Author: R. Zamora

Originally from Los Angeles, now a New Englander though and through.
why bother part 2…

why bother part 2…

well, the house is fully automated. lights on timers. varying so as to project someone home. bills are all automated although i’m sure electricity and other services will eventually get cut…

in the meantime, there’s no reason to keep up this charade any longer. this site is paid up for two years, it’ll stay online until non-payment happens.

i haven’t found homes for my cats yet but will soon and i don’t really care what happens to my house once i’m no longer here. when you’re gone, nothing matters, nothing hurts anymore either.

that’s all i want. no more loneliness. no more pain. no more being taken advantage of. no more being brushed aside, diminished or shrugged away.

i thought i could do it. keep going no matter the costs. keep going in hopes of some mythical release or indescribable amount of love and safety the likes of which no one has ever know was finally going to magically wash over me and i’d finally know what love and safety felt like…that was the hope anyway.

childhood sexual abuse and non-stop trauma can damage someone beyond repair. i sacrificed not only giving up the idea of ‘wanting’ kids but intentionally making sure that my name ends with me.

i’d like to think i’d be a great father. one of those fathers who’s always fascinated in anything you’d say or do. a father who’d share the same childlike imagination in stories and in real life so that everything would always seem possible. a father who’s very presence meant you’d never ever have to feel unloved, unsafe or unworthy. a father who’s one look was enough to let you know you’d be okay, you were protected and you were loved…

wtf is the point any longer…

wtf is the point any longer…

my “therapist” left in a complete lurch. my father starts calling me again more than a year later playing the ‘poor old man’ card as if that means i’m supposed to just pretend you didn’t kick me to the curb last time…just like you’ve done for my entire fucking life?!?!?

the post office won’t deliver my social security or medicare mail because they don’t want to ‘dismount’ their truck for 15 seconds and one car length to put it into a slot on the side of my garage.

i’m cut off from E V E R Y O N E and no one cares.

i have no medical cards, guidebooks or other handouts because of them. my credit cards have sent emails saying my address was undeliverable, it’s not. yet the USPS can continue to abuse someone with a disability.

w t f is the point anymore…seriously.

Been a heck of a week…

Been a heck of a week…

last thursday was a hit to the gut. she used all the right words. “I know that you have abandonment issues and…”

i do/don’t recall much beyond the utter collapse that i’d never be able to work with her again. we were so close and the one last thing i needed. the one last thing between being forever trapped in childhood or smashing the world to bits is still lying on a shelf in my closet…buried behind even more boxes. waiting to either ruin or free me forever. a box of photos from my mothers past i have yet to open. a part of my timeline fully suppressed, held at bay and kept at a distance until i was strong enough.

this isn’t easy work. i know that for myself the work isn’t in the graphic details either. childhood sexual abuse doesn’t need to be recalled or retold in order to be understood. when someone says to you they’ve endured things no young boy of six should ever have to that’s more than enough.

there’s no easy lead up in therapy when it comes to working with someone like me. when she offered to ‘be the one’ to help me make that final walk through, the one last and most vulnerable part. i only asked one thing. “if you promise than you have to stay to the end, you have to stay to the end.” this had been many months prior.

During our last session this past thursday she said she wouldn’t be able to see me in private practice…i lost my breath…i tried to keep it together…buy time long enough to recover…put on a brave face, we always do. that’s how people like me get through life. we pretend we’re fine until we aren’t…

i had been sobbing at this point. overwhelmed at possibly trusting someone again, the possibility of finally not being the only person carrying my story…

i don’t know where to go from here. next week begins trips to boston for the medical stuff. these random bouts of muscle weakness and joint pain is pretty disconcerting.

as for the mental health side…well. i’ve been alone most of my sober life, which will be 13 years come october. i wouldn’t trade that for anything, i do miss people though.

camera in tow with my shades and tunes. it’ll be comforting to be anonymous in bustling boston again.

Good Days, Bad Days…

Good Days, Bad Days…

Blech. I was down for the count the past three days, and hard too. I mean really really freaking hard like a mack truck hit me then backed up did it again and again and again.

The more I research Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) the more I begin to understand ‘arthritis’ related conditions and symptoms. When my father was diagnosed last year it was another piece of the puzzle falling into place.

When my body started to go haywire about 5 years ago I was playing whack-a-mole with pain. Then it was just my shoulder and elbow randomly and relieved somewhat by cortisone and the usual OTC pain relievers.

At one point I had a trainer at Equinox who was great helping me get my core in shape, which is key for back pain and in general. We steered clear of the lower back and knees until things got stronger but not by much. We learned to work around things and I thought I was in relatively good shape physically.

I’ve had back pain all my life and just chalked it up to me being one of the unlucky ones and that I could just find a way to work around things. That worked for the most part until the pain moved from just the lower back and hips to pretty much everywhere.

On any given day I could be taken down by one specific area or every joint and muscle could rise up in revolt all at the same time. It’s day by day and the randomness is maddening.

I don’t know that I have AS mind you, I just know it runs in the family, as does many other forms of arthritis, so it seems like a prime candidate.

Night time is brutal even with good sleep practices and a tempurpedic mattress and pillows. I have 6 pillows lol. 2 tempurpedic, 2 down and 2 generic poly fill. I’ll start out all nice and comfy but come 2, 3 or 4am and the back pain is off the chart. That’s when all the tossing and turning begin and I may as well never tried to go to sleep in the first place. Hence the constant fatigue and every other system thrown totally out of whack.

In some of the research there’s a lot of overlap between GI issues as well as AS issues. My hope is that once I get back to seeing Dr’s in Boston again. Is that I can finally find a good rheumatologist to try and get to the bottom of things.

After spending the past three days in bed all I know is whatever is going on is that it totally sucks without medical support. I’m being realistic before I start getting to appt’s come August. I just need to know if the pain means my joints are at risk or am I cleared to do physical therapy or other exercise program.

Even when I do get that info I’ll still need help with the pain though and that’s worrying. With thirteen years in recovery I’m not about to be led down the opioids road that’s for sure. Yoga and stretching I can do. Exercise in the form of gardening I can do. Adding in more walking or other outings for longer duration such as photography? That’s gonna be a challenge without a clear medical support plan.

Another sucky part is when you’re stuck in bed or indoors, the last thing someone with anxiety and PTSD issues needs is to get stuck in their own head. Boo, hiss, bad, get out of the head or you’ll go nutty…trust me on this.

I’ll have to put the Complex-PTSD (CPTSD) research on the back burner for awhile. I won’t be much good to myself until I can at least take a normal walk without feeling winded and exhausted.

Not being able to walk as part of my daily life makes me miss Boston. A lot actually. I was importing some old external drives awhile back and the images from my old site brought back fond memories.

With my aversion to public transportation I’d always preferred walking and Boston is such a walkable city. The architecture and history always made walking an absolute joy.

Note to self: Send your lens to Nikon for repair you dolt, how are you going to document your journey back when it’s stuck  on 24mm?

One other lovely side effect or symptom from wither IBS or AS is trouble with vision. Today’s one of those days when a random eye will go completely out of focus regardless of eyeglasses or drops. Coupled with my right eyelid dropping down not only is walking an issue but so is my photography.

That would kinda be a crusher I think. Here I am about to launch my boat into uncharted waters, where photography is very much a part of the healing plan, and now looking through a viewfinder is further hampered.

Next week is a big week. I’ll be saying goodbye to the counseling center I’ve been going to since I first moved and which is also bittersweet. I’ve come to enjoy the drive between here and Plymouth and the back roads are an enjoyable part of that during any season. On the plus side I now know the route by heart and it’s still an easy drive to the waterfront.

The following day I have to head to Boston for an overnight at a hotel. Not sure if I’ll drive or take the commuter rail but it’s all workable. Part of the change in prescribers is due to health insurance and also to go back to the PhD. I’d been seeing for years. He knows my history best and it’s a familiar office and familiar process. It took me many many appointments to learn how to get in and out of his office without a full on panic attack.

Anxiety & PTSD make for a brutal combination when it comes to Dr. Appts. I had to plan everything down to the minute so I wouldn’t be stuck in the waiting area too long but arrive early enough just in case he wanted to see me earlier. He seemed to like doing that anyway, not that it was an expectation. Planning included how long each coffee shop took to get through the line on the way to the appt. Whether he wanted both doors opened or closed, it’s an old brownstone and has these massive double doors from the outer entry into his office.

Eventually I got the hang of things, knew where all the exits were and that sometimes the bathroom light would be out so plan ahead. Part of my situation is I need routines and part of it is making sure I can be on auto-pilot due to the early morning hours. With there only being one day a week for afternoon appointments sometimes I’d have to take a seven a.m. appointment which makes it kinda hard to be mentally nimble.

Fingers crossed by body will cooperate between now and then. Nothing fun about being bedridden with something that feels ten times worse than the flu and there’s nothing you can do about it. No position is comfortable…ever…and it’s relentless.

 

 

Break the barrier…

Break the barrier…

It’s time for water to brawl
It’s time to follow your heart
It’s time for buildings to shake
It’s time for barriers to break
To break, to break, to break, to break
To break, to break, to break, to break

Break the Barrier – Miss Li

if recovery has taught me anything it’s that there’s a lesson to be learned from pretty much anything. examine things honestly enough and you’ll eventually be able to gain some perspective. some call it acceptance or sometimes you just need a reset to regain your bearings, both are viable options.

after the meltdown a week ago i’m just now getting things back on schedule. a little longer than normal but that wasn’t any ordinary meltdown either. that was full on physiological and my body has been out of whack ever since.

my talk therapist has been great and i’m so lucky she has the background she does. she knows how to present me with choices that i can make myself, she’s not indulgent but rather she’s firm and compassionate. that’s so so helpful for someone like me. give me the truth, be compassionate about what my options are and then support me in my decision. thank you! thank you! thank you!

i’ve never liked being the unicorn. i hated it when i was younger. hated it while exploring my sexuality only to find partners more interested in bagging some catch rather than experiencing my vulnerability as something unique and private.

she made me feel like a unicorn and that’s why i needed to escape…i was not going to be her prize, some tough nut that needed to be cracked…i had to find the door and fast.

fortunately my autopilot kicked in while i was curled up in the car that day. not only did i feel physically sick my brain kept saying…

don’t drive don’t drive, you can’t, there’s too many phone poles…the curves in carver, the bogs in wareham…you know you’re impulsive… don’t do it don’t do it… breathe, just stay until it’s dark…then drive home…shhhh…keep your eyes closed…they’ll be gone soon…shhhh…shhhh….

about 3 hours passed, 6:37, still light out, i find an old bag for the soaking wet paper towels gripped in my hands. reopen all the windows and get ready with several deep breathes.

i suppose the only way i can be matter a fact about all of this is i know i didn’t do anything wrong. i answered her questions or at least i tried to. she kept interrupting me which always makes me lose my train of thought, but she didn’t like the answers. oh well.

had she stuck to asking me about actual symptoms and more “forward” thinking topics things never would have spiraled the way they did. that’s why i can say “oh well” and be okay with moving onward.

i need to focus on the big health issues and get started on those appointments as close to when my new insurance kicks in as possible. right now that’s august 1st and it’s been two years since i had to put everything on hold so i’m just gonna have to keep moving full steam ahead.

i’ve never had a problem keeping my side of the street clean and owning my own shit as it were. when it comes to that particular scenario there’s nothing else i can do. i’ll find someone else and will just have to figure that out.

my new pcp is in brookline at my old pcp’s building and since i’ll have to be traveling into boston regularly i’m sure there’ll be plenty of options. i’m looking forward to the train rides actually. if i end up on a two month prescriber schedule than that’s a perfect training opportunity. i’ve always had #anxiety & #PTSD issues with crowds and now i’ll have to find a way to adapt or conquer my other fear and drive all the way into the city.

don’t get me wrong. i may opt to drive anyhow which is why i went with brookline. it’s easier to come in the back way via rte 9 than go anywhere near the braintree split. literally makes my skin crawl.

anywho… am i beat down so bad i can’t get back up on my own? not entirely. bruised maybe, slightly scuffed but survivable.

i know many of the seemingly easy day to day things appear to be perplexing from the outside. i really do. they’re more than fucking perplexing to me and i have to live in it day in and day out.

tonight i was listening to a song called Break the Barrier – Miss Li there were some pretty powerful words in it and i had no clue what was about to happen.

i cranked up the volume and sang along…yelled along was more like it. i had it on repeat as i do with most songs that help with my add, it’s soothing to me. i was singing while dancing and acting out my own real life music video. with hardwood floors and full length mirrors on the closet door it’s easy to do.

i was carrying some laundry and bam…

tears…crying…screaming as i turn up the volume so no on hears me scream…

“WHAT YOU DID TO ME WAS NOT OKAY AND YOUR RELIGION DOESN’T ABSOLVE YOU OF THE DAMAGE YOU’VE DONE!!!”

this is life with childhood sexual abuse and the PTSD effects it leaves in its wake. even when i want to fight back, to reclaim my power, my voice, my courage and dignity. it’s her image and lingering shadows that i have to punch through just to catch my breath.

i’ll be okay. it’s a process and no one said it was going to be easy. i’m still here and i’m not giving up.

i’ve been here before and that’s ok…

i’ve been here before and that’s ok…

as much as I hate going off the rails at least it’s familiar territory, extremely uncomfortable but navigable if i just power through as best i can.

i’m only in competition with myself with it comes to depression and anxiety. i either work through my fear and keep my appointments with my therapist and prescriber or i end up increasing the odds of a spin out crash and burn game set match time out reset…..breathe…..just breathe….. ok…where am i again???

trauma work can be triggering and i gotta dig deep on this one guys. as terrified as i am about two upcoming appointments i’m just turning it over to the universe and inhale…exhale…you got this.

and yeah, i know the blog is a mess. lemme get back on some solid footing for a bit and then i can get back to some photography and cooking!

best ~rz

too many record players…

too many record players…

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 8.28.49 PMmy familiar place, i hate you with every fiber of my being…

my mind has always been a series of flashbacks and memories, record players always playing nonstop day in day out…relentless

i’ve never been good at juggling them, like a plate spinner without a break…a slave to keeping them all in the air until they aren’t…

i’m stuck for the moment yet unsure as to just how many lows i have left in me. it’s exhausting and discouraging.

all of the shades are drawn tight, doors and windows locked. i feel safe for now and cross my fingers it passes soon. i misjudged the repercussions of allowing myself to begin the process of opening up about and truly thinking through my early childhood sexual trauma. it may have been a mistake, i’m not sure…i just know i’m shutting down and withdrawing. it’s my way of coping, to avoid the pain, the pain of people even ones who may want to help me.

when all the record players come crashing down its like a mental onslaught of every single fucking negative feeling and emotion i’ve ever had in my life flood back all at once and i can’t control any of them. zero to rage and confusion in a nano second…hateithateithateit

the darkness and heavy blankets help me relax. i can’t be worried about the outside right now. noise hurts, people hurt, everything hurts right now…bed is safe.

i’m shut off from postal mail and voicemail, at&t blew up my vm during a blizzard and used a sledgehammer for the other. it was a daily land mine so i had to remove the variable. self protection mode engaged.

had to delete three people from fb today too. i’ve been let down enough in my life that after reaching out to people over and over again to simply have a cup of coffee, i just don’t need that kind of rejection right now. you can’t keep telling me i matter to you yet it be so difficult to spare a hour for coffee?

truthfully, that’s been really really hard to take.

i’m aware this isn’t normal, i just don’t know how to turn it all off…or at least turn down the volume on the chaos until i can dust myself off long enough for a breather…yet again.

 

 

I’ve never met anyone else like me…

I’ve never met anyone else like me…

My greatest need for support is in finding a way to adapt my Anxiety/Panic Disorder through the lenses of an adult still very much living with ADHD from childhood and who was never given the necessary support and consistency in tools to manage interpersonal situations. Couple that with the early childhood trauma and thats where the symptoms of PTSD really manifest themselves. Depression is never far away thanks to my maternal biology and while not entirely omnipresent. Things do run in cycles and when the low hits, it get dark very fast and for a very persistent period of time.

My day to day Anxiety is at such high levels its affecting my health. Seemingly ordinary stress from trying to managed very ordinary skills such as the randomness of grocery shopping or dealing with the local post office are constant land mines that I still haven’t been able to adapt to.

I’ll never be free of these symptoms, physically or emotionally, there’s too much psychological damage for that. To me that’s not really a bad place to begin from. In the sense that if I accept that I do in fact have challenges, as do many other people with all sorts of disabilities and varying degrees. Then the work begins in dealing with the one last topic I’ve never been able to fully unburden myself of and that’s having been sexually abused by my own Aunt while my Grandmother and Mother both knew. It’s the mainspring of all the events in my life as I recall them.

I’ve never met anyone else like me. I probably never will. I think that part hurts me the most right now. I disconnected myself from trusting people at the age of 5 but it began much earlier than that and was fully complete at the age of 8 in the story I’m about to share.

Over the years one way I tried to categorize things in my life was in terms of biological issues versus nurture issues. Biological would be things like multiple childhood surgeries starting with a skin graft at the age of 2 and kidney surgery at the age of 8. The kidney surgery was during one of the roughest times of my life while trying to adjust to being newly diagnosed with ADD w/hyperactivity disorder, they didn’t call it ADHD back then. The house I recuperated in with my mother is also where I would have Petit Mall seizures. My father was verbally abusive and on his visiting days and would enter the house by loudly saying “Alright…what’d he do this week?” all while staring at me as though he couldn’t wait to hit me and chase me. It was like a sport with him. The truth is I never did do anything other than have trouble in a school environment that wasn’t able accommodate my ADD needs while being raised by parents who never followed up on recommendations by our local neighborhood family services clinic.

This was the same house my mother left my suitcase on the doorstep for me one night after spending the weekend with my father. We pulled up on the opposite side of the street. No lights are on, the screen door looks open but I can’t make it out.

Inner Video: My ears begin to ring…time slows…I don’t understand…my stomach hurts, it always hurts. His head is down as he walks back to the car, slow motion, mind racing lightning fast, wondering, calculating for what was about to come. I’ve always had to plan for every eventual outcome, it’s a survival mechanism.

The suitcase goes in the backseat and we drive back to Van Nuys. My father was a factory worker with challenges of his own. He kept a simple one bedroom apartment there while he worked 2nd shift with split days off for a large commercial bakery. I never lived with him full time until 7th grade. This was the night he sent me to live with the family of the woman he cheated with at my mother’s reception. I didn’t know all of these things at the time of course, but it definitely explains the horrible living conditions I was in with people I didn’t even know and no support from anyone anywhere that my mother just abandoned me and my father is paying strangers to take care of me. Zero, zip, nada.

Next video: “I don’t know where she is, all she left was his clothes and a note,”

I see myself from behind every time I recall this, hair wet, knees pulled to my chest in bath with water that’s gone cold. Cold because I didn’t want to make noise moving so I could hear what was happening. Stuck. Panic. Fear. What was going to happen to me? If not with my mother than where? Where????

“Please don’t send me back to my grandmother’s house. Please. That’s where Catherine lives, I can’t go back there.” my inner dialog is raging, racing, panicking.  I’m paralyzed, forever broken and unimaginably gutted…my father would never know as I swallow my fear and await for the next fork in my timeline to unfold…

i can’t go back there…someone hear me…please…someone protect me…please…….please.

this is real time as of Tuesday May 15th at 6:32pm.

I’ve just come from a crucial therapist appointment where I may finally have a way to move through this. I’m not editing this piece. It just poured out.

This is my story. This is where I begin.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #CSAQT #WallofSilence #HealMeToo #NotAlone #RAINN #NAMI

 

thursday…8:37 PM

thursday…8:37 PM

…bad day today. one of those days where my body let’s me know how much it hates me by making every inch of it ache. brain fog pushing against you while trying to string together sequential thoughts.

coffee first, no, not coffee…which…backtrack, cats…yeah cats first…no no not that either…bathroom definitely bathroom…everything hurts. back, shoulders, neck, legs, feet, knees, hips. i want to crawl back into bed but have to try and keep moving.

on these days i measure my accomplishments by task completed and in as few steps as possible. i hate being physically winded when my brain is overloaded, makes pushing back against the rage and frustration of simple things a lot more difficult.

8:54pm the tv just came on by itself. happens every once and awhile and doesn’t bother me oddly enough. must be vern or my sister having some fun, nothing to lose sleep over.

cuckoo clock strikes early and the gentle tick tock resumes… funny how they speed up or slow down depending on the humidity. the living room humidifier needs refilling and i think i need a fire tonight. soothes the arthritis.

flashbacks can come in all sorts of forms i think. like dreamscapes that seamlessly work their way into your thoughts and before you realize it you’re transported right back to that particular moment in time…

i have tunnel vision and i’m looking at a long concrete walkway, it dips down at the middle and then leads to a set of steps. patches of grass but mostly dirt to the right, tallish grass along the rusty chain link fence to the left. a long row of identical single story apartments were on the other side.

i never liked the concrete stairs, too granular and hurt your knees and hands when playing. we must have had a front door but i never recall one. my film only ever sees it with through the screen door, shafts of light coming right filling the small living area.

a faux avocado finished console style record player was front and center. can’t remember where she got it but she was happy trying to refinish it. some combination of avo green pain and black and somehow you got some wood grain. lines of black mingling with the more predominant and shiny looking green. one large round speaker on the front with some gold’ish fabric for a cover. i’d play my peter pan record on it over and over.

9:21pm tired, exasperated, frustrated. trying not to let my depression and anxiety get the best of me so i’ll pick this up later. writing about things does seem to help.

like unpacking a dusty leather bound chest from the attic and taking things out one by one. in a place of silence and calm without distraction. even if my body isn’t cooperating, i still know i’m one of the lucky ones.

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