I start to feel scared and totally blasted — it’s the old familiar panic — can’t breathe, can’t make my mind focus, can’t make decisions. Feel totally overwhelmed. Also feeling that unpleasant combination of lethargy and restlessness. I suppose it’s not so much lack of energy as fear that anything I do will be wrong. So I’m immobilized, but unable to rest.
I feel totally overwhelmed. I feel like a two-year-old, left by her mother in Grand Central Station, watching the adults rush by, no one paying attention to me, nowhere I can go to feel safe, I don’t know what to do, or whether my mother’s ever coming back, or how to look for help. And I feel like I’m outside and can’t get back in, like I’d gone out on the roof of a very tall building and the door had slammed shut and locked. I feel high up and exposed to merciless light. I feel like I’m spread thin on the outside of some cylindrical shape — perhaps my body — and there’s nothing inside, or I have no connection to what’s inside. I have a sense of my body as a hollow shell filled with thousands of beating wings, perhaps many birds, but they are not trying to get out because from their perspective there isn’t any out. So what I’m experiencing is that the inside and the outside are completely disconnected. I don’t like the sense of isolation, the sense of my life being flat and dead.
I’ve just been typing up a passage from last year where I describe a similar state: both immobilized and restless, unable to sense any clear purpose or desire. A frantic feeling of must do something, and absolutely no sense of what would be OK or correct to do.
Gosh I keep writing this same one over and over again. So tiresome. When will I get it.
Actually, what I’m describing, the combination of immobilization and urgency, is a very exact description of PTSD from the inside. The intellectual description of the state is not going to heal it, it may even be re-traumatizing. But intellectual description was the only skill I had.