What is disordered in PTSDisorder?

picasso weeping womanI think the memory is disordered.  Things are in bits, but they are also in the wrong places.  Things that should have been filed away in the ‘past’ are filed in ‘future’ (so that you keep thinking it’s going to happen again) or in ‘present’ (so you think they are happening NOW).

Part of my problem has been that it’s not so much my mind that tells me, ‘It’s going to happen . . .  it’s happening’.  It’s my body that does it, and I have been having to learn what it is that my body thinks is happening.

For example, when someone drops a plate into the washing up bowl, my body jumps and freezes, and goes into ‘hyper-alert’, every nerve waiting for something to happen.  My mind has no image to go with it, no particular memory.  I know now that the noise has reminded me of whatever I heard when the car crashed nearly 50 years ago:  my body is interpreting it as if it is happening again in the present, and the ‘hyper-alert’ is expecting it to happen again in the future.

At its worst, it has sometimes been like living in that nightmare 24/7 – without having any idea what the nightmare was that I was living in.

That’s disorder for you:  the past is just not in its right place.  That is one of the reasons why I need to get the story sorted out.

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