I have ducked and dodged therapy my whole life essentially. Now that I've found a therapist I'm growing comfortable with you'd think life would improve, but honestly I find it's getting harder. While I haven't had flashbacks for many years, now I'm having them pretty consistently. I'm also bouncing from sad and borderline suicidal to irritable and hyper. Since we're already socially isolated going through COVID-19 lockdown, it's hard to say that I'm isolating so much as every little thing makes me jump. Fortunately, I don't remember having any nightmares for a week or two now.
Understanding My Messy Brain
While I know that the events leading to my PTSD aren't my fault, I'm currently at the point of wondering why I didn't say no or stand up for myself. Not only am I suffering in this way but I can't bring myself to understand that my brain doesn't function like other healthy adults' brain does. In fact, research conducted by NTBI shows that many areas of a person's brain are changed for the rest of a person's life after they've experienced any traumatic stress. These include:
- The amygdala which controls your reaction to stimuli which is why people with PTSD tend to become startled more easily
- The hippocampus which controls memories and how you experience emotions which explains why people with PTSD are often depressed and experience frequent flashbacks
- The prefrontal cortex which controls your planning, decision making, and social behaviors which explains why people with PTSD tend to seek isolation
Running but not Surviving
Honestly, with avoiding therapy for 40+ years you'd think I'd be fine with being in therapy now. However, I honestly never gave myself an opportunity to heal. Even when I was in therapy I'd have terrible attendance. I didn't realize that I had a problem since I was able to function. However, truth be told, I was bottling it all up inside trying to be the strong one. I've been told that now that I'm finally attending therapy consistently I've basically reopened an old wound and exposed it so it's getting re-infected again. Nevertheless, I know that this is vital if I want to become the woman God has designed me to be because I don't believe He meant for me to experience so much pain in my 44 years on Earth.
Treading Through the Grief
I'm also learning that there are various stages that I'll have to go through with my recovery. The three stages that I've been told about include:
- Establishing safety: Right now I don't feel safe in my own skin, I've put aside a lot of stuff to concentrate on healing this month. I don't know my own strengths or who I even am and my emotions are definitely all over the place.
- Retelling my story and mourning what I've lost: I honestly don't know that rehashing everything is doing me any good right now. I've been told that I need to get my feelings out but I just don't like this process. I don't know that there's any other or better process, but this is how I'm feeling.
- Reconnecting: I know that eventually I'll feel empowered and be able to call myself an overcomer. Maybe I'll even consider dating again. Who knows, but being healthy is an important goal for me. I also know that as a Christian I've been called to forgive. I'm not sure what that'll look like yet but we'll see when we get there.
Coming Through the Other Side
Honestly, all of this is just way too much for me to handle right now. I know why it's happening but that doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with. I'd love to run and avoid tomorrow's therapy appointment. It's not that I don't have a great therapist because I know I do based upon the personal referral I got for him. It's just that the emotions I'm feeling right now are too much for me. This morning I honestly prayed, "Jesus carry me" and while I'm finding it difficult to trust anyone right now since I've never been able to trust anyone before, I have to trust that this is what He'll do...