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PTSD

Fears

Phobias, oh I have a few, I’ve had them since I was a child. The four main phobias that I can think of right off the top of my head are, in no particular order: Nyctophobia, Acrophobia, Arachnophobia, Trypophobia, Agoraphobia and Achievemephobia. Oh, I said four, and there are six. I wonder if I have others that I haven’t discovered, or realized, yet. I’ve often wondered if it’s all just one big phobia, but science tells me they’re all separate. I had anxiety growing up, and so I’ve thought it was all related to that. I think Cancer and Chemo have cured me of my anxiety, or it manifests itself different now.

I’ve rid myself of two phobias; the Nyctophobia, I think just by simply growing up; age and wisdom. The other phobia, the Arachnophobia, I don’t have that anymore. We had a friend, in high school, who had it real bad, which made me realize that mine wasn’t anywhere near what her level of fear was. I think I was finally cured one day at a friends house, after school, we sat on the couch together watching a Nat Geo special on spiders; my friend said she thought they looked awesome, I was soon mesmerized by the beauty and complexity of these spiders. Not to mention, my friend smelled real nice, was warm sitting next to me, and well, you know, soon I was loving spiders more than I thought I ever would.

I have Trypophobia real bad, I don’t like to talk about it or describe it. Okay, its a fear of clusters, or irregular patterns of holes or bumps. Oh yuck, I said it. Yep, that’s a weird one I know, but there it is. It is a phobia, but I think there’s a leaning towards calling it a biological revulsion.

I knew a girl who had such a deep seeded fear of clowns, she could not stand to hear that word spoken out loud. Not even the word, Assclown.

I am working towards pushing myself through the Achievemephobia, that is a tough one, as they all are. But it is a very important one that I need to get through, or at the very least learn how to cope. I am going to meet this one head on any day now.

I still have the acrophobia, and yet I go wall climbing. Yay me! We’re quite proud of ourselves out here at The Rusty Prose for that one. I still have the phobia, but I am able to work through it. My climbing partner is quite patient and understanding. It’s a real phobia, it’s the first one that I recall having. In a northern part of the city, where I grew up, there was a mountain pass, well, it was an extremely high span at the mouth of a large river. I dreaded having to drive over it. My father ridiculed me for asking if they could lower the bridge so it wasn’t so high up.

I still have the Agoraphobia, I think it’s getting worse as I am get older, my Cancer ordeal  didn’t help matters in that regard, it left me feeling quite vulnerable; the pain, the weight loss, the act of dying but not actually dying, and the intense chemo brain left me feeling that I’d rather be alone, more so than ever in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cower in fear while I’m out in public. Not at all. I’m actually an extroverted introvert and can be quite out going when I need to be, however, I really don’t like crowds of people.

For myself, I am all about self improvement. I have over come a couple fears, and learned to live, well enough, with a couple more.

Interaction

I am an extroverted introvert, I love how that sounds, and what that means is, I am outgoing, can be quite gregarious, can address a crowd, even perform live in one capacity or another, but for a limited time only. I turn into a pumpkin quite early, I need to be away from people. Maybe not all people, the company of one or two more suits me just fine, any more than three can get under my skin. Even three other people is pushing it; I need to be alone for a while to recharge my batteries, or with someone who is patient enough to understand.

I have always been that way, since I was a child, I remember being in large groups of kids and not wanting to be the focus of attention, especially when it came to girls. My parents didn’t want to hear about it, my grandmother, a nurse, picked up on it. One fine day, as a seven year old, I asked her why everybody stares at me, people in cars all look at me as I would walk down the street, she told me to ignore them and to look the other way. I think she picked up on the fact that I’m also agoraphobic, which is another story all together.

I’m so old, I’m from a time when us children would got outside and play on our own or would walk for a mile to get to a friends house. Mostly I would just walk for a mile to nowhere, too many times I’d get to a friends house and there would already be half a dozen people there.

I like conversing with people on a higher level than simple small talk, i.e., the weather, sports scores etc. I find, if I try to go even just a touch deeper than the weather, say politics, business, or finance, most people don’t want to hear about it, so I am left making small talk with a large group of people in most of my day to day interactions either at work, or at school. It’s easy enough to find people with whom I can have a more meaningful connection with, but they don’t all understand the hidden introvert.

I guess that’s the key right there, the introversion is mostly hidden and disguised, and so people are quickly blindsided by an extroverted person shutting down in an instant for seemingly no reason whatsoever. It took me several years for me to realize I was doing that to people, I’m sure I’ve hurt a lot of my friends, acquaintances, and lovers that way. Conversely I’ve been hurt by introverts who don’t understand my extroversion.

It’s not that I don’t like people, though I may have uttered that phrase a number of times in my life, its more that I need to be alone for certain periods of time. I feel, post cancer and chemo, that it’s getting worse. There are other factors involved, those, and the cancer, will be further expanded upon in future blog posts, which you can always read here, at The Rusty Prose. So don’t be offended if one minute, I’m acting like your best friend in the whole wide world and the next minute, I’m contemplating being alone, reading, writing or watching a film or listening to music; you’re more than welcome to come along, just don’t ask me to go out to play with you and all your friends.

My Pet Insomnia

I am a life long insomniac, always have been, always will be. Started as a child; I would lay awake all night, tossing and turning, I did not know it was insomnia, I would complain to my parents but, to no avail. Ironically, if and when I would fall asleep I would inadvertently wet the bed. Hmm, I just went from talking about my insomnia to outing myself as a bed wetter. I loved Sarah Silverman long before she outed herself as a bed wetter. I wonder if she’s also an insomniac.

My insomnia was hard for me to understand as a kid, I would be flat out exhausted, but did not want to go to bed, then, as I would go to bed and snuggle under the covers, I would warm up and, … wait for it, I would wake up. Wide awake, so, I would read until I couldn’t see any more then I would toss and turn until just before dawn, then I’d fall asleep, and promptly wet the bed. Soon enough, everyone in the household would get up, after having a full nights sleep and expect I was the same. Nope. I was unable to get up in the morning, cold, soaking wet, and flat out asleep.

This went on until just before puberty hit, when I finally stopped wetting the bed. I was staying up later I’d watch TV then I’d read a book until late night and sometimes until early early morning. Back then, **old man voice**, we only had a few TV channels to choose from, no VCR yet, and the stations would shut off around Three AM. So I would be tired when I went to bed, I don’t remember having insomnia going through puberty, aside from staying up until Four in the morning.

Insomnia was still there for me as as a young adult entering the blue collar work force, perfect, just perfect. I was staying up too late, usually having beers with buddy, watching the hockey games, then laying awake all night until I would fall asleep, just before my alarm would ring. Not very healthy, but then I started getting jobs which required working graveyard shifts, I did that for many, many a year. Insomnia also works well during the day, especially with lawn mowers, city noises and people. Yep, insomnia was here to stay.

Over the years I would learn different coping methods. A few little changes can help, avoid looking at the clock, or even turning the light on. I know the tendency is to do exactly those two things, then start reading, going on-line or TV time. I’ve read, in a few areas, that it’s best to act as though you’re asleep, keep still, eyes closed, and do your best to not ‘think’. It’s hard to do, but with a little practice one can accomplish these little things.

Then along a came Cancer, Surgery, Chemo, and the whole kerfuffle that came along with them. I would sleep in fifteen-minute chunks, awake for four, then more chunky sleep for four. Those might not be accurate numbers, I’ll have to go through my notes, I may have written that info down.

Now, these days, my insomnia is different, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but then I’m awake after a few hours. I have no problem sleeping during the day but I prefer to be a day person right now, it’s working for me, although lately I’ve been wondering if I’d like to go back to being a night person.

Humping your Hot Dragon

Okay, here is another gem I found in my files, I hadn’t dated it but it seems like I wrote this only a few months after my final chemotherapy treatment. I was obviously still in pain and reeling from the side effects of the chemo. Once again I have no recollection of writing this, so, without further ado, here it is in it’s raw form. Here at The Rusty prose, we’re unsure where I was going with this, perhaps I’ll revisit this and turn this into something awesome to read.

 

Humping your Hot Dragon

Hot, it was so hot. He picked up the Dragon which immediately set about blowing balls of fire before them. The dragon was so sick but refused to admit so. They had set out early in the morning to avoid the heat, but the birds had warned the sun so the sun had come up earlier that day and was none too happy about the birds waking it up so early. He had been warned about his sick dragon, but as he usually did when people told him about his sick dragon he just laughed it off.

He had, as was his usual, awoken so early as to be the one to waken the neighbourhood. His neighbours had oft complained that while he liked to get up early, the entire neighbourhood did not share his enthusiasm for his hobby of choice. This morning he awoke with an unusual fear; he had been having the oddest dream about trying to line up two or three islands in an archipelago, but they wouldn’t line up and one of them erupted as in a volcanoes creating a fourth island which still wouldn’t line up properly. He stopped trying to interpret his dream, realizing that the gist of his dream seemed to tell him he was frustrated by something.

He was now a recluse, but I suppose by society’s standards he was a pariah, due to the sick dragon. He didn’t even know he had a dragon, some people tried to point it out to him be he was too preoccupied. He tended to be able to only have on single focus, no multi-tasking for this guy.

When confronted by the yoga team, the dragon changed colour and set about inhaling as much air as possible. Dragons at filtering out the oxygen and hydrogen to use for its flame throwers. The battles were epic, some raging for years, entering different time zones as well as different planes of this world.

All too soon he lost track of the time, this particular trek the they had encountered more of the yoga people, who seemed to be on their side. The anti-yoga people had converged on them and now were using the dragon against him. The heat from the dragon was unbearable, so focused to a fine point as though the dragon was enjoying itself. The yoga crowd had jumped on him and were now trying to pull his head so down and forward so as to be standing with his feet on his own head.

This was a problem he thought would never be solved. It was in his nature to do things the wrong way. The heat had cooled off; Mother Nature abated the wars with her cool marine air. The dragon, now cured, healed and cooled was soon gone, leaving the young man to clean up the mess, explain everything to the authorities, as well as go back to his job.

Climbing the Walls

A Cancerous tumour ate into my Humerus bone causing it to break. This was many years ago, that aspect is well behind me know. I had surgery, there are now two steel plates, several pins, and numerous screws embedded into my Humerus. I underwent a few years of therapy to get my arm back into functionality. I can now make a fist and raise it over my head in triumph.

I spent several months doing yoga. I did the Bikram’s hot yoga. They have several challenges to get people to practice yoga on a daily basis. I took the one hundred day challenge, well, I went one hundred and one days. It’s quite the feat even for a healthy individual. That three months of daily hot yoga practice did wonders for my body, my psyche, and my arm.

After the one hundred day challenge I hit the pool and gym with a personal trainer. We worked together to get my entire body back into shape and to get used to moving around doing different types of exercises. The yoga was fantastic, it also got me moving, worked on my endurance etc, but it’s good to change things up for your mind and body to adapt to new situations. Working with a personal trainer was also beneficial to my over all rehabilitation programme. All the while I was also going through physiotherapy.

During my ordeal, while I was dreaming of being able to become left handed again, to regain the use of my left arm, and to get back to normal I had considered adding rock climbing to my then future rehabilitation programme. I had a bigger, extended vision of my rehab than the people in my life at that time and was told to take it one thing at a time; obviously we do need to take these things slow and one step at a time, but I like to plan ahead. As I was planning and scheming, a local high school opened a climbing gym. It was fate yelling at me loud and clear.

So, a few years later after Chemo, no more Cancer, all healed up, yoga’d and all rehabed, and with my strength and energy building up I took up wall climbing. I love it, it’s fantastic. I’ve been at it for a couple years, I only do it part time as it really takes up a lot of my strength and energy. Yes, it does add strength and energy, but I need to keep it low and slow to give my body time to adapt. There are teen clubs in there, and, in watching them, I’ve gained so much knowledge and have improved greatly. I have a fantastic climbing partner but he’s only available at certain times; he has kids and a life.

Once again we are quite pleased with ourselves here at The Rusty Prose. On day my arm almost falls off, the next thing I know I’m laid up for a long period of time, and now I’m pulling myself up a wall with said arm. Oh, by the way, did I mention my crippling Acrophobia? that’s right fans, I also suffer, and I do suffer, from fear of heights. it’s all about mind over matter. My body doesn’t seem to mind that I’m climbing a wall with an arm that had previously come loose, and my brain doesn’t seem to mind that I willfully clamber twenty feet up into the air. Twenty feet may not seem like much to you, but it’s plenty enough for me. I’ve faced my fears and my so called disability and have conquered them.

I didn’t actually conquer my fear of heights, it’s still there, I’ve found a way to work with it and around it. Believe me, there are moments up on the wall when I freeze up, or, at the very least, question my sanity. I’m not disabled, but my arm sits funny and I don’t have 100% mobility, but my strength is returning. I don’t consider it a disability, especially once I get to the climbing gym. I can’t have a bad day at the climbing gym, the fact that I’m using that arm to pull myself up a wall is quite the victory for me.

I was not made to devour my fellow man.

I was not put upon this earth to devour my fellow man. It is not in my nature to bend these men to my will.

I am not here to throw them to the ground. These men were not placed here for me to pay for my sins.

We cannot be among others in this state. We do not do these things for our own enjoyment.

All that I can see, in nature, in the trees, I am welcomed into the fold that is the cold ground and the sopping moss.

One only has to look into their favorite mirror to see what is familiar, what is known and what defines oneself.

What are our choices when our mirror reflects an altered vision of ourselves? When we build ourselves, we use our body, our mind, our chemistry, and our biology.

Who do we become when we’ve had our chemistry, our biology, or our specter altered?

What is our recourse when our bodies betray us?

I did invite death in for tea, she refused me. She surveyed my garden but would not enter my parlour.

Death is not a sadist, she is an empath and we love her in her shrouds of deep longing.

We do not deserve her love, we will pine and yearn, but we are not for her.

She will live in my garden, courting mother nature.

These yearnings for solitude will empower the soul. These longings will drive you far.

What your soul has seen, what it is seeing at this moment, your moment, would only serve to drive men mad.

I am a man, I need to be a man. Do we continue to connect the then with the now? When we lose touch with nature what is it we are striving for, what is pushing us forward?

I see us, in nature, and I see us in nature. We reflect our nature back at ourselves, and we enjoy it to be there, to comfort us.

We cannot walk among the trees, breathe of them, see them, and not be part of them. We have lost when they are no longer our friends.

These men, and I am a man, these men, who will not commune with nature, have lost.

I do not wish for the light, I wish for darkness. I am allowed darkness, I am allowed to sleep, allowed to wake, allowed to live for an eternity.

I am no longer my worst enemy, as it is, that is who I am now. We are not looking for that light.

I will leave myself here, where I am, where others would like to lead. We have lost our reference point, I would prefer not one man follows where I may be set to lead.

These things may last, and they will last for many.

I would not know how to die. I know I have a place, in the forest, a place I can see from my chair.

They are not dead out there, they are not waiting for me.

I continue and I will continue on.

Philosophically speaking

Cancer poetry

The Rusty Prose is in dire need of some renovations, some spring cleaning and I need to plow the back forty, however, we need to make time for writing and reading. There’s always something to be done around here but Real Life (TM) calls for me and, as much as I love it here, I need to pay the bills. I found this while doing some Spring cleaning.

This is a poem I wrote sometime after my ordeal was coming to an end. I don’t know when I wrote this originally, but this version has been edited. I read this at a poetry reading a few years ago and got a nice reception, odd though, there was only one Cancer peep in the house that night and she loved it. The non-Cancer peeps (do we call them civilians?) were a little stunned but appreciative. Civilian or not, they were all poets & writers and I was well received.

This could use a little more work, but I wanted to print out this version first, maybe I’ll keep it this way. I hope you like it. Do you write poetry?

 

Philosophically speaking

Cancer, as a philosophy,
asks the question; what if.
With a period in place of a question mark.

Surgery, as a philosophy,
Asks the question; what was
Without any punctuation mark
What so ever.

Chemotherapy, as a philosophy,
Asks the question;
WTF!!! in bold capital letters.
With three, yes three exclamation marks.

Cancer is a declarative sentence.
Surgery is a dangling participle.
Chemotherapy is seen as a cure for the mundane.

Cancer does not know,
Surgery does not care,
Chemotherapy does not
Think about it.

Don’t know, don’t care,
Don’t think about it.

Cancer, is my frothing and bloodied war horse.
Surgery, is my banner, my bunting, and my crest.
Chemotherapy, is the weight of my armour as I am flung face first down into the muck.

Going through my files

 

I found this earlier today, looks like a blog entry for a blog that I started after my Chemo treatments ended, the blog never got off the ground as I suffered greatly from Chemo-brain and was still operating in a fog for over a year. I will tell the whole story one day, I am getting around to it. I’m finding things from then that I don’t remember writing at all.

I didn’t recognize it, I found a whole file folder full of these, some are just notes and ideas but there’s some good ones and also it appears as though I was repeating myself back then. I’ve cleaned it up a touch but have left it in tact, I like it, it’s not so bad. Oh, and Obviously I wrote it in November.

I’m back to being left handed, and well, mostly ambidextrous, which took me a long time to get back to doing. I’ve recovered from the Chemo brain but perhaps not completely and not to mention the on going fatigue. All in all I am much better now but my main focus seems to be maintaining my full time work schedule and taking care of my health and welfare.

This was from November 2012 and I was still off for my medical leave, I was off for another ten months after this. As I said, I was still convalescing and had plenty of time to write, but after I went back to work full time I lost all that free writing time. Part of the rehab/convalescence was reverting back to being left handed and shaking off the residual Chemo brain that was determined to stick around.

Without further ado:

Blog entry Nov/2012

My prose is wooden, my poetry is flat and my thoughts are scattered. With many words to be written I sit idle watching the sunset. The smoke from my newly lit fire hangs heavy over my neighbors’ field as the ravens head home after a long day of harassing the crows.

I’m now dealing with the horrors of becoming right handed; I liked being Left handed, after all, most people do. Though now I can say I am ambidextrous, I’m not great with either hand, but I manage pretty good. The ordeal is mostly behind me, my chemo-brain is definitely improving also my aches and pain(s) are more manageable, so now I am able to devote more of my free time to writing.

I have taken all the words that I allotted myself this morning when I awoke and have placed them neatly in a row along the rough pages of my novel. Seems I left little for other projects. Nanowrimo is definitely taking precedence right now over all other writing projects.

Our domesticated canine would like to have a career as a garbage can, but as of late, her GI tract has other news for her. In my next appearance here on Mother Nature’s property I am definitely going to become a veterinarian. Perhaps a garbage can would have made a sturdier pet.

Here to find my voice

Here at The Rusty Prose we’re out to find my writing voice, and, in embarking on these types of journeys, I am looking forward to enjoying the scenery as it comes up as well as all the stops along the way. The key is to write daily; I have daily prompts that I attempt, I have a number of projects on the go at any given time and now I have my blog. Of course I have bitten off more than I can chew and I’ve come down with some kind of stomach bug, blech, giving me cause to simplify how I look at organizing and prioritizing my projects. So far this blog has helped me write more often, and, so it seems, is forcing me through my editing & rewriting phobias.

Does anybody else have that particular writing problem, too many projects on the go?

And speaking of biting off more than I can chew I’m also looking into starting a Patreon page, though not right away, which will work to make me more accountable for my writing once I can get all my ducks in a row and move them forward. That looks like a great place to sort out ones goals and knock them off. But first I need to spend more time here at The Rusty Prose, there’s lot to do around here, the place needs my attention and I need to find a rhythm; I would like to set up a home page, then add a few more pages for various topics that I’d like to cover and a multitude of other tweaking that needs to be done. However I need to live in the here & now, so, for now, I am focusing on hanging out here more often.

Do any of you, or anyone you know, use Patreon to any great success?

Another issue I am facing is time. Well, time and energy. I work ten hour shifts and have other obligations. I’m fighting fatigue, I’m away from my house for twelve hours out of the day, there are no end of things that need to be done around here and I have been forcing myself to make more time for writing and writing related projects. Write and create. Yes I do realize these are first world problems but they are my post Cancer realities; I’m battling the last of the side effects from my Cancer ordeal, I am working very hard at my non-writerly job and I try to get some exercise, not to mention all the shopping, errands, socializing and the like. I have a dream to turn my hobby of writing in my spare time, to making it a side hustle in which I devote a set amount of time and effort, leading to eventually being able to support myself, in one way or another, writing.

Do any of my visitors support themselves with their writing, did you have similar journeys to get you there?

Death Was Not Pleased

I just found a poem that I wrote six months after my final Chemo treatment. I was still in quite the state, mentally shaken up and physically exhausted. I am proud to say I wrote this with my non-dominant hand. I’ve cleaned it up a bit but this is how I found it, I’ll leave it like this for now, maybe later I’ll do another rewrite but I kind of like it this way, raw.

Death Was Not Pleased

When Saturn devoured his child,
He was unapologetic.
It was out of self preservation.
Death was not pleased.
Death did not make a deal,
With Saturn.
Death left Saturn covered in corruption.

Death was not pleased;
Saturn had devoured his
Own children, each for
Self preservation.
Death witnessed Saturn
Covered in corruption
and did not make time for him.
Death allowed Saturn
To reap what he had sown;
and so now children
Dance on Saturnalia.