Melty brain

I have melty brain.

C is supposed to come back to Y-town today, and I am (as it turns out) supposed to leave tomorrow morning (unless some people turn out to be wrong and different people turn out to be right.) So you can see how this could be triggering for me.

I sent C the usual morning text, which she did not read, and then another text a few hours later which she also did not read. Sometimes she doesn’t read the morning text until another text comes. Of course, she might not be reading. She might be hitting delete delete delete. I am trying to help, but the feedback I get is minimal. Other people might opt for doing nothing. I opt to do something. The possible outcomes are about equally certain.

It wasn’t her usual pattern. By 11, I began to get panicky. This wasn’t her usual pattern. Of course, her pattern might be different on a day she intended to return to school. Who knows?

But it added to the possible things that could trigger me. I am that place now where I can feel my brain is not working right. If I really dig down deep, I know that feeling I have inside is total terror.

I am trying to do a few things to cope. One of them is not to listen to the stories. The stories may or may not be true. It’s totally possible that any of the scary things playing out in my mind could be true. I am quite good at coming up with reasonable things to concern myself with. She could, for example, have decided to switch schools without telling me about it. She seemed to be saying that a few weeks ago to her friends, but I didn’t catch it exactly and her friends refused to translate. And she did that in December. She said she wanted to come back, and when the day came to come back, she didn’t come. My friend had to call her mom.

It’s not unreasonable to think she would actually be too afraid to return to me.

But it is not possible for me to know what is happening or where she is at this particular point in time, so there is no point in weighing that as a story. It is just going to make the melty brain worse. So I am really, really not to do that. I am trying to recognize this is about having melty brain. I am triggered because I don’t know where she is, and at some point in the past, I did not know where someone else important was in the past, and then something terrible happened to them when I found them. I don’t really know who that was. I might at some point know, but I think this is not the day to determine it.

At some point in the past, I did not know where someone was and that was catastrophic for me, and at a different point in the past I had to leave someone important behind, just as I have to leave Y-town (for a whole 5 days) and that’s why I feel terrified. This is terror.

I am realizing that terror is not best coped with by minimizing or rationalizing it. My brain has already stopped working. It isn’t going to listen to reasoning, although I can certainly make things worse. I am trying not to make any story about it, beyond the big story causing it. I couldn’t find someone. I had to leave. That’s the big story. If I had more time today, I could expand on that and really fill in the details perhaps, but I am busy. I have work to do.

I am trying not to spin stories. And I am trying to think about what I do in terms of the pros and cons of it. So I feel the urge to text C again. What are the pros and cons of that? And I am also trying to think what the real need is? Is that going to meet the need. I am trying to do that. Just focus on the small picture. Keep my brain working enough to deal with the small decisions of the day, but recognize that feeling “must do something” now—that’s terror. Terror does that. It makes you act now. And it isn’t the time to act now, nor is it the time to make my brain work more than necessary.

It melted. It can’t.

But it’s useful to know the feeling. This is terror.

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6 thoughts on “Melty brain

  1. Cat's Meow July 15, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    So sorry about the terror. It makes dealing with life so much harder.

    • Ashana M July 15, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      It does. I have to kind of fake being a normal person. 🙂

  2. desilef July 16, 2016 / 12:45 am

    It must be so hard for you to trust, in any meaning or application of the world. But like any parent, you have to trust that C will live her life even if she sometimes makes a muddle of it. You know only too well that terrible things do happen in the world but they don’t happen all the time. And difficult though C’s family life may be and may have been, it can’t have been as horrific as yours was. So odds are she’s more or less OK. I understand that rationality may not face down the terror. You miss her.

    • Ashana M July 16, 2016 / 3:44 am

      Some triggers are very intense, and then it’s really difficult, because my ability to reason just collapses and I can’t hold together everything that I know about a situation in order to make a decision about it. It doesn’t automatically appear to me that there is a problem with my reasoning, because what’s going on in my head is still quite reasonable. I don’t think the horror is as graphic or wild as mine, but she is pretty traumatized, which is something that’s becoming more clear over time. Probably as there might be for any teenager, there are these points when I do need to step in and help her control her behaviour because she can’t. If I have melty brain, it’s hard to know whether that’s one of them or what that might look like. She did report to hostel in the afternoon and I did go to see her, and I think she thought I wasn’t going to come, because she appeared to be shaking off that look that somebody just died that she gets when she thinks I won’t come. I did find out that the matron punished her for my taking her down early last time (despite giving me permission 2 weeks in advance to do that), and that would probably be the fall-out of my having melty brain last time there was a departure and not handling that situation in a skillful way. It’s not good, because it erodes the trust C is starting to place in me. It’s hard. She is really, really fragile. I think it’s doubly hard for me, because there is no sort of proxy I can go to when I start losing my mind to compare notes with and help me reason about the situation, because I do not know anyone personally with a child who has that degree of trauma. It is just so clear she is different than other teenagers, and the way to deal with her is different than other teenagers. I think I am doing pretty well, but when I get triggered, it’s hard. The learning curve has been steep.

  3. Rachel July 18, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    I also find it useful to know a story is being told, or that my brain is just unable to function properly. Not that the insight can instantly change the brain’s ability, but that awareness gives a bit more room for compassion (at least for me).

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