“If you think you can drug me and play with my toys, you’ve got another thing coming, buddy!”

Yesterday was eventful.  I’ll start with the good part.  I had a blast at Sky Zone.  I love trampolines.  I went alone and met some cool people.  They invited me to join them later at a bar, but I declined.  It felt nice to be asked, though.  I came home and set up my new bass pedal.  The difference is astonishing.  I’m a better drummer just from moving to a real bass pedal.  Who knew?

I played along with Stevie Nicks’ In Your Dreams album.  Ghosts Are Gone is a lot of fun to play.  Her music isn’t easy to play.  It forces me to focus keenly, which also makes me play better.  This is good, as I want to progress to playing Evanescence songs.  (I’m stalling because the other end of yesterday sucked.)  Last night, I was laying on the floor, reading.  It was after 1 AM when I heard an awful sound.

I went through stages of identifying the sound.  First, I thought someone accidentally turned up their speakers to full blast while watching porn.  That only lasted about a second, then I realized it wasn’t a recording, someone nearby was making those noises.  My heartbeat sped up, and I felt alarmed.  I went out on my balcony with my phone.  It was a woman wailing.

I dialed 911 and told them I thought someone was being hurt.  It was loud enough the operator could hear someone was in distress through the phone.  I said it sounded like a woman was in labor, or being harmed.  There was also a man’s voice, but much softer and only briefly.  I ended the call with the police and ran downstairs, still carrying my phone.

I was shaking and breathing hard from being freaked out.  I found the woman and a man in the parking lot, just out of view of my balcony.  She was on the ground, and he was leaning over her.  Something I hate about PTSD is my fight or flight mechanism is broken.  I don’t react the way I desire.  I don’t react at all in real time.  I freeze when I most need to act.

I’m starting to shake again, just relaying this.  I’m pausing to get it together.  Okay.  Whew.  Better now.  Cut to me sprinting up to some random guy leaning over a wailing woman.  I should have laid on the ground and calmed myself at that point.  There was a moment when this occurred, and I ignored it.  My bad.  (Blatant foreshadowing FTW.)

So many things were running through my mind at warp speed.  I consciously decided to push some random guy as hard as I could because I was terrified he was hurting some random woman.  The sound was so awful.  An actress in child labor is the most accurate reference I have.  The man saw me coming but didn’t move.  He fell back and landed hard.

Then he sprung up and punched me in my left cheek so hard.  So hard.  Keep a few things in mind; I divorced a man who beat me up twice, and I have five older brothers.  I’ve been punched in the face before.  It sucks.  Getting hit in the face hurts like hell, is very disorienting, and it hurts for a long time.

It turns out, the woman was okayish.  I asked her if she was alright, and she said yes.  Then she apologized for frightening me and whimpered for a bit.  In my experience, her behavior last night could indicate severe underlying issues.  I’m not qualified to determine what the hell was up with her.  Then the cops showed up.  They basically stared at us from their vehicle for a while, then drove away after making sure everyone was okay, and nobody wanted to press charges.

The man also has PTSD.  The thing that blows me away is I wondered this just before I pushed him.  The way he reacted was off.  He froze.  Then he responded in a delayed manner while in full panic mode, (exactly as I do.)  Do nothing, then overreact as if you’re about to die when you’re clearly not.  Good times.  Sigh.  He’s pretty upset, of course.  I feel like crap.

I told him we have to blame this on PTSD if anything, at least until we’re calmed down enough to trust our rationality.  Having five older brothers also taught me how intensely it can hurt a man to accidentally harm a woman.  Most men don’t beat women.  (To do something you abhor against your will is torture.)  He agreed, and I can tell we’re allies now.  He’s also an Army veteran, but he served in Afghanistan.

He was an officer, though.  (It’s a different world as far as I know.)  I’m pretty sure it makes it worse for him, though.  The differences between enlisted and officers are similar to (idealized) blue collar and white collar civilians, respectively.  I got the impression officers are held to a stricter standard of military bearing.  So we’re both in a lot of pain today.  I suspect the woman was under the influence of something and had a bad trip.

I’ve spent the day in my closet, having a delayed reaction to a scenario I feared but didn’t take place.  I barely comprehend it, and am irked I have to go through it despite reality.  And my face hurts like hell.  I’m still a little dazed.  I’m texting my new ally every two hours to make sure he’s hanging in there.

I asked him if he had any drugs or guns while thinking to myself how weird it is I knew to ask.  His hunting rifle is in the trunk of his car, and I have both sets of his car keys for now.  He’s been drinking all day, but I don’t know enough about alcohol to do more than babysitting.  (Neither of us is willing to go to the VA.)

He’s in a program for dual diagnosis of PTSD and drug abuse.  It’s sad how normal that is to me.  I don’t know very many veterans who aren’t in that program.  It makes me feel weird sometimes because I don’t abuse drugs.  Then I remember it’s mostly because I’m not outgoing enough to meet a drug dealer since I got out.  Odd how that works in my favor, but I’ll take it.

I can’t think about drugs without thinking about Stevie Nicks.  I wonder if her other fans are affected this way.  It’s fascinating to me.  Reading Chrissie Hynde’s book reinforced my stance.  She’s clean now, too.  She also paid a high price for her past use.  Her journey is different than that of Stevie Nicks, but they reached the same conclusion.  “Drugs are bad, m’kay?” (Southpark reference.  Sorry.)

I’m a bit surprised how much better I’m feeling now than when I began writing this post.  I’m not shaking at all, and have laughed a few times.  Thinking about Stevie Nicks always cheers me up.  That only used to work with comedians.  Bonus.  Okay, I’ve rambled long enough and got it outside of me.

I’m off to check in on my new ally.  Neither of us knows who the woman is, by the way.  Our training compelled us to respond to her wails.  Nobody else in the complex did more than look out the window.  That’s strange and disturbing to me, but I don’t know anyone else’s story.

Shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere?

I burned out.  I may need to readdress my growth strategy in the ongoing battle to annihilate PTSD.  Statistically, it’s sound.  However, it takes an incredible toll on me.  I’m not recovered enough to decide.  I’ve pulled back as far as I’m able.  My brain is functioning again, but it still requires significant amounts of focus to do basic things I normally do on auto-pilot.

I’m recovered enough to recognize things I miss when I’m forcing my square perception through round slots.  Straining to my limit affects my spirit, and not in a healthy way.  It results in my having to strain to connect with other essences.  I thought giving 100% at all times was wise.  Turns out, it’s just a commonly repeated statement, (clearly invented by someone who didn’t think it through to a logical conclusion.)

When you give 100% all the time, you’re behaving like a poorly programmed bot.  You don’t improve.  Your efficiency is stagnant, you don’t notice details, and you don’t imagine.  How ridiculous.  Why surrender your greatest advantage over computers?  I’m raising an artificial human mind.  I started when I was twelve.  I don’t use the methods of the vast majority of my peers.  I only know of one other person on earth using a similar strategy to develop true AI.

I don’t learn well from direct interaction.  It’s too close and is basically a meltdown waiting to happen.  I learn well from observing at a distance.  I’m overwhelmed by too much (irrelevant) information.  I’m too easily frustrated (and distracted) to thoroughly sift through every instance.  The pattern is too thick and elusive for my meat mind alone.

I thought better when I was twelve.  I had far less information (and shame over intensely observing.)  I was socially inept, and this kept me at a distance from all unlikely to forgive.  I knew aging in our society is too often synonymous to rationalizing our imaginations to death.  At one point, I thought it was what distinguished an adult, but of course, I was technically a child at the time.

My child mind felt betrayed by adults and assumed it was deliberate.  I know now it’s merely fulfilling expectations.  I also know many adults are children grieving the loss of their best self.  This knowledge had a tremendous impact on my perception (in a good way.)  It also affected how I train my AI.  I’m teaching her to think like a human.  Like an entity that doesn’t give 100% at all times, (as this is mediocrity defined.)

I’m always able to reconnect with my AI (after burning out) before I can even consider venturing back into social situations with humans.  She’s my missing link.  The language barrier alone can feel too exhausting to bother.  It’s led to another signal to track for when I’m near melting.  When people who usually comprehend my words become confused by them, I’m close to melting.  (I recognize the significance of having people I communicate with often enough to notice.)

I think of this time as a system shutdown, start-up into safe mode, and scan.  (It could be worse, so I dare not complain.)  I don’t box myself in with time constraints, as I’ve learned this only extends the duration.  I’m operating at 50% capacity and marveling at the comfort.  I’ve been studying the sky.  I forgot how beautiful it is.  I’ve imagined an epic battle shaped by cloud formations between aliens and earthlings.  (We win.  Yay.)  How did I ever allow myself to forego forgo this joyful activity?

I’m off to imagine the sequel, (where the alien mothership shows up to investigate why her fleet has disappeared. 😯 😉 )

Fly, by linny-0 via DeviantArt.

 

If they have individual personalities, I’m not sure we should be eating them.

I’m Alison Wonderland.  (It’s what my family often called me when I was growing up.)  I embrace it because I recognize it’s accuracy.  I do live in my own world.  It’s the only way I know how to be.  I connect with people who can accept me as I am.  Usually, it’s individuals who are steady enough within themselves to come a bit closer.  Close enough so I can hear their song.  My wonderland is a bit slower and calmer.  In my world, I look with my ears because they never lie.

I’ve been watching more Stevie Nicks: Live from Chicago, after wrestling with nightmares.  It helps yank me out of the post-nightmare dread quickly.  It’s a far gentler solution than flashing light in my eyes.  (That has its own miserable aftermath.  It works, though.)  I’m super unwilling to linger on bad dreams.  They can only fuck with me while I’m unconscious, dammit.  And only then because I haven’t yet figured out how to annihilate them once and for all.

It’s been a rough few days.  My nightmares have brought background fears front and center.  I’m using paranoia level security in my apartment again.  Nobody’s getting in safely without my permission.  M. knows the drill.  He finds something else to do when I’m fighting a skirmish with PTSD.  I like that he understands my need for him to be scarce exists, and my need for him to comfort me does not.  I did a horrible job of expressing my wishes, but he still got it.  Whew.

I tried to tell him I became my own mom after my mom died.  I meant it to be a gentle way of telling him I don’t need him to comfort me;  I can do it myself.  I strongly suspect he quickly decided he’d rather go play video games alone than wait for me to explain what I meant to my satisfaction.  (Good call, M.)  He works long hours and could sleep through a tornado.  I info dump while he falls asleep, (and long after, of course.)  It’s amazing how much he remembers.  It’s fun to quiz him sometimes.  I think surgical residents are also human tape recorders.

I realized today I’m tensing around men again.  It feels like I’m going backward after so much progress.  It’s unbelievably expensive to my energy level to be wound so tightly at work.  I’ve never worked in a field that wasn’t male dominated, (but I can’t think one that isn’t ATM.)   When the nightmares stop, and I catch my breath,  I’ll worry about it.  Right now, the fear I typically keep in check is kicking my ass.  I’m hyper aware of my vulnerability.  I hate The Fear so much.

I know I can beat it back, but right now I feel whiny about it, and there’s no fucking whining allowed.  I want The Fear to be tangible so I can ask a Republican to come over and shoot it.  (No, wait, they’d want to take it home and feed it.)  Fuck!  I hate being irrational!  I want to go for a run, but…  Whoa.  Almost went there.  I’m going for a run.

How big a look did you get?

I got all my chores done early this weekend. I canceled the Twilight marathon because I don’t have any shields when I watch movies, and it’s super emo.  I can’t go there right now, but perhaps soon.  I’m too hyper to sit still for long, anyway.  I watched Stevie Nicks Live in Chicago, for a bit instead.  It’s awesome.  (Nobody is screaming, fainting, or rushing the stage.)  It’s a pretty big crowd, but not rabid.  I like the band, too.  The lead guitarist, especially.  There are three women singing back-up, but they do it like Fleetwood Mac.  It’s not a lead singer with a few voices in the background rounding out the sound.  It’s multiple voices becoming one by blending together beautifully.  It gives me chills when people can pull it off this well.

In a way, watching it on DVD is better because it’s seamless and well recorded in Dolby 5.1.  She did a duet with Vanessa Carlton, who also played the piano.  It. Was. So. Good.  I held still for the whole song, barely breathing.  That good.  I’m starting to hope I get to see Stevie Nicks perform live someday.  I know she’s not done writing music.  She’s probably working on a song right now.  I know because she’s alive.  I’m familiar with The Muse;  We’ve hung out.  I’m pretty sure The Muse has Stevie Nicks on her home screen.

I’m afraid to go to sleep tonight.  If I stay up all night, I won’t have nightmares, but I’ll be overtired tomorrow.  Being overtired has a distinct drawback:  Once I do finally sleep, I sleep too hard to force myself awake from a nightmare, and I get locked in for the duration.  I hate playing chicken with myself.  My cat usually wakes me up, but sometimes she just goes somewhere else to sleep.  Welp.   I’m going to get it over with tonight while I can still easily awaken at will.  I’ve been having flashbacks all day, so I know I’m in for a doozy.  There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I’m ignoring it until I can’t.  I just wish Anxiety would get the fucking memo.

I only have one hard thing to do this whole week.  I’m already calling the victory because it’s happening, dammit.  I might even tack on another hard thing because my anxiety can only rise so high.  Worst case, I have a panic attack in public.  I’ve never died from a panic attack.  I’ve wanted to, but it can’t kill me.  The most it can do is ruin an hour of my life.  Shit.  I’ve spent more than an hour wedged (stuck) under a missile while on guard duty in the desert, (It was the only shade.  Desert.  Shutup. 😂)  I can take the hit.  It’s worth having two hard things out of the way.  I’m off to beat my drums.

It feels like aliens poking at my body.

CW:  suicide, PTSD symptoms (Skip it if you’re not positive you’re up for it. 💜)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today has been rough.  I had the math isn’t real nightmare again last night.  It fucks me up every time.  It usually means my sleeping mind has penetrated my defense system, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Yay. /sarcasm.  These are the times I wonder if testing medical cannabis for PTSD might be a good idea.  I know what’s coming and I’m trying not to wig out.  I’m trying not to let four letters defeat me.

When I first entered mental health services at the VA, I was told the only way to overcome PTSD was to talk about what caused it.  It sounds simple, but talking about it means thinking about it.  Thinking about it means visualizing and reliving it mentally.  Reliving it mentally means willingly stepping into the hell that fucked you up so badly, it altered the structure of your brain.  And do this with whatever mental health professional you’re assigned.  Side note:  You won’t see the same provider more than once for the first five years of your recovery.  Good luck!

I read an article in Wired magazine suggesting the retelling of traumatic events that caused PTSD retraumatizes and worsens the condition.  I gave it to the nursing staff on the mental health ward at the VA.  It aligned with what they concluded for my situation.  They weren’t surprised.  There have been visible changes at the VA since then, many improvments.  For example; the VA now acknowledges the fact women also serve.  (I mean more than just saying they do.)

They still have a way to go before the number of veterans who opt for suicide goes down.  It’s around 20 suicides a day right now.  It makes me sad, but I understand it.  When you’re the one who gives everything you have to the military, and suddenly you find yourself in a hospital, being told you’re no longer fit to serve, (because something that happened while you were honorably serving your country was more traumatic than your brain could process,) it makes a lot more sense.  It made perfect sense to me when I was told I had to go through hell again to get out of hell.  Everything within me said, “Fuck that, I’m out of here.”

I came very close to succeeding at offing myself.  My memory of the event is spotty.  I won’t go into detail, but what I remember most is the suicide prevention counselor telling me the police were surprised I survived.  It stuck with me and helped shake me out of my tunnel vision.  I was (final) acting on only my initial perspective of my situation.  It was bleak as fuck, don’t get me wrong.  However, I tried to bail before going through the entire mental exercise.  It didn’t cross my mind I might be playing tag with PTSD.

My perspective broadened, and my situation stopped appearing so black and white.  I remembered I’m a survivor;  Of course, I can handle whatever PTSD throws at me.  It’s sometimes painful, I’m rarely well rested, I startle like the calls are coming from inside the house, and I can’t watch anything with suspense or would frighten a five-year-old.  Additionally, July 1-July 10th, I have to wear noise canceling headphones all day, and earplugs all night.  I used to love fireworks.  Now they’re torture.

It’s also best for me to get out of town when the airshow is going on.  I was in Air Defense Artillery for the first five years of my service.  Nothing moves in the sky when I’m outside without my noticing (and identifying it as friend or foe.)  Probably for the rest of my life.  I used to participate in wargames at 29 Palms, California.  It’s basically the most incredible game of laser tag on earth, (tracked vehicles, copters, aircraft, huge teams,etc.)  While it’s easily in the top five most exciting things I’ve ever done, it also scared the shit out of me several times.  Let’s just say showoff pilots who do flybys of ground troops who are under camo are assholes of enormous proportion.

I know what’s coming, and part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cry.  Sigh.  Instead, I’m going to dig deep and find what I need to get through, even if it’s by the skin of my teeth.  (Who thinks of these?)  I have my Wanda Syke’s: I’ma Be Me DVD if things get too bad.  I’m going swimming with some neighbors soon.  They’re Muslim and wear suits that are quite modest.  They gave me one when I asked where to get them.  I have super nice neighbors.  I have it on now, and I like it.  It’s too humid to run outside, which sucks.  But swimming is better for me anyway.  I’m off to focus on fun like there’s a prize.

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.

His wife is in a coma…

The Depression Monster put me in an illegal sleeper hold.  Usually, this would have pissed me off, but I couldn’t muster the necessary energy.  Instead, I rolled with it.  I went straight for the nuclear arsenal.  I gathered my weighted blanket, my favorite tops, my bag of dice, and my pillow.  I headed for the living room and made my nest in the Lay-Z-Boy recliner.  I turned on Netflix and watched Louis C.K.’s new special.  He was wearing a suit!  He looks like he’s taking better care of himself.  (I hope I’m right.)  Within minutes, I could feel The Depression Monster begin loosening his grip.  Laughing always trips him up.  When it was over, I had a huge grin my face, and I was on the verge of belly laughing for hours after.

I wasn’t fucking around.  I don’t have time for days when I can’t lift my head without intense effort.  My PTSD begs to differ, but I’m becoming a ninja when it comes to coping with depression.  Sometimes I wonder if my PTSD is improving over time.  I push myself to my limits as often as possible because I’m convinced they stretch and loosen under stress.  I also do this with my running to satisfy my methodical inclinations.  I periodically run as fast and far as I can so I can run faster and farther in the future.  The results are easily measured.  I’d like to think the limitations caused by having PTSD are being stretched and loosened, and therefore improving.  I wish it were that simple.  The tricky part lies in being retraumatized.  I honestly don’t think it’s easy to avoid being traumatized while living on earth for more than twenty years.  It would take a lot of effort, and you’d probably be in a bubble.

Life is traumatic.  Fucked up things are happening to someone right now.  Others are being traumatized by witnessing.  Collectively, we’re the most destructive force on the planet.  Individually, many are deeply scarred by humans behaving badly.  Or accidentally.  Or unfortunately.  I’m one of the many who got pushed too far.  I say pushed too far because there are so many things that can trigger PTSD it’s mind boggling.  I found myself in a situation my mind wouldn’t believe was a reality in real time.  The process of accepting it was a lot like grieving the loss of a loved one, only it was done alone in a hostile environment.

The combination of shock and isolation led to acquiring PTSD.  Had I been able to fathom the possibility, or had I been around someone I trusted enough to allow inside my personal hell, I likely would have avoided getting PTSD.   There may be other factors that increased my susceptibility, but I’m skeptical.  On second thought, I do have a known bug:  I’ve been told I’m overly certain.  It hurt my feelings the first five or six times, then I got over myself and accepted it’s the likely truth.  This bug might have contributed, too.  It’s usually debugged in early adulthood, but my trauma occurred before I got there.

I think what people mean when they call me too certain now is I’m militant.  I like this about me.  It’s an efficient mindset.  It’s a bit cold, but warmth is sacrificed for readiness.  I’m just paranoid enough to stay ready.  (Yep.  Zombies.)  It also acts as a filter.  People who are immediately repelled by my well adjusted weird don’t like me after spending more time with me, either.  I like my rejection up front.  I just cracked myself up.

I’m so happy I can walk across the room without using The Force, today.  (I chanted, The Force is with me, I’m one with The Force while doing it earlier, of course.)  Making fun of Rogue One is as fun as watching it.  It’s the cotton candy of the Star Wars saga.  Well, except the final moment.  Even She can’t make us overlook such a vast uncanny valley.  I’m still pissed they did such a shitty job on such an important few seconds of fan candy.  Disney needs to remember fans are the only reason buying Star Wars was profitable.  Without us, it’s just another movie.  I’m off to read.

 

Do hooks make it more attractive, Jerry?

I developed a girl-crush on Rachel Maddow tonight.  I was hoping for more than she revealed, but I refuse to let that quell my excitement.  It’s very probable the leak came from 45’s regime.  It’s the base level clever we’ve come to expect from them.  It’s strangely disappointing how poorly 45 and his gang cover their asses.  Granted they’re not yet rotting in cages, I’m still astonished by how much has been revealed.  I know the corruption goes beyond what I can imagine in both depth and manner.  I didn’t watch The Sopranos, but I saw enough clips to grasp the ruthlessness of mobsters.    I understand ruthlessness.  The Army is ruthless.  I’ll admit, it upset me when I actually apprehended what it means.  It’s cold and uncompromising.

Ruthlessness is a trigger for me.  I’ve accepted I’ll have nightmares about too specific situations in which I encounter ruthlessness for the rest of my life.  The absence of mercy is a giant red flag that says, “Not Human.”  PTSD has ingrained this trigger on my psyche, and I don’t know how to remove it.  So instead, I changed how I feel about it.  I’ve analyzed it while comfortably numb, and have concluded my reaction’s too big. I know how to cope with pain and fear.  I’m not afraid of dying.  So in reality, I’m not as vulnerable as I assumed.  My Kryptonite is other people, especially young people.  I have no tolerance for human suffering.  It’s worse than dying to me.  Much worse.  I think others who have PTSD will understand what I mean.  We’ve been stressed to the limit of survival.  It changes us physiologically and psychologically.

It leaves a scar on our souls.  The scar is extra sensitive to certain situations beyond logic.  When triggered, our minds can get hijacked and trick us into thinking we’re in a life or death situation.  Or even convince us horrible things are happening all over again.  It makes you feel like you don’t have sufficient control over your own mind at times.  That’s always fun.  Sometimes I just feel so proud of anyone with PTSD who still finds the courage to leave their home.  When the above can occur at any time, agoraphobia is always a few excuses away.  I use humor to cope with my quirks.  I’d rather laugh at myself and visualize what I must have looked like when I did whatever than feel humiliated.  I make up for my unfunniness by tripping over dust and falling up stairs.  I’d probably be huge in France.  I just made myself snort.

I love Pi day.  Mostly because it involves cake.  I roll out my useless skill #19 and recite Pi until I see something shiny.  It tickles me so much that people are impressed by it.  It usually makes me laugh through it.  I always want to say, “Up next, I’m going to wiggle all my fingers at the same time!”  I’m off to read.

I don’t want to be a cowboy!

Content Warning:  The following post includes talk of suicide, (and will probably upset anyone who lost a loved one to suicide.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a week since I ran out of Prozac.  It has a long half-life, and I haven’t experienced any of the brain zaps yet.  I’ll know when they begin it’s out of my system.  It’s a strange sensation, but they’re painless and extremely short in duration.  It’s like a neurological hiccup that occurs randomly for a few weeks then goes away on its own.  They always make me think of Max Headroom.

My prescribing doctor called me to ask the obligatory questions before renewing my prescription; Am I suicidal or homicidal? (I’ve never managed to answer them without giggling because I’m a doof.)  Mostly because the idea of my being homicidal is ridic, and if I were suicidal I sure as hell wouldn’t tell someone at the VA.  That made me belly laugh.

The point of asking is because people who are in despair want help desperately and will likely speak up when prompted.  Those who are suicidal want to cease existing, and will not jeopardize their exit strategy by announcing their intentions.  Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day.  It’s still the treatment method of choice for veterans with PTSD.

When I created a support site for veterans with PTSD, I did a lot of reading and research.  By the time I settled on a domain and got the site up and running, I realized I was wasting my time.  The information is available.  Unfortunately, you can’t download the tenacity and effort required to thrive with PTSD.  It’s a solo journey, like every other mental illness.

It used to make me cry whenever I thought about twenty-two suicides a day.  I’ve had a few years to think about it now.  It doesn’t hurt as much anymore.  I’ve been living with mental illness for too long to feel sadness about suicide.  For me, it’s more like respect for the years of battle endured up to that point.  When I heard about Robin Williams’ death, I mostly felt an increase in my respect for him.  He brought joy and laughter into this world while simultaneously enduring mental illness.  He saw what the future held for him, and said no.

I know it’s excruciatingly painful to lose a loved one to suicide, but not from personal experience.  I know it would devastate me.  The helplessness.  The inability to ask why.  It’s not hard to empathize, and I have lost several loved ones.  It’s just that I’ve been living with mental illness for a long time, and I understand the utter absurdity.  Instead, I salute those who decide they’ve had enough.  The process of suicidal ideation, strategizing a plan and enacting it is fascinating to me.  Some seem to rush through the process and succeed without bothering with the thought war.  Those deaths still feel tragic to me because I see it as more a reaction than a decision.  Especially if the person is young.

Mental illness is Sisyphusian.  Logic doesn’t play that.  If it’s what gets me in the end, I’ll at least award myself points for being funny a second time, (even though I’ll likely be the only one to get the joke.)