When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Image

“Despair”

“Sorry” you say,

Hoping to erase the pain,

Yet my breath is shallow and my heart is crushing me with each pump of blood.

Sorry isn’t enough when ego clouds consideration

When the flames of your anger leap to burn me,

You’re angry that I am scared; that I startle easily when you enter the room unannounced.

Intent or not,

Sorry isn’t enough when behavior remains the same.

The sacrifice of doing what I ask for safety’s sake – mine and yours

Why does my past have to beg?

Living with the P’s isn’t easy for either of us

Please don’t make it harder when sorry isn’t enough

Tears and pain crush me

When sorry isn’t enough.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Time to Break Through The Wall of Silence

Image

Time to Break The Wall of Silence

Okey dokey,

I am feeling verrryyyyyy vulnerable but I know that I am amongst friends so it is time to talk because I am processing a lottttttttt of information but I am committed to authentically facing the challenges and joys in my life.  Here goes:  We have finally arrived at an official mental health diagnosis and it is a bit much to take in.  Here it is:  PTSD/anxiety disorder/adult ADD/bipolar disorder.  I hit every single hallmark for all of the above.  Damn dirty over-achiever lol.  While there is some relief in having terms to place on the manifestations -racing thoughts, the panic, the inability to concentrate, the need to escape, the triggering of fight/flight responses, the anger, the highs, lows, in-betweens and bone-crushing exhaustion – there is also a good amount of apprehension.  That age-old question of what now and how will this affect my ability to achieve the big things I want to do with my life rises up from the deep.  Panic begets panic and looking inward for too long causes implosion on my part.

Soooooooo. . .I choose to look outward; to help where I can, to know that I am worth doing the me-work that will establish better balance and well-being.  I know that the gift of mental illness is that if I am self-aware, it teaches me to actively practice self-care.  I have lots of thoughts and a few fears tonight since each diagnoses manifests worry or angst in me in a different fashion.

PTSD:  manifests itself in alarm, easy startling, a fight response when others enter my personal space uninvited

Anxiety disorder: manifests itself when least expected and is lower if I know that I only have to get through ____ amount of time in a given situation and then I either won’t have to face it again at all or won’t have to face it anytime soon.  Ramps up if there is a stressor that I have to endure regularly.  Still, I believe that exposure therapy is sometimes helpful.

ADD:  Manifests itself by scattering my thoughts, affecting my short term memory and making long periods of intense concentration impossible because I just want to escape.  Necessary tasks are more difficult due to the inability to concentrate.

BIPOLAR DISORDER:  Manifests itself with high and low energy.  During the highs, my energy and mood are boundless.  I am able to multitask well during those periods.  During the lows, the muscle pain is very palpable, exhaustion reigns and it takes everything I have to be any modicum of productive.

Welcome to my world.  Yet I’m here.  Learning. Working. Making a difference and hoping that sharing honestly not only helps me to understand myself but for others to understand that facing life with a mental illness does not mean we are weak but rather that we are courageous as hell.

 

Walking Wounded

Image

When I was at lunch today, I had the honor of speaking with 2 Vietnam veterans who were sitting at the counter. I thanked them for their service and one of them – George C – told me that he was in the 1st batch of military members who were hit by Agent Orange. He has lived through 6 heart attacks and a recent surgery on his jugular vein. An amazing man who seemed more amazed that I didn’t recoil at the sight of his scars. His friend, George C II, was also struck with Agent Orange and has health issues as a result. He said he felt that his biggest scars are the ones no one sees. The mental scars of PTSD and being a prisoner of his own mind at times and having flashbacks while he was driving that the cars were not vehicles, but rather trees in the jungle of Vietnam. He has given up driving.

When we parted, they asked me what I do for work. I told them and then George C asked me what I do for life (for joy). I told him that I am a writer and photographer and said that if I’d had my camera with me, I would have asked to take their photos. I paid for their meals, thanked them again for their service and the conversation and they invited me for coffee next Friday afternoon and told me to bring the camera. They would like their stories told through photos and essays. How amazing is that? Simply because I took an interest. I am so amazed at where these encounters are leading me these days and the way my art helps me to interact with the world around me.

I wrote the following piece as part of my eulogy for a friend, a Vietnam veteran I’d known for 35 of my 45 years who committed suicide to escape his demons.

NONE UNWOUNDED

A soldier died today. Not in combat on some foreign soil but in combat on the battlefield of the mind. A soldier died today. He took his own life. Some will call him a coward.

Whether we agree with the reasons our country is at war or not, the fact still remains that we have people fighting for our right to play Monday morning quarterback over it all. Those who would say that our soldiers are stupid and that’s why they’re in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world they’re needed are naive.

The soldier who serves our country is not evil, self-serving, or looking for glory. Some were given a choice: the military or jail. Others were drafted, still others joined voluntarily after some heinous act jeopardized the safety of our country and its citizens.

These men and women have seen things in the performance of their duties that most of us haven’t even dreamed of in our worst nightmares. Decades after their service, what they did because their country asked them to or because their own life was threatened during combat, still haunts their minds and hearts. Many have never forgiven themselves and believe they can never atone enough for the lives taken, damage caused, and peace of mind taken, even though those lives were of the “enemy”. They weep for the loss of humanity.

Even those who did not die, lose limbs, or see comrades die lost something. The years and months away from family, freedoms, and easy going spirits were lost. Innocence was lost. Simply because the pain cannot be readily observed does not negate its existence. José Narosky has said “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”

It takes people with courage to stand up for the weak, less fortunate, and humanity to allow us our freedoms. The right to raise our families and sleep safely in our beds each night rests on their weary shoulders. Hold them up, thank them, and most of all, honor them.

Paulissa Kipp 2011