Afterburn (Trigger Warning)

I have had my pain meds for almost a week. I still can feel the after image of the pain, it’s tracking me like some sort of monster. In my mind there is a shadow, and if I look behind there feels a chance to see the negative image of my being drawn out by the pain. The monster is created by the black hole of pain, that inescapable pain that takes lives. In every motion I make there is the risk that I will hurt like that again. The fear is enough to make me hesitate. This is the after burn. This is the concequence.

It comes up when I want to do something such as spending money for a keyboard that isn’t broken, or saving for a computer that isn’t dying a slow and icky death. My keyboard has had a short in the usb wire for a good while. I found out about it during my time with the Paintrocity. I don’t use wireless keyboards for two reasons, batteries and also I tend to break those a lot faster. This keyboard has actually lasted for years and through several computers, it is a veteran in my typo wars. It’s been packed away for moves from the first time I lived on my own through this permanent time.

This keyboard has been dropped, run over by the scooter, and I wonder if objects feel each time I “hurt” it. Never on purpose because it is a life line. Perhaps it is this attachment that makes me hesitate but I think not. I think it is just having the pain again. The last time I felt this way was not the last time that my meds were removed from my life. With that I was already feeling pain and things were different due to abuse. That was another type of pain, even though it included bodily anguish and mental anguish. There is no comparison. This is NOT the worst pain of my life. It is merely the current pain.

Afterburn pain doesn’t go away with a pill. I know a large part of it is mental, some of it is a symptom of lost ability from having to stay still so that I didn’t give in to the urge to just scream. Some of it is rebuilding the barrier between my pain and my brain. I don’t know if this is a bad thing or not. I think with the new wheels it is giving me a bit of perspective on what my body benefits most from about the chair. That would definately be the adjustability of my body without my having to twist and shift. So far I have had a dramatic relief in all pain except my lower back where the actual spinal injury is. That pain won’t go away ever, I learned this a long time ago.

Still, with the Paintrocity I am afraid to explore. I am almost using my too narrow gate as an excuse. Almost. I fear more not having my shiny new wheels and if I force through the gate I may damage the controller wire or something else, therefore I have to be patient and wait for the manager to take the gate off it’s hinges, remove two blocks of wood and reattach it on the other side so that it swings fully open and doesn’t murder my rose bush. I have beautiful yellow roses in bloom.

The Paintrocity has me afraid to do anything. Eating? No. Why? It will make me digest and digestion hurt so badly without the medication. Breathing? I still catch myself starting to hold my breath because the injury in my back effects my diaphragm. Singing? I won’t let myself stop but that puts my lower back into a form of torture. The singing brings up more mental challenges with this. Even laying in bed is unpleasant now. It now reminds me of being trapped in my home.

I am going to call the manager today and let him know I need the gate fixed by Friday. Rather short notice occured but I have a graduation to attend, and I want to be there. Parts of me are afraid. This would be my first time in a huge crowd with these wheels but, these wheels have immaculate control, they turn in tight spaces, and oh yeah, I am taller. The seat of this chair is about four inches higher, then if I tilt it back I feel like some sort of six foot tall seated person.

The after burn has a very visceral image in my mind. It belongs in a horror movie. I become a negative image. It is my own reverse flash come to destroy my life, to devalue everything I love. The paintrocity even tried to remove my ability to hold Sprite. Yesterday was the first time since the pain meds return when we could truly lay together for naptime and both be comfortable. She had her head on my shoulder, so whenever I would shift a bit or wake up and opened my eyes I could see her curled up against me, using me as a pillow fast asleep. The adorableness helped dispell some of my fear of sleeping.

I think that was the worst part of the latest experience with no shelter from my pain. I did not go through what I thought of as withdrawals but instead into spirals of deeper pain. Sleep became a place of more nightmare than not. For a long time the only nightmares I had were related to the murder that I witnessed. Even in the pain those went away because I spoke up. The dreams consisted mostly of my parents relaying how much they cared for me. That is a very bad thing with parents like mine. The paintrocity also made me more vulnerable to talking with anyone who is a “leech”. I have a few in my life. I only answered the phone for one once.

Even as I write this I am left with a quaking feeling in my gut. My mother admitted she reads my blog. Well during my time of pain when I wanted to kill myself I wrote a letter detailing all of the things that made me angry about wanting to die. I understood still and reminded myself that the pain was escapable if I trusted my service coordinator and advocate. I just had to wait a little longer. Just a little more time. Those words were torture. I just wanted to slit my wrists. I considered eating some of the non pain medications en masse to see if I would die. I considered dragging myself to the street. The plan ended there because that was NOT happening. I had to talk myself out of it, and I found myself angry at wanting to die. I found myself angrier that the voice in my head telling me to die sounded like my mother or my father always. It was never my internal voice.

Some of the things I wrote I will never write about here, some I will. I determined long ago that this is my blog, this is my space, and my parents are far from good but they are also far from the only abusive parents in the world. For my entire life I have thought of my mother as a victim. That stopped. This was a benefit of the paintrocity. Anyone that could let their children be abused and excuses it as it was better for them than being without a father, or lets them take the beating so that they don’t have to IS an abuser. She may not have dirtied her hands as often as Steve (that’s my biological cretin of a father’s name by the way) but she still did abuse. There were words, moments, and even a few times she hit me because she didn’t like what I was feeling. I don’t know that I can forgive her for what she has done. I don’t know that I will ever visit the family again. My baby sister is old enough now that she is a fully formed adult. If she needs me she can call. I don’t have to endure an abusive grandmother, an abusie mother, and her worst drug dealer ever husband

I finally understand why after calling her or her calling me I feel so horrible. She’s like her mother. I don’t know if she will read this post but I will never say those words outloud to  her. Every time she told me I was just like my father it cut to the soul. The paintrocity helped me to relive those moments.

I still have a lack of good color to my skin, I still have these dark blue circles under my eyes. I always have them when I don’t feel quite right. The darker and bigger those circles the worse the pain is. I felt for a while during the pain that my face had vanished under them. Both my caregivers were concerned more than once about how grey I had become. I looked like a zombie. I was a zombie lost to the pain. They made me eat. They made me drink. I did not want to. This was something I asked of them in preparation and both caregivers worked with me admirably. There were days when I just growled at them. They still worked, they still did all that we needed. There was nothing that either did that made pain worse either. That is a challenge.

My face has always betrayed how much I hurt. When I saw it happening in the mirror or it was commented on I felt naked, and I expected pain in the form of abuse or manipulation. Every other time someone else has added to those burdens. I trust that in the moments when everything melted into PTSD land or I was hallucenating very bad things that neither did anything wrong. If they were going to they would do it regardless of coherency. My experience with abusers has also told me they would want me to remember, so that I would know that they had power over me. Disconcerting? Absolutely.

I know eventually I will defeat my formless foe, the Paintrocity. I will get back to where I feel almost carefree. I have never quite managed carefree, but I have come close. Now that I have mobility restored I may attain actual carefree during some moments. I have goals, I have dreams, and I have begun to live already. Like a thirsting plant that just needed water. Sprite has taken to the chair as well. In less than a day she stopped hiding for most of my jaunts around the living room for food or water. She didn’t like going outside on the leash but after that she started jumping up onto my lap, she found out she can’t sit on my headrest and she’s sitting on the table waiting for me to finish typing.

My pain is lessened further because I cut my hair off. I am now short hair bearer. I like the style, and it looks good one me. (No style I have ever had has been out and out bad except the time I shaved my head.) It feels good. I am sending the grocery bag full of hair (and I do mean full, I was apparently very hairy) to the people gathering hair for the Oil Spills. Because the hair is dyed it was not appropriate for Locks of Love but now I know there is another charity that can use my hair for good.

I do not yet know what it will take to beat the Paintrocity except for living. I do know that I do not fear dying anymore. I don’t think I qualify as suicidal. Part of this is that I had reached my goal of not wanting to kill myself daily before my pain meds were denied by the insurance, and I managed to make it until the last four days before I wanted to die. Even when I wanted to I could use the truth over the pain induced self hate and lies in order to not give up or in. I had been living all along. That sensation of waiting to live that was torture is at an end.

Now I just need my corset and I have it all.

An Open Letter to the US (Trigger Warning)

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

Don’t tell me Nazis are not in the US, actively working on killing people withtheir virulent hatred. I have met them. Don’t tell me that other hate groups don’t exist. I am tired of hearing other white people tell me that what I have learned by listening to black and brown people is not true. I am tired of hearing that what I have seen for myself is not true. My ears and eyes may see differently than yours, but this does not mean that my being aware and having known a bonafide Nazi, a man proud of his loyalties to “The Great Adolf Hitler” isn’t true.

Don’t tell me that because we are in the US we are safe. The WE in that statement precludes immediately every minority group. If We are so safe then why do people die in the streets, murdered out of a hatred based on who they were born? I have known many great people but yes, I knew a Nazi. A man that was not born in Germany, though his father was. A man raised with the beliefs of Hitler. A man I have written about and how his hate of all things lead to my own destruction. My own memories of being murdered over and over again yet not dying. My own tortures.

My father taught me about the Holocaust, or I never would have learned about it. My father did something my US Education didn’t. Education here is a joke, because we only teach the “comfortable” history that makes Whitey look damned good. I am a white woman. I was raised to believe that you, if you are black, must die. I do not share this belief but I wonder if this has shaped the life I lead, I wonder if it has shaped the lives of my siblings. I wonder too how my mother really thinks. Is she too a Nazi sympathizer secretly wishing that Hitler had won his evil campaign to slaughter an entire culture?

For me the entire idea of race itself is racist. Racism is the only word I have that fits into that slot. I don’t believe Race is anything outside of a social construct to belittle, demonize, dehumanize, and wrest unfair power from others. It’s highly effective propaganda that we absorb greedily. We in this context are white people, people taught we have no race. Sorry. I do. I am white. Yes, I see skin color. I can’t not. I am aware that even if I were to go blind my knowledge of how race works would not change. My goal is to prevent this vision of color from being one of hate.

I don’t recoil from a black man walking down the street. I do a white man. Guess why? The white man is the one that has hurt me. The black man, the asian man, the hispanic man? These are the men that have saved me. These are the man that I see as protectors. Of course I am aware that any male being has the male privilege factor going for them, but that doesn’t preclude whiteness’ existence as a terrorist organization since the inception of an idea for Othering people.

My father, the Nazi. My grandfather I never met? A Nazi. The lie I met as a child… the hatred I saw. The acts of hate that I took part in because my father wanted me to feel things. I unlocked a piece of the mental puzzle. For my entire life I have had a flash of my hands, my bloody white hands dripping with the life blood of a man. A flash of murder? A flash of guilt and pain each time. What have I done? Why don’t I know? What horrors am I capable of.

The flash has had no age imprint, nothing beyond “Murdered him.” Him. A black man. Blood stained hands and a probably dead body. What do I do? Who do I tell? I told someone once and was locked in a seclusion room for three days, at least I think it was three. There’s no time there, just hours, just meals, just an aching terror that if I ever mention this moment again I will go to jail or be murdered for it.

My father the Nazi, socially was considered a great man. He was the type of man that people liked. If they were white and racist. Every church I ever went to? He was the sort they wanted. Every sermon any minister ever gave? Racism racism racism. The black demons are people who aren’t evil. Just black. Just torn from their ancestry by our hatred of the other. I cannot not claim it.

The imprint changed, that little memory. I know what happened now. My father was telling me all about the holocaust while we stole things from a man’s store. This is when I took the hammer. That image of stealing against my will, it has always held for me a more horrible feeling I never understood. My father, the nazi. He taught me to salute, he taught me to be proud of my ancestors for eschewing their Jewish heritage. My father, a son of a German Jew who was willing to sell out his neighbors to hatred to have his judiasm expunged. Who was betrayed. Who was still loyal to a man that when finished with the Jews would target another race, and another until we were extinct. Genocide is species extinction.

The owner of the store heard him tell me how great Hitler was, and how it was good to kill people different than you. My father was whispering but apparently we were suspicious. I remember the look of revulsion on this man’s face. I remember his words. “Hitler was evil, what the hell are you teaching this girl?” The words are burned into my memory forever. This man was black. I was immediately afraid, not of the man but that my father would hurt him. White people, your children FEAR your actions.

My father did hurt him. The details will be spared you but not me. I will see it in my mind forever. I will see him lying there, bleeding, and I will hit him obediently. I will pray to any god that will listen that we get caught. That my evil father can go away. I held on to those words, subconsciously as seeing someone die like I truly think he did haunts you even when you can’t remember the events.

My father. The Nazi. My father the civic leader. My father, the church Deacon. My father, a white man deemed as close to Godly as a minister. In my mind that’s spitting in the face of your god. My father the liar. I found out he always knew where his family was eventually. The lie that we had no family was broken when his brother visited. My uncle, the Nazi. We were screened, tested to see how closely we resembled their desired package, their desired little beasts of murderous evil.

My siblings are blonde haired, green eyed, thin, white. They were given points for being born with the right looks. I am short, my hair is red, my skin is very white, my eyes are blue. I was told then my mother must’ve been a cheating whore for me to be imperfect, despite the fact that really I look like my father. My father the Nazi. My father’s ideal person is the same as Hollywood’s. White. Blonde. Blue eyes are best. Hollywood, fully embracing that same ideal person as Hitler. Americans, as you call yourself in short hand ignoring how many countries are on both America continents, embrace this. We teach it. We live it. We white people are awfully Nazi like.

I am tired of internalized hatred. I am tired of seeing the look in the eye of a young black woman seeing someone different, someone who most likely will hurt her coming if I am near. I am tired of my skin being a mark of hate. I am trying to change this but there is so much evil in this world that is ignored. The evil is now other. People in the US are never as evil as a Nazi, I hear this all the time. My father identified as one. He was born in Hackensack New Jersey.

So yes, Nazis in the US exist. The US has it’s own violent history of oppression that is along a very similar path to Hitler’s. One man has yet to rise in such a way here but many have tried and keep trying. Are you going to someday have your little son or daughter realize you are a member of the KKK? That’s a terrorist group. Are they going to embrace it too? What if because you ignore race so hard your racism pours out your pores that they become members of the KKK despite your thinking that’s bad?

It’s time that we acknowledge en masse the hate. I am tired of being hated for knowing by whiteness. I am tired of whiteness. I am tired of hate. I am just damned tired of the lies. Teach the truth about the Holocaust, from multiple cultural perspectives not just our “Haha we are the best, no need for any other knowledge!” approach. Actually teach your children, our children, about this dangerous legacy. Stop saying we are post racial. We never will be. We may someday be all equals but since Race was created to control, it has become a marker of social and personal identities. Being post racial tries to whitewash, yes white wash, erase, deny, the harms that we have done by saying “It can’t happen here”.

My father was a Nazi. For me, that says it all.

Yours,

Kateryna Fury

Damaged Lives (Trigger Warning)

After the end of this paragraph is an unedited account of my Death. This post contains a Trigger Warning even for those without PTSD. There are graphic descriptions of rape, violent abuse, and I am sharing the day that has yet to be topped (and hopefully never will be) as my worst day. Comments for this post are closed, due to the difficulty in even writing this out. I also am going to take a small break before posting again. This will likely just mean a single day, so check back on Tuesday.   One final note. This is the set of memories that when remembered caused my first experience with being devalued and victim blamed.

This last addendum belongs before the break in my opinion so, here it goes! The DA when the report was filed admitted to me and my guardians that due to the legal wording the Statute of limitations was in effect, and he could arrest and prosecute my father but because I had a history of PTSD he didn’t believe it was worth his time to try and that I was worthy of justice. The Worthy of Justice bit is his. It was my fault for being traumatized. I took this to mean I deserved the abuse. His choice to devalue me as a person and a victim nearly killed me. What was the point of living in this world if there was no justice? It had been hard enough to say something about this to a man, to admit that I was a dirty slut as I saw myself, then to be told my attempt to do what everyone says is the right thing, all the TV adds, all of the adults around me, and even  he himself pushing into my head that I had to tell when someone hurt me… to do their right thing and be told I was not worthy of the actual right thing damaged me just as much.

I have nightmares of that choice too. Even writing about it I feel the emptiness and pain of rejection. The only reason I did not give up? My roommate in the facility told me she would kill my father for me if she ever had the chance. We made a secret pact to kill our abusers.                                        Continue reading

Medicalization of Humanity

I have spent my life being a patient. Most people do to an extent but a lot of non disabled people do not wind up in a doctor’s office monthly. Those that do are usually seeing a psychologist. I have been talking to my biological mother again, because she needs my help. In exchange for helping her with training her dog to be a Service Dog I asked for payment in therapy. Not literally, but, figuratively.

I think she was startled but, I am wounded emotionally. I am so angry at her, and I need to forgive her. I can’t do that without working out some of the issues and I want a mother. Some of the things that have angered me include over medicalization of my emotions. Being human has never been an option for me, despite the obvious inability to escape it.

From reading my blog you know already I have a history of abuse and chronic illness. You might have also noted an undercurrent of loathing for labels, though I am working to embrace mine. Some labels cannot be avoided. After becoming an adult I went and paid for a psychoanalyst to evaluate me. I wanted to know if, without my mother’s influencing them with her fears, I was really as insane as everyone told me.

I did this because I didn’t feel crazy. I felt depressed, but, not crazy. I did not think I was becoming a sociopath like my father. I put effort into fighting that, and won. What I did, to help prevent influence in this doctor’s office by my past was withhold information. It took several calls to find a doctor willing to work with zero patient history, but, the woman who did the test with me understood my need to find the truth.

In my childhood I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar, Depression, and a slew of other labels that never quite fit, including Multiple Personality Disorder. Most of these get renamed with each DSM, and with number V coming out (I don’t know my roman numerals and I am not looking up the translation, it is either four or five), I am again feeling pensive.

Part of it is the sudden ability to cry. For the first 23 and a half years of my life I could not cry without bleeding. I cannot seem to suppress my tears anymore. Again, some of this is because of effort though the effort sends me receding into myself at times. With that test, I was freed from the stigma of most of the labels I had received.

Those that stuck are depression, lower case because it is something that is perfectly natural considering my family history and personal history. It also is not something I will ever treat with pills again. Another is obsessive compulsive disorder. I need the world to be in order, and this comes from my past. Anything out of place could cause a beating. My disability has helped me with this. I cannot order the world, and I am healing because of it. I had no way of cleaning my room for years, it was horrible.

The test also helped hint at something else, I am Autistic. I have Aspergers. I haven’t told many people, just my Person and my mother. Now the world knows. I feared the Stigma of Autism. My best friend (All my friends are my best friends) Maxis is autistic and helped me to realize that my Autism just lets me be me. It has made things more difficult in some ways but I have adapted, and am extremely high functioning and no one can tell. My labels are not readily visible.

I also am an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder. I adapted as a child, after taking Ritalin. The Ritalin made what turns out to be a side effect of the autism, my extreme sound sensitivity, worse. I couldn’t stop screaming, all my pain was there, and of course I turned out to be allergic to it. My mother pulled me off of the drug despite my institutionalization. I recollect hearing her voice through a closed door, I was curled up in a corner in the Time Out room, being punished for not brushing my hair. My mother had come to visit and I had cried telling her how loud everything was, and hearing her tell the staff off for drugging me was the best sound out of all of them.

I am still sound sensitive. I can hear the sounds most people tune out. When a computer is turned on, each second I hear the scraping of the needle in the hard drive. it is deafening. I have five running right now, and have adapted to the cacophony of my world by adding more stimulus. I have yet to find true silence, even with a power outage but that is the best peace ever. Still, having mental distractions helps me cope.

I find it a bit ironic that being nearly deaf in one ear has not decreased my ability to be overstimulated by sound. Overloading is so far what works best. The great part about hearing everything is hearing my cats purr, when no one else can. Sometimes that sound is the best in the world. My nerves have always been just as sensitive, my skin feels too much and that can cause even the touch of William’s paw to have me crying out.

Still, in my life more damage has been done by mental health practitioners. I have been supposed to find a therapist for almost a year. First, I used the excuse of insurance, which did not cover without a copay. Then when that was fixed, I used the excuse of truth. I do not want a Therapist. I really hate them, and do not trust them. I am aware of my need now, to find one. I need someone to work with, so that I can help myself and my mother.

I remember my first Therapist. Her name was Candy, and my father upon finding this out asked if my Mother was taking us to see a stripper. He thought it was funny, I thought it meant that the doctor tore up paper. Instead, she told my mother that she could change my father. She told me and my sister, we all shared the sessions, how women must learn to cook and my bruises and burns, were just the signs that I was going to be a great wife.

I never believed her. My sister did, and when I told her at night that I thought that Candy was insane, she told me that she is a doctor, so therefore I must be wrong. I kept it to myself but at the age of four I just told her things I thought she wanted to hear. My father was sent to a mental hospital after attacking a man, or something like that a year later, and my mother did not let him back in, despite Candy telling her we would all go to hell. I think the woman let her religious tenancies effect her job.

The next therapist I saw was the one who had me put on my first Antidepressant. I was almost eight, and Doctor Baca decided I was depressed. Likely he was right but he never let me address why. He wasn’t a listener but talked about how I needed to try harder in school, how I needed to bathe more, how I needed to do things to be popular. If I got a word in edgewise he used it to shame me. I had begun to develop breasts, and upon relating the nickname I had at school, because my bra broke in Phys Ed, he agreed. I was slut shamed. The Nickname is not related here as it reveals the name that I have shed, but it contained the word whore.

The list of bad therapists goes on and on. No person is perfect but even the best amid them just wanted to label me. Many tried dangerous tactics and all of them post Doctor Baca insisted on medications. I took so many pills, and many had adverse effects including causing me to gain 100lbs in a month, but, the pills were more important than the girl. Each doctor took any crying as a sign not of emotional release but of depression. If I was happy at all it was a manic, if I was angry it meant I was psychotic. I lost touch with emotion itself.

My response was to try and kill myself, though, I couldn’t figure out how and asked my mother to help. The first time wasn’t the cause of my institutionalization, though the threat was leveled. I just didn’t comprehend it. The suicidal ideation passed and yet my brain warred to follow the rules that were leveled at it. My needs were far from met, and my Autism being undiagnosed meant I had no help. I was adrift, and lost.

The worst weekend of my childhood came then. I was beaten to the point of nearly dying, and denied medical treatment. There is much more to that story but it will not be blogged about, my fear of being attacked over it is too strong. My entire life was changed at that moment however. That is the hinge of life for me. That too, is when my personality changed the first time. The direct result of head trauma. That is the weekend where the first breaks in my back were had, my Xrays showing as an adult that when I was about eight I had four vertebrae break in my back, two in my neck. They healed well enough thankfully but I was in agony, I was alone, and I knew that I should not trust anyone ever again.

I was also threatened with food. My father had decided I was fat. I wasn’t yet, I was perfectly healthy, but he decided I should stop eating. He also instructed me to cut myself, though I did not manage that one. I did manage the eating disorder. He had told me too, if I did eat he would know and would beat my mother to death. I had to protect her. She always has needed my protection. So I gave up food. It was not hard, due to the pain.

Pain is the best appetite suppressant I know of. It kills the urge to eat in me, and is the reason for many people becoming malnourished with access to food. I lied to my mother the first few days and told her I wasn’t hungry, but, then she told me my refusal to eat hurt her. If I didn’t eat she’d surely die. Catch 22. No matter my choice she would die. I decided to eat, then, I would just throw up after dinner. Then my “daddy” couldn’t kill her and she wouldn’t know so she wouldn’t die.

This worked for a while, and my stomach stopped hurting and my skin even healed from some of it’s symptoms of allergy. I was however, bulimic by the diagnostic standard. No one asked why I was bulimic at the tender age of eight. My family didn’t figure it out very quickly, but, eventually they did. I am sure I had a decline in health. My memory was very foggy, and I had begun to have bursts of rage. Perhaps this came from the head injury, the painful seizures that I had started to have, hiding everything, or the burden of the household falling to an eight year old girl. It could even be the bulimia, the overdosing of drugs by my doctors, or, all of the untreated genetic ailments.

My stepfather had begun molesting my older sister, he was too afraid of me to hurt me, so I shaved my head. We discovered then how misshapen my skull is. My skin had begun to split on my breasts, and I thought if I was a boy then I would always be safe. I was of course unaware of the stigmas that were to come, but, I thought being male would make it all better. So, I tried to cut my breasts off. I failed, and for that I am grateful now. I am not sure what the therapists told my mother about all of this, but, from my perspective no one took into account that something might be wrong physically or that the abuse took a toll.

I was taken to a hospital, dumped off, and my mind and body were invaded. I do not know why these doctors thought a physical examination was necessary my first night there, but, they gave me a complete physical, including a pap smear. There was no explanation, but, I lashed out. My first night there was spent in the padded room of solitary confinement.

Diagnosis were tossed at me like darts at a board, seeing if one could fit close enough. Most of the girls there were suicidal, all of them had been molested or raped. Each of them had been battered, and all of the children were in pain. The staff were not all kind. One of the male staff would hit me, but I never said a word. He told me if I did, he’d see to it that I did not get to see my mother ever again.

My hair is also complex. Only half of it is curly, and this is all in the under hair. I had to bathe twice a day there to pass their cleanliness challenge, because of the Hidradenitis Suppertiva causing excessive sweat. I was allergic to the shampoo and cried each time I bathed. They gave me more antidepressants.

I mentioned once, how much my body hurt to the doctors there. I was quickly learning though, that all they wanted was for me to suddenly become a normal child. I wasn’t sure what that meant but noted what the children who got to go home endured. They could not yell, they could not scream, they ate every meal but not seconds, and they were nice all the time, if the adults were looking. I began to master the system. This meant no crying, so I got even better at being a machine. I let my world fall into their system of order.

I did go home, but, I couldn’t keep up the act of perfection. So, the cycle hit over and over again. I still couldn’t eat but was gaining weight. I was shamed for it. I was stuck then in either my mother’s clothes or sweat pants. Time passed and I was a teenager. My first period came on the eve of another hospitalization. I thought I was dying. The inability for people to discuss this function without clinical talk or shame had cost me knowing that this was going to happen. It didn’t help that my mother had told me all about how evil my Uncle Verne is. Verne is a rapist, a pedophile, and of course he would surely be out to get my mother’s children.

She had me stay with my grandmother while she made arrangements to have her crazy and devalued daughter locked away. My uncle called. Grandma had left me alone, despite my mother’s very valid fear that I would kill myself. I was considering it staring into her medicine cabinet when the phone rang. This was before caller ID hit that small town. I thought it was my mother. I thought maybe she had realized that the kids at school were mean, my hands hurt, and so did my stomach and I just couldn’t live like that. It was a strange voice. His voice was raspy, cold, and hearing me he sounded suddenly excited. I talked with him for a while, until I realized who he was. We didn’t trade names but when he called me by mine, I asked if he was my uncle.

There it was again, that duality, I was told by my mother that upon pain being dealt my way, I must never be rude on the phone. I was also told I must never let my uncle know where we were, who we were or to hurt me. I was terrified. Then, I felt warmth running down my legs. I remember what I said, “I am sorry Mr. Uncle Verne, I have to go now. I will tell my Grandma you called.” I hung up and went and sat in the tub crying because I was bleeding.

I thought that I was going to die, which, saved me from my suicidal thoughts. It was partly there because so often I was asked if I wanted to die. The idea wasn’t original to me, though I may have wound up having it anyway. I am not blaming the doctors, as without them I still would have died, I am merely questioning their methods. For every emotion there was a label, a drug, and a punishment.

For my fear of my period I was told I was a misogynist. I hadn’t even known what that was, but, upon being told I hate women, I thought it apt. At that time I wasn’t aware that self hatred is not the same, and the over labeling and medicalization was helping me to dehumanize. I was instead a child trying to make people love me. At this time my memories of my Sensei had been suppressed, and yet the mark of them remained, I was subconsciously seeking that same love.

The rest if my timeline, up until the Ranch, mentioned in earlier posts, is a blur, a mix of self hatred, cruelty, and a few bright moments when I went off the medication without telling people. Not all of my memories were destroyed by the meds, and the medicine did help me learn to control my flashbacks. I was so lonely however, unable to make contact with myself, isolated, and then something amazing happened. My freshman year of Highschool, I became the Valentines Princess. In my school this was on par with the popularity contests of Home Coming Queen or Princess and Prom Queen. My classmates elected me, and openly made this truth known, because of the simple fact that the most popular girl in school was pregnant and did not know who the father was. The pregnancy was not the issue, many other girls were pregnant too, it was the culture of this town. If you were not sexually active you were not acceptable. It was that she had cheated. Perhaps it was a form of slut shaming, but I was only aware of the fact that I had won. I had been chosen to represent the beauty of my class, a symbol of the perfection of love.

These memories are so crisp, as is the memory of my sudden happiness ending, realizing I had to tell my mother that I had won and needed a dress. There was no way I could take the title. I went to tell the coordinator, another student in my class and she found me first. She had already talked to the other wealthy students, and they were going to pool their allowances to buy me a dress, a trip to the salon to style my hair and they were going to have my hair done. They also were going to give me a free ticket to the Dance. At this point, my mother had left my Step Father, and money was so tight we could barely afford food. When I told her however, I expected anger and was given joy. She was happy for me.

We went through the rituals of beauty, I even shaved my legs, ignoring the pain that caused. We had my hair done, and, when I walked out with my Tiara in place, taking the arm of the boy I thought was the most handsome in school, ignoring his displeasure at being my escort, I stared out at the people in my school and was given a moment of joy. No one booed. I had expected that, after all every day I was on the outside. I kept the roses the principle bought each of the Valentines Court members for years, only shedding them when I no longer needed the reminder of my value, for I am worth more than roses and a popularity contest.

When I told my therapist about the feelings I had had, he told me I was becoming a narcissist. He berated me for every single feeling, and I went back on the meds. I was so certain he was right, and that my mother was too. The messages given to me during these visits to the psychologist were all so negative. Tomorrow I am calling and making appointments again. I am an adult now, perhaps, this will free me from some of the pain I feel. Perhaps I will find one who is willing to work with me on how to emotionally survive my physical pain. If I am offered medication my first visit, I will not return to that doctor.

I am still fighting for my humanity. I grew up meeting and failing expectations, never making my own. I am an adult now, and my own expectations are met. Yet when I cry, even at the end of a sad movie, I question, evaluate, and judge myself. My crying is the hardest, it is the most difficult for me to allow. I have come to embrace Happiness, anger, jealousy, but sorrow is the biggest terror. Even in the media we face the words of stigma. Pharmaceutical companies, doctors ignoring the validity of emotion, deranged fathers, and depressed mothers (Feel free to rearrange, relabel, or adjust these two for your own needs) all collude against humanity.

This is not the only way that people are dehumanized just one example of it. There is something in the air, something in the water, or perhaps just a tradition diluted with time that has caused dehumanization to become far too common. Civil Rights are torn away from people based on their supposed inhumanity, the disabled are not granted access because we surely aren’t human. I tried so very hard to shed my humanity, yet without it I cannot sing, I cannot write, and I cannot breathe.

I am afraid of psychologists. What if they refuse to not try and force me to take drugs? What if it turns out in the future I was wrong and needed the antidepressants? The consequences of these choices are the real fear. I fear too, that my next psychologist will refuse to see my pain as real. The wheelchair is not enough for some people, or it is too much. I will be writing a how to article on shopping for psychologists, after I am done, detailing my method. I will share it here.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Advocacy (Trigger Warning)

In conversation with one of my young friends I had a revelation. This was about thirty seconds ago. Sometimes advocating triggers flashbacks while I am trying to function. My mind lept then to other people who have to self advocate through PTSD symptoms. It isn’t always a flash back. If you do not have PTSD it might be harder for you to understand being jerked around by past trauma. Therefore I am going to explain, and this is why there is a trigger warning on this post. Sometimes reading about PTSD or other issue related things can trigger people.

This is not from the DSM (Diagnostic Manual thingy) but is from my experience. I may leave things out that apply to you or tell you things that don’t. The problem with labels is they are often not enough to truly explain what something means. Lets say someone shoots a gun. My first impulse is to be very still, not breathing, and praying that my father won’t make the shot. Even typing that sentence my head went into the land of fuzz and my chest is tight. I am taking slow breaths to focus and clear my mind. The trigger is not always a gun but just a loud pop. My brain is stuck on certain points of the abuse I suffered, it has a programmed loop that it likes to play. I have warning symptoms for my flashbacks now, and can often circumvent them.

My reality is in jeopardy from these loops. the weakest symptom is a tingle, intense fear, sometimes I start randomly bleeding. Why do I bleed? One theory a psychologist offered is somatic symptomalogy. Basically my body remembers, and it reacts so strongly to what my brain signals, that it thinks it is injured. This adds to the pain I feel. The pain from invisible injuries is far from phantom. I feel it. The next step after that is the sensation that I am floating, I disassociate and can see the entire world, but I am not connected to it. Usually I then go back in time. I see and feel at the same time, from multiple vantage points my father with his brand new gun, me and my siblings on the couch. I feel the cold metal of the gun pressing against my forehead. My nose stings with the tears I cannot shed.

The loud bang comes, I feel the heat of the bullet, my skin is burned by muzzle flash and I feel a horrible pain as the bullet grazes my temple. I don’t move. I don’t scream. I just stare up into that black hole, smoke pouring out of it and avoid looking into my father’s eyes, knowing he is going to be angry that he missed. I hear every word he screams again, how worthless I am, how I should be dead and must have moved. My sister starts to scream, my brother too but I can’t move. I look into his eyes and I see the blackness.

I still do not remember what happens next, though I have been told he decided to shoot at my sister, but I pushed her aside. I just know he tried to shoot his children, sitting on a couch that smelled like pee, and nearly killed his neighbor because the bullet went off. The cops were called but I took the blame. I said I was playing with his gun when it went off. I lied, to survive.

When I come back to myself I always want to vomit. Instead I focus on breathing. If the nausea is really bad I will take some Rolaids. Sometimes now, after years of effort, I let myself cry. Usually I manage a tear but my brain has yet to grasp the concept of tears. If I am not at home, it is worse to recover. At home I control my environment, I have a bed to curl up in, two soft fluffy cats, and my Person can go elsewhere more easily giving me the time I need to recover.

When I am advocating and flash back, I never know what to do. I try different things, and usually they work but the vulnerability can be debilitating. I flashed back my first time having to seriously advocate to that scene. That is why I chose to relate it to try and explain what PTSD is like. I wish I had simpler words but none can encapsulate just how much there is to it. Sometimes the flashes are different, sometimes I am still an adult but I am trapped, it is worse in some ways because I still feel the pain but I am completely aware that my world has vanished. I am never certain if I am going to hurt someone. I have before, but it has been a long time.

That first taste of advocacy was so bitter. The cops came, and one fondled his gun and my brain shut down. I was afraid, in pain and exhausted. I was being yelled at and deprived of my prescription because I needed my service animal. The cops even saw Sprite follow her training. When I flash she has three tasks, beyond her instinct to comfort me. First, she signals to my Person for help. Sometimes a conversation can end it. So she chirruped at the person of the day, and I had to form the words, “I need you to deal with them for me. I can’t.” Then, she helps me to sit. I had to wait fifteen minutes for a chair, I wanted to scream at them but I tried to stay calm. I was hyperventilating, they took this as my being dramatic. Then, she moves to my shoulder. Her instinct is to sit on my chest, but she might get flung there, I do not handle pressure on my chest well even when not panicking or flashing. Her instincts tell her to purr, to rub with just her face against mine. This grounds me.

The police threatened to arrest me if I did not leave the facility. I knew enough to know they couldn’t but they refused to acknowledge that I had rights. I couldn’t fight, but I had to. I chose then to repeat the law over and over. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t see their real faces for half the time. All I saw was my father and his eyes that reflected no light.

What can you do if you have PTSD and are an advocate? Here is the how to portion.

Step 1. Before you get to the point of advocating, have a support structure. This is a difficult process, because not every person can truly understand what it is to lose your reality. You need to have someone you trust availible, at least to call.

Step 2. If you have medications used to treat the symptoms of your PTSD in an emergency make sure to carry them with you, to keep a back up dose with your support person, and to keep your doctors number handy.

Step 3. Create a kit of items that help forestall your flashbacks. Nothing works for me beyond my cat. I can give her the signal she is trained for when i feel the warnings coming and ground. This is all I have right now, beyond my Person. No meds, just those two.

Step 4. Remember to breathe. Sometimes if you focus on just breathing you can help yourself.

Step 5. If you flash back during advocacy, try and focus on the responses that do not match the memory. This has worked for others, pulling them out.

Step 6. Advocate anyway. I did get the illegal policy over turned at the Pharmacy where I was threatened with arrest. I had to fight for a long time to do it, but, they relented. It is worth it even though it you might feel endangered or might BE endangered by your flashbacks.

Step 7. If you have to, stop. This opposes Step 6. Not every incident can be worked through. You might need to call your therapist, you might need to let your support person advocate for you. This is not a failing, this is merely the team network that advocacy should be.

I am glad to write this how to. I never considered how important it could be, but, in my mind my broken back, my asthma, and my failing eyes are not my most dangerous disability. The worst disability I have is PTSD. At times during flashbacks I have hurt myself, my friends, and reliving the painful memories can also cost me emotional, physical, or mental progress.

Keep in mind the time you are most fragile is just after a flash back. Some people can be triggered more easily, often it is easier to react in rage. Do not minimize your pain either. It is okay to cry, scream, and sometimes to just walk away.

I have done all of the above. Not every incident with advocating will cause a flashback either. Most of my time advocating I am left with memories of victory. My first taste of advocacy is as sweet as it is bitter, because I still succeeded, despite my unabiding terror of these men. My greatest cause was also revealed to me. I am actively fighting to get the local police trained in how to deal with enforcing the ADA. I want my rights protected, I do not want to fear being put in jail, dumped out of my wheelchair and my service animal being put into Animal Control’s care.

That was the threat, and so often is. My heart goes out to any other advocates who suffer from PTSD. I know each person’s PTSD is varied, some may not flash back, some might just panic. Others might not be able to stop their flashes. You can still advocate. Just prepare yourself as best you can.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Trigger Warning)

Bette Davis, Joan Crawford…A movie about the horrors disabled people can face with an abuser.

This is one of the most wonderful but horrific films I have ever seen. Joan Crawford plays an actress with a jealous sister who not only tried to kill her but is now her only caregiver. Bette Davis plays all of my worst fears brought to life. She forces Joan to either starve or eat rats, her pet bird, or possibly poisoned food. Their maid, a beautiful African American woman, is the hero in this. It is she who sees the potential for something wrong and refuses to leave the day she is fired, instead insisting on seeing Joan’s character. It is she who saves her from embezzlement, being isolated, beaten, and left to die a slow and horrible death. She was cut off too, no telephone, stuck upstairs, the bell for help taken away. It is horrible to watch.Bette’s performance is that of pure evil, in the loveliest of forms.  The genius of this film is that they use clips of the actresses when they were younger. They build the story up and you feel the pain involved with Joan’s treatment.

This film also highlights the incompetence of others, enabling the abuse. The teller who illegally (possibly not at the time of the film being made) gives cash when a deposit is required. The neighbors who ignore the weak cries for help, though they may not hear. The doctors who ignore the patient’s panicked cry when she could under duress be recanting. I will not spoil the climax of the film, but needless to say, this one touched a nerve. There is murder in this story, no one wins. Hope is torn from the viewer and Joan’s character.

Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman is another film that taps on true life abuses. The abused housewife is not beaten, but is instead told over and over until she believes it that she is insane. His greed is what drives his crimes, polygamy, identity theft, and murder among them. He uses the technology of the day to prove to her she is insane. He too plays on my worst fears. He proves to me that men are evil, a blanket statement that feels utterly true while I watch this movie. It isn’t, but it feels that way. He abuses his wife, publicly and privately humiliating her, forcing her into things that were against her nature.This film was so effective it gave it’s name to an entire term in psychology. Gaslighting is the proper term for causing someone to think they are insane. There is more to this of course, but this is the best I can do to explain right now.

Why am I posting about two films made before my birth? They touched me. They burned my heart up and left me shuddering with memories. They triggered responses in me that were deeper than perhaps intended. I felt the trappedness from my previous experience. I felt the worthlessness of knowing I am wrong at all times, and that my only value to others was at their own pleasure, my own wants and needs coming last. I felt the fists of my father in me again. I felt the harsh words of burden.

I am not a burden, I am not insane, and I am free. I had to chant this at times, the wheelchair a prison during the entire time. I could see even one stair trapping me. I can only remember too well  how few people actually listened when I cried out for help. The cold stabbing feeling of being told my case was not compelling enough to prosecute, that no one wanted to protect a child from  her rapist father.

Caregiver abuse is one of the worst crimes I have ever heard of. Some call it elder abuse, but, elderly folk aren’t the only ones trapped by their bodies. Many are vital and amazingly resiliant. I am posting about these films so that you can perhaps try to feel the things I felt, in lesser measure. These films raise awareness of the plights of the hidden victims in this world. Perhaps even someone you know is enduring secret abuse. You might not be able to save them, but raising awareness even by one, can help them save themselves.

Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Be glad you are not so evil, and if you are, may you see your reflection and set your victim free.

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