8 months after i connect the dots about about my shameful and embarrassing reactions to talking or thinking of the beard i connected the dots that it seemed to be some PTSD flash back – freak out  cycle that i just couldn’t shake. we have been broken up for 6 years, why do i want to run away and die when i thought of him or talked to him? why would the thoughts feel like i was reliving the moment. not strong overwhelming memories but that i was actually back in the past and needed to run away from my current life to resolve something that is not actually happening. 8 months ago i connected the dots, i had an emotional trauma which resulted into 6 years of pushing down PTSD symptoms.  when i talked to the beard 8 months ago i was freaking out about the out of control feelings that i have, i started describing the feelings noticed the correlation to PTSD and i looked it up. i wrote a blog post “post traumatic stress of love”like magic writing that blog post, talking with friends about it & really looking at it (knock on wood) dissolved the glue that binded me to the past. in 8 months i haven’t had a dream or an over the top reaction to him. he wrote me the other day asking about PTSD because i felt like maybe i was on to something. we talked about it and he wrote me his story.

“-1Hey Shmeow,

This is incredibly difficult to write in an honest way but I’ll do my best, I don’t like thinking about the person I was and what I put you through but I hope this is helpful for us both. You know a lot of this but just in case I might as well back track. I’ve been severely depressed since I was eleven years old and was medicated from around 13 to 19, Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin, and a few others I don’t recall at this point. I didn’t like them because they made me feel numb, I hated that lack of feeling so I stopped taking them even after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder at 19. Like you I had thought about killing myself often in my teens, but stuck to self-inflicted injury instead.

Before we met I had been in a relationship with a woman, Karen, for a year and a half. We moved into an apartment when I was 19 and had a relatively calm relationship up until the end when it blew up. I suspected her of cheating which shouldn’t have surprised me that I would feel that way since our relationship began with her cheating on her boyfriend. We had an argument and she said she was leaving, I said “fine” to which she replied “you didn’t even try” which was true, I didn’t. I didn’t love her and never had. I took over the lease of the apartment and pretty much wasted my time while working at Whole Foods, I’d throw parties at the place that were much too big for a one bedroom apartment on the second floor, sink into oblivion from booze, and never seem to have the time to clean up the mounds of beer bottles, cans, and cigarette butts that accumulated during them. So strange because I hate parties these days. Enough about that though, this is about us.

I see you often at Whole Foods, I have an immediate attraction to you though I try to hide it since you’re usually with Justin. I’ll be honest, I creep on your grocery choices when you come through my line and I’m excited to find out that you are vegan. I quit on a whim, call in and let them know I won’t be coming in anymore, I don’t know why, it really wasn’t that bad of a job. My lease is coming to an end and I don’t know what I’m going to do, move back home and go back to school? That would’ve been the most likely scenario but no. I go to Wal-Mart, fucking Wal-Mart, ugh. It’s odd, when I enter I immediately have a feeling of, not déjà vu but close, needing to find someone who would be in that store but I don’t know who. I dawdle around longer than necessary searching in vain for this someone. I decide the feeling is nothing, check out, and head for the exit. Then I see your face.

I don’t believe it, I didn’t think I’d see you again. I’m jubilant, you’re probably confused by the amount of excitement I’m sending your way. We talk, it feels short but it must be for several hours, I don’t want it to end but you have to go. Oh yeah, I find out that that Justin guy is definitely your boyfriend, well shit. Fortunately or not for me Justin is not jealous which means we can go out and adventure without him although I really do like him. I think I know what I’m doing, or at least know the chance I’m taking in developing romantic feelings for someone who is already in a relationship, after all that’s kind of what happened with Karen. We stencil, wheat paste, sleep on roofs, drive dangerously, how do you not know that I’m falling in love with you? You’re like no one else I’ve met before and it’s mesmerizing, I want it, and when you tell me about Justin not being there for you emotionally my brain screams, “OH, ME! ME!” but I can’t tell you that yet.

So we continue hanging out, the idea of me moving back to my parent’s place and going back to school is forgotten and I stay with my friends Jim and Tina, it’s closer to you and I just want us to be able to keep playing. So I go out looking for jobs, get drunk with Jim and Teresa often and thanks to her back problems stemming from a car accident Teresa has a lot of muscle relaxers that she is very generous with. You don’t mind that I’m broke. We become fascinated with train-hopping, everything about it entrances us. I don’t recall how long it took for the idea to sprout before we are bumming around the Fort Worth train yard trying to figure out where to begin. We can’t really talk over the noise of the train but I think about scenarios in which I might tell you what I was feeling or even you expressing those feelings towards me as we watch the scenery pass us by.

We’ve spent a good part of the day in the back of a semi and hike from Council Bluffs to Omaha. Its dark now, we’re in a public space not sure what to do next. Seems like the trip is over and I need to tell you how I feel NOW or I might not get the chance to again. I love you. You’re silent. That’s it, my cards are all on the table you’re either going to return my love or I’m going to stay here in Omaha. You tell me to come back with you on a Greyhound bus. I want to be close to you so I do. We sit next to each other on the bus, stinking of rotten wheat from the grainers, I touch your hand it’s electrifying. I’ve never felt that before and I don’t want the bus to stop but it does. You go home to Justin, I don’t know what else I thought might happen. I go to Jim and Teresa’s place in a daze. I arrive and they’re having a party, a beer is thrust at me and Teresa has an entire bottle of muscle relaxers that she doesn’t need/want and offers them to me. I accept. I’ve been hanging out for an hour or two and have had three beers. Maybe I lost my tolerance on our travels since I didn’t drink more than a handful of times on our adventure but those three beers and my depression are enough for me to make a terrible decision.

I down the entire bottle of muscle relaxers, I want to die. I hang out on the balcony and smoke a cigarette. I’m not going to die at my friends’ apartment so I leave thinking I’ll be able to get somewhere deserted before I get drowsy. As they begin to kick I’m afraid, I don’t want to die I just want to see you. I call you and you tell me to come over. I’m trying desperately to stay conscious. I’m not sure where I am at this point, a back road in a rural area, would have been a great spot if I had intended to follow through on the initial plan. Luckily I’m driving very slowly, I keep weaving in and out of the lanes. I don’t see their lights until they honk at me and then the crunch. I get out of the car and the driver and passengers are yelling at me, fortunately no one is hurt. I’m crying, and exhausted and tell them to call the cops. The police arrive, I’m not sure how long, as they administer the sobriety test they tell me to follow the flashlight with my eyes without moving my head, I whimper “I can’t, I can’t.” Everything goes dark.

I wake up in a bright room, I have a catheter in my dick hole and when I awake I accidentally yank an IV drip out of my arm. The nurse is visibly irritated as she stabs it back in. Time is moving very oddly, I have no sense of how long I was there for but before I knew it the tubes were coming out and the catheter’s removal makes me piss myself a bit. When I’m taken to jail I meet with a psychologist, who asks what led to me being there. I tell him what happened, he doesn’t seem surprised, probably hears stories like that frequently. Attempted suicides get their own cells and are checked on constantly. I have my own TV, I put on Cartoon Network and try to sleep. I can’t process anything, and my brain is still wrecked from the pills. The lights never go out on suicide watch and you don’t get sheets since it would be all too easy to fashion a noose. I think about you. I want so badly to speak to you. I’m too ashamed of myself to call my family, I stay in solitary for three days refusing the food not because it isn’t vegan but because I have no appetite. I just want to be with you. I call my parents and let them know what I’ve done. All I can think about on the way to their house is calling you.

You came as soon as you could. I get to hold you but no more than that, you’re still with Justin. You end things with Justin but you’re hesitant to make a commitment to me. I don’t understand, it’s so obvious that this is it, isn’t it? We fight about it a lot, I resent you for not loving me the way I think you should. The electricity between us turns explosive but we live together in the home that was once yours and Justin’s. I get a job at a bar and move out to an apartment within walking distance of my work. You move in with me. My bosses like to get us drunk, they often start our shifts with a shot filled to the rim with Rumple Minze, and tell us “if you fuck up you’re fired” jokingly. I work closing shifts, 5 nights a week. Most nights I don’t get home until 3 or later depending on whether or not my co-workers want to hang out and get drunk, in which case who knows when I’ll be home. You’re doing your thing, sleeping maybe. It’s hazy. We fight when I get home late at night, I feel like you’re antagonizing me so I lash out at you. I think I’m justified but I don’t remember why in the morning. You don’t like me working at the bar. I’m going numb, I tell you we’re done and I have to get out of the apartment. I go to our friend Jill’s house. My friend Sean is staying with her and her roommate in preparation for his move to Portland. I get drunk with them, we eat acid. I feel nothing. I fuck Jill without protection on two separate occasions. I’m not attracted to her. I don’t tell you.

We make up. We’re back at the apartment, something has changed in our relationship. The excitement is not as strong as it had been but I’m still desperate for you. Warts appear on my penis, this hasn’t happened before and you look at me as if you know about Jill but you don’t say it and I don’t either. I’m numb. You eventually find out about Jill through one of our friends. I don’t want to admit that what I’ve done is wrong but I know it is. I no longer want to be around our friends. We stay at a house for a month, there’s a thunderstorm. We eat mushrooms and watch the creek in the backyard flood up to the chain link fence and the trees sway violently in the wind, I’m happy that we’re sharing this. One night my boss gets me black out drunk and drives me home. I fall in the doorway, unconscious. I wake up in our bed only to find that you’re in the hospital because you felt like you might kill yourself. I’m oblivious. Things seem to be improving now, we decide to move to another apartment. It’s starting to feel good again when it’s just you and me. I’m done with our friends but our friendship seems to be mending and the numbness is ebbing. You still aren’t happy with me working at the bar. I feel I need to quit for you so I do. I walk out in the middle of the shift and go to work for an environmental group. I’m not happy about it and I blame you but I enjoy my new co-workers. They love drinking and singing karaoke, I turn them down repeatedly when they invite me out but eventually I relent. I’m numb again, you’re not with me when we go out to karaoke and don’t understand why you can’t share these things. I feel nothing. I break up with you but we still live together. I see you less and less because it’s unbearable to be around you and feel nothing.

Some of my co-workers and I go out for karaoke, afterward one of my bosses, Sarah, offers me a ride so I can catch the train home. At the train stop she says that we can hang out more tonight if I want. I didn’t feel anything, I accept her invitation. I sleep with Sarah. I practically live with her after that so I don’t have to see you. It’s your birthday and you ask me to come home but I don’t. I don’t want you to look at me. I’m home tonight and we’re getting close for the first time in weeks. You ask me “have you been with anyone else?” I can’t answer you, I sleep on the couch. I call Sean and ask if his offer for me to crash on his couch in Portland is still open, it is. I leave you and the mess I’ve made behind. I’m in Portland and I’m not sure why. We talk on the phone, you yell “you were supposed to be my husband!” I want you, we play with the idea of me moving back, no real plans are made. You call and tell me “I made love last night.” I’m mad, I fuck my landlady. I sleep around and feel nothing. I visit Dallas a year later I want to see you of course. I’m nervous to see you. I get drunk at the bar I used to work at before we meet up, ex co-workers and customers buy me shots and I don’t turn them down. I’m not prepared to see you happy with someone else when I meet you at our old apartment. I don’t remember what I do or say at the apartment but I know it’s bad, I block it out. I go back to the bar and continue to drink. I get arrested for public intoxication. I go back to Portland, I hate Texas. I meet Blanca two years into living here. I think she might be able to make me feel something. Blanca and I are together for nearly four years altogether in a mostly stable relationship but I still think about you. She leaves me because I don’t show her my feelings and I don’t care, I don’t love her. I dream that we are on a beach next to some cliffs, I try to climb on the rock face as you walk near the water, we don’t speak.”

 

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