Maybe it's because I spent half the night in the emergency room with one teen and only getting four hours of interrupted sleep after we got home. I am still sleep deprived and exhausted from driving from San Diego to the Seattle area after visiting my new granddaughter and family and from the pain of a badly bruised foot. Maybe it's because I found out last night why the other teen has been detached and acting strangely lately. But maybe, just maybe, the tears are flowing because what this woman wrote hits home. Maybe I've been affected by trauma more than I have thought.
I had time to slow down and think on the long drive home. What is wrong with me? I've been increasingly numb, sad, or worrying about what will happen next. I used to be more genuinely and intensely loving, truly spiritual, and more able to trust that even if things look bad now there is hope that things will turn around for the good soon. I'm not like that anymore.
I go through the motions. I still can function pretty well, at least I think I can. There are times that I feel glimpses of hope, love, peace, and joy. If you act a certain way, the feelings often follow. Want to feel love for your child? Act loving. Want to have a good marriage? Treat your spouse like you already have a good marriage. Tired of a messy house? Set a timer and clean it. Sometimes pushing through despite emotions helps to bring what you want in life.
But my emotional weirdness is a bit concerning to me. I am having a hard time making friends in our new place because I don't have the emotional energy to make the kind of friendships I need. I'm afraid I'll just fall apart and scare people away. I also think I'm hyper vigilant about what horrible situations will happen next with the kids. The teen years of kids with past trauma, fetal alcohol exposure, attachment difficulties, and psychological challenges can be grueling. Any hint of trouble brings images of the worst case scenario. I kept startling awake the night before my over fifteen hour drive the other day because I kept thinking about something happening with my son. It didn't, of course. But other things did happen. And then others.
I often wondered what trauma felt like to the kids. I think I know now.