Post Traumatic Spring

So like… Who else is absolutely overwhelmed to the point of a breakdown?

Spring is always like this for me. I am SO FUCKIN EXCITED to not be in the cold dark winter and then the jittery excitement of spring has me TOTALLY OVERWHELMED.

It is also approaching the one year anniversary of my super traumatic breakdown break through. And it has been popping up in my dreams recently. I find myself in the hallways of inpatient, trying to escape, trying to call on phones, trying to walk out. These dreams aren’t scary, just suffocating. The florescent lights manage to shine through my subconscious.

Or, another recurrent theme is bathrooms. Dingy, butter yellow walls that look like locker rooms or rest stops. Clogged toilets. Locker room bathrooms that form a maze where I get trapped and lost.

Or big, empty houses where I am an intruder, not a guest. Sneaking around the owners, trying to find my way out and not set off alarms.

Or wondering around empty neighborhoods that remind me of my childhood neighborhoods. I am alone. Everywhere is empty. I am both lost and in a familiar place.

My therapist asked me if I feel alone and like an outsider in real life. I said yes. But I clarified. I have had a lot of friends come forward and share their Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis with me. Some have asked if I am on the spectrum. I told her I don’t feel like I have ASD, but rather I feel like an outsider because of trauma. She agreed and said she also doesn’t think I have ASD.

I feel unsure. I feel unwanted. I constantly feel Not Good Enough. I try to improve and feel like a failure. My therapist likened it to taking a step down on an up-going escalator. I’m always moving forward, but sometimes not of my own volition.

I want to grow, but I am afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of loss. Afraid of failure.

Today, I redownloaded a messaging app and realized I had been kicked out of a group message last fall when one of my dear friendships fell apart. I sat in the stinging feeling for a couple of hours. It HURTS to remember. It hurts to see the consequences of moving forward.

I am still grieving who I was last April. Around this time last year, I was actively suicidal. I remember sitting in my car, afraid to go into my house because I was afraid I would hurt myself. I remember rationalizing why I needed to stay here.

I have a presentation next week. I can’t miss that with an inpatient stay. I have a date in a few days. Canceling for Suicide risk feels a bit extreme.

I grieve the Flannery who didn’t feel this fear. How long has it been since she has disappeared? More than a year. More than a lifetime it seems. I grieve for the Flannery I am now, the one that is so afraid to connect with others, who cushions all relationships with the mantra “I survived before I met you, you can leave me and I will survive again.” I grieve for her who frames all relationships through the lens of loss. Say “I love you” in case they die before you see them again. They find you annoying. Keep your mouth shut. You’re getting fired, so do better. They hate you. You’re a dork. You’re annoying. You’re too ugly to love. You’re to fat to be attractive. Can he hear your body slapping against his? He won’t ever text you back. Over and over again, like white noise at this point.

I repeat the bullshit mantras to myself to quiet the noise.

This is an opportunity to learn.

Ask for what you need, you will be surprised.

You don’t know the future, therefore you can treat it as neutral.

Mistakes are how you learn.

Be better than yesterday.

Over and over again. And it works. And it doesn’t. It feels silly to call out of work because I am so exhausted, I can’t sleep. A year and some days since I last communicated with my ex and I still fear he will find his way into my apartment. I am still picking out the splinters he nailed into my body.

I’ll break up with you if you get to 180 pounds. I don’t like going down on you because sometimes there are flecks of toilet paper. I don’t like having sex with you after you’ve smoked weed. If you didn’t go to sonic so much, you wouldn’t be so broke. I’ll give you rent money on friday. On Monday. On Friday. I paid rent. I lied.

My therapist asked me to draw my fear. I drew a red headed man with a devil grin staring over me as I lay naked. A few months later, you ignored my words when I said I didn’t want to have sex, choosing to grope my breasts and kiss me hard. Then you decided to go down on me, even though I said you didn’t have to. You were annoyed I was under the covers, under you. Why couldn’t you do this when we were together, I thought, staring up at the ceiling. You are my fear. I think to myself, noticing in passive horror how similar this was to the drawing. I can’t say no.

Yesterday, I looked at her facebook, seeing if anything new had been added. Why do you do this, you know it triggers you. I search and scroll for hours. I let the fear choke me, a lump in my throat I just can’t swallow.

I block her twitter I don’t even follow. It’s a step.

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