I’ve lived with PTSD for 50-years but I wasn’t alone in my grief.
Everyone who has come in contact with me has sensed an underlying tension. It’s true. That tension, for me, was the only constant in my life; it’s a non-stop buzzing feeling, like there is an electrical current running through my spine and I know this because when I’m perfectly still, I can feel the pressure, especially those moments when the current cuts out and the buzzing-feeling and tingly sensation in my spine stops and my inner ear is calm.
This occurs at the atomic level and my subconscious and aside from the buzzing it is imperceptible until a thing triggers a spasm or episode and then the roiling begins, that I choose to either feed or suppress, it’s my choice. These triggers produce a range of behaviors from mild annoyance to rage.
I have suppressed the PTSD my whole life, internalizing my anger by allowing it to be a vanguard to difficult situations; fight or flight were the only options anymore. So I grew up using a defensive posture approach to everything and my passive-agression would enable me to execute a sudden disappearance without so much as a goodbye if I felt unsafe.
I’ll spare you the details, so let me just say I was traumatized as a child from years of physical abuse before becoming a ward of the State of California as a minor and then undergoing years of sexual/physical abuse by my keepers. Juvenile halls are the worse but they are also a bootcamp for a young life.
Alas, all I’m left with is my anger. I don’t know its origins. I suppose its a result of suppression of my courage to shout down those who would do me harm. I’ve lived with it my entire life and to say it had a profound impact on my life’s choices is a gross understatement.
I see my life and the way it began, as a bicycle race. When the gun sounded I fell down. By the time I recovered and got back in the race, I never saw the Peloton again. I just kept peddling. It turns out my race was a little different; it came with a view. Instead of keeping my head down and pushing ahead, I took my sweet time and enjoyed the ride.
I turned inward for direction, and to mollify my spirit and my ego, I invested heavily in my own two hands.
Between my hands and eyes is the space where my mind lives. It’s also the most comfortable space I possess, where I am the most productive and creative, but more importantly, it’s my defense against dementia. To keep my mind sharp, I force it to solve the mysteries of life, to overcome challenges at every turn, and I have a voracious appetite for knowledge; when my hands aren’t making something, I’m reading about what my hands could be doing if they weren’t holding a book or typing at the keyboard.
PTSD is a toxic waste of time unless you can harness its energy.