[I originally posted this about a year and a half ago before taking it down for a while for personal reasons. I have decided that i want it to remain here, so i am reposting with some light editing to the original.]
Me and my monster have a complex relationship.
Some days we get along, walk side by side and not bother each other. Sometimes I track it down and dance with it, even make the occasional joke about it. Some days it’s like it isn’t even there and if it wasn’t for my memories I could feel like it didn’t exist. But some days it kicks my feet from underneath me without warning and I have to scream and fight inside to drag myself up off the ground. Sometimes it bides its time and sneaks up on me slowly and it is not until I am nearly suffocating in its grip that I realise what is happening.
I think it must be hard to understand sometimes from the outside even by people who know. Because I have stages where it doesn’t hinder me and I get things done and seem to have my life together for a bit. Then there are other times when I’m not so well and it drags me down. Times when it can be an effort to do even the most basic things to keep life ticking over and I struggle just to get through to the end of the day without curling up into a ball somewhere.
I live with something and sometimes I call it my monster. I could say that I have a mental illness, but that isn’t correct; even though most people seem to think of it that way. I live with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD isn’t an illness; it isn’t something that just occurs randomly. It has a definite cause. It is a psychiatric injury. One that was inflicted upon me by another person during my childhood and kept in darkness until I first told another soul about it at the age of thirty-two.
Unacknowledged, it shaped my life from an unseen vantage point until I peeled back the layers of smothered memories and confronted it. A process that required the help and guidance of others and I doubt that I would have managed it left to my own devices. Even though I have done that, I still live with it and the legacy it wrought across the twenty-five years of my life where its effects shaped the filter through which I saw the world. Learning how to deal with it and not let it control and define me is a constant part of my life.
But I have chosen this path, because for most of my adult life I lived inside a dissociative bubble and felt nothing real at all. No emotions beyond surface reactions, I was numb from the inside out. Now I feel emotion. Some days it is far too much for me to handle as twenty-five years’ worth of repressed feelings leak their way out and threaten to drown me. I struggle with the curse of feeling too much, but it is better than not feeling anything.
Because that is not living at all.