I am so angry! And I am angry that I am angry because I hate it. It’s a wasted emotion.
When you have a long term condition -particularly a mental health illness – there are people in your life who cope well and seem, instinctively, to be able to offer support. People who know that a text saying ‘thinking of you’ means everything when you are living in the darkest parts of your brain.
Then there are others who steer clear. Maybe they don’t know what to do. Maybe they think they’ll be sobbed on if they so much as say hello.
I have quite cheerfully said goodbye to most of the people of this second type. Deleting them from Facebook, not reaching out to them on my good days because they haven’t been there on the bad.
Sometimes, though, the ‘steer-clear’ people are those you should have been able to rely on: your family. My family seems to be more concerned about the impact my illness has on them than the impact it has on me. I often go for weeks without hearing from them and then, when I do, they are either completely offhand and ignoring the fact I am having symptoms, or they are accusatory.
Although I try not to expect anything of them – and even avoid them – every so often, this attitude rears its head again. And, for some reason, it’s happened again tonight. If anyone has any ideas about how to negate the effects, please let me know.
Having seen my GP today, he has signed me off sick for another month but has also said he thinks I need to get another job and work in a less stressful environment.
Having looked through some of the positions available locally, it seems that a less stressful job will mean working more hours while earning minimum wage and, so, bringing home even less money than I do now – and we barely manage as it is!
I feel like I am trapped – whatever happens will result in the stress he’s telling me to avoid.
I am due to go back to the GP today to see if I need any more time off work. I know my own opinion carries weight in this process but it is completely split.
In favour of returning to work:
•getting back into a routine
•my sick pay is due to half
•I feel guilty being off which means I would miss a mortgage payment
In favour of my sick note being renewed:
•I have only had one experience of being outside without panicking
•I work in a school so any meltdown I have would impact my students
•I am due to resume EMDR next week so my flashbacks may resume
•I have gone back to work too soon twice in the past year
It is hard to see what the Christian route through this might be.
Should I follow the urging of my protestant work ethic?
Should I focus on not getting behind on my mortgage?
Or should I be sensible in a different way and accept further time off work hoping that will lead to the best outcome for all concerned?
What would Jesus do?
I have just come from a Facebook community church I belong to. We were discussing assisted suicide. I said I was in favour of it because, when I commit suicide, I want it to be painless and not involve some poor person unexpectedly finding my dead body. You see, I am quite used to thinking and talking about the likelihood that my death will be chosen by me.
I forget that other people are not.
It hurts me that I have saddened several good people this evening by being blasé about my belief that I am more likely to kill myself than not. Other people hear that and they expect me to be on the verge of jumping off a bridge but I am talking years in the future. My illness, the PTSD and the anxiety and the SAD, seem to be worsening each year and, unless the EMDR works and the new medication works, there will come a time when I can no longer function. At that time, dying will be a kindness.
But that isn’t today – or even this year.
Today, a friend told me she was proud of me.
Because I went into eight shops and only walked back out of three of them with the heebies.
Without her there, I would be tearing a strip off myself for the three shops I could not cope in and ignoring the other five. I would have counted today a failure despite getting up, getting dressed, realising I was very low and making a plan to leave the house and do something constructive (a charity shop trawl to find some trousers that will cover my expanding derrière), doing a full rummage in 5 of the shops, speaking to three people (thank you counts) and eating in public.
I am blessed to have a friend like her – I hope you all have someone similar in your lives too xx
Okay, so I cannot write a coherent paragraph at the moment (as you’re about to find out!) but I am sick of not doing the things that matter to me so I have decided to crack on with Faith & Worship in a different way.
During On Note and Section A, I would study the unit, write the assignment, have a tutorial. What I am doing now is studying each unit (sooooo slowly – I want my brain back!) of section B then, when my new medication starts to work, I will write the assignments and have the tutorials. If nothing else, it is helping me feel a bit more like Helles and a bit less like ‘that woman with PTSD’.
Some people are predisposed to developing PTSD. They are more prone to taking blame for events outside their control, to neglecting their own emotional health and to brooding. In my case, my predisposition came in the form of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) itself a consequence of a myriad of unhappy coincidences.
When someone experiences psychological trauma, a process similar to grieving allows the trauma to become a memory. Except, for some people this doesn’t happen.
Perhaps there is no let up in the trauma because it repeatedly occurs at short intervals. This occurred in the trenches of WWI and happens in cases of domestic abuse or child abuse. Perhaps the person was on the periphery of a massive trauma such as the London bombings and feels they do not have the ‘right’ to feel traumatised or seek treatment.
Perhaps the person feels the trauma was their own fault or that to seek help would be ‘weak’ if others in the same situation were not similarly affected.
In these situations, instead of being put away tidily with other memories, the trauma is bundled into an egg shell in the everyday part of the brain – the part that decides how to interpret and respond to what is happening now. The trauma can be ignored and you can carry on, you think, as normal.
Now, if you leave an egg long enough, chemicals build up and the egg goes rotten. These chemicals seep through the porous shell and affect the person’s brain as it views the world. Places with bad smells always seem worse than they otherwise would – it’s the same with events. The way someone with PTSD views the world as they travel through it is not the same as other people. As the miasma lurks in the brain, so threats seem to lurk in the world. Every unexpected sound and action seems to be the precursor of an attack. Every ambiguous comment becomes a grave insult. These new threats are put into the egg and begin to rot as well. They are proof that fear is the only correct emotion.
Eventually, as rotten eggs do, the build up of gases becomes to much to hold and the egg explodes. Imagine your brain full of rotten material and that’s all you can see.
Well friends, that’s where I am now. My own trauma was domestic abuse and my egg exploded. The only respite I enjoy is in the pulpit when the Spirit takes over and Helles the pathetic weakling is left behind for a precious hour.