OK, so here's the cut and dry of it. Even for a person without PTSD, moving is one of the most stressful events in life. So what do I do? I plan ours for mid-week, right before Memorial Day Weekend. I am such an idiot. I started getting snippy when our stuff was being packed into boxes. It only progressed from there. By the time move day came, Dani and I were 'grumpy'. We have moved beyond this fun little episode, but it was not an easy time for either of us. By the time we were half way through Wednesday, I was so emotionally drained that I couldn't function properly around anyone. I was exhausted and sore. My filter was in absentia.
Yet, we made it through that day and the next and our new place is already less of a stress impact on our lives. I didn't even realize it at the time, but the decision to move into this new place was the best move we could have made. There is something to be said for calming memories. I used to go down and visit my grandparents in St. Croix and one of the most relaxing things that I loved to do was lay on the bed and watch and listen to the ceiling fan, hanging from the vaulted cathedral ceilings. It is, strangely, one of my fondest memories of childhood and it had hidden itself away for a long time.
When we moved into the new apartment and slept on the bed for the first time in our new bedroom, I slept like I was in a coma. I woke up before the alarm clock went off and I was refreshed and relaxed. I tried to figure out what it was about the new place that was having such an immediate impact. That's when I relaxed back onto the bed to think about it and realized I was staring up at vaulted ceilings with ceiling fans in every room - just like my grandparents' house. I think this is going to be a really good thing for me. It will allow me to reflect on my day while reaching a state of relaxation much faster than before.
I don't remember much of the specifics of this past week. My PTSD was in full control and I had extreme tunnel vision. My short-term memory went out the window. I was distracted my first day back to work, but was able to make it through. I was still emotionally raw, but returning home to our new apartment was imminently more relaxing than the last place...
Then came Memorial Day. I was asked to be in charge of ensuring that the flags were put at half mast and back up to full later in the day. They even participated in a moment of silence in the store. I didn't think that today would be as rough on me as it was, but the memories came back today, stronger than they have in years. It was like I was watching HD video in a theater reserved for me. The intrusive recollections would not go away. I came home from work so exhausted that I passed out on the bed for over two hours and don't even remember laying down.
Why was today the worst day I have had in years? It's hard to articulate. I don't feel as emotionally unbalanced as on other occasions. I think what made it so bad is that I had already strained my coping system to the limit earlier in the week to move. The gas tank was already on 'E' before today. What made it even worse was I knew it and was aware that I was completely helpless to do anything about it. It was like having a dream where you are aware of what is going to happen but can't change what is coming because your mind has already scripted out the next act...
This has been a valuable learning experience for me. I am never moving myself again. I will not be leaving this place until it is absolutely necessary and will pay for someone else to do the honors. I can't afford to let my guard down or compromise my ability to cope. Never again.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.