Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

I’ve talked about Daughter’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I haven’t mentioned mine. When Daughter spent yesterday evening raging, it triggered my PTSD. I stayed up entirely too late playing a mindless computer game. I was waiting until I was exhausted to go to bed, in the hope that I would fall asleep quickly without worrying about what was going on with Daughter.

She was still in a surly mood this morning, and I didn’t engage her much at all. I told her how much insulin to take for breakfast, but that was about it. She called me mid-morning. I wondered if she was going to apologize. She wanted me to know that she’d had a low—her blood sugar had dropped to 39, which is pretty low. I asked if she’d had her cheese with breakfast, and she insisted she had. I remained cool.

She called again in the afternoon, telling me she needed to talk because she was miserable. I was not real encouraging. She acknowledged she felt guilty about her behavior last night, and then asked permission to get back together with Boyfriend. Last night she wanted to move out so she could control her own life. Today she is asking me for permission to get back together for Boyfriend—something she has never done. Since she asked, I told her it was a very bad idea. She said okay. I told her I’d see her when she got home. She wasn't calling about blood sugars are her love life. She was calling to see if I still loved her.

I’ve got to give her credit, she worked hard when she got home, taking on extra chores to prove to me that she was going to turn things around. Every time I heard her speak to the cats, I was afraid she was hearing voices again. She was not real happy when I told her that even though she’d worked, she couldn’t watch TV tonight.

I’m on edge, waiting for the next explosion, wondering if she’s going to have to go back to the hospital. I’m back to going through my schedule, trying to figure out how I’ll find time to respond to whatever crisis may be coming. I’m unwilling to trust that the storm is past and she is going to be cooperative now.

Daughter needs to know she is safe from her abusers. They don’t know where she lives, and she knows she is safe. I want to know I am safe from the next verbal assault and that she won’t one day follow through on her threats. The difference is, my abuser lives with me, and I made a lifelong commitment to her. I promised to love her through her rages. I promised to remember when she was raging that her anger was not about me.

Sometimes, though, I have a hard time remembering it. Sometimes I pull back, and have a hard time nurturing her. She made today a better day. I will make tomorrow a better day.

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