I've contemplated this post since Sunday, it first coming to mind on my flight home from the ECSCA. I have so far used my Flashback Fridays as a way to focus on positive memories, but today I want to speak about something that happened last week.
During my shake-out run last Saturday, there was a moment, a moment of jocularity and friendly ribbing that resulted in me losing my balance. In an instant, I was afraid, no, terrified. I became panicked, hyperventilating, tears streaming down my face, completely unable to control neither my emotional nor physiological response to the situation. I paced up and down the trail, stopping to bend over every few steps, struggling to regain myself. I don't recall how long it took, but at one point, I got angry and started running again, even as tears still flowed and my breathing was gasping and ragged; whatever the trigger, the only way I could think of to keep it from spiralling was to keep going. I was furious, furious that a deep-rooted, dark something that I couldn't immediately define was impeding upon the piece of joy that running is for me.
As we made our way down the rest of the run, I sought to analyze what the hell had just happened. The only thing I could come up with was in that moment of imbalance, I felt helpless, unsure of whether I would remain upright, whether my body could even keep me upright and that my psyche must have plummeted into the abyss of injury trauma. By the time we completed the run, I thought I had mentally recovered. I was wrong.
That night, I didn't, couldn't, sleep. Each time I drifted off, the White nightmare appeared; that's what I call it. There are three and each is one distinct color: White, Red or Black. They've sometimes occurred during the day, but most often rear their ugliness at night. (Just so you know, I didn't really want to tell you about this, but if I didn't, I would not be being fair to you nor would I be helping me.)
Backstory: When I was injured, I was sedated but not comatose; I don't know if you'd call it semiconscious in that I heard and recognized people as they were in the hospital rooms and indicated that I did by using a Sharpie to write on paper held up by K. (I first tried using my finger, then he realized what I was doing and got the marker.) Through this medium, I asked what was happening to me, where our daughter was; I even asked what the odds of my surviving were and, at one point, following my fourth (?) resuscitation, I asked if I was still alive. Even as I was given "memory erasing" drugs, my mind was storing all the information. That is what comes back -- all the knowledge of my situation, that I was bleeding to death, that I might never again see my daughter, that they couldn't stop the bleeding, that they kept bringing me back from pulmonary failure....that I kept dying, that I might never again open my eyes...I heard and processed it all.
The White nightmare is the worst of the three. I had not had the White nightmare in some time, but whatever fear I had on the trail brought it back and so, I chose to stay awake after I experienced it again last Saturday. I have had trouble sleeping since then, but I know that telling this story is a step in the right direction. I don't need or want sympathies for what I am going through; this journey is not about that. I lay this out so you understand me more and perhaps, may be able to help another.
Thank you for reading.