Trying to understand why I'm doing this

Bubblegum

Learning
Good evening everyone.

Feeling lost because I canceled my trip back home to see my family. I usually make room for one trip, every year, so that I can get to see my family and old friends. I moved away back in 2011, living back there made me really sick.

But I couldnt do it this time, a friend that I was getting back in touch with (I held it off for a very long time, she was actively telling me she missed me, and due to anxiety I held it off, she passed away as I texted her)

It happened earlier this year, and my dad almost died of a stroke the day after, and he had survived cancer only a couple of years prior, which woke something deep down. He hasnt been acting like himself lately, and I feel like an egoist, he's been my rock and the only stability through my childhood (Him and my grandmother) and I cant even go

Then my dog died not long after, he was the only one who could make me feel calmer there except for my dad.

I just cant shake this feeling that everything I love suffers, and I know its such a dumb mindset. But, I already lost two ex lovers, one to gun violence and one to suicide. I worry that I wont get to spend time with my family before it is too late a lot, I'm constantly on edge, I feel queasy every time they call, expecting the worst.

I'm terrified about going home, but I'm losing my shit, because I just am so scared of not including myself into the lives of people I love before it's too late, I want to go, but I'm physically unable to get myself on a plane. I'm panicking because I didnt go, but I was unable to go, because I panicked about that too. I broke down so much the entire summer because of this, I've been on edge for so long, and my partner had sacrifice so much, and now we're not going at all, and I feel like such an idiot. He says its fine, and that we'll try again this christmas. I worry someone will die before that time, I just cant stop being paranoid about it, but I just cant make myself go.

I avoided seeing my uncle for the longest time, I loved him dearly, but aggressive MS took everything from him, seeing him waste away has been tough, and I regret not partaking more, now that he's gone too, I just feel like a f*cking idiot for taking it so personally, I couldnt afford going to his funeral either. I'm just so f*cking sad and pissed, angry at myself.

Going back there burns me out so bad, I had hoped that I could have gotten better so that I didnt dissasociate while there, or at least be healthy enough to go and reconnect, hold a normal conversation.

But now I'm just feeling like I let everyone down, because I couldnt do one simple thing, and it's 1AM, and I cant sleep, and I'm not looking forward to having to call everyone and try to explain this tomorrow.
 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
It looks like your stress cup is overflowing. It's not just a simple thing. Stakes are high when put in that type of perspective, doing it before folks die and knowing it's soon. I don't really know what to say apart from taking it easy with yourself and do things in small bits and not creating a giant woolly ball with everything. Imminent death and loss has hit you in the face like a truck, its normal that it triggers avoidance. Perhaps try to keep your attention focused on what you want to do as opposed as what you're being scared of. I mean, focusing on the feeling of what you want to get. While also allocating time to understand how exactly it's scaring you so much.
 

Bubblegum

Learning
It looks like your stress cup is overflowing. It's not just a simple thing. Stakes are high when put in that type of perspective, doing it before folks die and knowing it's soon. I don't really know what to say apart from taking it easy with yourself and do things in small bits and not creating a giant woolly ball with everything. Imminent death and loss has hit you in the face like a truck, its normal that it triggers avoidance. Perhaps try to keep your attention focused on what you want to do as opposed as what you're being scared of. I mean, focusing on the feeling of what you want to get. While also allocating time to understand how exactly it's scaring you so much.

I think I'm just scared of change, Iv'e lost so many people in my life, there was a shooting, and I happened to not go that day it happened,I dont want to specify the event as it will give away my location, (as I am paranoid of my stalker ex to find my threads) My hometown dont really hold any good memories, my friend dying of cancer earlier this year re-triggered some memories I had buried deep down, as she was one of the last living members of our friendgroup. My motivation was always seeing my dog, since he brought me comfort while there, but yeah. My dad hasnt recovered entierly, so its been painful.

I talked to my family, and they took it well, I'm just going to have to rest up and find a way, I have to do my best to work on my avoidance somehow, hopefully I'll be able to go this christmas
 

Bubblegum

Learning
hmmm so doing further investigation i found out that avoidance isnt necessarily just avoiding places, but avoiding triggers all together? And it makes a lot of sense to me really, I've been avoiding so many things I used to love, just because I connected them to certain people or events. I loved my job as a tattoo artist, for example, but due to the abuse I went through at home, and the emotional abuse from my bosses wife, getting back into it have been difficult, even though I dream about tattooing every night so to speaks. One thing on my list of "lets stop, and do that thing you need to do"

As for the shooting I mentioned further up, I didnt want to give up my location, but idc anymore, the Utøya Massacre was hell for everyone involved, dated my best friend back then, and I was supposed to go with him, I had tickets booked and everything, but we had a nasty breakup only weeks before. You dont want your last words to someone be "I hate your guts, and I hope I never see you again", I lost more than just him that day, there was a lot of funerals, and I have been avoiding funerals ever since, and I need to fix that, since not "making it" to my uncles funeral made my symptoms worsen due to the guilt.

I dont remember anything about my late childhood friend anymore, not their voice, nothing about what they liked, I know we had good memories together???? I just wish I could get to a place mentally, where I am able to visit their grave, I've wanted to lay down some flowers for years now, thatd be neat, and I just hope that'll get me into the healing progress (idk if its dumb or not)

I have a friend thats handicapped, so I havent seen them in three years because in order to get there I need to take a certain train, I cant even look at it. Itd be nice if I could get over that fear as well.

My main goal right now is just to get over my avoidance, but idk where to start, should I just expose myself to music and media? Or places??? I only have one irl friend with ptsd, but I dont want to bother them, so I'm asking yall 😭
 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
You go step by step. What you're talking about makes complete sense, it's normal to be avoidant.

Actually we get avoidant of anything that was in conditions that preceded or were present during traumatic, or even roughly after, events. I can get to be the way the weather feels, a carpet, certain sets of feelings too, basically anything that can be reminiscent of "this is going to happen again". Namely, triggers.

What you're saying about the friend you lost on a bad argument makes me think you might be afraid of saying the wrong thing before the people you love die and have the same experience again. I might be incorrect. But that would make sense to me.

I'd say you can first stabilise and then expose yourself gradually. Personally I wouldn't start to dig very frontally on the trauma itself, just doing things that help you going day after day and keeping things agreeable and see what helps you to feel safe. First the sense of safety, grounding and support and gradually you can expose yourself. Exposure can aggravate you if you to too fast, so it's important to work on good coping skills before it hits you.

I hope you're more of less okay, it's really super tough and I hope you'll find some reassurance in the knowledge that it's quite normal to respond in that way even if it can seem odd from a non traumatic perspective. Trauma isn't an illogical response. But sometimes puzzling and definitely very hard. Gentle hugs if you accept.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I think it's that fine line between recognizing our limitations at a given moment, and doing what still isn't comfortable.

All I can suggest is, tie it in to what you want, that is something positive, not negative. Sort of re-write it. And part of that may be, the fact these people are precious to you and you want to do it for them (they want to see you) can be the motivator. And know some things may fall by the wayside, or not be as bad as what you fear/ you can manage them. And not to let your relationships be defined by what you fear or avoid, but by the fact you are willing to try or face the fear, because of your love for them and vice versa.

PS, it's normal to not be able to remember good things or feel ease when one's amygdala is setting off alarm bells at even the thought(s).
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
My main goal right now is just to get over my avoidance, but idk where to start, should I just expose myself to music and media? Or places??? I only have one irl friend with ptsd, but I dont want to bother them, so I'm asking yall
Start with therapy and your T.

Pushing and shoving on stuff you are avoiding is bad. Fix the memories and find what drives them. Fix how you think about those events and some of that may change. From my experience - doing it the other way will not end well. Any time I push too hard PTSD pounds me back even harder and that does me no good at all.
 

Bubblegum

Learning
You go step by step. What you're talking about makes complete sense, it's normal to be avoidant.

Actually we get avoidant of anything that was in conditions that preceded or were present during traumatic, or even roughly after, events. I can get to be the way the weather feels, a carpet, certain sets of feelings too, basically anything that can be reminiscent of "this is going to happen again". Namely, triggers.

What you're saying about the friend you lost on a bad argument makes me think you might be afraid of saying the wrong thing before the people you love die and have the same experience again. I might be incorrect. But that would make sense to me.

I'd say you can first stabilise and then expose yourself gradually. Personally I wouldn't start to dig very frontally on the trauma itself, just doing things that help you going day after day and keeping things agreeable and see what helps you to feel safe. First the sense of safety, grounding and support and gradually you can expose yourself. Exposure can aggravate you if you to too fast, so it's important to work on good coping skills before it hits you
I hope you're more of less okay, it's really super tough and I hope you'll find some reassurance in the knowledge that it's quite normal to respond in that way even if it can seem odd from a non traumatic perspective. Trauma isn't an illogical response. But sometimes puzzling and definitely very hard. Gentle hugs if you accept.

My diagnosis is pretty fresh, so I'm still trying to figure things out. It's been hard, but it makes sense now, because I just kept getting worse, so did my anxiety and avoidance, and I had no means or ways to deal with it. I am a hugger though, so i'll take that hug 💜

What you're saying about the friend you lost on a bad argument makes me think you might be afraid of saying the wrong thing before the people you love die and have the same experience again. I might be incorrect. But that would make sense to me.
Yeah, I tend to get desperate after a fight, If I dont resolve it before people go out, leave or hang up the phone, I get really anxious and paranoid, youre 100% correct on that one. My ex was aware of that and would just straight up leave the apartment and ghost me for hours, sometimes a day or two, if we ever had a fight.

Actually we get avoidant of anything that was in conditions that preceded or were present during traumatic, or even roughly after, events. I can get to be the way the weather feels, a carpet, certain sets of feelings too, basically anything that can be reminiscent of "this is going to happen again". Namely, triggers.
Yeah, summers always rough for me for that particular reason, since a lot of trauma happened during that time 🥲

I worry about things happening again now, especially due to the current uprise of right wing extremism in my country, I didnt think of as to why until I read the replies, the current election have magnified that fear and anger, the 10 yr anniversairy isnt helping either (the shooter was neo nazi, attacking the worker party's youth camp, just to clarify. lots of sympathizers om fb these days, which is why I left that site) Its been a huge friggin stressor for sure.

I'd say you can first stabilise and then expose yourself gradually. Personally I wouldn't start to dig very frontally on the trauma itself, just doing things that help you going day after day and keeping things agreeable and see what helps you to feel safe. First the sense of safety, grounding and support and gradually you can expose yourself. Exposure can aggravate you if you to too fast, so it's important to work on good coping skills before it hits you.

I'm currently working on stabilizing myself with my T. I tried exposure therapy by reading news articles, but it made everything worse. I'm not sure how to start easy on that, I tried listening to music that had connection to the events, which wasnt very helpful either, but maybe stabilizing will help overall, bite sizes feels like the entire cake right now, if that analogy makes any sense.

But thank you for always being so helpful rubocoraxxx 💖 I really appericiate it
 

Bubblegum

Learning
Start with therapy and your T.

Pushing and shoving on stuff you are avoiding is bad. Fix the memories and find what drives them. Fix how you think about those events and some of that may change. From my experience - doing it the other way will not end well. Any time I push too hard PTSD pounds me back even harder and that does me no good at all.
Yeaaah that might be why I got to this point. My T from public health (friggin hate that woman) she was pushing me really hard, forcing me into attacks just to satiate her own curiosity, without offering any relief, which made my suicidal ideations worse than what its been, in a good while, that and my urge to self harm have been especially difficult to deal with lately. I thought they were bad before going to her, but oh lord was I wrong.

I'll definetly take a step at a time forward, as I dont want to fall further behind mentally. Itd be counterproductive to go all out, all at once for sure.

I think it's that fine line between recognizing our limitations at a given moment, and doing what still isn't comfortable.

All I can suggest is, tie it in to what you want, that is something positive, not negative. Sort of re-write it. And part of that may be, the fact these people are precious to you and you want to do it for them (they want to see you) can be the motivator. And know some things may fall by the wayside, or not be as bad as what you fear/ you can manage them. And not to let your relationships be defined by what you fear or avoid, but by the fact you are willing to try or face the fear, because of your love for them and vice versa.

PS, it's normal to not be able to remember good things or feel ease when one's amygdala is setting off alarm bells at even the thought(s).

Maybe writing down pros and cons could be of help? My mind is all scrambled, and tend to counteract every positive thought?? Its hard to explain without getting all foggy.

So maybe just get down all the positives on paper, and see if it kind of outwheighs the negative?? that might effect my perception of certain things? Idk if itll help, but I'm willing to try everything at this point.
 

Friday

Moderator
hmmm so doing further investigation i found out that avoidance isnt necessarily just avoiding places, but avoiding triggers all together?
There are a few different kinds of Avoidance.

- There’s diagnostic avoidance…
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidence by one or both of the following:
  1. Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
  2. Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
…which includes not only places & triggers but a whooooole lot MORE.

- There’s Stress Management Avoidance (see stress cup)
- There’s Coping Mechanism Avoidance (very related to both stress management AND diagnostic; and you’ll find it in things like drinking, drugs, gambling, chaos seeking, picking fights, workalcohism, disassociation, etc. Where one is avoiding trauma stuff, by using all kinds of different methods to numb one’s self or be focused on something else)
- There’s colloquial avoidance / normal avoidance totally unrelated to trauma, stress, dysreg, or any other part of PTSD.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
If or when you go there @Bubblegum , are you financially able to stay at a hotel, cab or have rides? Because being 'off-site', away from triggers and controlling your environment and degree of exposure and relief might help. And/ or to focus on any relative that is close to you and will understand.

I would do physical things to destress, rather than try to reason your way out of it in this moment. We always remember what we have left undone. So you have to put it aside, or your mind/ body will keep pressuring you, in which case you won't go, the whole thing will be nothing but stress and regret.

I understand the fear of sudden death, being blindsided, no guarantees beyond the moment, and never being able to shake or see outside of/ know or remember that it may (always) be the last interaction. It's bad; it's good (in a way), but I don't think it ever leaves. Unless you physically or emotionally leave first.

I wish you good luck, strength, ccourage, and much relief and healing. 🤗
 

Bubblegum

Learning
There are a few different kinds of Avoidance.

- There’s diagnostic avoidance…

…which includes not only places & triggers but a whooooole lot MORE.

- There’s Stress Management Avoidance (see stress cup)
- There’s Coping Mechanism Avoidance (very related to both stress management AND diagnostic; and you’ll find it in things like drinking, drugs, gambling, chaos seeking, picking fights, workalcohism, disassociation, etc. Where one is avoiding trauma stuff, by using all kinds of different methods to numb one’s self or be focused on something else)
- There’s colloquial avoidance / normal avoidance totally unrelated to trauma, stress, dysreg, or any other part of PTSD.

I struggle with both gambling and and workalcohism sadly. And being unable to work due to my chronic pain has made things a lot worse for my mental health too, my doctors have had no sucsess trying to figure out why I deal w this.

As for the stress cup, thank you for sharing that one, I'm still fighting the denial about having this diagnosis to begin with, but that explains why even the smallest event can set me off like that. I know how I react to stress is irrational, and honestly that guilt build up is the worst. My bad reactions to stress really is taking a toll on my realationships, which is, in all honesty not helping at all.

I've been unable to take care of every day things, like answering the door or even logging into the bank to pay my bills. My partner takes care of all these things, as for the bills I venmo the money back to him, and when the doorbell rings, or if someone is knocking I run and hide to have him answer it. Most days I'm unable to leave my apartment, I'm just hoping that it's reversable with therapy, so that I dont have to be so dependable on my boyfriend, I dont want him to be my caregiver anymore 🥲

Living barely at all, is not making me want to continute this project any longer, will it ever get better? I'm just sick of trying to pull myself "up by the bootstraps" when there's nothing to pull at. Sorry for getting off track but I wish people would stop telling me that I'm strong and that I'll get over it, or that I have to get over it. I'm just exhausted.
 
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