who the fuck could ever love a woman such as I? A woman who will not be able to love the way she wants to every day, as some days the dissociation is so bad, that I can’t feel a damn thing? I remember that I am supposed to feel something, but I don’t- nor can I be bothered to care that I don’t feel anything. 

     Some days, I can’t help but still wonder if it wouldn’t have been kinder and more humane if he had have just gone all the way and beat me to death. I was so physically changed anyway after he raped and beat me, what would a little bit more have done? I don’t know. Maybe if I could ever get to fucking sleep, I could feel differently. 

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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”.  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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