(But there is Five for Heaven / Six for Hell, and that makes eleven….)
Today’s session was worth the last eleven copays for me. And actually probably worth whatever chunk of health plan my company bought. It’s not a great week for me right now, so this post will also be a little short.
Anyways, I talked to my bartender about… well, basically, everything in this post, which is actually a nice summary of what’s going on with me right now.
My bartender asked me if I ever took a little time in the day to breathe deeply and relax. And I told him I’d tried and failed.
But more than that: sitting around and doing nothing is something I am horribly afraid of. I think it may be second only to fear of my parents returning to kill me. I have to be reading something, or writing something, or programming, or coding, or documenting, or messing with WordPress plugins, or even listening to really horrible old 70s music. It has to twiddle some thinking part of my brain. If I don’t have something, then the emptiness fills up with whatever the PTSD wants to fill it up with, and it’s generally not good.
For instance, there’s a 15-minute window in every day that I like to call hell, but other people call the shower. People can meditate in showers. My mind just works itself up into all kinds of horror instead. A bath is a bit better, because after I wash my hair I can listen to an audio book or something, and thus hell is reduced to a few minutes. Even outside of the holidays, that little window is still hell, all throughout the year.
And on the other end of the “everyday” spectrum is driving—which is a little bit funny, because Lord Peter Wimsey also uses driving as an outlet, subconscious or not, for whatever his PTSD likes to cook up when it has a chance. You still have to pay attention to the road, and especially with music, it’s a nice way to completely not think about things other than driving the car properly. ((I don’t drive at very high speeds, because it’s inconsiderate to kill other people with your car, but Lord Peter probably drives very fast in the stories because then you really can’t think about anything else.)) For me, for some reason, driving eliminates the window for PTSD to peek in, even if it’s really near. ((That’s why I go shopping when I start to feel really hemmed in; it’s not the shopping, it’s the driving to the places to shop, and sometimes I don’t even go in, but just drive about.)) ((I think, actually, I’m also able to drive well even if I’m in the middle of a flashback. The only two times I’ve had full flashbacks I was out by myself, but I definitely woke up in one piece in my own bed the next day, and the car was still clean and without a scratch, sitting quite neatly into the garage space. And parked rather more neatly than I usually do, even. It’s weird, y’all.))
My bartender at this point then pointed out what I haven’t been able to figure out for myself, gods know why: I’m scared of the emotions that come with the PTSD. Even after all these years. I suppose I take a tack similar to PTSD sufferers who try to stamp out all emotion: I just tried to distract myself constantly from it. I never wanted to accept even the fact that the feelings happened, much less the feelings themselves; and so, when the dam breaks, as it inevitably does every year, I’m not at all prepared for what happens.
So. We gonna work on the acceptance bit. I have to keep reminding myself that acceptance of the feelings does not mean that the feelings are right, or that I deserve them in penance for some hideous wrong in a previous life, or that they will always be there if I let them in….
Okay, it’s going to be a long haul. But there’s a direction! Thank all the gods, there’s a direction!
I was relatively happy after that. And my company and manager weren’t mad at me at all! (He hadn’t had coffee when I called him, is all.) And my team was awesome, as they usually are.
Of course, that was all too good to last.
Later in the afternoon, I happily chatted to a friend, and as various bysides in the conversation, he told me to not even consider coming over until some time after the New Year; and even then, you know, we’ll just go shopping or something, not actually visit. And though I hated it, I knew he was right. The only reason I started therapy is because I had a full flashback at his place during the holidays a few years ago, and it wasn’t one of the quiet ones.
And we could always say that it’s really because I have the pager through Christmas.
But you know, I already knew this. I didn’t even ask. He didn’t have to tell me. But I guess it’s best to get everything… clear.
Maybe next year. Or maybe never: I know that night broke an important part of our budding friendship that has never since healed. And the worst part is that this has happened multiple times to different friendships. ((Twice. And yes, the same number of times I’ve had full flashbacks.))
I try not to have close friends anymore. It’s not fair to them.
And all this of course goes double for love.
Anyways! We have a new direction, and now I totally have an excuse to entitle myself “Ice Queen” or something, except that if I am an Ice Queen, it’s more like an Ice Cream Queen. Actually… no… I am a Dessert Queen. Yes. All kinds of dessert, but especially the ones a la mode, and no sand.