Paranoia at its finest

So I thought I'd talk a little about one of my PTSD symptoms since its one of the things that is taking up my life right now.  It started out with little things; things that I didn't even realize I was doing and they weren't completely overboard so no one else really even noticed either.  I wouldn't let anyone that wasn't family or someone I trusted drive a vehicle I was in, thus making public transportation out of the question.  This evolved into - I would only drive myself, this didn't set off too many alarms as I also one of those people who gets extremely sick in any type of vehicle.  Yes, I know I joined the Navy, and yes, I know it doesn't make any kind of sense.  This was just the first signs of my paranoia.

It would be years later before my paranoid behavior would get worse.  Keep in mind that I'm only focusing on the PTSD paranoia and not those symptoms associated with my personality disorders.  Right before getting out of the Navy, I was dealt a blow to my psyche, self-efficacy, pride, what was left of my self-esteem, and most importantly my self-worth.  This was done by my superiors, not an attacker, but it caused a regression and thus a heightening of my symptoms.  From that point, everything just got worse as time went on.  I had better moments of course, but the damage had been done and I wasn't aware of what was going on inside.

Let me also explain that the Navy is to blame for some of the paranoia as well because of the type of job I had when I first went in.  I was a Cryptologist.  I was chosen for various reasons, one of which was because I'm very good at noticing patterns - this translates into noticing behaviors and habits.  Once you are in this field, you are taught to be careful about your own movements, behaviors, and habits.  Don't go to work the same way every day.  Don't go to the same place for breakfast, etc.  See what I mean?  Anyway, I began having days where I thought someone was following me home in the car.  I would go out of my way to make sure they weren't.  I would get lost doing this.  This would happen a lot in Macon which is where my rapes took place.  I would get so tense and prepare myself for a confrontation that it would take the rest of the day to decompress.  When I moved into a house that was close to downtown, I didn't have my dogs so I was walking by myself. I didn't have to use my cane but I would take it with me because again, I was in Macon.  I couldn't enjoy the walks because I was constantly preparing for someone to attack me.  One of these days, one of my rapists happened to drive by while I was walking and said something and asked that I wait while he drove around.  I froze because 1 - I couldn't believe he had the nerve and 2 - I wanted to kill him.  I actually stood there trying to think of how I could kill him.  I knew I couldn't do it right there but I had lost a lot of my physical strength so luring him elsewhere was probably not a good idea.  So while I was I standing there contemplating how I was going to murder this man, he had had time to come back around the block.  He stopped the vehicle and got out and even though I wanted to run, I couldn't because the part of me that wanted him dead was bigger.  Basically, the rest of it is that he said he wanted to apologize.  I said something like he doesn't get to apologize or I don't forgive him, I don't remember.  Amy can tell you, I told her about it right after it happened.  I didn't tell her about wanting to kill him.  This is the first time I've admitted it.  The other guy, the one who raped me twice, the one who actually abducted me;  he was working at the mall when I was Macon, piece of shit.  I avoided the mall because I knew; I knew I would plot.

The paranoia now has me not able to walk down the street unless I have my dogs or someone else and even then, I'm looking over my shoulder.  When I go to get back in my car, I'm checking the back seat, the back floorboard, the cars on either side and if it doesn't feel right, I keep walking.  This means that it may take 30 minutes for me to get into my car.  I know the comings and goings and habits of everyone in my building and the building beside me.  I know their cars and how they sound.  I know everyone's dogs and if they have a dog, I probably know a lot more about that person (it's a club).  Once I know your habits, I have a good idea of what kind of job you have and if you're doing something illegal.  For example, the people across the hall from me are producing meth.  They'll be taken out next week.  The old people in the next building are selling pills.  The police need more evidence.  Anyway, you get the idea, right?

The part of this that is the worst is when I think someone is in the apartment.  It started after I finished a.......tryst.  It didn't go well.  I didn't want to get into anything with anyone, he talked me into it.  It wasn't supposed to be anything serious.  He lied.  I found out some other crazy shit.  I left him a letter telling him to not contact me again, lo and behold, a wife finds it.  She wasn't happy, he wasn't happy.  Anyway, I happened to fall asleep on the couch one night.  I swear I thought he was in the apartment, I was preparing for a fight as soon as he got near me.  I even heard him shooshing the dogs.  I could smell chemical, like ether, so I slide to the floor and then I hear him leave.  When I got up, nothing was moved, door was still locked and chained.  I still got the locks changed and he still fucked up my tires.  I think someone is in my apartment about once a week, not him, just someone.  And I always have the fight response.  Do you know how hard it is to come down from that?  I know some of you reading this do.  It's a lot of adrenaline and you want to go fuck or hit someone or jump out of an airplane or something.  It's crazy.

I know this isn't a really good picture, it's pretty old.  It's me.  I'm rappelling aussie down a rock in Puerto Rico.  I bought a car that was manual and taught myself to drive it.  I raced my motorcycle through Sabana Seca from the police to base so they couldn't pull me over.  I was the only female in my SERE school group.  I qualified on the S-3B Viking. That's who I was, that was the type of stuff I did.  I did stuff like that without asking questions and with no hesitation.  I had the mental and physical strength to back myself up.  Now I'm this scared, housebound weakling.  I don't know myself and that woman in that picture wouldn't like me now.


Confessions, Conversations, and Confusion

The purpose of this blog entry is to get some information out there that most of my friends and family don't know.  I've only divulged bits and pieces to certain people but very few know the full story and unfortunately, the ones that know the most, have chosen to ignore what's wrong with me which has really hurt me.  Please understand that I'm not looking for pity.  I'm just hoping that this will help everyone understand some of my actions, irrationalities, and odd behaviors.  I, by no means, have everything figured out and it's definitely a work in progress but I at least am getting a handle on things and am able to put a name to some of what's wrong with me.  This isn't the whole she-bang but enough to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with.  I guess I should start with what I know to be the beginning and also give my family dynamics for those that don't know.

I am the only child from my Mama and Daddy.  They divorced when I was three years old.  Mama moved to Kentucky, remarried when I was fourish to my stepfather Kevin.  They had four children to whom I was extremely close and we never considered ourselves to be half-siblings.  Daddy remarried my stepmother Surelle and they had John-David.

I've been told that Daddy was an alcoholic at one time but went sober before or when I was born.  I do know that he only drinks a couple of times a year and each time it's only one beer or one margarita.  On Mama's side of the house, it's a completely different story.  Alcohol and drugs have always been a part of our lives except for a short stint when Mama and Kevin became religious fanatics.  Substance abuse was something they genetically passed on.  I have memories as far back as two years old; memories such as Mama driving drunk in Daddy's car and hitting a mailbox while I was in the back in my carseat.  I can also remember sitting on a bar stool while Mama and Kevin were on the dance floor on one of their dates.

Before moving on, I think it should be noted that Mama and her sisters were physically abused by their father and sexually abused by their stepfather.  Their mother knew of all this.  This plays into my story as Mama's baggage became our baggage.

Growing up, we regularly visited Mama's sister's family.  She had a son my age.  Often, our other cousin was there and he was a year older.  Both cousins were named Chris.  There were other cousins but everyone was younger.  We all played together and watched TV.  When I was nine years old, or thereabout, the two Chris's molested me in Chris's bedroom.  While I never felt comfortable in that house nor around them ever again, I repressed the memory until a few years ago.  By the way, the younger Chris grew up to be a psychotic criminal and the older Chris went through some trouble but has straightened up.  I also should clarify that while I know something happened, the entire memory has not surfaced.  I didn't share any of this until I came home for Shadonna's funeral.  I was concerned that the Chris's would be there and I expressed this to Mama.  I decided it was probably time to tell her what happened.  Mama then told me that Shadonna had admitted to Noah, our brother, that the Chris's had raped her.  So, not only had my cousins managed to make me feel dirty and bad about myself, they took my sister's innocence and I couldn't protect her.  Why didn't she share this with me?  Now that these things have been brought out, I'm not sure if things are better or worse.  The older Chris denies anything happened.  Grandma (Mama's mother) doesn't believe it happened (surprise, surprise.)  Mama doesn't really want to deal with it because she's working on her relationships with her sisters, their mothers.

The days we spent growing up in Demossville, KY were not all good.  Mama suffered from her own depression and there were days we bore the brunt of it.  There were times I went to school with knots on my head from Mama banging it into the wall.  The times my siblings were left with me, I saw that side of my Mama come out in me and I would hit one of them.  So, I decided at a very early age I would not have children.  There's no way I was going to pass that on.  She still tells stories about beating Shadonna or Noah and laughs about it; laughs.  When I had to find homes for Junior, Lexi and Cisco, It was because I was going through a psychotic break and I was scared I was going to hurt them, I felt that dark side coming out again.  I can't tell you how hard it was to make that decision or how bad it hurt.

While we're on family, I might as well bring up my Daddy.  I grew up wanting nothing more than to be with my Daddy.  As a matter of fact, as soon as I was legally allowed, I chose to live with Daddy.  It didn't occur to me that I would need to ask or that he would not immediately say yes.  This really hurt me but I shoved it down.  And after thinking about it, he did say yes.  Daddy has never shown emotion.  Whether he meant to or not, he taught me to not show emotion.  He also taught to never ask for help; to be independent enough so that I would never have to depend on anyone else.  All of this, along with his actions and words led me to believe that emotions and things like depression were weaknesses.  Over the years, Daddy's inability to show emotion, his lack of emotional support, has hurt me, still does.  When I left home/got kicked out, he didn't even put down his paper.  Over the last several years, he's offered me no emotional or financial support even though I've been one night away from homelessness and I've lost my car among other things.  I made excuses for Daddy in my head until the last year or so.  I finally had to see him for what he is and my role is in his life.  Unfortunately, I'm not Daddy's girl.  He did pay for my plane ticket so that I could go to my sister's funeral but I have a feeling that was more Surelle's doing.  I have a closer relationship with Surelle than I do with Daddy.

Moving on, in high school, I was raped three times.  The third time was an abduction and I was threatened with violence.  I couldn't escape as there were no inner doorknobs, just deadbolts.  When I was let go, I couldn't go home because I knew I would get in trouble.  I knew Daddy and Surelle would think I was lying.  I went to Mercer to stay with some friends.  Of course, eventually, I had to go home.  I was made to think that the rapes were my fault.  So, I stuffed them way down; didn't talk about them again for a long time.

I've dealt with a lot of sexual harassment  from people I know and people I don't know.  It happened to me in the military and instead of my Chiefs correcting the issue, I would get moved to another division.  I was the one to be inconvenienced or indirectly punished.  I was never a "victim" type of person.  I was always strong, I never put myself in positions that put me in danger.  Yet , it seems I had a sign on my forehead that said  " Harass me please.  I enjoy it."  or  "Even though I'm saying I don't like you, I really mean I want you."

Let's leave the sexual trauma history.  As I've mentioned, substance abuse is a huge issue on my Mama's side of the house, including my siblings.  I'm the only one who hasn't had a problem with drugs or alcohol.  However, I do have Binge Eating Disorder which is an addiction in its own right.  This was set off, along with other mental health problems, when Nathan died.  Basically, up to that point, I had been using all my energy to function on a normal level everyday.  So, when Nathan died, I had no energy left to deal.  I spiraled down, hard.

Since then, everything that was shoved down has come back.  I won't bore you with details.  My current diagnoses are Bipolar, PTSD (sexual trauma), Personality Disorders (OCPD, Paranoid, Borderline), Binge Eating Disorder, Anxiety Disorder.  Some of this stuff has been there ever since I was a kid, it just wasn't apparent or it took a traumatic event (Nathans's death) to come out.  I can't hold down a job because of the personality disorders, there were major problems my last two years in the Navy but I didn't realize I was the problem until recently.  I've had several psychotic breaks and a few hospitalizations   I stay holed up in my apartment for the most part because of the paranoia, but a lot of times I even think someone is in the apartment.  Medication has managed my Bipolar from going to the extreme but I still have both depressive and manic episodes.  Unfortunately, my manic episodes aren't the happy, go really fast kind.  They're the angry, irritable kind.  My in betweens aren't extremely happy either.  We're working with lithium to see if that helps.  Luckily, my bingeing has been controlled by medication.  My dogs are service dogs.  I trained Miley to detect my panic attacks and to stop them.  I'm working with Hickory to anticipate my depressive episodes so I can head off the suicidal/homicidal ideations.  I get really anxious if I have to leave them.  I can't even walk down the street and forget riding the bus.

I've mended my relationships with my family on my Mama's side but the relationships have gone as far as they're going to go as there are still substance abuse issues.  My Daddy......I'm angry and hurt and I don't think he much cares.  It's difficult to find people who truly understand, especially considering it's difficult to explain a lot of these things.  Even when I try to explain things to doctors, they don't completely get it.  It's also hard to get across my workplace difficulties.

So, to reiterate, I'm not looking for pity.  I also realize there are people who have it WAY worse than I do.  I'm lucky in that I have Surelle to help navigate talks between me and Daddy even if I don't see much of a future there.  Surelle has been amazing in her roles as stepmother, friend, and support system.  I don't know what I would do without her.  I'm also very lucky to have an Aunt Nancy and a Gigi who were willing to step in and help me when I really needed it.  I have some amazing cousins, biological and adopted, who have shown a tremendous amount of caring.  Lastly, my friends have really been invaluable, surprising me around every little turn.  Facebook has definitely been helpful in keeping me in touch with all these people, even when I disappear.  :)