I use lower-case letters because all caps feels like it’s yelling at me. It sorta feels like it’s shouting, ‘THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU’. And I guess there is. I just don’t like being yelled at. J
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don’t really understand all of it. But I’ve been told that during traumatic times, the brain maps things differently. Learning of Elliana’s genetic condition and ‘poor prognosis’, carrying her, loving her, growing her, nurturing her, hoping for her, feeling her, fighting for her, delivering her, hoping for her… and letting her go – it was traumatic.
There are triggers. The light above my head when I lay down in the dentist’s chair. The smell of pumpkin muffins/bread/cake. Medical offices. Pregnant women. Calendar dates. Blond-headed little girls. Places – all kinds of places. Songs. All triggers – things that cause flashbacks. And they aren’t just memories. It’s like I’m ‘reliving’ a moment or an event. It’s like it’s happening all over again. Vivid images fill my mind and emotions well up inside of me, and I can’t stop them.
I’ve been seeing a new counselor over the last couple of months. And although at first, it sounded like a bunch of bull*&$!, she has introduced me to a ‘healing technique’ that is supposed to be extremely effective for people with PTSD.
And… I think it might actually work.
I won’t go into the details of it here. It’ll just sound hokey. J This counselor lady is a Christian, and she’s done lots of prayerful research into this technique. Hokey or not, I’m desperate. As long as she’s not asking me to put my faith into something else, I’ll do whatever she says.
I will say this: I’ve been able to sit in a worship service at MPC for 30-45 minutes twice now. Granted, I was pretty tense (a bit of an understatement), and I was listening to music through my earbuds the entire time. But I sat there.
A couple months ago, I thought this whole ptsd thing was a bunch of crap. But there really, truly is something to it. My body actually physically responds to triggers. Especially being in that room at MPC.
Every muscle in my body is tense.
I breathe differently. Shallowly.
My heart beats faster.
I am hyper-aware of the things going on around me. All of my senses are heightened.
Noises in the room sound 3 times louder than they actually are. I find myself holding my breath if I hear (over the music in my earbuds) clapping or laughter.
The movements of people around me, even if it’s just the woman in front of me picking up her Bible from the chair beside her, seem to be so much more dramatic than they really are, and seem to take twice as long as they actually do.
The actual flashbacks I have while I’m in there bring tears to my eyes. I have such vivid memories of that day - October 10, 2012. I may write more about those another time.
It is work. It is physical and emotional work to be in that room during a worship service. Which probably makes no sense to most people. Probably sounds crazy. It’s exhausting. And when I reach the point of just not being able to do it anymore, I leave the room. And as soon as I get out of the room, especially when I get outside, I feel like I can finally breathe. I feel like I’ve been under water, holding my breath, and as soon as I get out of the room, it's like I’ve come up for air. And I feel the effects of all of it for the rest of the day.
It's very, very slow. But I'm working through it. I still want to throw things, but maybe not as frequently. I'm working through it. Slowly.