How can we really see?

What if we could look at the world and really see it? I mean seeing it through the eyes of imagining. I hope that in reading these posts, the eyes of your mind will open and let you see more, feel more, and think more about the world.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Why me?

I know this is a phrase we hear a lot when people are whining. Why me? What did I do?

In this case, I'm wondering why two of the people I loved most have completely turned their backs on me and walked out of my life after years of supporting and loving them. I am, quite frankly, heartbroken.

First was my best friend. She started dating someone while I was out at school. Someone she knew I wouldn't approve of because he didn't financially support himself, had a criminal record, and engaged in illegal drug use. She knew I wouldn't think he was good enough for my 4.0, crazy-smart, incredibly pretty best friend. And she was right. However, even after running off with him and not telling anyone in her family that she was leaving, like a teenage lovesick girl... I still tried to maintain a relationship with her.

I was the one there for her when she needed me. I was there when her boyfriend walked out and didn't visit for the end of her pregnancy or the first month of raising her daughter alone. Then, the baby daddy waltzes back into her life and suddenly her best friend of over twenty years means nothing again. Nothing. I was only the one to hold her child so she could get a nap in after staying up all night, even though I'd just gotten off of working 3rd shift and really needed sleep myself. The one who repeatedly gave her rides places, made sure she had everything she needed, and threw her a baby shower. But apparently years of friendship and supporting her emotionally mean nothing now that he's back in the picture, because he despises me.

Sorry, I guess, for thinking my best friend deserved someone who could financially support their child, and doesn't take off for months at a time. But this is only the first abandonment I've experienced in the last year.

The second was my sister. The one who would wake up when I had night terrors and calm me back to sleep when I was little. The one who used to play games and make forts with me. She said even as she cut the rest of our family out of her life that she still wanted a relationship with me. And then, just like that, she blocks me on facebook and stops contacting me, even though I'm only a town away.

She asked me to be her maid of honor at her wedding before the split. Now, I sit and look at her announcing she just got married. A wedding I wasn't invited to. And pictures of her baby girl that mutual friends are sharing with me. A baby I will never get to hold.

And I wonder what I did to lose both of these women who were so close to my heart. People I put time, love, and caring into because they were so dear to me. What did I do to be abandoned by them?

Sometimes I wonder if my mental illness pushed them away. That maybe my months of depression just got to be too much for them. Maybe they got tired of the pain I tried to hide, knowing I may never be able to marry or have kids because of my illness.

I wonder if I was too much of a burden for them. If maybe, I'm really a burden on everyone and they are mostly too polite to admit that their lives would be easier without me. My best friend and sister certainly appear to be happier now.

I really hope they are happy. I only wanted the best for both of them. I love them. I miss them.

Suddenly the Victim Emerges

I've been doing pretty well with my depression and PTSD. I've mostly been sleeping through the night, and have been dating a guy who has really helped me overcome my physical fear responses... very cautiously. I felt great!

...until the other night. The other night I was at the gym, and ran into the guy who assaulted me when I was 15. I couldn't even say anything, because suddenly I was doing my best not to hyperventilate or bolt out of the room like a frightened animal.

I started shaking. My breath wouldn't get into my lungs! I felt like I was going to throw up. We soon left, and as soon as we were in the parking lot I told my mother who I'd seen there. She did her best to calm me with food and a short drive in the car, but when we got home I was still anxious and shaking. I was on edge for hours afterward, and couldn't settle down enough to sleep.

Several friends, my boyfriend, and my mother all worked on me to help me calm down. Eventually I was able to relax. However, this got me thinking...

Am I still a scared victim, after all this time? I thought I was better...

The truth is, what happened to me left literal physical scars. They're invisible to the naked eye because they're lesions in my amygdala. That's a part of the brain that often shows damage after severe emotional or physical trauma. That's right! Traumatic experiences can leave part of your brain damaged. Right now I'm trying to combat that damage by seeking therapy again (this time from a middle-aged woman) and by meditation. Sounds hokey? Scientific studies have shown significant improvement in depression, memory issues, and PTSD patients due to regular meditation.

In fact, through nightly meditation just before bed I've been sleeping 6-10 hours a night regularly for the last two months. I was sleeping 3-6 a night. This improvement has been amazingly helpful to my general emotional state and has also successfully lowered my anxiety and stress levels.

But right now, we're going to focus on my apparent relapse. That's all I can think of to call it. When I saw my assailant, I regressed to a terrified 15-year-old girl who desperately needed a good cry. I was terrified. Despite the fact that my attacker had gained quite a lot of weight and I had gained about 30 pounds of solid muscle, I was still scared he would overpower and hurt me. There is no logic when it comes to fear. Your fear response kicks in, whacks the part of your brain that controls it, and you're suddenly terrified even though you logically know you could completely beat your former assailant to a bloody pulp.

Despite the fact that I'm very confidently muscular and trained in several different forms of armed combat, I was still scared that this man would harm me. There were other people all around us. Large men who I'm sure would come to my assistance should anything happen. My own mother who would be more than happy to hurt him for what he's done to me psychologically. ...and yet I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and bawl like a small child.

How much more therapy will I need before I can face that fear and back it down? How much longer will I have to live in fear? Will I have to move away from my home forever for fear of ever running into him? These are the ongoing things I have to deal with, even with my PTSD and insomnia getting under control.

I don't know how to solve this. I don't know how to make this better. I'm scared, and I don't know where to turn except to God for comfort and my loved ones for support. Hopefully it will be enough.