It usually starts to get somewhat easier after Halloween has passed. I begin to sleep better, as I get more exposure to sunlight in the mornings and less in the evenings. The decorations come down and are traded for what are, for me, more neutral holiday symbols.
I don’t know if it will get easier this year or not. It might.
I saw my therapist on Saturday. She had had a GI infection all week and we hadn’t seen each other for two weeks. She asked me how I had been. I said I lived through it. She asked if I would normally describe a week that way. I said no.
I was somewhat appalled at this point that she forgot how hard this was for me.
She said she knew fall was hard for me. I said fall is hard because of Halloween. She had been vomiting all week. I felt I ought to try to be charitable that she might forget my troubles completely.
I think the worst possible feeling about what happened might be that the lives of the girls I grew up might simply not matter to anyone other than me. They were the ultimate in disposable human beings when they were alive, and when one of them was brutally murdered, this was forgettable too.
So I didn’t feel charitable about it.
At the time, I didn’t know how to communicate any of that. We moved on. She asked various questions about how I had coped. I answered dutifully. I am not sure what the point of these kinds of questions are. I functioned. I did not get through the pain of it by, say, shooting up heroin, but there is very little she could have done if I had. I ate rather more than my fair share of junk food and watched quite a bit of old movies.
I didn’t know how to describe how it felt to me that made it difficult. I tried. I don’t know why it is difficult. Anyone with PTSD probably feels as I do. I don’t know how to say, well, I feel like smashing my hands with a hammer when I wash dishes, but I actually don’t know why. It makes it harder to wash dishes.
I suspect some of my inability to explain comes from speaking to someone used to people who unknowingly strive to cope using dissociation, when I am trying not to. They want the urge to break their own hands to be blotted from their awareness, and I want to be able to experience the emotion that lies under the impulse I am aware of: partly because I think the emotion would be easier to work with and partly because dissociation has not gone well. You end up half dead doing that.
She asked me if teaching was the right profession for me, which seemed rather extreme. I said I like teaching, but also that I think all jobs have their stresses. There is no career in which I can wrap myself up in cotton wool until difficult anniversaries pass.
I have learned this in the past few years: life proceeds, regardless of whether you can manage the pace of life or not and all you can do is the best you can with that.
We had been talking about parts the previous session, and she did remember that. Not that I had held my dead lover in my arms as she drew her last breath on this green earth 31 years ago, but that I have dissociated parts. I felt I probably had to talk about them.
So I did. I did not feel that comfortable about it. I felt rather like this was torture that needed to be endured. The whole session felt that way really, like something terrible which needed to be gone through.
Then I went home, and lay in bed without thinking what I was doing and it was probably five hours later before I even noticed I had done that or that time was passing while I lay there, watching old movies. I don’t have any real idea what to do when it’s this bad. I lay there the entire day. I spent a lot of today, the next day, in bed too.
My mind does feel now as though it has begun to sort of wake up, but I wonder about this. Why does it seem that my consciousness actually evaporates when I am under severe stress and what do I do about that?