Late this morning, I was sitting in bed, where I have spent WAY too much time since this lockdown began (okay, and before that, also. Ugh.) after having caught up on social media, my email, and all the current news that’s fit to print – or rather, put online.
I noticed -within myself – a strong desire to cry.
I wondered, once again (and again and again) if I’m depressed.
Then, it hit me. I’m not depressed. I’m traumatized. And, it’s not the first time.
But, right now… today… along with many days before it… and probably more days to come…
I am horrified, saddened, and disgusted by what’s happening outside of our humble abode.
Also, I’m simply exhausted by it all.
The Covid pandemic is scary enough by itself.
Then, we have the drama… enough to send this empath reeling. (Real? Mask? Vaccine?)
Last night, I talked to my youngest daughter in hard-hit California. She was coughing, as she often does at this time of year (like I do). But I’m scared. Of course, I am. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s the worst.
We all know how Covid has seeped its way into every facet of life… from the important stuff like working, getting food, paying bills, and seeing friends & family… to the not-so-important like maintaining hairstyles, tans and pedicures. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of death. Especially when it means leaving someone we love to die in a sterile hospital bed, surrounded by sterile doctors and nurses, gasping for breath without the benefit of so-much-as a hand to hold. Or when it’s time to bury our dead but first, they stay in a refrigerated crate for a week. Then, we leave them among the skeleton trees, howling winds, and snow flurries without a proper goodbye. Or, maybe we just carry them home in a box, in closer proximity than we’ve been for days, weeks or months.
And the family is asked by a certain faction: How did they die? Covid? Are you sure it wasn’t pneumonia, a heart attack or lung cancer?
And the family says: I don’t know, nor do I care. All I know is we’ll never see him again. Never taste her cooking. Never get a hug or advice. She died alone. He died in pain. We didn’t get to say goodbye.
And then, there’s politics. You can thank me preemptively for not “going there” because taking sides isn’t the point of this post.
What I want to talk about is PTSD and how it fits into this conversation. That’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. <<< According to this link, it occurs, “in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.”
Maybe we need to swap out the P for a C… CTSD… because it’s current – and happening RIGHT NOW.
People like me – sensitives and empaths, in particular – are carrying all the pain from the frustration, pain and deaths from the pandemic and the political scene.
And if, by chance, PTSD is not new to us, the triggers can be that-much-more destructive. I know it’s true for me.
A bully – often male but sometimes not – can trigger me from a television screen, a book I’m reading, or in the dairy department of the grocery store. I once had a woman shout “Who do you think you are? You think you’re better than me?” when I said, “Excuse me,” to reach a carton of eggs. She was standing in front of the cooler, door closed, so I assumed (you know what that makes me!) she wouldn’t mind. Her face was contorted into a horrible grimace. I was clearly “the enemy,” as evidenced by her language: “You think you’re better than me?” <<< This is, I believe, at the crux of what’s bothering those who have pulled away from the GOP to align with Trump, in particular. And that’s all I’ll say about that. By the way, I backed up and said “I’m sorry” and got out of the store as quickly as I could.
I get anxious during the busy Christmas shopping season, never mind a mob scene. One year, my husband and I went to the New Year’s Eve celebration in Niagara Falls. (It was outdoors, being taped for both national and local TV). To say I couldn’t move would be an understatement. It was absolutely terrifying for someone like me.
Finally, there is the unrelenting “breaking news” that not actually breaking and in some cases, not even news, since they’re just repeating the same thing over and over.
Mix the pandemic and the political stuff and you’ve got quite a stew. Stuck at home but stay off technology? Good luck with that.
We live in a small apartment. Not too much walking around but I do I have other things to occupy myself – away from technology.
Today, I attempted Origami.
My mom finds the coolest stuff, as you know, and this was no exception. However, I was a little intimidated because … uh… origami… looks complicated.
I folded and re-folded, followed the directions verbatim and winged it (that’s a pun!).
Can you tell what it’s supposed to be? Here’s a hint: It flies.
Ladies and gents, this is a butterfly.
I think it was a Pinterest FAIL.
Anyway, to get back to the topic-at-hand…
I think we’re ALL going through a very traumatic time together – all over the world.
However, I think that – sadly – the United States has added in this gawd-awful drama that *could* be avoided… if only we could get on the same page as Americans and humans.
But it’s not just that.
Right now, one of the national news stations is on our television downstairs (my husband is a reporter and keeps it on all day in the background) and I hear the telltale strains of a Sarah McLachlan song which means either an animal abuse or starving children commercial. So, in the middle of the chaos and painful news stories, we get bombarded with dogs left chained in the snow or starving children. Or, it could be one of those hospitals that ask you to donate and will send you an “adorable blanket” that you don’t need and surely take away from the badly-needed donations. Either way, gloom and doom, even if the end result is supposed to be something positive.
I really think we’re ALL suffering from at-least a little-bit of PTSD – and I don’t say that lightly. It’s real and it’s not just for returning war-time military personnel.
Now, I could go into a dissertation about PTSD and how one thing piles on top of another on top of another until the weight it so great that you break under it.
I could go into triggers, big and small, and how some of us are always-and-forever waiting for the other shoe to drop. And by that I mean: Knowing the triggers are coming and trying to prepare for them… only to be gobsmacked over and over again. Heck, we could be waiting for more abuse, too, because darned-if THAT isn’t part of our realities, too.
But my guess is that what I’ve written already sets it out fairly well and after all, we’re all going through it at some level right now.
There have been more than a few posts here about PTSD. <<< Feel free to read them at your leisure. Maybe we’ll come back to the subject one day after all this is over. I hope and pray it’s soon!
In the meantime, remember to take care of yourself, in healthy ways as much as possible. I say “healthy ways” because evidently eating a whack of brownies, potato chips and Coke Zero isn’t one of them. Jus’ sayin’.
- Eat Healthy
- Get Outside as much as possible
- Keep Moving
- Keep in touch with people you love
- Keep busy with good-for-you activities
- Learn new hobbies like cutting your own hair – it will come in handy!
I don’t want trauma to define me. This is how I find my voice. It did help to write about it. What will you be doing to get through?
Same, sista! 🤗
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I love you, too! Thank you for being you. You’re a remarkable muse and I’m grateful for your vulnerability. This HSP is glad for
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Oh Becki, thank you for your understanding and thoughtful comment. That’s quite something about us both doing an origami butterfly. I love that… and feel bad for both of us, too! You’re so right about shame! Happy New Year and I love you!!
Sheryl, your words comforted me today. The odd thing is, I participated in an online women’s retreat on Saturday, and part of it was trying to fold an origami butterfly. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t keep up and thought there was something wrong with me since all of the other women seem to be doing just fine. That kind of self shaming is unhealthy, and my commitment in 2021 is to take a hard look at that practice and see what I can do to shift it to a more healthy pattern. Thanks for always requiring me to think. Wishing you a healthy and meaningful New Year. ❤️