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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wow--so incredibly sleepy right now.

Today was sort of ugly. I knew it was coming yesterday afternoon, and when bedtime hit I couldn't sleep for a long time. When I finally was able to sleep I had dreams I would rather avoid. So I wasn't surprised when I became angry for no possible reason very early this morning. By the time noon hit, anxiety was through the roof and one hour later panic attacks began.

I'm not sure anymore what I want to do with the PTSD symptoms.

Here is what I don't want:
1. I don't ever want to become dependent on someone to help me through them. I've been there. It's a beautiful place. It feels secure and safe. But it can't be permanent. While I would love to be able to call someone and say, "Talk to me, please--I'm not doing well right now," I can't always do that. I used to have a list of possible contacts. I've disposed of it. It's impractical. There may be times when I absolutely need to talk with someone, but I need to learn to take care of myself.

2. I don't want to waste time worrying about dealing with symptoms in "proper" ways. I want to be able to recognize and move through them. Sometimes just knowing they're on their way is enough to trigger them. I'm tired of that.

Okay, I was going to make a longer list but my train of thought has moved on without me, so I won't.

Tonight we took Tabitha to see Tangled for her birthday (her choice). It's a lovely movie--enjoyable and fun. But there is one part that's still in my head right now. At one point Rapunzel is about to have her lifelong dream fulfilled--and she's afraid; what if it doesn't measure up...or more stressful still, what if it does? Then what? Rapunzel's love interest tells her that if her dream is everything she had hoped--if it's fulfilled--she gets to have a new dream.

I've been there.

Not that my dream was fulfilled in any way close to what I wished, but parts of it were. I wanted to be able to be close to people, to connect with them, and to feel they reciprocated that connection. This has happened.

I wanted to be able to touch someone without being nauseatingly afraid. I wanted to allow myself to hug people--not because I was avoiding shaking hands, which would involve touching their skin, but because I truly wished to be held by them, and I wanted to hug them back. This has happened.

I wanted to be able to touch someone's hand without panicking. I wanted to be able to do it spontaneously, naturally, to reach out and shake hands with people like everyone else does. I wanted to allow my skin to be touched without wanting to run away, without shuddering, without feeling that I might scream or cry if the touch didn't immediately cease. This sort of happened. There are only a few people with whom I can accomplish this--but a few is more than only one (Darrin), so I'm counting it.

I wanted to be able to talk. I wished to be heard. I needed to tell my story over and over again until I could say it calmly, unworried that whomever was listening would never speak with me again. This has happened.

I could list more, but the bottom line is: I think it's time for me to have a new dream.

It's going to have to wait awhile before I can figure out what it is. Right now I'm a little tired. And today has been more than a little difficult. But I'm pretty sure it's time to switch gears. The truth is, my old dream was about capturing new moments, using them to help me heal, filling needs I've had for a very long time. But moments pass away, and once healed one must become strong again, and most needs change with time--or they should. Mine will, too, no doubt. Life remains in motion and nothing can stay. All dreams eventually fade and are replaced.

Tomorrow I will regroup. I'll remember what is real and what is fabricated by PTSD symptoms. I'll run again and meditate and pray and do all I can to replace destructive thoughts with more authentic, positive ones. I'll take deep breaths and concentrate on managing stress and panic. And I'll keep working. Hopefully by Thursday I'll stop feeling numb, I'll try connecting emotionally with people I care about, and the urge to isolate myself and abandon every part of my current life will have waned.

Okay, I need to stop writing because I feel an overwhelming desire to feel sorry for myself right now--and that feeling is spreading to a need to apologize for being alive which I refuse to buy into. I'm going to go sleep. If I spoke with you today, though, I will apologize for that. I was having difficulty focusing, I didn't really want to talk to anyone, and I probably don't remember much of what we discussed. My memory of a couple of conversations is that they were strained and difficult, but I'm thinking that might have been just my perception. Conversation was a chore today--as was any kind of social activity.

Ack! Stopping talking right now. Good night!

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