When Your Heart Is Just Too Heavy

TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about some issues that might be triggering, please consider before reading.

My heart is so very, very heavy and I have that aching tightness in my throat from needing to cry, but not being able to get out one tear.

I have read too many stories today of CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse) and ChurchToo survivors. I have to read them – my heart demands I bare witness to their stories and hear their truth. But it brings pain – not just the pain that flows from their words and must be a daily part of their lives – but it stirs up my own pain, reminds me that the lid is still open on the well of my own experiences.

I also printed out almost an entire journal to read, that was recommended through the GRACE organisation – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. The journal was titled ‘Child Absue and the Chrusch – Prevention, Pastoral Care and Healing. I didn’t really read it as I printed, but my heart broke again that it is even needed in the first place.

Why am I putting myself through such tough reading, such constant exposure to horrible issues? Because I can’t just sit and do nothing. There are too many hurting people out there, hurting people that all too often don’t find the comfort they need within churches, and if in my battles to make people talk about these things more and have a gentle, loving response to survivors, I can help at least one person to feel listened to, valued and loved, through one of the most horrific life-experiences, then it is more than worth my pain, my heavy heart, my sore throat, my nightmares.

For now, my heart is too heavy and it has exhausted me. Sometimes seeing hope is nearly impossible and the mountain seems overwhelmingly steep.

So for now, I’m going to seek hopeful-oblivion in an afternoon nap.

Another day

The main smell right now is of drying laundry that stinks of damp.

It’s been sitting in a washing machine or washing basket waiting to be hung up for too long, then put through again on an optimistic morning and left a day or two… then again … and now the damp smell just won’t leave. It’s too wet now to hang outside to give it a good airing, so I guess L and I are going to be smelling a bit musty for a week. 
At least, I hope it’s just a week. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before.  Seriously, if smells could be the soundtrack of your life? Damp laundry would be a major theme in mine …
I wasn’t going to write tonight. I thought about it and decided I didn’t have anything positive to say; I didn’t have any sort of conclusion to arrive at; I had no funny story to tell or any nice photo to share. 
And then I realised. 
That’s kind of what this whole thing is about, right? 
I’m here, past midnight, can’t sleep, lousy day, crap thoughts, bad habits, depressing weather, sad prospects, confused AF … but this is my reality. This is life with PTSD. This is life fighting to recover from 22 years of abuse. This is life not making it every day. 
You know what? This is life. This is life!! I’m still here! I’m still fighting. I’m still searching for God in all of this. I still want to try. I’m still living this life. 

UnHappy Father’s Day?

Origionally Posted on 19th June, 2016

This is for you if Father’s Day is far from happy; if you can’t think about your father without it bringing you pain; if you roll your eyes when you see yet another card with words like ‘daddy’, ‘hero’, ‘the best’ on it.

This is for you if you can’t find anything to celebrate about your father; if you get a pang of jealousy when someone says how great their dad is; if you avoid the question when asked if you’re doing anything for father’s day.

This is for you if you feel slightly sick when you read another facebook post gushing about a great dad; if singing church songs about ‘Father God’ is confusing; if you know your children will never know their grandfather.

This is for you if you see a little girl with her dad and pray hard that he’ll never hurt her; if hearing how earthly fathers are meant to be a picture of our heavenly Father makes you question your faith; if sometimes – when memories are the darkest and the pain is too much to bear – you wish you never knew your father.

I don’t have words or answers. Just questions and pain. But I’m thinking of you and hoping that this year Father’s Day is a little easier than the last one.

Most of all, when you roll your eyes at yet-another dad advert, give your finger to a ‘family is the best’ movie or burst into tears over a spilt drink because it’s easier than crying over what really makes you sad … know you are not alone.

Here’s to too much chocolate, silly comedy and cold cider!

dscf1412

Oh Hello PTSD

“Power on through. You can do this. Power on through. You can do this. Power on through. You can do this.”

I was walking along the unfamiliar pavement, rapeating these lines outloud (to my embarrassment) to myself, getting that slightly burning wheeze that comes from cold air, fast walking, a general lack of fitness … and panic.

I’d pushed the button to get off at the next bus stop, but I hadn’t known until that moment that this bus didn’t stop at the bottom of the hill, but went round to the next road. I had already been running late, now I just couldn’t think about the time.

When I say ‘I just couldn’t think about the time’, I mean I actually could not think about the time. I had to tell myself my watch was running 10 minutes fast and that everything was going to be ok.

Otherwise I was going to run away.

I know, because I’ve done it before.

You know what? I made it! I made it to work, my boss didn’t say anything about the time, work happend, I left, I still had my job. In my book, that’s a win.

It turns out, I’m needed in my job, I want to be there, I feel like I’m in the right place. But I left feeling heavy, sad, disappointed – those last 3 minutes before getting there had been a big fight.

The buzz of the first two weeks of working again is settling into normality. The drive to prove myself capable and entitled to this job is melding into the reality of beating my fears every time I go to work; of knowing that most people don’t even know that ringing that doorbell is an act of courage every single time.

PTSD becomes a part of my everyday life. Has probably been for longer than I’d be able to admit. It doesn’t become easier, but it does become a wierd kind of normality. Do I forget it’s there? Um, no! I don’t forget the nightmares that happen every night or the 13 times I have to check the front door is locked before I can go to bed. Do I try to minimise it’s impact on my life and pretend that I can do whatever anyone else can do without it causing negative affects? Abso-flipping-lutely I do!

The reality comes sneaking up behind me and knocks me over the head. PTSD is a real and living thing in my life and sometimes, it can be cripplng.

This morning I made it to work and everything was ok. This evening I didn’t make it out to homegroup and I sobbed into my knees with frustration and shame after my husband accepted a lift there (despite not wanting to go) and I stayed at home.

I felt like I had failed and I felt so small and pathetic. Once again I had oh-so-very-publicly demonstrated that I am Not Normal.

I meant to go. I even got the bus home instead of walking so I’d have enough energy to go to homegroup and be normal and stuff. But the car giving a lift only had one spare seat, so was very happy to come back for me … but I would be causing an extra lift (I HATE it when people have to put themselves out for me) and I’d have to do it alone with a man …

My throat started to close up and I actually froze mid-conversation. Dam. I thought I was being normal … right?

Both me and my ever-lovely husband knew right then that I wasn’t going to be going. I tried to tell myself it was still going to happen … somehow.

But I got supper just that bit too late. The doorbell rang while L was atill eating. I wanted to run and hide but had to answer the door … I have this cringe-worthy need to fill any silence that could be interpreted as awkward when I’m tired or nervous … I was both … I knew I wasn’t going, I guessed that the kind-but-still-male person knew I wasn’t going … and knew that I knew that he knew … and L went when he had worked longer, harder, more frustrating hours than me …

And I stayed at home and sobbed into my knees. Even though I hate crying.

Oh, hello PTSD.