PTSD Flashbacks

I always talk about my personal experiences when I am dealing with subject matter for #MentalHealthMonday. All forms of trauma require #Awareness.

Almost four years ago, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Thanks to several bad doctors and three lousy therapists post-diagnosis (My Massachusetts based experiences, only.), I struggle at times with how traumatized I really am. I react to sirens (be it police, firefighters, EMS, etc.), and red and blue lights as though I’m about to be attacked and harmed. It’s awful. I am jumpy about so many things, including someone walking into the room I’m in without saying something first. 😦 If a person knocks on the door or rings the bell, I legitimately come out of my skin. A few years ago, I heard strange noises outside at around 3:00 a.m., and immediately pulled a Glock with custom sights. ON MY BROTHER (Who reacted really well, considering the situation.), who was trying to come in through the wrong door, so he freaked me out. Not a good moment. 😦

Today, as I made phone calls, I was retraumatized looking at the information in front of me, which was an explanatory script for the type of calls I was making. I ended up with a migraine and a panic attack as a result, and let me say I am tired of being dictated to by anyone, but a veterinarian’s office definitely shouldn’t be rude and unpleasant because by doing so, you will lose the business I have no choice but to pay for the health and overall well-being of my cats. Telling me you are going to over-vaccinate 100% indoor cats only makes me angry, and it is not conducive to a good beginner’s relationship. And then, looking down at the list of trauma they have both endured, I got extremely upset and declared myself a neglectful cat owner (Which, is completely ridiculous because if you met these creatures, you would see they are spoiled and get plenty of love and care.). Needless to say, the stress piled on way too high.

Then the flashbacks started. Again. Over and over, as if someone left my life on repeat.

People meet me and have no idea there’s anything wrong. They are clueless about what it takes to get me out of bed and focused on my day. And that’s sad, because they don’t ask. But what’s sadder is that trust is not something I have left to offer. It’s been shattered too many times for me to keep giving people chances.

Anyone else understand this?

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Election Day 2020

Everyone I spoke to this week, save two or three people, brought up today’s election. I am trying to be positive, yet realistic. I am not telling anyone who to vote for because I don’t feel it’s my place. We all have different things that are important to us when we vote. I have a list of things I have to weigh in order for someone to get my vote; it’s important to me that I elect officials who’ve earned the spot.

I am an incredibly free thinker. My father used to refer to me as, “My daughter, the liberal.” The truth is, I see things differently than he did and I see things differently than a lot of people do. Also, I am not one for strict party loyalty. That’s not how I envision the future of this country. It would be hard not to see the obvious division.

I’m a registered Independent and have voted this and that way from day one. I remember my voting record from my first election until now. I have always tried to make a fair decision, even in primary elections.

I come from a family of predominantly staunch Democrats (My Mom’s side and my Dad’s. I don’t know the history behind why this became a generational thing.). Often, I avoid political discussions with them simply because they stress me out to the Nth degree. If they suspect you think differently from them, it can become a fight. Never argue with the lawyers in your family; they are determined to argue until they turn one color or another.

My cousin, Amy, represents the 88th Assembly District in the state of New York. https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Amy-Paulin I mention this because I feel the need to be transparent about it. I disagree with some of the things she supports, like gun control, but not everything. She’s clearly done great work for the past nineteen years. Her reputation speaks for itself. Don’t worry; she wouldn’t know me if she walked past me on a street corner anywhere, but my mother and Aunt grew up with her and her siblings. I try to be courteous and respectful about this. Trust me, she hasn’t seen me since I was under the age of six. But, I digress…

For me, as I edge closer to politics to help get certain things changed in various communities, I find myself having to hold representatives accountable. Many people have pointed out that I am the right person for that particular job. Having a strong voice is one thing; knowing how to use it properly is another thing entirely.

I’ve voted in almost every state I’ve lived in, but this morning, I tracked my ballot as it pertains to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the General Election. 😒 It was accepted last week and is ready to be counted.

After a lot of deliberation, I made a decision I can live with, one I know won’t harm my family or friends. It was not a, “red versus blue” scenario for me. I weighed so many things in my head. Mental health care was first, so that no one in this country slips through the cracks. I know how hard my own battle has been to find the right doctor (and I always make it clear that I am grateful to have insurance. My insurance has been a G-d send.), and to still be searching for a therapist after over a year of searching when my previous one proved to be way too flaky, and that’s putting it mildly. My doctor validated that I have done the hard work of introspection and healing on my own, without a therapist. He feels I’ve done a great job solo, but the truth is, I shouldn’t have to do it without an ounce of support, though he has been amazing.

Women’s rights are important all across the board, and especially women’s health care on every level. I am always going to be pro-choice. I don’t feel insurance companies should be allowed to dictate our care to us, nor should they drop patients with cancer or any high-cost treatment needs. I have never seen a man dropped from his insurance anywhere near as quickly as I’ve seen women constantly being cut off from crucial healthcare over the past ten years. Many women are losing their OB/GYN simply because they are on medication the doctor they’ve seen for 20+ years is not comfortable with them taking, so they are being let go as a patient with a letter of dismissal. The reasoning isn’t even valid, but I’ve seen the exact same form letter sent to hundreds of people all over the country, and I’m sure many more have not shared them with their pain groups or specific advocacy groups. Not a single phrase is different from one letter to the next. Don’t even ask me how pain patients are being treated because it’s getting worse every single day. My own doctor is playing games with my pain and the lack of treatment he is providing. I am angry as hell over how much money I have spent on CBD products in the past five months. Let me be clear; I know it is a privilege to be able to do it at all. I know it is a privilege to do anything to attempt to reduce my pain levels, despite the fact that my insurance fully covers medication I would much prefer to take. I don’t take that knowedge lightly at all.

Countries we give aid to was on the list, as well, because I take issue with how we help everyone (including a long list we should not be giving a penny to), but will allow our own people, many mentally ill individuals, even our own veterans to become homeless and/or to remain ill with no assistance at all. Not everyone who is homeless is an, “uneducated bum”. Let’s be clear about that because too many people say it without realizing how quickly it could happen to them. There are people on the streets with doctorates and truly brilliant, gifted minds. They were allowed to fall through the cracks of a broken system. That is not okay with me.

I thought a great deal about our entire healthcare system. I talked with two of my doctors, and friends who are doctors in this country (and in other countries). I have a few doctors in my family, too. They’re all quite furious with how Covid has been handled here. They’re still fighting for PPE all these months later. Many people were forced to purchase all of their own PPE materials, and they cannot afford to keep doing so.

I thought about all of the small businesses that were wiped out due to Covid. I see more empty buildings than full ones, even in bustling places like Boston, right near Fenway Park. I only know a handful of people who were able to keep things going, professionally downsize to one brick and mortar location instead of 2+, and many who created businesses during the start of quarantine which allows them to create amazing things from home.

I thought about all of the bigger businesses I never could have imagined closing their doors, including hundreds of restaurants which have been around for longer than you or me. I keep finding myself startled by the boarded up businesses that are no longer. It jolts me to my core because I don’t know how we get back to helping the working class, the middle class are the heart and soul of this country, and they have been epically failed. We MUST support our people with financial assistance until there’s a solid vaccine in place that is accessible to all, and we cannot allow them to be called, “lazy”, because there are far less jobs available now than there were this time a year ago. They must receive support until they are able to return to a job safely, and for millions, they will be starting over. No one who is able-bodied and healthy is sitting around not looking for work right now. People have bills to pay and families they provide for. Even if you’re single, you still need to be able to cover your expenses and food.

We must expand legitimate affordable housing and make homes more affordable to purchase. I have watched a lot of new construction go up this year and the prices are beyond ludicrous. Realistically speaking, most people cannot afford $5000 a month for an apartment, and even if they can, it’s beyond wasteful unless it is short-term. Many people can’t afford half that amount, even with roommates to help cover expenses. If you’re paying $2000 a month on rent, minus utilities, you just tossed away $24,000 in a year, and you don’t get any of that back on your income tax return. As a home owner, you are able to deduct a portion of your home each year, more so if you are working from home. Some people don’t make $24,000 a year, so when I say “affordable housing”, I am not saying let people live in disgusting conditions. No way. They should have just as much access to all the, “luxury apartments” that go up daily all across this country. The ultra rich should not be dictating real estate prices to the middle class, or to those who live below the poverty line. Everyone deserves a safe roof over their heads that cannot be taken away from them.

I grew up middle class, in one of the greatest cities in the world. I had no clue my father actually made a very good, often six figure, living and didn’t always make the best decisions with money. One decision he made cost his family a house that would be worth millions or tens of millions now. I try to make the most responsible decisions possible so that I don’t have to look back on regrets that large.

All too many people on the front lines have lost their lives to Covid, predominantly healthcare and food workers, simply by going to work and trying to help others. That is not something I can abide by, either.

I am thinking a great deal about the violence in this country, especially coming from police officers. A man was shot in Massachusetts today, all because one officer pulled his weapon while others tried to contain the situation with a taser, which failed to work somehow. They killed someone who was mentally ill. I am beyond outraged by how many mentally ill people are being murdered in cold blood by officers with itchy trigger fingers. I am equally outraged by police murdering people and judging them based on nothing more than the color of their skin. Racism in this country is at an all-time high, as are anti-Semitic attacks (New York City, take a long hard look at your mayor, governor, and some of your elected “officials”.), and attacks on places of worship from homegrown terrorists. I am all for peaceful protests, but not supportive of destruction of property or burning anything down. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel they have any other choice. 😦 This needs to be addressed, over time. There’s no quick fix for any of it.

Have you been shopping online more now than ever before? I absolutely have. In the ten years I’ve been an Amazon shopper (I might be off by a few years), I have never relied so heavily on any kind of service as I have with Prime this year. I probably see a dozen, or more, Amazon trucks each day. This doesn’t include all of the people delivering groceries in their personal vehicles. Oftentimes a vehicle is down the street and I am the tenth stop. They might be dropping off something minor, like when I had to replace a belt and saw that I was also low on socks, or they might be delivering roughly 80% of my grocery list for 2-3 weeks. Please, if you are using grocery delivery in any capacity, make sure your driver receives a tip. If you want to pay them in cash, put it into an envelope and let the driver know in your delivery instructions where it will be. Show them your appreciation because it is a true privilege to have your groceries brought to you. People in other highly developed countries have not mentioned this to me at all. The drivers may be going to tons of homes, but they’re working harder than you might realize. Be appreciative. Many of them are working for Amazon to make sure they aren’t stuck at home looking for a job right now that may not be available for another year or two. Many of the people who’ve delivered for me were genuinely shocked when I came out with a mask to make sure they got a tip (Sometimes, the credit card system doesn’t allow me to add it in and, obviously, it leaves me frustrated. I don’t want anyone to feel unappreciated.). One woman nearly cried, and I want to stress the importance of being courteous to those who are doing a service for you.

Please stay safe if you’re headed to the polls today. I’ve had people report long and short lines, among other things. I am concerned about people’s safety and the so-called, “poll watchers”. I’ve never rolled my eyes harder, or maybe I have. It will be hard to escape the news in the coming days, weeks, and possibly months. Please place your safety, and that of your loved ones, above all else. Cast your ballot and breathe calmly in the safety of your own home.

Side note: November is #NationalVeteransMilitaryFamiliesMonth. I’m repping #Green💚 for #MentalHealthAwareness and for our #Veterans.

I wore this shirt yesterday (The design has been discontinued, but you can find others HERE by looking for Mental Health Awareness. I highly recommend this t-shirt company. Their products are high quality and the shirts are really soft.) and my first manicure in eight months is Essie in Heart of the Jungle (lighter shade) and Sweater Weather on the ring fingers. Top coat is Nail-Aid Gel Xtreme Shine. Hand care is AHAVA (15% off right now) and Gloves In A Bottle. I will change up the color before Thanksgiving, but clearly, I’m showing my support. I practice what I preach, even if I do it a little more colorfully than others might.

My local Congressman is up for reelection. It’s my second time voting for him. He’s a Marine veteran, and a Scorpio. He’s a crucial component to the future of this nation. As a registered Independent, I proudly back him. No, he didn’t pay me for my endorsement as a #Writer.

G-d help us all. Again, stay safe. 🙏

copyright 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Current Mood > Assumptions

I keep asking myself when a day won’t feel, “rough”, “tough”, “heartbreaking”, “emotionally taxing”, “lonely”, or “deeply upsetting”. The fact of the matter is, as someone who rarely cries, I’ve been an emotional tornado. I’ve cried so much over the past few days, and that only angers me.

In the past week I’ve nearly hyperventilated from anxiety (and being overstimulated in a small crowd. Thank you, Anthony for getting me the hell out of there!), felt re-traumatized by photos and memories, and I’ve been going to bed early to try and regulate my sleep schedule (I haven’t even factored in the pain I’m in 24/7.). I’m having weird dreams and Complex PTSD medication can only do so much. Nothing is perfect. The medication is failing and my sleep medication is waking me hours before I should ever see the light of day. I hope a few adjustments with the new medication will make a difference, but nothing is etched in stone. I try, but I don’t have much hope in these things.

The words, “chemically resistant” and “treatment resistant”, are VERY sad words to hear, even if you’ve known them to be a fact from day one. Every day, I do my part to represent the Mental Health Community honestly and openly, with no hidden agenda. I remember EVERY moment and every person who has tried to make me feel ashamed for something outside of my control. If you’ve ever felt that way, you’re NOT alone. Consider how miserable other people must be to criticize you without just cause, talk behind your back, or medication shame you in public. These people lack kindness, compassion, empathy, and basic human decency.

Last week, a suicide prevention organization reached out to me. I was actually offended by what they had to say because prior to hearing from them (An organization which should know better!), two other organizations asked me to become a Mental Health Awareness Ambassador for them. Since this is a non-paid position, I told each of them to contact me directly if they wanted to pursue this (They didn’t.). I am already a card-carrying green ribbon ambassador. If someone wants me to be the face of something, then they need to know my time is worth being paid for. I paid my dues a LONG time ago and will not work for free. I’m not new to this experience, nor am I newly diagnosed. I’ve suffered my way through life and, somehow, probably out of sheer stupidity, I am still here.

To those who’ve been treating me like my friendship, love, loyalty, kindness, and time are expendable; FUCK YOU. You get what you give. I was fine before you ever came along and I will survive without you. Please know this.

I’m not okay. I’ve been clear about this. Maybe this level of brutal honesty will help others.

**If you’re struggling with mental health issues, and you aren’t sure where to go, please message me. I will provide information for your area.**