“Stop crying and fight your father!”

fight prep

Welp.  I did something today I didn’t think I would.  I reached out to the VA for care.  Granted, M has strongly suggested I do so repeatedly.  As a doctor, it seems it’s excruciating for him to watch my health decline for lack of care.  I also reached out to the Patient Care Advocacy to assist in ensuring I’m not subjected to further abuse.  (They’re but the first in the chain-of-command.)

It’s not the first time I’ve sought their aid.  While the advocate I worked with was kind and recognized the abuse, her efforts, unfortunately, led to retaliatory mistreatment from other VA employees.  It led to my retreating under the rock.  The fact I don’t speak on the phone (and informed them several times) hasn’t helped matters since the online communication tool rarely works correctly.

Most times, I’m unable to respond to messages received.  When I’ve sought technical assistance, I was met with questions about my status, as if I’m new to the VA system.  The few times I’ve gotten through, I was offered phone appointments, much to my fury.  It’s also rare that the same individual reads or responds to anything I’ve written.  It’s a mountain of racism and bureaucratic bullshit I’m facing.

The number of hoops to jump through is astonishing.  I’ve decided to break my silence about the abuse I’ve endured.  I’m going to fight as if my life depends on it.  (It does.)  Fortunately, my education and military service taught me a great deal about how to get results from people who would prefer I crawl back under the rock and rot.  I won’t.

Shout it out

While I anticipate I’m facing an epic battle, it shouldn’t be this way.  There are no excuses for this treatment by the VA.  I’ve done my research, acquired legal counsel, and am as ready as I’ll ever be to fight until my pigmentation level and lack of a penis cease to prevent me from being recognized as a human being at the VA.  I’m so disgusted and traumatized by what I’ve endured.  I can’t even drive past the VA hospital without having a panic attack.

While not everyone at the Sioux Falls VA is vile and dishonorable, those who are have made it a nightmare.  I’m genuinely astonished by the lack of professionalism and decency I’ve witnessed in multiple areas of the hospital.  I don’t want to be another veteran suicide statistic, of course.  However, the mistreatment has repeatedly increased the likelihood immensely.

The irony is a bitter pill to swallow.  Even the medication bottles have stickers to remind veterans to reach out to the VA instead of killing yourself.  They’re proudly displayed all over the place, but none of them inform veterans it could be that very action that pushes them over the edge.  None of them warn of the fact that the VA’s concept of treatment varies tremendously by skin color, gender, and whether or not your provider likes you.

I’ve endured while my PTSD symptoms have worsened and my life has become a shell of what it could be with proper care.  I’ve cowered and raged over the unfairness.  My mind replays each event whenever I attempt to sleep.  Often I end up weeping and give up trying to sleep until so exhausted I can’t prevent it.  Then I’m unable to awaken myself when the nightmares overwhelm.  I’ve forgotten how well-rested feels.

VA crisis line - at your own risk

I’ve kept extensive written accounts of each incident, and plan on being very public and open about everything.  I have no qualms about naming people who’ve mistreated me.  I’ve begun my thesis on racism in the VA and already have interested publishers.  In the light, it will all come out.  I disclosed my plan to Patient Care Advocacy to utilize recording apparatus whenever I enter the building.  (I’ve done so in the past to keep accurate, provable records.)  Beneath the trauma, I’m still a fierce warrior who understands war.  It’s on like Donkey Kong.

“Death is number two!”

garbage or junk food

A letter to future me:  Please read this whenever you think perhaps you can get away with it just this one time.  You cannot. You cannot get away with it.  You’ve forgotten the consequences because it’s been so long since you last attempted this foolishness.  Stop it right now.  Read the whine-fest below, and remember where it leads.  Dammit.

I’m a strong woman.  Sometimes I make poor decisions and regret them later.  Apparently, I’m also a bit of a sadist, because I’ve made this particular error repeatedly.  I know better.  I guess I forgot I’m autistic and have PTSD or something.  Oops.  Tut tut.  There are rules.  I can’t eat garbage without paying a hefty price. It’s due to consequences that usually take at least a week to resolve entirely, and sometimes far longer.

The universe is laughing at me.  (Not the fun kind you can join.)  I put the wrong fuel in my body, and now it’s acting up.  I need a priorities intervention, stat.  I get tempted by junk food every so often, and instead of analyzing why, I give in and indulge.  I need that data because the results are once again kicking my ass.  (Perhaps some mild public shaming will finally put an end to this folly.)

It hit me just before 7 AM.  I awoke later than usual with no desire to get out of bed.  Just the idea of rising made me whimper inside; a red flag because I’m not big on sleep.  Unless I’m unwell, I’m ready to get up when I wake up.  Then, The Depression Monster showed up.  That bastard went straight to a commentary about politics designed to raise my blood pressure.

My mood did a backflip over the cliff, while simultaneously flipping both birds at half mast.  It happened so quickly I was stunned.  It probably worked in my favor by causing me to question what the hell just happened.  I realized The Depression Monster was involved and slammed on the brakes.  Then I figured out why and launched directly into beating myself about the head and neck for doing this to myself again.  Sigh.

garbage

I didn’t manage to shower and dress until 4 PM.  I didn’t spend that time in bed, though.  I spent it pacing around my apartment while debating with myself silently.  Some of that time was spent experiencing awe over how long I’d been doing it.  I tried so hard to stop.  I even wrote out the one step I was trying to take on my whiteboard, (then passed it over and over without it registering for a long, long time.)  It said, Get in the shower.

These are hours of my life I can never get back, (and this is day one.)  All because I had to eat some freaking garbage.  It’s not worth it.  Memorize this, Alison.  You’re in training for menopause, and it could start anytime in the next decade.  Get your shit together, or it’ll end you.  Dammit.

“It was more like a full-bodied dry heave set to music.”

For the music

I’m sad about the passing of author, Ursula LeGuin, yesterday.  Today is Virginia Woolf’s 136th birthday.  I decided to spend the day listening to Lorde.  I’m not done yet, but it’s been a soothing day so far.  She’s one of my healing sisters, along with Stevie Nicks, Beyoncè, Amy Lee, Sheryl Crow, Agnetha Faltskog, and Aretha Franklin.

They’re who caught me up through their music when I was (barely) enduring a period of devastation.  Losing my parents and closest siblings, divorce, surviving rape, etc.  All leveled me.  I can’t really wrap my head around the concept of such powerful bonds with people I’ve never met.  It’s too abstract.  (Much easier to just cherish it and enjoy the music.)

I’ve come to an important decision.  The next time Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac tour, I’m going to go.  I’ve imagined it and tallied up the known consequences as well as potential unfortunate situations.  If they all happen, it’ll still be worth it.  (If nobody shoots me,) it’ll be an incredible experience.  (That’s the only thing I can think of at the moment that would utterly ruin it.)

I’m not going to let autism or PTSD rob me of this experience.  (Because hell no.)  I already know it’s not possible to die from being too happy.  So it’s all good.  Whatever I have to pay afterward (stapled to the floor) will be worth it.  Depending on when, I’ll either be going with M. or his sister, S.  Hopefully both.

I have noise canceling headphones to wear when the band isn’t playing.  Also, dark tinted glasses if it’s an outdoor show, or they flash bright lights at the audience.  I have lots of pocket-sized fidgets and anxiety focus figures.  Mini Tina (From Bob’s Burgers) is my favorite.

Tina

She’s only 2″ tall.  I also have a 24-Karat-Gold:  Songs from the Vault keychain from the Stevie Nicks website.  I love how it feels to hold, and it’s always cool.  I used to have a tiny Garnet from Steven Universe, but I lost it.   (I love cartoons.)  Now I want to watch Hey Arnold!, or Rocket Power.  Heh.  I’m off to read.