Isn’t it a funny thing?

 

Isn’t it a funny thing? I have cPTSD. For those of you out there who don’t know what that is, it stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What does that mean?

Simple.
It means that, like anyone who acquires PTSD after an event, their anxiety focuses on that particular incident. That’s where your trauma lies.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a result of multiple events, multiple angles, from which ‘trauma’ was introduced over a set of time.
At least that’s how I think it works, but don’t trust me too much. I’m stoned.
It’ll be twenty years since I left the military, pretty soon which, oddly enough, didn’t hurt me one bit. Not one IOTA. Sure, it was stressful during basic and irksome during most days, and sometimes really nerve-wracking during a deployment, but all in all. I loved it because I loved my platoon. Donovan, Winton, Griess, MOrgan etc….and I learned how to break loose and have fun.
No, my life before the military was pretty fucking awful. I was made fun of because of my voice or the way that I talked. I was bullied in school. I was heavy. I had bad acne. and was an easy target for people. (Angle 1)

I grew up in Southwest Detroit and stayed there for twenty years. In that arena I saw, shootouts (one my grandmother WALKED THROUGH and wasn’t hit – I got to see that), firebombing, gang fights ( I can still flash most of their signs), gang intimidation for wearing the wrong colors, because you walked alone because the day ended in fucking -y.

We’d lost teachers to gun violence, we’d hear about friends getting jumped, drugs were FUCKING EVERYWHERE (my cousin died of a heroin overdose on the eve of my 18th birthday. That’s fun, right?). There were all kinds of crazy shit happening – all the time – outside my door.

Inside my door, well, some people got religion and I mean not one of those benign ones where they ‘ommm’ and hold hands singing praise and worship songs (not that I blame them, you’ve heard one, you’ve heard em all) and bake sales.

I’m talking hardcore, Bible study, three nights a week, except for Revivals where it was 1893 times a week. I’m talking dogma from the backwoods of nowhere, preached by sweat, heavy, angry, little king wanna be’s talking about submitting children and women over to the man. BReaking the will of a willful child (breaking the child’s body mind and spirit is what it should be called), rape culture, ignorance culture (these people are …hoooly shiiiit…dum..I mean, just shit), racist, just a mess on top of Jesus’ love, right?

And when it came to that breaking the will shit, they tried. Hard. But it’s funny, kids will don’t break. Their mind’s do.

But whatever.

Anyway, add that bullshit in with a healthy dose of whatever everyone else goes through, shake it up, add some self-image issues, sexuality questioning issues, and religious issues for obvious reasons) shake well, and serve over ice and you get – me. OH! and I’m gay so throw an umbrella in that mess, honey. Cause holy shit.

For years following all that- I did stuff to myself because at Riley and everywhere else I slept my way through, it wasn’t Detroit. I wasn’t in my situation anymore and there was this huge chasm of blankness and darkness and void that I HAD TO FILL to feel normal. I couldn’t ‘do’ happy and i couldn’t ‘do’ love because I was neither happy for myself nor in love with myself (to a healthy degree).

So, I was cavalier with my person. There was a lot of booze, there was a lot of drama, there were a lot of names I wouldn’t know if they walked up and tried to shake my hand. And it was all just ground into me, all buried by that sandaled foot at the beach, and they dug and dug and dug their way in until. literally, the trauma began to reshape my person. My brain. My DNA. My psyche. My future.
For ten years after that, I battled myself. Good times. Bad times. Sometimes Pretzels and Beer (Thank you Sondheim (told you I was gay)). Fleeing from place to place, running, drinking, fucking…running. I was the king of it. Too stressed out? Ditch class. Too frazzled. Ditch school. Too forgotten about – forget yourself.

But then I met an amazing man. One. And ten years later, he’s taught me things, brought me things, fought with me through a lot of things, loved me, forgave me, and loved me again – I was able to BEGIN to recover. Which means, I had the space in which to fall the fuck apart. I mean, come un the fuck done – all over the place. Finally, crash.
When THAT hits, it’s like a brick wall and your favorite car just kissed. MWAH! Time for some sad singin’ and flowerbringing cause you’re toast.
Done. And all your before then, hopes and dreams and goals in life are shattered along that wall.

But then you get the option to start over. Again. But this time, the foundation is finally, FINALLY! becomes solid enough to stand on with confidence and not trepidation. There’s a new reality, born. One of curiosity, and wonder, and fear – there’s fear too because I am asking myself life questions children ask themselves. Who is God? What is love? Where is home? when they look into the night sky.

I wanted to be a lawyer. I thought I’d be good at it. I got A’s in Dr. Davis’ classes (the B’s and C’s conspired against me) so I didn’t get it as a final grade but dammit. I have the email she sent me over my paper turned in IN MY STUFF! Fucking Oscar AWard – she’s tough, man. But I loved it! Constitutional Law is SEXY. So is History, I rocked that shit hard, too.
What was I saying?

Yup. Shit changes when who and what you were is no longer a viable mode of transportation. This analogy is very – in the physical sense with visualizations of crashing cars, but transpose it on spiritual because you know that’s what I mean. I think)

But this time I get to pick the color, and the style, and the interior of the car myself This new car (again with the fucking cars, if you doubt I’m an American I’m sure that’s died by now) from the ground up. And I’ve been extremely successful with the help of my husband and that foundation I had been given space enough to create.

But I said ALLL that to say this, oh yeah, fuck I lost it again.
That’s right. Sometimes, even now, when things are SOOO Much better – there are bad moments. Anxiety. Depression. Anger in those spaces at times, and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to take your Ativan. Sometimes you need that cigarette. Sometimes, like me, pot.

But it’s funny. Do not DO NOT minimize people’s pasts. Here I am, eight books, two houses, student loan debt, and credit card debt better (worse? fuck me, those interest rates) still having moments….some better than others, some worse they catch us by surprise.

But you’re still here. I’m still here. Strong-willed. Strong bodied. Strong loved. Holy because I found God THERE. in me.
…and these fucking Cheetos are amazing!

Isn’t that a funny thing?

Anxiety Author

nik-shuliahin-251237

unsplash-logoNik Shuliahin

Living with anxiety is like living with a ghost who, on occasion, like’s to pop out of the closet, from behind the door, or behind a shower curtain.
Yes, that’s exactly what it’s been like for the past three months.
The first attack was bad. The second was worse. The third was a little more expected but having one makes you feel like you’re dying.
Your body is screaming at you that something is wrong.
You feel terribly light headed, you shake, your body feels off and you feel like you’re in another world.
Sometimes it gradually comes on, sometimes it hits you like a freight train after you get off an elliptical machine.

After several trips to the E.R., an EKG machine, and a CT scan to make sure that I was having neither a heart attack or a stroke, I was given medicine for it.

I let the medicine run out because I thought I was too much of a man to need it.

I regret that decision as of late as they’ve returned. My therapists have talked me through how to bring myself down off of one, and those techniques are somewhat effective. The key is to try like hell not to give into the fear.

But it’s lonely as hell.

I haven’t been able to work very much since all this started. I’ve been silent on social media (for the most part and probably to the pleasure of some folk) as an attack can eat up an entire day.

I will be going back to the doctor and will be getting back on medicine for this. White knuckling your way through something like this isn’t healthy long term. While there’s nothing wrong with your organs, yet, a constantly elevated blood pressure can cause injuries and lasting medical issues later on.

I don’t want that.

I’ll be going through the blahs again once I am medicated. Contemplating cracks in the wall and dealing with nausea as my body adjusts to the chemicals I am putting in me.

Meanwhile, I’ve been drinking warm milk and working out on my machine. I’ve gained some weight, enough to stretch my buttons on my pants to the breaking point, but I think it’s because I’m building muscle underneath my insulation. But slowly, and surely, I’ll work on getting both my body and mind back under control.

There have been a lot of friends who’ve helped me out – who’ve talked me off the ledge. They’ve assured me in the throes of the panic that I am not dying and the doctors I’ve been to aren’t crazy. To them, I say thank you.

I do, however, have a greater appreciation for mental illness. I really appreciate and am humbled by this mess going on right now and could only imagine what someone with a more powerful illness must go through. When your mind speaks, it demands that you listen, and that gray matter is a powerful and very loud instrument.

I know often times I am not the most diplomatic person, sometimes to the detriment of popularity, but as a mental health advocate, especially my brothers and sisters in arms who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries – I am pretty much ready to become even less so.

Mental health should not be put into the shadows, I agree. But it shouldn’t be brought out into the light and treated as a trope or a money maker. It should be respected as the diseases of the mind are extremely powerful. They hurt in ways that are impossible to explain. Depression, S.A.D., Cyclical Dysthymia, Eating Disorders, Panic Disorders, G.A.D, Borderline Personalities, Bi-polar Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Schizophrenia are just a few of the many issues that American’s have.

There’s an entire doorstopper of a book called a D.S.M (it’s up to volume 5 now) that psychologists and Psychiatrists use to treat and diagnose these maladies. Psychopharmacology that is used to treat these and many other illnesses often times makes the treated physically ill. Personally, they made me weepy, tired, they gave me diarrhea, dry mouth, and made me very tired. There were zaps in my head that would make me feel scared and it takes up to a month to get into your system and become therapeutic. In the interim, the patient takes benzo’s (a highly addictive fast-acting medicine) to calm down should a panic attack happen.

Googling your symptoms is a double edge sword. BEcause according to WebMD you could have a panic disorder, or you could be dying of cancer. But that’s always their second choice, even if you stub your toe. You could ice it, or try chemotherapy. However, also thanks to Google, there are a lot of forums and support groups that pretty much list every symptom you possibly could have and there’s something to the knowledge that what I am going through isn’t unusual for my condition.

I mouthed off about a book recently that had some controversial topics about it. I don’t apologize for that, especially now that I am going through this. But I will apologize to anyone who reads this about not listening to other’s when they said that some of the things being written were hurtful. I brushed them aside. I now know what it’s like to feel invisible, to not be heard, to be sitting next to my husband who’s laughing at a television program while I sit on the opposite side of the couch trying to catch my breath. It’s not fun. It’s not something that should be brushed aside.

Hurting someone whether intentionally or unintentionally isn’t funny. Making a buck off of someone else’s misery is …well, I promised myself I wouldn’t cuss about this…fucked up! (sorry, I didn’t make it) If you’re going to get into an issue, I would encourage you to get into it. Learn something, teach something, elevate the conversation into something that can educate the world. If you don’t feel like you can, then don’t. Let someone else do it.

Meanwhile, I will continue drinking my warm milk. Exercising. And keeping my breath Trying to get my head back on right. In the interim, consider me batshit crazy – but that’s always been the case.