When the brume clears, no matter how brief the reprieve, capture the moment. Hold it dear and remember there will always be another break in the fog. ~Undeniably Sara
Its been going on for weeks now. Every day feels like an attack from one side or the other. Just when I think there will be one calm day with somewhat reasonable expectations of me, then I get hit again.
The tangled mass of vibrant colors shooting out of the head makes visual the struggle to explain the traumatized mind. Surviving each day is challenging enough, but then we face trying to describe the sensation to others.
Burning stress, piercing hurt, and crushing fear
Pile on, forming a jagged mountain of pain.
Then, a feather lands atop with a whisper of breath.
Giant boulders crash down, roaring like a freight train.
The taste of blood in my throat, a migraine of molten lava,
And my heart, pounding out of my chest, beating in my ears.
The breaking point smoulders from holding it in too long.
One “black day” is manageable, most of the time. Many of them crammed on top of each other can feel insurmountable. These “black days” have been plentiful recently, and respite is nowhere in sight. Instead of feeling desperation and defeat there is numbness. Even anger is unable to be roused leaving a sense of complacency and acceptance.
There is still hope for the seed of happiness to sprout and grow, but for now, it is firmly buried under the weight of too many “black days.”
I know for a fact that if I had a traditional “physical disease,” with outwardly visible symptoms, people in my life would be more understanding. For some reason, crippling depression, complex PTSD, and chronic migraine that not only offers blinding pain but impaired cognitive function are “all in my head,” and I should be able to “get over it.”
My family would not be embarrassed or disappointed in me because of my illnesses. My boss and co-workers may not have accused me of “faking it to get out of work,” and maybe I’d still have my job. But I don’t have a traditional “visible disease,” so I must work harder to heal and overcome the stigma others, with no concept of my ailments, place upon me.
What a relief to finally realize it is my decision to like others and their feelings towards me belong to them. My anxiety has always made entering a room full of people a terrifying experience, but now I can (usually) keep that inward focus at bay. I need to choose the people who fit into my life instead of waiting for them to approve of me. I know my story and what I am no longer willing to tolerate. There is no reason for me to be anxious.
People have said many things to me about my chronic illnesses. I have chronic migraine, major depression, and complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). I’ve tried for a long time to understand what the point is when people say certain things to me. Why would you say these things to someone you care about?
“I go to work when I’m sick, but whatever.”
Okay. Well I hope it wasn’t contagious! Man, I’ve worked when I’ve been so sick I got lost going to see the doctor (neurologist) during my lunch hour. Did I mention I’d been to his office at least twice before? I’m not talking about a bad cold or diarrhea. I’m talking about getting lost in a town I’ve lived in for almost 30 years, going somewhere I’ve been more than once. Not to mention the intense pain of chronic migraine that caused me to seek out the doctor who prescribed the medication that scrambled up my brain. I’ve gone to work in severe pain too. So many times its just a blur.
“You need a better plan. That’s why things aren’t working out for you.”
The best plan in the world doesn’t help me if I’m too sick to follow it. This isn’t about a plan. Its about me being chronically ill. It took a long time for me to get this sick and it´s gonna take time for me to recover and/or learn to live with it. Things aren’t great for me but the kids and I have a safe place to live, food & clothes. I think we are doing well, especially considering what we have all been through.
“You just need to get over it.”
“Are you feeling better yet?”
This is such a loaded question. Better than what? On the days I don’t have a migraine I’m either exhausted and recovering from one or I’m worried about when the next one will come. Then there’s the CPTSD. I want to feel better so badly. I fight every day to get better. Please stop asking me this question. You don’t really want to hear the answer.
“I wanted to be there for you but I was busy.”
I understand you are busy and I respect your time and other commitments. I only ask the same of you in return. Please don’t ask me to run errands for you, take your dog to the vet, or deliver business papers. Don’t stop by unannounced and dump all your problems on me. My cup is full, overflowing actually. My priority is my children. You are a grown-up with no children at home. I think you can take care of your own stuff. I’d like to be there for you but I’m to busy fighting to get through my day.
“I know how you feel.”
I doubt that. If you know how I feel you’d never say these things to me. You would understand how confusing it is to have someone you care for hurt you in this way.
A part of me wants to believe you just don’t understand, but I’ve explained it to you over and over again. You’ve seen me so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. What do you think I’m doing here? Do you really believe I wanted to lose my job? Can’t you see how hard I fight to take care of my family? Don’t you think I’d like to get over it? Somehow you believe I enjoy reliving past trauma? Sometimes I wonder because I’ve realized you are one of my biggest triggers. I’ve explained that to you but I guess you were busy or you didn’t listen because you already know how I feel. I’ve pleaded with you to stop the behaviors that trigger me. You know I’ve begged you.
I’m trying hard to see the point. Why do you say these things to me? Do you think This will Help?