Traumas and Blog Prompts

One of the things that NaNoBlogThing does for its members is provide the occasional prompt for a post. Like most collections of blogging prompts, these are usually benign creativity boosters and story prompts to help out someone that gets stuck in writer’s block. But there was one that came up recently that didn’t sit well with me; it seems to be lacking in forethought:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.

I understand that trauma happens on a spectrum, and that the person involved can dramatically change the perspective on an event (as can the care that person receives in the immediate aftermath of trauma). Some people who experience life-threatening car accidents go on to recover both physically and mentally and can, after a time, drive again safely and without panic or anxiety. Others aren’t able to heal to that point and can sometimes not even ride in a car without experiencing panic attacks.

Trauma is just so PERSONAL.

PTSD is weird, and “Describe the scenes surrounding an event” is something I can’t even do (yet) in scheduled, structured therapy. Looking at the prompt, my immediate reaction is “Well THAT’S not going to happen.” And I can’t imagine that I’m the only NaBloPostThinger writer that lives with PTSD and it’s related mental health issues.

I understand that this post isn’t really talking about “that” kind of trauma, but really, there isn’t another kind. All traumas require healing – and there’s no way to look up what counts as traumatic (beyond a the actual definition of trauma itself). Different things bother different people on various levels, so a post that one person thinks is pretty benign (about a car accident) can be completely triggering for another.

Even suggesting a post about a traumatic event that you have healed from or that helped you to grow in some way would be better than the open ended “anything traumatic”. Otherwise, from a psychological standpoint, it has the potential to open up a lot of really ugly emotional stuff, without having a way to process or effectively deal with those emotions. For real, just writing out the sequence of events (factually and as chronologically as possible), let alone describing entire scenes, can be almost impossible to do for someone with PTSD. It’s a real mindfuck sometimes.

While I don’t for a minute think that the prompt was intended to be discomforting, a blog prompt that suggests the emotionally invested discussion of traumatic events just seems really out of place in a list that also includes “What kind of music do you listen to when you write?” and “Do you prefer to write with a pen or a computer?”

One of these things is not like the other ones, you know?

Expanding

I’ve never really been a small person. I’m not massively tall, but I’ve got an athletic build and wide shoulders and hips – just structurally – plus boobs and a butt that are nicely proportionate to the rest of me.

And I was pretty OK with that. Thanks to a lot of un-brainwashing from the HAES movement, I was pretty comfortable with looking the way I looked, and happy with what I was feeding my body and how I was active.

Then, about a year ago, my brain took a long walk off a short pier, and I’ve been on various forms of psychiatric medication ever since.

In the 8 months that I was on an SSRI, I gained 20 lbs. In the 5 weeks I was on an anti-epileptic medication, I gained 5 more. Now I’m on an atypical anti-psychotic, and ravenously hungry all the time, constantly preparing myself to step on the scale and see the number break another 10’s digit record.* I’m sure the anti-inflammatories I’m on constantly don’t help much either.

On some level, I feel like this shouldn’t bother me. I mean – yeah, I’m ravenous all the time on this new medication, but I’m also a) not manic b) not suicidal and c) not having panic attacks. On the other hand, putting on 25 lbs isn’t exactly inexpensive and doesn’t exactly help a ton with my self image.  I’ve had to buy all new clothes and new bras (my ta-tas, while generous before, are always in the way now) because NOTHING fits anymore. Shirts won’t button, pants won’t budge past my knees.

Even little things are different, like realizing that I take up more space when trying to squeeze into tight corners, or doing yoga and finding my flexibility restricted by my new friend The Chub.

And the world cries out “Eat less, exercise more!” as though it were some kind of magical prescription to make everything better. Well, sometimes it doesn’t. I could go on for pages about what I eat (and don’t eat), what I do for exercise, the amount of activity I get at my job, and really it wouldn’t do any good to the Calories in, Calories out people. Maybe some bodies work just fine as a heat engine, but I’m eating healthier and exercising more than I ever have before, but I went on all these stupid medications and I’m still gaining weight.

Also, it’s really not at all fun to be painfully, ravenously, eat a whole bag of carrots hungry all the time and yet know that you’re already fatter than you used to be.

I’m already eating low-carb, thanks to being gluten free, so I’ve tried to step that up a little, but it means never leaving the house without a string cheese or some almonds or pecans or dried fruit. I refuse to give up carbs entirely (phase 1 of South Beach, essentially) because I can’t take the mental changes that requires – the last time I tried Phase 1, I was a raving, plate-throwing bitch for three weeks. I don’t need any help being crazy these days.

Which kicks off the constant wondering why I’m bothering. Every time I’ve tried to lose weight, I’ve lost it, and then while still on the same diet, still enjoying the benefits of the “lifestyle change” I’ve put the weight all back on, plus 5-10 lbs (if I lost any weight at all. I can put on weight on a calorie restriction diet in ways that just boggle my mind). Every time, even if it was just a quick “lose 10 lbs before someone’s wedding” thing.

So is trying to stay on top of this now only going to mean buying all new clothes again in another 6 months?

Or is ignoring it and just listening to what I know my body needs going to result in the same thing anyway, thanks to metabolic changes from these medications?

Ugh.

*Oh and by the way, the medication I’m on now can cause hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. Yay.

Riding the Rollercoaster

Sometimes, you’re up. Sometimes, you’re down.

Things were looking more in the up direction for awhile… except then (to continue the metaphor and stretch it perhaps too far) they turned upside down and I fell out of the little harness and splattered all over the pavement. Faulty lap belt. Or something.

In short, things aren’t so good, but I’m working on it. I don’t know when it will get better, but the only way out is through. I’ve run out of ability to pretend everything’s OK at work now too, so I figure one of these days someone is going to realize just how fucked up in the brain I can be.

I may or may not talk more about it, but at least this space exists.

<3 and such.

Oh. And whatever smartass thought it would be a good idea to add “Black Cherry Flavor!” to sublingually dissolving anti-psychotic medications can go blow a goat. Because really, now it tastes like terrible artificial flavoring AND bitter poisonous nastiness. It’s almost adding insult to injury that taking a medication that makes me feel so shitty has to Taste. That. Bad.

(And before someone suggests water, I can’t have any. Tablet under tongue, no food or drink for 10 minutes. It makes the underside of my tongue peel too. THAT’s fun…)