“You’ve got a little rage.”

child swinging over water

Welp.  I’m still sporting Distracted by Everything mode.  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to have a ramble.  First, shout out (into the void) for the cop and theme park worker who fist-bumped Karma, recently.  Way to flex your inner superheroes.  So shiny.  I’m proud of you both.  (Hey everyone, lets copy.)

(Rips off bandaid)  I got a thorough, tailored to fit like a glove, still has me a wee bit shaken, earned, course correction, the other day.  Sofa king ow.  And after much thought, the only thing I have to say in response, is, thank you, Maryam Hasnaa.  Okay, maybe more than a wee bit.  Shook, but extraordinarily and helpfully.  (How did they do that?)

I started reading; The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. It was recommended on The Friend Zone podcast recently. World rocked. So hard.  Must read.

toy soldiers

I’ve accidentally remembered and resolved several things from childhood, just from the information presented so far. There are no cures in the book, duh. But it has resources galore, and at least three of the methods defined will undoubtedly work for me (PTSD.) I’m not even done reading it yet!

Then my VA trauma popped up and said, hey. So I burned through a shitload of rage energy with my drum kit. I’m angry there exists numerous, cheap, quickly taught, scientifically supported treatments for PTSD, and not one of them were ever offered to me by the VA, despite the fact I endured several stays in the Mental Health Ward over the years and acquired the autoimmune issues that often accompany.

I’m furious to know I lost years of my life suffering needlessly, merely because the VA only decided a few days ago to follow up on giving a shit about veterans’ health. Also, that 82% trust rating of the VA hospital system by veterans is bullshit. (You only asked the ones who still bother going there.)

That’s, How To Further Lose Our Trust 101: Lie to us about how we feel about your not holding up your end of the deal ever, VA. 🖕🏽Just legalize weed and focus on the ones coming home today. The damage exists, and greedy indifference is mostly why. Maintain for us, do better for them.

masked person flipping the bird

Train all in the Mental Health department to recognize, understand, and assist veterans learning to cope with mental illness via the useful studies and tools that have been available for decades, but have been passed over in favor of medicating us. (You bastards. Shame on you. You put government contract shenanigans ahead of our health, and we know it.)  Congress, we know your part in this.  Stop fucking us for doing what most of you wouldn’t.

Years of my life spent barely functioning, believing all I could do was battle the symptoms from hour to hour, and keep my rage in check. The few times, I managed to accomplish incredible feats, such as completing my education, were hugely expensive to my body. That’s what trusting the VA got me.  My rage is healthy. I’m learning all sorts of things that are eventually going to lead to my being a devastatingly effective bitch who will get off on making sure the VA evolves into what it should have been all along. I’ve had a lot of time and experiences to draw on. Glad I got that off my chest.  ✌🏽💜

“Leo, I don’t care for your demeanor.”

children learning

I mentioned in comments recently how Sheryl Crow is teaching me how to communicate with people from a more productive place.  Her song, Halfway There on her Be Myself album is my anthem for the lesson.  (It’s also a great song.)  Music is the most effective way to teach me something.  I feel like I’ve already made good progress.  Now, when communicating, instead of only thinking about presenting my viewpoint, I also think about how those who might not agree will hear it.

The reasoning behind the lesson is the fact there’s little point in expressing my opinion in a manner that will cause the listener to tune me out.  I have a cat for that.  Heh.  I know whenever I speak to her, she’s listening for keywords, (such as, treat.)  She’s interested in my tone of voice.  Anything beyond is noise.  If I want people to consider my opinions as worthy of thinking about, I have to work on how I present them.  Just like with Amelia Bedelia, my tone of voice, and the words I choose will make or break the conversation.

I didn’t realize how horrible I am at this until recently.  I tend to come off like a drill Sgt.  In my defense, I did virtually grow up in the Army.  I’ve been out long enough to recognize it’s an entirely different world than that of a civilian.  It took a long time for me to adapt.  The hardest part was accepting civilian attitudes.  It’s incredibly frustrating to work with (or even be around) people who aren’t giving their best by default.  Of course, not all civilians are like this, but I seem to find the ones who are regularly.  😂

child weeping

Fortunately, I no longer lecture people on the merits of doing their best, (like a drill Sgt.)  I even try to keep my face in check, but I’m never sure I manage.  I’m a thought telegrapher.  (You can probably imagine how much fun this added to my training. /sarcasm)  Worse, my expressions aren’t necessarily the NT (neurotypical) version.  Aside from about-to-laugh or about-to-cry, I’ve been told I look angry when I’m thinking or processing.  Damn eyebrows.

Body language is something I’ve decided not to stress over any longer.  I don’t get it, I probably never will, so no more beating myself up over it.  As for my own, I’m working on not walking away like I’m trying to escape whenever I talk to people.  (Even though, half the time, I am.)  My entire lifestyle centers around not having to speak (out loud) to strangers much.  I suspect many who have or had a speech impediment share this habit.  I also used to put my foot in my mouth virtually every time I opened it.  (Thank goodness, Stevie Nicks already taught me the importance of thinking before saying.  Love her!)  Now I’m ready to take it further.  Baby steps, yo.  🙃

The battle for access to abuse-free health care continues.  Jade and Keia of Gettin’ Grown talked about the fact African American women frequently die prematurely due to racism in the medical field on this week’s podcast.  I felt validated after listening.  I’m not the only one who has had to deal with doctors or dentists who don’t think black people feel pain.  Or who automatically disbelieve anything we say.  I’m glad I decided I’m not going to die prematurely due to the crudeness and cruelty of some alleged professionals.

I’m proud of myself for refusing to see the evil dentist who mistreated me again.  I looked right at her (probably with angry eyebrows) and said, “No.  I specifically stated I would not be seen by her again when I made the appointment.”  The receptionist acted confused, but I saw a different dentist that day.  It was the first time I stood up for myself, but not the last.  I’m grateful the Patient Care Representative at the VA is a (more than) decent human being.  She’s already helped put in motion an eye exam, and I’ll be seeing a non-evil dentist later this month.

cute cat on the floor

I wrote her a note identifying some examples of the abuse I’ve endured in the Mental Health clinic and ward.  I didn’t share much, and only mentioned one person by name, but it was an overwhelming exercise.  I also shared how I was dealing with my ex-husband turning into Ramsay Bolton at the time, which is what drove me to seek assistance in the first place.  It brought back all the shit I’ve had to put up with since I got out of the military.  Plus, the Kavanaugh Travesty triggered me and stapled me to the floor as a result.  It was like standing in the midst of a trauma avalanche.  Good times.

I’m doing better now, (finally stopped weeping.)  I look and feel like I talked shit about Mike Tyson’s mom in his earshot, but at least I’m not silently wishing slow deaths on everyone who ever hurt me any longer, (then feeling guilty about it.)  I finally slept, which helped.  I also listened to lots of music and watched a Will and Grace marathon while pacing.  I might take the saying, walk it off, too literally, but whatever works.  I paid enough attention to recognize how insensitive (and probably offensive) we were in the 90’s.  I didn’t notice back then.  (+100 to the millennials for helping us see how unkind we were without realizing it.)  ✌🏽

p.s.  Here is a fabulous, healing, and hopeful video.  #SISTERHOOD

“Nah, we need a medical dictionary! If a patient gets difficult, you quone him.”

I’m having a shitty night.  I just told M. to get the hell out.  I have another kidney stone.  Every time it moves the pain becomes so intense I make involuntary sounds.  I breathe loudly and moan every so often (without my consent.)

It comes and goes in waves.  When the pain subsides, it leaves me feeling drained.  Rinse and repeat until the damn thing passes.  I’m sipping cranberry juice and water between waves.  Good times.  It’s nothing new and nothing to freak out over.  (Especially when you’re not the one experiencing the pain.)

M. suggested I go to the ER.  I told him no, I don’t want to make this experience more miserable than it is already.  I think it may have offended him since he’s a medical professional.  Sigh.

Later, when the pain returned, M. repeated his suggestion. (!!!) I told him he should go sleep at his apartment because this is probably going to continue all night, and I won’t change my mind.  Then he went into doctor mode and started telling me he knows what’s best.

I could feel my blood pressure rising.  M. said he doesn’t understand why I won’t utilize medical care when I should be thankful I’m fortunate enough to have it when lots of people don’t.  (I was curled in the fetal position on the floor, doing something like Lamaze breathing to deal with the pain.)

I crawled to my desk and gave him a thumb drive copy of my VA medical records, dating back to when I got out of the Army.  I (too loudly) told him to read them if he wants to know why I’m not going to the (expletive) ER.  Then I told him to get out.

I regret I was brusk, but I was also preoccupied.  My medical records are a fascinating read.  I’m probably going to publish them as part of a dissertation on racism in the medical field.  It’s a surprisingly thick file considering all it honestly says is, the patient is black and doesn’t count, over and over again.

I’m so lucky to have medical coverage, she said through clenched teeth.