Before Bear and I married, we honestly didn’t know how bad my PTSD was. I knew I had it to some degree, but it was vanquished because I didn’t talk about it. It was simply buried like a honey-badger about to attack our tiny baby marriage from beneath the surface. Does anyone remember that meme?
I remembered how bad my PTSD was when it first started. I would scream in the shower and twist my shampoo bottles across the water. I’d cry randomly in everyday places. Eventually I developed chronic pain once I did stop talking about it. I turned online to vent my fears. But the biggest thing was, the medical professionals denied my PTSD because I kept it under control by staying single for 6 years until I decided to date again, at my roommate’s suggestion.
Once I did, my career spiraled out of control. I began to see and hear things that did not exist at work coming from my male coworkers. There was no way I could work in an office. By the time I quit my job was the time I started going steady with my husband, who had no idea what was actually going on. Neither did I – I thought I had developed schizophrenia.
The same thing would happen at three more places of employment before I gave up and went to grad school, which was a lovely experience. But once I had a new permanent male figure in my life, the craziness exploded again – this time at my husband.
We’ve discovered that letting each other be open and vulnerable even over subjects the other thinks is stupid is the key to getting through our current situation. I’m no longer hearing monsters in the night. Tonight we slept in the same bed for the first time in two weeks. Not because he asked me to leave the room, but because I was hiding. That must have felt horrible to him.
I accomplished two sessions of EMDR this past week, and I think it’s responsible for getting my mind to chill out enough to communicate with my husband. I recommend it for anyone needing trauma therapy. Yes, you can do it remotely.
I’m going to be writing about trauma therapy and marriage again today, because that’s my life right now. This is not a Whiner McBabypants post where I talk about my specific trauma, rather, these are my reflections on life, love, and marriage as a disabled woman.
You know when you just feel sad, and you just want to be sad? Your husband will cook dinner, do the dishes and watch romcoms with you but you don’t want any of it, you want to feel your own pain?
When I look back on my former life as an able-bodied model, I would call myself ungrateful. This lack of gratitude drug into my life as a disabled person, and later as a disabled married person.
Part of this led to walls-up mode. Most people think I wear my heart on my sleeve, but really this is an act of pushing people away by oversharing. If someone really wanted my honest opinion, they’d probably have to cross Jurassic Antartica with added volcanoes to get it.
I finally revealed this to my husband today, with the caveat that for most of my life, I didn’t think people were safe. But when I put his wedding band on his finger, I marked him as someone who was safe. It was my job to get out of Jurassic Antartica and place him in the sunnier meadows of my mind so I could hear him out, and ultimately communicate with him.
I really don’t have anyone or anything I’m more grateful for than him. He finished building a 4 ft tall aromatherapy garden for me today. It’s that tall so I don’t hurt myself by bending over.
Remember, learning to love is just as hard as accepting it!
My marriage counselor has been urging me to begin trauma therapy for PTSD for about a month now. I’ve been afraid to because Bear and I have been doing so well and I don’t want to have another meltdown. Then COVID happened, and I was even more afraid.
It turns out trauma therapy is not that hard to begin, but I suggest anyone reading this doesn’t do this alone. Please consult your friendly neighborhood psychologist.
Every Sunday, I write in a journal one traumatic memory. Then the rest of the days of the week, I read the memory aloud. On Saturday I read and process the memory with my counselor and my husband.
I’ve only been doing this for two days now and chose a relatively mild memory to start out with as I’m going through a medication change. I need to come up with a list of things for my husband to watch out for. So far, here’s what I’ve got:
Sudden lack of communication
Not wanting to cook
Sudden willfulness in my attitude against him
Sudden negative talk about our marriage
Use of the ‘D’ word (no, not the body part…)
Staying in bed all the time
Although, parts of these do sound like a pain flare, honestly. But parts of these sound like my version of a nervous breakdown.
Overall I’m glad I took the plunge while my husband is working from home so I can be monitored. I’ve been told that doing trauma work could possibly cure my pain, along with switching off of my psych med.