I’m a rambler, and I think I probably was before too but the agitation with my PTSD sometimes makes it worse. I ramble on and on in sessions which now I get clocked on when I do. The trust level after close to a year of consistent appointments is quite high so I don’t get offended. Rambling is also my way to ‘avoid’. It’s an avoidance tactic for me.
In uniform it was the ‘bubble head’ tactic which worked well for me so it’s probably a learned tactic. One to use when I don’t want to talk about something, one to use when I’m avoiding an issue. One to use when I had to stuff my own emotions down to get through the shift. Yet now I know after a lot of work it’s not the best or healthy of tactics. I’m aware of it now when I do it. I can stop myself when I realize I’m doing it.
Talk about the specifics of my PTSD? Oh I’m definitely going to ramble on about other seemingly important difficult issue to avoid spearheading the big issue. Talk about the bad calls which still haunt me? I’m gonna ramble as long as I can. Feel myself start to cry? Gonna ramble on again and circle the whole issue.
The difference now is I know that I’m doing it. So the minute I start I will pause, reflect for a minute and say it out loud what I’m doing. It’s a good thing to be aware of. It’s a protective tactic which served me well. People always want to know the most personal of things, family and loves, where you live etc when you’re in uniform. So I learned to buffalo with information. Frankly it’s what kept me safe as I could be in this day and age of everyone having access to information.
Then it became something ingrained which I couldn’t stop doing and am having to unlearn. It’s not easy. It’s like letting go of a ‘blankie’ which makes me feel safer for it’s presence. That thing you cuddle up with when you feel like crap. I had a routine for those difficult end of shift days. The ones where I had been to yet another funeral, or a child or infant had died. I would lay in bed after my children went to sleep and cuddle up with this huge pillow, a big soft blanket and imagine my husband’s arms around me telling me it was “okay, you’ll get through this”. I did. But some days I wonder at what cost?
I do struggle with the idea that rambling when I don’t want to talk about something is not healthy. I struggle with this idea. I’m having to learn to just not talk about something or remind myself I have a safe place to talk about it and it CAN wait until that day. It’s getting easier to hold onto the need to actually talk about something. I can write it down and bring that list with me so I won’t forget to talk about it.
Day to day I don’t talk as much as I used to. I just hold most thoughts inside until that ‘safe place’ time. Most of all it’s helping me to get the idea, to learn the habit of only talking about certain things in a ‘safe place’. This is not to say it’s easy by any means! It’s taken a good year of a schedule of appointments designed to keep me coming back, to some days force myself to go when I did not want to. I recognize those times of the most growth are the ones where I wanted to give up. I’ve worked through the times of growth where I really thought “I’m okay now, I’ve had enough I don’t need to be here anymore. I’m done with this!” I made myself keep going and I’m grateful for that small strength inside myself of sheer stubbornness.
I just won’t give up on me…in a time where I felt everyone in my life, my careers had given up on me, or maybe I gave up on them, I will not give up on ME. I want to grow, I want to see change and most of all I need to see growth back into a life for myself which is full.
I fully believe there is growth possible in PTSD. I just do.