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Frustrated

So I originally posted this last Saturday, but then lost my nerve to leave it up and deleted it. If it seems familiar, that’s probably why, and I’m sorry for wasting your time. I decided to post it again, changing it to update to current. It’ll probably be boring as heck to anyone reading it. I do realize that I go on and on and on and… Well, you know. I doubt any of it is really important to anyone except me.

Last Friday I walked to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription- I’d been putting it off for over a week, which is something I seem to be doing a lot the last few months. I don’t get some of my meds when I should because I just can’t seem to make myself go to the pharmacy to get them, for a lot of reasons, and this is one example.

I was halfway to the pharmacy when, only a couple of feet next to me, I heard the loud crunch of metal against metal and the sound of glass shattering. I immediately went into the freeze response from my PTSD. It reared its ugly head. I stood there, one leg lifted up and tucked towards my body, almost like the way a flamingo stands on one foot. My head came down and my arms covered it, surrounding my head as if in self protection. A standing fetal position, I guess you could say. Even in my PTSD I’m too lazy to drop to the ground and then get back up. I think I bit my cheek at some point, too, because I had a sore in my mouth for a couple of days after.

I don’t know how long I stood that way. It could have been ten seconds, or it could have been two hours. It was probably only a minute, maybe two. When I finally came back to myself, I slowly uncurled myself from the position I was in. I looked to my right, but there was nothing there except a few parked cars and traffic moving by. I took a closer look at the parked cars and I realized that someone had sideswiped the mirror off of the car directly next to me- it was broken and the pieces of it were scattered on the ground- but did no other damage. At that point I started walking in circles, wondering if there was something that I should do. Again, I have no idea how long I actually walked in circles, probably only for a minute, when I realized that I was next to a restaurant packed with people.

Boy, was that embarrassing to realize… A restaurant full of people, watching a crazy person on the sidewalk flinch and then walk in circles. I mean, no one probably noticed, and even if they did, they didn’t know who I was, but still…

I finally started moving again, towards the pharmacy, even though I wanted to go home. To get to my bedroom and curl up in a ball and never leave my bed again. That’s when the warmth started. Or at least that’s when I began to notice it. You know that warmth I’m talking about if you’ve had it. It’s the one when anxiety is running through your body. An uncomfortable warmth that streaks through your chest, you have trouble breathing, your heart feels like it’s trying to pound out of your body and you’re hypersensitive to every single noise that comes your way, no matter how big or small it is.

I know I can’t help my reaction, but I feel like it’s kind of stupid that I even react that way. And it’s so frustrating. I have no reason to even have that reaction, and I don’t understand why it happens. I can’t stop it and I can’t control it when something like that happens unexpectedly, which is frustrating. At least when regular traffic moving by gets overwhelming I can at least try to go behind a building and take deep breaths and try to get away from the noise a bit.

So we found out a few weeks ago (maybe a couple of months ago, I can’t remember) that my mom has cancer. She doesn’t want to talk about it. Not to anyone. She’s always been like that, where she doesn’t really talk about anything to do with emotions, or her health. She keeps it all in. I guess I probably learned that from her. The only reason that she told me is because changes are coming. There’s always something that changes with diagnoses like those because they are usually life changing, although whether or not it’s for the better remains to be seen.

The doctors are saying that it’s a basic case, and should be easy to treat. She started chemo and radiation this past Sunday. I tried to mentally prepare myself for what’s coming with it, and I tried to physically prepare her for it. She always waits until the last minute to do anything, and I panic if it’s not done right away, so I’d rather get things done early than on time. She is acting like nothing is going to change, and I’m trying to prepare for the worst. She might be right. It might be that nothing changes, so far she’s been fine with the treatments, just a little more tired, but this is only the beginning. There’s still three and a half weeks to four weeks of chemo and radiation, then comes the surgery and after that more chemo.

I guess I’m just scared of the unknown at the moment, and I’m worried. I know cancer treatments really are pretty basic these days, but chemo and radiation are toxic. Anything could happen. To be honest, I can’t really even articulate what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m scared and worried. I worry about everything.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I’m sorry if I bored you. No worry about responses. Just wanted to get this out. Other people have worse problems than me that need the support more.

I just want to edit this to add that I understand PTSD pretty well, and even though it makes me feel like a fraud to say I have it because I have never served, I understand why I was diagnosed with it. I just don’t understand certain reactions I have, and (if you couldn’t tell) it’s frustrating.

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Hey @Daisy :slight_smile: Thanks for sharing this with us.

I want to start by saying that it’s really kind of you to be so courteous, even when you’re pouring your heart out. I promise nobody here’s judging you, and you really have no reason to apologise. I’m just glad you came here and shared with us, because I get the sense it took a lot of courage to get it all out. From one internet stranger to another, I’m proud of you for that. :heart:

I can’t imagine how it would feel to be in your position. I don’t question your diagnosis. Your description alone made it very clear that this causes you a lot of suffering. I don’t know if you need to hear this specifically, but I sure would’ve liked to hear it when I was in the depths of my anxious breakdowns, so here it is: What you’re feeling is valid. It’s real, and it’s terrifying, and it sucks. It’s definitely not dumb that you feel that way, not at all! Nobody chooses this, but it is what it is. This is what we’ve got, and so all we can do is make the best of the hand we’ve been dealt at our own pace.

As a bit of reassurance: I think you’re right in that most people wouldn’t have noticed your reaction. Hey, maybe some people did, but I can say with certainty that if they knew what you were going through then the only reasonable response on their part would be out of sympathy and love.

I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. That’s terrible news. I really feel for you! My Nan has just finished her first round of therapy, and so I have a rough idea of what you might be in for. Chemotherapy in particular is a brutal treatment, and a few weeks of that will be very taxing. Things will change, but I want you to remember: the doctors said that this was a basic case and I think you should trust them. This will be hard, it’ll be painful, but it will be okay. I can’t stress this last point enough: This will pass, and you’re going to be okay.

If I’m not mistaken, I think I’m intimately familiar with the feelings you’re describing near the end of your post. That fear of the unknown can be the most terrifying thing of all, and it’s relentless. It eats away at everything else. I don’t have PTSD and I don’t know you personally, so take any advice of mine with a grain of salt. The thing that’s helped me most in dealing with my fear has been sitting with the feeling, and examining it as closely as I can. I remind myself that it’ll pass, I make sure that I am firmly on my own side and being non-judgmental, and I do my best to let those sensations wash over me and live with them. I spent a lot of time in my room, doing nothing but just focusing on feelings and sensations, and it made it all bearable, if only for a little while.

Thank you again for sharing :heart: I hope I wasn’t presumptuous. I hope you feel heard, and know that I appreciate you taking the time to come here and speak. It’s not easy, but I hope it helped.
I’m here if you want to talk more :slight_smile: Good luck!

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Hi @Daisy,

Thank you for managing to keep this post and not deleted it. :wink: What you wrote matters. You don’t waste the time of anyone. So, there’s no need to justify why you share something here, never. You have the right to do it and I’ll always be glad to read you.

About what happened, you already know that but I’d like to say it again. You didn’t do anything wrong. I understand this feeling of being ashamed by that kind of reaction. But even if it’s quite a normal reaction, try to let this feeling go away.

PTSD is something difficult to deal with and, for the moment, it sounds like you can’t really control or necessarily understand these reactions. You shared a few time ago about your personal story, so here we know the background of what you described in the present post. Yes it can feels like total nonsense, and I sincerely understand that. But if people in that restaurant knew about your struggles, they’d probably be understanding. Okay, they saw you without any context and maybe they thought you were weird or even crazy. But you know you’re not and that’s the most important. What they saw will never change their lives and there’s probably zero chance for you to see these people again.

It’s not stupid at all to react that way. And it applies to anxiety too. But I know how much this can be frustrating and even scary. Like it’s controlling you and, sometimes, your whole life. So I hope you don’t beat yourself because of it. Would you think someone who has a broken leg is guilty of it? Pretty sure you don’t. :wink:

You know what you’re dealing with. And you’re the first one to be able to judge yourself. Treat yourself with compassion. You deserve it. It takes already a lot of strength and energy to deal with past traumas, you don’t need added negativity.

Also, you are not a fraud at all. PTSD doesn’t only concern people who served, even if we started to talk about it with traumatized soldiers. It can concern many different situations and events.

I am also sorry for your mom and I hope everything will go well for her too. I understand why it can be so stressful for you. You also both have different ways to deal with this situation but that’s okay. Your worries are legitimate and what your mom says is important too. Even if there are circumstances you can’t control, you can hold to your mom and trust her. If she keeps it all in for the moment, it’s important to not push her to do it in any ways. I know it’s frustrating but there’s no doubt she knows you are here for her. Her behavior may change over time, but for the moment it’s also probably her way to deal with it. Even if it’s difficult, to try to stay positive is really important in these moments. :slight_smile:

Take care. :heart:

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