PTSD, it’s more common than you might think

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I’m not a w  OMG!  I just wrote out the start of that sentence and put w instead of v (I meant to write very) but because I put the w by accident, I had a mini panic attack and just sat there thinking about what word I could write instead that starts with a w.

All of this happened in a notebook, in pen, of course, while I was sitting at my desk, in my house.  Why was the simple act of crossing out a letter so difficult for me?

My anxiety can get so bad, and my annoying OCD tendencies so strong that I couldn’t just cross it out, at least not without an internal fight.

There are the good days, where I manage to fight my anxiety before it consumes me, but more often than not there is always something.  When it comes to my blog– I think about it al the time. I come up with ideas that I want to write out– but then I feel this overwhelming sence of dread towards writing it.

For some reason I get the same feeling when I go to use my credit card when I don’t know if the payment I made has cleared and I worried the payment won’t go through.  Actually, I do know why I feel like that.I’m afraid of being embarrassed.  I don’t like the idea of someone making fun of me, judging me, or even feeling sorry for me.  And if I dig a little deeper, I guess a therapist would tell me it come back to my childhood.

I  used to get in trouble if (insert anything I did that annoyed my mother at any given moment) was to her standards, exactly when she wanted it.

The level of expectation for perfection was also a loose variable–not a constant, but she would never indicate what the level was at any time.  Eventually I just always expected it to be the highest level.

The summers before high school wasn’t spend hanging out with my friends– not at all.  I got the pleasure of baby-sitting, and there was no getting paid, no, this was an expectation. My sisters were ten and four, I was fourteen.  I was excepted to not only watch them ALL THE TIME but make lunches, and often diner, complete a daily list of chores, AND keep the house spotless.  Otherwise I would lose privileges– having to miss an outing with friends, no tv, no computer, or more chores.

At twenty-six with an almost four-year old and a very messy dog, I often have trouble keeping up to my own standards — let alone hers.

And then the self-shame kicks in.  It always happens after I realize I “should have known” something, but kept it buried inside.  Which I know is illogical. I know PTSD, or in this case CPTSD, is not my fault.  If I were listening to anyone else tell this same story I would tell them that, but I have trouble listening to myself.  I also know that I shouldn’t blame, or even hate myself for not noticing earlier, but I do.


Sometimes it feels like the rational me is locked in a cage and a very sadistic me (I just realized how much of this example comes from Inside Out, if you haven’t already, watch it, I think it’s a must see) is dangling the key in my face while letting my anxiety take over completely.

I want to stop listening to that horrible voice in my head when it tells me my fiance doesn’t really love/want/trust/belive me.  I know that he does, but logical me can’t take back control.

Honestly though, I am so tired of being pushed around by my anxiety.  I want to be proud of who I am. I don’t know how long it will take to get there, but that’s the ultimate goal.

Adults I was supposed to trust and look up to (my teachers, my mother), made me feel worthless at times, like I was choosing to complain about a non-existent issue, or purposely failing to meet ridiculous standards.

Now that I’m a parent it is much easier to sympathise a little, and understand that my mother (most likely) did not purposely cause the pain she did, and I am fairly confident that non of my teachers believed that I was in serious pain and purposely ignored me. (Read this post for details) That knowledge eases some of the pain, but dealing with CPTSD is an ongoing battle.

 


Side note.  I spent about two weeks fighting with myself to type something up.  I finally picked up a pen and the words just started flowing out.  The typing up is still a little hard, but much  better than before.  Handwriting rough drafts, it worked for me in school, I guess it will work for me now.
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Challenging the Past

I’m honestly not even sure what to think any more. So much of my beliefs have been based on my childhood memories– some of which, as I am now finding out, were wrong.

When I was younger, some physical activities would cause me pain. The biggest trigger was running. It was either in grade three or four that I first remember bringing up my pain with a teacher. I remember so vividly that this teacher would dismiss my concerns and even go as far as (loudly) telling me that I should stop trying to get out of gym, and that everyone has to deal with “pain like that”. I remember some kids teasing me about it, they would say that I was only trying to get out of gym because I wasn’t good at sports and that I wasn’t really in any pain.

I think it may have been the combination of embarrassment and belief that my teacher, someone who is supposed to be a trusted adult, that I have spent my whole life ignoring ‘minor’ pain. I believed that everyone got the same ‘minor’ pains that I do, because up until now, I have never had any reason to believe that what my third or fourth grade teacher said wasn’t true.

On the one hand, even though I understand now that this is not true, I still pass off so many things because I feel like they are nothing to concern a doctor with. I feel that if the pain doesn’t last more than a couple days at a time it is not a problem. I never take into account that the pain, while most times never lasting longer than two or three days at a time, reoccurs five or six times a month.

Is it normal to lose feeling in your hands or feet after as few as five minutes in the same position? Is it normal to have a headache for at least twenty days out of each month? Is it normal to go to bed at 11 PM and wake up at 9AM, and feel like it is physically impossible for you to stay awake? Is it normal to have a couple of days each month in which your hands just feel stiff, all day, with no relief? Is it normal to have a dry mouth all the time, no matter how much water you drink?

The problem is that I don’t know anymore. I feel as if I may fixated on the idea that I may have fibromyalgia because I just want to finally figure out the source of my pain and maybe get some relief. Is is possible that I have fibromyalgia? I do think it is, my sister was just diagnosed with it and many of my physical and mental issues are common symptoms of fibromyalgia.

At the same time, I feel as if I’m jumping to conclusions, and that most of my issues can also be explained by other causes. It is not easy being in my head, and all of my newly founded uncertainty with truths of my childhood is only making it harder.

Me

I sit, I cry,
Tears stream down my eyes.
I want, I wish,
To die like my fish.
I stand, I stare,
At my family waiting there.
I hope, I pray,
They have nothing to say
I kneel, I reach
The deadly reach
I stop, I wait,
Is this my fate?
I think, I smile,
I’ll stay for a while.

SKThompson, 2004

Love Me Challenge: Day Five

lovemechallenge

A note to your past You

Keep your chin up, nothing is as bad as it seems right now. You will be able to distance yourself from home. Spend more time with the people you do care about, you’ll never regret that. Better days are ahead. You’ll meet a little boy that steals your heart before he even takes his first breath. Once he is in your life everything will make sense, I promise.

Honestly though.

I wish I we could trade in our bodies for newer models. 

And I’m not even taking about weight or outward appearances at all.


I’m talking the stuff that can sometimes be hard to see.
Take for example, the following issues that have made my day oh so much fun. Chronic shoulder pain due to a torn rotator cuff. Severe tension headaches, that tend to travel up my head so fast- and some so bad I can’t move even my neck. Head cold with sore throat and stuffy nose- I catch colds very easily and they always stay longer than average-thanks to permanently swollen atanoids. 

Just to name a few of the perks of being me. The challenge of living with these issues has no doubt added to my anxiety and depression, but has also made me stronger for being able to fight through day-to-day life. 
Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change those things if it ment changing me–but maybe a day off every once an a while would be nice.

To You

When you see me, close your eyes
When you hear me, plug your ears
Everything we’ve been through
All the pain and the tears
The love and the laughter
The pride and the shame
None of this matters

To you, this was all a game

SKThompson, 2010