A Moment in My Life – Friday, October 9, 2020
I stood small in the windowless, dank, and cold space where the endless iron-grey walls wrapped around me like an icy cold blanket on a freezing night. The foreboding charcoal ceiling raised the hairs from my skin. Listen—deafening silence. The silence feels like slow motion if you could see it. I can’t see it. I can’t see anything except the darkness. Darkness for as far as my mind’s eye could see. I don’t like being in the dark. I can’t see. I can’t hear. It feels like one of my recurring nightmares, but my nightmares were always out in the open. This is different, like nothing I’ve experienced before. I’m in a box. I look but, there are no openings in the seamless walls. I call out, but I am deaf to my voice. I can feel. I feel cold. Scare. Alone. Lost. So alone. So scared. Trapped. I can’t think. I can’t remember anything. I can’t remember anything that Mark used to say or do or like. I can’t remember him. I can’t remember us. I see the slow-motion driftwood taking the hints of what used to be farther and farther away from my reach. I’m stuck in the perpetual darkness.
Panic raced through my core. I don’t want to forget. It’s bad enough I just lost my husband, my best friend, my soulmate. I can’t lose his memory, too! I had to do something. What? I don’t know, but I instinctively grabbed my notebook and began willing my mind to think, to remember, to recall anything and everything I could muster from my memories of Mark. Things he said. Stuff we said to each other. Pet names. Silly things that lovers say to each other. Things we enjoyed together. Places and foods we liked. I was in a frenzy filling the pages that became easier and fuller as I let the pen glide across the page. With each word that appeared on the page, I felt the dark room slowly lightened and less foreboding. Even now, I still see that room like an old scar, but it no longer has a hold on me.
I told my friend about this many months later, and he gave my worst moment a name. He said that it was PTSD. I didn’t believe him at first, but it plausible, and I have nothing else better to describe it. Now that I’ve experienced PTSD first hand, it is very real. It can be extremely damaging. I could’ve left myself there for who knows how long. I know that if I didn’t pull myself together and get out of my rut, I might as well kiss my life goodbye. I know this life is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing. Whatever we do has consequences. I am a survivor. In that way, I do whatever it takes to put the pieces back together. I wake up each day, do whatever is the highest priority for that day, put one foot in front of the other, and push through my mourning. I know Mark prefers celebrations over mourning, so I pledged to honor his memory with positivity, which helps me make it through the most challenging days.
I know different people handle situations differently. We can’t resolve all the situations by ourselves, but help is all around us. The first line of support is the people we know. I talk to everybody. You never know who would inspire you with just those words you need to hear. We don’t need to bear our troubles alone. Even if it’s just a mild case of the blahs, reach out to someone. They’ll brighten your day. If it’s way more significant than that, here are some resources that may help:
PTSD or any mental traumas could happen to all of us. There’s no shame in recognizing that. I thought ‘No, Not me!’ but it was, ‘Yes, You!’ I’m glad I know the truth now.