Day 26 of 30 Days in June, PTSD Poetry Project
“The Consuming Stillness”
Friends who go hand in hand
Stillness instead occurs
A landscape of nothingness
No more screams
No more crying
No more fighting back
I thought it meant that I had won
I was free after all
Yet in all my foolishness
I woke up
They were still winning and I ..
Peaks, plateaus, and dips
These became the landscape of my life
Stillness like no other
My cues became ones of observation
These told me how to act
Inside I was so still
A quiet all consuming
In the face of pressures
To fit in
To be one of the guys
To just suck it up!
I retreated to the stillness
The quiet was not my friend
It crept in until I was consumed
Even my face no longer held emotion
My nickname became
The ice bitch
No response to those barbs
I retreated again and again
To the all consuming stillness
The quiet where nothing could hurt me
The journey away from the quiet
Is one of choosing
To be willing
To get angry
To finally lose control
I have let down the mask
Of the all consuming stillness
And finally begun to feel.
For this I have discovered
I can do this
But I cannot do it alone
I have left the consuming stillness
And wish to never return
“The Consuming Stillness”
Posted by Bree N. on January 20, 2015
Stress, feelings. They are supposed to go hand in hand right? What happens when your stress response is to just go so still inside? So quiet, so still that the stillness there is just a landscape of nothingness. I had the realization today what the domino effect of the original ‘event’ and subsequent triggers did.
There was no longer any screaming, no crying, no fighting back. Even though I’d thought I’d won because I got free? They’d won in ways I never understood. They’d won long after the fact. My life was akin to a graph of peaks, plateaus, and dips further and further until the moment I finally reached out and got help. I chose. I chose to reach out and to work on this. I chose. It had to start there, I get this. I totally get this. If’ I’d stayed on the path I’d been on? If I’d not basically had my head slammed in?
That one thought causes the stillness to begin.
This landscape of stillness. It’s not scary, it’s not fear, it’s not sadness and it’s not anything but stillness deep inside. No feelings, no emotions. No response to those around me except to behave the way I perceive they want me to behave. As the stillness got larger, because at first it was a small stillness, my life became a series of outward pressures.
Pressure to conform, pressure to perform, pressure to act a certain way, pressure to be ‘on’, pressure to smile and act like all is fine. Pressure to “fit in” to be “one of the guys”. Pressure to “just suck it up”. Pressure to connect when I wasn’t able to connect anymore because of this stillness. It consumed me. I retreated to the quietness of the stillness.
The stillness, it was not my ‘friend’. It was not anything except an absence. This stillness was like a cold creeping through me until I was secretly called the ‘ice b***h” by co-workers and those resentful of my opportunities. I wouldn’t respond to others. Even my expression was cold. I’d gone from being so ‘open and cheerful, a 110% er” to being still even on the outside. It became a challenge to others to crack that exterior. This was my downfall in the end. I didn’t get it that it was just an attack to ‘bring me down’ to discount me as a woman. It all was rooted in lost opportunities for people who had the exact same chances I’d had. They’s just not CHOSEN to take them.
Am I mad about it now? Not really. See the TBI for me did one thing. It wiped my memory of a lot of things. I don’t hardly connect with who that person was except from a distance where I can see the secret “why”s” and how that person was affected by them. It’s allowed me to actually deal with my PTSD directly and not circumspectly. I can do a timeline up to a certain point and then I have to go back to journals from the last few years. This is OK to me. I’m learning so much from this journey. Nothing prepared me for it, not in any way possible. When I chose to get help, to work at this I wasn’t prepared for the same line of experiences that others before me had gone through.
Not wanting to show up for a session. Being late, even though outwardly it seemed out of my control. Getting confused about what I’d been sharing when it was something tough to talk about. Or worse, feelings leaking through and crying during a session. I really hate that one. Feelings? I hate you most of all. Because the ones that need to be purged seem to be those negative ones. They’ve got to be purged before the good can come in.
Well, here’s to purging then! I can do this, I am willing….well, I’m willing until I’m in the midst of lost control and crying. Something I would not have allowed to happen in the past. Not once, not ever.
I can do this. I can’t do it alone. None of us can. I never got that before…
It’s up to us to hold the line. We are not alone in this fight against PTSD or the fight to heal from TBI