Category: cptsd

Getting closer…

Getting closer…

#anxiety, #depression, #cptsd, #childhoodtrauma, #childhoodsexualabuse – these are the things i still carry as an adult. they don’t go away. they don’t magically disappear when those around us can’t bear us as we are, we have to fight allll the underlying symptoms and pretend things are normal when they’re anything but…

i reached out to a mental health alliance three weeks ago for help. they did an extensive intake over the phone and i disclosed my sexual abuse as a young boy in hope of finding a trauma informed therapist.

everything seemed to go well. the intake person was nice enough. paused when she needed to let me get my muddle thoughts out. reassured when she could and made me feel like i could trust her. after confirming all the necessary personal, medical and insurance info i was told the director would contact me and then i’d hear from a therapist they felt ‘could’ be a good match. (meaning after that conversation the director would have a better sense of who to match me with but the ultimate connection would be between myself and the therapist.)

that was three weeks ago and i’m still without mental healthcare.

i’m losing the will to keep getting back up. over and over and over again…i’m worn out, tired, defeated and fearful.

when you’re told from your earliest memories to “be a man, it’s not that bad.” or “stop crying, you’re bigger than that” or “oh stop being a baby, sheesh.”

i wasn’t a child in anyone’s responsible form of care. i was just an annoyance. nothing more than a pet. something you just make sure there’s water in their bowl, food in their dish and once and awhile you let them out to take a piss on the lawn if they bawl loud enough…

i’m alone. i’m scared. i’m not sure of what’s next.

suicide? dunno. one time i tried pills. i swallowed the whole bottle of Restoril that i’d just filled. 30 30mg’s should do it. my eyes began to feel heavy and i did doze in and out a few times. barren apartment, my first, hard futon on a hardwood floor, lighting from the outside courtyard coming through the blinds…that’s the last thing i remember.

my apartment was within walking distance of a major hospital area near Fenway Park. walk out of the courtyard take a right and 5 minutes later you’d be in the lobby of their emergency room. it seems i was on auto-pilot because that’s the only way i could have gotten there.

my head was pounding, awful taste in my mouth, black stains all over my hospital gown and arms. it wouldn’t be until much later that i’d see my reflection in a mirror where my teeth had been blackened by them charcoaling me. stains down my chin indicate either i wasn’t conscious enough to aid in drinking it or they just wanted to get as much of it in me as possible and hope for the best.

this was my first inpatient stay in a mental hospital. later i’d learn the term was ‘feet first’ versus signing yourself in or someone else had ‘sectioned’ you. feet first referring to being wheeled in on a gurney…

i was there for 7 days, long by health insurance standards, not long enough by mine but there would be many more in-patient stays to come…

without an external support system (no friends or family) i had to live off clothes others gave me when they left or had extras of. it was a humbling yet lonely experience. certainly not one that got me on the road to figuring anything out anyway. i was only 30 and didn’t know how to explain what was going on inside of me.

they’re goal is to just stabilize you with meds give you a treatment ‘plan’ and you’re on your own after you’re out the door. no clean hand off to a psych for meds or a therapist for skills. nope. just some SSRI’s du jour and “Best of luck, you’ll do fine, keep up the great work!” and all the rest of the platitudes i assume the train them to say.

i suppose pills were less dramatic than the 15th floor balcony ledge in downtown boston some years later. another time i’d fallen through the cracks and felt like i had no way out or anyone to help me.

who knows why i chose a hotel balcony given that i have an extreme fear of heights. all i remember is climbing over the rail and facing outward but gripping the railing so hard i couldn’t feel my hands…

the side of the hotel i was on was well lit from below but i hadn’t noticed any sirens or lights. the door opened with what looked like 4 firemen and a hotel worker. who knows why fate works out the way it does but the hotel worker turned out to be someone i know as a friend of friend kind of thing. shame and guilt immediately came over me, then panic…

“Rob…it’s me Kyle, please don’t do this. Just stay with me and let’s talk okay?”

my eyes met his and i crumbled into sobbing tears while a phalanx of arms and gear lurch me back into the hotel room…another ‘feet first’ visit back to the same hospital.

therapists always ask me if i feel safe or have plans to kill myself. it’s a tricky question because the truth is i always, always have a plan on stand by. anyone who’s ever had to keep suicide in their back pocket as a way out of pain always always has a plan.

i try and be honest i try and trust but i never fully commit. i’ve never met a therapist or single friend who’d stay around long enough to hear my story so that i ‘could’ in fact trust them. trust…my achilles heel.

it’s tuesday night June 25th and i had a really hard time driving into boston to see my MD for meds yesterday. the prescription is all screwed up which means multiple phone calls to him, the pharmacy, medicare, aetna and so forth. all of those things drain a person with #Anxiety from #CPTSD so quickly and so deeply it takes days or weeks to bounce back from that stuff.

and that’s why i’m tired of, well, everything. tired of being let down. tired of people saying they’ll call back and don’t. tired of people saying they’ll come visit me and they don’t.

tired of being invisible and of no consequence…

i don’t have any answers other than i know i’m not to blame for things or thought processes i can’t control. when you’ve done all you can to reach out and say “HELP ME” and nothing comes back to you from the echo chamber of life what else are you left with besides…why bother?

no i don’t need a wellness check, not tonight anyway. just know that this is all being written in real time with real names details and timeframes. full and complete honesty is they only comforting characteristic i’ve come to value in this life, it’s the only way i know how to navigate people and it’s also the source of my greatest pain. when all you know how to be is honest and authentic, when people cast you aside your brain doesn’t know how to process that except for making yourself the failure.

this house is a trap and i need to leave here if i can. if i can’t find a solution soon than those ‘plans’ will definitely become more of a reality even though i really don’t want that to happen.

even if i don’t want that to happen – there’s still only so much pain a person can take in life before there’s just no more room. your brain, body and emotional capacity starts to push back and say “no…not anymore…yeah i’m sure…i’m done.”

 

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.

Enough…

Enough…

For anyone new to the site I’d like to offer some insight to my Twitter and #SurvivorCulture tweet. My site needs work so you’re probably seeing a happy post about getting back to my previous therapist. Which definitely is good news…especially given the current circumstances.

My father and I tried to forge or repair some sort of relationship last year and it blew up in my face pretty badly. That’s always been the history when it comes to my father and me. When in doubt, blame the kid.

My father has an anger and mental abuse problem and he’s never owned it. I owned it for him by swallowing every single form of abuse he chose to dish out. Verbal, physical and the worst of all. Complete shut out and denial. If he didn’t want to hear something he made sure he got his way and never ever had to live with consequences.

Well. Here we are today. Him leaving me voicemail after voicemail playing the aging old man and I’m sick card. Uh uh. That’s not how life works.

The last time I saw my father was over 25 years ago. We’ve had sporadic phone contact over the years and always at my reaching out to him rather than the other way around.

My usual role as the hurt little boy wanting the love of his father has been a hard role to live through and it’s come at a great great cost. No regrets though. Truly. Because that life is no more…

The #MeToo movement came along at a time in my life when I was already trying to unravel and make sense of my childhood. What I had planned on was it accelerating my having to deal with my own childhood sexual abuse. Not only was my childhood traumatic and painful, he’s still coming from this utterly disgusting catholic altar boy silence and denial upbringing.

I’m still working through the dynamics of an older female family member having been my abuser. Not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog but I hope to get back to my photography. All of the images on the site are mine now and I still have a whole other site to convert over.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. ~R

 

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…

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.

 

 

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