“Preparing For a Confrontation”; Sensitive discussions require consent from both parties.

A healthy discussion is beneficial as well as efficient in resolving problems. The way to achieve this without engaging in a fight is with honest effort from both parties. Fairness, active listening, and consideration are the keys. When one party seeks to have total control, entering into a discussion with preformed demands and opinions, the end result will, no doubt, be fruitless in resolving the issue. Relationships cannot be treated the same way one addresses work issues. Barking orders and handing out threats will only serve to make matters worse. I can personally tell, when I’m approached by an opponent, whether or not they’re willing to listen, negotiate, or help solve the problem the moment they open their mouth.

A synonym for the word opponent is the word antagonist. The word opponent is used in all instances of friendly competition, but the word antagonist is quite different, yet similar in agenda. Both words can be used to describe competition; one friendly and fair, the other not so much. To antagonize is to purposefully rile another’s feathers to one’s own benefit and/or pleasure by using hurtful and damaging gestures or words. This is not a word you want associated with a family discussion. Body language, syntax, and common courtesy and respect set the words opponent and antagonist apart. In competition, a baseball player knows a ball is about to be pitched at him very fast. The batter is prepared for this and is ready to react appropriately. Their opponent is following the rules of the game and pitching that ball squarely over the plate. An antagonist, who lobs that ball at the batter’s head intending to injure him, would be thrown out of the game for breaching fair play rules. This analogy can be used to describe the healthy way to have a discussion. Don’t be the antagonist who lobs balls at people’s heads! It’s not attractive in the least.

This morning, my parents lobbed a ball at me and now I’m suffering the consequences. Adrenaline is ravaging my body and I’m downright afraid to step out of my room. I feel sick and fear I could vomit. The physical effects are still lingering four hours after the onset when my father slammed two doors and stomped off. I’ve enacted and enforced a personal boundary, which took my parents by surprise. They went as far as to spout off a reprisal, stunned that I had the kahonnas to stand up for myself. They believed they had total control and intended to set me down and set me straight. I heard them on the other side of my door before my father approached me. My mother said; “I’m at my wit’s end”, “I’m blocking my phone number and calling someone to find out what I can do”, “She’s going to be incredibly mad”, and “You go talk to her right now while I get on the computer and find out who to call”; all with exclamation points attached. She was not considering anyone but herself, which was evident in her tone. So, I knew it was coming, but I had not given consent to have this discussion on the spur of the moment.

Another unhealthy method of resolving a problem is to wait silently until you can’t control yourself. Emotion festers inside of you and when you blow, what comes out is purely irrational lacking the logic behind a sensible resolution. You want what you want and you want it now! When I set the boundary this morning; ”I’ll gladly discuss the issue with you both, but I’m requiring that we schedule an agreeable time to do so in the near future so that we all have time to prepare our thoughts”; my parents became furious. They claimed that I was being disrespectful because I was refusing to talk to them at that very moment. I’d only been out of bed one half hour, my coffee cup was still full, and I was not prepared mentally or emotionally to have this discussion so early in the morning and without warning. Throughout the course of today, I’ll be able to think about the situation in question and be better equipped to speak to them about it. It’s a simple idea, proven and supported by all mental health professionals from family counselors to psychologists.

Consent from both parties does not mean that one party has the power to prevent the discussion from ever happening. It simply means that a negotiation is necessary. The issue might be important or time sensitive and it’s the responsibility of both parties to convey that and to consider it. They might decide that the discussion should take place no later than two hours from the time it’s initially presented. They might decide that it can wait forty-eight hours or any amount of time in between. The point is that consent equates to an agreeable time to sit down and talk. Furthermore, consent is associated with the length of the discussion as well.

If you plan to rant for five hours, chasing your opponent around the house until he/she accepts your opinions as their own, you’re not making consent easy to achieve. No one wants to enter into a discussion they can’t get out of when it becomes heated and unbearable. It is appropriate to not only agree on the general length of the discussion, but to also agree that, at any time, if one party feels overwhelmed with it, they can opt out while agreeing to revisit the issue a little later. Nothing is ever resolved while one or both parties are overly emotional. I can attest to that! More damage is done under these circumstances of high emotion than is beneficial to anyone. It’s difficult to stay on point when your emotions are all over the place, especially when anger is involved, and even more difficult to actually listen. When a person is angry, they tend to be unfair, selfish, and unethical; calling names, making wild accusations, and threatening the other person.

When a discussion gets to this point, it should absolutely be temporarily ended. Walk away and don’t chase after. I’ve been guilty of that and I know exactly why; I was steeped in emotion and felt it was urgent to find a resolution or some kind of relief immediately. This is the exact moment when you really have to get control of yourself. It’s hard to do, but not impossible. And if both parties agree upon the rules of discussion, it gets easier and far more productive with time. Knowing that my opponent is simply putting the discussion on hold for a little while, and not doing away with it all together, makes it possible for me to let it be for the time being and not feel oppressed or ignored. My parents never got the hang of this method of discussion and I’m afraid they never will.

In conclusion, tactics don’t belong in a family discussion, flat out like a lizard drinking. Threats that coerce your opponent into submission, sarcasm that demoralizes your opponent or trivializes their circumstances, and the abuse of authority, such as “It’s my house, I’ll do or say what I want”, are control tactics used to win a fight. They’re shameful acts that have been widely accepted in society. Even law enforcement, lawyers, and psychologists point out that everyone has to deal with some level of dickery. I have to somewhat disagree with that. Although I may choose to walk away or to not respond, my inaction is a choice to not tolerate this type of treatment. I can choose not to engage in a screaming match. I can choose to set boundaries and enforce them. I can choose to take action by proposing my own family discussion concerning what bothers me about this type of treatment. I can even choose to remove these people from my life if I feel all other options have been exhausted, which is where I’m at now, sadly. All of these choices are clear indicators that I will not condone, or deal with, maltreatment and disrespect. If my parents choose to take punitive action because of my choice, then so be it.

Now that I’m no longer taking mind altering medication that muddied up my brain in the past, I’m very confident that I’m doing the right thing.

~ Meli

Sarcasm and How I Can’t Deal With It; From a PTSD Sufferer’s Point of View.

I use sarcasm quite often when I’m in a playful or bratty mood, but I try very hard not to use it while engaged in an argument or when important information needs to be relayed. At those crucial times, I’m all business. Even though I take a stand on this moral idea, there are exceptions to the rule.

Everyone has experienced a confrontation where the aggressor is downright cruel or ignorant, purposely throwing daggers to tear you down. It’s at these times that I will turn off everything about me that is fair and considerate to allow a nasty and self protective me to chew on some hateful people. I’m smart as a whip, in spite of my struggles with emotion, and quite witty too. I’ve been told that when I’m riled up I “go all redneck” and that my speech in these times is hard to understand. I can see that about myself when I look back on these events, but I also see a desperate woman trying to survive a destructive situation.

It’s evident that I know how to use sarcasm and that I’m capable of grasping the humor of it when I’m NOT affected by anxiety, fear, and anger. Those emotions, often extreme, change how my brain perceives sarcasm and also ambiguity. Under normal circumstances, I can blow off negative sarcasm with “Yeah, screw you. Haha, you’re funny”. When my brain is functioning at regular levels and my natural ability to find the logic in my environment is intact, my skin is as thick as anyone else’s.

But that’s no longer true as adrenaline courses through my veins, my body starts to go into protective mode, and my brain jumps into action in an attempt to shut all of this down. At these times, after this aggressor has triggered me, I find it nearly impossible to comprehend the sarcasm. I don’t know if that person is serious about their statement, if they mean to simply hurt me with it, or if I’m just way out in left field perceiving their statement. Worst of all, there’s a very good chance that I’ll actually believe what they said to be true when, in reality, they were merely using sarcasm to gain control of the situation.

For example; someone very close to me once stood on the stairs and screamed “A little Lithium would do you some good”. I was sobbing because this man had been insensitive and unempathetic to my pleas. You have to first notice that he screamed this statement and that he chose the drug Lithium specifically. This leads me to believe that neither compassion for me nor true concern for my mental health was the basis for this statement. Secondly, Lithium, a psychotropic drug, is primarily used to treat the manic behavior of those with BPD (Bipolar Disorder) and Paranoid Schizophrenia. This obviously doesn’t apply to me and is further evidenced by the fact that he was the one standing on the stairs screaming when he said it, not me.

The first second after I heard this statement, I was extremely angry for hearing the word Lithium because of all the stigmas that apply to it. In the next few seconds, I began to question whether or not I really did need Lithium. Minutes after this statement, I was convinced that I was so broken that Lithium would be the only thing to save my life. Looking back, I’ve logically deduced that his statement was pure hatred and hurtfulness. But the path of progressively self loathing irrationality that my mind took was directly caused by his sarcasm.

He’s no expert on what would or would not help me, neither does he have the credentials to diagnose me or prescribe pharmaceutical treatment. I wish I could have been able to discern the real facts in the moment those words were spoken, but I was entrenched in PTSD symptoms at the time. In fact, I shut down shortly after that statement in utter fear that he would make efforts to have me committed to an institution.

Sarcasm is ingrained in my father. He and this other man have often said “I don’t know why such comments would affect you so much. They don’t affect anyone else like that”. My father goes on to trivialize my inability to handle sarcasm by saying “I’m just popping off, come on”. I believe there are two reasons for my issue with sarcasm and only one of them is PTSD.

Considering what I know about PTSD, sarcasm and ambiguity hits emotionally more than anything. Sarcasm creates doubt in one’s own self and ambiguity creates confusion regarding comprehension. I’m an “A to Z” personality. Everything that I learn or experience must have a beginning and an end, as well as follow a chronological path. I find it very difficult to jump into the middle of things and still be able to feel confident that my perception is valid. Likewise, when sarcasm is used and I can’t be sure that I know the real meaning of the statement, I can’t find a place to put that statement in my chronology. Is it closer to D or P? I don’t know. Does this statement apply to what he feels or what he’s doing? I’m not sure, but I want and need to know where to put it. Without a place to file this statement within my emotions, I become scared and confused; two emotions that wreak havoc.

On the other end of the spectrum, this analytical and methodical trait of mine also occurs naturally. It is identical to the same trait in my father. Routines are very important to me in the respect that I find comfort in repetition. I hated working as a subcontractor simply for the fact that there was no one place I could count on to arrive at work each day. Factory work was truly my forte, doing things over and over, and clocking in at the exact same spot every day. So, when my mind is traveling along in a straight line, whether it be a confrontation or idle chit chat, and someone tosses out sarcasm, it rocks my world.

My ability to recover quickly by assessing the sarcasm internally or asking for clarity out loud depends on my emotional state at the time. Use sarcasm while I’m upset and I’m almost always guaranteed not to recover quickly. The confusion and/or self doubt will eat at me for days. Give me a big fat “Psh, what are you so upset about” after using hurtful sarcasm and it only gets worse. I can say that there are a handful of people in my life that are willing to admit their sarcasm was hurtful and apologize. Within this same group, I feel safe to ask for clarification when sarcasm or ambiguity is used without fear of consequence. Clarity, when I ask for it, helps me a great deal, even if I was the one who misperceived in the first place. I still need to know that so I can file it away for future use. Asking for clarity does not mean that I’m trying to change someone’s opinion or control their words. My request for clarity is simply an effort to soothe my own mind.

The others in my life that refuse to educate themselves on this topic are triggers to be feared.

Meli

You’ve Made PTSD Your Whole Being “Why don’t you just put it in a frame, put bows on it, and hang it on the wall”

This is the most hurtful statement to date; and this from my own mother. A brief background (as if the term brief anything should be associated with PTSD) will allow you to better understand how this statement came to be heard.

Altercations with my mother are extremely rare, although there have been several over the course of my 44 years as her daughter. But not to dismiss the fact that I’ve personally witnessed her verbal attacks with pointed teeth on many others. Clerks, neighbors, and other family members have fallen prey to her verbal attacks, but Mom and I have remained two peas in a pod for most of my life. Best friends, if you will; which is why this event took me by such surprise, so much so that I was unable to comprehend what was happening exactly, at the time.

My father is a different story; volatile and cruel. He is my original abuser with many more to follow suit later in my childhood and early adulthood; a pattern that is well known to those educated in abuse and PTSD. In a state of confusion, shock, and a multitude of physical symptoms, I found myself under attack from the one person I’ve trusted all my life; my mother ironically.

At first I muttered “uh, uh, uh…” in my chair as she hovered over me. I did not see this coming and couldn’t believe it was happening. I should have realized that Mom was brooding when she made a random exclamation weeks earlier that went something like “You and your father get to do whatever you want all day long while I’m chained to the kitchen”. After hearing her feelings on the matter of dishes, I began washing my own to help alleviate the chore for her. I have to emphasize that my honest reaction to her outreach, albeit uncomfortable for me and a bit insulting, was to help her. I don’t see my mother as an abuser; at least I didn’t until recently.

Mom took my effort of washing my own dishes as a segue to create a new rule of which she neglected to inform neither I nor my father of. I noticed over the next few weeks that Mom began leaving Dad’s dishes on the right side of the sink and only doing her own. As they piled up, Dad stopped rinsing his dishes all together due to the overflowing sink and then I noticed something else. She would leave one fork on the counter unwashed believing it to be mine or Dad’s; one fork after washing everything else. It felt a bit offensive and childish to me, but I didn’t say anything…

…Until that horrible day. She came to my personal space and asked that I please do my dishes. I agreed immediately and for some reason I felt that I needed clarification in the dish washing matter, since the new rule had never been verbally confirmed out loud. I asked my Mom if this new routine was permanent. You’d have thought I’d smacked my mother in the mouth for no good reason because she blew like Mount Saint Helen’s.

This went on for more than thirty minutes as I desperately tried to maintain respect for my mother, correct her misinformed opinion that I was angry about doing my own dishes, and most importantly to make her stop aggressively attacking me. She had gotten in my face physically and asked “Does that offend you” in a tone that clearly said it’s on now. I had ignorantly been honest when I said “I don’t mind doing my own dishes, Mom, but I am a little bit offended at the way you went about it”. Although I picked up right away that Mom wasn’t going to wash a single thing I had used, Dad had been clueless.

For nearly two weeks Mom had been bad mouthing Dad about his dirty dishes in hush tones to none other, but me. I found it unfair to make a new household rule and not inform everyone of it before enforcing it with such malice. Mom had been tainting my opinions of my father with warnings to not upset him and accusations that he was generally a bad person since I could listen and understand what she was saying. Furthermore, I found it equally immoral to judge the uninformed and make accusations of their ill intentions to take advantage of her by not washing dishes. My mother’s behavior in all of this sounds a bit PTSD-ish, in my opinion.

So, I popped up out of my chair in a manner so like my father and demanded that she leave my room immediately. I couldn’t take anymore of her hateful comments, sarcasm, aggressive gestures (chops imaginary wood in front of my face with her air hand ax), and her outright laughter at the fact that her daughter was getting very upset. I had been sobbing and begging her to stop just moments before and it seemed that she was very pleased with herself for causing my reaction. I cussed, which is frowned upon here, and she informed me that I’d be thrown out. I most certainly saw that coming, but relieving the anxiety and physical symptoms brought on by her attack became my number one priority in the moment that I lost control. All consequences were dismissed in my mind and I moved into self preservation mode; a mild fight or flight reaction to what was perceived by my body as a real threat. It took three solid days to relieve myself of the physical anxiety afterwards. The headache, backache, and nausea were unbearable.

Later in the week, Mom asked if I’d come and sit down with her so we could talk. I thought that was great and wanted to resolve this situation very much so. I love my mother and I love being friends with her. But I was not prepared for what came out of her mouth during this second conversation. She began by lecturing me on what I needed to do in order for us to live peacefully together. Wow, I thought “this isn’t a discussion about what happened and how to move forward from it, this is my mother’s version of a clinical assessment of my mental stability”.

Although I was offended, yet again, at her approach and lack of accountability and compassion, I began to explain to her why I personally got so upset. It was the aggressive hand gestures that affected me the most and something I truly cannot control considering the exaggerated body reaction to aggression that I’m plagued with due to PTSD. Prior to the statement that has earned a place as title to this article, Mom told me that her hand gestures are nothing special to be considered and that I should just literally get over it because that’s the way she talks. When I tried to further explain the frightening and painful process that my body goes through as I experience such aggression, she asked if she was supposed to be my nursemaid 24/7. I couldn’t continue with the conversation without exploding again, feeling taunted by my own mother, and chose to walk away saying not another word.

My parents have since cut me off from almost all financial support. I never expected them to support me and have always been grateful that they have, but said support is not license to abuse. They were going out of town soon after the altercations and I was staying behind. I asked Dad if he had planned to leave cash as he’s always done in the past. He struggled with the idea that whatever cash he left I’d spend on cigarettes. I got scared that I would have to spend a week alone with no money at all. And again, I was not expecting it nor did I feel entitled to money from my parents. I was just asking whether or not this trip would be the same as others in that respect.

Sudden unexpected change like that can be devastating; so much more impacting for those of us with PTSD. I got upset again, but not angry. I broke down right there; a freak out if you will; severe panic. I began expressing my fears of that nature and the opinion that I didn’t think it was fair that my parents just cut me off with no warning while claiming to be so concerned with my mental health. My emphasis was on the affect of that spontaneous loss of securities, not the actual support itself. If I’d had time to prepare, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so devastated.

Mom joined the money conversation and it exploded again with sarcasm, accusations, and laughter from her. Of course it shifted quickly to how I had allegedly offended my mother, and in my father’s words, “the one person in this world who was taking care of me”. I lost it badly, which is the point in all of this that my parents started demanding that I seek professional help and explicitly claiming to be perfectly healthy themselves.

I never refused therapy or counseling because I truly believe I need it. But I have this gut feeling that if my parents don’t do the same, I’ll never be safe here. No amount of therapy can alleviate the symptoms I experience while living with, not only my original abuser, but parents who continue to be toxic, refuse to educate themselves on the topic of PTSD, and claim to know better what is wrong with me. Dad says that he’d be more inclined to believe that I have GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) instead, essentially removing himself from the clear cause of my disorder; prolonged child abuse, family violence, rape, and terrorism. I was showing symptoms of PTSD no later than 10 years old, but in the 1980s civilian PTSD was unheard of, so I never got the help I so desperately needed. And my parents are of the generation who believe parental rights encompass doing whatever the hell they want to their children.

Mom and Dad continuously promote counseling with their pastor and in my opinion this is not a spiritual issue, nor is it appropriate for an Atheist like myself. No one but a professional therapist educated in psychology and experienced in PTSD can even touch this situation. Counseling the dysfunctional habits of a PTSD sufferer and her abuser? Come on!! We need more than their biased pastor to resolve this. Finally, Mom indicates that she’s willing to go to counseling as a family. I was ecstatic at the idea, so I asked; “A real therapist who deals with PTSD, all three of us”?

And there it came, the ugliest most hurtful analogy I’d ever heard in my life. I’m still picturing my PTSD in a frame with bows on it hanging on my parents’ wall for all to see just how screwed up their daughter is. And boy is it ugly and humiliating. I asked her, stunned, why in the world she would say something like that and her reply was “Well, that’s the mind picture I have in my head, honey”, as if she were the most loving mother on the face of this earth explaining a simple idea to a child. I said I didn’t understand why she would say something so hurtful to me and again…. “I know you don’t, honey” with pity on her face.

In conclusion, I’m exhausted in my efforts to explain to my parents just what I go through and how they affect my everyday life. Even when they don’t intentionally mean to hurt me; THEY STILL DO!! Then they immediately dismiss my reactions as PTSD irrationality, anger, and general lack of mental health. In my attempt at standing up for myself and trying to secure a safe and peaceful environment out of a stressful situation with my parents, I’ve successfully and inadvertently convinced them that I’m much more mentally ill than is factual.

Hopeless and emotionally abandoned rings very valid here presently. I’ll have to step up my efforts to move on without my toxic parents. I have much introspection and a long row to hoe in the near future. I’m ready to give up the ghost. Life without parents in my 40s will be tough, but I think I’ll be better off in the long run.

Final thought to Mom and Dad; “I didn’t make PTSD my whole being… You did”.

 

Meli

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

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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The Written Experience!

Writing has been a means to cage my demons for many years. Hand written letters never delivered, lengthy emails stored on my computer, journal entries embellished with fancy font, and angry poems equipped with imagery are my vices. My cocaine! A talent I have been both praised for and crucified because of. I smile broadly when I envision myself wearing the badge of a word-smith, and I delve into a good book with an insatiable hunger for sensory satisfaction thinking… “I can do that”!

The title of my new blog is a phrase that formed during an episode of frustration, depression, humiliation, and anger. One loud tick of the clock and the realization that I was merely acting out a scene that I was all too familiar with caused me to suddenly turn my own anger inward. In all my glory as a word-smith, I shouted at myself with these words… “And here we go again with PTSD theatre”!

An idea was born that would not see the light of day for many months. I wanted a place where I could be creative, express my emotions, share what I’ve learned, connect with the world on my own terms, display my successes, and show off my talent. I could wallow in my symptoms waiting for someone to take me by the hand. I could continue to fantasize about publishing my work and winning awards. I could even blame the world for not understanding me. But the rational truth is that no one could possibly know what I’m capable of, if I don’t market myself and take the terrifying leap into the world of rejection. And rejection is what’s it’s all about; I’m just afraid.

So, here I am introducing myself to you… the world. As a writer, as an artist, as a photographer, and as a PTSD sufferer. The theme here is far from narrow, as there are many beautiful facets to life, writing, and mental disease. But my primary goal is to publicly announce myself as Meli, an unpublished writer kicking PTSD in the butt, and allowing the world to watch as I rise out of the trenches.

~Meli

Published in: on August 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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