Monday, October 01, 2012

The Terror of Peace and Quiet

After a bumpy period my life is settled now.  There's no problems current or on the horizon, and everything is going just fine.  Objectively I know this based on the evidence around me.  Subjectively I know this because I feel like I'm coming apart at the seams.

Welcome to life with PTSD.

It's not really about nightmares, in spite of the popular mythology.  People who don't have this "coping strategy" usually don't understand it.  It's not a disease because it doesn't kill you.  At some point it saved your life.  If you have it, at some point in your past you feared for your life and/or safety, and PTSD sprang up to help you cope with your fear.  You were terrified, and you couldn't deal with your fears and do what you needed to do to survive at the same time.  PTSD put a time lag on your emotions.  As long as danger has your adrenaline up, you can't feel any emotions.  They're all safely locked away until the danger is past.  Once things calm down and your adrenaline falls, you get your emotions back.

All of them.

Especially the fears, terrors, anxieties, and angers.  They tend to swamp out everything else.

"Calm, peaceful, and quiet" is the most terrifying state I know.  Many with PTSD run from it.  I used to do that, but it only makes things worse if you don't allow yourself some peace and quiet Terror Time.

The real kicker is that I've been this way since I was a small child.  I was three when I got chronic depression.  The PTSD started a little later.  I don't know what it's like not to be this way.

No one knows how to turn it off.

Still, at least I know what it is now.  For 40 years I had it and didn't know what was causing these bizarre reactions.  That confusion and the fear my ignorance caused made things much worse.  These days I know the name, the shape, the pattern, and the cycles.  That helps.

1 comment:

James said...

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