by Sarah Crusinbery
As I sit here in my home, on the Fourth of July, surrounded by the booms and pops of fireworks, my anxiety is through the roof. PTSD is something I have learned to live with. It manifests in my life in different ways and forms. Sometimes it is something someone says, or the way someone approaches. It may be a stranger that I don’t even know, but that stranger may resemble someone from my past that was part of my trauma. I am on medication for PTSD night terrors so that I can actually sleep through the night. The trigger of my PTSD varies as well, and some days I can handle it better than others.
Fourth of July has been difficult for me ever since I made the decision to get clean. Without triggering anyone else’s trauma by going into specifics, I have a past with gun trauma. I will be honest, there is a distinct difference between the sound of gunfire and fireworks, but, when you continue to hear it throughout the day, multiple days in a row, it does begin to wear on you.
Today has been such a weird day for me and being in my home, in my safe space, is not helping matters any. I have gotten to the point that I have just had to stop communicating with anyone because I don’t want to lash out at anyone.
Trying to explain your PTSD, and how it escalates, to someone who doesn’t have it (or who possible just hasn’t recognized it yet), is next to impossible. They either don’t know what to say, or say the wrong thing. At least that is what has happened in my experience. Add that to the fact that I am horrible about reaching out to someone and saying that I need them and you have a recipe for disaster.
So, I have isolated, which is a no-no in the addict in recovery’s hand book. Hence, why I am writing currently. I have to get these thoughts out somehow and I really don’t want to word vomit all over Facebook. When you do that people tend to think you’re talking about them.
In case you couldn’t tell not only am I anxious but I am manic. Lovely. Probably a good thing that I am not around the general public. Not only do I happen to lash out in a not very appropriate manner, but I tend to way over share. I will share things that have nothing to do with the topic that anyone else is speaking on. I might end up trying to monopolize all the attention OR I will stay quiet until I am spoken to. If nobody speaks to me, I will feel horrible awkward and foster some sort of bullshit resentment that nobody likes me when really it is my own insecurities fueled by my anxiety.
This is all currently happening though while I’m at home, but it is way more manageable. Tell me the logic in that. I feel like everyone else is out having the time of their lives and I’m all in my feels because I’m not out there with them. Even though my PTSD and anxiety leaves me perfectly cool sitting here at home, in safety, my manic has convinced me that nobody likes me.
Mental health sucks, even medicated, but it is manageable now, and at least I’m more aware.
So, I’m going to sit here and breathe a little easier now that I wrote my feelings out. I’m going to watch Grace and Frankie on Netflix in the softest pair of sweatpants that I have. I’m going to stay off social media as much as possible so I can stay out of my head as much as possible. I know that I am my own worse enemy and that all these lies my manic self is trying to convince me of are not true, and they are just triggered by my PTSD.
I’m grateful that today I can at least identify all of this for what it is. Maybe next year it will be better. Maybe next year it won’t, who knows. What I do know is this, I at least don’t have the desire to use. I also know that if I decided to pick up the phone, someone would be there, and would probably put up with me, even if I decided to talk out the side of my neck.
What I also know is this. Regardless of what anyone else says, PTSD is real as hell. I have never doubted that. I also accept that I am going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. I just know that my ability to cope with it improves every time it pops up out of the woodwork. Sure, I take a medication at night so that I can sleep, but there is nothing that I can take daily that waves a magical wand to go away. In order to live with PTSD, I have to utilize my tools.
My tools tonight include safe space, Netflix, and comfy clothes.