The fear in my head

The fear in my head can tell me all sorts of stories, many of these stories are not the present truth. Though once in a blue moon, the fear warns me a of  a true danger. Unfortunately, these rare moments of true danger live forever in my head, and they return with a vengeance with the slightest sliver of a reminder.

And when that fear starts raining down on me it’s hard to get out of that spiral. I start to make doomsday predictions: I will lose everything. I will be homeless. Everything good is going to disappear. I won’t be able to feed myself. And then it further disintegrates into thoughts of disappearing because my head can’t conceive of going through the danger and the pain again.

Deep down inside me there is a belief that good things are not for me. When I get those slivers of fear I let them into my head because goodness feels fleeting to me. Anything positive feels transient, and borrowed, but with a quick return date like a new release at the library. The bad news and awful things feel familiar and known.

When people tell me they miss me, I’m stunned. Authentic happiness from people upon seeing me still confuses me. It’s not the self-perception of myself that I want, but it’s the one I have at the moment. Believe it or not, this is an improvement from just two years ago. Back then, and for as long as I can remember in my life, I would live with suicidal ideation most days. I would wake up in the morning and my first thought was that I shouldn’t be on this earth, and I would work against that desire sometimes on an hourly basis, depending on the day. Thankfully, my dark self possesses a sliver of hope within that propelled me to fight this desire my entire life.

And it’s that sliver of hope that I hold on to in moments like this when the fear has overtaken me, and I feel like the universe is raining on me. I try to keep perspective. I check my perceptions with friends. Sometimes I have to repeatedly check because I have a hard time believing I’m really okay. It’s hard for me to hold the belief that if I do lose everything in my life, in a worst case scenario, I am still worthy as a human being, still someone that people will want to know.

Faith is a Formless Thing

My faith is like a small bouncing ball out of a vending machine. It bounces up and down and then I have to chase after it. And now that I just wrote those two sentences I have a further realization that perhaps that’s not faith after all because if I had it wouldn’t it be more static? And I certainly wouldn’t have to chase it down.

I see people all around me in support groups that have strong faith. They don’t lose sleep over whether they will have the wolf at their door kicking them to the street. Nor do they worry about losing a job, or becoming too ill to work. They have faith that their Higher Power has a plan for them.

For me, I’ve had too many bad things happen that I feel like I always have to ready for the next bit of bad. Faith feels scary to me, like I’m giving up the 24 hour watch, like I will miss something big.

I don’t know what else to say about this. The subject stumps me completely. Full stop. I know nothing. I only know that having it will likely bring me more inner peace because people that seem to have it appear that way.

About a year ago a good friend made a suggestion that worked for him. He suggested that I choose a person to trust. He said that as I start to trust this person more with sharing things about me it will be easier to contemplate having faith in a Higher Power. I’ve done that, found someone to trust. However, I’ve not experienced having that trust rollover into full-on faith in a Higher Power. My faith is intermittent, like bad wifi in a cafe. For now, that will have to be enough. I can’t eke out what isn’t there.

Just for today

The PTSD brain can be hard to trust when it gets jacked up. It just takes off down the road like a scared chihuahua. Too many things become anxiety producing and stressful. You become hyper-vigilant, and immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion in too many scenarios. In the far reaches of your mind you know that every situation in your life cannot possibly be this dire. But when your brain is amped up on PTSD fear it can be increasingly difficult to conjure up the objective and reasonable side of your brain. And with a certain amount of this hyper-vigilance, it does not take long before the dark veil of despair becomes a fixture over your head. 

It works like this: First comes hypervigilance, then indefinite despair that is difficult to kick. You want to just shoo it away, but like an incessant weed, it comes back. 

There are intermittent moments of hope, such as those fleeting moments with friends at breakfast, or the renewed energy from that breakfast that makes you think you can do some baking today. You head to the grocery store to get items to attempt a straight-forward recipe for gluten free donuts. But after trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond and the grocery store you find yourself seemingly glued to the seat of your car. You feel too heavy to move, and you know the floaty feeling is settling in. You make a phone call in order to reach out for help, but there is no answer. So, you turn up the air conditioning to try to jump start yourself out of being stuck. But you just get cold, you’re still stuck. You read your Facebook feed, and then your emails on your phone. Finally, you resolve to get out of the car. You have to plan it out in your mind: all the moves that will get you out of the car, and into the apartment. Your skills as a stage manager in college come in handy for this exercise. 

Finally, you come inside the apartment and throw a leftover quiche in the oven for dinner. The gluten free donut recipe now seems like a far-fetched fantasy. 

Somewhere in the back of your mind you know there are good reasons to keep going, keep trying. You decide that just for today you have to trust that those reasons are real and worthwhile. Otherwise, there is nothing else.