Trauma Time

Given the current situation in the world, if you buy one of my two self-published books, I will donate the proceeds to Hope for College. Buy Learning to Breathe which focuses on mental health, and Twist, Weave, Untangle about my becoming a critical digital pedagogue.

Next week, April will begin. February feels like years ago.

We’ve settled into a sort of new-normal routine: son gets up and gets on the Xbox with his friends, daughter sleeps in and doesn’t leave her room. I get up and start in my son’s room while my husband sleeps in before starting his day at the kitchen table, when I then move back into the bedroom/office/workout space (lol – who am I kidding, I don’t use it). When it’s nice, the husband takes a mid-afternoon motorcycle break and just drives, sometimes stopping if we need some provision or other. I wander downstairs when I run out of seltzer or remember to eat, or to sit with the dog for a few moments of cuddles.

We receive word that in three weeks, the great K-12 distance learning experiment will begin in our school district. I am not looking forward to this shift in the routine, especially with my son, who will resist course work adamently and aggressively unless we somehow make it worth his while, negotiate some compromise that lets him feel like he gets the “win” whatever that means in this situation. The daughter will inevitably spend the whole time complaining about the sub-standard quality, both of the content, but also of the laptop she uses, once again using it as a ploy to get us to buy her a new one, even after she got an iPad for Christmas.

I’m starting to do “normal” things for work again, but it feels…off still. Like I can’t quite muster up the energy and focus to do these tasks that seemed monumental before and now seem…quaint? Precious? Like I want to bless past-me’s heart at thinking these tasks were ever that large?

I put on a dress today to go to “work” mostly because choosing two articles of clothing each day is taxing, and I just wanted to feel a bit normal again, too. My dresses are mostly just work-appropriate nightgowns, and I am starting to feel bad that I’ve spent all this time and money and effort on curating my closet only not to wear any of them ever again because I never leave my house. Last weekend, there were literally no whites to be washed – no undershirts or dress shirts from my husband, no delicates and light clothes from me. It was jarring, one whole less load.

When ADHD and trauma time collide…I wrote about that, and it was finally, recently published, of course just before all of this happened, and it feels like forever ago that I felt proud and brave and scared all at the same time as I finally held the contributor copy in my hands, ran my fingers over the pages that contained my words, my trauma, my truth, so long only whispered but now loud on the page. Published March 2020. How many things published this month will be lost, forgotten, because time stopped making sense?

Anyway, trauma time. I was researching and came across this description from psychologist Robert D. Stolorow:

…it is the ecstatical unity of temporality – the sense of stretching along between past and future – that is devastatingly disturbed by the experience of psychological trauma. Experiences of trauma become freeze-framed into an eternal present in which one remains forever trapped, or to which one is condemned to be perpetually returned through the Portkeys supplied by life’s slings and arrows…all duration or stretching along collapses, past becomes present, and future loses all meaning other than endless repetition.

I’m not sure that’s what I’m feeling right now. Or maybe, this is the moment of trauma, stretching endlessly behind and in front of me, of us, as we move, like through quicksand almost, slowly sinking while struggling which makes it worse, not progressing.

I hope you pick up the book and read all of the brave and difficulty and beautiful essays in the volume. It is not an easy read in these difficult times, but it is perhaps a hopeful one, in that while trauma time may linger, it is not the end.

This is not the end.