Anxiety: Fear Sucks – Friends Make it Better :)

One of the things with which people with anxiety or ptsd wrestle, is a state of fear. Sometimes that fear is further impacted by a state of hypersensitivity which makes it harder to handle loud noises, crowds, or even more than one or two other people at a given time.

Sometimes these fears can be dealt with simply by trying to understand why the triggers are there and take some of the oomph out of the intensity of it all. Other times, it isn’t so simple. But in terms of examining things I’ve been trying to make a level best effort to understand. Right now I struggle with social anxiety and the fear that I will say or do something that will make the people I hold dear hate me. It seems silly, yes?

If there’s one thing that is different between the 34 year old me and the 14 year old me, it is that now I have amazing friends and a stable social network of people. In high school, I had my parents – who, although they loved me dearly, did not believe in seeing therapists or really talking about emotions much.

At fourteen – most young women are hormonal teenagers dealing with the ravages of puberty. If you add in a complete lack of social awareness and skill, and a medication that sends you into mood swings that are off of the charts? It’s a special kind of hell. The things that happened in high school as a result of these factors are things which still kind of haunt me today. They are things of which I still have yet to let go.

Being bullied didn’t really help matters either. I failed to learn – failed to ‘get’ the clues people kept trying to give me with the aid of a two by four. They simply weren’t settling in. To this day I worry about missing those clues, about being the person that only irritates everyone around her, and so much more. The hardship, the hurt, the things I did to others, the things which were done to me, it all has all gnarled into a giant knot and I’m slowly in the process of trying to untie it so I can just let it all go.

This week that has been exceptionally hard; but, I made it with the support of some wonderful and amazing friends. We may not always talk as often as I would like; but, y’all are never far from my thoughts.

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Bullying and Mental Illness: What saved me from being a statistic

I realize I said the next article was going to follow the period of transition in my household; but, I was combing back through other things I’ve written on other social media sites and found a post that I would like to share.   I wrote it sometime in June, following a school shooting in nearby Oregon.   At the time I wrote it, I felt frustrated; but, empowered.   You see in the wake of school shootings most people focus on where to lay the blame after the fact.  They do not often focus on what you can do to help prevent something like this from happening – on how to make a difference by stepping in when they see bullying happening.  I felt by sharing it with my friends, perhaps they could share it with others and maybe make a difference.

It still very much applies so I thought I should share it here too.

The following was written June 12th:

So.

With the school shootings reported over the past week – I’ve been trying to find a way to focus on how to touch upon this topic. Tonight, I don’t even want to bring guns into the picture outside of a peripheral mention here and there. Tonight I want to focus on the portion of the students who are bullied to the point of breaking; but, who don’t go out in a blaze of glory. That doesn’t mean they don’t think about it, or have occasional fantasies; but, it does mean that they could have.

Keep in mind this is a very personal post, a note if you will, and I want to give you the opportunity to remove it from your feed. Some of you don’t know me outside of a larp or some other gaming oriented community and may feel uncomfortable by this. It isn’t to harp on who is right or who is wrong, but to focus on the things that kept me glued to the ground – the things that kept me from going unhinged and becoming a statistic. It is important to me.

I’m making this public because I want to raise awareness. A lot of people talk about mental health and parenting at home. A lot of people focus on gun control. I kind of think not enough is focused on the school environment itself and the stress and temperament that schools can breed.

You see. Once upon a time? One of those shooters? That could have been me. I was in the third grade when I started lashing out other people due to being bullied, becoming a bully by proxy in return. In the fourth grade during an ‘ad-lib’ Christmas story? I wrote about Santa showing up and shooting everyone in class with a machine gun. I was afraid at home, dealing with a household that was still feeling the effects of PTSD and the loss of a child years after the fact, and I was afraid to go to school when I was developing earlier than others in addition to having no real social skills of which to speak. (Physical maturity + emotional immaturity = niiiiiiiiightmare.)

I can point to exactly when I first felt bullied.

I can point to the first time when I realized how desperate I was that I was willing to participate in some kind of hazing to be ‘accepted’. (First grade. I had to be willing to pull down my pants and get spanked by other kids with a tree branch. A teacher saw, fortunately, and intervened. Thank you Mrs. Pollock.)

I can point to the year in which that level of continued bullying led me to become more angry. More frustrated. Because it was the same year in which a school counselor told me that little boys don’t do anything bad to little girls without reason (Mrs. O’Brien? Or was it Bryan?), the same year puberty hit, and the same year I thought in my own little messed up head that my father being on the school board would provide some shield behind which I would be safe, and could simultaneously lash out at the people who I felt hurt me. Which. At that time? Was everyone – teachers included. I’m pretty sure I was more than responsible for some of the first grey hairs on many a teacher’s head. The first half of elementary school, people physically pushed me around. But once third grade hit? The light switch hit, and I became the bully. I became the person pushing people around.

The fighting didn’t stop til 7th grade when I got my ass handed to me. It was a stupid fight. Didn’t need to happen. I was just so angry I wanted to draw the line. I failed at that. Miserably.

In middle school – you followed me around chanting calls of ‘Free Willy’. Sixth and Seventh Grades were the absolute worst.

In Louisiana, I can recall a conversation my mother had with my dad, because I came home in tears every single day. I do not exaggerate. Every. Single. Day. Bullied.

My personal belongings were often stolen or thrown out a bus window. When I started to feel attractive and mature, you made me feel like a bloated whale who was incapable of doing anything but crying in front of others or saying stupid shit in response to feeling like crying half the time.

You would follow me into the bathroom and make comments about the one thing I felt good about (singing). You would trip me, stick gum in my hair, and push me down. I would respond by being a narc on stupid shit, which just made it worse. (Don’t get me started on my painfully awkward dancing at the dances.  One of the vice principles in middle school, Mr. Joseph, tried so hard bless his heart. But at the time I was very much a, ‘Any kind of attention is good at this point,’ person because of how very small I felt.)

Throw a medication with a reputation for giving people wild and uncontrollable mood swings onto a teenage girl dealing with hormones and everything else? I was out of control. I felt out of control. And the only way anyone knew how to deal with that one way or another was to punish me. Not to help me. Not to talk to me. But to punish me. This was before I even touched high school.

By the time I hit ninth grade I was an absolute mess. I was an absolute mess and no one stepped in and said, ‘You need mental health help.’ Not to my face. My parents didn’t discuss it at home. I wish they had. There was one teacher however, no matter how horrible I behaved or lashed out, who was always there for me. Even after I did/said the unthinkable. He had my back.

What makes the difference between someone who has thought about it, even if in some weird fantasy, once upon a time as a little girl, and a person who acts on it and plans and carries it out?

Teachers.
Parents.
Counselors.

It was usually the music and/or history teachers – and occasional church folk (even when I had walked away from Christianity) who kept me grounded. Who seemed to understand me or try to a little more than most. Tracy Shirk. Mrs. Rabon. Mrs. Fort Mrs. Monaghan. Mr. Stotlar. (Mr. Stotlar fought for me even after I gave him every reason -not- to. I am grateful to him beyond measure.) Mr. Page. Jim Gummelt.

The guidance counselor I saw at KHS. (Her name escapes me now.)

My mother. My mother more than anything helped guide me to the places and paths where I felt I belonged. Meditation. Buddhism. Paganism. Tibetan book of the dead.

All of these people gave me outlets where I had none.

All of these people kept me grounded when I was ready to go off.

All of these people fought for me when I didn’t see anyone worth fighting for.

At any point in time, I could have accessed an antique musket-style pistol my father had or his saber or any other number of things. I could have. But I didn’t. Why? Because a few people noticed. A few people -helped-.

And I think that’s the crux of the matter. In a system where the focus is less on what you learn and carry with you and more on standardized testing and maintaining a status quo that fits to said testing, there is a lot of pressure put on kids. Kids who come from troubled homes. Kids who come from good homes. Kids who are put into a lot of stress and don’t have the skills to deal with it but to bully, but to hurt others, but to find safe haven in some kind of like minded clique where it is easier to be unnoticed and safer than it is to stick out.

Let me tell you right now? All of the gun policy and control in the world isn’t going to make a lick of a difference if there aren’t teachers like the ones I had who fought for me. If there aren’t people who notice mental health problems. Take one weapon away? People who go off the edge are determined and creative enough to find another. They can and will improvise. So I want you – all of you – to think about when you were a kid. About the things you engaged in. About the things you did and aren’t proud of. Now take that, and with the rate at which kids are growing up these days? Apply it times five for every generation that has passed.

That’s about the level of stress that is generated.

Notice a child struggling? Step up and say something.

Step up and fight for them. Even if it’s exhausting and leaves you in tears.

You won’t regret it. You will save at least one life if not more.

I know because I’m still here, and forever grateful to the people who stood up and fought for me. You saved me.

PTSD – Reflection: The Foundation of it all.

Part of coming to terms with PTSD and Anxiety, part of understanding your own narrative and why you are the way you are, involves looking back at the past. Instead of focusing on the experiences you yourself lived through, one focuses on the more immediate past of the family as it helps provide a stronger foundation of understanding. Think of it as a magnifying lens that reveals the multiple layers beneath the persona that often gives first impressions.

For instance – if one were to look at my family at first glance, they would see:

1.) An upper Middle Class, lower upper class family.

2.) Affluence in as so much as there isn’t a need to go without, and elder family members are seen to.

3.) Suburbia

4.) A network of close friends and family

However if you were to take a step back and start examining the history of my parents, there are other details that would come into focus – particularly under a lens of objectivity. Some of this I may have even covered before in an earlier entry; but, it needs repeating.

My parents came from very dysfunctional families.

Both my father’s parents were heavy drinkers and smokers with a love of food. When my father was young, my great-grandparents stepped in to help raise him and his older and younger brothers. My grandparents were in University, going for their Masters or Doctorate. Sounds like happy yuppy-ville, right? Only, not so much.

My paternal grandfather had at one point gone out of his way to round up my father and his brothers and tell them that he never wanted to be a father, and that they were to call him ‘Bob’ and not ‘Dad’. While honest – that is one of the most emotionally damaging things I imagine a parent can say to a child.

There were times when the electricity was shut off because my grandparents spent the money out drinking, or had simply forgotten about it because again – they were drinking. If this extended to the electricity, it stands to reason there were other associated issues with food, and other bills. How much of this was my grandfather versus my grandmother just being out there with him, I really can’t say. I wasn’t there.

I will note that my paternal grandfather died before I was born from a ruptured esophagus that resulted from being an alcoholic.

My mother was the first born in her family. My grandfather had knocked my grandmother up, and was going to run out on her, while still enlisted in the army following WWII. My grandmother’s father decided to point a shot gun at my grandfather and said, “You marry her, or you can spend time in Military Prison.”

It was quite literally a shotgun wedding, and my mother paid the price for it. As the first child she was the one who bore the brunt of my grandfather’s animosity and the post-pregnancy crazy of a borderline if not completely schizophrenic mother. At one point the words ‘two by fours’ and ‘steak knives’ were used when Dad, Mom, and I spoke briefly of this.

But – with each child that followed my mother, my grandfather mellowed. This, coupled with the fact that until my mother moved out at the age of 14 she helped my grandmother raise her younger siblings, meant that the younger siblings never saw the level of abuse or ‘mean’ qualities from my grandfather. In short – the man she knew and the man they knew were two very different people.

(My grandfather was a womanizing ball room dancer, dealing with Gods know what kind of trauma after being deployed as a combat medic and ambulance driver in WW II. At least, that is what I have been told he did while enlisted. I’m not sure how to go about finding this out in detail; but, I remain curious.  Knowing how dysfunctional he was and how his perception of his treatment of my mother was very – very different from the experiences she related to my father and to me, makes me question his sense of reality at the time he related it all to me.)

My mother and father first met shortly after she started to live with an Aunt and Uncle, when she was around fourteen or fifteen years old. They started dating then, off and on, too. Shortly after high school graduation, they married the day before my mom turned nineteen, via eloping as my paternal grandfather didn’t approve of her. (That is how she perceived it. He was crazy liberal in some ways, from what I’ve been told; but, really peculiar about wanting women to not have their ankles showing, and not wear pants. I often wonder if it was more the marrying so early that he objected to.)

The reality is that my parents already came from dysfunctional families;but, they found love and something so very special within each other. So much so that they built a family of their own. I’m sure that they planned to give their children the love and lives their parents couldn’t give them. And to that extent? They 100% succeeded. However, that does not mean things were any less difficult or that life was perfect. They both came from dysfunctional backgrounds and as such there were habits and tendencies that helped shape the environment in which my older brother and I was raised.

This is just a brief background of what little I know of their lives before they married. It seems strange at first glance to be sharing these personal details with the public; but, again, I am hoping that by going through this process of trying to understand my own narrative – it will help others consider doing the same. The foundation is important because it provides a trail to follow.

In my next entry I am going to focus on the number of transitions they experienced before I was born, as two of them were particularly instrumental in shaping how I was raised. One event in particular is of import as it gave way to what I believe amounted to being raised in a household affected by PTSD.

Suicide and The Possibility

Suicide.

It is a topic which is difficult to discuss – both by the mentally ill and by those who aren’t afflicted with any kind of mental illness. The death of Robin Williams has brought this topic front and center in such a way that people have had knee-jerk reactions. I’ve had one myself.

Typically speaking there are the people who want to kill themselves or have, the immediate family and greater network of friends who are affected by such an action, and the greater community who may touched depending on how active or public or friendly an individual struggling with mental illness was or is.

Initially when I first heard of Mr. Williams’ suicide, I was pissed. Because of my own experiences with suicide, up to and including in two attempts, being a survivor of said attempts, and being a survivor of two friends whom have killed themselves, I have very strong feelings on the matter. Up until a talk with a friend last night, I considered the act to be inherently selfish.

Yes. As someone who attempted suicide, I considered the act to be inherently selfish.

A conversation with a dear friend of mine put things into perspective for me. If we see depression as a ..cancer of the soul, so to speak, then shouldn’t that person have the right to end their pain? End their suffering? I believe in a right-to-die where cancer and other terminal illnesses are concerned; so, how can I not believe in someone’s right to choose for themselves when their soul is suffering from a debilitating mental illness? The answer is, I can’t.

When put in that light, I simply can’t not support them.  It’s hypocritical. 

But I can still find the act overly destructive and not like the pain that it leaves behind. It can and will make me angry and I don’t have to like it.  But I do have to respect their right.  Even if it is one I pray less and less people will make with proper care through therapy and medication.  I have to acknowledge that those things do not always work.   It just so happens it has been working more and more each day for me.

I struggle with depression. But there is also the component of PTSD. I am emotionally numb at times, and as I start to experience emotions again, they bubble forth in ways that seem explosive, when the reality is – it’s something I’ve been sitting on and/or have felt for some time, but not had confidence nor the courage to give it voice.

Which is a part of why I chose to start focusing on this through a journal.

The second time I tried to kill myself was in the fall of 97. I was attending school elsewhere, so the only time my family had to sit down with me was at Christmas. They each took their turn on the couch in the room with the Christmas tree, and took there time to tell me how much I meant to them, how angry they were, how much they loved me, and how my actions made them feel.

It was then I personally felt that the actions I had taken, and the way I allowed my emotions to so overwhelm me that I stopped considering who would be hurt if I had succeeded, were selfish. This ..may have in fact been the case for me; but, not all people are the same, and each person struggles with depression in their own way. Not every instance needs be selfish. However it is how I still feel about my own experience. Perhaps with more time and reflection this may change.

In the last ten or twelve years, I have lost two friends to suicide and seen the devastation left in its wake. And I think that is what angers me the most. The pain of one person is over; but, how many more people have to live with the pain of their absence?

If we were to follow Buddhist philosophy, one might argue we were attracted to the illusion of what one a family member or friend was to us in that shell, and it is the attachment to that shell that lead to the suffering of many as we are all interconnected. However that does not make the pain or suffering of those left behind any less real or damaging. And that is what makes me so thoroughly angry.

Yes, a person has a right to end their soul’s suffering from mental illness; but, in the end? Will it be worth it if that action in and of itself leads to the creation of so much more pain in the world for others? How is assisted suicide for the terminally ill the same or different from the suicides that result as a means to end mental and emotional suffering? Do we draw a line? Can we?

In the end, I don’t know that we can draw a line.

In the end, I can’t honestly look at someone and say it will get better. It isn’t always true. But I can say that it can get better. The possibility exists and will always be there each day that you’re alive.  

Death – Struggling with the Phobia

One of the things with which I have struggled for some time is a fear of change – specifically in the form of death. To some degree everyone has a fear of dying – or of no longer existing, but the two aren’t quite the same. Then there are people who have an intense fear of both. I would fall in that category.

I have blocks of memories as a child, from the time in which my grandmother took me to visit my great-grandmother, complete with sitting on someone’s sunglasses and breaking them. (They weren’t hers. I don’t think we ever did figure out whose they were.) It was summertime, and my parents were either going to pick up or drop off my brother from Summer Camp. I can’t quite remember which; but, I was excited for the chance to have time alone with my Grandmother – whom we called ‘Lady’ – and my Great-Grandmother – whom we called ‘Granno’.

This is the last real memory I have of her.

My grandmother died you see. She was in her early to mid fifties. She died from what people commonly refer to as ‘Sudden Death’ heart attack. Or at least that is how my father described it years later. It painted a very – very real picture of just how final death was, and my brain simply couldn’t wrap around it.

I have vague recollections of that Christmas a few months later, of using one of my toys – a phone, and being absolutely certain that I was talking to her and she was coming back. It took me three years, I think, to get the hint. It wasn’t something that any one person could easily explain to a child. I’ve little recollection of how much of it was discussed with me to be honest – if it was at all. I can remember plenty of things that happened before my grandmother passed with surprising clarity. But everything about that, save for the leaving with her, and the arrival of my Uncle and Aunt, remains a significant blur.

Each death in my family that followed, or death(s) that I witnessed, garnered a very similar response.

My Great-Grandmother passed when I was 9. I couldn’t bring myself to go to her funeral after seeing her in the coffin. It terrified me – in part because it made me think about what I might or might not have seen when my grandmother died, and in part because on one level, I was angry. A corpse was not my great-grandmother. I wanted someone to give her back. It felt like she had been taken, much like my Grandmother, and I didn’t know what to do with that sensation. I’m not sure that many adults know what to do with that feeling let alone children.

I started ..disconnecting around this time, I think. There were still outbursts and I was still having issues; but, I recall feeling emotionally numb for the first time – even if briefly – around then. I’d put on shows for attention; but, that wasn’t quite the same.

There were many children I spent time with. Neighbors. Children of my parents’ friends. But not all of us were friends. A few of us were – to a certain extent. But for the most part most of the older relatives in my family I saw more as friends. Sure, there was the part of being spoiled and shown unconditional love that helped my developing brain see them that way; but, part of it was also because they would answer my questions or show me how to do things when I asked. While they may not have given me the answers I wanted or what I was looking for, I never felt blown off. I never felt awkward or scared with them – not even in the presence of alcoholic relatives. They encouraged me. Inspired me.

Losing Granno was like losing my best friend, because I hadn’t had one yet. She was it.

And the way I perceived the family growing apart afterwards really didn’t help matters. (I don’t necessarily think that’s what happened. But again, a child doesn’t ..always understand. At the time? That’s what I saw.)

My therapist says that most people with PTSD or any anxiety-related disorder have an incredible fear of death because we’ve experienced something that makes us have a greater sense of immediacy with regards to it all. The average person may think about it, and logically see it as something to prepare for down the road; but, it isn’t immediate for them. For me? It’s something that even if 50 to 70 years from now, I still wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks over it.

I’ve seen my family struggle with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. And given my own brush with drug addiction and issues with weight, half the time I feel like the odds are stacked against me. My motivation in weight loss and exercise has its roots just as much in /fear/ as it does in a desire to genuinely just feel happier and healthier.

I still struggle with this fear.

I don’t know that I’ll ever stop struggling with this fear; but, writing about it certainly seems to help.

Love and Light.

Catching Up

It has been a while since I’ve made an update.

Each time I always say, “I’m going to make more of an effort,” but then try to get absolutely strict with myself about it which doesn’t particularly help, because then the motivation is gone. So while I am not going to promise daily to weekly updates, I will state that I have the intention of being less infrequent.

There have been some serious changes in my life since I initially started this Blog. I have moved about two hours south of where I was previously living, I am down a total of 42 pounds (with much more still to lose), and I have made some lifestyle changes. But with these changes and travels has come a realization of sorts.

And that is? We convince ourselves of the damndest things.

We convince ourselves that we aren’t deserving.
We convince ourselves that we aren’t good enough.
We convince ourselves that as much love as we love putting out into the world and sharing with our friends, that we don’t deserve the same sort of thing in return. Even when we do such things without expectations.

I am blessed with such amazing people in my life – both in the form of family and friends. Some I have been reluctant to allow as close as others. It isn’t particularly rational and more with regards to defense mechanisms; but, they put up with it. They put up with me. They support me.

Some times you feel like for a large part of your life you struggle. Struggle to find a place that you feel you belong. And when you find it? When you truly find it? You’re not sure what to do with it. What to think. Because the last thing you want is to take it and the people who help shape that place, for granted. The question becomes however, how much of that is not wanting to take people or the area for granted, and how much of it is a pride issue associated with a fear of asking for help?

This is the sort of thing I am learning right now.

Recently, on a trip back from a live action roleplaying game, my car died on the side of the road. I had already had a rough week, complete with my emotional support animal getting outside and hiding underneath the house for 13 hours. My nerves were shot. The first time it happened? I suspected it was the alternator; but, hoped boosting the battery would give enough juice to get us home.

2.5 miles later, it died once again and I found myself scrambling to contact everyone who was there with us. I was expecting at best, unloading the car and getting people and their things home, and having to let it rot in a lot as I’m unable to afford a lot in the way of repairs. This – while might be common place to deal with – was so very difficult for me to deal with. Buying this vehicle was the last thing my father and I did together before his massive cardiac event which rendered him unable to speak or communicate with me. It – in my mind – is a representation of how our relationship has been rocky over the years due to his own emotional issues as well as my own – good, hard, takes a beating; but, keeps on moving.

It wasn’t rational; but, I feel that by giving up on the vehicle, or not being able to maintain it, I’m giving up on what we have now. Which is ..nebulous at best, since his wife has grown frustrated with the lack of feeling like we’re family and instructed that I’m only allowed to get information as to how he’s doing from my Uncle and Aunt. (She does not deny me contact to him – let me preface this. She has her own reasons for doing this, to protect herself and ease a very difficult emotional burden in the position she has found herself as my father’s full time caretaker. She shows video messages I send him and if I were to call to talk with him, even though he can’t respond, I know she’d set up the phone call. She’s an amazing person in a really crapy situation. It’s just ..frustrating because he can’t talk to me, so I can’t really get a response.) Needless to say, this car is more than a vehicle to me. It’s really the only thing I have to show for the relationship that my father and I have.

Okay, correction. I /feel/ like it’s really the only thing I have to show. There’s a lot there that he has imparted on to me, and instilled in me; but, it’s nebulous – much like communicating with him now. And as the nine year anniversary of my mother’s death is literally a week away? It is incredibly hard.

But, the worst case didn’t come to pass. It was the alternator. No – I didn’t have the money for it. And I had no expectations of help with regards to any of it, save for getting people home safely. But without even asking, someone took charge of the situation and the larp folks all contributed to replace the alternator.

More than that? Many dropped by for moral support while the one heading things up took care of the purchase and installation of the new thing. It was overwhelming. It had been a horrible week. What was happening was stressful, and while I was managing to refrain from letting my mind magnify the severity of the situation, it was not a fun time.

The arrival of everyone – the continued support of my friends who were the passengers in my car – the manner in which everything came together made me feel so very – very loved. It was beautiful beyond words, realizing – what’s more – that I /was/ loved and supported. It isn’t the sort of thing I ever want to take for granted, and it’s something for which I am so very grateful.

After being convinced for the longest time that you aren’t worth any of that? -Accepting- that you are, even if slowly, is such a wonderful and beautiful thing.

Peace.

On the Topic of Anger

In my journey through mental illness – there has been this process of  learning how not to shut down emotionally speaking. The tendency for feeling numbness and deflecting with humor (that I don’t necessarily feel) most of the time has it’s place but it shouldn’t be my only go to.

Late this summer there was a breakthrough in which crying in front of other people happened. Regardless of the circumstances it was such a phenomenal step in the right direction for me. I actually felt better the next day than I had in years because of it.

However for the past week I have been wrestling with anger and frustration issues. Part of this stems from the fact that I don’t like to feel anger. I don’t even like to acknowledge it. I tend to try and bury things down and not address it as it happens simply because I have hard-wired myself to think of anger as a bad thing. Over the years I’ve conditioned myself to say, “This pisses me off,” without actually experiencing the emotion behind it. And then said emotion comes out later when I least expect it, in a manner which I feel I can’t control except through ranting until I’m ‘over it’.

This isn’t particularly fair for my friends or for anyone who has to interact with me. It isn’t something I want them to have to deal with.

Anger is something that is linked in my own head with fear. Largely because I was always so scared when my father was angry. Right or wrong, my brain associates his anger with things like yelling, being belted to the points that welts were left behind, other physical confrontations, and pain. I know that my father did not only express his anger this way and that we often would push each other’s buttons to that point to where situations were created.

And anger at the household often transferred into me being a bit of a bully in elementary school because I did not know how to deal with my own anger or frustrations, and only had that as an example as to what to do in return. I was a ball of fear and anger, attempting to seek attention through anymeans because between that and the being made fun of at school, I did not feel ‘safe’.

But knowing this logically doesn’t necessarily help. That’s why it’s called PTSD. I still go back there. I still find myself reliving those moments.

Because of this, I don’t care for it. I don’t care for anger or discomfort to the point that even once I state my boundaries, I have with regularity allowed people who are my friends to dance across them and not address how that makes me feel. It layers on so very thickly that it affects my whole rationale. And family who is a bit biased – assume it is from one thing. And then my friends? Hardly ever see it.

Anger tends to be one of the many ways in which Depression can manifest. PTSD aside, feeling sad or blue is not the only symptom of serious depression. But when you tie in the PTSD related issues it makes for this strange storm that you often have to figure out how to ‘ride out’ by developing better coping strategies. But the process with which one does that can be more time consuming than you realize.

It takes effort and practice – most assuredly. But it also takes time to allow the new coping behaviors to take root. And when waiting and patience isn’t your strong suit it makes things complicated. Not impossible. Just complicated.

I’m still working on ‘boundary’ setting and standing by them. Next step – dealing with how to react when those boundaries aren’t respected.