“Some people’s lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That’s what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can’t process it because it doesn’t fit with what came before or what comes afterwards.”
― Jessica Stern
And then you have a random day where everything seems wonderful. I’ve been in public without getting sick. I’ve stopped and talked to a friend and laughed. I’m only dealing with minimal physical ailments this morning. Maybe the weed, klonopin, Valium and ativan are working. I’m not asking questions. I’m just going to enjoy the ride. Reality will be back soon enough. At least I’m not sick despite all of the medication.
I wish I had had the break from some of the side effects from when we went and took pictures on Sunday. I was all dosed up and ready to face the people and overstimulation of my brain. The plan was to take Marshall to the botanical gardens and let him ride the choo-choo. Off our little family goes to find the choo-choo. Did I mention that I had been dosed with a good bit of meds before I left the house? I vaped on my wax pen all the way to our destination at the Botanical Gardens.
Everything was going fine. Marshall was enjoying running around being a kid. Mel was…well….being a mixture of a professional photographer and a mommy. Today was going to be the day that Marshall and I had “mommy/son pictures.” Other families were there having picnics and just enjoying a nice, cool Sunday late morning and taking in the scenery. The people were spread out so, at least, I wouldn’t have to worry about them touching me. I had my wax pen ready, my sunshades to hide my life full of shame and my IPod ready to face any type of external or internal stimulation.
Marshall was showing me things and asking, “Bite you?” So, our conversation was typically, “No, baby, flowers don’t bite.” Then he sees the koi pond. The koi have instantly become sharks. He starts shouting to get our attention, “Sharks, Sharks!” Yep, this momma was proud that our son knows the difference between a fish and a shark. I look behind me thinking because I thought I heard someone call my name. It was a seemingly peaceful pathway filled with small trees, bushes and ground covering. “Here we go,” I thought but not knowing why. I notice my stomach getting a little nauseated but took a couple of vapes off my pen and hoped that the feeling would go away. I soon noticed that my jaw began hurting. The muscles in my body began cramping. The nausea became stronger. I told Mel that I was going to sit down a few minutes to rest, but really hoping that I just didn’t throw up.
The longer I sat there, the worse I felt. As a tear, dropped from my eye underneath the sunshades and shaky voice, I told Mel we needed to go home. An unimaginable fear I must’ve been ‘triggered’ but I hadn’t realized it. Then, the headache hit. Not as bad as the one last week, when I had acupuncture where I never remembered the visit, but plenty bad enough to feel miserable.
Once again, my physical symptoms have messed up another family outing. And soon the shame and guilt hit me like a “tornado propelled bumble bee.” I had no warning but thought it was probably in the lineup somewhere. I felt like collapsing from just sheer embarrassment, even though, people around me didn’t seem to notice. I just sat down again and tried to wait for the feeling to pass. After several minutes, I decided no more waiting and listening to music. I suddenly had to GET THE HELL AWAY FROM WHERE I CURRENTLY WAS! Something still seemed to scare me, but I didn’t know what.
I tried to remember what we were doing, and what had just happened to cause such a scare. I couldn’t remember what I had said, done or thought. All I could do was hope that ‘it’ was over soon.
MY wife, being the very understanding person she is, told me everything was ok and we could come back another day. The disappointment laid somewhere deep within me, not her. She had no idea the level of disappointment I was experiencing. Everything was fine and now it wasn’t. Marshall didn’t seem to notice and neither did the people passing by. So, now I act like everything is fine, right? I stood up and the familiar feeling hit me but this time it scared me. My body didn’t feel like I could control itself but I was moving. It was as if I was watching this awkwardly walking human being that I didn’t recognize. ‘Things’ just weren’t ok for some reason.
We were still able to get some good pictures of me and Marshall. But, the disgrace of the signs and symptoms of disorders can be embarrassing even if other people don’t seem to see them. Some things can’t be hidden. Some things have been hidden for years and are now noticeable. I just wanted to get back to my ‘familiar’ surroundings….HOME!