Oh, Life is a Struggle

So I’m going on my first month in a massive PTSD episode. We’re talking full on trigger mode. There are times in my life the trauma surfaces so severely that my mental health goes into system failure mode. I’m not talking about your typical depressive episode. It’s the kind of episode where you feel like you are losing your mind. It’s one thing to feel down about life and everything you see is darkness but another thing when you feel like you’re drifting into madness and everything is out of control. Regular episodes I can usually work my way through within weeks, sometimes days. Episodes like this one can last months if not over a year. In the past, they have led to multiple hospitalizations and I fear that is where I’m heading.

Most people won’t understand any of this. I’m speaking a different language than them. They just see someone constantly complaining, aka always being negative. If you think I’m being negative you should get inside my head and you will see the real negative. It’s a dark pit of loneliness, regret and sorrow. It’s like constantly gasping for air. There is no water but you’re drowning in misery. That’s what I am currently feeling. It’s like the atomic bomb of panic attacks. It’s non-stop. It just goes on and on. I will have a few days where I feel like I’m going to die, then I start to feel a little bit better for a day or so. The depression, anxiety and paranoia aren’t far away. The past month they continue to follow me and possess my body. I can’t help the triggers. That’s the problem when I have this type of massive PTSD episode. Not only am I flooded with emotion and pain but I’m forced to relive the trauma through flashbacks. I can’t get away from it.

Now it’s followed me into my dreams. For weeks I have been having these horrible dreams about real pain, fears and insecurities that have occured. The cast of characters are always the people in my life. I don’t dream about past actions. Instead I dream of new scenarios where I experience the same pain behind the actions. Like for example my Mom dying. Many nights my dreams are about her dying in new ways. Last night I dreamed that both my Mom and Dad were murdered on a family vacation to Walt Disney World. In High School my parents (when they were still together) took my sister and I to Disney. It was the greatest memory I have of us as a family. Pure happiness, joy and fun. In my nightmare that trip turned into a horror story where my parents disappeared while we were down there. In the dream, I’m desperately searching for my parents and trying to find my sister. I don’t realize that they’ve already been murdered. I’m also there with a boyfriend, who ends up leaving me during this situation. He just used me to get a trip to Walt Disney World. So imagine waking up from that dream today???? I woke up disoriented feeling like the world was coming to an end. I felt like my Mom died all over again. My dreams took one of the few happy memories of my childhood and destroyed them.

In regular ptsd episodes I never really feel like I’m losing my mind, as they’re not really based in major traumas. Usually they are environmental based like not getting out of the house. At first I was handling the dreams but they’ve been non-stop. One night I woke up every couple of hours. Everytime I fell back asleep the same nightmare started again. It was like someone was had put pause on my nightmare. When you tell people that you’re having bad dreams most people relate to it but I’m not talking about your typical dreams. These are like night terrors. I wake up feeling like I’ve been shaken or hit by a cement truck. I woke up at 5pm and I’m still feeling shaky at 3am. The first two hours were hell. I get in this paranoid state where everything is off, like I’m drugged. I’m frightened by everything. I went out to my park for a Pokemon Go raid and that was very problematic. It’s like being a lost child looking for his Mommy. It’s that feeling when I go out into the real world when I’m triggered. Everyone is a stranger, including friends and family. I had a good friend at this raid and even he I couldn’t trust. I describe this as friends and family becomes strangers, and strangers become enemies. You can’t trust anyone. Everyone is out against you. It’s like coming out of a sensory deprivation tank, that you have be trapped in for years. Everything is hazy. You lose all sight of your senses. Lights are too brilliant and sounds too piercing. Your skin crawls and you walk on pins and needles. Now you might be understanding why I feel like I’m losing my mind.

If it was just one trauma or emotion then I might could adjust but I’m being hit with everything at once. It’s like a family reunion of pain, trauma, rejection, loss and sorrow. On top of this all I’m coming upon the sixth anniversary of my Mom dying, which is one big factor in why I’m so triggered. So not only am I having to deal with the grief but I’m also reliving the other traumas in my life like the sexual abuse when I was ten. As well as the emotional abuse my father and many other rejections in my life. So think of all the bad things that have ever happened to you. Imagine having to relive them over and over for a month or longer. Most couldn’t handle a week. There were four big traumas in my life altered who I am. First the sexual abuse. I don’t need to explain that one. Then it was when my father left my Mom when I was in Middle School. That was when the emotional abuse started with my father. It’s when I started to hide in my bed out of fear and safety. The third trauma was coming out when I was eighteen, which were also related to the first two traumas. My father was extremely emotionally abusive. Even my Mom, who’d always been my protector, turned against me. The final major trauma was when my Mom died in 2012. In between those four big events were other traumas usually stemming from one of those traumas like getting in an abusive relationship. The smaller traumas would just reinjury me in the same ways. They reinforced the damage and negative view of myself.

I already was in a trigger from the sexual abuse, which started when the me too movement started last year. I have been working on those issues with my therapist. I had started to talk about the core of that trauma, which I haven’t done in over ten years. Then I had the whole living in a homeless shelter experience, which was one of the minor traumas. Finally what really opened pandora’s box was the lunch I had with my Grandmother a month ago where she shamed me for not having a relationship with my abusive, toxic father. She pushed every hurtful button there was. It’s like she dove a dagger into my heart and kept digging. No matter what my father did or said was justification for not having him in my life. That was the past. I needed to forgive and forget like my father told me many years ago when he found out that my cousin molested me. He said that the day after he found out, when I got upset that he went hunting with my cousin. It didn’t matter, it was of great shame to the family that I was acting like I did. Especially being a fucked up human being. I was told that I wasn’t an inspiration. She took a weedwacker to my soul and I have been struggling ever since. It brought up every wound I had. Especially the ones where I started to believe that I deserved the pain and that I deserved to be treated that way. So of course, I’m starting to think of trying to have a relationship with my Dad because I deserve the abuse. These are the things going through my head right now. Did I mention I had a dream where I was forced into a sexual experience by him????

So yeah my brain is a bit scrambled right now and I’m trying to hold on the best I can. I have virtually no one to turn to. Thankfully I have made a couple of friends playing pokemon but I can’t turn to them in this way. I have no one checking up on me. I’m not on anyone’s radar. People see my cries on Facebook and all they see is noise. The only family I have left is my sister and she’s in her own hell currently. That’s what makes this whole episode horrible, is that I don’t have my Mom to turn to for comfort. I see children with their Mom’s and it kills me. What I wouldn’t do to be able to see her in person and get a hugg from her but that will never happen again, at least not in this lifetime. So I must learn to suffer alone. If it wasn’t for Pokemon Go I would go weeks without seeing anyone, other than my therapist and my neighbors who I just see in passing. I had started going to a transgender support group monthly and even this month’s meeting triggered me so nowhere is safe.

My triggers are creeping into every aspect of my life and they’re affecting me deeply. Nowhere is safe, not even my dreams. I’m living in my own world war. Will this be the day when the monsters come knocking at my door. I’m doing all I can to cope with this all. I’m sticking with therapy, even when I don’t want to go. I continue to talk about the things I don’t want to but the pain is endless and there is no relief. The trauma and feelings from that trauma have me in this torture chamber. It’s using my new awareness against me. They know that my wounds are wide open and they can push their pointy little fingers into the flesh of my gaping wounds. The beast uses its claws to tear through my wounds, like nails on a chalkboard. There is no pain killers to dull this level of torturous pain.

I just wish others would acknowledge the pain and not try to cover it up or pretend it’s not there. I gotta get through this. There is no easy fix. Taking a hot bath won’t solve this problem, nor will any amount of positivity. The one person who would check up on me is dead. I have no one looking out for me. I don’t really even have anyone to be around, especially on a regular basis. I go days without seeing anyone. I am locked in my solitude. Lately I don’t even want to be in my apartment. Right now it’s just a bedroom. I don’t have a couch. I have nowhere to relax. I have a tv and no way to watch anything on it. So right I just see an empty space, where I’m left to deal with all this pain and trauma.

I just wonder when things will ever change. I sure want them too. I hope I’m really at the core of my problems. Maybe that’s why I’m struggling so. I just worry that it will get so severe that the pain will take me over completely. Right now I have the sense to be able to write it all out in this post but tomorrow could be differently. My life is in turmoil right now and that’s not on anyone’s radar. I’m dying inside and no one is invested enough in me to know this. The clues are all over my Facebook and after a while people just unfollow and tune you out. You become apart of the fake news on Facebook.

My father use to tell me (over and over) that I was going to Hell. He was lying, I was already there. Ever since I have been desperately trying to get out of it. I’m locked inside my own misery and I haven’t found a way to escape. Every door I open leads me back to that room, where the pain lives. That is where I’m at today. I keep fighting and pushing through. I keep trying but I’m so tired and so lonely. I just want people to be around. I want people to care that I’m dying inside.

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The Quantum Leap of PTSD

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So I’m in the second week of my PTSD episode or what I call a bubble… more like a force field. One thing I learned very early on was how to dissociate to keep myself safe. There were two significant events in my childhood where I first learned to dissociate. The first started when I was sexually abused at the age of ten. I learned then that my bed and pillow were the passageway to another dimension. They became my magic carpet into the night sky. The second was a few years later when my parents had separated and my father would come over enraged, threatening my mother harm and trying to knock down the door. Both these instances I tried to float away from the scary and traumatic event that I couldn’t stop. I was scared and alone, so naturally I chose the only way possible and that was to hide. Float away from my body so that I didn’t have to endure the pain.

Once I learned the dissociative trick I started to use it as a coping mechanism, especially when trying to deal with any of the past trauma. It was my escape plan and I used it often in my adult life. Often times I had no control over it. Like a switch it would quickly get switched on and I would float away. My bedroom became this safety zone. It was like this teleportation device kind of like my own Tardis. Though I don’t need to be in my bed to dissociate. It’s just home base for me. No matter how scary and painful my life was I knew that I had my room to escape to. This was true when I came out in 1995. My parents didn’t understand being gay and they tried to change me. As a result it caused even more trauma and it confirmed to me that the only way to cope from traumatic events was to check out of my body by dissociating.

There are times when my dissociation is brief. If I can notice that I’m starting to float away then that helps lessen the time it takes to get back, though that’s not always the case. If it’s an environmental trigger then I usually can just leave the situation. Though a lot of times it will set off further triggers, making it a nasty cycle to overcome.¬† If you are near me when I start to dissociate it’s pretty obvious. It’s like the air is being sucked out of me and I start to deflate. I go inward like I’m ready to ready to go into a cocoon. This was obvious a few weeks ago during a support group where we had a man come into our safe space and use it for his own motives. I could feel myself float away because I couldn’t handle the situation. Listening to him lecture us was just too much to take and it reminded me of too much of my past with my family. I couldn’t find a way to deflate the situation so the only choice I had was to dissociate. My two options were to confront the man or to leave. Either choices could have put me in harms way of being assaulted. I didn’t know how to handle the situation and worried about him invading my own personal space so away I went on my magic carpet.

The problem with that situation is that I had already started to dissociate prior to that night. So my magic carpet was ready to go to it’s final descent. Once I completely check out then it’s very difficult to get back to my body. It can take months and in the past it has lead to hospitalizations. To cope I take the magic carpet so far away that I get stuck in this void of nothingness. It’s a very scary place to be. It’s like you split in two. I can feel my body but everything else is far away. The whole out of body experience is like watching a movie. I can see and hear everything around me but I can’t really change what I see. I just have to wait until the movie is over. Being out in public like this is very startling. You have this sense of paranoia. It feels like the world is going to end. Everything is dark and scary. Physically I am drained and can feel every move I make. I really feel my weight like this. When I discoatiate my healthy parts go far away, leaving the unhealthy ones to roam free. They take full advantage of being alone and they use my mind as their own playground. Every insecurity and bad thought is pounded in my brain with a sledgehammer. I feel like I’m dying.

Today I had to leave the house for an errand and I didn’t want to leave. The world outside of my apartment is a very dangerous place right now. My friends and family have become strangers, and strangers are now predators. I can’t trust everyone. Everything is in fast forward, while I’m in slow motion. It’s tough to navigate like this but I do the best I can. When my errand was done I wanted to get back home. I couldn’t take the outside anymore. I started to panic as I knew it’d be at least an hour with public transportation. I would have done anything to been able to physically teleport out of there. Unfortunately my magic carpet doesn’t take my actual body. I could feel my anxiety rise as I got closer to home. The closer I got the more it felt like I would fail. Finally I did get home and I was safe again. I laid down and slept for three hours.

The process of returning my body is a slow task. Each day I get closer and there are setbacks. I will get triggered by something and start to float away again. I take two steps forward and one step back. The returning to my body aspect of it is when I feel my physicalness pretty dramatically. It’s why today on the bus it felt like I was going to die. It’s not a natural process to return. It’s a shock to my system. Once the two parts start to unite I can feel everything. The darkness starts to turn to grey but I can still see the darkness in a distance. It’s strange to be able to feel both sides, the good and bad. My mind feels better but my body and spirit don’t right away. I’m less weighted down and start to venture out more. I have to force myself to do things. Though there are things too far out of my comfort zone, like having cavities filled by my dentist. Having any sort of appointment during this period is problematic and often times I cancel like I did today. In my mind, I already have an exit strategy just in case. I go from wanting to go to therapy to not wanting to at all. In the past I would cancel therapy but this time it’s different. I have enough control of my healthy side that I know that I need it more than ever. I don’t want to talk about the pain and struggles but I do anyways. This last session I kept wanting to bolt out of the room. Talking about my problems will only bring me closer to my body and the unhealthy parts will do whatever necessary to stop that transition.

Deep inside of me is that scared little boy I use to be. I wasn’t allowed to heal or process things properly so I locked him far away, where no one could hurt him. I piled trash up on trash on top of him to disguise his location. Now as an adult I’m starting to finally heal. I’m having to pick up the trash, one piece of time. I’m closer to him than I have ever been. I’m in the house where he is at but there is still something blocking my way to his bedroom. It’s like in Harry Potter when Fluffy is blocking my bedroom door. If you’ve not seen the movie or read the books it’s a three headed gigantic dog that is foaming at the mouth and ready to eat anyone who tries to get through the door. That is what I’m up against and I’m still figuring the best way in.

I hope that this might be my last leap but history tells me that it might not be. I’m tired of enduring this process. I hope that as I start to properly heal that it will become easier to identify and control the dissociation. That means dealing with a lot of pain and trauma. I have to feel those horrible feelings that I couldn’t cope with so many years ago. I can’t run anymore. So I must deal with them as they come.

I Left My Cake Out in the Rain

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So I have not been leaving the house much lately, which is fairly common when I’m this depressed. Everything is a chore. I become like a hermit. I spend a lot of time in bed. It’s one of the only comforts in this dark time. I attempted to go out earlier to play Pokemon Go but I have been having issues in the service so that didn’t go very well. I couldn’t get the game to work and missed out on a raid with a bunch of people. So quickly I retreated back into the comforts of my dark apartment and slept for a few hours. Honestly I have spent most of today in bed.

My anxiety is on high alert. Everything is getting on my nerves, especially people. That contributes to not wanting to leave either. I become a energy sponge and I soak up all the negativity out in the world. Usually I’m good at controlling that but not when I’m this depressed. I’m not a violent or aggressive person but it makes me want to punch people in the throat. That’s how irritated I get.

I really want a new cell phone but can’t afford one. I know many people think playing Pokemon Go is silly but I really enjoy playing it. It gets me out of the house and keeps me moving. It’s the one joy I have right now and even that is struggling. Depression zaps all the joy out of everything. Even so I still play the game this depressed but today I haven’t be able to because of the issues with my phone. It’s also frustrating because it limits me on everything from tracking my calories and steps, to keeping appointments and having medicine reminders. I can’t do that with my current phone. It overheats just playing the game for five minutes. I think the most frustrating thing is not being able to afford a nicer phone. The current situation I’m in I can’t work because I’m going for SSI disability. I get very little for state disability. So I can’t afford big ticket items like a phone or a new tv for my place. It’s just a reminder of the shape I’m in and that makes me feel less.

I woke up around 10pm and I was frustrated that I couldn’t play the game. You can send gifts daily to your friends and to get them you must spin these wheels at various spots around you. I felt bad that I couldn’t send to my friends who did already so I decided to go out again to try wifi once more, even though the attempt earlier was a failure. It was pouring out, which was rather appropriate for how I was feeling. Again the wifi wasn’t working, as it was too far away. So I decided to walk to the library up the street to see if their wifi was working and it did. I was able to play the game a bit and send out gifts to my friends, that made me feel good. By the time I got back to my apartment I was soaked but I was glad to have went outside. I have always loved the rain and it was therapeutic to let it drench me.

I’m feeling better but I’m suspect of that because that’s usually how it goes. I get a few bursts of feeling good then I’m back to feeling horrible. That’s the struggle when you open pandora’s box. You just can’t force that energy back into the box. The cat is out of the bag and you must endure the pain that comes out of it. So you do what you can. In many areas I’m not doing what I should. I’m forgetting to take my medicine when I should. I’m drinking Pepsi like a fish. I’m isolating. But I’m also brushing my teeth daily. I took a shower before leaving the house. I even put on clean clothes, well my shorts. I left the house twice today. I have therapy tomorrow and I scheduled a ride to make sure I go. I have been writing in my blog regularly. So you take your positives when you can get them and hope that you’ll get back on track sooner than later.

Pitch Black, No Light in Sight

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So I’m in the deep pits of depression hell. I haven’t felt like this in a while and it’s unsettling. Words can’t describe how horrible this feels to be this depressed. Everything you see is pitch black, with no light. This isn’t just another depressive episode as it’s connected to something deep and painful.

I had to force myself out of the apartment today. I didn’t want to leave the darkness but I did anyways. I even brushed my teeth. If it wasn’t for Pokemon Go I probably wouldn’t have left. There was a challenge that gave a dragon Pokemon, that’s rare. So I ventured out into the light. I already am noticing changes in my mobility. I’m back to it hurting to walk, though it’s not as bad as before. I get to downtown and my phone starts to act up. I realize that my data plan had lapsed and it meant a wasted trip downtown. I tried to use WIFI but the phone I have is horrible. Even when I have data it doesn’t always work well. I was able to get wifi to work to get the challenge but wasn’t able to do anything else.

I’ve been compulsively eating, which is something I haven’t done in a long while. It’s part of why I feel so low. I have been beating myself up for falling back to my old ways of drinking Pepsi. I’m having mobility issues again and so far it’s not been enough to stop drinking Pepsi. Yesterday I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and I was determined to stop drinking Pepsi. Well that was until I got frustrated by not being able to play Pokemon Go downtown and all I wanted to do was pig out. It’s all I could think about. Screw it if I couldn’t walk and play Pokemon Go then I was going to numb out my bad feelings with junk food. So I went to the Dollar General and got twenty dollars worth of junk food.

As I was walking home I had very obsessively, loud thoughts. I repeated out loud that I was a loser, among other things. Deep inside I feel completely worthless. I still have parts of me who believe that not to be true but it’s fading away. I’m trapped in this trigger and have yet to find my way out. It’s like walking in a maze in the darkest of nights. All you can feel is dead space.

For me, there are various stages of my depression. There is the typical generalized depression. It’s low grade and manageable. Then there’s a more situational depression that’s caused by my environment or situation. It’s more moderate and can dip into severe depending on how stressful the situation is. Finally there is the depression episode that I am currently in that is triggered by something painful (usually the emotional or sexual abuse) in the past. It’s severe and crippling. While the first two stages I can get through in a couple of weeks the latter stage can take months to find the exit. It affects every aspect of my life. It’s like walking through the muck in fog as thick as pea soup. You’re lethargic and have no energy. It sucks the life out of you and everything you enjoy. I’m struggling to find joy in Pokemon even.

This stage of depression I start to pull away from everything. I don’t want to do anything including going to therapy or take my meds. Everything becomes a chore and it’s easy to lose track of time. I sleep a lot. I go to bed really late. My bed becomes a safe zone and stepping off that cloud is like walking through lava. Once I’m triggered I become vulnerable to any and all pain in the past. A sexual abuse trigger can stir up some other trauma in my life. My dreams have also lately been a cause of discomfort as well. I have been dreaming of situations in the past that have caused insecurity and hurt feelings. Like not getting the part I wanted in a play. Single rejections that don’t seem significant but added together become an avalanche of self doubt and insecurity.

This level of depression has you coming and going. You become paranoid and your mind is taken hostage by the pain. You drift off into comforts that you really shouldn’t be considering like suicide. Sometimes it’s the only relief, knowing that you have that option if it gets too intense. You won’t understand this if you’ve not suffered from depression. For me, it has nothing to do with wanting to die. I just want the pain to end. You just get tired of constantly suffering. People start to get panicky when you start to talk about suicide. Their first thought is to call the police. Why doesn’t anyone ever think about being there for the person. The police should be the last resort. It certainly shouldn’t be the only action. Trust me if I was really suicidal I wouldn’t be talking so openly about this subject. It’s just another stigma that keeps people from getting the help they need. In your mind you think I can’t talk about this or someone will call the police, so you keep it hidden and it only snowballs to the point where you can’t verbalize the pain anymore.

The toughest part of this stage of depression is the isolation and the one struggle with living alone. I have very little interaction with people. I have no one I see regularly, other than the neighbors I walk past. I’m not talking about people to reach out to, which would be nice, but just people to talk about regular stuff with. To get outside of your mind and into the normality of life. The deeper you go into isolation the harder it is to come out of it. I’m on my second week of isolation and I’m starting to crack. You would think I would be on cloud nine having my own place but that’s mental illness for you. I feel very detached right now. I can look at my apartment and see it’s nice but I can’t feel it.

I think what adds to this level of depression is dissociating. It goes hand and hand with PTSD. In the past, I have had to cope with trauma by emotionally leaving the situation. The further I would float away the safer I would be but now the complete detachment just makes me worse as I can still see what’s going on. It’s like watching myself on tv. I see everything that I’m enduring like the overeating but it’s so out of control that I can’t stop it.

So some how, some way I gotta get myself out of this level of depression. I hope I get some relief soon because I really want to get my life back on track. I have come so far and want to start enjoying life. Not be bogged down by the pain of my past and the people who hurt me.

 

Trapped in the Conundrum of Illogical

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As I write this at 3am in the morning I am wondering something… will I ever be free from my pain, struggles, depression, etc. I thought having my own place would be a cure and I couldn’t be more wrong. Maybe this time will be different and I sure hope that is true because I’m getting tired of cycling through this kind of suffering. I don’t want the pain any more. I wish I could rip it out like an unwanted organ.

I know what others will say. That this too will pass and it will but not for long. I can cut out the people who hurt me (my father) and the pain is still there. I want the pain gone too. It keeps repeating me like a constant heartburn. No amount of tums will cure this acid reflux.

Often times I feel like the worlds left me behind. People keep spinning past me and I’m struggling to keep up. It all becomes a blur and I get lost in the shuffle. I’m sure people are tired of my woe is me routine. Trust me I know that I am but these are my feelings. Depression is something that can’t be controlled. Once the cycle starts you must finish the rotation. It’s like getting on the ferris wheel and wanting to get off once your car takes off. You have to wait until the ride is done to get off. I mean you could jump off but that won’t be pretty.

I hate the suffering. Just when I think I’m getting through the deepest part of this depression cycle I’m taken to even lower point. I went outside for a little bit and it felt good but that moment was fleeting. I feel so very alone.

Sure I’m glad to have my own place but this bout of depression has forced me to face the hard reality, that there is no cure for depression. Living with depression is something that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. It’s a burden that I don’t want to bear anymore but what choice do I have. I wish I could make people understand what it’s like to suffer from depression. Words don’t come close to describing the reality. I might as well say blah, blah, blah.

I just want to be free and I wonder if that’s just not meant to be. I know that I don’t deserve the suffering, no one does. That realization doesn’t do anything to calm the storm. I just hate feeling like I’m not in control especially when I’m drinking Pepsi again. I feel like I’m slipping to my old ways and I’m fighting to hold on. I can already start to notice my mobility to suffer. My need to numb is more severe than the physical pain. Why else would I put my body back through this? So this just adds to my depression and misery.

How can you in one moment give in to your urges while fighting them at the same time? I’m drinking Pepsi like crazy but I’m still brushing my teeth every day. I’m even showering regularly but I still feel god awful. It just doesn’t feel like enough, at least not enough to numb it all out. The Pepsi isn’t cutting it, though it does taste delicious but it does in my body.

So this living on my own hasn’t gone as I thought it would and I’m struggling with living alone. I’m here in my apartment alone with my thoughts and it’s scary. Now you might not can understand this. How could he not be happy? If you are questioning my logic then you probably don’t have a mental illness. That is the¬†conundrum of mental illness. You get trapped in the illogical. That’s where I’m at currently. I want to get out of this mess that is my mind. It’s been over a week and I’m still suffering a great deal. I was hoping to have some relief by now. I thought because I was aware of the trigger my symptoms would have lessened but that’s not the case.

My grandmother ripped open this wound and it’s oozing poisonous pus. I feel wide open, exposed. I’m trying to stuff as much gauze in that gaping wound as I can but nothing is stopping the hemorrhaging of blood. Now that’s probably a graphic illustration that you wish you hadn’t been given but imagine being me right now. That’s what I’m enduring. I gotta wait for the poison to run dry and then maybe I can move on. Right now I’m not so sure…

If You Can’t Handle My Struggles, You Don’t Get to Experience my Happiness

If you haven’t been through some sort of trauma or loss it might be hard to imagine what it’s like to be triggered and instantly flashback to that time and place where the pain is at. It cuts deep, right to the core. You lose all sense of reality and are in your own horror story. That’s what it’s like to live with triggers when you have PTSD. Often times the trigger is small and insignificant but other times they are a roar. It’s especially difficult when it comes from another person, one you love. Yesterday was one of those days.

My grandmother probably had no intention of triggering me. She is 92 years old and can’t help it. She’s looking through life with different goggles on. While she’s been through her own struggles and trauma she’s not gone through mine. No one really knows what it’s like to deal with grief, loss and trauma. Each pain is unique and each person just as different at the next.

I love my grandmother with all my heart. I haven’t always made attempts to see her. My mental illness has gotten in my way so many times and my relationships have severely been impacted. In my mind, I have believed I didn’t deserve love. So of course I shut away anyone who tried to love me. Isolation is a game that depression plays on you. You will never win no matter what kind of hand you have. You can have a hand of all aces and still lose in the end.

I have made attempts to be in her life. I get the sense that no matter what certain people in my life will always only see me as who I use to be. They talk to me about moving on from the past but they’re not including themselves and how they see me. It’s taken me 42 years and all my adult life to get to this point where I’m finally embracing the real me. I’m finally healing from all those old wounds. Moving on from the past isn’t something that can be forced, nor is there a time table that others expect you to move forward. When you endure decades of living in the past it’s a tough task to overcome. For me, it took being miserable long enough to start fighting back.

I’m the strongest I have ever been that means dealing with a lot of past trauma. The deepest darkest sorrows. Darkness as pitch black as a night without stars or a moon. The only thing that remains is the pain and rejection. You’ve ripped off the bandaid and you must experience it for the first time in your new healthy state. It hurts like hell and shakes you to the core. I don’t have the luxury of hiding anymore though I try with all my might to do so. No amount of Pepsi or junk food will drown out these tearful cries for help. I must endure them if I’m to move on.

Yesterday was one of those days. I was so happy to get a call from my grandmother, asking me to lunch. She was a comfortable stranger and I was so content to see her again. I have missed so much time with her and others, and now time is ticking against me but the sad reality is you can’t force things. You can try all you want but sometimes people can’t move past from your past deeds. Maybe they think it’s just a rouse.

My grandmother knows what my father did to me and for a time she tried to push a relationship onto me. The typical well he’s your father and you must respect him. Then after years of that she stopped. I thought finally she realized the seriousness of what he did to me. Finally she believed me and validated the pain. For many years she didn’t say a word about it. She would occasionally mention him but it wasn’t anything about me. I would just nod and agree, waiting for the next topic to talk about. I got good at changing the subject.

I’m sure her aging has caused her to go back to the old ways. I’m also sure that she’s had a change of heart due to her own ticking clock. She just wants to see her son and grandchild finally get along. I want that same relationship but it will never happen, at least not in the way I need it too. You can’t make someone love you. I learned that a long time ago. Since my Mom died I have had moments of my own changes of heart but those quickly faded at the realization that nothing has changed with him. He’s still the same person who hurt me so many years ago. He’s still just as fanatical with God.

If I’m to ever make a go at life I have to keep our worlds separate. I use to hate him. That almost destroyed me. I no longer hate anyone who caused great harm to me. People that were suppose to love and protect me but didn’t. I use to take the blame but it never was my fault. While I’m awake now that doesn’t mean that I’m gullible. I’m strong enough to realize that I’m the one that’s changed.

I use to think I was deserving of his pain and rejection. That was my purpose in life. Deep inside I was unlovable. That was the biggest lie of them all and I no longer believe that. He’s not worthy of my tears, nor my happiness and joy. I have earned this peace of mind. I have wasted so much time in pain and suffering, that I refuse to put it at risk. This is my time, my life. I can do whatever I want to. I have spent enough time in my shoes that I know what works and what doesn’t. People might have the best intentions of giving you input and advice as to how you should lead your life but usually it has nothing to do with them. I find it interesting that people who have made NO attempt in helping you heal show up at the end with all their opinions about your life. Those who act like they are concerned for you but are just really judging you.

If people really were concerned for you they would take action with you personally. They would help you find a therapist, maybe even offer to take you. Instead they talk about you to others who know you. All the shoulds and shouldn’ts. The woulda, coulda and shoulda.

I got to this point today, all on my own. I had no one to talk to, other than my therapist. I had no numbers to call in the middle of the night when I felt like I was doing. I did it by myself. I use to think that as a weakness but now I realize it’s strength. I’m the strongest person there is, well one of them.

Many hurtful words were transmitted yesterday and unfortunately some seeped in but not enough to stop the progress I’m making. My heart is guarded now by a secret garden. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m not suffering today because I am but I now realize that this pain will pass. I just must endure it, let the poison run out of my wounds. That is the only way to heal. You can’t stuff the wound expecting it to heal, it will only become infected with disease. So when you finally unearth that wound you must clean it and leave it open to heal. That’s when the real hard work begins.

I’m not going to lie, there is a part of me that wants to do but it’s faint and I’m stronger. So much stronger. I must let go of the need for validation of my pain from other people, especially the ones closet to me. It will never happen. That was clear to me yesterday. As I sit across from her I started to float away as she continued to lecture me on respecting my father and letting go of the past. I had checked out but I was still feeling the pain seep out. I tried to justify the pain with examples and it wasn’t good enough to warrant not having a relationship with him. Well that was wrong but that was the past. She even acknowledged that he hadn’t changed. That his views were just as radical as before. I couldn’t understand why she was doing this. I even told her that wasn’t why I wanted to see her. Finally after she started to see that I was upset and stopped. She apologized a couple of times but the wound was sliced open. She dropped me off, at my new place, and I was left stunned and unsure what happened.

All my life I have had people tell me to move on from the past. Which usually meant keeping my mouth shut and pretending like nothing happened. When you silence a violent act you silence the victim. I won’t be silenced anymore.

I tried to defend myself, falling into my old patterns. I knew that certain people judged me for being so open about my struggles both on my blog and on Facebook. I’m empathic enough to feel things deeply. The silence says everything. I told her the things he said like I was going to die of AIDS and be alone in the hospital. It didn’t matter. Her need to fix things were a priority over my pain and suffering. I don’t blame her. Nor am I upset with her. I’m hurt, deeply but I will be okay. I know who I am finally and working on myself. I don’t need to be fixed. I just need to heal, allowed to flourish into the beautiful flower that I am inside.

I finally know my impact, even though my grandmother doesn’t. She made it clear how my Aunts felt about my airing my dirty laundry in a public forum. She even said they didn’t approve of me talking about my father either. I tried to convince her that people did find me inspirational and she stopped me, saying that no they didn’t. It was like she was yelling at me. It shook me to the core. She might not see my impact but I do. I understand that my message isn’t for everyone. There are those who will judge me and that’s their right. There are many out there who need to hear my voice. I hope that I’m their lighthouse leading them to shore like so many were for me, like my nieces and nephew. I know what it’s like to feel so alone and no one should have to endure this but they do.

Our pain, trauma and experiences aren’t dirty. Keeping the bottled up is what makes them dirty. There are others who will try with all their might to keep your pandora’s box closed. Don’t let them. Fight with all your might. Speak your truth no matter how loud the no’s are. Your voice is one of the greatest parts about you. The shame of others is not yours to take on. We don’t owe anyone anything.

So I’m going to live life the way I want to. It’s my choice to have a relationship with my father and I chose not to be apart of his toxicity. I love myself too much to endure the pain any longer. I will endure this pain one last time and then I will move on. Which means that I will have to suffer through this week. I will have to fight the needs to overeat. To numb out the pain. It’s already started and I’m struggling to fight but I am. I just have to get through these few days. I realize now that the storm always pass. I no longer will be swept under by other people’s floods. So while I might be eating junk food and drinking Pepsi like crazy I know that tomorrow is another day and I will get back on track. This trigger is just temporary. I will suffer for only a short time and I will push through. I don’t want to leave my apartment today but I’m going to anyways. I don’t want to brush my teeth but I will. I didn’t want to put the meat I bought last week in the freezer but I did. I didn’t want to write this post but I did. I didn’t want to call my grandmother today but I did.

I’ve learned that recovery is about pushing myself out of the discomfort. Do the things my mind tells me not to. Depression is a liar. While the diagnose and disease is real but I refuse to let it hold me down any longer. I will use my struggles and pain to help others. To spread awarenesses about the things that matter to me most like mental health and the homeless. Those with mental illness are some of the strongest people out there and so much stronger than those who try to deny it’s existence. If you beat homelessness you are the definition of strength. Those in my family couldn’t bear an ounce of that struggle. They live in luxurious, glass houses and have never had to endure the pain and struggles that I have. I use to want to be in their houses but I now realize it’s just a mirage. So I’m going to make my own home and fill it with the people who love and accept me for who I am. If you can’t handle me when I struggle, then you don’t get to experience me when I shine. Sure you can get a ticket but you will only be afford for the nose bleed seats.

Nowhere To Go: Managing Your Mental Illness When You are Homeless

 

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My biggest fear prior to being homeless was having to cope with triggers when I was homeless. It’s one thing to have a depressive episode from the comforts of your home but it’s an entirely different thing when you have nowhere to go when you are homeless. There aren’t any safe places. Everywhere you go is a danger zone. This fact kept me in misery for far too long. I have off and on been potentially homeless the last few years. Looking back I wish I had the courage to just take that jump and go into homelessness earlier. Sadly I wasn’t prepared or ready to face the dangers like I am now.

The biggest hurdle to being homeless was the fear and it’s one of the big issues I face with, I always have. Fear has kept me from living since my Mom passed away in 2012. I stayed near my family and didn’t move because I lived in constant fear that they would die to. It was extremely crippling and it made me absolutely miserable. Of course there is a lot more to my mental illness than fear but that’s a biggie. Once I pulled the bandaid off from going to the hospital and then the shelter the situation was no longer as scary. Actually overall it’s not scary at all. Now when things happen like the fight in the day shelter things quickly escalate into frightening but overall it’s not fear or fright that really gets to me. It’s the uncomfortableness and lack of privacy that gets me. You lose all normalcy to life. The first week is scary. The second week is uncomfortable and the third week it starts to get to you.

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What I miss most is the comforts of a home. Today was the first time I have stepped foot into a home in over six weeks and it was only briefly. Today’s temperatures are going to be over 94 with the heat index over 100 degrees. So I had a guy want to hookup with me. Usually I’m like no thank you but today it was hot and he had air conditioning. Plus he picked me up in his nice car that had really cold ac. We get to his house and it was nice. The best part was his huge comfy bed that I lay in for a good thirty minutes. It was like heaven. I felt like I was floating on cotton candy. While things didn’t go as planned with the hookup I at least got to have some comfort for just a little bit. Plus he dropped me off at the library and gave me a cold coke. So I haven’t done a lot of walking.

You start to crave the normal things to life and when you don’t get them it starts to eat away at your psyche. Overall my mental health has been very good since I was out of the hospital last month but this week it’s started to deteriorate as I was starting to get more overwhelmed by being homeless. It didn’t help that Wednesday I had confrontations with two not so nice people. As hard as I tried those two negative interactions left a crack for the depression to seep into. I just haven’t been able to shake this depressed feeling. It’s not one thought either. I just feel depressed and it’s not just because I’m sick. Though I do think that is adding to it. What people don’t understand about depression is that it’s not always an effect of a trigger. Sometimes you just wake up feeling bad. There is something about your brain chemistry that’s off and it sends you into a fog for the rest of the day.

It’s tough to not let things bring you down when you suffer from depression and that’s even more complicated when you have a mental illness. The past three weeks my depression has been okay, it’s not really been at the surface as I had many other things to worry about but now it’s in the mix. It’s overwhelming because I’m having to fight so many other things and now I have to add fighting my negative thoughts and feelings. Add the extreme heat and I just feel like I’m about to go mad. I was dreading today because of the heat. The weekends are the worst because the day shelter isn’t open so you have to walk to get somewhere cooler. On Sundays the buses don’t run until 9am so I had to wait outside for an hour and that is just a miserable feeling. To not have anywhere to go, so you just have to sit in a place you don’t want to. It doesn’t help with how you feel.

Being homeless you are forced to go outside of your comfort zone and that’s even more so the case when you have something like PTSD. Thankfully so far my PTSD has been in check but it’s always a concern. You have times when you are in a PTSD bubble that being around others becomes problematic. Friends and family become strangers and strangers become enemies. You aren’t able to trust anyone. Your world turns into a war zone and there is NOWHERE to hide. So for now that’s in check and I’m thankful for that.

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I think what’s most unsettling is that even though life has been really tough for the past three weeks I have felt the best about myself in a very long time. I have felt so empowered by this experience and it’s lifted me up in some tough times but the last couple of days it’s been a constant struggle. I wake up feeling horrible. Every muscle in my body hurts. It’s tough just walking a few steps. My mind is as thick as pea soup. I feel so defeated and discouraged. I’m worn out with no relief in sight. I hope it’s just the bronchitis because I’m not liking this at all. This will be my third day on antibiotics so I hope I get better soon because this feels unbearable. At times on the verge of losing it, at least it feels that way. It’s these thoughts of not being able to handle life like this.

You just want to scream but no words can escape. They are all stuck in the puzzle of your mind, with jagged little shards of glass poking out. I can handle a lot but it’s the physical pain that’s lately that’s been getting to me. I have to walk. I don’t have a choice. It’s not a fun feeling to have to push through. Feet turn into miles and hills into mountains.

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It’s not helping that it’s taking longer than I expected to get my own place. I was approved for a one bedroom apartment of my own a week ago but the manager of the complex has no urgency. Originally the move in date was going to be the 21st and that’s fast approaching. The main hurdle is getting my Doctor to sign some paperwork to prove that I’m disabled, otherwise I will not being able to move in because it’s only for the elderly and those with a disability. For whatever reason my Doctor hasn’t been getting the faxes and it’s not because he’s not trying. He’s just as frustrated as I am and the lady at the office doesn’t seem to care.

On the 23rd of June will be my thirty days at the shelter, which is the length of stay at this shelter. You can get a two week extension after that but that’s it. So that has me worried because the other two shelters are pretty dangerous especially for someone who is transgender. The homeless shelter is going to pay for the next six months of rent and they need information from the complex manager that she’s not giving. So all of this will just add days to my homelessness and it’s extremely frustrated. In the back of mind I’m thinking, maybe it’s not going to work out. That’s my depression talking. Until I get my doctor to sign that paperwork I won’t be at ease. Without it I won’t get this apartment. It feels like everything is hanging on this paperwork and it’s driving me loco.

I wish they could cut the depression out of me or cure it. If it was always induced by a situation or event then it would make it so much easier. Thinking positive would work like everyone else think it does. The medicine helps but it really just mutes the severity of the symptoms. Being that I have nowhere to run and hide I’m learning to be resourceful. The other night when I started to sob I got the staff person to get me a private place to go. Leaving situations is another thing I have started to do. If I feel uncomfortable I just leave, no matter where I am at. I have days where I don’t feel like walking so I stay in the day shelter but then something happens and I’ve bolted at the door. When I realize that I can control things it improves my mood dramatically to know that I have choices. I’m not stuck anywhere, even in my mind.

I just want to get the heck out of the shelter and into my own place. It’s so close but so far away. After eight years I will have my own place again and it’s a freedom I miss deeply. This time will be different because I won’t lose my place when I spiral into a deep depression and can’t work. In the last fifteen years I have moved over twenty times because of that. That is no way to have stability and I’m desperate for it. It’s the instability that’s played havoc on my body both physically and mentally. I will finally have a safe place that I can call home. One where I won’t fear losing due to the inability to pay my rent. I can have friends over and I can lay in my comfortable bed all day if I choose to do so. I’m ready for some relief. I’m ready for a break.

 

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