Quick! Everybody under the desk!

CW: Aftermath of SA, related triggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuck.  I haven’t pinpointed for certain what I did wrong to cause this round of hell.  Deep down, I suspect I know, but the reason pisses me off.  I had a birthday last month, and I ate like someone who doesn’t have autism or PTSD.  I thought once a year was sufficient moderation.  I was wrong.  Hence, pissed.  Welp.  Maybe this means I’m going through The Change, (still only once since The Election.)  That would be fair.  I guess.

I’m hiding out in my closet.  I’m trying to convince myself I’m safe.  I’m self-mothering so Siri will tell me when my time is up, (30 minutes.) This is the first time I’ve ever thought my closet is too big.  I know there’s no such thing as safe, but I’m willing to negotiate an understanding.   I live in a secured building in a community with security, in a smallish city with a reliable police force, in a flyover state, in the Midwest.  I don’t need to install motion activated anything in my apartment.  Besides, I don’t want to know too much about what my cat does when I’m asleep or away, (I already negotiated an understanding with my germaphobic tendencies.)

I’m only allowing myself to use old coping skills for a day.  I’m allowing myself to be afraid, and remember today.  The overwhelming shock felt like desperately needing to inhale, but my lungs were already filled to capacity.  I got stuck there for a while.  My internal music stopped for the first time in my life.  The silence was so loud, it wailed.  For a long time, I wished I died.  It’s figuratively the night I found out math isn’t real.  The night the music stopped, and I forgot how to breathe.

I’m angry I was forced to give up my beloved false sense of immortality while still young.  I was fucking using that.  I wasn’t ready to let go.  I was so ambitious and motivated.  It still stings to remember how much I’ve changed because of one night.  I liked who I was before, and barely got to know her before I became me.  I can’t find her anymore.  I think she’s dead.  I still remember her.  She wanted to help end war for good.  She had brilliant plans oozing with logic.  But she’s gone.  I’m what remained plus what I’ve since gained.

I miss her fearlessness.  Her eagerness to volunteer and assist.  To try new experiences, and take significant risks.  I’m far more cautious and careful.  But I remember.  I’m better at accepting the changes these days.  Some would likely have come about in time, regardless, as they’re more prevalent in youth.  I’m angry my time as Alison 1.0 was cut short.  Sigh.  Alison 2.0 cracks me up sometimes.   Fucking silver linings (made of Doublemint wrappers.)

I’ve finally figured out how to accept the fact I was naive as well as the fact it wasn’t my fault.  (It was fucking rocket science.)  Based on the long pause I just took, I’m going to add, barely.  I guess I better go back to sticking post-it notes everywhere that say, “It wasn’t your fault.”  Usually, they make me think of Good Will Hunting, (at which point I smack it lightly and say, “how ya like them apples?” in my best Boston accent.)  It’s a note to my subconscious, so taking them seriously while awake isn’t necessary.  It’s such a good movie.

Okay, my time is probably going to run out soon.  I’ll just ramble on about the film until it does.  I’ve seen it several times, and M. also enjoys it.  He’s not bad at speaking in movie quotes, but a lot of my favorites are what he calls chic flicks.  (We mostly intersect with blockbusters and sci-fi.)  My favorite line in GWH is, “Because fuck him, that’s why.”  I should get it on a t-shirt.  I’m hitting the treadmill next.  Listening to Annabelle Lee by Stevie Nicks on repeat while I run is incredibly comforting.  Then a soak with an herbal bath bomb, and finally, starting over with The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  (It’s fucking outstanding.)

Still with the neck hole?

Content Warning:  Descriptions of severe depression, the aftermath of sexual assault.

 

 

I’m feeling much better.  Turns out, it wasn’t a round of severe depression, as evidenced by my improved condition a few days later.  I believe the suddenness (that word is spelled so redundantly) in which my happy-go-lucky stasis was shattered led me to panic and overreact.  My bad.  (Please, dear Universe, don’t use this as an excuse to teach me the difference between mild and severe depression.)  I do remember on some level.  A level I can push away at will.  Usually.

The scenario that stands out the most for me is when I was an inpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  I was severely depressed.  I remember walking outside to a roofless enclosure within the ward.  I don’t recall any thoughts.  I crashed in a moment.  I had to lay down on the cement.  I remember only being able to muster the necessary energy to lower myself somewhat gently.  Then that was all I had.  I could only breathe and lay there.  It was like I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t move, but I had no idea why.  I didn’t even feel upset or concerned about it because it took more than what I had.  I’m the type of person who seriously considers abandoning my apartment over a spider.  I hate bugs.  I have the willies just sharing that fact.

That’s how I remember severe depression.  It’s nothingness.  No control, no abilities, and no drive.  It’s laying on the bare ground while a Daddy Long-Legs spider crawls on my face (when typically it would have resulted in a frenzied attempt to practically peel the skin off my face.)  It took 18 months of my life to get from that point to the person who could do a task without weeping.  I remember my Mom suggested I do a load of laundry one day after I was out of the hospital.  The question filled me with panic.  I learned how to do laundry when I was 12.  I relearned when I was 28.

The second time required me to trust in myself and my abilities again, after spending so long as an inpatient.  I wish I didn’t remember that part so well.  My mom’s suggestion sent my mind racing immediately.  What else am I going to have to start doing again?  Why is this so hard?  Why are you doing this to me?  Can’t you see I’m broken?  I deeply resent the interruption to my life, the termination of my military career, and the murder of who I used to be.  All because a man decided his momentary pleasure was more valuable than my existence.  The mindset is where I focus my fury.  Those who view women as mere sex toys and worse.

Severe depression is traumatic.  The women who slept on my right at Walter Reed was undergoing ECT for depression at the time.  She was funny, I liked her.  There were people from all branches of the military at Walter Reed.  I met a lot of individuals who were there for attempting suicide, often over their sexuality.  They were always quickly processed out of the service back when it was Don’t ask, Don’t tell.  I’m glad they stopped that bullshit.  It should have been, Don’t treat humans like shit, Don’t drink and drive.  I bet my slogan would have resulted in far fewer deaths.  (Don’t worry, I’m keeping my day job.)

I just needed to clarify the varying degrees of depressive episodes.  It’s easy to get the impression PTSD is a walk in the park based on what I share when in actuality, I’ve been living with it for several years.  I’ve had psych nurses teach me all about coping skills, how to distract myself, and most importantly, how to trust my ability to endure.  Then I had the remedial course, the refresher, and the graduation ceremony, (when the nurse kindly but firmly reminds you about having the skills but needing to actually use them.)  I earned my walk in the park through endurance, experience, and a blessedly short attention span.

Side note: Thanks, J. and M.

He’s just not spongeworthy

I’m burned out.  I tried to suck it up and drive on.  It’s instinctual for me to force myself to function regardless of how I’m feeling.  I feel poorly.  I’m overwhelmed, and the Depression Monster is beating me about the face and neck.  I’m going to grab my depression box, and do what I know I need to do to get past this spot.  I’ve relied too heavily on running as a single coping skill.  I need to force myself to use my other skills that took years for me to build.  I refuse to be a casualty to the chemical warfare going on in my brain.  I know I can feel better than this.  I deserve to feel better than this.

Violence Overload

Another school shooting.  This time in Oregon and last I checked, 14 dead and 20 or so wounded. Yesterday we had one locally, but fortunately, only the school principal was shot, and he was back at school today.  The kid who shot him was only 16, and is going to be tried as an adult on attempted murder.  His father said he’d been withdrawn and angry at the world of late.

I hate that they are going to try him as an adult.  Kids have no skills when it comes to coping with stress, rejection, bullying, etc.  They can have a loving family, friends, and a decent support system, and still do something this stupid on a whim.  Children don’t understand long term consequences.  It’s physiological. Their brains aren’t done developing.  They shouldn’t be held to the same standards as a 30-year-old, in my opinion.  They are going to send him to prison for decades most likely, and that experience will ensure he never gets better.  It’s a fucking trap.

I think we as adults can do better.  I know we can.  We should be teaching boys and girls coping skills while they are children.  We should start doing this at age 5.  By not doing this, we are failing our children. They aren’t born knowing how to do anything.  They learn what they observe, and what they are taught as well.  They are like sponges.  We need to teach our kids about reality.  Teach them how to grieve.  Teach them how to survive being bullied.  How to stand up for themselves.  How to cope with intense emotions.  We need to show them how we as adults do this, and let them see our example.

This means we need to collectively get our shit together.  Kids today admit they don’t feel like an adult until they’re in their late 20’s at the earliest.  There’s a reason for this.  We haven’t prepared them for the world they are inheriting.  We’re quick to label the new generation, but refuse to see that our label is more of a reflection of the parent generation than the one we try to sum up with a clever few words. Humans are too complex to throw them into groups based solely on when they were born.  Ridiculous.

Bullies have always existed, but they are not to blame.  If a child knows how to cope with being bullied, that child will be fine.  Adult intervention will result if necessary.  But that child who was taught how to cope with bullying will know that it’s something they can handle.  It’s something they have control over.  They aren’t blindsided with no clue how to react, feel, or respond.  This is a scary world.  It doesn’t start getting scary the day we turn 18.  It’s scary from birth onward.  Our kids need to be trained to survive in this world.

I was extremely sheltered as a child.  On top of that, I had a child level mindset well into my 20’s.  The Army almost sent me home for being dangerously naive.  In my case, it was more a case of my being disconnected and in my own world than parental neglect.  When the child is autistic, the training is different.  My mom recognized that sex ed at age 14 would have been disastrous for me, and pulled me out.  I didn’t have the fear of strangers necessary to ensure my survival.  I was too trusting, and I was a wanderer.  When I look back at my childhood, I’m amazed I’m still around to speak of it.  The times were different, and I grew up in a small city.  But I was also fortunate.

Today, the whole world is disconnected to a degree.  The small town feel of a small city no longer exists. Neighbors are often strangers.  Children don’t play outside in yards as much, and are usually glued to a screen.  It’s different.  It’s colder.  Our kids need more training.  I trust in my heart that if the 16-year-old boy who is facing adult charges was taught how to cope with his adolescent surge of testosterone, how to cope with the rage of feeling victimized, and knew his parents were aware of such things, he would be going to school tomorrow.  Train your children for our current world.  Please.