THE NEW PTSD by ELLIN CURLEY

I wrote a blog a while back about how I’ve grown to hate repetitive, routine household chores, like doing the laundry and washing the dishes. But things have changed. The Trump presidency has altered my perspective on a lot of things. Trump and his team have caused political whiplash and existential chaos, which, in turn, has increased my appreciation for the small things in life. Things like the belief in facts, the existence of truth and the joys of a shared reality, at least with my husband. Also, a renewed love of predictability, consistency and reliability – in people and in the world.

72-drying-dishes-081616_008.jpg August 16, 2016So my boring daily slog is suddenly comforting. It makes me feel secure. My husband’s predictabale routines now seem appealing and safe. Almost sexy. Chores are no longer frustrating necessities. Sorting socks is now a calming, Zen exercise. Fitting dishes into the slots in the dishwasher gives me a sense of success and accomplishment. These are the things in life I can count on. I am not helpless in my own home.

My chores also take me away, for a short time, from the onslaught of breaking news from Washington, DC. They give me moments of quiet before the next storm. I deeply appreciate them for the very repetitiveness that had turned me against them before. Boredom is now my friend. I see it as calmness and peace without the negative connotations I used to attribute to it. It’s the antidote to my PTSD – Perpetual Trump Shitstorm Distress!

Laundry

I look forward to training my puppy. Sit! Stay! Come! Good girl! Repeat. No lump in my stomach, no sense of dread. No alternative facts or alternate reality. Just me and my dog agreeing that ‘sit’ means ‘put your butt on the floor’ and ‘stay’ means ‘don’t move until I tell you to.’ Boring, but reassuring and gratifying.

Remy & Lexi

Remy & Lexi

I appreciate my friends more, at least the ones who share my version of facts and reality. My daughter not calling me for weeks is now just something I can count on in an uncertain world. If I continue to focus on the small things in life that give me pleasure and comfort, I just may make it through the Trump years.

29 thoughts on “THE NEW PTSD by ELLIN CURLEY

  1. For us, it’s the dogs. And friends. There aren’t many friends left alive and close by. So many have moved far away to wherever their kids are … or to where the climate is better … or have passed on. I’m finding it kind of scary, especially added to the strange new world in which we live.

    But. A few people have said this to me and it bears repeating. These are “interesting times” of Chinese literature. Martha Kennedy points out these are compelling times in which to live. She’s excited about the big March for Science coming up in Colorado next month. I don’t think she has EVER gone marching — she’s just a bit younger than we are so that much of that was done when she was ready. But for her, suddenly, people are waking up Realizing they have to KNOW how to reach their own representatives. Suddenly, out of the blue, they know where to call, what to say, and to whom they should say it. Suddenly, suddenly, suddenly … history is not “irrelevant.” More people know what the Nazis did THIS year than last year.

    THIS year, no matter how horrible it is, we are all waking up.

    So perhaps, with all the awfulness — and it is awful, there’s no argument there — maybe there is also the germ of something much better in there. A reality to the American people that our “world” doesn’t stay our world unless WE do something to make it a better one. We write. We talk. We pass along important news information. Whether we make people laugh, make them think, make them angry … we are out there trying to be something we haven’t been in many long years.

    And maybe …. this IS good in a very screwed up way. Just a thought to keep sanity in your world. And remember. WE ARE your friends. Really, truly, honest to God. We really ARE. We’ve know you since about 3 days after Tom met you and I remember taking a deep breath and thinking “It’s about TIME!”

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    • You’re right about one thing. I feel very hopeful and energized by the outpouring of commitment and activity on the left. Finally a ‘movement’ is forming that shares my values and maybe will be the governing force over the next decade or so. But we have to get from here to there and that is the problem.

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  2. Ellin, I so agree with you on the comfort of doing boring things these days. Job started, job finished with clear results. Laundry is a wonderful r/x. I am a master folder of all things except fitted sheets. BUT — but, I even managed to neatly fold a fitted sheet after three tries.

    I also finally dumped some of the clothing I’ll never wear again, including the jeans that mysteriously shrank on me over the holidays.

    I ironed (after washing) several pair of new jeans Marilyn bought me. I patiently sprayed starched and repeatedly pressed the creases so my new jeans will look spiffy. I was proud of how my jeans looked. They are still waiting to be shown off. Maybe when we visit you. I’ll be the one wearing the jeans with creased legs.

    We avoided network news over the weekend, binging on “Murdoch Mysteries” (now waiting for new shows) and “Marple”. There’s something comfortable about these BBC produced shows set in the past.

    The closest we’ve come to news is reading posts by Pancho (Tommy), you and others.

    We’ll dip our toes back into reality today.

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  3. Wonderful reframe:
    “moments of quiet before the next storm. I deeply appreciate them for the very repetitiveness that had turned me against them before. Boredom is now my friend.”

    I need to learn to appreciate the tedium of tasks for their “calmness and peace without the negative connotations I used to attribute to [them] – perhaps not the antidote to my own “PTSD – Perpetual [NEVER use his name online] Shitstorm Distress!” but certainly a way to occupy my brain for a moment for relief of the chronic anxiety I now experience — rare before in my life.

    And NOW, yet another email to Congress – I doubt they read, but I’m sure they count, so I feel I must do what I can – WHILE we still can, that is.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment! My 36 year old son has struggled with ADD and ADHD all his life and I recently discovered that both my daughter and I also have ADD. So I salute you and the work you do to help people learn to cope and function in spite of these issues.

      As to the blog – it’s interesting that you mention that you never had chronic anxiety before but you do now. I’ve been hearing that a lot these days! After the election, my husband said it was the first time he understood how awful and physically debilitating anxiety can be. Since I have an anxiety disorder, it actually brought us closer because he ‘gets it’ now.

      Good for you that you are contacting your congressmen! Of course they keep track of what comes into their offices, so every little bit helps. There is now a tsunami of angry Democrats and moderates coming out of the woodwork and I believe we are being heard. Our voices will get stronger around the country with time plus better organization and more political savvy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Welcome to the club! I tell my clients & students that, in heaven, everyone gets to have ADD. 🙂 There are reports, btw, that (in many, not all) anxiety settles down once ADD is dx’d and appropriately treated.

        Check out my older articles for foundational info — or use the LinkList dropdown to open the Master LinkList, then click on the first two listed. I’m sure some of it will be new info, even though you’ve been dealing with your son’s ADD for many years.

        Yes, the mental health pros are reporting an uptick in appointments for help with anxiety, depression & PTSD (mostly narc-abuse/gaslighting sufferers there).

        As long as we are careful not to “turn off” the people who are still supporting this man/child who would be king with angry comments and incendiary articles (which will always backfire, as I explained in a post on 2/13, “Why we hate to change our minds”), we will no doubt continue to grow in number, God willing, until we MUST be heard.

        Maybe, along the way, we’ll even “encourage” the politicians to step up and actually DO what they’ve been elected to do: *use* those checks and balances for the good of the entire county. Praying.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think people with underlying anxiety disorders, like me, are reacting particularly strongly and emotionally to the political situation. But that may also be why so many people are becoming politically acitve and are actually doing something to protest, get through to their representatives and organzie for the future. I still feel hopeful that we will get through this and end up a more progressive and caring country.

          Liked by 1 person

          • According to the shrinks you are right, Ellin. They are reporting an uptick in patients BECAUSE of the political situation. I join you in your hope for the future – IF we survive this administration, that is. Anxiety has never been my problem before, but it certainly is now.
            xx,
            mgh

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    • I’m obsessed with the news and feel more in control if I know what is going on. So I need to use all my Zen skills to stay on an even keel despite the chaos in the world at large.

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  4. Yes. And the official name for he who cannot be named. Because we always throw up a little in our mouths is. SCROTUS. So Called Ruler Of The United States. I love that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with you so much. Life changes greatly once you decide to change your view on how you look at things. I fought with PTSD every day for ten years, the only think that brought me out of the dark is God reminding me of the people who truly love me and need to see a change in me. I was wasting my time complaining to him about everything in life, all he did was point out the great possibilities he placed in my life and told me to fight for them.
    Now I’m a happily married man with a child and a service dog working towards helping PTSD veterans get help and enrich their lives.

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    • What a wonderful success story! Good for you. My son had a form of PTSD as a child and used EMDR to help him. It’s a psychiatric technique that involves using eye movement and a form of self hypnosis. Many psychologists are trained to do it today. It worked miracles for my son and others I have talked to about it. It’s an amazing technique that actually resets your memories in your brain.

      Liked by 1 person

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