Lots of things happen when you survive extreme trauma. Certainly better, big-picture-wise, than not surviving. Just saying. You really should not have to specify, but that is one of the things about trauma.
Early on in this process I was diagnosed with PTSD. It involves, at least did then, with some specialized therapies. Mostly I just do not think about it. I ignore it. I am good at that.
Anyway, it was brought up again during last week's session. I am at some point where I might get stuck again, although I am working so damn hard to not have that happen. Again.
So many changes this brings. The surviving, I mean. I feel guilty some days about not having done enough to make everything work. I know, really and truly know that there is nothing I could have done to stop the abuse. It has taken a long time, as the enforced belief that I could improve anything, stop or change anything was part of the abuse.
Everything that happened to me was my fault. I was not good enough. I was ugly. Stupid. Ridiculous. Lazy. Careless. Evil. More. Anything that happened was my fault. If I were a good person, or helpful or different or smarter or less ugly, then nothing would happen. And, if since I believed all of that to be true, then I was guilty of making him, forcing him to do whatever he had to do.
The only thing I could have done is to leave. I did that, but brought the guilt with me. Any, maybe that is appropriate. I am only a simple and flawed human, doing my best. Just like everyone else. Even my ill and flawed ex. My therapist thinks that I am taking this part a bit too far. I cannot help it. Once upon a time I loved him and continued long past the time that was of benefit for anyone. Not me, not him, certainly not our daughter. I never told her what was happening, but now that I am gone from there she knows that something terrible was going on.
So many things lost. my daughter trusts me less than she did because of those secrets. Nothing I can do about it. Resources and family gone.
And, memory. Chemical changes in the brain, my brain mean that I am having increasing difficulty with my memory. Oh, I still remember to get up and dress. I still remember to make it to work and appointments on time. In the beginning those things were very hard to remember. Something to do with being shocky, as well. Time and therapy are helping, but little things are eluding me now, have for some time.
Names. I do not mind not being able to remember names of, you know, like famous people. Maya Angelo was lost to me for a time. Parker Posey. Some other actor that I forgot in conversation recently, a name that is now gone to me again. No problem there, but the names of people I should know in my life, well, I can hardly express how freaking distressing that is. I forgot what jet is for a while. It is a form of fossilized coal, and I wear a piece of it around my neck, for goodness sake. I finally had to look it up. Lordy.
When I meet someone, or a client returns or I run into someone in a store, I am lost. The face is familiar, but the name, and often how I know them is some hazy mishmash of who knows what the hell what. This is when name tags would be nice.
I have a brilliant memory, nearly photographic. I used to complain about being able to recall every excruciating detail of, well, everything. Frankly, having that kind of memory made some relationship circumstances difficult. We all have our own reality where memory is concerned. There is what I remember, what others in the situation remember and what actually happened. It is one of the reasons that personal eye-witness are often completely unreliable.
It bothered me, the memory loss, for a while, but now I just try to let it flow as it will. It is supposed to be partially temporary. Or temporarily something. I cannot remember.
The whole thing is a mess. I cannot forget the bad stuff. It never even dulls. I am hyper-vigilant. I have dreams and random memory attacks. Panic. An overwhelming sense of
vulnerability makes it impossible to have lights on at night. I fear
the dark outside as well. And, all of it is driving me insane. I want
to stop this cowering and fear and disability.
In time, I keep hearing. I believe it. Until then, if we run into each other and I seem a bit vague, I do remember you, just not your name.