Small disclaimer: If you haven't read this blog before, it is one big mess of TMI. I have no filters. You WILL know far too much about me, should you continue. You've been warned. So ask yourself now, "Do I really want to know?"
As the noisy, flashy, firework kind of stress in my life has diminished, it has come to light that trauma has truly left it's mark on my brain. I find myself split in two, partially detached enough to be fully aware, and partially immersed in my post traumatic reactions. I watch myself experience episodes of depression, sensory overload, anxiety, uncontrollable sobbing over nothing. There aren't many flashbacks, and it doesn't mimic the PTSD I experienced after my car accident in high school, re-living the accidents over and over. I'm beyond most of that. Though at times I am distantly haunted by scenes of blurry remembrance in the hospital, trying to process what had happened to my body, having no control and no say through the pain of being poked and wired and prodded.. Or scenes of staring at the chair legs, vaulted ceiling, and paint-spattered wall of my old family room and kitchen while my dismay at the puddle of paint that spread under me and how it would ruin the floor. They don't torture me in that same, flash-bang, terror kind of way. Unfortunately, now, it's a puzzling labyrinth of discovering how my brain and my neurology have been rewired. I have been listening to The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van der Kolk. It has been fascinating to start to understand what my body has recorded and why, what parts of my brain have shut down or lit up due to mere moments in life, and what I need to do to utilize neuroplasticity and reprogram once again. Sometimes I feel silly. Overly dramatic. There is so much worse that people have been through. I want to logically talk my brain out of having been so effected by the laundry list of repeated trauma. Shattered ankle, torn rotator cuff, kidney stones, liver lesions, near-deadly IUD and unexpected open abdominal surgery, sprained shoulder, broken foot and torn shoulder labrum. These are not child abuse or war or genocide. But there isn't any logic to it. It has rewired, and I am left to deal with the tangle. I am tempted to shut down and shut up (as if that were really possible for me), but I know that in such instances, loneliness can spell regression and even suicide. While I have experienced depression and anxiety, I haven't had even the inkling of suicidal thoughts since I was deep in teenagedom and such things were empty threats for attention. I had a dream the other morning, in my waking sleep. I was standing at the side of my neighborhood road, where cars cruise down the hill around the bend, and I just stepped out in front of one of them and it ended. It felt so good in that second. So simple. To be done. That is when I jerked awake, thinking, "Oh crap. I need professional help." And also, chuckling darkly to myself, "With my luck, I wouldn't die." These are thoughts I want to be ashamed of and keep secret. But I won't. Secrets like that kill. And I don't want to die. Not even close. I love my life, my home, my family, this freaking wonderful, amazing planet and the incredible people that populate it. The nearest I can tell is that my brain is just finding the nearest possibility of ending the chaos. I'm tired.
I spent the weekend before last, crying. All the time. At everyone who talked to me, or looked at me. Everything was a trigger. I came home from lunch with a friend and sat in Aaron's office and sobbed, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Over and over. I'm sorry for putting you through all of this. Thank you for staying with me. I'm sorry this mess is yours to deal with too. The only thing that took me out of it was hours of hiking and running in the pouring rain with Aaron. Forced immediate presence. Be here now, in the rain, mud, dirt, rocks, trees, sticks, ridges, waterfall. It was glorious. It's so bizarre to be so madly in love with life, and be.... malfunctioning.
Sunday afternoon, I lay in bed clinging to the promise that I have spoken out loud to my family and friends: My story isn't over yet. I would never just end it. I will always keep trying. I wore my semicolon project bracelet as a security blanket and watched myself sob into my pillow. The next day I felt normal. Actually normal. I went for an incredibly peaceful solo run. I did laundry and played with my kids and danced in the kitchen. I felt the fire of real fight inside myself for the first time in weeks. Real hope. Monday I woke up jittery and anxious, but functional. I went to Costco, where I experienced a bizarre sensory overload episode with marked immediate memory loss. In Costco. I couldn't even remember what time of day it was for a while. My head was buzzing and I had tunnel vision. Every color, every movement, every sound, took over. A separate part of me watched in puzzled fascination and gave me the advice to start grounding. Feel your toes in your shoes. Identify 5 things you can see, 5 you can hear.... Somehow I made it through checkout and out to the car where I had a full anxiety attack and cried hard. I did grounding exercises and breathed myself down for ten full minutes before I could drive myself home. And then I was fine. Exhausted, but fine.
A couple of days later, after discussing my symptoms and various traumatic experiences with my yoga instructor.... my dad, my friends, a couple of strangers... (there really is something wrong with my filters).... I narrowed in on my surgery being the main episode I am suffering most from. It won't go away. It has been a year. Why can't I get over it?? Then, standing in my closet, anemic and exhausted and packing for a trip, I had a mind-blowing realization. My period is a trigger. For over a decade I have had a regular menstrual cycle that makes me wonder how I'm alive. It is easily more than 10 times the volume qualification to be medically defined as menorrhagia, or "abnormally heavy flow". When my surgery occurred, I went to sleep expecting my uterus to be removed along with the offending IUD, and when I woke up, confused, stitched and stapled, even that choice had not been mine. Every month, when that horror comes (and even the weeks leading up to it), my body experiences the terror of being stripped of choice and free-will all over again. My period is victimizing me. Holy crap.
I stood in my closet and sobbed.... again. Then I texted my first line of trauma brain spill- husband, sister, trauma-familiar-judgement-free-zone friends. I could hardly believe it. They all said it made perfect sense.
What are my choices now? Face the primal fear of surgery again? My every fiber wants to scream bloody-horror-film screams at the thought. Leave it be and wait til menopause, allowing the mental and emotional rape to continue month after month? Gosh, it sounds horrid calling it that, but I won't apologize for stating what I feel.
One thing is absolutely clear. I need help. I need a doctor that I can trust and feel comfortable with.... if such thing actually exists. I also need a really good therapist. And the $1400 that the hospital owes me and is refusing to pay..... and a lawyer.