What Spills? #PTSD

  

I read an interesting article today about character. The article said, whatever is in your cup is what is going to spill out when life shakes you up. Although I agree with that statement initially, I believe overtime your cup can be shaken so much that eventually it is emptied. Once your cup is empty, what comes out of it is the despair of hopelessness. 

Just as a battered wife can be beaten down into submission by an abusive husband; so can a person be beaten down by the traumas of life. To say that one can continuously refill their cup and keep up with the abuse and trauma of life is simply not true. I speak from experience. I speak as one who has been abused, who has been traumatized by life multiple times in rapid succession. 

It feels like a you’re drowning victim. You’re in the pool. You’re going under. You know the water surface is right there but you just can’t get to it. You just can’t get up there to grab another breath of air. You just can’t keep yourself afloat. You know you’re going to die. You know this is your last breath, so you let go and you die.

There’s a thing called accumulative PTSD that hits victims who have experienced trauma after trauma. These victims simply cannot just refill their cup so they can easily handle what is going to be dealt to them each day. PTSD victims do good to simply take a breath each day. Trauma causes them to not be able to properly function. The body is now at a heightened alert, waiting for the next thing to hit. It’s waiting, protecting, guarding and doing everything that trauma has trained to it do simply because it knows something else is about hit. ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! DANGER! MUST PROTECT!
I’m just like that drowning victim finally giving up and almost letting myself die. When a hand reaches in and grabs me, pulls me to safety. We (especially PTSD victims) all need a hand to reach in, grab us and a pull us to safety. There are times when we cannot see how to help ourselves. There are times when we can see where we want to go but we just can’t get there. We need someone to come along beside us and pull us to safety, keep us from drowning and to show us how to take that next breath. 

Yes, my cup was once full. It was so full that when I got bumped into whatever was inside of it with spilled out. My cup is full of joy, and I’d get bumped into and joy with spill all over. Kindness, and kindness would spill all over. Compassion, and compassion would spill. Love, and love would spill. And so on it would spill until finally, the last drops spilled out and the cup cracked from so much bumping.

Today . . .

I am like the drowning victim who has been plucked out of the water. I’ve been laid on the shore. The water is being pushed out of my lungs and I’m gasping for air. My body is still on heightened alert. But I’m beginning to see that I’m safe. My eyes are open and I see where I have been. I am beginning to understand what I’ve been through. But I am not breathing on my own yet. I’ll be in ICU for many months as I learn how to live again. That is what PTSD does to its victims. 

My old cup is broken. I’ve been given a sippy cup. One with the long straw. Doesn’t have anything in it yet but soon it will be filled again with love, compassion, kindness, joy and other goodness. And this time the lid will hold the contents safely inside when it gets bumped. Life will go on. I’ll eventually remove the lid and a little will spill out. I can replace the lid if I need to. I may even get a breakable cup again someday. 

Thoughts for consideration: be the hand that reaches out and saves a life. There is help and healing for PTSD.

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Depression is NOT a Choice

Depression is not a choice. Do you hear me !!! Depression is not a choice.

You don’t just wake up one morning depressed. Depression creeps up on you slowly, little by little. It is mixed with highs that make you think you are ok. Highs that allow you to make others think you are ok. When reality is you are caught in a tornado that is spiraling out of control to the the point of no return. 

Depression pushes everyone away and isolates. Depression sets everything up for failure while you lie to yourself hoping and believing it will be ok. Depression is a slow killer worse than any cancer. There is no radiation, chemo or magic pill that will cure it. 
Depression is the one disease that is culturally unacceptable. That is why it is so hidden. That is why we are so shocked when friends kill themselves because of it. 
The question is what do we do when we find ourselves sunk into a depression?
I recently told one of my friends I was battling depression and the response I got was, to be exact, “well that’s your choice.” It has has only made me more depressed. Feel more alone. Be more isolated. 
Every moment I have to choose life. Every moment I have to choose to keep living. Every moment I have to choose to wake up. Every moment I have to choose to keep breathing. These are the real choices of of a depression. Depression is not a choice.

No Help to Be Found.

imageToday I decided to get up and get dressed and go into town to talk to my pastor. I have been attending that church since December and I am yet to learn his name but I really enjoy the church and the worship.

I have been struggling really bad and question if my existence will continue. So I finally did it. I went to the church and went in and ask the receptionist if I could speak to the pastor. She looks up at me and tells me today is his day off. His day off, but she can give me a 1-800 number if I needed it. For real? Today I finally get up enough nerve to tell someone that I am NOT ok and she she wants to give me a 1-800 number. I told her no thanks and left.

I go I to the neighboring town where I serve on various boards to inquire about something or another and end up volunteering at a health fair working a booth.

No one knows the truth about me. I am a master at hiding my pain. I was chatting (in person no less) with a person who lives in the neighborhood I used to live in and he was holding information on a nonprofit group that does free counseling.

He went on to explain how after getting out of the military service he sought counseling and it really has helped him. Now being unemployed and without health insurance I thought this may be an option for me. So I go to the booth and inquire about the free counseling only to learn it is for moms with young children and I don’t qualify. Ok I accept that.

I decide to go visit another friend from the same old neighborhood but she was not home and I left. I had to take a different route home than I regularly travel. It is rush hour and traffic is bad even for a small town.

I pull into my little town entering from the opposite end a bit preoccupied about my failure to get any help when all of a sudden there are red flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Could my life get any worst? I pull over a bit confused because I thought I was following the traffic laws carefully. I had my license and proof of car insurance out and my hands firmly planted on the steering wheel at 11 and 1 o’clock as he arrived at the car window.

I asked him what I’d done wrong.

He shifts on one foot and in his cocky little voice says we will have to discuss just what I did wrong.

So I waited as he took my info checked my car tags and inspection stickers being a dominant male. And I am still confused.

Finally he says, “did you see that stop sign back there?”

I respond yes and he proceeds to inform me I rolled through it. What? I am sure I didn’t?

But before I could say anything he asks, “what were you thinking about?” So I told him exactly what I was thinking, “I am widowed and I need help”

He tells me I should pay attention and be careful because I am all alone. Then he gives me a citation. I am dumb founded and just corporate with him because if I do anything I am sure I am going to burst into a full fledge widow anguished wail that will have familiar pig snorts as I gasp for breath crying.

I very carefully drive on home. Sit in the car in the garage for what must have been over a half hour completely unable to move or think. Thankfully the car was turned off or you would be missing out on the account of my day.

I finally drag myself out of my car check the mail only to learn that my house has been reappraised and the my property taxes have substantially increased.

Yep I guess things could get worse. Life just need lol roll with it . . .

Real life?

This is not real life. I spend my days watching my online accounts hoping someone will like or comment on something. Really? Why? This is not real life. I had a preacher say from the pulpit one Sunday that online friends are not really friends at all. He said he was deleting some of his online friends. I just thought, online friends are my only friends. Without them I am totally alone in a new and strange land where the locals really don’t like outsiders. I need my online interaction. So I sit hour after after and watch to see if someone anyone will acknowledge anything. Anything at all. And they don’t.
I even watch for junk email but none come. I really need to subscribe to something so I will get some mail. Anything at all.

Alone.

I am so alone. It is hard to believe. After all these years, alone.

All I ever dreamt of was to have a family. A family and to grow old with the one I love with all my heart.

But here I am totally alone. Totally alone.

How I longed to have old friends to get together with and grow old with. But here I am old and alone. So very alone.

I absolutely hate being alone. Why am I this way you may ask? Because my husband died. He, the one I chose to love and grow old with, the one I had a family with, the one I had a career with, died.

I built my world totally around him and his desires and his friends and everything was about him and for him and with him. And now he is dead and they did not want me to be in their lives so they cast me aside. I am left with no one. Totally alone. A word to the wise never build your life totally around someone else, be true to yourself!

No job. No friends. No one. Alone. Totally alone.

I simply cannot bare this aloneness any longer. I simply cannot be so alone, so totally alone.

Adoption

It grieved my heart tremendously to learn my late husband married me not because he loved me but because he needed someone to raise his son. Would I have married him if I had of known that? Absolutely not.

I deserved better. But being the faithful person I am I stayed with him all those years and sought to win his heart. Something I don’t believe I ever accomplished.

I raised his son as if he were my own I love him with all my heart. I adopted him when he was five. I remember I waited until he was old enough to know what it was that I was doing. And when we went to see the judge I remember the judge asking him do you want her to be your mother. Of course I was the only mother he knew so he said yes. I’m just that easy the adoption was complete.

The judge had a huge smile on his face and said let me escort you to records and we will get your name on the birth certificate. When we arrived to the records department to my horror and to the judges horror my husband refused to allow me to have my name placed on my son’s birth certificate. The judge told my husband it is normal for the adopting parent have their name placed on the birth certificate. But my husband refused and the judge was about to override him when I said no that’s fine we’ll leave the name as it is. So the judge placed my son’s adoption paper before the birth certificate so that everyone will know he was my son.

I knew that I was in for the fight of my life if I had changed the name on that certificate that day. I knew my late husband would never forgive me. Our marriage was already strained enough.

My husband never really let me be my son’s mother. He fought every decision I made And overruled every discipline that I tried to give. He accused me being partial with our other children So I had to discipline the others worse than I discipline my son in order to prevent my husband from fighting with me. I so hated my life.

And it wasn’t until my son grew up and moved away and began living on his own that he realized life at home was not normal. Since his father died we don’t discuss how he was raised. I’ve never discussed the way that his dad treated him so differently from the others. I know that he knows there was a major difference. I know the other children know that they were treated differently because they have talked to me about it. Someday I would like to talk to him about it but I don’t think he can handle it.

In many ways my son doesn’t acknowledge me as his mother. He went to college or seminary he was able to acquire a scholarship because he said he is an orphan. And he is able to make that claim because my name does not appear on his birth certificate. His birth mother died of a heart attack when he was just a few months old.

You know my heart broke when I learned what he did by claiming to be an orphan. It was all I could do to not confront him. I’m a very truth motivated person and that was the furthest thing from the truth. He is not an orphan I am his mother I raised him. I love him. I took care of him when he was sick. I took care of him when he was healthy. I taught him right from wrong. I taught him to read and to write.

I still love my son. He will always be my son.