Resilience

Sometimes I think the only reason I make it out the other side of hardship is my resilience and my belief/knowledge that so many other people in the world have it way worse.

Last week at work was brutal. The weather was even more brutal. Someone I knew, cared about, and was inspired by committed suicide. One of several friends/people I’ve known who have taken their lives in the last 2-3 years.

It was a sad, stressful, full of tears and pain kind of week.

At the start of our weekend, my Facebook account got hacked. Which was far less serious, of course, than what had happened during the week. My husband was like, “I can understand, but can’t understand, because it was “just an account.” I should mention he doesn’t participate at all, even a little bit, on social media. It wasn’t the account being hacked that bothered me the most.

It was despite everything I’d done over the years to keep it “safe”, it wasn’t safe and now it is gone. A common theme in my life these past 20 years.

After the initial pain of losing something that was mine, then came anger, frustration, a sense of being betrayed, being lied to, and finally submitting to the reality that my account was gone for good. Not only had they hacked my account, they had also hacked an old bank account that we kept around with just a few dollars in it. It was an account I had in school and used when I had a business page on Facebook. I’d used it to pay for ads. All of that information was supposed to be deleted when that page was deleted. It wasn’t. I was lied to. For everything you hear about safety, authentication, or service—it’s all a lie. When you are hacked, there is no help. You’re on your own, and even when it’s not your fault and the fault lies totally with the entity, you’re out of everything. I was truly humbled by sending emails to Facebook “customer service” (there is none) only to report things to bots. While being humbled, I had an epiphany. It was—no more wasting my time, in some cases time I couldn’t afford, trying to protect myself from things or people over which I had no control.

Ten years ago, I taught internet security at a local college to help pay for my schooling. For over a year, three times a week, I taught people how to protect their identities and surf online safely. Internet safety is a topic I find very interesting and whenever there is a documentary or I have a friend or colleague talking about it, I’m all ears. I did all I could to protect myself. My downfall was believing I was protected.

For most of my life, I’ve had issues with reacting vs. responding. In 2019, I was diagnosed with complex PTSD and with that came answers to a lot of issues I’d experienced in my lifetime. Hypervigilance is one of the things I deal with the most. It’s exhausting. I could write books on this subject. Instead, I’ll give a quick example. It’s a very real feeling of fear, of being intruded upon, excessive worry, and constant assessing of threats. In my case, I constantly try to control how everything, and I mean everything, plays out in my life. I will go to great lengths to safeguard myself, my home, my husband, our lives, our cat, our car, our bills–everything. It exhausts me. It drains me of every last drop of energy I have. At times, it steals my happiness. Often, many times it is done for naught, as in the case of hacked Facebook accounts. 

So, I started my week last week refreshed, ready to battle Monday, and later learned I’d lost a friend to suicide. By Wednesday, for various reasons, I felt like crap. Thursday brought me a hacked account, banks that wouldn’t cooperate and act according to my wishes (does anyone take hacked accounts seriously anymore? ), and by Friday, I was locked out of my voice mail because USCellular says my new PIN isn’t recognized. I spent 25 hours this past weekend hypervigilant, exhausted on Sunday, and on Monday putting it all back together again. Today, a funeral, which in comparison to everything else, is so much more important. 

I started a new Facebook because it’s the only way I can keep up with distant friends, businesses, local events, and causes. I’ll miss my old profile. I’ll always be sad seeing it out there. I can never again read the messages my now deceased uncle sent me via messenger. It took me 50 years to find him, and after he died, I vowed to download his messages, but never did. I’m always “too busy” to take care of these things. I vow to be more attentive going forward.

It’s funny (not really) all these “things” that we have in our lives nowadays to “keep in touch”, entrust our memories to, stay together, never lose touch, and share in each other’s lives. It almost seems sometimes that these are the only things we have anymore, besides the memories, to prove somehow that we were here. It’s exhausting, keeping up.

It’s also funny (this time it is) how freeing it feels when you realize how little real control you have over anything in life.

Be well until the next time.