“The power we discover inside ourselves as we survive a life-threatening experience can be utilized equally well outside of crisis, too. I am, in every moment, capable of mustering the strength to survive again—or of tapping that strength in other good, productive, healthy ways.” ―Michele Rosenthal
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” ―Fred Rogers
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.
This is my favorite season and favorite time of year, but after an emotional, rage-filled moment yesterday, I am questioning EVERYTHING in my life.
To be fair to myself, I reacted via a triggering comment made to me, and new medication that, without my knowing in advance, causes people to occasionally react in a volatile fashion. I’ve stopped the medication, obviously. I don’t ever want to be the type of person who uses her medication as an excuse not to behave properly. That’s unacceptable to me. It’s going to take a week or so to get it fully out of my system, which isn’t a common issue for others, but apparently, for me, it builds up. For most people, it it out of their system within 12-24 hours. I am feeling is gradually leave, but nowhere near fast enough. 😦
I never ask my doctor about trying new medication unless things are bad. This was “new to me” medication, and I should have done extensive research before taking my first capsule. I openly admit to feeling stupid, but relieved that I quickly found the info and said, “I can’t do this anymore.” I had JUST spoken to him yesterday about the drug and was trying to tough it out past the side effects, but that one moment was one moment too many.
When you’re suffering and working solo on your pain/trauma/harm, anything can resurface and cause you to react. That’s what life has been like for me for the past few years, but I haven’t mentioned it. I’ve tried to cope silently, and in turn, I’ve retraumatized myself in several different ways. It is sad and upsetting, and I wish I had the energy to discuss it at length, but I don’t. I feel empty because this is an exhausting process. It’s made worse by no one asking how you’re doing or reaching out to you out of any kind of genuine concern or love for you, which I find SO insulting.
In times like this, I take a huge step back from people. I stop reaching out to them because, quite frankly, enough is enough. The world doesn’t revolve around others who have zero interest in doing the same for you. At the start of quarantine, I reached out to all of my friends to make sure everyone was doing okay, and I let damn near everyone know I was available if they needed to talk. I was mostly ignored. And then, at the end of July, my cousin passed away from terminal lung cancer. I reached out to two of her children, with whom I have solid relationships with, but I know they will call or text if they are having a rough time. They have their support systems. I do not.
I don’t speak to 96% of my blood relatives, and I have my reasons. If you have to find out that your Aunt passed away by finding her obituary online (after not being able to reach her by phone), that is a testament to how your cousins actually feel about you. My father’s side of the family baffles me. My mother’s side isn’t much better, but at least a few people value me enough to maintain a relationship of some kind. One of my cousins is sending me distantly related cousins via Facebook because she uploaded her DNA onto 23andMe and located people this way. If I wanted to upload my DNA to find family, I would do it myself. The truth is, I have enough distant relatives to last a lifetime and no deep-seeded need to “connect” with people I don’t know at this stage in my life. Especially with people in their 70s, 80s, 90s, etc. Let them live and be well, but I would much prefer a few peers. I don’t want conversations about who died, and when. Hard pass.
So yeah, I am struggling. I am suffering. I’m in a dark place. I am usually on a telehealth appointment once a week with my doctor, and despite writing and doing research for various projects I have in the works, I feel like I am mostly achieving nothing at all.
I am either asleep or not sleeping at all. I am in a lot of pain, so I have extremely limited what I do and where I go. After getting sick last month for a while (and having my symptoms suddenly disappear), I wonder if I need to be tested for Covid. It’s hard to tell if my cough is “just allergies”. I might have a minor cold, but it’s the feverish feeling with no fever and insane chills, that make me worry. Yes, this could be a major Fibromyalgia flare-up, or something valid. Unfortunately, when I did call my doctor’s office about this, they weren’t the least bit concerned. The fact that a persistent cough makes me feel like there’s eucalyptus living inside my chest was of zero concern to them, but they thought they were doing me a favor by letting me know I could go and get tested, and they’d fax a request in wherever I decided to go. Instead, I called a local Urgent Care and they said, “Just come in. We don’t need a note or prescription from your doctor, and it’s covered by your insurance.” There’s also free testing being done in the area, so I’m covered if I do need to go. My insurance has called, texted, and sent letters to let me know any testing or treatment will be 100% covered. If I go, I will verify it over the phone, just to be on the safe side of potentially receiving an astronomical bill.
As it begins to dip into the 40s and 50s here, my entire body feels like someone poured -30 degree blood into my veins. Even if it’s 70 degrees outside, I am bundled up like it’s about to snow. I can’t seem to shake the chill. And yet, this could just be my new normal. 😦 I will not know until Spring, pretty much.
Here’s hoping some of this lifts for me and I am able to enjoy the Fall version of October. Realistically, I’m not holding my breath.
copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This year was extremely frightening and traumatizing for my cats. They were terrified in a way I have never seen before and I pray I never see it again. I am outraged by the crap my neighbors pulled. The streets were full of smoke, cars couldn’t get through, and it was a major problem waiting to happen if, G-d forbid, an ambulance or fire truck needed to get through. Visibility was extremely poor. Whatever people are using that sounds like an explosion going off was awful for my own trauma history. I’m actually relieved I have a phone appointment with my doctor next week. This was BAD and continues to be worse with every passing moment.
“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.” ―Judith Lewis Herman
Sadly, this quote speaks to me today. I had to take medication for an insane panic attack that popped up out of nowhere, and I’m trying not to break down in tears because I have to hit the pause button on my life for the remainder of the day, AGAIN. This has been happening a lot over the past few months. I am so completely freaked out and this was made worse by waking up with some paralysis in my neck and upper back. In trying to reduce inflammation in my body, other issues moved to the forefront. I wish people understood and could be compassionate about what I am going through, but the truth is, I don’t know too many people who give a rat’s ass OR who encourage me to do what I always do, which is the best I can from hour to hour.
If there’s one message I would share with other sufferers, it’s this; You’re doing the best you can. Sometimes that means going back to sleep because your drowsiness cannot be fixed with caffeine, it’s too bone deep. Sometimes it means taking a short walk, or cancelling everything and focusing solely on your own needs. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re lesser because you’re suffering. They should walk a thousand miles in your shoes before passing judgment with their mouths.