7 Weeks of Finally Feeling Normal

COVID19 has changed how we think about viral transmission, how we shop, and maybe even our priorities. Board games and kids playing outside became sounds and activities again. Parents had more time with their kids. It even changed some of our lives in negative ways. Job losses, children and adults who could not get the services they needed, and many burned out essential workers.

For those of us with a mental illness, it changed therapy in person to over the phone. Hotline calls became the norm for anyone in trouble. It was not the same. For some, this has caused a situation in which one cannot wait to get back to going to the therapists office or support groups.

Maybe there are others out there like me. I have agoraphobia to the point where I do not leave the house except for therapy. I do not have many friends and I do not feel comfortable with any social gathering. I do not have photos from parties or get togethers to put on social media. Holidays are a hit or miss with visitation. There are once again no photos.

What I do have are books, coloring apps, and other activities that I can do by myself. Not to exciting for others to see. The past seven weeks has made me feel normal. Stay at home orders meant that all of the gatherings on social media did not exist. People only posted about what they were doing in their homes. For once I could actually relate. The pictures of pets became the norm.

Now the country is trying to get back to going out using social distancing. I am not sure what that will look like? Will the virus start to spread again? I will no longer feel that I can relate to friends and families getting together. Maybe, this is the time to work on changing me. Social distancing means that no one should come close to me. Maybe my therapist and I could work on a plan to get outside? Maybe I could actually begin to be around others. We shall see!

Falling Apart *Trigger Warning*

Life is bad right now. My insurance does not have benefits for any long term care for my PTSD. I am struggling to tie memories and emotions together and struggling with safety. If I have to go into the hospital, it will be another bill that I cannot afford to pay.

My house seems like it is conspiring against me. The oven went up. The heat pump needs to be replaced or we will not have heating this winter. The other day I came into the room and noticed water on the blinds. Most likely the wood is rotten and needs to be replaced.

All of this has put so much strain on us. I am scared that we could lose our home if systems and large ticket items do not stop breaking down.

I am at a loss for how to get money, I am on a fixed income and can barely afford the essentials each month. The thought of selling my car comes to mind. Then I would not be able to get my kids or drive to therapy each week. Therapy is essential right now with my impulses the way they are.

I am hoping things get better, yet it feels as if I am being sucked into a black hole.

Ratings

I had to make a list of goals that I would achieve in order to function at the most basic level. Yesterday, I was told to rank those goals into three different categories: easy, medium and hard.

At first I thought that it would be no problem. I just had to make a list. Then last night, I looked at the list and really thought about what goal would go where. That is when I realized that I am struggling even more than I thought.

A goal like going and getting the mail sounds easy, yet I am deathly afraid to leave the house. I have mastered getting everything that I need delivered. Then there was a goal about preparing meals when I have trouble making the simplest foods.

Maybe these goals are going to be a lot harder to attain than I first thought. Hopefully, I can be true to myself as I rank them and realize that I am having a hard time right now and some goals may not be so easy.

So, today I will attempt to work on the list. Just getting out of bed is hard. Maybe I should begin with that as my first goal.

The In Between ** May Trigger**

Over 10 years of therapy and relatively nothing has changed. Treatment resistant, medication resistant, unable to assist. All of those have been written on my paperwork.

I told my therapist the other day that I want to die, yet no way of dying is 100%. It has been suggested that I get out and join a club. I tried a book club. The book had to many triggers and the discussion was even worse. Child abuse, spousal abuse, and substance abuse were all a part of the book.

Then I am told to go out and do normal activities. I have panic attacks at the store that leave me frozen and feeling like the store is closing in around me. I always feel like I will be attacked at places that do not have many people around like gas stations. My vocal cords seem to freeze up when I want to ask for something.

I have resorted to buying things online. Even then, I do not answer the door when the doorbell rings because I am scared of who may be on the other side. I feel like people can tell I am damaged by the way that I shake and avoid eye contact.

Then there is the anger that can be activated at any time. This is not normal anger. I am afraid I will actually hurt someone else. Anything can set off the anger and once it begins I have trouble stopping.

Where is my place in society? What do I do if I cannot leave the house and am scared to hurt people? How do I perform everyday tasks while the space is closing in on me and I am shaking to the point of just wanting to sit and scream for help?

How do I begin to work through this? When are my thoughts not automatically going to go to not existing? Who am I ? All of these are questions that I need to answer, yet do not seem to know how.

Thank Goodness

So many changes over the past few days that have made life a little less stressful and have resulted in me having less flashbacks.

The first change was the family room. I realized that I had laid it out exactly like my childhood home. I had my children help me to rearrange the room and am so happy with the results. I am more comfortable and feel like I am not so confined.

Next, I exchanged furniture that reminded me of my childhood with my daughter’s more modern furniture. She wanted the piece so it worked out for everyone. Last night I actually slept for the first time in a while. Maybe the change is really going to help.

Going through repeated trauma impacts daily life. A few less reminders is always a good thing. This way I can live without the stress that comes along with it. I was proud of myself for asking for something that I needed. Normally, I would not say anything and just live with things the way that they are done.

A New Hobby

For years I have journaled, colored, drawn, and made jewelry. I have found a new interest in Diamond Painting. It is a combination of paint by number and beading. I find that it relaxes me and that I can focus because it is so tedious. I have been successful in purchasing the product online although it is not covered in the local craft stores. If you like color by number or cross stitch you may like diamond painting.

In other news, my therapist is once again requesting that I get out of the house. I think I know every way to not have to leave the house except for therapy. I promised that I would check out some options in order to get out of the house and spend time with people.

My kids, at least the two that speak to me, are growing so quickly. It is nice when they call me and need to talk. That makes me feel like I did something right. Even when they have a birthday party or event the falls on my visitation day, the confirm that it is ok if they go. Of course 99% of the time I say yes. I want them to experience what being a teenager is all about and have fun. I know all to well that one cannot do those years over.

Today, I have already accomplished one goal and plan to complete the other this afternoon. Maybe  I need to start to make a goal for everyday. It seems as if it would push me to get more accomplished. I will have to consider that. The other nice thing about today is that most of the work on the house has been completed and it is once again quiet except for the occasional reminder from the kitty that she wants food or attention.

Again, check out diamond painting. It is detail oriented and can be used as artwork when completed. I just wish more people in my area were doing it. It would make for a great meet up group.

From the Outside

Funny. If someone did not know my diagnosis they may say that I look fine. They may say that about others that I know that are struggling with a mental illness, eating disorder, or other illness.

Look closer and maybe you will see the hints of my illness. The slight limp that I have because my knee is acting up. The way that I turn the menu over and over or cannot seem to decide on what I want to order. The way I move away from someone because I feel like they are to close to me. My phone in my hand just flipping through apps because I want to look busy and am scared for someone to talk to me.

The really bad days are the ones that most people never see. Staying in bed or on the couch all day. Debating what and how much to eat. Wanting to journal, yet being overwhelmed by all of the flashbacks. Being comforted by my husband and my cat. 

Going to school, dance, therapy, and doing other activities takes a lot out of me. Just because I am out and doing things does not mean that I am all better. It just means that I will not let these illnesses win. Those people who wanted to cut me down in the past cannot win. I need to fight and to try to go on.