My exhaustion is deep.
It’s riddled with nausea and aching,
But with a buzzing trembling from the trauma too.
It leaves resting only possible when it’s brought on by collapse.
Dozing isn’t possible,
Gentle resting and reading isn’t either.
It’s either asleep and dead to the world,
Feeling rough as can be, longing for sleep
Or wired and anxiety ridden.
Whatever the state though, when I’m up there’s almost always a quiet (or NOT so quiet) level of trauma trembling and anxiety rumbling going on in my body.
This is the state I struggle so much to be in. Actually, i do the rest also, but this state feels heartbreaking. You feel so almost near to calm and restful-ness, you can almost touch it, but your body’s having none of it. It feels like what I can imagine adrenal exhaustion to be like. Or something. It feels like exhaustion and overdrive to the core. Every cell in body is completely fucking knackered. Yet at the same time, each of these cells is swimming in the stored up trauma, longing to be released. And so it buzzes. Just for fun.
This pattern seems to be taking shape quite regularly the last month. I’ve had two big triggering episodes, where I’ve spent five days or so in a total haze of terrifying retraumatisation, flashbacks and heightened anxiety. As this begins to soften, and the trauma stored, plays itself out, the exhaustion comes in full force. And with it too, an edge of depression.
I know they say PTSD is often shown in ups and downs of anxiety and depression, but it is only til now that I see it so with me. Or maybe it was happening before but it hadn’t been quite as black and white. The white storm of anxiety and flashbacks, nonstop trauma ridden energy, shaking and an inability to sleep: a state that feels so uncomfortable, so painful and so terrifying. And then the black heaviness of the aftermath, of flatness, exhaustion, haziness, flulike symptoms and nausea: a state my body is crying out to recuperate and heal.
The trouble is though, there seems to be a grey area in there somewhere. And that’s the state I think I feel the most – and the one I’m in the most. It’s the one where you feel trembly, anxious, scared and blinded by a mixture of the residues of the trauma that’s just been, and then a deep exhaustion to your core, with a feeling of being run-down. Almost like your immune system has just played a ten round boxing match with your adrenals. It makes you feel like you just want to wrap yourself up in a blanket, let the sun fall on your face and treasure the moment of calm because you know it’s going to be okay. But you can’t, because there is no moment of calm – it’s more your body longing for it. Instead, there is all this energy pumping round your body you need to get rid of. So you move, you exercise and you TRY to get it out so you can rest. I feel like I have to put the feeling of exhaustion and unwellness, on the back burner for later. Because I know, that when that anxious trauma energy is running round your body, it’s there to be released and so released is what it has to be. This all comes down to the physical science of trauma and how it is stored in the body. I just worry because I don’t know how much more I can put on this back burner of mine. Will it all hit me in one big swoop of exhaustion and send me flying into bed, only to return a year or two later, like it kinda did with chronic fatigue. Or am I replacing this energy and recuperating enough when I get the chance? Do all the calms after the storm replace the crazy haze of trauma spells? I don’t know. I guess only time will show. But part of me thinks that they do. Your body knows what it’s doing, so listen to it and look after it.
Does anyone else live in this kind of inbetween state of exhaustion and anxiety simultaneously with their PTSD?