Well Practiced Survival and the Art of Happiness (Potential PTSD Trigger Warning)

I hit a speed bump tonight. My brain splatted as I hit the mental pavement and I am sitting here stuck. The speed bump? Happiness. I am happy so it makes me sad. I keep thinking about why that is and I suspect it has something to do with the tenets of survival. I have well practiced fear, anger, sorrow but I have almost no experience with happiness. Happy was the fleeting moment that escaped so quickly and I held on to for years. I can name my happiest moments and its a very limited number. 1. Comic book convention last June, 2. Sprite and the first time I had a flashback and she was there, 3. Gothmas with M, 4. My first time being published.

That last one I had to struggle to pull through the mists of time and survival. I was thinking too about the domestic violence cycle and how cut off people are. I grew up without friends. Even now my friendships are limited. Some of that is the autism factor, I just struggle there but a lot of it is because I trust very few people. How can I trust you? You might be out to get me. I am working on this alone but I do not want to. I never wanted to do it all alone. I never wanted to have to figure out how to beat domestic violence by myself. It should not be about clawing my way up ever. Yet it has been.

I have been trying to find a therapist for five years. Since I escaped my exhusband. I thought I might not make it. Maybe I should settle for one of the quacks who try to lure me in with promises of touching me while praying but I do not think so. I don’t think my wanting to mock this person for being what I perceive as a predator on the vulnerable with their unproven techniques and faith healing is going to be a valuable moment in time. I still survived him alone. It was not even over then. It is just over. Does that make me now really a survivor?

Yes and No. I was a survivor all along but in a way not being afraid has opened up all of these memories and painful things. Its over so now I can process. I am thinking on things from when I was five, that I never considered before. My brain is just now allowing itself to sort through nearly thirty years of stuff. Not all of it is bad. Not all of it is abuse. Not all of it matters. Yet it is there burbling around. If I think of my friends instead of them I end up with my first day in Kindergarten at the age of four, walking in and being called weird before I said a word.

I think on the isolation that goes with abuse and I want to try new things to see if its actually my way or if it is a side effect. I grew up surviving and being too out cast and bullied for friends. Am I so alone now because I just never learned how or is it because I am afraid of my own friends? I don’t know. I do not feel fear when Ithink of each individual. I feel happy. Yet I worry.

I talked a lotof this out with a couple of my friends. I have had friends for seven years now, but it still amazes me when I can say that. One suggested a support group. I looked some time ago, I believe last year, but figured maybe I should. She went to bed and I began to google. I found many local support groups. Tons for folks with cancer, tons for things I do not understand such as video games, and yet for all of the domestic violence groups listed with the local news papers, online in google, and even with the various agencies that help you get out if you are not disabled the only groups are for the ABUSERS. Oh there was one for single parents. Not a one for women. There is one for soldiers with PTSD but I am not a soldier. There is one for everyone but me. I still wrote some down and may call but I already feel that is an intrusion. I do not fit by not having a child, by being a woman, by not being with my abuser now.

I am not at a point where I can just remedy this by going “Okay we meet here, come on ladies and lets survive more.” That is not what I can do right now. I did it before for another need. When I first was disabled I helped with creating a chronic disease support group. Then retreated from it because I was not ready. I will not make that mistake again. So I am left hanging between faith healers and the disabling abusers getting help and my own independence. It cannot just be a side effect of abuse or I would not have survived being alone but I am wondering why I am supposed to do this part by myself too.

I do not want to. I want the experience of people who do not get frightened by happiness. Or people who do but can tell me what the difference between estatic, joy and elation is. My brain cannot stop pressing on the happiness to see what is wrong with it. There is no room in my head for joy. I want to change that but I am lost out at sea without a compass or the north star. There are no maps. It is just silence and placid and gentle waves. I do not know how to be gentle. I do not know how to let go of the anger. I am still angry at my abusers but it is smaller every day. They are dead. I out lived them and can focus on doing more than just clawing through every day.

I am also very tired. I do not want to spend the rest of my life fighting alone to figure out if its okay to smile all the time. My face is sore. Its not the usual sore of the jaw dislocations Its my mouth. From smiling. I keep doing so for no reason. I keep laughing more and more. This is not just a side effect of the surviving either. This happiness started growing long before my exhusband died.  The sensations when I stop thinking or just feel are not the same. It is no longer a hard sandpaper or stabbing pain. It is not a pain at all. Nor is it really emptiness. It is soft and quiet there. The passions are still burning in me but they do not scream to be heard over my sorrow. It is simply quiet, and I have never had that either.

I never expected the thing that would make me cave in on asking for help with my PTSD and other struggles would be happiness. I suspected someday I might have a challenge bigger than I could face alone. This is not even true. It is just that I know I do not have to do it by myself and I do not want to.

I am a ship at sea, no port to call home. The current pulls me, so I go to roam. I am a ship at sea, the waves a song to me. Far from even the open road. The winds rise and my ship sails on, to new lands will I go? Tomorrow I may find land ahoy but tonight I am just adrift in the sea.

No Fear!

I have been struggling since my discovery that I am free of reasons to be afraid. Some of this is my consistent issue with the identification of emotions, which is not new and I found out is an actual diagnosable medical thing so I will be perusing. No idea if there are treatments or “trainings” to help identify feelings but it is good to know I am not alone on that. I found this out from an article about autism. The term is alexithymia. The discovery has helped me to cope with some of the not knowing. It removes it from “I am a sociopath aren’t I? Why don’t I ever know what I am feeling?” territory and puts it firmly in, “Well it is okay to not know” ville.

I am happy my exhusband can no longer harm me. It feels very good. I also have a spot of sad. Then comes these confusing emotions I have never felt before at all. It took me a little while to figure out why they were so confusing and then I realized, I have not ever had a chance to feel them. In my entire life I have not had one day, until now, where I did not have a reason to be afraid. I was born into a toxic wasteland of abuse and fear, and while I managed to not live that way as an adult most of the time I still had the fears of my family seeking me out for escaping. There was a very real fear until I was freed enough that they would harm me to force me to comply with their abuse and to make me go back to it. They tried, but I endured it and then came out the other side. There was also the fear that my father, the murdering sociopath, would decide one day to harm me. Being someone that he felt threatened him, especially in our adult encounters, was incredibly dangerous. I destroyed one of his marriages in a fit of rage at the age of 13 by telling the woman the truths I could make my mouth say of what he had done. When he did not deny it, she left him. I had never expected that because it was new to me, and he told me he would kill me. By the time he died I was married to the Ex. After surviving being caged and harmed, he continued to try and kill me. My brain has no idea what to do.

I am experimenting in ways to build on these good feelings or to even express them. The colors for good are still those dark jewel tones, blacks and the image is fire and air and water and earth all twisting up. Its a bit explosive, but it is not a bad explosion and I do not have the ability to paint it. Even writing this much I feel the torrent and my heart races, but it races differently from fear. I think it might be excitement. Its a good rush of adrenaline. I am doing things that get me closer and closer to restoring my life to where I had carved it into being before my Ex. Not entirely the same, it could never be as I am no longer that same person. I consider that a good thing however. I want some of the activities back, and I want to see in person some of the friends I feared he would harm. Little things at first, when I try to do more my health is hurting me some and then I am left to struggle with the energy drain of these strange emotions. I crept outside and sat there at night several times. Its not yet summer so mostly it is quiet though the sirens are getting more frequent and later at night. Still, I am outside. I am planning more than a month ahead for small things. Once my wheelchair is repaired I am going to the museum. Those things. Writing this blog is also one of them.

I am sitting here trying to formulate the words to explain things I have no way to, no experience for and the only words that fit are it is like a second childhood. I am reborn. I feel the urge to go running and playing. SO I am. Albeit slowly because my body is not nearly as energetic as a child’s. I have found that not having nightmares has actually disrupted my sleep because it is so new. Yet my sleep feels better. I am less exhausted even when I wake up startled by my dreams of sexy shirtless elvin firemen.

I feel like I can do anything, and I suspect some of the sad is in not having felt this before but despite those pockets of sad I feel… well I wish I could tell you. I feel as if I get not just a new chapter but an entirely new book. Book Two in the Series of Kateryna Fury, maybe three. My life is full of blank pages to fill with adventures and happy memories. So I will. I rebuilt myself to happiness and there is something like satin against bare skin about living without fear and knowing that I, with the help of very dear friends, made my life this good even with the fear. I have an awesome life. I have found too that this story which has haunted me for months and I have been working slowly on writing is no longer something I am afraid to write. It had no ending. It is a dark and somewhat frightening story but the ending exists now. I had not yet felt the things that I needed to in order to let the character feel them too. No fear.

It is strange to me that my brain reaches for things to be afraid of. It is seeking them out and trying to fill what feels abit like a void but none of those fears fit and my emotions kick that away before my logic does. I am working on trying to visualize happy things that might fit that spot. Is it a want? Is it a need? I have no way to know. Something about the unknown is frightening, but this unknown is a kaleidoscopic whirl of potential and I am going to start exploring.

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