Over the past few weeks, I have begun to return to normal… Or how I felt before I started actively having flashbacks. I was highly anxious, but I was not falling apart. I was functioning. I was earning a Master’s Degree, planning my PhD route, serving in church, being normal. And that’s how I have been lately. Anxious, but able to overall live and enjoy living. I cleaned my house (which is now a disaster because I took Mother’s Day off of cleaning). I started running again for the first time since my PTSD took over. I am playing with my kids. And I’m polishing my novel in order to attempt publication. Isn’t this what I wanted???
A. Big. Fat. NO! I originally went into therapy to decrease my anxiety, not to take me through hell and land me right back where I started. Trudging through the depths of hell that looks an awful lot like a carpeted basement was supposed to make me come out farther along in the end. Help me make better relationship choices. Decrease my anxiety. Improve my relationship with my parents. Nope. I’m right back where I started.
I was spending time with my husband the other night and thinking, “Wow it’s nice to enjoy his company with no PTSD symptoms!” And then all of a sudden I was hit with this brick of overwhelming anxiety. The same anxiety from 1.5 years ago. I recognized it instantly and my stomach has been in knots since.
Is this really where I’m supposed to be? Am I really going to have to manage symptoms for the rest of my life? This might be better than being curled up in a ball with my ears covered, but I do not want to live with this anxiety the rest of my life. This is not MY anxiety, this was done to me; this is other peoples’ shame. I did not cause my mind and body to react like this to the smallest of triggers!
Since then, I have gone running twice. I have decided to bring music both times. Usually I run without music to clear my head. But I turned on Christian radio. As i ran I would hear phrases about God’s sovereignty over my life, Him making the best choices for me, and how important it is to trust Him. And I realized that the only difference between now and 1.5 years ago is my feeling of betrayal towards God. My faith used to be strong. But now I question His character. Maybe He wants me to suffer like this for the rest of my life. And to make the best of it. My phone was stuck in the case and I couldn’t shut the music off so with every phrase I could feel my throat closing harder; I could feel my tears welling up; I could feel my chest becoming heavier. Finally I let out a sob. I wanted to fall to my hands and knees and begin crying but I kept running. I needed to get this feeling out and maybe I could run harder than my pain.
This feeling is still in my chest. The “What in the f*ing hell do you have for me, God?!” feeling. But I am not ready for it to escape. I am not ready to fall apart on my hands and knees. I am not ready to look like a child who is tantruming and begging her Heavenly Father for reprieve.
So if you are on the trail and see a woman collapsed and sobbing, it’s probably me. Sit by me. Hold my hand. Hug me. Tell me it’s going to be okay. Tell me I will not be fighting these demons for the rest of my life. After all, they are not even my demons to fight.