Chapter One: Have a Seat PTSD; I’ve Been Expecting You.

It is no secret that I have been on fire. Me, a home-made sheep costume and a tea-light. Third degree burns, 9% of my body, two months to heal. For the first few months afterwards, I smiled so hard, I’m surprised my teeth didn’t crack: look at me, look at how fine I am!

And while I was forcing my life to flow forward, I didn’t realise that the only reason I was floating was because I was on a raft made of survival instincts, and I had oars made of  sweet denial.

You see, by acting like a Carebear, by joking about my accident, by mentioning it constantly, no one would realise that I wasn’t actually dealing with it. Good job, id, you clever bastard!

As time rolled by, I kept smiling, not noticing that my raft was filling up with holes. And as the water of reality started swishing in, I just tightened my grip on those damn oars. No, I’m fine! It’s been so long, I’m not going to react now!

Think again, Alexia.

I said, ‘Why? Why now? This whole time I’ve been fine.’
She said, ‘Did you suffer from panic attacks before the accident?’
I said, ‘Well, maybe one or two.’
She said, ‘And how many have you had since?’
I said, ‘They’re too many to count.’

I said, ‘But I was never scared of fire! Remember the first day out of hospital, I sat right next to the fire’
She said, ‘I thought you were brave for other reasons: because you kept smiling, because you didn’t complain. But when I walked in and saw you sitting next to the fire, I thought, uh oh, something’s not right.’
I said, ‘You knew that back then?’
She said, ‘Yup.’
I said, ‘Oh.’

This is frustrating. I have been patient so far. And I thought I would be okay by now.

Instead I am often anxious for no reason. I am uneasy near a fire. Sudden movements startle me. I am grateful for winter because I can cover up my scars compared to summer when I wore them with pride.

She said, ‘We’re going to have to start talking about the accident.’
I said, ‘…’
She said, ‘This week, sit by the fire for as long as you can. When you start feeling anxious, move. But do this again and again until you feel a bit more comfortable.’

I didn’t.

I started writing this instead.
My own therapeutic exercise is going to be to write about the accident. Consider this Chapter One.

 

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Alexia

I drink, I laugh, I smoke, I write.

35 thoughts on “Chapter One: Have a Seat PTSD; I’ve Been Expecting You.”

  1. always more work, isn’t there. i would like to encourage you, and i can’t think of any good way to say that. i send encouragement, lexi. or: courage. but you have plenty of that.

  2. I am sorry. I need you to know that I do not giggle at your accident. But I giggle at the idea of a homemade sheep costume. Only because I can imagine how I would make it and I can imagine how flamible that would be…
    I hate that you had to go through something like that, and I hate that you have the scars to remind you. I don’t know you, but I can only imagine that, scars, or no scars, you are beautiful!

  3. The only way to deal with fear is by confronting it. It’s as simple as that. Whether you sit by the fire, or write about how fire scares you now, or remember when you actually caught fire-eventually something will be set right. It just takes time.

  4. I can only imagine what you’ve been thinking and going through since the accident. You are so strong and I’m so impressed by you – stay strong, take care of yourself, we all support you!

  5. Your scars are still becoming a part of you. It takes time. One day you won’t wish for winter or brandish them in summer they will just be…mostly forgotten.

    Writing is a good start, don’t let the fear get control. Safe becomes smaller and smaller until we are one of those hoarders living in a house full of acquired junk and nick knacks with only a clear path from the bed to the bathroom.

    1. Thank you, D. That means a lot coming from you. You might like to know that I’ve got my first appointment on Monday with the doctor to remove the scars!
      Lovely note. x

  6. I haven’t been reading long enough to know precisely what the accident was, but you sound to me like you’re going through the healing process the best that you can.

      1. Oh, sorry! I thought it was obvious that ‘she’ was a therapist? There’s no shame in having a therapist dude!

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