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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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Emotionally Exhausted and Morally Bankrupt.

Sitting here after a wasteful three-hour nap, wide awake at midnight and staring into a damaging computer screen. All I can think is, “My cat is in the backyard.” She would usually be to the left of me, perched on the couch.

I’ve always been told that life is full of change, agreed to it, but never did I grasp it until these past few months. You expect change, you are told to get ready for it, but it hits like a title wave…and when you are left laying there wondering what the hell you are doing on the ground, you realize things changed. I love the quote along the lines of, “day-to-day it seems like nothing changes, but within a year everything is different.”

Lately, there has been so much change that I can’t get my bearings. I’m knocked down only to barely get to my knee’s, and catch a glimpse of another wave coming. At this point I’m “emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt”as the MASH 4077 would put it. I’ve had things thrown in my face that I shouldn’t have, people stripped from me, and I’m left to sit here in the dark and type about it. Isn’t this everyone at one point though?

For those who don’t follow me on social media, My childhood pet and first black cat, Fantasia, passed away on April the first. She was my first best friend who slept by my  head every night, licked my face until I fell asleep, listened to cries from a breakup…and she was such a fighter. The older, and unhealthier she got, she was still fast, sharp, and after she lost consciousness around 11:45pm, she should’ve died within minutes. She continued to fight off death until 2:06am. Losing Fantasia was in a way relief after how much her body was failing her. But burying her was like putting a final piece of my childhood, and support system into the ground. I only hope that the couple of hours her heart continued to beat, that her soul was still around somewhere, felt our hugs, and listened to our goodbyes.

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Throughout our lives we will have to continually shed our skin, and adapt to change. It will knock the breath out of your failing or healthy lungs, bring you to your knee’s, and sometimes you just have to release an outcry of anger in reply. I’m tired of people acting as though my anger is abnormal, unexpected, and inappropriate. Anger is a human emotion; while it is not healthy to feel anger continually, it is okay to feel it and express it. Feel your anger and release it as you please. Stop condemning people, or treating them as though there are “issues” present, when really all that lays underneath that anger is humanity; a human response. Anger is natural. Let your anger be felt, and let others feel accepted.

I have every right to be angry. I’m stressed, I’m changing my lifestyle, and my normal. I’m losing a place of dance, and things that I love for change. I feel the daily strain on a body that I can’t fix, cant excel in the points that I want to, and doctors that want to restrain dreams. I’ve lost people who greatly had a grip on my heart, I feel betrayed, and watch best friends in my life take their last breaths and decide where they should be buried. Time will not heal my wounds, but create scars. Time will ease the intensity of change, and hopefully transform into peace. But until then…

I am angry. I am not insane, unhealthy, or “need to talk.” I am just human, dealing with human things. I am normal. Let me be angry. Let me be me.

-haley.

@haleyann92

Song of the Week is Blessa by Toro Y Moi.