WHAT IT FEELS LIKE…

Someone sent me an email. It wasn’t mean, but it was a bit thoughtless. The sender “anonymous” as his/her name. It may have been sent by someone who reads my blog or it might have been sent by someone with whom I work. Who knows? This is not a plea for pity or even sympathy. I decided it might even be somehow therapeutic to write this down.

The email wanted to know what the big deal was with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and why I wasn’t able to just “snap out of it” and get on with my life. I know I should be an expert on the condition of PTSD by now, but I’m not. I don’t even like thinking about it and insurance does not cover “real” therapy other than to throw meds at it and see a doctor every 6 weeks.

So, I often feel quite hopeless and alone. Thank God for B, Ing, Bagel and Alan. They sort of hold me together as I work thru what they call an “episode” of the syndrome which I’m told will eventually work itself out and I’ll return to my normal self.

Essentially, I find myself reliving horrible things that happened to me as a child. This usually always happens at night — or in the very early hours. Dream beyond nightmares. I wake up in terror and confused. Sometimes I’m not even sure who or where I am. They are called “night terrors” and it has created an irrational fear of night time. I know it isn’t logical, but I can’t seem to force that belief into my brain. I get really jumpy at night.

Actually, I’m just sort of on edge all of the time — and tired most of the time. I nap a lot during the day. For the past 4 months I am in a constant sort of bubble feeling. I feel like I’m stuck in a camera or someone else’s body watching everything happen to me. And, my sense of balance is off. I trip and fall. I get confused. I get lost. Sometimes this sensation becomes so intense it scares me to the point that I start to faint. It is either getting better or I’m getting used to it. But, it never stops. A sudden sound or surprise can knock me off guard and make me jump. At night I find I need to hold the puppy or a pillow to feel safe and grounded. I have become very short tempered.

…I am told this is called disassociation or something like that — and I am told that all of my problems are “text book” Post Trauma Stress Disorder. As if that should make me feel better.

I just want it all to stop.

I’m not suicidal. Quite the opposite. I am tired of being a victim and I am determined to beat this. I’m doing the very best I can.

I am on short term disability which is covered by the state of California. My income has been cut by 25% and there is usually some obnoxious delay caused by either my health care providers or by the state. As an example, my last two checks have been cut in half due to clerical mistakes. This will eventually be sorted and I will receive a larger check — but probably not until after the holidays.

I feel like less of a man because I am unable to contribute what I feel is a fair share toward our bills. I’ve started trying to cook meals for B when he comes home at night from work, but I’m not much of a cook and find that I get confused sometimes when I do. Did I put this or that in? I end up rummaging thru the garbage can to be sure I didn’t miss a key ingredient. I find myself staring off into space and almost burn the food.

This is hell.

I fall down on the subway. I trip on stairs. Sometimes I get into a crying jag.

I have to be cautious about what movies I see — a violent film can send me into a panic. I freeze and have to fight to be able to get up and leave the cinema. Then I sort of fall apart either in the lobby or the bathroom. I do my best to hide it. At the moment, I’m over-medicated as they are trying to both help me sleep and get me off one med and on to another. So, I sometimes find that my speaking is slurred. These new meds cause sugar cravings in 90% of the people who take them. Well, I’m one. I’ve put on 20 pounds. After the holidays the doctor has a plan to help me cut down the weight gain. Hard to explain, these cravings are next to impossible to fight.

I feel ugly. …like everyone knows what happened to me when they look at me. Even tho, I know this can’t be true. It is how I feel. I get panicked in a room full of people. Like I’m being judged. I feel like what happened when I was 4 to 9 was my fault even tho I know it wasn’t.

Sometimes, like today, I wake up from a horrible nightmare in a cold sweat. I’m dizzy, confused and in a state of horror. After I manage to catch my breath, I get to the bathroom as I feel like I need to use the bathroom — and the unbearable pain I felt back when I was a child has returned. I sweat, I start to pass out, I feel like I must be bleeding — but it passes. My head down to my knees to keep from fainting off the toilet. I haven’t gone to the bathroom. It is like some phantom pain.

The doctor seems to be preparing me for the fact that I might need to go on permanent disability. This scares me to even think about. I feel like an invalid.

Yes, I wish I could just snap out of this more than anyone. I want my life back and i will get it back. It just might not be the life I had planned.

The things that can happen to us seem to be able to stay with us forever. Children are precious. They are more fragile than you think. No one was “there” or able to protect me back then. So, I’m stumbling. But, I’m blessed with a wonderful — near perfect life-partner/lover and dear friends. And, as limited as it is — I do have medical care.

I’ve lost my position at the organization I so love. They will have another same/equal position when and if I’m able to return to work. That all remains to be seen.

My life is changing. It is horrible and tough. But, look. I’ve been thru worse and lived thru it. I will get thru this. It will just take time.

Don’t judge another until you’ve been in his/her shoes. Sometimes, we can’t just snap out of it. Sometimes, we just have to do our best to get thru it. It isn’t easy. I hope I don’t regret this posting. But, I felt I needed to write it down. I felt like I needed to try and explain a bit of what I’m going thru.

I’m strong. I’m OK. I don’t want pity, but I don’t want to be treated as if I’m being a baby about things. I want to snap out of it. I’m doing my very best.

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December 19, 2007. Uncategorized.

17 Comments

  1. Robert replied:

    It breaks my heart reading this entry. 😦 Would some sort of meditation help? I personally don’t practice it but I’ve heard good things. A struggle it sounds, and I hope things will get a bit easier for you in time. One breath at a time.

    Take care Matty.

    PS. My crazy work isn’t blocking Blogger this morning!?!

  2. Dessie replied:

    I have to say Matty, thanks for posting this. I really never understood your condition before and now I feel I have a better grasp of it all.

    One day at a time, and as you know you are loved, and of course you’re totally hot.

    Kisses from fogtown.
    xx

  3. hot lunch replied:

    me too Matty, i didn’t know what you were going through and now I have a better understanding. I’m very happy that you have B and your close friends to help you along. You are amazing and fabulous and you will get through this! *big hugs*

  4. diamondfistwerny replied:

    First of all, I didn’t know you were dealing with this disorder. I am too. It’s odd in that I wrote a post about it yesterday; and also recieved a ‘thoughtless’ email? It’s a condition which very few understand. Even when I try to explain, people still are confused. Big huggerz, bud.

  5. pakipoptart replied:

    Wow Matty I’m completely speechless. You know PTSD is practically a footnote in my medical books. To hear what you are going thru it really gives it some perspective. How can you forgive the past and move on? I ask myself this question all the time. There is no way I feel it is possible. Experiences from the past seem like tatoos. No matter how much therapy you go thru and learn about yourself, there are still patterns of behavior that you can’t let go.

    I appreciate you writing this. I’m inspired by your courage to keep trying in spite of all the negative. No pity, just praise.

  6. Miss S replied:

    I don’t like that anyone would be thoughtless with you, feeling a bit protective here.

    My dad has PTSD from the war, and it was really terrible to watch him suffer with it before there was really a name for it at all. I feel like popping on every jerk who thinks it’s just a “get over it” situation. It’s not as simple as all that.

    You are a brave and good person, dear Matty. I’m glad that you are open and willing to share yourself with everyone. And, I’ll say it again: I’m glad I know you!

  7. Amanda replied:

    I know I don’t know you so I hope you don’t mind me even commenting, however you are very brave to have written that post. Also, you have put together some very good illustrations to go with it, to me that means you have real strength of character and a good sense of self. I am sure that you will find a peace that you can live with. All the best, A x

  8. matty03 replied:

    Hey Kids,

    Thanks so much for the comments and emails.

    I’m going to get out of this hole. I guess it will just take a bit longer than I ever expected.

    kisses,
    matty

  9. ing replied:

    Exactly. If you could “snap out of it,” you’d be all better right now, and clearly this isn’t something you want to be going through.

    I know that things will get better for you in time, and from the outside I think there’s been some improvement already! Of course, I don’t know how it is for you. I’m rooting for you!

  10. ginab replied:

    you know I am sorry there are people (period). but especially some so stupid they’re unaware there’s one of us in three, some times five.

    -ginab+beatrice sending you light at night

  11. matty03 replied:

    Ing and Gina — Thank you.

  12. Old Cheeser replied:

    A very honest post Matty – I didn’t realise you’d lost your job though – sorry to hear that, as I knew it was your dream position. Here’s hoping there will be something for you when you go back.

  13. Java replied:

    This is enlightening, reading what you experience. It makes sense to me. I have some similar struggles. Not PTSD, but depression and who knows what else. Snap out of it? HA! If only.
    When I read this I get the impression of strength. You are wounded, but you are strong. Not healthy, but working at healing in a very healthy way. If that makes sense.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. matty03 replied:

    Java – Thank you.

  15. matty03 replied:

    Cool Old Cheeser! …Me, too!

  16. karyn replied:

    You know? Some people need to remove their heads from their sphincters BEFORE they sit down to type.

    I haven’t been given a diagnosis yet for my particular brand of neuroses, but PTSD has been bandied about. And it grinds me, REALLY GRINDS ME, when people act like I need to just get my shit together and get on with it. Seriously? Seriously. Because I love the way my life is right at the moment? The freedom that comes with fiscal insolvency and dependence on others? The glamour? The peace of mind?

    Riiiiiiiight.

    Fuck ’em.

    You do your bit the best way you know how and you leave the rest behind.

    Love from the coast, Matty, and a modicum of understanding.

  17. matty03 replied:

    Karyn! Thank you for that! And, I’m sending a lot of positive energy your way — and a warm cyber hug! I just keep telling myself that it is going to calm and will work out, but — as you know — that is so much easier to “say” than actually believe.

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