Category: Health


Pain and Psychology

 

Lenalee from D. Grey Man

The human body can be strange. It’s put together in an interesting way, that, in many ways, seem a bit bizarre… like how one side of your brain actually controls the opposite side of the body, or how nerves in your back can cause completely disparate parts of the body when hit during a tattoo.

Then there are certain lessons that you learn as you get older.

I know it’s a matter of public record (and pretty easy to find a lot here) that I have CPTSD. It’s something that I live with and I try to work with in order to keep on, keepin’ on. I also have chronic pain from arthritis in my lower back. This can be more trying… oftentimes my back hurts and makes it difficult for me to do much some times. And then I have Celiac to top it all off.

Lately, I have been thinking about something that I remember them frequently mentioning in chronic pain class. Pain can cause issues of depression and anxiety. This makes a certain amount of sense, especially when it’s a constant. There’s an entire psychological spiral that comes along with chronic pain that’s filled with frustration and despair. I get frustrated because I’m hurting again and then sad because it stops me being able to do the things that I love doing, like dancing… or walking around for any period of time.

Then there’s CPTSD. There are many things that this does psychologically. It’s similar to PTSD, but there are other things that show up that are unique to this kind of PTSD. You can find out more about it here and here. The muscle tensing is one of the biggest physiological problems.

Celiac comes with its own set of issues. Mostly I’m fine as long as I maintain a gluten-free diet. If I get even cross-contamination, I wind up going through a series of physical and psychological issues, like brain fog, body achiness, exhaustion, nausea… the list goes on.
So, expanding upon the lessons from my chronic pain class… I have thinking about the nature of the pain that I feel.
Am I in pain because I’m feeling emotionally down or am I feeling emotionally down because I’m in pain? Is my pain exacerbated because I’m feeling down?

And, honestly, I don’t have an answer. I’m not entirely sure there is a definite way to answer any of these questions.

I do know that there is a connection between them.

This beg another question, I know that my CPTSD won’t go away because I’m not hurting. That’s not how it works. But if I can manage to control my back pain better, maybe it would be possible to feel better. It’s not a perfect theory. It is one that I can try to achieve.
So, that’s my goal now (once I’m over this current bout of gluten sickness). I’m going to work on trying to control my pain as best I can.

That is one thing that I can do.

Well, here’s to experimenting and seeing if I can make it work.

Advertisements

Life… Life is a funny thing. Sometimes it can be great, filled with wonderful highs. Sometimes it’s filled with tragedy.

I’ve seen quite a few tragedies in my time, perhaps too many. I can’t make that judgment all myself, as I have no real outside way to know.

These tragedies have led to a lot of how I deal with things in my life… and it all contributed to my CPTSD. Honestly, I wish I could have had a more normal life. I wish I had a supportive family, no abuse, didn’t have a parent who was trying to kill me as well as themselves.

It can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with.

They become psychological triggers that create very real and difficult issues that make life a lot more difficult to deal with.

Recently I was triggered about my mom’s 5150 when I was like 6/7-years-old. It’s something that I remember with such clarity. It even came as a flashback over my reality. Flashbacks aren’t fun. You see and essentially go back and re-experience that moment again. It’s not fun… to say the least.

But I’m still dealing with the harsh reality of it all.

For me, this was the ultimate moment of being abandoned. I understand that my mom didn’t really have any control over the situation. I do. But between that and her trying to kill my sister and myself…

Yeah.

So, the bigger deal with this is that this has given me some deep-seated abandonment issues.

It’s a deal.

That shouldn’t be too terribly surprising. My mom disappeared from my life for a year during a formative part of my childhood. This happened a lot when I was younger. My mom would just not be there… even though I didn’t quite know where she was. This was the final straw. She was in a hospital. I was in an abusive household where I was borderline tortured for a year.

What did that tell me?

That not only did my own mother not want me around, but I wasn’t even important enough to be put somewhere safer.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I try to deal with the feelings that are tied to this as best I can… it’s a lot of work.

Thankfully, I do have some good ways to cope. One of them happens to be what I’m doing here. Write it out. Put it into words. Put it on some paper… or some pixels.

I’m working through it and trying to make it through what I have to work with.

It’s hard, but it’s a struggle that I continue with. And I take it day by day and moment by moment.

ritsuka crying

Screenshot from Loveless

Yeah, Me Too

To put a little context to my “me too” comment. TW/CW: all kinds of abuse, harassment, and molestation. I won’t pull any punches, this is not going to be graphic, but I am talking frankly about what happened to me. More importantly, by actually talking about this I’m working on getting a handle on all of this craziness.

Toshiya 3

Toshiya from Dir En Grey

I am a survivor of long-time abuse. My mother tried to kill me and my sister while she was trying to kill herself. I understand that she has bipolar, but it’s really hard to try to find self-worth when your mom is the one trying to kill you. To this day, this and the fact that I had to be a mother at the age of 6 to my younger sister, is why it eats away at me when people talk about how good their mothers are. Everyone has a right to share whatever they’d like on their pages. This is a cross I bare. It’s something I need to deal with.

I was beaten with a wire hanger when I was a child. I was beaten for 30 minutes while I pleaded with my mother to have her step in and stop. I’ve been beaten with wooden spoons, yard sticks, ping-pong paddles with holes drilled into it. I’ve had my mouth duct taped shut because I was squabbling with someone as a young kid. I was spanked until I was strong enough to fight back. I was neglected. I was molested as an infant and a child by neighborhood children I thought were my friends. I was repeatedly raped by a classmate for a year when I was 13 and then was publicly molested by that same person when I was 16. I’ve been emotionally abused, put down, gaslit by boyfriends. I had a boyfriend hold my wrist so hard they left black bruises. I’ve been molested by men when I was too drunk to consent… to then be blamed for it and the man’s side taken. I have a boyfriend who still actively try to destroy my life because I left them. I have been called crazy, fat, ugly, stinky, stupid, idiot, and more names than I can care to count by friends and classmates. I had a boss ask me specifically about my private life.

Yes, it happens so much more than it’s talked about. Yes, it happens to men too. I have two dear male friends who were raped by women. Some of what was done above was done by women… To another woman. *It’s never ok for this to happen to anyone.*

Let’s not dilute the fact that women are more likely to be killed by their partners. Women are disproportionately more likely to be victims of abuse and raped. These things are incredibly underreported because men are taught that this can’t happen to them, and if it does that it makes them less of a man. Women are always blamed, not just by society, but by the very people who are supposed to care for them, by doctors, nurses, and law enforcement.

It’s time to take our heads out of the sand and hold the abusers accountable for their actions.

Picture from Final Fantasy XIV

Like many who legitimately have PTSD (and unlike those who like to make light of how serious a mental health condition it really is, but that’s a rant for another day), there are things that’s people can talk about that will elicit a specific emotional reaction. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to control this reaction. I can try to control it, even attempting the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I’ve learned to try to control them. This doesn’t particularly work for me. I seem to function better on actually feeling whatever it is that I happen to be feeling at the time. It makes it easier to process feelings that I’m feeling than to try and subvert them.

I was recently triggered by an event at Burning Man. I didn’t go again this year for the same reasons I haven’t been capable to for years. It is costly to go. So, I didn’t see the event that made the news. And you know what, I didn’t have to. Instead a vast majority of my friends repeatedly talked about and posted the pictures of it. I didn’t need to be right there for it to be a triggering event because everyone else kept talking, regardless.

Suicide is a very delicate thing for me. It, in and of itself, can be incredibly triggering to me. And so, with seemingly everybody talking about it and not a lot of places for me to go for respite, I had to try to control how I was feeling. I managed to do it despite fighting off gluten sickness and exhaustion. I managed to do so for 6 days.

And on the seventh day I couldn’t fight anymore. I was tired. I felt emotionally worn out. And so, then I had to deal with emotions that I hadn’t for days.

And when I do that, it often becomes much worse because I haven’t processed and started letting myself heal. Instead, I kept hurting myself. When it gets like that, I get past anger and vere into hopelessness. That’s where I was. It’s harder to dig myself out of there.

One of the things that I have been incredibly proud of (and I think to a certain degree, rightfully so) is that as someone who’s been dealing with CPTSD as long as I have, I have nothing bad to show for it. I have almost all of the symptoms of it… and yet, I’m a largely functioning person. I work, I’m not an addict, I’ve never been arrested, I’m not a hooker, and more importantly, I’m still here.

As time goes on, that starts making it harder and harder. The desire to find ways to stop this pain becomes more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to step out of the trauma-filled haze in order to feel better? I find escapism increasingly desirable.

And yet I still have yet to give in. Thankfully I have a ray of light. The FDA has found Ecstasy to be a breakthrough treatment for people like me. This is great because that mans they can study it more. But that means that treatment is still out of reach for a while.

In the meantime, what can I do?

I have no clue. Try to avoid Facebook more? I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I shouldn’t have to. I also shouldn’t have to see people repeatedly posting articles with pictures of someone who decided to take their own life either. It would be great if everyone was sensitive to the emotional needs of each other. That’s also increasingly not the world we live in. So, I’ll feel and deal with my anger, my rage, my hopelessness, the hole in my heart that should have been filled by parents who loved me. I know that I’m broken. I feel lucky to have found people who want to help and by people who accept me as family. It’s that which gives me hope and keeps me going.

Orihime

Orihime from BBleach

There are some things that I have always wondered why I have some deeply embedded beliefs. Some of them I haven’t the slightest idea of where they come from… like the thought that my life will be much shorter than most will be. And, more importantly, my brain has been putting together the pieces of why I have the belief that I will always be alone.

For the longest time, I had absolutely no idea where the thought came from. It was something that my brain latched on to and wouldn’t let go. At the time, I thought that maybe it was because I was a teenager. I was raped. And I was in a school that I didn’t want to go to and wasn’t happy with. It felt like I was you standard disaffected teenager in the nineties.

Unfortunately, the belief never went away after I changed schools, or even after I was no longer a teenager. It has been persistent throughout my life… and until recently, I didn’t understand where it came from.

The more that I have learned about my childhood, and the more that I’ve remembered, the more that I’ve been able to untangle some pretty bad behavior that I’ve developed as a coping mechanisms. Trying to unlearn things that have kept you alive for so many years is hard… not impossible, but incredibly hard. Especially as so much of it has become such a fundamental part of one’s self. It’s something that I’ve been striving to do… to make myself a better version of myself.

So, how did the belief that I will always be lonely come to pass?

Well, this was such an incredibly easy thing to untangle… and I think to a certain degree, I’ve always known. The belief that I will always be alone stems from the fact that I largely have been. My mom checked out when I was pretty young. My dad was never really around because of his work schedule. The love that I was supposed to see when I was younger, never was really there. So, I’m guessing that had a huge effect on my belief of if I deserve to be loved and have people/family in my life.

I don’t remember my mom being around all that much. And, I think, to a certain degree, I think somewhere in my subconscious, I was aware of what my mom was trying to do. My mom didn’t even think that it was worth it to stop me from being beaten for something that I never did or being unduly punished for being a child. My dad was as equally there. I didn’t have the emotional nourishment that I needed as a child. I was alone in the world as a kid, so why would that change as an adult?

Well, one thing that I’ve been learning as I get older and having different, more wonderful people come into my life, is that maybe the belief that I deserve to be alone might actually be wrong. I don’t know if I’ve started getting comfortable with this. This is largely because my brain keeps going back to the old familiar feeling… because it’s familiar.

How does one undo something that’s such a fundamental part of oneself?

I honestly don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to figure out. It’s possible that positive reinforcement and psychological conditioning can help with this. And, maybe that’s just what I need. We’ll see. There’s only one way to find out.

What is Maturity?

Intimate

Ciel and Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

This week had been interesting… as has every weekend since 8.November.2016. However, this week has been particularly of note for me.

This is the week that the GOP’s token gay man has been ousted from his lofty position. He used to be a senior editor at Breitbart… but in all honesty, I can’t feel too bad for him. He is, after all, a racist, xenophobic, transmisogynistic douche. I’m almost 100% sure that he hated himself.  But more than anything, he’s a troll. With a video that’s been bouncing around there, he lost his book deal, speaking at a conservative convention, and his livelihood.

So, how, pray tell, did he manage this?

By simply going on a syndicated radio talk show and sounding like a spokesperson for NAMBLA spokesman.

So, how did this all come about?

Well he said that every 13-year-old boy should be allowed to have a sexual relationship with older men. Now, keep in mind, this conversation happened on national, syndicated radio. When he was pressed to explain, he doubled down on his pedophilia comment. He didn’t roll it back, or qualify it.

So, what does this have to do with yours truly?

He engaged in an oral sex relationship at the age of thirteen (as many of you know, that’s how I was raped at the age of thirteen).

So, I might just be a wee bit sensitive about that. Because of that one moment, I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the same person until I was sixteen and intentionally fell off his radar. (For those playing along, that would be until just about my senior year of high school.)

So, before I continue this conversation, I feel like I should explain the differences between my situation and why that matters.

I was raped. After I was raped, my rapist decided that he would use his leverage to get laid whenever he wanted because I wasn’t sure if he would kill me or hurt me again. This persisted for almost 4 years.

This is different because there was no consent (legally or otherwise) … and it persisted, much to my personal shame and emotional pain. While he was older than me, I don’t think it would have been considered pedophilia until he finally turned 18, and I was 15/16-years-old… and even then, it’s iffy. It becomes more like statutory rape…

Regardless, this is important to what happened and how we can watch as the mighty garrote themselves.

So, why does this matter now, especially with Komrad Pussygrabber in office?

Simply this, we now know how low the GOP had fallen. There are any number of things that this person is guilty of, all which progressives are willing to call them out on. But for conservatives, pedophilia is a bridge too far.

We live in a topsy-turvy world these days. Things that should be beyond the pale are now ok (neo-Nazis, anti-Semitism, transmisogyny). Where do we draw that line? We know where the GOP does. What about the rest of us?

NAMBLA

Milo might have also approved of this poster… no really, enjoy the irony of this poster.

 

A Life Update

give-me-money

Snoopy hopes for what all of us writers do. Image by Charles Schulz

It’s still been some time since I’ve been back here writing… and it’s something that I admit I haven’t been doing as well as I might. There are many reasons why I haven’t written all that much. My stress had been through the roof. And a large part of it for a long time was a dissolution of a relationship… and many things about that relationship specifically. Now that is done and I’ve done some work on building myself back up, that seems to be waning… even the stress to find a second part-time job.

I’ve also had a health issue. I am one week away from my final oral surgery to take care of dental issues. While I’m glad that it’s almost done, there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding it as well. And, even bigger, a lot of pain. Concentration has been difficult at best. I’m still dealing with the pain from my teeth which should hopefully be finished soon. Tooth pain sucks.

I also had to take a moment to look at myself. I had to admit that I was my own worst enemy when it comes to me not writing. Between my disappointment with people and dealing with a lot of personal demons that came out on Thanksgiving and knowing that no matter what, I don’t think I’ll ever really be excepted by my own family. I’ve tried so hard my whole life to be accepted by them. I guess I need to accept that they don’t necessarily care about who I am. That my sexuality and my gender identity doesn’t mean all that much to them.

That’s been the hardest part to accept. So, what do I do now?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Mostly, I’m going to keep on writing. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned recently, it’s that writing is probably the most important thing to me. I need to create worlds and stories. I need to create characters and watch them grow as the words continue to flow from my fingers. Not writing hasn’t been helpful to me. Writing is such a huge part of myself, so I need to do more of it.

After I recuperate from my surgery next week, I’ll attempt to write here at least once a week. I’ll also keep working on my screenplays and other writing. I have a new story that I’m still working on the beginning of. I will continue to work on that story that I posted the beginning of here. I’m going to keep on writing. Right now, that’s mostly what I have. I’ll have to figure everything else out, but for right now, I’m going to keep writing.

Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

animepaper-netwallpaper-standard-anime-yami-no-matsuei-bittersweet-reminder-193084-saiyagok-preview-168ae928

This year has been fairly brutal so far. If there’s one thing that I could say that this year has had more than anything else, it’s definitely hurt. It’s something that I’ve once again become intimately aware of. Of course, it’s not by my own choice. I had to deal with things that I find unacceptable, period. I don’t do lying and I don’t do deception.

All of that, of course, hits on other buttons that are from incredibly bad parts of my life, including the feeling that I’m not worthy enough for anyone to really want to be with me. That everyone will just leave me. This is a running theme in my life. Not surprisingly, this hits on some pretty deep-seated pain. So, I’m still working through that.

For the most part, I’m generally OK. I can typically handle things. But then I have this thing that I call brain chatter. This is the negative voice telling me how horrible a person I am. That no one really wants to be around me because not even my parents really wanted to be. While I know that there is no validity to what’s being said (at least as far as right now is concerned), it is still hard to trudge through on a daily basis. I try to ignore it, but sometimes it just won’t disappear.

More than anything right now, I want to hurt to be gone. I want to be able to enjoy what I do have right now… and I have some pretty awesome things right now. I want that tinge of sadness to be gone. I don’t need it in my life. And while I could have probably prevented it and been passed it, that’s not what happened. And while I could what if things to death, I don’t think that’s going to really help anything.

I just need to process all the hurt and pain. Then I need to really accept the things that are in my life now. Accept things as they are and not some silly schoolgirl ideal. I know it’s going to take some time. I’ll get there. I’m hoping that I can process this all out soon.

I’m pretty done with the hurt.

in-love-with-death

I don’t know why I’m writing this… I’m not sure how much stock I put into things manifesting itself because I’m asking for it. I don’t know if it’s happened in my life. But I’m feeling at a loss as a whole lately, so I’m grasping on to whatever straws I can.

Dear Universe or whatever benevolent spirit is out there,

I need to ask for something. This isn’t something I normally do, but I’m trying new things. It’s starting to seem to me that work alone doesn’t always net the response one would think it does. That’s not to say that I’m going to stop any work that I’m doing. It’s simply saying that with my work, I’m going to try this manifesting thing. I don’t want something that is just handed to me.

First thing, I’m going to keep working on my issues with depression and anxiety… but most importantly depression. I’ve been trying to work past this. Granted it has been greatly exacerbated as of a month ago. I understand that depression tends to be more of an ebb and flow… and I’m thinking that it’s ebbing. I would like the flow to be a bit longer.

Secondly, I want to write for a living. I want a job that makes me soul sing every morning. I want to wake up and sit at my computer and do what I love so much. I don’t mind starting with an internship and moving up… I just want to write.

Thirdly, NO MORE ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS IN MY LIFE, PERIOD. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. I’m tired of being consistently treated like shit. It might have taken me far too many years to be able to admit this, but I don’t deserve this shit. I don’t. I deserve partners who love and respect me. Thankfully, that’s what I have now.

Finally, I need more patience. This is something I’ve mentioned before… and mostly ad nauseam, I know. This time I’m not referring to circumstances. This time, I need more patience with people. I need to learn that things can take time, and that’s OK… especially when it comes to partners and other people in general. I also need the patience to realize that not everyone is going to be on the same track as I… and that’s OK. More importantly, I have to allow time to flow and let relationships find where they’re supposed to be. This is hard for me, but this is something that I need to find peace with. It feels like things are starting to find where they are supposed to be, I just need to wait.\

These are the things I want to manifest in my life, but not necessarily in this precise order. (No, really, I would really love the job thing to happen first.) So, I guess now we wait, right? OK… totally working on that final part again. Time to practice my patience.