Recently I found myself facing a dilemma – two difficult choices. One morning it was dark and raining when time to leave for work – not a good combination for me because it has the potential to transport me back to a traumatic event that occurred decades ago. So do I drive into work on wet roads with lots of traffic or do I risk a panic attack on the over-crowded train? Either way it was going to be a tough transit into the office. The temptation to call in sick was quite high. If I take the train, I then have to face the trip home again also filled to overflowing with people.
The thing about PTSD is that very often what causes the anxiety is not rational and even more so when you suffer from a complex form of the illness as I do. The past week has been like that for me. After a number of incidents on the other side of the world, I find myself back in a hyper-alert state. Add to that an armed hold-up at my local movie house and I never want to leave my house again. A bit extreme, I know, but it is honestly how I feel. The nightmares are back as is the feeling of hopelessness – the fear that I will never get to a state of thriving.
I have tried avoiding the news for months now but somehow these things filter through. Clearly avoidance is not the answer for me. I would need to avoid Facebook too but that would mean being totally cut-off from everybody and I am isolated enough already. I am making it through each day with sheer determination not to totally surrender to the illness. I feel unsafe walking out the front door, never mind working in the city and having to go shopping. I decided yesterday it is now time for me to start grocery shopping on-line – a step backwards from my point of view.
Is it possible,to come back from here? Heck yes – I have before so will again. It is disappointing to be sure but sometimes things get worse before they get better. The point is, I cannot give up. I keep having to put one foot in front of the other, take a deep breath and press on.