[ETA: I feel like a total PTSDumbass.]
One of the fun things about traumatic experiences and recurring mental health issues is their tendency to sprout new heads when you think you’ve done slayed them all.
For example, the time just walking by the block where I experienced sexual assault in 2006 sets off a panic attack only 3 out of 10 times I go there, and I have no way of knowing whether this time 112th street is safe or dangerous. FUN!
You really are a barrel of laughs, MKP. Nice work with the humorous storytelling. (I’m getting to it!)
First off, I should explain that my brain generally works in the following way – imagine a golf cart. And in the front seat there’s me, and in the passenger’s seat is the Crazybrain ™ and in the backseat is alcoholism, throwing spitballs and pointing out distracting Burmashave campaigns and occasionally grabbing the wheel for SWERVEY GOOD TIMEZ (ever since I finally drove the golf cart out of the boozey water hazard that was college it’s been trying to get me back there).
So recently me and my golf cart went to see The Fighter, in which Mark Wahlberg could be a contender and Christian Bale knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard except maybe that’s his crazybrain talking. In case you haven’t heard, The Fighter’s based on a real story, and Bale in particular did his trademark immersive portrayal as Dicky Eklund, boxer Micky Ward’s trainer and half-brother. Bale went from this hale and hearty cup of soup:
To this thin strained plate of gruel:
And along with it he developed the junkie’s walk, the addict’s self-centeredness, the alcoholic’s denial and delusion… he used and used and even if the movie hadn’t been 1/3 people getting punched in the face and glistening with pain-earned sweat, I’d have been cringing. As it was, I felt sick, and sad, even though (spoiler alert) he eventually came out the other side…because it’s so tenuous. The grasp any of us have on recovery, from my perspective, depends on so many things – none of which is just “self control” or “awareness” or “drinking like a lady.” I am lucky, my family is lucky, Dicky Ekland got lucky but how expensive was that luck?!
In the weeks since I saw the movie I’ve been irritable and annoyed at the world, overwhelmed by simple stuff and prone to spending free time, well, prone, snuggling with Gracie and putting in hours at the Bartlet White House when not plunking around on my keyboard or getting just enough exercise so I don’t feel like a total fatpants.
This too shall pass, and I know that. Seasonal Affective Disorder, Sober-Anniversaritis, Fatpants Syndrome and PTSD all pass just like the drink signals that used to send me into such a panic. I can wait it out, I can take action, I can reach out to another human being who shares this unique universal problem.
Anyway, I was moved to post this after reading some bloggy friends were going through rough patches too. I’m here for y’all, and stuff.
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