Week 10

When this school term began, about a million years ago, I had planned to post something about it each week. Then, at the beginning of week 3, all hell broke loose and that obviously wasn’t going to happen.

It’s been a month since the house was fumigated. It’s been less than a week since I discovered several bites all over my legs and panicked. Fortunately, they were probably only mosquitos. It’s just that there were a lot, and well, if you’ve never had an infestation, coupled with PTSD and a new term at school and a sort of new job and five kids all with health issues, you might not understand why I spend hours a day staring at the floor for any sign of movement.

After stress, at least for me, I go through a stupor. It’s a highly stressful time during which I am constantly vigilant for anything that could go wrong. It does, and often, in my life, so it isn’t mere paranoia that makes me think this way.

Last week we got strike two for R’s place on the school bus because L decided to take a nap instead of picking R up at the bus stop. If R loses his place on the bus I have to stop going to school and I have to quit work because I have no one to pick him up every day.

I think I have adequately put the fear of no computer into L and hopefully this will never be an issue again. I can certainly see why parents love to use harsh discipline with their kids and rarely opt for understanding and forgiveness. Seriously, it’s annoying to wait for these kids to mature enough to understand the stress they put me under. But, I’ll write all about the long term downside of corporal punishment in a future post.

Today I realized that I am finally coming out of the paranoid stupor that I go through after these events. We are, at least today, in as “normal” a place as we will ever get. Life still sucks, there are still major problems, but at least it’s nothing like the last one.

I do know that things are going to go to shit again, probably within a month. That’s just how our lives work. Ordinary problems aren’t ours. We only deal with the earth shattering ones.

But, for today, things are relatively calm. And so, I think I will try to use this to get things together before J has her surgery next week. That will be stressful enough.

The thing with trauma, is there is a recovery period. The extent of the trauma often (always) is reflected in the length of time for the recovery. Trauma compounded in turn compounds the recovery time. It’s why things like PTSD are never cured.

When you’ve been through trauma, you have to give yourself time, whatever that looks like for you at any given moment. For me, right now, recovering looks like going to school and writing. I don’t know what recovery for me will look like five years from now. I do know that if I don’t work on it now, it will be worse. In fact, that is the only given.

People, including very educated psychologists and psychiatrists, often fall into the belief that there can be a timetable or an exact method for healing. For example, the first clinic I went to after I left my ex (who abused me for 25 years which was compounded upon the abuse I received from other sources throughout childhood, such as my parents) felt that I should have been just fine in two years. They cut me loose, and I had a mental breakdown.

When you read articles or have friends give you “advice” to help, remember that there is no “one size” to healing. Some advice can be helpful to you. I find journaling and writing to be a benefit, but others don’t. Some advice can be so detrimental that it will do more damage. The current push on trauma victims to meditate is disturbing to me because, though I have tried to explain to therapists and psychologists that I become suicidal when I meditate, they continue to try to force me to do it.

In trauma recovery, you need to do what is good for you. And a person, professional or not, who is trauma-informed will understand that. Take care of yourself. Be self-aware. You have to be your own advocate. Not an easy thing for a trauma victim, I know. It has taken me years to get to this place. I’ll never tell you it was easy. But it’s harder if you stop trying.

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