Today a Facebook acquaintance posted something she wrote ten years ago. It was a lovely memory from a time before I met her. I thought I'd like to do something similar, so I went back to my decade-old posts to find something to add to my own Facebook feed. I ended up posting nothing.
2007 was not a year I wish to share on social media. This was the year I did a number of things that were incredibly important to my therapy and healing, but not necessarily things that make good reading nor pleasant memories. I screened very little. I wrote whatever I thought or felt. As I read, I was surprised at how difficult it was to process that I was the person who typed the words. I knew the experiences were mine. I also knew it happened a long time ago.
Key things that occurred in 2007:
1. I was suffering from nightmares which robbed me of sleep. Sometimes I would go for a few days without sleeping. I was terrified of the nightmares even when I was awake.
2. I devised a plan whereby I would learn to control my dreams. Tolkien Boy agreed to help me with this. I was successful, but in the process, I learned a number of things about myself which were unsettling and surprising and required more therapy.
3. I decided it would be helpful to go see the person who raped me. Originally, I planned to go by myself. Most of my friends asked me not to do that. A few offered to go with me. In the end, Tolkien Boy accompanied me to lunch with the rapist, then stayed with me while I tried to manage all the crap that stirred up. Was it helpful to meet my rapist face to face under circumstances I controlled? Absolutely. It was also one of the most unpleasant things I've ever done. In my blog I recorded our email correspondence as we arranged to meet for lunch. That was difficult to read.
4. 2007 was the year my therapist moved to Utah. He tried to connect me with another local therapist who would help me continue what I had started. I insisted I was fine. I needed no more therapy. A few weeks later, I found myself in the mental health ward of the hospital on suicide watch. While I was there, I was diagnosed with PTSD. When the psychiatrist explained what that was, many things fell into place. I was relieved that I wasn't crazy and that many of the things I was experiencing were due to PTSD. I was also alarmed that I had something. I wasn't normal. And I didn't really know what having PTSD would mean for the rest of my life. Research was not reassuring.
And now, here I am. I've been whining for at least a year about how much my life is not what I want it to be. I've been allowing my life to be controlled by PTSD symptoms. I've been lamenting and moaning about dealing with surgeries and Darrin's job loss and difficulties with moving. I have, in short, been insufferable.
Everything I've written is a genuine feeling or experience. But my attitude is ridiculous.
I've been in Laramie for four days now. Much of the time I've been alone. I've had moments to quietly think. And it's been snowing - beautiful, sparkling snow. So much snow. I spent three hours shoveling it yesterday. This morning there was no sign of my work. And it's so cold. Tonight it is -28 degrees, but still incredibly beautiful.
I told Tolkien Boy a few weeks ago that I chose to do everything I am currently doing because it was the right thing to do. And it's still the right thing. It's just not what I want to do. I'm doing the right thing, but I don't want to. So, what do I want to do?
That is a question I've not been able to answer. How can I possibly do things I want to do if I don't know what they are?
So I've been thinking about that for the past few days. I need to identify what I want. This is my partial list:
1. I want to be finished with buying a house. That means I need to find the house we want and purchase it as soon as possible. I don't want to look anymore. I want to be done.
2. I want alone time with Darrin. Lots of it. And I don't want to feel guilty about not including my father-in-law. It is not unreasonable for me to spend time with my husband often and alone. I need this to happen. I need to facilitate it.
3. I want space for me. This can't happen yet, but it has to happen soon. I need my alone time. I need to think and plan and visualize. I can't continue healing if I don't have this, neither can I manage PTSD. When I don't have such time, I become whiny and aggravated. All my close relationships become victims as I question the motives of people I love, as well as my own self-worth. I need this personal space and time. It needs to be uninterrupted and quiet.
4. I want to spend time with Tolkien Boy. As I write this, my brain is wildly questioning why I single him out. But the truth I found today in my ten-year-old blog posts is that when I spend time with Tolkien Boy, I'm able to understand a great deal about myself. Part of this is that we've become very close and accepting of one another. Another part is that some of my most profound experiences have been shared by him. So while I want to spend time with many people whom I love deeply, I sort of NEED that time with Tolkien Boy. And as with my personal time, I need time with him that is dedicated to just being with him and no one else.
5. I want to spend time with others I love. I've been avoiding that for the past four months. I've gone to lunch with AtP. That's all. The week after Christmas, I hosted a small dinner party, and I visited a couple of friends I've been wanting to see. And I finally spent time with my cousin, Jeff. He's not dead. In fact, he's working on putting his life back together. He believes that this time he'll be successful. He quit his job, moved in with his parents, and is spending the next six months working on himself. At some point in the near future, he would like me to help him find a therapist. I need to spend time with him and with other people I love.
So where does all this time come from? I don't know.
However, being with people doesn't require days on end, but usually only an hour or so. I can budget that into my week. And it won't add to the stress in my life, but rather, will ease it. I need to be with people I love. Spending time with them helps me balance PTSD symptoms and remember who I am.
I'm going to talk with Therapist about all this. He can help me figure out how to do this without becoming obsessive about it. He's already assigned me to do numbers 2, 3, and 4 on my list, so the rest will follow naturally.
It's time to stop whining and do something real. I think I'm finally ready.