tw: post traumatic stress

I want to talk
about what happened
without mentioning
how much it hurt.
There has to be a way.
To care for the wounds
Without reopening them.
To name the pain
without inviting it back
into me
—  If there is a way, I’ll take it.
Emotional Abuse Is Still Abuse

I’ve made some posts about this before, but as I’ve just recently been put in a position where I was forced to relive some of my emotional abuse, I decided it was time to make a new post about a factor of emotional abuse I have not previously talked about. And before I start, I would like to make it quite clear that I am in no way discrediting any other type of abuse. I am just speaking from the heart about my personal experience with the type of abuse I have experienced.

Emotional abuse is often made out to be solely in the victim’s mind, because emotional evidence is apparently not the same as physical evidence. You can’t see the scars left by emotional abusers because they are emotional. I can’t pull my sleeve up to reveal bruises or cuts. But I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and cry myself back to sleep because of the mental scars that my emotional abuser gave to me.
For years I tried to get out of my abusive situation, but as I was a child and had no physical evidence of my abuse, few people believed me. And those few that did couldn’t do anything about it.
Once I hit 10, though, and started getting extreme panic attacks to the point of not being able to leave the house, people started to take notice. It took me years of therapy and coping techniques to even start to get better. And even though I’m doing much better now, after years of trying to cope, I still get panic attacks and depression and cry in the middle of the night when there’s no one to hear me. Which brings me to my main point: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It wasn’t until very recently that I identified my symptoms as C-PTSD. I always knew that some of it must be related to my abuse, but I blamed most of it on genetics, as my family has a history of mental illness, and I did have the anxiety disorder when I was very young before the abuse affected me too much. But recently I was put in a situation where I was forced to face my abusive past, and I had a panic attack so bad I could’ve been ten again. Not to mention the flashbacks and depression that came with it. I talked to someone I’m very close to about it and she related the episode to a fictional character with PTSD.
After that conversation I did some research on PTSD, and I realized that so many of the things I’d learned to live with, so many of the things I’d convinced myself were just in my mind, were really symptoms of (complex) post traumatic stress, which was something I had convinced myself I couldn’t have because I was not physically abused.
Physical abuse is a horrible, horrible thing, I am in no way discrediting this. But emotional abuse is just as valid, and can cause some of the same mental and emotional problems, and in our society I feel that that is something that is often overlooked. We teach victims of mental and emotional abuse that their experiences are invalid because they can’t show you a scar that’s on their body to prove that they’re in pain.
So if anyone ever opens up to you and tells you that they have been abused, in any way shape or form, don’t question them, don’t make them show you proof, or explain their experiences if they don’t want to. Because if they opened up to you and told you that they were abused, that means that they trust you. So just listen to them, and believe them. Because chances are that’s something they rarely, if ever, get.

living with ptsd is horrible. it’s like you’re constantly in fear that something bad will happen; you envision horrible scenarios that you know deep down that it won’t happen, yet something in your brain is telling you that  it will, and that you’re in danger. and anything can set you off. living with ptsd feels like you’re constantly treading water and you’re so close to reaching solid land but something triggers it and you’re off again. i wish it wasn’t this way. i wish that there was an off switch to make the constant fear go away, but i know that someday, eventually, it will be okay. 

Cold Hands || Open

Steve had a long day, things had been busy for him, so when he arrived back he wasn’t focusing. He decided he’d wash up before heading to bed. He finished up his shower, got dressed in his pajamas and turned on the tap to wash his hands before getting into a bed. A habit his mother had gotten him into that he just couldn’t seem to kick. However, his tired mind didn’t notice that the water was turned to freezing. The minute he stuck his hands under the tap his mind was bombarded with memories, the place, the ice, the pain. His whole body regenerating too fast to stay numb, feeling every cell freeze as he waited for death.

“No!” He screamed out, not aware of where he still was.

Steve had fallen to the floor, his cold hands trembling as he relived his death, again.

SteadyRadios Reviews Pepperboy's P.T.S.

If you’re someone who’s never heard of Pepperboy before (although that’s unlikely if you’re reading this), the opening lines on his new album PTS, not including 45 second intro track, will be the best introduction to his style. Coming from another rapper, Pepperboy’s first spoken words on the second track Death would likely be the beginning of a simple metaphor: “I’m hurt, man.” But Pepperboy is speaking literally and has right away jumped into narrative: “I can’t feel my legs. Get me to me to the hospital, man.” While obviously Pepperboy is not laying injured on the studio floor, this kind of barebones, straight forward storytelling has you neck deep when the album’s just started. 

Returning fans, however, will find this familiar. Lyrically or thematically, not much has changed from Pepperboy’s most recent, previous releases. The album is littered with personal details of his hardest and darkest times contrasted with a positive message. And the details about Pepperboy’s past are deep and specific. Pepperboy doesn’t just tell you he spent time in prison, he describes spending two and a half years in Arkansas’ high security Varner Unit and having to work construction on its SuperMax facilities. Or he describes being locked up, and not only missing the birth of a son but the first two years of his child’s life. And then tells you to never let anyone discourage your dreams. While hearing Pepperboy discuss this is inspirational in many ways, labeling him as a simple bad-guy-turned-good ignores the complex character he brings to his music.

While Pepperboy does, of course, often describe himself as trying to live a better life in comparison to his past (this is basically the subject of Battlefield), he also details a complicated life full of choices and their consequences, whether good or bad and whether he regrets them or not. The title track, PTS, might be where Pepperboy best shows the complexity of his character. While the song is essentially about the stressfulness of daily life and attempting to cope (especially with the constant, malicious presence of the police and judicial system), Pepperboy complicates this theme by pointing out times he should have listened to advice but chose not to; or, even more specifically, admitting to still riding around with a gun for protection from old enemies, and having to fire warning shots to make them “think twice.” He dislikes that he has to do this, but is open about having to do it all the same. Pepperboy does have a message of hope, but does not always treat it as simply as “past vs. present” or “good vs. bad.” Instead, he presents a unique life for his listeners to get to know and understand how hope plays a role. 

 Again, beyond the intimate details, those familiar with him know what to expect: storytelling and mostly simple hooks. There are no witty punchlines, complicated flows or strange word play. And when catching all the details of Pepperboy’s lyrics demands so much active attention on my part I am left wondering, somewhat, how long I could actually listen for. But, at just under twenty eight minutes, the album is very short. It’s actually shorter than Pepperboy’s previous release, the Days of Grace EP. But what Pepperboy does, he does well and the roughly half hour length of these projects feels like a good choice. The beat selection on PTS especially is very good and unless you’re a die hard boom-bap fan ( and then, again, how did you end up here?) you will enjoy stretched out, spacey samples and synths. Aside from one old Clams Casino beat, the album contains original production from producers of varying internet notoriety, including some we’ve posted here at Steady Leanin’ like BSBD and suicideyear, and some I’m just hearing of for the first time like mister jay and Lyle Horowitz.  

With PTS, Pepperboy has carved out a niche that no one else can occupy. While seemingly easy comparisons to his style can be made (for example, with his best known cosigner Lil B), such comparisons ignore the uniqueness Pepperboy has created through his intensely detailed raps. While it may not make for great music to turn on at a party or even in the car with friends (the often overused “bedroom rap” label comes to mind here), Pepperboy’s music tells a story not found anywhere else, because it’s his.


Some Nevermind concept art.

Back it on Kickstarter and reblog to spread the word!

Nevermind is a biofeedback horror game that monitors how stressed or scared you are. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game becomes harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.

One exciting facet of Nevermind is its potential to serve as a full-fledged therapeutic tool for those who struggle with challenges - mild or severe - relating to stress, anxiety, PTSD, or other similar conditions.

If you can learn to control your anxiety within the disturbing realm of Nevermind, just imagine what you can do when it comes to those inevitable stressful moments in the real world.

War vets find solace in four-legged friends

(Article by Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, 9 NOV 2012. Click through title for full article.)

He was antisocial and difficult to work with at first. He’d clearly been abused by his father as evidenced by the deep, round scab near his shoulder. He hadn’t been eating well.

And he was so skittish that the slightest noise or motion set him off. But Army veteran Jeff Wilson needed a new dog, and this pound puppy – a border collie-German shepherd mix – was it.

He named him Lobo, and it wasn’t long before Wilson, 44, realized they had the same issues.

“We were kind of kindred spirits,” he said. “I think it really helped deepen our connection because he wasn’t just helping me; I was helping him. I was helping him get past the same obstacles that I had. I had to recognize it in myself and get past that to help him.”

[It is heartening to see that CNN is making a greater effort of late to cover human interest stories of this nature, highlighting soldiers and their stories and struggles. Combating the “Rocky Syndrome” perception. I’ve no visibility to how much circulation or visibility these articles garner, but it gives me hope. -R]

I am sick to hell of the stigma attached to PTSD. I have news. Most of us who have been diagnosed with PTSD would never go around shooting innocent people or running buck ass naked through a pre-school, or whatever it is everyone seems to be afraid is going to happen.

Actually, I’m not so sure most of us have a disorder. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a disorder as “a physical or mental condition that is not normal or healthy.” I can’t put numbers on it, but I’d be willing to bet that a very small number of people diagnosed with PTSD have an actual disorder by that definition. Post traumatic stress, sure, but I fail to see how that’s not normal or healthy. Maybe Post traumatic distress would be a better term. 

I mean, of course you would be distressed after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Not having your mind rebel against processing the experience seems like far more of a disorder to me. Of course there’s a line where it becomes a disorder. But fear? Sadness? Flashbacks? Nightmares? Hyper-vigilance, avoidance, reliving the event? These sound more to me like a healthy mind protesting a something unbearably awful.

So stop using the word disorder so lightly. If you think it’s normal to come out of a genuinely traumatic experience without any of these reactions then fuck you, you have a disorder. The world should fear people like this far more than people who have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Me? I have distress. It’s a condition of humanity and I value it.