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Why M*A*S*H Quiets my PTSD.

Hello my loves – out here in what seems like a time capsule of my not so hottest moments. I have kept this blog out of sight, and out of mind for such a long time. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with curiosity to read through what moved me forever ago – and I tuck it away again – or I come back and jot down quick thoughts with what seems like years in between them. I have debated over and over deleting this website – and finally out of a sheer miracle I decided to give it a much needed facelift and re-boot. I am so so proud and thankful to all of you who have been readers even through my most difficult and “loud” phases. I remember how therapeutic it use to feel sitting down at my laptop nightly, scribbling out all my most inner thoughts to help me process my disease. I went to conference after receiving the Young Adult PH Citizen Award in 2014, came back home so inspired, and then quickly spiraled. I was increasingly unhappy in my environment, and could not focus while my mind was clouded with so much anger and paranoia. My disease was forcing me to look at things with a different shade, and the results were earth shattering and numbing. While writing kept me sane, in some aspects it backfired, but gave me a log to see how trauma and disease changes the brain.  I’ve very very very slowly begun writing over the past two-ish years mainly trying to get to know the new me – who understands my triggers, and who knows when to breathe and re-associate myself with my actual surroundings. I wasn’t fixed the day I was diagnosed with PTSD but rather it has taken two years since then of training my brain, and reactions with hiccups along the way. The person who started this blog is no longer existent which is a very heavy thing to say. My body has changed, along with my cells and skin. I have tubing that pokes out of my chest, new scars, new tattoos, and a less clouded mind – depending on the day. I have come to understand this is natural, and like I have typed before, it is okay to change amidst your survival. Thank you again, for your support and please email me or comment if you would like to get in touch or have questions. All pages on the blog have been updated so please take a peek if you feel like it!

Moving forward…

I was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the summer of 2016. From around August of 2014 I began to have ridiculous over the top anxiety attacks. I would zone out for hours sometimes, would breakdown over little things, lose my temper, had memory issues, and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I tried to take on more work to feel “responsible” to make up for my sudden weirdness, my drinking increased, and I had just quit education because it was really hard to be around kids you adored everyday knowing you could never have your own; unknown to me I was triggered, and my outlook on my disease and treatment was changing. I felt lost, and very much so an outsider – cue the alienation phase. I began dancing in our beautiful winter ceremonies that winter, and it did in fact give me relief until they ended around February. By late April, I was the worst I had ever been, completely sedated and addicted to Xanax, and I decided to move to New Mexico which ultimately opened up so many doors in healing – not only spiritually – but also with a new specialist team who knew how to deal with me. I am extremely thankful everyday that I listened to this internal pursuit to go to the Land of Enchantment.

But before I got to New Mexico it was hard to put down pills and find some kind of everyday relief while I was in my worst moments. Music seemed to bring on more emotion, and could very quickly aggravate and disassociate me. This is when I ran across MASH (the TV show) on Netflix, and attempted to give it a try. It’s basic knowledge to anyone that I love the oldies, and while I never got to really watch MASH I remember seeing it on TV from time to time (like everyone else:)  It’s an understatement to say that I was instantly hooked. Instead of sleeping all day – I would prop my phone somewhere playing MASH while I cleaned my room, or got the motivation to apply for jobs in New Mexico. MASH had a way of dulling the background noise, balancing out my thinking and surroundings to where I could function again.

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Hawkeye – for me – is someone who my soul tugs at. He remains his kooky comedic self among nothing but despair and disaster in the middle of a war. He is relatable how he fights against the trauma and injustice he feels he is experiencing; I can watch MASH and feel heard yet relieved.  Pulmonary Hypertension is my war. Hospitals, surgeries, losing funding for basic life needs, fighting just for your existence. It’s known to lead to some mental breakdowns – as we all know Hawkeye had plenty. He lost Henry Blake, and Trapper John but I lost Sean Wyman and Rebecca Lindenberg. “I’ve been fighting death since I came over here. I’m tired of death. I’m tired to death. They’ll keep coming whether I’m here or not. Trapper went home – they’re still coming. Henry got killed and they’re still coming.” -Hawkeye  Friends pass, others are recovering from the beautiful miracle of organ donation. And here the rest of us are – our oxygen tanks, pills, pumps at our side, continuing to fight for our lives.

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MASH is still an escape, and relief to my reality four years later after experiencing an internal war. I am so grateful for my PH family – my beautiful friends who I feel like they exist in those green tents with me while bombs explode outside. We all share this sense of mortality, and morbid hilarity; as Hawkeye has put, “joking about it is the only way of opening my mouth without screaming.” If you are needing something warm, funny, and relief to an active mind consider this show for comfort! Everyone is different including their triggers. What works for me may not for you.

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All of this and MASH babbling to say that if you are struggling – you are not alone. There will be a day when the clouds clear and anger subsides. Sean Wyman reminded me of that while I sat in ICU crying over the new tube in my chest. The anger has subsided, the paranoia comes in waves, and the grief will always be hanging in the background like some decorative tapestry. That is just the new normal. With that being said I am so grateful today for another summer, beautiful New Mexico landscapes, wildflowers, farmers markets, days with Rocco Ricardo, and groovy records. Peace is possible within this fight.

-haley.

 

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Uncategorized

Well, Lets Just Throw This Out Here.

Mental health is the hardest thing to treat, accept, live with, and discuss. Mainly because these days everyone loves to throw the “crazy” word around, and leave it be. It’s so much easier to just toss people aside for an illness we cannot understand, and for something that seems too difficult to grasp. Most people are frightened by mental illness, so its much easier to make fun of it, or ignore it. When I was first diagnosed, I did not understand my own feelings. I could not comprehend my frequent change in mood, why I felt the way I did, and what I was suffering from. Once I did understand the mental side to my health (straight up anger), my body soon followed into a successful recovery. As I will always say, life is a state of mind over matter. If you can mentally square yourself away, then maybe just maybe you will make it. But mental health is an everyday battle. It will never just be “fixed.” Things happen, you will be exposed to new things, maybe injuries or even medication will constantly alter your mental state. So before that tacky “crazy” word comes sputtering out of your mouth, lets sink ourselves into what exactly its like to suffer from being trapped in your own mind, or just from living with yourself.

You are constitutionally incapable of turning ‘you’ off. | Community Post: 33 Signs You Are Jess Day From

I have existed within a state of anxiety since I can remember. Anything would set me off, from parting from my parents for a few hours, reading a book, or even watching Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know why I have anxiety, but as I have grown older, the disease has grown too. My brain works the way that it does, and I have to do my best to live a functional life. Seeking out help a year ago, I visited my primary doctor asking for advice. He started me on a very low dosage of Xanax because he was frightened how it would work with my respiratory system seeing as how I have this incurable, fatal respiratory disease. Moving on, I was also sent to have a pysch evaluation at my request to make sure I was okay which I was then just formally diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. I was given two higher dosages of Xanax. I began taking them because I was supposed to – got sleepy but that was a whatever thing to me. Then I became taking them during panic attacks, or when I knew I was about to go into what I thought was a stressful situation. Then I started taking two, or three, or more. By last month I was too tired to even walk across my house. I wasn’t remembering parts of my day, having trouble separating dreams from reality, and I was blacking out throughout the day. When I didn’t have my pills I was anxious, restless, emotional, and well, unbearable in my mind.

Yes, I am a Xanax addict. I thought of the brilliant idea (ha. ha. ha.) that I would try to not take any while I attended Gathering of Nations at the end of April. I was surrounded by my culture I loved, busy with shopping, dancing, friends, music…I was ecstatic until about thirty minutes into it. There were millions of people there, it was hot, I was stressed by emotional triggers, and there was no Xanax in site. Fourteen hours into the Pow-Wow (yes, they go on forever, and we were there that long) I had spiked a fever, was nauseated, irritable, shaky, sweating, short of breath just from sitting down, and weak. It didn’t stop there, of course. I had no medication to “numb” my brain. My brain hadn’t had to think in a long time, in fact it at this point was used to just shutting off. Every feeling I was finally feeling, I was experiencing on the highest level. I felt alone, scared, shut away and suicidal; and yes I relapsed a week later.

mental illness affects 1 in 4, its the leading cause of death in young canadians; sylvia plath <3

This detox, and attempt to get away from a drug that calms me (in probably not the best way possible) has been a painful one. Not only physically, but mentally. Mental illnesses are the worst because they are our literal being. The are the reason, and voices in our head that decide exactly what we do; so when you spat your mouth off about how we are the way we are, it’s not just a hurtful thing in itself…but its destructive to us, and we already want to destroy ourselves. We have to live with ourselves, and anyone can find a million reasons why they dislike or even hate themselves. To hear it from someone confirms with the little red man inside of us that maybe, just maybe it isn’t worth it to keep fighting the big fight. Maybe everyone else already won, and we are eternally the losers.

Quote on mental health: Not every disability is visible. www.HealthyPlace.com

I try really hard to be truthful with people, mainly because I hate liars, and I know what its like to be lied to. I try really hard to love people, and show them the best parts of themselves and how to use it, mainly because very very very few people have ever done that for me. I had to do it myself. I try really hard to keep smiling on the outside, because I know how it feels to see nothing but a bunch of shit around you instead of happiness. Your words, your actions, and your gossip could be the final puzzle piece to a disaster that you never thought would be complete.

Mental illness is invisible. Mental illness is painful, and it is often masked with lots of smiles, words, medications, and attempts to love others and be normal. Help someone instead of talking about them. People are So Worth Loving.

Song of the Week is Carnival by the Cardigans because they are precious, and its such a happy song. Check it out!

Also, for a limited time in my Etsy Shop (well, until supplies last and until I leave the state) you can purchase this bundle for only $15! It includes a Just Breath tee, Medical ID card, and a inspirational card. All of that for only $15! Yes, children’s sizes are available! Does a friend need a shirt, or a kiddo? The link to my shop is under the “SHOP” tab!

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-haley.

Life With PH, Personal Life, PH Health

Internal Explosives.

Life is full of so many demons. Some we encounter, and others live inside of us which sounds like an episode of American Horror Story. Its been really hard to stay focused lately, to slow down, or to do anything productive other than my full time job. Why? Because I am the literal demon in this situation.

Anxiety was never a thing I took seriously, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a diagnosis. But as I sat across from a Doctor, and described my daily routine and thoughts attached, he diagnosed me with severe long-term anxiety. What? But as a flip back through family memories and pictures, certain moments come to mind. The thought of even rain sent me into a crying fit, throwing up before performances, feeling sick whenever I had to leave my dad, and having to have someone at the house with me all the time. As we get older, its not just storms but people, certain songs, walking around the house a certain amount of times before I know I can leave it, and all of this just adds up to be little emotional triggers; triggers that launch a explosive anxiety bomb in my brain.

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Whats it like to have anxiety? Its like seeing something that bothers you, and replaying that situation over and over again in your mind, thinking about all the horrible outcomes and what could happen, and either acting on that stress and venting to someone only to annoy them, or choosing to live with that sickening feeling. Its like laying in bed awake at night because you know the rare disease you have causes blood clots, and your worst fear is to die in your sleep, and you just know that even right now one could pass through your heart or brain and kill you instantly. So, you decide to stay awake. Its like worrying about your family’s safety because they didn’t answer the phone, you think you left the coffee pot on, and you cant focus at work because you just know you will come home to a house that was burnt to the ground. Anxiety takes away my peace of mind, my will to do things, it wants to me stay at home where I’m comfortable and not have to deal with anything that could trigger anything else. Yes, thats how bad its escalated. Dealing with people that have anxiety, I could only imagine is not fun. But your actions unfortuntely play into theirs. We need you as support, and a calming ressurance, not someone who makes us feel crazy. You doing that could actually make us crazy. What exactly do we need from you?

Understanding. You may not get how our brain works, but its locked up in our body. We don’t appreciate how it works, and you definitely don’t, but we need you to be that relaxed force for just that moment.

Genuine Concern. When you tell me to calm down, you’ve just evoked the powers of an anxiety hurricane. You made me feel stupid, out of control, over-exaggerated, and you’ve just triggered every other emotion along with that too. I know you do want us to calm down, and we do too. Think that all you want, but talk to us. Why are you feeling this way? What can I do to help? Lets take a couple breaths, and talk about this. Now that makes all the difference.

Don’t make fun of it. Its a serious problem, and I wish my brain didn’t function this way, but it does. It has since day one, and making me feel stupid and crazy doesn’t help. In fact, it makes me distance myself from you, and it makes me hate me. I’d rather overdose on anxiety pills than deal with this feeling. You merely get to hear about how my brain works, you don’t actually feel the internal thoughts. Its exhausting.

So this loves, has been a huge hindering factor on my life right now. One that I’m trying to control, but as stated before, its exhausting. Its no surprise that anyone who might’ve been diagnosed with something would have anxiety. If you feel like you do, then please talk to your primary, and a therapist. We already live with a chronic fatigue, so why add to that? Free yourself.

-haley.

Life With PH

Heavy, Dull, Tight or Full

Hello loves.

Its been forever…well, a whole week. But here is kind of whats going on that’s keeping me from updating yáll.

-I’m working full-time at the school (and pulling 12 hour shifts to get things done).

-I’m a full-time student.

-I do photography.

I seriously feel like I don’t even have time to breathe, and that in itself is starting to reflect with my body. Like I’ve said before, I’m a GO GO GO type person and with my hectic schedule I’m getting maybe 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Plus, I’m a night owl (insomniac.) So I’m totally never resting, I’m working a ton, on the weekends I’m finishing school assignments and doing photography sessions. Well, for about 3 days now I’ve been having some chest pain. I think its due to not having adequate rest and just time to relax. So I’ve gone through an oxygen tank this week and I’m about to put another on. We’ll see how the rest of this weekend goes, then I might be calling my doctor on Monday.

Sooo Chest Pain, PH’s best friend. It comes and goes and every time you go to an appointment they ask about it. Some doctors are concerned, others aren’t. It’s a very common thing that can have a lot of different causes, but could always have the possibility of being something serious. But when do you know to pick up the phone? After much research and actual experience, I know when it’s not just the day-to-day “simple” chest pain we get. When its heavy, dull, tight or full its time to get the doctor on the phone. It’s almost related to Angina, which is a slight delay in the blood flow to the heart. And beware, this can be brought on by anything! Smoking, exercise, emotional stress, cold air, certain foods. Keep a close eye on your pain. You’re the only person who knows what they are feeling. Don’t suffer silently.

I love blogging and I’ll try to make more time. My brother reminded me tonight “You’re just like everybody else except this one big thing.” So to all my PH’ers out there, SLOW DOWN. Cause it’s kicking my butt so far.

On a happier note, I had time for shopping today and im enjoying my skinny ankles. I hope they are here to stay!!! 🙂

Skull top from TJ Maxx, Black Skinnies from Dillards, Red flats from Charlotte Russe

-haley.