Like many who legitimately have PTSD (and unlike those who like to make light of how serious a mental health condition it really is, but that’s a rant for another day), there are things that’s people can talk about that will elicit a specific emotional reaction. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to control this reaction. I can try to control it, even attempting the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I’ve learned to try to control them. This doesn’t particularly work for me. I seem to function better on actually feeling whatever it is that I happen to be feeling at the time. It makes it easier to process feelings that I’m feeling than to try and subvert them.
I was recently triggered by an event at Burning Man. I didn’t go again this year for the same reasons I haven’t been capable to for years. It is costly to go. So, I didn’t see the event that made the news. And you know what, I didn’t have to. Instead a vast majority of my friends repeatedly talked about and posted the pictures of it. I didn’t need to be right there for it to be a triggering event because everyone else kept talking, regardless.
Suicide is a very delicate thing for me. It, in and of itself, can be incredibly triggering to me. And so, with seemingly everybody talking about it and not a lot of places for me to go for respite, I had to try to control how I was feeling. I managed to do it despite fighting off gluten sickness and exhaustion. I managed to do so for 6 days.
And on the seventh day I couldn’t fight anymore. I was tired. I felt emotionally worn out. And so, then I had to deal with emotions that I hadn’t for days.
And when I do that, it often becomes much worse because I haven’t processed and started letting myself heal. Instead, I kept hurting myself. When it gets like that, I get past anger and vere into hopelessness. That’s where I was. It’s harder to dig myself out of there.
One of the things that I have been incredibly proud of (and I think to a certain degree, rightfully so) is that as someone who’s been dealing with CPTSD as long as I have, I have nothing bad to show for it. I have almost all of the symptoms of it… and yet, I’m a largely functioning person. I work, I’m not an addict, I’ve never been arrested, I’m not a hooker, and more importantly, I’m still here.
As time goes on, that starts making it harder and harder. The desire to find ways to stop this pain becomes more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to step out of the trauma-filled haze in order to feel better? I find escapism increasingly desirable.
And yet I still have yet to give in. Thankfully I have a ray of light. The FDA has found Ecstasy to be a breakthrough treatment for people like me. This is great because that mans they can study it more. But that means that treatment is still out of reach for a while.
In the meantime, what can I do?
I have no clue. Try to avoid Facebook more? I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I shouldn’t have to. I also shouldn’t have to see people repeatedly posting articles with pictures of someone who decided to take their own life either. It would be great if everyone was sensitive to the emotional needs of each other. That’s also increasingly not the world we live in. So, I’ll feel and deal with my anger, my rage, my hopelessness, the hole in my heart that should have been filled by parents who loved me. I know that I’m broken. I feel lucky to have found people who want to help and by people who accept me as family. It’s that which gives me hope and keeps me going.