A FINE LINE

I started writing this post last night on my phone.  I only wrote a portion of it because it is a bit of a pain doing it that way.  I need to be able to see the entirety of what I’ve written and that just isn’t possible on a tiny screen.  Reading over what I wrote, though, I think I’ll go in a different direction.  I was going to eventually tie what I wrote last night into what I really want to say, and it would have been a far longer, more complicated essay, so, I’ll leave that for another day.

What I really want to say today is there is a very fine line between teasing and being rude and disrespectful.  I grew up being teased, and though I am not always crazy about it now, I do understand it, and it is familiar.  And, to a point, I am truly okay with it.  However, it simply does not work for me in the ways it used to.  Was it my attack that has made me more sensitive to this?  Is it evolving and changing to a kinder, more loving person in general?  Or is it not being willing to put up with any crap and rudeness of any kind anymore?  It’s probably a combination of all of those things.  And, really, it doesn’t matter what the reason…if I perceive it as something I do not want in my life, I have every right to feel the way that I do, and to do whatever I need to so that it stops.

At the risk of being called overly sensitive and/or ridiculous, I had an incident occur on the 4th of July that upset me.  A LOT.  A little background…I drive an old car.  Her name is Grazelda.  She is a ’96 Volkswagen Golf, the Harlequin edition, which is a multi-colored car.  It is one of the rarest Volkswagens ever made. There are only 70 of my version.  Most people love my car and think it is really cool.  Okay, so she is faded and has some rust on her hatchback.  So what?  The thing is, you do not have to like my car, and, frankly, I don’t give a damn whether you do or not.  What I have an issue with is you telling me that I drive a piece of shit car or that no one wants to be seen riding in it, etc.  Yes, these comments and others like this were made to me on Friday.  The sad thing is they were made by someone I’ve known since I was 18 years old (36 freaking years!) and not for the first time.  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I have two family members that jumped on the let’s-bash-Tamerie’s-car bandwagon.  The seem to think it is cute.  I do not.  Not even a little bit.  And these relatives are not young teenagers or even twenty-somethings; no, they are in their sixties!  Of course, this behavior is nothing new and something I have put up with for as long as I can remember.  I do know they care about me and are just teasing me, and in spite of that, and in spite of my asking that they not do it, they continue to do so.  It makes me not want to go to family functions.

Am I being a big, fat baby about this?  I don’t think so, and even if I am, their behavior lands on me as disrespect.  And that I should not have to tolerate, especially from people in my family.  As for my friend from college, that’s an entirely different story.  And why, would someone please explain to me, are there people who think it’s okay to give me their opinion about my car, especially when it has happened numerous other times, and I have made clear that I do not appreciate nor want to be subjected to it?  To me, this is extremely rude and so uncalled for.   It has been suggested that this is his way of letting me know that he likes me.  Really?  Really?  Grow up.

I have always been a person who stands up for myself.  I have never cared if others like me or not, nor have I cared what they think about me.  If you don’t like me, okay.  I see it as your loss more than anything else.  I would never tell anyone, ANYONE, the things that certain friends and family members feel they have the right to say.  I learned a long time ago that words can never be taken back.  Oh sure, you can apologize for saying something hurtful or mean or down right cruel, BUT you can never take it back.  It can’t be unheard.  Because of this, I am very careful what I say to others, and even more so if I am angry or upset.  I am not sure why others are not as careful.  It seems like such an easy and kind thing to do.

AN UNEXPECTED TRIGGER

Recently, a friend of mine asked, on a scale of one to ten, ten being completely okay, where would I put my healing?  I said a ten.  Because, honestly, I do feel like I am all better.  But, really?  Can I, will I, ever be all better?  I have to believe this is the case, and I would say that it IS true for me now.

I went to see “Captain Phillips” on Sunday.  I even skipped my beloved beach yoga to go to the 10a showing.  By the way, it is a great movie and Tom Hanks did a wonderful job.  Imagine my surprise when the movie triggered in me flashbacks, of a sort.  Obviously, I was not kidnapped by pirates, but something in me definitely resonated with the story.  I can only guess it was the trauma they suffered from the ordeal.  When they were in the life saving craft and one of the pirates looked out the window and saw three American Naval War Ships, all I could think was, Wow, you should never piss off the Americans because they WILL hunt you down and do whatever is necessary to defend their citizens and property.  I also thought, why would they not just give up?  Could they not see there was no way they were going to get away, either with Captain Phillips or with what they had already done?  Why wouldn’t they just surrender?

This is what happened when my guardian angel was on his way to save me from cockroach boy.   Clearly, someone was coming, and even more clearly, there was no way he was going to be able to follow through with his intention to rape me.  Yet, he did not stop.  He did not even get off of me, he just continued with his ‘plan’.  It was not until my angel was leaning over and yelling in his face to get off of me that he finally, I’m sure reluctantly, got off and ran up the sidewalk to the street.  I know now that he was in some kind of zone, as were the pirates.  Watching it on the big screen, but seeing myself in a similar situation was rather upsetting.

The other part of the movie that really hit home for me was after he had been rescued and was on the American ship.  He was so obviously in shock, and I do understand that they were all just following protocol, but the way he was treated reminded me of how the EMTs treated me.  I never mentioned this before because I never wrote about it at the time.  It has never left me, though.  You have to remember I was in a lot of physical pain after my attack, as I had been slammed to the cement and then fought with my attacker for however long.  My back hurt, I had many abrasions and cuts, and I was in shock.  Just as in the movie, they wanted me to sit down.  I didn’t want to because my back hurt and it was more painful to sit down.  Basically, they ‘forced’ me to.  I was told they wanted to take my blood pressure and other vital signs.  I told them that whether I was sitting or standing, whatever reading they got was going to be off the charts and not what my normal blood pressure would be.  I felt like no one was listening to me and it did not feel good.  In the movie, the ship’s doctor said, “I need you to sit down.”  It was just the way she said it that brought back my memory of the paramedics and how they responded to me.

It seems ironic to me that the most innocent of things can now trigger in me the very thing I worked so hard to get through.  I can understand how seeing a movie about rape or some other kind of physical assault would be hard, if not impossible, to watch.  (Actually, I do not think I could even see that type of movie now.)  I guess that there are some things that will be with me always.  I do hope in time this type of thing happens less and less.  The truth is the me that was attacked that day no longer exists.   You know the adage, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’   Well, cockroach boy did not kill me and I AM much stronger.

THE HEALING CONTINUES

Okay, I know I said that my next post (which would be this one) would be about what happened after I walked out of the court room from cockroach boy’s sentencing to 6 years in prison.  I changed my mind.  Because I did not actually write about my experience and what happened and how I felt that day, I am going to have to write it from what I remember and that is a bit trickier.  So before I sit down and write that, there is another experience I need to deal with.  As I’ve said many times before, the recounting of my attack and all that followed is coming straight, for the most part, from my journal, from what I wrote at the time that it occurred.  And as I am, again, for the most part, doing it chronologically, I am only up to 25 June 2012.  I apologize if this is confusing, but I need to make clear that what I am now going to write about is current, is right now or just a few months in the past.  Have I thoroughly confused you yet?  Perfect..

On Friday, two days ago, I had what will be the first of a series of acupuncture treatments for my foot.  To explain the why for this, I need to go back to January of this year.   The easiest way to explain what happened then is to tell you what I told a cousin of mine:  “I am so glad to hear that I am making your journey just the tiniest bit easier. And it is a journey, with many twists and turns and potholes and setbacks and, best of all, forward motion. I hope you are getting therapy, as well. I know I would not be where I am right now had I not gotten it. And even having had it, there are days that I still question it all. For the most part, though, it’s all good. My boyfriend, who was so supportive and loving and encouraging through the whole 15 months, has decided that it was all too much and broke up with me on Wednesday. I am so grateful that he stayed when I needed him most and know that this is more about him than about me.  Still, I am sad and heartbroken, but I WILL get through this, too.”  Okay, so now you know that I am not no longer with Bill.  It took me just a couple of weeks to realize that he had actually made the right decision.  That realization didn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with the loss, but it did help somewhat.  One of the things I asked him was, ‘Do you think this is a delayed reaction to my attack?’  He said something along the lines of ‘maybe, probably, I don’t know.  All I do know is that you are different since the attack.’  At first this made me mad, until I really thought about it.  The truth is I Am Different, profoundly and fundamentally different, and how could I not be?  I went through an incredibly traumatic experience followed by 13 months of intense therapy that not only dealt with my most recent trauma, but also cleared out all the crap from my childhood that was still festering inside me.  How could I not be different?  In spite of this knowledge, I was still very, very sad.  I woke up every morning crying, I wasn’t sleeping very well at all and as if all that wasn’t enough, my hot flashes came on with a vengeance.

About 3 weeks after the breakup, I had the opportunity to go to Cat Island, Bahamas for 10 days with my parents, brother and nephew.  You better believe I went.  While there I swam, did stand-up paddling, went kayaking and walked 10-12 each day, on the beach, barefooted.  And that is when the pain in my foot started.  I, of course, ignored it, chalking it up to being barefoot more than anything else.  When I got back from my trip it continued to hurt and I continued to walk and do yoga through the pain.  One morning I went out to walk, went a half a block and had to turn around.  It was obvious that I would ignore it no longer.  I initially decided it was a stress fracture, because that was the only thing that made sense.  When I finally went to a physical therapist, he diagnosed it as a neuroma.  Basically, I had nerve damage in my foot and the cause, he said, was overuse.  Well, crap!  So he gave me exercises to do and told me to not stop working out, but to go very easy.  I decided that complete rest was probably a good thing, and stopped walking and doing yoga, altogether.   It has now been 6 weeks of non-activity for the most part.  Let me tell you, for someone who is used to moving a lot, this is pure torture and, delightfully enough, I have gained 5 pounds.   Okay, not delightful at all!  That weight gain probably has nothing to do with the fact that I have been drinking more than normal, as well.

Enter Bill, my now ex-boyfriend.  Yes, we are still friends.  He asked about my foot and I told him it wasn’t getting better and did he have any suggestions for hurrying the process along?  He recommended his client Matthew Truhan, who is a licensed acupuncturist.  So, I emailed him and we set up an appointment for 17 May.  And the best part is he comes to my house so I don’t have to drive wherever it is he lives.  Anyway, in the process of taking my medical history, etc., he asked if I had suffered any trauma lately.  Kind of a loaded question in my case.  So I told him briefly of my attack and also that Bill had broken up with me in January.  Well, his take is that the pain in my foot is actually how my body manifested the breakup!  Okay, that makes perfect sense to me, and now I am doing what needs to be done to heal that damage and pain.  And isn’t it interesting that I am doing the exact same thing with the pain I felt in my heart?

What I find so interesting, as well, is the far-reaching consequences that my attack has had, and continues to have on my life.  It’s certainly not all bad, and I have almost daily reminders and incidences happen that let me know that my PTSD is completely healed, which is good.  So now when I think about how it upset me when Bill said I had changed, I can almost laugh about it, because, of course I changed.  I am certain, too, that I will continue to heal other parts of my life that I may not even be aware of right now.  And one thing I do know, beyond any doubt, is the best is yet to come, that it is on its way right now.  I just have to keep my heart and mind wide open.

IT GOT WORSE

I think I’ve been putting off doing a new post because, first of all, I was getting ‘worse’ rather than better and, secondly, I wasn’t writing as much and there are far less journal entries.  The ones that are available are kind of hard to read, at least for me.   And I am now coming from a place of being completely healed from the attack.  At the time, though, I was so engrossed in my therapy that writing about it was the last thing I was capable of doing.  Of course, that was the very thing that would have been helpful, but as I’ve said many times already, my brain was not functioning properly.  I was doing the best I could from where I was.  So, several more entries…

 

1 February 2012

My neck pain is back with a vengeance.  After I came out of shock, the pain seemed to lessen.  At least  I could move my head again.  Now, though, it hurts as much as ever.  And yesterday I got a horrible headache, which still hurts this morning.  I thought it better not to go to the gym.

 

9 March 2012

I can feel myself slipping further and further over the edge.  It’s a terrible feeling and I’m not sure I can stop it.  I so want to isolate myself from EVERYONE, even, and especially, Bill.  Tomorrow is one year from the day we first met; not the date, which is the 12th, but the actual day.  We are going to Jimmy Buffett, which should make me happy.  I am hopeful that this weekend will not be a repeat of last weekend when I just felt bla.  I started taking 2 SAMe today because I still do not want to take a ‘real’ antidepressant.  Perhaps the higher dose will help.

Mother told me yesterday as we were hanging up that she loves me.  This seems to be what set me off this time.  I just want to feel whole and loved and that I matter and the simple truth is I just don’t.

 

15 March 2012

Once again court has been continued.  Cockroach’s bitch of an attorney still has not gotten his psyche evaluation done.  I wasn’t holding my breath that we’d actually be going to court on the 27th but I was hopeful.  Hopes dashed yet again.

 

20 March 2012

Kind of ironic — I feel better about what I went through in my past, the past I’ve been stuck in for the last couple of months in my therapy, and still, I’m not ‘me.’  I can’t seem to do what I’m supposed to do.  I finally got my new computer (have been without for over 6 weeks) and I still haven’t cleared off my desk so that I can set it up.  I feel stuck in some other pattern or something.  I want to work and I don’t, can’t.  I want to sew.  I want to be working on my new website/project.  I want to be working on my new yoga bags (and eventually, I’m sure, a yoga clothing line).  I want, I want, I want, and what do I do?  Nothing, nothing, nothing, and then some more nothing.  I seem to have lost my drive and determination.  I also ‘lost’ my stomach ache that I had for over a week.  It was caused from my therapy and the events of my childhood that I was revisiting.

What I did today: yoga class, walked with Laura, went to Pacific Beach to get frozen yogurt, then to AmVets on the way home.  Every day I wake up and think, “This’ll be the day,”  that I’ll finally be back on track.  So far, though, it hasn’t happened.  Oh, and today should have been the readiness/fitness hearing for cockroach boy.  Instead, Mary Loeb emailed me the new dates which are 24 May, fitness hearing and, assuming we move forward at that time, 31 May for the prelim.  I made sure the new dates would be when Bill was not in Mexico.

 

21 March 2012

I had a very nice marriage proposal this morning on my second walk.  It’s too bad I’m not into older men, and by older I mean 93 years old!  Still it was nice.

I don’t understand why I can feel almost good one minute and the next feel all the despair I’ve been working so hard to get rid of.  I suppose it’s the depression talking.  I so want to be motivated and the best I can seem to do is get back in bed.

 

22 March 2012

I realize that what I am is not clinically depressed, but situationally depressed.  Whatever you call it, it feels crappy.

 

As you can clearly see, I was more depressed than I realized and I was fighting to not go on an antidepressant.  I took Wellbutrin back in the mid-90s and, though it did what it was supposed to do, it was a horrible experience and I was trying to not repeat it.  At the time, too, although I was depressed and  knew I was depressed, I didn’t think I was really depressed.  Funny how the mind works.  I should also mention that since I am taking these entries directly from my journal and it is my journal, I don’t have to explain things because I know what they mean or who I may be referring to.  For the purpose of this website right now, my only intention is to get my story told.  After that is finished, I will be filling in the blanks and there are a lot of those to be filled.  If I filled them in as I went, this would take a few years to get through.

Another thing I realize that I never wrote about in my journal was back at the end of January or very beginning of February 2012 I decided to compete in a half-marathon.  Because I was, at the time, still having so much trouble forcing myself to walk, I knew that I had to train for something so that I would have to get out there.  I chose the Safari Park Half-Marathon because it benefited the tigers.  The date of the race was 6 May 2012.   So during all this not-being-able-to-do-much-of-anything-period, I was also meant to be training for a 13.1 mile race.  It’s funny (to me) that I never wrote about it, but that’s just another example of how my brain wasn’t working normally.

 

 

SLOWLY, BUT SLOWLY, BUT SURELY

I thought I’d give a quick update on the state of my back. I am now going on my fifth day of being stuck in bed. The good news is I got up yesterday for the first time in 96 hours. My boyfriend brought me lunch and my favorite cupcake (salted caramel from Sprinkles) and then helped me out of bed. My back is still really sore, as much, I think, from lying on it as from the spasms. It does seem to be out of danger of spasming now, though I will be extra careful in moving for the foreseeable future. If I NEVER have this happen again, it will be too soon.

Back to yesterday’s adventure – Bill helped me to a sitting position at the edge of my bed. (And thank goodness my bed is higher than average and at the perfect height to get in and out of without having to lower myself down or raise myself up in any way). So I sat there for a few moments, trying to get my bearings and letting the dizziness pass. I finally stood and we made our way, slowly, to the bathroom. I was SO looking forward to using the toilet, as opposed to peeing in bed, which as I said before, is just so strange. After finishing, I (foolishly) thought I should do a lap around the house. Again, I (we) were moving extremely slowly. As we got back to the kitchen, I remembered that I had forgotten to brush my teeth, so headed back to the bathroom. You have got to understand that the lap might have been 25′ and from the where I was standing at the edge of the kitchen to the bathroom is, maybe 5′. I’m not talking any great distance. BUT having been prone for 4 days, it proved to be too much exercise at one time. I nearly passed out brushing my teeth and had to sit down on the toilet to finish. Of course, we still had to get me the seemingly insurmountable 30′ back into my bed. I was definitely light-headed and though not exactly seeing stars, I was in real danger of passing out. When I was again lying down, I couldn’t hear anything. It felt as if I was under water. I think I came as close to passing out as you can without actually passing out. It took several minutes for me to feel normal again. I definitely over did it. Bad Tamerie!

I did it, though! And before the night was over, I got up 3 more times. Once when Laura was here to bring me dinner, and twice all by myself. Those times, though, I went straight to the bathroom and straight back to bed. No extra laps for me until I am feeling a bit stronger.

And the best news is I slept through the night. I’ve been up once so far this morning and am thinking I’ll get up every hour or so, just to get used to it.

Last time I went through this, I discovered the Alexander Technique (www.alexandertechnique.com) and locally went to Eileen Troberman (www.alexandertechniquesandiego.com) for help and relief. I am thinking I may need to visit her again.

Thank you for all the emails and well wishes I have received. As my therapist said when I told her of my predicament, “I know you will overcome all of this!” And my response was, “This, although incredibly painful, is NOTHING compared to the last 13 months! And this will be better in the next few days.”
Okay, maybe it will take more than just a few days, but I can deal with that.