Posts tagged ‘mental illness’

One Down

My father died last Saturday. My friend John in Indiana was kind enough to send me a link to his obit.Heinrich Paul Huster

My previous posts about my family history prompted a lot of distant “lost” family members to contact me to tell me something along the lines of “Hey, I’m related to you, I found you! Tell me what’s going on with your dad/mom/family!”

I was pretty short in my answers if I answered at all, mostly because I didn’t want to say anything specific about them until the time was right. Now that my father has passed away, I want to tell you about him.

I haven’t talked to my family in about 15-20 years. The reason is my parents.

My parents were monsters. I was beaten and terrorized until I escaped home.

My left eye is lower than my right eye because my left orbital socket was broken and was never healed right.

I have physical scars that I’ll carry to my grave.

Spinocerebellar AtaxiaWhen I started getting MRI’s for my SCA (Spinocerebellar Ataxia), one of the things that showed up in the scans were scarring in the brain from childhood head traumas. The SCA is a death sentence. The scarring is a contributor.

Here’s some other highlights from my childhood:

Once, I didn’t want to finish my dinner. My father threw my food onto the floor and forced me to eat it off of the floor on my hands and knees.

He’d purposely would beat me black and blue from my neck down so the bruises wouldn’t show up where teachers would notice.

I remember being dragged out of hiding from under the couch for my beatings, and can still feel the carpet under my fingernails as I clawed at it, screaming for help.

I’d be locked in the closet or the bathroom with the lights out, and if I turned on the lights, I’d get dragged out, beat senseless, and thrown back on. I’d lay on the tile floor and sob. I remember the cold tile floor on my face.

I was thrown off the roof for being scared of heights.

I had a guitar broken over my head for not wanting to practice.

I was slapped, punched, and whipped sometimes when it seemed totally at random.

I lived in terror when my mother would say, “Just wait until your father gets home.”

Bowie KnifeHe tried to stab me once with a 10″ Bowie knife. For those on the metric system, that’s 25.4 cm.

He’d beat our dogs half to death for barking too much or otherwise acting like, well, dogs.

I was beaten to an inch of my life for asking for a toy in a store once.

My father may have been the gun, but my mother was the trigger. If I’d in anyway upset her, she’d be the one to set my father on me. She’d tell me I was a “stupid oak,” an idiot.

I was beat with a rug beater, a vacuum cleaner hose, a yardstick. Nice broad things upside the head so they also wouldn’t leave clear marks.

I have hearing loss in one ear because of one slap that knocked me off my feet.

She warned me that if I told ANYONE about what was happening at home, they’d be taken away by the police and I’d have to go live in a foster home.

She said since my sister was retarded, I’d have to stay home and take care of her for the rest of my life. For those of you reading this, get a life if the word “retarded” offends you. That’s what it was called then, that’s what I’ll repeat to you now.

And those are just a few highlights.

My aunts knew about what was happening, and when I would call and ask them to rescue me, they’d downplay it, and tell things would get better or that I was making a big deal out of nothing (paraphrasing).

A few weeks ago, one of my aunts Trojan Horse’d me. I got a greeting card from a name I didn’t immediately recognize. It said on the front, “An armful of happy thoughts…” On the inside it says, “I’m sorry these are not happy thoughts,” and proceeds to tell me the status of my father, and the card has printed inside, “…picked just for you.” Man, is that massive Dutch passive aggressive guilt tripping, or what.

I was thinking suicidal thoughts by the time I was 8. I tried killing myself 3 times. I never had kids, and didn’t even have pets until recently, because I was convinced I’d abuse them. I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror, even to shave. I have a permanent form of PTSD that’s pending for the DSM-V called Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD Dissociative Subtype. My self-esteem is for shit.

I’m on marriage #4, and I finally got it right because I married a total stranger and didn’t end up with the usual dysfunctional relationship patterned after my life history.

I’ve finally got help in 1999, and my life has turned around, but if someone back home is waiting for me to reconnect with them, don’t hold your breath. You’re dead to me.

I tell people I was raised by wolves, and I’ve been helping volunteering to help others like me since I was diagnosed as part of my penance for the things I’ve done as a result of the fucking evil you’ve raised.

Adult Survivor of Child AbuseIf you’re from my direct family in Fort Wayne, never try to contact me again. Ever. You’re just a nightmare that I occasionally wake up from literally screaming. I wish I had gone to a foster family, even a chain of bad ones.

Grandpa John and Grandma Rose were the only ones I will ever miss, and I loved them with all of my heart. I wish I had gotten to know my grandparents from the other side of my family.

I’m sorry for anyone distant relatives who have just found me because of my blog. I’ve locked down my Facebook profile just to keep those same kind of relatives from finding me, because that old life is too hard to explain.

I don’t know how to wrap this up other than to say that if you grew up like I did, and are waiting for your parents to apologize, or want to reconnect with them and it’s just not happening, maybe it’s time for you to move on.

Break ties and look forward. Your life starts here. Get help. Your life doesn’t have to be without hope and you don’t need to be stuck in a mess of depression, fear, and violence. My heart goes out to you, and I offer you what strength and hope I can.

Stress Leave

Bipolar mindFor those of you who didn’t know, I’m Bipolar II and have PTSD. That’s another post best saved for another day. Anyway, it’s no secret to anyone in my post office, or that I’m medicated to deal with it.

We’ve had a tough few months at the ol’ PO, and I’ve also been dealing with some mobility issues. So anyway, I don’t think it was one sudden thing, but a cumulative effect.

So there I was…in trouble again. My temporary Station Manager was doing an Investigative Interview on me as a precursor to some sort of hand-spanking. I’ve been through these before by much tougher people. Had the Postmaster call me a “fucking liar” once, to which I replied, in that oh-so-delicate demeanor of mine, that he should go fuck himself.

I should add here for you postal people, that I’m a supervisor so the Weingarden Act doesn’t apply to me, and not a member of NAPS (because the represent mostly jackasses),  so I don’t have NAPS representation, but I can still request legal representation. I was denied that option by the Station Manager, and repeatedly menaced that failing to cooperate with a postal investigation could result in my being removed from the postal service. ELM 666 appropriately.

I’m not a novice at this thing. As a supe for 10 years, I’ve managed to rack up 4 Letters of Warning, and a 2 Week “paper” Suspension. So I don’t know why, but suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath, and my hands started shaking more than they already do. I mean really, really badly.

I tried to stay as calm as I could but as we were wrapping up, I knew there was no way I was going to make it. I had a huge meltdown about 5 years back, and this was exactly how it started, so I told the manager I was going to have to leave at that point.

“You’re going out on stress leave?” So-called stress leave is the guarantee that for the rest of your career, you’re going to have your chain jerked by management. It’s usually an angry reaction by an employee as “retaliation” against whoever is pissing them off. So it’s pretty screwed up when you actually are mentally ill.

I clarified, “This is not stress leave. I’m having an anxiety attack. Listen to my voice and look at my hands.”

“So it is stress leave!”

dumbass“No dumbass, it’s a severe anxiety attack. I have to go. Now. Straight to the doc’s.” I know a panic attack, and I sure as hell didn’t want it to go as bad as it did 5 years ago.

He initially refused to let me go. Several times. I asked nice. I asked not so nice. I finally told him I was going and he’d have to deal with it. I then actually got lost on my way home.

I couldn’t get an appointment with the doc until the next day.

I talked to the doc and he literally told me that I would have to take the rest of the week off. This is a shrink, by the way, not a general practitioner or family doctor. He said to take extra anxiety meds. He also told me to hold off on sugar and caffeine for the week. Yah, right. Right now I’m just unsafe to myself. No sugar and coffee, and I’ll be a danger to the general public. Besides, he has a candy dish in his lobby. Scored some unhealthy sugary stuff, and went home.

Anyway, he said that the disorientation was part of the flight-or-fight status of PTSD. Rapid breathing as your brain tells you to bring in more oxygen. Trembling of hands as one part of you needs your fist, while the rational side says that you don’t, resulting in a tremor.

So I got my FMLA packet today, and I’ll set up an appointment with the doc to fill out the paperwork. I swear to god, for a severe anxiety attack, the red tape is enough to make you go out on stress leave.

Anyway, not sure of the point of all this, except that there are things that you can tough out when you’re mentally ill, but you have to recognize the symptoms when you start to go in a tail-spin, and know when it’s going to be more than you can handle alone. For your own safety you have to know the difference between what you can handle and what you can’t.

That, and a reminder that calling something “stress leave” in the postal service means the rest of your life with that management team, you’re going to be on shaky ground. And that’s even if you’re a member of management. Like the line on Serenity, “We’re all just folks now.”

God only knows what will be waiting for me when I get back Tuesday. Firing squad (“Blindfold and a pipe, please.” Should stall for about 45 minutes to an hour), retaliation, whatever. I figure I’m covered by the ADA, FMLA, EEOC, and being denied representation, the ACLU. Fuckers. 🙂