I have always been a person who liked order and checking things off of a list, simply because getting things done makes me happy. Being in active abuse ended up making me hyper-vigilant and gave me C-PTSD. That can totally throw a wrench in a person who is highly-motivated and driven, but that’s what the Narc was looking for in a prospective supply! They actually look for genuine, successful people!

I am now a person that cannot operate in a [visually] chaotic environment, because my thoughts are so disordered and jumbled. My TBI makes me a bit different than I was. I always used to be ordered, focused, driven, and sharp-witted. Now, if I don’t have things in somewhat of an order and a habit, I get panicky…but my thinking and anxiety make me messy and forgetful and flighty. UGH!!!

I used to have to have multiple jobs, to be able to coordinate my children’s school and activity schedule with my work schedule. I used to plan my grocery lists and meal plans. I used to coupon and cross-price check multiple stores. I used to be on so many committees for my kids and I’s interests. I think the busyness kept me sane.

Now, I struggle with doing simple things and remembering things. I have always had a calendar and lists, but now I am totally lost without them! I write notes like a fiend. I have reminders and stickies everywhere. I have to be shown things repetitively, like 8 to 10 times in a row before I master it — so much so that I’ve heard another co-worker state that she thought I was retarded. Wow, really?

Presently, I am with a great man and have been for three years now. He is former Navy. Sailors are notorious for neatness and for things being “ship-shape” and “A-J, squared away.” Is this God telling me that I need this order and structure in my life? What kind of charity-case project did this poor man take on? I honestly had to wonder. He’s been with me for some time now, and I think he might be applying for sainthood.

I am the type of person who will fold laundry, as I’m watching TV or a movie, usually a few loads worth. He will fold it right out of the dryer. He folds his shirts a certain way, I another. I wash dishes after the meal, but sometimes not until the next morning. He washes them right away. I mean, if I’m cooking a big meal, I try to do it during, but in order to concentrate on not ruining the food, I don’t always wash them then. He lays everything out in preparation. I make a list of what I need to grab. Same principal, two different ways. His is much more concise. His way is deliberate and ordered, mine is just, well, messier. I can get the same things accomplished, but it seems to be how my brain is working now.

And yet, he tempers my messy soul with kindness and gentleness. He is not harsh about how I do things. If he sees me struggling, he jumps into help — instead of chastising me, as I am used to. I feel the need to be all and run around to get things done, and he reminds me to stop and breathe. I know he completes my messy, anxiety-riddled personality, but what do I give him? The only things I can think of is companionship and loyalty and love.

Thankfully, he knows my addled brain jumps to worst-case scenarios and he good-heartedly teases me. We laugh a lot. Where has this been my whole life? Why did I ever settle for less? Why did I allow another human to nearly destroy me? It’s going to take a while for me to come out of this frazzled state, but I am slowly-but-surely working on it. He’s seen my heart, so he knows what lies underneath all this anxiety and excitability and curly hair.

He has no idea, the poor man, or maybe he does…he’s jumped aboard the “Hot Mess Express,” but I’ll let him be my conductor anytime!