Healing is not linear, I am learning. Sometimes it feels like you’re making your way up the snakes and ladders board and then you land on a massive snake which takes you all the way to the bottom again.
Two days ago I went to my mum’s house to use her wifi. I ended up staying the night. It was the first time I’d stayed there since last year when I was psychotic. It’s as though the place has become a trigger, whether that’s because I was staying there when I suffered the very distressing psychotic break, or because it’s just down the road from the mental health clinic where Jordan, my old case worker, works. That night I had another dream about Jordan. I dreamt he agreed to still see me. I was so happy, then woke up crying when I realised it was just a dream and he’s gone. Yesterday I was all over the shop emotionally. I cried. I had moments when I was happy. I was angry and determined to come off the meds my case management service told me I needed. I hated these people and wanted to remove all trace of them from my life. I wanted to prove them wrong. I danced to rap music and wanted to go out and party. The next minute I would be depressed and wanting to stay in. I felt all of these things in the course of ten minutes. I watched “When Marnie Was There” and bawled my eyes out. I put on “The Sea Beast” on Netflix thinking it might be a little lighter but I found it just made my anxiety worse, especially when characters were thrown off the ship and knocked under the water. Once I nearly drowned at a surf beach, and being underwater also reminded me of the dissociative, dream states I enter which I can’t wake up from. My nervous system was overwhelmed and couldn’t handle any more excitement.
I’m realising erratic mood swings is a big red flag for me that my mental health is in serious jeopardy. It reminds me of a story I read about a girl who had a serious reaction to antidepressants. One minute she wanted to go out dancing, the next minute she killed herself. I was headed for destruction. As the night progressed, I found myself missing my case worker more and more. I had been doing better for a few weeks which is why it surprised me what happened last night. Suddenly I was engulfed with another wave of grief, and it was just as bad as when I was first told that Jordan would no longer be my case worker. I felt like I hadn’t made any progress at all, like I had taken one step forward and twenty steps back. I don’t usually cry, but last night the tears were all gushing out of me like a burst water main. I wanted to scream, I wanted to kill myself. I thought about going to the emergency department.
I have a song in mind as I write this post. It is “Cut” by Plumb. “I’m not a stranger. No, I am your’s. With crippled anger, and tears that still drip sore,” she sings. I may no longer be Jordan’s client, but I am not a stranger, and I will always consider myself his. We worked together for years. He has seen me through so much. He has visited me in hospital, and he knows me better than any human being on this planet. I will not let another case worker take over my care. Last night I cried and cried but I still hurt. I let myself cry, but eventually I needed to get some rest as I had something on today. Thankfully I found some Valium at Mum’s place. I took quite a lot of it and it put me to sleep.
I seem to have developed PTSD or something. It has been a couple of months since I lost Jordan and I am still experiencing it as if it were today. Something I’d like people to know about trauma is that it doesn’t have to be caused by a life threatening event. It can be ANYTHING that exceeds your brain’s ability to process. Grieving is hard enough, but it’s even harder when your grief is ignored by society. Few people recognise how traumatic this is for me. No one has died, Jordan wasn’t a family member or a partner. There is no funeral, there’s no celebration of life, there’s no meals at your door, no condolence cards, no flowers.
I don’t actually have PTSD, I have Complex PTSD. The difference is that people with PTSD suffer a traumatic event, whereas people with Complex PTSD suffer a traumatic LIFE. Unfortunately losing Jordan is just the tip of the iceburg. “My whole life has just been awful!!!!!!!!” I wrote in an email to my psychologist last night while I was drowning under another tsunami of grief.
Last night has really knocked me, but I hope to get back on the path towards wholeness/healing. We recalibrate and reset, however often this is needed. I still managed to meet some people today and take photos of fungi. I thought I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, but I did. We scrambled through the bush and got leaches on us but it was worth it. Tomorrow I will see my psychologist and talk about where the best place might be for me right now. Last night made me think maybe I need to go back into hospital for a bit, but maybe I’m better off creating my own healing sanctuary and going back to the beach where I found refuge and healing when my mental health team tried to section me last year.
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