Posted in activism, anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, depression, disability, domestic abuse, gender, health, history, life, medical, PTSD, semicolon, sexual assault, society

1/20/18: March For Me

March for me.
I survived.
But still I live
In fear of
Repercussions.

March for me.
I am disabled
And cannot walk far.

March for me.
I am anxious in crowds.
And my voice wavers.

March for me.
I have C-PTSD.
I cannot stand being
Touched by men.

March for me.
For walking is too much
For me to handle.

March for me.
For I cannot
March
For myself.

~A

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Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, eviction, grad school, history, homeless, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, storage

1/19/18: Sabbaticals and Stuff

I walked the damn stage, I have my cap and gown and all of that, and yet I struggle to finish one last semester of school. I swore up and down, backwards, forwards, etc that I’d finish my MLIS last Fall.

I didn’t.

I blame no one but myself… for letting my C-PTSD/PTSD fuck my life up. I just want to finish my degree. Move on.

But I can’t seem to keep my head clear enough to get through school. The brain fog, the anxiety… all of it. Granted, my living situation isn’t helpful, as I’m still homeless and staying with friends (it’s a bit tense, to say the least).

I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to take a sabbatical. But I think I need to. I can finish my degree from anywhere, so if I do miraculously end up in Germany starting on my second one, I can finish from there.

But I seriously need to dig into therapy and the personal hell of PTSD and anxiety. I don’t know HOW to figure this shit out. The frustrating thing is that I have the shit from 23 years ago handled. I was in therapy almost immediately after I broke up with that bastard. Hell, TWO therapists. One on campus and one at PP on a sliding scale. Yes, Planned Parenthood has/had therapists. Usually students doing their practicum or residency while finishing their PhD’s and such. I’ve been in therapy on and off all these years. What’s affecting me now isn’t as much what he did, but how current instances of dealing with people and touch are making my anxiety skyrocket and triggering my PTSD to where I’ve damn near hurt people.

So, I need a therapist who takes my shitty Medicaid and works with PTSD. Yeah. Not very many around here.

I think taking a break -on purpose- is important. I hate doing it, but I think it’s necessary. Then I can return, tackle the ever-loving shit out of the remaining classes, and finally get that piece of paper.


Honestly, I also didn’t think I’d be homeless this long. I swore I’d be back on my feet long before now. But something -I can’t put my finger on it- is holding me back/down. For once, I can’t figure out the answers to my problems. A lot of times, I’ve been able to do that. Talk it out on here or FB and I figure shit out. Not this time.


More to come… I know I’ve been quiet. Been dealing with pain and other shit.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, domestic abuse, friends, grad school, grief, health, homeless, life, medical, PTSD, sexual assault, society

1/10: #PTSD Frustrations #life 

I can see where my life took a detour. Almost two years ago, I started noticing a fogginess in my mind. I couldn’t focus, days flew by and I missed deadlines for everything. 

Especially school.

For a few years now (maybe 6-7 years), I’ve noticed this getting worse. I kept struggling, fighting it whenever and however I could. My anxiety around crowds and people in general kept inching higher and higher. Even whe. My dad died in 2014, I noticed that the hugs I received from male friends (most of them) felt uncomfortable. 
I didn’t understand why. 

Then when the one friend triggered flashbacks in November 2016, it dawned on me that there was more to this. Over the next few days that weekend, I struggled with what was going on. I had PTSD. I actually had to google “can rape survivors have ptsd?” because I, like so many others, thought it was just for soldiers.

It isn’t. 

I feel that, over this past year or so since realizing this, I have disintegrated even more.

I can hold conversations with people. But getting things -anything- done is proving extremely difficult. 

This affects school. As my being homeless and in an awkward living arrangement certainly hasn’t helped my PTSD, I’ve struggled with finishing school. I swore I’d make it this last term. 

I didn’t. 

At this point, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to. I’m close, but I can’t seem to get myself sorted to where I can finish. 

I want to. I intend to. I need to… if only for my sanity. 

But I struggle with the effects of an illness no one really understands. At least I don’t believe they do. Hence my frustration. 

I feel lost at sea. In a dark void where I know others are, yet I can’t see them. I am alone in a crowded room. I don’t feel normal… even by my own standards of normal. 

I want to know when it will end. If it will. When can I return to some semblance of a life I’m familiar with? 

~A

~~ trying to get ahead. If anyone can help with storage this month so I can get a teeny bit ahead of the game… I’d appreciate it.

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, dragon, health, life, medical, PTSD

1/4: Dragon: #Medical Fuckery #backinjury

I’m no stranger to exam rooms and new doctors. When I was 17, I injured what I later found out to be my low back. It took a year and around 8 doctors to finally find someone who knew what the fuck they were doing and not just verbally “pat me on the head and tell me I’m imagining things.”

I wasn’t.

I’m still not 28 fucking years later.

At 17, I fell and slipped two lumbar discs out of whack. At 18, I found out what had gone wrong and was able to move forward. By 23 or so, those discs were back in place, although the nerve damage was still there and always would be.

About 5 years ago, I lost my footing on some painted stairs in a house and first landed on my tailbone, then shifted my weight so I could try stopping my descent with my feet and hands on the walls. The remaining hits were to my right hip.

Oh yeah, that’s the same side I landed on at 17.

I went to the doctor, they did a lone x-ray of my tailbone. Nothing wrong, so I went on my merry way. Except for that ugly pain in my hip. You shoulda seen the bruise. It was a sizable crescent moon on my right ass-cheek. It took weeks to go away. I’m good at making bruises. In fact, I have several on my arms that I don’t remember where they came from. PT told me to stretch the muscles as it “must be” a deep tissue bruise.

Gee, thanks.

Fast forward to December 1st, 2017. I was at a client’s house (before you ask, as an independent contractor with TR, we do not have things like worker’s comp), stringing up lights and I slipped in some mud and down I went. The landing seemed soft, but my back doesn’t agree. Since then, my right SI (sacroiliac) joint has been popping. To the point where I can not only feel it, but hear it.

When I messed up the left one earlier this year, I never had that. My left one, by the way, corrected itself while I was at GearCon in July. One step and I felt a searing pain. I couldn’t move. I was helped back to my chair, and then moved to the couch in the room I was working. A couple days later, all pain on that side was gone.

I finally caved and saw a doctor in my usual clinic today. Not my normal GP. I thought (hoped) she would be open and would listen…

HA!

Not a fucking chance.

No matter how many times I told her I wasn’t looking for a quick way to fix this. I just wanted some fucking answers and to figure out what the hell was wrong. She responded each time with “There is no one who can give you an answer and a quick fix…”

GGAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM ASKING, YOU FUCKING DINGBAT!!!

All I want is a scan/x-ray/etc to look inside and see if there’s anything that stands out as damaged.

Why do I ask this? Because I know it can be done, dammit. I know there are humans out there who have graduated from medical school who can do shit that helps solve the mystery. Dr. Nolan down in CA was one of those humans. He’s freaking awesome. He’s also retiring and 600 miles away.

She relented on one thing and ordered x-rays for my low back and right hip.

She handed me my visit summary (complete with some exercises that may help, but I’m not counting on it. I’m still fairly flexible from my dancing days). I got on the elevator and stopped off at the 3rd floor for x-rays.

Here’s where shit gets interesting.

I’ve had enough x-rays in my lifetime to make anyone glow. I have never, in all my years, had a tech look at my first one (these are digital now) and tell me I really should see a spine doctor. For starters, the techs don’t have enough training to diagnose. Yet they see enough ‘films’ to know when shit is bad.

My first one, she came out from looking at it and said flat out I really do need to see a spine doctor. She said my right SI joint is bad… and there are likely other things.

I have to wait for the radiologist to do a final report/reading of the x-rays. I see my primary GP next week. I’m gonna bug the ever-loving shit out of her until she refers me to Ortho. The pain is getting worse. By the time I had picked up my mail after my errands today, I could barely walk five steps. I was in THAT much pain. Right around a 9 or 10 on the pain scale. At a point on the scale where I’m holding back tears from the pain.

When I get to that point, shit is bad. As in “most people would be curled up in a fetal position in the corner because of the pain” bad. But me? Still trying to function. Why? BECAUSE I FUCKING HAVE TO!!!

The doc brought up Degenerative Disc Disease. Something my dad likely also dealt with. I know he had surgery on his back several years ago. I know it was before 2009, as my mother was still driving… even though she shouldn’t have been. This doctor also had the cohones to bring up losing weight.

Bitch, please.

For one, I’m not at my highest. Secondly, I’m trying to lose weight. I have about 45-50 extra pounds I’d love to lose. But my eating habits are fairly healthy (not perfect, but not horrid), and exercise is minimal due to this thing called back pain. Walking for weight loss ain’t gonna happen when I can barely walk three fucking blocks. And unless you’re going to pay for my gym membership to a place fairly close to me (Planet Fitness is NOT close to me, for the record), then zip it about joining a gym.

Anyway… so I’m dealing with PTSD/C-PTSD and now likely Degenerative Disc Disease.

I’m beyond fucking done. I am tired of pain and panic attacks. I’m tired of doctors or other people telling me that losing weight will solve ALL my problems. Umm, y’all may not know this, but I was about 110 lbs when I first injured my back at 17… so no, it won’t solve a damn thing. Help a bit? Sure, possibly. But not solve.

I’ve dealt with way more than my share of idiot doctors. I’m sick of ’em. I can count the good ones on one hand with no repeats. Yeah.

I also am at this point where I hate saying I am well and truly disabled… I want to still take day hikes and be active, but my body and my anxiety won’t let me. It sucks.

So, I’ll meander off and try not to focus on the pain.

Much.

~Dragon

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, community, depression, disability, eviction, faith, family, friends, homeless, life, peace, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, semicolon, society

12/31: Into the Unknown

Yes, I could dwell on all the ugly in my life the past 12 months. Eviction, losing JoJo right after the eviction started, dealing with PTSD/C-PTSD.

Trying to see the positive is difficult when I’m still in the midst of all of it. But I have friends, and a family member or two, who have listened and stood by, helping when and how they could.

This has been a shitty year, even leaving out all the political and social messes. I still feel very lost. But 2018 is a new year. I won’t wish for improvements, but simply to work on moving forward the best I can. Whatever life throws at me will be taken into consideration and worked with. I think I can survive whatever comes at me now.

I appreciate my friends. I appreciate the fact that, despite the physical pain and the emotional turmoil of C-PTSD/PTSD, I still wake up each morning. I have a goofy cat who loves me. 

I don’t consider myself to be strong or brave. I don’t… really. I just wake up each day and see what I have ahead. I adapt. I learn. I grow. 

And in my being public about my life, my hope is that someone else will see my words and know that they are not alone. 

I wish everyone a good 2018. Whatever it throws at you, take it and work with it.

~A 

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, cats, depression, disability, dogs, domestic abuse, health, life, Personal, PTSD, society

12/29: Dragon Rant: PTSD and Public Transit #ptsd #cptsd #trimet #publictransit

I’ve made it no secret that I have C-PTSD from sexual assault trauma and emotional abuse. I’ve also made it no secret that it’s difficult for me to deal with people -namely men- even sitting next to me on the train or bus. Touching of any kind. My heart rate skyrockets, I go into a panic mode/attack, and -depending on the type of touch- I either zone out or I freak out.

The freak out route isn’t as obvious. It involves me trying to pull myself away from the touching. Early today, I almost lost it completely.

I’m in Portland, OR and I ride public transit. I do not own a car, even though I can drive. Portland has always had more than its share of -interesting- people. Good and bad. Today I dealt with one of the bad. I’ll try to not swear TOO much, but I am in Dragon mode, so … yeah. (oh, who am I kidding… swearing galore!!)


This drunk-as-fuck dude got on the MAX Yellow Line at the front of the front car, where I was. At first, he was being just loud and talking to this young black dude sitting nearby. I was in the Priority Seating in the center-facing seats with one dude in the backward facing seat near me and then the black dude, who was really pretty laid back, across from me in the other rear-facing seats. This drunk motherfucker turns his attention to me, trying to engage me in conversation… which, honestly, didn’t make one damn bit of sense. Then he turned to the guy near me. At which point, he sat down between me and the guy… on my purse and partly on me.

You can see where the problem is here, right? He’s not only touching me, but he’s partly sitting ON me.

I pulled my purse out from under him, and started mumbled swear words worthy of Merchant Marines. He turned back to me and started bumping my shoulder with his. If I had remembered I had my mothers scissors in my purse, they would have been in my hand by then and threatening the motherfucker to get away from me. But I didn’t.

He got up, started chatting up the black dude again, and then others, eventually stumbling further down the MAX car to the other Priority Seating area. By this point, someone had pushed the button to alert the operator, who alerted the supervisors/police.

We were stopped at one station waiting for them to show up. He was utterly fucking clueless that we were waiting for them to come remove his annoying ass from the train.

By the time they showed, he was back up closer to me, harassing and then sitting at the last seats before where I was sitting (doors between those seats and mine). Now, I’m likely leaving SOME details out, like how many times he tried to get my attention (at least three), and some of the shit I could understand him saying. The supervisor arrived and I looked at him and pointed the asshole out. He helped him up and off the train. The ease of that exit tells me he’s a repeat offender on Trimet.

Then someone else was being a dick and the supervisor had to go retrieve that person. Yeah, what a night, huh? And it was barely dark.

I had many moments during that whole exchange where I wanted to shove him, kick him, hit him, knock him to the floor… something. Maybe the fact that I didn’t is a sign that I haven’t been pushed too far down into the hell of PTSD yet.

The guy sitting nearby who was also harassed by the drunk helped me calm down (the black dude got off the train before this). I told him I was about ready to shank the SOB with my scissors, but he said that if the guy came back over, he’d step in and help keep him away from me. I closed my eyes at one point and tried to take measured breaths to calm my heart down. He assured me it would be okay. Don’t know his name but wherever he is, he has my gratitude.

My heart rate was probably around 120 or so, as I could feel it pounding.

As the doors closed and the supervisor was back on the platform, the drunk asshole was in the street yelling at people in cars and pounding the hoods of their cars.

It’s been a few hours now, but I’m still a bit wound up. This was the closest I think I’ve come to a total breakdown in a long time… and the time I do recall snapping at someone, I didn’t realize I had PTSD.


I honestly have no idea how people with PTSD are able to deal with being on public transit. Seriously. It isn’t like I can put a vest on that says “Don’t fucking touch me or you’ll end up in the ER” and I can’t get a PTSD dog just yet. No moula for one and Portia-kitty doesn’t like dogs. Besides, I don’t want to get a Dobie that’s already docked and cropped (ears and tail). I kinda want to wait until I (hopefully) get to Germany where that practice is illegal and get a dog there… train her there. I want a floppy-eared Dobie girl.

I kinda want to get a stun gun for the time being. I think Trimet would frown on me carrying around scissors.

I feel like I’m getting worse. The breathing helped. Getting back to the house and snuggling Portia helped, as did the hot shower. But I’m getting more and more wary of people on transit.

~Dragon

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, domestic abuse, history, life, poetry, PTSD, semicolon, sexual assault, storage

I12/27: Echoes and Tears #ptsd #cyberstalking #cptsd #metoo #poetry

Past flashes
Pain and agony
Echoes of who
I
Was upon a time.

Fog settles
Behind and ahead
Mind is fuzzy
No
End in sight.

Self withdrawn
Physical and mental
Life at a standstill
Foe
Hunting eternally

Past blurred
No end to the fear
Looking over my shoulder
Life
Stalled in motion

Fear grips me
Held in an invisible
Grip from life
Alone
Is all I feel.

Darkness surrounds me
The fog gives way
Only echoes of my past
Remind
Me of what I should be.

~A

(I’m running out of time to get December storage paid. I have about 1/3 [$100] but I need to pay by the 30th.)

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, dogs, friends, homeless, housing, life, Personal, storage, urgent

 12/21: C-PTSD, Adulting, Dogs, and …

[So, this is mostly a compilation of several FB statuses I’ve made over the last couple of weeks, musings about PTSD and shit. Also, I haven’t made enough to cover December storage, so if you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. I’m also moving into the basement here in a bit over a week, and need a radiating type of space heater… as well as two daylight lamps on my Amazon wishlist. There’s only one small window in that room]

I hate it when I realize what’s holding me back from getting things done, and there is no “easy fix” to help. In the article linked here:  Life-Impacting Symptoms Complex PTSD Survivors Endure, the author lists several every day things that happen or are caused by C-PTSD. My anxiety, depression… everything that’s “off” in my life stem from or are exacerbated by my C-PTSD.

So many things I haven’t been able to sort out (and the anti-depression meds I’ve been on have really only helped minimally) make a lot more fucking sense now. Why I’ve struggled with finishing grad school, why I’ve been struggling to write and be more aggressive with my job search. Yes, I’m searching and applying, but damn… I feel I could do more, but this “something” has been holding me down. Read the article….

*

I thought 2014 was a shitty year for me (the year my dad died). But 2017 is harder. Why?

Because, after all the therapy over the years in dealing with the abuses from childhood and then my ex sexually assaulting me repeatedly, I swore I had shit handled.

I don’t.


This year, and the triggering incident from November 2016, have been torturous. Never imagined I’d be back into this abyss. Thing is, I was able to handle shit back then. Granted, hiding from that asshole was my game plan for too many years. I decided in 2013 I’d no longer hide so well. I felt stronger. Then a year ago. And all that confidence wavered and crashed into this heap of pain and panic. I still no longer wish to hide, but my day-to-day is damaged.

The frustrating thing with my PTSD: I get a day to rest and think I should be fine the next day… I can pull myself out of this… yet, I can’t. I’ve been trying, and it’s ruining my life. My plans. I can understand now why so many vets with it end up swept under the proverbial rug of society. You’re expected to function, but this -thing- holds you hostage.

One of the signs of C-PTSD is “muscle armoring” meaning you tense up your muscles, sometimes w/o realizing you’re doing it, in a subconscious fear of being hurt.

When I read that, it explained so much. My muscles are almost always tense. Even standing doing the dishes, I tense up w/o knowing I’m doing it. Only when it starts to hurt a bit do I notice.

There’s more to PTSD and C-PTSD than mental and emotional effects. This is why I need a therapist who knows these conditions well and cam help me adapt and cope. There is no “cure” or them. Just like with any mental disorder, it’s something you have to work with and adapt your life to living with it.

Now I understand why I prefer trains over buses and planes. I can get up and roam on trains. MAX or otherwise. Buses aren’t as easy. Same with planes. I know that I’ll need to face that if I ever want to get to Germany, but still…


Therapy/Emotional Support Animals:

I’ve been looking at Dobermans on IG, some with their ears bandaged… I get it’s the show/breed norm here in the U.S. for docking and cropping, but why? Other than vanity and show… okay, is it because they look more fierce? I want one as a PTSD dog.

This just solidifies my thinking of getting one in Germany, as it’s illegal there to dock and crop. I’d be able to get an older pup or rescue with natural ears and tail.

One day. Likely after Portia is gone. She is deathly afraid of big dogs and potentially aggressive toward small ones. This is why I’ve said “no dogs” when asking for a place to stay. I witnessed her go all out psycho-kitty on a small stuffed wolf I was moving (she couldn’t see my hand). So, no small dogs. She peed in her stroller on the way to the vet when she saw a big dog.

Portia is in my face. She knows. She curls up on my chest or, if I’m sitting up, she sits right next to me so I can bury my face in her fur while she purrs

I’ve lived with it, but not knowing I had it, for now 23 years. Now I know. Now I have to go back to the virtual beginning and relearn how to live with it.

Portia may drive me nuts sometimes, but I’ve come to realize that she truly is my Emotional Support Animal. My stance earlier this year when some were trying to convince me to have someone foster her while I am homeless… where I was adamant about her staying with me… even though I didn’t think of her as a support animal, I realize she very much is.

She needs me since I understand her dietary and grooming needs.

But I need her for so much more.

She’s there, purring, when I need someone to hold, to touch. Most would think “turn to a human… a friend.” But most of my friends (you know who you are) are usually busy, dealing with own life such as work, kids, etc. My best friend is in another state.  And with my dad gone, I don’t have that one person to call and talk to. Anytime. Dad was that person for me.

So, I have this goofy, bitey, oddball cat. She paws at my face while sitting on my chest at 5am, trying to wake me up for food. She sits outside the shower, waiting for me to finish. She loves catnip, feline greenies (we’re running low again), and her gooshy food. She can tell when I need to shove my face in her fur. And she purrs the whole time.

She also trips me up, lands on my usually full bladder at 4am, stands over her food bowl as I’m trying to put kibble in it, lets her fur sit in her water dish, and bites when I try to groom her (and sometimes when I’m just petting her).

We need each other.

~A

Posted in cats, Christmas, community, depression, disability, friends, homeless, storage

12/14: Christmas cards?

So, being homeless and depressed, I can’t really decorate or celebrate the way I’d prefer. While begging for money to help cover storage isn’t beneath me at the moment (other expenses and not as many tasks rolling in so far), I would love little thing: Christmas cards. If you don’t want your address and such be known, just “self address” it (use my p.o. box, etc as the return address as well as the receiving address). 

Getting in the spirit is tough when your life is in limbo. Not to mention stressful.

(Not my legal surname below, but the cards will get there.)

So, if you’re so inclined:

Amanda Wolfe

P.O. Box 2113

Portland, OR 97208

Yes, I’m broadcasting that. It’s one of thousands of boxes in Portland. And still a few hundred or so in that zip code alone. I usually have my box number up somewhere online anyway, so no biggie. Not a home or work address. 

And if people were so inclined to send something from my Amazon wishlist or Portia’s list, I’m cool with that. I should say I don’t need socks, but Heat Holders are a freaking Godsend for my poor “always cold” feet. 

I just love the idea of getting cards. 

~A

Posted in C-PTSD, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, health, homeless, insomnia, life, peace, PTSD, storage, urgent

12/13: ask? 

Storage: not sure if I’ll have anywhere near enough for December. Not getting as many tasks as last month. Any help to keep it up would be vastly appreciated. 

A Peace Offering: I can’t go into details, but there’s something I want to do that I’d like to do before Christmas, but between storage and such, I can’t place the order I need to in time and also save up for storage. It isn’t wildly expensive, but add it to storage (302 + late fees), and I really don’t have the funds. 

This has been the suckiest year on record for me… and that says a lot as I’ve never had any one really good year. I’m trying, but shit is holding me down. 

Anywhoooo…

This late night begging/rambling brought to you by pain meds at 1am.

~A