The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation.

I woke up from another nightmare this morning. Before the alarm clock. Just close enough for me to not be able to fall back asleep, not that I’d want to, for fear of seeing this night’s “bad guy” waiting behind my eyelids.

I’m exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that comes from spinning your emotional wheels and re-experiencing trauma after trauma until you wake up to shaking hands and a racing heart. The kind where naps aren’t even comforting any more because day-mares are now a thing.  But just like every night I lay my head down, I take that gamble because I have no choice.

The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation. I made it myself. I did it for a beautiful reason but it doesn’t take from the absolute agony I feel every day. Sometimes I talk about it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I fall asleep after being on the phone and crying to the point where I scream but make no sound so the person on the other end doesn’t know. Sometimes I wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Sometimes my alarm goes off and I do scream…into my pillow, and cry, hands shaking and heart racing.

Applying eyeliner in the morning with tears in your eyes is impossible and yet I do it more often than not. I have to because my face must be brave when I wake up the 9 year old girl who sleeps across the hall, unaware of what her mom is going through behind her own door. I have to smile and pretend I’m listening when she tells me things about books and friends and school and the charge on her computer. I have to turn my head when a rogue tear escapes, overflow from what’s waiting when I come back inside after putting her on the bus.

I want to crawl out of my skin and cry and scream. I want to be hugged but I don’t want to be touched. I want to curl up on my couch under a soft blanket and stay there until I feel safe again. I want my cat to sleep on me like she used to, purring and sharing each other’s warmth. I miss her. I miss Nancy. And frankly, I miss who I could have been if none of this ever happened and my brain wasn’t riddled with PTSD & triggers. I would love nothing more than to stop this day-to-day horror show funhouse I feel like I’m walking through.

The decision to feel after a lifetime of disassociation. I made it myself. And I have to stand by it now. So I sit down at the dining room table, I finish my coffee through what I hope is the end of the tears for now, wrap up this bit of writing and get on to work. I’ll listen to an audiobook or some music I love as I get through this day. I’ll try to refocus, reframe and readjust. And if the tears come again, unlike steeling myself and stifling them as I used to do in the past, I’ll let them flow, dry my face and keep going. I will get through this. I won’t give up.

As always,
Love Light & Blessings
~Sarah Gallardo

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