Calamity

Here in the trenches it is hard to stop and pause. It has been a hellish couple weeks, but this past one takes the prize. I don’t ever remember things being this awful. I was already somewhat on my knees and then wham. Horses do stupid shit all the time. 1200lbs of nothing but trouble. Sometimes it is minor, a scrape or a bruise. Other times it goes from normal to catastrophic in no time at all.

This past weekend it was a typical early morning phone call, one of the horses wasn’t feeling well. She tends to have episodes like this, so I thought nothing of it. Just dragged myself out of bed and walked out to check her. She was very quiet, and indeed was sick. I gave her an IV injection of an NSAID to provide some relief while I figured out where the vet was at. After 30 minutes she still looked poor. hmmmm. Not her usual presentation. I’ve known this mare a few years, and she usually responds well and quickly. The vet would be out to see her, so I settled her in the stall and waited for the vet. Our regular vet wasn’t available, so another local vet came out. We like this vet, and though young she is very solid and bright. She set about trying to figure out what was going on with the horse. It didn’t look good. She placed a catheter in her neck and we started running many liters of fluids. With a colic like this horse we run 20L of fluids into them and evaluate again what is going on. The injection had brought her temp down and she was looking a bit better after the vet decompressed her stomach via NG tube. None of it made much sense, but we just set about making her more comfortable and seeing if she would respond to the fluids. We spent the day with her and carefully kept track of her vitals and she improved overnight. The large dose of antibiotics seemed to have caught it. a big sigh of relief. We continued fluids. The fever returned. Not a good sign. If they respond initially, and then get sick again it normally means the antibiotic chosen wasn’t effective, only slightly. She also began to show similar signs of colic. Here we are coming into Monday.

I’m trying to get some sleep before we start our hellish Monday- our part time help isn’t here. It is a trying day by all accounts. Just before 6 AM I am roused from a deep sleep by something shrieking just outside my window. It is an awful feeling to go from dead sleep to wide awake and running outside in your underwear. Apparently something had chased one of the roosters across the lawn and up onto the deck. When he flew up he wedged himself between the slats of the deck railing. There he was carrying on and we had to figure out a way to get him unstuck. One careful tug and the pissed off rooster was free. That is how Monday started, but it was only going to get better.

We started the usual feeding and turning out. Nothing out of the ordinary. I was rushing to try to get as much done before I had to leave for therapy. I finished mucking a couple stalls and did one last walk thru before I got in the truck. I made it as far as the end of the barn aisle. Our aisle is 126′ long. I was at the very last step when a god awful ruckus starts up at the other end. I know by the sound, that a horse has gotten itself stuck on the ground. They may a very distinctive noise with their hooves when they panic trying to get up. It was the noise of his feet on the stall wall that got us all running. We got to the horses as two of them run off into the indoor arena. One of the two is an older horse. He was in a panic. They roll their eyes back and you can see the whites clearly when they get alarmed. But this horse was well beyond alarmed. We got him into his stall and I began checking him for injuries. He had a number of abrasions and two baseball size lumps on his side. As I took his heart rate I watched these hematomas grow to cantaloupe size. Alarm bells were going off in my head. I’m looking at all the signs he’s showing me, and it is a bad scenario. I head to the phone to call the vet. She’s at the other end of the county and isn’t planning on getting to us until her scheduled visit that afternoon. I tell her what is going on and she say to give him an injection of pain killers and she will be there later. I go ahead and follow her orders. But somewhere in the back of my head that little alarm bell is still going off. I look at my watch and it is now 10. So much for session….ugh. I am pissed. I needed that session more than anything. Now I am staring at a horse I know is going to crash. I just know it. I’m not sure why, but my gut was telling me that. I stood watching him and realized there was no way he could wait until that afternoon. I call the vet back. She was out within a half hour. She looked at the horse and saw, what were now basketball size hematomas. She checked his vitals and went out to grab her ultrasound. We quickly prepped him and she started imaging his chest and abdomen. It immediately became clear why he was looking awful. He was bleeding into his chest. The trauma on the left side had broken his rib. The displaced fracture had damaged the lung. It was partially collapsed. We moved to the other side to see if blood could be found there as well. It was there, and also in the pericardium. This horse was in critical condition. She quickly placed a catheter and for the second time in a few days we were running fluids. The horse’s owners were in route. They arrived just as we finished up. His only hope was if the bleeding stopped. Our vet urged them to refer the horse to a clinic. They refused. She headed off to the next call. I sat watching the fluids run. That little alarm in the back of my head had been right, but I didn’t realize how right till a short while later. He collapsed shortly thereafter and there he lay. His owner sat on the ground holding his head. He was soaked with sweat, but ice cold. Classic signs of shock. His color was no longer sheet white, but closer to blue. Everything indicated he was dying. There was nothing I could do. I returned to the phone. The vet headed back. She checked him and suggested they euthanize him. They halfheartedly began to think about it. The vet asked “should I go draw it up?”. Don’t you know, the old horse got up! Never in all my years have I ever seen anything remotely like it. When horses look like that they die, or you euth them. They don’t get up, ever. So here we are with a horse that won’t quit. Over the few hours we stayed by his side and ran fluids. The clients had their own vet come out, and she examined him. None of the vets felt he would make it thru the night. So, we headed into the twilight with that knowledge much on our minds. We slept in the barn. As the night wore on he became uncomfortable. For horses we have some excellent pain medications that are fast acting, but very sedating. There are risks whenever you give an animal, or human medication, never mind IV, and never mind a compromised one. I headed into the stall, like I have done a thousand times before. It is nothing difficult, and nothing that bothers me. Some horses don’t like needles, but sick ones don’t usually bother putting up a fight. I gave him the sedative and returned to the office to draw up more painkillers. I returned to the stall and noted something was very amiss. He was behaving strangely and had started to stagger. This isn’t normal. The owner rushed to his side. Those little alarm bells were ringing again. I stepped inside the door of the stall only to see the horse start to fall and flip himself over. It is possibly one of the most horrible sights a horse person ever sees. more than a thousand pounds of animal completely out of control. I grabbed the owner and we got out of the way, barely. He landed heavily and lay there. Great, now I killed him. Of all the times for a horse to have an adverse drug reaction, now was not the time. Here was a horse we were trying to keep quiet, so he could clot and stop bleeding and he is bouncing off walls. It is also 3 AM and we are alone in a barn. We sat with him as he lay heavily sedated. Eventually he rolled and lay sternal. Okay I thought, we might survive this one. No sooner had I said that when he stood up. I was still thinking it was fine until he flipped over again. We all hear about horses doing things like this, but until you see it, you aren’t prepared. I realized then in that moment how much we take for granted. How many countless times I have injected exactly the same drug. No problem. But that night was different. Scary. My nerves were now so on edge. I wasn’t sure what the hell was going to happen. He stood again, mouth bleeding, head hanging. I think I actually started praying. and I don’t pray. The owner and I both stood outside the stall shaking. The sheer luck that we both had not been crushed was well on our minds. He remained quiet. I had to return to the stall to give the next injection, but believe me I was a bit worried. It was uneventful. Thankfully. The rest of the night and the next few days were countless rounds of changing fluid bags and monitoring vitals. It is still going on, so I’ll try and post again tomorrow…..

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Rage

There are times in life when you have moments when everything becomes so clear. In the midst of that moment everything falls away, time seems to just stall. This morning, as I fought with my partner, I saw the reality. and I saw the future. yeah, I know. we can’t predict the future. That is true, but when things are coming undone, the future looks pretty bleak. Between raging emotions, I saw in my mind’s eye, a future without her. It was so clear, so concise. Without some change, we are done. I know that, and it was clear she knows that. It was a sad moment. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, ’cause I did. This has been years in the making. Only spurred more quickly into reality by the situation we are living in. There was nothing left to be angry about, just resignation.

Over the past weekend we dealt with a sick horse, quickly escalating vet bills and no water. It would push anyone. For us it was just the last straw. In the chaos of dealing with the horse and the vet, I didn’t refill my one script. By this morning I was feeling that all too familiar edgy shaky feeling. My body doesn’t much like missing doses, and it is quick to argue about it. I was trying to get the meds and everything done with the horse and my partner said she was going out. I asked her to pick up my script. Well, a quick trip to get a bagel turned into a 3 hour jaunt. I rode, and did some barn work. As the third hour rolled around I was pretty close to twitching. Eventually she returned. She handed me a bagel, and said she was going to get my medicine. Well, I pretty much went bat shit. I was tired, anxious, and withdrawing from the meds, not a nice combo. She got the wrath of that mixture. There we were in the middle of the driveway, battle royale. It isn’t that we don’t ever fight- we do. A lot more these days as the stress eats away at us. But we don’t fight out in public, and we don’t often both get that wound up. She informed me she probably wouldn’t be there when I got back. Since I was then pissed and was going to get my own damn medication. It was there in that split second I saw it. Not even saw it, I knew it. My heart told me. We were done. Nothing short of a miracle is going to change anything. I left. Every last ounce of my being cried to run. To point that truck in any direction but home and drive until I could not go anymore. It has been a long time since I felt that way. It was a common coping mechanism in the long-buried past. But here, now? nope, it had been a very long time. In the back of my mind alarm bells were ringing. Had I exhausted my coping skills? Was I running out of ways to deal. My mind was grabbing onto old impulses, and poor options. To run isn’t an option. Where am I going to go? How can I possibly leave? I give a shit enough not to do that to her. But I was angry, and I was at my limit. I’ve been running in the red all weekend, and often for short stints over the past months. Yesterday, I stood in the barn aisle trying to get the cordless phone to properly seat on the charger base. Hasn’t been working, and it wasn’t in that moment. The rage that exploded out of me was remarkable. I stopped myself from demolishing that phone, charger and everything in sight. I stood stock still shaking with fury. I understood in that moment how people do things they regret. Why people just snap. I was completely and utterly blinded. There was nothing left of me- just the fury. I have no idea how long I stood there gripping that phone. I know my jaw was clinched  so hard I cracked a tooth. I was far beyond the realm of coping. It wasn’t just yesterday. I have seen hints of it. But today my brain told me to get as far from here as possible. I went to the gym. Hoping it would calm me, and center me. No, if anything I just became more wound up. Instead of being a place of refuge, it was repugnant. The blaring music grated against my nerves. My body refused to do anything. I was shutting down. All systems were not a go. I forced myself to try. I finally gave up and returned home. The closer I got to home the more my anxiety amped up. I wanted to turn right back around. Run far away.

I have nowhere to run. My life and my responsibilities are here. I need a breather. Each of these incidents is telling me it is getting worse. They are telling me loud and clear, find some room. Change something, fix something. If my brain is giving me all these warning signals I have to heed that. Because it may not be a cordless phone catching my rage next time.

Paralysis

I am realizing now how the daily stress and sheer immensity of the looming failure of this place has impacted us. It just slowly eats away. Everything else just falls away, pales in comparison. I am watching this progression and am so taken by the changes in us both. I try very hard to tell myself, it is okay, let it be. Move on. and most of the time I can get by like that. But there are days when the magnitude of what needs to happen crashes over me. I can barely breathe thinking about failing. This isn’t just “failing” a test, or flunking in school. Lives balance here, yes, I know they are animals. But it isn’t just the animals. It is my relationship, it is my partner’s sanity. The reality of it can no longer be brushed aside. No longer can good intentions and pollyanna optimism hold the tide. That is no longer an option. The relentless ringing of the phone as bill collectors chase us, or the daily choices of how to cut which corner that day. This morning I found myself looking at the art hanging on these walls, thinking what could we get for that painting. But in that split second I envision myself sitting in an empty house. Completely devoid of anything. It is crushing, right to my very marrow. When did it get so awful. When did everything go so very far off course. I never could have foreseen J losing all that money. As is often the case, I was blindsided. But here I am teetering on the edge. Trying so hard to get thru another day. I realize we aren’t even moving anymore- our stress and this situation has hobbled us both. There are a thousand things we could be doing, but we can’t seem to even function. Beyond the work here at the farm, we cannot climb out from under this. It goes so far beyond the $ and the bills. I goes to the very heart of what we started here. We swore, somewhere in our hearts to care. Each of these animals was brought here. We have tended to their needs, loved them and deeply bonded to them. Each and every one of them. Some so deeply they have become a part of us. How do you look at a creature you watched take it’s first breath and come to terms with losing it. Not because it is sick or dying, but because you have failed in your ability to care for it. That rests on our shoulders, it is unlike any pain I have ever felt. It is not something I can let my mind dwell on. I becomes so obvious why torturing myself for an hour at the gym is welcoming, but it only holds for so long. I have watched now, and it seems to be weekly I have a day or two when it just becomes unmanageable. Even running and hiding at the gym cannot make it go away, no matter how hard I push or how loud the music. It finds a way back in.

I realized when I woke up this morning I have been having the same dream, over and over. But it wasn’t until today that I realized that. It is so raw and brutal I can hard think about it.I am standing in a clearing, surrounded by the herd of horses we care for. Each lays dead at my feet, a single bullet hole between their eyes. Eyes that once followed me with love and trust, now sightless and fixed. The rich deep smell of gunfire lays in a haze over us. I look down and realize I am holding a gun, still hot and smoking. One round remains in the gun. I wake up.

I know I could never take the life of one of these animals. Perhaps if they were suffering immeasurably, but to walk up to an innocent horse and take it’s life. Perhaps it is just my subconscience grappling with losing them. To say goodbye is so daunting. I am looking for a way to come to terms with it in my dreams. It is still a graphic and disturbing dream. Maybe shaped by so many mass shootings, perhaps.

The fact remains, there will be loss. On an unimaginable scale. You cannot put so much into a place like this and not become attached. It isn’t an easy departure. It is that looming possibility that colors ever minute of our days. Every time she or I looks at one of these creatures we love so deeply, there it is. I can compartmentalized this only so far. I can hide behind a harsh exterior, and exclaim they are “only an animal”, but I fool nobody. Least of all myself. I can create distance, and make myself completely devoid of feelings most of the time, but on days like today it does crash back down on me. That is the problem with that coping skill, it doesn’t work, not for long, especially as the situation and the emotions grow more intense. Numb is a place I spend a lot of time, it is a skill I learned long ago. It allowed me to survive, but it also comes at a great cost. Especially now, when I understand the complexity of the emotions it masks. Back in the past, I knew nothing of what was there, just knew it was far too “bad” to experience. I know now it is beyond intense and painful. I know running from that, and hiding by cloaking myself in insensibility only increases the risk. Because there in the shadows those emotions just build, layer upon layer. It will come around eventually, when there is no place left to hide them. In that moment when the reality of what lies there piled in heaps comes clear that an end game becomes inviting. I cannot return to that. Instead I seem to understand that I have to look at these feelings, and even if it is just one day or two days a week, it is something I have to do. Maybe the dream is a function of my old coping mechanism finding a place to show itself. But I can’t imagine leaving this mess and all these animals with my partner. Would it be easier? sure, it would make the stress and the pain stop. It would only compound her suffering. I have my doubts she can handle this situation, as it is now. I doubt she could if I removed myself from the picture. Nobody wants to think about that. Least of all me. I have come such a great distance from where I was. It is not a time to revisit old behaviors, rather a time to explore new ones. Challenge this new-found strength and figure out a way to survive. I may not know how, but I can get through this. Even if it means having days like today, where I must spend some time bathed in the rawest of emotions. It is bad, and the situation is beyond trying. It is okay to feel this way. It is okay to suffer. In this suffering I can see how deeply I care, and how strong my bond is. This suffering only further highlights my capacity to love and to cherish, to hold these creatures dear to me, and to give a piece of myself to them. Yes, I can love and in return be loved. I am special, special enough to have the ability to create these bonds. There is a reason for my pain,, it is not in vain.

Sex….

So what is it that shapes our desires and our needs? Do our very earliest sexual experiences change how we develop? I think it is clear, as I told Beatrice today, the architecture of my sexual world was so skewed, so out of whack, it surely changed me. Whether it be the early abuse at the hands of my brother, or any of the other incidents that rocked my world. It scares me to even think about how deeply those scars go. It is hard enough to accept and move on from one episode of abuse or rape. How does one move on from so many? I seem to have found my way. Somehow, through all of this- here I am. But am I okay? Do my deep desires for violence and intimidation combined with sex cast doubt on that? Is that okay? I have always just accepted it. Never once thought I should change it.

It is pretty clear to me my mind has found a way to integrate that abuse, all of it, into my sexuality. I think a lot of people are aroused by fear, not all of them abused. It is an odd contradiction. How could something so terrifying be exciting? How could a person that has been raped view a porno film staged to look and sound like rape and get off on it? Is that odd? I don’t know what makes my mind work the way it does. I know our sexual tastes and desires stem from a very deep part of ourselves. Often times arriving unasked for and unannounced. For me it is much like someone flipping a switch. It either happens or it doesn’t. Why does another’s apparent fear and agony flip that switch? I don’t have an answer. It is easy to fall prey to the thought that it is “wrong” or “bad”. I don’t think of it like that. I don’t think I can expect my sexuality and its features to be “normal”. Where was normal? There was no normal, just that awful line of one disgusting episode after another. The timeline is heinous- but it was most intense as I was just on the edge of puberty. There in the dawn of my own sexual development I was violated. Both the abuse and ultimately sodomy by an acquaintance, and the rape at the hands of my brother.

I knew nothing of sex, beyond the porn my father watched. It was fascinating. I was in the dark, so to speak. But I knew what drew me in. Walking that edge, flirting with danger. I knew full well I should not have been trusting with the guy from the barn. I knew I should leave it alone, but I went with him. I let him do to me what he wanted. It wasn’t there in the “programming” to pull back and run away. I liked the fear, and the pain. It was alright, it gave me the feeling of being alive. I knew what he had done to me was wrong- every bone in my body knew. It is etched in the back of my mind. Me, as a young girl alone in the bathroom. Sitting knees drawn up watching the blood drop into the toilet. I was afraid, but I was alive. As the sensation of his fullness slowly evaporated, and the blood stopped dripping, my only thought was when can I do that again. Hurt me, harm me, hurt me, harm me, I have a purpose, I have a use. It is okay. I was so alone, desperately looking for something, anything. I wanted to die, but i found something that night. I found a spark. It was there, somewhere in the abyss. I know there is a time to run for safety. For whatever reason I didn’t. What safety was there to run to? It was a family in pieces, no safety in sight. I did not ask for what he did to me, but I let him do it. It happened, and it shaped me. Just as the incident with my brother did. So the question remains was there something there in me, something drawn to that fear and pain. Was there a fault in the programming? When I should have been running was I waiting?

When I walk down that path of memories, of each awful incident, I have to stop and wonder. How did I end up there? What is there in me that allowed me to become a victim? Not once, not twice….so, is it a fault in my ability to read the situation? Was I not seeing the danger? Was there something readable to others that pegged me as easy prey? or was it just bad luck? There are so many thoughts that go along with that. I am not talking about “asking for it”. Not like that, not in such a blatant way. I am more thinking along the lines of unspoken language, whether it be a look or a gesture. This goes both ways. Both sides. I know with the guy in HS I led him there, I just didn’t know he wasn’t going to back down. I misread what signals he was giving me. So, when I say I didn’t ask for it, I mean that, but I do know that it was me who went into a dark room with him. It was my handcuffs that bound us together. As I wrote about yesterday, I was trying so very hard to act the part, and fit in. I can’t help but sense this deeper part of me was looking for that powerlessness and that fear. I know, that paints a different picture. Not one I like to think about, but I know what lies there at the heart of my sexuality. Was I looking for that terror? It is just a question, not an answer. Flipping forward to the hospital and Stewart. He was reading something in me, or maybe he sensed a weakness. As I walk back in time and play that track in my mind, I was edgy and angry. I wasn’t reading the situation I was in. Those were unchartered waters. I don’t feel I led him in, not in a way I can put my finger on. I guess what stands out is multiple times prior to him coming to me that night was his constant attempts to come into my space. He was testing, and I had no idea. Another warning bell should have been going off. He was not alone in his pursuit. So, was I being pegged as someone to hurt? In hindsight, probably. That is where that programming, that danger signal in my brain just didn’t work. I’m not saying any of this was my fault. Far from it, but something is amiss up there. If at first approach I had turned away his advances he probably never would have come into my room. But that is done, and like I have said before, I survived. But it has changed me. Not just in terms of sexual turn ons, but in terms of vigilance. From a place of ignorance and oblivion to one of hyper awareness. I constantly read the people in my environment, not just what they look like, or what they are saying. It goes well beyond that. Far deeper into the subtle nuances of expression and stance. It was an education learned the hard way. Despite my arousal by fear, and my endless fantasies about violence, I don’t want to be a victim again. Far too many instances in my not so long life. I think I have come to understand much about how it shaped me, and I also know how it makes me vulnerable. Hence the vigilance.

So, for some it is just sex. For me it is much more than that. With it comes years of experiences, both good and bad. I know what makes me excited, and I know it isn’t what many people like. Most of all my partner. Is there a way to somehow bridge that gap? Is there a way to “feel it” without it having to be so out there on the edge? There are so many questions out there, so much to figure out. But it is late, and this will have to wait for another entry…..

Wet Paint

So the mother has decided she needs to help around the farm. From where she parks the first thing she starts in on is the barn door. It does need to be repainted. We know that. If we actually had $ for paint, and the time to do it, it wouldn’t be looking that bad. Well, here we are day 3 of the mother work project. Of course, she can’t do this on her own, since much of it involves standing on a ladder. The door is about 20′ high. Well, I have been roped in to paint the damn door. The painting isn’t so bad. The listening to my mother, that’s a whole nother story.

For whatever reason my mother randomly talks about shit from the past. It never fails. I never know when I might get blind sided, but it tends to happen. Today I was minding my own business, quietly standing balanced way up on a ladder. She decided she wanted to talk about my brother. No big deal, this is the frequent topic of conversation these days. He is living with her while waiting for a court date. It begins with her talking about the guy who abused him. The trip to Newfoundland and details that I had not heard before. Here I am 20′ off the ground holding a paint can. Not exactly an easy time to make a getaway. I sensed she would soon move on to me, she always does. I tried to focus on the painting. Mindfully paint, I told myself. But it didn’t much matter. “I wanted to kill him” she says. I know this. I know she was very angry when she found out what he had done. She paused for a bit. I hoped she would move on to something else, since I wasn’t offering up any response. “It’s in the past now” I finally said. She paused, brush mid stroke. “Your sister said you were both drinking”. I honestly felt the world sway. For a minute I thought I might just fall off the damn ladder. I closed my eyes and tried to right myself. My brain was racing, along with my heart. I turned my mind back to that night looking for any evidence that I too was drunk. I see nothing. I think harder. I still get nothing, I can’t place where we were in the hours that led up to it. What happened? Why cant I remember…. I turned to her, ” I was a kid mom, I wasn’t drinking”. Is that the truth? I don’t know the answer…I don’t know where she is getting the information. I don’t know where my sister got the information, unless from my brother. It goes against his claims of remembering nothing. Do they all know more than they say? Is this discussed behind my back? What has he told them? Is that how they justify it? Oh, they were both drunk, it isn’t as bad….There I stood searching for any clue. My mind blank and dumb. Where did the memory go? Where is it? Why the gap?

She continued painting. Not a minute later- “You always said he’d come in your room and rape you”. I racked my brains and tried to place that. I don’t recall ever saying that to her. I wasn’t even sure from what time period she was talking about. All I wanted was out of this conversation. I didn’t ask her to specify. There was a lull, and I tried to bring my mind back to painting. Anything but the thoughts that were going thru my head. I don’t have flashbacks, not like I used to. It plays like a silent film. It is there, but it doesn’t connect. So there I stood, up on that ladder, my mind a million miles away. Somewhere caught on a night in 1987….

I didn’t ask for that, and I never sensed it was coming. I know I run the risk every time she opens her mouth. She can’t help herself. It is where she goes, and what she revisits. It is as if the past is so much a part of her present. I can’t imagine trying to live like that. To never let go of anything. I try so very hard to leave that all behind. I can’t function today if I am buried in yesterday. I can’t be tethered to it like that. Sadly, she is. In spending time with her, I too must brush against it. I don’t like what I saw today. I don’t understand the gap in the timeline. I. for the life of me, can’t narrow it, or even fill some in. It leaves me anxious and sad. That mixed with a healthy portion of anger. I never asked for this,not back then and not today.

It is inevitable, I have to revisit that night. I was waiting for the right time, but there is never a right time. I think I’m okay enough to do that. I’ll write about it, maybe the gap will lessen. So much for leaving that dog to sleep.

HS

I have had many thoughts about high school since my last post. I guess it is kind of predictable. I do feel different having written about that night back in the early 90’s. I cannot even begin to explain the lack of judgement or my actions. I guess part of that is just being a teenager. They all seem to have pretty questionable judgment. I know I did. I think a lot of it has to do with the dynamics of the group, and the class. My high school was so small there was no blending in, no hiding. There were 50 or so in my graduating class. The school K-12 was under 800. I know we all did what we had to belong. That was the key to not getting bullied and not being singled out. Athletics were the other key to fitting in. I was blessed that I could compete. I had track in spring and soccer in the fall. That was good enough to allow me access to the jocks. Our school had a very strong soccer program, and we did well. It was a good group, but we did like to party. Then again all the jocks did. The outcasts were the “smart” kids. Scary thought. There was no glory in getting good grades. But a great soccer season, different story. I didn’t care much about my school work. I didn’t think I was all that smart, so why bother. When I met C, I saw someone engaged and learning. She was quiet and studious, but held her own. I never remember seeing her bullied, though I am sure she was. She was as if someone had torn a page out of some lost archaic text. Everything about her was so different. I don’t think anyone ever knew what to make of her. Even the teachers. I also met K, another super smart girl. They showed me a very different side to the endless chest beating and posturing that went on amongst the jocks. It was ok to be smart and give a shit about how you did. They both changed me. C graduated well before me, but K and I remained friends till we left for school.

Soon after I arrived up there, into this close-knit community, I found one refuge. When I was lost, or bullied I’d disappear into my art. The art teacher seemed to understand this and always allowed me to hide there. His open door policy helped me survive those first years. I was the outcast. They all closed ranks when I arrived. Most of these kids had been born there and grew up together- I mean kindergarten on up. They were locals. I was an outsider.

Worse yet, my mother drove a mercedes. Dear lord, you would have thought it was a scarlet letter. I mean, it was just that awful. We lived way outside of town up on a mountain. Miles from most neighbors, save a few farmers. Nobody could understand it. They all tried to figure out who this rich single mother was, and why she had picked their little town to drop anchor. But my mother just went about her business. She could care less. She lived like a hermit up on that hill. and I unfortunately had to interact with the locals at school. There’s a derogatory term most city people use for them, “woodchucks”. I learned all too well why the label. They weren’t all bad, just the product of a very close private world. Not much outside influence for many years, and few if any outsiders. I know, sounds rough. It was a rough entry for me. Endless days spent just trying to get through. Countless evenings spent crying. I was so lost. I needed someone to breakdown and let me in.

It took a while, but eventually they tired of tormenting the rich girl. I’m not sure what they saw, or how I kept on going up those steps everyday. Eventually they did let me in, right into those vicious circles that tormented me. I was so grateful, I never held it against them. Anything to just be ok, to be like everyone else. It didn’t matter to me that I had to act the part, and do stupid shit. It never dawned on me to say no, to be smarter and wiser than the stupid antics. When they drank, I drank. When they did drugs, I did drugs. Anything to just stay in the group. More than one raucous evening it was demolishing mailboxes. Yeah, what fun. Drinking, driving and a baseball bat all go so well together. We got caught, but for whatever reason the dates they were investigating happened to be while I was away in FL. They let me go. It isn’t any fun getting interrogated by cops, and yes they do try to intimidate you. We were quite the crew. I don’t think anyone ever fessed up. Nobody would ever rat on anyone else. That is an unspoken code.

As we moved into the end of our sophomore year some began to focus a bit more on the future, and maybe getting out of that little town. But most kept right on going, as if they would forever be haunting those woods. We got older, and bolder. The bonfires got bigger, and the parties more reckless. There would be times I’d have no recollection of getting home- I’d just wake up in my bed, or more often the bathroom floor. Nobody gave a shit. Even when friends got killed. We all just kept right on doing what we did. Hell, we’d go to S.A.D.D meetings at school and fundraise, only to drink and drive that weekend. I think K was one of the smart ones, I don’t remember her being as idiotic as most of us. She did come to parties, but just never behaved that way. She was accepted regardless, her family was one of good and long standing in the town. She didn’t have to fight to keep her place. She was always an old soul. She’d roll her eyes and pester me in home room about the antics. She pushed me to apply myself and do better. I did. My art began to take shape. I lost myself in the process. Whatever medium I was given it sprang out of me. Uncalled upon, never taught. I began to harness that, and push myself. I created a decent portfolio. Good enough to apply to Cornell. My grades got better. I started to feel better about myself. I didn’t have to hide. I was the one they all looked at in awe. The one that could be bent over a canvas and unleash something unreal. It was remarkable. I found my muse. Soon after my art started to develop, I began to see I could write. I’m not talking about writing an essay, or a paper. I mean putting words to a page, in a weird trance like place. I could disappear into my head and just let the words go. It is a place I often drift to when creating. Whether it be art, or writing. It is as if it is all there, untapped somewhere in my head. It just needs to be found. I would sit to paint, or sculpt, or write and hours would pass. I never once stopped, or paused. I just did. When I finally did stop it would be in disbelief of what I had done, and of how much time had elapsed. By my senior year I had completed a novel. It’s kicking around here, somewhere in a box. But, I understood then. I understood there was this reservoir in me, I didn’t know yet what that was. I didn’t have any idea, I just knew I had potential.

In tandem with that was the sports. I could hold my own, and I could lead my team. There was nothing I liked more. We were a close group. My soccer team was a good one. For such a little school, we held our own. Even within our league, most of the other schools were quite a bit larger. That was fine with us. We just had to be tougher, and faster. We played harder and fought longer. We were a family. I can still conjure up the feeling of those awful polyester uniforms, and those countless games played in the freezing cold and mud. I think we all loved it, and that made a difference. We trusted each other. That field was our battle ground, and if an opponent wanted to score it was going to be over our dead body. Yeah, we were just that focused and driven. Our coach liked it that way. The tougher the better. She was pretty old school. If she told you to sacrifice yourself, well you damn well better have. I still have days in the fall where I dream about those games and those glimpses of glory.

I am thankful to have found my art, and sports. I think without those it would have been a far bleaker picture. Had I not met C and K, I never would have stretched myself to apply to Cornell. Were it not for a wonderful understanding art teacher, who bent the rules and gave me solitude, I don’t know what might have been. For a path that started out so rough, it ended in a fine way. I don’t regret any of it. I do wish we had all been a bit smarter about our choices, and not been so foolish with our lives. Living where I am now, I occasionally run into high school friends. It is always a weird walk down memory lane. I was pumping gas a few months back. Completely lost in a daze, thinking about something. When I looked up, I realized someone was talking to me. It took me a moment to place her, but there was my team-mate from those soccer years. Now worn and aged, a tired mom, working at the grocery store. I prefer to remember her running on that field, and defending her half like a brute, with a hell of a leg. Think that’s where she’ll stay in my memory. Like most of those years, I remember what is best, and leave the rest behind.

Politics and a hard right turn….

I really thought I’d never bring politics into my blog, but I really can’t help myself. I can’t even begin to fathom how Atkin is even holding a political office, let alone be a senate candidate. Unreal. His comments were just unbelievable. Even your average person shouldn’t really say idiotic crap like that. To be a person in political office. Don’t they have handlers? Seriously, even a lowly aid might have been able to tell him to shut up. I just can’t even wrap my head around it. I was disappointed he didn’t resign. I really don’t find it surprising though. There are many conservative republicans that would alter the fabric of women’s rights if given the chance. It is a scary thought. Roe v Wade hasn’t directly impacted my life, but I have been a companion for a number of friends while they exercised their right to have an abortion. It was very unpleasant, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine just how unpleasant it would be in a back alley. Or how awful it would have been for those friends had they not had a choice. So, when people bitch and carry on about the state of the country it could be far worse, especially for women.

On another note this week, just read an article about pedophiles seeking the same treatment as homosexuals. Their argument is that if many people feel homosexuality is unatural and sinful how is it any different from pedophilia. Ugh. Not a pretty thought. I am blessed to be accepted by my family and friends. I have rarely if ever seen outright homophobia. Sadly, most people have a very different experience. Their lives are filled with hate and they are bullied mercilessly. Growing up I did everything possible to “look” straight. It was difficult. It often felt very strange. I was playing a part, not living a life. Not that I wasn’t bullied. I was, just for different reasons. There were no openly gay students in my small school. Heck, there was only one black kid. It was very redneck, in a lot of ways. The school was off first day of deer season, since nobody would show up. Nothing against rednecks. It was just a very different culture. It wasn’t a place to step out of line. Never a place to be different (not too different). So, I tried to be as straight as possible. I put myself in bad situations, ran with a pretty wild crowd. The drinking and drugs were very much a part of that time in my life. I was doing anything to fit in, even if it meant taking risks. When I look back on my high school years I cannot fathom I survived them. I drank and drove, I did drugs and drove. It was not a one time thing. It was something that was common place amongst the students. For every graduating class we lost at least one student to drinking and driving. It never even made us stop and think. Because it was so rural often times we would party way out in the woods. Easy to have a party without cops or parents, but bad because we had to drive way out there (and somehow get home). I count my lucky stars I didn’t kill myself or someone else driving like that. I made it through unscathed.

Though my straight antics got me in trouble. It was fueled by the drinking and the drugs and my desperate attempts not to be outed. I never thought it would happen to me. I never even paused to think about the position I was putting myself in.

Handcuffs were an interesting choice in party fun. I figured, no problem. I can do this. As the evening went on and we all got progressively more intoxicated. No biggie, this was the norm. When I got handcuffed to him it barely registered. The cold steel shackled me to him. He was a pretty big guy, football player jock type. Somewhere in my head I thought, great this looks good to anyone watching. I didn’t have a boyfriend, so I had to hook up with someone eventually. He was pretty drunk and was very much aware he had me. His demeanor changed. It was his mission from there on out to go somewhere alone. Everyone was pretty well hammered by that point and were all chanting for him to get it “done”. He knew what he wanted. I was actually sober enough at that point to realize there was a good chance I’d end up alone with him. Within 30 minutes we were in a bedroom. I had stopped drinking and was working hard to figure out who had the keys to the cuffs. Nobody was fessing up. When the door closed behind us, they all just kept right on partying. In that bedroom I now had a big guy with one thing on his mind. I was talking a mile a minute trying to get myself out of this mess. He backed me up against the bed. My heart was going like a jackhammer. A cold sweat had started to pour off me. Even with the drugs and the alcohol my brain knew this was a bad situation. I didn’t want to look like a complete idiot, still acting in the final minutes. I knew he’d share his conquest with the entire school. I didn’t want to freak out, though I was quickly approaching panic. We were still handcuffed together. I dropped to my knees in front of him, my hand reaching for his zipper. Hoping I could get him to slow down, or even back off. I remember hearing myself tell him I’d give him a blow job, but I didn’t want to have sex with him. He never even paused. He had one thing in mind, a blow job wasn’t what he wanted. He picked me up off the floor and tossed me onto the bed. It was all I could do not to start screaming, but somewhere in the back of my mind, some idiotic voice kept telling me to shut up. To just let him get it over with, nobody would think I was weird if I slept with the football guy. But I was panicking. I wanted nothing to do with the voice in my head, or to act the part. I wanted to be anywhere but in that dark room with music blaring outside. In those next few seconds he moved his cuff to the bed frame. It didn’t even compute in my panicked brain that I was now chained to that bed. There was nowhere to go. I had scrambled back against the headboard when I suddenly realized I wasn’t attached to him. He seemed amused by the “chase”, and I quickly understood I wasn’t going to get away from him. I remember becoming so very still- I guess thinking it would all be much easier somehow if I didn’t struggle against him. If I just held very still I might be able to make it all go away. He had my other wrist pinned anyhow, I wasn’t going anywhere. Despite my body being still, my mind was anything but. Thoughts were racing thru my head like wildfire. I was already thinking what next, what is going to happen if he gets me pregnant. What the fuck am I going to do. I have to get out of here. He ran his hands over my breasts, smearing his sweat and spit on me. There was no getting out of it. I knew it then. He lowered himself over me. I smelled the sickly sweet odor of alcohol and pot mixed with his sweat. He was panting, saliva running down his chin as he pulled at my pants. So very rough as he clawed down my underwear. He was almost frantic. I got my hand free and pushed against his chest. I said no….I don’t know how many times. The tears ran freely and a scream caught silently in my throat as he rammed his fingers inside me. I felt the burn of bile in the back of my throat. His full weight came down on me and I struggled to breathe. I couldn’t catch my breath. He was too heavy. That was far more terrifying than his pounding into me. There was no pain, only the desperation to find air. I could think of nothing else. His forearms held me down. I felt his breath catch in his throat, a groan. He came hard against me and then stilled. If there was one saving grace to that night, it was that he was finished quickly. He lay there for a moment. I was still fighting to breathe. I pushed him hard with my now free hand. Darkness was beginning to edge in and I thought I was going to pass out. He rolled off and I coughed and fought to regain my breath. I was wet with tears. His sweat and semen clung to me. The pain that was absent now ached and throbbed. He grinned, all happy and proud of himself. “Now you’re fucked”. I looked around and realized I was still bound to the bed. My thoughts were racing again, oh fuck, what if he brings his friends in, they are all going to rape me now…. I was lucky, he didn’t want to share his conquest. Well not with his football buddies. He did share with the entire school. Yeah, learned a good lesson. About humiliation, and about victimization. He had left the handcuff key on the pillow beside me. I curled myself into a ball and brought myself to terms with what had just happened. I had to get myself back together. There was a house full of people, mostly drunk, but still. I had to make this all disappear. IT never happened. I drew myself up and willed myself not to throw up. I made it to the end of the bed and uncuffed myself. I pulled loose the sheet and wiped his remnant from me. I held those steel rings in my shaking hand and realized how very stupid I had been. The worst part of it, they were my cuffs….

We all take risks in life. Some far more idiotic than others. I look back on those years of my life, and my desperate attempts to fit in. I realize how much I gave up, all for a fake image. I let that guy rape me, never said a word. All so that they would think I was like them. Just another straight kid. I shudder at the thought of how many others there are out there doing exactly the same thing. Terrified of being outed. I survived that night. The month or so that followed was pretty awful, as he did tell the entire school about his conquest. I didn’t know it initially. this was before cell phones and twitter and FB. It took a little bit to get things going. The next day there was a school-wide assembly. After the 4 or 5th person turned around to stare I knew exactly what was going on. I don’t think I’ve ever left a room so fast in my life. There is such cruelty in humiliation. There I sat, on the bathroom floor. Having just thrown up. Without laying a finger on me, he had just raped me all over again.

But, like I said, I survived. I often wonder about my choices in life, if you could call them that. I don’t think I could be with a man. I have known violence and violation. I have consensually slept with a man. A kind and gentle soul that showed me they weren’t all monsters. But I can’t help but think it shaped my sexuality. The scary thing is how deeply it did.

Each of us has something that turns us on. For me it is violence. The rougher the better. Bondage included. There is nothing about women having sex that arouses me. But show me a woman tied up and being worked over by a guy- bang. I don’t even have to see it, just hear her pleading or cry out. I’m not the only one, since there is some vicious hardcore porn out there. Weird eh? yeah, my past has shaped my sexuality. It has shaped what excites me. I can’t help but imagine how different it might be without the abuse, and the rapes. I guess our brain does things to protect itself. I cannot fathom how something graphic and violent can be arousing for me, but it is. I just accept that. I don’t think it will ever change. I like that split second when my body starts panicking looking for oxygen. That fight and spark. It is always there. I know what it feels like and I like it. When I think back to that night, or the night with my brother to those minutes pinned beneath. The struggle and gasping desperate attempts to breathe. Doing everything in my power to not let go. It has left its mark on my soul. Not just my mind but my soul. I’m sure there is some deep psychological theory on all this. Violence, pain, loss and abandonment created who I am today.

So here a blog post that started with a comment on republicans and pedophiles took a hard right turn. Didn’t see that coming.

Long long day

Well it has been one heck of a long day. the kind that your actual bones feel tired at the end of. The barn work has a way of wearing you down. It is repetitive, cleaning and mucking out stall after stall. It feels good to get it done, and somehow calming while doing the work. I doubt I could hold up to it everyday. Nor could my partner. It would probably be too much. We have always had at least one guy working for us. At full capacity we had 3 fulltime guys, and two part time people. The main reason is just the amount of physical labor there is. Everything from the barn work to the property maintenance. I am worried again as time slips closer to Fall. We move closer to losing our part time guy. We really can’t afford him anyway, but his returning home to Mexico in November will make for a very rough winter. He’s burnt out, and we end up having to do a lot of things he skips. I don’t have the heart to get rid of him. He’s been with us so many years now. I’m burnt out. I can only imagine how he feels. this job is a tough one.

so, there are a lot of reasons I am dreading the change in seasons. This just adds one more. I really do not think we can physically do all the work he does. I know for me I won’t be able to stand up straight for a couple days. When they say work is back-breaking, this fits that description. and I am fit, and in close to the best shape of my life. If I can’t do this work now, how am I going to do it down the road? No different for my partner. Only difference is she can’t live on Advil. I can get away with it some days, but I can’t really live on it either. There is much worrying me these days. Being unable to stand up straight for the first hour or so after I get up is the least of these worries.
It is just endless…..have to get to bed. A tired body doesn’t do a worrying mind any good.

Elephants

(© John Chaney/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Elephants are the most remarkable creatures. This picture shows an elephant standing over the carcass of a dead member of the herd. Just standing to ward off the jackals. There are many who feel they mourn their dead in a very specific manner, and often do spend time with the remains. Sometimes touching them or like this elephant, holding the tusk. I have never quite understood why I am so moved by them. or why stories and photos of their abuse send me right over the edge into a very visceral place. When this photo started making the rounds on FB, I felt I wanted to write a bit about it. There is no way to know if the story that accompanied the picture was true. Though this is indeed an elephant standing over a lost one. This was the comment placed next to the picture

Good Bye Old Friend
Elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion. The elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals. From a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace. She was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephants tusk. She stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend.

When people write about animals, many apply human emotions. The worst offenders are probably the animal rights activists. I don’t often agree. I don’t know that we have any idea what animals “feel” or don’t feel. I think they do form strong bonds. They can feel pain and fear. The herds of elephants I observed in Africa did have a very clear hierarchy. That is no different from a herd of horses. I have never seen a horse mourn another. Not in an outward way, like the image above. Though people claim their horses mourn. Guess ours just were not that attached to the ones we have lost. The only thing close is when a mare loses a foal. They will spend time with the dead foal, and stand over it. Sometimes touching, but most of the time just standing nearby. There are some that would label that mourning. I think it may be more likely there is an instinctive process going on. A mare is so driven hormonally and by a very deep evolutionary drive to protect. I don’t think in that early period she can figure out what to do. But, since they can’t tell us what they are feeling, I can’t rule out mourning. I cannot say it is either. and I wonder why we have a hard time raising money 😉 I can’t put human emotions onto my animals. I can’t write these long drawn out stories that have you crying- like those damn ASPCA ads with Sarah Mclachlan singing in the background. If that doesn’t get people opening their purses, I don’t know what will.

But back to the animals and their emotions. I think due to their intelligence (studied and published about) elephants may well have some sort of mourning process. Just as is seen in primates. Their strong family bonds are broken when one passes away. They as a herd, or group, deal with that. Can I say they are sad? no.  Are they feeling a loss, yes. Because there is an actual loss. I guess I am saying, I am at a loss, until someone proves otherwise. I think animals can suffer. Just as we suffer. I know they feel pain and fear. I have seen horses exhibit severe neurotic habits, such as self-mutilation, when kept poorly and abused. They also can display repetitive movements, which they will do when confined, anxious, or stressed. They react to stress in some ways like humans- ulcers. It is clear they do experience some of the same things we do. But, that is as far as I will go. Guess that is the product of being raised in a very pragmatic an animal is an animal and a human is a human- they are not the same- way. I don’t think that will change. It is the reason I still eat meat. I am very well aware of the horrors of factory farming. Though I cannot go that extra step and lay sweeping blankets of human emotions on animals in that system. Don’t get me wrong. I cannot stand how animals are kept and slaughtered in our current factory farming system. It is unthinkable. I do think the system should be altered to make it more humane. But that is very different from assigning human emotions to a sow in a gestational crate.

Animals are extremely complex creatures. The ones with the highest degrees of intelligence, like the elephants, being the most complex. I do wish there was a way to figure out if they were indeed experiencing emotions like we do. I think somewhere down the line it will be studied and figured out. Till then, they are just animals. I know that sounds awful harsh. And it is. But I cannot fathom the suffering being endured on a regular basis if they do, in fact, experience all the emotions we do.

hmmmm..

One of the bipolar bloggers posted this image on FB a few days back. At first glance my brain initially thought it was a commentary on the ongoing battle about gun control. A “rationing” of bullets to control the gun situation. But it dawned on me, given who was posting it, that this was a comment about suicide. Is a bullet the best treatment? As it is shown here in a medication package. I know there are a lot of bloggers out there, and many people I have met, that are very hopeless about bipolar. I know it can seem pretty grim sometimes. Sure, it can be awful and scary and yes, deadly. But, I don’t think it is completely hopeless. It is not a just put a bullet in your head type of dx. I often wonder what the future holds. It scares me to think of my life being somewhere in the same vein as the last 15 years or so. It would be pretty tough. It isn’t any fun going into the hospital, and having all your freedoms taken away. It is harsh and eye-opening. It is not however a reason to throw in the towel now. So if we look further into the image it may be a comment on meds as poison- possibly as lethal as that bullet. This one is a little closer to home. I do worry about what a lifetime of drugs is doing to my body. I am not a health nut, granola head by any means. I like my meat, and I like my junk food. I don’t think you’ll ever catch me drinking wheat grass smoothies and eating tofu. Sorry, no can do. I do however make an effort to keep myself healthy. There is no way to know what these drugs are doing. I don’t think anyone can tell us that. When I look at the meds like seroquel with massive weight gain and possible metabolic disorders it is scary as hell. If that doesn’t drive a person to the gym I don’t know what will. In that case, sure I see the drug as poison. But I also know that it works. For me it provides a descent into mindless sleep. When everything is coming apart, I know that the white pill I take at night will get me thru till the morning. Wish everything was that straightforward. The rest of it is a bit more hit and miss. I truly don’t know if my body will tolerate this chemical onslaught for the rest of my life. I guess things may change. Medication will advance, gene therapies may develop. Bipolar and depression may not be so difficult to treat years down the road. I do hope for a brighter tomorrow. There will never be a magic bullet. I think it may always be an uphill climb. But, I cannot help but wonder, what are all these drugs doing? Few months back I read an article about how bipolar does not respond to lithium like it once did. The author felt it was due to many people being treated with antidepressants. This had somehow changed the brain chemistry, and had made the lithium less effective. Who knows if this is in fact plausible. It does, however, kick off that little voice in my head, that wonders just what this crap is doing to my brain. I will never be the person I was when my virgin brain was first assaulted by medication. It is however obvious, that I would not have survived without some sort of intervention. In my case, it was medications. I don’t think I have the option of just throwing them out the window, and cursing them as the bane of my existence. I know it would probably cause an extreme upheaval, and would cost me dearly. I may hate these medications, but I am not giving up on them. The stakes are just to high.

In reading the comments below the image posted by the blogger, it became really obvious just how different people see that image. Some really did not like that it was posted. That a blogger had a responsibility to the audience- especially a mental health blogger. That there was the power if suggestibility. I disagree. If seeing an image of a bullet causes someone to kill themselves, it was not the bloggers fault. That individual was clearly well on the way to suicide. I think there is a line. I think that yes, there is some stuff that is very triggering and difficult. This image isn’t that. Others felt that it was a very powerful picture, and they reacted much as I did. Some had the very same reactions I did. I wasn’t alone it thinking bullet rationing. Others went off on rants about suicide and each persons rights. Others repeated the same thing we have all been spoon fed from day one- a permanent  solution to a temporary problem. What followed was quite remarkable. Many did comment on living with mental illness. The daily grind, the raging emotions and the damage it does to the loved ones and family. Many questioned how that could be considered temporary. There is some validity to that argument. Is it really temporary? Is the suffering brief? no, there is nothing brief about this suffering. Yes, it does ramp up into massive heights and horrid lows. In those moments nothing seems temporary. It seems forever. Especially when it happens over and over. Once is bad enough. Repeating is without a doubt the very worst part. There is that time in the middle where the waiting sets in. The nagging feeling that the sky will fall eventually. It lingers there in the back of the mind. Always nagging. If that bad day comes along it immediately sets off the thoughts- uh, oh…here we go. is this going to start again. how bad will it be? how low will it go?how high will it go? where will the free fall stop? In that moment it is real easy to panic. That is what this disease does. It is so insidious in just how deeply it can crawl into your psyche. In that split second that is when that bullet in pill packaging hits home. It is there when all those people’s comments make sense. It isn’t temporary. There is nothing about this that is temporary. It is forever. I can’t hope and pray and voila tomorrow my brain works normally and all my neurotransmitters balance themselves. It doesn;t work that way. There is no cure, no easy way out. Well, unless you consider that bullet, or some other method. I could hear the desperation in these people’s comments. Those that lost someone to suicide, and those that were struggling along. What is so very clear is how horrible this fucking disease is, and how many people are out there deciding a bullet is better than meeting those ever-present moments of panic and the weeks, months and sometimes years of suffering. I understand that. It is so very sad that I can understand it.