Tag: Anxiety

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.

Digital Interfaces Aren’t User Friendly For The Sensory Challenged…

Digital Interfaces Aren’t User Friendly For The Sensory Challenged…

Digital companies tend to irk me more than usual these days. The incessant march forward in demanding more and more control over how users ‘must’ access their interface. It’s not that I’m a dinosaur or anything, I totally get it, it’s the digital age and phones and digital devices are now the default.

Okay, maybe I am a dinosaur but for very good reasons. Lol. After 20+ years in tech we’d regularly use analytics in content development. It was early on in the field but once you get a grasp of how they slice and dice the data and why you kinda get hip to the gig.

It should be common practice to use 3 email addresses at a minimum. one for banking and financial accounts. one for personal private family and friends. and one for credit card logins, loyalty cards and generally ‘spammy’ things like that.

Want to cut down on robo callers? Sign up for a Google Voice number which I think is still free. I use that one for EVERY phone number including gas, electricity etc. Never use your cell for anyone other than friends and family. And the great thing about Google Voice is you can ‘forward’ it to your cell or any number really, and it’s transparent to the caller. If they leave a voicemail you get an email transcription which is pretty nifty.

This one is a huge relief for my PTSD. The ring on my own phone can cause a jolt so I tend to keep it very low. If my cell ever got out to those robo dialers I’d be in big trouble. This one is a MUST have. So I use it as a junk caller filter and it does have some filters and blocking.

6:55 – I’m back, kitty panic attack while stuck in box crisis averted…

My PTSD and ADD have some not to obvious challenges, especially when it comes to navigating the web. It’s no secret our digital footprints leave a trail of our likes and dislikes. Data used to provide a ‘curated and personalized’ experience they say. “A more personal and authentic ‘experience'” they say.

With the pervasiveness of cookies, beacons, pixels and host of other things, tracking is part of our daily lives. There are those oblivious to its extent where it blends seamlessly without care as something to be embraced. And there are those who acknowledge and knowingly trade personal info for tailored movie choices in their digital library.

There’s also those that don’t really care about all the whizz bang flashing sliding morphing sticky nav bar fluid design shifting morphing images…sorry…that was my ADD getting distracted and forgetting which bill I was trying to pay before I timed out…

Then there’s those really super-duper over the top awesome times when out of nowhere, without any warning whatsoever…blaring unwanted video about something I could care less about jolts me out of my skin my blood pressure goes sky-high because loud noises trigger my PTSD…

Currently I have to use 4 different browsers just to get things done. Safari just bit the big one tonight. Whatever their new release had in it, it’s made thing grind to a halt. To be semi-fair I do have a zillion ad-blocking, anti-tracking, ad-guard, donottrack, disabled plugins…

In my defense I really don’t have a choice though because guess who no longer has control over their own user experience? That’s right, it’s us. In the never-ending pursuit of marketing needs on their never-ending quest for the last dollar in your pocket, it’ll get worse and worse.

It used to be the user was in charge of when they wanted to upgrade their system or browser version or whether or not they didn’t use flash and so forth. With HTML5, Flash and other technologies, it’s become a Push rather than Pull when it comes to content.

As well as my visit with Jerre was yesterday I’m just wiped from having to fight with BofA today as well as trying to pay a simple gas bill. NationalGrid was designed by a dropout from MySpace and literally blares at you. You must allow pop ups. You must allow cookies. Seriously? I mean who does that shit? It’s gotten to the point I just call companies and force them to take my payment over the phone. I blow right past the “There’s a $2.00 fee for thi..” “Yep, just make the payment please…” Click…

Because of that whole Spectre thingy I upgraded my browsers thinking it ‘might’ make things easier, silly me.

I spent hours trying to make a simple payment and it always makes me wonder how many companies actually comply with ADA Compatibility requirements. I had been working on a few projects in 2013ish and we used to actually think about these things. The model was what would works for most not what only works for phones and tablets.

All browsers are not created equal, which apps frequently call up, and most especially not on a digital device.

ongoing notes re: surviving childhood sexual abuse and the movement from victim to survivor

ongoing notes re: surviving childhood sexual abuse and the movement from victim to survivor

i’ve survived childhood sexual abuse and today it’s no longer about placing blame or making complete and utter sense of things from the past. i’m ebbing and flowing between moments of complete contentment and flashing shatters of utter chaos. i say these things from a comfortable place though. it’s taken awhile for my psyche and hardened shell to finally open up enough and allow me to finally forgive myself. forgive myself enough to finally believe that none of it was ever my fault.

from 3rd to around 6th grade i have vivid memories of being overwhelmed during class and i would panic until i found a way to sneak into the coat area or closet and hide under all of the coats. i’d pile them all on top of me so that i’d be in complete darkness, mentally clamoring to shut out the world, my inner voice begging for the din to stop and for ‘it’ to leave me alone. i use school grades to recall my childhood rather than actual age or year.  3rd grade, mrs. glassman, u shaped alcove and pegs. 4th grade, mrs. millet, step in closet, row of pegs. 5th grade, mrs. wolf, u shaped alcove, hooks and shelves for lunch boxes overhead…

the weight of them felt so so calming…i hated it when they would find me. there was one particular classroom that ‘was’ an actual closet rather than the other communal alcove types. this one I had to step into and close the door behind me. one day i saw a boy looking at me trying to figure out what I was doing while I fumbled with the latch. i didn’t have time to process embarrassment or shame, panic to escape overrode all else. it was also the same classroom where we grew green beans in dixie cups had a guinea pig and learned about dinosaurs. mrs. millet was so nice and comforting. pronounced like ‘Edna St. Vincent Millay.  lots of color block pant suits, creme lime green like a perfect nonpareil candy, contrasting vests too with large pockets for keys and whistles. dark hair with curls from those really big purple plastic rollers, the ones with the holes in them, all layered up in a semi bouffant and a scent of jean nate’. she reminded me of my mother, she loved jean nate’ but my favorite was windsong. mrs. millet always knew how to coax me out until my mom could come and get me. we only lived a few blocks away and i would mostly just sleep after that…

eventually i was diagnosed with petit mal seizures, epilepsy runs in the family, as well as ADD, allergies and a calcium deficiency. i had to have allergy shots daily, first riding for hours in the car with my father until he learned how to do them on my shoulder. i was never sure why i had breathing problems but with so much going on it’s easy for mental health needs to get lost in all of that. when i had to have a kidney operation, things were pretty serious health wise for about 6 months…this also granted me a reprieve from my father’s verbal abuse. lucky me…

nature vs nurture, the lines blur for me and no longer matter.

childhood trauma reverberates throughout a lifetime. i don’t remember what the ‘trigger’ was back then other than an overwhelming urge to hide in complete darkness, warmth and silence. it’s only recently that i’m coming to terms with the fact that my challenges today with flashbacks isn’t actually a new thing. it’s been with me my entire life. i still have them and that’s the challenge i’ll have to make adjustments for. life doesn’t owe me anything, i’ll make the best of what i do have and there’s nothing more comfortable than that.

as I sift through the fog and haze of a childhood that never should have been… sometimes i’m comforted in remembering those amazing teachers, school counselors and mental health professionals who did actually recognize me and who also tried to help me directly along the way. my parents weren’t equipped to step up to the plate and assume even the most basic challenges of parenthood which is not okay and that’s not my fault. i forgive myself and begin anew…

sexual abuse isn’t something a family likes to talk about. certainly not if you’re a boy of 6. just prior to that i witnessed things no child should ever have to see or experience. yet i still managed to maintain my composure that fateful day. i bundled up my infant sister, found the diaper bag and knew that i had to call for help. you see, if not for my mother’s suicide attempt, my life never would have taken the turn it did that awful day. a day so seared into memory i could paint it, draw it, recreate it or even photograph it in amazing detail. complete with smells angles of light, color of furniture…it evaporates…it’s also a movie that plays on a constant loop in my head but without any sound…i only hear “mommy needs help.” everything else that judders back and forth in and out of focus is dull and muted…

what the real professionals knew and understood what was underneath all of that mental torment and acting out. what they saw was just a scared little boy looking for some encouragement and who just needed a little structure and support along the way. i craaaaaved stability so much it would ache and crush me from the inside out sometimes. stomaches were part of daily life, they did what they could for as long as they could.

i’ve been twirling this stuff around for awhile now and…well…i guess i finally felt the need to spit it out. why tonight is beyond me but I’ll roll with it.

the solitude of small town life agrees with me. peaceful yes, easy on the body, eh not so much. lol. if i’m going to get through shoulder, knee and potentially hip surgery, i’m gonna need to ‘travel light’ as it were.

i’m glad i’ll be starting start back with my therapist jerre tomorrow. she’s a cool woman who’s also an amazing artist. she specializes in addiction and oddly enough that’s kinda what I need right now. we took a few months off of therapy last fall which was actually really good for me it turns out. i was able to get through the holidays with a sense of peace that I don’t think I’ve ever felt before and i’m beyond grateful.
~R

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