Friday, October 4, 2013

Oct 4 2013

Today I can feel myself peeking through the dark shroud that currently surrounds me. This may well be largely due to seeing my amazing counsellor yesterday.
My counsellor is the kind who doesn't pull his punches and I have been his patient for about 9 years on and off. Funnily enough when I first starting seeing him I wasn't anywhere near as bad as I am now, which is one of the curious things with PTSD. It has a kind of delayed onset. Back then I was seeing him predominantly for depression.
One of the first things he ever said to me that had a huge impact was to 'get a life'. Some may think that is a bit offense coming from a therapist but he wasn't being mean. I was living vicariously through my sons and he was telling me to live my own life. It was after a few sessions with him that I started at TAFE (like community college, for those not in Australia) and filed charges against my abuser. That's right, I originally filed 9 years ago. That is how long the system took.
I see my therapist about once a month and I am lucky that I don't have to pay for the service. I probably wouldn't be able to afford to even have therapy otherwise, which would frankly be a disaster for my family. When I'm having a rough time I will count the days until the next appointment. I then spend an hour spewing out thoughts and feelings and events and everything. He gets told the things that I can't tell anyone else. It's not that I don't talk to my partner, but there are things he doesn't need to know, and doesn't want to know, about my past.
My partner's anger towards my abuser is a palpable thing. He finds it really hard sometimes. I don't blame him, I find it really hard. But he supports me so much. He does his best to be understanding of me and my moods. I find it hard to live with myself so I can only imagine what it is like for those around me.

I wasn't this bad a few years ago. Looking back I can see that things really took a turn for the worst when my best friend died from a drug overdose. She had been abused by my abuser as well. She had joined me when I pressed charges. I lived in a fog for a year after she died, a fog compounded by the suicide of one of my kids' friends and one of my doctors, the murder of an online friend and the death of a long time family friend all in a short space of time. At the point all this hit I was a relatively successful artisan selling online with lots of drive and motivation. In less than a year that all changed.
My business pretty much went into hiatus, my mojo went on an extended vacation and all the old demons came back. The biggest difference was that I wasn't dissociating anywhere near as much as I used to, which meant I felt the pain a lot more and found it a lot harder to deal with. Around the same time we started to have some serious issues with one of our sons, issues that led to a lot of tension and unpleasantness.

So fast forward to now and I am at a standstill, encased in a shroud of darkness where the moments of joy, lightness and sunshine are rare and beautiful things. No longer are day to day things trivial. Every moment that you feel 'ok' is a big deal, because they don't last very long.

People think it is amusing when someone says 'well I got dressed today'. For someone with severe PTSD/depression/anxiety this is a major achievement some days. Hell, getting out of bed is a freaking miracle. It is not unknown for me to spend more than 20 hours in bed, only getting up to pee and maybe find something to eat, preferably chocolate.

We have codes in our house now. If I end up 'in the closet', then I have reached meltdown point. I literally sit inside our walk-in robe in the dark, often rocking back and forth and howling. It is a good month if I don't end up in the closet. It is a great month if I don't even come close to that. I've had two months of no closet time. I've come close a few times, but frankly my partner has caught me before I fell. So instead of going in the closet I just lay in bed and howled and then slept. That is usually the step after the closet.. so I will take it as progress.
Our other code is my ipod. If I have my ipod plugs in my ears then I am wordlessly telling everyone that I am not coping. This happens a lot if the house gets noisy (not unusual with 4 kids at home). Too much noise means anxiety, my filter doesn't work so well these days. So I drown it out with music. I'll often be on the computer whilst wearing the ipod. It's like I don't want to deal with everything, but I also don't want to be shut away in the bedroom.
The last code is the bedroom door. I will often go and sit in bed and watch Dr Who or cakey shows (my daughter's term for shows like Cake Boss and ChoccyWoccyDooDah). If I leave the door open I am 'still available', if the door is shut it means 'fuck off'.
6 year olds don't do codes and my daughter will ignore all indicators that mum is in a bad place. But I don't yell at her, I usually give her a hug and she curls up next to me and we watch tv together. My illness is not her fault, or her problem. It is hard to be a parent and be mentally ill. In fact some think you cannot be both. I know people who have had kids taken away because they are ill. I'm lucky I have a support (my partner and my mum), but frankly without my kids I would be worse. They are proof that I can do great things.

Well, that was a huge ramble. Today is actually a pretty good day, even if I have only had a few hours of sleep. I'm the kind of tired that hurts, but my mind feels 'ok' today. I will make the most of it.

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