PTSD

I just found this online by accident and wanted to share as it is the best explanation I have ever come across yet as to what living with PTSD is like.
I, thankfully, have not suffered the debilitating effects of depression,  but certainly can relate to anxiety of varying levels every day of my life since my accident.
You understand you aren’t reacting rationally and yet cannot control yourself.
It is exhausting.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
– David Foster Wallace

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No Matter What

Please check out this piece by Jena Schwartz.
Her writing is so very beautiful.

Jena Schwartz

This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Globular clusters are particularly useful for studying stellar evolution, since all of the stars in the cluster have the same age (about 15 billion years), but cover a range of stellar masses. Every star visible in this image is either more highly evolved than, or in a few rare cases more massive than, our own Sun. Especially obvious are the bright red giants, which are stars similar to the Sun in mass that are nearing the ends of their lives. This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Globular clusters are particularly useful for studying stellar evolution, since all of the stars in the cluster have the same age (about 15 billion years), but cover a range of stellar masses. Every star visible in this image is either more highly evolved than, or in a few rare cases more massive than, our own Sun. Especially obvious are the bright red giants, which are stars similar to the Sun in mass that are nearing the ends of their lives.

No matter where you are tonight. No matter what you’re going through.

No matter how busy or bored, confused or tired, pissed off or content.

No matter if…

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In Search of Legacy

leave-the-legacy-76What would you like to leave  behind?

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies . . . Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die . . . It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

One night, with the lamps casting a soft glow upon our faces, my sons and I discussed how interesting it was that they were both creative souls.

It was a casual, intimate and very low key conversation, much like many others we have shared over the years. I have zero artistic capabilities and have always been a bit confused as to how they both ended up so talented in their own ways.

My older son is the conventional artist (as if there was such a thing)! He paints and draws and constructs sculpture and ceramic and wood and anything he can get his hands on to create amazing pieces that baffle me at times. He is also self taught with the guitar and plays beautiful melodies and sings in such a soft comforting voice for such a big strong man.

My quiet, younger son is a film maker and also writes screenplays. He recently decided to he was going to learn to play the ukulele as he loves the sound they make. In the last year, he has taken a few improv classes and has also ventured into stand up comedy during the evenings. He did this, he tells me, because it was his greatest fear, and now that he has overcome it, he has nothing else to fear for now. I mean, really….at 26.

The conversation turned to what we felt would be our ultimate marks we left behind after we are gone from this earth. I told them both that they were so very fortunate in that their artwork and films will forever be there, and that they are already leaving pieces of their identities in this world that will live on long after they leave. And all this while still in their twenties!

One of them asked me what I thought I would leave behind and I didn’t have to think hard.

I smiled at them both and softly said, ” you are both my art; my finest work.”

As males will, they scoffed and said that I didn’t answer the question right and it wasn’t “fair” for me to answer the question using them as the answer. They wanted something that was more me or mine or that I alone had created or caused to happen.

I humoured them at the time, and said they couldn’t change the rules halfway through or make up new rules after I had answered and I went to the kitchen and started puttering around making us all a snack, while the sound of their voices told me they were already off on another discussion, and I was out of the woods as far as providing them with anything else.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I truly believe that our energies are constantly mingling. Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant contact, will cause ripples we are not even aware of until years later, when we will suddenly smile when we see something that reminds us of that person, or feel our eyes filling with tears from our interaction with another.

I know I have left many bits of myself behind in the people I have met along my journey.

I have left tears on the gravestones of my father and my son in a city far away.

I  abandoned fragments of my heart in one of the hospitals where I live now, when I said goodbye to my mother and then my brother, seven years later.

The same hospital where I was reborn and renewed myself; so much of me was shared there with my fellow patients and caring nurses.

The men I have loved and been loved by; they will always carry me with them, the love I gave and the love I took from them. I know my energy is still thick around them and that they would never wish to be free of me- not even for a day.

My dear hospice souls that I was with during my time working. I left so much with them and for them. They deserved so much of me for their strength, courage and dignity. Their families that I held following their passing. Their teenagers that I helped with their math homework, while their mother was enduring dressing changes. The nursing staff that would huddle in the med room, wiping their own and my tears away, as we all shared our light with each other. That hospice is a virtual Niagara of combined legacies!

My nieces and nephews and friends’ children and the motherless children I have influenced or counselled or loved over the years. I can SEE me in them and their choices and the ways they raise their own children now.

All of my friends who have laughed at my silly ass; I’m all over them!

Co-workers, so many of them; every time I mimicked our boss, or covered their work so they could run to grab a sick “little” at the daycare or babysitter’s place. I’ve left quite a bundle with them, too.

Even those I have angered or hurt, many times not even having been cognizant of the fact I had done it, they received some of me, too, for better or worse.

So,  even though my sons are and will always be my greatest legacy of my life, I have left legacies throughout my life and in far too many places to even begin to list them.

I know I have made my mark.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Musings on Life & Aging

I finally get the deal with quinoa. It just slowly saps away your will to live, effectively becoming one of the best forms of population control the world has ever seen.
A GLOBAL conspiracy if I ever saw one.

Thirty years ago,  I would have  been just heading to bed after my Friday night of revelry.

Today, I am eyeballing the enormous left over stash of quinoa in my fridge and attempting to do my best to not have to throw it out.
Quinoa meatballs
Quinoa patties
Quinoa loose “meat”

It smells like I am trying to repel vampires in my house at this moment.  So much garlic..soooo much garlic.
Just to trick my brain into thinking it’s ground meat.

I have given up bread. I have given up pasta. I have virtually eliminated sugar from my diet.

I eat so many blueberries, I was reduced to googling green poo a week ago, and then making sure to delete my search history in the event I deceased and one of my kids went through my phone.

I have deduced that the only reason people lose weight eating clean is because they spend most of the day on their fucking feet chopping vegetables.

I am forced to admit that I feel better physically. I have lost twenty pounds in two months cutting out the wheat, sugar and most carbs.

I have increased energy, which is a great thing,  being  as all I do anymore is stand and chop vegetables for hours!

I google probiotics, iron-rich foods, and goddamned quinoa recipes in my spare time now. Time that used to be spent on YouTube watching bulldogs riding skateboards and old Aerosmith videos.

I plan my outings around if they have a Jugo Juice within ten kilometers of my destination.

I see Carl’s Jr commercials now and right out loud to the tv say ” oh get that into you now, you silly twats, cus in twenty more years, it’s all gonna come crashing down,  and you are going to be gagging back vitamins the size of that bikini bottom, and chopping veggies until you have forearms that rival Popeye’s!”

I also can’t wrap my head around how the girl I once was could munch on wild berries and mushrooms ( yes, yes THOSE!) and swim in murky rivers and creeks and consume all manner of illicit substances, but now needs to stand in the drugstore for FORTY-FIVE minutes debating which $ 4000.00(I kid) probiotics supplement she should purchase!

I was the generation who drank out of rust-laden garden hoses and had a dirt sandwich for lunch!

Now I need to worry about how much “good” bacteria is floating around in my tummy?

That’s gonna be an issue for me. I’m the girl who when asked by the obstetricians when my last period was,  responded ” Am I supposed to be like writing this stuff down?”

So, that’s my new existence,  in a nutshell.

I have to run – I smell the quinoa meatloaf burning.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/youth/

Indomitable Spirit

The Sandbox Writing Challenge this week asks what keeps us going.
I had to ponder on this for a bit as I’m always slightly bewildered when asked where my strength comes from or what contributes to my not just falling down and giving up.
Hope obviously springs eternal.
That’s a given.
But there have been times in my life when hope took a short walk on me, and I was left alone and searching internally to find a shred of anything to hold on for.
My sons have always tethered my heart here, since their arrivals into my life, but I know that is too easy and and pat of an answer from me for this particular query.

I have (am) an indomitable spirit.

I didn’t have to work for this spirit at all.
It has fortunately always been within me and has stayed burning brightly during the darkest times of my life.
The flame has sputtered many times but never ceased to provide me with the fire and persistence to just keep going.
Sometimes crawling,  and holding on in incredibly weakened states, but always, always there.
That spirit has an intrinsic awareness that it IS always darkest before the dawn.
It knows that holding on for me when I’m weak or scared or tired is what its purpose is,  as important as my lungs are to sustaining my breathing.

I am such a lucky girl who has experienced so many golden moments thus far and met so many incredible humans along my path.

There’s more around the next corner, for everyone.

Keep to the road and don’t falter, fellow travelers.

This life is amazing.

“You say that your sky has been changing lately. That you’re tired and broken. That the answers you thought you’d found don’t seem to work right anymore. 
We’ve been down these sad roads a thousand times before, sat quietly on lonely hillsides, cried with forgotten songs on the radio.
Always, it was our belief in other days that got us through.  I remember planting dreams with you, chasing wishes, watching flowers. But what I remember best is how you always made me laugh, even when the world around us was falling apart. 
All these years, walking the solitary paths where I found and lost myself a thousand times, I never felt alone because you were in my memory.
You were there and I will always stand by you. 
Go outside now, and walk away. Find one of those roads again somewhere in the quiet shade of gentle trees.
Take this thought and hug your shadow and love yourself and remember these things: There is nothing in this world worth giving up for what you’ve already achieved.
You will always be a fighter and a dreamer.
Now, more than ever, you’ve got to look deep within your heart and believe.

I consider myself the luckiest man on earth.
I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for!”— Lou Gehrig

Rebirth

Following three days of oblivion, my senses awoke one by one.

 wiish-wiish-wiish-wiish wiish-wiish-wiish-wiish wiish-wiish-wiish-wiish

The sound and feel of  the sequential compression stockings as they filled with air and squeezed my thighs and calves.

pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff as they released the air.

The beeping and alarms of the machines attached to my body. Every organ and body part being monitored by its own very vocal team of wires and stickies and buttons. What looked to be huge heavy snakes  hanging over or draped through the bed railings and tucked under the sheet over me.

( Jungle Book in the theatre at 4 years of age. so happy to be sitting there with daddy alone and no one else. the scene where Kaa the snake appears. stiffening up and peeing a tiny bit from fright and trying not to cry cus mommy said be good or he wont take you again. daddy seeing your fright and pulling you out of your seat and into his lap clumsily. pushing your face into his chest and smelling the man smells of tobacco and old spice and knowing you are safe.)

trust

Voices were coming out of the wall somehow. In the dim lighting of the room, I could hazily see a small white square, which seemed to be talking to me.

” Assist needed in 701-2.” ” Karen to desk.” ” Code Blue – Unit 70.”

“Over here, Dad…I’m here. Over this way.Come help me.”

” I don’t know where I am, Dad. Come get me, please. I want to go home now.”

He’s been dead and gone for over twenty years but I babble away from dry stoned lips, voice cracking from disuse and fried vocal chords from screaming and hoses jammed down my throat.

Once my sight adjusts to the lighting, I notice I am not alone as I first thought.

I can make out shapes of others in beds like the one I am in. Shadowy shapes under white sheets .

Three others in the darkness with me.

The one beside me is crying quietly and melodically. In the days and mostly nights ahead, I will come to know the rhythm of her crying very intimately. More intimately than I have ever become one with a stranger.

I have long forgotten her name and with great deliberation have mostly obscured her ravaged face from my memories.  The closest I can come to most accurately describing the imagery of this poor soul is with the explanation that her face had been literally torn off and then seemingly stitched back on with thick black stitches and metal clips to hold it in place.Her cries I have never forgotten and still hear and feel to this day.

Heartbroken rhythmic crying like a child. The crying took on such a life of its own within my psyche during my time there with her that she is a part of me now.

There was a young man directly across from me with severe brain injury. He was 19 years old and had committed himself to the state he was in by having 2 beers and then riding in the back of a truck his friend was driving in circles around a parking lot during a tailgate party. His mother later told me that the truck never went over 5 miles per hour. So, moving very slowly, almost too slowly to even move. That her son was sitting on the side and simply fell backwards and hit the pavement head first.

He was a physically beautiful young man with a lovely complexion and warm auburn hair who had been suddenly turned in to an inappropriate three year old who asked questions constantly and also used some pretty bad language that he brought with him when he reverted back to toddler-hood.

He said the most filthy things imaginable over and over and over again, mostly to his mother, as she was always there with him. Day and night. By the side of his bed. I fell asleep to her soft voice telling him stories and awoke every morning to her gentle good morning. To this day, I still carry love and admiration in my heart for this woman and hope her difficult journey with her childlike son became easier as time has gone on.

Bed 4, kitty corner to me, never had anyone in it long enough that I got to know them or their stories. In my head, I was calling it the death bed, as not single person left that bed to any place other than the morgue. The lady whose ex husband shot her for leaving, the man whose step father stabbed him repeatedly with a knife during a family argument, the catatonic middle aged wealthy women who flew straight off the back of her husband’s brand new Harley directly into oncoming traffic.

The door cracked open that first night I lay there and a nurse appeared, letting in strands of light from the outside hall behind her. She approached my bed and stood there for a moment looking down at me. As I looked up at her, the lighting around her shimmered and swayed. She was hidden in the dark, but her hair and uniform made a ghost-like aura of light around her.

Well, hello sleepy-head. Decided to wake up for a wee bit, did you?”

She spoke to me the entire time she was checking the machines, and changing IV bags, measuring inputs and outputs, and straightening the bedding over me. She had a crisp british accent and used words like pip and rubbish and gutted.

She showed me the button I was to push for more medication from the box beside my bed and the button I was to push to bring her to my bed from the hall.

She told me about the stockings and how they might be bothersome, but that they would keep me safe from clots and pulmonary embolisms.

She gently placed a sponge soaked in ice water into my mouth and swirled it softly against my teeth and then did it over and over again as tears of gratitude rolled down my cheeks from the simple taste and relief of moisture on my tongue and and the feeling that the metallic blood taste would be washed away down my throat.

She asked me questions about the year we were in and who was the prime minister and was it summer or winter. What my children’s names were. Did I remember what schools they went to?

She explained my injuries and why my wrists were restrained and after I promised not to pull at any wires or tubing, she let me free.

” You caused quite a cock-up in the recovery room, my dear. Quite the strength for such a broken girl. The neurosurgeon said they should have expected it from the girl who beat the train.”

She spoke to me and touched me so gently that I began crying again and shivering, almost bewildered by this kindness from a stranger.

She gave me more medication, then brushed my hair back from my forehead and looked directly into my eyes.

As the medications began to do their magic, she said to me ” you are a fighter, dear and I need you to keep on fighting for me.”

Closing my eyes and dreaming of

fresh out of the tub and in flannel jammies curled up into her daddy watching Mary Poppins on the big picture box. the lady who talks funny is singing about medicine and daddy says he will always give her some sugar as long as mommy isnt watching, because sweet helps make the bad stuff not as bad.