In The City…


It’s been one month since I moved back closer to home. I’m at the opposite end of the city, but I’m here…and it’s surreal. The last month has proven to be one of healing. I’m working my butt off to get back on my feet and become the woman I want to be. One week after moving here, I started my domestic abuse therapy and three weeks later, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I mentioned this briefly via Facebook and Twitter. I even wrote a ‘quickie’ to announce it. But as the diagnosis set in and minutes became hours, which have now become days, I’ve really struggled with it.

It’s an interesting dynamic, actually. Initially, I found comfort in being able to pinpoint what was causing the behaviors unique to post-abuse Fina. Then, I started really resenting the fact that I had to waste time labeling anything (i.e. Why the fuck do I have to be diagnosed with anything? Haven’t I suffered enough already?). And now, almost one-week  since my diagnosis, I’m really, really struggling to find a solid place. One minute I’m relieved, the next I’m angry, and the next I want to lay in bed for the rest of the day to avoid anything that might trigger a PTSD response.

Most people relate PTSD with war veterans and, truth be told, I’m starting to feel like my life has become an internal battle. I avoid enemies until I’m ready to make my attack, if approached too rapidly I will defend myself at all costs, and (the worst part for me) I tip-toe through situations I deem dangerous, to be certain I don’t trip any land mines. I’m, literally, waiting for everything to blow up around me. It feels better to keep myself protected: to lie to those close to me so they don’t know how much I struggle, to overcompensate when I’m uncomfortable by laughing it all away…it’s all painful. It’s all scary. It’s the worst place I’ve ever lived my life…even worse than suffering the abuse.

Sometimes I detach from the emotions I’m feeling, so that I can look at them objectively…as the ‘real’ Fina would. In truth, I think that’s where this blog started. It was a way to detach, observe, and analyze the life I was living without having to do any real work. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of a computer and reread the entries, starting at one, to see what they revealed to me on that particular day or how many times I’ve cried because I was still feeling the pain. I was reliving it through my words. The objectivity was lost. And, some nights, so was I.

Somewhere between the life I was living in the country and the life I wanted to lead in the city, I was clawing at ghosts that wouldn’t let me escape. Now I am facing those ghosts and it’s more terrifying, grotesque, and ugly than I’d imagined.

But I see now that there is an exit. I don’t know how long it will take me to reach it and that exhausts me. I’m scared to know that I could live with this for longer than I’d really like. I know I have to put in work and, quite frankly, the energy that requires comes and goes from my daily life.

On the verge of something great, I tend to back away, fearful that I’ll never reach what I came to do. I’m scared of failure…always have been. But the stakes are too high this time. I either cower in the shadows and allow this darkness inside to linger, to stifle the light that used to lead me to the greatest places. Or, I step out of the blackness and let it consume me for just a bit longer, knowing that the confrontation won’t last forever and I’ll come out on the other side a better person.

I’m terrified, friends. I hate where I am right now. But there is no turning back.

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14 thoughts on “In The City…

  1. Fina, I do not know much about PTSD except as I’ve seen it affect friends who return from Afghanistan. However, the emotional maze you describe could easily describe, to a lesser extent, myself. The desire to look objectively, to detach, to hide the pain from friends and loved ones. Please continue to share your journey back to wholeness and freedom. You are an inspiration to me. ❤

  2. I’m listening too, Fina. I read somewhere recently that if you give something your all, you’ll get your whole self back. I’m not sure if that bit of wisdom is helpful or not, but based on this post you’ve written and you being so open, it seems as though you’re on a path to giving this your all.

  3. I, too, can relate to your words. I don’t share your exact experience, no one can because it is yours, but your words spoke to me. At times I’ve cut myself off from others because it feels easier in the moment but it can make me feel so alone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m listening.

  4. When I was dealing with this from my own version, one comment from another survivor was “Darlin’, the only way out is through.”

    Sucks, but I’m passing it on because it’s irritatingly true.

    It gets better. *hugs*

  5. I’ve been reading here for a while, I’ve been through some dark places of my own (mostly self-inflicted), and I have far too many friends who are on the same journey as you are. Thank you for sharing your journey and struggle with us.

    At your best, you are more than strong enough to make it through. At your worst, you’ve got many around who will offer support and their own strength to you.

    I have no real doubt you’ll reach that exit and again be able to let your light lead you to new, wonderful, adventures.

    (And I’ll be happily reading about them and sharing them with my friends.) 😉

  6. Looks like everyone else already said what I wanted to say! It will get better, but you have to give it time. Give yourself permission to cry, get angry, frustrated, and everything in between, all the while knowing that the more you let out, the less pressure you’ll have building up inside. *hugs*

  7. PTSD is a wound. It helps to think of it as such. And it helps to be as patient with yourself as you would be with a wounded family member. Have compassion and patience with yourself and you will heal much faster. P.S. You’re the bravest. Keep it up.

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