Sweets Ross

April’s Misery

In Cacophony, The Daily Grind on July 14, 2016 at 15:01

It’s been a while. Did you miss me? Did you think I’d been scared away? Or maybe I left or gave up on the blog – finally deciding to shut my pie hole?

No. I was here.

Waiting and watching for April’s storms to subside.

As far back as I can remember, along with April’s showers, the month has been plagued with misery. From the first day to the very last, April’s showers have brought with them a special cloud – one meant just for me. It positions itself above my head, waiting for me to step outdoors without my rain-gear.  And when I do, it lets loose a rainstorm that has the potential to turn into a full-fledged hurricane – the kind of storm that can easily wash a person down the street and into the nearest storm drain.

Anxiety in anticipation of April’s deluge begins in March. My PTSD-induced hyperviligence usually has me reviewing April’s schedule, making special efforts to avoid exposing myself to people and situations that, with my personal cloud in place, might give rise to the perfect storm. Once ready for the rainy season, I put my rain-gear. And I wait.

If I string all my Aprils together, you might call them a series of unfortunate Aprils. I’ve been known to refer to April as the Cursed Month. Unfortunately, my birthday occurs on the same day as the Birthday Curse – April 24th.   A number of outrageous, and unbelievable things has happened in April or on the day of my birthday. It’s unfair. I keep threatening to change my birthday, but never do. There are some things a person can’t change, and a birthday seems like one of those things. My therapist and husband think I should adopt a new birthday – people in AA do it. But what date should I choose?

I wondered if I was being unfair in my negative feelings toward April. So I tallied things up. And guess what? My feelings are more than justified. Here’s a subset of events (in my life) from April:

During April:

  • jumped and beaten to a pulp by a group of older kids (Age 11/Grade 5)
  • first “agreement” with my mother (Age 20)
  • dream job ended (Age 46)
  • C-PTSD diagnosis (Age 47)

Within seven (7) days of my birthday:

  • raped (Age 19)
  • went NO CONTACT with my mother (Age 46)
  • medical diagnosis confirmed – recessively inherited form of SpinoCerebellar Ataxia, with the possibility of ALS4 overlap/SETX gene mutation (Age 48)
  • mother-in-law died (Age 49)

On my actual birthday:

  • sexually harassed by male classmate (Age 9/Grade 3)
  • neighborhood pedophile began to actively ”groom” me (Age 12/Grade 6)
  • found out my (first) husband was cheating (Age 27)
  • first abuse by my boss occured (Age 45)
  • 50th birthday DENIED (50/2013)
  • spent recovering from (misdiagnosed) mild TBI (52/2015)

With all the changes in my life over the past 18 months, I was determined to put a stop to April’s hurricane season. April was going to be a drama and trouble-free month. I’d start the month on a happy note – attending my first fiber convention. And I’d end the month on another happy note – with a real birthday party. It would be a proper birthday party – the kind everyone (who thinks birthdays are important) would be happy with. 

No Bastards Allowed

In Cacophony, Medical Mayhem on May 16, 2016 at 17:41

This post has been a long time in the making. In over 25 years of therapy, I’ve talked to only a few therapists about this event, and only briefly at that. It happened over 33 years ago. I’ve never dared write the memory down, that would only make the pain more acute. Yet here I am, boldly sharing one of the worse moments of my life.

The only reason I can put forth for sharing this, other than my complete commitment to being authentic, is this: my body is mine and no one has a right to threaten, coerce, or force me to do anything I don’t want to do with it. Additionally, when it comes to reproductive health, I believe such actions (threats, coercion, force) should result in criminal prosecution. If the “person” is found guilty, they should be confined to prison (for life, without the possibility of parole) or they should be sentenced to a quick death. Yes, I am a bit biased on this. I apologize for being biased. I don’t apologize for my viewpoint or my feelings.

On a daily basis, around the world, people are bought and sold into slavery. We know they have no choice in what happens to them – and we don’t shame them for it. Domestically, there are hundreds of thousands of people living in surprisingly similar situations. They are conditioned, through years of [different kinds of] abuse, to make decisions that aren’t really decisions; at least not the decision they’d make, if they were truly free to make one.

I’m one of those people – or I used to be. There are a lot more people like me than you think. You don’t know much about us because our voices have been silenced – through violence, suppression, or oppression. When we finally get the courage to lift up our heads and whisper our stories in someone’s ear – we are met with disbelief, guilt, and shame. So, we stop lifting up our heads; we stop using our voices.  It’s not our fault we were abused – but we don’t know that – because others perpetuate the humiliation and blame our abusers used to keep us in line.

Instead, you should be angry at the people who make us do things (things they have no right to do). You should be angry that these things happen every day, in your neighborhood, on your block, right under your nose, and you don’t know about it. Or maybe you do, and you’ve also been silenced. When is this kind of abuse going to stop? When will YOU say NO MORE!?    

You’re going to want to ask questions, and hopefully I’ll answer them somewhere in the post. If not, please post it below. If you send me a private message, or contact me via other social media channels, no one else will benefit from your questions, comments, or the discussion. There is NO SHAME here, so please speak up below.

I wasn’t one of those young girls that dreamed of getting married, much less having kids. I didn’t even want them.  In this post I mentioned being raped. That rape resulted in conception, which quickly became problematic. I didn’t have the funds to see a proper doctor, so I tried to deal with the symptoms as best as I could. I had the usual morning sickness, but it was far worse than normal. I was wracked with abdominal cramping and dehydration. I was sick 24/7 and I was losing weight fast. I hadn’t been pregnant before, but things just didn’t feel “right”. Considering the origins of the pregnancy, my mother convinced me that termination was in my best interests. I could genuinely see her point. Raising a baby that was the result of rape – I didn’t think I could do it. I could barely raise myself!

How Are You?

In Medical Mayhem, The Daily Grind on May 2, 2016 at 12:30

A dear friend recently added a comment to one of my last posts. She wrote, “At this point in my life, after all I’ve been handed and dealt with, I’ve survived, but I don’t feel I’ve thrived.  You are thriving and it’s a beautiful thing to see and watch.” I must have read those two lines more than fifty times. Because if I’m totally honest with myself, I don’t believe I’m fully thriving.

Every morning, I wake as my husband steps out of the shower. My schedule and needs for each day are addressed the evening before. In this way, his needs are the focus of each morning. As he moves about to dress and make his breakfast, I manage to do the same – though sometimes he helps if I need it. Each workday – as I smile, kiss him goodbye, and wish him well – he sees me, just as my friend sees me: I’m thriving. I’m well.

I want to tell you something I learned as a child: appearances are misleading and/or deceiving.

One of the things people usually ask in social settings is “How are you?”.  This is always a tough question, because it’s usually just a pleasantry. Most people don’t really want to know the answer to that question. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been conditioned to respond with “Fine, and you?”.  Motivational Course Speakers will insist that ‘fine’ means ‘freaked-out (or f*cked-up), insecure, neurotic, and emotional’.  When I’m asked “How are you?”, I use fine as a placeholder for the truth. I simply don’t know where to start.

Three years ago, as I tipped the scales at my heaviest (399#), and then just over a year ago, after I lost my first 60#, “How are you?” was the norm.  After 15 months of recovery (from surgery) and social seclusion, I’m happy with my progress. I love seeing people’s faces when they see me for the first time in months. It’s exciting to be the same size I was nearly 30 years ago. That’s a size my current husband has never seen before.  I love hearing “You look <insert positive adjective here!>”. I do. Don’t stop doing that! Ever! Sometimes it’s followed up with “How are you?”.  I still struggle with the answer, because what you see – the packaging – looks great. But I’m not feeling great.

Living on 800 calories a day (long-term) is physically and mentally exhausting. I’m losing muscle mass along with fat. Some of my muscles are pulling away from joints, leaving those joints unstable – they dislocate very easily. I’m in constant danger of organ strangulation (tons of room in there, just a few organs remaining). The damage has begun. I’m in pain, but have refused the pain medication the Pain Specialist recommended. I don’t want to live the rest of my life in a haze or become one of the many monsters (aka substance abusers) on my family tree.