16 November 2004

Could You Possibly Just Buck Up?

"I seldom think of my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers."~Helen Keller

I had part 2 of the root canal today, so I'm feeling a little worn out already and it's only mid-afternoon.

I've been reading some more messages from folks in my complex post traumatic stress disorder group. I'm once again struck by how many of them have found themselves completely unable to function normally. (Whatever "normal" means.) A few of them have been homeless off and on, most are unable to hold a regular job. It sort of takes my breath away. I mentioned this to my therapist a couple of weeks ago and she was also surprised at the number of people who've given up.

Even though I can appreciate the extreme difficulty of finding and keeping a job, there is defintely some part of me that thinks people should just pull themselves together and try hard to function. They speak of being triggered on a regular basis. Hell, life itself is triggering. I mean, sometimes the way light fills a room can trigger flashbacks or dissociation for me. People being angry is triggering. People startling me is triggering. Anyting and everything carries some terrible memory; nothing is untouched.

Nonetheless, I've been employed for most of my adult life. Furthermore, I've been employed in highly demanding jobs. I never thought there was an option. I need to eat and I'd prefer not to live under a bridge somewhere. I'm incredibly independent and would never be able to tolerate depending on someone else's charity. (Several of the people are staying with friends while they await word on their disability status.)

I know this sounds like I'm denigrating people who are in more difficult places in their lives. I guess maybe I am, as much as I hate to admit it. I'm a very compassionate person and I'm a little surprised at my reaction. I know it's exhausting to continually push yourself forward when all you want to do is lie down somewhere and sleep for about a decade. If you decide to give up, though, there's no hope you'll ever be able to care for yourself. Caring for one's self is critical. If you depend on others, you invite continued abuse (of many different types).

The members of the group also tend to discount what "normal" people say because they believe that no one understands ptsd unless they've lived through it. Well, okay. I suppose it's true that most people don't know what it feels like to have images of incredible violence arise in their heads because they just picked up a stick from their front yard. Do I need for them to understand? It would probably be nice, but it's certainly not mandatory for adequate treatment. When their therapists tell them to buck up, they get really pissed off about it. When their psychiatrists prescribe anti-depressants/anti-anxiety/anti-whatever, it pisses them off that the doctor is only "masking" the underlying pain. Hey, take what you can get. If masking the pain helps you to get out of bed and go to work, then use it.

I know i've been blessed with an extremely hardy constitution and an iron will. They've propelled me through life and helped me to live a normal life even though deep inside I'm in great pain. My compadres talk about wanting to be strong and independent...but only if they can be on ssi. I wish them luck, but i don't think that's how it works. Instead of being dependent on family and friends, they're dependent on THE STATE. That might be even worse.

Well I'm clearly not feeling very charitable today and I'm in no mood to go traipsing through old memories.

america held hostage day 1659

bushism of the day:"The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production."

website of the day: CTheory.nethttp://www.ctheory.net

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