Friday, December 15, 2017

Once upon a time ... something happened.

The Story.

I began writing stories from my life years ago, but I always stopped abruptly at some point, simply because the narrative would get too serious or I'd try to insert some sort of moral or psychological analysis - beyond my competence.  I wanted it to be factual, but funny - because humor made it seem everything is okay.  I also wanted to be sure I came off as being unscathed and perfectly adjusted despite everything.  Yeah, like I said, humor was necessary to escape pity - be it self-pity or that of others who may be more condescending in their sympathy.  Likewise, no one wants to admit to personal problems publicly.

Sometimes that can be warranted however.

Recently on Facebook I really did connect with family members I haven't been in touch with for years - as well as some old friends.  It's wonderful to be back in touch - to catch up, to reconcile.  For me it was a sort of 'It's A Wonderful Life - George Bailey' event.  It's a good thing and I'm very happy and grateful for it.

Then I crashed, so to speak.  The reason I need to write about it is that for years I blamed my family for causing these flashbacks of anxiety and depression.  Of course I knew they couldn't take the blame for my problems, and I knew they were not the actual cause - and that there was nothing wrong with 'them'.  But with every contact, I recalled emotionally, or felt the traumatic feelings and panic I experienced as a child.  Sometimes these feelings would emerge after a phone call, or just picking up a message on the answering service.  I was in huge denial that I probably have PTSD, which could be triggered - especially during the holidays - by something so simple as an invitation to a Christmas party.

This year, when apparently everything was just fine with the family, the panic hit me harder than ever.  Yesterday I had a flashback of some events which I witnessed as a toddler.  What I can say about it is that I know from experience what real terror is.  That's all I can say at this point.  I could speak/write about it and detail every single event, but I won't do that.  It's a breakthrough nonetheless.  In years past, some members of my family mistook my distancing myself, as well as my avoidance of them as a sign something bad happened between us.  That wasn't why I kept a distance of course, and to be sure I never harmed a member of my family - but that was their 'default' position as to why I avoided family contact.

What happened to me, the terror I witnessed, happened when I was a toddler and a young child.  I suppressed it, and denied it, I even joked about the bad stuff that happened.  That's how I dealt with it.  When it caught up with me, I fled - I ran away.  I left home in senior year, I moved away and tried to invent a new life for myself, and with each new try, I strayed further away.  I did everything in my power to avoid the pain - which is the only reason I left family and friends behind - over and over again.  It's why I never stayed in one place.

Anyway.  It all caught up with me this week.  Looks like there really is something called PTSD.  Prayer really helps.  Patience obtains all.
Sometimes God "may allow or cause you to go through difficult trials of faith when you will not be able to cope with your problems by yourself…. 
The experience of not being able to cope with something, and the feeling of loss, can cause you to have the desire to look for his coming. This is a chance for the growth and the deepening of your faith." - Fr. Dajczer
It's all good.  I learned a great deal this week, and my friend Fr. P offered Mass for me.  Thanks to all for your prayers.