As I sat here preparing to write this post, I asked myself when I would stop counting the weeks of my freedom.
The truth is, I’m still amazed that I’ve managed to keep it together and stay alive each week that passes by. I still struggle every day. Cutting myself off from my abusers and starting a new life away from everyone and everything did not mean that all of my problems were left behind with them. I admit, part of me believed that leaving would solve everything. Leaving doesn’t cure you; it only heals a very small part of a very large wound that you have to continue to treat, or that wound will get infected.
I realized yesterday that my PTSD is still affecting my life. There was a series of noises downstairs (which I later attributed to the cat) last night that instantly made my heart race. I started to panic and shake each time I heard the noise again, with the most irrational thoughts going through my mind. I couldn’t sleep because every little noise would startle me awake. The noise doesn’t even have to be loud; thanks to hyperarousal, even the slightest noise in the distance will startle me and I begin to fear the worst. I still panic when the phone rings or when I get a text from an unknown number. I still have flashbacks. I still have PTSD.
It’s been difficult for me to get things done this past week. My poor eating habits have caught up to me again and have left me drained of energy. I stopped taking my vitamins months ago because I thought I wouldn’t need them anymore. I’ve noticed for the past couple of weeks that I’m starting to have the same symptoms I had last year before I was hospitalized for malnutrition. I still had my plethora of vitamin prescriptions, so I started taking them again. I tried to eat more, but eating has resulted in me getting physically sick. Intellectually I know it’s because I haven’t eaten, but part of me tries to blame the sickness on food so I can continue the cycle of not eating.
I’m also dealing with a lot of physical pain. The foot that I broke a few months back has become increasingly painful to walk on. I’m assuming it has a lot to do with being on my feet longer hours at work and walking more. I’ve been taking pain relievers on a regular schedule, but they provide minimal relief. I know that eventually I am going to need to go to the doctor. I’m also a bit overdue for the surgery on my other foot. I was supposed to have it this past summer, but with everything going on, I didn’t make it a priority. I don’t even want to make it a priority now.
During our last session, my therapist asked me why I didn’t want to do something that would relieve even just some of my pain. I thought about it for a minute, and I realized that I’ve been in pain for so long, that pain has become my normal. I’ve learned to live with pain in all of its forms. I had to in order to survive, and even now that I have methods of improvement, I don’t take advantage of them. I have to wonder if part of me believes that I deserve to suffer.
I’ll manage, though. I always have before. I will continue to now.