Managing PTSD during the day is a completely different task than at night. During the day I can step outside. I can smell the flowers and hear the birds. I can search for mindful objects in nature. I can drive my wheelchair until the thoughts and fears and panic has subsided. But as nighttime comes, I just can’t do it anymore. There are no distractions for me. At one point last night I was trying to pinpoint a smell, boiling some cinnamon and cloves on the stove to try and mask the smell then wandering the house aimlessly with the boiling pot until my daughter yelled STOP, GO GET IN BED. Dissociation is awful. I hate that my daughter has to witness it sometimes. It makes me feel horribly guilty that she cannot have a cheery fluffy mom that has no physical illness and no emotional hang ups from years of abuse. At night, sometimes it is what she sees. The imperfections of me. But in that moment I am not thinking of anything. That is the part of dissociation that no one understands. That part of PTSD that no one understands. I’m not worried about what anyone sees or thinks, I am trying to run, escape, find safety, fix the problem, find a solution in a manic state of disillusion It is very complicated.
But during the day things are easier.
Yesterday I had to go see the emergency physician working on Sunday. I was extremely thrilled to hear it was a female. I was more put at ease when I heard her laughing frequently while I waited my turn in the waiting room. She was a fantastic woman. When I told her that the Doctors I had seen told me there was nothing they could do about my muscle disease she replied: There is always something to do. She furthered that with the things one could do such as listening to the cardinals, or watching a hawk, or prayer. It was a surreal moment with the Doctor because she was so much like me that I wanted to just hug her and sit with her outside for the rest of the day. I showed her the pictures of my owl. I felt a calm in a moment where I normally would not have because I was in a lot of pain. She was a gift.
While waiting in the parking lot for my prescriptions I took these photos with my phone. Not the clearest of photos but proof of my ability to stay in the moment, enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and see the beauty, even in a parking lot. I loved watching these birds. I came home feeling positively fine that I have a truckload of health issues, had just been to an emergency physician, and felt physically awful. I felt emotionally fine. But then it got dark out and my scooter smelled of a smell I did not like and the rest is history.
May you not feel alone in your nighttime darkness and fears.