Since the pandemic began, I have been glued to the news and I have been SCARED. Yes, this disease is scary and yes, the world is a mess.
That is not what has been bothering me... THE BLATANT WAY THAT WE, AS A NATION, HAVE BEEN IGNORING THE FACTS... THAT SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME. So, I've been trying to scream from the rooftops. I have now had every person in my life tell me that I am getting too worked up and political. I have been told to calm down, just live my life, and try not to stress. I have been using my anxiety as an excuse for my behavior. Yes, I have anxiety, but so do millions of others. I discovered that as I use my anxiety as my excuse, I am making myself look weak and broken in other's eyes. I am being treated with kid gloves.
I AM NOT BROKEN, I AM A VERY STRONG 43 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO HAS EXPERIENCED MORE TRAUMA THAN MANY WILL EVER UNDERSTAND. I EMPATHIZE AND RELATE TO EVERY SCARED PROTESTOR. AS A MAJORITY, THEY ARE NOT PROTESTING AND LOOTING FOR THE FUN OF IT OR BECAUSE THEY ARE BAD PEOPLE. I cannot explain every person's story or say that there are no bad eggs, but I do know what pain looks like and I 100% UNDERSTAND INJUSTICE. WHY? BECAUSE I HAVE LIVED WITH INJUSTICE MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I have been the calm and responsible one since birth. I am very perceptive of other's emotions and needs. This is not always a good thing.... I am a fixer. When I see anyone struggling, I want to help them. I had a counselor ask me about 10 years ago if I thought I was God. No, I know I am not God, but I also have a ton of empathy when I see people struggle. Most people don't understand why I feel the need to see the good in others and help them. Honestly, there are times that I should have listened and saved myself. Those are hard lessons to learn.
I have been quarantined with my family for over a month now. I am a different person because of the experience. Holding in all of my pain and experiences to make everyone else feel better was actually causing more problems. Here's the deal.... intelligent people can tell when you are not telling the truth. As much as I wanted to protect them, I have been pushing away every person who has tried to get close to me for 40 years. Why? I'm afraid to get too close because I don't want them to hurt me. If I hold every person at an arm's length, they can never hurt me too bad. I jump to conclusions about people and cut them out of my life if they start causing drama. Why? I cannot handle any more drama in my life. So, when the drama begins, I run for the hills.... Clearly, I am not done with therapy....
Let's tell the truth about me (and I'm going to add the clinical diagnoses to help others identify with me).
Due to a series of unfortunate events, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 1994, I was trampled during an incident at Southern Illinois University (the National Guard was deployed and used tear gas to disperse a crowd) ... sound familiar? In 2001, I worked and lived in the financial district of Chicago on 9/11. After I finally evacuated my office building (at age 24) and walked home to my condo (which was a whopping 2 blocks away), I got to stare at my view of the Sears Tower and wonder if we were next. Most recently, Mike and I were inside the Mandalay Bay Casino on October 1, 2017 when Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert goers from his hotel window. After 12+ hours of running, hiding, and sheltering in the basement buffet of the Luxor Casino with an armed guard and hundreds of other scared people, we were allowed back into our hotel room to see our view.... his shot out windows and the remnants of the concert. All of these experiences earned me the PTSD stamp along with a medical marijuana prescription...
Maybe life isn't that bad? I've been able to smoke weed legally for a few years (and THANK GOD FOR MY MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD DURING COVID 19). I'm not trying to sound like a total pot head but how in the FUCK is anyone surviving this without weed? Is it just because I have PTSD or is everyone feeling this way?
That's the thing.... When you have your own issues, you just assume that everyone else is handling things way better than you are. You feel alone and you feel like there is something wrong with you. THIS IS WHY I AM BREAKING MY SILENCE ABOUT MY OWN STRUGGLES. I DON'T KNOW HOW I EXPECT ANYONE TO TELL ME THE TRUTH IF I PRETEND THAT I AM DOING GREAT. WE NEED TO LEARN TO LISTEN TO EACH OTHER AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. THIS IS WHY WE ARE PROTESTING AND ANGRY. WE'VE BEEN SCREAMING FOR YEARS AND OUR CRIES HAVE BEEN IGNORED. AND, WE ARE GOING TO LASH OUT AT TIMES IF NO ONE IS LISTENING TO OUR CRIES FOR HELP. THIS IS MY UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS HAPPENING. I AM A 43 YEAR OLD WHITE WOMAN WHO CAN COMPLETELY FLY UNDER THE RADAR, I CANNOT IMAGINE THE PAIN THAT I WOULD BE EXPERIENCING IF I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO FLY UNDER THE RADAR. IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO BLEND INTO SOCIETY... WHY DOESN'T EVERY AMERICAN ENJOY THE SAME PRIVILEGE?
I am sharing my story so that you understand why people are reacting differently to this insane time in history. Many of us are struggling with our own issues and injustices. THE PEACEFUL PROTESTORS ARE STANDING UP FOR CHANGE. MOST OF THE LOOTERS AND RIOTERS ARE ORGANIZED CRIME RINGS (BUT SOME ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE IN SO MUCH PAIN THAT THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO). I WOULD BE PEACEFULLY PROTESTING IF I DID NOT HAVE PTSD. THERE IS A LOT OF INJUSTICE IN THE WORLD. For now, I will continue to protest from my phone.
Please remember to be kind to each other. It is a very lonely time in the world. Most of us miss our "safe" lives, our friends, and our family members. Many of us are struggling to feel like ourselves most days.