Category: Trauma

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.

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

Happy Birthday Linda…

Happy Birthday Linda…

I’ve been laying low trying to prepare for today. Clearing Dr. Appt’s off my calendar, dealing with my father and generally freeing up my mental space to just breathe and squeeze in a little solitude and happiness.

With my sisters birthday being December 21st it’s always been a day that I try and reserve just for myself. It’s taken a lot of work over the years to remember her in honor rather than sorrow. Smiles rather than sadness…

The story with my father still unfolds. I make no promises and there are no expectations on that front. Yes I was very low there for a bit but I seem to be regaining some forward momentum again and for that I’m grateful.

I’ve been able to make it to Boston for a few more Dr appointments each with mixed results. Mostly having to do with accepting my physical limitations when it comes to driving multiple hours in traffic. The anxiety and PTSD impacts when it comes to hours of sustained and very heightened anxiety for long periods of time are one thing. It’s also the physical toll it takes on my back, spine, hips and neck. I’m down for the count for at least 24-72 hours after one of those trips.

The good news is I’m now in a different hospital system should a particular surgery be needed. One good use of my two years away from regular healthcare was to research patient outcomes by surgery and organization which is surprisingly easy nowadays.

I was able to meet with my old therapist Karen and we’ll touch base in the New Year. It was like seeing an old friend and I’m soooo glad I don’t have to start from scratch. $36 to park might be an issue but she’s open to video conference which is just as acceptable really.

Tonight’s the night I make all kinds of Christmas cookies and get lost deep in thought and time…

Classic Christmas music, measuring, tasting and baking while humming and keeping busy in our own private little world…it was how i used to distract her from the chaos that was our mother…

Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday Linda, I miss you… Xo

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Linda’s first skateboard lesson, I was holding her up on this lime green skateboard trying to keep her from going down the hill… #CaliforniaSummer77

barricading complete…

barricading complete…

the blinds are drawn and taped, latches latched, door locks checked and triple checked, i’ve even cut the cords on the blinds so that i can’t raise them unless…well, unless…

facebook and instagram accounts have been deactivated, only twitter and this blog remain.

it’s never been this bad before so i’m in uncharted territory here. i don’t know how else to protect myself other than to keep everyone as far away from me as possible. depression and anxiety have a complete hold on me right now, perhaps it’s just another waiting game. a game i’m tired of playing…

i need to lose track of time…to not be conscious of where i am in my timeline is the safest place for me right now. it’s too painful otherwise. the holidays are usually bad enough, and this isn’t just holiday depression of course, so with my father’s recent voicemail it’s really muddied the waters.

december 21st is my sisters birthday and i still miss her. she was murdered on july 4th and my father’s birthday is groundhog’s day. every holiday was a nightmare as children for my sister and i. with my mother’s own #anxiety #agoraphobia and #ptsd challenges it made it nearly impossible to ever make it to someone house for a simple dinner. there was always a meltdown of some sort so we either never made it into the car and on our way anywhere or we’d last less than an hour before she had to go home. not just her, all of us.

birthday’s and most celebrations were forbidden, either for some manufactured reason such as “oh it’s just another day, it’s not a big deal.” to outright bans because she wanted to be a jehova’s witness. why not, the catholic church had failed her so she would follow any religion that had her attention.

it was so heartbreaking to see my sister cry during these times. not understanding why her special day was “no big deal” and to not even have christmas celebrated…i ache now just thinking of those days…

so. this is why i clear everything and everyone off the calendar from october to may. this year i thought i’d have peace but it wasn’t meant to be…

between good quality outdoor solar lights, auto sensing security lights with a video doorbell and indoor home automation lighting schedules, everything looks perfectly normal…from the outside.

it’s a reflection of me as a person i suppose. everything all nice and tidy on the outside and a crumbling quivering mess inside.

i don’t know what i’m saying other than i’m preparing for whatever form of communication i’ll get when it’s my father’s time…and it will hurt. deeper than anything i’ve ever known. not because of love but because of the loss at a chance to experience what it would have meant for a father and son bond when this time comes.

i’ll grieve now so that i’m better prepared for when the news does arrive. it’s a natural reflex when it comes to my family. never let them see you cry because they love to prey on the vulnerable. in this way i can say with safety and confidence that i don’t care to know what his final wishes were nor does anyone owe me anything. keep what you want just leave me in peace.

 

Voicemail, Novemeber 14th 9:12:16 AM

Voicemail, Novemeber 14th 9:12:16 AM

i’ll have to find a way to link the voice file but not tonight, Friday November 16th 10:14PM…

it’s exhausting passing time by measure of when the other shoe hits the floor, and it always does. this year was supposed to be a good year for the holidays. i had finally told my father how i felt about him after being kicked to the curb my entire life which was an unburdening. even his disgusting response didn’t hurt me. i was finally free and told him to stop calling me after having blocked his number from another vicious attack by him a year earlier.

i’ve known he was sick for awhile and although i initially was willing to help him with a power of attorney. he soon ruined that by a 4am phone call with accusations and other behavior a father just shouldn’t do to a son. i left him one voicemail later in the day after i had time to wake up and have some coffee and go “what the fuck just happened?”

“dad, i’m not sure why you did what you did at 4am but please be a man and pick up the phone so we can talk about this.” he never did and i blocked his number and then systematically i mentally prepared to forget him… i’d done it before, many many times before.

i was finally feeling good about gaining the upper hand on how to be a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. not by my father but by one of my maternal aunts. it was my father that was responsible for the psychological, emotional and physical abuse.

it was nice for awhile there…happy actually. i’d planned ahead for firewood for winter. i’d been working through the joint pains and using yard work as a mindfulness tool. something to distract me while i calmly sorted through the memories of my father. this time was different however. this time i wanted to forget, forget him. forget everything and rather than expend effort rationalizing and minimizing them into neat and tidy memories to be tucked away, i decided to just get rid of them entirely. to finally just move on and face all of the health issues i knew where on the horizon clear eyed, single and with some hope it just might be okay.

that i just might finally have a holiday without pain. i’d learned to live without them all these years so why not finally let myself be free of them and use the mental energy on myself instead of them. and it did work for a bit, right up until tonight.

the last time i spoke with my father he acted as those that 4am phone call never happened, as though he had nothing to apologize for. once i realized he was trying to manipulate me into just letting it go by i finally stood my ground. the words he used were those of a very ignorant and hateful human being i thought, how sad for him that must be. when his son finally tells him to never call him again because he no longer matters to him, those words were like a pathetic grasp for control, control he no longer had.

here i am in the fight of my life just trying to get through dr’s appointments i’ve waited two years to get and all i wanted was clear sailing for the holidays. newp. life had other plans. another shoe to drop.

i don’t know who or how many people will read this but i do have an honest question.

how do you respond to such a person who leaves a voicemail asking you to take care of all his affairs because he knows he’s not going to survive this ‘parkinson’s thing’? he couldn’t have cared less if i lived or died while i was living on the streets of hollywood in the late 70’s.

forced to be a male street hustler for a roof over his head and maybe a hamburger and a coke on a good day. santa monica boulevard and a bus bench near fairfax was good. it was near a carl’s jr. and it was easy to keep busy if cops were around or if no one was looking.

i’d wait for as long as i could. waving off the good looking aggressive types. couldn’t deal with the conceit or the wham bam thank you sam feeling from those. late at night i’d wait for the type that’d let you spend the night. children of trauma learn to read people really well so spotting the ‘companionship’ types was pretty easy. i’m not ashamed of any of this and i’d love to write more about it some day.

i can still recall the local gay papers when the words “gay cancer” first started appearing, everyone was scared and we were years away from learning how it was transmitted. when i say i’m lucky to be here, there are many many reasons i’m lucky to be here.

so here i am not far from what i thought was going to be a quiet and hopeful holiday season to one where i just want to smash every single solitary object i can get my hands on and not stop until my brain sees a blinding white light and my ears go deaf from nothingness…i just want it to end.

i’d say why me but those aren’t the right words… i can’t describe it other than i just want to grab him, someone, something by the ring of the collar to shake the ever loving fuck of them and scream so loud the whole world hears…

W H Y??????

i’m exhausted…i’m scared, scared of me not him. angry too, very angry. every time, without fail when there’s a time in my life when it really does need to be all about me, such as these health issues, one or both of them find some way of trickling back into my life.

my mother passed two years ago right in the middle of my having to sell my condo, uproot my entire life to relocate to another part of the state, oh and landed in the looney bin with clown boy got elected, thank goodness i was already in a place with meds…

and now this… this big pile of steaming shit called my fucked up family has to come along and try to ruin things yet again. i can’t help him. i don’t know him for fucks sake. and what i do know of him is that he’s someone i’d never, ever want to spend time with if i met him as just a person. there’s nothing there between us, there never has been.

i can’t help you old man. you used and abused me for longer than i should have allowed and now it’s time for you to go. go wherever it is that your road takes you and please please go peacefully.

please     finally     leave     me     alone     once      and      for      all.

Goodbye Dad, again…

Goodbye Dad, again…

my father has been leaving voicemails for a few months now. we had a falling out last year when he called me at 4am my time making accusations that were not only hurtful but also incorrect.

i’ve been blamed for everything when it comes to my father. i was never enough for him. me the person was never enough for their own father…and yes it hurts.

all of the numbers i have for him are blocked so they do go to a blocked folder on my phone. (i don’t have a landline and haven’t for well over 10 years.) new vm’s started showing up a few months ago and i ignored them. he never says anything other than “this is your dad…just trying to reach you…okay. <click>”

he finally left a vm that briefly mentioned something about having an operation and that he couldn’t walk for awhile but beyond that i didn’t much more so i called and chose to forego the fake talk and just stick to the facts. this was a few weeks ago, not today.

what should have been a perfect opportunity to say he was sorry for his horrible phone call a year ago, he chose to act as if things are just rosy and fine as they’ve always been. he’s done that his entire life. he’s not at fault. there’s never a need to apologize or take responsibility for his own actions. it’s always the other persons fault and when he doesn’t like someone telling him the truth he lashes out.

after our last call i left him a vm that said “i’m sorry you have to hear this over voicemail but please don’t call me anymore. there’s nothing i can do for you any longer. i have a new life. i live 3000 miles away in boston and i haven’t seen you in over 25 years. i wish you the best in whatever manner that means but please please please. if you respect me as a son, do not ever call me again.”

i thought that would have been enough but it wasn’t. more vm’s showed up. 5-10 second snippets of “just me, trying to reach you, again.” as if that’s my fault? i called the home phone to leave a vm that i had hoped his wife would hear. in that vm i said to her “do not allow my father to call me again. i don’t know what his health his like and if it’s failing there’s nothing i can do for him. so please. i know this will sound harsh but forget i ever existed and please leave me alone.”

i thought that was the end of it and i could finally breathe easy…until today.

today started as a good day so i was feeling pretty positive even though i had seen another vm that had come in late last night. another 12 sec version, more guilt and a sense of urgency. i tried to put it out of mind and focus on the other tasks i needed to get done today. and then i caved…

i figured if i was in a solid place and in a positive mood how could anything go wrong right? wrong.

as usual the phone call turned into him calling me names no child should ever have to hear from a parent. more blame and more name calling is not part of my daily life any longer and it was time i told him the truth in a calm and direct manner.

the statement i made to him wasn’t about the past. it wasn’t about childhood. it was about who he is today and his actions of who is today. he’s never learned that he’s the one who’s chased every person away from him in his life and now at 78 the truth is coming home to roost.

it must be scary to be 78 and not know where you failing health will take you. it’s a fate that many many people face on a daily basis so i don’t have any sympathy there. heck. he’s been kicking me to the curb since i was 2 years old and at my age now you think i’m still going to allow you to tear me down because your a selfish self centered old man?

i owe you nothing…

after he fired off all of the below the belt insults i simply told him “you don’t get to turn my life upside down because you think you’re entitled to call me your son. i’m not your son and i haven’t been for quite a long time. you’ve never liked it when people tell you the truth to your face but there it is. don’t ever call me again. pretend i never existed and i’ll do the same.”

he was still yelling hateful things when i turned off my phone. hateful to the end…

yes today hurts, things like this always do. the difference for me today is it won’t paralyze me any longer. there are no more emotional rubber bands to snap me back to those horrible years. those emotional times that zing you right back to being some submissive boy desperate for his father’s love that he’d let him call him any derogatory name in the book and cry alone behind closed doors so he’d never see the pain he caused.

i may hurt and that’s okay. the fact that i can push past the hurt and see that my life is still unfolding ahead of me is a huge huge step. just one of many but progress nonetheless.

goodbye dad. the mental health field has tried to make me conform to societies norms of “but he’s your father” and that’s not always a healthy viewpoint. sometimes the only way to survive is by letting go of childhood wishes and longings that will never materialize for you. in my case i’ll never know what it’s like to hear and feel what it’s like to have a parent acknowledge they’ve wronged you and show a genuine interest in rebuilding that trust. the trust they themselves broke which has impacted your entire life.

the requirement has never been some grand gesture or pubic flogging by any means. just that one simple phrase and look in their eyes that lets you know they finally get it.

as a photographer it’ll be hard to put away pictures of my childhood. photos of him and me before everything went off the rails. before i ended up living with my grandmother because he made home life so horrible my mother ended up in a mental institution. (the short version, my grandmother and the catholic church did the rest.)

anywho…i’m just letting all of this flow out as it happens and so i don’t implode keeping it all bottled up inside.

i dunno. this october will mark 13 years sober and after everything i’ve been through setting up an entirely new life here in a small town i knew nothing about, and my mother’s passing during all of this as well. i’d say i’m holding up pretty well.

today i had firewood delivered which is a PERFECT mindfulness exercise for focusing on the task at hand rather than all of this other ugly stuff. i don’t care how wet i get. i don’t care if it sucks. i don’t care if i get eaten alive by mosquitos.

school psychologists would always as me about home life or family life and i’d always say the same thing. “we’re like dandelions.” “in what way?” “well, you know how when you blow on them they scatter all over?” “yes” “we’re like that. as soon as you’re old enough to fend for yourself, we all scatter as far away from each other as we can get.”

during the summer i’ll have my coffee on the deck and when it’s dandelion season i’ll hand pick every last one of those suckers until they’re all gone. my inner dialog going…

“nope…nope…nope…not in my yard you don’t”

get rid of the weeds in your life. they suck the energy out of you and they leave nothing beneficial behind. ~R

Winner Takes All…

Winner Takes All…

From one of my favorite stories of the Big Book of A.A. Winner takes all is about a young woman born legally blind but keenly aware she was the lesser wanted child of her siblings. This is the last chapter of the story and it was the one that gave me my Aha moment. Regardless of how things do or don’t turn out with my Father. None of that is relevant. Today is relevant. What I choose to think and feel is relevant. How my actions reflect those thoughts and feelings are relevant.

It’s hard when you have to say goodbye to a parent, especially one who’s still living. I don’t hate my Father but I don’t like him either and that’s a very valid feeling. I wish him the best in whatever capacity that might mean for him today. For myself? I’m moving forward to continue my healing process.

Hope for me are the positive things I can see on the horizon. Those in the front window of my imaginary car. The rear view mirror serves me no purpose any longer. It’s utility is reserved only for short and subtle reminders of where I’ve been and where I never want to return.

Although my Father may have been the primary cause for stuffing and swallowing my feelings of guilt and shame all these years. That doesn’t mean it’s a permanent state of being. The choice is mine, on a daily basis.

Today. Today I choose to be happy and I hope you’ll do the same. ~R

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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…

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