PTSD And Other Shenanigans

Giddy-up.

Had a 2 hour telehealth appointment. I’m told all symptoms point to PTSD. Makes sense.

I drag around a trunk of unresolved traumas, both new and old. Not because I’m sadistic, because I’ve been trying to resolve things on my own without professional help.

I’ve also written things off. “Oh, that was so long ago, I’m over it. There’s no way THAT is still having an effect on me.”

I’ve found pockets of relief here and there, but nothing substantial.

Seeing as I have a plethora of coping mechanisms already in place they are putting me in their healing trauma program. The sessions will also be via telehealth.

I’m thankful for what feels like some answers and direction.

We are down to 10 days until tent life begins. What a perfect accompaniment to the healing process.

Naked In Front Of The Crowd

That feeling you have so much to say it feels like pressure in your chest.

You have to write, need to write, it’s a gnawing nag that won’t let up, it feels necessary to your existence.

You don’t know where to start or even what it is that needs to be said.

Your brain feels deadened by depression, your body revved by anxiety mixed with panic. You want to hibernate in your cave yet you must get out and walk to alleviate the toxic mixture of sensations, thoughts and moods.

So you write it out, you untie the knots with your words. String them together until your being finds the balance it needs to go about the day. You take it 10 minutes at a time and don’t berate yourself, don’t compare yourself to others or to your past self who you naively believed to be tougher than this, stronger than this.

You face the feelings of vulnerability and nakedness as you read over past blog posts. The embarrassment hot on your cheeks. The admittance of imperfection. The uncovering of how deep you’ve been choked by countless intrusive thoughts. Sticky, negative thinking patterns, ignored by going through the motions of living.

You see the pattern woven into the years you’ve walked upon this earth. Presenting yourself as balanced, good natured, sane and put together. Under the façade the lava runs hot bubbling through the cracks. Widening the cracks until you eventually break wide open into a volcanic episode that screams “I’ve been dying this whole time and I can’t contain it another second.”

I’m not ok, and that’s ok.

You put it out there, not for your sake, but for the sake of others. Countless souls walking about too afraid to speak up, to embarrassed to admit their pain, too conditioned by an unaccepting society, buried under the weight of the stigma. A society that buys into shining up their exteriors into looking like the perfect package, too afraid to be authentic. Fooling themselves and others with falsehoods of achievement and success.

Hoping that if you speak up, if you share the rawness that you carry, it may help even one soul. That by exposing the deepest parts of yourself, you’ll give others permission to do the same. Even if they don’t speak up, maybe it will ignite a hope and a knowing that they are not alone, and maybe that will be enough to keep them going.

So, you stand naked in front of the crowd.

Not for you.

For others.

Drumroll Please

My worksheet from this morning. Am I 5? I suppose a 5 year old would have worded it differently. Why did my immature scribble feel so good?

I woke up angry, depressed and overwhelmed. My “hot thought” being “I hate life.”

Some day’s I feel like a preschooler. Throwing unintellectual tantrums in my head. A philosophical dead zone.

When Jase woke up he brought me down a few notches and had me write out a list of things I enjoy.

Then, I got on a rant about seeing the quote “The quality of your life is in the quality of your habits” and the white hot anger came spewing out of me on how I viewed it………………

He said “Honey, this time has taken you, you have not taken it. This time has chosen you to work on your mental health. It is the most productive thing you could be doing right now. Wouldn’t the world be a much more peaceful place if we would stop commenting on other peoples lives and just focus on living our own? Does it really matter who’s doing what with the time they have?”

He’s right.

Clinging Yet Never Experiencing

another photo of mine I adapted with PicsArt

Seeking.

Searching for a needle in a haystack.

Living on the sidelines, clinging to ideas and systems that promise to “fix” you.

Holding tightly to a regimen you believe will make you normal, dare you think perfect………..

Spending your life trying every new method that crosses your path, all the while your own thoughts, emotions and traumas pile up, suffering neglect underneath the years of clinging yet never experiencing.

Eventually the smoke clears.

You see the carnage surrounding you. The years of telling yourself to try harder. Don’t give up. You’re going to find your “home”, you just haven’t worked hard enough.

It’s painful to see, yet simultaneously the most beautiful sight your soul has ever beheld.

Mental illness.

It can not, will not, be covered up by Christianity, meditation, manifestation, new age spirituality, endless workouts, perfect nutrition, pod casts, spiritual audio books, moving across the country, changing jobs, endless new hobbies…….

Such valiant effort is to be applauded.

Eventually you fall to the ground. A puddle of sweat and elbow grease.

It’s time to face the beliefs about yourself you’ve carried in a burlap sack since childhood. The years have been hard on you and have added weight to the mental load you carry.

Oh my dear, how you’ve clung, held on tightly to ideas, spiritual beliefs, practices and lifestyles.

Through it all you never experienced yourself.

It’s time to meet the being that is you and I assure you she is beautiful beyond measure.

Being is all there is.

While Away The Hours

Ever feel like a tripped out cat chillin in a sink?

Me either, but Jase’s girls introduced me to the app PicsArt, so I took a perfectly good snapshot of Cricket and turned her into a whisky drinking cat floating in some far off galaxy.

Stay tuned for my next trick.

Vandalous Vixen

When you fuck up your suicide attempt, vandalism seems like the next logical step.

I stood there enjoying the aspect of painting while simultaneously wishing I’d slip and crack my head open on a rock and float down river.

I’m not sure why my brain decided it was time to break again.

Well, whatever the case may be, all the meds in our house are locked up and I’m not allowed to be alone. When your brain goes haywire, it just does.

Jase and the girls brought me down to the river to vandalize a rock since I was scolded by the landlord not to do that on the property around the house.

This rock is my big FUCK YOU.

Could be habit forming.

If I’m not allowed to die yet I may have to become a vandalizing nomad.

Coming to a river near you.

I’ll end with a Rising Appalachia song “Scale Down”………Oops I tried to scale down the wrong thing

Failed Suicide Attempt

I got a souvenir for my failed attempt at offing myself a few days ago.

This is not a post for sympathy, pity, “feel better”, “I’m so sorry” or judgement of any kind etc….etc….words fall flat when you’d rather be dead.

Suicide is a real thing. It’s a monster that hides in unseen cracks and pounces when you’re not looking. It puts you in handcuffs and controls your actions. Actions without feeling.

No one saw it coming, I didn’t see it coming.

Yes, dead……..and if you’ve never felt the yearning for that final peace, consider yourself lucky. If you’ve never felt hopeless to the point of seeing only blackness, consider yourself lucky. If life has never felt so heavy that your tired body can no longer carry it, consider yourself lucky. If you have felt these things I see you, I understand you…………..

Something snapped in my brain. Broke into a million shards of self hatred, discontent, unanswered questions, an ocean of shame that is no longer swimmable.

I was on a walk, came home and……….

I slammed a handful of klonopin, a handful of sonata, and an entire bottle of muscle relaxers. Downed them all with a glass of wine.

I sent my 4 kids a text letting them know I love them more than life and I will forever be sorry for the may times I’ve hurt and disappointed them. They are my world.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a weird place with magenta scrubs on. My first sentence “Where the FUCK are my underwear. Which one of you assholes took my underwear off?”(being a rape victim your undies are your most prized possession in life)

Then a squad of police officers put me in a van. The driver was a woman and was listening to heavy metal music. If I had the energy I would have pounded on the glass and screamed “Bitch! I just tried to kill myself, enough with the death metal you stupid cunt.”

Once at the mental health facility I had to completely undress in front of 3 nurses so they could check me for bruises. It was humiliating and I told them to just let me fucking get dressed.

They put me in a room with nothing on the walls, 2 plastic beds (think crib mattress) 1 pillow and a chair. The blankets on the bed were thinner than my favorite threadbare t-shirt. I cranked the heater up to 90.

The first doctor came in. She began her spiel that was clearly scripted. You know the one she says to every new patient. I said “Have you ever slept on one of these shitty beds?”

Her face went blank. “um no, I haven’t”

“Well, it should be a requirement for all the staff to sleep in one for at least a night. We are people here, not animals that can sleep on anything. And by the way I’m done listening to your scripted spiel, kindly get the fuck out of my room. This place is depressing and disgusting and I can’t believe you think you can actually help someone who’s hurting by putting them in a prison cell.”

“Um, we’ve been told this is a very nice facility.”

“Well it’s not, now get out of my disgusting room”

I was there 2 days. Refused food, refused meds and refused vitamins. At one point I tried to escape.

They let me go because I’m on Medicaid, government cheese. I lied to all their questions and said I was fine because people on Medicaid are treated differently than those with higher paying insurance.

Our landlord is pissed that I’ve been “exposed” to the coronavirus. He wants us out by the 1st because I’m now a liability. He doesn’t want to be responsible for a dead body. All the neighbors know and god forbid he’s embarrassed I’m here.

The terrible truth is that I’m pissed someone found me too soon. Life gives me an exhaustion to heavy to bear. There are too many problems to fix and I can’t see a way out of them.

I don’t care if you think suicide is selfish. It’s not. It’s an answer for problems that are too big. It’s rest. Maybe you think I’m a whiny ungrateful bitch, so be it.

Recovering From Reprimand

I began the day with the insane idea of hiking up to my favorite spot near our house and painting an outdoorsy mural on a rock formation.

The above photo is what I ended up with.

As I was skipping out the door with my backpack full of supplies and Cricket the cat sauntering along, I found myself in a conversation about how it’s against the law to do such a thing in a national forest and some of the neighbors might not be pleased.

We rent the house we live in.

I said “I appreciate you letting me know, wouldn’t want to piss anyone off.”

The little me felt reprimanded, and as I continued to my destination my body felt like jello, my heart was pounding, my breathing shallow. I was choking back tears and had to fight the urge to abort mission and retreat back into the house.

My brain was flooded with black and white catastrophic thinking.

Long story short, once I got to my spot, it took me 45 minutes to work up the courage to “paint anyway.” To remind myself I could find a small rock to paint and bring it back with me once it was dry.

Go figure, I had failed to pack some of my favorite colors and ended up with that easter egg looking thing. My mural would have sucked anyways.

I’m proud of myself for looking anxiety and fear in the face, calming down and coming up with a new plan. I still feel the sting of disappointment as I had grand ideas of creating my own little nook on the mountain. A safe haven of artwork that I could keep adding to.

Maybe living in a tent in the far reaches of the wilderness isn’t a bad idea after all…………I am a black and white thinking goddess, oh yes I am….

Once back at home I chose to read an article “How to survive being scolded” which proved helpful. Later I dusted off my 2 anxiety workbooks, (should have gotten those out days ago) also very helpful. Then I popped in my headphones and hiked for an hour.

After all that my 5 year old self was still lurking around. I fed her a bowl of lucky charms with unsweetened almond milk so she wouldn’t ask for seconds.

Living An Unscripted Artsy Fartsy Life

I tell the nervousness and fear rolling around in my gut to fuck off. They don’t listen. Those unruly bastards. Toddler twins, destroying my digestive tract.

So I paint cats.

My inner artsy fartsy is swimming to the surface. I buried her deep within when I was younger. Buried her in the recesses of low self worth and other victim mentality jargon. Key word: “I”……..no one made me do it, I submitted to stuffing down my authenticity.

Anxiety is also rearing her head, begging for attention, so I take the time to observe her. There are things that need to be seen.

I take her on walks, dragging her behind me on a chain. She bumps along in the gravel until I accept her as part of myself. In that instant the chain dissolves and she becomes my twin, walking next to me, no longer a disfigured creature being dragged through the mud.

In this time of slowing down, she’s showing me I have a deep rooted fear of people. I’ve kept it somewhat at bay by staying busy for much of my life. I have a raging case of social anxiety that I’ve kept hidden behind the masks of life. (Mom, workout fanatic, born again Christian, nutrition guru, store clerk, office manager, new age spirituality mountain hippy chick, housekeeper, fibromyalgia, depression, insomnia, divorced woman supporting herself for the first time, introvert, backpacker, soon to be homeless person etc)

If I’m wearing a mask, I don’t have to engage as myself. I put on different personas depending on the task at hand, living my life as a script. Allowing myself to be pulled apart in a million scripted directions.

Underneath it all we are just people.

The authentic me is working on crawling out of the cave I’ve stuffed her into. The light can be blinding after being in the dark for so many years. She’s been out a few time,s but retreats when the demands of life push her back inside.

It’s uncomfortable to look at ourselves but it’s the most important work we will ever do. Having life’s rug pulled out from under you is one way to go about it.

For today, I’m going to live life with out a script. I’m going to eat processed food, drink a glass of wine, go for a few walks, get lost in my own thoughts, spend too much time on my computer, I’m not going to meditate or read anything spiritual, I’m not going to take any vitamins, I’m going to pace around like a caged animal and give my companions Anxiety and fear proper names. Fred and Louise. I’m not going to feel guilty about any of it.

Guilt is a shit filled sewer. The stinky possibilities are endless.

Are You Freakin The Frack Out?

I am.

Not because of the virus.

Triggers come in all shapes and sizes. I can’t pinpoint the trigger this time.

Maybe it’s feeling a loss of control.

We can say we have control of ourselves until we’re blue in the face. It may be true to some extent………….and then there’s

TRAUMA…….

When the old wounds of trauma are triggered, all bets are off.

Taming the effects of trauma takes work, and once you’ve been triggered, all the lessons fly right out the gaping hole that’s been ripped open.

We grasp frantically at the tactics that have worked in the past only to find we’re too far gone. Fallen so deeply into the pit.

Alas, does this mean there’s more to heal, more layers to be pulled back. The dark holds lessons we missed the last time we were triggered. Will we ever heal completely?

Distraction. Distraction. Distraction…………….Paint, read, paint, walk, write, stare at the wall, scroll Instagram, hide in your room, pop a valium, pour some wine………………peel yourself back like a sardine can……look at the content stuffed inside……cramped into a small space…..you never asked for the contents in the fucking can……….

Go though the motions. Go through them again. Meditate. Meditate again.

Sigh.

Accept the fact you’ve been triggered. Stop trying to fight it. Stop feeling guilty for being human. Being vulnerable. Stop apologizing for the fact you haven’t fucking arrived yet. You’re not as strong as you pretend to be.

Mary Lambert is a beautiful, bad ass woman. I adore all of her albums.