“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.

“Here’s to those who wish us well, and those who don’t can go to hell.”

All who live carry luggage on their journey

I realize I don’t explicitly discuss autism on this blog very often.  It’s because I’m autistic; it’s an intrinsic part of my perception and life, as is PTSD, and my ongoing battle against depression.  On my journey to becoming my best self, I encounter many allies who share their experiences and understand every aspect of my struggles.  Some are also autistic, but many carry luggage with different labels.

I’ve learned to apply caution when inviting others into my world.  It’s a painful, repetitive lesson.  I’m aware of other autistic people who choose to be hateful while gleefully invalidating those who don’t have a formal diagnosis.  (As if the medical community has even managed to produce definitive criteria that can pass a casual bullshit test.)  I’ve encountered people with mental or physical illnesses who decide to be mean and spiteful to others for who and what they are; as if it’s something anyone can control.  Their pain hasn’t yet taught them of its presence in the lives of all who live.

In hindsight, I’m always embarrassed by my naivetè.  I admit I once assumed marginalized people automatically possessed a more profound understanding and compassion for those who also suffer.  It’s brought me a great deal of pain as I recognize my mistake.  Going forward, I hope to be wiser.  It hurts so much to know there are people on this planet with whom I must guard my heart.Humans are diverse

I still feel like a new member of the autism community, years after discovering the online fellowship:  especially now that I’ve seen the pettiness and hatred spewed between members.  The irony is particularly disturbing;  autistic people who shun other autistics for being different than themselves in their challenges and experiences.  😲 🙄

I remember when I was thrilled to learn about neurodiversity and finally recognize my tribe.  I’m sad to realize it’s not as inclusive as I once thought. I remember how lonely I was, and I didn’t expect alienation from fellow aliens.  Nevertheless, I’m incredibly grateful for those who do accept and support me.  I cherish the love and fellowship of others also journeying on the path to their best selves.  It matters not to me what baggage or labels others carry, so long as they walk with kindness, compassion, and sincerity.

I’ve learned it’s easy to embrace diversity among humans.  I celebrate it.  It enriches my life, stretches my mind, and strengthens my spirit.  The smallest bit of effort ensures I can relate to anyone I choose.  No matter how we’re different, we’re all human.  We’re all incredible individuals who decide what we will become through our choices.  Thanks to those who help me grow. 💜  listen up

Thirty-three days until the Fleetwood Mac concert! (Performs the pre-choreographed dance routine.) 🙃✌🏽

Delayed P.S.  I’m sorry I said money is the only god on this planet.  It’s been eating at me ever since, but I only just figured out it’s also why I haven’t been able to sleep.  I’m sorry.  💜

“It’s pretty hot under these lights, huh, Seinfeld?”

Her Majesty, Amelia Bedelia

I had to pull out my weighted blanket, last night.  It didn’t help immediately, as in the past.  I was burning like Daenerys Stormborn when I first attempted sleep.  Whenever I feel overheated or short-winded, my body wants to move as if the activity will validate my discomfort.  I played Amelia Bedelia’s favorite game of hiding and stalking.  I suspect it amuses me as much as it does her.

I discovered she has rules for the game.  They’re simple:  The cat always wins.  I lay in wait for what seemed like minutes, trying not to giggle.  Then I pounced and startled the shit out of poor Amelia Bedelia.  She let loose a long, loud meow of disdain after landing from her gravity-defying leap of panic.  Then she smacked me in the face with her little paw.  (I imagine she was informing me I broke the rules, and she didn’t want to play with me anymore.)

I melted into a puddle of boneless belly-laughter while feeling mildly guilty for upsetting my sweet baby girl.  Then I silently scolded myself while replaying the hilarity of her reaction in my mind, (giggling all over again.)  Finally, I stifled my laughter and attended Her Majesty in her soundproof Fortress of Solitude.  She glared at me, daring me to reach in and try to pet her.  So I knelt before her and softly sang to Her Grace until she forgave me.

I created two new fairy lights recently.  I’m pleased it didn’t involve bleeding, for once, but the glue gun managed to exact an equally painful toll as quilting.  I used cardboard from a shipping box on the first version and a thin sheet of wood, the second, along with transparent film canisters as diffusers.  It produces a lovely, moving rainbow glow and reflects beautifully on the chrome stand of my drum kit.  It’s no wonder I can’t help smiling while I play.  (My band has accepted this after repeatedly suggesting it makes me look like a doof.)  Fairy light for drumkit

I placed the other above my Mac workstation.  It amazes me how fairy lights set the tone of a room.  I copied Ray Bradbury by surrounding myself with things I love when I pursue creative projects.  His desk was far more cluttered than I prefer, but my addiction to synthesizers promises I’ll catch up before long.  (My intention of only collecting software synthesizers didn’t survive my first catalog from Sweetwater Music.)

Teenage Engineering just released their latest portable synth, shattering my resolve.  I haven’t ordered it yet, but I know it’s only a matter of time.  There are always people with more money than patience and a willingness to master new tools.  I call it the Dork Discount.  It’s surprisingly reliable where pretty synthesizers are concerned.  Yay.  My former days of refusing to RTFM are history where synthesizers are concerned.  Instead, I read everything I can find about them.  Then I head over to YouTube to watch tutorials.  I’m such a noob.  😂

Fairy light 2

I stepped up the pace in my Game of Thrones viewing.  The season 6 finale was so fabulous I’ve watched it three times, so far.  The music score for the episode is my favorite part.  It’s just so perfect it made me tear up.  I haven’t begun season 7 yet;  I need to allow for some processing time.  So much happened, none of which I predicted from reading the novels.  Lady Mormont is my new favorite character.  No spoilers.  🙃  I can’t wait to watch it again.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.  💜

“I’ve driven women to lesbianism before, but never to a mental institution.”

kittens wrapped in a blanket

I’ve draped myself in the comforting blanket of music, of late.  It’s gently healing the many wounds I’ve acquired on my journey so far.  In this pleasant space, I’m building a better survival strategy for when The New and Improved Depression Monster (TNAIDM) ambushes me in the future.  I’ve acknowledged how it affects me; out damn pride.  First to go is my wit.  I cannot rely on my keen mind when stapled to the floor.

woman listening to music

I don’t know how TNAIDM steals my intellect and rationality, but the evidence is overwhelming.  I must plan accordingly.  My inner gamer sees this as a challenge.  There are no walk-through videos to study on YouTube.  No strategy guides on message boards.  Only me, my presently uncompromised wit, and my shelter of music.  Challenge accepted.  Victory awaits.

Today, this blanket consists solely of music by Sheryl Crow.  As I listen and sing along, the lyrics reach me.  My strength and resolve rebuild.  My focus broadens, and my sorrows fade.  I remember who I am and embrace the biggest picture I’m able to perceive.  I’m stardust floating through space.  Soon, my minute of life will end, and what remains will drift on with the expansion of the universe.

All my pain is insignificant from this perspective.  I can breathe.  I can even laugh over the concerns that leveled me yesterday.  They fail to weigh me down when I zoom out and allow myself to float.  Snapshot.  Save.  Remember.  💜

 

“You think sickness like that grows on trees?”

redwood trees

I recently was alerted to a service that enables one to become a tree.  I’m as pleased by this as I am about the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert. 😃🙃 Here is their website.  I ordered the redwood version.  I’ve never seen one, aside from photos and video.  I think they’re fabulous.  I hold land where it will hopefully thrive.  Yay.  I’m off to watch more Game of Thrones.

redwood forest