Until now, I have been living with a deep ridden fear that every choice I make or every route I take, be it big or small, will lead me to life happening as it has done until now. It has only been this way the last six months.
What if maybe, this is just life?
What if maybe actually, those things that have happened to me might not happen again? It was just something that came along in my life’s path. It wasn’t something I created or made.
This doesn’t really make sense…but it does to me.
Six months ago I took an overdose and after ICU, ended up in a haunting traumatising psych ward. (The latter was not due to any state of mine, only due to the covering of medical profession’s back).
Since then I have been living each and every day, moment and millisecond in a mist of bone rattling anxiety, trying to make sure I live a life that doesn’t lead me to that happening again. It was a blip. A massive blip that happened. But what has come from it is huge. I can’t even begin to explain the transformation it began and in many ways, solely created. But I never want that to happen again. Ever. It was haunting, terrifying, traumatising, scarring and hideous. And many of those scars are now only just being seen.
But just the past few days I realised that this fear has been literally ruling every decision I make. The most recent being which therapist to go with and which route to go down. I don’t share this fear, because I don’t think I had quite realised how directly it was linked to the trauma of the overdose, and what followed. I’ve heard myself share my pain that it was me who made it happen, and that all of what I did before in my life, led to the overdose. Almost like a build up to this end finale. But as two therapist friends of mine have both said: No. I see that as a blip following a traumatic call with your mother (which, for the record, was what it was). It wasn’t that you were building up to that, or that all your choices before that had been ‘wrong’ and resulted in you doing that. You were desperate, you were scarred, you were scared, you were hurting so deep you could only see that way out.
What’s weird is that only now am I maybe starting to believe that.
I realise now that perhaps this is the trust for me growing and building. Doing something like that – attempting to take your own life – must be the number one crusher of trust in yourself. For me it was. For me it took weeks, and months in fact, to really even trust that it was safe to be on my own. That I wouldn’t do that to myself. This shows me deep inside how little I wanted it, or want it, to happen. It was out of a dissociated desperate state that it did. And it wasn’t even, consciously, a cry for help. It was real. 100% real attempt. Not that others aren’t, but I believe there are different after effects of if an attempt is 100% real and if there are edges of awareness that it is a cry of desperation. I do believe though, that every attempt, whether you realise it yourself at the time, or not, is a cry for help – sometimes it just comes deep from within your spirit. And I think that’s the scary thing. Afterwards I saw how determined I was and how definite it was to work. There wasn’t even a question or a doubt, anywhere below.
So how could I not think that all of what I had done to lead up to this state, was wrong? Or my fault? Or, if I had only done things slightly differently, I would not have been hurting quite as much. Or would not have been in quite so much of a traumatised, dissociated state.
The thing is, I cannot think like that. It’s understandable that I might, and that I have, but what if actually, it was just a fluke hideous and tragic thing that happened?
I find it easier to let those worries go with the overdose but I think the element to it that I struggle the most to believe is what followed. I can’t share the words yet, but the hospital was haunting. Haunting beyond words. And every folk from San Francisco will know what I mean. I have seen the reaction on Californian faces when they hear that is what happened, and their face says it all.
This is what I struggle to not see that I made happen. What if I could just have done things differently? The overdose – sure, that was one thing…but this? This exposure to such terror and trauma, and proof of my deep rooted fear that I’m crazy or might end up crazy. This seed was watered and grown into a blooming tree within 24 hours in this place.
So how can I not sit here and think that I could have done things differently? But, as my therapist’s text message read to me in the ambulance over there: they are just covering their backs. Only she and I knew what this meant for me. What was about to follow once I stepped foot in that door. And even I was blown over sideways at what did follow.
I’ve gone off track, as I tend to. And am feeling a little spaced from the trauma of this post now, so will gently bring it to an end. But what I wanted to share from these words is the shift I’ve felt in the letting go of these fears, and a growing trust to go with the ebbs and flows. Meaning: that what happened above, won’t necessarily be a part of my life again. Just because it’s happened before doesn’t mean it’ll happen again.
I fear, deeply, beginning with a therapist in case I reach that state again. (My trauma was heightened and brought to the surface through therapy…which was kind of inevitable I think, but has left me really fearful of beginning again in case this unmanageable PTSD state occurs again. I began with a therapist 4 months before my overdose, and in my subconscious angst mind, I put the two and two together…but I realise this is not how it works. It’s just hard not to trust that sometimes.)
Does anyone else find that – that trauma creates such obscure and deluded logic in your mind? That you wind up linking events before, after, during the traumatic time, that leave you totally believing that something caused it to happen, that you caused it to happen, that if only you had not done this thing, or if only you had not done these million things, then it would not have happened, and so you must never do that thing again…??
As I go for a swim down the pool lanes, I just wanted to share a glimmer of hope. A little candle of maybe. Maybe I can slowly let go and begin to trust this funny path called Life. Maybe what happened before were simply boulders for me to climb and collect, to build the mountain of strength that’s mine. Maybe the choices I make now, even if they aren’t the best ones, will not lead to that happening because they aren’t right. Maybe I can afford to make some mistakes in this path of healing, and know that these mistakes won’t lead to that trauma happening again. Or even any other. What if I am free to choose, and free to trust, and free to STOP ANALYSING every single decision I make.
What if I can trust that I will take care of myself. That I will cope. That I have always coped, no matter how distant from coping I’ve felt. That I have grown. I have changed. I have begun healing. My PTSD is changing, and is different now. My way of dealing with it is so different now too. I was in the midst of new pain I did not know how to handle. What if life is ever different and moving and changing and growing, as am I. It would make life a hell of a lot easier, that’s what if.
I hope you can all hold some trust in letting go of these theories we create for ourselves, based on the trauma we have seen or been. Know that it was not your fault. Know that sometimes in life, things happen. Sometimes all the time. But it does stop. It does stop eventually, and when it does, please find moments in that space to see that no matter how many theories or conclusions you can draw up that prove that you did it, it was your fault, you failed, the choices you made led to that/it, hold a little flicker of faith that actually: it doesn’t work like that.
As buckwheatsrisk would say: there is hope.