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A Setback, or maybe a huge leap forward?

Posted Jun 27 2010 12:00am
After this week's brief flowering I had a bit of a setback. My partner's ex-wife has significant mental health issues and she has found the stress of the marriage break up and caring for her son very difficult. Lately she seemed to have mellowed somewhat but something must have happened to trigger an 'episode'. It was the week of a full moon and this is always a tricky time for her, however there was no excuse for her behaviour - which I won't outline in detail here. Both AJ and I were subjected to violent verbal abuse, me at the end of the phone and AJ in front of his terrified son. We are taking advice about how to handle this - so no need to worry on that score.

As this is a blog about CFS/ME I want to tell you how it has affected me. I have a complex form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which interacts closely with my CFS/ME. Lately, my window of tolerance for stimulation had widened out because I had dealt with a load of emotional stuff, and now, no great surprise, it has shrunk right down again. I feel a little better this morning, but yesterday I was, for the second time in a week, unable to do much at all. The first time was because of physical exertion - five minutes of tug of war.

I find it very difficult to contain my feelings about it. When I'm fatigued my boundaries are leaky and it all comes pouring out. I'm in child mode myself. There is resonance here for me about out of control parents and neglect. Not to mention my here-and-now feelings of anger and fear. I am now afraid to answer my own telephone (again) and every time I hear a car turn off the road I'm at the window and checking out the location of my mobile in case I need to call for help.

I wouldn't say this is square one. I have awareness now, awareness of when I am reacting with feelings from the past, and when my basic instincts for survival are overriding the information I'm receiving about the present. I'm able to say with confidence why I'm crashing as I've identified that emotional insults are as potent as physical ones, and I can now pinpoint the moments when I have exceeded my tolerance zone. I know it's no good burying my emotions as it takes energy to do so, and they'll only bite me on the bum later on. So I process. And this is what I'm doing now by telling you all about it.

I'm angry. I'm not so angry with her as with the situation as I can see that 'there but for the Grace of God go I'. I have been blessed with the gift of insight which she lacks. Even with that I find it near impossible at times to contain my feelings and have been known to throw an almighty wobbly. My own parenting was scrutinised at times, and found wanting. It's going to be hard in the next few days to keep my own agenda in the background and let AJ handle this. But that is what I must do.
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