Lost Almost Again


Friday March 20, 2015…
I walk along my non-descript street in suburbia. My brain feels hazy and I can only see the area in front of me or behind me. Tunnel vision. Heart jumps in fright. I shiver as the late March air pulls at my thin coat.

I stop, stare at the grayness of the sky, the still-bare branches of the trees, buds not yet visible, and feel a melancholy black as burning tar. I had a debilitating PTSD episode at work a few days earlier. It all started with my inability to stand up for myself.

Two yellow, wet foreclosure notices hang on a red door of a vacant house. One side has peeled off and blows in the wind. A strong gust of wind would rip the notice from the door and send it down the street along with random trash. There are many houses like this. So many that all I feel is numb, detached, unreal. I feel hollow inside; a kind of endless empty sadness. Could there ever be enough to fill me? Probably not.

I panic.

All of the drab vinyl-sided homes look the same.

I don’t know what street I’m on.
What street am I on?

I continue to walk and tell myself to remain calm. This is ridiculous after all how do you “forget” what street you are on? At the beginning of the PTSD I’d get lost, whether it was in California, Indiana, the store, etc. To know this was happening again sends me into a frenzy. I feel myself slipping into the abyss, that space where you can’t trust your own mind. I continue down the street, telling myself to breathe. Get out of your mind. Look at the grass. Look ahead. Look at the street signs.

I see my street and turn down it. The adrenaline still flows through my veins as I come down from that familiar panic. I briskly walk toward home. I’m fine. I notice my small dog bouncing down the street in front of me. I glance at the dirt-stained white shutters on a small rental house. I notice I’m staring and jerk my eyes away as the young woman, probably early twenties, gives me a what the hell are you looking at look. I couldn’t tell her if she asked.

I open my front door, step inside and feel a sudden urge to be in someone’s presence, not alone in my house for the third day in a row. I call my friend and say it’s happening again. I do my best to not act desperate or needy. She needs a quiet place to study and will be over in a few days. The lingering paranoia lifts and I’m back in reality…

When people question the validity of mental illness they have no idea how real and painful it is to live with it. One bad day can create endless disturbances. I will post more in the coming week. It is taking a minute to come back from the events of the last few weeks. The good news is I’m coming back this time.

21 thoughts on “Lost Almost Again

  1. neighsayer says:

    That was awesome. A great glimpse into someone’s POV. I could totally relate, I’m sure I tried to write in the same intense, internal panic a few times when I was 20 or so, but I’ll quit trying now, it’s been done better.
    You know, it’s not the best thing to say, but I can’t get away from it – if you’re not depressed in this world, you’re just not paying attention. There’s plenty to be sad about. Crazy is a rational reaction to an irrational world, it’s not something we ‘do wrong,’ it shouldn’t be on our list of personal sins or failures.

    I think you write terrific. personal prose. Things won’t stay this bad forever. Are you able to be safe theses days, no fear of further abuse? If you get that far, simple years may help things get better, if you can sort of have things your way for some years or some many years . . . sorry, I’m probably way off.

    Great post though.

  2. mandy smith says:

    This “felt” familiar to me, Bdl. I felt my own adrenaline surging. People wouldn’t understand unless they’ve experience feeling lost in PTSD. You do a great job painting that picture. ❤

  3. Alaina says:

    Yes yes yes, I so get this, oh wow…. I relate to every word, but especially this: “To know this was happening again sends me into a frenzy. I feel myself slipping into the abyss, that space where you can’t trust your own mind.”

    And this: “When people question the validity of mental illness they have no idea how real and painful it is to live with it.”

    Bdlheart — I have been a bookaholic since the second grade. I’ve read literally thousands of books in almost every genre in my lifetime. Nobody writes better than this. Nobody.

  4. Alaina says:

    PS: By trhe way, I have recently hidden/privatized my blogs. Not because of anyone attacking me online, nothing like that has happened, I’m just feeling very vulnerable these days. Feeling the need to “bunker down,” as my combat veteran husband calls it.

  5. giasuniverse says:

    Great writing, again! I am glad you recognized what was happening at the time and found a way back. Sometimes it’s impossible when you are right in the middle of it, to do that and not be swept away.xox

    • bdlheart says:

      I know right? I often disassociate and get so confused that I forget what I was doing a second before. I just laugh and shake my head. It happens less and less over time. Hopefully, one day it will no longer be a part of my life. Until then I’ll keep shaking my head and laughing. Like auntie sometimes reminds me “Sometimes you need to laugh it down.”

  6. neighsayer says:

    It’s sad how many people one sees just stumbling slowly down the street, either stoned out of their minds or otherwise completely dissociated. Hope they’re not all lost.

    • bdlheart says:

      I don’t think they are all lost. Our blog community is a testament to the fact that we can overcome. We have to continue to spread the message that mental illness is legitimate so perhaps less people would walk past not seeing them. Thanks for the comment and weekly encouragement . Happy Spring friend!

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