Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tea or Coffee?

Time for another update and it's been a really hard week. I know I keep saying that, I'm not trying to be unnecessarily depressing I promise. I still see every day as a positive step in moving forward.

Following my therapy session last week I felt a lot of memories and emotions opening up. Things I had forgotten about and feelings so raw they would stop me in my tracks. I have done a lot of crying this week. Really a lot. My therapist tells me that I shouldn't fight this and just to let it out. So I have been doing and I usually feel better afterwards. I feel lighter.
The dark times have been darker again. I have had days when I have struggled with the outside world on any level. It seems too loud, too bright and too scary. Twice this week whilst out and about I have been overcome by these symptoms and have broken down in public. Not fun. I hadn't felt quite this way before but having contacted my therapist to ask her apparently it is normal an to be expected after opening myself up the way I am doing. Again, though its hard, it means that my treatment is working. I am very lucky to have a fiancé who understands and can look after me in these moments. I'm also very lucky to have my therapist who encourages me to contact her anytime if I need to.

The beginning of this week felt very low and very dark but yesterday things seemed a little brighter and I'm feeling ok today so far, despite being full of a cold. The hardest thing to deal with is making decisions. Even the simplest of choices can take me ages. My mind goes completely blank and numb. Which isn't much fun at all. Stupid little decisons; tea or coffee? The easiest tasks can seem utterly overwhelming and impossible. And then this feeling itself multiplies until I just want to curl up in a corner and hide. Again, all these symptoms are normal and expected for sufferers of PTSD. Add to these the ongoing nightmares and flashbacks and you can imagine how draining things can be.

But the fact that I am dealing with all this, albeit one minute at a time sometimes, means that I am working towards recovery. I have never been more determined to beat this. And I will!!
One other thing this week is that I have found a PTSD page/group on Facebook. To read that other real people are experiencing the exact same symptoms right now is a huge comfort. I know there are people who read this blog who have similar symptoms but are worried about seeking help. Have a look for a support group if you can manage to. It can really make a big difference.

I will keep updating as and when - if I can simply help one person to understand these issues better then I have no regrets in sharing.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Tough Week

This week has, without doubt, been one of the hardest so far. I was ready for it but I think it's safe to say it has still knocked me off my feet.
Last psychotherapy session I was given homework. I had to write a letter to the man who raped me and write about I felt now. About what he had taken from me and about how the rape had affected my life. I have always found writing to be a huge help, a really effective way to let things out and so as hard as the task was I was determined to make the most of the chance to have an outlet for some of the emotions I have I internalised for the last 23 or so years. I spent a lot of time thinking what I might write and then on Tuesday night put pen to paper and let it all spill out onto the pages. Once I had started it wasn't Hard to know what to write and I was relieved when I had finished and proud of myself too.

On Thursday morning I had my psychotherapy session. I knew what we were covering as we had discussed it the week before. We would be reading through what I had written and looking at that. And then we were going through my memories of the day I was raped. I was scared that morning. It's a very real fear. Even though, rationally, I know that I am safe now the flashbacks and panics are such that I want to avoid them at all cost. To actually face them head on is hard. I know that opening more memories will increase them. More and more little snatches from that day at coming back to me. As they do the flashbacks get more frequent. And yet I know that this is helping long term. I am dealing with it. Each emotion that is being uncovered is being dealt with, each memory filed away where I won't need to look at it, just accept it is there. But to get to that point I have to open the box and let all these memories and emotions fly free around my head for a while. I hope that makes sense. It's hard to explain or describe.

That session in itself was ok. Hard but ok. I'm not sure there were many tissues left but I got through it. My therapist read what I had written aloud and then I read it aloud. We talked about it and then moved on to the memories of that day. By the end of the session I was immensely proud of myself and relieved that I had managed. The rest of the day wasn't too bad, the relief last a while although that night I had a number of flashbacks again.

It's now a couple of days later and the immensity of this week has most definitely caught up with me. My head hurts. Not in a headache way but an
Internal emotional ache. Last night I had a really difficult evening. I lay on the bed and all I could do was be mindful of each breath. Riding the pain out and knowing it couldn't last forever. It's hard to describe what it feels like. Almost like I'm in some kind of limbo. Not asleep but not awake. Unable to react to or interact with the work or people. Not really able to speak. The thoughts and feelings get in the way of any meaningful verbal expression. Even hugs don't help. They feel smothering and restrictive. A part of a world that I can't handle at that time. And yet I can't sleep. I close my eyes and the flashbacks start. I feel a real fear as to what the nightmares might bring. PTSD is such an isolating experience more than anything else. As much as I have tried to explain it I'm not sure I've really hit the nail on the head.

And so I will see what today brings. I feel tired, drained, overwhelmed, exhausted and yet proud of myself. Even through the darkest points I know that this is the road to recovery. I can feel, deep down, things starting to make sense to me. Things starting to click into place and starting to heal. I can't wait to move further along this road and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends walking by my side.