Steve's Thoughtcrimes

Doubleplusgood Newspeak

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Coming on two months ago, PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms were triggered that I didn’t know existed for me. While I’ve had a few PTSD symptomatic run-ins in the past, nothing as incredibly severe as these symptoms have ever been triggered.

As a precursor, I understand there are those on MHRAC (and beyond) who will feel this is “despicable”, “angering” and “saddening”, and to this I say:

  • We all have the same social contract.
  • We are each responsible for our behavior.
  • We all are accountable to ourselves and others for our behaviors, including everything consequential from our behaviors.

Additionally, there is a propensity for hypocrisy if we forget and neglect these basic, essential social commandments. When we stray towards forgetfulness and neglect, that is when we are in error.

And once more additionally, Thoughtcrimes was launched to share my life experiences as a peer with other peers who perhaps could learn something of themselves by me sharing my important life experiences. This has included stuff that’s incredibly hard to say and share. I haven’t held back on other HUGE mental health events and issues in my life thus far, and seeing as this is a HUGE mental health event and issue in my life, I’m not going to choose hypocrisy over genuine honesty.

And away we go! Let’s talk about PTSD things and stuff, and let’s talk openly about what I’m going through and the whats, whys, and hows of this moment in my recovery journey.

How to describe how severe, debilitating, inexperienced, and unexpected these PTSD symptoms are? How’s this. In a blind taste test, assess the tannic bouquet of a marginally-tasty Francis Ford Copolla malbec (kinda blech… give it a pass) with a jug of the finest seagull guano. Upon this linear magnitude metric, I can say the closest I’ve come to aged bird shit is lukewarm menundo. Chugging seagull guano is a new one for me.

My most severe traumatic headwaters ever ever ever have everything to do with my ex-wife. The cornucopia of schemes she had to abuse me was immense and frequent. She physically beat me, she screamed insults and venom at me everyday, she said things like “I’m going to make you so sick you kill yourself, and then I can our son out of New Mexico finally.” Lovely girl. Queen of the Harpies, and my my choice to stay with her as long as I did created this avalanche-waiting-to-happen PTSD of mine.

Sadly, her preferred manner of treating me wasn’t exclusive to me; as an example, she took joy in getting people fired at work with such gusto that Ranavalona would appear as a Walgreen’s shift manager with simply poor employee relations skills comparatively.

Also, she took great pride in repeatedly calling my mother during our divorce to tell Mom “I always get what I want so you better say goodbye to your grandson while you still have a chance.” If you are seeing reflections of the townspeople gathering to head-kick the pendulum ex-wife in the village square, you are seeing correctly with great wisdom.

Can you tell I adore hyper-descriptive prose explaining my emotions? Boom goes the lump-coal.

So what’s got me on this journey of severe PTSD symptoms? It might seem such a small thing, and this happened close to two months past at an MHRAC meeting, so it is believed I should be “over it” by now.

At this meeting, an MHRAC committee member (female) chose to communicate with me by screaming at me well inside my comfort zone, and then proceeded to jab me rigorously in the chest with her index finger to accentuate the issue she was trying to make… and this was way way way way way way too akin to the manner in which my wife once abused me.


Bam. Triggered now are severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms.


There are three things I’m hearing with regularity concerning the initiating event (screaming & jabbing) that I feel diminish the debilitating symptoms of my triggered PTSD hassle, and more expansively all peers who struggle with PTSD symptoms. Let me share these three sentiments making the rounds:

  • Steve is overreacting to a minor little argument and is blowing it out of proportion.
  • (My MHRAC colleague) can’t be responsible for the way my ex-wife treated me and thus isn’t responsible for the severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms I’m experiencing.
  • {My MRHAC colleague) should be given some leeway for inadvertently triggering these severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms… how could she have known?

And let me briefly respond to these three sentiments making the rounds, in a very brief singular statement.

Yes, my wife abused me; yes, it was incredibly traumatic, and; yes, since I haven’t experienced PTSD symptoms related to my traumatic marriage like this ever before, then triggering them was inadvertent…


Yet, they would not have been triggered if my MHRAC colleague had chosen a better way to communicate with me than she did.


I like analogies, so let me share a physical parable to better illustrate why my MHRAC colleague is responsible for triggering these symptoms, is culpable for these symptoms, and must be accountable for these symptoms.

  • Say I know I have osteogenesis imperfecta (“Brittle Bone Syndrome”), and say I’ve never been kicked in the shin in any prior stage of my life, hence I wouldn’t be personally aware of what kicking me in the shin would do.
  • Now, say that my MHRAC colleague was both 1.) Unaware of my osteogenesis imperfecta and 2.) Would be equally unaware of what the consequences are of kicking me in the shin.
  • In anger, she kicks hard me in the shin.
  • This is the first time I’ve ever been kicked hard in the shin.
  • My shin shatters into a billion crusty shards.

So, although I know I have osteogenesis imperfecta, and my MHRAC colleague does not know I have osteogenesis imperfecta, and because I’ve never been kicked hard in the shin previously so don’t know the magnitude of inevitable damage to my shin, would my MHRAC colleague be responsible or culpable for my shattered shin, and should she be held accountable?


Yes.


A resounding yes. Why?


Because my shin would have never shattered if she hadn’t kicked me hard in the shin in anger.


Make sense? Of course it does. The logic is sound and irrefutable.

Let’s transition back to the incident at MHRAC two months ago, and let’s apply this parable to the way my MHRAC colleague communicated with me (scream & jab), and let’s see if this logic holds true if osteogenesis imperfecta is instead PTSD.

  • Say I know I have PTSD (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”), and say I’ve never been screamed at by a female inside my comfort zone and I’ve never simultaneously been jabbed in the chest with her index finger in any prior stage of my life, hence I wouldn’t be personally aware of what screaming at me and jabbing me would do.
  • Now, say that my MHRAC colleague was both 1.) Unaware of my PTSD and 2.) Would be equally unaware of what the consequences are of screaming at me and jabbing me.
  • In anger, she screams at me and jabs me in the chest with her index finger.
  • This is the first time I’ve ever been screamed at and jabbed in the chest with a female’s index finger.
  • PTSD symptoms so severe and the likes of which I’ve never experienced are triggered.

So, although I know I have PTSD from my ex-wife, and my MHRAC colleague does not know I have PTSD from my ex-wife, and because I’ve never been screamed at and jabbed in the chest so don’t know the magnitude of nearly inevitable PTSD symptoms, would my MHRAC colleague be responsible or culpable for my severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms, and should she be held accountable?


Yes.


A resounding yes. Why?


Because my severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms would have never been triggered if she hadn’t screamed at me and jabbed me in the chest in anger.


Make sense? Of course it does. The logic is sound and irrefutable.

By my solidly logical reckoning, my MHRAC colleague is responsible and culpable for my severe, debilitating, and newly-discovered PTSD symptoms, and she must be held accountable for her poor choice of how she communicated her anger towards me.

There are a few more details that I’d like to share as additional reasons that being in the same room as my MHRAC colleague is unwise and inadvisable right now.

  • When she first jabbed me in the chest, I told her she couldn’t strike me like that. Her reply was “My fingernail might have accidentally touched you.”
  • Through trusted peers who have had direct communication with my MHRAC colleague soon after the incident two months ago, my MHRAC colleague claims she’s not responsible for how my ex-wife treated me, so therefore she is not responsible for triggering my severe, debilitating PTSD symptoms.
  • Through many of these same trusted peers who have had ongoing communication with my MHRAC colleague over the past two months, my MHRAC colleague has changed her interpretation of the event to “It never happened and Steve is lying.”

These compounding factors are way way way way way way too similar to what my ex-wife told others after every time she abused me, to the point where I would call 911.

Was my ex-wife ever held accountable? Nope. And I’m sure it has a lot to do with when she beat me and screamed at me it would trigger intense manic symptoms (this is before being diagnosed with bipolar), and I would be a frazzled, apparently uncooperative mess when officers finally arrived… and I was taken to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center, aka “the jail”) and not her because I’m a big guy (6’3″) and would appear incredibly aggressive when manic symptoms took over for my good sense and intelligibility.

I can’t and don’t fault APD officers for this because they must make a judgment call when responding to a domestic dispute, and, in behavior only, my ex-wife appeared and sounded more credible. Still, the manner in which my MHRAC colleague confronted me and her subsequent denial of personal accountability (and even denial of event-occurrence now) has triggered PTSD symptoms that feel EXACTLY like it did when I was in my abusive marriage.

So, I’m not attending MHRAC, and Razzie is sitting in for me as a voting MHRAC committee member on Tuesday evening. The hope is that I’ll have strong, effective coping mechanisms in place to manage my severe PTSD symptoms, although I am not working on PTSD WRAP (Wellness and Recovery Action Plan) so I can once again be at the table with my MHRAC colleague. She is not a consideration or a goal of mine, nor should she be, for I have no obligation to her and she has no entitlement as I am learning to manage a new facet of mental health challenges.

I’m doing this for me, and I’m learning new self-empowerment skills. And that is a positive borne of a negative. Cool beans.

Okay, I talk about personal accountability, and I’m one who responsibly owns the mistakes I make. To this end, and in the sake of full disclosure, my MHRAC colleague and I have had numerous arguments over the past two years, and they have been exceptionally heated at times.

I have an unwise tendency to “poke” at people to gauge their reaction and to learn information that I suspect is present and only needs corroboration and substantiation. How someone reacts is telling, and often the reflexive retort to prove me wrong is just as telling.

It’s also a tool to hold people accountable. At meetings, I admit this is akin (but not exactly) like “calling them out.” And this is what I did two months ago at the MHRAC meeting, and I knew it would elicit an angry response from her. What I didn’t anticipate is how angry she was and how her fury can turn to unwanted physical contact.

Should I have held her accountable in front of the entire MHRAC committee? I’ve thought this over, and I have no regrets of my conduct during the meeting. I’ve done this many times in many meetings, and I’ve never had a colleague strike me in anger. I’ve done this with my MHRAC colleague many times in many meetings, and I’ve never had her strike me in anger.

My responsibility is shared for helping to initiate her subsequent vocal and physical assault on me, and it does not excuse or lessen my MHRAC colleague’s (illegal) unwanted physical contact on my body.

If ever again my MHRAC colleague and I share a meeting table, I’ll need to gauge my own behaviors and actions with the knowledge of how this can trigger my MHRAC colleague in her choice of communication.

I do have a strong habit of helping others at the expense of my own mental health. Many times this has resulted with inpatient services. What I use as a deterrent to placing MHRAC’s well-being before my own is this analogy: Would you ask a battered wife to work out her trauma so she could live under the same roof as her abusive husband? Same thing. Trauma is trauma, and I do this for me.

Dude, that was soooooooooooooooooooo cathartic. This tale of woe and challenge I’ve wanted to share with other peers and those interested in learning more about the peer experience for… well, two months now. This is one way I’m reempowering myself, and it feels, it feels relieving, and it feels right.

So there you go. Best of mental health to you, and wish me luck in my PTSD recovery.

10 Comments

  1. SHE HAD NO RIGHT TO INVADE YOUR SPACE ORSHOW YOU DISRESPECT. YOU ARE A GROWN ASS MAN, ASSUME SHES A GROWN ASS WOMAN AND GROWN UPS LEARN BOUNDARIES AND TACT. DOESNT MATTER, PTSD’ OR NO PTSD, SHES CLEARLY OUT OF BOUNDS. SHE SOUNDS TOXIC, BLAMING, NARCISSISTIC AND I FOR ONE WOULD MOVE ON TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MASTERED THIER ADULT SKILLS OF RESPECT FOR PERSONAL SPACE, TACT, AND BTW KEEP UR FCKN HANDS TO YOURSELF. ID BE A MILLION MILES FROM HER. YOU DESERVE HUMAN RESPECT SWEETY. HONOR YOURSELF ENOUGH PLEASE THAT YOU BEGIN SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH GROWN UPS. I don’t check my email much, but if you’d like to write that is fine.

  2. Hi, I read through the shin/jab analogy. The MHRAC member who jabbed & yelled inside your comfort zone, should be held accountable for assault & battery. The psychological effects of that upon your psyche are also her responsibility, as she did that to you. Regardless of her lack of awareness of your PTSD, it’s a simple cause-and-effect equation. She was trying to scare/intimidate you, and she succeeded in her goal.

  3. Claire Satchell

    October 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Great piece of writing Steve. Really sorry to hear this. I hope you are getting the support you need. As for your colleague, whether she was aware of your past or not, her actions were totally out of order and she should be held accountable. I hope things start to improve for you x

    I have a very strong fear of spiders. The other day while driving, one BIG one dropped from the roof onto my lap. If it wasn’t for the electric doors that will not open while moving I would have launched myself out of the car into moving traffic. I could have killed myself and others on the road as I swung across traffic to get out. Now, I can’t blame the spider for that. but if someone had thrown that spider at me…………

  4. STEVE I’M DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. YOU TELL PEERS ARE RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE IN YOUR SOCIAL CONTRACT METAPHOR BUT YOU AREN’T MAKING PAULA BURTON OR MHRAC RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE. WHAT GIVES? BAD EXAMPLE MY FRIEND.

  5. Er…. I’m not American so what would happen if you attacked her? Are there seperate laws for men or women? Take care of yourself mate.

  6. I think she should be held accountable and she isn’t. I watched you fall apart in a way I have never seen. It was heart breaking to watch. I stayed by you during all this not only because I love you so much but because I was afraid of losing you. This person is not a colleague she is a bully. And bullies don’t stop bullying until someone does it back to them or they realize there are consequences for there actions. I want to bring this up at the next MHRAC meeting or have a member of the public do so. This person should be someone close to you. Someone you trust to bring it up in their introduction of why they are there.

  7. Her name is Paula Burton not My MHRAC Colleague. She never showed you respect why are you protecting her?

  8. In California we have a saying — hella bummer. Sorry you’re in trouble dude. This sounds hella unfair.

  9. It makes ZERO difference if she knew or not she is 100 % responsible because as you said its like breaking your shin. Either way youre fragile and it makes it worse because did she even say sorry to you??? It doesn’t sound like she did she only pretends it doesn’t matter or happen. Stay strong bro we got your back.

  10. Hi Steve. May I say how brave you are sharing so openly? I too was beat up by my wife and it hurt me so bad I didn’t date for over 20 years. People like you help people like me feel safer talking about my problems with people who understand. Thank you!!!!!

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