I live with complex PTSD and I am tired. My brain wants to shut down. I can feel the pull into silent, withdrawn, nonfunctioning, depression.
It is easier to push it all away than it is to face how big and overwhelming some emotions can be. Or is that just my lack of emotional experience talking? I feel bitter at my inabilities, which can often become a catalyst for my shame. I get caught in the loop, recognizing my faults rather than my successes.
I have felt recently like I can’t catch my breath. It has felt like one monumental lose after another, betrayal after betrayal.
Over the course of the last 10 weeks, I have made the decision to walk away from a long term friendship. Boundaries are important and as I set them, it became clear who in my life preferred to exploit them.
I left a job by means of a crash and burn situation that spiraled out of control due to my trauma forcing me to face, swiftly, just how negatively my emotional triggers and my inability to manage them properly are affecting my life.
Then, just when I was starting to feel like I was getting a grip on the anxiety and complete loss of thought control, my 20-year-old son and I ended up in an argument that led to him moving in with a friend and left me in a daze as the dust settled. His own mental health issues locking horns with mine. It is impossible for me to help him if he doesn’t want to help himself.
I am tired. I feel like I have been through the emotional gamut. Anxiety so intense it made me nauseous and I felt constant, penetrating fear, depression to the point that I can’t control my tears, and insomnia due to panic. Eating, cleaning, leaving the house – not important. The screams of self-doubt and self-loathing have been echoing in my head.
It’s been a ride.
I often wonder if people who haven’t experienced the traumas I have, who don’t have the negative cognitions I have, who have a normal functioning brain, would feel as beaten down as I do going through all this stuff.
I’m sure it would be stressful to anyone – but to affect their ability to function, their hygiene, their interactions with the world, even with time itself?
I bet not.
I struggle with setting boundaries. I struggle with the fear that I will upset people and they will leave me. I struggle with believing in myself and thus measure my worth by how I am treated. I struggle with taking responsibility for other people’s behavior (especially towards me) rather than holding them accountable.
These are the things wired into my brain due to the abuse that I went through, and how I was treated during and after, by my family. It has taken me nearly 40 years to realize my thinking is wrong.
It is hard to articulate the daily struggle of living with the logical knowledge that I am a good person, allowed to set boundaries, to have emotions, wants, and needs, and furthermore that it is okay if some people don’t like it and leave – in constant conflict with my inner child’s deeply rooted beliefs and feelings of shame, self-loathing, self-blame, worthlessness, grief, and fear of more loss.
My tendency is to adjust myself in order to please others. Not doing so is scary and foreign. Still, I am learning and finding rewards in being my true self.
“You will never gain anyone’s approval by begging for it. When you stand confident in your own worth, respect follows.” –
Learning to self-correct negative thought patterns imprinted into my perceptions of self is not something I saw as a daily thing in my life. Especially during my days of dissociation and suppression when I thought I had life by the balls and my past was dealt with and not an issue.
I think the most intense (and exhausting) part of living with PTSD for me, is the realization that healing is a daily choice, not a final destination. It may very well take me a little bit extra, for the rest of my life, when it comes to certain situations. This is my new life, and there is a new me in here somewhere trying to learn how to live this new life and find her way out into the light.
As that realization and awareness truly take hold in me and I realize what it means for me going forward – yeah, I am tired. This is no easy task living with a mental illness.
Even so, I am also hopeful.
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