Living with PTSD

The original title of this blog was “Living with PTSD.”  A friend suggested I change it to “Healing from PTSD,” which is certainly more affirming.  Yes, it’s true that I have healed a lot.  Unfortunately, the result of that healing is not that I can do my life with any enjoyment — which is all I ask, I don’t want to live a bigger life or do exciting things, I would be happy with the life I have if it weren’t for PTSD — what healing allows me to do is descend into deeper layers of the pain.

Bessel Van Der Kolk, along with some other top researchers/practitioners in the field of PTSD, tried to have a description of a different version put in the DSM (whatever that means, I know it has to do with the “official” description of a diagnosis) for people who had been traumatized very early in their lives.  The idea was to have a description of the traumatic developmental disorder that results when someone is traumatized before their brain and nervous system has a chance to develop.  That’s what happened to me, which is why I’m having to navigate in this very confusing non-verbal realm, and finding it very heard to do “ordinary things” that let me get through the day.  Trying to do more difficult things without support is too difficult — which is why I had my friend Lynelle sit with me while I do the Vitacost order.

I’m not sure that the journal entry really gives a sense of what it’s like.  Everything feels like a chore, like walking through concrete, and then I have to stop for a while.  Then do the next thing.  It just feels so much harder than usual.

Tuesday’s journal entry:

Woke up with an ache in my heart.  Yesterday was really hard.  In the morning I went to Neskaya to help Kayla put together the playlist for the first night of camp.  We did that, then she worked on putting it in order and marking with stars for who should teach it.  I began to feel uncomfortable but I hung in there to support Kayla.  Finally I was able to leave and go home and hide.

I came home and collapsed.  Played Solitaire.  I must have read, I don’t think I was capable of typing journal.  Managed lunch.

Forgot.  Before I went to Neskaya I did a big load of dishes.  I had run out of spoons & bowls, so I just washed those and left the rest.

Lynelle wanted me to pick her up at FAST at 2:00, so after lunch I took Mocha up to upper GG.  It was hot so we just went to the first fir gate — about 25 minutes round trip.  When we got back, I followed Lynelle to FAST & brought her home.  Rested for a bit and then did a dump run.  Then another rest, then Lynelle & I did the Vitacost order.  Another break, then I took her to FAST to get her car.  I had planned to go on to the Co-op, but realized it was too much so I waited almost 2 hours before I went out.  Got what I needed, came home.  After a bit I cooked supper.

Paying attention to my body, I noticed that I felt a lot of tension down the front of my chest and up into my jawbone.  My teeth chattered all the way to the Co-op and back.  I don’t feel frightened, just a kind of exhaustion of the will, everything is a chore and then I have to rest.  “Resting” doesn’t refresh or nourish me, it just gives me a break from my life.  Going through my usual routines is even hard because it isn’t automatic the way it used to be, I could just do whatever without thinking, now I have to think what is the next thing.

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