PTSD and anxiety

The cold steel hand comprised of memories and the crippling anxiety is placing its grip tighter around my throat and chest.

Getting up in the morning feels more difficult. Trying to get the children organised, remember things, tidy the house, the demands and expectations. When my brain is evaluating my case. Knowing that HE will be treating the upcoming day as any other. That I am alone in the world in a sea of painful torturous memories that no one can do one God damn thing about.

Did I fight/struggle enough?
I should have done more afterwards – gone to the police immediately.
Why me?
How demoralising searching for a condom to see if one had been used. Urg.
So dirty
So alone for so long
Those eyes, so cold and dead
The apology

These things run tirelessly through my mind. While I load the dishwasher, while I fold my son’s clothes, while I tidy rooms. A restless, uncomfortable energy consumes me. Yet I’m exhausted. The slightest noise, shadow, bark of my dog sends my heart racing and the urge to either grab a knife or hide – but definitely cry!

It seems if I look at facebook, read a magazine, watch television, read the news I am faced with a story that triggers me.

My husband has stepped in and said he’ll drop the kids off for the next couple of weeks to help. Of course the proviso is that I do actually leave the house. Today I went to the hairdresser. I know my stylist well, it’s local, there is always parking outside. Although instinctively I wanted to cancel I made myself go. She was running very behind. She asked me to see another stylist. I politely declined. I felt like a diva. It’s not that, it’s just I didn’t want that band of trust broken, not now. I don’t want new and awkward conversation. I need to be comfortable. Such a minor thing but there was the steel grip, squeezing at my heart. Wanting me to cry – which would have been embarrassing. Shameful. Pathetic.

I look in the mirror and I’m morphing into something more peculiar and ugly. My body aches and feels old. Damaged.

I can smile, I can even hold down a conversation for just long enough. But I’m in avoidance mode. My phone will be going unanswered now. Shortly I’ll disconnect from social media. I will cease to exist to the outside world. It’s the only way I can cope.

But if a car is following me for too long, I will worry. I will often feel I’m being watched and I will always be on high alert on the times I do go out.

I’m sad. Angry. Bitter. Devastated. Fed up that I continue to live this way after so many years.

My diazapam consumption will increase. No doubt my migraine medication will to.

Some days I think how nice it would be to wake up and not remember a thing from my past. How much easier life would be.

I can try to fight this. I always do. But that steel hand, it comes from nowhere. It takes my breath away quite literally.

PTSD is a curse.

The imminent date

I recognise my undoing as the horrible date creeps closer is letting the mundane stressors accumulate so I feel a loss of control. I react too emotionally to otherwise small events or inconveniences and take otherwise trivial occurrences personally. Recognising this I made a silent promise to myself to rise above. To see anything on the build up for what it is. Incidental and insignificant.

Great in theory.

My other burning pit of anxiety has been the actual date. As I mentioned previously my brain has religiously every year blocked the date. I have just known the month (Feb) but related it to my birthday which I don’t celebrate in early March. Last year I specifically looked up the date going through police communication. The theory there was to own the date. In fact what happened was for the two weeks prior and at least three weeks after I was a complete mess. Total car wreck. This year I decided not to look, but I found these two dates getting confused in my head. Thinking I had appointments, messing the days around. Screwing up the correlation between my diary and iPhone. Feeling a terrible sense of unease. In the end I decided I had to know as not knowing was becoming just as bad. Of the two dates – consecutive, the one that seemed to come up most is the anniversary date. Turns out my brain decided not to shield me entirely after all. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Somehow better that I know but I also have this awful feeling like I’m on a roller coaster and I’m reaching the peak but I’ve decided I want to get off. I am breathless, I am terrified, I have no control, no voice, I know what’s coming and there’s nothing I can do about it. But my god I wish someone would pluck me out of the God damn seat.

Meanwhile I’ve already gotten into confrontation, or rather tried to avoid confrontation with someone that worked for me. I wanted things to end amicably but this other person was defensive. I handled things as best I could and I believe quite well considering I can be quite the hot head. Then I’d ordered something and paid for it and the company initially said they hadn’t received payment. This is a trivial issue. It was a credit card payment and easily traceable. But I could feel the anxiety. That sense of things closing in. It’s the small things. The mundane things. Any other time – fine. But now, it’s starting to feel overwhelming.

I’m not sleeping too well. I’m more jumpy. More tearful. I’m trying to stop it. Trying to control it but it runs away from me. I don’t like the weakness. I don’t like the fear.

My throat constricts so easily now. It gets harder to swallow. I worry about being out and not being able to swallow and then panicking about that. It’s a vicious cycle.

I ducked out to get some migraine medicine last night. I’m used to my freedom. I needed gas, figured I’d grab a car wash to. What was I thinking?? It was so dark. I’m usually uncomfortable in the dark, but I’m not that bad especially down the road at my local service station IN my car!

I can’t explain to anyone what I’m feeling right now. My mood is stable which is really good. It’s the anxiety. The sadness and pain of an injustice and a brutal attack from the past. It doesn’t get easier.

At least my understanding of what I’m experiencing gets better. I begin to expect it now. A part of me is forever ruined.

The countdown

I have this residual tummy bug from Fiji. It doesn’t respond to usual over the counter remedies so the chemist suggested it was probably a virus that needed antibiotics. I’m not keen to see my gp at the moment so I’m hoping it will run its course. In the meantime it’s leaving me lethargic, and I’m trying to keep my hydration up. This sluggish and general malaise is perversely well timed for the time of year.

As I inch closer to February the sickness in my stomach could be either the bug or the persistent memories. The overwhelming tiredness and urge to do less, feel less hope, less courage is sinking in.

I feel very alone with my thoughts. My body feels alien to me. Not just because of my stomach. But I have developed this terrible eczema in between my fingers with painful broken skin – I’ve never had it before. My skin seems to react to everything these days. My menstrual cycle has shortened after years of being the same, and body memories – they are starting to resurface. Yesterday I felt a hand push on my back, push me down. I felt panic rise like a painful bubble up my throat. The panic and anxiety sit closer to the surface now. Making it harder to swallow.

I drove to a church today. I can’t tell you why. Perhaps the promise of divine intervention, the offer of peace. Some contemplation and reflection. I haven’t been for years. I sat for a while in quiet thought. I felt nothing. But then I felt annoyed that I felt nothing. And then I started to cry. Big tears rolled down my cheeks. I’m not usually one for crying. Especially in public. But I cried with ease. Wept quietly, alone in the warm church.

I didn’t get any divine intervention, not even a really cool Priest with some pearls of wisdom like in the movies to change my life forever.

I’m tired this afternoon. Tired and sore. With my manky fingers and rotten tummy!

I’m wondering how, yet again, I intend to get through these miserable few weeks.

Back from holiday – with a bump!

Back in NZ after a fantastic break in Fiji. It really is an awesome place. I missed absorbing another culture, feeling peaceful and open to the land and people. We got to try different foods, see a different way of life, I was grateful to see the local school, courthouse, villages, and participate in a Kava ceremony. I found my anxiety levels greatly reduced, I was happy to go with the flow. I think I’m an island baby at heart. Well, until I go off my medication I suppose!

The journey back felt stressful. The kids were over tired. My son didn’t seem to know what was going on. I think we had all gotten to that point of being fed up with each other. It happens – big family, airports and planes are close quarters.

Fortunately arriving in Wellington my car was waiting in the carpark so it was an easy drive home back to what is familiar. Yesterday we all lounged around tired. I slept most of the day, even though it’s only a short haul flight, it seems to take it out of me these days.

My son is back in kindy tomorrow and the girls are into a holiday programme tomorrow. That’s a huge relief for them and me. We all need some time now to pursue our interests and take a break from each other.

My anxiety levels have already started to rise a little. My husband and I have been discussing things to do with my past, managing the anniversary.

Before we left for the UK a few years ago for my husband’s job, one of our chequebooks was stolen. We don’t know if it was taken out the mailbox, or found during a tip run. Either way, with this chequebook this guy was able to take money from our account, open trade accounts, even try to rent a house. We didn’t know until we received a redirected to the UK letter from a store wanting payment of NZ$10,000. We looked into it and discovered all these withdrawals. We reported the issue to the bank and police. It was slow going being the UK with the time difference. But we were told we couldn’t close the account because they wanted to accumulate more evidence. We had a house in NZ and worried about the bad debt piling up. Eventually the guy was caught. He pleaded guilty siting difficult times and desperate measures, but he had a history of fraud. He got 7 years. In total he had taken NZ$500,000. Our family and friends thought it was great that he was caught and put in prison. Of course the evidence was water tight. He was filmed going into banks to get the money. The woman he applied for the house through, the trade stores had footage. Great, the fraudster got caught.

But you know what? I didn’t fucking care. It’s money. The bank returned the lost funds. We don’t use chequebooks anymore. I don’t care that justice was done in this case. I didn’t get justice when it mattered most. It seemed to me that the police, the courts took fraud a lot more seriously than what happened to me. And that I just can’t deal with.

Anyway, bit of a tangent, guess that will keep happening for a while now.