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View Diary: May I Make a Gentle Suggestion? (472 comments)

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  •  Thank you so much, SJ (8+ / 0-)

    for participating and commenting.  I've enjoyed so many of your comments on a variety of topics.  It's a joy to bump into you here.

    You are my brother, my sister.

    by RoCali on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:18:47 AM PST

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    •  I had written a follow up comment (0+ / 0-)

      but was too nervous to post it. But reading some of the other comments in your (again, absolutely beautiful) diary, I decided to give it another shot.

      I do not have a neurological disorder, but I do have a form of brain damage that most people truly do not understand: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Most people looking at me, even reading my writing, perceive nothing out of the ordinary-they even see traits they think are somehow remarkable (which is all part of the condition-over-compensation, perfectionism, people like me tend to be great "performers") So I can communicate quite well under certain circumstances. I am more comfortable communicating through writing than speaking face to face for this reason. But it's not foolproof.

      Over the summer, I was involved in some pretty awful meta drama, to put it mildly. Unfortunately  lot of that drama came as a result of my reactions to stressors. Those reactions are markedly different than most peoples, because of my condition. But to the outside world (aka, most on Kos) it all just seemed odd, a bit suspicious, just plain bizarre. At one point I tried to explain it away by saying I was drunk (I wasn't) and overtired (I was-over 72 hours with no sleep IIRC, but that was only a symptom of the larger problem)

      What they could not see behind the scenes is that I was in a very real sense falling apart neurologically. With C-PTSD that results from childhood trauma, the transition into adulthood can be difficult and I'm no exception. You have two choices-pull yourself together, learn how to give off at least the appearance of being a functional adult, or just give up and self destruct. Like most of us do, I chose the former option-but even then there are always what is known as a "tipping point"-this can be a significant life stressor (death of a loved one, losing a job, divorce) or even a smaller scale one like getting in a fight with someone you care about, or an illness, or a bunch of people trashing you on the internet....most people are able to adapt somehow, but sometimes for some people with Chronic Trauma syndrome it just breaks the dam. That is what happened with me-and unfortunately, it played out in real time in a very high profile way. My posts made me look insane, paranoid, delusional, just over the top. A chronic trauma stress breakdown can take symptomatic forms that mimic virtually every category of psychiatric disorder, so it is not surprising that people-used to seeing me pretty cool, calm and collected-didn't know what the heck was going on, and started to get really suspicious.

      But unfortunately another part of C-PTSD (at least how it manifests in me) is that any kind of scrutiny, criticism or humiliation is felt so deeply that on it's own it can cause a breakdown. But when that was saddled on top of what I was already experiencing, it pushed me over the edge. I actually had to be hospitalized for 3 days, and do almost a month of a day-hospital program before I got back to normal.

      An outsider looking in would of course see this and think "wow, how fucking ridiculous are you, you had to go to the psych ward over the internet? It's just the internet!" (and you bet, I got a lot of that, and probably will get more of it which is why I was not even going to post this)

       But if those same people were to actually sit down and listen to me explain in detail what happened to me as a young child, the impact that had on my neurological development, the ways that my still developing brain had to compensate in order to just get through every day; how those same compensations and defense mechanisms that I used in childhood never went away (they become ingrained very deeply into your personality) and became so maladaptive as I grew into adulthood that they all but killed me. They annihilated my ability to make lasting personal connections, my personal boundaries, and protective instincts-creating a cycle of repeat re-victimization that only made things that much worse. If they know that any rejection or personal humiliation just feeds into my own tendency to self-denigrate, to return to those deeply ingrained feelings I've had since childhood-that I'm filled with inner badness, a degenerate, a sick person, that I SHOULD feel shame, and of COURSE everyone hates me, because they finally figured out who I really was all along.

      It does not matter a whit if it's people in your home, at school, in your workplace, or even on the internet. I've experienced some form of this "splintering" in all of these places. It hurts just as badly. In a way, to be honest I think the internet version was even worse because it was so visible, and there is a permanent record of it there for all posterity.

      So you could not be more right. And I cannot thank you enough for helping me, just by your gentle words, get that off of my chest. I only hope that those who read it will take it to heart, and think about that next time they see some "random person on the internet" start to unravel. I am not saying you should give them a pat on the head, or feel sorry for them, nor am I saying we should put up with any "bad" behavior. An illness is not a free pass to act any way you want with no consequences. But maybe, instead of reacting to the behavior, and piling on them-you could take a different approach. Be respectful, considerate, maybe send them a quick PM and see if there is something going on that you can help out with. And when all else fails, simply end the exchange politely and walk away.

      (And full disclosure-I don't always practice what I preach here. It's still something I'm working on)

      You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

      by SwedishJewfish on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:44:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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