Tuesday, May 5, 2015

PTSD - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I already had big issues even before my beloved sister suddenly keeled over dead last year. My problems got worse after that. Then I thought things might be trying to stabilize just a little. Then one night about a month ago, one normal night, my husband and I were just sitting down to dinner in our favorite German restaurant when my phone rang. I saw it was one of my 19 year-old twin daughters calling. I answered and it wasn't her. It was her friend calling to tell me that the two of them were in a car accident on the way home from the hospital where they both work. She said paramedics were already on the way, but my girl was "entangled in the car". That's what she said, "entangled in the car". My brain couldn't function very well after I heard those words. I had to call back to get a location because I couldn't remember anything I heard after "entangled in the car". The fire rescue squad got her out and... and then she walked out of there under her own power. Paramedics took her to the hospital and she had only bruises. The car was MANGLED. A total loss. She's fine, inexplicably fine, but I could have lost my baby girl while I was sitting down to a dinner on a normal, normal day. Is anything safe? It doesn't seem so. I'm more worse off now. I GPS-track my kids and watch them this way while they drive. I do this WAY more than I did before. Driving is even scarier for me now and I'm not the one who had the accident. I worry even more. As if things weren't bad enough before.

While searching for a replacement car, my husband and I drove over what has to be one of the scariest bridges in the world. Or at least in the U.S. I've never had a problem with bridges. Never. Not even the Golden Gate Bridge. But this was... different. I had the kind of panic attack I used to refer to as a "freight train" panic attack. It's been YEARS since I had one like that. I had one again today. I was at the bank. I was up at the teller counter as the sounds of two men arguing began to register on my consciousness. Within a few seconds I started to feel the physical manifestations of anxiety. The men were very loud and angry and they were threatening each other physically. They ignored the bank employees who were asking them to stop arguing inside the bank. Even as I began to realize I was triggered and said to myself out loud (in front of people), "It's a panic attack. I'm having a panic attack", I still lost control of my body. I had to leave in the middle of a transaction and sit down right there before I fell down. I kept looking out the window where my twin daughters were waiting for me in the new car I bought. I was glad they hadn't come inside the bank with me. And I watched them as they were figuring out how to lower the seats and work the tilt steering, etc.

I grew up in a house with a very violent father who taught his ways to his sons with his abuse. I grew up with my father and brothers all fighting each other. Loud, ugly, awful. And my family members could be hurt or killed in these fights. Even once I left home I would receive scary phone calls. My mother asking me to talk my brothers down from a standoff in the basement - one with a gun and one with a knife. My terminally ill father calling me to ask me to come over and help him because he'd gotten into it again with my brothers and one of them had thrown him into the fireplace and he was hurt. The sound of men fighting is something I simply can't deal with. I don't go to boxing matches, wrestling competitions, football games, hockey games, bars... because I want to stay away from any possible violence. I didn't expect it at the bank.

I can't really talk to anyone about this. I feel like I don't have anyone who would really listen and ask questions and want to know. I'm worried about myself. And I probably need a new bank.

My take-away here is that your son might be in the middle of a dangerous prison riot just as you are putting a roast into the oven. One of your brothers might commit suicide right at the very moment you are trying so hard to convince yourself that everything is okay enough for you to fall asleep. Your sister might collapse at her kid's volleyball game while you are shopping for your living room re-do and you'll get the call just as you're walking out of Lowe's. Your baby might be entangled in the car just as you are sitting down to dinner. And you can't even go to the bank without bad things happening.  Scary, bad, awful things.

I don't feel safe.

Image result for sunshine skyway bridge

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank you to all who commented on the last post. Though I am bad at sharing my feelings lately, I really do appreciate those who have visited here. Today was very difficult. I've had a run of bad luck in a few different ways: REALLY big repair bills, kids catching sicknesses and/ or generating giant dental bills, I've been feeling alternately anxious and depressed, etc. The worst of it was today. I almost had a flashback in a dental office even though I was not the patient, one of my kids was. She was laid back in the dental chair, covered with a blanket because she felt chilled. Her mouth, of course, was open wide. This changed the shape of her face. Changed the way her lips looked. Reminded me of my sister dying in the hospital. Her mouth open and her lips stretched over the tubes that went down into her lungs from the ventilator that breathed for her until her heart gave up for good. My daughter's hair is not as dark as mine. It's a little lighter like my sister's was. She was covered with a blanket to her chin, like my sister in that bed. Those things and also a few triggering words contained in the instructions from the dentist that reached much farther back into my past, and I really felt like I was going insane. Like my brain was under enormous pressure and would crack my skull in order to leap from my head if only it could. But I didn't show it. I am an expert at that. Until I get home. I'm home.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I know no one reads here anymore, but I'm writing anyway because I have nowhere else to go. I went to visit someone the other day. I managed to do that, made myself do it because it's a good thing to do, but then the unexpected sorrow was waiting for me. There were two sisters there sending messages from their phones to the rest of their sisters. There were children from two different families playing around in the place. I was the only person there without a living sister. In all those people, I was the only one. It's horrible and I feel like it will never get better because she will always be dead.