Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, health, life, Personal, poetry, PTSD, writing

12/13: The Mime

(This was started almost a month ago. Since then, I’ve figured out some things regarding my C-PTSD and how connected everything else is to it. I also have a bit of mime training… hence the reference.)

¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

The fight in me lays dormant.
Screams muffled by tears.
The fog closes in around me.
Turning me invisible to those
Who pass me by.
Pain slows me down
To a crawl.
I am wrapped so
Tightly
I can barely breathe.
The fog steals my
Every breath.
I cry out
Help me
But no one can hear.
I slam my fists on the walls that
Keep me
Prisoner.
I open my mouth,
Crying for help.
I am the mime in the invisible box.
Let me out
I can no longer
Breathe.

~A

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Posted in activism, anxiety, community, depression, faith, family, friends, grief, homeless, housing, life, poetry, society, urgent, writing

11/18: Feeling Broken

Something happened today.
Something that ripped me to pieces.
I want to believe there are humans
Who understand what being
HUMAN
Is like.
What being
HOMELESS
Is like.
My day was okay.
Except one brief moment.
That formed a black cloud
Over my head.
My soul is soaked through.
My heart and mind
Need to be wrung out.
The cloud weighed me down.
I wonder now.
Who among us
Has compassion?
A safe place for a woman and her cat?
When the world buckles underneath you,
Who do you turn to when it makes you fall?
When the help you need the most is not the help family can give you?
Where do you go?
When you scream for help, but there is
None to be found.
~A.
November 2017

Posted in anxiety, creativity, disability, grief, individuality, nanowrimo, writing

11/15: Whooooaaa, We’re Halfway There… #nanowrimo

It’s the evening of the 15th. November, and thus NaNoWriMo, is half over.

I’m not.

Now, I’m not super worried. Granted I have a lot of other things on my plate as well, but this is also not out of the ordinary for me. I’m sitting at just under 11,500 words. Out of 50,000. Back in 2006, I was in the same position. I woke up on the 16th with only 11,500 words. I’ll write more tonight so I’ll be past that, but still, this is the precedent. This, as crazy as it seems, is normal. I’ve only ever finished before the 30th twice in the 12 years I’ve finished. Twice. 2005 and … a few years ago. I can’t remember which one. Probably 2012 or 2013. I gave myself a reward to aim for if I finished before the 30th: treating myself to a movie. I finished on the 29th.

2005 was my first year. I was living in Chicago, unemployed and bored. I finally remembered NaNoWriMo before it was over (in October, before it started), signed up and off I went writing a comic fantasy that has yet to be completed or edited to any reasonable degree. I finished on the 27th or 28th that year. I’m usually at less than 25K by this point in the month. It’s when the 16th rolls around that things start clicking and I get lots of words down.

Things started to pick up last night. Especially with the YA story. The cats tale is being shy. Mausi is stalled and going much slower. But this is how it is when you’re rebelling and are working on three stories instead of one longer one. Jumping back and forth between tales is challenging (especially when one is strictly 1st person, the second is 3rd person limited, and the third one is 3rd omniscient), but where one may pull out ahead (the YA tale) and the others trail, at some point, the YA tale may pause and one of the other two will jump in and keep me going.

Of my roughest years, 2006 and then 2009 and 2014 rank high. In 2006, I charged along and woke up the final day to needing 11,500 to get to 50K. Yes, the year I had a mere 11,500 in the first half of the month. I did it. I hit 50K that evening. In 2009, after swearing up, down, backwards, forwards and blindfolded that I’d never had a repeat of 2006, I woke up on the final day to needing 16,000 words. Oof!

But I did it.

In 2014, my dad passed away early in the month, so my mind was on a million things at once. I knew he wouldn’t want me to stop, so I didn’t. I remember reaching 25K on Thanksgiving, with a week remaining. I struggled to tell the story. It didn’t help that right around 25K, the tale I was telling stopped cold. I took a step back, walked around the house I grew up in (that’s the week I was down there), and remembered an idea I’d had about that series: having one book tell the intertwined back stories of the founders of the Sanctuary. I’d already started with one. So I wrote down names of the other elders and started telling each of their histories. Eventually, I’m going to intertwine them and tell the founding of the Sanctuary chronologically. That will be a massive undertaking.

I have days where I get 300 words and others where I get 2000+.

Now the pressure is on. I know I can do this. There is no “I give up” button.

Watch this space for updates.

~A

PS: I did way too much walking yesterday and have been down for the count today. My back was none too happy with me this morning. Sciatica radiating down from my hip to my knee.

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, creativity, depression, disability, dreams, empath life, eviction, faith, friends, grad school, grief, health, homeless, housing, insomnia, job hunting, life, medical, Personal, writing

10/21: Living Outside My Own Life

More “frustration contemplation” … bear with me.

I’ve chattered on about the various things I do: writing fiction, etc, costuming, grad school, and a bunch of other things. I’ve also talked -at length- about depression, grief, homelessness, being unemployed, being disabled, etc…

Right now, I feel like I’m not living my life. I’m trying to move forward, busted my ass and made promises to get back to school and finish this term, but I’m flailing again… each week flies by me and I look up to find myself even further behind and royally fucked. My own doing. Job hunting is the same. I feel removed from the life I’m supposed to be living.

My health hasn’t helped this, but neither has being homeless and jobless, and … yeah. I know I need to do X, Y, and Z… but I don’t … I… fuck it. This is difficult to put into words on a ‘page.’

I see ME doing all these things in my head. I KNOW I can do them, but I feel like… like there’s a door between the me I am at this moment and the me who can do all those things. That door is locked and deadbolted and can’t be gotten through. And I don’t know where the keys are. I know they exist, but not what they look like or where they may be. I feel as if I’m standing at the window next to the door, looking in. Seeing this other me accomplishing things. But she can’t hear me banging on the window and door to let me in.

Every time I try to jump back in, break down that door, the brain fog returns. The disconnectedness. The feeling like my life is RIGHT FUCKING THERE!!! and it’s just out of reach. I can hear it, smell it, see it… but I can’t step into it and DO it.

Is my being “in between” [i.e. homeless] part of it? Likely. Is being jobless for over two years part of it? Very likely. Nothing like spinning your wheels in a job hunt and getting nowhere. The rare interview I do get, I don’t get hired. Despite the fact that my VR coach has said I interview very well.

I feel as if I can’t fully be ME where I am. Not my kitchen, not my bed, not my bathroom, not my home.

A lot of it started when I lost my dad in 2014. Before I was evicted. My dad was my anchor in life. If I felt lost, I could call him and he’d say what was needed to get me back to center. It’s been nearly 3 years now. A couple of weeks away. I slowly began to slip after he died. I was able to keep shit together to some degree for a while, but over a year later, my own disintegration became more obvious. The fog settled in. It lifts every so often for a brief moment or two, then returns to envelope me, keeping me from my life.

It’s looking -to me at least, from my own digging around- that Chronic Fatigue/Adrenal Fatigue is a distinct possibility. Long term stress makes it worse. Look at my life of the past 12 months… it’s been pretty fucking stressful. But getting out of this mess. How?

CFS/AFS has no cure. Doctors treat the symptoms at best. I’m on Vitamin D (enough to choke a large farm animal), and Celexa, among other meds for things like my asthma and allergies, my tachycardia, and “as needed” pain meds.

Is my current living situation part of the issue? The late start to mornings here… the people I’m staying with are retirees, so they stay up late and get up late. I stay up to about 11 and try to get up at a reasonable hour in the morning (Furry Alarm Clock gives me no choice), but I’m groggy and stumble around. Fall back asleep and wake up a few hours later… late morning. There are other “environmental factors” as well, but I won’t go into those. And no, setting an alarm doesn’t help. Tried that. Keep trying it every so often.

But that brain fog… lack of oomph… standing outside of my life… I don’t know how to fix that.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, community, depression, disability, eviction, faith, friends, gender, health, history, individuality, job hunting, life, medical, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault, society

10/16: Wake Up Tomorrow #metoo

TW/CW: Talk of suicide, sexual assault, C-PTSD, etc…

I’ve talked about all of these things in spades over the lifespan of this blog. With the #metoo tag flying around on FB and Twitter the last two days, I felt like expanding on mine.

Now, I have (at some point) ticked off all the times I was sexually assaulted.

  • At 17, by a 22 y.o. acquaintance.
  • At 19, by a blind date. Tried to force me to perform oral on him, pushing my head down. I broke free and threatened to call the police.
  • At 19, by a guy I met at a Twelfth Night event… friends invited him to our Rocky Horror outing later that evening. While he had been in costume, he was mostly a gentleman (save for trying to un-lace my bodice in public)
  • At 21/22. After 6 weeks in an increasingly abusive relationship, I started to pull away from him, which he noticed. He spent the next 2 and a half months raping and assaulting me (using various areas of my body to ‘get his rocks off’) all against my will. I cried, I begged, I said no every damn time, but even making me bleed repeatedly didn’t matter to him. This happened 2-3 times a week… on a good week.

Those are the major, or most distinctive, events. Getting catcalled, being told by some older guy in Chicago (as we passed each other in the crosswalk) that “damn, you got some bigguns!” … no matter what I’m wearing, what my body language is saying (usually “don’t fucking get near me, asshole”), what I’m doing, I’ve had hands brush against my butt, breasts, etc… hands that should stay up near my shoulders wandering down… at a club one night (partly why I fucking HATE clubs) getting dragged out onto the dance floor and made to dance with some stranger, who kept putting his hand on my thigh and slipping it up to my hip under my skirt (which wasn’t that fucking long to begin with). I was 18, I think. It was an “Under 21” club.

Do I need to go on? I think I’ve made my point.

This shit happens every damn day to women of all skin colors, sexualities, cis or trans… you name it. Fuck, I got catcalled just a month or so ago… wearing all baggy grungy clothes heading to the MAX stop (I think I was going to an appt or something). Me with my mohawk and baggy clothes and beat up sneakers and a cane… getting catcalled.


I’ve also, as I think I’ve said in previous posts, had many phases or short contemplations of suicide. High school, a period in my 30’s when my asshole doctor decided to put me on Prozac, which made me want to slit my fucking wrists so badly, it outdid the suicidal ideations of my high school years. That shit fucked me up so badly.

In the past couple of years, I’ve had shorter bursts of contemplating it. Usually when I’ve been in full panic mode over possible eviction as well as earlier this year with the eviction itself. I lost count how many times I sat on my bed or my couch … or in the bathtub … thinking of why the fuck I should keep living? Then I got either of the girls, Portia or JoJo when she was still alive, just coming up to me and purring and either nudging me or tapping my arm or leg with a paw.


Life isn’t easy. I’m dealing with C-PTSD, my asshole ex cyberstalking me like I’m his damn “internet chew toy” … being homeless in a tentative situation that needs to come to an end, but my means to get back into my own place again are virtually non-existent. Trying to finish grad school, find decent work, organize my stuff in storage, handle medical and dental appts, go on tasks to make some income, and remember to take my meds and eat decently. Some of those, especially the later things I listed, are basic, normal-ish things I can handle… working all the big stuff around them is the hardest part. With chronic fatigue and pain, getting up at a decent hour that isn’t close to noon, but earlier in the day, is not always easy to do.


So, you may wonder what the subject heading of this post means… here’s my lesson and philosophy behind it:

Look back up at all the shit I’ve been through. Add verbal and emotional abuse by some family, used and abused by people I thought were friends, etc… I’ve dealt with a lot.

Wake Up Tomorrow

I adopted this years ago during a bad run… I think it was later in high school. Say you had one of THE shittiest days you can remember in recent months. Everything went wrong and in some seemingly catastrophic way, or at least that’s how it feels. You may already be battling a period of depression or severe pain. You contemplate ending things. You’re absolutely SURE tomorrow is going to also suck and you can’t imagine things getting better any time soon.

So you think about it.

But you can’t guarantee tomorrow will suck. Shit, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that. Maybe it’ll suck, maybe it’ll be awesome, but you won’t know unless you wake up tomorrow. And the days following it. You can’t know for sure that it’ll be horrendously awful. Unless you wake up tomorrow. Go to sleep, get some rest, cry if you need to (man, I’m surprised the tear stains aren’t permanent on my face by now), and wake up tomorrow. Sounds simple, I know. Take each and every day as it comes.

Will that work for everyone dealing with shit? No. I know it works for me. I’ve had friends and a few strangers, in the past 24 hours or so, call me brave. I’ve done therapy off and on since I was 16. I understand so much about my past, but I don’t really know how I’m getting through it… except for one thing:

I wake up every day.

I’ve had close calls, due to medical stuff, not attempts on my part, and they’ve taught me this: Not everyone gets the chance to wake up the next day. No one knows when they’re going to die. The fact that, despite pain and all kinds of other things, I wake up every day and am able to feed my floofy monster kitty, that my heart is still pumping blood, my lungs are still taking in oxygen, my legs work… mostly. I have those days when my legs/back/feet/hips/knees/etc just rebel and go, “nope!! what was that about going somewhere today? yeah… not happening, bitch.”

Life isn’t easy. But I figure that as long as I keep waking up every day, I have a fighting chance to make things better. Never know unless you wake up.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, depression, disability, domestic abuse, empath life, health, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, sexual assault, society

10/12: Social Anxiety and C-PTSD

I’m gonna try putting this into actual words rather than just swirling around in my head. Hopefully, it’ll make sense.


Despite medications and such, I feel disconnected. Maybe it’s partly because of being jobless and homeless, but I don’t feel like I’m part of anything. Despite (slowly) working on finishing school and trying to find work and having lots of friends… I just don’t feel it.

My social anxiety is ramping up even worse, probably because the C-PTSD is so not helping matters. I want to have my own place and just stay there. Not go anywhere unless I really have to.

The C-PTSD is from recurring sexual assault during a relationship over 20 years ago. I thought I’d moved past that part of it with therapy and could handle things again, but since a massive trigger nearly a year ago, I now know otherwise.

[This section came from an f-locked post on FB… with edits.]
**This person don’t know what happened. What he triggered. I know, in some way, I should explain it to him, but I can’t. Mind you, he did nothing inherently wrong
. I do NOT blame him. I have believed I had my shit regarding the sexual assaults from 24 years ago handled. Bast knows I’ve had tons of therapy dealing with it. But one touch -as friends- that wasn’t even super-intimate set me down a path I’m still fighting with today. It was something that reminded me of what my ex used to do. There was no ill intention on this friend’s part. 
And I’m not getting any better. Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m crying, trying not to go into a full panic attack.

When you see what I’ve been through since last November, it makes sense that I feel my life is spiraling out of control, no matter how much I may seem -on any given day- to be doing better. It isn’t just the C-PTSD… it’s anxiety, it’s stress, it’s not knowing when shit will get better.**

More and more, I’m hesitant about going out, being on public transit. While many are hesitant about it for reasons such as the potential of being attacked, my reasons are different.

  • strong perfume/cologne/body spray causes headaches
  • loud noises/talking makes me cringe
  • and lastly: I can’t handle sitting next to someone and us ending up touching (usually hips or such)… especially if they’re male.

I’ve had so many moments in recent months while out on transit where I feel the urge to lash out at people. I want to snap at the person sitting next to me to MOVE… or the person talking too loudly to STFU. I have no interest in violence, but

Since last year, I now ask male friends and other men I come across, to ask for permission to hug me. Even women, although I’m better with them. No surprise that the ex in question is male.

I don’t know how to deal with all of this. I figured after 24 years and tons of therapy, I’d be better, but I can’t help pulling away from people in the physical realm (as opposed to online) because of what I’m dealing with.


One of the hardest things about this is that I need work. Which means being on transit, being in an office setting around others, having to negotiate physical space while trying to sort out this anxiety and C-PTSD.

I had a job yesterday assembling some cabinets… was supposed to continue, but my back and other joints decided against it. There really is no amount of pain medication that can help. Trust me on this. I can do physical jobs here and there, but not hours on end. And my body still pays for even those small tasks.


I wish I knew how to fix this part of me. Still fighting an anxiety attack… but calming down a bit… the C-PTSD and related things severely affect all the other things in my life. I hate it.

I wish I had a magic wand to make it go away.

~A

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, chronic pain, creativity, depression, disability, health, job hunting, life, Personal

10/10: Blargh

So, I know I’ve been fairly quiet. There are multiple reasons for it, and some I can’t/won’t discuss publicly. Seattle and GeekGirlCon wiped me out emotionally and physically. My back is still swearing at me for doing too much. Other stressors haven’t helped. I swore I’d catch up on school and I’ve fallen behind on catching up… which isn’t good.

My energy levels tanked since Seattle and I have a day or part of a day here and there where I have some energy, but then it vanishes about as fast as it appeared. I drink coffee and such even though I’m technically not supposed to have caffeine (issues with borderline hyperthyroid when I have too much, so I can’t drink much of it… and it doesn’t have as much of the effect on my as it does with most people).

The things I need to work on (in no particular order):

  • School
  • Job hunting
  • trip to Wallyworld for some items much needed for ASAP things
  • art stuff (commission and Inktober, which is more for fun, but a nice way to get me drawing more)
  • cleaning
  • and many other things…..

So many things to do and not nearly enough energy to do them. I have a Task today in a bit, and almost had another for later this week, but that fell through. I need all the income I can get, so that one was kind of important. Oh well.

I’m still here… still kicking… just facing a lot of stuff and not enough energy to tackle it all.

~A

Posted in anxiety, community, depression, homeless, life, Personal, storage

9/21: Thank You

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! 

Storage is out of the woods. I just got back from a day of errands, which started with stopping at the post office to get my mail, and then to storage to pay the bill and put a new lock on it. I grabbed a few things that were near the front and then headed off to my next stop. I do want to desperately go back with a bunch of friends and really dig in and sort the whole mess. I can’t get back to the back corner (it’s an 8×20 unit and the door is half of one of the long walls…it’s 8′ deep, 20′ wide, jam-packed).

That’s what happens when one is homeless and has “stuff.” Here’s the thing: once I get into my own place again, I can downsize back to a smaller (cheaper) unit. It isn’t like this is all “excess” stuff, this is all my household things… some furniture, my mattress, kitchen supplies, etc… plus my collections of books, music, fabric, costumes, and random other things. My dad’s coffin flag, my piano (electric. my dad wanted so badly to see me return to music, so that was my “legacy purchase” with the estate money).

I won’t need the 8×20 unit forever. This is a temporary thing while I’m “in between” homes of my own. I would love the help in tackling organizing it better… so if you’re local to PDX and want to help and aren’t a total gimp with chronic fatigue like me, let me know. I’ll supply water/soda and granola/protein bars. I have two seats (small office chair and the padded piano bench) but there’s plenty of space to spread out.

And the offer stands… for those who helped, especially those who donated, if you want copies of my three published books, let me know. I can place an order in October.

Again, thank you to everyone who helped. People have asked me how I’m surviving this even deeper pit of hell with being homeless… it’s because of my cat and my friends. Portia, the cat, makes me laugh and lets me bury my face in her plentiful fur when I need to… and my friends help me in every other way. It isn’t easy. But I’m surviving. One day at a time…

~Amanda

Posted in anxiety, community, crowdfunding, emergency, eviction, faith, friends, homeless, life, Personal, storage, urgent

9/20: Last one… I think (at least for the day… hey look! #crowdfunding)

Total as of 7:20am on 9/21: $749 out of $1025. $276 still needed.

So I’m gonna make this short and sweet for the purpose of crowdfunding in case people don’t wanna hit the donate button for PayPal.

  • No, you don’t need a PP account to send money. Just a credit/debit card.
  • It’s pretty painless. No, really. Granted, your checking account may not agree (neither does mine), but it doesn’t hurt.

So you can click on that button or you can send directly to [greatpenguini333 @ gmail .com] (just remove the spaces and the brackets). The donate button is easier.