Monday, May 26, 2014

Strength In Damage Repairs

Sometimes, people say "I don't know how you do it. You are a strong person."

What I am is stubborn and I like to compete with myself. I am also porous and adaptable and have rips and cracks. Every nook and fracture is a valuable part of me. My inner light pools, seeps, trickles, rises in tendrils, and bursts through them, out into the world. Reciprocity Rapture: I allow the light of the world to shine back in.

I adore the imagery of the lyrics, the sculpture, and the repaired tea cup:

"Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."
- Leonard Cohen

Sculpture, "Expansion," by Paige Bradley

"Kintsugi" or "Kintsukuroi" is Japanese for "golden joinery" or "golden repair". It is "the Japanese art form of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum..." "As a philosophy, it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."

Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method

I am a strong person, in part, because of how I have learned to navigate the damage of life. I also like to tell myself "I told you so!" when I inevitably win.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wherein "Psych Ward Inpatient" Is Added To My Resume - Part I

Trigger Warning: Psych unit (positive), Hulk rage, car accidents, sound triggers, rape

I recently spent nine days in the psych ward (voluntarily and for the first time) with no access to my phone or the internet, and endless access to my brain using new and improved skills (and some medication adjustments). I hadn't heard much positive information about such a stay until I experienced one myself. I know not all facilities are created equal, but to say I wish I'd have done that sooner/multiple times is an understatement. This episode was by far not the worst I've experienced, and I'm so glad to have had a safe place available to land that particular "Forty Acre Fit". (Thank you forever for that phrase, new kindred spirit friend). Reintegration is going slowly, but positively.

I didn't realize until I had been discharged from the unit that it was my under-treated PTSD that had triggered the reaction that led me to the hospital. 

You see, a car squealed its tires somewhere and my Hulk rage immediately consumed me from the ground up.

I spazzed out of the passenger seat of a not-all-the-way-stopped car and immediately beat the sidewalk with my aluminum walking cane until it split in half. (Where's that kind of energy when I NEED it?) I followed that up by dumping the contents of my purse in the road and "speed" walking in no particular direction (sans cane = terrible idea). Eventually, I stopped and said to my companion, "Take me to the hospital!" And he did. Fortunately, I had previously received a referral from my psychiatrist for a hospital to go to should such an occasion arise. After waiting 18 hours in the ER and psych triage, I was finally admitted. (Part II of this series will focus on the therapeutic methods of the hospital program.)

Having unsealed some mental compartments in the past few weeks, I realized why the tire squeal was such a trigger for me. I've been in a few fender benders over time, but I was driving home about ten years ago after a terrifying night of being raped, when my car was t-boned by another vehicle (100% the other party's fault in each case). It wasn't the worst accident, but it was intense and shook my body and mind up pretty badly. I was recently a passenger in an accident that was also not my fault, so I think that woke up the dormant memories (and my old whiplash injuries where they live part time). I'd already been having trouble managing my bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD (obviously) symptoms since my marriage unraveled for good and I hadn't noticed the ramp-up.

I'm pleased to say that I now have more tools with which to notice when something like this episode might be approaching and how to deal with it accordingly.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Gluten-Free Shenanigans

What's with the sheer hate from people who are not affected in any real way by gluten-free situations? There's so much blood in the streets of the internet right now! Yes, people choosing to "go gluten-free" as part of the recent fad may be appropriating legitimate medical issues (and doing those of us who actually have them no favors), but that in and of itself is no skin off my gluten-free nose. The more people choose to eat that way means more options for me at the grocery store and in restaurants. I urge you to see your doctor if you are concerned that gluten might be causing you problems, but in all likelihood - it's not. Sorry. I have plenty of evidence proving that my body and gluten are enemies. I'm choosing not to elaborate because it's NOBODY ELSE'S BUSINESS and I don't have the energy. Why waste yours?

***Edited for clarification (due to comments on shared posts of this blog):

What prompted me to write this are the surprisingly heated, mostly one-sided complaint threads about GLUTEN that have begun scratching through the internet walls. 

This photo:

and the comment threads that follow them around seem to be at the heart of it.

That photo has spawned friends of friends making comments about "f*cking idiots" and "r*tards" and "gluten sensitivity myth" and "sheep". For me, all this does is add insult to injury. I WANT THE GOOD PIZZA ALREADY. COULD YOU AT LEAST INSULT ME WHILE EATING THE GOOD PIZZA?

The link is to a questionable article about ONE study containing only 37 research subjects - the evidence of which is not exactly laid out. If I remember correctly, one study also got us the erroneous "vaccines cause autism!" craze and the "the body needs a certain amount of lead in it to survive!" jaw-dropper.

ANYWAY. The point of my post: Whether or not someone medically needs to eat a gluten-free diet is irrelevant to the lives of everyone else (especially those who are personally unaffected by gluten in any way). Kindly shut it and mind your own.