i’m going to start by saying this post is clearly super personal and a very sensitive subject.
I have an amazing friend who talks about PTSD. she’s attracted to men in uniform and has seen how post traumatic stress has affected loved ones in her life. she also knows the affects of PTSD first hand because she has done many brave things including spending her last dollar to drive into hurricane katrina to save peoples lives. I’ve heard the story, it’s over the top. maybe she’d be willing to do a guest post on that experience.
last week i connected some dots in my life. i need professional help and a proper diagnoses. i haven’t put the whole story together but maybe bits & pieces of my story will help some one with theirs.
like so many other people, i’ve had a life time problems. being a kid there was a struggle to just get enough food. i’d been diagnosed with depression and the first half of my life was lived in the shadows of suicidal obsession. there’s not one situation that broke me and i don’t won’t to confuse anyone about that.
when i was 21 or 22 i had seen this bearded guy who worked at whole foods. he would never give me eye contact and always looked serious or angry. one day i sat in my car in the wal-mart parking lot about to go inside. as clear as can be my brain insisted i bring my phone inside with me. it seemed like a strange thought. it wasn’t like, park the car, grab my phone and walk in the store. instead there was this paused feeling and my brain was clearly telling me something. in rebellion i left my phone in the car and walked into the store. within moments of walking in the store the bearded guy is coming towards me with a level of excitement which resembles reuniting with a great friend. he was bubbling with so much excitement i really thought there must be someone behind me that he knows. he walked right up to me and asked if i remembered him from whole foods.
it was strange. he had just walked out on whole foods and neither of us were big wal-mart shoppers. it was too strange. meeting for the first time felt like we had some catching up to do so we walked outside to the back of the parking lot & sat in the grass. he was a passionate vegan just like me and we were reading books that were totally different but both about our culture fucking over children (i was reading “consuming kids”, he was reading “lies my teacher told me”, i think). we talked until i had to go pick my mother up from the synagogue to drive her home. walking to our cars he tells me that he doesn’t live with anyone and for the first time i felt hesitant to own up having a boyfriend (who i adored). when i said the word boyfriend i could see the disappointment. i insisted that we hang out and when he went to tell me his number i reached for my phone and it wasn’t there. i gave him my number and felt nervous that he wouldn’t call me or be my friend and that our connection was lost. but he did call me and for a month straight we hung out all of the time.
half of the time that we hung out my boyfriend would be with us and i’d feel like a 3rd wheel. they’d talk about all sorts of smart shit and both of them seemed to enjoy each others company a hell of a lot more than my company. i’d been living with my boyfriend for 3 years at that point. i super adored him. he was smart and mature and knew more about the world than i did. he treated me like a friend and a roommate and had zero issues with me hanging out with the beard at all hours. me and the beard would sleep on roof tops together and wheat pasted fast food joints. he was an adventurous partner in crime. the idea of train hopping came up and i begged my boyfriend to come with us but he was committed to going back to college. after 3 weeks of me & the beard riding the rails together we’re near the end of our trip. sitting on concrete in omaha he says, “you know i like you…” and i pause and think, “yeah, i like you too, friend” but i don’t say anything. it becomes clear that he likes me and in fact he has an undying love for me.
up until that point i’d always been the one who ‘loved more’. it was profound having someone look me in the eye, someone i didn’t have to beg to love me, and all they want is to hear that i love them back. that was new to me. so he lets the cat out of the bag in such a way that the trip was instantly over. at sunrise we walked to greyhound and went back to dallas. 17 hour bus ride, we sat side by side and he caressed my arm the entire 17 hours. at that point my head was spinning. this guy who i barley knew, who i thought liked my boyfriend more than me was giving me more love in 17 hours than i had felt in my entire life. i had been cheated on by my first boyfriend and knew that to be one of the most heartless things so i had to figure out fast what i was going to do.
when the beard told me that he loved me the passion in his voice raised a very big red flag. i was leaning towards staying with my boyfriend but felt very numb. my boyfriend knew a lot of stuff and had a great sense of humor but he expressed zero emotion with me. here the beard was burning with emotion. when we got back to dallas we parted ways and he called me that night saying he was coming over. all i wanted was to see him but he never showed up. days went by and i couldn’t get a hold of him. i had saved a number that he had called me from right before our adventure and dialed that. his mother answered the phone. she was so sweet and concerned.
long story short the beard was jail because he tried to kill himself. basically he couldn’t handle me going back to my boyfriend and him going back to nothing, he went to jail for getting super fucked up then crashing his car which clearly was fucking extreme.
he got out of jail that night and i drove to carrolton to see him at his parents house. the romance vibe was out of this world. when he looked at me he saw the most beautiful woman in the world. i left his parents house as the sun went up, i couldn’t cheat on my boyfriend. i drove home and told him point blank. the tone in his reaction was as if we were talking about laundry.
there was no way in hell we could have rode off into the sun and left all be well. it was a train wreck from the start that lasted 2.5 years. first a sold year of me not wanting to commit to him (oh the regret) then he can’t take me pushing him away so he secretly fucks my “friend” and gaslights my unfounded feelings of feeling threatened by this chicks presence. so i crack and play it straight. all i want is for his undying love to be on the forefront. we move in together, i submit to giving him my heart, i put a lot of love into us, we’re friends again! late night bike rides and all this great one on one time together.
…then some shit goes down. my friend tries to save his own ass by telling me that 9 months earlier my boyfriend had slept with a “friend”. so then the short lived friendship explodes and down, down, down the spiral goes. the beard gets a job at a bar, becomes an alcoholic and i become the bitchy girlfriend because i don’t drink, i can’t stand the idea of hanging out at a bar and this mounting feeling of needing someone to acknowledge my broken heart of betrayal. how can someone look you in the eye with undying love then fuck you over? the pain hurt and the beard couldn’t apologize. this is a theme, cheat on me then tell me how it’s my fault. that hurts so bad.
his drinking got worse to the point of extreme. i was going crazy and shit was falling apart. in the end we weren’t together anymore but we still had our apartment so he’d randomly show up. i’d stay up late, unable to sleep, feeling like sand falling through my finger. i’d stay awake listening to the darkness hoping to hear him coming home. every time he’d get more distant i’d get more will to do whatever it was he needed. he already fucked some other chick (again) and felt like things were irreparable. he couldn’t handle shit anymore so he ran off to the coast.
it’s been 5 years since he’s run away & i still get these crazy nightmares.
“Post traumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder; the characteristic symptoms are not present before exposure to the violently traumatic event. Typically the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts, emotions and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it. However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks and nightmares.” -American Psychiatric Association
i hate it. i hate reliving the shit in my dreams. i wake up with so much anxiety, all i want to do is call him. all i want to do is run away. all i want to do it die…. until, like amnesia, it goes away.
the beard got to this point where he wouldn’t talk to me. i’d have these nightmares and feel like the world was going to end if i didn’t talk to him. 2 years ago i couldn’t take it any more. i found his phone number and begged him to talk to me. the anxiety is so high that no one could understand why i’d NEED to talk to him. i’ve felt so much shame, guilt and confusion that i haven’t looked clearly at what i’ve been going through. my husband is amazing, how am i supposed to explain, “i had this flashback of the beard and i all i want is to runaway and die”? the beard was shitty as fuck! and my husband is amazing. 5 years later why is this still affecting me?
last week i had another dream, it brought me to a dark place. i couldn’t take it anymore and had to text the beard. the beard hates talking to me and i feel like shit for randomly texting him when i’m panicking. if i text him it’s likely he won’t respond. my first text was “please tell me something” then he wrote back, “i miss you, always”. then i say, “these dreams, they need to stop” then he says, “i have them too”. this went on for hours, surprisingly. i was describing to him my feeling, how it feels like i’m reliving him leaving and so i HAVE to talk to him, i have to make sure he’s still there. i said that to him and something clicked, i googled some things and found this website:
i need help, i need the dreams to stop, i need to not feel guilt and shame for the very complex emotions that is beyond my skill level of handling.