Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fully Transitioned

I just placed one of the biggest Mary Kay orders, okay THE biggest Mary Kay order since I placed my first inventory order as a brand new consultant. And, the C in my personality is happy dancing it's way out of my head trying to re-organize everything about my omni channel. The S in me wants to go sit on the couch with my husband and eat the puppy chow I made over the weekend. The D has her boxing gloves on and is mimicking Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" right before the tv reporters come to do their interview. And the I, the I in me is thinking about the prize I'm so close to earning - the prize that will be David's anniversary present this year.

I choose to go with S. I grab a green coffee mug out of the kitchen and scoop half a cup of puppy chow into it and walk into the living room.

Our new living room is cozy and manly despite the pops of turquoise and candles and our miracle plant that's still with us even after this second move of it's life (not counting what all it went through to get to the Kroger where I bought it from).

As soon as I enter the cozy, family place we've created, David pauses the movie he's watching on his study break.

I settle into the couch as he informs me that the movie only has 13 minutes left. I respond with "Okay." S is so happy. Family time. Be still time. Time to just go with the flow...

David, "Lindz, this is kind of a violent movie. I haven't seen these last 13 minutes, and I don't know what's going to happen."

I knew exactly what he was getting at. "Okay, I won't watch." I knew he was watching a mob movie, and that I wasn't interested in it anyway. Facebook would entertain me for 13 minutes.

"Lindz, I don't want you having nightmares."

And as I stood up with my green coffee mug full of puppy chow and made my way into my Mary Kay room (yes, I have an entire room in our new house devoted to Mary Kay, and it is lovely), I realized David had fully transitioned.

We'll be celebrating four years of marriage at the end of this month. And it is here, at the close of year four, that David has come to the same level of understanding my PTSD as my siblings do.

Up until a couple weeks ago, Katie and Paul understood it better than anyone else.

With Katie there are no words needed. That's the kind of bond you have with a sister you shared a room with for 13+ years.

With Paul there are only protector words - words that ask questions to understand the basics if necessary.

Katie and Paul are my best trigger protectors. They always know and they stand with a firmness that stops your spirit.

There have been a couple instances when I've been forced to deal with a flashback or trigger with basically strangers to me, my situation, or PTSD. They all handled it well. And thankfully, they only had to handle it once.

Not Katie and Paul. Nor Mom or Dad.

The last four years, David's had his fair share.

But last Sunday... last Sunday hadn't happened in about 9 years...

David couldn't come to church with me, so I went by myself. I should have left 15 minutes into the visiting missionary's sermon. But, I didn't want to let Satan win. I didn't want to miss something that I was supposed to hear in the sermon.

Towards the end, a metaphor comparing the mission field to war, a recounting of Christians being pulled out of vans in Africa and having their limbs chopped off one by one, a calling for us to stand if we were willing to give whatever we were called to give on that field.

They stood. I left.

The tears were falling before I even got out of the building.

And David received me experiencing a full-blown trigger of every feeling I had felt during the car-jacking and afterwards.

I repeated my verse over and over again - the verse that we repeat when the panic attacks and nightmares come - For the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

I was so mad. So mad that it'll be 10 years this summer, and episodes with this severity still happen.

I think that's one of the reasons God called David to receive the undergraduate degree that he did - psychology. Of course, that educational background already benefits David greatly in the legal field, but without it, I don't think he'd understand my anger as well as he did on Sunday.

I think that's one of the reasons God sent David to the mission field before he sent me. David went on his first mission trip when he was 13 years old to a place that wasn't American-friendly. He's been held for questioning on the Jordan/Israeli border. He didn't have to have a gun held to his head to understand that feeling you have when you realize you and everything you normally cling to for protection (aside from Him) has no power where you are.

He's talked with enough veterans to understand that even the happiest, joyful, most successful and beautiful of people you meet out and about fall victim to debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

When you know it's not their brain chemistry. When you know how they were before, and how they lived before, and what exactly happened in as much detail as they can vocalize - when you've been through enough of these episodes to realize the physical trauma PTSD puts a body through - you cross some kind of emotional line.

The D in me wants to be stronger than it.
The C in me wants to pick it all apart to decipher it and cure it.
The I in me wants to just be like some of the others in our van- and forget about it and be completely fine.
And then there's the S in me... The S that remembers all of the people I get to talk with who finally get to talk with someone who understands panic attacks. Someone who understands nightmares so vivid, years will go by and you remember them better than real-life events. Someone who understands survival dissociation and going through the it-makes-sense motions. Someone who understands how frustrating triggers are. I remember all of the chapters that have followed June 26th, 2005 - and how my stepping stones have become revelations for other people. I remember the young teenagers looking at me with big eyes confessing thoughts of suicide who realized they weren't the only ones with big struggles. I remember that people are not Jesus. People will say the wrong things and disappoint you, but Jesus never will.

PTSD makes me want to use really strong language, y'all. I would not choose this thorn in the flesh for anyone.

But, as I sit and wait for David's mob movie to finish, I can't not sit and give thanks for His mercy and provision. My sister, my brother, my mom, my dad, and my husband, who gets it, and is prepared and lovingly, patiently willing to walk through this with me, however long it does last.