head
   He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he gaze long into the abyss... only to find his own reflection.

An indication of madness.

[I didn't date the entries in this diary. They have distinct start and end points, so each section is a day's entry.]

I have a giddy enthusiasm as I contemplate the next few days.

My voice has come. I know what I want to write and I cannot stroke the pen fast enough to keep up. My mind races. And I don't want it to stop.

Even though, in it's cage, my heart beats -- "palpitates against the ribs."

FEAR!

No.

TERROR!

There is something called the brain-blood-barrier -- a feature of our physiology that disallows some drugs to enter the brain through the bloodstream. And like that barrier there is a total disconnect between my mind and my body.

The heart races -- as the mind now does -- the extremities tingle, a pain centered below the heart spreads through the body, the bladder tells me it's full although I just went, the feet sweat, the scalp itches, the eyes and ears are maddeningly over exposed...

All my life that was what my body did -- with no apparent reason. The disconnect was total with "why, why, why?" always racing in my head.

For forty fucking years! Forty fucking years that hot coal in my chest has burned.

Forty fucking years.

But now I have a reason if not a fully understood one.

~

My fear was a mistake.

Sad, but true, my fear was a mistake. That something... happened in undeniable, but it was a mistake.

Driven by their special madnesses my parents fucked me over (literally) and left me scarred for life (literally -- if only I could show the scars to you, they are in a place where the sun don't shine).

On top of all that I grew up and lived in a society which institutionalized instilling fear in it's children -- fear of God; fear of punishment; fear of burning eternally in the fires of hell.

("Do you know what eternal is?" a priest asked my mother when she was a child. "It is longer than it would take a bird to pick up every grain of sand and drop it into the ocean," he told her.)

Fear of crime. Fear of "the ghetto." Fear of strangers offering candy.

So, man -- and woman -- held a fist over their children to fear their (and Gods') wrath, followed up with a placing of their hand on the back of the neck with, "Be strong. Don't cry. Show 'em you can take it. Don't be a faggot!"

~

You are calm, alone, productive with some personal work -- there is some slight pressure from some small annoyances perhaps, mechanical in nature usually, something does not work right, the pen runs out of ink, pencil tips breaks, some noise outside the window -- but overall it is peaceful.

Then, a person intrudes, someone in the house, say, comes down and does something noisily nearby. You are disturbed. "What are they thinking?" perhaps enters your mind. "Was that some sort of look they gave?" The person leaves but the disturbance persists.

"What are they doing now?"

The pencil tip snaps again. Or the window bangs again.

"Not now!" comes to mind. "Why now? Right when I had some peace!"

Your concentration suffers. You try to continue but the pencil, now stiff and hard in your hand, persists in not working properly.

You put it aside and briefly search for the pen. Finally you find it and... it won't write. You scribble circles -- no ink -- dry. "Fuck."

You can only slam the pen down and get up.

"Shit! Why now?" You pace.

Coming back to try again but you know there is no way the pen or pencil will work -- it's over. You can't even stay in the room.

"Why?"

Just like all the other times you think. You recall yesterday's and the day before's frustrations. Even last year's crap.

Someone you miss then pops into your head. "If only..." you think. Not only frustration, sadness now too.

By now you're pacing, clenching your fists. You think to leave but you remember the problem with the car. If you drive it may break down. "Fuck."

You want to kick something.

You're heart aches now. You clench your chest now. You know lashing out in anger might help but the consequences of that are ill -- breaking the TV will make things worse.

There is no one to go to. No one to talk to. "If only there were someone..." The Doctor's appointment is weeks away.

You know a drink will calm you but that too leads to ill consequences.

There is, you realize, nothing that will help. No where to escape to. Trapped in pain you collapse and want to die.

I found another pen then, and a notebook, and I write this.

I feel better.

Someone is upstairs making noise.

I am still not through This!

I still want to hide.

The weather is cold and wet outside but now I am calm enough to go for a walk.

~

Sometimes it's the little traumas that are the worst.

"How?" people will ask, I am sure, does a childhood trauma lead to PTSD in an adult? Well, it is very complex, but one aspect goes like this:

Unknown fear, that is fear of something obviously non-menacing, like the sight of a bird in the yard (to pick a kind of thing that triggers an unknown fear), causes one to avoid, keep quiet, turn away, etc.

(Always keep in mind that we live in a society where the showing/admitting of fear is, shall we say, "frowned upon".)

So, one may go through childhood, through school, through "life", generally avoiding and isolating oneself from one's (unknown) fears. We are, at least I am, very good at hiding fear.

[The fear, I eventually learn, is just a way of our body "trying to keep us safe."]

What happens over time though, is that all this avoidance and isolation takes a toll. We are social animals. We need love -- this too, this need for love, is, unfortunately, "frowned upon" for men, by men.

So, later in life, one feels the urge for love and makes attempts at it, even finding it...

Yet, and this is how it plays out for me in particular, sometimes "love" does not work out, and the parting can be painful.

Violence from men. Abandonment from women. Shame from groups.

[PTSD is named a "Disorder" for a reason.]

~

[This is a kind of embarrassing entry as I expose deeply rooted and raw, painful feelings. I made a point, though, to not withhold what I wrote.]

I cannot Forget This.

Abandonment, disappointment.

Fear of those prevents me from talking [to], meeting women.

Horror in response to those -- inevitable -- instances when finally having a women friend.. of not hearing from, misunderstanding, etc.

IS PAINFUL to the Extreme!

~

Anger is supposed to be okay according to my therapist. We still have not gone into the subject too deeply, but what I think she meant that anger is a normal, human emotion and that having the feeling of anger is okay.

I was telling her how I abhor anger, I avoid anger, I run away from anger -- figuratively and literally.

When I was a young boy I had somewhat of a mean streak in me (if three makes a streak)

I don't want to re-live those times again, right now, but there were three instances when I hurt and bullied some other kids.

I don't want to recount them as I am deeply pained and ashamed of what I did.

Let me just say that I saw the hurt I caused another boy in a disgusting act by the boy's father against his own son. (I became a pacifist that day.)

But there are some times today when I get angry and my anger overcomes my reasoning powers (limited as they are already).

Part of the "anger is okay" thought, though, is that although the feeling of anger may be okay, lashing out at others in anger is not.

I am not talking about anger at say, someone who robs you. No. I mean anger at someone's attitude. Anger at someone's dress, ethnicity, class, race, gender, sexual preference. (Luckily, those do not plaque me anymore.)

When I look back at the times I posted an angry comment, yelled at another driver on the highway, or, not too often, but enough times over the years, insulted someone vociferously to their face, I think really that I was acting out some deep-rooted anger that I have never dealt with -- an internal turmoil never resolved.

There are too many instances in my life where I still need to say...

"I was wrong and I am sorry."

~

[I wrote this while in the hospital, sitting and waiting to see a doctor. I could not quite make out a word which I put down as "cart coffee".]

Someone in another room is going, with almost every breath, "Ahhhhh".

There is a noise outside the window -- which on the second floor overlooks a roof -- that sounds like either a dog barking or an iron chair or bench pulled a few inches across a cement floor. This noise occurs at random, less often is it heard when you go stand by the window to hear -- unnervingly the noise is not there for a much longer period of time -- when it does come it sounds different. When you lay back down the noise suddenly increases for a while.

You can't resist rushing to the window again -- almost glad to hear it, that agonizing, scraping bark.

There is a tiny "Johnson Control" thermostat looking from the 1950's on the well that hisses non-stop.

There are beeps and tones and alarms of all types going off constantly throughout the entire building.

There are buckets and chairs and "vitals" stations always on the move, along with the occasional bed.

Ice can be heard, and plastic bags of myriad shapes and sizes being ripped open. Sometimes you can hear the empty cart coffee hit the trash can, many times followed by bits of hard, tiny objects.

There are hums and buzzes of many frequencies, loud and faint.

Light switches or instrument switches or staples being stapled or clipboards being dropped knock you from your chain of thought.

And still you wait.

Voices come and go of every conceivable voice -- sometimes like whispers, sometimes like children, sometimes like someone on the phone, sometimes like casual conversation -- blended all together with groans and commands of all kinds. Covering your ears only muffles all these sounds together.

And still you wait.

"Ahhhhh... Ahhhhh..."

#
Writing Down the Pain
I'd like just once to fall asleep feeling good about myself. Just once. Drunken stupors do not count.