I'm in "well, why not?" mode this evening. I was doing some being-the-scenes cleaning up of the blog, and I came upon a draft for a blog post which was never posted - I really don't remember why. Just the other day, someone mentioned to me that people might be interested in hearing how I processed all of this, after the kidnapping. Maybe this post will explain some of that. So here it is, written approximately 6 weeks after the kidnapping, while I was in the middle of a month-long trip to Maryland.
I hesitated to write yet another post about the kidnapping . . . but for now, that's where my mind mostly is, and what I think about is what I write about. It did occur to me that some people who have read our story might be interested to hear how we're doing now, so here's that info. Just skip this post, and read the one about the Gifts for Gracias project, if you're tired of all the kidnapping stuff!
First, how is Ben doing? I keep asking all of my family members this question (since I'm not at home with them this month), and the answer is always the same. Ben is fine. Totally back to normal. Still showing no sign that he is in any way traumatized by the events he lived through. I wish I could see him and talk to him myself (I have just under two more weeks in the states before I return to Honduras) . . . but for now, I'll have to take their words for it. Ben is amazing - tough and resilient - but you've probably already figured that out!
Second, how is the rest of the family in Honduras doing? Again, all I get is that everyone is fine, totally no problems, life is back to normal in our household.
So then, how am I doing? Well, after all of the "wellness" exhibited in the above paragraphs, I'm sort of embarrassed to tell you! I'm doing okay, mostly. Sort-of. Which, yeah, isn't all that encouraging to hear, is it? For reasons which I'm gradually coming to understand, I am the family member who "fell apart" emotionally, after all of this. It seems to have to do with the fact that the rest of the family each experienced one trauma, while I actually had two, back-to-back. Until I wrote out the entire story and posted it here on the blog, many - maybe most - people who prayed for Ben didn't even know that I had been kidnapped at all. This was because no one, not even my family, knew I had been kidnapped until I was already free, and also that once I was released we all immediately turned all of our attention to trying to get Ben back alive. My having been kidnapped and released really wasn't all that important to us at that time. I don't even remember whether or not anyone ever said to me that they were happy to have me home safe, or if I even got any hugs after my release - not that I wanted any of that! - we were just so terrified about Ben.
The result of not dealing with the emotions stirred up by a trauma when it happens is apparently that you still get to deal with it, later. So, that's what I'm doing now. Lucky me.
Really, though, I have so much to be grateful for - this trip to the states was planned months ago, for reasons completely unrelated to the kidnapping, and has turned out to be an important opportunity for me to get some counseling and some rest and quiet time. I was getting to be just into a lump on the bed before I left Honduras, and my family had to pretty much push me out of the house to get me onto the plane. I'm not sure how I'd be doing now, if they hadn't done that. Hopefully I'd be normalizing, but I'm not sure.
My last post before this one was much more upbeat, I know, and it is true - and wonderful - that certain areas of progress have been made in the past couple of weeks. I'm no longer having to continually relive the events of the kidnapping in my mind, and that's such a relief. I'm also back to eating more normally, which is nice. I hardly ate anything, and didn't feel like eating anything, for several weeks after the kidnapping. I'm not exactly ravenously hungry these days, but that situation is now within the acceptable range for normal, and I can live with that, for sure!
Unfortunately my sleep patterns remain messed up. It certainly doesn't help that I'm traveling about and sleeping in different places a lot. But still, I can't seem to ever sleep longer than two hours at a stretch, and then I wake up. I'm not waking in fear, or having bad dreams, or anything like that, but I know that long term it isn't healthy to not get longer stretches of sleep, and it is starting to annoy me that this isn't normalizing.
I also cry. Frequently. Inconveniently. I've never been one to cry much, so this is new, and will probably be disconcerting to my family, if it continues once I'm back home. But I've learned that I need to just go ahead and let the crying out - I really do feel better afterwards (well, sometimes it's a few days afterwards, and it often takes multiple crying jags related to the same topic, to get to where the "feeling better" starts).
I'm starting to think a lot about going back home to Honduras, and it's hard to see how it will work for me just now. In Honduras, I have to be tough and have lots of endurance. I can't really live my life there and be fearful. But I can tell that I'm not ready to be tough yet. I'm afraid I still need to be weak and vulnerable for a while, and it's hard to figure how I can make that "fit" with life in Honduras.