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Quaddie

PTSD at work (and in life)

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Quaddie

Despairing that all my life's energies and resources go to struggling to fulfill the most basic of Maslow-esque needs ... and which requires me to dissolve myself...   while what I crave are the higher levels of human being-ness... 

I NEVER FEEL SAFE. Not really in any respect. And it's not "just" that I don't "feel" safe but that in actuality I am - it's not "just a perception" that's false. I'm never actually "safe."  There is only one thing that can bring me safety, and it's something that'd basically take me a miracle to obtain, but that people disdain as a goal or necessity but in actuality it IS absolutely necessary in order to be and have safety at all..... otherwise everything is so precarious and I'll be imprisoned in one form or another, in more ways I cannot exist or cope - not because I am flawed, but because the situations themselves are....and I am not meant to exist within them, and I cannot operate within them...

Then there are all the tropes about "life is about dancing in-between crises" or whatever blahblahblahblahblah BLAH BLAH BLAH.    I'm tired, so tired....   so DONE with pretending to be interested in the life games that most people engage in without a second thought - Hopeless and helplessly, in horror, watching the very fabric and nets of our society disintegrate like the Hindenburg...   

I just can't.    The despair....   it's almost ever-present, it's about so, so much in life, it's just too much and I'm tired and feeling too old to even want to care about dealing with any of it, I've started over too many times, I've been plucky and it's landed me nowhere, there's too much "strength p0rn" dictating everyone's life, and I wasted my life in things just trying to survive instead of moving in ways to fulfill my being and I'm not able to reclaim anything anymore. 

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Quaddie

and there are so many negative associations...with everything. Things that people bandy about every day as if they're nothing, or just "normal," to me bring up very, very bad associations - and ones that I really wouldn't want to change because to me they actually go against my soul and spirit and being.

So much of what most people consider normal and part of life, I just want nothing to do with at all. Not that it's "avoidance" per se - it just doesn't jibe with who or what I am, or want to be. I don't believe the same things as others. I don't feel the same way about most things, as others do. They are like nails on the chalkboard of my soul. Painful to my spirit, grating on me intolerably.

So while some of the negative associations that I'm constantly bombarded with - raining over me, at me, all over the place, everywhere - well, they're all due to actual negative experiences, traumas and such - but they're not things I want to "heal" because they're just not part of what I want in life, or who I am, or what I can even pretend to be anymore.

And it's so wearing - obviously - when you are constantly, constantly bombarded with negatives or reminders of how bad or stupid or unacceptably unusual you are seen as. Or how much a life failure you actually are. Because you can't find a way to survive as you are.

 

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whitebutterfly11

I think, at our most basic level, what we need is acceptance. 

Acceptance of who we are, what we've lived, the intricate pieces that make up our character, our gifts, our downfalls--ALL OF IT. 

Then, we grow up in these environments where who we are is ridiculed, even a source of shame, and those messages never really leave us. They linger with us as we become adults and try to grapple with our roles as responsible, autonomous individuals, and they reawaken whenever other people treat us in ways that are similar to the ways we were treated before. 

And then new people and experiences add to the chaos of the past, then it becomes this sickening soup of false messages we are forced to gulp down each day. 

And yes, others are very eager to purge the pain out of us, as if it's easy to purge! As if a generic phrase will rewire a lifetime of pain. Or a strong, positive attitude of perseverance will paint its fakeness over the real, uphill drudgery of despair until it magically disappears. 

I'm sure, if there were some magical element that could materialize happiness and positivity out of nowhere, we'd all have signed up for it yesterday. ;)

It is difficult because it IS difficult, it's HEAVY, and it's burdensome for one person to bear up for long extended periods of time without relief. 

 

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Quaddie

Thank you.

I was thinking about also on Maslow's hierarchy, where he has "esteem" - nowadays, people leap to assuming that means self-esteem (pop psychology!!) - but really he also means esteem by others, as in the form of acceptance and respect. And respect is something I've rarely experienced. Not even as in an authority on anything (although I've deserved that at some points), but just as a person. For some reason, it's like impossible for people to treat me with the same respect - esteem - they would others. It's insane, actually. Lots of infantilization and condescension. Criticism that I must have low self-esteem (because I look stereotypically like I do?) and therefore everything I do framed within that assumption - lots of really unflattering and condescending assumptions applied onto me - and then treated snidely or with angry indignation (or even more condescension) if I defy it or stand up against it, as in "How dare you think you are worth anything?" "How silly of you to think these things I believe about you aren't true!" "How dare you think you deserve to be treated equally to anyone else??" Or even just the treatment - even by total strangers - as if I'm a major beyotch if I'm not the passive compliant smiley mousey whatever who exists only to be their ... whatever they decide I am.

So yeah, never really been accepted or acceptable to others - not even basic family - even though *I* personally am okay with who I am, am continually reflected back to me by others how not-okay they feel I am - and how wrong I am to not accept their definitions - and they delve into VERY inappropriate realms, and then if I point out how it crosses boundaries, that is even more "wrongness" and "badness" that I embody, which must be squashed, and how DARE I say that they are being inappropriate!

and this is enforced in ways that threaten my survival (so it's not just shrug-offable). There's no way anymore for me to bend and shape myself into something that others can find acceptable - and my very appearance is constantly now deemed unacceptable, and I'm not going to get surgery or procedures to make other people not-abuse me, and I'm not going to "smile more" just so that others aren't offended by the way aging has made my face appear, just because no one will ascribe it to aging, doesn't make their misjudgments my own burden of responsibility to try to fix or prevent. 

 

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Quaddie

...and it's difficult to explain how difficult life is when EVERYTHING basically is "triggering." Because that's how much stuff has happened.  Can't log into bank even for the simplest of tasks - avoid/panic. Just trying to set up a card and transfers for the "income" I temporarily have is major drama inside me, much days of avoidance and "I-can't-ness" and panic attacks when I actually have to work with it...  It's sort of insane...   And not JUST that. Like... everything. Because so much, so many aspects of my life have been source for trauma. It's insane :(. 

Mail is like a threat...  scary, I hate the mail, it's all over my table, I can't do it (too many bad things have happened from in mail, recurring just when I was starting to get better, and so this is a long-term issue... there's only one real way to make it better, the same "miracle" as what would fix everything else...)   And emails have been so much used against me and contained very bad things, too, that even email... voicemail...phone calls... just everyone needs to leave me alone, lol...

EVERYTHING is... something... Almost anything I watch or see, or do... associates to something else that sets my mind into upsetting places...  it's like constantly dancing on hot coals everywhere.  :(

 

 

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whitebutterfly11

What we often see in survivors of multiple trauma is exactly what you are describing. :( 

Just yesterday my counselor described those feelings as not "triggers' but flashbacks--experienced through any reminder of a traumatic experience from any of the senses, stretching all the way from childhood into present adulthood. Also, the part of the brain responsible for giving us a time reference on when things happened, and what traumatic thing is happening now versus what happened in the past is compromised in trauma, so our brains literally and physically cannot tell the difference between present-day traumatic experiences and emotional flashbacks. They feel exactly the same, even childhood trauma can be felt exactly in the same way decades later, so it makes EVERYTHING dangerous, makes EVERY place or person feel like a threat to who you are.

Sorry, again going all nerd on trauma work. :)

It's also why, in trauma, people often describe themselves as fragmented, divided into parts where each part is associated with a different traumatic experience. It's an interesting process doing deep work, talking to those parts from our adult core that is wise and compassionate, telling our parts (often stuck in a trauma loop), that they are safe, that we are going to take care of them, that their feelings of threat and unease and distress are totally understandable considering what they've been through, and that we will navigate whatever comes up next to the best of our ability. 

I hope that made sense, lol.

So, to you, my wise friend, I say: It's okay to feel ALL of what you are feeling. To experience that sense of inadequacy. To be afraid of mail, of interactions with others who might hurt you, of anything that serves as a threat to you--it's okay because these are your defensive parts taking care of you. Aspects of who you are have been under threat and attack by exploitative people, so your concerns that you are not being seen or heard from your true core are VALID. Because people have attacked you so relentlessly just for being a living, breathing human being. And there is injustice in this all. An injustice that has not been allowed to be expressed, an advocacy that has not been offered to you when you needed it. All of your wise parts know that this is NOT OKAY.

That knowing voice, the one that tells you out loud it's okay: please, please listen to that one. And, in whatever possible way that may make you feel better, even a tiny bit, do what your soul needs whenever it needs it. 

:hug008:

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Quaddie

Don't apologize, I like your nerdy. ;)

The thing is for me, there's never really been any safety. Everything has just piled on and piled on. So there is no real belief of safety or trust in safety because there never has been, and it just keeps getting worse instead of better, at a point in life where I'm too tired and too sick of everything to even have any iota of desire to navigate or deal or engage with any of it, anymore.   And also because it's not just "old" stuff, it keeps happening more and more, new stuff, worse and worse, and it's ENOUGH and I just can't.

If I can't rapidly find a way to subsist without immersing again into intolerable circumstances, I honestly don't know what I'll do.

 

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Quaddie

This is how stupid this is.

I have to pay for medical insurance. So, bill paying itself...  is panic-inducing. But then so is medical anything. And envelopes and... everything. All of it.

I go to log in to pay and realize I don't know the login to pay (the first time I paid, it went through a different site).

I'm not sure which site to go through...  I'm panicking... going through my emails... One (direct from the company) says something about a stupid invoice from in the mail, except I'd already PAID that initial fee so I didn't think there'd be an invoice AND of course I don't/can't look at my mail.

...my chest starts hurting from the stress..

...so I have to try to recover an account or login or whatever from the company's direct site, and it tells me I have to look at the invoice (which I don't have and won't go look through my mail for)...    then a different recovery wants my member number...

...so I walk away going 'I can't do this i can't do this" and panicking and pacing angrily and upsettedly and go into my bedroom to go for my purse where the health card is to get the member number

... at this point I have to distract myself because I KNOW it's stupid and I can't DEAL so I open this window on this site and start to type to vent about how stupid I am...

so I go back into the bedroom to dig out the health card that came in the mail. It's in an envelope, still sealed, in my purse. Because yes, even opening an envelope that has my health card is just too much.

So I have the envelope and I'm panicking of course...  I slit it open and TYPE A BUNCH OF STUFF HERE to distract myself...

pull out the card and I can't look at it...

type some more...

wishing I could take some sort of substance to help me, but realizing this isn't a "big enough deal" to warrant it...

go find the tab with the login (I don't know about you, but I'm a browser many-multi-tabber, heheh)

enter the member number and make sure it's the right amount of digits... while still sort of freaking out 

enter all the info only I don't know the username and it's requiring it, holy crap just let me into the dang account I can't deal...

I take a guess and it says it's invalid and I'm losing it, then I see the screen actually gives me first and last letter of the real username with a bunch of asterisks so I am able to figure out the dang username (phew!)

It says my password recovery is complete and it'll email me a link to reset it, but it's taken me so long and so much stress to just get THAT far that I don't know if I can do any more... :( 
I manage to do it anyway... because I'm afraid it'll expire if I wait...

 

...and that's as far as I got. I still don't know if this is the right site to pay from.

that's how stupid this is. Every little thing.

 

 

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Quaddie

.... andddddddddddddddd...... I know it's nothing to anyone, but that system wouldn't let me pay via a card I know I can legally use to pay, so now there's more drama and I just can't.

Also today there's some problem with my filing a claim that I'm entitled to enter into this system, and it's not working, and I could be eff'd because something is wrong and it's not letting me in...... and I needed substance help to even DO it this week......... so ..... it's a week's benefits at stake (or more) and feeling just effed in general by the world...  and wasted the state I needed to get in, in order to try....

I know, I know, I know, my drama is nothing   ..... but I can't describe my level of despair.

 

(Update, I was finally able to get into that claim system using a third type of browser after waiting a while, and submit that, but not before seriously being upset and panicking...   it was a system glitch but because there was something weird about the info I had to submit last week it was possible that the whole thing was going to go Kaput for me, which would have seriously impacted my life...  still going to panic for the next few weeks about it, probably...  because it's still not formally resolved...)

 

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Bennu

If it helps any, Quaddie, you aren't alone. I have similar issues with dealing with things stemming from my abusive marriage. I pay estimated taxes and each time it is a panic inducing long session where I forget how I did it the last time and go to the wrong web page etc. It can take several hours to do something that should take a few minutes. The panic seems to make me not leave clear instructions for myself or be able to remember obvious things. Each time I tell myself that it wasn't as bad as I expected and it will get better. It has gotten better but I wish that the process of healing was a lot faster than it is. It causes a lot of procrastination that only makes the panic worse. I have to do some things to day that I have been putting off for weeks.

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Quaddie

Thank you

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whitebutterfly11

So very agonizing to have to do the very things that cause panic because life requires it to be so. :(

I'm so sorry--it sounds awful. How are you feeling today?

 

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Quaddie

Thank you - yes, and this was just one thing among the zillions in everyday life. Not including some other even worse and bigger "things."

Today I am thinking that my brain is so permanently damaged that I can't even dream or hope anymore. It's hard to muster a sliver of ...anything. This isn't temporary... and it's not something that some intolerable pill would fix. It's just the impact of being completely worn out - like a gear that's lost its teeth - from too much in life. I don't think the psyche is ever-resilient any more than tissue can be cut and smashed repeatedly and still be expected to bounce back. 

:(

Sorry, I'm a debbie downer. I feel like there's really no one who understands  the whole situation in its entirety - it's not even entirely about psyche. It's in large percentage a huge mismatch between who and what I am, and what a person is "supposed to" be in order to survive - and in not being able to subsist unless doing things that actually harm and smother me intolerably, and which I am seen as unacceptable and so continually having to fight and bear the burden of trying to prevent others from hurting me, on many different levels and dimensions. Yeah, I know, I can't really explain it all. (And I know I'm supposed to have self-selected out of that system and found another way, but yeah that's the magical miracle that if I could make happen I would, or that I'm too stupid or lazy or failure or incapable or not good enough or whatever to make happen.)

So out of sync with the world and everything in it, I really don't even want to be in deeper - I see things differently, and I don't feel things the way most do. The perspective change came about gradually over years, more and more, and it's not something temporary that I will "get over" or is a result of being burnt out or that I will heal from.  

 

*Disclaimer: This isn't typical so other people shouldn't take my experience as negative or predictive in relation to their own lives. 

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Quaddie

Literally feel like there is no place for me and no real way to exist.

Between my own personal struggles and the world, life has a nightmarish quality I can't shake. It feels all wrong - nothing is okay, or good or right.

I can't fit into any prescribed role and I'm not safe doing so.

I waited too long (too many setbacks, distractions, lack of focus, etc)  to do what my soul wanted - and now it doesn't feel like much anymore. And I think I'm losing physical abilities necessary to do that, and which are ultra-important to me. So, a life wasted.

My very face is intolerable to others, as is my speaking voice. (the former has been flat-out told to me, many times, and even warnings and formal actions taken against me, yet I don't consider it my burden to become hyperfocused on how others might be perceiving my face just because of their own misjudgments, and it grows worse in spurts the older I get - and I have some vocal dysphonia which even when I "come out" about it, or try to explain, makes no difference to the misjudgments - any explanations of physical factors is merely seen as being "ridiculous" and "defensive" - and taking the high road makes no difference, either.).   I am simply unsafe everywhere. 

And there's nothing I want to do, nothing fits into my soul or life or that I care about....to please others? To live my life using up all my everything just to try to please someone else and keep them from misjudging me just so I can survive? the thought sickens and disgusts me to my very basic cells...I can't step into that prison anymore... that threat-filled, unsafe prison that robs me from my own self....      I just can't. 

And there's no capacity under which I can do it. There's no role I want or really can do without actively hurting, or losing my very self. Field changed and I don't care for what it is anymore. I don't care about any thing. Obviously I suck at other stuff that "looks like" what I might do (based on stereotypes, so those are what I "can" get.) And there's nothing new or suitable I could "learn" even if I wanted to, I still can't. None of it aligns at all with who I am, and I can't expend my self, my limited resources to it, and still remain me. I have physical issues, growing. It's like a nightmare, the prospect to step into something else... some other environment that is not mine, some other place where every move and moment and expression (and physical needs) are watched and judged and criticized. Physical issues,, nothing relatable to others, I must hide them and punish myself - they're not "bad" enough to warrant disability (nor would I want it, and NOR would it be anywhere near enough to subsist on, anyway, and nor would the process to obtain such even be within the realm of feasibility)... but issue upon issue, layered. All of it, feeding into this maelstrom of "there's nothing I can - or want to - do, there's nothing safe, there's nothing okay."

 

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whitebutterfly11

Does it feel like surrendering, in a way? Like, there is nothing that can change the discrimination/abuse/pain from happening--it will always present no matter what you do, or how hard you try to resist it?

It reminds me of the learned helplessness concept where our consciousness has been beaten down so much, over and over again by others (and situations), that we feel like there is no escape. Maybe the options are so grim that anything we choose is going to lead to MORE abuse/inner torture/pain, so we LITERALLY cannot escape (which is how it sounds in your case). So what other option do we have than to lie down in the minefield and surrender to it?

I think it takes YEARS of abuse and psychological torment for an individual to arrive at this place. We aren't born feeling this way at all--it's definitely a result of unsafe environments over long periods of time, trying over and over again to fight/avoid/resist. So from this I know that you must have been through years of psychological torture.  And that, to me, is something to be taken seriously, to believe firmly, that deserves SO MUCH support. 

 

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Quaddie

No... not surrender, more like hopelessness and incredible anger  and frustrating futility that I'm not a person that can subsist in "what-is," and there's nothing that suits me, and that everywhere I go, people treat me like crap - and it'd be seen as "my fault" but I honestly can't really do anything about it without completely losing my own self. 

it's not learned helplessness in the sense that it's just a "perception" of helplessness. There actually is not anything. And it's not "just" about abuse or PTSD. Not just stuff that exists as if it's "just" fear. It's real. 

Like, not only is there fear and ptsd but genuinely legitimate "I can't do this anymore" - not just a crying-out of frustration, but a solid fact - for any number of other  reasons - in addition to the fact that I'm seen as intolerable and then castigated anyway (which I have negative 100000% ability to handle)...     there are genuinely mental, physical, soul/spiritual/philosophical reasons...   of course being condemned repeatedly just for who and what you are would be too much for anyone.

But it's not even a "world" I belonged in, in the first place. I obviously don't belong in that world and therefore cannot succeed within it. And even trying to exist within it, takes so much of myself and my physical, mental and emotional/psychological abilities that it leaves absolutely nothing left for me. And all I care about in life anymore IS what's left for me. (And the obvious "options" - I've already thought of, tried, nothing really works, I don't know, there's just no answer.) But it's so harmful and has been so horrific to me that I can't even bear the thought of stepping a toe back into it - yet existence requires that.   

And there's nothing I can actually muster any interest in doing in that world. What I say there's nothing I can do, I mean there's nothing suitable that I can do, or that others would find valuable that I even can pretend to give two rat's butts about, enough to justify my existence in their minds (so that I can subsist). 

And I can't even bear the idea of living within those environments at all, like being raw flesh unendingly subjected to the burning sun and not permitted clothing or sunscreen or shade. Forced to stand there, sizzling - and smile and pretend you are not blistering and burning up. 

So of course I have to find some magical solution (we always come back to that) which allows me to exist without that, but of course, since it's magical and all, it'd take a miracle, and I'm not necessarily able to do it, or good enough, or whatever-enough (not in terms of "just needing a self-esteem boost and 'you can do it!'" blahblahs...  but I mean realistically speaking)...

There literally is no escape unless I magically make some sort of miracle. 

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Quaddie

Heh... realizing that it may sound like I'm being more metaphorical than I really am, sometimes....

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