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No where is safe: A Personal Perspective Living With CPTSD

Written in 2023

It has become harder and harder to focus on my daily tasks. My wants have been reevaluated, and I am at a space where it doesn’t matter, yet it matters more than ever. The load of emotion engulfing me is forcing me to retreat, not in fear, but at this seesaw point, teetering between reliving the horrors and marveling at the actual truth of human capabilities.

Heavy is my heart with so much sadness and hopelessness for what is happening in the world. I know firsthand what the humans of war are experiencing. Since the actions of the world, my PTSD has been triggered, and I have spoken to a few humans who say the same thing, having experienced this level of atrocity and made it out. It feels hopeless, and the world sucks.

It is too late for so many humans. It was too late for many of us, too. The memories do not seem real, and I cannot connect all the dots. The images I see on the news from across the world bring up moments in my dreams that are unclear, but the smells, noise, force me to understand where I am. Confusion and the need to clear a path out become the utmost priority.

Then, I wake up, look out the window to see and hear nothing, walk into my son’s room to see him sleeping peacefully, walk downstairs, and check all the windows and locks. I sit on the floor and let the rush of possibility of war, my true understanding of reality happening again; nowhere is safe.

I think of all the places that might be the safest to hide from a blast. The Harry Potter closet seems like the best bet, but then, getting trapped in the rubble, crushed with no way out – no, that is the best option, I repeat the mantra. Then, I remember that it is used as a storage space and begin to panic that I won’t have enough time to clear out for all of us. I hear the noise again, loud, like a whistle and boom. Then, I run upstairs, grab my son, yell at my husband, try to run down the stairs. Panic builds as blackness comes, and I shake and sob on the floor. "I can’t save them," I whisper.

I let the panic attack and sobs run through, finally catching air as my dog nuzzles me, licking the tears, wetting my face with a different kind of wet and bringing me to reality. I sit up, catching my breath and wiping my tears. He curls up, feeling proud to have done his part, and I begin to breathe. I recognize that I am as safe as I can be, no matter where I am because, in truth, I am not safe anywhere. I cannot begin to trust anything or anyone.

Attacks and fear are being created in humans who have nothing to do with the actual war. So, who is the bad guy here then? The HUMAN attacking is the bad guy.

Sharing this is hard because I have been told over and over, "It’s not happening to you now," or "You are safe, move on with your life." Well, I have moved on very well and live it very well, but I am now a child again, living in a woman’s body, whose mother had to save her as a child in a war that is exactly as it is happening all over the world– the shelling, bombing, massacres, for ten months of my life. That is the reality that has stayed and will never leave. It cannot leave nor be erased.

The evidence is in the scars of the heart, soul, and the earth that received the dead. It is so hard to be outside of the bleakness that resides inside my mind at the moment. Nothing matters but the truth.

I move off the floor, grab my vape pen, inhale, exhale, drink a cup of water. I wash my face at the kitchen sink with cold water. I grab a piece of candy; my sugar level is low, dizziness sets in, and I get slightly upset I didn’t pick those boiled peanuts earlier for this moment. I knew I would need them later, I knew it. Shaking my head, I grab some more water, treat Archie for his awesomeness. I walk outside and take a deep breath, accepting MY reality of this moment, taking the silence, peace, fresh cold air in with me as Archie moves past and sits by the stairs, ready to return to bed.

I smile and say a prayer of thank you, accept the blessings, and decide to do better tomorrow. Regroup and refocus on this reality because I am living it now. Currently, this reality is making me feel indifferent as it seems mundane when, in reality, it is the greatest action I can take. I walk upstairs, hug my son, and feel him with all of my existence so I can remember every imprint of him. I check the time; it says 3:08 AM, and I decide the next 2 hours will be all the great sleep I need to win tomorrow.

Finally, I make it to bed, hug my husband because the nightmares of losing him still linger too, and I stop that thought as I feel his warmth and our dog curl up for rest. I take a deep breath in and exhale it shakily with the acceptance of my blessed reality while closing my eyes and hoping for a dreamless night.

That is my safety. This is my personal hell. My mind. - AH

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