Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Travailing through Trauma: A Night With PTSD

Last night, PTSD won. I spent most of the night curled up in my closet, like a child afraid of the Boogeyman, trying my best to be as small as possible, like nothing at all, because the amount of open space my room offered was too much. Around 11 p.m., I laid on the floor with my deep plum blanket and a pillow beneath me—as the carpeted floor is hard after some time—surrounded by decorative pillows, shoes, and a worn hamper full of dirty laundry, trying not to cry from intrusive memories that transformed themselves into a horrific flashback. I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck and his hands claiming me against my will…

I tried to breathe deeply to remind myself that I was still here and not there anymore (his hands weren’t actually on me). I tried to externalize the flashback by using a visualization of a TV screen, whereby the trauma is reduced to a 2-dimensional picture instead of with me, clouding my senses and distorting my reality, but it only made the flashback worse. Memories danced across my dark closet ceiling like a silent film and as much as I wanted to turn it off, I couldn’t. So, I let it play out. I had a panic attack, or two; I can’t remember. I don’t remember getting up and crawling back to bed nor do I recall falling asleep, but these things must have happened because when I woke up in my bed this morning, my knees ached with pain. When I woke up this morning, my brain felt like someone had melted it with a blow torch: I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I was experiencing dizziness, and I was just completely out of it. Still, I had to go to work.

Somewhere between me leaving my house to catch the bus and the end of my shift, chronic pain showed up. I have dealt with headaches, chest pain, and pain stemming from endometriosis all day. I want nothing more than to take a hot, long shower and climb in bed. I want my mind to not be so cloudy, as I don’t remember anything that happened at work today. I want to rest more than anything.

Today, the residue of PTSD, and chronic pain won. Sometimes, it’s like that. Bad days happen. In spite of that, strength is still there. Even if it’s hard to see or feel, even if it’s as tiny as a grain of sand, it’s still there. Maybe tomorrow, more will come, but right now, I’m holding on to what strength I have for tonight.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Travailing through Trauma: A Night With PTSD

Last night, PTSD won. I spent most of the night curled up in my closet, like a child afraid of the Boogeyman, trying my best to be as small as possible, like nothing at all, because the amount of open space my room offered was too much. Around 11 p.m., I lied on the floor with my deep plum blanket and a pillow beneath me, as the carpeted floor is hard after some time, surrounded by decorative pillows, shoes, and a worn hamper full of dirty laundry, trying not to cry from intrusive memories that transformed themselves into a horrific flashback. I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck and his hands claiming me against my will…

I tried to breathe deeply to remind myself that I was still here and not there anymore (his hands weren’t actually on me). I tried to externalize the flashback by using a visualization of a TV screen, whereby the trauma is reduced to a 2-dimensional picture instead of with me, clouding my senses and distorting my reality, but it only made the flashback worse. Memories danced across my dark closet ceiling like a silent film and as much as I wanted to turn it off, I couldn’t. So, I let it play out. I had a panic attack, or two; I can’t remember. I don’t remember getting up and crawling back to bed nor do I recall falling asleep, but these things must have happened because I when I woke up in my bed this morning, my knees ached with pain. When I woke up this morning, my brain felt like someone had melted it with a blow torch: I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I was experiencing dizziness, and I was just completely out of it. Still, I had to go to work.

Somewhere between me leaving my house to catch the bus and the end of my shift, chronic pain showed up. I have dealt with headaches, chest pain, and pain stemming from endometriosis all day. I want nothing more than to take a hot, long shower and climb in bed. I want my mind to not be so cloudy, as I don’t remember anything that happened at work today. I want to rest more than anything.

Today, the residue of PTSD, and chronic pain won. Sometimes, it’s like that. Bad days happen. In spite of that, strength is still there. Even if it’s hard to see or feel, even if it’s as tiny as a grain of sand, it’s still there. Maybe tomorrow, more will come, but right now, I’m holding on to what strength I have for tonight.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Lost: Searching for Peace

I just got home from life group, AKA, hanging out with a bunch of Christians. It was uneventful until two games of Brazilian Uno, as per our nightly routine, but something different happened tonight. A lone piano was played, came alive by talented hands, and praises were sung to a holy deity. Tonight, different voices became one unified, solid voice of glory. Tonight, worship happened. Well, for everyone but me that is. I couldn’t sing. It was not for lack of desire, trust me, but I just couldn’t do it. I stood nearby, mesmerized by the pianist’s hands, remembering my own days of playing beautiful melodies and gaining ultimate control as I played each correct note as it related to the song, but something prevented me from joining in with the rest of the group.

In a previous blog, I shared how I had a moment with God while walking to my house before rain fell. I thought I was ready to come back to Christianity, to come back home, but tonight showed me that maybe I’m not ready just yet. I still have not prayed, or completed an actual prayer I should say, because every time I have tried, it has resulted in a massive panic attack. I admit, I fear this powerful Being. Before I went to college, my relationship with God, despite my analytical nature, was built on blind faith and emotionalism, nothing more. After college, where I got introduced to theology, church history, and apologetics, that’s when the questioning began. The intellectual side grew and I started to shun all emotionalism. I know there are some things I must unlearn about my perception of God, harmful theology and the like, but despite that, I thought I knew God and His heart; I guess I don’t though.

If I’m being honest, I have always struggled with the idea of a faithful, ever-loving God. And though I know the Bible says that God is love and loves unconditionally, I’m still waiting for Him to turn his back on me, waiting for Him to leave me, or invalidate my emotions, or tell me “You know better! How dare you ask such questions! How dare you doubt Me!”

Tonight, I was emotional, as I sat in my friend’s car crying because of the worship displayed. It vexes me because I don’t know what to do with it; I don’t know what it means for my future steps with God (maybe). I wish I knew.

There’s a verse somewhere in the Bible that says God is not the “author of confusion” and right now, I’m more lost and confused than ever. I don’t know how this is going to end, or even if it will end. I just want answers and peace and assurance.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

What No One Tells You after a Suicide Attempt (Part 2)

*If you’re interested in reading Part 1, click here*

When you’re filling out paperwork, after being hospitalized, and the personnel asks you if wanted to die, if you really meant to jump, do not tell her the truth; they’ll only use it against you to keep you locked up longer.

When you tell the unfeeling personnel the truth–that you actually did want to die, tried so hard to die, and she looks straight through you with glassy, foggy eyes that make you feel smaller than a pregnant ant, you will wish that you had jumped.

When a kind soul offers her arms for you to cry into, cry into them, for they are the only remnants of home, save for the clothes on your back.

When they strip you naked and you stand in front of them in nothing but a paper gown, as they search for anything you might have on you to harm yourself with, you’ll want nothing more than to have the floor open you up and swallow you whole.

When your mother picks you up after being discharged, do not notice that her hair is a mess, sprawled out in all directions, for she is a woman who cares deeply about appearances. Do not look into her eyes and see how much damage, confusion, and sleeplessness you caused.

When you return to normalcy, you will feel loneliest and outraged the most when you’re with people who make jokes and insensitive comments about “those crazy people” and how they “need to be locked up.”

You’ll regret not being able to hold down those pills or not jumping off the roof at least 15 times since your discharge date.

You may have flashbacks and intrusive memories. Do not let these stop you from living in the present.

Recovery is a bitch but not always.

Many people will not understand and will blame demonic influence or a desire for attention as the underlying reason for your attempt. Pay them no mind. Unless they’ve been there, they’re not going to understand.

Learning to love yourself is going to be the hardest thing you ever do.