Friday, December 29, 2017

Reliving trauma.

One of the things I had never understood with PTSD victims is when they would discuss "reliving trauma" and how small things can be big triggers. I didn't fully understand what a trigger is or why it's a big deal.

Until now.

I totally get it. For the last year that I've been in therapy I have been told that eventually I'll learn what my triggers are, but that doesn't mean I won't add to that list, and some things might end up being OK in time. It all seemed really vague and I don't really do well with vague. Give me a concrete answer, a list of tasks to complete, that I can work with. Maybe that's been my problem this entire time- I know that I'll never be the me I was before Lucy, that ship has sailed without me on it, so what am I working towards? How will I know I have gone as far as I'm going to? Where is the finish line?

Nobody knows.

It's frustrating and I get so angry when I try to give myself some end goals, things I want to work towards. I spent my whole life perfecting myself and getting to a point where I was happy. Remember when I went through my weight loss and running phase? That was always something I was going to do again, after I was done with babies. I was looking forward to it, oddly enough. I can't do that now because I have serious issues to contend with now that I make no cortisol, I can't take enough synthetic in fast enough to compensate the stress that running would do. So what do I do in place of it? Remember when I was doing more for myself in terms of self care? I was going to concerts, going on trips with friends, taking the kids on adventures... a lot of that is gone too. Well, I can do them but I can't do them alone. The days of me driving to Chicago on a whim? All night road trip? That's all gone. It's hard because a lot of the things that brought my joy are no longer reasonable options for me. I have to find new things that bring me joy.

You know what's strange? You know how in the book Me Before You where the character wants to die because he's paralyzed and only thinks of the things he can't do and doesn't want to find new things? He knows that the new things, while they might be OK, they aren't like the old things he loved and he won't get the rush from them like he used to- and that's what he misses. Not the activity itself but the way it made him feel? So he arranges his suicide and that's the story. That's how I feel. I'm not at arranged suicide level but I finally understand his point of view. I could never imagine how a person feels when they get to the point of wanting to be done. I used to always think it was such a selfish act but now that I'm in it, I'm swimming in those waters, I finally understand that it has nothing to do with anyone else. It's really a battle against our own brains. Sure, we can "reach out for help" but for what? So people can tell us all the reasons why we're great and that they'd miss us? What if that isn't enough to keep us here? Do you think that we don't know all of this? Forgive me if I don't reach out to be lectured. The voice inside of my head is loud enough, I don't need it on the outside too.

My psychiatrist said an interesting thing at my recent appointment, "if you wanted to be dead, you would have already done it" - is that true? Is that really the litmus test for that? I'm not sure. I've thought about it a lot and I don't know that I agree. I think I've thought so much about it, I'm very much that person who wants to be sure. So I keep going to doctors, I keep trying to find solutions and fixes, ways to cope with all of this, because I really just want them to say, "We've done everything that we can, this is really it" and then I'd be done. I'm starting to suspect they all know that and are purposely telling me we have lots of things yet to try.

At my last therapy appointment I was challenged to write Lucy's birth story, involving not just the narrative I've been given, but incorporating much more detail. Think about the event from all angles and maybe I'd remember something. Anything. How do I think I was feeling being rolled into a c-section I didn't want? Do I remember a smell? Lights? What was it like holding Lucy? Was I scared to not remember? What did the nurses think? Did I say anything to them? How long was I really dead? What is every single medical event on the timeline?

All of this feels really challenging. A rational part of me says that my memory blocks things out for a reason, that maybe I shouldn't press into this, that maybe I'm not emotionally able to handle it. Then I feel defiant because I'll be damned if someone tells me what to do. So I've reached out to all of the medical personnel that I can think of. I know they have gone over this with me a hundred times but I can't help it, I have to hear it again.

In the meantime, I'm going through the records I requested from the hospital again and man... it's traumatic. I have read these maybe 15 times, nothing in this is new to me but every time I read it I feel panic rising in my chest and I don't know if I'm remembering the fear of the event again, but it is scary.

Another thing I'm going to reluctantly try? Regression therapy. I heard about it in Steph Arnold's book 37 Seconds, she really had a hard time connecting with her AFE event because she couldn't see it happening. Which is exactly how I feel. As traumatic as it would have been, I wish I had more pictures, or video, to look at so I can wrap my head around it. The few that I do have don't even look or feel like me. It feels like I'm looking at someone else. It's strange. I've reached out to someone near me that thinks he can do it and I'm scared. I feel like I need to do it but I'm scared.

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