Monday, November 2, 2015

He Lives in My Brain Everyday

CN: PTSD, Car accident

12 years, 1 month, 28 days.  That's how long ago our car accident was, but I still live with irrational fears and panic attacks and will for the rest of my life.  I'll carry with me the damage to my pelvis and lower back forever.  I'll always have knee pain too, but it's the fear and panic that makes life difficult. The memories that exist in my head that I am unaware of will always haunt me. 

To step back, here's the story:
August 3, 2003, my Mom, Grandma and I were in Grandma's Mercury Grand Marquis on Hwy 91N heading toward Brea for my cousin's 28th birthday party.  Traffic slowed, then stopped.  Mom stopped, the person behind us did not.  He was a police officer and was likely intoxicated at the time. He had his 3 kids in the car and refused treatment from the Paramedics.  I was in the back passenger seat.  I remember my Mom saying, "Oh Shit!" and the next thing I remember is her outside of the car cussing out the guy who hit us and trying to get my door open.  I couldn't feel my legs.  The moments between that and me being released from the hospital are vignettes of x-rays, ice, pain and people in white coats.  The axle ended up against my back.  We would later find out I broke my L1/L2 vertebra and pelvis (in 2 places) plus obliterated all the cartilage in my knee (it was pushed into the metal supports of the front seat and resulted in 7 broken ribs in 10 places for my Grandma).  

But here's the thing - I DO remember the accident, every second.  Buried in my subconscious are the sounds, the smells, and the feelings, but they don't reside in my conscious brain.  How do I know they are there?  Because various things will trigger me into a panic attack.  We now own the Marquis that Grandma got as a replacement and I CANNOT sit in that back seat.  Period.  I struggle with PTSD.  It is better than it has ever been, but it will never go away. That's how it works.  So without warning, my subconscious will recognize a sound or feeling and I'm back in that car 12 years ago.  A few weeks ago it was a car crash scene in Sense8 that triggered me into a panic attack.  We did find that if we muted the second scene with the crash, I was okay.  So I guess good on Sense8 for making the scene sound so real?  Today it was rain hitting my side window. Big,  heavy drops that sounded like glass breaking.  I went from singing along to the radio to begging Glen to get my Lorazepam in my purse.  It sucks! It makes me feel out of control and I hate it!  Luckily, I have people in my life who understand and all I have to say was 'this triggered me' and they'll do what they can to calm me down and regain control.  Unfortunately, I have a PCP who thinks Lorazepam is unnecessary, even though I only go through about 3mg per month. 

I'm a control freak - always have been, so this being out of control is terrifying and infuriating.  That driver's decision changed all of our lives FOREVER.  Not just physically, but mentally.  He is always haunting my brain.  I've forced myself to forget his name so I don't obsess, because I will.  That man will always have control over me and I hate it so much.  

I'm a lucky one, my triggers are few and far between now and I've worked hard to gain control again, but so many others aren't so lucky. We treat mental health in this country horribly and PTSD is relegated to sound bites and stories of veterans, but SO MANY others suffer too.  Two people can come through the exact same experience and one develops PTSD while the other doesn't.  Why?  Well, we don't really know.  So yes, I believe in trigger warnings or content notes, because I know how it feels to be triggered. I don't expect someone to do a TW or CN for my triggers and I'm not upset by that, but I feel the more common ones should be addressed.  Most people will still read the article/post/book but they chose a time where they feel mentally ready. This is a GOOD thing! So, you'll see those warnings on my posts because it is literally the least I can do to protect others who live in this state of constant fear. It's a hard road to walk, and I want to make sure their path is safe. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Amanda F***ing Palmer

Okay - let me state this clearly - I think Amanda Palmer is wonderful! 

I was confused when Neil Gaiman married her (I honestly didn't know who she was) but I figured if he found something wonderful in her, she can't be bad. Over the last few years, I feel like I've gotten to know her. I even had a, albeit short, conversation with her through Twitter a few years ago. I love her openness, her fearlessness and her breaking rules. I've grown to like some of her music, her blog and I thought her TED talk was inspiring.  Her ninja gigs amaze me and I also see her reflected in Neil's eyes when they perform together and in there, she's a freakin' superhero.

I thought her poem today expressed the emotion I have over the terrorist.  Yes, what he did was horrible and yes, he should be imprisoned (likely for the rest of his life) but I can also see the possibility of a brother with way too much control of a boy 7 years his junior. I also see an Americanized citizen who was willing to attack the country, but wonder what led to that and how do we prevent it?

Clearly, it much have inspired some people because they spread it across Twitter. People loved, people hated, but one online journal called her the most loathsome speaker at TED along with ripping apart every part of her poem.  It's clear this 'journalist' did not like her to begin with and probably would have hated anything she wrote. Then, it gets posted on FB and people write hateful haikus about it. I'm just sickened. 

Creators create - that's what we do.  Sometimes, that creates controversy. Everything I write or do isn't going to please everbody - if it did, what would be the point? If we all thought alike, this world would royally suck! For me though, I found inspiration in Amanda's reaction to the whole thing - she said at least it got people talking.  And isn't that the point? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Beginnings

I'm trying to get my blogger up and running again and start spending some time each day writing.  This is to push me forward so that I can start writing my new book.  It's going to be an Earth Science assistance book aimed at bringing girls into science.  I'll be doing LOTS of research and lots of stories within the book to illustrate certain concepts or help with mnemonics.  So, to get writing each night I had my friend send me a list of ideas for blog posts and I'm going to try to do one each day.  Wish me luck.

Today - Tuesday, July 3, 2012

List 10 random facts about yourself.
1. My name comes from the French cooking term to cut things in narrow strips.  My Mom got it off of a Better Crocker Julienne Potatoes ad.
2. I am bat shit terrified of people in The Scream masks.
3. I have visited 45 states and Iceland in my life and plan to get to the other 5 states and other countries in the future.
4. I just finished my Masters of Arts in Science Education along with my teaching credential in science education grades 6-12.
5. My husband and I help care for his Mom who is 78. We previously cared for my Grandma until her death.
6. I currently work as an administrative coordinator for a real estate agent.  I do all the paperwork and handle all the marketing, including social marketing.  I am VERY busy when I'm at work.
7. I'm currently terribly lazy and trying to break out of this bad behavior as quickly as possible.
8. I've lost 80 pounds over the last year but still have a lot to lose.  I'm looking into joining a gym to get my butt back in shape.
9 I'm so out of shape right now I'm really worried about how well I'll do at ComicCon next week but I'm really going to try and push myself.
10. I have fibromyalgia. a debilitating illness where the spinal fluid carries too many pain receptors and makes us feel like we're in constant pain in every muscle of our bodies.  I fight hard to keep mine under control and try to never use it as a crutch.

Well, there's a very benign entry for my first blog back.  I'm sure they'll pick up and be more challenging as I continue.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Project 365 - 01/09/10 (My silly cat)

This is my cat, Milo sleeping. There really isn't anything more I can say about it except...enjoy the picture!

I've attached a video link that demonstrates Mr. Milo in action...he really likes his catnip:
Milo and his catnip - a true love

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Project 365 - 01/08/10 - (Game Night with the boys)

This will likely be a short post as we stayed up WAY too late last night and then I never managed to get comfortable until I moved to the couch around daybreak.

Last night was our game night with our friends, Myke, Tyr, and Steve (seen above with dice and character sheet). We play World of Darkness, an old school paper and dice role playing game. In case you haven't played RPGs before - the general concept is that you have one person running the game, in this case, the Story teller, Myke. He creates a storyline of oddness and weird and our characters try to solve it or recover a particular item, etc. My character in this game is a 26 year old Forensic Pathologist who has zero social skills, an exceptional education and is terrified of dying. In these games we encounter demons, vampires, magic workers and other assorted folk. She wants to harness their power to "live" forever.

So anyway, last night, Glen's character and my character were finally introduced to everyone else through a slightly convoluted process. The fact is, getting the characters to meet and form a group in RPG is probably the most challenging detail that a story teller faces. Everyone creates a character that suits their personality and lets us live out some facet of our own desires - to be someone else. Trying to get all of them together can be a real pain in the butt for the storyteller (in this case, Myke, pictured below on the right)!

Glen got me into RPGs and I have played them every since. We met our dearest friends through these games and spending a Friday night with friends chatting, sharing our week and getting to play out some fantasy is a hell of a way to have some fun! I don't think Glen and I will ever stop playing these games in some way, even if we have to do it online through a game like World of Warcraft (WoW). But for now, we have incredible friends and a really amazing time!

Looking forward to next week boys!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Project 365 - 01/07/09 (Sherlock Holmes)

Today's picture is of our favorite movie theater. Glen and I went to see Sherlock Holmes today. After a week of agonizing pain from my hip and back, I was a bit nervous to see if I could actually sit through a movie. However, we found seats where I could stretch out my left leg when it was painful. I also made sure I had medication with me, just in case. It all worked out lovely and we were able to see the movie in relative comfort (those lovely new movie seats definitely helped as well)

(Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
Sherlock Holmes was an incredible movie. Now, mind you, I might be a little biased as I love Sherlock Holmes (the character and the book) and Robert Downey Jr.

I thoroughly enjoyed the romp that was the movie, there was hardly a moment to take a breath through the whole film. The addition of Rachel McAdams character was a stroke of genius and a fabulous foil/love interest for Sherlock. The introduction of magic had me a bit scared at first, fearing that they were veering too far off course but, as always, Holmes explains it all. Most of it was fairly easy to figure out but was amazing nonetheless. The action scenes were magnificent, all the acting was quite phenomenal, and Robert Downey Jr. shirtless was a lovely sight. Ahem, back to the movie...The plot was simple but yet complex as well, just as a good action film should be. Don't be fooled, this is not a cerebral movie, it is an action movie and should be enjoyed as such. What surprised me the most was the absolute beauty of the scenery. They didn't "Disney" it and make it all clean, the scenes were gritty and the people dirty (those that weren't rich, that is). Overall, it was just a really enjoyable film and they definitely set it up for future movies with the introduction of Moriarty...and I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Project 365 - 01-06-09 (Millie's illness)

So today's picture illustrates the joy of having a sick pug! We have a lovely 8 year old pug named Mildred, unfortunately, pugs tend to have some health issues associated with the breed. These include eye problems (check) , breathing problems (check), and anal gland issues (BIG check).

Yesterday I noticed that Millie's anal gland was swelling. It was already late in the day and I knew the Vet's wouldn't be able to do anything until morning when they do surgeries. So I gave her a shot of penicillin in her butt muscle and watched her. Sure enough, by 10pm the gland had ruptured. We had already made an appointment with All Creatures Vets for 8:15am. I took care of the gland and filled it with Panalog and waited until morning. After the rupture, we had to cover the couches and her favorite napping spots with things that could be washed.

This morning the antibiotics had obviously done their job (her fever was gone and the gland was flattened) but it had upset her stomach. Since they had told us to stop food at 6pm the previous night and stop water at Midnight, her stomach became even more upset and she began throwing up...a lot.

After coming back from the vet - he said what we did was perfect and told us to continue the shots of penicillin for the next 4 days. When she came home she slept for a while and then ate like crazy....apparently too much. So she once again began throwing up, the picture below may just look like a carpet - but it's a carpet on which I've cleaned her regurgitation on at least 10 spots...yes, that's how I spent my evening.

Ahhhh, the joys of pet ownership. But you know what - even with all the medical treatments, a $175 vet bill (luckily we has ASPCA pet insurance), and the endless cleaning of the carpet - I wouldn't trade the joy of my little Millie for anything! Pets are the only things that will ever love you unconditionally and we should try to match that love to the best of our ability!!