The first time I had ever heard of PTSD was during Desert Storm. I was ten years old. I had a brother, and his best friend whom I considered a brother, deployed overseas in the war. All these men on tv were talking about something that returning soldiers were suffering with, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It wasn't until later in life when I started hearing the term used for the civilian population. Learning what is was in reference to soldiers at a tender age (back in those days, it was still an innocent age) caused me to struggle with it now being deemed a civilian problem. I understood people like Husband's cousin who was blown out of his boots suffering from it, but a motorcycle wreck? Seems a bit mundane to me. But after a very long conversation with my doctor, I now have a better understanding of the mixture of other symptoms that constitute the syndrome.
I have vertigo. It comes at some odd times, and not from heights. It is strongly associated with a fear of falling. The anxiety that proceeds the vertigo by mere seconds actually triggers the dizziness. I get it while ascending steps, or perching down onto a toilet seat. I am unwilling to venture outside, too far from the house because of it, and not alone at all.
I do relive the event. It is hard not to as I am reminded daily of what happened. But those moments don't come back to me when I am doing stretches or watching motorcycles. They come back to me because of certain smells. My eyes were closed when we first went down, my cheek pressed against Husband's leather clad back. The smell of an empty late night road, gas being pumped, cheap food slowly turning in an overheated restaurant, used motorcycle oil searing as it dripped on a pipe. And stale, hot city air twitchy with a cooler, breath saving zephyr. Or a movement, like Husband coming up behind me for a hug. He held my as we sat on that curb. At first I thought I was just mourning. That reliving it was part of the healing. Everyone else had already dealt with it during those three weeks in the hospital. I don't remember a month of my life (yes, including the things I wrote on here). Turns out it is more than that.
I don't have mood swings, what I do have is a sadness that won't abate. It does go from able to smile and giggle to tears streaming down my face, but the sadness lingers. This would be part of the depression. I was diagnosed with depression when I was in 5th grade. I have dealt with it over the years. Cows seemingly my miracle drug. But I can't go out with them now. I have already had to smack Winston (bull) away before he playfully pushed on me. I fear what would happen if they were able to get me to fall. But the depression seems thicker now. I can still get up in the mornings, if only to make sure my family gets to school or work on time. And I have been known to pass the plum out right after the last person leaves the house. I have been forcing myself to do things that made me happy before, at least those things that I am physically able to do; like baking.
I have also been dealing with avoidance issues. Part of that is tinged from the pointed finger nails of depression, feeling numb or emotionally withdrawn from things. I don't remember the entire incident, and I lack enthusiasm. I fake it rather well though. Sometimes you must put on a happy face.
There is part of the disorder called arousal. Because of the emotional numbness, I am not quick to anger, or hypersensitive, however I have a hard time sleeping. I know, I just said I pass out in the mornings. But at night, to lay there in bed staring off into the darkness does nothing to lull me to sleep.
But the worst of all my symptoms is the fuzzy thinking. It's scary at times. I get lost on roads I am familiar with. The other day Large and I were head to the store. I turned to him and said, I don't know where it is. Large told me to turn right, and we were in the parking lot of the store. I could see it, but it wasn't registering. Small gets angry with me. He says I am not listening. But I am! I just don't understand what he is saying to me. Top this with my migraine problem of word loss and I am quite incompetent.
I just got off the phone with Husband's cousin, the one I mentioned in the second paragraph. He wanted to reassure me that it is a more common diagnosis for civilians. He has a book to loan me written by his shrink. He is on some heavy meds for his PTSD. I myself am hoping to be able to deal with it more naturally.
The thing is I am not afraid of motorcycles. The boys and I were out the other day, the weather was perfect for riding. Motorcycles were out in full force and I found myself pining to be out. Physically I am incapable of mounting a bike right now. So I really have no idea what I will feel once I am able to get back on. My anxieties stem from falling, or so it seems.
I have to work on those anxieties. Once my physical prowess returns, I must take back over the chores I have done for so many years. And not just because others don't do them right. Ha! I fear falling so much right now that I will not allow myself to be alone with any of the livestock. I even keep my lovely Urth (cow) at a distance. And I know she is confused to why I no longer stop to scratch her, or use her as a pillow in the bright sunny field to read. She was like my puppy, and I have only petted her once in the last six months.
Even if I was physically capable of performing normal homestead tasks, mentally I am unstable.