Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When does a cucumber become a pickle?

Sometimes in a man’s life,
Stuff happens that makes everyone go quiet,
So quiet that no one
Even dares to talk about it.
Not to anyone, not even to themselves.
Not in their head and not out loud.
Not a fucking word. Cause everything
has somehow gotten stuck.
There, deep in the fields,
Under the trees and leaves, year after year.

Then suddenly it all comes back,
Just like that, from one day to the next.
No matter how long ago it was
There will always be someone
To bring it all back.
Because no matter what you do or think
One thing is for sure -
You are always fucked.
Now, tomorrow, next week, or next year,
Until the end of time.

Fucked.

Opening lines from the movie Bullhead
_______________________

Any of you who have followed my blog for a long time know that I when I started writing I was in a deep throes of PTSD. I was completely at the mercy of whatever triggers sprung up and they would render me a quaking, blubbering, terrified blob for days.  Sometimes weeks.

I spent a torturous couple of years going through exposure and other therapies which brought me through that dark forest of terror and anxiety.  I am so deeply grateful for my original therapist who led me through that process but who sadly and unexpectedly died before we saw the finish line.  

Is there a finish line for PTSD recovery?

I never wanted to forget what happened to me. To us.  That would seem disloyal to Daphne and somehow be lying to myself. But my therapist convinced me that I could still remember and honor what happened yet learn to process my responses to it differently.  And for the most part, if I am vigilant about working at it, I have been mostly successful at that. The memories are still there but they no longer control me. I am able to live a pretty calm and normal life.

Then suddenly someone/something happens.

No matter how long ago it was
There will always be someone
To bring it all back.

There is only one person in my life now who knew me from that time and that is my best friend. I moved away so I would never again have to see that look of pity in people’s faces who knew.  Then my former boss called me from out of the blue having tracked me down through professional organizations. And there it was.  An innocent phone call, and wham!

Fucked.


I occasionally attend group therapy for folks with PTSD - sexual assault, veterans, one 9/11 survivor. No matter what the original trauma was, there is a common thread of knowing/fearing that some trigger is always lurking, waiting to yank you back down the hole.

One thing is for sure -
You are always fucked.
Now, tomorrow, next week, or next year,
Until the end of time.

I once asked my therapist “when will I be whole again?”  

She answered, “When does a cucumber become a pickle?”

It is a riddle I am still trying to answer.






8 comments:

  1. Yeah, I call this the "waiting for the other shoe to drop" anxiety and it is the worst, because it will come up from behind you and knock the ever living daylights out of you AND steal the rug from right under your feet. I've found some solace in just embracing the fact that I'll never know and it's ok and I'm ok and I'll never change it. I think the trauma renders us as half-sour pickles, to use your terminology, where we are always neither quite here nor there.

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    1. Thank you for sharing and putting it so succinctly. I think there is also solace in knowing others who stand up to the unknown darkness and survive and thrive. It gives me, and others, hope.

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  2. I can only imagine. My heart and virtual arms are holding you in an embrace.

    Wishing you peace and a return to calm.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and wishes. And your friendship.

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  3. My daughter called the other night at 11PM... we knew it couldn't be good. She also had a trigger a few weeks back and she didn't address it -which came out in conversation... I wish I could make her feel better at those times, but I know all I can do is listen. It is so hard, but I can only imagine what she feels. What you probably feel...


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    1. How great that she turns to you and that you are there for her. It is such a gift of love.

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  4. Life isn't a problem to be solved. You already ARE whole, even with getting triggered.

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  5. I think that we carry our grief with us and our memories with us for the rest of our lives.

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