Month: May 2019

Gettin’ pretty tired of being the bad guy…

Gettin’ pretty tired of being the bad guy…

another rough day including a crushing reminder why i’ve had more than one bout of ambivalence with AA. simply put. there are times for rote platitudes and there are times when it doesn’t advance or help the persons struggle.

after 14 years, this last time, and numerous attempts for the greater part of 30 years. don’t you think i already know “they can only help themselves when they’re ready.” or “all you can do is say a prayer for them.” and the real humdinger “just keep coming…” as if i already don’t know my fucking way around the recovery block. get bent mister i talk while other people are sharing and i scan hot chicks on my crap boost pos on insta cuz i’m above this whole meeting stuff. seriously? back the fuck off…now.

i drifted away from AA more than a few years ago because i got tired of not being able to find people who can simply talk without using the AA lingo and verbiage as a crutch. for a program that’s supposed to be about working from the inside out and finally coming to terms with actual feelings rather than numbing them. i truly fail to see the point in ‘talking around’ the real issue some is having rather than just being real. listen to the person for fuck sake, don’t just regurgitate some lame ass bullshit all of us old timers already know. that wasn’t the question when i said “i’m struggling with a friend and could use someone with experience in <X> please find me after the meeting.”

the stakes are that if i cut off all ties with the ONE neighbor i’ve connected to since moving here 3 years ago. i go back to being an island of 1. no more visits from her daughter, who i totally identify with in having an erratic and undependable mother, and yes, i do worry about her safety. i get that i can’t save her and she already knows i won’t support her actions when she’s on one bender of another. she learned she couldn’t come over and ‘nod out’ on me and leave me to take care of her 6yo daughter for instance. we’ve already had that conversation and for awhile she learned i’d only tolerate visits when she’s ‘with it’ and present. all good easy peasy… until today.

as much as my instagram feed shows a beautiful view, and seemingly tranquil life, nothing could be further from the truth.

i’m alone, in a town where i don’t know anyone. and i’ve been through heel and back in just 3 short years.

when you get sober you’ll lose a lot of people in your life. i was prepared for that and once i did get rid of the enablers things finally began to change. what i wasn’t prepared for is losing regular friends as well. people who’ve let friendships slip away for some unknown reason and just ghost you as though you’re the bad guy.

logic says i’m supposed to know that ‘that says more about them then me’ but that’s not how feelings and emotions work. you can’t logic your way out of hurt feelings and loneliness.

by cutting off someone i clearly cannot help, i do in fact end up being even more lonely than i was before. that’s the part no one wanted to listen long enough to hear. no one ever wants to stick around long enough to heard the ‘real’ stuff. instead…

“Here’s your platitude for the day. Keep in the 24hours and tomorrow’s another day.”

yeah…fuck you and no regrets either.

Begin brain dump…

Begin brain dump…

5/29/19 4:46 pm – today was pretty rough. i’d been through the ringer trying to get medicare to answer a simple question and then i spun out of control from there. the following is a brain dump (i frequently fire up email and just type away as the thoughts flow freely and so as not to lose the natural train of thought.)

begin brain dump 3:24 pm

…the entry back into the medical system hasn’t been easy mostly because our healthcare systems haven’t fully caught up with medically complex people who already have a built in fear of people. in order to make it through that process, you’d have to be really comfortable with being repeatedly asked to recount your family history for each medical professional along your journey and therein lies the trigger…

given my history of sustained childhood trauma – sexual, psychological, physical and emotional from my earliest memories at the age of 2 – and continuing all the way through to the age of 14 when i first became a runaway living on the streets. it’s no wonder i have trust and abandonment issues to this day.

i’ve never stopped running and i’ve never really ever caught my breath tbh. i’ve been in an emotional dingy flailing through the sea of life for as long as i can remember. singularly. alone. afraid. let down. brief moments of defiance followed by longer moments of overshadowing self doubt…

i lack confidence. i lack trust. i lack resilience. i lack built-in healthy social cues and skills necessary to keep people in my life. i don’t lack insight or awareness however and for that i’m very grateful.

insight has allowed me to process a lot of brutal changes in my life in a very short three year period of time, all without stopping to fully process those feelings because i simply didn’t have that luxury. attempting to recover from emotional whip-lash isn’t an easy process but at least it’s familiar…unfortunately.

the loss of a mother who died alone in a hospital from pnuemonia. i was sent a usps box a little larger than a shoe box that represented her life. i tucked it on the top shelf of my closet and barricaded it with other storage boxes like a ticking time bomb…awaiting when my courage to break the seal overcomes me and i peer inside…see faces i’ve been fighting against in my dreams and flashbacks for decades. it’s torture untangling the good memories of her – with her – but it’ll come when the time is right. for now it’s simply too dangerous…

picking myself up after being knocked down by my father’s side of the family hasn’t been easy. the last interaction with them was before the holidays yet the feelings and emotions are still fresh and raw. having to deal with verbal abuse all while being keenly aware that his current physical and mental decline might be my own future playing our right before my eyes yet no one cared. a grim future confirmed by the same fate that ended my grandfathers life when he could no longer get himself out of his wheelchair on his own. thats my father today at 79, my grandfather gave up at the age of 82.

in short – complete lack of mobility, decreased strength resulting in a wheelchair, ultimately dementia and then the final lack of will to simply continue living. i’ve had a lot of family members give up on life. they reached a place in their lives where they just gave up eating and let go of their timeline…

the word timeline is this linear way i view life. we all have one. in an ever expanding universe my vision of it is that of a bright light blue beam, disappearing into infinity behind and ahead of you. perhaps you’re one with your fist firmly grasped around your timeline, riding it for all it’s worth. connected. plugged in. you understand it and you’d be right there with the majority of other humans who are healthy and well adjusted. that see a future even if it’s “unknown”.

then there’s people like me. left hand lightly resting on it’s electrical hum, tangible yet ethereal, i flirt with just how far can i loosen my grip…can i let go completely and grab it again in time or is it finite once i let go…i wrap more fingers around it while looking all around me at the infinite other timelines near and far. left, right, up, down, is there anyone near me that’s on the same path or same speed? will i be alone when i let go of my timeline?

will there be other strangers sharing the same wink and nod that we’re ready at the same time yet not alone? a comfort for all of the other ‘party-of-one’s’ in the world as we let go in unison…

i’m not connected right now and that’s okay. i’ve lived my entire life touching the timeline of life just enough not to get entirely lost, but loosely enough so as not to feel everything it throws at me along the way. not always but that’s the goal. soften the bumps and be less afraid when change rears it’s head and adjusts the speed to uncomfortable and terrifying levels.

pity about a timeline that i never asked for no longer serves a purpose for me. it robs you of today’s time…the time you need to right the sails and see your way into a safe harbor. i’m the master of this ship. i choose where i set my sights.

even after getting to a place of “okay, here are your insurance options based on location, returning to boston isn’t possible and that’s just where you are.”  the larger question is still “just how far am i willing to go in order to avoid my physical medical needs because the mental anguish will just be too much?”

the pcp side of the process, at least as far i’ve experienced up to today, hasn’t fully caught up with supporting the mental health side of your limitations. don’t let the slick ads and misleading websites fool you, they really haven’t caught up and disclosure, imho, is still very risky.

i don’t have the energy to lament the misleading, outdated and biased use of ANY “Find A Doctor” search feature currently in existence. google it, they act as funnels and not in a good way. out of date info and even if you do weed out the bad info nine times out of ten you’ll call and something makes it not possible. “They’re only in the office Tuesday afternoons and Saturday’s from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.” really? how is that a PCP???

telemedicine may be the buzz word du jour but reality couldn’t be farther than the truth. looks good on a branded website or a mission statement but good luck with that…

so… today i once again tried to get a simple answer from medicare and once again it was like speaking martian… “If I call my Dr. because my elbow, wrists and joints are hurting so bad I can’t drive is that covered?” <enter circular conversation head explosion in 3-2-1…> “As long as it’s medically necessary and the Dr. deems the appt. necessary.”

blink…blink…blink

“so you’re telling me that when i’m experiencing pain, that is getting worse, and you know I’m on SSDI (disability). You can’t tell me whether a routine office visit for pain of a key joint such as my elbow is covered or not and that i won’t get hit with a bill that i can’t afford afterwards?” “As long as it’s medically necessary…” CLICK

earlier i tweeted something to the effect of no wonder suicide is on the rise. people are terrified to see a dr. because there are zero guarantees you won’t end up one bill over the line…that one bill that breaks your financial back and sends you into credit, financial and medical free fall.

that’s the anxiety. that’s the key issue. that’s my barrier.

today i was told by a very nice woman that in today’s system “you really need to be your own advocate.” and not in a bad way. she let me know she ‘got it’ and that was based on her experience, not from a judgemental way. problem is back at the start of this post. the lack of self confidence and resilience. i just don’t have those skills.

i know i’m precariously close to giving up my pursuit of medical care and by the same token i also know i needed to reach out for help today. the woman at the agency i contacted was super empathetic and understood my situation. she was super patient and sensitive. she could tell i’d done a lot of work in therapy so we were able to use familiar terms which made the conversation easier.

i made sure to fully disclose my trauma and how that manifests today in the form of complex ptsd in the form of anxiety, panic attacks and general fear of being in public…today. i haven’t always been this way of course and hopefully i’ll find my way back soon.

i’ve reconnected with a friend from high school. a friend who’s family gave me a place to live during those turbulent times. it’s taken me a few years to sort things out. i pushed a lot of people away during this life altering transition and i’m still coming to terms as to why while finding ways to make amends. when you’re in that dark place and you’re only connection is social media or other electronic means, other people’s happy lives hurt even though it has nothing to do with them but everything to do with you.

when you’re parents and family should have been wiring your brain for a life of confidence and self esteem but instead instilled nothing but fear, worthlessness, not capable and defective on a daily basis…well…that’s a whooole lot of re-wiring that needs to be done.

while i wait for a call back the best i can do for today is the serenity prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change; courage to change the things i can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Managing Anxiety From PTSD is Possible…

Managing Anxiety From PTSD is Possible…

It’s been a rough couple of weeks when it comes to personal space. When I moved to Little Crab Cove I was so so grateful for the privacy and beauty that a wetland could provide. Great Blue Herons are frequent visitors. The Osprey’s are back and circling the pond in the mornings and early evenings. And sunsets are a birdwatcher’s paradise from the deck.

The pond is a blessing but not really curse level when it comes to living with this sort of responsibility. It’s an officially designated wetland and yet the people who frequent my neighborhood could care less about the impact their activity has for the entire eco system.

How this relates to my PTSD and Anxiety is when people don’t respect your personal space and actually challenge and provoke you to defend it when you shouldn’t have to. When no matter how politely you try to appeal to someone’s environmental sensibilities, they really really don’t care.

Today’s post is a positive one. The background is where the Anxiety levels were escalating and I knew I needed to find a solution. That meant having to call a town office and actually speak to an official. Something I usually never ever do. Are you kidding? Those things usually terrify the hell out of me. Talk to someone? One on one? Not get jumbled up with my words? That’s madness!

Not today. I knew I needed help clarifying where my private property rights as well as find an environmental balance with the town and that required a phone call and an in person visit. We agreed on 4pm and somehow I went on auto-pilot.

“You have a right to ask for help. You’re only positive intent is to find a go forward solution, focus on that when you’re speaking.”  that was how I prepped and I’m glad I did.

Today was a day I can put in the win column and it also validates my new approach in dealing with Anxiety. Talk myself through things. Throw out the old negative thoughts and audio tapes that say you’re ‘not a worthy person’ and start fresh.

If you assume positive intent and/or lead with positive intent, you’re more likely to be rewarded with a positive outcome. You may not alway like the answers in the compromise you have to reach and that’s okay.

The gentleman who dropped by, same day appt. btw, was super nice in hearing me out as well as being opening minded and factual as we walked the property. That type of personal and positive contact means a lot.

It’s been a tough transition from 2016 and the beauty that surrounds this place it what helps me find balance in my life. It’s healing and it’s worth fighting for.

La Mirada Ave, Hollywood CA ’77

La Mirada Ave, Hollywood CA ’77

who knows why i capitalize things or write the way i do. i’m not a professional and i failed 10th grade english. the transition from junior high school in 9th grade to high school at 10th grade was when my life began to fall apart…

13 – 15ish were the years living with my father on a street called La Mirada Avenue in Hollywood California. a classic hollywood neighborhood in between santa monica and sunset blvd. little armenia i think its dubbed now which i find kinda odd and offensive but that’s another topic…

traditional as well as side by side spanish style stucco duplexes co-mingled with 50’s retro apartment buildings, replete with large lettering, backlighting and landscaping. some stand alone classic california bungalow’s mixed with various corner stores upstair apartments and a new thing called a mini strip mall made for a diverse mix of people. rick dees’ disco duck was popular at the local laundromat.

le conte junior high was just around the corner which made getting to school easy in the morning. le conte and hollywood high schools were open campuses back then. on a trip to L.A a few years back they looked more like prisons which was sad.

7th grade in 1977 is when i was abruptly dropped into the city of hollywood. uprooted from a year of stability and safety where i was finally learning coping skills. a city where everything and everyone was completely new to me…including living with my own father.

i had spent my 6th grade year living in arizona with my grandfather and other aunts and uncles because my father had sent me there for a summer and then didn’t want me back…and then suddenly he yanked me from where i was perfectly comfortable living and it changed everything…forever.

1977 hollywood was a huge change from living on a farm in arizona. a place with wide open spaces a sense of routine and grounding were the best thing for me back then. so when it all changed to having to live in a one bedroom apartment stacked up with 8-10 other units, it was all too much for me. i’d try to tell my dad but he didn’t get it. he never did when it came to things i could and couldn’t handle.

i don’t want to go too far back tonight so just some quick back story on meds and ADD w/Hyperactivity disorder.

i had lived in arizona before when i was 7 and had to spend 2nd grade there as well. this is when ritalin and eventually dexadrine became part of my life and would continue until i would come back for 6th grade. the same year my grandfather threw out the drugs and taught me how to farm and keep busy. it was the healthiest i had ever been…ever. even my childhood dr. was surprised to see me go from a sickly kid on 3 different meds to a strapping teen farm kid who was happy and healthy.

i would come to be in hollywood at the strong objection of my grandfather and and aunt who was only 18 herself at the time. i also didn’t know they wanted me to stay until just last year when my aunt and i began to reconnect over the health of my now ailing father. she told me they both told him he should leave me where i was but he didn’t. that’s a hard feeling for me to reconcile even today. it’s difficult to stay away from the thoughts of ‘if only’ he had just left me where i was. it’s not productive but it is my default programming. work in progress…

the desert offered me something no one had ever bothered to ask me about in all of those childhood psychologist pick your brain discussions. the peace and solitude of wide open spaces with stars that lit up the night sky as far as the eye could see. the smell of rain or a thunderstorm on the horizon. the smell of the creosote bushes on the breeze as a wall of rain and lightening sweep through…i wish i was there right now.

teenage years are rough enough and when you’ve been yanked all over the place your entire life all i wanted by the age of 11 was to get off the fucking carnival ride of drama that my father created for my mother and myself and just be left the fuck alone…i’m here because of you jackass, go live your life and leave me alone i would cry into my pillow. i didn’t want to leave.

noise. noise is the single biggest trigger in my life. it was a trigger throughout my entire childhood at school and no one would ever listen to me. i’m putting the emphasis on school because that was my father’s idea of how parenting was supposed to work. you send your kid to school and they baby sit you, that’s what his taxes paid for you know. his idea of fatherhood was basically financial meaning up until 7th grade he had always

paid other people to take care of me. paid-them-to-board-me-like-a-fucking-pet.

1st grade was when i lived with my grandmother on my mothers side, the years when the sexual abuse began, and 3rd through 5th grade i lived with people we weren’t even related to and i were people i didn’t even know. it’s no wonder i craved the stability of arizona and the time with my grandfathers side of the family. nothing bad ever happened there, it was where i wanted to stay you idiot, couldn’t you see that and not be selfish? no, that was too much to expect…another theme in our relationship. his needs always came first and my disappointment was something he hated. he hated it because i could never hide it, i could never hide my feelings not then and not even today.

as of last december, he still hates it…

we’ve all had those times when you’re told “Oh just ignore them, it’s no big deal.” and i get it. for most people it isn’t a big deal, you learn to tune it out and it becomes part of growing up. trust me i toooootallly get it. but…with ADHD and meds, well that’s a whole other ball of wtf is going on in my brain?!? did they reeeally know what the long term effects would be for meds at that age and for that duration? 7-15? that’s a long time if you ask me, oh that’s right. kids…seen, not heard…

noise, especially repetitive noise still makes me lose my shit. city living and apartment living in particular is a noise and scenario i’ve been running from my whole life. the thought of falling so far down the economic ladder that that’s where i end up again terrifies me. not so much my apartment living in boston but those of the L.A. type. thin walls of cheap and expeditious stucco, shared stairway landings and trying to block out the sound or visual movement of people less than 15 feet from your screen door. THAT kind of city apartment proximity…

while my health may be in the shitter right now, i am grateful that despite the route my life taken, at least i have a roof over my head and the only noise i have for company at the moment is my ticking cuckoo clock. i’m thoroughly grateful for moments like these. moments of unbelievable quietness, peace and solitude in order to organize my thoughts and expectations for the road ahead.

hollywood was noisy and close proximity apartment living. sometimes good sometimes not, but definitely not quiet. the quiet older married couple downstairs, the single lady across the hall and the armenian family below them made up our front quadrantof the building. that was in our first la mirada building before moving to a two bedroom just up the street.

funny how tonight’s emphasis is on noise and basketball. two things i hate the most as a kid. i mean i loved hanging out at school and stuff but sports totally weren’t my thing. the only reason my dad is even part of this writing is because he would often come and play after school. on one hand i loved that we were spending time together but on the other hand he didn’t hide how he felt about me not being good at sports either. this would become a common theme with us. what was wrong with me and why i couldn’t be like him. he never missed an opportunity to verbalize or physically lash out about it either.

to get through the health challenges ahead i’m going to have to deal with how it is that he triggers me today. and by triggers i mean being triggered when asked about my parents or childhood/familial history which is part and parcel when interacting with dr’s and hospitals.

as i write this i’m struggling with my fingers not working like they used to. keeping my arms raised to type becomes fatiguing and my wrists and right elbow feel like i just want to rip them off from the constant pain. i’m way past over the counter meds, which never worked anyway, and now i really do have to see a dr. which absolutely terrifying for me. the probing questions always lead to an un-rehearsed question i hadn’t planned for and then there’s the whole body touching thing.

i’m definitely ‘not there’ yet at all…

i was watching an old james garner movie called “Mister Buddwing” one night and then it clicked. Probing. Probing questions are what cause my anxiety to go through the roof and now i finally know why!

i found it channel surfing one night, TCM had been plugging it the week so i figured why not and what’s not to like about 1966 NYC?

the architecture, the style, the costumes and jazz. not to mention Jean Simmons, Suzanne Pleshette, Katharine Ross and Angela Lansbury. man wakes up in central park, has amnesia, then tries to piece it all together retracing his steps with each woman.

apart from the visual eye candy ala a 1966 film set in NYC, it’s still a drama dealing with some very tough subject matter.

Mister Buddwing is a made up name until he can put the pieces of his memory back together while various storylines play out with the female characters. in one scene a man asks to share a table with him while eating lunch. Buddwing seems put off but says yes.

then the barrage of questions start. the usual small talk typical of a 1966 nyc urban setting. the, what kinda work, where ya from ,what’s yer name kinda stuff. all things Buddwing can’t answer so he bs’s the pestering fuck until he blows up at the rapid fire bullshit!

Bing Bing Bing! We a winner! – that’s me to a fucking tee!

when i first saw the scene i hadn’t realized another twenty minutes had passed before i snapped back to the present. my mind had been tumbling the thought over and over that that’s exactly what happens to me but for one small difference.

i don’t ‘want’ to remember things people ask me, i never have. not that i can’t, i really really don’t want to and if you keep pushing me i will explode.

once my father uprooted me like he did and then proceeded to abdicate any and all responsibility for my difficulty adjusting from farm to city, i began running away from home and living on the streets doing things to survive a 14yo shouldn’t have to…those are the parts i don’t want to remember.

unraveling how my #anxiety and #ptsd manifest itself today has been a very long journey indeed. but. now that i have some distance from the holidays, i need to go back to forgetting things again. that’s not a bad thing and it’s not a negative commentary on my father either. it just means means i’ve found a few more pieces of the puzzle and that’s half the battle.

if i’m going to get through the medical hurdles ahead i’m going to have to work on familial triggers and pre-empt them ahead of time. i’m going to have to practice being asked the same questions over and over and over again while not losing my shit – especially when it comes to my father and his medical history.

i can’t let him rob me of a future, i just can’t.

i don’t ask why so much anymore when it comes to how or why life unfolds they way it does. it’s counter-productive and robs you of the present. i mean when a random movie can trigger an insight like that it’s pretty hard to not to be grateful.

grateful for something like the simple gift of clarity. grateful i’m still here. grateful to have found another piece of myself…

…end brain dump

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