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Backsliding

I don’t know what I’m doing back here today. I’m not sure how I got here or how I got back here so fast, but I’m struggling again.

I was doing so great, making friends, hiking, getting invited to travel with other photographers to explore new areas, immersing myself in the healing of nature, finding myself, being myself, and I was loving life, laughing more than I ever have and smiling every single day. But…suddenly and for some unknown reason, I’m back in this dark place again. Not wanting to leave the house, and if I do leave, I just want to be alone away from people. I don’t want to hang out or talk to friends anymore. I’m barely even talking to my husband. I’m becoming that recluse again. Drinking more, being absent more, disassociating in the middle of conversations, and lately all I want to do is be high all the time.

This darkness has been brewing deep down, simmering and bubbling up here and there. I’ve been trying to shovel more dirt on top, bury it back down deep a nd shut those thoughts and memories up. I was on a high streak for so long - I didn’t want to backslide. But I’m backsliding. Ugly memories are crawling up from the back of my mind and they just linger there, reminding me that I’m not cured and maybe I never will be.

I keep getting triggered. I get triggered lately so often and by the smallest things. His name, certain smells, the word or even the smell of bourbon, people touching my wrists or neck, when someone else other than me locks the door, locking me inside. I feel panicked any time I use a razor in the shower because razorblades were often used on me and any time I nick myself enough to bleed I get sick to my stomach and just want to cry. Haunted by so many things… Any kind of knives, sharpies and the smell of them, the sound of chains, handcuffs, chalk and chalkboards, certain songs, or even driving down the road and I see a cop car, or license plates from that state, and the biggest one of all, those nightsticks that police carry. The overwhelming feeling of being helpless and hopeless.

I keep going back to that dark place, but not willingly. It keeps pulling me back there. Memories, sights, sounds, feelings, it all just floods back in flashes, like lightning in a summer storm. But the lightning doesn’t really dissipate, it just lingers there in a blinding light, distracting me from my reality, distracting me from my here and now.

I see his face all the time, in the crowds, faces on tv, in my mind. He’s always there. I get spooked easily, loud noises startle me - instantly my heart races and panic sets in. I get nauseous when the memories well up in the back of my mind, I don’t want to eat, I can’t sleep but yet all I want to do is sleep.

ugh… I am sure it won’t be like this for long. I usually have highs and lows but lately it just feels like a really low low. I’m lost in so many ways and can’t seem to find which way is up anymore. So I’m drifting through this life, bouncing between hopeful and hopeless, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ll be fine.

Just thought maybe writing this out would help get this shit out of my head.

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Hi there,

I am so sorry that this happened to you. I am so proud of you for reaching out & writing out your thoughts, as well as your feelings. You are loved. You are strong. You are important. You are valid. You matter.

-StarFox :yellow_heart:

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It’s wonderful that you’ve been doing great, but I’m sorry that this darkness is creeping up on you now. “Shoveling dirt on top” isn’t an effective long-term approach. Healing, in whatever form it takes will leave scars, but suppressing the pain will leave open wounds. Based on what you’ve been through, you should have a therapist on speed dial. That may not always be necessary, but you still need more time to process the pain and grief. I think part of the problem is when feeling good, the pain seems like a distant memory, never to return. Then something triggers a flash memory of darkness, and it leaves you on the edge of an emotional cliff.

Sometimes it’s a matter of walking along that cliff edge and knowing how easy it would be to fall off, but resolving not to. Perhaps at the very first hint of darkness, rather than try to bury it, find someone who can help you process it. Trauma changes us, even down to our DNA. Healing has to take the form of adaptation and integration of both the pain, sadness and the care you receive from others, along with self-care, that makes it survivable. “Wounded healers” help each other heal, but not if they bury the pain or try to suffer in silence.

It might be hard to talk to your husband while you’re feeling bad, but try not to shut him out. He might feel as though he’s done something wrong that caused you to not trust him. Maybe he’s not the right person to help you deal with your pain, but he may need reassurance anyway. You do need to talk to someone, and maybe get into a support group.

Please stay in touch, Wings

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From: Dr Hogarth

Hi Hiraeth,

I truly hope that writing this helped to ease your pain, at least in some small way. PTSD can be debilitating; you become unstuck in time against your will and it is entirely overwhelming.

I can’t even begin to imagine what you have experienced. I want you to know how much admiration I have for you; your determination is a true testament to your character. You are incredible and I want you to continue being incredible by being you. No one should ever have to go through what you went through. To feel overwhelmed is absolutely understandable and there is no shame what-so-ever in being overwhelmed by it.

Making my flashbacks tangible has really helped me in the past; either drawing or writing. I then take it and put it somewhere physical, like in a draw or box. Makes the pain seem less all-incompassing; like it has a physical limit and bounds. I hope that writing this has some similiar relief for you. x

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From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, Thank you so much for your post, I am so sorry that you are struggling again with these awful flashbacks. Its truly so wrong that something so tragic can happen to someone and then they continue to be tortured by it for years after. You are amazing to me, you are a true inspiration, your strength and courage is an amazing thing to read about. What happened to you cruel, unjustified and so wrong but you are a power house, you survived and you have a future, one where you can hold your head high knowing that you have done nothing wrong. I hope that you are able to get back to that place where you were doing the things you were doing that made you so happy. Please post whenever you like. You are loved here. you are safe here. Lisa x

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