Writing about PTSD

I haven’t had much energy to write as many posts as I want to. I want to be able to get out all the shit that’s been in my head. There’s a lot going on, and a lot that will be going on in the next few weeks, as I reach 1,000 days of freedom in April.

A few weeks ago, I was offered an opportunity to writer for the APTSDA, the American PTSD Association. While I still write about DID for HealthyPlace, writing about PTSD is different, and I figure it is an opportunity to reach a different group of people.

My first piece published yesterday. It can be found on aptsda.org, or directly through this link: The Flashbacks You Can’t See.

It’s not much. I write so much that sometimes I’m not really sure what to write about, and I get tied up in the thought that maybe my experiences aren’t the “right” ones. Yet the more I write, the more I read from others that they have experienced the same.

I will update with more soon. Hopefully.

I tell them I’m fine

They say I look sad. They ask if I’m okay.

I tell them I’m fine. I tell them I’m just tired.

I can’t tell them the truth. I can’t tell them I’m not okay. I can’t explain that I’m tired of living.

So I lie. I lie to push them away. I lie so they don’t have to share the burden of my pain. I lie to protect them. I lie to protect me.

I don’t even understand what’s going on inside my own head. My thoughts don’t make any sense. All I can hear is noise. Loud noise.

I can’t find my words. I try to write, but nothing comes out right. I can’t talk about what’s inside. So I suffer in silence.

I just want them to stop. The memories. The flashbacks. I just don’t know anymore. I can’t tell if I’m 30 or 3. I can’t tell if I’m home or if I’m free.

Because I’m both. I’m living in two worlds at the very same time.

She’ll tell me I’m safe there, but she just doesn’t understand. I know my body is there, but my mind is somewhere else. A different place. A different time. A different me.

I dance on the line. One foot in, one foot out. It’s a line that only I can dance on, because it’s a line that only I can see. No one else sees it. No one else understands it. Only me.

They see me sitting on the couch, safe and fully clothed. That is my present. That is what everyone sees. But they don’t see what I see in my mind. They don’t see me standing in the bathtub of my childhood home, naked and afraid, awaiting my punishment. They can’t see that. Only me.

They see me working hard. They hear me crack a joke and laugh. But they don’t see what I see in my mind. They don’t see me burning in the flames, with every last bit of evil inside of my soulless body turning into a pile of ashes to be stomped upon and smashed into the dirt. They can’t see that. Only me.

I’m dancing the line. The line between past and present. The line between life and death. And I’m dancing alone.

I tell them I’m fine. But I’m not really fine. I never was. I’m not now. And I’m not sure I ever will be.

Please, no

I’ve spent the last hour laying in bed crying, trying to block out the flood of memories that have been bombarding me off and on since this morning.

It all started in therapy. My therapist and I were going over the stages of treatment worksheet I had done last week. We got to the section on medical care, which tends to be an issue for me, but I’ve been working on it decently the last couple of months. Primary doctor. Check. Dentist. Need that. Gynecologist. Initiate panic.

I started feeling sick. My stomach was queasy, my head was spinning, and I felt my chest getting heavy. I didn’t want to talk about it. Please, no, don’t make me go. The panic got worse, and then the memories started flashing before me. I tried to make them stop but they wouldn’t. I remember crying and then I drifted away.

I knew what triggered the memories. It’s the same reasons I’ve avoided going to that kind of doctor. I connect it with what my mother did to me. She said I was sick there, and she needed to help. But she didn’t help at all. She hurt me. Over and over. And it never got better.

The thought of someone being in that position with me is mortifying. I can’t deal with it. Fuck, I can’t even handle it in therapy. Imagine if I was at an appointment, what would have happened. I can’t. It’s not going to happen.

My therapist wants to work on it together a little bit at a time. But I’m scared. I’m so damaged. It’s not even going on anymore but the damage is done. I can’t erase the memories, I can’t forget how it felt.

And if that wasn’t enough, the memories have kept coming, even hours after my therapy session. Don’t tell anyone, they won’t understand. I’m just trying to make you better. I didn’t tell anyone. I was a good girl. So why did it keep happening? Why didn’t I get better?

Daddy is standing there. He’s holding my hand. But it still hurts. Why is he letting her hurt me? Does he know I’m sick there, too? I don’t understand. What did I do? I keep saying please, no but no one is listening. My voice is gone. I close my eyes but I still feel everything.

I don’t want to remember anymore. My heart hurts.

The D Word

I hate the d word.

Depression.

It came up recently because my primary doctor put Major Depression on my record. And I, of course, flipped my emotional shit.

Because that word has such painful connections for me.

And sure enough, for the last week, the memory of my father has been playing over and over in my head. I’ll give you a reason to be depressed. Pain. Pain was all I felt. And then I felt nothing at all.

I genuinely believe a piece of me died that night. In all these years I have never been able to get over it. I still can’t hear the word depressed without hearing him yell at me. I can still feel my head hitting the wall. I can still hear myself begging him to stop. Fifteen years ago and it still plays like it’s happening now.

And I’m afraid of that label. I responded in anger when my therapist asked me what was wrong. “I’m not depressed! I fucking hate her!”

My therapist made the connection rather quickly on why I was against that diagnosis.

“If I were to pick up the DSM right now and flip to, let’s say, Persistent Depressive Disorder, would you say you wouldn’t fit that diagnosis? You wouldn’t fit under Major Depressive Disorder?”

“No, because I function just fine and I’m not impaired so therefore I don’t qualify for those diagnoses. And while I’m at it, I don’t qualify for DID, either.”

“I’m not talking about functioning just yet. Aside from functioning.”

I hesitated. I grumbled to myself. “Fine,” I said, “I fit every criterion. Every. Single. Criterion.”

“And while you do get up in the morning and go to work, and go to school, you’re not functioning all the way like you think you are. You are good in some areas, and really severely impaired in others.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“We don’t have to call it that. We can come up with another word for it if you want. But you can’t deny that it doesn’t fit. And I know that you know that.”

Damnit. Sometimes I hate being smart. I do know that. But I want to live in denial. Let me live in sweet denial.

Denial. That’s a d word I can handle.