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Autism: Shouldn’t Have Gone

After several months of exhaustion, I finally had some energy. Every day I got more done, and felt better about the way my life was going. And then…

It rained.

It rained for days, and I felt myself growing more and more hopeless and tired. Try as I might, I could not bring myself past the depression, or regain the hope I had so recently held. For rain? I wondered. And likely that was a lot of it. Certainly it was all I could think of. Until…

I went to life group (Bible Study) and was reminded of what we had talked about in church last week. I guess I had blocked it out. I used to be pretty good at that – or so I thought. I spent years dealing with that very issue. I should have been past it already! At least I thought I was mostly past it.

Sure, there were moments when the memories overwhelmed me, but it isn’t like I think about it all the time. It isn’t like it affects me all the time. I mean, lots of woman have gone through it, right? But most women still live okay. Isn’t the statistic like 1 in 5, or 1 in 3 even? If so many people have experienced it, why should it cause me so much pain?

I dealt with it for years. Most people close to me know about it, it isn’t like I am carrying this big secret alone or anything. Plus I have my faith. So many people don’t even have that.

Forgiveness has been given. The man died long ago. I don’t experience that anymore.

Unlike for most of my teens and early twenties, I am able to close my eyes without having to battle against flashbacks most of the time. They only come when I am talking about it, or thinking about it, or… someone asks about it.

Maybe that is why the week has been so hard. They weren’t talking specifically to me, but I still knew this was my history, too. It made me think about it. It made me remember.

But the week wasn’t so bad. Sure, Sunday at church was hard – but the afternoon was nice, and I spent it outside. I forgot, as I replaced my negative thoughts with plans for my garden. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were alright, too. I had energy, and got a lot done in my house. Thursday it rained, and though I forgot the message, as the time for life group grew nearer, I realized I really didn’t want to go.

Vacation July 2016 004

Only, aside from how chilled I felt due to the rainy day, and how much I would have rather spend the evening with my dogs, under my blanket, watching Netflix – there was no good reason I could find not to go. So I went. And then I remembered, and realized it would have been better for me had I stayed at home.

So Friday was really hard. I was so depressed that nothing at all seemed to have any hope. “What is the point,” I thought. “Nothing I do will make any difference anyway.” It rained and rained. It rained so much that a couple of houses not far out of town were flooded, and destroyed by mudslides. (The people were okay, but maybe the pets weren’t.)

Well, the days were rainy, and the days were hard – and I thought it was all about the weather. But perhaps there was more to it than that.

 

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Autism: One Short Email

The thing is, even being content or happy doesn’t shield me from the effects of receiving an email like that. I even allow that she might not have meant it the way I read it. But the pain, and the panic, and the after-effects were as strong just the same.

That morning, I was exceptionally happy – for me. I rated my depression as a five out of ten (and considering I have only gotten above a five a couple of times in over a year, that is really good – for me.) I was doing so well, and I was accomplishing so much, and then out of nowhere came this email.

I won’t say exactly what it said, as it both isn’t important, and will trigger me again – but it basically said, “You are doing it wrong.”

There.

Conflict. Criticism. I just can’t do it.

Small as it may seem, it is a huge trigger for me. I mean, big. I did mention I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, right? That does come from a traumatic childhood, but it was healing. Triggered at times, but not in all I did. It was getting better.

But then I had three children removed from my home in a failed adoption – and the trauma from that is so bad that one small encounter with a stranger, or one sentence in an email can take me from the most contented I have felt in months, to hiding out in tears for days after.

“You are doing it wrong.” Those weren’t the words she used, but it is the same thing. It wasn’t even about something that is absolute – just like with the children’s ministry – one theory, one opinion, in a world full of them. What makes them right?

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Only power. But power doesn’t make a person right, it only gives them the ability to destroy those that don’t have it. “You don’t agree with me? I will crush you.” And the thing is, they can. Forget this, “what can they do?” for I know what they can do. They can crush me – and they do. Again and again.

And what can she do? She can take back what she gave to heal me. I have never even met this person, and she has the power to destroy me, because in a moment of overwhelming pain I agreed to accept a gift from her.

Yet from my childhood, and from trying to adopt my children, I know. I know that any gift given can also be taken back. And any gift that isn’t taken back still gives that person so much power over me. And with that power, they can (and do) crush me. And it terrifies me.

So one line, in one email, can set me to days of panic attacks and tears. One comment can set back months of healing, and cause more fear than I can express. People want to believe that other people are resilient – that what they say and do doesn’t matter, really – but not all of us are. Not all of us. Many of us have been through so much already, that we just can’t take any more. And what have we learned? That other people have power. That other people can and will use that power to destroy.

Maybe she was just making a suggestion. Maybe I took it too hard. The next email said how well she thought I was doing… but then, the children’s ministry did the same thing – over and over – and they destroyed me, and then blamed me for being too stressed out working with them.

So what can one person who disagrees with me do? More than I hope any other person has to experience. One line in an email. One line. And the fear, and the trauma, and the social anxiety, and the desire to isolate myself grows in leaps and bounds. For what could they do, but take away the life line they threw to me, and leave me to drown.

 

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Autism: Lost

I remember writing it. I know it was completed. I even remember checking the spelling, copying it, pasting it, and scheduling it for publication. Yet for all of that, the post has been lost. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but after two days of searching through all 301 of my posts, I am now convinced that it is gone.

And while I was calm yesterday, I am anxious today because of it. It seems so… unfair. Perhaps it was my fault. Perhaps I didn’t actually post it to my blog. But I remember. I remember that when I was finished, it said that it was scheduled for release in 21 days.

I thought, “Good. Now I am far enough ahead that I will be able to keep up despite my summer vacation.” I can’t write when I am away at the lake because there is no internet there. There is no electricity there save a few solar panels to provide light at night, and charge up cellphones and such – not enough to keep my laptop going, anyway. So after seeing that I was three weeks ahead in posting, I felt relieved.

So because I wrote that on Tuesday, and because I was three weeks ahead, I didn’t feel a need to write on Wednesday or Thursday. Only when I went to save my post yesterday, it said that it was scheduled for release in something like 17 days. That is when I started looking for it.

I remember that I hadn’t intended to write that morning, but that I went downstairs to try and organize the “blue room.” I call it that because I painted the floors blue some years ago. When we moved in, it was a workshop. When I had the daycare, it was the “food room.” (we also did crafts, baking, and science experiments in there.) When I had my children, we put in a door, and it was a bedroom. In the winters, I would move my rabbits and guinea pigs inside, and it would be more of a barn. But lately we have been using it for storage, and it is the ‘blue room.’

rabbits

Although I have organized it in the past, it continues to become messy and cluttered. Everything throughout the house that I don’t know what to do with gets brought down there. And that mess weighs on me as all mess and clutter do.

Tuesday morning I woke up early (for me) and decided it was a good day to organize. Fifteen minutes later, I was so overwhelmed I could hardly function. Not only was the mess too much for me to deal with, but along the side of the wall under the windows, the concrete is turning to piles of powder. This has been happening for a few years now, and it reminds me of how everything falls apart, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t make things right.

I have been expressing my concern to my husband over this since I first noticed it. He talked to a couple of people who thought it was likely the drain pipes around the house needed to be flushed out. So we did – and he forgot – and meanwhile the concrete keeps turning to powder, and in my head I hear, “my house is falling apart around me,” and it makes me want to cry… no. It does make me cry. I can’t handle the corruption of the world, whether water damage in a basement, or people who do evil things.

It is all too much for me.

There are times I just want it all to wash away, and to start over. Start new. Start with a life, and a house, and dreams, that are not falling apart around me. But then so much would be lost in starting over, and that would break my heart even more.

And then my post is lost, and I think, “will nothing I do ever work out well?” All is broken. All is failing. All is… lost. One thing reminds me of another, and something tiny like a lost post can trigger pain over all I have lost, and it all seems so unfair.

And that unfairness is overwhelming, and where I come wanting to say I am doing well, instead I fall apart. Again.

 

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Autism: Cry For Mercy

Spring is here, summer is coming, and the birds are singing outside – but the world outside scares me. They have nothing to offer me, and I no longer have a reason to go out. Was he just a crutch to lift me out of my brokenness, that when he was taken, all it left was a larger hole? But I needed him. Small, independent dog that he was, he brought life to me – and with his death… there is no light here in the darkness. I needed him still.

I am not sleeping these days. First in fear, and now I mourn – and I beg for someone to make it better. Not to take the pain, for that only shows how deeply I loved him, but… to make it right. To fix the brokenness. To bring Gryff home to me. To fill the hole, and stop it from growing. I needed him. I need him still.

My pastor says we become complacent in comfort, and turn to God in pain – but all I can cry is, “Oh God, no. Please, no.” When I’ve prayed in so many ways for His help, and they’re lost anyway… my kids, my pets, Chiku, Puss, Gryff… and all are taken no matter how I beg, and how hard I try…

I am crying out for Mercy. Please, mercy. I can’t keep going like this. I don’t want to live. Please Father, mercy. And the pain grows.

Comfort is not something I take for granted. There has been too little – for the pain, and the fear I carry with me until I can hardly breathe. Comfort reminds me that God is in control, and I am thankful when it comes. The pain reminds me of the fear and brokenness. I am always trying to escape, and it is hard to remember that God is in control when the pain and fear are so much I can hardly think.

And there is this hole where my dog should be. I could only live again once he was with me – when my children were taken, and all I could do was hide in my room, and life itself brought pain and fear. Walking, camping, boating… I could only do these again when he was with me. I had to ask for a dog. My husband was never an animal person. It was hard to speak, but I needed him, or the future was a void I could not face.

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I feel as if I could shrivel up again and hide. I never healed from that time – I guess that is the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I would like to say that I could overcome. People like to believe that is possible for all of us. But at some point, the pain is too much – the experiences too much – and all we can do is exist, or die with the pain.

I would like to say I am emotionally resilient – I should be, my faith is strong still – but I am not. Emotionally fragile. Every pain is added to the ones before, and the healing doesn’t come. But he helped, this dog of mine. He helped a lot. He brought so much more to me than any understand – even God, maybe, or why would he take him so soon?

Six years. No matter how long, it is never enough – but six years? I should have had him twice as long. And no one can answer my pain. Like Job – only not, because I know I deserve all the pain I get. So all I can do is cry, “mercy.”

Save

 

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Stories Of Old

Stories of old

A child I never knew

Shares with me her past

Makes it difficult to get through

Her pleading green eyes they stare

Telling me to make it right

When I do wrong

She turns away, cries

Shares with me her fright

Shows me her futuristic pictures

All a pack of lies

Or will she show them to me in truth

Before the day I die?

It is her parents who come to me

Begging forgiveness – they want their daughter back

But how can I give them what I haven’t got?

I don’t know their daughter

Forgiveness I lack

If you ask me who she is

I would look around and see

That if I search within myself

I’d find that she is me

Stories of old

A child that never weeps

Hides from me her past

And dies without a peep

 
 

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Pictures Behind Closed Eyes

Pictures behind closed eyes

I am frightened yet I strain to see

Scarred reminders of my past

Hidden deep within my memory

Who is here to listen

To the unspoken words I cry?

Who will hear my story?

I can’t speak, but I will try

Will you help me forget the days

That long ago have passed?

Do I have to remember the first day

Before I forget the last?

It has been a long and narrow road

Lead on by an unseen hand

And all the pain I’ve suffered through

Was caused by the sin of man

Pictures behind closed eyes

I am frightened yet I strain to see

Scarred reminders of my past

Hidden deep within my memory

 

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