Night

[This entry is part of the Blog Carnival relating to mental health. The theme this month is “Night”.]

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Trigger Warning: this post contains PTSD imagery, references to nightmares, physical and emotional abuse, and some mentions of rape.
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Wake up gasping, clutching the chest and screaming. Screaming in the dark.

The nightmares are back. The neverending nightmares, the story of my nights.

The whirring of the space heater, the humming of the computers, and the soft whiffling snore of my boyfriend fill the silence, taking the place of the screaming in my head, pushing out the repeated, repetitive voices from the past. The nightmares come every night, now, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to stop them.

I’ve been on medicine for them for over a year, at this point, and we’re on a very delicate balance: the current dose is not quite high enough, but the last time I went up it lowered my blood pressure far, far too much to be safe. As far as I know, there isn’t anything else that works as well as this med does.

The nights are long, and both silent and loud. Light in my head, dark in the room. The nightmares are invariably about two subjects: death and dying, or sexual and physical abuse [up to and including rape].

I spend my nights caught in a whirlwind of pain and fear. The nights I’m exhausted, I just fall into bed and pray that they aren’t too horrible. The rest of the time, I put off “bedtime” as long as I can. I know this isn’t healthy, that it’s impacting my health and my schoolwork, but there’s only so much one person can take.

—–

I spend the nights flitting from dream to dream, horror to horror. I can’t remember the last time I had a happy, or at least neutral, dream.

People ask me why I’m always so tired, and if I’m so tired why don’t I go to bed/take a nap/wev and they’re always [always] surprised. People never seem to understand that this is more than “a nightmare,” that this is more than “bad dreams.” Those who’ve never had to deal with a PTSD meltdown generally don’t understand how it can take over your entire life.

——

My nights are long, and filled with silence and darkness.

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fucking PTSD

because I’m going through a bunch of issues right now, mostly financial, and said PTSD is whipping my ass with horrible memories of the abuse.

PTSD can go die in a fire, kkthx.

some really scary info

…about the Medicaid cuts.

I spoke to my case manager today [in the mental health services provider I use right now, she’s the one that organizes everything and is the central support person. she also functions as my therapist] and as I was leaving, I asked if she or her coworkers had any more information about the cuts.

They don’t. The state isn’t even telling providers anything, the only information they have is what their clients are telling them as they get their notification letters. We do know for sure that vision and dental are completely going away. As in “poof” away.

This is just peachy. I have bad eyes — to the point where my glasses get rechecked and invariably replaced every year [and one time twice in a year!], and a lot of dental work that needs to be done [specifically, I have no lower canines, because they got ground off]. And now there’s nothing.

Such a lovely feeling, knowing I’m seen as worthless.

Small note: I’d like to extend a grateful thank you to Melissa at Shakesville for

shittiest day ever

I’ve had a bad day. A bad day for many reasons, including but not limited to finding out about this. The state of Washington, where I live, has decided to cut “non-essential” programs to fix the budget woes [instead of, say, passing a fucking income tax — we tried, the ballot initiative failed to pass in November].

Let’s look at this list, shall we?

From the top, “adult pharmacy benefits.” Right. So patients with diabetes don’t get their insulin. Patients with high blood pressure don’t get those meds, and psych patients [HI!] don’t get their psychotropics. This is such a clusterfuck and we’re only on the first point.

“Medical for Disability Lifeline (formerly GA-U)” — they’re cutting the entire lowest tier of DSHS support for those unable to work. And it’s not like it’s … was… easy to get on that tier at all — it took me six months to get approved, and that was after three hospitalizations for various issues, including a psychotic break.

“Eligibility reduction in Apple Health for Kids” — so kids at the very, very bottom of the barrel likely won’t get anything, any help in getting healthy. For all the whining and complaining and drama about ~the obesity epidemic~ [booga booga booga!], they sure don’t like helping kids. Making sure that kids don’t have any sort of health care is a surefire way to make sure they’re not as healthy as they could be.

“State-only Alien Emergency Medical” — well, we all know what this is, THEM FUCKING ILLEGALS, TAKING OUR JERBS AND OUR HEALTHCARE. I guess it doesn’t matter that undocumented workers pay much more into the system than out of it. Oh, no, it’s just “them dirty brown furr’ners.”

“Adult Dental Services” — so despite the fact that dental problems can rapidly turn into “real” health problems [an untreated mouth infection can and will spread to either the brain or the heart, or both], apparently us poor folks don’t deserve to keep the teeth in their mouths. Great.

“First Steps/Maternity Support Services/Infant Case Management” — even in a completely healthy woman, pregnancy can and does kill, especially during birth. And it’s been proven that getting a healthy start, even in the womb, can help children get a fighting start on the rest of their lives. I’m not talking about “don’t let fat women have kids,” or “how dare them disableds procreate,” but simple things like proper vitamins and enough water.

“Adult Hospice” — so people don’t deserve to die in comfort now? I mean, obviously it’s a good thing that they’re dying, but how dare they expect that it’ll be easy?!

“Interpreter Services” — I don’t have any words for this that aren’t profane. Last I checked, being able to understand your doctor was a fucking RIGHT protected by the state if not the federal government. ugh.

“School-based Medical Services” — I’m unsure if this is college-based or more elementary and secondary schools, but either way, it’s … kinda gross that they’re cutting services to vulnerable populations. If Neighborhood Elementary School A has five children with specific needs that can only be helped by a trained nurse [diabetes, asthma, heart issues, anything like that], those children are now at risk of dying if they don’t get the care they need.

“Medicare Part D Co-Pays” — this ties in with the donut hole thing. Medicare is so fucked up in this country right now that we expect people to pay for all their medications after a certain amount and until a different certain amount. Medicaid in Washington is … or rather, was, set up to cover the co-pays for these medications to help people get through the hole. No more.

“Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy” — yay! now the only thing helping some people be productive members of society is being taken away! or, in my case, the only thing that’s sortakinda helping to relieve the GODSAWFUL PAIN at bay is getting yanked.

“Take Charge/Family Planning” — so instead of helping people with birth control [which is what Take Charge does], we’re going to possibly create a huge group of people that we need to pay for [eg children born because their parents didn’t have reliable access to birth control]! brilliant, people. great way to save money.

“Adult Vision” — because being able to see is TOTES not necessary. TOTES.

“Adult Podiatry” — and feet aren’t needed either!

“Adult Hearing Services/Devices” — and hearing isn’t important at all as well.

As a kicker, at the bottom of the page, it says “DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.”

But no mention of economic status. This group of cuts is going to impact primarily one group: poor people. As a poor person myself, someone who is going to be badly affected by these cuts, my first impression is one of despair. There are so, so many other things that could have been done, things less important than the health of hundreds of thousands of people. There have been calls for activism for months, nearly a year, by organizations like Planned Parenthood and other health providers.

There is only so much one person can do. There is only so much fighting one can do before they get tired, before they get discouraged, before they give up.

I just passed that line, and I’m so scared.

Winter’s Morn

Days like today, I’m glad I live where I do, and with who I do.

Get up, stretch. Shiver, turn up the heater. Wrap in a bathrobe, tie it around. Visit the bathroom, wander into the kitchen. Heat a snack, pour a drink.

Look outside.

See the grass and needles on the trees tipped in ice. The rising sun filters through the trees at an angle and hits the ice in such a way as to color it both gray and rainbow at the same time. The gravel is a dusty black, sharp points poking through the layer of frost to make tiny mountains, bugs clambering up them to get across the expanse of driveway.

Back downstairs.

Turn on some music. Plan some art, get a bit of work done, figure out what reading needs to be done today.

Bask in the beauty of life, a beauty that I so often miss for the hurry scurry of daily events, a beauty that is so subtle and so in-your-face at the same time that it takes your breath away.

random

So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty dirty little freaks

–Pink, Raise Your Glass

that kind of day

In the midst of a worsening mental health crisis, I found… hope, of a sort.

This, surprisingly enough, has honestly been one of the most helpful things I’ve ever read about life/living with Bipolar Disorder.

Because I know I’m not alone, and it’s possible to have a productive life, despite the crazy.

It still sucks… but I have my love, my art, my school. I have life.

“It gets better” (if you’re lucky)

Over the past few weeks, the It Gets Better Project has garnered a lot of attention, with some people saying that it’s the best thing since sliced bread and the hope of all LGBT teens, etc etc. The goal is to make youtube videos to show at-risk-for-suicide LGBT teens that “it gets better,” when you’re out of high school everything improves, that the bullying stops, that life gets better.

Except that’s not always the case. If you’re lucky, it is. If you’re male, cis, white, and “only” gay [with a good helping of being rich] you have a chance of life improving. If you’re female, trans, of color, bi, asexual, intersexed, etc, then … you’re not socially acceptable, and it’s certainly not going to get better all by itself.

Hey, slow it down
Whataya want from me
Whataya want from me
Yeah, I’m afraid
Whataya want from me
Whataya want from me
*

I know what I want from us. I want us to stop lying to teens, to the world, to ourselves. Bullies don’t stop existing on graduation day, they follow us through life.

If you’re disabled, poor, or otherwise socially disadvantaged, you have a hard time making life “better.” Speaking as a person with severe mental illnesses, merely emphasizing that “it gets better” is only going to make some feel worse. Because when it doesn’t get better, and the mocking and the hardships follow you through your life, it feels like it’s your fault, because ~it gets better~ why isn’t it getting better for me oh gods I’m a failure.

There might have been a time
When I would give myself away
(Ooh) Once upon a time
I didn’t give a damn
But now here we are
So whataya want from me
Whataya want from me

There was a time that I didn’t give a damn, because it didn’t impact me. Then I became ill, then I went through that patch of “suicide is the only way I can see this stopping,” then I came out, and suddenly it clicked. These young people, they’re not just “the future,” they are us. They are me, and they are you.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to ignore everything that’s happened in my life, especially in the last three years, and lie to make a point that’s not even correct.

Just don’t give up
I’m workin’ it out
Please don’t give in
I won’t let you down

It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around
Hey, whataya want from me
Whataya want from me

I’m not going to sit here and say, “oh, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” like so many are fond of doing. For some people, yes, it is a temporary problem. For others, it’s not. When a person has only experienced years and years of never-ending escalating abuse and torture for something they can’t change, and our culture approves, I can’t say that it’s necessarily a “temporary” problem. When a person is mentally ill, it’s not a “temporary” problem. When one is part of a socially disadvantaged oppressed group, it’s not a “temporary” problem.

To tell someone that it will get better if they only made it better, that’s the ~bootstraps!~ cry of the world’s douches. It once again makes it the victim’s fault, instead of the perpetrator’s fault.

Yeah, it’s plain to see
That baby you’re beautiful
And it’s nothing wrong with you
It’s me, I’m a freak
But thanks for lovin’ me
Cause you’re doing it perfectly

It’s true: there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not your fault. Don’t let anybody tell you it is, because it’s really not. I promise. It is never your fault for being bullied, for being assaulted or stalked or abused.

But I also sit here and say, “it’s not easy to recognize it.” All my life I blamed myself for being abused, for being assaulted, for being a victim. I’ve spent the last two years in intensive therapy and I still have a hard time believing it. It’s not easy to believe, when the rest of the world in crying in strident harmony that “it’s your fault, if only you changed, if only you weren’t [x] or [y] or [z] then we wouldn’t want to bully you!” It gets beaten into your head, it becomes who you are.

It’s possible to change it, yes, but the road is long, the road is hard, and it sometimes never gets easier.

There might have been a time
When I would let you step away
I wouldn’t even try but I think
You could save my life

There would have been a time. I’m ashamed to say that. But that’s part of being human, a decent human: acknowledging you made fuckups and working to fix them. And here I am, working to fix it.

There’s another reason I’m very against the IGB Project, and that would be its founder, Dan Savage. Dan… is a rude asshole. To some, that’s his appeal, while to others it’s not. I happen to be in the latter category, especially since he’s a transphobic, biphobic, victim-blaming sack of shit who likes to say that rape victims “owe” their partners sex. I absolutely will not sit here and support a project that he, a rich white popular male, made out of his own privilege and refuses to acknowledge that he’s privileged or has done anything wrong.

Just don’t give up
I’m workin’ it out
Please don’t give in
I won’t let you down
It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around
Hey, whataya want from me
Whataya want from me

Sometimes, the best person to work with an at-risk population is a member of said population. I honestly think that this is one of those times. It’s disingenuous for us to allow the popular celebrities to placate the rage that we feel, to allow them to speak for us all, because by their very nature they aren’t us. They are celebrities. We can’t all be famous, we can’t all be rich, and most of us never will be anywhere close to either.

Just don’t give up on me
I won’t let you down
No, I won’t let you down

I won’t let you down. There are options — The Trevor Project being the most famous. There is also RAINN and local LGBT community centers in your area.

I am always available to talk, to help locate crisis help, to help you out of that dark, lonely place where all you can see is the pain. I’m not a trained professional, but I’ve been there, and sometimes the only person that will understand the pain and the terror you’re going through is someone who’s walked that path.

So
Just don’t give up
I’m workin’ it out
Please don’t give in
I won’t let you down
It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around
Hey, whataya want from me

We are trying to work it out. We will work it out — but it takes time. Time that some don’t have. We need to stand up right here, right now, and say that this needs to end. The We Got Your Back Project is one specific organization aimed at doing just that.

There’s more that I wanted to say, but a] this is a deeply hard topic for me to even think about, much less write on, b] my memory decided to go “lol that post you wrote in your head last night on the way home? GONE,” and c] I have a paper I need to write by Monday.

That said, I do intend to cover this more later on.

And to all the LGBT teens and young adults going through bullying, harassment, and that dark path, we stand with you. We support you. I stand with you. If you ever need help, or to talk, or need to comment, please don’t hesitate to email me.

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*>Whataya Want From Me, by Adam Lambert

very random

damn you, doctor, damn you to hell.

“oh it’s your choice whether or not you go for an exploratory laparotomy, but when you ask for a referral I’ll just lie and say you said your gyno would be willing to do it.”

FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU

that said, I really think it’s time.  and the sooner the better, since I can’t get in with the pain clinic until July 1st. Guh.  I’m tired of people trying to decide for me how much pain is “too much” and how much I’ll “just have to live with.”  HEY GUYS, IT’S MY LIFE, LAST I CHECKED, AND I’M THE ONE WHO HAS TO LIVE WITH THE PAIN.

—-

In completely other news, a friend of mine is trying to set something up.  It’s … kind of difficult to explain, so I’ll let her do it in her own words.

Last Monday, on the topic of only ~real~ women having curves, I got the idea for … a store, a site, a statement, a movement.  Declaring that the only “real” women are women who meet a certain standard, a certain ideal, is discriminatory, obnoxious, and wrong.  It also pairs in with the HAES [Health At Every Size] movement: that just because you’re Curvy, Portly, Chubby, Fat, Obese… whatever, it doesn’t make you any less of a woman.

Any person who says they are a woman, is a woman.

And so, I bring before you: a store.  A store that promotes subversion, against the ideals that limit us into one really uncomfortable box.  Join me in standing up and saying ENOUGH!  A site for people to gather at, to chat, to promote health and beauty in all its forms.

My goal for this: to promote the death of discriminatory labels, to promote good self esteem, to aid in just maybe brightening someone’s day.

My aim: that half of all profits [above what’s needed to keep the store running] go to charities and organizations that are actively working to promote good in the world.  Specifically, at least for now, FA/feminist/HAES places, though I would love to be able to expand to LGBTQA and others.  To do this, I need to know: what needs donations?  What needs funds to help pay its employees, funds to pay for services, funds to… well, cover just about anything?  I am totally open to ideas and suggestions.

So.  WHEEEEEEE.

So there you have it.  Please check out her site and store and, if you can afford it, stock up on stuff!

*rofl*

so, apparently I have an “amazing way of writing” and there’s no other place to hear about articles like this one. Except, you know… that’s entirely my own writing and there’s no references or anything.

I was going to let it stand on the post as a giggle, but then I looked at the “comment author” and realized that yeah, pr0n sites like to assvertize via comments on random blogs.  DELETE.

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