I've been doing a blog series on my PTSD. You can read the first part here and the second part here. I went out to lunch with a friend yesterday, and she told me she read part two of this series and really hoped it would say more about me and what I'm going through. At first I thought that meant that she didn't like it, but she explained to me that she did, she just wanted to know more about my personal journey with it. It made me realize that even though I've gone public with my diagnosis, I'm still keeping parts of the beast hidden.
We live in a world where we filter everything. We only place our highlight reel out there for people to see. Not just people, but our family and friends who love us and support us through all of life's messy moments. Why do we do that? I think we feel insecure in ourselves, so we need validation that we get some stuff right.
We present perfect photos of our families in matching outfits at the pumpkin patch... because we don't want the world to know that our toddlers threw an atomic temper tantrum in the parking lot and we're scared to death we don't have this mom thing licked. We post pictures of perfect family dinners… because we're drowning in the messiness of life and we feel like it's the only thing we got right all week. We need to show all of the internet our new car so they'll "like" it and make us feel whole again--not like we're swallowed in self doubt.
And even armed with our highlight reel of Instagram photos, there are countless filtering apps to make our perfect pictures even more perfect. We live in a culture that has an obsessive need to show people we have our sh** together. We have a compulsion to project an image who isn't who we actually are, but who we wish we were.
Y'all. I wish I had as much figured out as I present to the world. But I am a mess, and that is what I want to show today instead of my crimped pie crusts and happy snapshots I put up on Instagram.
PTSD sucks. It sucks the life out of everything and everyone around it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. You know what one of the most infuriating parts of it is? Most of the time something that triggers me to go to my crazy place is so beyond stupid. One time I smelled something that made me go from Mother Theresa to Naomi Campbell in a microsecond. I have scratches on my dining room table from slamming glassware on it in an angry tirade from getting triggered up from a smell. A smell! So dumb.
And during that episode, I could feel the wake of my destruction around me, but I couldn't stop. For me, it's like an out of body experience when I act like that. It's like being at the movies and covering your eyes during a part you just can't handle, but SO. MUCH. WORSE. I feel so out of control with everything sometimes--my mind, my emotions, my reactions, my dreams, etc. and it makes me react on instinct rather than with logic, so I react without thinking. And for a control freak like me who always needs to have my pie crusts be perfectly crimped, not having control over how I react is emotionally crippling.
So I now have the circle shaped scratches on my dining room table that will remind me every day of how I behaved--and I hate myself so much for it. I never, ever want anyone to hurt the way that I do, but this disorder makes me cause emotional pain to others. The thought of that has, at times, made me feel unworthy of love or even of life. I have so many days of hating myself because I desperately want to be fixed. Because struggling through depression or PTSD is so much more than being sad or mad, it's the shame and self loathing of wishing you weren't. I have some days where staying in my pajamas all day and not leaving my bed isn't the best choice: it's my only choice.
I have dreams where I try to stop the trauma that gave me this diagnosis. And I always fail at it. So I awake re-traumatized from the dreams. It's like a really, really twisted version of Groundhog Day. I conditioned myself a long time ago to run on very little sleep, but I'm very scatterbrained, and I can't help but wonder if that would improve if I would just get some sleep… another insecurity caused by this crappy condition.
I've had countless days that I thought to myself that if I would just try harder, I wouldn't be like this. I have so many pep talks with myself to just "suck it up buttercup", only to fall apart 10 minutes later in a puddle of tears.
I still find myself hiding the beast because I hate it SO. FREAKING. MUCH.
…and I'm still presenting my crimping skills on the internet, because I may not be able to pimp your ride or pull myself out of my crazy place, but dangit I can crimp your piecrust and accessorize outfits and take cute selfies. So those pics are going on the world wide web so I can try to make me feel better about me.
This is the "me" I present to the world:
That is the me I wish I could be all the time, and I do succeed at it about half of the time.
But this is the "me" that is struggling and hysterically/inconsolably crying after an episode.
And you know what? Being real has helped me get so much better than being fake ever did. I've come to realize that constant perfection isn't real. And Jesus came to die for the real me. Not the fake me. He loves all of me with #nofilter. Same goes for you.
Read part 4 here.