I read a few things recently about PTSD. A few stories, lots of different situations. More than not most of those mentioning it had a much bigger reason that I would, however I do tend to never give myself credit for anything, whether good or bad. I’m not sure why I do that but I do. I realized through reading and their descriptions that I live there too. I live looking over my shoulder, jumping if the doorbell rings, watching people around me all the time, holding my breath, waiting for it. There’s more to my story. More before I ever knew my husband. Much more than I’m willing to share yet, maybe ever, but it’s there, bubbling to the surface no matter how hard I’ve pushed it down. It doesn’t let me forget as hard as I try. It never will.
When my husband changed and I caught him cheating, his entire personality changed, right then, and never returned. It took a long time for me to realize that he didn’t change…he just stopped hiding who he was pretending not to be. He is who he has always been now. No faking it. He was mean, he was violent, he used my words against me, told everyone things I didn’t say or do, he threaten me and passively threatened me. Sneak threats like a knife under his pillow in our bed. I was watching my back all the time. I physically shook uncontrollably often. I couldn’t eat, sleeping was out of the question, and I was too afraid to cry. When I found him cheating the second time and all the evidence I found showing he was living a dangerous life now, I knew I was dead. I knew if he got his hands on me that night, I would be gone. I don’t think he would mean to do it but I knew that dark look in his eyes when he got mad and I knew this would make him madder than I had ever seen. I ran. I grabbed my babies and I ran. He tried to find me but I just ignored his threats. I was scared. More than scared, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I needed to stay gone for at least a day, and I did. I knew if he had time he wasn’t going to have the same amount of anger, he would try to manipulate me later. The physical threat was gone. I kicked him out of our house, changed the locks, alerted the people around me. I was safe. Sort of. He rented an apartment, different from the one he’d secretly had, so our kids could visit him. The night before they would have their first visit with their daddy, his apartment was broken in. Ransacked and my threat level rose. He owed someone something and they wanted it. They wanted to scare him and I knew what would be next. They would come after our children and me. I was told by my therapist, the kids therapists and my attorney to buy gun, take a self defense class, watch my back, and never take my eyes off our children. All I could ever think was, this cannot be my life. My normal, suburban family life was gone. This wasn’t even believable. I was in a full panic 100% of the time. No breaks. No relief. Never. Until enough time passed and nothing happened did I start to breath, but even now, I’m constantly on alert. The doorbell still makes me jump and want to hide, every time it rings. I just realized that this isn’t normal. I’m suspicious of everyone new I get close to because it seems, everyone is still a threat to me. There’s an underlying fear that things aren’t what they seem, that I’m being foolish to consider it otherwise. I’m not in control of these feelings and that is the scariest part. They control me.
I recently let go a little. Let someone get to know me. It was refreshing to remember myself a little. To grow more into the person I am (if all the rest of this was gone). To smile. It was fun. I could breathe and I felt safe being open. I felt safe being me. I wasn’t thinking I was just being, but in a second, something snapped and threw it all into a tailspin. Reality hit and the feeling before panic arrived…where some describe the hair standing up on the back of their necks, I decribe it like this…It felt like someone was pouring cold water down the back of my head and neck. My ears started ringing and then I couldn’t breathe. Panic set in. I had made a mistake even though in reality, I really hadn’t. It was really ok. I just felt fear now where such freedom briefly was. I guess I should be happy I tasted it momentarily. Maybe it will be a step for me, to possibly try again one day, someone safe, someone open, and someone ok that I have some things to work through. I wish I didn’t, but I do 😔.
I guess recognizing a problem is one step closer to healing. Hopefully I’ll find a way to leave all the fear behind and live again fully. One day at a time, step by step. Until then, I’ll protect myself, protect my children and pray for help with the rest.
I’ll find it. It’s out there and I will peel this fear and doubt off of me, step over it and keep walking to my happy ending❤️.