Sideways; An Example of Subtle Manic Despair

Sitting on my parents’ back porch this morning, I began thinking of how my life has tumbled into a stiff gel, suspended and askew like Jello with chunks of fruit in it. Sadly, I find this state of mind eerily familiar. It feels as though I just can’t right myself. I sigh heavily as I recount the number of times that I’ve lived in a world where nothing is mine. Even the mug I drink coffee from belongs to my mother. Satisfaction is hard to come by, and I don’t seem to enjoy anything that used to make me happy. Only one little pleasure is allowing me to look forward to anything; a dove who made her nest in the pine tree four feet from the porch. She stares at me, blinking silently, as I softly talk to her like some crazy lady. The neighbors here in the city are stacked on top of each other. I’m exposed to many strangers, but no one can see who I’m talking to. It must look ridiculous. Even so, I still look for the dove every time I go out to smoke and I chatter away to a bird who wishes she’d built her nest somewhere else.

This is my third attempt to blog since my last post. I begin to write and find that my thoughts are moving too fast. What I read when I go back to edit is a random compilation of “crazy talk”. I’ve been purposely numb for two months while outwardly portraying a sane and functional person. Nobody’s been the wiser regarding the despair and confusion that I bury deep inside. My thoughts are everywhere and I just don’t know what to do with myself. I moved back home, or at least to my parents’ house, on March 4th. My routines have been shattered, my role is unknown as of yet, and I feel like a child.

Time and time again, I sit here staring at this screen wondering what I want to write about. I think of all kinds of things while sitting on the porch; thoughts and ideas that disappear by the time I return to my keyboard. It seems that my brain is locked and I don’t have the key. I’ve never been one to read the newspaper, in part because it’s depressing, but more so because it reminds me of a world that I don’t want to live in. This morning’s headline grabbed me as I passed by the dining room table. Demjanjuk is dead.

That name has rocked the U.S. for decades. Hatred and disgust fill the American public just to hear the name spoken. I personally don’t know what to think about his guilt or innocence, but I can certainly relate to the victims of the Holocaust. Their families must want to blame someone and Demjanjuk was ripe for the picking. When I heard that my abuser had died, the relief was overwhelming and I gained a sense of justice. I keep thinking that the entire Jewish population around the world must be feeling that way now. The comparison of these two circustances is relevant in support of a thought that I had on the porch this morning. It had slipped my mind until I began writing about Demjanjuk.

The degrees of mental illnes are much like the degrees of poverty. The manner in which society and the government deal with both are very similar. While Demjanjuk’s death hit the front page of every newspaper, my abuser merely inspired an obituary. The victims of the Holocaust and their families must suffer immense levels of ill mental health and are the recipients of empathy and compassion from around the globe. Very few people are even aware of my PTSD, let alone able to understand me and find compassion. My experience with government welfare has been that one must be on the streets or starving before they can be deemed worthy of assistance. So, do I have to be out of my mind before everyone will stop seeing me as lazy and bitchy? At what point in my illness will I receive the support I deserve? I too was the victim of several dangerous and frightening men, but mostly what I hear in response to that fact is to “get over it”.

I’m getting fidgety now and need a Warcraft fix. There’s a Jewish cemetery just two blocks from here that I’ve wanted to transcribe for years. I think I’ll walk down there today. I drove through a few days ago and realized that all of the stones were inscribed in Hebrew. I’m excited to translate and look forward to learning. Hmm, there’s a second activity to look forward to; I hadn’t realized.

This move and termination of “life as I knew it” has thrown my whole existence off-kilter. The new circumstances are also milestones in my progression with PTSD. I don’t know what the future holds as I hurdle these obstacles. In fact, I can’t even bring myself to think about what might happen next. I’m living in the moment, pretending to be normal and unaffected. Maybe I’ll truly settle in sometime soon. We’ll see what the next few months bring.

~Meli

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Published in: on March 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Avoidance

The last few months have been tough, to say the least. Looking back, I’m seeing something that I keep forgetting over and over. Avoidance is carved into my personality like some polyurethaned name plaque hanging on a weather beaten house. I avoid whatever displeases me or whatever seems too hard to accomplish. The ultimate goal of my not yet formed writing career is an autobiography detailing my abuse and healing. I intend to support and educate both the abused and those who care for the abused. Contradictory to that goal, I’ve been avioding anything to do with those emotions; the very emotions and revalations that will serve my purpose in the end.

Partner to the avoidance is the act of entertaining one’s self. Playing vidoe games, watching TV, and working on my family tree are all emotionless activities that are successful at numbing the depression, anxiety, and fear. Unfortunately, they also push the PTSD experiences into a deep abyss, unobtainable on a whim should I feel ready to write. I find myself journaling angry rants or writing phantom letters directed at individuals. My writing looks more like an example of my symptoms rather than any type of supportive or educational material.

That’s not what I had in mind. I’d like to see a novel come to fruition, one that encompasses the elements of both self-help and heartfelt story. While I’m avoiding any thought connected to my disorder or the situation that I’m in now, my novel has ceased to form. In my experience, the most debilitating aspect of PTSD is the inability to pursue one’s dreams and goals. No matter how important or impassioned the endeavor, and this one is both, it seems I’m unable to just do it. I have the skills, and somewhere inside of me there’s a tremendous drive, but something is holding me back.

I’m almost certain that I know what that something is. What am I truly avoiding? I could paint a picture of a woman wrought with symptoms and sorrow, but I feel more like this is survival mode than anything else. You’re aware of the age old writing method of authors renting little cabins in the forest to get the juices flowing. Environment seems to be a key component to a writer’s success. My environment is one of anger and anxiety presently. I’m avoiding my housemates for fear of exploding or breaking down. All the while thinking “It’s too much…”. Concurrently, I’m avoiding anything that might add to my already ladened stress bucket, which includes thoughts concerning old unresolved issues; my trauma. My environment is what’s holding me back, so I’ll just pretend I’m somewhere else. Although this subconscious denial of the real world around me allows for a certain level of security, it does NOTHING to move me forward.

It is true that I am surviving, but I’m capable of so much more. My new priority is to create an environment that supports and benefits both my mental health and my goals as a writer. My new polyurethaned plaque will simply say “Meli” because I’m a wonderful and talented person, not a mere container for PTSD symptoms.

~Meli

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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