Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why do you pull away and isolate from me, when your mental health is bad?

 This is a series of post answering questions posed by Kevin's daughter.  I asked permission to answer each of these questions as if I was answering my adult children.  I will also include a link to Kevin's answer. (I don't read his blog until after I write mine.)


6. Why do you pull away and isolate from me, when your mental health is bad?

My first counselor told me a story that helped me put in to words why I withdraw that might help.  Imagine it is Prom night and I am all dressed ready to go.  My dress is gorgeous and I took time to curl my hair.  As I walk from the car, someone runs towards me and dumps filthy oil over my head and down my dress.  My friends see me in the parking lot and come over to greet me.  I pull away so the filthy oil won't get on them.  What I don't know is that I am the only one that sees or feels the oil.  I try to stay away to protect those I love.   The answer is related to yesterday's question.  My desire is to protect you from me.

During my high school years, I kept posters on my walls.  All of the posters were there to encourage and motivate except one.  The one over my bed described how I felt as a teenager.  

I am like shattered glass

Cutting those who touch me

I have been broken

I am hard and sharp

People can see through me.

They know I can hurt them

I am never confronted

I am always walked around.

– Lori Gauntlet

 I felt my brokenness in high school.  My parents denied my truth.  I wanted to believe their perception.  I isolate myself to keep me from hurting others. 

Another reason I isolate myself is as the internal pressure builds I am less and less able to process incoming information.  First, I lose the ability to hear.  Next, my speech slurs making communication almost impossible.  Then my vision reduces to tunnel vision.  My body shuts down and I sleep.  When I waken hours later, I feel like I am swimming through scalding molasses.  My skin feels raw.  The slightest touch is excruciatingly painful.  If I am alone, I am not embarrassed by my increasing debilitation.  If I am alone, no one can touch me.  If I am alone, there is no need to explain.  I simply allow the shadow warrior, PTSD, to win for awhile.  I concede defeat quietly.  Waiting to fight another day.  I prefer not to have anyone watch my defeat.  I also learned that when you children watched it as children it was very scary.  I don't wish to scare anyone especially those I love. 


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