PTSD progress

It is no secret (online at least), that I suffer with PTSD. There was a time when it was so crippling, each and every moment was a fight for me.

Somewhere along the way, the PTSD has improved. I have whole days where PTSD symptoms are at such a low level I barely notice them. Unfortunately, they never completely disappear, but hell, compared to this time last year, or 6 months ago, it is such an incredible difference.

I was fearful therapy wouldn’t improve the symptoms, in fact, I was certain it wouldn’t. Talking therapy isn’t supposed to help PTSD- I knew I needed that sort of therapy to deal with the cause, but I never expected it to help with the symptoms.

My T taught me how to handle the symptoms, which helped me manage the PTSD, but I remained skeptical when he suggested that there could ever be an end to the PTSD from “just” talking.

Oh, how wrong was I?

Sure, I am not cured (can you ever be completely cured from PTSD?), but the improvement of symptoms in my day to day life is nothing short of staggering. I more than function most days. Some days, it isn’t just going through the motions, I actually feel like I am living!

Today is a bad PTSD day, anxiety and hyper vigilance mostly. I have not had hyper vigilance in weeks, so immediately I felt frustrated and angry with myself. Yet, a year ago, I could not go more than a day or so without hyper vigilance.

I should not be angry with myself, I should be thrilled with my progress. If I didn’t feel so bad, I should be celebrating such a huge and amazing change. I have suffered for so very long, I deserve to celebrate that progress, don’t I?

So PTSD sucks, I still stand by that, but it can get better, it really can and I do not want to forget that especially on difficult days. It will pass. It has before, it will again.

 

 

Abuse should never be the norm

 

I woke today with my wrists feeling sore, though the bruises healed long ago, the pain feels very real to me. My husband seemed to know, he took my hands and caressed my wrists gently and then held them firmly. I felt safe, loved and comforted. I thank God for my husband everyday.

I have been with my husband for longer than the abuse went on for. Though I trust my husband completely, as part of the PTSD, the hyper vigilance remains. The fear of being hurt again is always there.

This morning it struck me that it was a little messed up to feel so grateful that he did not and does not hurt me. That should be a given, with every man, with every person. No one should be abusing anyone else.

I am grateful for how wonderful my husband is- but I should not have to be thankful that he is not abusing me. It should never have to cross my mind.

Abuse should never be the norm, rape should not be part of every day life. What kind of world are we living in where this is accepted even ridiculed. Rape can destroy lives, abuse eats away at the soul.

I should not have to feel relief, or be grateful that my husband or any man in my life treats me the way I and everyone deserves to be treated.

 

Abuse is not OK, it should never have been part of my life. No one deserves abuse and I will never accept it as the norm.

 

 

Hatred

*Trigger Warning -swearing*

I am lost in a vast red mist.

Seething with rage because worked sucked, body memories continue and PTSD symptoms are pissing me off. I can see what I am doing, that I am not helping myself. I know later there will be hindsight where I will find steps I should have taken to ground and to reduce stress today. But right now I am angry, I feel attacked and out of control. My children are clashing, one is grumpy and demanding.

I am tired of unwanted disclosures, of gossip and ill feeling at work. On days like today I feel stupid for ever believing that I am ready to be a part of the rest of the world. I resent work and the people there for how under attack I feel and equally hate myself for blaming them for my failings. It is my issue, not theirs.

I hate him too, for making life so difficult. I fucking hate him right now for the spike in hyper vigilance and for the sheer terror I felt when I returned home to an empty house and the back gate wide open. And I hate him, for making me hate myself for that fear too. I hate him for the grooming and control that did such a number on my self esteem that in these moments I cannot find anything but feelings of self loathing.

I want to be a better mother than I am being this afternoon. I want to laugh with them, play with them, cuddle with them; not grit my teeth as they hug me nor clench my fists as they yell and fight. I am not handling them very well right now. And I hate him for that and I hate me too.

I feel as if the new self I am discovering is lost today. I want her back. I want that strong, brave, loving, kind person to return to the fore and take control again.

PTSD sucks. I hate him for doing this to me.

Hyper Vigilance

I feel a little better in general today, more like myself, I think.

 

I was a little upset earlier though, as I walked my children from the school to the car. One constant in this is my continued struggle with crowds, people and noise.

The walk up to the school is OK, sometimes even relaxed- depending on how co operative my toddler is of course, but the walk home is always a challenge.

I have the usual stress of herding two young children through busy school grounds and surrounding streets on the way home. I am not the only parent harassed, many are having the same stress with their children. I know with that, I am not alone.

But it also causes me daily hyper vigilance and I often have to ground.

I want to be like those around me, those I hear talking with their children. Yet, my only goal is getting us safely to the car, without freaking out. I cannot take in what my children are telling me, in fact I encourage them to be quiet until we are well away from the school crowds. I’m in sensory overload as it is, without the added noises of my children.

But that upsets me greatly, I want to hear their excited chatter, I want to discuss their days with them, I want to listen to what they want to tell me.

 

Today, I found myself angry with strangers, parents talking to their children on the way home. Because as they walked behind me, in front and passing me by, I could hear everything they said. I could hear the chatter of their children, the screams of arguing siblings and squeals of laughter. I could hear the teens on their bikes and skateboards and the ones yelling to their friends. Unlike other people, my focus was not on my children’s voices, but instead automatically listening and scanning for threat.

I could feel the familiar panic rising as I went against every one of my extincts and tried to block out that noise. Somehow I made it to the car, but by that point I felt ready to explode.

It’s what I go through every afternoon to pick up my child from school. And today it made me angry, in a way it hasn’t done before.

I wanted to yell at these people to please be quiet, to tell them that their noise makes me unwell. I wanted to tell them not to  push pass me or to walk too close. I wanted to ask them if they knew just how much they scare me, if they realise how hard it is for me to remain calm.

 

I hate how even on good days, some PTSD symptoms always remain. And I hate my abuser for causing me so many problems. Sometimes it feels as if he’s still here with me, trying to exert control. I hate how the echos of what he did remain in my life today.

I don’t want to continue to live in fear, but this is something that is unchanging, something I don’t know how to get past. The reaction feels like instinct now and I don’t know how to turn that off.

So  while things are better today, I’m still reeling a little from the earlier school run.

I’m already nervous about the school pick up tomorrow and the one the day after and in the weeks after that.

 

 

 

Crappy week

I’m pretty much using this as a daily journal right now, I appreciate the support, the comments and the messages. It’s good to know I am not alone and especially helpful to have encouragement from those who are going through something similar or who have been there before.

 

This week is difficult. Yesterday was a little better, but not much. I’m struggling lots with one memory that I am so opposed to dealing with right now.

Yet, the more I ignore, the bigger it is getting. I am not ready- I don’t know how I can ever be ready. I don’t want to do it. I want to continue with where we are now. I am still trying to come to terms with that. I don’t need more on top of it.

 

I am sleeping some, but waking from nightmares most mornings. I am struggling with my children, when previously things had improved a lot. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep my temper around them. I am hyper vigilant every morning and dissociate my way through work each day. I am having body memories on and off. It is affecting intimacy with my husband.

All of those things are the signs of a memory that needs out. I have been here over and over, I know that getting it out is the only way to restore some calm. But I don’t want to go through it. 😦 I am so angry and hurt.

I am still trying to deal with the judgement / shame I have for myself over the way I think and feel about the last disclosure. Heck, I am still trying to get my head around that it even happened. I need more time and space. I don’t want another memory on top. I am not ready, I am just not ready.

 

 

I know it helps to talk, it helps to get it out, but sometimes it feels like the more I tell, the bigger it all gets. I can’t believe all this, I can’t believe this was my life. I seem so together, I have everything I always wanted, how on earth can I have been a victim of that abuse?

The more I tell my T, the less I can deny- sure that’s what I want for healing, but it’s just getting so huge. I can’t deal with this, I can’t. It’s all too much. I want to give up, I want to say “Fuck this, I am done.” Because, I’ve had enough. It hurts and I want out.

But there’s no quick exit, no escape route.  The only way is through.

Giving up would mean he wins, right?

 

I know the answer. I know what’s best. I know what I have to do.

I hate this so much.

 

 

 

 

My boys.

Today, is difficult, I’m very sore, tired and grumpy. The rain during the school run, the young boy yammering on at me, the toddler screaming because he was wet (but refused the pushchair rain cover) all added to my stress. I have been hyper vigilant, so the crowds at school and the people walking behind me were quite difficult to handle. I was fighting dissociation at work and now I’m home I just feel exhausted. But my children are close by, the youngest singing and dancing “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes”, the oldest playing with his cars on the rug and I remember just how good I have it.

I don’t blog about my children much. But right now I want to write about them, I want the reminder of just how good my life is now.

Things have been improved in recent weeks and with that I’ve noticed a change in mood with my children. Normally, I’m quick to anger and I spend a lot of time and effort in keeping that from my boys. I manage that mostly-they are clueless -but all the emotional toll is on me. It leaves me exhausted.

Over the last few weeks, I struggle less often with that anger. I’m more patient with the children, I feel more natural with them and more relaxed too. It’s not always that way, today for example, I’m back to struggling once more. But in general, things have improved a lot. I’m thrilled with that, I have hated feeling so stressed out and so angry around my children. The effort to hide it from them and to be the level mother they need, has been so incredibly hard.

 

My Boys:

 

My oldest child is beautiful,  he has big eyes that draw you in. The first moment I saw him, I couldn’t believe his beauty. He was the smallest baby I had ever seen, he had to wear “tiny baby” clothes and “newborn” were way too big. I was so thrilled to be his mummy. He slept well from a young age, fed regularly and generally he was a dream. I struggled with depression and PTSD a lot after his birth. I admit, it took some time to bond with him, but I loved him from the start and somewhere along the way he suddenly felt like mine and now I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

He was quite an independent baby. He was happy to sleep alone, happy to sit and observe the world around him, happy to just be. Now he is a bit older, he is shy and quiet around new people and situations. In the last year or so (since starting school) he has needed a lot of comfort and a lot of reassurance, which isn’t a problem for me.

He was once a daddy’s boy, but now he is definitely all me. He is kind and he is sweet, on occasions he has even comforted me when I’ve been down. He is such a charmer, he tells me I look pretty, or that he likes my hair, he finds things in my favourite colour and present them to me. He has learned to tell me when he wants a hug (so he doesn’t just throw himself at me), he understands that we don’t jump out on people in our family, he knows we don’t scare on purpose. He takes it all in his stride. He is an amazing little boy and I am so proud to be his mum.

 

My youngest child, also a boy, I refer to as my baby. He’s not really a baby anymore I suppose, but for now he continues to be “baby”.  He too is beautiful, he is loving, affectionate and quite needy. He has been needy since he was born. He always needed to be held, always wanted to be attached to me. I used to carry him in a sling so he was always close. He was a chubby baby, he fed often and slept very little. He has definitely been more of a challenge than his brother!

From the moment he wakes, he wants to be with someone, he cries as soon as he opens his eyes until one of us is with him. He still needs someone to sit with him while he falls asleep. While it can be tiring, I wouldn’t change it, there’s something very special about soothing a child to sleep.

He is a little behind with his speech, but manages to communicate his needs to me (and his dad) quite well. Around other people, he is incredibly shy, he becomes mute with people he doesn’t know and even those he does know, his speech is selective. He too is a bit of a mummy’s boy. We hear all day, “mummy do it!”. He is a nervous child, yet strong willed. He has loud and long tantrums that can be difficult to handle, but I wouldn’t change him, not for a minute. I adore my needy baby.

I am so lucky to be the mother of two awesome little boys.

 

 

I have never considered myself to be a natural mother, I certainly couldn’t be at home all day with them. At times I’ve felt pushed to the edge by the demands of two small children while also dealing with PTSD. But, all things considered, I think I have shielded them well from it all and that is evident in recent months. I have changed, but they are consistent, they are no happier or less happy than a few months ago. They have remained unaffected by all of this. And that makes me want to weep with relief. I’ve been so afraid, so paranoid that my issues could affect them and I know now, that has not been the case. I am determined to continue to move forward, to let go of the fears that still hold me back, so one day I can look back and confidently say, that the boys have never been victims in this.

Day 2 – feeling bad.

 

Day 2 of feeling pretty bad. Yesterday a flashback first thing and body memories afterwards. Then, understandably I suppose, I had a nightmare last night and another early this morning. I’m hyper vigilant and feeling sore, I don’t know if it’s from body memories or sore from being so tense while I slept, either way it’s not helping things.

I hate feeling like this. It’s been no walk in the park dealing with pain and hurt, but it makes me feel better in a way too. Today, there’s no room for that, I’m grounding and trying to soothe myself through the hyper vigilance. I am also battling with anger. I am angry that I feel this way again, two days in a row- that was so normal just a couple of months ago, but I thought I’d left that behind- at least for now, at least while we are not doing “trauma work”.

I know it’s probably normal and to be expected, I think somewhere in there this is probably a sign of progress, perhaps  a sign of things we’ve been dealing with lately beginning to click into place. I wish I was seeing my T this week, so he could help me find that progress, so I can see that the way I feel right now is actually worth it.

I feel like I’m relying on my T like I did when I first started therapy, while now I am more able to contain the trauma side of things, I’m new to this whole feeling what I feel thing, add in trauma/ symptoms on top and I feel like I need his guidance more than ever. Is that normal? In a way it feels as if I’m going backwards, I want to be less dependent on him, not more…