Triggers can come from anywhere. Again, I was triggered by email; this time it started because of one from the management office of my apartment complex in Brooklyn where I witnessed 9/11 and helped people who escaped across the bridge from Ground Zero on foot. Because I have been away in San Francisco healing, I have not been around at my Brooklyn place. I have a roommate though, who collects my mail, forwarding important documents, and takes care of the apartment. Someone, however, reported that I have been illegally subletting.
In my defense, I emailed back with an explanation of what is going on. In the process, I had a flashback to 2008, a moment during a time when I didn’t know I had PTSD. I had an emotional breakdown in the property management office. I had been unable to keep a job and was barely able to keep up with maintenance payments. Valerie, the secretary, was understanding and supportive, assuring me that it would be okay. Even now while typing this, the memory is so strong that my body relives it and the tears pour down. Thank God I am in my SF flat with my comforting dog.
Otherwise, my memory has been failing. I’ve been unable to remember important items. I cannot remember if I elected a new amount for my tax-saving Flexible Spending Account. I cannot remember how to do it. I could not remember files that I stored yesterday for a job that I needed to do. After multiple times asking a co-worker why I could not access a site on our intranet, I had to ask again. My mind is one big gray blob with basically my frontal lobe and motor neurons firing. Access to memory is blocked like mudslides on mountain trails. It’s as if the overwhelming emotions that have been triggered over the last few months has caused a downpour.
If there’s any one good thing about today, it’s that I’m sharing my life with PTSD. Here’s a tip for those who also struggle with it: find a way to organize and write everything down. I’ve used the program Things by Cultured Code. It’s a bit pricey for a Mac app, but it helps. Too bad I didn’t jot down those things I forgot.
Update: Another bad memory example that is worth writing down is that I could not remember how to transfer video from an iPad to my Mac laptop. I’ve transferred images dozens of times. After failing to use iTunes, I saw a note about using iPhoto. Duh. That used to be automatic; I had done it so many times.
Another good thing about today is contact from friends. Yesterday I thought that I had few friends in San Francisco, but reality is, I do have people in my life who would drive me to the airport. I’ve just been having a hard time recalling who they all are. Since yesterday, I’ve been reaching out to them one by one, and they have been responding. This is a beacon amidst the mental blackout.