The Past and the Future

Archive for the ‘Journal’ Category

Let There Be Light

Well, it’s been a bit. Again. I had a lot to slog through, as you can see. I was in a dark place for a few days. I needed to just breathe. I got my footing back. I gave myself a bit of a slap across the face and a reality check. I’m a realist in the end, and emotions are not my thing. I don’t handle them well and I let them overwhelm me. LET them. It’s a choice. It’s like going for a swim. You can wade in and let the water just gradually increase, and it can be a memorable (if not enjoyable) experience, or you can just jump in the deep end and almost drown; terrifying and unsettling.

I gotta remember to wade in. I am not a jump in and swim person, dammit, not when it comes to emotions, anyway.

Ex-boy and I worked it out. We’re good again. Conan is going well actually, with new folks filtering in. Roleplay is moving forward and while new people are stressful, its enjoyable. Again, the wading thing. I even have some old friends wandering by. I just needed to give it a little time. I am not a patient person. I want it to happen NOW and I hate waiting. I hate wading; even when I know it’s what is best for me. Sadomasochism. Go me.

Waiting. Wading. God love the english language.

So, about my health. I have been struggling with some pretty scary symptoms for about 3 weeks now – chest pains, shortness of breath, tight chest/breathing, dizziness, disorientation. I went to the ER and they found nothing but a raised d-dimer (clotting). I had a barrage of tests that turned up nothing; no heart attack or heart issues as per normal – I’m the healthiest fat person you’ll ever meet (normal if not low blood pressure, normal cholesterol, “normal” blood sugar/A1C [high but within normalcy], normal heart rhythms [with some weirdness but nothing alarming], some oddities in the blood work but nothing overtly alarming [etc, etc.]).

This is on top of a slow decline in health over the last 5 years – slow increasing levels of all over body/joint pain, exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, sleeplessness, increased disorientation/brain fog, eye irritation/gumminess, intestinal issues, and vicious headaches. Last year I suddenly had a fever that lasted 6 months, until I sussed out (not my doctors, mind you) that it was the antihistamine I was taking to help me sleep that was spiking my overall body temp. Turns out when you naturally don’t sweat much, you shouldn’t take antihistamines for a long period of time. Noted. It’s a body chemistry/cell respiration thing. Anyway.

I had a barrage of tests over the last five years. I have a positive ANA and positive for HLA-B27. I’ll save you the google search – it means that I likely have some kind of autoimmune disorder. HLA-B27 is one of those, the more known of which is Ankylosing Spondylitis. Now, this used to be thought to be MEN ONLY and only recently was found to be in women too, because they actually started LOOKING in women. The specialist they sent me to however, said that it was only for men, I’m fine, I’m just a fat woman, and sent me home. He can go fuck himself.

Anyway.

I have no idea if I have it or not, for that reason. /shrug

In the course of trying to discover why I had a fever, I was tested for everything communicable you can imagine. I don’t have HIV or anything else awful. I suppose that’s good, right? I do have some kind of strange live immunity to a fungus known only to the Southwest USA, but no one could explain that. I tucked that into the “Clue A” department and let it go. I was released back into the wild with a pat on the head and a “We have no idea” until I sussed out the antihistamine bit on my own.

I did join a support group for Ankylosing Spondylitis and found out that there’s a lot of women with a lot of the same symptoms as me, so I likely have it. It’s not really treatable at this stage, so it’s just suffer and deal with it. But at least that’s likely something that I have.

I tested positive for an allergy to barley when I was nine, and kept eating it and wheat and everything else until I was well into my 40s, until a doctor pointed out that I likely have Celiac’s and told me to stop eating all of it. I did. I felt a lot better after that, and still work under the assumption that I can’t eat gluten and have Celiac’s but honestly, I have no idea.

I also eat like I have Crohn’s because I also can’t eat seeds and other things that are more like Crohn’s than Celiac’s (raspberries, strawberries, popcorn… it’s a long list. /sigh).

All this because I have been desperately trying to not feel like shit for about 12 years. Without any goddamn help from doctors, who have been largely clueless. If they can’t throw a drug at it, then they don’t seem to care.

I just want to feel better, and it’s been a slow decline like a rock rolling down a hill, speeding up to a discernible degree over the last 5 years with no slowing in sight, and I won’t lie, I’m a little scared. I can see the pattern and do the math. Do I have to drop dead before they’ll do anything? The easy answer is? Yes. Yes I do. And I refuse. So I keep reading, and searching, and studying medical journals and research trying to find a clue.

The chest pains were a wake up call, let me tell you. I was like, jesus, they are going to let me die.

Well, I didn’t die – obviously. I’m still here. It hurts. It sucks. I can’t take a deep breath, but I’m still kicking.

I saw my regular doctor and she listened, and listened to my chest. She said, you are breathing tightly. She did a nebulizer and all my symptoms lifted.

Like fucking magic.

What. the. actual. fuck.

Well, so asthma is a thing. I know that. I DO! I’ve known people with asthma my whole life. I know what a nebulizer is. I had foster children I had to give one to. I understand it. I just had no idea you could HAVE it and walk around.

I also never mentioned, to ANYONE, that I have 11 cats and I’m allergic to them. And dogs (3). And pollen and mold and mildew (and I live in an old house surrounded by a prairie). Anyway.

My doctor just -stared- at me. “You’re not kidding, are you.”

Ok so it turns out we have nine, not eleven. It’s not like I pay much attention – they’re not MY cats. I have two that I like, that like me. The rest just sort of do their thing, and they belong to my kids. I don’t feed them or do their litter. That was part of the deal because I’m sick of the buggers. Yes, I see the irony in that, hush. Anyway.

So. It turns out that if you’re allergic to something and you do it anyway, it makes you sick.

Shut up.

Anyway.

So, I’m on allergy meds. An inhaler with a spacer. Yes, a spacer. No, not a handsome man that drives a spaceship. No Han Solo in my house, sadly. It’s medical equipment that ensures that the medication mixes with the air before you inhale it.

Fun fact – it looks like a little bong. This amuses me to no end. Back to the point.

Allergy meds. An albuterol inhaler. A spacer. An order to have my husband vacuum and dust daily. An order to get air cleaners in every major room immediately. A long term order to reduce the number of pets in my house as soon as possible. Eh, that will take a while.

BUT it does mean that perhaps, I am a little closer to feeling better? Maybe?

Here’s hoping. More later, taters.

Jaz

Craptastic

Sometimes, things just suck.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I broke up with my boyfriend (he broke up with me, is more accurate). A friend died (distant, but still). My littlest boy went back to school (and loves it). I got written up at work (for something that just wasn’t really all my fault, but it is what it is). My server that I run (for Conan Exiles) is struggling and I’m really tired of all of it.

I’m really, really sad.

I hate being this sad; it scares me. It’s not about the breakup really. I knew what was coming. He wasn’t talking to me anymore. He barely even seemed to want to be around me. It was almost a relief. He still wants to be friends and I care so much for him, that it is a relief. At least I won’t lose that part. But at the same time, it’s harder because he’s there, and happy without me.

That sucks a lot.

Mostly it’s more that I am reminded, every single god-damn day, how broken I am and I’m really really really tired of it. I’m tired of being me. I’m tired of being who I am. I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of being sick. I hate that I’m old. I miss being fun. I miss being young. I miss being relevant. I miss being sexy and vibrant and fun. I miss FEELING sexy and vibrant and fun even more. I haven’t felt that way since I lost my -last- boyfriend. That loss took the wind out of my sails and I never really recovered. I still can’t even touch that loss without wincing and getting tearful. I may never be over him. That’s sucks a lot too.

Whoever said that sociopaths don’t have feelings can kiss my entire ass.

I don’t have normal feelings. I don’t understand feelings. I don’t experience feelings like other people do. All true. But I HAVE feelings. Big feelings. Huge feelings. Feelings so big it’s like drowning when you’re just standing there minding your own business and suddenly you’re washed away by a tsunami. Not only that, but one that you can’t even define, understand, or fathom. It’s not fair. It’s not even remotely fair.

I’ll be standing there, minding my own fucking business, looking at dog food and suddenly I have tears. TEARS. Why? Who the fuck knows. No emotion. Just tears. And then, an hour later, some song fills me with sadness and I have to pull over and sob for no fucking reason. And then I’m fine. Like nothing happened.

It’s really really not fun.

I hate this.

I’m done with this.

No more relationships. No more dating. No more sexy fun time with new people. My husband understands me. I don’t have to explain. I get laid when I need to. I give him sex when he needs me to. We get each other. His girlfriend gives him snuggles and life makes sense. None of this rollercoaster bullshit.

No ILOVEYOUSOMUCH and then nothing but silence and Oh hey, let’s break up because reasons. What.the.fuck. Okay. What did I do? It’s not you, it’s me. I just need to figure things out? Ya think? No, it’s more my OTHER girl is jealous and doesn’t want me to see you so, she’s more fun and there you go.

And everyone lies. My life would be 3000 times easier if people would just tell me the truth. But they never. EVER. do. And it’s exhausting.

I’m very tired. And sad. Did I mention sad?

I should go to bed. So here I go.

Later, Taters.

Broken Mirror

When I look in the mirror at night, in the dark, I see myself, but I also see my younger self superimposed over my true self. I know it’s an illusion or delusion, but it’s always been that way for as long and far back as I can remember. I could always see my various personalities layered over each other like paper dolls that were just not quite perfectly aligned. I would rub my eyes and that illusion would fade away.

When I was very little, I did not understand what I was seeing. I would try to touch the mirror, to understand why I couldn’t focus. As an adult, I understand now that my mind was simply trying to make sense of my mental illness, of the fact that I was broken into pieces already, even as young as 2 years old.

My first personality break was somewhere around 18 months old. I am not sure why it happened or what caused it, only that it did occur. I slowly figured out when I was older, what age these memories were. I asked my mom and grandmother about certain memories, and was told “That was X place,” or “That was when you were a baby, not even two.” I also gleaned from stories and listening to adults that I lived in X or Y place in various specific years, in order to understand just where I was when certain things happened to me. I wanted to understand.

The flashes of memory began when I was very young, and I remember having them my entire life. They would take my breath away and sometimes I would walk into walls or fall over, because they would take over my whole being. As I got older, I got control of them, and learned how to shuffle them “to the side” of my mind so that I could continue to act normally. I never could completely get rid of some of the “tells” such as rapid blinking, a slight stutter, or body twitches, but most were not observant enough to catch them or notice.

These memories were typically black and white flashes of events; I would have a blazing headache afterward and could not remember what I had just seen. Sometimes I could remember a tiny snippet of it, but often it was just a sensation or an aftertaste of something bitter was all that would remain. The snippets were generally a sound or a brief image; the rest was washed or scrubbed away completely. I came to understand later that my other alter known as “Tower” was taking them as fast as they would happen. She was (and is) determined never to allow me to remember.

By the time I was 12, the flashes had stopped or became extremely rare occurrences. However, I began walking in my sleep having deep, brilliantly colorful, and often violent dreams. My home life was also incredibly violent, both physically and emotionally, as my mother fought for control against two young pre-teens who were starting to understand that she could not control either of us forever. My brother and I were also violent toward each other, left alone far too much and having no other target but each other for the growing frustrations and virulent rage that was increasing in us both. It was a terrible recipe and the outcome was not going to be good no matter how you looked at it.

I struggled with mental illness my entire life. I lived in a self-made alternate reality most of the time. I wasn’t safe at school. I wasn’t safe at home. Dissociative fugues were my only respite. My mother moved us back to her hometown when I was 10 years old – a place that had tortured her for her entire childhood. I will never understand why. She drop-kicked my brother and I into the shark infested water and left us there to drown. And drown we did. Whatever was left of my sanity was destroyed. The teachers and the students participated in mental and physical torture. My brother became violent physically. I turned in on myself. Mom threw herself into her work. It isn’t a surprise how it all ended.

We’ll get to that.

I survived that horror. I ran away from school, from religion, from my family, from my mother. At first I was a purple-haired rebel, running with drug dealers and violent, party-hungry angry people but eventually surrounded myself with workaholics and weekenders. I raged against the world until I was exhausted. I was on a path that ended with me in an early grave until that moment I was rear-ended by a car. And my entire path changed.

The mirror shattered.

Without my memory, I couldn’t keep track of my stories. Without my memory, I couldn’t remember where I had been, or what I had done. I had to be truthful, and I had to honest. Everything that I was before, died. I barely remembered what I ate for breakfast, let alone what I had done ten years ago, or last week. Nothing resets your priorities like losing your ability to remember simple things. Trust me on that.

I came home to Iowa from Florida where the accident happened. I began the long journey to healing. I got married (to the Worthless-Idiot). I got my heart destroyed (by the Worthless-Idiot). I learned that just because someone (my “best friend”) says they love you, they don’t necessarily love you. And if they tell other people bad things “because it’s easier than arguing with them” then they probably don’t really love you. Finding out that my “best friend” had been fucking my husband for YEARS was not an easy thing to stomach. That she looked me in my face for years and lied to me. That he did. That they BOTH DID. That level of making someone a fool, of then telling other people lies so that you can feel good about YOURSELF to justify your own sins? That level of gymnastics? The karma there is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and I know both of them will pay eventually. I had to leave it at that, and walk away. It still stings, though, because I still love them both.

Love doesn’t stop when someone betrays you. It just sits there and bleeds forever, as a reminder to never be that big of a fool ever, ever again.

I learned some important lessons. Love should -always- be mutual. Don’t cross an ocean for someone that wouldn’t jump over a puddle for you. Don’t bend yourself into pretzels for someone who can’t be truthful to you. Don’t ever give so much of yourself when they can’t come up with ONE nice thing to say about you, ever. These are red flags. Never, ever ignore them.

So here I was, freshly minted me, working on being a good person, struggling to stay in ONE personality and not dissociate, recently graduated from therapy, and all this SHITSTORM hit me at once. Husband cheating on me with my best friend. He abandoned me and his son to run off with a DIFFERENT woman (jokes on my ex-best-friend, I guess). Stopped paying all the bills months ago and didn’t tell me – everything was ruined and being foreclosed on. There was a host of stuff that happened, worse than that, but you get the picture. It was a big, orchestrated, nightmare of drama. I didn’t break. I just balled up my fists, straightened my back, and stepped into the wind. I had to take care of my son.

And I did.

In all of this, I had J. He was a friend. I had my other friends too, people that I never realized WERE my friends, who proved themselves to me. Stood there in the storm and held my hand and cheered me on. People who I never realized even really cared about me. They got me through this as the people that I loved turned against me. It was not a fun time. It was harrowing. It was painful.

But as Gram would say, birth is painful – but necessary. I gave birth to a new life and I have no regrets.

My shrink and I have debated over the years if I simply slipped into a new personality or not. I don’t think so. I think I slipped into an old one. I know who my personalities are. I found my original personality and decided that it was time I stopped running. I shrugged into my true life and just… walked into the storm. It was hard. It was terrifying. But it was time. We’ll talk more about that, I’m sure. In the end of it, I simply decided that it was time to get better, and I did.

Is it that simple? The professionals say it isn’t but my shrink, he disagrees. The mind, he says, is an amazing thing. You decided you were ready, and you did what you had to do.

I like to think that I simply did what I had to do, for my son, and eventually, for the baby in my belly. I am a Mama Bear for my children. I will walk through fire for them, and I guess, well….

That’s what I did.

More later, Taters.

Jaz

Introduction (again)

My name is Jaz. I’m 54 years old. I’m technically female, white, short, fat, and formally a red-head. I have freckles and my hair is now a pale blonde-off-white. I have blue eyes that get almost black when I’m angry and bright blue-green when I’m happy. I have an above average IQ and a below average EQ. I’m on the spectrum, as they say, with what is now called “Non-Verbal Learning Disorder” but when I was growing up was called “Multi-Focal Dyslexia.” I’m an artist and creative with a low tolerance for stupidity, a temper that is hard to ignite and slow to cool, a wicked mouth and a brilliant mind for math, debate, and any challenge I set my mind to.

I am a pagan agnostic, pansexual, polyamorous person who has been married to the same man in an open marriage for over 20 years now. We have three children together and one that I adopted before we met that he is also a father to, because the actual father is a worthless waste of human DNA who couldn’t be bothered; four boys that we have raised together in this house in the middle of nowhere Iowa.

J and I have a complex and complicated relationship that is, overall, very happy and he is my best friend. I am probably one of the most difficult humans in the world to live with and I warned him of this from the very start. I laid out my expectations and gave him the ground rules right up front. I warned him of my family, my family history, and all my baggage before we ever did more than simply be friends. He entered into this chaos of his own free will, with full knowledge.

To be completely fair, J did the same. We had some very frank conversations from the get-go. This was my third relationship of consequence. I was still (at the time) married to the worthless bag of DNA that was the father to my (then) only child and I had no idea where he was, or what was to become of us (my son and I) but I had a very good idea what he (the idiot) was up to and knew exactly where things would end up with him. I was done with marriage, with men, and with marriage in and of itself.

Obviously, I wasn’t completely done, because I made babies with this man and eventually married him. It was, however, a long hill to climb for us both. I said “no” to marriage a dozen times; I was still married to the Worthless-One (he refused to divorce me for some unknown reason) and even if that had not been the case, I was done-done-done. But over the passing years, J whittled me down with love and honor, and proving to me that while most men were stupid, inane, lying, cheating, worthless bags of DNA, he was not. By the time we made baby number 2, I agreed to marry him if Worthless would ever give me a divorce.

We had a pirate wedding, complete with costumes. It was brilliant.

Our lives have not been perfect, but it has been amazing. I have three beautiful children from my body to match the child of my heart that I adopted. I have a beautiful home. I have my best friend. I have raised amazing children. I have a good life. J has worked hard to give me everything that I could have ever wanted, and we’ve made one hell of a life together.

It’s worth mentioning that J’s family is also amazing – and why not? They raised an amazing man. They are loving, decent folks and they accepted me as I am. I spent the first few years just waiting for them to hate me, but it never happened. Instead, they taught me about love. I see why J is such an amazing, honorable man. My life is where it is because of many factors, and many that have to do with my own hard work, but I would be remiss not to give credit where due and that falls to J’s family, and J.

Now, we’ve had our challenges. J, like many men, struggled with truthfulness and money. We went round and round about those things, and his temper, and his communication. But marriage is about struggle and communication, and no marriage is without challenge. We worked through it. Yelled a lot too, hah. But we’re still hanging in there and we love each other at the end of the day, and in the end that’s what counts. There’s no one else that I’d rather ride this spinning ball with, than him.

The Other Stuff

So, now that we’ve covered that, we can talk about why I journal.

I am a child abuse survivor. I have “Complex Trauma” which is PTSD from childhood abuse. I have a lot of diagnosis’ but the one that matters the most is D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder). I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder most of my life, and I have severe dissociative issues stemming from the trauma growing up. I struggled with these dissociative issues well into my 20s, which I finally got treatment.

The larger reason for not being able to get treatment was complicated largely by religion and my own secrecy surrounding what was going on inside me. I knew that if anyone KNEW what was going on, had been going on my own life, they’d “lock me up” and I’d never see the light of day again – or that is what I told myself. I’d had friends in “treatment” over the years and I knew that I did not want to live in a place like that, not even for a few weeks or months. Nope.

The turning point for me was actually a car accident. I got knocked in the head and sustained a closed head injury that was quite severe. Bleeding on the brain and traumatic brain injury left me with seizures and memory loss, although I went undiagnosed for 2 years after the incident. By the time I finally got help, it was too late to fix it, and I had to ride out the symptoms until I healed up and got used to the aftermath.

One of the most important aspects of my D.I.D. was my memory. I had an eidetic memory (photographic memory) and used it constantly to keep ahead of the game when I would “lose time” or drift. Suddenly, it was gone and I was adrift in a sea of confusion. On top of that, I was having mind-shattering headaches and pain in my neck, shoulders, and back. My ability to just “fake it until you make it” wasn’t working anymore.

It did not take a shrink long to suss out that I was “switching” between personalities when I would get “overstressed” by situations. She was videotaping my sessions and she caught them over and over on camera. I flat out denied there was an issue at first, but eventually she boxed me in and I had to tell her at least some of it. Once she pulled that thread, the whole thing came unraveled and the entire story came pouring out like water. The jig, as they say, was up.

My whole life burned to the ground in short order after that. My worthless husband at the time had been cheating on me, lying …. you name it. He even stole from me. Yes, I was a fool… we’ll pick that scab later. He was even doing this with my best friend at the time. So, as my life burned to the ground all around me, he took off for parts unknown and left me and his son to fend for ourselves. I moved out and filed for divorce with help from friends, the state helped me get a place to live and to buy food to eat, I bought a car due to the kindness and pity from a local car dealership that took some mercy on me and helped me finance a really nice car on a wing and a prayer, and life settled into a pattern.

My job went from part time to nearly full time with benefits, another stroke of luck. J and I began to be “friends with benefits” and I got my boy (with special needs) into a bunch of programs to help us both so his needs were met now that I couldn’t be home all the time with him. The house we lived in was terrible, but I kept it clean and it was roomy and decent enough. After a few years, J and I bought my mother’s house and we moved to the middle of nowhere to start our lives together with a new baby and my adopted son in tow. Life moved forward.

Moving closer to my mother was a bad idea. Buying my mother’s house was a worse idea. If you’re considering doing something like this, DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT. Trust me on this. Just don’t do it. Don’t.

Twenty years later we have four children, the mortgage is half paid off, we’re in debt to our eyeballs but we’re treading water, my mental health is slowly improving like it has every year since that fateful day, and life isn’t bad. I went back to school and finished my art degree. I have a good job in social work with benefits. J is back in school to get an IT degree. My oldest boy is working full time and looking at college. My middle boy is graduating this year and working part time. My youngest is in middle school. My oldest is in a care facility nearby, happy as a clam surrounded by pretty nurses and eats all he can eat every day.

I will have a shrink for the rest of my life. But I am alive. And I am learning to be happy.

This journal will be about me. About how I cope. About my struggles. About who I am. And who I am to be. Welcome.

Later, Taters. ~Jaz