Just Venting

rant

There are quite a number of things I do not understand.

  1.  Who really cares so much about the details of lives of “celebrities”?  Do these curious folk have no lives of their own so they must engross themselves in every aspect of the lives of the Hollywood crowd?
  2. What is the big deal about who wears what to some event?  How many times have you been approached by someone to inquire who you are wearing?  My answer? “I’m wearing what I found in the shrubs. What’s it to you?”
  3. When did a square of tofu with two string beans and some schmutz drizzled on a plate constitute a $150 “meal”?  Just because you add the word “gourmet” to the item and shrink the size in no way creates an irresistible craving in my brain.  If I do not walk away filled (and with leftovers) it does not deserve the term “meal.”
  4. Who gets to decide what constitutes a “must have” item?  I strongly dislike buzzwords for the simple reason they are immediately overused to the point of nausea!
  5. When did we cease being dwellers on the same planet and become so offended by our fellow planet-dwellers?  So many seem to be bent on shouting, protesting, suing, rioting, and ruckus raising, yet no one seems to want to listen or work together to find mutually equitable solutions.

Rant concluded for now.

Peace

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weary of the constant disruptions to my life from memories of times past, I took it upon myself to seek solace in the quiet of the evening air near the sea.  I wandered for a bit in the shadows, sat among the tombstones in the church cemetery for a bit wondering what it must be like to be dead.  I traced my fingers along the letters of the many names from bygone years and silently prayed that they had finally found peace.

From there I strolled along the ancient walk with the smell of flowers wafting from the gardens of the mansions of Rainbow Row.  My mind kept trying to go into nightmare mode, but I simply breathed in the floral bouquet and felt the gentle sea breeze caress my face.  I could hear the shuffling of others as they walked and chatted quietly.  A puppy came up to me and wanted me to play, so I picked it up and was greeted with eager licks and snugglings.  A young woman came running up, and thanked me breathlessly for finding her puppy as he had gotten away from her. I told her it was my pleasure because I love dogs and especially the ones who like me too.  She laughed and asked if she could buy me a drink as a reward.  Drink…I remembered what happened when I had “a drink” last night and did not want to repeat that episode.  However, I told her she could buy me a drink if I could buy her dinner.  She agreed and off to Tommy Condons we went, where dogs are allowed on the patio.

I told her that I was not one for small talk, being extremely introverted, and she responded that we have two things in common: A love of dogs, and being introverts.  I made the lame joke that we also have dining in common.  She smiled politely and rolled her eyes as she “punched” my arm.  We dined on roast beef sandwiches, she ate my pickle, she bought us Jameson rocks and we sat there having a deep conversation about being at peace.  I admitted that I struggled with finding peace, to which she replied: “Peace is not something you find. It’s not a destination either.  Peace is a journey.  Peace is nothing that no matter what happened or happens, we are okay with our life.”

I’ll admit that was a lot for my brain to process, and I pondered it for a long time.  Then we had to walk the puppy as he was getting restless.  While we walked, I thought long and hard about my life.  There are parts I don’t like about it.  There are events I wish never happened.  There are times I wish I could take back.  Then her words hit me, and I realized that nothing in my past can be changed.  Nothing in my past can physically hurt me.  As long as I can accept that the past events happened and remain IN THE PAST, then I can begin to move forward in peace.  I also realized that this was going to be a journey because the phantoms of my past will not leave me in peace willingly. But at least for this evening I was at peace.

Step one…  One day at a time….one moment at a time….accept what you cannot control or change and learn to accept it as part of the fabric of my life.

At the end of our evening, I asked if I might be allowed to walk her to her door.  She agreed with a smile.  Upon arriving, She unlocked the door, I kissed her hand and thanked her for an extraordinary evening.  She told me that she enjoyed our time together and kissed me on the cheek, I blushed being unaccustomed to such kindness.

When I arrived home I reflected on the evening and decided that I needed to make some changes.  First, the face in the mirror needs to learn to be more thoughtful and positive.  Hiding in the dark is no way to live, unless one is a troll.  Second, I need to learn to get out more.  I enjoyed her company and felt most comfortable.  I like that.  Third…well, I can’t think of a third right now, so I’ll stop here.

Not My First Mistake…

Kracken

Having wearied of the constant nightmares and memory flashes during the day, I sought solace with an old friend of many years.  I used to drown my dreams in rum, and finally decided that they don’t die so easily, so pursued counseling and medication.  That proved to be quite the waste of time in my mind. So I am at a loss as to what to do.

Counseling….my first counselor told me that I need to face my nightmares head on and, in so doing, they would have no more control over me.  Well, that was as effective as trying to break a boulder by pissing on it.  Then medications were added to the mix.  I was already exhausted from lack of restful sleep, so adding the medications made me even more tired and when I did sleep, the meds didn’t allow me to wake up very easily which was SUCH a joy having to relive every event over and over in vivid clarity with the smells and sounds magnified.

The next counselor was a bit better.  Encouraged me to write down my memories, which I did, and then write down whatever my mind showed me and whatever I felt.  This counselor said by keeping records we should be able to discern a pattern or, at least, some of the triggers.  While that SOUNDS like a good plan, it also means I have to, not only keep records, endure these flashbacks and nightmares until something can be figured out, not to mention having to pay this counselor more and more until they decide I have provided enough data.  I need some relief!

For lack of a better option, I returned to my original “medicinal” concoction.  When I returned to consciousness this morning, I realized what a mistake that was.  But it wasn’t my first mistake, and most likely will not be my last.  I discovered three empty Kracken Rum bottles, my house looked like a bunker had been thrown together, my pantry was destroyed, I was soaked with sweat, and weak enough I could barely crawl into the shower.  I did look in the mirror and the face that looked back appeared skeletal.

I am tired.  I am tired of going through this over and over.  I am tired of being tired.  I am tired of the nightmares and flashbacks.  I am tired of reliving it over and over.  I am tired of being broken.  I am tired of not being normal.  I am just exhausted!

I Broke That Night

firefight

I heard the command being given: “Take Him Out Damn It!  TAKE THAT BASTARD OUT NOW!”  And I opened fire on a 14 year old shepherd boy who was walking with determination toward the fuel bladder.  The third shot, I heard a pop like an egg breaking, then I saw the spray of blood, brain and bone become a cloud where his head had been. I smelled the cordite from the rounds fired.  I heard the brass jingle on the ground as they bounced on the ground.  My hands were shaking so badly that I could only get off a three round burst…but that was all it took to end the life of a boy who may or may not have understood what he was doing.

That was the night that I broke.  I had been in firefights before and have had to kill before, but they were trying to kill me and I fought back.  Sometimes from a distance, sometimes within sight where I could recognize their face, and, on occasion, face to face fight to the death.  Those I really felt nothing.  But this one…

I broke that night, and began to wear the mask of indifference so no one would see me bleed out slowly inside.  The next morning when I looked into my tiny shaving mirror, I saw a monster, a demon, I looked upon the face of death.  From that night on, I don’t sleep much and when I manage a few hours, that night comes back in realistic clarity.  I don’t eat as I should, either too much, nothing, or just junk.  I do drink more than I should, but I want to drown out the memories and the screaming voices of the boy’s parents the next morning when they found out it was me.  Their curses, accusations, threats, their anger and their anguish all hurled at me like venom from a cobra. And who could blame them?  I could hide behind the excuse that I was “just following orders,” but what would that serve?  The “orders” didn’t pull the trigger…I did.  The “orders” didn’t end that young life…I did.

I broke that night.  And 10 years later…it isn’t any easier!

The Quiet

Quiet Life

In the Quiet, I hear with clarity.  I hear conversations I am probably not intended to hear.  Yet because I am quiet, it’s as if I do not exist and, thus, people speak openly and freely.  If people would take a moment to be mindful of their conversations, they might take greater care with the things they share.

Just this morning, whilst enjoying a coffee before shift, I heard a man give his name, address, phone number, social security number and credit card number to whomever he was calling.  I also heard two women discussing another woman’s affair with yet another woman’s husband in morbid detail.  They sounded as if they were writing an pornographic vignette. Apparently, woman number three or perhaps woman number four arrived and the conversation changed immediately to the sickeningly “Well HI Sweetie! We’re so GLAD that YOU showed up.  Come on and have a seat with us.”

I pulled out my notebook and pen and began writing what was on my mind, when a young lady asked if she could share my table as it was, by this time, rather crowded.  I motioned to the chair and she sat down, pulled out her book and began reading.  I noticed that her choice of reading material was somewhat odd as she was reading a tome regarding how an introvert can live in a loud and noisy city.  I quietly said, “Begging your pardon, I don’t mean to pry, but are you, by chance, and introvert?”  She smiled, nodded and said, “Yes and it’s terrifying being in such a loud city.”  We spent more than an hour in comfortable silence after that.  When it came time for me to leave for work, I thanked her for her company, she looked surprised, and I told her that I struggle being an introvert in this city as well.  Long story short, we will be meeting for coffee tomorrow morning.

My day started off better than any day I have experienced in a number of years, simply because of the courtesy of one introvert asking to share my table.

Meanwhile, back on topic, just because I’m quiet does not mean I’m not listening.  Just because it may not appear that I am paying attention, I am paying attention.  I learned about someone who was going on an extended vacation, and could very easily found out their address to plunder whilst they were away.

My advice to extroverts who like to be gregarious and have no filter…GET A FILTER!

To introverts who think they are being discreet by whispering their information…whispering makes people that much more interested in what you are saying.

Let’s face it, I could have stolen several identities simply from the information I happened to overhear JUST THIS MORNING!  Imagine what I could do if I did this every single day!  Please be careful in your conversations!!!

A Few Considerations

Record Keeping

Talked to a new therapist today, actually found one who both understands my struggles AND takes my insurance.  Win for me on two fronts!  As this was an evaluation meeting, we had 3 hours to interact instead of the normal 50 minutes (charged as a full hour).

I began by describing my PTSI/PTSD and all that lead to that.  I described by depression and anxiety which resulted. I described my introvertism.  I explained that I truly no longer cared if I lived or died because the result, to this point, was the same…I merely endure the motions of existence numbly and often roboticly.  My new therapist listened intently as I rambled on, every once in a while a note would be scribbled on the notepad.  I do admit that the coffee was welcome and delicious.  Note to self: Buy A Keurig!

After a bit, we began discussing when I last remembered being actually happy.  I confessed that such memories are vague at best, never having felt as though I “fit in” anywhere.  Yet I remembered when I was about 7 years old, playing on a play ground at school.  I remembered the swings and I was the only one swinging at the time.  Then the new kid came up and asked if it would be okay it he could swing too.  That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted for more than 2 years until he just disappeared from school.  We were friends, I thought.  Then again, perhaps not.

My Therapist, I’ll call her Margaret, asked me if I had ever come to grips with my friend suddenly leaving.  I told her that I had never gotten closure. And Margaret said the most powerful thing I had ever heard, “There’s no such thing as ‘closure,’ there is only ‘acceptance’ of what cannot be changed.”  While that rocked my mind to the core, I began to realize that it was so true.

I cannot control what happens, but I can control my responses to what happens.  And for most of my life I was letting my reactions control me!!  I’ll admit that all these years of being controlled has left me broken, and I’m still uncertain if I can ever be able to be repaired.  But just knowing, has made a difference.

Margaret also recommended writing down my memories, events, feelings, insights, fears, dates, times, weather, situations, etc.  Pretty much keep a record of what I am thinking/feeling, when, and what are the circumstances/weather.  She told me to also record what I am watching, listening to, reading.  All this would help to begin a way of tracking cycles and patterns.  Now, some thing was making sense.  Medications were not discussed, because her biggest concern was helping me THROUGH this minefield instead of merely numbing my responses when the mines exploded.

All in all, today was a better day than I have had in YEARS!

DON’T Tell Me How To Be “Normal”!!

the rules

Who got the job of making the “rules”?  You know the ones, they are never written down, but “everybody” knows them.  I would like to apply for that job because the ones who have had it before are apparently complete buffoons

Why is it “against the rules” to be an introvert?  Why is it expected to be loud, gregarious, and boisterous?  I like to think, yet that is apparently “against the rules” as well, because we all know thinking leads to idiocy!

I have PSTI/PTSD and I struggle with it every single moment of my life.  But that is also, “against the rules” because it makes me….how shall I put it…..NOT NORMAL!  It is also wrong that loud noises send me into “combat mode” even if I am at the grocery store. Why? Because the battlefield IS LOUD and it is TERRIFYING and those images never leave me alone!

I also have to deal with depression, which also makes me NOT NORMAL!!  What have I to be depressed about?  Oh, where do I start!  When you are face to face with someone and you see their life leave their eyes because YOU had to protect yourself and your squad, it’s going to leave a scar!  When you have to shoot a 14 year old suicide bomber who was trying to blow up your fuel dump and everyone else with it….watching his head explode from the 50 caliber has been burned into my soul.  When you are on your job and you encounter people who don’t think twice about doing unspeakably horrific cruelties to children, elderly, and animals…it’s going to leave a mark.  When you spend every day knowing that no matter what you do, there will be other horrible people to take their places to do far worse and it never stops!  You wonder “why bother”?  You begin to want to exit this life rather than see another scene.  And THAT makes me NOT NORMAL!

I am told that I have no reason to feel the way I do, so I have stopped feeling.  And THAT makes me NOT NORMAL!!  I don’t care if I live or die anymore, and THAT makes me NOT NORMAL!

So where might I apply for the job of determining what is NORMAL and what is not?