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It’s the Little Things
Does it ever feel sometimes like you’re just walking around, minding your own business, when suddenly, BANG, you smack your head on a cupboard door you didn’t even know was open? Or you stub your toe on the couch or trip over a toy? When I’m having a good day, sometimes things like that just seem to come out of nowhere. The most innocuous things will hit me like a ton of bricks and leave me reeling.
Maybe it’s because of the SAD, but lately my PTSD has been flaring up like crazy. I think I’ve even had some flashbacks again. It’s hard because my borderline won’t let me remember properly, but I do reminded a few times when I’ve felt trapped in a memory. I think it started with that terrifying episode a few weeks ago when I was having a depressive episode and was trying to figure out why. I guessed it had something to do with the upcoming anniversary of my sons birth, and how I had terrifying flashbacks and nightmares and night terrors about that for weeks after the fact. The scariest thing is that I don’t quite remember that day anymore. So I figured I’d try walking myself through it, and then I got to a certain part of the day that felt like touching a live wire. Everything in my body and mind exploded and I had to shut down that train of thought, whatever it was. I’m not going near it to try and remember what set me off.
But lately, things have been bad. I am trying to push through and not stay in bed all day, but sometimes numbing is the only thing that keeps me from doing something crazy. If I can catch myself before things get bad, then I will whenever I can, but sometimes the wave is just too much.
Yesterday started out great, even though I figured an episode was coming considering the busy and emotional time I’d had the day before. I had a plan for how the day should go and I was following it pretty well, even if the task switching was difficult at times. But then I made myself a grapefruit smoothie to go with my lunch, and I think that was the beginning of the end.
One thing I don’t know if people realize, but failed suicide attempts can become PTSD events. Being hospitalized and brought back to life is a trauma. And anything that reminds you of that time or what led up to it can trigger an episode. Ironically, these white-hot memories can create so much internal chaos that it feels like the only way to relieve it is to make another suicide attempt. I can feel it right now as I write this, but I have to, so that you know you’re not the only one. Maybe someone’s been acting like you should just be grateful to be alive, but any near death experience can be a source of trauma, and that trauma can lead to PTSD, gratitude be damned.
So. Last year one of the ways I tried to hurt myself was with a smoothie poisoned with medication. Whatever I could find in the drawers that I didn’t use the first time, blended all up with fruit. It tasted horrible and bitter, but I forced myself to drink it all.
And yesterday while I drank my grapefruit smoothie, something felt wrong. I hate wasting food so I kept sipping and sipping until suddenly I remembered why this felt familiar. I was forcing myself to drink a bitter smoothie.
Again, I hate wasting food, so I made myself finish it, even though the taste and mouthfeel were so similar. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t poisoned, that it was just a regular smoothie. But my anxiety was so high that I ended up doubling my portion for lunch and eating myself sick. I had to go lay down, and then I was down for the count.
I must have walked into the clouds to avoid the memories, because suddenly I was no longer tied to the earth. My plan for the day was forgotten, no matter the deadlines and pressing issues that needed to be solved. All I could do was retreat and use my energy to stay numb.
Luckily, I was able to go to sleep early, and today I feel tired but more energized. The episode passed. I’m not sure how the plan will go today, but I’m going to do what I can until I can’t anymore. One thing I might have done differently yesterday was trying to avoid going to bed, and maybe go watch TV instead. At least then I probably would have gotten more work done. Also, when I got little jolts of inspiration to go work on my book, I would have pushed myself a little harder to at least do that instead of thinking that there’s no point. At least that would be working toward one of my goals.
And of course, my mental health first aid kit would have been a great thing to use, even if facing the memories was terrifying and probably would have made me cry. I might have worked through it sooner.
All we can do is keep trying again. It’s a new day and I’m protected from yesterday’s memories, so I’m going to keep plugging away.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13