Trust Your Partner’s Way Of Coping…
“Trust your partner’s way of coping to be the best they are able to do and be at every moment in time.” ―Nathalie Himmelrich
Diagnosing and Treating PTSD and Complex PTSD: It’s Not About “What’s Wrong With You?”
It’s National PTSD Awareness Month: Find Out What Can Trigger The Disorder
The Traumatic Journey: Part I
I’ve been quiet for what seems like forever, and anyone who knows me knows I use my platform to communicate and inform; even if my subject matter isn’t popular.
It’s likely obvious to my regular readers that I am going through some heavy shit. I am. Unfortunately, I am also numb to a lot of the things other people are talking about right now. Not because I lack empathy or compassion; neither is true. I am trying to work through a 747 full of trauma, and through that journey came more trauma, and more, until I reached a breaking point.
Let me be clear: I’m okay. I am on the other side. Mostly, I am angry, in a lot of pain, and trying to be strong. A lot has been going on for me, and it will come out in the pieces I am writing, just not all at once.
I am coming off of a fresh set of nerve blocks and once again, I am sorry I did it. Once I feel better, I get to begin to fight for occipital nerve blocks. My doctor has already heavily documented occipital neuralgia in my chart, but my insurance has refused to pay for these injection sites, claiming they are experimental. They aren’t. She actually told me not to fight for it. Any doctor who would say that to me clearly doesn’t know me very well. I know it’s a covered procedure. The nerve blocks they immediately agreed to pay for are actually far more expensive than the one’s they don’t want to pay for. It makes NO sense, and I’m nothing if not a fighter.
This was my third time getting supraorbital nerve blocks. These hurt like I cannot explain. There are multiple injections, and they go under and into the brow bone on both sides. Because of the dose, it’s not quick. You’ve got a needle jammed into your bone for a good 45 seconds or so. The majority of my facial structure is bone, as so observed by my doctor. For me, I then have to apply pressure because these locations bleed heavily. There are a few which go into the supratrochlear nerve, a series goes into muscles in my shoulders, and she chose to add extra starting at the top of my spine, under my hair, going 3/4’s down the spinal column where I already have arthritis and Lord only knows what else, because my doctors won’t order additional tests if an x-ray will do. If she didn’t give me the medication, she’d have to throw it out. They are paying for an entire vial of medicine, but telling her not to give me a particular set of injections. One day she mentioned, in her frustration, how she is forced to account for every drop of medication she tosses, and how it’s incredibly wasteful for them to only pay for small amounts of these medications, and then ask her to throw it out. My nerve blocks are steroid free and are supposed to last 6-12 weeks. I was asked to give it a year before I say yes and continue, or decide to stop them. I don’t know where I stand on this moving forward. It’s a lot of work suffering from chronic migraines and worse with a spine that’s badly damaged. I’m definitely not having any fun on that level. 🙄
As she was injecting my shoulders and spine, my doctor told me she could feel how tight the muscles are. Mind you, I am also on long-term muscle relaxers for a full body experience. I’m careful with them because too many, “relaxing” medications can cancel each other out. If I don’t take them, I can’t always move, and if I do take them, I don’t always feel them working. 😔 I worry they will be taken away because so many doctors are making pain patients choose between treating our pain and treating our mental health. It is wrong, and I am vehemently against any doctor who tries to pull this on anyone. Mental health IS healthcare, and if doctors ask you to choose, find another doctor. The fear-mongering in medicine has got to stop. I’m sick of it, and I know I am not alone.
Much of the time, I factor in how long I’ve suffered from migraines. It will be twenty-five years in December. That’s a long time to suffer from anything, but imagine daily migraines. I was given my diagnosis at my very first appointment, a diagnosis most people wait 1-5 years to get. I tried all the usual suspects medication-wise, and they failed me. Each time a new symptom surfaces, I hesitate to bring it up with my doctor. I asked about a medication I had never heard of and she shifted her tone and behavior immediately, because the medication in question is a narcotic abortive nasal spray. I’m glad she decided she, “Won’t be prescribing THAT,”, but I wanted to say, “What if it REALLY helps me? What if that drug is the only medication to stop my suffering?” She was so dismissive, she wouldn’t even look at me. I immediately felt less trusting, overall.
Most doctors require a reminder of the Hippocratic Oath when they make such bold refusals. “Do no harm.” They absolutely, be it intentionally or unintentionally, ARE harming their patients. I have seen things in my medical record that make me want to scream. So, many doctors are harming their patients, en masse. As is the government, which needs to get the fuck out of my health care, as well as the insurance companies. Our pain is a political business to them, nothing more. All they care about is money, and if you don’t believe me, look into how much the government paid for your Covid vaccinations. They don’t come cheap. Doctors at hospitals are on salary and insurance, along with the government, dictates what they can and cannot prescribe. That is NOT okay. Pretty soon, they will be regulating alcohol and killing off millions of dependent alcoholics. Just like with pain patients, the only people who care will be those who get left behind. And the brands who depend on the business. It could all come crashing down.
I am frustrated as hell living with multiple diagnoses of pain disorders and only having a tiny percentage being looked after. Something I take, as needed, might be causing serotonin syndrome. I have to stop taking it, and this is something that costs a fortune out-of-pocket, until I speak with my doctor, who will almost certainly run lab work to make sure I’m not in the rare danger-zone. My symptoms indicate I might be, and that’s scary as hell.
The more I deal with medical professionals, the more I am marginalized and traumatized. It’s a system that is irreparably broken. It is rife with systemic racism and people who never should have gone to medical school in the first place because they have mind-blowingly limited knowledge in their chosen field. If you can’t do a little bit of everything and truly care about your work and how you are perceived by your patients, then please go the world an epic favor by going into a different line of work. We don’t need anymore crappy doctors. You’re embarrassing the few good doctors we’ve got!
With all of this going on, I am also working on two manuscripts. I wanted to make them a Spring/Summer project to see which one would be near completion by the end of October. They both have enormous potential, but I’ve written double the word count on one, whereas the other is about seventy thousand words. If either starts to get on my nerves, I’ll work on the dark urban fantasy material, instead. Because I’ve been in such crippling pain, I have written and read a lot less this year, but I am trying to get my shit together on that. Even if it’s just to challenge myself to get two thousand words written a day, that’s reasonable. Others would say to start at a page, but I am experienced enough to know I can accomplish the higher word/page count. There will be days when I double, triple, or quadruple on this, and days when a page will be enough. Know yourself, know your limits. It’s not dissimilar to the days when I’ve walked eight miles and it takes me a week to recover. There was a time when I wouldn’t stop until after dark, but those days are long-gone. Coming to terms with that, with the loss of complete health… It’s not easy. For people to insinuate that anyone enjoys suffering is just plain sad. For them. For the warped mind who dares to go against every doctor you’ve had to struggle through, for every diagnosis you’ve fought for. There’s a special place in hell for people of that nature.
And on that cheerful note, I’m on my way for now. I’ll be back as soon as possible.
Have a good week, everyone.
copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.
The precise word I’ve used to describe the hell I’ve been going through is, “Sinking.” I say this to my doctor at least twice a month; “I’m sinking.” He gets a confused/torn look on his face and tries to distract me with questions. I’m thisclose to losing my patience. 🙄 I worry that one day, I will not employ a filter and will say, “You went to medical school to give me that face? I hate to inform you how ripped off you were.” Alas, I try not to be rude to the one person who, medically, has my back. I respect the fact that he doesn’t humor me, roll his eyes, or try to dismiss what I’m saying, but sometimes, I think we’ve collectively met a frustration moment because nothing is helping me.
Am I sinking right this second? Yes. I had a mental plan in my head for how today would go. I woke up early. Much earlier than I planned, so I shut off my alarm and started my day. I cooked a real breakfast, which seems like nothing special, but I am not always afforded the time and space to do this. Today, I was, and I feel healthier for starting the day without having my eating disorder screaming at me. I took care of Cat and Kitten (mostly because Kitten came looking for me a little before 5:00 a.m., but also because she was staring at me. Hard,). I responded to some business e-mails and found out a package will arrive today, one which was not expected to arrive until the 16th. Not bad. Then I started hearing potential construction. I figured maybe a neighbor was having gas or oil delivered, but when I checked and found all these trucks and equipment, I nearly lost my temper. My next door neighbor is having her driveway ripped up and expanded. Okay, great, but did they have to start working before 7:00 a.m.? 😡 They are also incredibly close to the property line, so I keep waiting for them to do something stupid, knock something out, or damage something. At this point, nothing would shock me. There are chunks of concrete just piled up on the street. I don’t want to assume they will remove it properly. I can’t be the only person agitated by this. They are taking up half the damn neighborhood.
Ultimately, this incident messed with my mindset. I had a panic attack from the noise, and now my adrenaline is dropping. Turns out, adrenaline crash is serious business. It made me realize I didn’t get enough sleep to do what I’d planned for today, and whenever I can’t do something, I feel worse than anyone could possibly imagine. I am going to give myself some time, and if I can do it, great. If not, I will add an additional hour to my prep time and do it tomorrow morning. Not ideal, but at least it will get done, and I can see how I feel when I leave the hospital.
I have to stop beating myself up when unplanned things trip up my anxiety or add to my stress levels. I’m not good with external noise. It’s reached trauma-level for me. I used to think I was being unfair with that, until a friend admitted she feels the exact same way and talked about how it affects her. I suddenly realized I’d been gaslit into thinking I was the problem. Mind you, I’m not outside attacking anyone or screaming. I’m just suffering in silence, and that’s unhealthy.
Over the past few days, I’ve received some texts and lengthy messages thanking me for various small gestures. That was nice (Wait, I’ll get there.), but having to turn down a standing invitation nearly made me tell one of these people that I will never, ever spend a holiday with them.
Let me preface this by saying that this person is a repeat offender and I’ve got no patience left to deal with the rudeness. A deeply disrespectful comment was made to me about a year or so ago by this person’s partner. Instead of putting this person in their place for how disrespectful they were to me, I moved into a place of, “This isn’t going to work out if I can’t be honest.” I’m tired of having to protect the other person from their spouse. I chose to say nothing, because sometimes silence is the only answer someone deserves. It’s not about being mean or manipulative, or even hurtful. Those thoughts don’t cross my mind because I know who I am and where I am coming from when I stop speaking to someone. The silence is more about someone crossing your boundaries and you deciding what’s best for your well-being. I decided it was best for me to back away even further, because I don’t need anyone’s toxic opinions or bullshit directed towards me. That’s not welcoming, that is behavior which instantly pisses me off and let’s me know that I will not be able to remain civil moving forward. Like I said, I know where I’m coming from. This person has no clue how I think/feel, and they don’t care. It’s not worth me turning it into an argument because there’s no peace to be had. I know this.
If I am, for example, having a horrible day (Usually pain related, but it can be other things affecting me, as well. I’m human,), it doesn’t give me the right to go out and be toxic towards others. It doesn’t give me the right to be a disrespectful bitch, either. It’s actually when I most need to withdraw from society, write, listen to music, cry, whatever I need in that particular moment, on that particular day. I give myself the space to honor me. I say nothing. I speak to very few people. Believe it or not, about ninety-eight percent of people don’t care about your feelings or what you’re going through. They care that they aren’t the one going through it if it’s bad, though, so it’s important to surround yourself with the two percent who actually give a damn about you, good or bad, no matter what. For me, that’s under ten people. I am okay with those numbers, because it’s honest. I see these people clearly, and their support and love comes from a genuine place.
One message I received sent me right back into a state of pure silence with a specific individual, after I rolled my eyes in disgust. It was a lengthy, “all about me and my life” kind of message, with a few lines asking about how I am doing. Three in total. If my phone wasn’t expensive (I feel like they ALL are, especially these days.), I would have thrown it across the damn room. I came away angered, irritated, and physically ill. This person is so fucking toxic, and my body responds negatively to interactions with them. I tend to keep them to the bare minimum, and I’ve actually ceased most communication. I’d sent a polite holiday card and received verbal diarrhea as my, “reward”. I have to make the decision to cease communications permanently. I have to put my health above their stupidity.
Sometimes, there are clear signs you need to cut a relationship off. You might try to hold off on this for days, weeks, months, or in this case, YEARS, but inevitably, you cannot continue on. Ten plus years and I am still trying to give this person chances. It is okay to acknowledge this and the fact that I can no longer do it.
It doesn’t necessarily matter who the person is, because if you feel sick after dealing with them in person, or you get physically ill after reading a message from them, then your body is keeping the score. Your vibration is rejecting their stupidity, selfishness, ego, attitude, or something else that you inherently CANNOT work with. It is completely fair to honor this about yourself.
I am moving in a different direction. I wish people well, but I can’t stay on their level. I have grown and I have leveled up. I can’t take myself down to their level whenever it suits them to deign to say something to me, and then be sick from giving them the benefit of the doubt or another chance. I’m not going to shrink myself to make anyone else feel better ever again. I deserve better, and they deserve to have people in their lives who vibrate on their lower level. It isn’t my responsibility to take care of everyone. I tried. I even asked someone if I was being fair and they said, “Lisa, you’ve been fair for twelve years. This is out of fucking control.”
I am many things, but I’m not a people-pleaser. I’m not going to gossip about anyone. I am not going to engage after you disrespect me or mine; that’s a line you don’t want to cross with me. I am not going to play into anyone’s victimization of self. I’m not going to constantly give someone chances to hurt, minimize, or disrespect me. I feel like that’s been a running theme lately, and I refuse to engage with it. I’m not going to permit ANYONE to re-traumatize me. I’m going to be stronger, smarter, and meaner. I’m going to be exceedingly discerning as to who I let get close to me on ALL levels. The door to my life is not open for newcomers. A spot at my table is a spot which must be earned. My time is valuable, and I won’t waste it on anyone who doesn’t understand that relationships are two people giving one hundred percent. Yes, there are times when you cannot do that, but you admit it instead of pretending.
I won’t be responding to anything or anyone while I focus on myself. I’m truly done giving out extra chances and opportunities. If people fall to the wayside as a result, that’s fine. I know who I am and what I bring to the table. This isn’t about being cruel or hurtful to anyone, as they have consistently chosen to be unacceptably rude to me, but it is about taking my power back. It’s redefining the term, “No.”, and sticking to it because these interactions affect my sanity. I deserve to let, “No.” be what it is. A complete sentence.
We’re currently in Aries Season♈, which is the first sign of the zodiac. For me, one means ‘New Beginnings’. I also look at the Hebrew aleph bet in a similar way. Aleph is the first letter and represents the number one in Kabbalah. One means starting from scratch, if you must, and rebuilding things in YOUR true vision. It’s the beginning of the zodiac wheel, and I take it seriously.
As the eighth sign of the zodiac, I am the embodiment of life, death, and rebirth. I might fall, but I’ll come back stronger. The actual symbol for this is tattooed on the top of my spine. You’ll sometimes hear people say we have four phases as Scorpion, Serpent, Eagle, and Phoenix, where others will omit the Serpent completely. I’m moving towards my phoenix phase. I can feel it. Others can see it in me. People have commented about my new energy or my good energy, usually people I don’t expect it from. That, in and of itself, is a positive thing.
Some people can see/read auras and some people simply pick up on a vibe from others. I saw auras more as a child, and I still see them around babies/infants and animals. Most animals are gold or silver, which to me, represents their pure natures. Babies might come up in lighter shades of purity, too. If I close my eyes, I can feel my aura is indigo and blue. Sometimes I can see the colors out of the corner of my eye. I don’t come across a lot of people who have these colors intensely attached to them. Sometimes I know there’s purple or yellow around me, or even grey or red. Not all colors are permanent aspects of one’s aura. Sometimes we will temporarily have an inauthentic color attached to our aura due to life circumstances, stress, illness, etc. The issues will pass and the color will leave. Anyone who talks about auras and their colors will see things differently and read color differently. I know someone who constantly talks about how rare pink auras are, but then declares every other woman pink. They will also say not all people are empaths, but will then declare every other person they read as an empath. That’s inaccurate, so I give myself space from people who don’t practice what they preach.
I’m moving towards physical, mental, and emotional betterment. I don’t have time for anyone who isn’t on the same frequency. I have to release all the negative energy which others have placed upon me in their journey towards whatever… A true empath knows it’s not his or her energy to own, but the ugly energy others have given out. It can cling to us like soap scum. Not only am I wearing sage perfume from here on in, but I’m done being the emotional dumping ground for people who cannot return my energy. I know my worth.
In life, sometimes silence and walking away is the healthiest choice you can make before officially cutting people off. Today, I’ve made my choice. I say goodbye to the energy and happiness vultures, for which there are many. I wish them growth and healing, just NOT with me in their lives. My journey no longer involves their presence.
I thought I had finally gotten a handle on my sleep, until Saturday night. I tossed and turned for three hours. I was then furious at the wasted time, so I got up and occupied my mind until I finally knew I would fall asleep. It was freezing, so Kitten was with me, trying to stay warm and still be close by. She was pacing in agitation, because she knows I’m not okay, and she tries to make sure she’s with me as much as possible, but to own a cat is to know that they will choose where they’re going to lie down and they will also choose who they will be with. Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of my current sleep cycle this week. I have four doctor’s appointments beginning tomorrow, one of which is an emergency appointment to rule out surgery. Only one is a video this week, which means I can stay home that day, so I am trying not to have a complete and total meltdown knowing I am dealing with so much. It brings a lot of anxiety to the surface, unfortunately. If you are lucky enough not to experience such feelings, that’s all well and good, but for those who do suffer from anxiety, we aren’t harming anyone. We’re struggling.
Two appointments this week are for in-office procedures. One hurts like hell, but isn’t a huge issue. I have experienced far worse pain, but it’s something done without anesthesia, and my doctor is exceptionally blasé about telling you how it will feel and how it will or won’t heal. She has repeatedly failed to provide information to me which she puts in my medical chart, which genuinely angers me. I only found out when her partner informed me during a Telehealth appointment, and he was very helpful and descriptive. I followed his instructions and was pleased that he got me in three months earlier than originally planned. I will likely say something about her lack of information this time because I’ve had enough. The other procedure requires at least two solid weeks of physical rest. It means adhering to little to no activity, except for walking (You live, you learn. When I rest, I don’t suffer constantly. If I don’t rest, I suffer terribly.). That’s if I get the okay from the orthopedic surgeon to walk on my injuries. I have no idea what he will or won’t say.
A little over two years ago, I fell and injured my right knee, foot, and ankle. I had fractured bones in my foot and there were some tears in various tendons in all areas. The doctor saw me about two weeks after I fell. He wanted me to make big changes to my footwear (I have.). He also wanted me to stay off of my right leg whenever possible, while still being realistic that even in pain, I have to move around. He was hopeful that it would heal on its own and I wouldn’t require surgery, but he was honest and made no promises. At the follow-up appointment, I was lectured that if I didn’t stay off of it more, I’d almost certainly require surgery. Inevitably, I left the office incredibly frustrated because I had truly stayed off of it to the best of my ability. Then Covid put us all into lockdown and my June follow-up was canceled. Without calling me, his office proceeded to cancel appointments for July, September, and then they didn’t bother to get back to me at all when they reopened. He was backed up with surgical patients, post-op appointments, etc. I let it go because I wasn’t in constant pain, but a few months ago, I felt things get bad again. I thought I’d sprained my ankle, but no, it was the whole knee, ankle, foot combination all over again. I have since done something to my left knee, as well. I was granted an appointment via their cancellation list, mostly because they saw that they’d canceled on me multiple times without an official notification of any kind. Mind you, I hurt myself in January of 2020. I don’t know what he’s going to say this time. He had initially prescribed high strength Aleve, and I still have most of the bottle. It simply isn’t strong enough. I’m not going to argue with him about it, but if surgery is involved, I am getting it in writing that my pain will be fully managed before, during, and after the fact. I am not playing the, “You need six months of physical therapy.” bullshit with him, or anyone else. I can’t even say how often I am using Magnesium Spray or topical lidocaine patches for temporary pain relief. I’ve barely made a dent in the bottle, but it feels like I use it way too often. On the plus side, it is fast-acting, as opposed to taking a daily supplement. It’s drying on the skin, but nothing a little extra moisturizer won’t fix. There are days when it is my saving grace. I try to use homeopathic remedies so long as they work, even though they aren’t covered by my insurance.
Having a week with a bunch of appointments squeezed together over the course of three days isn’t common for me. This happened and I had to give myself time to agree to it. I’ll feel a lot better when it’s over and I know more. At least I hope I will. A girl can still pray for good news and quality medical care.
So, that’s where I’m at this week. One hour at a time. I’ll be back, as I pray for a complete reduction of pain from head to toe.
Have a good week, everyone! 😊
copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The tough truth of trauma dumping on social media
Loss, Grief, and Solitude
I don’t have much to offer right now. The past few days have been fraught with sad news. My best friend buried her Grandfather (It took a few days for the body to be flown out of the United States to its final resting place.), and the other is burying her father, who passed away this morning. Both lived long lives, but there are mixed emotions for those involved, and I feel it.
These issues bring up my own losses, because I am dealing with a lot of trauma at the moment. As one person said to me, “You know how it is, because you did all of this by yourself.” That’s right; I did. I arranged everything by myself. Two funerals. A headstone. An unveiling. I have not been back since, but I need to go and try to get a feel for things because avoiding it is not helping me.
I remember asking a family member about a word for the headstone and being told, “I’m not paying for it; they weren’t MY parents.” Yeah, my jaw dropped for a second before I composed myself. All I did was ask if they wanted a word added to one side of the stone. I displayed an act of kindness which shouldn’t have been shunned, and yes, I paid for the word and the stone. I showed respect to someone who disrespects me constantly. Nothing has changed in almost thirteen years. I see it, and I’m paying attention. I don’t have to understand why this person chooses to behave this way towards me, I only have to understand and control my response to it.
Grief and loss were once the only things I felt I had to offer others, but not anymore. Now I see myself clearly and I know I am not the cause for these things. In fact, I’m actually the person who will offer someone the most guidance and support. If my pain can help someone else, then I will allow that, but my pain isn’t going to be used against me.
I’ll be back soon, hopefully with better news.