Each night is a fresh hell brought forth by memories I can never erase.
Since the war, my life has become a monotony of misery. My sheets soaked in sweat each night from panic, tangled and shredded at my feet from the struggle.
I’ve gone through five sets this year alone. And it’s only April.
Palms sweating. Heart racing. Numbness in every extremity. Unexplained, excruciating and near constant pain. Hot then instantly cold, unable to regulate my own internal thermostat. Racing thoughts of worthlessness and suicide. Rocking in my bed, unable to lift my head or even leave the safety of my sheets some days. The constant invisible agony that no one sees.
Each quick turn of the head gives me glimpses of gore. Hacked bodies lying on city streets, machetes headed in my direction. Flashbacks that can over take my whole reality and leave me in psychosis hell in an instant with terror in every direction. You see to me a trigger is only the small part of the gun staring in my face. It has no relation to the things it “should” and people’s coddled affection for my ailment only leaves me pitied and alone in my misery. There is no amount of shielding that will lessen my fate. You see, the smell of cooked bacon, reminds me of their burning flesh, but I can read about rape until the cows come home. I can explore gore without emotion, but spending joyful times with my nieces and nephews leaves me paralysed with dread for days.
You see, my brain has learned to interpret success and joy as pain and trauma. Permenantly etched as the new reality, each new bliss follows hours or days or even weeks of panic and intense urges to flee, run away, hide, or die. Just stop the pain that follows. I can’t go through it all again. Afraid to be happy, feeling underserving, it has transformed my life into a sad misery where every joy is literally pain. Pure torture.
When people laugh and joke that they have “PTSD” after something minorly annoying happens to them, I feel like they have just punched me in the gut and left me breathless, keeling over from worthlessness. Diminished. Like my struggle is worthy of their laughter, and that I am somehow weak for having this viseral physical reaction to the protracted trauma I experienced. I consider if for just one moment they could reach inside my head and feel this type of terror face to face if they’d ever make that joke again. But then, I wouldn’t wish that horror on anyone. Not even for a moment.
My reality looks bleak. There’s a 70% chance I’ll suffer from this trauma for the rest of my existence. You see, I’m a prisoner of war, trapped forever in the hell my own brain has created to compensate for the horrors it could not explain. It’s no wonder most of us just decide to end it. There are enemies all among us, politely ensuring we survive only to endure more horror and there is no one ever coming to rescue us. We are in this all alone, forever.
My week has begun to take shape once again.
A scheduled routine of monotony. But it’s ok. It’s the only way I’ll ever heal again.
My Mondays and Tuesday are work days. I do my freelance writing on these days for any clients I may have.
Wednesdays, I do grant writing for a nonprofit I’m working with, and then go to Healing Circles in the evening.
Thursdays I work on new poetry and any leftover freelancing.
Fridays, I have my songwriting course.
Saturdays are usually fun days where I have dinners or hang outs or parties.
Sundays, I do the soup kitchen.
These regular scheduled things where I have to go out of the house and do things.
My other daily task list ever lengthening. Trying to get back to routine, but also to catch up on the things I’ve been missing in my illness for so long.
I’ve got to have a shower. I have to play the guitar for twenty minutes or so. I have to do yoga in the morning and the evening, at least a sun salutation. I have to do write in my journal. I have to write here on my progress. I have to do my dishes, at least every second day.
This has always been my dread. And now it’s my life.
I went from being the most interesting person, to being dreadfully boring, at least in my day to day.
I applied to work at a restaurant as a server one night a week. Just to get out of the house. In place of the farm, which was working so well for me over the warmer months. The only problem with steady work is my illness. Freelance works so beautifully because it’s project work. Do this one item, at my own pace and hand it in a short time later. I can take on work at my leisure, and turn it down when I’m stressed or sick.
But working at an office. Or a factory. Or in the service industry. Where my attendance matters to the employers and I can’t just do the work later in the evening, or the next day when I’m feeling better.
It’s almost impossible for me to get a full time job for this reason. I can manage as I am now, with what I do, but I live cheap. Very cheap. And I try to stay within those means.
It’s not a glamorous life, but I’m not lacking for anything I need.
Again. I could barely get myself out of bed. My body is moving slow, but it’s my brain that’s the biggest obstacle.
I did the basics on my list. For the most part. But it’s just pure dissociation and anxiety the last few days. Fleeting thoughts of uselessness, worthlessness, loneliness, isolation. I feel like the world is spinning without me. I’m here. But I’m almost just observing. I’m not in my body. It feels like an entirely separate entity to me. I can barely control it anymore.
The strangest thing of all is that I have stopped having a desire for sex entirely. My sex addiction is not only under control, now I have zero desire. Zero drive. I just don’t care anymore. I don’t think I could even cum if I wanted to right now, which is the weirdest of all, because I can usually come in like 2 seconds, without even being touched…
I guess the depression has finally won. I don’t feel sexy anymore, and even stranger, I don’t feel like any of the people I meet are sexy anymore. It’s been several months like this. Ever since my friend died.
I think his death blocked me in some ways. About five months before he died, we had been quite intimate and spent a lot of time together. Stupid shit was happening with the one guy I had been dating on and off for a while, and I said I couldn’t be in a relationship. He started dating someone, and I went back to fucking my other fwbs and we stayed close… but then he died. Out of nowhere. And I felt like a train had hit me.
Now I feel very alone.
The three people I used to confide in as my regular close friends are gone. One dead. One insane. And the last too deep in addiction. Even though I have tons of friends, I no longer have the regular hang out that I used to have with those three. I no longer have someone to tell my day to. It feels lonely.
I no longer have the physical touch I used to get so regularly. I almost cringe when people touch me these days. I don’t know what’s going on with my body anymore. I just want to be normal. What I wouldn’t give to be normal again.
I’ve given myself the gift of music every year for Christmas for the last several years. The first year, it was fixing up an old flute my friend had given me. The next year, it was a used saxophone. The next year, a guitar. An instrument I have aspired to play my whole life. An instrument I took lessons in for an entire year, and still couldn’t grasp it. An instrument I was sure would sit unused in my apartment.
But it hasn’t. Over the last year, I’ve learned to play the guitar. And I’ve developed my singing voice right along with it. Another instrument I didn’t think I would ever be able to “play”. I’m still fairly basic. Chords, a few picking songs, but nothing too challenging. My strumming is still a bit wonky.
This year, I gave myself the gift of a songwriting course. I’ve been a writer for years, but music has always been different. I can write poetry, but songs are harder. I can play the music on the sheet in front of me, but to come up with my own notes… well. It seems impossible.
I start tomorrow night. The instructor ensures me they can break this block in me. That they can develop my voice for songwriting.
Given that I couldn’t even dream of playing the guitar half as good as I do now years ago, I’m inclined to believe them.
I’ve been writing a storm lately. Much more than normal.
Tons of poetry for slam. I’ve got 15 pieces now for the next year so far. In just under a month. I’ve got many of them memorized to various degrees. I’ve got a few them perfected in their stage performance (at home anyway), and feel they are ready to be properly performed.
I’ve been writing about global systems. I’ve been writing in my journal nonstop. I’ve been writing here, trying to keep track of my progress in my mental health. To have a place of reference when I’m feeling bad. To see what I’ve accomplished, how I’ve progressed. Remember what worked, and what didn’t. Have a place to set the day free.
My creativity is definitely flowing more than ever, and that’s a good thing. My brain is starting to feel more secure in the day time. I’m getting more accomplished. I’m taking better care of myself. Task by task. Checking them off each day. Giving myself a break after each accomplishment. Tracking them to see that I’m mostly doing things, even if my mornings start off bad.
I’m still feeling completely dissociated.
The other night, I didn’t break when talking in the women’s circle. But the songs. After the first song, the tears couldn’t stop flowing. I felt happiness, but yet, this great relief and burden being taken from me.
It’s hard to explain to people that times of great joy, are almost always immediately followed by mixed feelings from my brain telling me to be extremely upset. My brain doesn’t remember happy. It doesn’t know what that is anymore, so when it feels it, it feels like it’s just scary and new. It takes every effort of my body to feel joy. It drains the life right out of me.
Inevitably, after every time I have a great time somewhere, I spend the next few days unable to get out of bed. Just crying and reeling in pain.
I don’t know how I fix this.
I’ve tried to not worry. I’ve tried to label my emotions. Allowed myself to feel them. To truly feel them, before I let them go. I have a whole arsenal of meditations and practices to calm myself, but yet still. This always looming death lingers over my head. This ever-alertness tells me to protect myself.
Before I leave my apartment, I make sure my cat can escape in case of Armageddon and I don’t return. I know these are not rational feelings, but they still come. I still act on them.
I’ve got a new solution for my hoarding of food though. I started working at the makeshift soup kitchen in our town, and I’m going to make some great meals for them to lessen the amounts in my cupboards.
I know I can get through this, but I’m tired of just getting through. I want to thrive. I want to be happy. I want to be able to get up in the morning feeling refreshed. Actually having a good night sleep, or a happy dream. I want to want to get out of bed and not wish I had died in my sleep. I want my life not be an effort.
I just feel so overwhelmed by it all.