Tag Archives: depression

Not Out of the Cave

I have neglected this blog for some time. I think it is a couple of years since I posted anything.

It started as a blog about my “recovery” from PTSD, but along the way it has taken several meandering detours.

What I have learnt along the way is that you never truly recover. You may go into remission, you may find ways to better deal with it when it does come snarling, but it never truly goes away. Ad so, I find myself in something of a relapse. The 25th anniversary came this year and, although I expected some reaction, it has triggered much more of a downward spiral than I expected. Including full blown waking flashbacks which is something I have not experienced for some time.

To explain the title of this I am copying below something I have posted before.

“Here’s what PTSD is like, and why people kill themselves over it. Think of life like a cave. If I send you into a cave with a lantern and tell you there are no bears in the cave, you feel safe. You will walk around the cave and enjoy yourself. Now what if I give you a lantern and a gun and tell you that there is a bear in there? You can still go down, but you’ll be careful to look for the bear and ready to run or shoot if you see it. Now, what if I send you down there with a gun but no lantern and simply say “bear” to you? Pretty soon, you’re in there, you can’t see the way out, and every rock you bump into feels like a bear. After a long enough time being down in the cave, you realize you don’t have enough ammo to shoot everything that might be a bear. It has nothing to do with running out of food or water or feeling like you’re fighting some unwinnable battle with the bear. You just get sick and tired of the uncertainty. Are you going to live through the night? Are you going to wake up to a bear gnawing your intestines? You get to the point where you just wish the bear would come along and end it. And when he doesn’t come, you decide to do it yourself.”

Therein lies the problem when it comes. The hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance with no productive outlet for the anxiety, stress, adrenaline et al becomes incredibly exhausting. Emotionally and physically. Exacerbated by the fact your fearful brain keeps you awake at night. This impacts completely in your life. Small decisions become impossible to make because you are just too tired to make them. And so the downward spiral into depression begins.

One positive is that having been down the road before I recognised the signs much earlier. So much earlier have sought intervention and time out. I am lucky to have the support of some particularly good GPs and others who have facilitated that intervention and time out. Not just that, they have given me the time for my sometimes rambling musings on my situation.

So, this blog is likely to become more active again one way or another. I will also revisit and update on some of the meanders!

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Sweetness, I was only joking….(365)

I haven’t posted a picture from the 365 self portraits I did for sometime.

Like all of them, at the time I did it purely for myself. This one was a bit of an ironic joke to myself. There was a particular issue bothering me and then I listened to the Smiths’ song. Bigmouth Strikes Again.

Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
When I said I’d like to smash every tooth
In your head

Oh … sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed

So, with the juxtaposition of the two things I shot this, as I say, meaning it to be an ironic joke. In fact, the thing that was bothering me was and is very far from funny. It centres round the lies of an ex that I have mentioned on here before. I was bothered that she had renewed her campaign of lies about me. Perhaps not renewed. I had just become aware again of an ongoing situation. The particular lies this addresses were the story she likes to put about that I used to beat her up. Two particular expressions come to mind. “He used to beat the crap out of me on several occasions.” and “He beat me to a pulp on more than one occasion”. These phrases paint a very specific picture. It just isn’t true. But it’s not a ver nice picture for someone to be painting. Especially to some of the people she involved. One of those people has since died. Before I had a chance to correct this picture. That saddens and angers me. Historically her lies have seriously impinged on long-term friendships. Which is also saddening and angering. Added to the additional sadness that these friends seem to have believed at least in part. There is also the issue that the liar was comfortable to say these things around these people.

I have attempted to address these lies with the person concerned. I have even cited these specific examples. She just says that she never said. (I know she did). You can’t even begin to deal with a person like that. Someone who knows that you know it is true they said them but just denies it. There is nowhere you can go forward from that. Although I do suspect that she no longer knows what is true or not. She has that ability, once a lie has been accepted or repeated, to believe it as absolute truth. She likes, also, to tell people I am totally crazy or mad. An easy target because, of course, I have had mental illness. But these are depression and PTSD. Crazy? At least I know what is true and what isn’t. It all calls into question a lot of other things. For instance, when we were going out she told me tales of abuse by a family member. I accepted this without question at the time but now I have to winder. More about that on a future blog.

There is another interesting thing. She threatened me, both directly and indirectly, with violence from her husband if I wrote things she didn’t like on my blog. Whether that actually bothers me is not the issue here. The issue is that SHE seems to think that violence is an option for her to use or threaten. It also implies very strongly that her husband is prone to aggression and violence. Under the circumstances quite an irony. I think that explains, to a degree, her need to demonise me.”Dark and dangerous” is also an expression she has used about me. Definitely a bit of projection going on there. This implication of his tendency is very much reinforced in documentary form from a different source on the web. A different but very damning source. I intend to use it in a future blog where I will deal with this catalogue of lies. It continues to affect my life and I have had enough of it. I will name and shame.

So, here is the ironic joke of a picture.

sweetness

“Never Let Me Go.” In Memoriam K

Yesterday I spoke for the first time ever about something that happened some years ago. About something that happened to a very dear friend. Something awful, beyond awful; carried out by people I can only describe as evil personified. For lots of reason I’m not going to go into detail here. I was involved in the immediate aftermath of this awful event and spent several days shut up with my friend. That was awful too. It has been suggested that I have vicarious trauma because of this.

Talking about it was hard. To do so for the first time after these years, I suppose it was always going to be. To talk about brings up the emotions from that time but also images of it all in my head. Some of the are too upsetting to contemplate for too long. There were only three people who knew exactly what happened to my friend in all the detail. My friend of course; she’s no longer with us. Life became too hard for hr and she left us. Her sister knew too and she left us through illness a couple of years ago. And me. Whilst her sister was alive, in some ways it felt like a burden shared even through we never discussed the actual event in detail. It now feels like a burden that is all mine and it has become time to deal with it.

Right now I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. It was a hard thing to do, to talk about it.

Very much in my mind at the moment is “Never let me go” a song by Florence and the Machine. Video and lyrics below.

Looking up from underneath
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me
As before I went under

And it’s peaceful in the deep
Cathedral where you cannot breathe
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under all

And it’s breaking over me
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
Found the place to rest my head
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing out of me
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean delivered me

Though the pressure’s hard to take
It’s the only way I can escape
It seems a heavy choice to make
And now I am under all

And it’s breaking over me
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
Found the place to rest my head
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing out of me
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean delivered me

And it’s over
And I’m going under
But I’m not giving up
I’m just giving in

I’m slipping underneath
So cold and so sweet

And the arms of the ocean so sweet and so cold
And all this devotion I never knew at all
In the crushes of heaven for a sinner released
And the arms of the ocean delivered me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Deliver me
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go
Never let me go

And it’s over
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
And I’m going under
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
But I’m not giving up
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
I’m just giving in
(Never let me go, Never let me go)

I’m slipping underneath
(Never let me go, Never let me go)
So cold and so sweet
(Never let me go, Never let me go)

Cognitive Dissonance.

I am posting the screenshot below because it rang so many bells for me. Such an accurate description. Add to that the trick of lying to portray the victim as the abuser and you have the perfect picture.

image

The Final Straw

Now I don’t believe and I never did
That two wrongs make a right.
If the world were filled with the likes of you
Then I’m putting up a fight. I’m putting up a fight.
Putting up a fight. make it right. make it right.

final straw 3

Wounds

I took a blade and dug it deep into my flesh, watched the edges of the wound fall apart. Watched the blood fill the gaping gash and spill over and run. Felt the sharp sting and then the burning ache. All in an attempt to remember the other pain, the pain of you. In the hope it would make me forget you.

Hospital Anniversary.

Yesterday was an odd day for me. It was the anniversary of a trip to hospital and with my tendency to remember anniversaries it was never going to pass without notice. I say a trip. That makes it sound voluntary. It definitely wasn’t.

It was a bitterly cold day. I remember I had dressed for the cold and thinking with black humour that I wouldn’t want to catch a cold or anything! But I also remember starting to feel an indefinable warmth coming over me. I was falling asleep and that in itself was a warm feeling. A welcome embracing of loss of awareness and pain.

Then, through this sleepy state I was aware of a flurry of activity around me. Hands on me, then people calling me name. Unfamiliar voices. “How do they know my name” a vague thought in the sleepiness. Being moved, lifted, slid. Again people calling my name, loud, right by my ear. Knuckles pressing hard on my sternum. “They want me to wake. It’s ok, I’m happy to sleep, it’s ok that I don’t wake up”. Awareness of sudden sharp pains in my wrists and up my arms. More shouting, more sternum pressing. Becoming less and less aware. That’s good. Soon they won’t wake me at all. Something going into my mouth and throat. “Oh, I don’t like that”. Then more sleep. A vague awareness of sirens and movement. “Oh I’m in the vehicle that has the sirens. That’s odd I must be at work”. Then just dark sleep.

Waking. Creeping re-awareness. No that’s not right. I can’t be waking up. Aware of voices, quiet but busy around me at first. Then increasing awareness. Opening my eyes. Bright lights above me. There’s some sort of machine near by making a really fucking annoying series of pinging and ringing noises. Tubes and needles and wires stuck all over me. A pile of clothes, cut open on a chair nearby. “Oh, they are my clothes. That would have been interesting!” A figure comes into focus nearby. In blue hospital scrubs.

This can’t be right. I’m awake, I’m in hospital. I attempt to move but I really can’t. Without realising I start to cry. A nurses hand gently on my arm. “It’s ok. Don’t worry” she says. She moves to make eye contact and talks. I don’t really hear what she says but her tone is soothing and caring.

And so that was it really. Transferred to a ward for a few days. One nurse or another constantly sitting by me and coming with me whenever I moved. A bit tedious but I understand why.

I also have to say that all the staff I had contact with those days were brilliant. Kind, compassionate, empathetic and very considerate of other personal issues.