Avoidance


Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks, but it has been very difficult for me. I have been doing my usual behavior when things get painful, avoid them. As I move forward to file my claim, it has become abundantly clear that it is going to be the most painful experience of my life, which is why I have been dragging my feet on it.

My accordion file that I have kept for over a decade that is stuffed with the ‘dream documentation’ is so intimidating to me. I can pick it up, I can move it. I can pull the stuff out of it. But I just can’t seem to bring myself to read it. I haven’t read through anything that is in there is many years, so I really couldn’t say what all was in there. Joan helped me go through it a few weeks ago, but neither of us actually read any of it. It is over 100 pages of documentation.

My therapist said last week’s appointment was going to be the most difficult one we have ever had, because we were going to be going through over 10 years of treatment records. She had wanted to do that, so that I could know what was in them in case we had to turn them over to the VA as part of the documentation of my claim of PTSD and MST. I really didn’t want to do this, because I didn’t want to know what was in there. I was on edge the whole time for the 2 weeks before that appointment.

She was right, it was hard. We didn’t find too many references in there about my rape or harassment, just the initial diagnosis, and a few references here and there. I was kind of disappointed by this, but realized that it is more supporting documentation that I did suffer. She said that I had been in bad  shape when I first started seeing her, and her immediate concern was to get me to be able to function now, not live in the past. She was right, I had desperately needed to figure out how to get past all of that, and get through today, not keep reliving the horrible nightmare that was my life.

I have always avoided things that hurt me. I didn’t speak to my mom for 5 years at one point, because dealing with my alcoholic step father was becoming too much for me. I haven’t spoken to my sister in years, except on rare occasions, because she has done so many things that are beyond hurtful to me. My therapist actually says this is a good thing, that I avoid toxic relationships. So, it is no surprise that I locked all this documentation away, and never looked at it again.

But I have to now. I have tried my darndest to avoid it, but if I am to move forward with the claim, or if I want to join the class action lawsuit against the military, I have no choice but to read through it. My PTSD and time have really affected my memory, so I need to re-familiarize myself with it all. Over 100 pages of the most hurtful experiences of my life, and I have to re-live it all over again. This is exactly what I said I never wanted to do. But I am. And it really does hurt. Since that appointment this last Wednesday, I have been reading through a little bit of the stuff every day, and when I put it aside, it takes me a little while to realize that I am here, not in my past. It is so vivid, like I am really there, kind of weird.

I am amazed myself at what all I have. I really kept some good stuff, never knowing that it would help me over a decade or 2 later. I just kept it as an insurance policy, that none of my unit senior staff would try to harm me as long as I had this stuff. So, I have decided that maybe I should post some of the stuff from my accordion file to this blog. Joan always said that she had us do this blog to help us deal with things, not for the masses. But if the masses were able to find comfort in our words, then it was so much better. So, when I am up to it (which is quite the battle these days) I am going to start posting some of my statements, and some of the other things I have found in my little file. Feel free to read them, or avoid them. I am really only doing it for me at this point, and doing something only for myself is rare.

God Bless,

Brigid

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