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…