I hear my breathing. That heavy breath that’s a borderline sigh. It’s the pain speaking. The stomach knots and the flood of painful thoughts aren’t visible. But anyone can tell when the intense rough times are coming by the breathing.
The shaking may come next – need to watch my caffeine.
Continually rubbing my leg with my hand is the scary place to be… The meltdown is close at hand. No that’s not where I am. No that’s not what I want to happen. But I want to be dependent on God as I move forward so if the outward physical response to this trauma I’m still learning to live with is what it takes well… Okay then.
It’s good I can see the outward signs before a meltdown. It’s taken almost two years to proactively notice them.
Do I hibernate? No. Not this time.
I go slow.
I allow myself to say no to plans. Even seemingly simple plans.
I talk to my inner circle. Those select few who sacrificially walk in the pain with me. They know I don’t need rescued. They pray and watch closely.
I pray. And if seconds after beginning to talk to God my mind is drifting somewhere else I bring it back again and then again. I listen. I try to be still so I can hear Him. I love Him in spite of this pain.
I am not weak.
It’s not explainable. Learning to move forward in pain. Choosing to move forward in pain. Addressing it as I go. Crumbling when I need to. Believing a glimpse of joy may be close at hand… But even better standing in His strength regardless of how I feel. I know Him more deeply because of the pain.
This is what it looks like for pain and joy to coexist.
2 Cor 12:9… My grace is sufficient for you Denise. My power is made perfect in weakness.
I blogged on June 1 two ways grieving a suicide is different from grieving a non-suicide death. There is a third way it’s different – and I’ve been suffering from it since day 1 but was not able to name it until now. PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder. I thought the only people that experienced this were actual victims of a crime and people who were present when someone died or went through trauma. So anytime I had a panic attack I… well… I said things to myself that in hindsight I can see weren’t helpful. “Come on, Denise, this isn’t rational. You’re fine. It was months ago. You should be able to drive your car faster than 70 mph now without freaking out” and so on. I remember my Mom sent me a video on FB of pranks where people were sleeping and startled into waking up. I freaked out watching this (it’s okay Mom – who knew??). It wasn’t rational to me and so my self talk was judgmental. But still – almost a year later – loud, sudden, unexpected moments send me into a freaked out mindset. If I drive too fast my breathing gets fast and shallow – that’s my warning sign that I’m about to melt down. I’ve had outbursts of anger that were disproportionate to the circumstances at hand. God who am I?
I read a little about PTSD… 3 buckets of symptoms exist:
Reliving the event.
I experience all three of these to varying degrees but most frequently I experience the 3rd one. Increased Arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
All I can say is God bless my family and friends as they hang in there with me. I wish I could just “be better.” I truly do. It’s probably hard to know how to love me through this. I get so frustrated with myself. And then I get frustrated with Drey. And then I feel an overwhelming amount of love and loss for him. Sometimes I just have to sit in it. Sometimes I just have to let the pain swallow me. This is such a lonely grief.