Okay, so that isn't exactly how Uncle Ben says it to Peter Parker, but it's close, right?
The last 24 hours around here have been eye opening to say the least.
Yesterday, I had an appointment with my therapist. For those of you who don't already know, I have PTSD. Which is awesome.
I also have a serious case of smartassitis. It's a thing.
I make fun of myself, I laugh at inappropriate things. I do. I force myself to find the humor in the most unfunny places because it keeps me sane. Well, it keeps me marginally more sane. Whatever that means.
In all seriousness, I do have PTSD though. It pisses me off, if I'm being honest...but probably not as much as the anxiety attacks do when they show up.
I am a control freak. Type A all the way through to my core. I'm so left brained that my left hand is merely a decorative appendage with almost no functional capacity. I like to plan. I like to anticipate what will happen. I like to analyze things. I like to know what all the possibilities are. Except that life doesn't really ever work that way, even if I lived in a world where it mostly did for a long time and fell for the illusion that it would stay that way.
Stuff happened that I never anticipated. Lots of stuff. Bad stuff. Much of it in a very short time frame. So short that I couldn't process it all. I couldn't adjust or adapt to one change before another showed up. I feel like I've been on high alert for about 4 years now. Like I've been constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I had to look over my shoulder every few seconds just in case something else was coming for me.
I couldn't deal.
I can't deal.
It messed me up.
Though I had been writing before it all went down, and I tried to stop a few times during it all, I learned pretty quickly that writing was my first best therapy. I needed to write. I didn't necessarily need to publish it for the world to see, but I had to let the things I was thinking out of my head. I had to put them into words and set them free.
Writing has kept me more sane, at least marginally.
It wasn't enough, though.
It isn't enough.
I do pretty good most of the time, but when it all gets to be too much and my system gets overloaded, my body literally shuts down. I can't stop it. I can't control it. I can't see it coming. And it sucks.
I need help to get better. I need help to undo some of the damage done, to untangle the overactive parts of my brain, to get back to me.
And yet, through all of it, I haven't really changed all that much. I've become more vulnerable, yes, but I've also chosen that partially because I am willing to share so much of it with you all. Not because I want someone I don't know somewhere far away to pat me on the back, because I don't want that or need it. I share because I know how alone I feel when the doubt crawls inside my head, when I don't want to ever leave the house again, when I can't imagine things ever getting better. Somewhere out there, there might be someone else who feels just that way, and maybe they could feel less alone if I lay it out there. Maybe someone else is hyperventilating in a grocery store bathroom and just wants to know they aren't the only one.
My therapist told me yesterday that I'm actually a whole lot further along in the healing process than I am properly giving myself credit for, because I am using my terrible experiences to help others.
As I left her office, my friend messaged and told me what had happened with the pending divorce and custody case. My friend who wrote the anonymous domestic violence piece last month. My friend who ran away from this man with little more than the clothes on her back. My friend asked for help. She came to me and I can't even begin to tell you how it humbles me.
She came to me because of you.
And you, those of you out there who read the words that I write, you responded.
You trusted me even when I told you that I had to protect her and keep her safe and that I couldn't tell you who she was or give you too many details. You trusted me. And you helped her.
Because of this.
These words that float through the internet that I write and you read.
You helped because what we have here is the real deal.
I told my therapist yesterday what I've said to so many other people in these past few years. I don't understand why bad things happen to me. I stopped asking why and why me a long time ago. If there is a reason for it all, the only one that I can rationalize in my Type A analytical brain is this:
It happened so that I will learn. I learned so that I can help others. I share so that others won't feel alone. I share even when it hurts, because I hope that someone out there will hurt less.
Last night, it paid off. All the laughing and the crying and the soul searching I do at this keyboard paid off.
You helped her.
You are still helping her.
Thank you for not running away when I write about the stuff that hurts. Thank you for sticking around when I am not funny. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
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