Friday, April 13, 2007

Death and Taxes

We all have anniversaries in our lives, some we look forward to with great anticipation, while others we wish we could forget entirely. As a person who has lived through a lot of trauma, sadness and fear, unfortunately many of my memories are those in the latter category. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy and will probably be on the Blue Happy Pills the rest of my life, and I’m OK with that. I read several articles today about research into using the beta-blocker drug propranolol to help lessen the intensity of memories in people who have been diagnosed as having PTSD. This one is a good representative.

Clearly this topic is in the media right now due to the many soldiers coming back from the war zones in the Middle East having survived physically but with broken minds. I’ve lived with my memories for so long now I can’t really imagine what it would be like to have their power lessened, although I would be willing to find out.

I realized today that I had let one of my anniversaries slide by without my noticing: the date of my abortion. Not that I don’t remember the date, I do, it was March 21, but for whatever reason this March 21st I did not think of it, not once. I suppose you could count that as progress, I would call it a delayed reaction as I did think of it today.

This year the government has given you until April 17th to file your tax return, and this corresponds with the 2nd anniversary of my brother’s death in a car accident.

I continue to grieve. I mourn so many things… the loss my mother feels for her beloved son, my brother the loss of his twin, and (perhaps selfishly) those years I lost thinking I was weak or sick or accountable, and the very real loss of the ability to resolve anything – my anger and sadness at his inability to take responsibility, my fractured relationship with him and how that bleeds onto my relationships with others within the many things.

Sometimes I feel whole, I take a breath and don’t expect the air to come whistling out of the cracks, but sometimes I feel irreparably broken, and no amount of time or love or therapy is going to fix me.

You probably have heard by now that the great American writer Kurt Vonnegut died this week. This is the image from his site. Some day I hope to join you, Mr. Vonnegut, out of the cage.


  1. I hope that feeling whole feeling lasts longer and longer for you.

    I went to a reading once where the amazing Kurt Vonnegut put on a show. That man could write and boy could he entertain in person. BTW he hated HATED Sylvester Stallone and told a funny story about how Rambo dodged the Vietnam War by teaching PE to rich girls at a Swiss finishing school.

  2. I've had a fair amount of trauma and tragedy in my life as well and I do understand how you must feel.My parents were both killed by drunk drivers ten years apart and I won't even go into how my sister died. Propanolol may work for memory, however, what it does as a beta-blocker is decrease one's heart rate consequently lowering blood pressure. It is an anti-arrythmic and is more than likely quite dangerous to people who do not have arrythmias or high blood pressure or heart disease. I am a critical care nurse for almost two decades now, so please don't take that drug if you do not need it. And if some one was to prescribe it for that reason, I would call them on it because it could be quite dangerous. Someday we'll have to exchange e-mails and talk more privately. I think we have alot in common. I'm very sorry for your losses. :(

  3. Please consider EEG Neurofeedback Alpha Theta Training. It can be specific for PTSD. Possibly as few as 10-20 30 minute sessions could literally cure you. They discovered it worked well with Vietnam vets and I have thought often that the VA system is so overwhelmed that it wouldn't use this simple technique to help people by the score.

    It is possible to get rid of PTSD.

    There's also an eye training therapy (three initials S_R maybe?) and doing these specific movements with a therapist reprograms your brain away from PTSD. I will be beginning that soon as well.

    The problem with talk therapy and PTSD is that reliving the situation is very stressful and does no good. These two techniques work on the brain itself for an organic change without the emotional pain.

  4. You are very brave to talk so personally about your life here. Thank you.

  5. You can heal from PTSD and any of the wounds that that diagnosis implies. It doesn't matter how fractured or broken, if you want to heal, you will.

    I know from experience, from decades of living in a deep dark hole consumed by self-loathing and hatred convinced that I didn't have the right to be alive. Today, I am alive, happy and whole. It was not an easy journey but it was worth every step.

  6. No advice - just wanted to give you a hug. -kym

  7. Many of us have had heartwrenching, traumatic experiences in our lives. By saying that I am by no means diminishing yours. What I am saying is you are not alone. There are people who care about you profoundly - rely on those people when the cage closes in.

  8. Perhaps letting March 21 slide by is evidence you are healing from it?

    More hugs from me.