PANDAS and PANS: Have You Heard of These? This May Be Part of My Puzzle and Not Borderline

I watch a lot of YouTube. Too much really.  And I get a lot of different types of suggested videos on my home page there.  Last night after watching one video, I noticed a thumbnail from ABC 20/20. The title was “Parents fear for young daughter’s safety as her behavior changes dramatically…Part 1.”

I clicked, out of sheer curiosity. I had no idea what it would be about. In that particular video they didn’t even get to what the diagnosis was so I went seeking out part 2. But I’d also read comments under the first video and some people were naming PANDAS as the probable diagnosis.

I had to know more and watched part 2 and 3 hoping to see the whole episode. I finally found a link in the comment section of part 3 to the entire show, which I will link below.

PANDAS stands for Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections. The video explains it much better than I do, the way it all works in the body, but essentially when you have an infection/virus like strep throat, the virus can make its way across the blood brain barrier and effect your brain…which means it will effect your behavior.

Some of the illnesses named in the references I’ve found so far are strep throat, rheumatic fever and scarlet fever.  I only noticed someone mention scarlet fever in passing, I think it was in the comment section of the article I read. You can find the article here if you’re interested.

The following paragraph from the article is rather interesting:
“The population is split between patients who had never been to a psychiatrist before, and those who had been to one, or many, with less than salutary results.  The presenting complaints varied broadly; anxiety, panic, depression, ADHD, sleep difficulties, OCD, tics, Bipolar Disorder, ODD, headaches, fibromyalgia, medication side effects. And many more.”

As I watched the video and read the article, I wondered seriously how many people have been misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder and other so-called mental disorders but actually have PANDAS.

This requires testing to be absolutely sure and it’s not too probable that I have such testing available to me. In addition to that, it’s not recognized by many doctors. What a fuckin’ surprise righ? Some deny it exists and say that there’s not enough evidence. So even though testing exists to find out, these fucking assholes won’t even order the test let alone acknowledge your concern about it if you mention it to them.

I think about all the psychiatrists I went to see when I was younger, at a time when these doctors still held office hours and talked to their patients. Not one of them ever ordered tests to see if anything was PHYSICALLY wrong. NOT ONE even suggested it.

And later, when I spent time with therapists, nothing like that was suggested either. Now psychiatrists meet with a patient for 15 minutes tops at a time to throw a Rx at people.  It never occurred to me either because well, I was indoctrinated, gas lit and brain washed to believe it was my mind.

I mean for fucks sake, is our brain not a physical part of our body anyway??? Seriously!

But I digress.

Some things that stood out to me in my discovery of this disorder was that my father when he was 9 years old came down with rheumatic fever. It would not have even been 1950 yet, so of course, PANDAS was not even named yet. But that doesn’t mean the symptoms and reactions in the body didn’t exist. The infection would’ve changed his DNA despite being treated.

My father as an adult displayed some of the symptoms of PANDAS. Of course I would not know when they started. It would be interesting to know if anything about his personality changed after he recovered. He was bed-ridden for an entire school year. Had to have a tutor come in to the house and the doctor made house calls.  As an adult though, my father had mood swings, which was the most prominent I would say of his symptoms, traits or whatever you wanna call them. He also displayed rage to a point.I almost hesitate to say that only because I’ve experienced someone raging at me and I’ve raged at others.

My father never did it like that. His anger would be sudden and his voice would boom.  He had a very deep voice and if something set him off suddenly, the unexpected reaction of the angry tone of voice had the same intimidating effect of raging. The end of his rage would be abrupt and he’d turn and walk away.  Then later, you’d never even know he’d been angry.

There was a point in time, during my adolescence though that he seemed to be perpetually angry with me. Just gave me the cold shoulder much of the time or spoke abruptly to me.

And finally he also displayed behaviors that I would be considered OCD and last but not least, severe and I mean severe anxiety and control issues.

As for me and my illnesses: When I was a kid, I had scarlet fever TWICE! Once when I was 5 and then again at the age of 9 at the same time that I had chicken pox.

I’ve already mentioned that I have ragey episodes. I am moody for sure and definitely have some OCD behaviors and habits. AND intense anxiety and control issues.

I know that these things add up to other problems, disorders and “mental” illnesses but they ALSO add up to PANDAS. I know I’m an adult. You could just change it to AANDAS. The symptoms still can play out in an adult.

Adults get strep throat and strep infections, particularly if they work in hospitals and doctor offices. And if they’ve had the aforementioned viruses and infections in the past as children, and it went unnoticed or untreated, then it would still be present in an adult body/brain.

Even treating these infections, PANDAS can still take hold as you will see in the video if you watch it.

I want to make it clear though that even though I think this could be a piece of my puzzle, I still understand that it’s not the answer for everyone. It doesn’t mean I’m discounting the effects of traumatic experiences in any way. I have enough of my own. In fact, intense stressful experiences can trigger PANDAS from what I understand so far. And that’s why I say, “a PIECE of my puzzle.”

In addition I also understand that it might NOT be what’s wrong too. I’m just considering it and I was pretty blown away by the correlations that I see.

More of why I think it might be part of what’s going on with me:
I notice a difference in the way I feel (mood swings), my behavior (rage) and even my thought process and perceptions, when I am eating a certain way. The healthier I eat, the better I feel.The more stable I am in my mood. The more awake I feel when I first get up in the morning.  The less OCD behavior I display.

These behaviors can manifest as a result of inflammation and I notice inflammation in my body in more physical ways more so now than ever. Inflammation plays a part in auto-immune disorders and in fact pretty much any illness.

When I was a young adult, I ate so much take-out, including fast food. That food by sheer design is inflammatory to the healthiest of humans. But when someone who has a sensitive constitution and/or an accumulation of it in their body over a period of time, the reactions will become more and more intense.  A person’s brain can swell and they may not necessarily feel it. And certainly no on on the outside can see it…except in the behaviors that are displayed. And then it’s punished and judged.

Apparently diet is used with some kids who have PANDAS along with probiotics and behavioral therapy. So I can see the correlation with diet. The behavioral therapy? Well I was on the right track there but it’s really useless when the brain is causing the mind to be in a dark place. Not to mention the horrid environment and shitty therapists I got stuck with when I went for it.

It’s frustrating. It seems that I find myself on the right track at times but in the wrong order.

I also tend to self-sabotage because food isn’t a fast fix. It takes time and after about two weeks, I give in to cravings and I get back into a downward spiral and before I know it I’m feeling very out of control again.

Anyway, here’s the video just below. It could be difficult to watch because… well, children are struggling. But the info could also be helpful if you’ve been struggling in some way with your diagnosis and doctors not listening to you.


Another link:


Mothers’ Day Delayed Triggers

It seems like when one of those trigger days comes up, other stressful shit snowballs and everything feels hopeless.

Of course I’m talking about mothers’ day as the trigger day. And even though I felt like I sailed through it all right on the actual day, it’s apparently caught up to me.

Last night I ran some errands. When I was sitting in my car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot I saw a guy walking between cars in the lot and he glanced at me. No doubt it was because I had just started my car, he needed to walk behind my car to get to his and he wanted to make sure I saw him too so I wouldn’t rear end him.

Completely understandable. He was watching out for himself.

But my mind goes to my mother and either a memory of something I’ve done before or something I can imagine me having done when I was just a little younger, likely after divorcing my father. If I’d have caught an age appropriate man glancing at my mother in the same way, it would not be above me to say, “There ya go mom, he’s checkin’ ya out.”  It would’ve been mostly a joke since once divorced, she had no interest in dating AT ALL.

Then I switched roles (in my mind) but in my case, my daughter was imaginary because I don’t have one. I pictured me in my mother’s role and a teen daughter saying that to me while we sat in the car together getting ready to pull out of our spot and go home with our groceries.  I even pictured what that might feel like to have such a presence in the car with me.

I started thinking about how I knew by the age of 13 that I didn’t want kids. Then I thought about how I’d felt slight regret in the past and thought how it might be nice to be THAT house where my teen kids friends all came to hang out.

Last night as I thought about it though, felt lonelier. I felt even more regret. I don’t regret not having children in the state I was in at the age I would’ve been having kids.  But I regret not ever feeling like I could be a capable parent.  I never felt grown up enough. I still don’t.

The thought of the type of man I would want to help me with the most difficult job in the world crossed my mind. I started to picture the kind of man it would take to help me raise one or two children. I’ve never been with such a man.

At that point, I realized that ever since the break up of a tumultuous, emotional roller coaster of a relationship in 2011/2012, I never stopped to think about what sort of man I would like to have in my life.

I’m not sure I ever really did. The men who I felt capable of raising children were not for me…not in my mind. They were too good for me. And I settled for men who, some good looking, but all of them were emotionally unavailable in some way as well as emotionally immature. At least I had the instinct to know better than to have kids with them.

But then it didn’t really have a whole lot to do with them. I was afraid to be pregnant and then I was afraid of how would the child be financially cared for. But most of all, I did think about how I would treat any child of mine. I had bad examples and somehow I knew that having kids was a bad idea for me. At the time I made the decision at 13, I just thought it was purely selfish. I thought I just didn’t want the burden and responsibility so that I could be free. But the truth is I didn’t want the responsibility because I didn’t think I could handle it and didn’t believe that I’d ever find a man would could either.

My thoughts then lingered to B as I drove to the next stop to drop some stuff off at Goodwill. At a stop light, I glanced over at a car sitting next to me. Inside I saw two people and felt sad. I wondered what their life is like. If they get along. If they have family. If they have support in their lives from both family and friends. If they were happy to be in the car together.

Because at that point, I was longing for company. But not just any company. I wanted someone I felt close to. Someone I felt safe with. Someone that I felt had my back and enjoyed being with. It was a more relaxed feeling to not have B with me. I can’t stand being with him in a vehicle. He doesn’t talk, and when I talk he doesn’t acknowledge most of what I say. He doesn’t see the same things I do and so there is this big ass gaping ravine between the two of us even when we are sitting next to each other.

So that led to frustration, sadness and more loneliness.

And this morning I realized that the AC wasn’t really working. Which means that in order to get attention to that, I need to call or text the wicked bitch of southeastern PA.  She’s got a history of invalidating complaints, blaming us and putting the onus on us to take care of certain things. Not big things like this. But that she’s done that at all, just added to the depression that already set in.

It’s bad enough to have the AC go ka-fucking-put on the first day it’s been hot in 2 weeks but quite another to know you have to deal with a difficult person (probably a narcissist) to deal with it.

Personal Girl/Woman Stuff: A Bit About Neglect

There is something to be said for staying in a fog of depression, agitation with the present and irritability with the people around you that didn’t cause the trauma.

There are aspects of it that make things easier. You don’t have to feel the pain of the events that come to mind during moments out of the fog.

You don’t have to ruminate on it and think it to death trying to feel better about it. Trying to make sense of it. Trying to think and talk it away to yourself.

It just feels better to keep those memories at bay because it hurts too intensely to realize the depth of neglect in important aspects of your life as you grew into the self you would never actually know.

No wonder so many of us turn to drugs, alcohol and people who use us. Anything to dull it. Anything to just escape the fact that we weren’t loved.

The above thoughts come from remembering that I was expected to stay at the house when I was 13 (in 8th grade) while my parents were still at work, while my siblings could go do whatever the fuck they wanted outside the house. I mean, I could be around the house, but not two blocks away where my (supposed) best friend lived at the time.

Thing is, I didn’t usually ‘stick around.’ And if I did it was because my friend was there with me.

I got paid 5 bucks as allowance for this each week. It was plenty to keep me in cigarettes (yep, I smoke at the age of 13) but that was about it.

What could a 13 use money for? Well, clothes for one thing. I had clothes. My mother met my needs for the necessities for the most part. But I liked to go to the mall and there were times that I saw things I would’ve like to buy. I wasn’t spend crazy though. I’m just talking about an album here and a pair of jeans there. Not a lot of shit that I didn’t need.  It would’ve been nice to have a bigger collection of music (albums). But I was pretty much convince that asking for more than what I was already getting would just be responded to with a no. So I didn’t usually ask.

The thing though that really hurts though is that as I was coming of age so to speak. My chest grew pretty rapidly, like over night. I’d had a trainer bra in my drawer for a couple years that I hadn’t touched but it finally came to the point that I could not deny that my body had changed, as much as I had not wanted it to at that time.  I was very subconscious about it and I remember one summer I would walk around the pool (at the swim club we belonged to), with one arm folded over its opposite shoulder to try to hide myself, until I got into the pool.

That trainer bra though, I wore that thing out and I’d grown out of it long before I wore it out.

So where was my mother at this point? This woman did my laundry. She’d have seen the bra wearing out, getting holes in it. And then she would’ve noticed my body and that I had grown too big for a fucking trainer bra! I was a kid and not comfortable with such a big change. I still wanted to be a tom boy and that had been made difficult. I didn’t want to grow up quite yet. I wasn’t ready. I was embarrassed by my body’s changes. And I wasn’t comfortable bringing it up to my mother.  She was the adult. She owed me the reality check.

Eventually of course I finally admitted to myself that I had to do something other than wear a trainer bra. But I keep thinking about how mothers are supposed to gently nudge a young daughter into that reality. She could’ve said something like this: “I think it’s time we get you out of that trainer bra. Why don’t we go shopping for some bras that fit.”

I’ll admit that my memory isn’t perfect and she may have done that.  But I do remember that I was wearing that one trainer for way too long.

Darkness Lifting a Bit

I’m waiting on a couple burgers to cook. Part of the problem is certainly my negligence in taking care of my ‘diet’. Not diet in the sense of restrictions and something to ‘go on’ to reach a particular goal. “Diet” as in what I eat. Like you’d talk about an animal’s diet…what they eat. Period.

There’s a lot to be said for keeping blood sugar in balance, whether my issue is high or low…I don’t know. But I do know keeping it in check makes a difference in my mood and state of mind.

Another thing that helps that I’ve written some about before is kratom. Just like most other supplements though I am sensitive to it and need to be careful. Too much and it does the opposite of what I need it to do and taking it too frequently, I have wheezing issues. It can also feed the rage too. So yeah, it’s a bit of a tight rope. I will go weeks at a time sometimes without taking any.

Today, a short time ago I took some, mixed in with some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.15 minutes later, I feel less depressed. I feel a bit more organized in my thinking and the darkness has lifted a lot. It also gave me the push within to want to do some things for myself.

Last night I went to a library and wrote out a list in my journal of things I want to have with me in a backpack when I leave the apartment.  Before going to the library, I stopped at Whole Foods to get something to eat. The longer the errands took me the better (ie., speaker asshole) and I was hungry.

When I got back out to my car, I realized I could’ve used something I didn’t think I had with me. (Turns out I did but didn’t know it and so didn’t use it.)

When I got to the library I realized there was something else I could’ve used while I was there and didn’t have.
So I said to myself, “You want to put together a grab-and-go type of bag so that when you want to leave the shit-hole you live in, you don’t have to worry about thinking through what’s needed.”

So I made a list of the stuff I could think of that I would want in a bug-out  bag needed for a local escape. Well, I took care of gathering those things just a little while ago and put them into a small nylon backpack that I have. I did it because I felt motivated as a result of taking the kratom.

I can think of other things I’d like to add but there isn’t room for much, so at some point I will want a bigger back pack, especially so I don’t have to carry multiple bags with me.

My non-traumatized brain likes to keep things simple, efficient and organized.  And I can say, that when kratom is absorbed in the way I need it, I feel almost ‘normal.’  I am able to organize better, I don’t feel like a lead weight while I’m doing chores and I actually feel like being alive.

But again, and I think this is important, there is a sweet spot for me and kratom and I don’t always hit it.   Even the same kind and same dose can have a different effect on a different day.

There’s some other things I want to do too in the next hour or so, and that seems and feels more possible than it did only a couple hours ago.



How to Teach Your Kids to Hate Each Other

Another one I’m re-homing from Safire Falcon. This one was written in November of 2014. It had another title, kind of clunky. This one’s not so great either but that’s what I’m calling it.

I misinterpreted my sister’s tone after the plug from the curling iron fell from the outlet into the sink. We’d both been standing at the bathroom mirror and I was attempting to curl my hair.  I was in my twenties at that point and my family had fairly recently moved into this particular house.

The darkness of depression had already been part of my world, those feelings of being trapped by and in life started a few years before the above scene, when we were living at the house I’d lived in since I was 10. And I was probably in the deepest darkest depths of it at the time of the move.

The move contributed to the added intensity but I was in it already and in deep. At that point I had no idea what I was most likely suffering from was symptoms of complex trauma, and it wasn’t crossing anyone else’s mind either.

The emotional abuse had always had an impact on my life but it was starting to take a bigger toll. And no wonder. I was in my early 20s. I should have been living on my own, or at least settled into a college major. But I was still lost. Not only that, I had begun to have (age-appropriate) intimate relationships a couple years prior. And within those relationships, is where the most intense turmoil shows up.

I was even less aware how the stage had already begun being set for my role as family scapegoat and continued to be .

My sister said, “Careful.”

My first thought was that her comment was condescending and that she was assuming I was a careless sort of person. I replied with a sneer of annoyance and resentment, “The water’s not even running.”

Translation: “No worries little sister, you’re not in danger and how dare you imply that I am so careless. It certainly isn’t my fault the outlet won’t hold the plug.”

That’s not what I said, but the tension between us was thick and the rift deep, by the time this incident happened, something we were both aware of. I was too angry to care though.  For whatever reason, after my nasty reply, her response was a matter of fact tone that carried with it a touch of hurt and confusion.

“I was just thinking about you.” She really did sound sincere.

Instantly I felt like shit…that I’d misinterpreted her intention. The relationship that had once been close was falling apart. But my anger blinded me, filtered out so much of my thoughts and feelings. It was safer to be angry. But it hurt. I hated being angry all the time. If I ever felt lost before this, it was nothing compared to what I was continuing to feel in this part of my adulthood.

I didn’t understand it really and didn’t know the first thing about how to go about fixing it.

My sister had already physically attacked me a few years before that. She had her own impulse control and anger issues.

My misinterpretation existed, it was harmful, but it didn’t exist in a vacuum. The toxicity of my family had grown into an ugly tumor that everyone seemed to prefer to ignore. I was certainly angry about the past, the way my father treated me and even about my mother’s neglect, but at that point in time my anger encompassed many things, even things I was unaware of.

Like being lost with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. With not feeling settled with a significant other, which really equates to me not being settled within myself. With my father who treated anyone I dated like shit. With my sister for not understanding. With my parents for not helping me out of the darkness, for moving, for not listening to me, for making me feel wrong for every emotion I felt. For thinking that my wanting to resolve present and even past issues was ridiculous and that I should just let it go.

“How often do I need to discuss it? It doesn’t change anything.,” were my father’s words one day when I approached him to talk about something bothering me from my childhood.

My sister’s physical attack on me however, was provoked by some passive remark I had made. But unfortunately I don’t remember what I said. The memory of that crosses with another incident…

Shortly after I’d graduated from high school, my father had won a trip to Cancun for a week from his job, so my parents took that vacation.

My siblings were still in school though and I was informed that it was my responsibility to make sure the other two went to school. The message was that if they didn’t I would be punished.

What that meant now that I was an adult, I didn’t know. I suppose they could still enforce a grounding since I still lived under their roof. But disappointing them was punishment in and of itself, (Failure. Not good enough. Fucked up again) not to mention my father’s seething or booming threatening voice. My cortisol levels would rise just thinking about that.

One night while they were on that vacation,  after my sister had gone to bed…with her boyfriend, I was in the kitchen with my boyfriend and my brother, waiting for some oil to heat up in a pan. I had the ‘bright’ idea of deep frying some frozen pizza bites.

Sitting there yackin’ away, I didn’t realize how hot the oil was getting and the pan began to smoke.  I got up and quickly removed it from the burner.

But it suddenly went up in flames. And all three of us panicked.

My boyfriend, grabbed the pot as I lifted the screen in the kitchen window so he could throw it outside into the yard. When I let go of the screen, it slammed right back down causing the pan to be forced back, splashing hot oil onto his hands and all over the floor.

He kept that pan in his hands while we all panicked trying to figure out what to do with it. Walking it to the front door meant walking it over carpeting that could catch fire.

We went back to the kitchen window and I opened the screen again. This time he flung the pot and it flew successfully outside. I don’t remember how we got the fire out.

We were so lucky the house didn’t go up in flames. The curtains in the kitchen ignited during all the chaos, and I had been able to get them out the window too. And just as my memory is blank on how the fire in the pan was put out, such is the case for the curtains.

I remember during all the commotion, just after the the fire started, that my sister had made a sudden appearance in the kitchen to see what all the noise was about. Thinking about it now, I can imagine the shock and fear she probably felt. She would’ve been around 13.

After his heroic act, I saw my boyfriend’s hands were badly burnt and I got him to come to the kitchen sink, running water as cold as I could get it on his hands. I told him I wanted to take him to the ER but he refused. He couldn’t sleep that night. In pain, he tossed and turned all night.

He was unable to work after the injury while he healed. He was also angry because after telling my parents the story, he felt they should’ve compensated him in some way. And he wasn’t shy about letting me know it. I didn’t know what to think. I told him I’d talk to them about it, but he said not to.

After this horrendous incident, there was oil all over the kitchen floor, so to prevent anyone from slipping, before going to bed that night, I poured salt on top of all the oil.

The next morning I went to work before my siblings were up. I was so depressed about going to work. I worked in a pub/restaurant kitchen and I hated it. My mind always went into dark places while I worked and it would exacerbate my depression. And this day I had the added benefit of anticipating the clean up after I got home from work. I couldn’t even think where I’d begin with it.

When I got home I found my sister in the kitchen, just having finished cleaning up the greasy mess. My work day ended early enough, that if my sister had gone to school, she wouldn’t be home when I got there.

Most people would be thrilled at this whole scenario, little sister staying home to clean up a huge mess that I made, saving me the trouble after eight hours of already shitty work that entailed being on my feet the entire day.  Yeah…but not me. I was pissed AND annoyed that she hadn’t gone to school. I know I was thinking about the disappointment, anger and the possibility of my dad’s rage, toward ME for her not going to school. They would be angry at me for what she didn’t do. This was all I could think about in the moment I saw and knew she hadn’t gone to school.

Never mind the house almost catching fire. Never mind the huge thing sis had just done for me.

I look back on this and cringe and kick myself. I think about how different our relationship might be now if I  had not reacted, not just on this day but many other days in a similar manner.

That day, (although the memory is fuzzy) I’m more than sure that I let her have it, yelling about how mom and dad would be angry at ME for her not going to school.

I raged (from what I now know was fear) and she responded whining,  with something like, “I stayed home to clean up the mess.”

How ashamed I felt. How awful that I did not have room in my heart for gratitude in this situation because all I could think about was my parents reaction of me not being in control of the situation.

I don’t remember if I apologized but even if I had, it would not erase the original response and reaction. Damage done.

The physical attack though, that was a different thing around a different incident but it was also in the kitchen. Again the memory is fuzzy, but there was some exchange of words and likely something passive aggressive from me.

The next thing I knew I was up against the counter, next to the fridge trying to block the claws that were slashing at and toward my face looking at the twisted anger and hurt on my sister’s face.

I swung in an attempt at self-defense, in an arc and missed. I think that I subconsciously missed on purpose. I didn’t want to hurt my baby sister, despite the viciousness I was seeing and feeling from her.

I finally lifted my leg forward and pushed my foot into her gut and flung her away from me. Somehow I was able to get away then and ran up to my room. I was physically and emotionally hurt and scared, but the emotional hurt was much worse.

After having been so close in childhood, we were beginning to hate each other.


I know that my sister’s physical attack didn’t happen with the grease-on-the-floor incident because my mom had been home. She’d been at work or otherwise out and when she got home she’d come up to my room to see me, to see how I was, to talk to me, to see the wounds.

She looked at my face and assured me I wouldn’t be left with scars. The ‘scratch’ that ran down my cheek was only superficial. And in fact it was not an outer scratch. The red mark was under the skin and did indeed fade without a mark.

My mom also delivered my sister’s apology for her and let me know my sister felt really awful about the incident.

[This is very interesting to me now, in regards to the setting up of later triangulations.]

I don’t remember if my sister herself had apologized after I emerged from my room or not.

I feel sad thinking about how the relationship deteriorated between my sister and me. It was gradual but then it was all of a sudden too. We had some years in between when things seemed to get better and we used to sit on my futon and play Mario Brothers for hours. One of my most fond memories is staying home on a snow day and playing Mario Bros all day long.

#If Depression Were A Choice

I remember the day my sister said to me with a judgmental tone that I have a choice on how to feel, referring to the depression I’ve battled since I was in my early twenties.

The judgment on my feelings though, was a double standard because she’d be the first to tell you how entitled to her own feelings she is.

I love this poem by Dbest from dbestptsdblog. Apparently there is a series called, “If depression was a choice…”

Such a good series. Newsflash to those who think it’s a choice…
It’s not. Pray you will never have to find out first hand.

Damaged and Depressed

I feel like I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving today. (Saturday.)

I felt worse yesterday. (Friday.)

And I didn’t touch a single drop of alcohol on Thanksgiving. (Thursday.)

It goes much deeper than that.

Going from one toxic situation (affair) and the ugly break up of it with just a year in between, to another toxic, gang-bullying and abusive situation, has made me severely traumatized that I have not been able to crawl my way out.

And so it’s gotten to the point that I feel like this every. single. day.  I feel like I’ve already died. Essentially I have. Essentially I am dead…or might as well be.

In addition and in the midst of depression and the lack of recovering from so much trauma, we have moved recently, from a house we lived in for 13 years to a two bedroom apartment.

This, as you can imagine was a lot of work. Living with a man who has a difficult time parting with things made it no less stressful. His sister was our landlord and has still not sold the house, so the two car garage still has shit in it that Mr. B has to figure out what to do with.

Much of it has been taken by other family members and he has taken what we have room for here. Our storage area has reduced significantly though as you might imagine.

To add to the stress, about a month after moving in, we discovered an infestation of fleas in the new place. I am pretty sure they were here before we were from the information I’ve read about those evil fucks, but there’s no way to prove it.

Edit Monday 10/9/17: I think now that I may have been wrong in thinking the fleas were here already. Our cat was an indoor/outdoor cat who was, I found, already pretty itchy when we moved. Fleas are apparently not as noticeable when living in a house (although I do remember dealing with them a couple times at the house) as they are in an apartment. The fact that the effected animal was able to go outside also gave the house some respite and so the infestation didn’t have as much of a chance to grow like it did here. Kitty wasn’t going outside (and still isn’t) so there was no where else for the family of fleas to go and grow.

Fighting fleas is a good example of chaos control, which has felt like the story of my life. We sprayed, powdered, vacuumed and dusted. I also packed up some of our shit and boxed it back up to make the dusting easier. So that is still all boxed up and down in the basement and garage as well, taking away from our storage area.

I no longer have a desk in our new place. It was broken in the move but in addition there is no place to put it here. So I spend my time sitting on my bed or in it, depending on the temperature of the room. So I’m even isolating from my roommate.

Edit 10/9/17: I have moved the small drop down wood desk that we had in the living room into my bedroom. The drop down part gives sufficient room for a laptop. It would not hold a lot of weight but it does the job I need it to do and also gets me out of sitting in my bed all day using the computer. I listed this desk on Craigslist a couple times too. So glad it didn’t sell.

Even if I wanted to sit in either the living room or dining room, I wouldn’t be comfortable doing so now because of all the powder and spray we used on the only half way comfortable piece of furniture out there…the sofa.

10/9/17: A year later, the couch is sittable as far as the powder being faded and vacuumed. But it’s not comfortable and although B uses it, in my mind, it’s simply something that takes up space. I have never had a good and comfy couch of my own. So pathetic.

The self-isolating has also become worse now because the dog I had walked for someone, passed away a couple weeks ago, so I don’t even go out once a week for that anymore.

Under all this stress for the last seven, almost eight years, I have not taken care of myself at all, using junk food, alcohol, pot and cigarettes to numb the pain. All of that also certainly has added to the physical damage.

I have aged significantly in a short amount of time. As someone who has looked younger than her chronological age, this has also taken a toll on my self-confidence as well. I know 51 ain’t no spring chicken and in all honesty I do have a tough time accepting the aging process, but I look and feel much older than those 51 years.

Anyway, although the junk food doesn’t give me the same intensity of a hangover as alcohol does, I still feel something similar to one nonetheless.

Carbs, I am finding put me in a state of lethargy and depression. I couldn’t believe how knocked out I felt on Thursday night when I got home. And although I’m sure it had something to do with being surrounded by other humans…which I am no longer acclimated to…it was mostly all the carbs I ate that night, I’m sure of it, given my self-observation of late.

I find that when I eat close to a keto plan, I do much better. I start to lose weight, depression begins to lift and I have some energy.

But then I break down and eat something sweet and I’m not talking about just some fruit. Nope, I’m all about the cookies, brownies, cake, you know, shit like that.

This is not a problem perhaps for someone who can control themselves, be somewhat indifferent and not eat a whole fucking box of cookies in one sitting. But that’s not me.

I know what the problem is:

I don’t feel good enough. I don’t feel worthy of being healthy. And until I do, this self-sabotage won’t stop.

10/9/17: Sad, not much has changed in almost a year. I am truly stuck and today I’m feeling depressed and rather bored. It took a lot for me to just get to this task of editing here. I have been drinking coffee, which is not a good thing for me. I did follow a keto way of eating for a few weeks and the heart palpitations where un fucking real. And I was not drinking coffee during that time. 

I went back to eating carbs but kept it on the healthier side for a while, like eating salads and quinoa with veggies along with some beef or chicken. But I gradually went to eating junk again and got caught up in that cycle of wanting to be excited by my food. Used food as something to look forward to as I do not have anything I look forward to in life. And I got caught up in that cycle because once I start eating junk, that’s when I get lethargic and have no energy to prep good healthy food. Today I bought some stuff on the healthy side. Let’s see if I eat it. 

Perpetual Losses: Some Examples of My Family’s Dynamic -or- How I Became the Family Scapegoat Part 1

eScapegoatEvery aspect of my family’s toxic dynamic is very sad and alarming to me. And each separate relationship holds its own unique sadness for its own unique reasons.

My relationship with my sister throughout adulthood was one of the most difficult relationships within my family.

There was a lot of contention between us and in later years, I would periodically ruminate about something she’d said or done. I couldn’t reach closure in my mind when it came to certain situations, arguments, disagreements, or some discussions.

It was frustrating and confusing. I knew it came from anger…all that rumination. Now I realize it was lack of resolution also and mostly.  And I knew the remedy would be to talk to her about it. But I’d had the experience of attempting that quite a few times to only be blamed for something else that wasn’t even being discussed. I remember one attempt I told her I didn’t feel accepted by her…and then didn’t have a chance to elaborate.

Her immediate response to my incomplete sentence was, “Well I have issues.”  I wish I could get across that tone of voice. It had an entitled air about it. It was taut. But I didn’t pick up on it at first.

I thought she was going to talk about herself, because when I say “I have issues” I refer to my own flaws.

I said, “OK…we all have those, what do you mean?”

She then proceeded to tell me some things that were wrong with me. Like her perception of how I “push” my point of view about diet and health onto her and others.

This came from my enthusiasm about certain things I’d learned about health after doing some research of my own about a health problem I had years before this conversation took place.

After reading about certain things back then, I’d spoken to her and other family members about it. They knew of the health problem. It was chronic and I felt that conventional medicine wasn’t going to have much in the way of answers for me.

I don’t know, maybe I was too enthusiastic about it but I don’t remember telling any of them that they ‘should’ revamp their diets and lifestyles. I only remember telling them about it, as in having a conversation with people I loved. People I thought loved me too and people I thought who would support me. Or at least listen without jumping to some ridiculous conclusion.

I found that when I attempted resolution about issues my sister and I had between us, I was met with attack instead of any sort of acknowledgement, validation or apology.

She’d roll her eyes, tell me in so many words I was being ridiculous, needed thicker skin and I needed to let go of the past. Complete contradiction on her part.

It was just recently that it was pointed out to me that I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Which I think hit me in way that shocked me (?)  since I didn’t seem to react at all. But it’s like that information is still simmering. I think I knew it deep down, but to admit it or put words to it, was a different thing.

(Edit 9/9/17: The reaction was probably more like dissociation. I don’t remember now who told me I might have Stockholm Syndrome…which is trauma bonding.)

I remember as kids, I made my sister laugh. I was almost 6 years older and I taught her how to play board games, card games, I even turned cleaning up into a game. But  I also remember I was more concerned with her feelings than my own. I always gave her her way, distracted her if she started crying, took toys away from my brother if she’d wanted something he already had. So she got what she wanted from me most of the time.

Then in my early 20s I became severely depressed and retreated inside myself.  I also became passive aggressive toward her at times too and one day she turned in physical retaliation.

I often wonder if she felt abandoned by me when I became visibly and obviously depressed and betrayed when I made passive-aggressive remarks…usually because she was acting like she ruled the roost, as one example. But one incident I remember in particular was her staying home from school on a day while our parents were away on a vacation, for the first time leaving the three of us home, with me in charge.

I was given the responsibility to make sure the two of them went to school everyday while our parents were gone. One night, while my sister and her boyfriend were upstairs in bed, my boyfriend, my brother and I were preparing to deep fry some frozen egg rolls. I heated up some oil in a pot and before I knew it, it caught fire. Chaos and panic ensued. Long story short, we were able to prevent utter disaster, but not without some damage.

There was oil all over the kitchen floor, my boyfriend had bad burns on his one hand and refused to go to the hospital. I had to work the next day and I just spread salt all over the floor to prevent anyone slipping.  Next day I went to work…an excruciating day for me as my depression had probably been at its worse around that time, and the depth and intensity of it was still pretty new to me. Although I think I had depression as a child, it wasn’t the same and it became much more intense.

When I got home from work, I found my sister had stayed home and cleaned up the entire mess in the kitchen. Instead of being immediately grateful, I got pissed at her. This despite the dread I had been feeling as I walked home from work, thinking of the project of cleaning up the kitchen I thought I had waiting for me.

I later felt like crap, but in the moment, my thoughts went to the fact that my parents would hold me responsible for her not going to school. So I was angry that her actions would get me in trouble.

(Edit 9/9/17: This is a perfect example of how parents set their kids up to hate each other. I was set up to be responsible for two teenagers getting to school for a week and I was only 20 myself. I was the one who would be punished if they didn’t go to school. So it makes sense that I would lash out at her for not going, despite it being for a fucking good reason. I just wish my siblings could see this.)

The distance widened for a time and then our relationship waxed and waned. We went through a period of time where I believed we were getting close again. But the reality was and remained it was always a surface relationship.

When something emotional came up there was no adult conversation about it. It was an attack on either side. I admit I wasn’t always perfect and didn’t know how to handle my anger either.

So I’d rage about her when she wasn’t around. Or be passive-aggressive with her in my communication.  And apparently she’d rage about me too.

When my sister got engaged, she’d asked me to be in the wedding, while at her and her fiance’s house.

My answer: “Lemme think about it.”

It was the fact that I knew our relationship was fair weathered that made me answer that way. I’m not proud of it and maybe I should’ve just said yes just because she’s my sister. But the facts are facts and this is what happened.

That day, when I left, she’d hugged me on my way out.  So I figured everything was fine and since she was present for our roller coaster relationship too, I just figured she’d understand, you know, be on the same page as I was.


Later that week, I got a phone call from my mother. She wanted to know what the deal was. Why would I answer the way I did?  Why wouldn’t I want to be in my sister’s wedding? She told me it wasn’t about me and as per usual let me know I was being selfish.

With such a guilt trip, I gave in. Being too afraid to call my sister, knowing her capacity for rage, I wrote a letter and dropped it into her mailbox. I apologized for being so selfish, but I also explained why I hadn’t been sure, using how I felt about myself at the time though, rather than talking about our relationship. I was too afraid to draw the whole picture.

Later when we spoke, the letter wasn’t enough to diffuse her and she was still quite angry.

I told her, “Since you had the issue with me, you should’ve called me yourself and not had mom do it.”
Her response: “Oh you did not want me to call you. I was really angry.”

And it wasn’t the last time my sister turned our mother into her flying monkey.

It hurts that my sister did that shit, but it hurts even more that my mother actually went along with that crap instead of telling my sister to put her big girl pants on and call me herself.

Identity Crisis and Compromising Myself: My Petsitting Boss

Bristol cat for sleeping tigerAs a result of emotional child abuse, a running theme for me in my life has been that, I never really knew who I was, never did much with my life but go from job to job and over the years, I tried to identify with what I was doing (work) rather than who I am within. And I grew up believing that your job/career was a huge part of someone’s identity.

I still try to identify with one particular job I had, which was pet-sitting and walking dogs. But although I love dogs and other animals, to say I’m a dog walker or pet-sitter, like it’s who I am, never feels right to me. I love animals and  enjoyed the job to a point. But it is physical work and since I’m not in very good shape right now and am dealing with some other health problems, it isn’t suitable.

In addition, being so prone to depression, I would get into massive depression spells after the couple weeks of being so busy at Christmas/New Years and then during some really busy periods during the summer.

(Edit Friday 9/8/17: I realize now that this is an adrenal problem and probably resulted from adrenal fatigue. When you have adrenal fatigue you need to rest. Walking 10-12 dogs a day with only a break for dinner and sleeping at someone else’s house is not conducive to this. It leaves you little time for yourself or friends, even if it is only temporary, going at a rate like this will exhaust even a healthy person. This job also involved a lot of driving too, which is really stressful in my area.)

The last year I worked for the pet-sitting company, while I was asking her for some hard-earned and well deserved vacation time, my boss, Pat, gave me a hard time about it. I’d waited until March to ask her for it, giving plenty of time for the Winter vacationers to wind down.

She asked me why I wanted to take a week off, as if it was a ridiculous request. I was flabbergasted. She’d never given me difficulty about taking time off before or asked me why. It was actually none of her fucking business.  And this after she’d given the other employees off for the Christmas rush, told me it wasn’t going to be that busy just a week before, then slammed me with 18 hour days for two weeks straight.

After I responded to her, simply saying, “I have some paid vacation time coming to me and I want to take it,” she apparently felt it was an appropriate time to point out how I talked. She said I always talked like I had no energy and then she imitated me.

Edit 9/8/17: The fact was I did have no energy. I had gotten through 18 hour days for the holidays and two months after, I was still exhausted. I had know idea about adrenal fatigue. I just thought it was more of the depression I had always been so susceptible to.

Could it be the result of her overworking me for 14 days with non-stop walks and visits over the holidays, up at 5 am and not in bed till 11pm? All of which included spending each night at someone else’s house, instead of my own, as part of the schedule.

Not to mention that she wasn’t  even up front and truthful about it the week before while discussing the schedule with me.

Edit 9/8/17: Without even knowing it, I was showing that I had no self-respect. A person who respected herself would have said, “You know, you told me that we wouldn’t be that busy for the holidays but then slam me with 18 hour days. Saying that 18 hours means I’m busy, is not subjective. You fucking lied to me and that was manipulative. What’s with giving everyone else the fuck off only to pile onto me. That’s not fair.

Instead she lied and then shocked me when she sent the schedule to my inbox.

The overnight-for-a-week job came up after she’d sent me the schedule and she’d told me it started the night before it actually did. So when I went there that night, I’d found the family home and was rather pissed off at my boss that I’d wasted time driving to a house I hadn’t needed to. Time I could’ve been using doing something for myself at home.

But instead of telling her I was angry, I simply mentioned it and that was it. She didn’t even apologize for the mistake and just said, “Oh I thought it was tonight.” I should’ve at least asked for some compensation.

Edit 9/8/17:  A couple years ago I ran into her at a convenience store while getting coffee. She said hi to me and asked how I was. I became stiff and nervous but also put a wall of sorts up. I was still angry for what had happened at the end of my employment and about what had led up to it.

Her husband sexually harrassed me and because I worried about losing the job and her not believing me it took me a while to tell her. And when I did finally tell her, she didn’t believe me.

So years later when I see her in the Wawa she wants to be friendly?

When I told the woman who had supported me through the abuse of my family, she told me I should have given her a chance to see where it would lead. Maybe her husband had died. He’d been sick at my time of employment. Maybe she’d have led up to an apology.

But I didn’t do that. I just answered her question by saying, “Eh, I’m ok” then walked to the cash register and got out of there.

A few months later I had an awkward run in again at the Whole Foods and she actually ended up behind me in line at the register. I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen her, with her back to me, as I walked through the store. But ending up in front of her in line was just too much.

Although I knew she was there I did not acknowledge her.

When I read through this all this time after writing it and also after all the time that’s passed since all that shit happened, I kind of feel like I did the right thing.

I mean she treated me like trash. Why the fuck should I not be pissed off.

She knew where I lived. She could have knocked on my door, she could’ve left a note, apologizing, asking to talk, something. But to me, when she just said in her upbeat friendly voice, “Hi Tiger, how are you?” I was like, “I am not going to fake this.” 

And I didn’t.