Starving for Relief

I’m keeping this short, sweet, and to the point.

I have a lot to write about, but I’m not yet ready to share it. It’s highly painful, infuriating, disempowering, oppressive, and so on. I’m hoping that next month I can share it with the world, but for now it’s my painful burden to carry on my own.

The horrific pain in my life that has swallowed me whole has come to a head. I know revel in physical pain that I can control. It’s so sick and disheartening to me yet I’ve lost almost all hope as to how to handle it all. I’ve barely eaten today and I’m so hungry that I feel horribly sick yet it’s a pain, emotionally and physically, that I have control over (unlike every other source of pain in my life) so I find some pleasure in it. I recognize all the various ways in which this is so unhealthy and fucked up, but years of asking for, pleading for help have led me nowhere. I’m truly beginning to wonder if I might be better off cycling off my psych meds and getting the hell out of therapy.

I came to terms years ago with my need for meds, but I’m so disgusted with the Western, white, male, patriarchal, racist, colonialistic, heternormative/sexist, ableistic, elitist clinical model of psych care that I’m just done with it all. If one person tells me that I’m bi because I was raped or fetishizes me because I’m Native or ignores my medical needs as a disabled poor person, or threatens to institutionalize me because I have the audacity to talk about, and ask for help, regarding my PTSD, I might loose my mind! To hell with these oppressive assholes! They know not a damn thing about what’s best for me or anyone else!

I don’t know the answers to anything anymore nor do I have much hope in how to cope with my life. I just know that for now being so hungry that I’m in pain simply feels right.

Trigger Warning: The Kitchen Drawer I Avoid

I’ve wanted to throw up a quick and dirty post the last few days about some of the positive events in my life, but I simply haven’t had time. I don’t want this blog to be nothing more than a chronicle of my pain and horrific lows, but it’s hard sometimes to find the where with all to write when you’re riding the rainbow highway.

When I’m on an upswing I’m able to put all of my extra energy into my activism. This means I make it to all of the events and meetings that I want to and need to attend. It also means that I follow-up on emails and phone calls and take care of work for events I’m organizing. It means I’m on top of cleaning, household chores that my body can handle, and cleaning up writing projects. When I’m not on that healthy plain though, well, I’m a fucking, goddamn wreck to say the least.

I hit the 50 car pile up tonight. I don’t feel up to, nor do I feel it’s significant enough, delving into the reasons for this crash and burn experience. All that matters is that it happened.

I’ve had a few very rough weeks. Tonight was a rough night indeed. When I hit a low point of pain and/or feeling triggered I go to a place of self-harm. This has and can take many forms, including food restrictions, over eating, purging, drinking too much, abusing alcohol and illegal drugs, cutting myself, and taking wildly unsafe risks. Many of these behaviors I have been able to move away from, but food restriction, abusing alcohol, and cutting have been my constant battle these last few years.

When I’m at my worst, like this last month and tonight, I have to avoid my kitchen because I can practically hear my kitchen knives calling to me. It’s so sick and disturbing and pathetic that I’m 35 and this is where I am in my life. I’ve had unbelievably enormous goals and dreams since I was a mere 6-year-old girl and now some days all I can hope for is that I don’t cut myself. I know it’s years of abuse, systematic oppression, and so forth that have led me here and none of that is my fault, but that doesn’t release me from these horrible trappings and it doesn’t give me the fucking life I worked so hard for. Only an hour ago I found myself in my kitchen sharpening one my knives before I finally dissolved into tears and dropped it back into it’s place.

I’m full of rage and pain with no idea how to temper these feelings. I’m fed up with it all, but I’m primarily tired of being afraid of that one kitchen drawer.

A Little Sexual Healing for this (Disabled) Body

I’ve written about a wide array of personal topics on this blog that are often considered taboo, but I’ve yet to broach the topic of my sex life. It occurred to me tonight that it’s time for me to get on that, figuratively speaking of course.

I’d like to say that I haven’t allowed my health problems to alter my sex life, but that would be an out right lie. The extreme stress in my life, the constant doctors’ appointments, managing my meds, fighting with insurance companies and various healthcare providers all while feeling horrible hasn’t left me with a great deal of energy, or desire, to make the magic happen. My first problem being “where am I going to meet someone?” Perhaps I can flirt with my Gastroenterologist as we’re discussing the ongoing battle with gastrointestinal system. I don’t know about you, but nothing gets me hotter than talk of the side effects of a slow digesting stomach. I suppose I could always make the circuit through the patient waiting rooms. “Why hello there. I see you have a cane. Just what sort of naughty fun did you get up to need that?” That’s one way to kill the time while waiting for the doctor.

Now let’s assume that through some miracle I’ve found someone attractive that doesn’t make me want to gag them half-way through a first date cocktail. Now I need to find the mental, emotional, physical energy, and ability to trust and relate to this person enough to share myself with them. HA! These days I feel so skittish I’m afraid to look the grocery store checkout clerk in the eyes. Maybe I’m over doing it a tad, but I’m finding it more difficult to truly connect with people with every passing year. I seem to be unique and I have multiple identities that make conformity (not that I care to conform) impossible. I don’t fit in with most people unless I fake it. I can fake it well when necessary, but I refuse to spend my precious last bits of energy that I reserve for my personal life on people I can’t truly cherish and embrace, let alone with someone that spends their days supporting the imperialistic systems of oppression that make my life harder. As one can imagine I don’t go on a lot of second dates.

We’ll jump ahead and say that I found this great person that I can trust, blah, blah, blah. This then leads to other issues that have sprung up over the last several years. My body hurts everywhere! I can’t move like I used to. I have migraines all the time now. The miserable bag of bones I’m forced to exist in refuses to meet all of my desires!

Pull my hair too hard and BAM I have a migraine in 10 seconds or less.

Twist my neck to the left just to meet my shoulder and I’ll have horrible pain shooting through my neck, shoulder, and arm.

If I don’t have pillows positioned under my neck just so then laying on my back is hell.

Oh you want me on top you say? I love that! Too bad I have the knees of a 70-year-old and can’t last for very long.

You get the drift. I’ve managed to find ways to make it all work and still have an active and incredibly pleasurable sex life, but it just hasn’t felt free. Going beyond all of the issues of abuse, societal stigma, possible pregnancy and STI/STDs, and the difficulty finding the right connection I think it all comes down to me simply hating my body.

I came to terms with my looks long ago and eventually even found myself sexy, but that’s all changed with the worsening of my health issues. I gained a lot of weight due to the steroids and other treatments the doctors’ had placed me on. I was no longer able to stay active so I couldn’t counteract the weight gain. I went from having flawless skin to having painful and ugly rosacea that I still constantly fight to keep under control. My nails became like paper, always splitting and tearing despite my efforts. My hair began to thin. After three knee surgeries I was left with several scars on both knees. You have to have one hell of an ego on you to feel beautiful when you’re watching your body fall apart before your eyes. It’s one thing to feel awful, but it’s an entirely different situation to look as awful as you feel.

Like many things in (my) life, finding the way towards a healthy and amazing sex life that wakes the entire block up has been a battle. I have moments of hope though. Like the incredible date that I had a few months back where he was so desirous of me that he picked up and put me on my kitchen counter. Now THAT was hot! I’m not a size 2 nor do I feel as beautiful as in the past, but I am still wanted and I can still have mind altering sex.

Another moment of hope came today when I had some quality me time. After I had fulfilled my needs I was left feeling completely relaxed and free of pain. A few tears escaped my eyes when I realized how good my body felt. I’ve become so accustomed to feeling wretched that I couldn’t remember-if I ever knew to begin with-what it was like to feel light, to feel free, to feel good. It was an incredible reminder/lesson that despite all of the litany of pain, stress, anxiety, and depression that I carry with me every day my body is still capable of feeling joy.

Self-Destruction, Speaking Out, & Political Warfare

The last year and a half have been some of the more difficult years I’ve had to face in some time. Due to this I haven’t had the emotional, mental, or physical energy to write for this blog, my book, or most other pieces. I’ve occasionally had a poem come upon me that I felt was appropriate to post, but bringing for the where with all to write deeper and with further explanation has simply never happened. Obviously there is a great deal that has occurred over this period of time, but I’m going to keep it as short as possible.

I was in a relationship that turned out to be very dishonest, manipulative, demanding, and emotionally abusive. Under normal circumstances I would’ve left a relationship of this sort, but I simply couldn’t afford to move out of the apartment we shared. My health problems have become so severe that they have placed great limits on the type of housing I can live in which of course significantly raises the cost. Rents in the Boston area have sky rocketed over the last few years, my health care costs are insane now, and my income stream is abysmal compared to these current costs. I was forced to stay under the roof, due to my disability and finances, with someone who mentally and emotionally tortured me day in and day out.

As one can imagine this led me down a very dark path. I fell apart and without a proper support system I was at a loss as to what to do. My mother, whom I no longer speak to nor do I ever see myself speaking to again despite my deep love for her, knew of the situation and offered no help. The irony in this is profound given that she was once in an abusive marriage and that several of the women in my family have also been in abusive marriages.

Things reached the point that my pride broke and I began looking at shelters. I told my ex that I was going to contact the police if he continued his behavior. He soon moved out after this with the promise that he would pay the rent on the apartment until I either moved out or the lease ended. Like all words that escaped his lips, this was a lie.

Two months later I came home to find under my door a notice to appear in court for an eviction hearing. The apartment management company never called me once nor did they ever follow MA law and send me all of the paperwork that comes before the eviction hearing notice. This was now the end of May 2014 and I had been looking for a place one month after we moved in together which was July 2013. The cost of apartments, my physical needs, the extreme biphobia in the Boston area (the minute potential roommates would hear that I’m bi they were no longer interested in me), and the housing shortage that left many of us scrambling to pay $800 to live in a closet in an unsafe house with 5 roommates no where near the train or life necessities left me unable to find anything. Thankfully I found the horrific place I’m in now at the last minute. I still had to go to court and deal with the mess though and of course my ex, nor his family, could be bothered to attend even though we were all legally obligated to be there. The one bright side of all of this is that I never have to see him nor his loathsome family ever again.

I had a few professional difficulties arise during this time. I have never been a fan of the area I live in. Over the years I’ve found it to be very gender conformist, racist, especially towards us Natives, pro-colonialism, horrifically biphobic, elitist, ableistic, puritanical, self-congratulatory, arrogant, stand offish, cold, and rude. This is not to say that I haven’t found some pleasures of living here, but it’s never been home. Despite this I’ve tried to be socially and politically active, but this came to a breaking point for me, like many things, in the spring of 2014.

I found myself disillusioned with the politics, parties, and the way social and political issues were addressed, if at all. An issue came about that caused great difficulty in my life. I found myself dealing with a set of -isms that were too blatant for me to ignore. After years of suffering out right abuse in “liberal” politics-being called an “injun,” hit on at work, told that I’m bi so bring in sexy bi girls to get the male donors, not being paid for my time and reimbursed for my expenses, told I don’t deserve time for a meal break during a 14 hour day, being told “If you don’t shut up I’m going to throw you through a wall” etc-I simply couldn’t take it anymore. While this situation was not that volatile it was still bad and indirectly told me that I was worthless. I left the environment and was soon threatened with a lawsuit. There were no grounds for the suit, but because of my financial state I couldn’t lawyer up. The same day the eviction notice came was the same day I was threatened with the law suit.

One week prior to this I finally snapped and tried to kill myself. The day I left behind unhealthy professional environments was the day my mother finally went too far with me. I have dealt with years of her emotional neglect, dismissal, and denial of the many abuses I’ve suffered over the years. I choose not to rehash them now, but they are great and they are painful beyond belief.

When I told her that I left this particular situation and why (over a text message because she never called me on any day) instead of giving me support and love or even saying a simply “I’m sorry” her immediate response was to say that her and my step-dad couldn’t give me money. I never said one word about money as a concern of mine let alone asked for money. This is a woman who once told me that I was only angry at her and my step-dad for not giving me enough money. Meanwhile I had just told her I was beyond hurt and angry for things such as her ignoring me telling her when I was only 14 that my boyfriend had raped me. Two months after that I tried to kill myself because I couldn’t take the nightmares and the other symptoms of PTSD any longer. She still denies this to this day. I think she doesn’t even believe that I was raped. Yet she has the audacity and the heartlessness to think that I’m shallow enough to be angry because they won’t give me money. This is one of many examples of heartache my mom has caused me.

I read that text and something in me just broke. I went to my liquor cart and grabbed my bottle of Jack, mind you it was the largest bottle of Jack you can buy, and I started drinking. I drank 3/4s of that bottle. That alone was enough to put me in a hospital. I didn’t stop there. I went to my pills next. Given my health problems I have my own pharmacy. I started mixing them all taking handfuls. I made sure to mix in a nice batch of the narcotics so that they would combined with each other and the alcohol and stop my breathing. I was also careful not to take so many pills that I would be sick and loose them all.

Apparently thanks to my worthless, broken body having health problems that goes back to my childhood I am now like an elephant. It takes large animal size tranquilizers to take me down. I didn’t even get one day of relief from my life. I woke up 6 hours later! I was a groggy, disoriented mess, but I was still awake. I never went to the doctor nor the hospital. I simply drank a lot of water and slept it off.

When I finally decided to tell my therapist and psychiatrist about it they naturally were worried, but sadly not too surprised. My shrink pushed for hospitalization, and then out patient day treatment, both of which I refused. I went through those horrors as a teenager and I’d sooner die then go through them again. [If asking for help means being forced into hospitalization I simply won’t ask for help. That’s how bad my experiences were as a teenager and how much I know about the US mental health care system (not that it deserves to be called “care”) as an adult. I’ll go it my own before I suffer that abuse again!]

After hearing everything I drank and took that night my psychiatrist said in so many words that I was lucky to be alive. I was furious I was alive! I stayed angry for months after. Some days I’m still angry about it. I’m not sure how I didn’t do it all over again, and for good measure slice wrists up like a child making paper dolls, when I received the court notice and the lawsuit threat. Believe me when I say I’ve had the thought many times since. Writing this now has me thinking about it.

I hate that I feel this full of pain and I wish I had the solution to make it all go away, but I’ve spent the bulk of my life trying to hide it all because when I asked for help no one cared. I can’t say that too many people (there are some and they are amazing, loving human beings!) seem to care still, but I refuse to be silent. I don’t give a damn anymore if that means lawsuits or if it hurts my career kissing ass to a bunch of self-righteous, self-congratulatory suits that don’t really care about those of us who are suffering in whatever manner that may be. I could care even less if it makes people “uncomfortable.” Too damn bad! If just hearing about my realities makes you uncomfortable then imagine living them? I am doing everything within my power to care for myself, to better myself, and to have the future that I so desperately want and so rightfully deserve.

In the mean time, I try to remind myself of something that two amazing women have said. One is my fabulous, Indigenous friend, Elyse. She has told me a few times when I’ve felt low that not only am I loved, but that our continual survival as Indigenous women is an act of resistance against colonialism and the powers that want to do away with us. I’ll admit that the few times I read that when I felt so low I wanted to cut myself, starve myself, drink myself into an oblivion, or even kill myself, I wanted to tell her to go “fuck herself.” Elyse is amazing person and I love her dearly, but those words don’t mean a lot in when you’re at one of your greatest moments of suffering. I always told myself though that she loved me enough to say that to me and helped relieve some of the pain.

The second woman whose words ring in my ears are Audre Lorde. I’ve always loved her saying “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Recently though an amazing revolutionary lovin’ man in Boston, Eroc, posted on his Facebook page another Lorde quote that I try to remember: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”

My actions that make people so uncomfortable and angry with me that they go so far as to threaten me with unfounded law suits or personally attack my character are my form of self-preservation and that is my resistance against the colonizing powers that want to destroy me and this is one of my acts o

Straight Jacket Army

Crazy
Lunatics
Dangerous
Headcases
Lock ’em up!

“The shooter was mentally ill with a long
history of mental illness”

Actually,
the shooter was a
Misogynistic Man
who thought He had a right to any
and ALL women’s bodies
but it’s easier to blame the
mentally ill

Trazodone
Lamichtal
Clonidine
Xanax
Cymbalta
Wellbutrin

I’m swimming in a sea of
Pills
with no sight of
land
Bearing the harsh reality that
I am the so called
Crazy
Lunatic
Dangerous
Headcase
that many think should be
Locked Up

Never mind that we’re
more likely to suffer abuse
than to abuse
Never mind that my PTSD
is a result of
Misogynistic Men
thinking they could own me
Never mind that
mental illness
Is just That
An Illness
Like others
Deserving of Treatment
And Compassion

But we get no sick days
No calling out from work or school
for Panic Attacks
Voices or Flash Backs
that haunt us
or because we just can’t leave
the safety of our bed

The broke down, closed off
too dangerous to navigate
Road for our treatment
is a joke

Any and all
appointments
drugs
blood work,
imaging
tests
and treatments
I need
as a diabetic
chronic pain and migraine patient
are Paid

But as a so called
crazy person
on Government insurance
I’m left to the wolves to be torn apart
and eaten alive
If I have the
audacity
to seek help

We suffer in silence and
Oppression
Through our
Never ending sea of
Diagnoses

PTSD
Depression
Anxiety
Panic Disorder
Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder

And on, and on, and on, and on, and on
We spin
Trapped on a furiously paced
Carousel
trying like Hell to appear
Normal
So as not to arise suspicion
as one of
them

terror of Arrest
Locked up
Drugged up
Forced into that Straight Jacket
Hospitalized for our
“Own Good”
make us hit the mute button
like the strong man at the
freak show
displaying his might

You may see
Sad and Scary
Crazy
Lunatics
Dangerous
Headcases
that should be Locked Up

But we are the Army
of the Silent Sufferers
Comprised of
Dignity
And Strength

Curvy, Voluptuous, Chubby, Fat, & BBW Me

My weight has varied a great deal over the course of my life and I can now say that on many days I think I look/ed pretty damn good at all the sizes. I recently had someone, a man I’m possibly interested in dating, see a couple of pictures of me at my largest size. I mentioned that I had lost weight and cut my hair, but that I liked those pictures of myself. In a reply email he told me that I looked great in all the pictures, but he asked what prompted the weight lose and how I did it. I paused for a moment before answering, but I said “fuck it” and plowed ahead. Here’s the response I gave:

“The weight lose was sparked by a few things. I have chronic health problems, including chronic pain due to neck, back, and neck problems. Over the course of a few years I put on roughly 80lbs. Being sick and in pain all the time kept me from being able to work out and even be very social. I was being pumped full of steroids and other drugs that caused weight gain. I wanted to eventually loose the weight that I put on during that period.

In 2012 I had 3 very serious knee surgeries, that while excruciatingly painful, they fixed a major problem in both knees. I still have bad arthritis and next to no cartilage so I get injections in each knee about every 3 months, but I’m able to be more active now. I also have an amazing chronic pain management doctor and neurologist that are helping a great deal with the other pain I have. I’m still in a great deal of pain and I’m not running any marathons, but I can do more now than I could a few years ago. Hopefully over the course of the next few years I’ll be even better.

Now for the bad part of the weight loss. After my first knee surgery the wonderful family gene of diabetes kicked in. My doctors believe that because I’m genetically predisposed to it that the extreme stress the surgery put on my body sparked it. In Sept ’12 I was officially diagnosed. This sent me into a tailspin and sparked my old eating disorder. Diabetes does horrible things to the body even when blood sugar is properly controlled. When it’s not controlled, oh God, it’s a nightmare. My grandma went blind from it and I’m pretty sure she had diabetic dementia. I have so many health problems that are getting worse with every year and I can’t take any of the horrors that diabetes brings. I just freaked out. Food was my enemy again, but for different reason than in the past.

My first trip to the grocery store after the diagnosis gave me a panic attack. Practically every single piece of food has carbs in it and it’s way more than I’m supposed to have. I felt like there was almost nothing that was safe to eat. I restricted my food intake so much that I lost 20lbs in one month. I would get lightheaded and have to grab walls or cabinets and such to keep my balance. I was very honest with my doctors and the people in my life that I’m the close to about what was occurring. Eventually I was able to make things better for myself.

I won’t lie and say that everything’s perfect. I can’t test my blood sugar because if it’s not where I think it should be I can get a bit panicky. Sometimes I can sit down and truly love and enjoy the food I’m eating and other times I’m terrified of how it can make my body so much worse and further ruin my life. Healthy people simply can’t understand what chronic illness is like. It’s all consuming and heartbreaking. I do my best to live a life with hope and happiness, but the terror of things becoming worse is always under the surface.

So that’s the story of my weight lose.”

I did hold back on few things such as how my eating disorder is also linked to my PTSD due to my history of abuse and how I’m sure that the issue of poverty and lack of help fixing healthy meals, or any meals, after my knee surgeries played a part in my eating disorder and maybe the diabetes diagnosis. My horrific relationship with my family, and especially recent events with my mom, really helped sparked the eating disorder relapse, but there’s only so much one can share, and I shared a great deal.

Much to my surprise he told me how much he admired me and so forth. It was a great response. I’m not in the place for anything serious after the last relationship (I’ll describe in another post when I feel emotionally ready), but it certainly made me feel good.

I’ll soon give an update on my health issues and where I’ve been over the last year. I’m slowly coming out of the fog of extreme depression, PTSD, and constant panic attacks. Things are not a wonderland, but I’m finally feeling a bit better and I miss writing. Please give me encouragement and inspiration.

In solidarity,

Jen

I am (not) the woman

I am not the woman that inspires sonnets or epic love songs
I am not the muse of artists that paint and sculpt
beautiful works of art for all to revel in
I am not the woman that is the object of deep affection
in the literary masterpieces that have yet to be completed
I am not the woman that arouses the love of another to be bestowed
Upon me

I am the woman that stirs up the internal rage of others
that they release Upon me like an unforeseen storm
I am the woman that inspires the need to give abuse-
emotional, psychological, physical, sexual
heaped upon me until i break
and i am left with nothing, but
my own self-abuse
I am the woman that arouses the literary prowess for hate mail
and sexual harassment
I am the girl that was planned, and yet, still
Unwanted
I am the woman that brings the wanderlust out in those
who walk through my doors
only to exit and never return

I am the woman left with self-doubt and
shame and
anger for them,
but
blame for myself
for not being the woman
that is
Loved