Chaos Post-Mortem: PTSD and Digital Purging
Waking up in the middle of night to cry, negative flashbacks, and avoidance symptoms are just some of the many indicators of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. I have them almost on a daily basis this month. Based on some initial research, it aggravates itself during pregnancy. It’s difficult to have PTSD symptoms on top of everything (hyperemesis gravidarum, my usual mood stuff, etc.) but it’s not surprising considering the immensely messed up situation I had to deal with in the last 2 months. I turn to two things that never fail to cheer me up even in my bed rest: writing and task lists. Oh, and I added a third: reaching out to a friend or two. I used to hole up in my cave. Now, I message people even if it’s against my natural hibernating instinct. There is actually a group that I can comfortably open up to now, strangely.
PTSD’s drive plus some palpable nesting behavior finally gave me the freedom to do the long overdue digital housekeeping I’ve been dreaming of doing for years. I overhauled some online accounts to foster a better recovery phase. First, I killed my Twitter account last week. I figured that the monitoring of my favorite topics can be done elsewhere like Feedly (RSS), Reddit and 4Chan. I organized a system of storing bookmarks of my favorite online resources.
I finally arrived at a phase of having a neutral stance on Facebook which allowed me to have a more objective look of its pros and cons. I went from extreme love (before 2014 and in my hacked account), to extreme hate (2015-early 2016), to neutral (present). I used to have 2 Facebook accounts and it’s difficult to switch from one to the other these days. So I deleted the incognito Facebook account that I use for research and work and decided to just stick to using a singular and sanitized Facebook account mainly for research and messaging, some coordinating, and occasional catching up to certain people. I activated my old personal Facebook account and then cleaned it up by deleting the clutter that does not help me become the best version of myself and optimizing my news feed. It’s completely overhauled and organized now. My albums are sorted in the way I want. I just have to do some more minor grouping and tweaking in my list and it’s working perfectly according to the main purpose of communicating substantially and promoting a more positive mindset. It’s streamlined and the list of friends now is half the original size when I created my account. I am really happy with it now. I finally designed my remaining Facebook account to function in the way I want it to function, as it should have been right from the beginning.
Prior to all this, I had a conflicting attitude with my social media accounts. Even though I was really feeling like my accounts were cluttered, I feel like I have to keep things on Facebook just for the sake of some invisible social protocol. It was bustling with activity, but I felt like my social media account was not reflecting who I am offline or how I really want to use it. Now, I was finally able to break the gaps and what you see on my Facebook wall is pretty much consistent with what’s in the real world.
The crisis revealed who I am genuinely, and I was able to mold my digital accounts to reflect the real me. 🙂 And that’s one of the many good things and unexpected side effects of having a series of unfortunate events thrown my way.
The only thing that’s left for me to fix is all offline: my bedroom’s desk and the food and medication stash by my bedside. My mother’s condition is still the same. She is still sick and fighting for her life. This time, though, I still want her to get better but I am no longer compulsively trying to save her from everything. I no longer have to worry that the hospital will send her home just because she can’t pay for her bill. I can no longer control how she will respond to the medication or how they will manage the donation money from my bed rest. On my end, I have done my part and there is a peace of mind in knowing that I did not wait for her funeral to show my love or shed crocodile tears. I actually did something to fight for her life while she was still alive. I pulled all stops and did the unthinkable for her and I will not regret that decision even if it made me really uncomfortable and exposed me to a lot of people.
This time, my goals are simple: being a wife and a mother. A good and responsible one, I hope. I choose to tend to the needs of my unborn son because he deserves to see the world for the first time in the best possible environment. I always remember that day he almost died from miscarriage because of abusive people. I will always remember that day they almost killed my unborn son because of their selfishness and use it as a life lesson, going forward.
I lost a lot of things these past three months, but I gained clarity and a very relieving sense of simplicity. When you do not have a lot of stuff, it’s easier to see what matters, what is worth keeping and what needs to go. It’s a hard situation but there is a lot of good in it, surprisingly. It prepared me for motherhood in unorthodox ways. There’s nothing more jolting than a full blown crisis. You get your life priorities in order once all the mayhem and dust settles back down to the ground. I am more certain about what I want and what I do not want at this point in time. I am more selective about what I allow in my life and what I promptly let go of for the sake of promoting what’s good, worthy, positive, and encouraging.
When you become who you really are in real life and in the digital world, you lose a lot at first but you gain more in the long run. Essentially, you stop giving a fuck about the externals and you become real about what really matters to you in life. It’s wonderful to have that. You lose everything externally, but you gain the FREEDOM to be who you really are and have no more need to hide. You become vulnerable for a time, but once you get past the initial discomfort of opening yourself up, it reveals the strength that you never knew you actually had.
Well, PTSD is still a bitch. I still have negative flashbacks. I still burst into tears in the middle of my activities during the day. I still wake up with bad dreams. However, I think of the silver lining to this giant cloud. I am more in tune about who I am, what I want to do, and who I want to do it with. And for that, wherever this road leads me, I am certain that better days are coming for real.