ETA: A few minutes after I published this post, I’m starting to slide into the mellowness of Xanax. I am so, so relieved. A little bit. Once I get completely mellow I think I’ll sleep or maybe read Sherlock Holmes
Son of ETA: I am sorry I am so emo at times that I risk turning S∂ into an emo blog, if it isn’t already, scrawled by teens who believe so strongly that they are so totally isolated in their unique despair.
Several hours ago I experienced an intrusive memory in the kitchen.
For those of you who have read Part 1 of my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction series on Tor.com, this was the equivalent of one small corner of the “tarp” coming loose in a light spring breeze.
Funnily enough, I no longer remember what the memory was.
But that doesn’t matter, apparently, because I had (and am still having) what is pretty much a panic attack (yes I have taken my Xanax. One pill; will be two shortly, I think) now, several hours later.
I am also so terrified of the kitchen and in particular every part of my own house outside of my bedroom that I dragged my work computer up here before the fear got very bad. Because I might get paged in the middle of the night, and I think I might not answer it if I left my computer downstairs, and that would be super-bad. Although I have been known to deal with high-severity issues during what is basically a three-tarp-corners-flying-in-the-wind episode, and do it well.
(All four corners would mean I’m in what I call a walking nightmare and what everybody else calls a full-blown disassociative PTSD episode, which I haven’t had for a very long time, I think—but I mostly know I’ve had those by hours-long gaping holes in my memory. The episode in the kitchen was under a minute—I checked the clocks.)
I think I’m technically at “two corners gone” right now, and the progression was so subtle that, while I thought I had completely recovered from that tiny spate in the kitchen, I really had not. Somewhat comparable to the second half of Part 3 of my PTSD in fiction series, where I talk about Josh’s little progression through the tarp-corners-blown-off in The West Wing‘s “Nöel” episode.
Excuse me, it’s been half an hour since the first Xanax. Taking the second one now. If I need past three I will be sort of screwed; I refuse to overdose on anything.
Some people have referred to my description of every single day during December through January as “scary.” I actually don’t think of it as “scary.” I think of it as stressful. I realize other people may not have the same frame of reference I do. (And yes, I’m aware that I did say I was scared of downstairs right now, but mostly I’m scared that I’ll have another episode, and this time it’ll be one of the gaping-holes-of-memory ones.)
I will say that when I was very, very little, I wrote a story in anger, as children sometimes do. It involved blood seeping under the door of our apartment into the hallway, unregarded by the neighbors, while inside a monster killed its victims by inches. Later on I realized that such reactions were not very useful, because being angry all the time simply meant that I might miss the cues that meant my father had gone from playing with matches to trying to set my face on fire.
Someone once told me that I must have had great hope to see me through the dark days. NO I DID NOT. I just had animal survival. Hope was not part of it.
I feel slightly better now. I feel like I’m not going to scream or try to mentally clench myself into some alternate state, I don’t know what that would be, but I’ve felt like doing that for over an hour and didn’t realize it.
I wish I knew what the trigger had been. But sometimes triggers are just complicated and nuanced, and you’ll never figure out what the hell it was.
I don’t know when I’ll sleep. I want to hug something, but I don’t know what; I learned the uselessness of stuffed toy animals for real comfort when I was fairly young. I know also if anyone touched me right now I really would scream.
On the other hand, I feel a little bit less like wanting to stop breathing. (Not as abstract as suicide… just wanting to stop breathing, literally. Something like asthma.)
So for now I’m stuck in this limbo between… I have no idea. I know it’s between a rock and a hard place and the Xanax is helping only a little and by gods I will not take the third pill because that means I’ll have none left for 24 hours oh my gods oh my gods oh my gods.
Aiya! appears a lot of times in Outlaws of the Marsh.
I am so, so exhausted from the constant fight-or-flight reaction now. I may just sleep because of that.
I really must sound like I should be committed at times. But that would make it much, much, much worse. I have dreams where my parents are trying to commit me, and actually succeed.
Okay, I feel a lot better now, actually. I may sleep or I may try to find more cat stories in the Kindle store to read, IDK.