In the Pits – Again

Well – no need to become elaborate with the headline, it speaks for itsself I think. It’s another moment of hopelessness blended with some specific fear of being let down by the “medical” staff again. I really think, I have displayed an almost insane bordering on masochistic amount of resilience in my 48 years of having suffered from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on account of childhood trauma during my first weeks to be followed by a rearing in my post-infant and adolescent years that often felt like a hostage situation. I was confronted with emotional skittishness to a spectacular degree following severe and recurring childhood trauma. I never learnt what it’s like to form healthy relationships and I don’t think I had the best of role models around. I tried to learn from others, simply by observing and internalizing what I thought to be suitable and appliccable. I had come a long way with that, I think, resulting in my marriage in 1997. I had managed to give up childish childhood “dreams” of becoming a professional musician and embarked on a more conventional walk of life and lifestyle following that. I obtained an academic degree, had a career in the Information Technology industry following that and stood my ground as project manager, consultant, database developer, tutor, tech writer, translator, and tech journalist. I’ve worn all those hats with as much grace and professionalism as I was able to come up with. I built and entertained productive professional relationships within companies and in my capacity as a self-employed entrepreneur. I had a life.

And now I don’t. Following a series of blows to that life, it ultimately fell apart in 2008. And I did as well. I’m no longer certain of my qualities and abilities, both as a professional as well as an individual. Friendships ended, business connections were put on hold until they practically ceased to exist. What connection I have with the world out there depends on my computer and a DSL connection. Other than that, there’s the occasional errand to run or doctor’s appointment to make. That’s it. No more commuting, no more project meetings, no more invitations to parties, no more spare time dates for seeing a movie, going to diner, meeting for a few drinks and a chat. I can’t do any of these things any more on a regular basis. They have become the rare exception to a “life” that is best described as imprisonment without incarceration, technically speaking. But it’s not a life at all any more. And I’m going crazy for it.

Of course, I know the steps I’d have to take to get “back in” – or at least back in to an extent, because it might prove very very difficult to be given a chance at all any more following a history of six years of permanent unemployment. I’m not even sure, I’ll manage to abide by the increasingly fierce challenges the workplace demands from employees and freelancers in this day and age and in whatever career. I idealized “slinging burgers” for a while or something along those lines. The truth is: I lack the confidence to offer my talents or simple services anywhere any more. It feels as if I had bottomed out from just about anything people care about. I see myself becoming a zombie more and more with every day that passes, each day following the ever same “routine” I established, which includes the same activities every day with little to zero variation. There’s no such thing like spontaneité any more or doing things for fun. I can’t even be sure any more, whether I’ve ever known of fun at all. I’m so far gone from a life, I start to forget what it was about in the first place. I see all those postings on Facebook or other social media platforms and went from participating to quickly checking, to roughly glancing to more or less ignoring them. I have turned down opportunities, both larger and smaller ones – because I couldn’t live up to the demands involved, perceived or real. I come back to the same movies on DVD I must have watched a gazillion times. I laugh over the same jokes and get sad over the same scenes in each of them. I have become scared of surprises, small or large doesn’t matter. I have been obsessing over placing and hanging on to “dependable” anchors. I thought I was in control for once. And I’m not, for I overlooked the effect this would have on me: It’s eating away at anything that might be called “human” in me and I’m more and more on autopilot with a very limited range of “action”. There have been entire days I’ve holed up inside, unwilling to even dress, let alone go outside. On such days, I oscillate between the refridgerator, the bathroom, the computer, the sofa, dressed in my comfty wardrobe all day, trying hard to make myself believe that I was in a safe and cozy place.

But there is no such place for me – anywhere. For I don’t even know, what “safe” really feels like, as I’ve never experienced it. Ok, there is maybe one exception that happened when I must have been 12 years of age or so and when I do remember one such – and completely innocent! – experience with a distant family member that seemed to answer this unexpressed longing and doing without I had been feeling forever. But that’s it. Other than that, I don’t remember having felt really safe ever again or before. It was more like a permanent running-the-gauntlet from opening my eyes in the morning till closing them at night. And most often, the stress of deeply buried anxiety and stress resulting from early-on trauma would carry on into my sleep or dreams and either keep me awake or wake me up later, often from my own screams of panic. Panic attacks at night have been a given to my life throughout.

I am becoming aware that there is not even any thinking of wanting to come back to a self-sustained life, if those deeply buried feelings of distress aren’t processed and dealt with at some point. I have exhausted my own means of coping and dealing with c-ptsd. And I am exhausted from never seeing any pronounced, let alone lasting progress. The frustration of finding myself in one or the other all-too-well known bad spot sooner or later is beyond any words or measure. Today is one such day following weeks of another bout of major depression. This is crazy. And it sure as hell ain’t a life. It feels more like a curse than anything.

I have formalized admission for an inpatient stay, but I don’t really feel it possible for me to actually go. Hospitals retrigger very early trauma. Outpatient care isn’t covered by my health plan. And I’ve been trying very very hard to find and exploit a loophole in my health plan or get creative in some way. To no avail. I am hanging on to support from other survivors, whom I’ve met online. But my seemingly rock-solid, dependable strength in resilience has been waning now for some time. I need help, yet I am terrified to go the inpatient route. Some phone calls will be due tomorrow.

Did I mention this was crazy? It is.

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