. . . that there is of course a difference between when one is diagnosed officially with something, and when one starts suffering from it in the first place.
I was officially diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in early 2004. We'd only begun to seriously start exploring what that all meant when I was forced to stop treatment and flee the state. In June of 2005 I finally, after a third nervous breakdown, landed back in therapy. It was as much a condition of getting out of the hospital, as it was my wish to find an alternative to the suffering I was doing. I spent the next four years in pretty much crisis mode, going from one to the next, fighting to stay alive and had precious little chance to dig and make more sense out of things. Plus the little bit of digging I was doing was hard enough, and that was all to stay alive.
I finally fled that part of my life for where I am now. It's giving me the opportunity, the energy, to look into and start sorting the wreckage of my life. I can't believe how much this all hurts sometimes, and I certainly wasn't prepared to have a friend point out that when I first started having major problems with PTSD isn't really when it first became a part of my life. We were talking about how I was responding to the pressure my late husband brought to bear on my life and I said simply:
"Well I kept trying to work harder, do more, and be better so that he'd remember me, and the love we had in the beginning. That he'd love me again."
She said something that at that moment caused me to realize just how long I'd been living with PTSD, and how much of an impact it's had on my entire life. She said:
"Yeah, that's the PTSD."
I think I did a really good job of not freaking out right then and there as it dawned on me that was a reality that defined my marriage from day one. I went into the marriage with PTSD. I'd had PTSD since I was five, and there and then I was back in that one horrible moment that has haunted me on and off my entire life. It's then I KNEW, that PTSD has been messing with my life since long before Earl showed up and made it worse.
Up until I was five, I had a great relationship with my parents, and thought my Dad was a pretty decent guy. It was one horrific day when I was five, and the conversation I tried to have with my folks destroyed my life before I even had a chance to get it started. Short story is my father flew into a rage, beat me badly without warning, expectation, or even reason. Violence and hatred so extreme that I remember hoping I would die right then and there. I felt betrayed, violated and couldn't even begin to understand what I'd done wrong. And there, in that moment my life was forever changed. My battle with Post Traumatic Stress began. One at five I was ill prepared to fight, one that would haunt me and alter the course my life would take. My worth as a human being became firmly entrenched in the minds of others, I was property, a slave to command and torture, a puppet whose invisible strings went only as far as the nearest puppet master who owned me. I became a slave to the false gods of other people's demands and expectations. Everything I did from that point on, was colored by violence, or the steps I took in advance to preempt violence. I'd become "strong" from living in a combat environment, living with a brilliant, but deranged person who didn't want me in the first place, and whom I could NEVER make happy.
What I wanted to do with my life changed constantly for no other reason than it didn't matter what it was, my "Father" instantly turned it to a weapon to use against me. I won't even bore you with the details because it really doesn't matter now. Be it enough said that over time, I've proven him wrong time and again, but my horribly scared heart and soul still don't quite buy it all.
It's actually amusing in some respects, people who know me well have marveled at how many dramatically different careers I've had over the years, made great amounts of money in each, and moved on to something else. How I've in effect lived many lifetimes in just this one alone, and become an expert in so many things, I could do anything I wanted anywhere I wanted simply because I wished to do so. In retrospect the horrible truth I can now see is that it was a life wasted, looking for the approval of a man that at this point in life I'm not certain I'm actually related to by blood. That too is a story for another day.
So now I turn my newly opened eyes back upon some of the other parts of my life I'd not heretofore given much thought, to learn lessons lost to me then.