I am not doing well. In fact, emotionally speaking, this is the worst I have been in a long time.
It’s embarrassing…. humiliating…. and humbling to admit this. I thought I was so much healthier than this! I had healed so much. I had learned, and grown, and blossomed, spreading my wings and flying so far…. all those happy, la la land metaphors.
My blog is about HEALING from PTSD, for heaven’s sake! I have a page posted at the top of my blog titled “How to Heal PTSD,” which lists all the different therapeutic methods and self-help books that have helped me immeasurably. And I really, truly have come incredibly far from where I was when I was in my worst, most crazy-broken-shattered-insane condition.
My tablet wants to know if crazy-broken-shattered-insane needs to be added to the dictionary. Uhm….no.
You know what’s weird? You can’t tell by looking at me right now that I feel like H-E-Double-L warmed over. At least, I don’t think other people can tell. The face I see in the mirror looks exactly the same as it did when I was feeling perfectly fine. Even my eyes look the same — nothing like the scared rabbit look I expected to see there. And no one among my acquaintances has looked at me recently and asked in alarm “Is something WRONG?” — the way people used to do, when I wasn’t doing so great.
What’s that about? On the inside, I feel like the world is ending, but it’s like somebody forgot to notify my face.
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. The last thing I want is to walk around looking like the “before” half of an ad for a psychotropic medication……
OK, maybe that’s not the LAST thing I want. Another holocaust or a nuclear war would be last. Which is still a ridiculous thing to say, because I don’t want any of these things, not first, not last: NEVER. What I really mean to say is that I felt relieved, when I looked into the mirror awhile ago, and I did not see anything in my eyes or on my face that gave the slightest hint of the turmoil I feel raging inside.
But seeing my expression looking so serene made me feel oddly disconnected, too. It’s as if my inner being has somehow detached or dissociated from my face. This isn’t something I am doing on purpose. I am not trying to wear a false front or a mask. It’s just somehow there.
Now I have to wonder: how many ordinary, normal looking people are walking around among us every day, feeling like they are teetering on the brink of shattering into a million pieces? It’s a horrible thought! I wouldn’t wish this turmoil I have inside me right now, on anyone else. Not even on my worst enemy. (I did have to think about that for a minute, though.)
Anyway, “normal” looking face aside, WHY do I feel like 50 shades of rotten right now? What is wrong with me?
Huh… the first thing that popped into my head, when I wrote the last sentence, was how many times I heard this from my mother as I was growing up: What is WRONG with you, Linda?
But my mother is in her 80s now and I am in my 60s. What she said to me so long ago should no longer apply. I don’t care what the definition of PTSD is right now, I just want to Get Over It, Already.
Which is exactly what my mother has been telling me to do for most of my life, about… everything. “Get Over it already, get out of the past, live in today.” No “I’m really sorry for all the trauma and abuse and the lies I told about you, how can I make it right?” Just “I had problems when you were a kid, but that was then and this is now, so Get Over It.”
I have been no contact with my mother for a few years now — ever since shortly after May 2011, when she showed me how well she lives in today rather than in the past, by sending me a 62 page hate letter, telling me everything that was ever “wrong” with me in my entire life, going back to my earliest childhood. And she gave copies of that horrible letter to my siblings and my aunt, so that they could fully appreciate all the (twisted lying) reasons why I have been her scapegoat since the 1960s.
But, even though I have been no contact with my mother since shortly after she sent me that letter, and even though I really have, by the grace of God, forgiven my mother, to the best of my human ability, leaving her in His hands, praying that God will fix whatever is broken in her — still, that cutting, unloving, critical voice lives on in my head.
Until recently, I thought I had managed to leave most of the past in the past. I thought I had found a way to get over most of my traumas. I was functioning and feeling the best that I ever have — and then, suddenly, WhAm! Out of nowhere, I took several giant leaps backwards in my healing journey.
I feel kind of like what happened to a college professor I knew years ago. Her specialty was higher mathematics: algebra, trigonometry. Then she had a heart attack and lost most of her math skills in the brief time that her oxygen supply was cut off from her brain. She had to start all over again, relearning the times tables.
Right now, I think I would feel relieved to find out that I have a serious heart condition or cancer or something like that, because then I could point to my physical ailment and say “There! This is my problem, right here! I have every right to feel 50 shades of horrible, because of this thing that I cannot possibly help!”
I know, I know… people who actually have a serious heart condition or cancer, or who have a loved one with one or both of these serious conditions, are going to read this and think: “Linda Lee is CRAZY. Not only that, she’s STUPID. I (or my loved one) has cancer (and/or a really bad heart), and I (or he/she/they) would give anything to just have a rotten mood, instead!”
Which is another reason why I temporarily disabled comments on this blog. I can heckle myself just fine, thank you, I don’t need anyone’s help with that.
But really, although I may in fact be both crazy and stupid, I do know what I am talking about. My husband has had two heart attacks (his daughter says he’s actually had three, one many years before I knew him, which he has apparently forgotten. My husband says this may be true, for he has forgotten many things because of his heart attacks.) In addition to my husband’s history of heart problems, when I was in my late thirties I had a potentially deadly heart arrhythmia which has since been brought under control. Also, my dad died at the age 53 of a heart attack, which almost destroyed me at the time. So trust me, I am not making light of serious heart conditions.
Neither am I making ligh t of cancer. I have watched many friends and loved ones die of that terrible disease. For the last two weeks of her life, I spent every night sitting at the bedside of my dear friend and neighbor, as lung cancer destroyed her body and mind. Plus, when I was 26 years old, I had cancer. The pathologist’s report said that the cancer appeared to have already invaded my endocrine system, which I knew meant an automatic death sentence, barring a miracle.
SCARED? Oh man, I was stark raving TERRIFIED!! At that age, I still thought I was virtually immortal. I had two young children and most of my life was still ahead of me when suddenly, without warning, I had cancer spreading throughout my entire body!
But either the pathologist was wrong, or maybe I did experience a miracle, because more than 35 years have passed and I am still here and apparently cancer free! And most of the time I am deeply thankful for this. But right now, with the inexplicable way that I have been feeling inside, I need… I need…. I need a SCAPEGOAT to blame this on!
Which brings me to the title of this post. Just before I started writing this, I was swirling around in my head, trying to figure out WHAT — or WHO — is to blame for my 50 shades of feeling so unbearably horrible.
I thought of this person, who said this wrong thing to me recently, and I thought of that person, who failed to say something right that they “should have said.” Then I thought of someone else, who did this thing, or failed to do that thing…. and suddenly…. SUDDENLY….. I realized:
“I am looking for a SCAPEGOAT. I, the scapegoat in my family of origin, the one who was unfairly blamed for things I had no control over, the one my abusers projected their sins onto, with character-assassinating lies and by blaming the victim…. I am looking for a Scapegoat of my own to Blame!”
Geez, I thought… so THAT’S how it happens.
Maybe there really isn’t anyone for me to blame right now. And maybe I’m not dying of some exotic, undiscovered disease. Maybe this is just me, with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD, the gift that keeps on giving. Especially during the holidays, for so many reasons, but primarily because Christmas time is when my worst trauma happened.
I guess I’m not the poster person for Healing From PTSD, after all…
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Comments are open below because, who am I kidding, my memoir writing has once again come to a standstill. However, being a lot more dysfunctional lately than I have been in a long time, please don’t take it personally if I don’t approve or answer your comment right away.
Thank you for reading, and God bless. Bah Humbug… I mean, Merry Christmas! 🙂