You know how there are some memories in your brain that you can’t erase no matter how hard you try? You wish you could scrub them from your memory banks like burn marks with a Brillo pad, but you can’t. Those sucker are seared in there real good.
That’s how a majority of my disclosure days are with Devin. There are certain moments I can recall with such clarity, it’s like it happened yesterday, not so many years ago. I’m thankful that some of those painful memories have slipped away, but that ability to recall with such vivid detail what happened so long ago provides me with a good explanation why I felt so utterly "insane" for such a long time.
I had Relational Trauma. I suffered a form of PTSD and I had no idea that all I was going through; the anger, hurt, fear, hypervigilance, nightmares, panic attacks, loss of appetite, hyperarousal followed by not wanting to be touched or looked at, compassion for the addict, hatred of the addict, fear of certain places, and so many other things…were 100% normal.
Not only was it normal, it was expected. My brain was trying to process the fact that someone I had put my complete faith and trust in had betrayed me. I was trying to figure out how to make sense of my new world. In a matter of days, what I thought was my marriage, my future, had been flipped upside down. I was expected to have a whole new way of living. My life had been derailed and so had my brain. I was in shock.
There were moments, literally moments, that I felt compassion, then hatred for my husband in the days following disclosure. I wanted revenge, then I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay, we would figure this mess out together. I wanted to make love to him, then would be revolted by the mere touch of his hand on mine.
Those first few weeks were brutal. B.R.U.T.A.L. The myriad of emotions I experienced from moment to moment, hour to hour were so confusing, it left me exhausted, depressed, anxious, angry, confused and devastated.
The only way I know how to explain it is by comparing it to an egg. My brain was the inside of the egg. The shell was my world as I knew it before disclosure. After disclosure, the split happened and the egg cracked. I tried to keep my brain from oozing out.
The harder I fought, the more the egg white slipped through my fingers. I feared that my inner core, the yolk, would be next, so I held on as tight as I could to my emotions and tried to keep them from spilling out of the egg and through my fingers.
However, that Relational Trauma just doesn’t go away on it’s own. The nightmares persist. The anxiety attacks continue. The fear of going to places that trigger you still remain and I stayed stuck and thought I was bananas for feeling this way, until I read, Your Sexually Addicted Partner.
Inside was a list of all of my symptoms and then some. Ka Bam! I realized I’m not alone! I’m not "crazy" to feel the way that I do. I was elated! Beyond words. It gave me courage to move into action and not wallow with the people I had chosen to surround myself with. No more Negative Nancy’s for this chick. They were doing more harm than good.
Now it was time to do something about that egg I was trying to keep control off, but what? The hatred of Devin had gone away after the first few days…thank God. So did the desire for revenge, but I was struggling terribly with hypervigilance, anger, guilt, distrust, and my all time favorite: control.
I found that I needed help. I couldn’t travel this road alone. I sought out S-Anon, counseling, shut down my old curse-filled, negative blog and opened up this new one and the rest is history. I found that the egg didn’t need me to hold it together. That sometimes, when we break a few eggs along the way, add ingredients like a healthy recovery, the end result is a beautiful cake.
I only wish I had known that the emotions I’d been experiencing immediately after disclosure and for months afterward were totally normal.
What do you wish you had known?