I have realized recently—or this has been the thought, anyway—that I grew up totally dysregulated emotionally. I mean, I was constantly way, way, way overstimulated. My nervous system was screaming all the time, and I had no help with any of it. It might have been difficult to deal with daily life as a child with no help learning to cope with feelings and life generally, but I had hell to contend with. Denial was really the only way to cope. Denial and selective attention: as in, that upsets me. I think I won’t notice it. I’ll try not to think about it. I’ll try not to pay any attention to anything that has anything to do with it. If the signals that I am noticing it become too intense to disregard, I will at the very least pretend it is happening to someone else.

Because there was so much trauma and it was so ongoing, the reminders of the trauma were omnipresent. I mean, cold is a reminder, gum-chewing is a trauma. I could never calm down. And important relationships were intimately connected to trauma. There was so much I could just not acknowledge—nearly everything—and also continue to get through the day. That’s how I’ve ended up like this.

At the moment, I seem to be stuck. I miss C a lot. I can’t seem to work through that. I mean, there is a moment when a feeling moves from over-intense and too much and then moves to something kind of normal and workable. And I miss her like knives stabbing me in the stomach. It doesn’t seem to shift. There doesn’t immediately seem to be unprocessed trauma causing this, although it is unprocessed trauma that does this—that keeps things “stuck” in this way. It is not that I am also missing Nata or missing someone else from the past. I have worked through those feelings, it seems to me.

I think there is something else, something more removed from it and less obvious. I suppose I can use the time I am here—with nothing much but shopping to do—to try to sort it out.

I am just so lucky to have her. I think that is where the stuck-ness starts. I cannot process the wonder at this. I don’t know why. I circle back to it again and again. Maybe because actually I am not lucky. I am extraordinarily unlucky. If I were lucky, I would have been surrounded by people like C from the day I was born. I feel lucky to have one person in my life I really, deeply care about, who feels worth my care as a human being—there might be others, but I am saying I would feel lucky even if she were the only decent person I knew—because my life has been completely upside down. And one good person is a surprise to me.

I suppose that’s where I am stuck. I am not lucky. I am one of the most unlucky people left alive and standing. But it does not feel that way to me.