I am going through a phase of feeling very overwhelmed in my life. I have always been a person who needs lots of structure. I need a schedule that I can count on. At this moment, it feels like nothing is safe and secure. I know that a lot of this has to do with the flashbacks and emotions that I have been processing recently, but it is still hard.
Most of what I write about here pertains specifically to the healing process, but one of the realities of healing from child abuse is having to do it while still living your life. Yes, there are a handful of people who do go on hiatus (some to mental hospitals) so they can focus 100% on their healing. However, the majority of us simply cannot or do not do this. To quote a friend, as a wife and mother, I feel like “cracking up is not an option,” so I am always looking for ways to process my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms with minimum impact on the rest of my life.
Even if I had gone on hiatus (and likely should have) during the early months of healing, it is simply not realistic for me to do this forever. That was over seven years ago, and here I am … seven years later … still feeling overwhelmed with my life. I don’t always feel this way, and I am in a much better place than I was seven years ago. However, my reality in this moment is trying not to have a panic attack over having some many areas of my life that seem “unstable” right now.
The irony is that, by most people’s accounts, my life is very stable. I don’t worry about being able to pay my bills. My family is healthy (finally!). My husband’s full-time job is secure, as is my part-time job (although I did have a class canceled, which reduced my workload and paycheck – that is part of my current “freak out”).
The problem is that, for me to “feel safe,” I need to have a plan. I need to know what is going to happen when, and so much in my life is in flux right now. My regular schedule with my part-time job has changed for the first time since 2008. I will begin training for a second part-time job in a week. Summer plans are all up in the air. (I always map out my summer in March, but one very important piece cannot be settled until May.) Two areas of my life in which I feel deeply invested are in flux, and I am involved in trying to get them settled.
None of these things would really bother me if I didn’t have so much swirling around inside of my head thanks to the PTSD. I am finding myself being irrational in some areas of my life in sheer reaction to the perceived instability of my life right now. It is very frustrating.
Photo credit: Hekatekris