Happiness is taking a break from posting depressing disclosures and remembering the awesome beauty of the drive to Oregon. (This picture is from South Dakota, a state with which I unexpectedly fell in love.)
Yes, one more downer post. It’s PTSD Awareness Day (and Month)! I never realized before how it coincided with the annual “Dark Days” — the last few days of June and first few days of July, when it seems like my subconscious wants to observe a big trauma anniversary that I don’t want to. Over the years as the traumas accumulated in the summer (all three grandparents passed away during the summer months), I began to notice a shadowy sense of dread hanging over me from early June to late August. I’d brace myself each summer for whatever devastating loss life was planning to throw at me. But it’s the weeks around July 4th that get me plumbing the depths of my depression and feeling so anxious, I want to crawl out of my skin. I don’t know why I don’t remember this ahead of time and set aside a big chunk of time to ease myself through it. Instead, I’ve been fighting it, which only makes it worse. (Frank seems to sense this and has been a champion snugglebunny lately. I love that kitty!) Part of my awareness during this time relates to the genetic component of my depression and anxiety. Both sides of the family have more than their fair share of mental illnesses, some of which have been exacerbated through environmental factors. But just because a great-great-aunt and two great-uncles on the maternal side committed suicide didn’t mean my mom had to try, too.
So, we’re at the halfway point between Christmas and Christmas. It’s hard to believe how quickly the six months have passed…and also how slowly they’ve passed. I’m frustrated with how little progress I feel I’ve made. But then I have nights like last night, where I found myself lying awake and thinking about last Christmas. Remembering my mom yelling at me after she told me that she’d disclosed everything I’d told her to my dad, particularly after I’d begged her not to at the recommendation of last summer’s therapist. Remembering her yelling at me like I was a friend who’d betrayed her, or some former acquaintance who’d done something unforgivable. “What do you want me to do? Divorce him? Pack my bags and leave him? He’s my husband!” Last night I found myself wondering why, as her daughter, I didn’t deserve the loyalty and protection she showered upon the man who abused me for years, the man who radiated such joy while inflicting pain on me. So many instances over the past thirty years where I shouted and cried for help and was told to quiet down, to stop screaming. And even if she was going to defend him, regardless of what had happened, why couldn’t anyone in my family support me in the aftermath of the sexual assault and abuse by my ex-boyfriend? They pretend that none of this happened, that I made it up, and any fraction of these events that they’re willing to acknowledge, they acknowledge only as something for which I’m responsible. I should have fought back harder, defended myself better, or just accepted their excuses for their behavior.
I’m not looking forward to this Christmas.
I’ve reached the breaking point with my insane level of exhaustion. I don’t know if yesterday’s business trip overwhelmed my brain or what, but this morning I could not wake up. I called off work by 6:45am, knowing that not only would I fall asleep on the drive to work, but it appeared I was physically too fatigued to even stand up. The next thing I knew, it was 2pm, and I was so confused about what had happened to the previous seven hours. 16 hours of sleep last night? Last week’s bloodwork results all came back normal? There is something wrong here. To the neurologist I go!
I’ve been experiencing the Sunday Evening Dread for the past few months. In my K-12 school years, the horrible NFL theme music or the sounds of “60 Minutes” could tie my stomach in knots. In my university days, the Dread hit whenever it wanted to, depending on my schedule. And now it is back, most likely exacerbated by not feeling well at all, even on a good day. The events of last Friday aren’t helping matters. It occurred to me this weekend that having a husband and wife managing two related groups at work is going to make life tricky.
In other news, I slogged through a half marathon today in the hot sun of Washington State. I need to cool it on signing up for 10+ mile races until my health issues get sorted out. So far, my bloodwork results are coming back normal, as usual. Hopefully the half marathon won’t trigger another unbearable bout of can’t-stay-awake exhaustion on top of my current crazy exhaustion. I need a break!