So what’s up with me? I’m not entirely sure, it has no name. Every November I risk losing my mind. My brain and body attack me until I wave the white flag. I think it may be some physical and psychological symptoms working together – like an annual perfect storm.
I think my PTSD kicks up a notch with triggers all around.I fear all of the upcoming holiday gatherings and memories of years past. My guilt picks up as I dread gift exchanges, never having enough money and giving handmade gifts, or sometimes nothing at all. I am tormented by giving tons of junk to my kids so they can have the same experience their friends have, and my own belief that the stuff is junk and not needed and I hate feeding their greed and materialism. (NEW! My therapist has a new theory as well, she thinks the darkness of the shorter days is actually a trigger to me since most of my abuse occurred when I was in my room at night. I may be feeling like it is almost bed time all day long, triggering my fear of abuse. Not sure what to do with this new theory though, just tossing it out there for consideration.)
I think my immune system crashes, after months of fighting allergies to pollen, grass and mold, and the rotting leaves outside and the dry/dusty furnace air inside put me over the top. I get so dry that I can’t smile without my lips cracking and bleeding. My lips cause me all sorts trouble, from peeling to cracking, to chronic painful sores (chelitis and cold sore blisters – not so pretty). Running humidifiers, drinking extra water, peroxide rinses and using lip balm helps a little. My sinuses and ears stay blocked up, I have a constant headache and can barely hear. Antihistamines and decongestants only help a little. Neti pot and showers help more. (I have spoken to a friend with lupus and have decided to visit a rheumatologist to investigate a possible autoimmune disease. I’d hate to blame PTSD and actually have a physical disease. I get rashes from the sunlight, joint pain (I have a special mouse that keeps my thumb straight, have to wrap my knee to prevent it from locking while I sleep, have red swollen knuckles, mouth/nose sores, GI issues)
My sleep/dream cycle goes batsh*t crazy. I can’t sleep very long at all, sometimes wake up after just 10-15 minutes with a feeling like I have slept longer and get so disappointed to see the same TV program is still on. Often I can’t sleep on purpose, like a restless toddler, I can only fall asleep when I’m not trying. If I lay down and try to sleep, I get a panic attack. The flip side is I fall asleep when I don’t want to, like during business meetings. And my dreams are always vivid and wild, sometimes terrifying, sometimes just wild goose chasing – always exhausting. I’ve increased vitamin D supplements again, reduced caffeine, try meditating, and that list goes on, I blog about it often. But the fact remains that a big part of me still fears falling asleep.
My negative mental tapes start running and looping endlessly. I fall into cognitive distortion land where everything is black/white and all or nothing, I misunderstand simple comments and interactions to my detriment, and I somehow misconstrue my own beliefs to unintentionally sound hurtful. I think I’m not good enough, feel like everyone is sick of me, that I’m a huge bother, and can’t accept any compliments without it feeling patronizing.
I stop taking care of my body. This time of year, my eating gets all disordered. I don’t ever feel hungry or full, so I try to eat by the clock and the plate size, but I end up not eating for way too long, and overeating sometimes too. I get random cravings, I stress eat junk food, and sometimes I get a panic feeling when I start eating and I just can’t stop, so the overeating enters binge territory. And then the shame, hiding the wrappers and empty containers from my family, avoiding the scale, knowing my pants are getting tighter. I’m too tired to move, I barely shower and change clothes, actual exercise seems impossible. More shame. I want to be healthy. I know I’m mistreating my body, but I can’t figure out how to change this part yet. (NEW! My therapist has a theory about this too. She thinks part of me wants Hubby to scold me for over eating and putting on weight – like my both my parents always did. She thinks I still don’t trust that he loves me for being me, and that I may be partially testing him to see if he can love a fat slob. I don’t want to be that messed up, but I’m not ruling it out. ALSO something very interesting. I was playing Sims with my 2nd grader last week, and creating a sim that looked as close to me as possible. I adjusted the body weight to what I thought was accurate, and he started laughing and asked why I made myself so fat. ?? I was seriously confused and asked him to make it look like me, and I thought he was just being nice when he went down several sizes. My therapist said a 2nd grader wouldn’t be nice, he was being honest, and that I seem to have some body dysmorphic disorder to go along with all my other distortions. She told me I am beautiful and I cringed and felt nauseous. Hmmm. I understand this intellectually, I took psych courses. But once again understanding does not translate to instant change. My BMI is 1 point on the overweight side, but could I be wrong about what the extra 10-15 pounds looks like on me? I feel huge and uncomfortable at my current weight.)
So lots to think about, that’s for sure. MIL is taking kids for the few days and I intend to sleep, sleep and sleep, and focus on my eating and any feelings I have while eating (homework from therapist).
- It’s beginning to look a lot like SAD and PTSD (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- Welcome to the Body Issue (theinvisibleprincess.com)
- Eat, sleep, repeat (knimbus.com)
- The Connection Between Sleep and Appetite (psychologytoday.com)