Bill of Rights

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Catching Up and Working it Through

The time passes by so fast this time of year.  My schedule is loaded with extra things to do taking away precious time to ponder and work through my healing and recovery work.  I have been working on it though -- just not the way I'd like to.   I have a couple big issues that I'm not getting to the bottom of yet that are pretty difficult right now.  Healing, for me is complicated by the constant unexpected trigger that I have to stop and work through.

This time last year was a really hard one for me.  I spent Thanksgiving alone, without H for the first time in 27 years.  It was surprisingly peaceful.  My kids said it was really nice, but a little weird.  Yeah, it was weird.   This year H was with us, but my son was not.  He's a Marine, currently in San Diego at school.  

I really tried to avoid Thanksgiving all together.  I didn't even shop for groceries until two days before.  I didn't spend hours planning a menu.  I did not even make pie. (That alone is huge for me.)  If it wasn't for my daughter-in-law and two adorable little grands, I could have just skipped the event all together.   

I didn't feel like celebrating anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I have everything to be thankful for -- it wasn't about gratitude.

It is mostly just this unshakeable sadness I have in my heart about my marriage that I'm struggling with.

And then there was this......

christmas wreath : A brown twig wreath is decorated with red berries, pine cones and a red damask bow. Stock Photo

A wreath.  A Christmas wreath? 

How does something so innocent and simple cause such a huge trigger?

I went out Friday, after Thanksgiving, not to catch all the sales, but to shop for a wreath.  I 
wanted one that made a statement.  I have a new home and I wanted some pizazz on my 
front door.  Understandable, right?  I was prepared to purchase one with a pretty hefty price 
tag to get the look I was after.  I figured Target or the like wouldn't bring me the 'look' I wanted, but we 
started there anyway as it at least gave H a point of reference for what I was hoping to find.  

The one we decided on is lovely.  Every time I went in and out my front door over the 
weekend, I was so happy with the look.  I love the colors, the thick crystals giving off the 
appearance of ice.  It is really lovely.  

Then it happened.

As I was getting into the tubs with the rest of my Christmas decor I pulled a wreath off the 
top of the bin.  It literally stopped me in my steps.

The pain was physical and instantaneous.  

I could not for the life of me remember buying that wreath. I couldn't attach a memory to it 
at all.  Not buying it, or to having it hang on my front door the whole month of last December.  
don't remember packing it away either.  

How can all that living and doing and gone? 

I use my front door as my main point of entry.  

It was though, every memory that should have been there, all of it, gone.  
No remembering of visiting teachers or family or even the UPS driver at the door.


In that moment, with all that hurt and pain and confusion (and I was extremely confused), 
I looked right at H and said, "I think my trauma just cost you a hundred bucks!" 

H is in a good place right now.  His response was very kind and generous.  He could have 
haggled with me over the two options.  Which one did I have to have?  Was this big purchase 
that necessary?  Could you do with the one you have?  He didn't say any of those things.  

We aren't poor, but we don't have a great deal of disposable income.  It was a sizable
purchase for something that sits on the door four weeks out of  fifty-two.

His reply was, 'well, that is a small price to pay for what you went through last year 
because of me."

A friend of mine, who has a particular rough time this time of year, said this recently in a
group we are in together:
  "I think that what is most amazing to me about this D-day anniversary is that the body remembers physical pain. I'm a bit emotional too, but I'm mostly holding it together. But without even consciously remembering the physical pains of that period, my body began feeling them. At first I thought I must be coming down with a flu or something. Then I realized that this is how my body felt in that time period. And I don't otherwise feel sick. It's crazy."

It is interesting what the body remembers that the mind has blocked out.  

In an article on trauma and post traumatic stress it says this:

"Most people are familiar with the definition concerning soldiers in a war; however, PTSD has expanded from its original wartime definition to include all people, not just soldiers. It can result from a single or prolonged life-threatening event. The memory can bury itself deep in the mind and, for years afterward, torment the person with all kinds of strange unexplained feelings. Some people come through these events and recover. Some do not. Why the difference? As yet, probably no one knows.

PTSD is difficult to treat, even difficult to diagnose. The disorder carries an especially strong stigma of dishonor and moral weakness. During the first and second world wars, people called some soldiers suffering from PTSD and stress breakdown “cowards” or “deserters.” The military has come a long way since then in recognizing the seriousness of this disorder. Since PTSD is actually the body’s natural response to an injury, it is not really an illness in the same sense as depression. It is, however, often accompanied by depression and other mental illnesses."

I want to believe I won't always struggle with the triggers.  I want to believe that after time and more recovery work, the painful reactions of the body will lighten and the traumatic responses lessen in intensity.  

I still have several holiday 'D-day anniversaries' to get through.  And that whole January to April season last year where H's living here and not was one of my worst emotional roller


I really need to steady myself and practice some breathing techniques.

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