Hello darkness, my old friend…

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

Until today, these lyrics from the song Sound of Silence had a completely different meaning to me. I’m not sure how I could have listened to it a million times and related it to PTSD, but I completely missed it. This morning, however, the first two lines came to me as I started thinking of a moment I had last night before bedtime.

I have been living in recovery with PTSD for almost two decades now, and for the most part, it has faded into a light haze rather than a menacing darkness.  Still, there are moments that always catch me off guard and and make me worry about what is to come. Last night, something triggered a thought, a question of when something happened, and even though, as most of us do, I immediately told myself that’s not something I even want to know, the fear crept up that my brain would not let go.

Sometimes I feel like my mind and my trauma scarred brain are often at odds. My brain says it needs to tell me things, while my mind says I really don’t want or need to know. All these years later, the two still fight like children about who gets to sit in the front seat of the car. This struggle between the two left me wondering before bedtime if I would have a nightmare about what I didn’t want to remember, or if I would wake up with a new memory. It was so unsettling that it was hours before I could make myself try to fall asleep.

Fortunately, I woke to find my fear had not come true, but there is still this nagging feeling that my brain is just dying to tell me what it knows. I know the longer I ignore it, the more horrifyingly dramatic ways it will present my story when it finally breaks out into it’s performance though. So I wait for a moment when I can cuddle up quietly and allow it to speak softly with me about the things it needs to tell me. I will listen and allow it to get all the negative it’s been holding out, and I will grieve anew and give myself time to accept the feelings that I should have felt and dealt with long ago…

Hello darkness, my old friend…

I fear…

In the past few years, I have made great strides in coming to terms with my experiences as a child, and the effects that they have left behind.  Over time, I have come to understand that many of the things that I believed to be true about myself were incorrect because my perception had been marred by the beliefs of my abusers.  I have become someone who is comfortable in her own skin, and who believes that she is worthy and worthwhile.

And yet, there are still moments (like today, when I was watching Ice Princess) that I fear so many things about the person I am, and who I am to become.

What do I fear?  I fear…

That I will never be good enough
That I will never be anything more than mundane
That I will never make a difference
That I will never be unique
That I can never aspire to accomplish my hopes & dreams
That I will always be inadequate

Those are the things I fear.  I know that my fears are irrational – that they are a by-product of my childhood.  I have been conditioned to believe that failure is inevitable.  I have been taught that it is shameful to fail.  That is why I will not reach for anything that I am not positive I can accomplish – for I will surely fall and it will break me. I was broken for the first twenty years of my life, and I just don’t think I could stand to be broken once again…

And then I go on with daily life.  I suck it up, forget that I am afraid, and return to the struggle of maintaining a life that is safe and secure.

The Story Left Untold…

There is a part of me that says that I have healed. It tells me that the wrongs that I suffered as a child have been forgiven, and that I should move on. Yet something in me still says, “No, only half the story has been spoken, the other still remains.”

I struggle back and forth when the images enter my head. I tell myself it’s over, I should forget about it, it’s dead. I do not see a reason to drag those things up now. Just let it lie as sleeping dogs, and forget it for a while. If I am really quiet when there is a stirring or a sound, the deep slumber of the memories will once again return.

It is the times just after the memories fall back to sleep that I struggle with these thoughts the most. I am relieved that they are sleeping. The thought of waking them by my own choice seems rather unwise. Yet I know that it is better for me to stir them than for them to stir me.

The other memories no longer haunt me, their story has been told. They are still unpleasant, but they are no longer menacing. These memories however, long to claim my soul. They make me feel nasty inside. When they come I feel the helplessness all over again. Innocence slips away. Repulsion chokes me. There is only darkness where they roam, and I don’t want to be where they are. So, I let the story fade into harmlessness and forget it all once more.

I know that the shadows that wait for me will not hurt me. I’ve walked through them before. Yet I still fear that they will take me, and I will not return once more.

As I sit in silence, I look out into the shadows that hiss and moan. They are waking up again – moving just outside the light. They call out my name, and they beacon me to come. They want me to come listen to a story – a story I have not told…