I was reading a Frontline article about how the military deals with killing, which led me to look up post traumatic stress disorder; and what I found was fascinating.
I know I have PTSD. I've known for a long time, but I'm not exactly sure what caused it in the first place.
It wasn't the stuff that I don't talk about here because it embarrasses certain family members who choose to believe that stuff never happened. Should you ever meet me in person, go ahead and ask. I'm not embarrassed.
It wasn't my childhood.
It was probably the rape, but I'm not certain.
The thing is... whenever the original trauma happened, it's caused me problems ever since. Something stressful happens, and I stumble. Like walking down a path and tripping over a log. Each time it's harder to get up and climb over the damn thing; and I wouldn't even recognize that I'd tripped if I didn't have good people around to tell me so.
Here's an example: My son was accepted into a very fine high school, unfortunately it's $8900 for his first year. Which we don't have. Which means I need a job. But it's hard to find a job when you've been a stay-home mom for 14 years. It's especially hard when you need to work between 9 and 2:30, no weekends.
So it's stressful.
My mind wanders when I talk on the phone. I stop snuggling with my husband. I don't talk about what's bothering me -heck, I totally forget what's bothering me. I sleep poorly and dream about things I overcame years ago. I startle easily. And I don't leave the house without putting on the mental toughness I acquired in my old neighborhood.
It may sound like a list of complaints. A whine list ;) But it's just stuff I've been thinking about recently. Mostly thoughts like, "Now that I see it, how do I make it go away?" and "I wonder what normal looks like?"
I've come so far, damnit, and I'm still tripping over invisible logs.