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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is a PTSD Post--skip it.

Unless, of course, you have some interest in the disorder.

For nearly three years I've talked about being affected by PTSD, but I've had difficulty explaining why it feels so daunting. I discuss the feelings and the symptoms, then I look at what I've written and think, "That's not it at all--not even close."

My most recent bouts of PTSD have been severe and exhausting. They're slightly different from previous ones because I find myself feeling intense dislike, even hatred for people I love (mostly men). If you encountered me online, there's a good chance I was curt or uncommunicative (if you were lucky), or I was sarcastic and impossibly argumentative (if you were unlucky). And then I escaped from the conversation, ran to my room, fell on my bed and sobbed because this is not like me.

Tabitha found me there last night. She put her arms around me and said she was sorry I was sad. I'm sorry, too. I said, "Tabitha, when I have PTSD symptoms this badly, I lose who I am. I can't figure out what's real anymore. I'm hurting people and I don't know why." She looked at me in a way uniquely Tabitha's, and said, "Actually, Mom, you might feel like hurting people, but I doubt you do. And anyway, even if you forget who you are for a minute, everyone else knows. They'll remember for you until you can do it yourself again."

Maybe she's right.

I told Jason recently, that one of the reasons Tolkien Boy and I are such close friends is because he allows me to hate him. That sounds completely screwed up, and no doubt, it is. But there are large amounts of hate and resentment residing inside me that were spawned when my tiny eleven-year-old body was raped repeatedly for three months until I could no longer cry about it or even feel the pain and nausea resulting from the abuse. And complicating those feelings are additional ones which were created by a mother who spent each day of my young life screaming at me the reasons I was vile and unacceptable, punctuating the words with physical abuse. That same mother who reminded me that my size zero body was too fat, and who approved of the days of skipping meals so I could drop those extra pounds...the feelings are still there and I don't know what to do with them.

It's not like I said to TB one day, "By the way, I have all this nastiness and hate inside of me. Would you mind terribly if I direct it at you and say awful things that I don't mean and act like a complete jerk to you?"

But because he probably talks with me more often than any other friend, he is frequently in my line of fire when the feelings become overwhelming and uncontrollable. There's a chance that I might feel more intensely hateful than my words convey (I hope so) and that I don't actually say anything damaging or hurtful, but I know Tolkien Boy is aware that there are times when I dislike him simply because he is the owner of a penis--which is completely unfair, I know, and unreasonable and just plain stupid. Except, to me, it's logical and sane in that moment.

I think there have been times when TB has become impatient or aggravated with me, but this happens when I'm using double meanings (because I'm dying to say something horrible, but restraining myself because I know TB does not deserve any of the nastiness I'm aiming at him) and he's not quite sure what's being said. When I've been honest and explained what's going on, I don't remember him ever being angry or mentioning that he feels used by me. In fact, he usually becomes more gentle, careful not to say things that might make me more frustrated (which sometimes frustrates me anyway because I'm completely insane sometimes).

I don't know why he does this.

Maybe he knows that little girl inside of me better than I do. Maybe he wishes he could make her feel less sad. Maybe he understands that the feelings have to come out somehow and while they might be momentarily directed at him, they really have nothing to do with him. Or maybe, he really believes what he said when he told me people who care about each other must practice relentless forgiveness.

I need to talk to Therapist about this. And someday, soon, I need to figure out a better way to channel these feelings from a long time ago because what I'm doing now is just making me feel guilty and sad.

Jason called Tolkien Boy "noble". There's a very good chance Jason is correct.


  1. I hope this cycle of PTSD is over quickly and you feel like yourself again soon. =hugs A.J.