Tag: mental health

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.

Another closed door…

Another closed door…

contacted my old therapist in Boston. got the same reply i’ve been getting for months from All healthcare professionals. “Oh I don’t know anything about Medicare, that’s not my thing.”

Really? Than why and how is it you’re a Medicare “P R O V I D E R” yet you know nada??? Yeah…okay.

all i can say is that i truly am in a no mans land when it comes to medical care or mental health care. of the hospitals or medical centers that within driving distance of me the locals won’t even go to for specialist care.

if i’m lucky enough to bump into a neighbor long enough to strike up a casual convo, they all say the same thing. “I’d never go to that hospital, we always go to Boston, it’s waaay safer.”

so wtf am i supposed to do. i can’t drive that far on a regular basis. so far no one in either the medical side of things or mental health side of things seems to know what the fuck a Social Worker is or how to get one.

how, how the fuck is it that you can be disabled, yes i have my social security letter, be on Medicare AND have a Blue Cross Blue Shield Bronze supplemental plan but i don’t qualify for any type of outside help coordinating all of this??? zero? zip? nada? Hello???

i fantasize about just selling my house and taking whatever cash is left over and then try to get lost in another country somewhere. i mean why not just get a passport/visa and whatever else it takes and just leave the US all together?

i don’t have family any longer. i’m done chasing after friends who inevitably never call you back or make the effort to reach out themselves, so if i’m truly a ‘party of one’ as i call it, no one will miss me anyway.

if all else fails there are always the more immediate solutions.

when you’re an adult male of early childhood sexual abuse by a female family member, your world and perception of people is forever changed. you ‘may’ find a way back to normalcy and i’m thrilled for you if you have.

that’s just not in my story unfortunately. mine is shaping up to be one of solitude and permanent loneliness because i’ve been kicked to the curb so many times i’ve just given up trying. maybe i was never meant to understand how to navigate friendships or how to build an extended family of strangers.

i dunno. so many maybes…still so much left unanswered…

with whatever energy i have left in this timeline maybe i should really un-tether myself and just go off into wherever the wind might take me. it’d certainly be better than struggling with a healthcare system that has zero interest in helping someone like me.

life’s not so kind to single white me of a certain age, we’re always the first one’s to be cast offs of our society…

Emotional Rubber Bands…

Emotional Rubber Bands…

rubber bands, whiplash, herky jerky, it’s all the same when it comes to my family and it simply can’t continue like this. i have to choose not only my mental health over my family but also my physical health as well.

two years without health care is a long time when it comes to reestablishing healthcare especially when it comes to specialists. with my families history of colon and prostrate cancers, the first up was the new GI which started a cascade of #ptsd and #anxiety symptoms.

i did my homework and made sure to bring all of my medical records from the previous medical system to expedite the process and also to show that i was informed and cooperative new patient. the dr.’s extremely knowledgeable which is why i chose him so that’s a good thing. what i hadn’t planned on was the aggressive push for even more medical info when it came to my father…

these days i can relate to how my mother always had a hard time with dr’s and hospitals. it’s all the questioning even though it’s right there in black in white that’s the trigger. no one wants to recall their past when it’s riddled with land mines. it’s a friggin’ war zone and when one goes…they ALL go.

anywho… i had prepped like a good student…four color coded folders for each speciality in case he asked. the g.i. folder was the largest and had every letter, mri, sigmoid, tech notes, xray notes, pcp notes…”do you have the results of your father’s last colonoscopy?” “can you get them?” “you do have power of attorney don’t you?” “these are things you’re legally entitled to you know.” “i’m just trying to take what you provide me and turn it into science.” he says gesturing from outstretched hands at me motioning to random notes onto one sheet of paper because the medical terminal was down… really? no…are you fucking kidding me???

of course he was an hour late and i hit grid lock rush hour traffic right at five thirty, an hour and half just to get out of boston via route nine. it’d be two more hours before i was finally back home. exhausted, not angry or frustrated, just frazzled like shell shock and everything hurt. my stomach, my head, my body, just everything like a spiral…

who knew the next jolt was to hit the very next day. yep, the voicemail from my father asking for help for what i’m guessing may be his final wishes. i mean, i’m compassionate to what he’s going through, but realistic just the same. i mean, it doesn’t change what he’s done but that’s not the point. the point is moving on and still being able to live with myself.

do i have to forgive him? i already had in a way. i mean after our last parting two summers ago, i had already began to do just that, it was what it was and move on. i knew these’s dr’s would be key and i still have three more to fit in by january. oh, and it’s winter which i haven’t driven in for at least thirty years.

yeah, forgot that one. i had to learn how to drive two years ago after being able to walk, subway or taxi anywhere in the city of boston and now i have to drive just to get coffee. i’m not whining on that one, that accomplishment i feel really proud of actually. from finding a driving school to sponsor my road test to the registry for the written, i earned that one.

however…

while i was comfortable with having to make the trade off of country driving over city driving. i hadn’t anticipated the lack of quality specialists here on the cape. the largest and closest healthcare system is the one i’m trying to leave and also doesn’t have the best track record. all my neighbors do the same so i’m not alone in how most of rural mass. thinks about specialist healthcare which is kind of a shame. boston is a great teaching hub and it certainly has innovation on its side. what it does lack though is a broader network of care for all regions and especially those beyond just the greater boston area.

switching from as needed to daily medication was a huge leap for me but it’s necessary if i have to rely on a car for everything. when i lived in the city if i had to run out for coffee or a sandwich and cat food. even in the worst weather or worst of winter colds, i could usually muster a coat maybe some sunglasses winter boots and headphones for a block and a half to the corner bodega. fun little place on the edge of villa victoria called Casa Cuong, just the basics in it’s two small yet well stocked aisles… i can recall the rush of hot air from the ice cream coolers when you open the door in winter like it’s just outside my front door now.

i loved the juxtaposition of corners here in the south end. Casa Cuong with its treasure trove of goya, kix, friskies and klondike bars on one corner. venti iced coffee, turkey wrap, yogurt w/granola and peppermint bark at Starbucks on the other. total time out and back was about twenty minutes maybe thirty when dressing for winter.

nowadays twenty minutes seems like a luxury. a luxury in that it could take me twenty minutes just to get through tying my shoes and getting on some jeans and a shirt if i’m real lucky. i’m winded at just about anything so i have to stop about every fifteen minutes to sit, catch my breath, take the next incremental step and so forth.

you get the gist…

i miss the city for a lot of reasons chief among them is it was my home for my entire adult life until 2016. there’s not an inch of of it i can’t recall and that’s a huge blessing on my journey.

if there’s one thing i’ve learned while emerging from this self imposed cocoon it’s that new memories are going to be important if i’m ever going to make that final hard tack in my life that i’ve always dreamed of. the type where after a vigorous and difficult struggle through wave after wave, you’ve somehow managed turn face first into the wind and you’re no longer concerned with what’s behind you only with what’s ahead and ensuring that horizon as as clear as glass.

i can’t keep having these emotional rubber bands from a toxic family keep whipping me all over the place. it’s too much. i don’t wish him or them any ill will. i just need to focus on me before i end up not being able to care for myself.

when i think of the health issues that run in our family it’s crucial that i get through these next three to four dr. appointments, not including things like labs, colonoscopies, MRI’s etc. etc.

i always knew there’d be stress once i lined up these appointments, it’s the impact from the driving that i hadn’t planned for. toss in my father’s voicemail and that was that…face plant into bed for next five days.

it’s slow going and while i did manage to have an “up day” for thanksgiving, i am sidelined by the gritty scratchy eye thing again. that and the whole body still hurts which means the auto-immune system is in over drive and does it suck. mostly it sucks because i know i’m still a long way from any relief. psoriatic arthritis? maybe, all of the men on my father’s side have ended up in wheel chairs so there’s that… ankylosing spondylitis? that’s another maybe except with my father’s diagnosis in 2016 there is a genetic component to consider or rule out. after this many years neither is palatable but at least there’s a regimen to follow, a plan, something to hang your hat on each night and finally sleep with some peace of mind.

the mind, body and gut connection isn’t lost on me. while mindfulness, meditation and yoga can be helpful. i’m at the stage where we need to move to the next step in the process. living in thirty minute increments of effort isn’t normal for someone my age and yes that’s depressing and yes i know that doesn’t help. look up #IBS, #PA or #AS and they share many of the same symptoms including #depression and #anxiety. that’s good and bad. good in that one medication or plan could solve more than one issue. bad in that it takes all of those specialties to test and agree on who the lucky winner is.

the blinds are open again and there are plenty of leftovers lucky me. during the two days i had energy i was pushing through all of my batch cooking and stocking up the freezer with things like homemade chicken soup and stock. two staples for any gluten free and/or anti-inflammation diet. i made another roaster for thanksgiving day and i’ll throw that in the slow cooker for shredded chicken. an afternoon with the kitchenaid and foodsaver should knock out a couple 1lb bags which are perfect for quick meals.

my neighbor who’s recovering from breast cancer says she’s grateful for the up days too. we both joke about the mornings when you wake up and you just know your body isn’t going to hate you that day and you zoom through laundry, cooking, mail, a shower and collapse.

tomorrow supposed to be sunny and warmer than the past two days of single digit wind chills. the plan is to finish the leaves we all got clobbered with here in new england. one day the leaves were on all the trees and then two back to back wind storms mean everyone was buried all at once.

weather looks good? check. leaf blower batteries charged? check. your body still hates you in the morning? check check and triple check.

tomorrow after the leaves?

why i gave up facebook…

 

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

 

Thursday’s With Karen Resume…

Thursday’s With Karen Resume…

I decided to reach out to my previous talk therapist and see is she was willing to work me in some how. To my relief and amazement she said yes. Is insurance a fit? Check. What about Video Conference? Check. What a relief… I dunno. It’s such a huge change in service of basic comfort level I guess I’m a bit overwhelmed, in a good way.

This means not having to start from scratch. This means safety on all of the topics I’ve ever needed to discuss in therapy, including the most sensitive of them all. One layer deeper in fact and well, I’m just grateful.

This means having to rely on the commuter rail but that might not be such a bad thing. The ride is scheduled to be an hour give or take so it’s just figuring out the stop to park I guess.

With my discount the rail and subway passes are affordable. I thought it was going to be much more but now park and ride seems like the way to go. Gives me that chance to work on public anxiety both good and bad. (Oh and get that frigging lens fixed jackass!! You want real photos, not just iPhotos!)

I know, I know. Things have been up and down health wise so timing has been an issue. It’ll turn into one of those random first thing I think of one morning and then obsess until it’s done all last minute. Ah yes, thank you ADHD, gotta luv ya…said no one ever.

Tonight I take a deeper breath and rest a little easier knowing I now have a safe place to land.  That’s not only a huge piece of the medical puzzle out of the way it’s also a way to reclaim my identity. I haven’t shot with my Nikon in ages and that’s definitely gotta change.

the lens robert…

yeah i know…

do you want to miss this opportunity? you know, back bay, south end, down town, all of your favorite architecture?

no, no i really don’t actually. i’d like to build a darkroom at some point. i have a story to tell…

then get your ass moving…

Thank you Universe. As usual your timing was impeccable.

 

 

Trying to keep positive…

Trying to keep positive…

these flare ups suck when then take me out of my routine. you know the drill. something triggers that familiar ‘un-happy’ gut feeling. not yet excruciating but you know it’s just a matter of time.

today i was finally able to run errands after being in bed for the past 3 days. the familiar dull painful and mentally distracting headache. more than that actually. eyes, forehead, ears where the psoriasis patches ache 24/7. then the joints kick in and your spine feels achey but can only be soothed temporarily and for unpredictable durations.

however…

i’m blessed to have learned the chef skills i did in my twenties and i’m blessed to have this period ranch style kitchen to spread out and feed myself. with my putting off seeing a PCP appt. at least i’ve gotten better at my diet which removes a huge variable once i do see a dr.

it’s allowed me the space and ability to experiment how to reverse, as much as i can, some of the effects once they begin. bone broth is an amazing gut recovery for instance so now i always keep shelf stable varieties on hand when i need to calm things down a bit.

with the availability of things like flax milk and flax wraps it makes it pretty easy to incorporate those omega-3’s for organic fruit smoothies, add in Garden of Life plant protein and that’s a great way  to start the day.

so… while i still try to work up to going to the dr’s i can at least reduce some anxiety that i’m eating the best i can.

the fear of the dr. thing is proving to be more challenging than i thought. i do have a G.I. dr. appt in Nov. and i know i at least need to get back to regular colonoscopies. with my families history of colon cancer that’s pretty much a non-negotiable. my fear comes with the exposing of my body and the fear and vulnerability of those feelings that trigger memories that are very terrifying for me.

while i’m grateful for the breather i have between now and November to try and prepare myself. it’s tough to find a balance between how much thought you need to give to your symptoms. diet alone isn’t allowing me to manage things now it just buys me recovery time post flare up. it’s the trigger that’s been elusive.

meaning, yes you have to pay attention to IBS but you also have to manage your anxiety and depression. i may not be able to control whatever auto-immune issue or A.S. issue is out of my control and beating me up physically, but i am able to shape how i view my situation.

today was a post flare up recovery day. let’s hope it lasts as long as my last 10 day up time window. fall’s coming and this yard work never ends. lol.

xo ~r

It’s been awhile…

It’s been awhile…

just checking in and i want to be clear when it comes to my previous therapist you asked if you could follow along and i had said yes. at the time i didn’t see the harm, in hindsight it would leave me feeling too exposed.

i’m not truly sure what made things change course so abruptly and while a full and honest explanation would be respectful i certainly won’t hold my breath. when a man discloses something as sensitive as childhood sexual abuse, it can be a very delicate balancing act i’m fully aware. if it was a subject you didn’t feel comfortable with or capable of fully embracing than i wish that had simply been said.

at any rate. please do not read or follow along. i’m not good at being a unicorn remember?

#PTSD is still part of life, the anxiety of medical and prescription transition number three has now been completed. with my exchange plan i was afraid to get routine services, with medicare and BCBS medigap i can finally start to relax a bit. Prescriptions are what they are. I think the days of $5 copays, unless it’s very generic and widely used, are starting to become a rarity. unless i’m in some deductible period or the dreaded donut hole. Egads….

mental health wise i think things are proving to have a symbiotic effect. when my body isn’t aching from every square nodule, i’m up and about and i don’t need 1/2 hour epsom salt baths to get going either.

my recent bout with #IBS, or at least that was what we ‘thought’ it might be two years ago, knocked me offline for 4 days straight. so you’re in bed in agony because you’ve been tossing and turning for 4 days and nights, your hips hurt, you feel like you can’t bend or twist enough to get down to that last itsy bitsy stetch of muscle that will finally make you say ahhhhh….it eludes you and you beg for more sleep.

my last flare up with 3-4 days of no eating and/or just bone broth really let whatever was in my system pass out of my gut so my stomach finally felt normal. with the malaise of aches pains coming and going so i dropped 10 pounds, not a bad thing, i’ll take it.

not sure if it’s the yoga and stretching i’ve been doing on the deck but the more i move the better i feel. now that i’m down to 185lbs from 220;bs i can definitely feel a difference. well, when i can move anyway.

for now i’m just keeping busy gardening which really is a good workout i have to say. whipping a 100ft garden hose around is pretty fun and great arm and shoulder work. the constant up and down around the deck helps the legs since it’s semi-uneven down to the pond level.

i’m getting better little by little. mindfulness, meditation, stretching, healthy eating and super baby steps yoga seems to be bringing a much needed rhythm and routine to things.

now. time to get my damn Nikon lens fixed, i need a trip to NYC… ~r

 

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