Coming up for air

You look out into the sea of faces, and welcome the group to the video conference. All is well, and going smoothly until a voice starts bellowing, “There is no contract between blah blah blah blah.” At least that’s what it sounds like to you because you are not there once you hear that inevitable berating nasty tone. You’re gone, just like that. Somehow you’re saved because one of your colleagues handles the nasty woman with the question/comment.

But then there are others with the similar berating tone, and you find a way to fake your way though it even though your body is floating, and you hardly feel like you’re on the ground. You’re answering questions, and keeping your body from shaking, but it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. It is painful to stand there, and keep it all buttoned up.

Right before the lunch break a woman approaches you to ask you a question. She’s nice and polite, but you haven’t eaten in three hours, and you feel yourself start to fade while she’s talking to you. You take her hand in yours, and tell her that you desperately need to eat something, and you would love to hear her question after the training ends. Mercifully, she smiles and says that’s fine, and that she’ll see you after the training.

You run to your office cube, and shake and shake and shake ,and then you eat your yogurt and granola. You want to cry like a baby, but you go back on camera in 15 minutes so there is no time for that.

You are back on camera, and the worst of it is over. However, your body does not know that, and it wants to TWEAK out. Keeping a lid on the pressure cooker in your body is an “all-hands-on-deck” affair. Somehow you get through it.

The lovely woman with the question right before lunch finds you after the training, and she turns out to be a joy to speak with. She is the one bright spot in the entire experience. The two of you wind up talking extensively about issues tangentially related to the training.

You are able to get to the end of the day, and you’re exhausted. Unfortunately, your body is in overdrive, and does not realize that the ordeal is finished. Your friend, Jack, takes you out for an early birthday dinner, but you’re twitchy. In fact, you’re especially twitchy when a couple is seated very close to you in the restaurant. You just about jump out of your skin.

Finally you get home, and just melt down completely. It is full on panic/freak-out mode, and you are drop-kicked into the horrid past of your parents yelling at you in that berating voice. You find yourself wishing that your mother had killed you that time she tried to run over you with the car. One of your friends calls you in the midst of this episode, and comes over to check on you. They wisely assess that you need your Xanax, and a break from your brain. You take one, and eventually are able to peacefully sleep, and put this dreadful day to rest for good.

5 thoughts on “Coming up for air

  1. I can so relate to your experience. You are a talented writer and can so accurately describe what it’s like living with ptsd. I’m glad you survived, both your past and your conference, so that I can get to know someone as special as you. I’m proud of you for practicing self-care by eating your lunch. Although I don’t practice it very well, my best days are when I take steps to take care of myself. May God bless you in every way!

    • Thanks for reading, and being supportive. I appreciate your patience with me as I’ve been lax in replying back to everyone. I always appreciate your warm support that I can feel even over the internet.

  2. Pingback: The day after the meltdown | A Year in the Life of PTSD

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