The Joys of Living with PTSD

learning how to cope

Archive for the tag “insomnia”

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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On Finding the Strength to Carry On/ Valentine’s Day Blows

Yesterday I had what we had hoped would be a closure meeting with my therapist. Everything was going well, I had more confidence and didn’t feel anxious. Then near the end of the appointment she asked me about Valentine’s Day. Everything slowly crumbled under me. At first it was just a general dislike of the holiday, and to be fair, I’ve never been a huge fan of it. I love romance, but hate the holiday. Then it spiraled into a conversation about physical intimacy and any hangups I might have in that department. Oh boy. The crumbling apart sped up.

I confessed that I did have problems with physical intimacy, that I had to move slower in that department then I used to before the assault. I am so messed up still, that sometimes one moment I’m completely okay with being touched and a few minutes later I don’t want you touching me. I don’t even want you looking at me. The guy usually hasn’t said or done anything wrong either, it’s just this immediate turn-off, instantaneous freeze on my part, and I don’t know what’s triggered it or why it’s there, it just is. This is so frustrating for me, because one of the major ways I communicate with someone, especially someone I care about, is through touch.

She recommended that I just take a time out when these moments hit. She suspects that when those moments hit me, that I’m probably subconsciously picking up on cues that these touches are leading to sex, and that I may feel it’s going too fast, or that I’m being objectified because whoever I’m with might be thinking more of himself than of me in those moments. So these cues are causing me to shut down. I need to try just taking a time out and just being with my partner, and if he’s not okay with that, lose him. I’m pretty good at losing guys, it’s getting a guy who’s willing to move slow so as to not scare me, and take the time to make sure I’m comfortable with him that’s hard. I’m single right now, and I’ve been single for a few years now. Apparently, the thought of opening myself up to a vulnerable state is still very hard for me to do. I’d like to though.

I don’t know when I’ll find someone, or even if I will. I’m not sure if my hang-ups are too much for someone to handle and deal with. My therapist seems to think I will. I don’t know if she’s also psychic or what, but she’s confident that I’m going to meet someone and he’ll be worth it all because he’ll be patient and loving. I certainly hope so. I can’t do casual sex anymore. I’ve done it before, but I’m at a point in my life where if I’m not with someone I trust and love, I just can’t do it. It’s terrifying enough just thinking about being with someone who I love and care about, I can’t even begin to imagine being with someone who didn’t love me, and who I didn’t love. I don’t think I could trust them, and that may be sad, but it’s true.

She wouldn’t let me leave on time. She knew we had uncovered a sleeping ghost, so kept me for an additional thirty minutes. I have no idea if she had an appointment scheduled for after me, but if she did, I’m so sorry I made you wait half an hour, but I was not ready to leave that office and face the world. As I was leaving her office, I was unsure, and as I told a friend via text message, I was so insecure. It felt like everything was in shades of grey. I walked back to my car and thought to myself, “Why can’t I get over this? Why am I stuck on this hang-up? Will I ever get over it, or am I doomed to be like this for the rest of my life? If I ever find someone and that’s the case, I really hope he has a lot of patience. That poor man. He’d be better off running.”

I had to miss my ballet class because of the appointment going over, which was even more frustrating for me. I went home after meeting my mom and a friend for lunch and just passed out. I was so exhausted, it was like I’d run a marathon. Woke up and went to see Wicked. It was amazing! I had a great time with my mom experiencing the show! I left smiling and in a great mood. I thought that maybe that was all I had needed and now I could go back to being upbeat and positive. It was not to be. Instead, I had the night from hell.

I spent my night tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep, but scared to at the same time, because every time I did fall asleep, I’d have nightmares and wake up crying or moaning. I kept dreaming that I was in this strange building and this man raped me. I remember thinking every time “Not again… I can’t do this again, can’t go through this again.” But it happened again. And again and again and again. Afterwards, I’d try to call the police and these other people kept telling me I was a horrible person, and a liar, and that nothing had happened. They’d make lewd gestures at me and laugh these horrible laughs. I hurt so bad, emotionally and physically. No one cared about me, it was like reliving the original rape all over again, just with different people and different circumstances. I woke up more exhausted than I went to sleep as. I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position, hiding in my closet, and not step foot out. The world was a cruel, terrible place again and I wanted no part of it. I was literally sick to my stomach and could not eat. I forced myself to eat a little bit anyway, because I was not going to miss class. It was not happening.

I got myself ready and cried all morning getting ready and on my drive to school, but I was determined to go. Even if it meant hundreds of people seeing me cry, because I was not letting these awful dreams and feelings keep me home. IK can’t have any more power over my life, no more dictating where I go and when I go. Those are MY decisions. I may not be very strong, and I may not be able to look people in the eye or walk with my head up high on days like today, but I will be damned if I don’t go just because I am afraid. This is my life, and I will go where I want to go and when I want to, because it’s my decision.

My ballet teacher is amazing. Seriously. I broke down in her office and she handed me a tissue and said this was absolutely the right decision. When going through hell, dance works as a fantastic means to take your mind off of everything, and this could be the only hour and a half I get today to not think about what’s bothering me. She kept on me extra hard, to ensure I had no spare seconds to dwell even slightly on it. Bless that woman. She was completely right, and I even managed to smile in class. I worked very hard and found I felt better. My next class was difficult, because thoughts did come back, and I did cry again. Thankfully, I had another dance class afterwards, and without being told a damn thing, it was like my contemporary dance teacher knew. She pushed me hard to really focus on every little movement I made and again, I had no room to think about anything besides what I was doing in that very moment.

Now I’m exhausted, ready to crash, but I feel so much better than I did earlier. I don’t know where the strength to push forward came from, but I’m thankful it was there. I’m also thankful for all the people who care enough about me to send me encouraging messages and texts throughout today, or when they saw me, to stop and give me a hug and let me cry on their shoulder for a bit. You all are amazing, and I know you know who you are. You helped me get through today, honestly.

If I can get through days like today, I can do anything. To quote Mariah Carey’s “Through the Rain”:

I can make it through the rain
I can stand up once again on my own
And I know that I’m strong enough to mend

The Other Side of the Looking Glass

Days like today, I feel like my profile picture on Facebook, fits me a little too well.

Behind the paper smile, am I smiling? Or is the paper smile up for everyone to see, because I’m not, and I can’t find it in me to force a smile any other way? Days like today, it’s the latter. Days like today, that paper smile is the best I can do. I’m not the world’s greatest actress, so I rely on the prop. Something you’re not supposed to do- rely on the prop, but it’s all I have. In real life, I have my version of the paper smile, and I plaster it across my face when I need to.

Right now I have no shame in admitting that I’m sitting on my bathroom floor with the door closed while typing this. I have cakes cooling in my kitchen that I have to go decorate soon for a reception for two friends who just got married last weekend, and I still have to get dressed, but I can’t find the energy to care right now. I look in the mirror and I see… I see me. I see a woman who’s hair looks pretty today (for once); a woman with uneven skin tone, tired eyes, and the formation of wrinkles on her brow. I see someone who is overweight, and who has scars and stretch marks in places that make her uncomfortable in anything that shows a lot of skin between the chest and her knees. A woman who has been struggling with insomnia again so has been too tired to tweeze her eyebrows or even get her hair trimmed. A woman who has been sick for so long, she has stopped caring if she gets better.

I want to be someone else. Just for a day. I want to have someone else’s problems and their joys. I don’t want to be me right now. I’m normally fairly content with being myself, but not right now. I desperately wish someone would trade places with me, but no one ever wants to. There are, unfortunately, no vacations from yourself. You can’t divorce yourself, leave yourself, or get a new self. You just are. I don’t want to be. I know I’ve talked to others about this, about these times, and I do ask myself the same questions I tell you to ask yourself: Have I done everything I set out to do? Have I fulfilled my purpose? The problem is, while there are things I’d still like to do, their importance to me is getting buried under this desire of fading away. I do feel like I have done my purpose, and while I could do more, the question for me becomes, am I necessary anymore? I don’t think I am. I think there enough people in this world who have the same intentions as I do, that my presence here is no longer necessary. My thoughts keep returning to two memories and sensations… the first is of the peace and serenity I felt under the water in the ocean. It was so quiet and peaceful. The second is that feeling of release when I stepped off the cliff. That feeling of freedom.

I’m not suicidal. I’m not planning my death, and I’m not saying goodbye. I’m saying what I want, what I miss. This body and I- this existence and I- have had a love/hate relationship for a very long time. I guess I’m just tired. I feel like I’m stuck. If I could do anything in the world right now, it would be to just get away. I’d like to go back to where I walked into the ocean and stepped off the cliff, and just stay for a while. Remind myself why those things were not to be. Rediscover my passion for life by reliving the memories tied to that place that are so strong they permeate through everything I am and do, even now. I’d want my best friend Bonnie to be there with me, because out of everyone I’ve loved, she’s the only one who refused to leave me when I shoved. That bond is incredible special to me, and days like today I want to be in her presence more than anything.

Waiting for the Rain

October 28, 2007

Flames licking every nerve

Engulfing my mind in pain

This is only what I deserve

As I wait here for the rain.

-DeAnne Evans

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