I finished my latest journal tonight. It’s just over a month worth of writing, of musing, of bitching (yes, there was a bit of that), of stressing, of stream-of-consciousness blathering. The written wanderings of a young woman moving through her life, dealing with the blows that she still takes (and there were a couple in there over the course of the month), struggling to work out who she is and to live well with the reality of all that’s happened to her.
There’s a lot in there about PTSD. Not always directly – but there’s a lot of reflection about the memories that come up, and what triggers them. There’s a lot in there about anxiety, and what causes it. For a few weeks, there was a lot of anger. Scary anger. Destructive anger. How angry I was, at everything.
There’s a lot in there, though, that’s not about PTSD. That’s not about healing and recovery, that’s not about domestic violence or fear. A lot about the choir, about my friends. A bit about work. And a disproportionate amount about logistics: buying a car, when I should pack for my holiday, a reminder to buy a new pen, an ongoing to-do list. There’s stuff in there about what I’ve been reading, what I think about current affairs, who I admire. What I want to write about. Story ideas. Some of it’s interesting and some of it’s useless and some of it’s nerdy and all of it’s me. PTSD is part of me. An increasingly small part. I am not a part of it.
This is a paragraph I found in my journal. I think it’s worth just putting here, in its entirety:
“…Because that’s the thing. Naomi without PTSD is pretty similar to Naomi with PTSD. There would be a few differences. I’d be comfortable in groups of people and people could touch me from behind without making me flinch. I wouldn’t get nightmares or flashbacks and panic attacks would be limited to oh-shit-my-file-audits-are-due-by-close-of-business-today-and-I-haven’t-started-them, or public speaking. There’s also a huge amount of wisdom and insight I’d have to get another way: I have insight into fear because I’ve been fearful; I have insight into panic, and flashbacks, and nightmares, and anger, because I have lived them all. In time, that will make me a better social worker, a better friend, a better listener, a better person. While I can never be grateful for the experiences I’ve had, for what has been done to me and my mind’s struggle to deal with that, I can be grateful for what I am learning to take away from that. For what I am becoming, for that better person that I will be”.
I must admit, though, that I’ve cleaned up the spelling. I really am atrocious at spelling.