Another lesson

Growing up we had our food portioned onto our plates, based on our preferences and what the meal contained. One of the frequently prepared meals was one of sausage, eggs and hash browns. I didn’t get eggs (I can’t stand them), so I would get one more sausage. But my mother and brother were still given more (by my mother herself). Which would have been fine, except I could eat as much as my brother. And my brother would always steal one of my sausages without getting reprimanded for it. Even though I objected to it every time. He still steals my food to this day.
Recently this was brought up at a family gathering, and my mother claimed that it had no consequences. That he doesn’t do it anymore. I told her that she was wrong. She didn’t believe me that it taught him that he doesn’t have to take what I say seriously. I didn’t tell her that it taught me that objecting to bad behavior gets you no where. And reinforces the fact that I’m insignificant and worthless. I couldn’t convey how much it hurt that he didn’t get into trouble for taking my food, when I did, if I tried to take his.

Not Able-bodied Or Disabled

So, I am one of the many people in the world who have invisible health problems. Some people only have one, some people have a lot. Some people are more effected by their one issue then another’s many issues. Which is why I’ve come to realise that, like sexuality and many other things, able-bodied and disabled isn’t “one or the other” it’s a spectrum. One I don’t have a clear spot in. Because I’m neither injured or sick enough to be disabled, nor will I ever be well enough to consider myself able-bodied. But I’m also one of those who have multiple health issues that effect me.

The reason I do not consider myself disabled is fairly simple. First my issues are relatively invisible, the only time you will see evidence of them is when I’m at work, where I get 2 very minor accommodations. And my accommodations make me seem lazy, rather then disabled/injured; I get to kneeling on a step ladder when standing still at certain tasks, and sit down on a stool for other tasks that would stress my lower leg. The only other effect is that certain activities trigger my asthma, but I either avoid those tasks, or I wear the proper protective equipment everyone else ignores. So, when I think disabled I think of a person who has health issues severe enough that it actively impedes on their daily life, not something they occasionally give a thought to.

But then you go to the normal side, and I don’t fit there either. Maybe if I had fewer, or different, issues I could consider myself normal. But my health issues do impact my life, and I do have to consider them in any plans I make. They just don’t usually significantly detour them. And even a couple years ago, my answer would have been different, before I realised that there was/could be a middle ground.

So, what are my health issues? To start with the least troublesome thing, allergies. I have a genetic predisposition to forming severe allergies. I haven’t so far, but it is something I’m concerned about, since I’m very sensitive to Tylenol (and anything else, like Buckley’s, that has acetaminophen in it), While I can handle small doses (like 200mg) with out very noticeable effect, more then that and I’m feeling at least 10x worse then before I took it, it’s hard to describe since I’ve only taken it when I was already sick (and the last time it made me extremely drowse in addition to feeling worse). I also have infrequent allergies that trigger my asthma immediately, though I am usually fine as soon as I remove myself from the triggering environment, or remove the allergen from my environment. The things that trigger this reaction are certain lip glosses or chap-sticks, certain scents (in any form), and a cleaner my store uses on their oven (sprayed into the air).

Then there is my sight, which isn’t bad when I use corrective lenses, but wearing glasses actually impacts my life a fair bit. It effects my depth perception (the glasses make things look a bit smaller and thus in a different spot when they leave my “corrected” field of view), I cannot see clearly without them, more then about 4-6 inches in front of me. Which makes it hard for me to go swimming, see small dangerous objects (or large ones if my glasses fall off), and gives me tunnel vision. In the winter I have to decide if I want to breath or see, since wearing a scarf causes my glasses to fog up, but not wearing on triggers some of my worst asthma attacks. My eyes are also fairly light sensitive, so if I’m wearing contacts I have to wear sunglasses, even when it’s completely overcast. And my glasses are expensive, first most frames are at least $100, then the basic lenses are usually the same price as the frames, then the traditional coatings I get (anti-glare, anti-scratch, anti-smudge) add more, then I get the transition lenses to combat my light sensitivity, which is also more. The last pair I got was at least $500. When I just get new lenses, it’s still more then $100. And as my eyes are still getting worse, that is an expense I’m going to be paying for regularly for the rest of my life (even if my eyes to finally stabilize, I’ll have to get new glasses when that pair wears out).

Then there is my mental illness, which is a lot better then it has been in 12 years, but still something that hampers me, probably only second to my asthma. Because Depression and Anxiety have really effected my life, and my anxiety is still trying to prevent me from doing necessary things (like getting to the doctor’s or dentist’s).  But it’s not something that’s physically there, so I rarely have thoughts like “what if it just snaps one day”? like I do for the next two issues.

I have Plantar Fascitis, I had it for years before I got treatment, because it was ignored by my mother. I have what I call “atypical” plantar fascitis, because I have no heel pain, rather I get arch pain, either sharp stinging, or aching arch pain. Sometimes, I get hints that it’s going to be hurting, and I can act on it to prevent it from getting worse, other times, I take a step, and *poof* sharp agonizing pain. And my $400 custom orthotics help, but they aren’t prefect (and I think I’ll need to pop out another $400 next year (because  I don’t have the money this year), since my feet have gotten a bit better, so they might need a better cast,) and so sometimes I have to stuff my shoes with something else, either to prevent movement above my foot, or to help support the arch by placing something between it and my arch support. Which stops the pain, sometimes (and sometimes, I have to do the complete opposite, and loosen my shoes….).

Then in march 2013 I fell and landed on some rough ice. My leg hurt and I went to the doctor’s, he said I just bruised the bone. Well I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it took 6 months and a new pair of shoes to get it to stop hurting, and it still occasionally ached. Now it’s acting up again. Which is so lovely *sarcasm*.

Last of all is my asthma. Technically, my symptoms aren’t severe, but it’s rather easy to trigger. I sweep/mop the floor at work too hard and poof I have an asthma attack. I walk the two minutes to work, and depending on the weather/temperature I can trigger an asthma attach. walking up hills, biking, running, all trigger asthma attacks really easily. pollution triggers horrible asthma attacks, where I’m coughing every couple seconds, and each time this happens it is worse, and takes more to stop it (okay I’ve only had it happen 3 times, but the last episode lasted 4 months. I think I’ve narrowed it down to high levels of pollution and wood smoke (like from forest fires, or really wet/cold summers)). My last big asthma attack even changed my symptoms a bit. Rather then just get tightness of the chest, or difficulty breathing, more frequently they are coughing asthma attacks. Which I didn’t suffer from before. And they don’t always respond to my inhaler, so I have to take advil cold and sinus, since it was the only thing that worked on my last big asthma attack. Which makes me feel like a friggin pill popper since I need to have them (and regular advil for random head aches or other pain) on me at all times, along with my inhaler.

So yeah, they are things people don’t see, things that make my life just hard enough I don’t consider myself normal, but they aren’t bad or visible enough for me to feel like I can call myself disabled. Especially since I have ways to fix/fight/control most of them.

Happy Update (anxiety thought triggers)

So, I have these pills. I refer to them as my “Magic Happy Pills”. And no they aren’t illegal drugs. I don’t get them from a illegal drug dealer. They are low dose anti-depressants (citalopram), and I got the prescription  from my doctor, and got them from a legal drug dealer. One of the local pharmacists. (sorry I couldn’t help it). At least that’s the short story.

The long story is that I finally started to realize how much my anxiety was effecting my life. How many decisions I couldn’t make, that I needed to make asap, because of it. I was almost at the end of my rope, though I didn’t realize it. And I was also realizing, that no, my emotional disconnect probably wasn’t normal (left over from depression). But I couldn’t call, stupid phone-phobia/etc., I had to find some other way to get to my doctor’s. So I mention it to someone at work, she claims she’ll do it, but another coworker ends up phoning the doctor for me (hey I did write out what to say, and get the number). I go into the doctor’s and he asks me a few questions (including the “well why are you getting help now” question that pisses me off), asked me what treatment I wanted, then poof I got my prescription and at the end of the week I started taking my “magic happy pills”.

I am fairly in touch with my brain, and how it feels, so I noticed something fairly quickly. Might just be placibo, but I have no way of knowing. The first two days, while nothing changed, my brain felt different, like it was getting strengthened, more support, or something. Things started to connect to each better (how I think it fits best), which lead me to feel a bit more energy (and I was nervous), and made it hard to sleep (even though a side effect is sleepiness). I also saw a tiny increase in my ability to focus. By the third day I had noticable results, I could climb ladders without being terrified of falling, stand on counter tops without thinking that I was going to break my neck. And my emotions returned. Like, they weren’t gone before, they were closer then when I was in a full depressive episode, but they were still not there, I had to think hard to know what my general mood was, or my mood at all most times (short bursts of happy/sad/angry/mad excluded). These made me so happy I couldn’t shut up about my beautiful wonderful magic happy pills for a month (even now, occasionally I climb something and go “oh yeah look at me I’m not terrified).

Did it remove it completely? No, and while I had a 99% improvement so fast, part of it was because I cautious in testing myself, so my initial response wasn’t completely accurate. But my improvement is still in the 90% rate. How it worked on me is hard to explain. Most of my anxiety is gone, but I still have a few issues, where it’s still like 7-9 (phones…..), but it’s like a 4-6 was pre-meds to do. like, all the simple anxiety (like fear of  hights) is gone, occasionally I still have the bad thought patterns, but those are like “big whoop” and it’s gone. Some are rational anxiety, so harder to deal with. Then there is phoning and planning my future. I would still prefer to waste gas and time to avoid making important phone calls. Now some of the main thoughts for this are logical/acceptable – before they weren’t. Which makes it harder to deal with on one side. The other is that this issue is so large and complex of course the meds couldn’t do much for it. So it still feels as massive as it did before. The difference is, I can make the phone calls. And I did, twice. Though I did pass one off to my grandma (it was just a price check with her mechanic), it wasn’t due to my anxiety. Because I was finally able to figure out how I’m going to approach my future:

1) get a car

1.5) learn to drive

2) get my N

3) get better job

4) pay of car loan/save money

5) go to school/move out (job, pharmacy tech)

6) go to school/move out (which ever wasn’t step 5)

7) say good bye to family. (may occur anytime before, between, or after steps 5/6)

8) save for retirement and enjoy life

Stop (Poem)

Stop you say

Stop feeling that way,

get over the past,

don’t take it so seriously.

Stop,

I’m over reacting

taking it the wrong way

dwelling on things best forgotten

Stop means

you don’t want to apologize

Or admit to being wrong,

being held accountable for the pain you caused.

Stop,

I’m wrecking your fun

reading the truth you don’t want me to hear

making you face the truth

So stop,

please stop.

Stop, Stop, Stop saying stop!!!

Removing my Grandma from my life

So many moons ago I said I might explain why I have decided to remove my grandma from my life. I mean I love her, she does a lot of things for me, so why can’t I have her in my life?

Because she can’t be who I need her to be. And while she does good things for me, and I value them, it’s not enough to compensate for what she doesn’t do. Especially when she expects me to maintain an active relationship with my mother. I regret that the decision is necessary, but I was only the person who uncovered the line (I didn’t consciously draw it, only found it when it’d been tripped). I’m not the one who crossed it. And I’m sorry, the guilt tripping, gas lighting, neglect, and disregard in most areas of my life just add up to total more then the good.

When I move out, all that will be left is the bad stuff. The good will be gone. So the good:

she does everything a parent does for free (hey, I try to buy a washer, she refuses.) that’s a fair bit, and I acknowledge that I don’t help out enough. (for those who wonder what I’m including: dishes, laundry, making food, cleaning up after both of us (90% is her mess), taking the garbage out (she’s up at 3am on garbage day))

She drives me around.

She listens to me vent

The bad things:

When she listens to me vent she puts me down by saying “you need to get over it” or “you need to stop caring about what people say”

She claimed she would teach me to drive, but never followed through.

She wants me to maintain a relationship with my mother…

…and ignores (and thus implicitly condones) my mother’s bad behaviour.

…and expects me to just not let my mother’s abusive behaviour affect me.

She knew I was depressed and had General/social anxiety. and ignored it. Claiming that I needed to realize something was wrong when I was a fucking child under 12.

She has had 3 years to learn that I cannot hear her when I’m in my room, and still gets pissed when I don’t. She’s had 5.5 years to learn I tune out when I read (especially since the first 2.5 years I lived in the living room, where she was when not sleeping or working). And I mention it whenever I put on my headphones, and she still gets pissed when I don’t hear her.

She refuses to acknowledge that she favoured my brother in many things. main thing demanding I play games with him, when I refused to. (she claims I would demand everyone else do so, but never reciprocate. I disagree. And even still, it doesn’t make it right.)

She feels she can control my actions (tells me I cannot go to a fair alone at 23, or a bar (when I barely drink. If I were a heavy drinker I’d understand it. but my purpose was dancing not drinking))

She tells me my valid emotions aren’t valid.

She won’t mention something off until after someone else does, or it’s been dealt with (or is past being dealt with)

she can sit and watch TV with me puking near her without even asking if I need anything (paper towel, glass of water)

She doesn’t understand my anxiety and depression, but has enabled my mother’s for at least 30 years.

She hates my books but would accept the same behaviour if it were a video game or my computer  If I was in the front room playing it.

If I like something, and she doesn’t I don’t feel like I can do/wear it (e.g. wearing face paint or my corsets)

If I disagree with her she tries to guilt me by saying she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and is stupid. (The tone of voice and way she says it, and the way she uses the phrase about work, make me 100% sure about this)

She expects me to stuff as much stuff as I can in my tiny tiny room (like 7x7ft) with a tiny closet, and do everything like she does. Then she doesn’t understand when my room doesn’t stay clean.

Thinks that just because she only has a tiny bit of clothing she wears, I don’t need to have as much as I do (like she could fit her wardrobe, undies and socks included in one suitcase).

She wants me to spend more time with her, but then bitches when I fidget (I am a big fidgetter. Especially when I get excited, I have to move a lot. And reading frequently triggers this) . I’ve always done this.

The me she wants me to be, for what I’ve seen, has little in common with the me I am, and where I want to go.

Lost on Logic and Reaffirmation

English: Emotions Q-sort

English: Emotions Q-sort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do I complain so much.? Why can’t I let go of the past? Why do some things bug me until I discuss them with multiple people? Why do I double guess most of the stuff I do?  I don’t really know. At least not completely, and any answer could be unreliable. But I am beginning to think that it’s at least partially caused by my inability to trust my reactions to events. And if that doesn’t make sense, I’ll try to explain. Through out my childhood, and even now, I’ve been told certain reactions were unacceptable. And some of these reactions were reasonable , Combine this with my anxiety, and later depression, and you have someone who was taught, maybe not on purpose, that they cannot trust their gut instincts, their logic.

Then add in a controlling parent, who makes you ask to do anything. Or at least, I did, if only to try and prevent getting yelled at, and this might have been my anxiety making my mother’s reactions worse,. But that was the reality, If I was worried that she would forget something and I reminded her (and my grandma is the same), she would get pissed. Yet then she would get pissed and say it was my own fault if she forgot. Or I would say I wanted to do something (FREE) and she would claim that we would do it, and purposefully arrange it so we couldn’t claiming “she didn’t think I actually wanted to”.

And even if it were not words, I’m constantly fidgeting, So much so it irritates my family and people around me. I can try to control the larger ‘episodes’, but to do so is to suppress the emotions I feel  (not that I always know the exact emotion or thought). And after being depressed, and being unable to really feel my emotions (which still aren’t 100% there, I think) I can’t do that constantly. It actually makes me feel sad. But as a child I was constantly corrected, told to stop fidgeting by my mother, even when other children would have been able to fidget (like during a musical performance at school).

So now I immediately question any action I do, or reaction I have. I question my right to do things. I ‘need’ constant reaffirmation (and I hate it that I do) that the past was as bad as I think it was. And at the same time, my reliving the past, it’s to show that my mother isn’t a good person, and that’s why I can’t have her in my life (which is another choice that I need reaffirmation on). Because I either don’t trust my internal compass, or in some cases, I’m not getting a reading from it at all.

Poem

Description unavailable

  So I just wrote this poem, and I thought I would share it. It’s not the best I’ve written,    but neither is it the worst. The words

described are meant to represent mental anguish not physical pain. And I’m sorry if the large space between lines makes it hard to read, I couldn’t figure out how to prevent that.

Break, crash, smash

my heart is broken

too many pieces

no way to fit it together again

break break crash

break it again

smash it apart

show me you don’t care

break smash crash

show the truth

smash crash bang

hurt me again

dry as a desert

I cannot cry

break smash crash

my heart is destroyed

nothing left to fix

I cannot feel

breaks smash crash

I hate you

Letter To Myself

You know about those letter you are supposed to write yourself, to your past self, to change something or what ever. This is one of those. Well actually it’s one post with multiple letters

Dear Kathlynn

congratulations you have finished Gr.5. you know that thing you are denying? tell some one. Please. I know you don’t want to believe it’s wrong. You don’t want to believe your daddy would do it. But he is. Tell an important person. But not your mommy, she might not believe you. Tell your teacher, or grandma T. You telling is a good thing. And if you don’t tell, that’s okay too. But I want you to know that it is wrong, it is happening, and there are people around who would help you. And those emotions you are feeling tell some one about them. Not your mommy she will deny them. Not your family either. Tell a teacher. They are not normal. Though your fear of spiders and crossing roads are understandable.

Also you are a wonderful awesome person. I wish I was still like you. Also, please study, please? pretty please? you will buy yourself books and chocolate if you do!

Your older, wiser self.

 

Dear Kathlynn

Hurray, you just started gr.9. Please tell someone. You are depressed. You do need the treatment you want. The attention you don’t think you have the right to demand. Your mother is the bitch you are starting to think of her as. And, while it’s hard, try to push yourself past your learned fear of social services and get out of that house. you will thank me for it. They can place you with your family or a nice family else where (remember N). It will do you good. Your mother is depressed as well. That doesn’t excuse her behaviour, but you are right, there is something wrong with her. Please get help. Your mom will just deny it, but maybe if you tell someone else you will get the help you need. Also, Study you idiot. There is still time to learn how. You will thank yourself a lot sooner then you think.

Your, older wiser self

Dear Kathlynn

Congratulations you just finished gr.11. Do not take that job at Huskey. Don’t, it’s not worth it, in any way. You will regret it. Go to grandma’s with some resumes and try to get a job there. Maybe you’ll even get to stay there. Also don’t bother taking that test in biology next year, you are going to fail it, ’cause you never studied. And don’t put off applying for schools. Go for your dreams as soon as you can, because if you don’t you won’t have the courage to do them in the future.

Also, your feelings, they aren’t normal, please get help. Please, you need it.

your sadder self

Dear Kathlynn

Thank you, thank you so much for getting help. I know why we didn’t go sooner. But it will get better. The glow will dim, but the numbness? it is a sign of depression. I know right, why didn’t they tell us that in school? But it will go away, for at least 3 years. But now, now you need to focus on getting better. And getting your license so you can boogie out of grandma’s. It’s not going to be good for much longer. Go before you are trapped there. Also, Ter is awesome, Wile Tra and LD suck. Do not stay in the sorority. It’s not worth it. Really it’s going to get bad, and it’s not worth it. This year will be awesome, but the next one will suck. Remember the church group, yeah it will be just like that. except with judgemental bitches, who cannot accept you for who you are.

 

Remembering Myself

So, I don’t know if anyone else feels this way. I have at least mostly gotten past my depression. I still struggle with my anxiety. Which is my own fault as I’m not really doing anything to get over it. But otherwise I’m feeling the best I have since I was 10. Yup 14 years of struggling through depression. almost 24 years of suffering with anxiety. So most of my memories are tainted by the emotions triggered by (or triggering) my depression and anxiety. Sometimes, remembering the past is fine. I hate how much I dwell on it, but There isn’t really much I can do, besides avoid talking about it. Which I do (when I can control that impulse). Other times, usually when I’m more reflective, I think back and I can still feel the depression feelings. And it scares me, really scares me. To know I felt that hopeless, that confused. And I hate it. It triggers my anxiety; I’m terrified that my depression will come back, and that this time I won’t get help. That I will be too hurt, too broken, too depressed to get help. Or if I do they won’t help me, or it won’t work. Generally I can ignore the feeling that it’s right out there on the edge of my conscience waiting to pounce. Waiting for me to get weak again. But when I think of the past I can’t ignore it, because the feelings, they don’t feel old then, they feel fresh, my mind brings them back, and it makes me want to cry. It’s scary, to me it really is.

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

^this is totally how I’m feeling right now^

What is Forgiveness

I know, this post is very similar to one I made in the past, but this issue is bothering me. I’m getting so much pressure from people to forgive. I’m reading online seeing people say things like this (partial quote):

Forgiveness doesn’t need to have anything to do with the other person really at all. Its all about you. F**k the other person.

Forgiveness is about accepting what happened to you and compassion for yourself. That’s the hardest part sometimes. There’s almost an anger with yourself for allowing it or not being able to prevent it. In fact you’re so angry over the situation that you don’t want to accept anything about it. You may want to reject that whole time in your life. Or the place that it happened. Or people that look like/remind you of whoever it is that hurt you.

No. If forgiveness was about forgiving yourself, we would not phrase it as “you need to forgive [abuser]”. There would be no one telling you to forgive [abuser] and move past it, without any remorse etc. from your abuser(s). They would not be telling you to keep your abuser in your life. You would not be expected to treat that person (or those people) with the respect they DO NOT deserve.

If forgiveness was for the victim, not the abuser/bully/perp. then the statement would sound completely different. It would be “you need to forgive yourself”, or “you need to deal with this, and decide how you want to deal with your [abuser]”

Sadly what most people seem happy to ignore is the fact that, usually, this abuse isn’t something that has or will stop. So they say “you need to let go of the past” and can’t seem to understand that we want to. But how do you get passed something, when you can’t heal because the scars aren’t given enough time to heal before they are ripped open again? I wish I knew, because you know what. I’m tired, so bloody tired of living my past over and over again. I want to forgive, to reconcile, to move past this all. But, to borrow some imagery from a book I read (thank  you Anne Bishop) it’s like this giant infected wound in my chest, and it keeps getting bigger the more I’m hurt. It hasn’t popped yet. But I wish I knew how to make it, how to clean it out and let it heal. And I think most of use want to do so.

But when we keep getting pushed to do something that just keeps us open to more abuse. When we are pushed to forgive our abusers, to forgive everything that happens to us, how do we learn to do more then just push it all inside, where it forms those big balls of infected pain. How can we heal, when we are told that the only person who is responsible for the abuse is ourselves, since we are told that we cannot hold our abuser accountable for their actions, rather we must explain them away, by thinking “it’s the way they were raised”, “they are mentally ill”, “they only do it because they are/were abused”  etc. When we are told that we must keep allowing them to abuse us, else we are being disrespectful, rude, dishonourable, bad, etc. We are told we must be the compassionate ones, we must be the better person.

No matter who says it. The common usage of the word is to pardon the behaviour, with no consequences, thus condoning the behaviour. We need a better word for what we expect victims to do, since forgiveness will never change enough to fit well enough. No matter what people (even medical professionals) try to tell us that it doesn’t mean to condone the abuse.