I have made a lot of progress with my healing and I feel myself continuing to heal. No matter the stresses in life, I’m learning to cope in healthier ways. I feel a new hope as I put myself out there more instead of being a hermit and just keeping to myself. I’m not able to go and do ALL THE THINGS I want to. Sometimes, I feel I’m missing out on adventures and experiences but taking care of me means knowing my limits. With increased stress, even good stress, my symptoms of PTSD flare up.
My last flare up was so scary I didn’t even know what to do. I was around all these beautiful strong women. I was so excited to get back out into the world and be apart of things again! Unfortunately, that’s when one of the scariest things in my life happened. I started to hallucinate. Out of the right side of my vision, I kept seeing someone. A flicker, a sense there was a person. It is not a real person that is physically there. I saw someone looking in the window as I was sitting at the table with my friends. I felt like I was losing it. It continued into the next day. I was caring for my Mom because she was sick with a stomach bug and my brain didn’t let up. It wasn’t that someone was there, it was the feeling that that someone was coming to get me, hurt me. Talk about fucking paranoia!
Every few minutes I felt compelled to look to the right. I sat by her bedside and watched TV with her all the while feeling like someone was there when no one was. No one was going to come around the corner from the bathroom. I knew I couldn’t go back to spend time with my friends like that. I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself. I realized then I was pretty ashamed of this new development. I texted my friend the next day telling her that I was having a hard time and apologized for not being up to going out. I braced for her to be angry but she wasn’t at all. She sent me LOVE, not apathy for my situation like many have in my past. I’ll always remember that.
What I didn’t realize at the time was this started not long after moving into my new place. I couldn’t reflect when I was being startled so much with the perceived threat in my peripheral vision. I often don’t want to get others involved in my pain. It started with the bedroom door. I kept feeling like someone was there. I kept looking at it, open or closed, I kept checking. No one is there but the fear is real, the terror was all but unbearable. It was physically painful but not as much as the mental anguish. I even started looking into a PTSD facility that maybe I could go stay in for some help.
On Sunday I watch ones of my favorite shows and it was the episode where we all learn why Hodar says Hodar instead of talking. He was really saying HOLD THE DOOR. I watched it and was finally able to cry. He held that fucking door. That night I tried to sleep in my bed but I just couldn’t. I joked to myself that I needed a Hodar. Someone to hold the door for me to keep me safe or just sit in front of it so the door couldn’t be moved. I wished my room had no doors or windows, no way to get to me. I’m thankful for this wonderful scene in the show. I had a breakthrough. I also slept on the couch for a few nights before I was able to sleep in my bedroom again.
The door in my bedroom as a child was also in the same orientation as it is now. The door was on the right. I would stare at the door for hours in terror, listening to every little noise, watching for the shadows to move under the door to let me know if it was going to happen again. A huge amount of time in my life at that time has been devoted to paying extreme close attention to every little detail to let me know if I was safe or not. I barely slept. It is exhausting.
How sad is it that a bedroom itself is scary? The place you are supposed to feel safe, in your own home, in your own bed. Not for me. This is what they mean when they say normal everyday things can be a trigger. I had no sense of safety. I almost re-arranged my bedroom but decided against it. I decided that I wasn’t going to change anything and that instead of fearing the door I would tell the door that I was an adult now and nothing that could be behind it would be as scary as ME.
When I started therapy and decided I wasn’t going to take my own life, I dragged a foam mattress into the living room. I slept there for a year until I moved into an apartment. When I moved into my current home, I bought a beautiful new bedroom outfit as a reward to myself. I made the bedroom my sacred space for rest. I try my best to adhere to a strict routine. For the past 2 weeks when the alarm at 8pm goes off, I take sleeping pills. So far, this is working great and I’m sleeping better than I have in my whole life. I still look at the door but it is not as scary now. I feel hope now that I will continue to get better.