Occupational Hazards.

3 Apr

I feel too much right now. I’m thinking about how I have worked most of my adult life except for the last year or so, which makes me realize how much has changed.
I was a very convincing drone in the different environments in which I worked. I thought today about the last few jobs I had and how I had to leave each of them because I was unable to maintain the façade. On one hand I am happy that I cannot be false in where I put my energy, but on the other hand I feel like I have lost the ability to maintain levels of anxiety that occur in the workplace from time to time. I also feel that I am unable to contain my responses to triggers. I have had the sobering idea that I am unable to work conventionally at this time.  I feel crippled in a way because I have always been able to work. Things changed after puzzle pieces fell into place and my memory restored some horrors. I realized that is when my tolerance for triggers became almost nothing. I have progressed a great deal since then, but I will never be the same. I guess I thought after some time I would bounce back to a place where I could lose my memory again but I know now that is not going to happen.

Vivien, Scarlett, and Blanche.

2 Apr

Watching a documentary on Vivien Leigh is enlightening for me today. Vivien had bipolar disorder, and her life was chaotic. she was beautiful, she was a star, she was married to Lawrence Olivier for fuck’s sake, and yet she suffered. She was ambitious and definitely knew how to market herself. The documentary is substandard, and I find the dramatizations to be shitty, and the people chosen to be interviewed are weird, however, I keep watching. Hearing that Vivien chain smoked on the set of “Gone With The Wind'” because she was so nervous does not garner sympathy from me because she seems to have manipulated many people to get the life she wanted. It is not fair, though, is it? She was ill, and her behavior was a reflection of that. When I see her acceptance speech for the Oscar, she seems really rehearsed. I love hearing the historians balking at Lawrence Olivier and how his acting was inferior to hers. Clearly, I do not share those sentiments. I think Lawrence Olivier is a genius. Anyway, I have read about Vivien’s mental illness and how Sir Olivier had to rescue her from quite a few predicaments with other men, but he loved her.  She played Southern American women well, ironically. She was an avid alcohol user, which is very destructive for anyone with mental illness. I look into her eyes and see a woman with mania.
I feel bad for her, and I see in myself the very sharp critic that pushes away people that trigger me. My perception initially is that she is destructive and annoying, and as I see more about her I realize things about her trigger me because they remind me of my mother. My mother is not bipolar, but she is mentally ill. The feigned frailty of being a woman is not something I can deal with and also something for which I have not had the luxury. I am glad, because that road is filled with peril. I used to feel like I had to be accommodating to people that trigger me, but I realize now that is unnecessary, and part of the gaslighting I experienced. I do not have to be or deal with false fragility. Oh Vivien, I am sorry for your loss.


27 Mar

It is morning and the urge to form words and write them down is strong. My mind likes morning, with its newness and freshness. The beginning of the day, and the hope that lies within it have been largely optimistic times for me. I find morning to be almost like a well kept secret because most people are at work or asleep so if you are awake in the morning and just hanging out, its a different feeling.
There is almost a sense of guilt if you are not doing something in the morning, because it seems like we have been programmed to be productive in the morning, or maybe I am just wired that way. I know I feel guilt over things that some people do not. There are times when I feel like I may be a lot like everyone else and maybe I forget that I have witnessed what could be considered war crimes, but at some point I usually catch myself wondering what other people are doing and realize I think differently.
We all think differently. The idea that we all subscribe to some form of the Western ideal and hope to achieve it is such bullshit, however, if we stop believing it we stop trying to attain it and then McDonald’s, Walmart, Starbucks, Vogue, CNN, and Wells Fargo all lose power. In the meantime, that is, until we overthrow the regime in our minds and collective consciousnesses (thank you, Bob Marley), we are enslaved to the idea of success in a certain form. I have been mimicking most of my life in some form or another, either to make people laugh or to distract, or to get myself out of a jam. In all my mimicking of what is supposed to be fulfilling, I did not find fulfillment.  Let me be more clear–in trying to be a good and dependable cog in the wheel, I have tried different methods to feel satisfied and none of them lasted. As I tried to be a better cog, I began to feel like we are not fucking cogs no matter how much we try, and to be a good one was truly just mimicking and not receiving any real reward.
The more I have tried to assimilate what “normal” people do I have seen there is no such thing.  No one really knows what the fuck is going on; we are all trying to represent normal in whatever fashion we interpret it. By normal I mean the opposite of abnormal; abnormal being equivalent to unhealthy. As these beings that ebb and flow (we are made of so much water) naturally, we try to cram ourselves into a neat and tidy schedule without much room for variables and it seems now would be a good time to throw down the metaphor that we fit into this shitty bell curve like a fish riding a bicycle.
We are all victims and victors, champions and chumps. I have compared myself to others in the past thinking if I did so I could successfully mimic what I thought was happiness and eventually it would kick in and I would see why I did all I did. Like democracy kicking in and suddenly there is no more conflict in the Middle East thanks to the West and its shiny, clean notions. ANYWAY
Not having a model of what was healthy served me well in that I was able to view other models and upon further scrutiny, realize that those did not have promise either. So thanks to the behavior of a group of unhealthy people from day one, I was essentially prepared by a microcosm for the macrocosm that is the group psychosis of our culture of wealth acclamation lacking in compassion. I guess this is good. It dawned on me yesterday that since I have never had life without PTSD, I am fortunate because I am not trying to get back to some life I had. In essence I have a leg up because I am at square one and have always kind of known it.
What this matters to you, Reader, I have no idea. Perhaps if you are wondering why you can’t seem to fit it is because you do not fit that way and no one does. We are all confused monkeys inside, really, making sure we have enough because for some reason we keep being told there is NOT enough and that WE are not enough. If we were all enough and knew it, capitalism would fail. What if there is enough? What if we accept we are flawed and imperfect and we are perfect in our imperfection? Conjecture, truly, because I am the last primate on this planet that knows what the fuck is going on, and first to admit it. No idea, right here.
Now that I have abolished any credibility I may have, I guess it is time to go, and this is quite a long rant. May the wind be at your back.

A Life at Stake?

25 Mar

As I enjoy my second cup of coffee and watch Angela Lansbury in “A Life At Stake,” I realize I haven’t had the struggle internally that I have been feeling for days, perhaps weeks. It is a strange thing because it isn’t like I woke up singing show tunes, but the sky is overcast and it I realize it doesn’t feel like the end of the world. The overcast sky is just a thing, not an omen of a shit day.
The last few days I have taken a drug to break the anxiety cycle. It is a pharmaceutical drug, and as much as I wish I could rely solely on natural remedies, the level of stress that anxiety causes is not even tipped by deep breathing, tapping, or Bach’s Rescue Remedy. I have mentioned in past posts my usage of antidepressants; currently I take one SSRI, one SNRI, two opiate anti anxiety drugs, and a pill to keep my thyroid functioning. I see shame sometimes when I see the pill bottles. The stigma of mental illness and the idea that I am unable, incapable even, of fixing myself is the concept that goes through my mind. I ask myself if I will ever be “fixed,” or will I ever have done enough repair to seem like I am like everyone else? The answer is obviously no, and not because I am doomed, but because there is no normal, and everyone else is dealing with their shit, too.
I am not trying to distract myself from a knot in my gut like I was last week. I do realize that I find myself justifying my thoughts and behavior from two angles: one is realizing the depths of horror I have seen and how it is okay, normal even, to have some difficulty with basic life skills, and the other angle is trying not to dwell on the precipice of the abyss that is my past. It is a balancing act between acknowledgement and release that can be difficult. This is how it is right now.
I had some ideas about methods of therapy that are quite unorthodox and I discussed them with my psychiatrist, whom I trust very much, and she was highly opposed to them. This is a woman that I have talked with about astrology, and the moon’s placement in our charts, Carl Jung, marijuana, and LSD. I don’t consider her to be closed minded. When I discussed these things with her and saw her opposition I felt like I was too far gone to undertake any alternative therapies. I asked myself later why I wanted to try alternative therapies to begin with–was what I am doing now not working? What was my goal with these therapies? My goal was to fix myself. My goal was to do some practice that would basically issue me some sort of “certificate” that I was fixed. Not unlike my reasoning behind pursuing a bachelor’s degree, which was basically that once I had it my life as a functioning adult would begin, which casts a pretty shitty pallor on the now. It also sets me up for a life I do not want, a life dictated by “shoulds” and doing what I think others want me to do.
Nevertheless, I had a similar banter going on within regarding therapy. I felt like if I couldn’t do mushrooms in the rainforest, my PTSD would never be “cured.” There is an example of a typical Western medical model of looking at mental health and mental illness. From a different perspective there is no “cure” because I am not sick. I am not in need of a cure, and to search for something to fix me is futile. I can try to eradicate all of the influence that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has caused, but to do so would be to eradicate some of my skills and methods of dealing with things. I am certainly not in a place where I can say “geez, this is a fucking great gift,” but I know I see more and feel more because of it.
There’s no fixing, no curing, no eradicating because it is not necessary. There is no end point where I get to say “I have it all figured out now and I am done.” This whole fucking thing is a journey, as cliche’ as it sounds. I do not remember the beginning of my life. I do not remember intentionally setting out on this journey, but I am here. So it goes and so I go, on.

Happy Spring Equality

19 Mar

Tomorrow is the vernal equinox, where the light and dark are equivalent in length, the eclipse also occurring tomorrow is a fusion of powerful energies and the balance that can exist between them. Pisces is also ending tomorrow and giving way  to Aries, so we are all moving from water to fire . The solar eclipse has to occur when the moon is in the new moon phase of its cycle, so the feminine energy that manifests to create a solar eclipse is the dark side of the moon; the shadow side that we forget and fear. To acknowledge our wholeness as human beings, we have to acknowledge our possession of both masculine and feminine traits. Especially as we culturally begin to recognize gender fluidity, it is essential to harmonious living that we honor both those forces within ourselves. On this day of balance between dark and light tomorrow, I hope to find time to honor balance, the new beginnings that come with the new moon and the new sign we enter. As it is the first day of spring, I hope to honor Nature by thanking her for another spring, another beginning, another thaw after a hard winter.
I also want to ruminate on the idea of allowing the shadow self come forward when it is time, like for a moment to cool the blaring sun’s rays. Just a moment of the dark side of femininity obscuring the power blazing forth from the masculine is enough to scare the shit out of most patriarchal cultures. To others that choose to attempt to integrate the forces, seeing the dark and mysterious (and invisible in the evening) woman being bathed in the love of her male counterpart–as he warms her and she becomes alight, he gets to rest his eyes upon her solidity and earthy darkness. He may rest finally, in something as great as him, but altogether opposite.
What a cool fucking day, and my goal is to get some plants into my garden and start some seeds. I want to feel the release of the darkness, and the rays of the sun. I am not marking success by whether I achieve my goal, but I will mark the day as successful when I feel the end of the day come and I am not ridiculing myself or hurting in some fashion based in malignant thought processes. Thanks for reading, for being on this crazy ride with me, and giving a fuck. Stay tuned.

I did not wear green today.

17 Mar

Is it bad to feel my critical teeth come out to tear things to shreds when I am in a place frequented by people? I suppose not if I don’t actually use them. What makes this happen? What is the impetus for such behavior? Years, or what seems like lifetimes, trying to live under a blanket of scorn. The simultaneous praise lined with the sharpest serrated edge can leave one wary of praise, to put it simply. The feeling of assessment: being assessed, the varied ratio of the being on display for assessment. I defaulted today to jeans and a t shirt because I decided to just forego anything that pushed my boundaries. For the record, I did try on a floor length black skirt, but since I wanted to make the effort to leave the house today, I wasn’t going to push myself too hard by wearing a skirt. I am triggered, again, and I cannot discern whether it is lingering from other larger things that happened already or if it is from something smaller. What I do know is that I’m triggered, and my perception of  time gets altered.
I feel weak, defeated, flawed, deceived, lacking hope, lacking trust, lacking in direction when it comes to how to relate to others. I am trying really hard to get positive, but I feel as though the key is right before me, but my hands won’t move. When the grip of depressive thinking takes hold it is an outcropping of PTSD, or a sort of side effect, and it too distorts time. It is difficult to describe how much I do not want to be in this place and how I refuse to give up on getting out, but in the meantime I feel robbed of my time, enthusiasm, and joy.

The Closet Doors of Perception

16 Mar

I wish I could say that I have read Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” but I cannot. I have no doubt it is a great literary work, however, I have never had to read it or taken up the task. After reading a bit of biographical information about Franz Kafka I am glad I did not read it. It turns out that Kafka’s father was a narcissist, and that of course shaped the behavior of Kafka, and consequently his perception. As a person that was raised by a woman with borderline personality disorder and severe narcissism, the similarities are startling. So much so in fact, that I have been oscillating between anxiety and sedation, between engaging and escaping. This is how it is sometimes.
The triggers that pop up like shitty Internet advertising are unexpected for the most part, and surprisingly good at hiding within seemingly harmless things, like a blurb about Kafka and his asshole father. Suddenly my “pop up blocker” is down, I’m triggered, and the browser of my brain gets loaded with crappy messages with fine print, or empty promises. Instead of these messages being weeded out, they all get a chance to clog up my mind and serve to confuse me. I have been experiencing this type of process as long as I can remember, however, it is only now that I am able to slow down what is happening long enough to see it. Up until recently the entire process seemed like a blur. It was like impulses and sensations just piled on top of one another. Today I was triggered, and as it happened I just felt it. It was like instead of the trigger prying open the door, I just opened it instead, and felt a bit of relief.
I wanted to get it over with, and so I let myself feel triggered. I thought that I deserved to take a minute and let it happen; by “it” I am referring to the allowance for sadness. Granted, I don’t want to pitch a tent there, but I have had to teach myself that although I do not reside in the past, I am allowed to mourn some of it from time to time. I am allowing myself to mourn for not having a childhood but in its place a silken tightrope. I am allowing myself to cry about the things I could not cry about then.
There is an ultimate freedom in submitting to the emotion that has been housed in a vault for decades.  It is the  swelling and confused feeling that overwhelms, the sensation in the eyes before the  first large and wet tears fall, the need for my cheek to feel a solid surface because I wonder if I may just collapse–it has been locked up because it was not safe to let it out in the past. Today I stood before my closet and wept. The pop ups were overwhelming, the trigger was pulled, the needle skipped, and I let myself cry because I just wanted to pick out some fucking clothes, not stand there with anxiety growing in my gut like a carnivorous plant eating my insides. I wanted to grab an outfit and just move on, but instead I went through the regular procedure of analyzing my clothing and asking myself what message am I sending if I wear that, or that, or that. The caveat is finding something that is comfortable and attractive, and then convincing myself that I am not asking to be raped if I wear it. I wear mostly t shirts and jeans, sometimes a loose skirt if I am staying home. Anything that is too much of anything feels like I am wearing a bullseye.
That is where I am with clothing currently. I am avoidant of other clothing that I am afraid I won’t into, but that part of the dichotomy is not what is on the table at the moment. I will deal with that eventually. I have had these primary notions from as far back as I can recall about how things work between people and through experience, time, and support I have been able to see that my “schema” is based on lies. Upon considering this I realized that I have  lived under the umbrella of PTSD as long as I can recall. The behaviors I recollect are those of a person with PTSD, age non specific. I have been stuck on this concept for days now, which is a bit longer than I would like. It came from reading about two veterans that have PTSD and how they referenced their lives before their time in Iraq. I tried to do the same thing, that being referencing life before PTSD, and found I had no reference point. I cannot remember life before PTSD. I cannot say what my first memory is, either. My memory of my youth is like Swiss cheese, or, more aptly put by a dear friend, like a filing cabinet that has been emptied and the folders have been put back into it randomly, and some even left behind (which is not always bad). I transpose colors, dates, chronological information, and my memories are always recalled in my mind as though I were watching myself, as if in third person. I don’t know how most brains developed in non trauma environments structure memories, but I do know that the parts of my memory that are inaccurate are such most likely because of trauma.
I need to remember these things because they are indicators that something occurred and it affected my brain, and (this is the important one) it is not my fault. It just is, for better or worse, and it comprises part of who I am. Who I am changes and varies, so thank fuck it is not set in stone. However, the indicators of trauma keep me from making it my fault and from blaming myself for it, or for not handling it better. I get triggered a LOT, and life continues. If  I have evidence, I defer the idea of being defective. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does, and when it does, the burden borne by Atlas seems to lift from my shoulders. That too changes, but again, the optimist in me reigns supreme and takes comfort in the fact that because of change, one can never stay at the bottom of the wheel.


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