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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Being Authentic: A little goes a long way

I put away all my posts about Jeff and official reports and feeling stressed.

PTSD is an interesting monster. When it's invisible, unknown, it pushes and prods until I talk about it. Once it's a well-known entity, I feel able to discuss how it affects me. All this is good and healthy, right?

Once upon a time I was a person people talked to-- a confidante. I was fun to spend time with. People wanted to be with me. I think there is still a waning element of that in my life, and I can still find it if I choose to-- with strangers.

The phenomenon is that people want to know who you are. The ones who are closest peel off layers, trying to spy the reality hidden by smiles and laughter. What they don't understand is that the facade they remove is an actual reality for the person they're trying to discover. Those layers provide protection, but also a platform upon which to socialize. It's important.

Everyone has the friend who is always troubled. This begins a cycle of an outpouring of love and empathy, which moves to feelings of stress, followed by annoyance and avoidance. No one wants to be that troubled friend. No one. Ever.

I am becoming/have become her. I have shown the things that bring me sorrow and stress. I have asked for support when instructed by Therapist, and sometimes when I really felt I needed it, myself. I have lived through crisis after crisis. I am the troubled, annoying friend.

PTSD, for me, sometimes presents itself by making me stressed and panicky when I interact online with people. Sometimes it also happens when I'm texting a person. The simple truth is that, in those moments I have no way of understanding unspoken cues or subtlety and that inability is deeply distressing. So I have discouraged online chatting and removed myself from texted conversations. And this morning I awoke, went to work, and wished with all my heart that there was someone online to chat with.

Yes, that just happened.

You see, I've become the annoying, avoidable friend because the only thing that's consistent with me is that I will be depressed and dealing with some crisis-- perhaps of my own making. There's no way to solve my problems, which seems to lend credence to the belief that I'm happier when I'm unhappy.

I'm not, though. I'm still the person who wore the layers that attracted people in the first place. It's like this: If you love the way a certain friend manipulates fashion and style to his or her advantage, will you stop loving them if you see them naked? Do you like them less because you see what's underneath, and sometimes what you see is unpleasant?

I'm pretty certain most people would say, no, that wouldn't affect the relationship at all. But the truth is, they would also say they'd prefer to see that friend clothed again.

I'm just thinking, I guess. Maybe it's high time I got dressed.


  1. I like that comparison. However, you have not become the annoying, avoidable friend. I would be bugging you right now, did I not know you were terribly busy. I miss you.

  2. I miss you, too. And we're supposed to have a phone call soon. Except maybe next week because I cannot even begin to explain the mess I found at school this year and I'm rewriting syllabuses and redoing assignments and trying to figure out how to get textbooks to the students in my class who didn't buy them before they became unavailable. No. I did not choose the text. My colleague who will teach the second semester of this class did. Right now I dislike him very much because I have to solve all the problems and he gets the class when everything is fixed. Bleh! (rant over-- really call me next week? maybe Saturday?)