The rising tide of panic inside me

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything here. So long since I’ve really felt able to write anything of any import with any level of coherence. However, tonight, my friend, Rara, challenged me, us, to “do the thing.” So, here I am, doing the thing . . . or trying to anyway.

When I started writing Human In Recovery, nearly five years ago, I was a total, shut-down, big ball of numbed out fear and self-loathing. Since then, I’ve worked hard and come a very long way. I’ve grown up, a lot. I’ve lost and left relationships that I thought I had to be in and thought I couldn’t quit. I’ve fought to rebuild, restore, and reconcile others where I was the one left and lost. I’m a better person. Even though I know I’m stronger than ever before, in some ways, and have traveled farther than I ever thought I could, the tangible evidence doesn’t exist. It’s all thought, feeling, air, and mist. Tonight, I feel as weak and tired and broken and loathsome as I did then. I feel myself becoming that ball of numbed out fear again.

Healing and recovery from a lifetime of trauma and abuse is a very tricky thing. When I didn’t know what was wrong with me, exactly, and just knew that something WAS wrong, I felt out of control, overwhelmed, and lost . . . hopeless, even. I started researching and paying attention to myself and my reactions and realized it was possible that I was on the bipolar spectrum. It never really occurred to me in any serious kind of way that I was also experiencing PTSD. So, I had all these ideas and thoughts about what might be happening with me, but, without insurance and not being able to work for a number of reasons, I didn’t really know what to do with what I thought might be wrong with me.

Then, just before the ACA, aka “Obamacare,” went into effect, my life crashed like a six car pile up at a four way stop. I suddenly had to choose to change my life and who I was or I was going to disappear, fade away, and abandon my child who needed me, in ways I’d abandoned her older siblings and had been abandoned myself. That was nearly three years ago. I’ve gone through a lot in these past three years, much of it is listed in prior posts, so I won’t rehash it here. I’ve survived a lot and I’ve learned a lot. I started regaining hope and letting go of the internal fear I didn’t dare let myself be aware of.

Space opened up in my life where it’s been becoming safe to start looking at working through and processing the trauma from my past. But, then, and now, Trump.

When you were a lost, confused, throwaway, afterthought of a teenage girl in your f****d up family of origin; when you’d survived being seduced and molested as an 8-10 year old girl by your step-father only to have your mother not be able to fight for you enough to hold onto you through your wounded, angry, and confused pre-pubescent tantrums, that she signs you over to her brother, goes back to where you came from, and kills herself; when you lost hope for your future after cleaning up the mess left by the adults responsible for you; when you run away at 16 with a 30 year old man who convinces you that he sees you, loves you, respects you; when you spend three years hitchhiking, living out of cars, manipulating people for your survival and his money, while you’re pregnant and parenting his child; when you are a woman who has lived through all of these things, Donald Trump is a major trigger.

Let me count the ways:

  1. I’m a woman
  2. I’m half-Mexican
  3. I’m a single-mom
  4. I’m obese
  5. I have chronic physical illnesses
  6. I have chronic mental health diagnoses
  7. I have a child with a developmental disorder
  8. I have half-Mexican grandchildren
  9. I can’t hold down a job because of my anxiety issues
  10. I don’t have the capacity to become work ready because I’m fighting to parent my special needs child
  11. I’m dependent on public housing
  12. I’m dependent on SNAP benefits, aka “food stamps”
  13. I’m dependent on “Obamacare”

Therefore, in Donald Trump’s purported worldview, I’m a fat, lazy, crazy, free-loading, useless piece of brown trash, who has created more of the same and can’t be trusted to do anything of any import because of my genetic heritage.

Oh, and it was perfectly acceptable that I was sexually used and manipulated as a teen, because I’d been sexually initiated as a child, and, since I’m female, I’m only good for what I can take and put out between my legs . . . and since I’m closer to 50 than I am 40, and the give and take are distant memories, what use am I to anyone anyway?

Of course I don’t think or feel these things and these ways about myself, right? Well, uhm, actually, I really kind of do. I mean, that’s kind of what PTSD looks like for me, right now.

I’ve spent the last two and a half years, working hard on relationship building and trusting some people in my son’s adoptive and extended family, some of who are also extended family members of mine, all of who are part of his faith community. I’ve spent the same time, opening myself up to and building relationships with people in the faith community I call home. Essentially, for the past two and a half years, I’ve attended worship and teaching services with two different church communities, at two different times on Saturdays.

Just when I was starting to be able to relax, breathe, and trust myself to be safe around these people, the men, in these spaces, I start finding out which of them supported and voted for Trump, the same as my ex. I’m wracked with shock and disbelief, and the cacophony of the internal dissonance is disorienting and deafening. I feel myself freezing up inside when I see their names on Facebook. My chest grows tighter and my breathing more rapid at the thought of seeing them face to face this weekend.

Except, I’m going to go watch my grandbabies this weekend. Now, I can breathe a little.

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