Saturday, January 17, 2015

Close Encounters

I had one of those encounters the other day that made me question my sanity and healing. Let me start by saying, this may not make sense to you. Perhaps my reactions are deeply etched in my psyche by the abuse, but that's part of the reason for putting it out here for others to see and, hopefully, comment on. 

I was sitting in the waiting room of a local business, reading my book (which we all know = my invisibility cloak), when a younger woman asked me if my basket contained crocheting or knitting. I told her it was crocheting, which then led to a discussion on the merits of each and my personal opinion that most people are either a crocheter or a knitter, even if they are capable of both. One thing led to another and as she was very interested in the pattern I was using, I handed her one of my cards and told her she could find the pattern on my blog.

I'm used to brief questioning when I share my card, as the primary topic listed is PTSD and child sexual abuse recovery. Most people move right on past that if they are interested in crafting or recipes. This woman sat and stared for a few seconds, and then asked, "What does this mean? Healing from PTSD?" I gave my quick and dirty answer -- I was diagnosed 14 years ago with chronic PTSD and the blog is a compilation of things I have found healing. She looked at me and said, "I'm going to cry."

I, of course, apologized for upsetting her (and felt my world start to tilt a bit). She said, she too had been diagnosed with PTSD, and she believed there are no coincidences in life. I felt my shell drawing in tighter around me.

This is the problem with being open about the abuse. I'm not always in a good place to share the healing. I've been going through some stuff myself right now that's taking a lot of my energy. I assured her she was welcome to check out the blog and garner what she could. Then I kept trying to figure out a way to get back to my invisibility cloak. Blessedly, her name was called and I was saved.

So here's the real issue, by the time I left, I couldn't shake that feeling that I had done something wrong, or left something unfinished, or worse yet, that I was now responsible for her healing (even though I have NO IDEA who she is!). Yes, I know it's not rational, but that didn't quell the words floating around in my head.

I shared a bit on Facebook and got some good support. I shared with my husband, and he didn't scoff or make fun of me. But I was tired. Rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired at 4:00 in the afternoon!

And then, THEN. The next morning I went to a yoga class. A really good yoga class. Afterwards I'm talking to the instructor and she reprimands me for not having kept up with my yoga practice during the toughest portion of my healing. She too is a survivor, and it's what got her through it. I "should" have made yoga a priority. Somewhere in this discussion, I realized she didn't know my story and had no authority to judge what I'd done, but it made me so mad! I shared with her so she could better understand where I was in my practice, and she shat all over it (me). 

So I was rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired by noon on Friday. Of course some of that could have been the class itself, or the fact that I fell in the mud afterwards walking to my car.

Nonetheless, I did survive. I'm not looking for approval (or maybe I am), but I do wonder why it matters so much to me if someone else can understand my reactions to these events.


1 comment:

  1. If it will make you feel any better, I do not have ptsd or a history of abuse but sometimes how I have reacted to people makes me uncomfortable.
    I spent a career as a teacher and played the political game which was masking what I thought and smiling at people. I stifled so much of myself. I am a creative person and it spills out at the edges.
    Anyway, I'll point to a specific item. I ran into two of the "beautiful people" who are natural borne players in the world of politics. I just did not feel like seeing them but before I could go another direction, my dang dog hones in for some serious sniffing. Long story short, they bound up to me. I barely acknowledge them.
    I should have greeted them and all the jazz like I did in the past. I really did not understand why I did as I did. I just did not want to fool with them. If and when I see them again, I will be friendly and act as if it did not happen. I really feel awkward.
    I think you did much in sharing your ptsd. There is comfort in not being alone with your problems. You are just a caring person. However, everyone must reach their own peace and you should not feel responsible.
    With the yoga instructor, that is the problem with sharing with people. They get to feeling they have a right to have an opinion and input in what is personal to you. She stepped over the boundary. She may have similar experiences but she is not you.
    Take care, Ann


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