Friday, October 31, 2014

What It Took ~ Disabilities Acknowledged

Facing the fact that my sanity depends on pharmaceutical adjustment is on-going for me. I succumb and accept, responding with positive results most days when I remember to take them.  Other days I think I just overlook the need and ignore what I know to be what is best for me, today..
I learned how to accept my disability which grates each grain of my body because I was born strong, I have persevered inhumane treatment.  Accepting what was direct opposition to the behavior that kept me alive felt wrong.  I argued with my vocational rehabilitation counselor, Karen, when she repeated 'you are disabled' to me four times to which I responded, 'No, I am not'.  Dependence on anything or anyone, trusting someone other than myself is something I fought because of my disbelief that anyone was looking out for me.  No one had ever looked out for me before. Why should they now?  
I finally relented and agreed with Karen. Add another hero.
Sitting with Bill, late last year, I approached the topic of coming off some of my medications.  I casually mentioned my thought to lower my intake. 
Shocked to hear he did not object took me quite by surprise.  I stopped briefly to absorb the possibility.  Could it be that I was healing to the point of not needing mental assistance to stay focused and desire to get up each day to work and take care of myself? Hardly.  Less medication maybe, but be realistic, the brain develops differently due to repeated on-going trauma.  Left with the blahs seems unfair.  Being a lazy slug all day is the outcome.  My mind no longer automatically turns to the reason why I feel down on rainy days. But if I think of it or not, the outcome is the same. I feel exhausted.  
The thing about meds, it's cyclical.  I'll be going along taking them every day for weeks and then, bam, I skip a day.  Really? Still? Yes.  And I think I've figured out why.  I forget and hope for this illness to go away some day. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

21 Gun Salute ~ My Heart Cries

We join to rejoice for service to country. 
I cry.  
I want to rejoice with all my heart,
but naught, the torrid shadow keeps me.
I sit and listen and am proud
Our troops fight for freedoms.
Against terrorism, you say?
What about the terror brought home?
The cost to our own.
I am honored we send aid to suppressed,
but at the expense of me 
being permanently depressed? 
Not just the soldiers give their life,
but children left parent-less, grandparent-less,
brother-less, or sister-less.
What about that profound expense? 
Back to the terror brought home,
the madness, the nightmares, the PTSD.
Can what we see, be unseen? 
Not so much.
I realize the horror endured,
but few as long as mine lasted.
How can I be gracious
when the sacrifice was me?
I cry more. 
Does anyone hear me?
Does anyone give a damn?
Does everyone suffer 
damaging collateral abuse?
I wonder sometimes, 
all the above?
My heart cries. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

21 Gun Salute ~ Did He Ever?

Looking directly at me, she asks 'Did he ever admit what he did?" 
I respond quietly, "no, he tried to get me to keep his secret all the way to his end." 

"Did he ever apologize for what he did?"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Now Where ~ Forever Fight?

In what reality are the consequences of abuse so widely known and a justice system so unprepared to accommodate victims with any pathway to get some sort of assistance and / or restitution? Today, 2014.

Sweating and apprehensive, I approach one of the desks in the office for Representative Sherry Jones. I stumble over my words, but the meaning is understood.  I feel panic when she asks what organization I represent. I respond I am alone and wish to speak to Representative Jones about a bill I would like to reintroduce to the TN legislature.  My surprise is apparent as an assistant for Representative Jones directs me to step outside in the hallway for a few brief minutes.  She indicates there may be a short 5 minutes to spare in Rep Jones' calendar and she thinks she can to squeeze me in to see her.
The impromptu meeting begins as Representative Jones attempts to ease my anxiety by seating herself in an arm chair opposite the small couch where she offers me a seat, instead of authoritatively behind her desk.  I frantically search my satchel for my bill.  I know the bill is in here.  Why can't I seem to put my fingers on it.  I am so nervous, I apologize for my seemingly disorganized presentation.  Her understanding is awash with the warmth of her words and her patience.  
I spill my summation of the action I am pursuing.  She takes the pages and quickly cruises the document.  Rep Jones matter of factually comments, civil action for child sexual abuse should align with the criminal justice. Don't I agree? It's like someone just needs to shine the light on the issue.  No one has thought of this before now, seriously?  The conversation turns when Rep Jones tells me she is going to get an attorney to look at the bill.  We have a couple of options.  Wow.  
I raise from my seat to make my departure from Representative Sherry Jones office on notice of the non-verbal cue that our meeting was approaching an end.  She stalled briefly to ask about me personally, much to my surprise.  Do I suffer from PTSD? Yes.  Depression? Yes.  Do I take antidepressants? Every day of my life. Is my abuser still alive? No. He got what he deserved, in the end.  
She does not seem to terribly surprised at my story - a survivor who still suffers common diagnoses after years of incest. Her compassion ebbs in fact, that I am fighting for rights to help other survivors get beyond the mental illness prison and the pain accompanying the memories. She sees someone who fought her entire life, still fights for others now, trying to change the reality of today, 2014.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Now Where? Seeking Sponsors

Plans developed over the last year or two to work Monday, and Wednesday through Friday some weeks in the first four months of each year.  Actually, the seed of these plans reach back to a single statement in 1996 when I vowed I would return to the legislature of the State of Tennessee with my bill.  All the moments of hesitation, is this my path, or is it my imagination it is my path? Read for yourself.
I am overjoyed as I start off to Nashville.  I pick up my morale booster, BFF, next stop, Legislative Plaza.  Early morning traffic is beginning to build as we head west out of town. Fog hangs beneath a cloudy background making lift impossible.  Attitude tilt, rainy days don't get me down anymore.  
We have a list of tasks for this first day back.  We walk the four blocks uphill from the library to the plaza, through the scanners, get our visitor pass with picture, wait during inspection of our bags, and find a 108th Congressional Session information booklet to guide us on our discovery of Legislative Plaza and the War Memorial Building.  I spot Speaker of House Beth Harwell's Office 19 as I quickly glance around to get my bearings. One major goal for today is to refresh my memory of the building layout. A maze is all I recall from before.  But first time around my recovery journey was still somewhat new. People did things for me to help me get better and show me the ropes.  Now I am reaching out and asking state leaders to sponsor a bill.  Elevator access is the only transport to the War Memorial Building.  On arriving at the 3rd floor, I feel 80 degree heat as we enter the hallway.  We make a couple of quick inquiries and decide to head back to committee sessions in process.
We step into a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in full swing.  Sitting quietly and observing the process brings on several deep breathes to calm my nerves.  I close my eyes for several seconds and center my thoughts.  How surreal. I'm here again.  The morning meeting ends early end Senators start to disperse.  My feet seem stuck in place.  I watch an onlooker approach the panel.  Do I go?  "Go" from my friend ignites my step. I approach Senator Thelma Harper, introduce myself and my bill.  She answers with an invitation and I walk away with directions to set up an appointment.  We follow her directions immediately and secure a time to speak privately with the Senator.
Two major task items complete. Wow, and not yet noon.  We spent our lunch break in review of the afternoon schedule ahead.  My nerves seem to be aware of the meeting of the day coming up immediately following lunch, task of the day.  
Office 19.  What an experience.  Pleasant introductions and trade of hand shakes between all in the room are followed by seconds of awkward silence in which I coral strength to explain the reason for my visit.  "Discovery, statute of limitations, tolling, and other key words from the bill splattered a short synopsis.  I jot down her suggestions as she cites names: one individual new to the legislature and another whose interests parallel mine. Speaker assures me the document I present for the bill is in form to seek sponsors.  But the deadline for 2014 consideration is the following day.  My deep inhale indicts acceptance this thing I am doing is not going to be easy and I never thought it would be. Speaker Harwell reminds me that education about the topic is needed.  Extra time would give me time to lay ground work.  Minor disappointment, but not totally surprised. I linger around the hallways of the first floor pondering one more thing I can do before heading home. "One more thing, one more time".  Senator Rusty Crowe's office nestled in the back hallway is the only one I need to see.  I walk right in and make an appointment for the same afternoon as Senator Harper's.  Are you kidding me? This is better than I dream and I look forward to coming back soon.
At this point, I want to ask, well, did you decide? Is this my path? Wait, one minute. 
We walk back to the car to head home as rain starts to pelt down in 37 degree moist air. Neither of us have an umbrella.  My comrade has a hood on her coat. I have no hood on my coat.  I have no coat.  I think to myself, that's okay, rain won't hurt me.  A scruffy gentleman with a giant umbrella appears suddenly from nowhere and asks "where are you headed?" I join him on the short jaunt back to the library under dome protection. He disappears as quietly as he arrives.  My best friend looks at me and asks "did you see where he came from?  He was just right there to help you. Where did he go?"
Yes, this is my path.