Tags: disabled

treelights

Acknowledging the date

I have never in all these years ever acknowledged this date as an anniversary before today. In fact, I was so impacted by December 2nd when I was 19 that I actually scrambled up the date in my head, for several years, with December 3rd. I was so terrified of the implications of this day that I felt I would be in constant panic attacks (or would actually drop dead) if I even knew what day the overdose had happened.

Later, I tracked down the ambulance receipt to determine it was the 2nd, but I still did everything in my power to not remember or notice the day when it would come around each year.

Today, I look back at all the years I have felt impacted by the anxiety and fear that night caused, and I feel like it’s enough. Time has moved on and what I thought was what happened that night, didn’t. I trust this. I trust I am who I am meant to be, no matter what might happen. I no longer believe God is going to strike me down for surviving that night “by mistake”. I no longer am in a belief framework of there being nothing after we die, or that God is cruel and capricious or mindless and heartless, or toying with me to punish me or erase me from the earth. Those were my 19 year old interpretations of what happened during and after the bad drug trip of December 2nd.

I went from someone who was sensitive and high strung but otherwise quite fearless to someone having extreme panic disorder (and I did not know what that even was until several years later) and someone severely traumatized with no professional support to tell me what was going on. The things that happened to me in the following couple of years after this event only traumatized me more deeply. I still had an unstable/reckless mindset and life, but now I was absolutely terrified through every one of the traumatic things I got mixed up in after that point. I had no room in me to be jaded or avoidant because I felt terrified of the absolute worst in most scenarios.

It makes me feel sad for myself, but I also see the good side of all that. I had to change a lot of the ways I lived and who I was around. I couldn’t stay in abusive situations and I began having nervous breakdowns if I got pushed too far. Even the agoraphobia managed to rope me in from my previous wandering-as-escapism, and it kept me from traveling to see people who it was better I wasn’t around anymore.

It’s been long enough though. I live very safely. I know so much more than I did when I was 19. I don’t do high risk behaviors or hang out with psychos. What’s leftover is the physical and psychological fear and the scars. I don’t want my life to remain defined by physical or psychological fear. I can accept and love myself with scars, both mental and physical.

I have only so much time left to be alive, and I desire to choose how my days go based on what feels of merit to me, not because of anxiety, fear, and tension. There is a mental difference in having to still know I have scars but knowing the trauma that started all this is long over. I can understand and accept that I have some fractures in me that came from how my experiences got internalized, but that is different than retaining beliefs that continue to push me to break, even in small ways. I desire to no longer be a cohort of the hardships I have in life. Fear and extreme tension are NOT self-protective, they are NOT an inescapable part of me, nor are they a reasonable tradeoff for successfully navigating a life stressor!

Today, every time something I can identify in me as fear-structured thoughts or fear-driven feelings comes up, I am doing my best to hug it to me, and nuzzle my face into it. I will pull it as close as i can, and in doing so, I hope I can start to process the fact that these things are no longer the real me at all, and so maybe I will let them be.

I believe I am a formerly carefree person stuck in a trauma survivor’s protective mechanisms. I am fine with being thoughtful and careful. Being careful is not the same as being fearful. You can be a carefree person and still be careful. What I can’t be is a carefree person who is being rundown by fears she has picked up in life. Thoughts and feelings driven by fear do not care for me anyway at this point in my life. I’m ready to change this.

As I got bad news in the mail, got ground down by a severe headache, and found Tony was having a hard day, I have watched myself trying to approach things from a less traumatized place.

My first attempts haven't been too great.

I found myself getting irritated and angry instead of afraid. Agitation is just anxiety's undercover agent. Once I saw that I was reacting from the scarcity of being aggressive and territorial and mad toward every little thing, I realized that I was still being run by fear today.

So, now I've backtracked, and I am practicing accepting that things scare me easily, but that I DESIRE to be carefree. Once I realized I was freaking out and feeling injured over a cut to my disability benefits I was just informed of in the mail, I started doing 'glass half fulls' instead. It calmed me down about halfway to see that I am lucky enough to have an employed husband so this won't mean I can't make the bills. The other halfway to calm I needed to find was to FORGIVE MYSELF for having these reactions where I take things very hard.

It's part of trauma-- you feel like every time you turn around something or someone is trying to punch you in the face or leave you high and dry. Trauma is NOT my fault, and it's not me. I am a good person just continuing to try and get through things. Whether the things go well or poorly does not mean anything more about me or the world than that. I'm just a good person working with the good things that ARE available to me as I can see them, and the rest is neither here nor there.