I usually don’t have trouble with words, yet I’m finding it difficult to put my brain onto paper. I’ve tried using several different metaphors yet they weren’t doing justice to truly describe my brain and the brain of someone with complex PTSD. However, I’d like to try once more and see how it goes.
Imagine for a moment, you are given a challenge. For the next week, you are to spend your days and nights on a tightrope. Anywhere you travel and anything you do, will be on a razor thin rope, hundreds of feet above ground.
To your right, lies a cliff, which would mean guaranteed death in the event of a fall. To your left, is the most beautiful landscape covered in bushes and shrubbery to ease your fall.
To make this challenge more difficult, you will be attached to many ropes, being pulled by men on either side of you. The stronger one side pulls in their direction, the stronger the opposing side will pull to the opposite direction.
You accept this challenge not realizing how deathly frightening it can be. The men on each side begin pulling you down and after a short amount of time, you call it quits and desperately motion to them, that you’re ending this insane stunt.
This is my life and the life of the many other victims who suffer from complex PTSD. This is our reality. I walk a tightrope to work, to stores and anywhere else I go. I live my life on this rope. I’m on it at work and at home. I go to sleep on it and wake up on it.
The single reason I’m still on it is because of my wife and kids. If not for them, I would have allowed myself the pleasure of being thrown down to the right, putting an end to this hell. The men on the right are complied of parts and voices in me that are so strong and powerful.
They are abusive, narcissistic and selfish. They want me dead and won’t rest until I am. They are the voices of my many abusers. They are my self harming voices, my self disgust, my absolute self hatred and so much more. They are my past states of self, my younger parts that have not matured properly and are screaming in pain. Dying to be heard. They are the personalities, feelings and emotions that were planted in me by vicious people. They are horrible voices that want me hurt, mangled and dead. They are nasty and sadistic and what makes it so hard, is that they feel SO REAL AND AS THOUGH THEY BELONG TO ME.
On the opposite side, lies some personalities, that were recently born. They are parts of me that were strengthened by all my blood, sweat and tears of therapy and self work. Everytime a new part gets developed, I gain a soldier to my left. They are screaming and desperately trying to pull me in their direction, fighting against horrible men on the enemy. As time goes on and I get stronger and more resilient, I gain more and more soldiers to my left. Yet it’s still a battle as the men on the right are extremely stubborn.
This and more, are my daily and hourly happenings in my brain. A chaotic and brutal war. Full of pain. Full of noise and horrific panic. Parts are yelling and screaming. I’m being pulled to the right and the left and I don’t know which way I’ll end up falling.
With this brain, I go about my day. I’m a father. A husband. A business owner. A person. Yet I have so so much more going on behind the scenes. It’s pure hell and although, there are times that my enemies make peace, the ceasefire is short lived and they are back at war the minute one side becomes triggered.
This is life with complex PTSD. This is the reason I have nightmares, flashbacks and triggers. This is why I disconnect and disassociate. This is why I’m not always present. This is the reason of my physical pain, my poor appetite and lack of self care. This is why I don’t always show up at wedding or at synagogue. This is me. I’m trying my best. I promise I am but I’m fighting enemies bigger and stronger than myself!
It is at my most difficult moments that I feel a tug from above. I look up and see a rope, a single rope. One end is attached to me and the other goes up to God Himself. He is holding me. He is guarding over me. He is the one that’s preventing me from falling to the right.
Whenever I feel extreme darkness, I grab on to that rope and when I feel resistance, I know that God is holding the opposite end and won’t let me fall down to the abyss below.