Okay so I had a few days reprieve from the crazy nightmares… Not so last night! And my spidey man-within-a-mile senses were on hyper mode so I tossed and turned all night. It wasn’t just the men either. My senses were picking up my roommates as they moved around the house doing whatever it is normal college kids do when they’re up until 3 in the morning.
But here’s the thing. I go bolt upright at 4:30 am. The most unholy hour of the day. 4:30 in the morning is the best time to perform an impromptu exorcism. 4:30 in the morning is when Hitler was born. 4:30 in the morning, in other words, is the devil’s hour.
As I tried to lay back down and sleep these thoughts (don’t you just love the thoughts that float across your mind at 4:30 in the morning? It’s like LSD) my very structured and cohesive mind politely knocks at the door to my hazy consciousness and proffers these three causes for me to be awake. 1) There’s a man somewhere either on the street or in the yard or in the house 2) I’m super anxious because today I’m supposed to get a dilator for my vaginismus because a1 I would like to destroy any trace of rape from my body and yes I am terrified out of my mind 3) My tummy hurts.
So I lumber out of my room. The girl I live with is very sweet. And wonderful. And doesn’t know how to keep clean. There’s piles of clothes spilling out of suitcases and just stuff everywhere. One reason to stay in bed at night is that I don’t want to experience death by lacy bra left out by roommate.
So I do my ManSweep- which is what I call my now daily check around the house for men. This is also significant because a few days ago a strange man came into our house, rifled through some items, and basically it was a breakin. But, BUT, BYUH offcampus housing they are not very concerned with security. We just imagine to ourselves that we are safe. NOT SO. TRUST ME MEN ARE NOT SAFE NOT LOCKING THE DOOR AT NIGHT ALSO NOT SAFE THIS IS NOT SAFE. But of course my roommates didn’t realize that until oh, guess what, we have to call the police.
I get up and check the doors. One of them is unlocked. FAIL.
So I lock it.
I also find a jar of pickles in the middle of the kitchen floor so either my roommate whose boyfriend I kicked out is performing an exorcism to get me to leave this house, or possibly she’s working some bad juju my way. Mal de ojos… Probably tried to copy Lilo and Stitch that unoriginal little twisted witch. AHEM.
So I still don’t calm down because guess what there is one more door to check anndd it leads straight into my roommates bedroom. Seriously if I wasn’t afraid there was a man poking around outside I’d be out there with a flashlight checking to make sure they locked it.
I’m not crazy I just have really severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And can I just say hold up a moment please because media goes to town on people with PTSD. I can probably thank CNN for my trip to the ER a few weeks back, that’s how bad it is. In movies PTSD is played off as a “oh my daddy was in the Viet War now he hides behind bushes yelling about fire”. OK a1 first of all that’s not funny. Second of all the other exposure most people have to mental illness falls under these categories 1) Terrorist with PTSD who shoots up at schools 2) Horror film where the serial killer is schizophrenic, a sodomist, a pedophile, has turrets or is bipolar… Basically the serial killer/villain is either a psychopath or mentally ill (yes there is a difference between those two things) 3) Movies where mentally ill people go to Happydale. (Arsenic and Old Lace just watch it kk)
So when I went into the doctor and used the word PTSD… You can imagine what went through his head as a small town doctor who never really deals with mental illness. I’m not dangerous to others or I would have asked to be locked up myself, wouldn’t be here. I am dangerous to myself though. But what the average person on the street thinks of PTSD is very much shaped by bad uneducated media. Just like most things. Now if there was a Buzzfeed article on it, maybe people’d listen but as it is pop culture is ruling our perception of mental illness.
Did you know they still use electroshock therapy? Yeah. They strap their mentally ill patient down and run electrical currents through their brain until- get this- they have a seizure. And somehow that’s supposed to help rewire their brain into new healthier pathways.
I know things have jumped pretty far in the world of psychotherapy and there’s new drugs and better facilities but honestly you could not pay me to go to the psyche ward. If you threw me in there by force I’d have no choice. It’s a room where supposedly there’s no way to hurt yourself. You can’t have pens. Or your phone. Or paper. Or a belt. Or your clothes. Nothing. And you are locked away in this room for days. If you’re #blessed you might see nurses. How do I know this? You don’t have to know. But you know what I always think about that? If I wasn’t crazy before, I’d go crazy in solitary. I mean yeah it’s like timeout but hardcore but still. One of the points mentally ill people get to is feeling absolutely alone in the world. How does locking them up alone without a puppy or a stuffed animal or any kind of safe companionship for days on end, sometimes weeks, help that?
My spidey senses are still way up in arms right now. I think it’s the gynecologist appointment. The unlocked door didn’t help. The men in the house last night didn’t help. There’s a lot of factors. But honestly my medication is a mood stabilizer which is supposedly an anti-seizure medication. They discovered at the VA hospital that the veterans with PTSD on this drug had better moods and less nightmares and whatnot. So apparently I’m a veteran in the sense that I’m so traumatized we use the same medication for a girl who got raped as someone who went to Iraq okay. Can’t even tell you what that feels like because no I don’t like my PTSD label. If I use it around someone they basically think I went to war.
Hey look Huffington Post agrees with me. Good. Apparently yesterday was PTSD awareness day… Noone even baked me a cake! Dang it if it’s PTSD day I of all people, should be allowed to celebrate.
Yeah sure… In my head. In my own body. This is war.
It’s so hard not being able to trust your senses. One minute I’m fine and then the next minute ohhhhh noo here we go again panic attack, upset stomach, heightened pulse, terror, the list goes on. Checking the locks over and over. That’s not a new thing. That happened all the time in treatment. My roommates didn’t care the same way I did but I developed this thing about locks when more of my memories came back.
Yeah I have PTSD. And Anorexia Nervosa. And severe depression. Sometimes it makes me do “crazy” things… Like throwing away food, crying in the grocery store or checking the locks twice a night, or flinching and running away from someone who is probably a super cool person except their nose reminds me of a not-so-cool rapist. C’est La Vie people. At least that’s my life now.
I hate it when my “spidey senses” go hyper mode seemingly for no reason. This is worse than a mug of espresso (there’s a reason for the tiny cups people!). I can’t really explain it but it feels horrible to be lowkey terrified 99% of the time of things related to rape and death and car accidents… It’s really hard to be friends with men let alone anything else when the word rape is stamped onto your forehead because despite how sweet and gentle my guyfriends are- I can’t get the word rape away from the word man in my head. My thoughts are entwined so closely that I can’t separate a good man from a bad one because they’re all bad in my head. See they aren’t bad until they want to kiss me. If they want anything romantic bam they are “bad” and I am “bad” and I have to punish myself for being “bad”.
Sounds messed up? It is absolutely messed up. It is almost beyond belief just how hard it is to have PTSD. Things most people never even think of like having a crush or maybe I’m at the store buying ice cream and BAM it happens all over again. I spend a lot of time repressing it. Trying to hide like I don’t have it.
If I consciously tried to remember the rape or my last sexual assault right now I would curl up into a ball on the floor and wail and scream for hours. I would vomit. I would scream. I would cut and burn myself. I would be inconsolable. But I don’t want to go to Happydale…