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Thursday, August 28, 2008


I would suggest to all who are inclined to suppress them...don't.

I understand that PTSD amplifies everything, but if I hadn't suppressed every scary emotion for millions of years, I have a feeling that there would be less to amplify in the here and now.

It comes in waves. I never know if I'll laugh or cry, be angry or frustrated, or just overwhelmed -- but there is no doubt that emotions are washing through me at an inhuman pace. It used to be helpful to talk about this, but now, if someone tries to help me express, invariably I turn the emotion toward that person and it's always messy within fifteen minutes. Moral: If you try to help a trapped bee escape, more than likely you'll get stung.

I'm not sure what the solution is. I thought a cave might be a good idea, but Darrin says no.

In the meantime, I'm about as fit, cardiovascularly, as I've ever been. Running brings lots of relief. There's a possibility that I might be overdoing it--my hips and feet have been complaining a bit, and I'm on my fourth pair of shoes in the same number of months--sort of expensive--but it doesn't feel good to run with holes in the soles.

When the PTSD episodes are over (and it happens almost in a moment--I'm overwhelmed--and then I'm not), I have about three days when I feel very little. I don't particularly care about people or things. I'm a bit caustic and have even been called rude by sensitive individuals. Bummer.

On the upside, that happened yesterday. Today I'm still feeling the benefits of not caring--and this is good because my mom showed up at my house and invited me to go on a walk. This means she wants to talk to me--which she hasn't done for the last two weeks, because she's been upset that I got rid of all the mementos she so lovingly saved from the fire pile when I left home at age 17.

Predictably, she told some supposedly heart wrenching story about her neighbor who has been put in an assisted living facility because she has dementia. The story progressed to a supposed conversation my mom had with neighbor lady's son when he came to take care of the personal effects before the house was sold. Apparently, neighbor lady saved everything and he was incredibly grateful because "photos are priceless, just priceless." Not only that, he was able to contact his step-sisters and return their father's military uniform and medals to them, and "they just wept. They were so grateful. They said they thought they'd never see those things again."

So...yay. She got to say, in her parable, that I had messed up when I threw away the things she saved for me. But, sorry Mom, I don't really care. At all. Stupid man, hoarding all the junk his mother was too crazy to deal with. Silly girls--they'll box up the uniform and wonder where to store it because guilt won't let them say, "It fits none of us--why are we keeping it?" And as for photos--sometimes it's okay to let them go.

Did I say those things? Nope, because quite frankly, I don't want to waste my time, and she'd probably cry again. So, I let her talk, said I was glad neighbor lady was getting the care she needed, and changed the subject. Mom will believe that I'm riddled with guilt, which will make her feel better, and I will be relieved that the subject is closed and let it die. Not that it will actually die until a few more parables are shared, but seriously, if it makes her feel better, I'm fine with that. I just hope she spaces them out because if she tells them in a small space of time, I might have to throw up because they're so obviously contrived and I have little tolerance for people who drop hints rather than just saying what's on their minds.

I'm guessing that by Sunday I'll start to feel something again--until then I just have to say I'm loads of fun. Nothing bothers me, I have a delightful sense of humor and life is good.

Warning: This next part is explicit--I don't really care if it bothers anyone, but I do have good manners, so I'm letting you know you might not want to read it:

On a side note, the day that Adam pitched a fit in the doctor's office, I escaped, went to the front desk and scheduled a physical for myself. This will be my first in over ten years. Yeah--I have an extreme aversion to having men other than Darrin touching my breasts and vagina--even if it's in a medical vein. It sort of inspires all sorts of panic attacks and flashbacks and usually involves vomiting when I get home. And not being the largest of people, the speculum just hurts. That's the only way to describe it. Even if the small size is used. And I wasn't able to get an appointment with a female doctor, which means I get to endure larger hands--again--ouch. And I hate it when they say pap smears aren't painful. No, they're not excruciating, but take a sharp something and scrape off a bit of the inside of the your mouth--not painful? That's comparable to what it feels like to me.

Yes, I know this is preventative and could help me for the rest of my life. I'm still dreading it.

AtP said he'd come with me. So did Tolkien Boy. I really wish they could--modesty be damned.


  1. My mom says doctors used to be told that women have no nerve endings and so can't feel anything down there. I wonder if some women really can't. . . but I'm not totally sure I believe some women can't. . .

  2. re: hoarding loads o' crap . . . I don't understand why people insist on hoarding crap. (I recognize the irony in saying that when I've kept lots of random crap.) But seriously, where are they going to keep a uniform? In a box in the garage? Is that any way to honor and respect it and the memories it represents?

    re: the doctor . . . I wish you well. I hope it's not a bad experience. Is there a way you can tell the doctor that you haven't been in for a thousand years because you find exams to be traumatic? I would volunteer to come with you as well, but I fear that so doing would mean we would have to move your exam to one of those medical school viewing amphitheaters; I doubt that would help.

  3. Those exams are unpleasant under even the best circumstances. Good job on scheduling one, and good luck.

    Also, I need to learn to borrow your attitude about hoarding. My life would be so much simpler.

  4. I think most women dislike those exams, even if their aversion may not be as strong as yours.

    As for keeping things, I'm like your mom and the supposed conversation she had with her neighbour's son is exactly the same sort of conversation I would have. I know not everyone is like me but it grieves me terribly to see family mementos thrown out. I love family history and have kept as many things as I can.

    My great-aunt, several years before she died, told me about the scrapbooks she kept from the time she married in 1929 until the present time. They were in boxes in her grandson's garage in another city and she thought she might just have a bonfire and get rid of them. I said NO!!! I'll take them if no one else wants them!

    And I got them. They were a treasure trove of information about the extended family--birth and wedding announcements, obituaries, photos, letters, newspaper clippings and the like. I suspected someone might change their mind about wanting them so I spent the next two years transcribing all the text--hand-written notes and things glued in--and scanning everything as well, especially the photos and family info documents.

    I loved reading it all and I'm so glad I copied everything because just before I was finished, a different grandson of hers decided that he did indeed want them. So I gave them back.

    I have a copy of the story my great-grandfather wrote about his youth and put it online on a genealogy site. I've had many e-mails over the years thanking me for doing that because even if they're not related to him, his story shows what life was like in the last half of the 1800s.

    His wife, my great-grandma, kept a journal/scrapbook. There she recorded all the information that she knew about her parents, grandparents and before. It includes hand-written transcriptions, newspaper articles, a piece of her grandmother's hair and a piece of her grandmother's (black) wedding gown.

    The stories are fascinating. One is about her grandfather or maybe great-grandfather who had gone out to get the patent for his land (in southern Ontario, near Lake Huron). It was a three-day journey and on his way home he was caught in a blizzard, lost his way and died. His wife was afraid of the wolves and panthers, packed up the kids and moved to Ottawa where there was extended family. I later found the same story told by the neighbours who found this ancestor of mine and their perspective of what happened. Very interesting.

    Another story is of one of my female ancestors who lived and married in the area now known as Ottawa but was then just a huge forest and a wee little town called Bytown. On her wedding day she had to escape her cabin because her new husband was cutting down trees to clear the land and there was danger one might land on the cabin.

    It was my great-grandmother's notebook with these things in them that prompted my interest in genealogy. Since then I have collected so many photos and stories and information about every branch of my family and when I hear someone's going to throw something away, I beg to have it!

    I understand completely why you threw those photos away. (I burned photos and keepsakes of the woman I loved as a way of helping to break the ties between us after I walked away from her in order to honour God.) I just thought another perspective might be interesting.

  5. I don't think you're so unusual. My wife hates thise exams too. She's very petite. And since it hurts, she tenses up, which makes it even worse.