DAY 8: ON GOING THERE

Posted May 18, 2017

Wow, I just read what I posted yesterday and took another look at your responses. Sometimes I wonder if I’m an idiot to be putting it all out here like this. But instead of the judgement one could easily expect, I see your responses to all of this insanity of mine and I read so many messages of Love and comfort and support… and honestly, it’s the one thing that’s getting me through this. I’m showing you warts and all but I can’t imagine doing any of this without all of you. You have carried me when I couldn’t even make it to my knees. And I am so grateful.

I looked through and sorta responded to y’all this morning. But to be honest I really didn’t have the energy to actually take in your comments until reading them again just now. There’s a lot of wisdom in your feedback and you’re so right about all the shit I’ve buried for so many years. And I also know that you’re right – you are SO right – about me needing to “process” all of it. But that? THAT is a terrifying prospect for me. Doesn’t mean I’m ignoring your input, just being honest.

(Just an observation: I’ve noticed that for some bizarre reason I am here on a social media platform (“social” being the operative word!) and I don’t think I have ever been more honest in my life. Honest with you yeah… but even more so… honest with me. Go figure. I’ve never been known as a conformist.)

So when I think about “going there,” going to those dark places in my history? It’s just overwhelming. And like, which one do I choose to deal with first? Do I start at the beginning? I’ve put so much energy into trying to forget so much of that part there are a lot of gaps. And when I really think about it, I wonder if it’s the gaps that scare me the most. But even the stuff that I do remember… with great specificity – the stuff that is seared into my soul… is mighty dangerous territory as well and I found that out the hard way.

It landed me in the hospital.

One day I was talking to Shannon on the phone and I “went there… like reeeeally went there” about my “Daddy Issues.” The bastard was dying… finally. I say that because I’d begun to believe he was just too damn mean to die and he’d gotten way more years on this side of the grass than he’d deserved.

He’s dead now, finally. But that doesn’t mean he’s really gone. Not the impact he made or the damage he left in his wake. I’d spent all these years thinking I’d feel so much better when he finally took his last ragged breath… and boy did I want it to be ragged. Ragged as hell for all of the hell he put so many through in over eighty years. But, as is often the case with him, I was wrong. I have this bad habit of setting myself up for disappointment where he’s concerned so I suppose it’s not all that surprising.

Yep, he wasn’t breathing anymore, but he never once paid a price for a single thing he ever did to anyone – and he did a lot of ugly things. But what was worse was that he still won. He won because he even had the good fortune to take the truth with him to his grave. But I’m still here… trying to pick up the pieces. The pieces of me. The pieces of my Mother. The pieces of everything and everyone he shattered along the way. Hmmm… looks like I might be headed “there” again so I’ll move on.

In that phone call with Shannon, I ended up not only giving voice to all the pent up anger I’d never allowed myself to unleash… I ended up in a white… hot… rage. I wouldn’t even call it a conversation that we shared because I doubt she even got a word in edgewise. And where he’s concerned she’s got plenty of reasons to go to some “theres” of her own as well as the ones that bind us together in a shared kind of pain. I don’t doubt that at times I was completely incoherent but, God Love you, honey you stuck with me and gave me the floor.

But then… that floor she gave me? I landed it on it. Hard! That rage being unleashed had completely knocked… me… out. And not just to my knees. I ended up on my back being carried down the stairs on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance and ultimately being admitted to the hospital. Awesome.

See, as I was screeching into the phone, I’d begun to discover this tightness in my chest where all of that rage had been sitting for all of those years… and I seriously doubt it’s all gone now from one phone call so there’s plenty more waiting for me where that came from. At any rate, I finally wized up and decided that it might not be a bad idea to quickly back away from that particular “there” that I’d gone to.

But I was too late. We hung up and while she worried a thousand miles away, I laid down in my bed and tried to find my way back to the “just don’t think about that shit” section of my brain.

But that rage… that searing hot rage I’d so ignorantly let escape… it seemed to short circuit my ability to access that tiny bit of safety, that place in my head where I can pretend that maybe none of it really happened. Or maybe it wasn’t really as bad as I seem to recall. Or maybe I was just exaggerating or crazy to believe the things he did that I believe he did… along with the things I know without a doubt that he did but will probably go to my own grave never being able to prove that he did. Or, maybe… ya know? There’s a whole lotta people in this world who’d had it a lot rougher than I did.

But none of the “or maybes” did the trick.

As I lay there begging God to break this bizarre kind of psychic bond that I seemed to have with that pure unadulterated evil being that was my father, that place where all that rage had come from had become it’s own entity. It had a momentum all it’s own and it began to squeeze even tighter – punishing me for allowing it to surface… to speak it out loud. And when the squeezing kept going and began to literally take my breath away, I begged some more… I begged out loud!

But no, I had really fucked myself up this time and should have known better. That breath sucking squeezing thing that I had so stupidly created began to morph… and to move. Until finally it began to feel as though that evil son of a bitch was laying right there next to me – in my OWN bed this time – and was stabbing me. Like LITERALLY stabbing me in the back. I was being shredded with the knives that I had created and they were being wielded by an evil entity that had brought out all that rage.

And it was all my own doing.

At the hospital they did what hospitals do about chest pain patients showing up at the ER and I figured they’d have something yummy to inject into my IV to chill me out and take care of this whopper of an anxiety attack and I’d be back in my own bed after a few wasted hours and a huge copay. Not. The bloodwork comes back and it’s a wee bit off. Hmmm… that wasn’t part of my plan that I’d be having to spend the night. And the next night. And I’m not sure but I think another night or two… I was on pure overload at that point so that part is kind of hazy but I do know the daily inpatient copay was a helluva lot more than the ER one I’d been concerned about.

So the doctors and the nurses buzz around me and do all kinds of tests and scans and they’re all very pleasant but showing concern and then they tell me they are going to do an angiogram and that depending on what they find when they do their peeking around in my arteries they just may have to put in a stent and that if they put in a stent then that means I’ll be on blood thinners forever and… and… and… then I’m like: seriously? The dude is on his fucking deathbed at this point and I vent about just one TINY fraction of all the shit he’s done and now I’M the one alone in a hospital room with a dying iPhone and no charger looking at some major medical shit to seriously worry about? Seriously?!! WTF?!!

But, bless her heart, along came Shannon who appeared like an angel in my hospital room doorway the morning of the angiogram. I’m just spilling my own emotional vomit here but suffice it to say that the amount of fear she had to conquer to be at my bedside was beyond monumental. I guess that in this case her Love truly did conquer fear. (Thank you lil1.) I wanted to fuss at her… okay I DID fuss at her… because I knew she had put herself through hell to get to me that morning.

But at the same time, I was just so grateful that no matter what they found or what they might have to do I wasn’t alone… I had my Little Sisser there and she was holding my hand this time instead of me holding hers. I felt so selfish to put her through all of that, but at the same time it was such a comfort to remember – to actually see – that I really do have people who Love me enough to be there for me even when I’m too stubborn to ask. (Sound familiar?)

So the doc comes to tell me about the outcome and he’s all happy and it’s both good news and it’s pathetic. My arteries are clean as a whistle and I don’t need a stent. YAY! No blood thinners! But… then comes “we need to talk.” It seems there is a category of heart trouble that occurs mainly in women my age and he’s decided that I just happen to have it. And it has a pretty, even ladylike sounding name: “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”

So I’m thinking it sounds like a little pear tree or something exotic but cool… but even that thought gets busted when he tells me the name comes from some Japanese doctors who have studied this “syndrome” and the images of the heart they’ve taken when it’s in this condition is very similar in appearance to the octopus pots used by fisherman. Awesome.

But then he begins to tell me what this whole octopus pot heart thing is all about in English. And he tells me that what had happened to me to bring me to this bed is that the left side of my heart had “seized up” which not only caused me to call an ambulance but it also screwed with the blood flow in my heart for a while. Okay, makes sense. I’m with ya so far. But then he tells me that instead of that 8-long-legged name from Japan that sounded so pretty when he first mentioned it is…

Wait for it…

Broken. Heart. Syndrome.

Yeah. Seriously. I was in the hospital because I was “heartbroken?” That’s pathetic! Are you shitting me doc?! And he says yes, it’s a real thing and yes, he really believes I have it and then he wants to know… have you experienced a greater than usual amount of stress in your life?

“What?” I’m thinking. “Are you a shrink now?” cuz I’ve got one of those and a few other docs and I DON’T want another one thank you very much. And he then takes the time to very kindly and patiently explain to me that women (predominantly) my age who have experienced a lot of stress or trauma or whatever label you want to use, can end up with this “condition” as a result of all of the repeated surges of cortisol to their hearts every time some kind of shit has hit their proverbial fan. Awesome. Add a cardiologist to the list. Oh, and two more prescriptions while you’re at it. Oh, and come and see me in a month.

So what all of this rambling has been about it is to let YOU know that I know that I need to do some “processing.” A lot of it. But you see, there’s another little label I carry around that’s called Complex-PTSD. Yep, I don’t just have your everyday garden variety… they call what I’ve got “complex.” Well, isn’t that special?

But what that means, for me anyway, is that on the one hand at least there is a name for why I am so fucked up. But having a name for it doesn’t mean I’m any less fucked up. I’m fucked up in a “complex” web of incidents and accidents that I have to somehow try to unravel. And when I tug, even just a little, on one string in that complex web of things I KNOW I’ve buried… I sometimes end up discovering a thing or two that I buried VERY well.

This isn’t to say that I’m not willing. I’m scared shitless of what I might find but I’m also getting to a point where I’m beginning to believe that even though there’s a lot of things that fall into the “you just can’t make this shit up” category in my history… I’m getting mighty tired of it poisoning my day to day existence that I’ve been papering over with the fentanyl, that red wine, or a myriad of other ways that don’t even require chemicals of any kind. Whether or not I’m actually thinking about or remembering one or more of those specific incidents or accidents in the moment, it’s all still lurking around in my head and I’m painfully aware that some of it can turn into that white hot rage that put me flat on my back because of a “broken heart.”

But do you know what I’m thinking about after pouring all of this crap out in this eighth episode of this crazy yet amazing journey that I have plastered all over FaceBook (I mean it’s private, but still)…

Shannon got herself on that plane and she came a thousand miles to be by my side when she knew I would have told her not to even think about coming. Her Love DID conquer her fear. I witnessed it with my own eyes and I felt it – literally and figuratively – in my own heart.

So I know it is doable.

And with all of the Love that you have sent my way as you have traveled this journey with me for the last eight days, I am beginning to feel hope more often than before. I am beginning to accept the Love that you so willingly and so effortlessly and so beautifully just… give. No judgement. Just Love.

So maybe I’m beginning to believe it just might be true…

Maybe… just maybe… Love CAN conquer all

MLMB…

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