I have post traumatic stress and anxiety from many years of domestic verbal and emotional abuse….there… I said it. Out loud. Or at least I wrote it down, and maybe I will share it, or maybe it will just be for me to see. At this point, I can’t really say for sure. I don’t wear it as a badge of honor, it isn’t a ‘label’, I don’t use it as an excuse, I don’t justify my fears by blaming someone else for what I deal with today, and it definitely doesn’t define me. It is just a fact of my life and part of my past and who I am, or at least who I have become. As a matter of fact, most people would never even know when they meet me. But it’s always there… constantly just under the surface, waiting to rear it’s ugly head again.
I always said that Calli saved me. Back when she joined our family in 2010, it was just Jess, Tim and I at home. And while I tried to hide it and I tried to ignore it, I was afraid…. I was constantly on edge in my own house. I barely slept…I hardly ate….I was frightened by any unknown sound…my doors and windows were always locked. I even locked the door to the basement, afraid someone would climb through the window and be in the house and I wouldn’t know, not until it was too late. Constant, never ending fear and panic. It’s a scary mind-numbing place to be, especially when it takes place even in the one spot you should feel the MOST safe.
Calli saved me…. because suddenly I could sleep, suddenly I could walk into a dark empty house and not have a panic attack, feeling like I needed to go through every room…every closet…look under every bed to make sure I was really alone. Suddenly the world, or at least the world inside my home, was safe again.
The PTS and anxiety was still there…still under the surface…still a factor in my life, still a part of who I was, at least deep inside. But home, at least, became safe. Because she was always there…my constant companion, my protector…my best friend. I knew that she would alert me if something wasn’t right. I knew, although she never had to prove it, that she would protect me until her very last breath. And even though that did not completely eliminate my fear, or erase the potential danger, whether real or a fabrication of my scarred psychi, it was enough….and I felt safe again…for the first time in what felt like a lifetime.
………………And than she was gone……………..
And what I didn’t see happening, what I didn’t acknowledge to myself or anyone else, was that anxiety and fear beginning to creep back up on me. What I didn’t realize was occurring, was that although I was perfectly fine if someone was in the house with me, the moment I was alone, even for a short amount of time, that fear and panic would begin to creep back into my head. Even as I write these words and come to terms with what I was feeling, my heart begins to race and my chest starts to tighten. I can feel that knot in the pit of my stomach….that uncontrollable, unrational, incompacitating fear. The heartbreak and sadness of losing a much loved pet that I hoped would at least fade in time catepaulting into a sea of gut-wrenching anxiety, stress and fear. Because suddenly, out of nowhere, I was afraid to be in my house alone again….for the first time in seven years. It was like being thrown back to another time, reverting back to someone you truly believed you no longer were. And, in those moments, not really knowing why, not understanding why suddenly you were feeling things that hadn’t been felt in so long. Your home, once again, becoming a source of the very thing that brought you pain.
………………And than there was you……………..
Fenway Jameson….the little man we weren’t looking for. Somehow, you found us. And in my heart, I have to believe that she had a ‘paw’ in it…that she nudged her sweet nose from one person to the next from beyond our world.
And somehow, Calli brought you here, to us, when I needed you most. It was going to be a puppy, it was going to be next year….the list goes on and on of reasons it never would have been you.
But it was meant to be you….and it was meant to be now. Because now, once again, it was the love and protection only you could offer that I needed to save me from my past. It was you that made me feel safe again. And though you are, in many ways different, I see her shining through you ….with love and devotion, and a promise to protect me all the days of your life.
And once again, I am safe when I am alone…. because you are by my side.
© Heather Graham and HKGRAHAM 2017 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heather Graham and HKGRAHAM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.