Friday, December 20, 2019

A Christmas Story for the CPTSD community

Once, long ago in a place far, far away from reality, there was a young woman and her new husband. Outside their home, in the dark of winter, the wind howled and the snow swirled forming little peaks across the fields.
Inside their little home, the cold was kept at bay by curtains and thick rugs covering the floors. And her husband kept a fire roaring so the whole house was toasty. But, the young woman couldn't feel the warmth of the little house.
Instead, the cold of the season penetrated her bones, and her heart and her mind. She could feel herself going numb. She kept her face pleasant so that her husband wouldn't worry. It was "the happy" time of the year.
And she wanted to be happy. To revel in the warmth that her husband provided to so many. But, even though she couldn't feel his cheer, she didn't, she couldn't be a burden to him.
Let him be happy.
So, she placed a pleasant mask over her face.
She smiled as her toes grew colder.
She smiled as her fingers became brittle with ice.
She smiled as her mind became numb.
These days were so important.
And she wanted him to be happy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I Am Found - Elsa's Journey as a Template for #cptsd recovery.

Recently I went to see a movie from Disney about a pair of sisters who have an adventure. And I'm going to talk about one of those characters in-depth today.

I see so many parallels in Elsa's story to that of someone with C-PTSD.

Hold on. Don't abandon the idea just yet.

Think about it.

As a child, she locked herself away to prevent herself from harming her family. Her father continued the pattern with the gloves and the words "Conceal it, don't feel it." He helped her freeze and withdraw. So instead of learning, she simply went into a pattern of being and fearing who she was.

So here we come to the first installment of the movie. (Frozen, in case you haven't guessed by now.) And in this film we see Anna reach out to her sister and at great personal cost save Elsa. Bet before we get there we see how Elsa is alone. Alone in her room. Alone in the palace. Alone even on the evening of her coronation. She has made herself singular so that her 'flaw' doesn't hurt someone she loves deeply.

Then her balance is upset. And in the moments that follow she is out of control. Everything that she has held so tightly finally escapes. At first, in the palace, in the village, she is terrified. And she sees that other people around her are also terrified and repulsed by what they see. Her flaw. Her power. Her true nature.

And so, Elsa flees to the top of a mountain, where once again she is alone.

With distance from her life, her responsibilities she can see the restrictions she has placed on herself.
When she sings "the fears that once controlled me, can't get to me at all" she's recognizing the limitations she has resigned herself to until now.

What follows is an ecstatic release of all the self-imposed restraints falling away. She recognizes that she is different, but in those first moments she is unafraid. And as she builds her castle on the hill she rejects all the expectations of those around her and her own skewed view of herself.

Pardon the language, but she truly "Let's it go."

To me, that moment echos the moment when I could stand back and see all the ways I had bent or buried myself in order to be accepted by my family. It was the moment I could see the cage I had constructed around myself. And, although I would have loved to have resolved all my issues in the length of a phrase of music, it was also the moment when I knew there was no going back.

The past was in the past. And Elsa emerges from that song changed, and not changed.

She is changed in that she has embraced who she is and accepted her 'problem' as another part of her. She is not changed in that when Anna finds her, Elsa is still terrified of what she could do to her sister. So, in that regard, Elsa is still frozen in the past.

By the end of the first movie, Elsa embraces herself and her ability to love, long suppressed, is the key to saving the kingdom from the icy clutches of winter. In this sense, Elsa is saved and drawn into the family. But, still unaddressed, is what she believes to be the fundamental reason why she is different.

In someone who suffers from c-ptsd this might be reflected in all the work we do to make connections. To draw ourselves out of our own restrictions, and to distance ourselves from those who would make us less. But, while it makes us functional, it leaves us with that all too common sensation of emptiness. And from there Elsa in the second installment of the movie reflects our interaction with the world.

In Frozen II, Elsa is in the world, indeed she's a very important part of the world. She's the queen. But, at the same time, she is uncomfortable. She worries that she could fail. And she feels the pull, the need, the call to define herself. Accepting the role she was expected to fill is no longer enough.

So, with support from family and friends, she sets out to find the truth, and in the process finds her truth. Throughout the first part of the movie, Elsa is tested. These challenges don't just come from the entities of the forest that she needs to confront. They also come from Anna. Who insists that Elsa not shut her out again.

But, Elsa needs room to grow. Something that perhaps Anna isn't ready to accept.

When the sisters are separated each follows a path that is essential to their growth.

Elsa enters the glacier with anticipation and a growing sense of the coming connection. It fires her from within. And as she steps into the center of the circle that was made for her she proclaims - "I am found."

Three words that strip away the last of her doubt about herself. The moment she finds a purpose for herself. The moment that empty wound in her center is closed.

One day I hope that I can say those words. Or even I am healed that would do. But, for those of us out here in reality that moment won't transpire in a rush or a glorious shower of magic.

Instead, our path to finding ourselves and healing our wounds will come in incremental steps. One small victory at a time. A boundary set there. A refusal to accept 'less than.' A moment when we discover something new. Tiny victories that will string together to heal our centers and define us.

Elsa's tale, and her growth, in my mind, are reflections of the journey that many, perhaps most of us with c-ptsd need to make. One constant arc to reclaiming our lives, made of tiny victories, first to free ourselves and then to find ourselves.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Paradox #2

The turmoil of having an anxious/ambivalent attachment style is in some ways worse than those these folks have in their relationship with others. The internal conflicts involving panic that a partner will leave them and fighting to contain the behaviors that ensue from that panic are horrendous.

They have an inner conflict going on all the time. 

Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style: An Examination of Its Causes and How It Affects Adult Relationships

The article above specifically addresses relationships and the way that a person with CPTSD approaches them.

But, this internal ambivalence isn't confined to relationships, it bleeds out and touches everything. In my head that ambivalence colors every corner. From core beliefs of my own worthiness and capability, to my value as a human and a host of other self-identification parameters.

For example:

I received a glowing compliment from an editor on my latest work. Most people would think this a good thing. It would act as verification that they were doing well, a pat on the back. Validation! It would spur them to continue their work.

However, in my mind, that initial rush of "Wonderful" is welded to the thought "That can't be right."

And from that well-meant compliment springs a host of worries. That all lead back to one option, and one option only. "Quit now, before it all falls apart."

Some people might look at this and think "imposter syndrome." But, it goes further than that. This example is just one area of my life. In truth that ambivalence is everywhere.

It plays out on two stages - side by side.

On the first stage in my head, I have this driving need to be perfect. Absolutely perfect. Flawless. I push and I strive for that, and whatever I do, or achieve it is never enough. For one simple immutable reason. What is going on over on the other stage.

This stage has one purpose, to remind me of one fact. The fact that I am not enough.
- not good enough
- not smart enough
- not pretty enough

Not enough in any measure, not possible. Not me.

Incoming compliments are equally fished for and avoided. And, if someone has made the mistake to think I have done something worthwhile, then I should not revel in their mistaken perception, but I should instead correct it. Because if they continue in this idea, when they see the truth of me, they will feel deceived, and then leave.

Being abandoned is my greatest fear. It is the fear that strikes at my core. So, to keep people from leaving me I scuttle out of the light. I linger in the fringes of the darkness, barely seen. Because if people don't know I'm there, they can't choose to leave me.

So here I stand divided, one foot in light, one foot in shadow. Torn in both directions because if I'm not good enough, people will abandon me and because if I allow people to think I'm worthy they will abandon me when the deception is revealed.

It's a no-win situation, that can only be survived by remaining unnoticed.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Very Short Story Sept. 19, 2019 - Cavernous

The hole in my chest is cavernous. It should be impossible for a human body to contain this much emptiness. The echoes created there ripple out between past and present, creating confusion between the then and the now. I survive with one foot nailed in the past.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Sowing a bitter future

I should be doing almost anything else. Instead, I am sitting at my desk, reading the spines of the books nearby and thinking about our future. When I say 'our future', I mean America, immigrants, children, citizens and yes, my family and myself.

I'll admit to being worried, or at least, well beyond concerned.

Because what I see unfolding at ICE detention centers, holding children is a valid source of concern. Not just for the immediate humanitarian failures of our nation, but for the future, their future, our future.
Almost every American likes the image that we as a nation have projected out to the world. The image that says: we are the 'white hats', we are 'the moral', we are the bootstrap pulling log cabin building rugged Americans. It's a pretty picture. Hell, it is tattooed on the American psyche along with baseball, mom, and apple pie. There's only one problem with it.

That picture of our superiority is an illusion.

There is nothing moral, or noble, or brave about stripping children from their parents. There is nothing good about incarcerating toddlers.

Land of the free. Home of the brave.  If you still believe that, you haven't been paying attention.

We lost that high-ground the minute the first screaming child was pulled from his parent's arms. But, I really feel that I shouldn't need to say any of that. I imagine that any sane, moral person is nodding along. I am, in essence, preaching to the choir.

And what does all of that have to do with the books on my desk? Five of the books within reach deal with the topics of trauma, childhood, and complex-PTSD.

I know the word 'trauma', has probably lost a third of the folks who made it this far. The word is overused, it's become a cliche, a punchline. But take a moment and forget all the pop-culture references and look at how a mental health specialist would look at the word.

Trauma: an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others, and which involved fear, helplessness, or horror. 

The definition above is derived from the American Psychiatric Association's current definition of posttraumatic stress disorder. How many of those do you think the children in ICE custody have experienced? 

What will this exposure do to them? To some of them, nothing. The human mind is a remarkable and resilient creation. To some of them, there will be stress from the events that they will need to process to overcome. But, there is a cross-section of these children who will be changed by these experiences.

The Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) found that survivors of childhood trauma are up to 5,000 percent more likely to attempt suicide, have eating disorders, or become IV drug users. These actions, that we as a nation are taking, are sowing the seeds of destruction. 

We are creating the next crop of children who will be vulnerable to becoming the very things that a cowering segment of the American population fears. Their boogeymen will become real because they created the conditions to impact the minds of the young in the first place.

The irony of that statement. Go ahead. Soak in it for a minute.
Then remember.
All of this is in our power to stop.

America, time to wake up.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Meme: Compassion is strength

I made this last night. The image is from fb/PlanetTiger.  It's a great cause to support.

Paradox #1

Since they never develop a sense of safety, they distrust others while simultaneously searching for a “rescuer” who can finally give them the unconditional positive regard they were robbed of in childhood.
     ~National Center for PTSD
My earliest fantasies were of a man, a Prince, who would rescue me. In my dreaming, I was always asleep, or sick, or injured before this magical person arrived. Their presence rewrote me. With them, I was well. With them I was alive. I physically ached for that person. The hole in my chest that remained exposed and empty hurt. Because I knew, I knew with all my heart and soul that this magical being would make me complete. And so I remained in my prison, waiting.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

#Complex-PTSD : Dissecting my inaction

I have #cptsd and I want to save everyone.

When I read through the thoughts and questions posted here my heart breaks. I know the loneliness some of you are going through. I know that feeling of ‘not enough’. I know that place where laying down and just ending is the most appealing wish to ever infiltrate your heart and mind. Those places are engraved on my heart too.

When I see that pain I want to reach out. To tell the bruised and hurting soul that they are understood, valued and loved. All the truths that I need when I am trolling those depths of self-harm and self-hatred. I know the importance of a single word. How lives can turn on a phrase or gesture.

More times than I would ever want to admit I remain silent.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Super-secret project

For a long time, the joke around the house was that I was the professional writer. This was based on the fact that I have earned a total of 47 cents with my writing.

You might notice I vanished for a few weeks there. I was working on a super-secret ghostwriting project. Bwahaha. I have finally finished it. I can't reveal what it was - ghostwriter and all that. But I have finally earned something better than 47 cents.

The pay was low for the work I put in but it has demonstrated to me that I can make some significant money with my writing.

That is a tremendous encouragement.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Erosion: Essays in 100 words

“You won’t get it.” 
That was my father’s response when I told him I was among the finalists for 
the Morehead Scholarship to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 
This was a big deal. 
The full ride, a four-year scholarship covering tuition, books, room and board. 
It was proof. 
Wasn’t it? 
I had done well. 
I was worthy. 
Wasn’t I? 
My excitement, my hope for some sign of my value to him collapsed on his response. 
Not enough. Not I. Not ever. 
He was right.
I didn’t win the scholarship. 
I wasn’t enough.

Not for them. Not for him.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Shots Heard Round the World

Yesterday a male human walked into a mosque in Christchurch, NZ. He had not come to pray, but to kill. And in doing so he wrote a new chapter in the history of man not-so-kind.

And I can guarantee this won't be the last. Right now, somewhere in the world another male human is being prepared by groups of hate that dot the underside of the internet. That twisted soul is being fed lie upon lie about his worth, his life, his future. He is a bomb in the making.

When he is sufficiently convinced that he is nothing and has nothing to lose this person will gather up the weapons he has collected, and stuff his pockets with filled clips of ammo strap a web camera to his head and leave his dark den to inflict his darkness on the world. He has a target, something that has caught the attention of his anger. There is a group that is the focus of his hate.

Women, Blacks, Jews, Muslims we are all hunted now.

When he reaches his target he will turn on his camera; if he hasn't already spent the time traveling to his destination mentally masturbating on-line about what sick fantasy he is going to live out. He will approach a human being, a person who has a family, and all those ties to community that our shooter envies. The first shot will be heard around the world.

His performance will be watched in living rooms, in basements, in cars all around the globe. There won't be a single corner that will be able to escape this horror. We are all assaulted.

While most of the world will recoil in horror, in the darkness of hearts and minds that created this bomb, they will watch their creation. They will comment on those he kills. Who drops. Who tries to crawl away. And, yes - they are already laughing.

The voices behind the bomb, this killer they have groomed and fed and cultured, they will judge his performance. They will comment on nuances. They will grade his efficiency. Then after the shooting is done and their puppet is captured or killed and of no further interest to them they will calmly sit at their computers and discuss the quality of the entertainment they had. They will dissect his performance as meticulously as the surgeons will repair the survivor's muscle, nerve and bone.

While the bereft grieve and tend to their dead, the voices of hate will tend their garden. The on-line forums where they spread hate like manure gathering flies above dung. And in those electronic fields of hate they will find a new soul, in pain and vulnerable. They will welcome him in and add him to the line of bombs that they produce.

Right now this individual exists. And the next one, and the next...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Life through a straw

Each and everyone of us who walks on this earth has been plopped down at the grand buffet that is life. It is an enormous seemingly endless table. On this table is every variety of taste, sight, sound, smell, experience, joy and sorrow. You are allowed to take whatever you can from the table - there is only one real rule is that you have to keep moving and you can't go back to something you missed. So think carefully before you pass something up.

Now, imagine you have #cptsd from childhood neglect or trauma. In essence that means you have been handed a straw. And same as anyone else you can eat from the enormous buffet that is life. The catch is, you can only taste something if it will fit through the straw.

And, initially, you are fine with this. Because to you it doesn't seem like a restriction or a limit, it is just the way things are. It is normal. And you know that your straw can be taken away from you by anyone at any time. So you treasure it, and you think how lucky you are that you aren't left with nothing. You might be hungry, but you won't die of starvation. That's a good thing. That's enough.

You sample your way down the table. As a child you take what you can find. At first the things that fall from the table. The items that hang over the edge. Things your fingers can just reach at the edge of this massive groaning board. Some things you yearn to try, but you know they won't fit through your straw. You don't ask for any help because if someone notices you, they could - no they would - take your straw away. You know that for certain. So better to be silent and hang at the fringes of the crowd as you all pass by the table each taking and sampling what they can, what they like.

Years pass and you grow taller. And as you grow you can see more and more of what is on the table. And with your straw you diligently gather what you can. It doesn't matter that it is the cold oatmeal that congeals at the edges, this is life and you have never known anything else. So you have your straw, and things are good enough. You don't worry. You don't want better. Because you don't know better exists.

One day though you notice that not everyone has a straw. Most people have these large vessels they call plates if they are flat or bowls if they are round. Some people have long metal skewers they use to reach the tastiest things that sit at the farthest distance. Some folk just grab from the table with huge hands shoving indiscriminately whatever they can grasp into their mouth.

Then you notice more. There are groups that seem to roam the table together. The bigger people help those smaller to reach things. They even let the little people ride on their shoulders so they can see more. Some people march by with massive platters heaped high with only one thing, some have loaded baskets to feed others and some have sampled nearly everything on the table.

You suddenly realize you have a straw and how limited it is. Looking back along the table now you can see that it fades into the horizon. And you notice that it was heaped with variety and pleasures that you never imagined. It doesn't matter that you know much of it could never have fit through your straw, even if you had known it was there, it is the knowledge of how limited you are that threatens to break you.

So you stand at a crux. Do you quit the table? Do you continue in the knowledge of all the life you will never taste while you only have a straw? Or, do you risk it all and reach out to ask for better?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

An open letter to the #bonsai people - #CPTSD

I have #cptsd. I've struggled with it for nearly 40 years. Until - I finally found someone who could put all the pieces together and give my basket of problems a name.

That in itself was one triumph. Knowing.

When I see those 'conquer' posts or those "I've recovered" posts... I'm envious. And I wonder if I'll ever be 'healed'.

Then I remember the #bonsai. We are the bonsai people. Tiny seedlings shaped, trained, even mutilated into forms that their nature never intended.

And as horrible as that process was, the twisting, the shaping at a person's hands they survived. And each is entirely unique.

Like the bonsai it is that uniqueness which makes each survivor of #CPTSD a little universe of our own. We all responded to the pressures and dangers of our lives in our own way. So do not judge your successes by someone else's.

All of us are as different from one another as can be. Your healed is going to look different from mine.

I will admit that I don't think of myself as 'healing' from my past so much as growing beyond it. You will grow. You will take yourself in new directions. You will fly. And you will fail. And you will learn, and fly again.

Like the forces that shaped the bonsai, #cptsd cannot be removed from us, or eradicated. It has shaped us. But, now that we know we can choose to grow beyond that limited shape.

You will grow, and thrive, and be magnificent.

We are the bonsai people, bent, pared away, shaped by our environment.
And despite all of that, we survive, we grow, we thrive in places others fear to tread, because we are as fearless and tough as we are unique.

We are the bonsai people and we are beautiful.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Safe : Essays in 100 words

With two words you have unmade me. All my armor is stripped away my defenses lay at my feet. You see me. I would, I could... if I had any agency of my own. But I am helpless. As raw as the wounded flesh I am at first I cannot breathe. As the past suffocates I struggle to draw in air. Then my shattered senses make out your embrace. You hold me as the storm rages. You are the oak to my ivy, the shore to my wild oceans. My haven. My husband. You whisper, "You're safe. You're safe."

Monday, February 25, 2019

Just: Essays in 100 words

Just is a word used to minimize and limit. It saps verbs of their agency. Just is short for "if I may" or "will you allow". If it's ok with you, I just feel. If you allow me, I just need. If you agree, I just think. Just is an apology before the action ever takes place. I'm sorry I want. I'm sorry I feel. I'm sorry I think. It implies "I can be smaller. I can be less."
This word permeates me. It is threaded through every fiber, down to my genes. Thus I speak myself from the world.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

I just really like it...

I can think of a hundred reasons why I shouldn't share this.
It's self-indulgent.
The meme itself is wordy.
Already shared the story.
The text is too dense.
It breaks the meme conventions.
and on,
      and on,
            and on.

   even with all that
this simple image
with the tiny bug and the
tiny story just feels right.
Inexplicable, but there it is.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Alone in a crowd of your peers

I belong to a group of intelligent creative women. All of us are writers, many of us are over 40 and a most are mothers. It's a very supportive group where we celebrate the ups and downs of the publishing and writing life. We also talk among ourselves to encourage one another and there is a bit of socializing. You can't avoid that with a group of writers.

There was an interesting question posed the other day - "What do you share on social media, and what don't you share?"

The list of things that were shared was as diverse as our group. There were some common themes of humor, politics and cat videos. But what surprised me more was that among this group of driven and talented women was a nearly universal answer about what they didn't share.

The common element that they refused to share with social media was their problems with mental health. That consistency from such a diverse group struck me.

As I ponder this phenomena, turning it over and over to inspect it from all angles, the feeling that there is a cauldron of emotions shaping this decision. I can see that there is fear. Some denial. And all stirring in a base of shame.

Allow me to say I only observe, I make no judgments about what is right or wrong. Because there is no right or wrong here there is only the need for each person to be comfortable with their own choice. But that so many women would feel more comfortable not sharing this aspect of their lives is I think remarkable.

It's not that I don't understand the fears that would keep anyone from speaking out. I carried those fears with me for decades. The fear of being labeled 'mentally unfit' is massive. It conjures up images of loss of family, of control, of freedom. It is a place of pure terror. So, to many people who suffer from mental problems it is safer to deny that you have a problem rather than to risk the consequences of admitting you do.

Because the fear of mental illness drenches our history. It makes us as a society uncomfortable to discuss or even to acknowledge. The common story of the lunatic asylum, the mad house, the barbarity of past treatment, and yes even the fear of contagion drives nearly everyone of us here in the United States to turn away, close our eyes and deny the condition exists. Even to the point of denying ourselves the help we need.

We fear the labels that can accompany mental illness. Crazy. Insane. Unstable. Fragile. And as women we already face these labels on a nearly daily basis without providing any reason for them to be applied. The fear of the increase in the contempt of the world should we admit we have any weakness silences us, keeping us individual and alone. 

I have no magic. I can offer no solution to this. But I can offer an alternative to siloed silence.
There are places on-line and in real life that allow people to unite to share their experiences and solutions, but most importantly to break the wall of silence that perpetuates solitude and the illusion that we are each alone.

Al Anon:
Mental Health America:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Whistlepig sampler

One of the stories I am working on is called 'Whistlepig' ... 

Nana was not pleased to see us coming up the driveway. I saw her first as she stood in the red earth of the field. She wore a pink dress and over top an apron. Beside her on the ground was a cloth. She would thrust the fork into the ground and then turn it over. Now and then she would stoop to chuck something onto the cloth. It was one of those times that she had stopped that she saw us coming up her road. The driver of the wagon seemed to hunker low and tried to turn up the collar of his coat despite the early May warmth. We jounced along the rutted road to the squeaking of the wagon's springs. Momma waved with her big brimmed hat and called out a 'Yoo hoo'. It was merry as a picnic in her mind. But I saw nana's face as we drew nearer, and if I'd had any doubt about our arrival the way she rammed the turning fork home left no question. Nana was not pleased to see us at all.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Small: Essays in 100 words

How do I explain the limits that a child places on themselves when faced with a certainty of violence? I tried to survive by becoming small. I didn’t share the backseat with my brother. I cringed in the corner between the seat and the door. I curled into a knot. Tighter, smaller so I presented less of a target to him. Smaller still, curling in on myself not allowing a hair, a thought or an expression to ripple the air around me. Drawing in still tighter I collapsed until nothing escaped, becoming a single point without boundary, mass or being.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Happiness: Essays in 100 words

Happiness is not a word that I generally associate with my life or myself. To me life has always been about what I must do for others. What was expected out of me. What I was and wasn't allowed to do, think or even feel. Somewhere along the timeline of my childhood happiness was put in a box and stuffed somewhere deep in the metaphorical closet of my self. It was in my 20s that I first approached a mental health provider with the first of a long list of questions. She showed me that my happiness was my responsibility.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Hollow : Essays in 100 words

I am hollow.
A coiling tension surrounds the body, pressing from front and back.
It squeezes until the throat closes tight.
Making the body voiceless.
Emotions long silenced initiate a new silence.
The silence of survival is replaced by the silence of terror which newly echoes through the empty frame.
The heart contracts, refusing to beat as if any action would break the status quo.
I am the hollow.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Interesting exchange on the FB page

Interesting exchange this morning... It all started with a comment on this meme:

Someone posted :

Shell shock. Quit making shit out to be so sugar coated. It's shell shock.

I'm glad they did... because I had to sit down and really pin down 'WHY' was I doing this... and why this way.

So, here was my answer :

I don't know if you'll read all this. So let me start with this. PTSD and CPTSD are both hell to live through caused by massive shit that happened. You're right.

You and I both know that. We live it day in, day out. [I made a big assumption here.]

I present things like this not really for you and me. We already know the truth. The ugly truth.

So why do I pretty things up?
(It is not to minimize things - oh Hellz no)
One - a lot of people don't 'get' it - and for them a picture of what is really going on inside our heads will freak them out massively.
Two - I'm trying to educate the people around us. Again - walking up to someone with a gaping wound is going to make most people faint or run. Putting a bandage on it - (sugar coating as you say) makes it easier to approach. To teach them, to get them interested and then to be of actual help.

PTSD (shell shock) is not the same as CPTSD. Both are trauma, yes. Both cause changes in the body and the brain.

But here's the difference.

Shell shock (PTSD) occurs in soldiers, adults. The brain is fully mature - and then boom - trauma. Massive shit happens. And the grown up brain just can't deal with all of it at once.

CPTSD Happens to kids, mostly. Their brain isn't mature. And because they can't reason - they can't say I'm being treated like garbage... They assume permanently (internalize) "I am garbage."

And it stays with you for a lifetime.

Hang in there.
I wish you well.

I don't know if it was the best answer. But it's the best answer I could come up with today. Even now I'm editing it in my head to 'be better' ... So maybe that's a post in the future.

Friday, January 18, 2019

A thread... about this mornings flashback. Joy. Not.

#CPTSD #mentalhealth #morning First off. I'm ok. I'm wired. I'm exhausted. I'm dropping things left and right. I'm moving too fast. But all that is manageable. I'm ok. I'm and hour and a half late starting my day. so #fml. But even that is manageable. Thread /1

This is the morning after a night of #flashback city. Fck. This is not a new thing for me. So at least - I know what it is. I know it will pass. I know I can outlast it. I know how to pull myself through it. So, it was a morning working a #countdown . /2

And the #anger is really close to the top today. Gotta #meditate after this if I can. A countdown: 5 things I can see. 4 things I can touch. 3 things I can hear. 2 things I can smell. ... and 1 thing I can taste, but that's hard to do when you are glued in your bed. /3 #stuck in your bed with #anxiety and the ? (I don't know that word for watching your brain do its insanity and carries you along for the ride.) #dissociation (maybe). Did I mention I'm #wired? Fck. /4 I'm glad the cat is in another room and that I'm typing. Otherwise I might just rub all the hair off the poor thing. (Just kidding, but you get the idea.) Ok. Calm it down. Try to find some center in all the meshegas. /5 "Hello Kitty!" (no, she's good. Curled up next to me. ) Did I mention I'm ok? Really. Methinks she doth protest too much. (B1) My mental chorus is being a bunch of bitches right now. Some of them are quite witty, the rest are just my mother's voice. Fck. /6 This is one of the things that happens in the wake of a #flashback. All the fragments come out and feel like they have to grab the mic. (OK. That sounds really crazy. But you get it, right? ) So, I spent most of last night somewhere between #nightmares and #flashbacks. /7 Thank God and the #mentalhealth profession that I now know what these are. Imagine doing this for 35 years and NOT knowing what it was. Fck. That was me. I'll have to #Write about that later. Not this morning. I had a point to all this... /8 Yes. My morning is a mess. I'm pretty much in the #hotmess category too at the moment. BUT, I know what it is. I have my tools to work my way through it. From here I go meditate and write... and I talk to my husband about <redacted>. /9 The main thing I am trying to say is Storms pass. There are tools to help you get through them. Learn them. Use them. After the storm is calm. (maybe a wicked #emotional #hangover ,those can be dealt with too.) Hang in there. It's what we do. #CPTSD #Survivor. /fin

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Underground: Fiction Under 100 words

"One. Two. Three." I counted in the dark. People huddled in the crowded subway tunnel smelling of damp wool coats, black-market cigarettes, coal dust and fear. Momma held my hand squeezing it tight to calm us both. Papa was upside fighting the fires that followed the explosions of Hitler's rockets. People shifted uncomfortably on the floor as the shelter shook. Everyone counted the time between the engine's death and the detonation above. Momma picked me up holding me tight in her lap.
"Let's count together."
I nodded in the dark leaning on Momma's salty cheek. We waited together.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

That Mitt Romney Piece in Washington Post

I read it.
I had to.
Why? Because a friend of mine said after reading this that and I quote "Romney had a pair."

And I just have to say, "No. No he doesn't."

If Romney, or some other GOP members that pop to mind, did "have a pair" I don't think we would have Trump in the oval office. And as I read through this supposedly intense piece of political criticism it feels as if it has fallen short of the mark. It feels like a bit of performance art. As if it is designed to create the appearance of distancing Mr. Romney from the president. Instead much of it can be read with the tones of an apology.

Let's just take this apart piece by piece: