Sometimes, we at the Band know that part of owning who you are is admitting it to the world. It’s one reason why we at The Band work tirelessly to break down stigmas and find the ties that connect us all, the ties that remind us that we are none of us alone. Please join us in standing tall and proud as we tell the world who we are.
What are you, The Band, The Face Of?
“They look like white elephants,” she said.
“I’ve never seen one,” the man drank his beer.
“No, you wouldn’t have.”
“I might have,” the man said. “Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.”
– Hills Like White Elephants, Ernest Hemingway
It starts with the nightmares.
Night after night, I’m stranded in airports I’ve never visited – some exotic, some rural – malls I’ve never seen, always looking for someone whom, in a dream-like way, I know is looking for me, too. A particular someone – someone I’ve never met, but someone whom I chase night after night. I have a feeling I’d know him if I saw him, but really, that could be a lie.
It feels silly to admit that I spend my dream time not eating marshmallow fluff, but looking for a particular person. I’d much rather be saving the world while I sleep than sorting through the faceless masses at fictional airports.
Once the dreams begin, sleeping becomes fitful, if not impossible.
I’ve not won any sleeping awards since I got my thyroid regulated (I HAVE A GLANDULAR PROBLEM), but during these patches, it becomes nearly impossible to drift off. When I sleep, I run, I chase, and I wake myself weeping into my pillow or moaning in sadness. By 9AM all hope of rest gone; I slog my soggy ass out of bed and pretend that I remember what it’s like to sleep.
I’m functional for a few weeks like this – groggy, with slowed reflexes – but because of my usual rate of unintentional self-injury, no one notices anything is amiss.
It’s only after a few weeks, months, I don’t know how long, that I start to crack. The anxietybecomes too much. Things I would’ve normally found hilarious – my neighbor’s tree, for example, which looks like it’s growing a full set of knockers – don’t even elicit the barest of smiles.
I want so desperately to reach out, to connect with someone, anyone, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I can’t bring myself to admit that it’s okay to be weak – that I’m allowed to not understand my feelings. It’s then that the voices of those whom I once loved echo through my head and I begin to doubt. Everything. Myself. My ability to function in everyday society.
The echoes of things once-said flit through my mind. “I can’t handle your problems right now,” my ghost-husband says. “You’re a liar,” my ghost-brother says. “Take down that story about therape or I’ll take action,” my ghost-ex threatens.
My world becomes smaller, ever smaller, as the PTSD rears its head. It leaves me gasping for air, for straws, for any reason as to why there’s a 9,827 pound white elephant on my chest while the rest of the world seems to be breathing air like it’s no big deal.
I wonder what is so fundamentally fucked inside my head that I can’t manage to beat thisPTSD. My daughter lived; I have countless friends who’d gnaw off a couple of legs to say the same thing. So why am I so fucked? Why does rubbing my hand along the plastic implant inside her skull make me break out in a cold sweat? She squeals and laughs runs and plays and kicks her brothers with wild abandon, while I sit trapped on the couch, my windpipe unable to properly move air into my lungs.
And those words, those words like white elephants, are trapped in my lungs; they remain unspoken.
Join D.J.'s Mailing List!
You're worth it. Give yourself the gift of more ThoughtsFromParis!