I never understood trauma before I entered into it. Of course, I understood how loss could be traumatic, and that horrible pain existed in the world, but I hadn’t experienced it for myself. It’s difficult to remember a lot of things about my losses–my brain has obscured a lot of those memories just for self-defense. [Also with Faith I was on a lot of painkillers.]
But one thing I wasn’t prepared for was how my brain would change, forever. I don’t know if it’s the two years of poor sleep or the depression or the self-blame, but boy. My brain is the dumbest in the land.
I am less focused, my attention span is shorter, my thinking processes more muddled. I feel like I’ve aged ten years in three. This trauma has rewired my brain to accept and live in a state of anxiety. Oh, something might go wrong? QUICK, THINK OF THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN, AND ALSO YOU’RE SOCIALLY AWKWARD NOW AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE MAD AT YOU.
It’s hard to focus when you can’t sleep. I was doing better about the sleeping for awhile, but I’m back to weird dreams and fatigue again.
I think the hardest thing is to know what’s permanent and what I can change. I don’t have any expectations of being the person I was prior to October 22, 2018; she’s gone forever. And that’s fine. But where can I make practical changes in my thinking and what is just my brain now? I have no real idea. I do know that I have to head off my brain when it starts to spiral or catastrophize, which is easier said than done. And, honestly, it feels futile to try–after all, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that the worst can and does happen. Why not assume the worst forever? Then if the worst happens I was right to not hope, and if I’m wrong I’m pleasantly surprised.
I guess I know why not. My brain can’t constantly live crouched in a defensive, life-or-death posture. I can’t function if I’m so stressed that I can’t see all the possibilities. Plus, I grew up in close contact with someone who lived that way, and it’s intensely frustrating to deal with. I need to be as healthy as I can be, for myself and the people around me.
It’s just that sometimes my brain freaks out without my knowledge or consent, and then I’m panicking or anxious for no reason before I really know it. It’s exhausting.
I want to think right, but sometimes my brain is still stuck in survival mode. Thanks, trauma!
If you’re dealing with a dumb trauma brain, I’m here with you. Be patient with yourself and give yourself a break. Eat some chocolate, take a warm bath, take a nap if you can. Be kind to yourself.
I’m trying to do the same. Hugs to you.