Go Away PTSD

photo by Patricia

It was bedtime. Routine in that area has become very important, extremely so. Yet forgotten, or the hope that maybe this one time I could do something excitingly spontaneous and it would be alright.

It wasn’t. The next two days didn’t go so well.

So on the way back to the bedroom after putting the crazy cat in the studio for the night, I took a peek at the night from the back porch. Fireflies appeared, one by one, watching, mesmerized, feeling childhood awakening in the bones of my memory.

Dashing around the yard at dusk with the kids from the neighborhood playing Kick the Can, or Ghosts in the Graveyard. Being called in late once dark settled in, all dirty and tired, falling asleep easily after a day of hard play. But that is not Patricia-world now. Now routines must be adhered to.

But only this once? Since things are going so well, can’t this once be added on to what has been a stretch of wonderful summer days? Days when miles upon miles of bike rides along the path by the water are also combined with laps and laps of walking, because energy expended seemed to compound into more energy.

Can’t a quick dip in the pool be enjoyed? The quiet water luring as the last pink faded from the sky casting a rosy glow. Donning my swimsuit, an irresistible dip was risked. Fireflies grew brighter as the waves cuddled me. But my senses began to ratchet up rather than calm down as they should have been doing.  

The impromptu fun delighted, the water warm, the twinkling solar string lights making it a magical wonderland of joy. Too much joy, exciting me beyond any possibility of sleep. The haranguing voice began its pounding, ‘YOU KNOW BETTER! YOU YOU YOU.’ 

Routine. Remember that? You must pay attention to your unique body needs. Stimulating your senses when they should be winding down won’t work. Lying awake long after Samuel came to bed, medication had to be taken. Not only did my body go off the deep end, so did my mind.

The negative thoughts chewed like snarly, dripping fangs, taking bite after bite, pounding my being with fearful stabs. After staring at the television for over an hour, another dose had to be taken.

Finally drowsiness, and back to bed. Sleep came as if encased in a tomb like a mummy with no movement until waking. There goes a day of waste. No walking, no chores, no nothing except for the escape into watching beloved movies. Because a body that jumps into the dangerous pool of PTSD needs calm. No motion, nothing except feeling sorry for myself. That equates to food used to numb it all out adding to the load of crippling self-hate.

It takes a second day to recover and feel as if back into myself. Depression, disconnect, and displacement from my very being all needed time, quiet, and seclusion before re-connection to body, thoughts, and spirit. Go away Samuel, leave me alone. Everything had spiraled about like a mini universe out of control, all from a simple quick dip in the pool. 

This morning wholeness. The fresh picked lavender scent is noticed as the gurgling fountain settles my soul. The morning feels cherished, not feared. Because once the PTSD breaker is tripped, fear, panic, and the surety that a terrifying thing is about to happen exposes every nerve as it readies for danger. Terror from childhood when the peril was real crashes in putting my alert system on edge with red-light vigilance. THAT is tiring, and once happening, out of my control. 

A special day is one when my being feels whole and is whole. When the tiniest event floods me with pleasure; the toad living in the potted plant on the patio blanketing himself under the wet dirt as if it is a home with a bed, the birds sipping at the birdbath, the abundant lavender in bloom along with the heady scent calming my very pores with their aroma.

The morning is sweet again with wonder as we celebrate 42 years together. On this day, at this moment, I feel whole. 

A Murderer and A Fraud

You can do better, be better, the words fall like a prayer when trying to sleep. Then, arousing my systems that easily go on alert, thoughts about the corona-virus’s task force convening for the first time in weeks after the gutless leader advised us to drink bleach.

When Trump was first elected, there was hope. Soon it became nightly entertainment as the news depicted yet another low and debasing debacle by the devious and highly manipulative president. Or more truly, the man who stole the office by cheating and asking adversarial countries to help him.

Now it’s not funny. Now, since the highest seat in the land is essentially vacant, though his fat ass has been sitting on it, people are dying, and have been for months that didn’t need to.

No one is leading each state’s governors. So each has had to figure it out on their own without federal help or guidance. What has been offered tears down anything good. He packs people into close quarters without distancing or masks. In two week many more will die.

Not just those at the rallies but everyone they come in contact with will be at risk. He won’t wear a mask, though everyone around him is required to. So he can kill others and it is OK. So he can do nothing, and it is OK.

If you are too lazy or brainless to do the work, follow the state’s plans that are working and put that up as the federal plan. Have some balls you tasteless weasel. Stop killing. You are a murderer and a fraud.

PERFECTION

photos by Patricia

And so we take the way less traveled, or so we thought. Dogs off leashes, one coming up to the truck to bark at me before even exiting the vehicle. Others on leashes, but not one person, walker, or biker, wore a mask, not one!

As if proud of their independence from wearing one, each turn their head to puff out GOOD MORNING, possibly spreading germs our way… infuriating me. Even if the passing goes quickly, the space between us is only a foot or two. So don’t turn towards me with your big mouth opened wide spewing out a greeting that could also spew contamination. Dumb as rocks, dumb or in denial.

How hard is it to wear a mask? We keep ours on, but pulled down on our chins, making it easy even on bikes to pull up when seeing passersby’s. Doesn’t anyone remember there’s a pandemic?

“Shut you pie hole,” I want to scream, but I don’t open my mouth even if it is covered showing others respect they don’t show us.

Just wave if you have to, or nod your head. But if you’re not wearing a mask don’t expect me to reciprocate. That would be like thanking you for trying to kill me.

Still, we love the trail along the water, miles and miles it. Abundant wild roses last week wafting a heaven of sweetness through the air. This week, daisies, buttercups, chicory, and many other wild flowers dotting the path to the bridge in the next town.

Though the ride is an hour and half, after returning home, the glorious day drew me out to more azure skies warm with sun, and breezes causing the meadow to dance dappling the ground with lacy patterns. The humidity had been swept away leaving one of those days to capture in its splendor of perfection. 

 

 

PAPER DOLL

Though summer brings oppressive heat, walks bring peace to a mind working on over-drive. Before breakfast the heat and humidity is tolerable, even pleasant until the sun comes full up. So many thoughts bombarding into each other on a day when feeling scattered too.

How to come together? Time alone by the water— birds, raccoons, turtles, frogs, carps as big as sharks, and the water weasel, all keeping me company. It is OK to stay where safety is found, the decision to cancel so many plans repeatedly questioned.

No, we are not being too extreme. Others seem to be taking risks we’d rather not take. We are being cautious. Camping next week with Shane… no, nor any camping. A trip to Cory’s in Massachusetts’s…no. We don’t care to deal with public restrooms, or any other possible source of contamination.

And finally peace over these things. It is the right and safest decision for us. Whatever is needed is right here, it always has been. There is also relief at not having to travel. It always took its toll on my fragile nervous system, depleted after a life of excess cortisol coursing through my body unnecessarily. My startle response raced into fight or flight many times daily. My body still does it, though years of meditation have helped calm it down.  

There are wounds still needing attending to. Trust is not something regained, but maybe in increments. Samuel and others aren’t out to get me, a belief cemented into my views since childhood when learning just what human beings are capable of. That belief won’t completely change, but some cracks open up letting in light during rare moments of peace and safety.

Chet spent a good deal of time figuring when he could get at me, and that expectation, that others are trying to do evil, will last. It made an indelible imprint, a deep wound to attend to… a crumpled paper doll needing gentle care.

BOUNDARIES

An idyllic day ruffled by selfish requests from two people once considered friends.

“Oh hi Rosalie!” I exclaim, not hearing from her in a while.

“Hi. Could Samuel come over to help Rob with some electric work?” she asks unceremoniously.

“We are being very careful, it will have to be over the phone,” I answer agitated at her lack of concern for our health, for our very lives, all for a dimmer switch. My body became hyper at the knowledge that this person is once again taking advantage me.

“We are wearing masks,” she responds plaintively.

“No, the phone will have to do,” I reply sternly.

While listening to Rob interact with Samuel, I became more and more upset as he pressured Samuel to come do the work for him, not once but at least three times in the next two hours over the phone. Knowing Samuel, fear ratcheted up that he’d cave to the pressure, throwing all our carefulness away for a switch she could easily do without. 

“Wear three masks,” Rob whines like a child.

By that time Samuel had hung up to search the web for the precise dimmer that had Rob stumped. That allowed me to vent my anger at their lack of concern for us. To even ask! Back and forth we went leading to my withdrawal from Samuel for the rest of the day, needing space and time to cool off.

It wasn’t until evening that I could talk to him again, or decided to, because it was a decision. Upon waking this morning my actions left a bad aftertaste. We talked about it on the patio this morning. Being less stressed, and less emotional made the discussion fruitful, and a relief for both of us. We have progressed!

“If you told him right away you wouldn’t go there to work inside her kitchen with them because it made you feel unsafe, he would have stopped pressuring you,” I said.

But Samuel isn’t one for directly relaying feelings, or much of anything like that, not directly. It is indirectly, saying repeatedly that he wouldn’t be much help as the device wasn’t one he was familiar with.

“Well, what if it was one you were familiar with?” I ask him exasperated.

“I still wouldn’t have gone,” he said.

“You should have just said that, then he wouldn’t keep at you for two hours,” I replied.

But Samuel found the device on-line and gave him the information. Though Rob could have done that too, and should have. Don’t take on a job you can’t do then ask my husband to risk for our lives to help with a non-emergent job.

Both Rosalie and Rob are on my shit list. Friends? No, friends do not ask that you risk your life for nothing, or for anything. The asking shot through boundaries. Rosalie always had me pegged for an easy mark. It wasn’t the first time she took what she knew she should not. It was the first time I said NO.

If you have a repair person in your house, you are supposed to be in another room to keep yourself safe. She blithely asked Samuel to come spend an hour or two with her and Rob in her kitchen. Even with masks it would be risky.  

If Samuel had just been clear from the beginning and be done with it. They created a dysfunction wanting another fool to join in. Thankfully he did not.

Our Leader, the KILLER

Too cautious, or prudent? We choose not to spend time with Shane and family causing an emptiness inside, yet my need to stay safe is that strong. My friends and both sons are engaged with their in-laws without social distance or masks The envy felt is palpable.

We discuss our options yet still come up with the same conclusions, no way. Strange times, strange world. Death is inevitable but now death feels too close, almost imminent. And in those moments fear grows to low level terror.

Tomorrow the leader of our country, in my opinion, is committing murder to feed his ego. We don’t have a national plan of how to re-open safely. That would allow for each state to open in ways that meet different needs, and each region of each state’s needs.

The hodgepodge of re-openings are disastrously killing many who needn’t have died as the numbers keep climbing. Will no one take the reins of reason and guide the nation appropriately?  

He is too lazy and caught up in ego feeding along with late night attack tweets. He has made statements that he’d rather his cult does not wear masks at his ego feeding rally tomorrow in Tulsa.

Tulsa is already spiking with virus infections, skyrocketing straight up. And health officials are practically begging for him to cancel. Can no one stop this murderous lunatic?

Doesn’t anyone remember the Jonestown mass suicide, drinking the poisoned punch, even the children? Our leader, a Jim Jones replica, sickens my stomach with the deaths to come at his doing.

He has killed thousands already with inaction early on, calling it a hoax doing nothing despite numerous warnings. His murderous actions continue… all to feed his ever expanding ego.

Lacking the ability to feel, have empathy, or love, a psychopath. The deaths to come outrage me at my core, crippling with feelings of helplessness. How has this come to pass? Such a perverted, twisted criminal in the highest seat of the land. Those that allowed this are as guilty, even more so. 

The Danger of Origin Family

musings on the patio-photo by Patricia

So like a moth to flame, an email was sent to Stevie and Seth. Why keep doing what brings pain? Unable to sleep, it took a whopping dose of medication to ease my body to unconsciousness; a body that had gone into an uproar of memories. Decades of life with anxiety so extreme it is miraculous that perseverance saw me through.

My kids kept me going. Yes, it was that hard. But the glimmer of giving to my children what hadn’t been given to me provided needed strength.

Is there a way to take out emails in my address book? The thought rambled through my mind as the sun warmed me on the patio, still in my bathrobe at noon. Because like cakes, cookies, and chips, if it isn’t available there’s no temptation.

Each time the itch to reach out and check in is scratched, despite an inner warning whispered quietly not to, sleep that night does not come. What comes are memories flooding in of a life that would rather be forgotten. Not so much the attacks in childhood, but the decades after that made me wish to die, almost a daily mantra during the darkest of times. 

It doesn’t matter how much self-talk is used lying there becoming desperate as the wakeful period lengthens necessitating medication. Once the missile goes off, there’s no retrieving it. There is at the core a belief that had my birth not occurred so many in that family would have been better off. I wouldn’t be there to attack, not a reasonable belief, but one felt since childhood becoming a part of me.

Danny wouldn’t have killed himself at 28. Another sibling wouldn’t have died in his car by the side of the road with a heart attack at 52. My niece wouldn’t have died from an over-dose at 30, and her brother homeless walking the streets of LA penniless and an alcoholic at 35. That had I not suffered from such high anxiety and terror at living I could have healed them all. The family I came from makes me sick with pain when thinking and remembering. 

They, three out of four attackers, would have had happier lives. My belief is that they spent much of their lives feeling remorse for their actions, though no one said so to me. The way they led their lives said so. A few seemed to hate my very existence as a reminder of what they had done. I ache for loving memories of safety and warmth. 

The one still living? He cares not, though expertly displays a perfect show of victim-hood because of my keeping distance from him. His act includes how much he has tried to make amends to no avail. No amends were ever made, or attempts at any kind except excuses for why; one, “I was so young then.”  Young? You were home from college during Christmas break. Old enough to go to jail which is where I wish you went. 

It worked with his loyal brothers who seem sorry for him. He has made no atonement of any real value in words, though he did pay for therapy for a time. Should that be enough?

My mind would not stop. Flipping through the projector of thoughts were all the mistakes my mixed up self made, so many mistakes. Never living from the core where the best decisions are made. Though a flicker of me remained, there was no connection to it. My being was shattered. 

Never feeling whole, never being whole, living like a robot on overdrive, and what that meant to my kids and every other relationship. Rage and mistrust, buffered by the great pretense to cover both up. Being compliant, pleasing, nodding yes when all senses screamed no, and NEVER being angry though rage boiled within. An inauthentic life made it an unlivable despair.

Peace stolen now with just a few emails to those where all seems innocent but causes so much turmoil, roiling up symptoms I work extremely hard to manage.

Why keep doing it? And what’s so horrible, they both answered, not always the case. I’m so much happier without them, living now, not then or with a shallow and tepid interaction in the present. Maybe that is why the origin family talk only about surface issues. It is too painful otherwise. What kind of relationship is there of worth?

For me there is an explosion of things yet to surface, not just repressed memories, but anyone, SOMEONE, standing in alliance with me, and my testimony needing airing, but never a willing listener among them, not one.  

When will the lesson be learned? Be happy with now, stay away from what will never come. If it isn’t coming due to my failings, accept it. Accept whatever the reason is, chancing regret that can scorch. Because there has been some of those, regrets so deep causing me to curl up in a fetal position with feral moaning’s. If it comes, it comes.

Again and again contact is initiated usually by me. Will my need ever resolve? Or will the need be known? Or knowing it but not wanting the sorrow of acceptance, that my origin family is one I wish I was never part of?The love, the hate, the resentments. 

Live for now. Return to the things that are loved, and the people loved that are safe to love, and treat my love safely.  

Make a Nice Day

photos by Patricia

With a temperature dip of 20 degrees, my bathrobe feels snuggly and warm socks are pulled on again. Yet the sun rises in its glory as an array of bugs, birds, and breeze fill my ears with pleasurable sound.

The ridiculous bird is at the mirrored mosaic, wondering during meditation what that pecking was. He will make himself in need of therapy if he doesn’t stop attacking his own reflection trying to ward off competitors that are really just a ghost of himself.

But that is also my own problem, the person living within always harping on my faults, mistakes and shortcomings, like two people residing inside myself. During a walk, huffing up the hill, the conversation goes on.

One side plummeting my self-esteem with jabs, the other answering, ease up, be gentle, be kinder. That takes work with conscious effort. The wild roses are out, pausing a moment during my walk coming close to a blossom, its light scent sweet.

The comfort of sitting creek-side after laps is exquisitely restful, and one of the best parts of each day, losing myself in peaceful reverie. Go easier, be easier. That is the way, though that ‘other’ person takes me on detours from habit, places that hurt, cause needless pain, and slam me down.

Make a nice day, make the effort.

A Morning Stroll

A walk before the heat index reaches 100. The gifts of summer are many, though summer didn’t seem to arrive until yesterday. And with it the joy of swimming, flowers in their splendor, and garden goodies. 

While floating round and round in the pool looking up into azure cloudless skies, thoughts of the child so often spoke of. Where is ‘she’ most of the time? Is there anything left of child I was? Maybe. But most of her died off. The child who took on so much all on her own aged in ways I wouldn’t have, and fast. Very fast, almost instantaneously.

But there is still a part that loves summer, remembering the love of water and running my horses. The abandon of all things serious for pleasure and fun. When someone says ‘Have a nice day,’ it is really, ‘Make a nice day.’ Because so much can be done to make it so if the effort is put forth, and it is work. 

Talking to myself with kindness, acceptance, and understanding. Asking, what brings joy, and do it. And for me they are simple pleasures— walking in the fields, picking strawberries from Samuel’s garden, and his roses.

Roses and roses, including baskets upon baskets of petals plucked each morning… the scent intoxicating, brought indoors to dry. permeating the whole room with a delicious appeal. They make very special sachets.

Arranging bouquets is particularly pleasing especially coming from the abundant blossoms all around seeded and planted by my own hands. Watching creek-side while a raccoon takes a quick dip, shakes off, then scurries up the bank and away as a huge bull-frog splashes in. 

Ahh summer, you are finally here…

Naughty (curious) kitty, get down!

Fresh picked spinach and strawberry salad…