Friday, April 29, 2011

Protecting

Megan had been thinking about Christina-Taylor while brushing her 9 year old's hair and she commented yesterday that she had to keep myself from crying in front of my daughter. 


She'd gone right into protective mode.  It's a reaction I've seen a lot of lately.  More often than not I am on the receiving end of the equation.  I haven't had much energy going toward protecting other people. 

Please don't ask TBG how that has been working out.  I'm self-involved and reference everything in life vis-a-vis my situation and my situation is all that I can think about and my friends and family and strangers on the street have been enabling my addiction.  Protecting anyone but myself has been beyond my capabilities for the last 4 months. 

I couldn't even take care of a 9 year old on a Saturday morning in front of a grocery store in an upscale neighborhood.  I couldn't keep either of us out of harm's way.  How in the world could I possibly be asked to help someone else? 

Those around me were complicit in my behavior.  When I tried to carry something or walk out to the mailbox or load the dishwasher cries of "What are you doing?" and "Let me do that!" floated my way before I had a chance to do much of anything. I was being protected.  Nothing more than healing was expected from me

Up until the last few weeks it never got much deeper than that.  My focus was on healing my broken body and presenting a strong front to the outside world.  That was my job.  But then my physical self stopped inserting itself in the forefront of my brain and there was room in there for the sorrow to reassert itself.

I began to cry.  I'm walking around with a lump in my throat most of the time. Some of it is PTSD but most of it is just plain sad. All I have left of my little friend is a purple bracelet and her photo showing up on my screensaver's slide show.  I have no problem sharing my sorrow with anyone and everyone who comes anywhere close to mentioning her.  I startle people with the intensity of my reaction.  Ask me a question and you'll get an answer, an honest answer.  You asked the question.... you have to chance the consequences.  Protecting anyone but myself is beyond my ken. 
 
When C-T's mom is confronted with strangers' anguish over her loss, she feels the need to comfort them.  She's a nurse and it's what she was trained to do but it's also who she is in the depths of her soul.  Being out in public is exhausting for her.  So many people feel her loss.  Megan had to choke back tears.

When I am approached by such strangers I can allow the hugging and the tears and the sentiment to wash over me.  I feel no responsibility for it. Whatever you are getting from the interaction is yours and yours alone. If touching me makes you feel better, gives you something you're missing, establishes a connection, if being hugged can help you heal, that is fine with me. 

I am getting what I need as you show me that I am not alone.  I'm protecting myself by using you as a bulwark against the evil and the awful and the sad. That's about as far as I can get right how. 

10 comments:

  1. Oh AB, today is not the day where I am choking back the tears. I'm home alone and all I want to do is scream Why?!

    I cannot come to grasps with the loss of CT or any other child. It makes my heart ache.

    Please whatever you do, don't blame yourself. None of this is your fault. Someone else is responsible. You were being the responsible person that day and you held CT's hand and comforted her (all while you were lying on the ground bleeding).

    Part of why so many of us are trying to protect you is because we couldn't protect you on that horrible day. We (as a society) should be doing a better job to protect people from evil people. We failed YOU! And somehow, someway, we need to make sure you are protected and shielded.

    The hardest part about all of this is the lost potential. All six of those people had so much more to give and yet it was snatched away. We all lost that day. Most of all you and those people that loved all six of those precious people.

    Today, as I do everyday, I'm sending you a warm, protective, loving hug.


    Megan xxx

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  2. You are doing it all right, Suzi. Feel what you feel. Chew on it. Roll around in it. Absorb it, or shove it away. Whatever suits you. You draw from others, so you can give to others. You're real, and that will help heal you.

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  3. I think that you are very brave and will keep being so for the long time that it takes to heal, physically and emotionally. I admire your strength and wish I could manage to be as strong.

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  4. I think tears are healthy and people shouldn't hold back real feelings to comfort others. We need to live with what is real as a people and real is tears are sometimes part of healing and required. Suppressing them is unhealthy.

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  5. Keep letting it all out. As my old therapist said, feel the feelings. No sense in locking everything away, it all needs to come out one way or another. Keep on your healing path; we are all traveling it with you.

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  6. You do know, don't you, that NO ONE on earth could have protected that child or you - or Gaby - on that day.

    I understand the hugging; it is more for them than you.

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  7. You need to do whatever it is you need to do - I won't use any "shoulds," heavens knows you do not need any of those, but I am with kenju, NO ONE could have protected anyone in the microseconds during the shooting. The people who could react did. You and C-T and many other people had already been shot. No sane person blames you for anything. PTSD tries to make you not sane and tries to get you to think with the back of your brain. You were doing good in the world, Suzi, and you still are. Hugs.

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  8. The ONLY person responsible for the loss and tragedy of that day is locked up, and will never be free to hurt anyone again. Do NOT let the bitch make you feel responsible!!! xoxoxo

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  9. I used to believe firmly that the mind had a short form of wisdom that it used for self-protection, that it only served up to awareness what our awareness could handle...in the amount and form that we could manage. I still think that's largely true; my brain will make it easy for me to avoid what I'm not ready for and then give me titrated, graduated sips as it calculates my readiness.

    But PTSD might be different. Certainly it scares us into declaring it different and that might be the same thing. The valve mechanism that controls the flow of internal cross-input seems untrustworthy. But is it? You can't measure that with an fMRI scan.

    Your brain seems to be protecting you wonderfully from being overwhelmed by external "stranger" stimuli...that's where mine would have failed me flat. May your internal cross-flow valve be equally sturdy. Dear girl.

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