This post was written almost 6 months ago and due to being embarrassed I never hit publish.
I think I have hit a place now where my discomfort is counteracted with a belief that I am going to beat this invisible but brutal energy.
The post goes like this …
Last weekend was the end of a glorious three-week Christmas break that I was so excited to be given despite only recently taken employment again. You see working for yourself often means holidays aren’t an entire break from your business. You may take them, but you always have your phone and laptop nearby to sort out problems or hustle up more work for when you’re back on deck.
The last days of this holiday were meant to be spent soaking up the goodness of all that I had gotten up to over my break and preparing for the working week ahead.
However, our weekend went to pot around 11 pm on Saturday night, with my husband being called out to a job (he is a funeral director, and this happens … a lot).
As the phone rang, I woke up a little startled but eventually settled myself back to sleep after he left. Interestingly, the main thing that I had gotten in place over my holidays was my sleeping, and suddenly my body was loving it and craving it even. Something that hadn’t happened in a couple of years.
On my husband’s arrival back home an hour or so later, he came back into the bedroom and touched my arm to whispered he was back, the job he was called to had shaken him up and that he wasn’t going to come to bed for a bit. As I opened my eyes, startled, I immediately asked what had happened.
His reply was simple. ‘She was only two years older than you’.
With that, my mind took off. I was now wide awake, and my thoughts went to a weekend when a woman required my husband to pull her deceased from a car. She was my age. With three kids, the same ages as my own; one a good friend to my daughter. She worked in the same hospital district as me even. And one night when travelling home from her shift she slipped away. By accident.
Only a couple of weeks later my husband was called to attend another crash. Only this time he wasn’t on business. He was coming to be with me as I lay stuck in my car. I still cannot think about all of this without choking up. I was so scared that day that I was going to be next to leave children motherless.
Not able to settle back into sleep again, I got up to check on my Husband who was mucking around with his fishing lures in the garage.
Who was I to be shaken up by another woman’s death when he was the one who had to take her from her home and those that love her I kept telling myself.
As usual, my husband was fine. He just needed to go to his ‘happy place’ as he always puts it.
Returning to bed, I knew I was going to have a battle on my hands to return to sleep. The unsettled feelings and whirlwind thoughts were racing through me. I should have just taken a sleeping tablet, but it was almost 1 am and that seemed too late to be taking anything.
I did fall asleep eventually but woke with a nightmare. I cannot even tell you what it was about (this is a good thing… I think).
Normally my nightmares are specific, and there is always a deafening sound. Most certainly the result of being involved in three too many car accidents over my life.
From that nightmare on I barely slept. My body was back to shaking, and I felt crazy and angry and upset.
The sun eventually rose, so I started my day, trying to push aside the events of the night.
But my head was still racing my heart beat in fast competition.
Sentences spoken to me seemed to only have the last couple of words in them. Over and over I failed to comprehend with so much commotion going on inside.
I had my ‘A’ game on I can tell you. My Airhead ‘A’ game.
Most people wouldn’t ever recognise that this vague and somewhat dumb blonde behaviour is anxiety and PTSD. Most people would think I am hung over or just a fool.
The world always spins faster when I am feeling like this, but I know it isn’t. It’s just me fighting a beast that seems to be off it’s leash.
During all of this, I crave a dark room to find my equilibrium again.
But being a mother and everything to everyone else, that never happens. So I continue to be an airhead until such times as I can settle my body and gets some rest.
My reputation takes a battering and even those closest to me fail to see what is going on. Jokes about me not being very smart are always rife.
Once I have settled myself down (and that can take days or even weeks), I go to war on my mind and desperately try to repair it. I become obsessed with either masking my symptoms better so my ‘A’ game isn’t noticed or overcoming the whole disaster entirely via some sort of therapy or latest self-help book.
Because it been over two years. And I still lack control over it. And mostly I am embarrassed.
Because people close to me, don’t get it and want the old me to return like I can somehow just bring that me back.
Because using mental health as an excuse isn’t like saying ‘hey …leave me alone I have a heart condition or a broken leg or a fucking splinter in my finger.’
Because people just think I am weak. And also in my case…an airhead.
But I am not. It is just this thing that I am fighting right now.