🔔Jingle🔔

Every jingle, every joyful song…salt to an open wound

stinging…burning…searing pain

Is this the point? Is this the purpose? No…not really

Just go with it! Just enjoy it! ~~~ easy for you to say

How do I convince my mind to think differently?

How do I tell my heart not to feel?

How do I “go with it” without falling apart?

Am I the only one feeling this?

Does everyone “really” enjoy this?

Is this, too, a Masquerade?

Short Circuit

~⊗~Beautiful morning walk with the family. Brisk pace, chatting away. All is good in the neighborhood. The trail is between two streets, but it’s not that busy, so it’s a quiet morning. The feeling of being “normal”, until a siren blares – short circuit:

>all goes blank. ears ring. blasting noise. head spins. legs become as noodles. I need to sit down. I need to run. escape. what happened? somehow I’m sitting. nauseated. breathe. put head between legs. rock…rock. get grounded. I can’t. scream. nothing comes out. cold sweat. I can’t breathe. breathe. what happened? it’s so loud. I can’t hear. wasn’t I walking? how did I sit down? what happened? b-r-e-a-t-h-e!

~⊗~Headed to church. Something feels “off”, but lately, everything feels off. Do some of my breathing exercises. We park. Here we go, let’s do this. Walking toward the building holding my hubby’s hand. Keep telling myself, “I can do this.” Wait?!?! There’s lots of people by the entrance. I hear a “loud” laugh – short circuit:

>in a bubble. disconnected. I need to run. escape. hide. why is it so noisy? this crowd. books in hand. what do I do. more crowds. someone hugged me. I’m talking. what am I saying? are you ok? no! escape. run. I’m suffocating. my husband. grab. I can’t. shut up! why are they laughing? in the car. at home. b-r-e-a-t-h-e!

Just two incidents of this horrible disconnect that happens out of nowhere, with no rhyme or reason. It frustrates me, aggravates me an makes me feel so out of control. How do I plan for the unpredictable? How do I explain the unexplainable?

When I come back “into orbit”, I’m spacey and out of sorts. What happens to my body? What happens to my mind? Will this ever get better or will it get worse?

AND so I continue to learn. I continue to shed the mask of “everything is good”, and am learning to ask for help. I am learning to communicate with my safe-people, even when I know I’m repeating myself. By the way, my safe people are AMAZING!!! And, I am learning that NOT everybody will understand, and…that…is…ok!

Stigma

The stigma and shame behind “labels” can create enormous havoc in an already broken and fragile state of mind. The struggle to cope and understand is greatly affected by once upbringing and the prevailing mindset of those around you.

I grew up in an environment where the mindset was that you fended for yourself and vigilantly hid any sign of weakness. Talking about “it” was a resounding NO…not an option. Going to the doctor was not an option, either, let alone a mental health specialist. Finances were slim to nothing. Any monies had would go to feeding the many mouths that begged for a piece of tortilla to appease their growling stomachs.

Any reference to a psychiatrist or psychologist was in disgust or disdain saying, “that person must be totally crazy to go to that! That’s not needed. They are good for nothing.”

There was an auntie who dared to venture into that forbidden territory. Oh, the things that were whispered about her. Those words cut to the heart. No one else dare venture out. They did not want to be part of those cutting conversations and side glances.

Do to extreme circumstances, another family member saw herself in need of venturing out. She did, however, in the strictest most hidden way. No one must know. Eventually, she stopped going. Maybe it was too difficult to keep up the front…we will never know. In her ultimate darkest moment, the “help” needed was denied and with no power to keep fighting, she ultimately succumbed to it all.

Many months have ensued, the memory of accepting my medical doctor’s advice comes to mind. The initial phone call. The first appointment. All the voices within and without. The fight to not get up from that chair. The fight to not flee that office…to run out. Each session, a struggle to accept.

I think I’m starting to accept…I think I’m starting to give my therapist a chance…I think this is NOT weakness, but strength…I think this is not shameful, but a necessity.

~ ~ ~ AND…it is…OK ~ ~ ~

Back from Oz

Back from the land of Oz. And, by the way, I never found that yellow brick road or the Wizard. I guess that’s just a fairy tale :-/

I decided to get away for a few days with a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years. The decision making was a grueling back and forth process, but I was proud of myself for finally making the decision to go. However, this chaotic brain of mine seems to have forgotten to upload the latest upgrade: “Girl, you can’t! Not right now!

Acceptance…a fluid place to arrive. Just when I think I’m there, I realize that I’m still fighting it. What is it that makes me want to please people? What is it that makes me want to do my old normal, when I am acutely aware of my new normal? What is normal? Questions, questions that bounce around in this very noisy and jumbled head of mine.

I ventured off into new territory without my safe place and my safe people. Yikes! Just typing this makes me cringe. Add to this the noisiness and crowds of airports. The crammed quarters of airplanes. Well, no wonder all my senses were on high alert and I was being triggered over and over again..

Finally arriving at my destination…phew, a sigh of relief! The smile and hug of a friend…into the car and off we go…a fun time awaits us.

Blah, blah, blah…talk, talk, talk…directions in hand…smiles, laughs – – – – – – –

SCREECH, SLAM, S—L—O—W—M—O……………………………….three car pile up, we are rear ended!!!

It’s all a blur…somehow, I got out of the car, sat on the curve clutching my daughters animal pillow (a comfort accessory). More noises – people, sirens…lots and lots of noises.

⇐⇐⇐Total Meltdown⇒⇒⇒

I’m home in my safe place with my safe people…recovering. Life continues at snail pace, but it continues. Thankful for a place called home 😀

PTSD Diagnosis

“PTSD: Symptoms may include nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood.
Behavioral: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation
Psychological: flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust
Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness
Sleep: insomnia or nightmares
Also common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts”
Information obtained from Mayo Clinic website
The holidays of 2017 were absolutely brutal. My daughter had been gone a little over 6 months. She loved, loved the holidays. Christmas was one of her favorites. I called her Elf (remember the movie?), she called me Scrooge (that tells you something). She loved decorating. I think our home would have been a winter-wonderland if we would have had the finances to allow her to do it. But she did great with what we had. Her last Christmas with us she sat and watched as I decorated. The joy in her eyes was all worth it. She was so happy.
Trying to honor her memory I was “trying” to do Christmas, but my body would not have it. Stuffing my feelings didn’t help. I ended up passing out, and later in the ER because my doctor thought I was having a heart attack. Given my family history (The Unexpected) he wanted to rule out any cardiovascular issues. Thankfully “all” was good with my heart. He recommended I go to counseling. This was a hard pill to swallow and accept, because I “always had it all together”.
Receiving the PTSD diagnosis was surreal. My initial thoughts were, “no, not me!” “isn’t this only for soldiers? I’m not a soldier. I haven’t been to combat.” “wait, what will people think?” “I can’t tell anyone, this doesn’t make sense” and on and on and on.
Watching the show “Madam Secretary”, the main actress was dealing with PTSD. I broke down uncontrollably saying, “that’s me!!!” It was surreal to “watch myself” on someone else.
Not sure what this all means. Not sure how to handle this. Not sure of anything. Just putting one foot in front of the other and at times simply curling up in a ball “until it passes”.
Scrambled Mind is something I deal with a lot. I learned about Six Word Story from a grief website as they were doing #griefinsixwords. Being a “wordy” person, it was difficult when my mind was so scrambled, to write anything down. Putting thoughts into six words helped. In fact, that’s how I started dabbling in poetry and finding quotes. Simple yet so inspiring. As Matt Haig puts it:
“…A short optimistic quote isn’t cheap. It can be forged in pain and have the strength of survival. It can reframe your whole perspective…”
Acceptance brings peace. Finding ways to cope is part of my present journey. AND so we continue on this life journey one step at a time…and if need be we sit and give ourselves permission to Just be…