This is a hard one to write. It has been a long time coming.
The words and thoughts rattle around in my head like hamsters running on a rusty exercise ball…sometimes there is a smooth spot and sometimes it’s a laborious process that I have to work and work and work to get through the tight rusted together spots…
For the past 6 months or so I have been seeing a therapist. Not physical, not occupational, but as I described it to my 5 year old daughter: a mind doctor.
My body has finally started healing from it, I figured it was time to start healing my mind too.
Sigh. This is where it gets tough.
Going through therapy I have learned a few things…mostly about myself and how to deal with things that trigger my anxiety and PTSD.
Some of those triggers happen out of nowhere…like on a trip to a ladies retreat 2 years ago with my baby sister (who is in her 20’s btw…not a baby) and having a panic attack out of nowhere because I couldn’t see the lines that were on the side of the road. Commence a tense conversation that ended in tears because I was reliving when I was hit head on. Now mind you, my sister was being the picture perfect driver, no swerving, no veering…no…nothing. I had to explain that I still get panic attacks when my husband, whom I trust with not only my life, but the life of my children with, is driving. My sister, who is no stranger to PTSD or trauma or anxiety, understood where I was coming from and got that there was nothing I could do to avoid those triggers and it had nothing to do with her, but everything to do with how my body and mind process the information coming in. Once the episode was over and we were seated talking and crying and comforting (she was comforting, I was mostly just blubbering), and I was able to remind myself that I was safe, we were able to move on.
The more I go to therapy, the more I am coming to realize that the triggers can come and go and they are not always the same…there are a few that are, but often they are disjointed, seemingly unconnected and they come out of nowhere. Unbidden. Unwanted. Flashes of memory that send my mind into a whirl, my body trying to grasp at the fleeting bits of air that are getting sucked out of the space I am in (it could be indoors, outdoors…it doesn’t matter and doesn’t make logical sense), and makes my jaw clench, my hands ball up into fists and sends my heart pounding and racing.
I get into these fight or flight modes that often I don’t realize until after the episode the reason of why it happened…and it leaves me feeling…stressed. Angry. Hurt. Vulnerable. And scared.
Because of those feelings that come up, and I am still learning to recognize them for what they are, the feelings overflow from my mind into anger. Anger at the kids making noise. Anger at Cris sitting in the wrong seat. Anger at the fact that a dish I dirtied is not magically clean…down deep it is actually Anger at the fact that I am scared. That is what is at the heart of it. Fear. Fear that I will be a hurt, broken bodied 19 year old stuck in the hospital again having to relearn how to walk, write and use the bathroom again.
Fear. An ugly 4 lettered word. Depression grabs hold of that word and fills it out…puts flesh on the bones of the word and knows how to work it’s way insiduously through the rooms of my mind, slowly filling up every area until I feel stuck being overcome by the FEAR. Fear that I am not good enough. Fear that I am not loved. Fear that because I have a broken body, I am not up to the task of leading my kids anywhere. Fear that I am not whole. Fear that I will be stuck in the dark hole of depression forever and never be able to find my way out. Fear that because I have experienced brokenness that that is all anyone can see and that means that I am not worthy.
Worthy of what? Worthy of beauty. Worthy of goodness. Worthy of Grace or of Mercy.
More coming later….