Friday, January 21, 2005

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Some of you will "get" this. Some won't. Some will say "too much information, I just want to know what you're knitting!!" This is an excerpt of an email written to a friend trying to describe dealing with old stuff....old stuff that has refused to go away.

"The suggestion of "boxing" the past is well intentioned, I know. The problem is, it won't stay boxed. I liken it to packing a U-haul (I am a lesbian afer all...). You box up yer stuff. You label the box, tape it down really securely, and place it in the uhaul. You get to where you're going....and see the box labeled "old ways of thinking" or "childhood trauma". You think, "I do not have the time or energy to deal with you. I'll put you here in the attic while I take care of this other stuff." You go along, unpacking, getting your life in order. Sometimes, the box will mind its manners and stay just where you put it. More frequently, it will start to appear now and again in the oddest places. You pick it up and take it back to the attic. After awhile, it starts showing up much more frequently...and damn, if it doesn't seem to be getting bigger and heavier. The tape is starting to pop in spots....you tape it up better and maybe lock the attic door next time. But, to no avail. It WILL come out, it WILL make you unpack it...look at the contents...mourn...re-learn ways of dealing with what it brings up. It may stay boxed nicely for 20 or 30 years even. But sometimes, it hangs around so much you get used to it...it seems normal to have the box in your car everyday on the way to work. Normal to have the box under the kitchen table at dinner. Soon, the box sleeps with you and you think...well hey, I've always had this box. No big deal. That has gotten me to being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I boxed my stuff, and chained it so securely, I didn't think it could get out. Wrong. Now it gets out in totally different ways...it WILL come out. "

If you or someone you love has PTSD, my hope is that in posting this, you might glimpse why we "can't just get over it" or "just stop thinking about it." Probably, we've been trying really hard to not think about it! Help...as in professionaly help, is out there. That's one of the things that keeps me going day in and day out. Hope.

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