Tuesday, March 03, 2009

In a Perfect World

In a perfect world, nobody suffers over anything. There is no such thing as anxiety disorder, depression, anger, resentment or any other emotion that could possibly push us out on a ledge somewhere hoping someone, somewhere will save us; a cry for help or just a need for someone to realize: “Hey, I’m suffering over here!” But, it remains all too silent for the most part and not one person hears your cries for help, because those cries are set deep within your heart trying to make its way out. Unfortunately, most of those attempts to ‘make it out’ are indirected anger or repressed emotions that target innocent bystanders, loved ones and acquaintances.

As I push forward on the anniversary of three months of sobriety, I was making my way over to AA, which is on a road that has a 25 mph limit. I was doing 35 because it’s morbidly impossible to go 25. A cop pulled me over and I tried explaining to him that I didn’t want to be late for this meeting because it was my three month mark of sobriety and I was already in the parking lot as it was. He had no mercy and had written me a ticket. Fine. But, since I was having a bad day and was craving a drink very badly, I said to him, “Welp, I guess I’ll go the liquor store and then head home and make a toast to you that I at least made it three months and now totally off the wagon.” He looked at me with concern and said, “Now why would you do that?” Instead of being nice and pleading with the guy, I was in a bad mood and blurted out, “Because you’re an effing pig that only cares about his $8 per hour job and his quota.” He nodded his head and said, “Ok...ok...” He backed away from my car as I drove off, while my back tires tossed old dirty slush onto his striped pants. I went home, but decided not to drink.

I drank to relieve my anxiety. It made things go away temporarily. I started drinking heavily at the age of sixteen. A personal friend of mine, who happens to be a psychologist stated that I had post traumatic disorder, which many people have and don’t know it. I started getting severe anxiety attacks at the age of sixteen, which made me seek solace in a bottle. I never really knew why I drank so much; I just did. I was young and the kids all drank so what the hell, right? But for me it was much different than that. As I’ve written in another post about what had taken place when I was that age, it sometimes trickles into my life today. I have a lot of trust issues because I felt that I could trust my parents. It was a different level of trust; it was more about them hiding things from me. But I do understand the reasons they hid things from me to protect me. But, was it really protection?

I think to myself: how do my sisters cope so well? Why am I the only one suffering still? I still have nightmares of tons of FBI units surrounding my house with machine guns and some butchy FBI woman manhandling my mom so brutally, that I wanted to kill her with her own gun for touching her like that. I have seen so much crap in my life and for some reason it just never clicked. I never knew what it was all about. My friends would point things out to me, and yet still I was in a fog about everything. While my parents were in a holding cell, I was home trying to figure out why they had to lie to me. My worst fear as a kid growing up was losing my parents. And I did temporarily. I feel so alone in this, even if it was in the past.

This is my story and I have every right to tell it. I even have permission from my parents to write whatever it is I want. I suffered such emotional crap since that age, that I don’t know how it is to feel safe anymore. I stayed at my parents house for a few years after I lost my job. I made the upstairs into an apartment for myself and Madelene, but I never felt safe. I thought that someone somewhere had a vendetta against my dad. Once reassured that nothing like what happened on March of 1990 would ever occur again, I was soon to be disappointed. I heard shots being fired from downstairs. Then I heard loud screaming by a bunch of men. There was a brawl in our own living room with the neighbors from next door because their Rottweiler ran after my mom in her own yard and almost bit her. My dad took it upon himself to shoot at the ground to scare the dog, however the pebbles shot up into the dogs legs, leaving minimal damage. But the four sons and the father came over to beat up my dad. I called 911 and told them what was going on. Things were settled and my father got a fine for shooting at such a close range within a residential neighborhood. My father ended up breaking one of the guy’s arms, while shoving them out of the door. Not too bad for a guy in his sixties! He took on five men.

I love my family and I have a lot of respect for my parents and how they tried so hard to take care of us in the best ways they knew how. I can never thank them enough. There is an underlining tone that’s never spoken about; the emotional damage that I feel, and the emotional damage that I wonder if my sisters feel or even have? Did they see how those FBI handled our parents? Did they witness the brutality that went on? Do they still feel the pangs of that day they were taken away from us? We always joke around and still talk about it, but I wonder if there is a deep-seeded emotional trauma within them too? I remember watching a scene from The Bronx Tale, where the men went into the bar to kick out all of the bikers that were causing a chaotic scene, throwing beer on one another and messing up the bar. They locked the doors and brutally bashed each and every one of those bikers until they were bloody and lying on the floor. I cried at the scene and walked out of the room. Memories of when I was four years old of watching stuff like this scared the shit out of me. I remember these types of things going on in our own home. I remember my grandma begging my father to put down the gun, because a deal went bad.

It’s calmer these days of course, but not in my head. I still have issues with this and I don’t know how to handle it all. I’m still “scared” - scared of almost everything. I don’t blame my parents for the way I internalized it all - I guess this is the cross I have to bear to move on with life and make it better for myself. Maybe, the reason why nobody in my family speaks about their emotional well-being is because they’ve simply blocked the trauma out? I don’t know. I’ve always wondered. It feels like it happened yesterday, and that’s where my issues come in.

I guess today I’ve been thinking a lot about it and also reflecting on how it has effected my behavior to those around me. I don’t want to place blame on post traumatic disorder to make an excuse for my bad choices or behavior, I just want to be a better person and not rely on alcohol to take these horrible feelings away. I want to “feel”, I just don’t want it to prevent me from living a fulfilling life.

But, in a perfect world, nobody suffers over anything, right? 

Note: This took a lot for me to write and I thank you if sat there to read my story...


Anonymous said...

Deb: It takes a lot to share one's own story and I give you a lot of credit for doing so.

Remember, the past influences who we are and where we've been, but the present and the future are what we are living for now. So if there's a past behavior (i.e. alcohol) we want to eliminate or something different we want to do with our life, we have the abilitiy to change it (i.e. free choice).

I'm analytical and view things as black and white. When I want to do something different, or stop a particular behavior (such as to quit drinking alcohol), I just do it. Before you know it several months go by.

I enjoyed your story and good luck staying on the wagon. I'm there with you.


the walking man said...

I suppose there is no other way on the road of internalization than having shit coming out in unexpected, unintended ways.

I never thought so much when I was dropping a fifth a night in under four hours, every night for twenty years. I just did it. I didn't drink to get away from anything. I was an adult and all of my leaving had happened years before I started to drink every day, I drank to stay away.

I come from a different place, a different age where you didn't think about the shit you were seeing every day you just took the punches, gave what you could and went on to the next day. Never mind that the days all rolled one into the other...a never ending progression of getting the young fat ass beat.

So if nothing else I learned to take it "like a man". I learned to move, to move on, to go away from people and places I knew was not wanted.

I wasn't going though I was running, hundreds of thousands of miles of running. Learning that dreams are for fools and nobody was going to give a rat's ass if I ever came back or not.

It made life simpler if I was not around, no thought had to be expended, no consideration given to where I stood, if I was not standing there.

Eventually though I got tired of running and "turned my self to face me to see what I could see."

With a bit of help from God I saw that I wasn't that scared little kid anymore I was a drunk prick who couldn't, didn't give a shit about anything human. It was not a place I wanted to be anymore and then the lights went on.

I stopped fighting everything, I mean EVERYTHING and just accepted that my father was a prick, my brothers pricks, and I had become just like them so I stopped. Not easily, not readily but I had the one creature within me, full grown that they never knew, God.

Then I began to see that if I lowered the walls some, just a bit there would be a a little less shadow in the compound, if I opened the gates just a bit there might just be a bit more commerce.

Don't misunderstand me Deb...I like my isolation now and am very comfortable with little concourse between myself and other people, but I know now that nothing can harm me anymore, there is no trial or trouble that can fight and stand against me.

Not because I had some power or might bestowed upon me but because at one point in the past I decided I would stand behind God, let him fight the fight. I was tired and he knew I was tired.

I am still tired today but not tired from anything that may be rising from the child I used to be, I am simply honestly tired, which when I need sleep, is not a bad way to be.

So feel, feel it all. The shit and the sunshine. You are what you are at this moment, not the kid who witnessed a hard scene that still leaves you in nightmares. Look at what troubles you, start at a time in your life before it happened and walk the line of your memory holding the spirit of God close to you and have him explain your fears away, then you will be at peace because it is those explanations only that make sense.

And that is the barest of bones of my story.

Be Well Deborah Pasquella it is your intended place, wellness and wholeness.

Leesa said...

I think the journey is more important than the destination. My suffering has benefited me, though sometimes I just want to be happy all of the time. And that's just not going to happen for me.

I know about falling off the wagon as well. Those with no crosses to bear may not appreciate what they have.

Just_because_today said...

It is hard to even comment on your suffering. Maybe what you don't realize is how well you cope in spite of everything you went through. How much you give to those around you and how little you ask for in return.

Amber said...

That's really heavy stuff, Deb. I want to jump out of your computer and hug you!!

Trashman said...

I grew up watching my dad get arrested on a regular basis. Usually for auto theft. He always beat the rap. Then he beat his wife and kids. Both my parents were alcoholics. I over came that, and became a drug addicted pimp. I guess there was some of that bad apple in me. Now I'm married and have 2 wonderful boys. Somehow I managed to survive childhood and the rest of my youth. You can too. It just takes a little faith and someone that cares standing by you. I think you have both. I went back and read the other story also. Completely fascinating. I ran with some similar people when I lived in Jersey. At the same time it's acrying shame you were treated that way, especially by the teachers. Keep on keeping on.

SJ said...

I guess there is a tendency to see psychological conditions as "diseases" and that you can "cure" them permanently by pills or prayer or whatever. Unfortunately we only have tools to help deal with the trauma not get rid of it completely. I think you are doing great with dealing with the past. <3 <3

Deb said...
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Deb said...

Kevin: Thank you... I realize we all have our past traumas which we all learn from and creates who we are today. I’m just trying to cope with the nightmares and the feeling “unsafe” part of it all. I’ve tried extensive therapy, cognitive behavioral techniques and found out, it’s harder for some people to get over traumatic situations like that than it is for others. But I do appreciate what you are trying to explain. I’m working on it! Still on the wagon...sober today!

The Walking Man: Wow, that’s some story. A fifth a night within four hours. I remember a few nights like that myself when I was in a really bad way. And by what you said regarding God: “Let him fight the fight.” That is a very difficult thing for someone to do because it takes a whole lotta’ faith buddy! And for that, I admire you for. I sometimes have a problem doing that and let my ‘control freak alter’ take place and ruin everything that stands in the way of letting go and letting God. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. :)

Leesa: You’re right, the journey is so important. We sometimes forget that though, you know? There’s this story or saying, that if we laid all of our crosses in one big room, mixed them up and went back in to pick out a new cross...we’d pick our own.

Just_because_today: Thank you. I try my hardest but I do have bad days, like everybody else.

Amber: {{accepts your hug}} Thank you!

Trashman: *sigh* Wow... thank you. Also, thank you for referring to the other post, which is important in parallel to this one. You’ve been through a helluva’ lot. And I appreciate you sharing all you did. You made it out alive and you have a loving family that you’re blessed with. Maybe we all go through these things for a reason; maybe to develop character so we don’t fall into certain pits if we were never to go through our traumas of the past. It’s so important to have a support person or someone to back you up when you need to vent - Madelene has been a blessing to me in so many ways. And, yes, those teachers traumatized me because they were so shocked and appalled by the crimes that were committed that they felt the need to talk badly to the students against my parents and those involved. I’ll never forget that. I also remember being on the bus going to school and the news on the radio had informed the people about my parents and what had happened. I nearly died. I never went back to school after that. I developed really bad acne and was made fun of between that, and my parents’ situation.

SJ: You’re right. It will never go away in our minds, but we can try to manage whatever is left. Thanks, SJ!

Dana said...

I just wanted you to know that not only did I read your story, but it touched me deeply as I know so many of these feelings all too well.