We’ve been pretty quiet lately…this is part of the reason why. I hope you can appreciate how difficult and personal this was for Felicity to write, and how brave it was of her to share it with us. — OH
I have a hidden health problem: chronic PTSD brought on by years of traumatic abuse as a child. A large part of my ongoing difficulties are my half-buried memories…kind of like a scattered jigsaw puzzle that my brain wants to reassemble, so I can see a particular set of circumstances in the light of the present.
I have no control over when this happens, or which set of memories will be popping up. This leads me to feel helpless, that I cannot “control” my thoughts, or my life. Each time, I wish I knew that this would be the last puzzle to resurface, so that I will no longer suffer the side effects of my PTSD. These include nightmares, severe insomnia, a fear of falling asleep, anxiety, gloominess, feeling depressed, eating too much of the wrong foods, and even having old injuries suddenly start hurting (due to muscle spasms).
For weeks or months, all these symptoms happen at once, so that I can barely get out of bed in the morning. I find myself thinking “why bother brushing my teeth, exercising, showering or setting goals because none of it will do any good”. I am quite miserable. When the often agonizing set of memories is finally reassembled (it can take 2 weeks or more if I fight it by not sleeping), I use the technique that counselors have taught me: to process and release this trauma, so that it no longer haunts my dreams and waking moments.
Why bother dwelling on the past? I have no choice. Write about it in a journal and then burn it or forget it? Nope. Does not work for me. This is what having PTSD based on multiple traumas does to me.
This latest bout was triggered by seeing Monarch butterfly larvae. Innocuous, huh? Not for me. Suddenly, second grade memories of a Monarch butterfly landing on my hand in the apartment play yard. The girl who was head of the clique becoming jealous, and over a few days manipulating me to do something so stupid and mean it still haunts my waking memories. The aftermath: I was ostracized by everyone, labeled as a “bad girl”, and hit with sticks and stones by those girls. Someone tried to help, but I was so scared of my parents I didn’t allow them to help me. I had to forgive myself for what I did as a 6 or 7 year old and feel gratitude towards the one who offered help I did not accept.
Ordinarily I take indica-heavy cannacaps such as LA Confidential, or high CBD strains for anxiety and pain. This time around when I realized I was falling into a depression, I added Sour Diesel cannacaps to my regimen. I took Sour Diesel, one cannacap in the morning and one in the evening, for about a week. It helped me stay calm and be able to think in a non-negative fashion. After the first week I was able to drop to mornings only. Positive thinking came at the end of the second week. In week three I was able to sleep in 3 to 4 hour snatches. I started cooking again, with a few minor mistakes. I was still forgetful and foggy-brained from lack of sleep and anxiety.
As I write this, almost a month later, the blackest part of my depression is gone. I still take Sour Diesel in the morning to combat the sadness and inertia. Sour Diesel has helped me to feel calmer, and have a more positive outlook slowly creep back into my life. I am becoming more active, doing more each day, and not yelling at myself if I have an “off” day. I went back to taking care of myself physically, and starting and finishing projects. I am finally sleeping more than a few hours at a time. I actually want to get out of bed in the morning. I sincerely hope I am done reassembling memories. Yet, if not, I have successfully added Sour Diesel to my armory.
Wishful thinking: as I have been forward and back over my lifetime of memories multiple times already – too bad I’m not a Time Lady with a TARDIS so I could go back and fix my mistakes and deal with the cruelty of others with what I know now. Sigh. This sentiment is regret and I have to shed that, too. Work in Progress.
P.S. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that children being cruel to other children is OK or “just a learning experience”. It’s not. The scars last a lifetime.