Wow. After going over my recent posts, some of which were written when I found myself at new peaks of despair, and from reading the comments I received, most noteably from Kimberly, the confusion recedes momentarily and a bigger picture becomes visible. And I’m afraid that picture is a grim one – and very contrary to what I’d expect to find. So without further ado, exactly what was this sudden, yet shocking insight about?
I think, I’m beginning to understand that my resolve in getting some physical problems out of the way – and largely successfully so – has brought the full degree and intensity of my preexisting condition of PTSD to my attention. In other words: Previously, my attention desperately revolved around the physical manifestation of my set of symptoms and the limitations they brought about. When embarking on my journey of seeking maximum recovery and gain in health back in 2004 and following my divorce in the previous year, my rather naive reasoning was that I’d get to live and experience myself, social interactions and life at large in ways I’d have assumed most others to do – as soon as I had gotten a better grip on my physical problems or rather: removed them. To put it even shorter: I gathered, I’d be healed once my physical symptoms were gone. And now – and much to my shock! – I’m finding quite the opposite: Removing some longstanding and oftentimes very annoying bordering on debilitating physical problems, like IBS for example, has increased the impact of PTSD symptoms by far and intensified the (emotional) pain that was often dulled or overshadowed by physical sensations of discomfort. Wow! I would have never expected this at all!
In tracking back the possible source of this insight, I suspect my rather confounded ramblings in my last post. Strictly speaking and when viewed from an “objective” viewpoint, this post was a blame fest and a major emotional regression at the same time. I was talking about some very basic needs and needs of such a nature that better go with a baby or toddler than a middle-aged man. Hence: Regression, no doubt. It was particularly this conclusion that had me rethink some earlier thoughts. Really? In the absence of distractions or other challenges – like the need to support myself through work – and when confronted with nothing but myself, I become this neglected baby boy and toddler? If so, then my – conscious? – attempt at travelling backwards along the emotional path in hopes of finding a “good spot” to travel forward from was successful. And big time so! In yet different words again: If I become overwhelmed with the mere fact of being here, clearly something was and is missing. In my last post, I expressed this wish for a physical expression of affection. That’s a baby’s need! It’s not a wish or longing an adult should feel in a pronounced way.
But insights didn’t stop there. I remember that there were times of such physically expressed affection – and at the appropriate time and given by both caretakers. However – at some point I’d reject it. I must have been around age 8 or so, when I consciously wouldn’t allow any more caressing or physical proximity. By then, I had already understood that the major abuse I often experienced didn’t fit with seeking physical proximity of the tender kind. I guess, this was my way of both protesting as well as protecting myself. Given my make, I didn’t have different ways of doing so. And from this observation, it is now crystal clear to me how I not only deal with the outcomes of the early traumatization at the pediatric clinic and some retraumatizing hospitalization later again, but with the outcomes of verbal, emotional and physical abuse as well. This – I think – is where PTSD becomes C-PTSD. Feel free to correct me, if I’m wrong here. In fact: I’d appreciate it, if you did should you have further knowledge than me. Thanks.
Today, I felt fairly good about myself. On such days, I immediately flatter myself into thinking, I can handle all this by myself. All I needed to do was go back into denial over the PTSD symptoms, find a steady job and begin to dig myself out from this crazy situation that appears to be hopeless. (In fact, I did some math today and it is hopeless given existing laws in my country. I will have to press a major lawsuit in order to liberate myself from this dead end I have arrived in on account of the condition and the symptoms taking over so hard they had me dysfunctional in 2008. Wish me luck!).
So where does that leave me for now? Well, first of all, I better make sure, I set the record straight with bio family. Burning bridges might not be necessary, as there is no real connection or emotional bond anyway. That ship has long sailed and my naive assumption that we’d sit ourselves down and address the many injuries I carried away from my rearing, then get them squared away one by one to make room for something new and beautiful hit the wall a while ago. I was unwilling to see it as giving up this hope seemed too much to bear. It is still a pretty devastating finding… Drawing the line or burning bridges also may be a rather vengeful – and hence immature – attempt at being in control by all means, an attempt at reversing the roles of victim and perpetrator, which – is a futile undertaking. Things already happened and left their scars and I can’t “unhappen” them any more. But throwing up an increasing number of boundaries – as Kimberly suggested in her comment – might be a good idea. And a necessary measure at the same time. I would have much loved to see things play out differently.
I’m afraid, all I’m left to do is tackle this Goliath again… On top of my confounded set of symptoms, I need to continue fighting the system for punishing me for the mere fact of wanting to stand on my own feet again at some point. I know, it sounds crazy, but trust me – through many anxiety-ridden days and nights I had to painfully find that this is not the skewed view of a sick person, but FACT! (And I have the numbers to prove it). So – should I make another attempt at formalized help? Via inpatient care? (Several hospitals have turned me down over the course of several years of scouting them and on account of my health plan not covering sufficient inpatient time…) Or try to get outpatient care? (which is technically exempt from my health care plan) Oh fuck! All of this is so much bigger than me… I feel lost and rejected all over again. This time – it’s not a feeling anymore. It’s a recurring experience. I have proven resilience and then some. But this? I don’t know how to get through all this. Really? Is there no place for me in this world?