The Darkness of PTSD

PTSD, short for post traumatic stress disorder, comes into a person’s life in a variety of forms. Every person on the planet has encountered someone with PTSD. Perhaps they have it themselves. It is very commonly associated with military, men and women alike. I cannot speak for others, I find myself getting annoyed with those who claim to understand what the military but have never served time in any of the branches of the military. Not many of us civilians have seen what our servicemen and women have seen, so what gives us the right to “understand” what they have experienced? I digress.

I can only speak of what has traumatized me in the short duration of my life and how I’ve learned to cope. I won’t even try to relate to those who have seen the fine art of war, the macabre of death, or the exclusiveness is killing. I simply cannot relate. In all situations, it’s a horror that defies description. Cannot. Be. Explained.

I have been abused. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. I am NOT a victim of those circumstances nor will I allow myself to be victimized again. However, the trauma I experienced has helped me grow as a person. Each situation was different. Each situation left an impression that is unique and distinctive. They allow me to empathize with other women who have been through similar experiences. I chose to take my trauma and learn from it. It was an opportunity to grow and become stronger. Women are strong and resilient.

Every day, I struggle. You can’t see it. You can’t fathom what I’m thinking. You cannot understand the darkness I live in from time to time unless you have personally experienced it for yourself. Today’s struggle has me in darkness.

No, I’m not suicidal. Suicidal people don’t make future plans. Especially not with people they care about and love. I also do not have a plan for that shit.

It’s just a weird dark place where I can’t communicate what’s in my head. I just want to be held. No talking. No words. Someone just wrap their arms around me and let me be. I might cry. I might be stone-still in your arms. Please don’t tell me to suck it up. I’d never say that to you.

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Right now, I’m taking a short trip through that dark valley. I’m not reliving my past but rather, I’m feeling crowded by the darkness swirling in my brain. PTSD, for me, comes with residual darkness. It’s a jumble of negative emotions that rise to the surface of my being. The positivity I try to express on a daily basis can overwhelm me. I cannot be happy-go-lucky all the time. When the darkness emerges, I struggle to contain it. It’s not who I am. It’s not the real me.

Can I cry right now? Will you hold me while I cry? Please don’t tell me that it will be okay. Just be understanding and know that this happens on occasion. All I want to do is cry. Crying helps me. It’s very cleansing for me. Once I’ve shed tears, life resumes some semblance of normalcy. I can be me again.

Wait. I’ve never had anyone hold me while I’ve cried. Strange but true. Not even at a funeral. Sad but true. I wonder if my darkness would be less frequent and shorter-lived if someone did wrap their arms around me. I’ve had others cry on my shoulders. Yet, I’ve never done the same. Perhaps it’s part of my struggle in my darkness.

Suicide Note

I wouldn’t do it myself, but I understand the pain and courage it takes to commit suicide. In light of the two high-profile suicides this week, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I have pondered death and the lives left behind.

If I were to end my life, this would be my note to the world…

My dearest loved ones,

Since you are reading my final farewell, there are some things you should know. I loved you all to the best of my ability. I know that this note will not bring you understanding, closure, or comfort.

I tried to be strong. I tried to find the hope and good in my life. Unfortunately, my strength was gone and I let go of the rope.

Dad, Mama, and Mom, I know you loved me. You’ve showed it and I saw it everywhere. Sadly, I couldn’t feel it. It was if those feelings were blocked by an impenetrable steel wall. You reached out to me. I knew I could open up, be vulnerable, and express my inner thoughts without judgment. I never found the words to say what needed to be said. Just always remember me and hold me close to your heart.

To my brother, you’re not going to have the right words to explain to my nieces why I’m not here to watch them grow up. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to tell them I am their special angel and I am watching them grow from heaven. I love them very much but that love was not enough to keep me here.

To the rest of those I love, I’m sorry. Sorry that I wasn’t strong enough to continue breathing in this life. Sorry that I cannot give you the comfort you seek during this difficult time. Sorry that I’ve left a hole and an ache in your heart that will never heal.

Just know that behind the smile, the laughter, and the love, the pain is now completely gone. I’m free from the anguish of my earthly existence.

I love you.

Just remember me.”

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK

Or you can talk to me. I’m always listening.

Communication

Talk to me.

The problem is I can’t verbalize it. I cannot speak the words necessary to convey the overwhelming thoughts in my head. I’ve always been this way. Even as a child, I couldn’t feel anything to express myself. The words never came.

I still struggle with this but I’ve gotten better than I once was. I write. My written expressions are far better than what comes out of my mouth.

There is pain. There is a guarded wall around my heart. I can show and speak love, but I do not always feel it, no matter how it’s demonstrated. I felt love as it was spoken to me last year, after spending a few days in a mental hospital.

I had a nervous breakdown. It felt peaceful being there, despite the damage. I am broken. I am damaged. However, that doesn’t meant I’m beyond repair. I cling to that hope most days. The staff didn’t understand why I was there. I’m not an addict. I didn’t have a death wish. I had no plan of action for suicide.

I was just in a tremendous amount of mental anguish and emotional pain. I was overwhelmed by life. I knew suicide wasn’t the answer. Hence, no plan.

My need for self-preservation was greater than my need for self-harm. I kept repeating that as it was how I felt. I still feel that way. Please allow me to repeat myself…

My desire for self-preservation is greater than my need for self-harm.

I’ve been through counseling. I was studying to become a therapist myself. Those studies were abandoned when I realized I couldn’t help anyone until I fixed myself. Instead of fixing myself, I dove deeper into my self-created spiral. I created it by my actions. The detriment of myself. The degradation and devaluation of who I was. I had lost control of my life.

I feel as though I’ve failed. Failed in relationships, not just the romantic ones either. Failed as a woman. Failed in my general existence. It’s depressing and overwhelming.

Don’t worry. I have no intention of ending my life. No future plans of it, either. God will take me home when He’s good and ready. I have a lot of reasons to live. I have an amazing and supportive boyfriend who gets me and understands what I’m going through. I’m sure it scares him at times, especially being so far away. My two best friends are incredible too. They know how to make me laugh until I pee my pants. They also have been through hell with me. I know my parents love me. I love my niece, D, and there’s another girl in the way. How would my brother explain that the pain I was feeling destroyed my self-preservation? Without certain people in my life, I’m not sure how I would survive.

In the meantime, I will shed tears for no reason. Shutdown emotionally so I can sort the mess in my head. When I learn how to talk and find the words I need in order to express myself without destroying relationships, I will know how to convey what’s in my heart.

Imagine a cassette tape. Your cassette player has pulled out the magnetic strip to the very end. The end that was once glued to the wheel. Now it’s a jumbled mess that no pencil can wind back inside it’s original container.

Yep, that’s what’s inside my head.