Today I was this close to freaking out. Since last night, I had been calling my mother and father and not getting an answer. I didn't think too much about it until I got to work this morning. It's not like my father to not answer or reply to my message, my mother is another story--she doesn't even know how to check her voicemail and doesn't want to learn.
Anyhow I started calling again and again I realized. The fact that I wasn't getting through only made me want to call more. My imagination was racing. My parents still can't get a landline at the house. So they both have cellphones and it didn't make sense that neither of them was answering. The smaller the intervals got between my calls...I had to do it...the more my anxiety increased. Finally my mother answered. She had been having reception problems and everything is fine.
It's things like that I think about. There's no going back to normal...there's only getting better from here. Nothing will ever be the same as before. I catch myself in moments doing things and reacting to life in ways that are so vulnerable and fragile. Sigh. It's fascinating and scary at the same time. None of what I'm writing probably makes much sense. But I'm trying not to be too conscious of that.
Post-traumatic stress is like having a fire drill every day. You know there isn't really a crisis but your body and emotions react as if there is one. And there are all kinds of trauma. There is the trauma of disaster or major events, but there is also trauma caused by personal experiences like psychological or physical crisis. It's hard for me to decide how much detail to blog about, but I have had all three. Most of them I had put into some sort of perspective. But Katrina is like a bad child tearing through the house pulling things off shelves and out of drawers. So things completely unrelated to Katrina get pulled out of mothballs. And just like a fire drill, your brain goes into its files and references anything associated with trauma to figure out how to cope with the latest event.
After having been almost completely shut down, it has been a shock to my system to be thrust back out into life again. And it's taking more time and patience and effort than I would have imagined to get my equilibrium back.
It's not all bad though...the most important memory in my mind's file is that I am strong and able. So most days, even when it doesn't seem like it, I have been sustained by the sincere belief that things will get better. I can't imagine what things what have been like it I wasn't so stubbornly convinced of that. And as I said, lately I have actually had more than just moments where everything seem back in sync. Like when you finally get a signal for the radio station you're searching for...
So that's why I post all the silly stuff. It makes me smile. And I'm not going to stop smiling, no matter what.