I’d thought I was doing really well handling my PTSD symptoms. Turns out I’m only actually good at handling them when there are no triggers.
All morning, my roommate has been yelling at her parents on the phone, banging around the apartment, slamming doors. These are major triggers for me. These were the things that came right before my mother’s rages. Then there would be hours of her screaming at me, telling me I was a terrible person, telling me I was ruining her life. Sometimes she’d hit me. Sometimes she’d throw things at me. Often, she’d threaten suicide and blame me for it. Then she’d disappear–sometimes for hours, sometimes for days. I would be left alone with my sisters, and I never knew if she was coming back or if she’d actually kill herself this time. I’d do the best I could to take care of my sisters–we ate a lot of cereal, sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese because those were the only things I could cook. I made sure we all got on the bus on time in clean clothes. I didn’t know exactly what would happen if any grown-ups found out my mother kept disappearing, but I knew it wouldn’t be good. I hid it all, but I was a child. Children aren’t really very good at hiding things, but no one noticed because they didn’t want to notice. When I was ten and my depression got so bad I couldn’t function in school, when I tried to kill myself the first time (albeit very ineptly), no one ever investigated why such a young child was so severely depressed. No one investigated what was going on in my life, and I couldn’t tell.
I was left completely alone with a situation too huge for me to deal with, but I didn’t have any choice. I didn’t have any way out.
And that’s how I feel now, even though I know it’s old trauma stuff. My roommate is not actually going to hurt me, and even if she tried, I know how to take care of myself. But my heart is racing, and I can’t stop shaking. Every noise makes me jump. I have my earbuds in with music on, but that only helps a little. It becomes overstimulating–sound is the worst for me, for some reason–but that’s better than listening to my roommate. I’ve done all the grounding stuff, and I’m not dissociating–but I don’t feel safe. I really need to get something to eat, but I can’t leave my bedroom. I can’t deal with seeing her or talking to her.
I really, really wish I could afford to live alone. I do so much better that way. Living with people is triggering, even if they’re people I’m comfortable with. I just never feel entirely safe when there’s someone else in my space. Roommate is nice enough, but it turns out she’s kind of immature and a drama queen. From what I can gather, she’s having some kind of dental problem, and she’s upset because her parents didn’t call her or come take care of her. I mean, she’s almost 30. I try not to be judgmental of people’s distress, but when her distress is so out of control that it causes me distress, I lose tolerance. I mean, I nearly died when I first got sick with UC, and there was literally no one there for me. I was 500 miles away from home and 600 miles away from my family, and my family wouldn’t have been terribly concerned even if I’d been right next door. My mother didn’t take care of me when I was sick as a child, let alone as an adult. It sucks, yes. It hurts when our parents don’t take care of us the way we need them to. But you grow up and deal with it as best you can. You don’t spend hours screaming about it. You acknowledge that it sucks, but then you take care of yourself as best you can.
I hope this screaming and crap doesn’t become a long-term issue with Roommate. I really cannot deal with that, at all. Somebody just buy me my own place so I never have to live with anyone again. Those tiny houses are pretty cool; I could go for one of them. Just as long as it’s mine.