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I’ve spent most of my life in the throes of PTSD, but didn’t realize my differences, appreciate them, or show and feel any kindnesses towards myself for suffering them. Instead I felt like a freak, and allowed others to see me as unusual too, even being made fun at because I scare so easily. I still scare easily.

It’s OK that my husband and I make light of it, but I need to remember it’s not funny, or easy, or anything laughable. I must work to maintain equilibrium. Even seemingly tiny events upset my nervous system for days before I can calm myself down. The effects of so much trauma as a child left inside unprocessed, remains permanent, even worsening as I age. Or I just notice it more now that I pay attention and have found peace and equilibrium.

So when I’m off keel and unbalanced— I hurt, feel anxious, cry, feel unsteady and lost. After several days of suffering unrest, when my mind, heart and emotions finally steady I say, Ah Ha! No wonder!

One family member who I continually struggle with, and who professes to love and care for me, takes control of situations, using manipulating methods to get her way. She’s young. I probably did the same things at that age. Yet the effects on my psyche are disastrous. I crumble. My deepest recess feels clawed, as if someone took a scape out of my most vulnerable access.

Another innocuous occurrence also scared me. I made a mistake. I bought a canoe that is just too heavy and when we returned from camping, I put it on-line to sell. One man wrote a very nasty email about the ad being written up badly and how stupid to buy such a heavy canoe, even swearing. This is someone I never met, yet I felt threatened, my gut shocked as I read, and I felt unsafe in my home, or anywhere.

I let a stranger who’d I’d never met smash my mistake into me. Until this man’s nasty words, I had been handling my mistake much better than I would have done in the past. I’m human, and people make mistakes. 

But now? Not only do I feel like a failure with this young woman, because I try and try and try, and cannot make things alright between us, but then the canoe. Feeling like a fucking failure has nailed me down again.

I’m crying after too many days arguing with my husband over the problems with this family member and the mean man, “I’m a failure,” I cry.

He sees my tears after all the anger, and responds, “He was probably drunk,”   not saying anything about the young woman because going that deep doesn’t happen unless I dig repeatedly at him. 

It takes all this between us before we get to the truth of our arguments and he begins to see beyond the angry words and looks. But finally the truth of all my struggles come out. A failure. That’s the base off where I work from. That’s my life’s work. Confronting the rock solid beliefs of my childhood, quickened like cement, here to stay. It’s just graduations on that belief. I’m up this far, now I’ve plummeted. Start again. Oh that, OK. 

I did write back that he was a coward. I never know when to shut up. I felt compelled to speak up even though he had proved his aggressive tendencies. From the time I confronted my abuse in my thirties, I have stood up and fought every time, probably many times when I didn’t have to or shouldn’t have. No way, Not now, Not ever again. And I am so tired of it. Yet I needed him to know how he came across via e-mail. People do seem to indulge themselves on-line, rejecting politeness, courtesy and respect when not interacting face to face.

When I’m wired with fear, or hurt to the core, I don’t appreciate all that is around me. As I sit with coffee on the porch this morning, I almost cry as a hummingbird returns to the feeder. They had abandoned it when the sap ran dry while away camping. I didn’t realize how much my hummingbirds mean to me!

My interior is calm, but it has taken several days to get here, meditation, tears, and insight. It occurred to me that what I am dealing with are the effects of long term chronic PTS, and no matter what I do, this is me. I forget. How can I keep forgetting?

Others act disgusted (my husband), which adds to my stress. Some are perplexed. But no one, unless having suffered from such disaster to the body, mind and soul, can know or understand its total effect on the body. A body can handle just so much. Ravaged by repeated cortisol bursts many a times a day over many years takes its toll. I react to even slight stimuli as if it were life or death. One who takes their wholeness and centeredness for granted because they’s always had it, cannot know, understand or begin to comprehend, but they can be compassionate.

It’s not so important that others know, it’s important that I do not forget. Because I forget, or allow others disgust, impatience or inability to understand to infect my own thoughts about myself. And I leave myself, splitting inside, and all I hear is a megaphone of negativity in my head- Bam, Bam, Bam, I am hit over my own head, like using a sledge hammer to put in a post.

Time is wasted during my struggles. I don’t appreciate how beautiful it is here, mostly by my own hands, a virgin gardener. Samuel mows but I have made it bloom. Where there was nothing but clay hard soil, I bring beauty, flowers, birds and butterflies, a paradise, a sanctuary. When my internal workings stop swinging like a metronome, and I balance, my ability to soak in my surrounding returns. I can smell the aromas both outside and in, the sensual eucalyptus sachet, the basket of balsam sitting by my side in the birch basket gathered up north as a keepsake, the roses…  

Finally this morning there is calm, and my hummingbirds are back…

11 thoughts on “PTSD

  1. I know how ravaging the effects of PTSD can be. I myself suffered repeated abuse from my father, and then I perpetuated the problem when I went away to college, dropping out due to my excessive drinking, and then trying to escape by joining the US Navy. Here again, came another attack against my body which was beyond my control, due to my state of drunkenness. After my short stay in the military, due to my excessive drinking, the effects of the PTSD borne from childhood, then aggravated by abuse while in the military, and I have a whopping good case of PTSD. I live alone, but still have that startle affect anytime the phone rings, or someone knocks on my door. I wonder out loud, will this ever end?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve come to believe we had best treat it as a chronic condition. Sometimes we will manage it fairly well, and other times we will have flare ups. Sometimes we’ll get distracted and forget to take proper care of ourselves for a bit, and it will feel like, “oh no, not this again,” but at least we’ll know what kinds of things to do to get back on track. Those close to us need to understand that this is as serious and ever present as diabetes or heart disease or deafness. It is part of who we are, and we need to build a life to accommodate it. Those not close to us who write cruel comments about an online ad for a canoe are just mean-spirited and are probably not finding a lot of joy in life. Delete!

    You, my dear, are as far from a failure as they come. You have been through so much trauma, and look at you! You are radiant. You tell an important story. You post lovely photos (the one with this post is gorgeous). You create beauty. Your readers all see it. Trust our vision when yours becomes momentarily clouded.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, you bring tears to my morning coffee, happy tears.
      I don’t think those around me really understand. From early on I learned to keep much inside, realizing way too young that I was essentially on my own, that is until things overflowed, and then I just look like nutcase.
      My younger son does know, wanted to, needed to, during his college years; strong enough and craving the truth. He took every step of the book writing with me, in fact, I couldn’t have done it without him. Every week, “Do you have another chapter Mom?”
      I would not have negotiated Amazon or Create Space without his expertise. These young’ins who grew up with computers in their classrooms are so much more knowledgeable.
      One friend I had who truly ‘knew’ as in experience trauma herself as a young girl, because she was snatched off the street and raped, understood. I lost her to cancer two years ago. My other friends cannot understand the depths of destruction or pain, and I don’t try to make them understand because I couldn’t anyway, nor would they want to listen to what they would consider negativity anyway.
      But isn’t it like that with whatever hurt or problem one has? If the other hasn’t experience it, they can’t really know.
      That’s why the blogging world has opened up doors and a life I’ve not known, a level and depth of compassion, understanding and purpose, I haven’t found anywhere else. (except once in group therapy focused on this one issue.)
      Thank you for taking the time to encourage me, and care to.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the blogging world. It is not easy to get the level of deep understanding and empathy found here among fellow survivors. The words of comfort are a balm to wounded souls as yours are for so many.

    Your post is raw with deep insight and I can only say that we stumble sometimes but we always get up again and remember again. The external world with all its cruelty and harshness is too much for the fragile and wounded souls of childhood survivors sometimes and we do collapse sometimes with the overwhelming hardness of it all.

    What defines you though Patricia is your courage to keep standing up again and continually creating beauty in your mosaics in your garden and your ability to create happiness in your grandchildren and passing on your wisdom and encouragement to your friends here!!!

    each time you rise you are stronger and your heart has expanded a little more to allow more light and love.

    Liked by 2 people

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