Susie didn’t commit suicide! She was murdered by Jerry Seinfeld!

I put myself on Twitter time-out, today.  I was going to write a long post about how angry I was, but someone made me laugh before I got to it.  She ruined my rage (and I love her for it.)  I know (now) when I start quoting Christian scripture to professed Christians and suggest they read the Holy Bible, it’s time for me to step away from the Twitter.  I still have a caffeine withdrawal headache, but at least it’s reminded me I need to go to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow.  I can hang in there until then, (she said as if she were talking about something serious.)

Content Warning:  Suicide, surviving (SA)

My heart is pretty heavy with the loss of Chester Bennington.  He was a survivor, but the relentless psychological warfare surviving entails got him in the end.  I’ve been listening to Meteora on repeat.  It’s a beautiful, brutally honest suicide note.  It was released in March of 2003.  Twenty-four (plus) years is formidable stamina, in my opinion.  Everyone (aware) who has ever contemplated suicide probably felt the tremor in The Force.  He left behind a wife and six children (from two marriages.)  I hope with all my heart they learn to recognize it wasn’t their fault in any way.

Surviving is a solo act.  There’s (usually) nobody else in your head to help you fight off the emotional infection that festers after sexual abuse.  If you do have another voice or voices in your head, they probably won’t consistently help you heal.  (It only takes one thoughtless comment to permanently lose the trust of an unhealed survivor.)  Whenever someone I care about commits suicide, I forgive them for it.  I know it’s weird, but I think it matters.  (Don’t worry, I won’t explain how.  It’s so meta your eyes would glaze over.)

There’s a song I think many neurodiverse will relate to on Meteora.  Here are the lyrics:

Lying From You

When I pretend, everything is what I want it to be
I look exactly like what you had always wanted to see
When I pretend, I can forget about the criminal I am
Stealing second after second just ’cause I know I can

But I can’t pretend this is the way it’ll stay
(I’m just lying to bend the truth)
I can’t pretend I’m who you want me to be
(So I’m lying my way from you)

No, no turning back now
(I wanna be pushed aside so let me go)
No, no turning back now
(Let me take back my life, I’d rather be all alone)
No turning back now
(Anywhere on my own ’cause I can see)
No, no turning back now
(The very worst part of you is me)

I remember what they taught to me
Remember condescending talk for who I ought to be
Remember listening to all of that and this again
So I pretended up a person who was fitting in
And now you think this person really is me and I’m
(Trying to bend the truth)
‘Cause the more I push the more I’m pulling away
‘Cause I’m (lying my way from you)

No, no turning back now
(I wanna be pushed aside, so let me go)
No, no turning back now
(Let me take back my life)
(I’d rather be all alone)
No turning back now
(Anywhere on my own)
(‘Cause I can see)
No, no turning back now
(The very worst part of you)
(The very worst part of you is me)

This isn’t what I wanted to be
I never thought that what I said would have you running from me
Like this
(You)
No turning back now
(I wanna be pushed aside, so let me go)
No, no turning back now
(Let me take back my life)
(I’d rather be all alone)
No turning back now
(Anywhere on my own)
(‘Cause I can see)
No, no turning back now
(The very worst part of you)
(The very worst part of you is me)

Linkin Park – Meteora

I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

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.

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.)

Veteran Tears

I finally got some sleep.  I took a double dosage of Benadryl.  I watched a show on a new channel called Viceland.  It was Weediquette, and the story was about veterans using cannabis to treat PTSD.  I probably should have changed the channel, as this is a touchy topic for me.  Fortunately, it was done well, and they didn’t include any graphic war scenes.  The show still got to me, though.  PTSD sucks so much.  It’s such a horrible thief.  It tries to rob you of everything, and is unrelenting.  It’s invisible, and it has only one goal:  To end you.  It’s as if the traumas that lead to PTSD were meant to kill you, and your survival was a fluke that left you in a tortured limbo.  It holds you there and attacks you from every direction until you somehow find a way exist despite your new status, or you take your own life.

It sucks.  But the worst part is that PTSD has existed forever. It’s had other names, but it hasn’t changed since the first war or life threatening trauma.  But in 2016, they still don’t know how to treat it successfully.  That’s not wholly true.  They know cannabis helps us survive PTSD.  They being the government.  The government doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  The VA doesn’t care that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day.  But the price of oil is down, and some rich people got a lot richer from government war contracts.  We are expendable.

I wrote a poem after watching the show.

The March of Tears

They say you will adapt to this radical lifestyle.
Freedom is at stake. You won’t see home for a while.
Shoot the targets. Throw the grenades.
Learn new skills. March in parades.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. America is at war.

Travel to your new duty station.
Make some friends in this new location.
Run PT. Eat some chow. Press your uniform. Shine your boots.
Bivouac. Requalify. Go on leave. Revisit your roots.
Left, 2, 3 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Now it’s time to go to war.

POM board, shots. Phone home and make a will.
Verify equipment. This time it’s not a drill.
You volunteered to fight, and you may even die.
Try not to remember that you’re fighting for a lie.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. It’s your duty to fight this war.

Your friends are dead! Your friends are dead!
Your truck blew up! Then the enemy fled.
You’re injured and can fight no longer.
What didn’t kill you did not make you stronger.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. What the hell are we fighting for?

Your body heals but leaves some scars.
You spend most nights looking up at the stars.
You’re finally home, but nothing goes right.
You’re constantly triggered into fight or flight.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD forevermore.

Here’s a pill, there’s a pill. Will these bring your life back?
The sacrifice is over, but in your mind you’re still under attack!
You’re still a soldier in your heart. You have the desire to survive.
But the nightmares and flashbacks make it impossible to thrive.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. PTSD is the invisible scar in your core.

Take some pills. Go to support group.
Try not to think about how you were duped.
Make the effort to adjust to civilian life.
Get a job or go to school. Just ignore the strife.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Life isn’t worth the pain anymore.

The VA treats you like a naughty child.
You’re not crazy! Fuck off! PTSD isn’t mild!
You want dignity, and you’re on your last thread.
These pills make things worse. You’d rather be dead.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Suicide would end this internal war.

Fuck the VA! They don’t care about you.
The number of suicides per day is twenty-two!
You’d like to try using cannabis for PTSD medication.
But your country won’t repair it’s misclassification.
Left, 2, 3, 4. Terrorists are at the door.
Left, 2, 3, 4. No one cares about the real cost of war.

Chemical Chaos

I tried to sleep again.  I hate PTSD.  The name doesn’t really cover it.  It should be called “Trying To Function While Existing In Your Own Private Hell”.  I’m so tired.  Nightmares are kicking my ass.  I’m afraid to try sleeping again.  I hate that I am so vulnerable when I’m asleep.  I can face down my fears when I’m awake, but while sleeping, I have no control.  I’m going to design an experiment.  I want to figure out how to control my mind when it’s asleep enough that I can redirect my dreams away from nightmares.  I’ll think on how to accomplish this.  Ironically, if I could sleep on it, I’d have a better chance at figuring out a solution.

I’m going to lower my dose of Prozac.  My next appointment is in December, so I’ll inform my psychiatrist of this change then.  He trusts me to suggest the proper dosage based on how I’m functioning.  It was my idea to increase it by 10 mg.  It worked really well for a few months.  The risky thing when increasing it to this level is how it effects me.  It’s truly bizarre.  If I stay with 20 mg’s I do fairly well, but it requires me to rigidly stick to a low carb diet, exercise daily, and avoid viewing anything with suspense.  While that sounds like a cinch, one migraine headache can completely derail me.  If I miss one day of exercise, or if I forget to eat, or lose too much sleep to nightmares, my chemical balance gets thrown off kilter.  It’s very noticeable to me.  It directly effects my ability to fend off the Depression Monster.

Switching to 30 mg gives me some leeway.  I can skip a run, or a meal.  I can go for a few days on very little sleep, and still manage to keep the Depression Monster at bay.  The risk, is that at 30 mg, suicidal ideation becomes a concern.  It’s wickedly strange.  It’s like my brain chemistry becomes too steady, which makes it far more vulnerable to the slightest onslaught of stress.  I’m always a bit back, observing while these changes take place.  I can’t seem to become inured to the process.  It blows my mind every single time.  I can barely comprehend what my brain chemistry is doing when I encounter the Depression Monster while on the 30 mg dosage for more than a month or two.  It’s illogical and surreal.

I think I tried the higher dose again because part of me was unwilling to believe such a small change in dosage could be fatal.  It’s hard to accept that being on the higher dose is like being suicidal without feeling it.  Without the pain and despair.  Until suddenly, one seemingly minor stressor rips away the mask and races me to the edge of the cliff.  It happens so quickly it frightens me.  I catch myself seriously contemplating suicide.  Formulating a plan in my mind with an odd sense of urgency.  Then when it passes, it’s obvious to me that my thoughts and plans were ridiculous.  It’s scary.

It’s not like feeling as if I’ve lost control.  It feels like I’m being rational, and making logical choices. That’s what scares me the most.  The inability to recognize the fact that my thoughts are betraying the shit out of me in real time.  The knowledge that a chemical reaction in my brain can so easily lead to my untimely death.  I’ve figured out how to prevent this from happening.  That was easy.  I simply never allow myself to act on any life changing decisions for 48 hours.  Logic saves me from tainted logic.

It bothered me a lot at first when I realized how much of ‘me’ is due to the chemical mixture in my brain.  Now I’ve accepted it.  After having surgery in the past, I noticed my tastes in food changed immediately afterward.  A permanent change.  It’s fascinating to me.  Whenever I’m put under anesthesia, when I recover, I try foods I previously rejected, and have found that I’ve liked some.  I hated any kind of melon all my life.  After surgery, I love it.  Especially watermelon.  I have to wonder what other traits are so easily altered by undergoing the administration of powerful chemicals.  I won’t be doing any experiments to find out, but I’m still curious.  Once I’ve been on the lower dosage for about a month or so, things will return to normal for me.

I do better in the winter.  I suspect it’s because allergens are less prevalent.  I also like the cold.  I’m always hot, so it’s nice to get relief.  It’s 36F right now, and windy.  I have a window cracked and am wearing pajamas and it feels great.  If only I could sleep.