We’ve had a rough couple of days.
I have struggled to write about it. I often need to pour out my strong thoughts or feelings into writing in order to process them. So I wrote about it, posted it, and then decided that it sounded too…raw or something. So I made it private. Sorry about that.
And then I wrote about it in this post, but in a different, less raw, way. Then EJ said it would probably be best not to include details because if some people found this blog, it might make things difficult. Ok. So I’ve deleted those paragraphs as well.
So all I can say is that sometimes I write that we have been through a lot as a family and that it has had an effect on us. When I try to describe it, everything gets reduced to brief sentences–such as “We suffered abuse from my family” or “EJ’s old job was difficult and was making him sick” or “JJ battled cancer,” and so on. None of these statements can convey all the hardship, and anguish, and struggles we experienced.
When I try to describe what we have gone through, I think it sounds like I’m whining. But without an explanation, I think it doesn’t really make sense for me to say that I truly believe that we absolutely had to move away because we were at the end of our endurance. Because of our experiences, we each suffer from PTSD, burnout, or whatever you want to call it. Abuse victims, cancer patients, and caregivers are among those who can suffer from PTSD. Our nephew described PTSD as “a normal response to an abnormal situation.”
Recovery is going to take a while. We are doing much, much better up here in our new home; we love its peaceful beauty so much and we can feel calmness seeping into us. We battle to focus on good things, to live in the moment, be thankful for our many blessings, not be anxious about tomorrows problems, and so on. Family (EJ’s not mine) and friends say we look much healthier and happier and less stressed. However, we still suffer from PTSD symptoms. Our symptoms affect us in slightly different ways. Problems make me feel completely overwhelmed, anxious, depressed. JJ gets upset. We both struggle with insomnia and panic attacks. EJ appears more calm, but he develops health problems. I’ve never felt so unable to handle the problems of life. I told EJ today that I just want us to get back to our normal selves again.
So all these PTSD feelings were triggered when EJ told us that he could get laid off again, or receive less income. Both JJ and I suffered severe panic attacks. I felt battered and depressed. My stomach felt as if an angry tiger was tearing me up from the inside with his claws.
Every morning and evening I care for the ducks and chickens, making sure their food and water is refilled. In the evenings, EJ and I go outside and visit with them for a while. I told EJ that I probably shouldn’t have gotten the ducks and chickens because even though we were as frugal as we could be, they cost more than I anticipated. However, we decided that they were worth getting–not only for their eggs (for ourselves and to sell the extras) but because they give us a lot of enjoyment. They are good for our mental health.
For example, this evening we watched Peeper struggle with temptation. Danny was lying right next to their outside pen. Peeper looked at him and we could actually see him struggle with the temptation to nibble on his fur. He looked at Danny’s fur with desire, resisted, stepped back, looked with desire at Danny’s fur, stepped forward…Finally he reached through the fence and nibbled Danny’s fur. And nibbled again. And again. Until Danny whined, turned his head, and moved a bit. I was so fascinated with watching the duck struggle with temptation that I forgot to video it, but when Peeper gave in, I remembered my camera and recorded it.