Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Look

I've been away from here for so long, and I don't know why. Maybe it has to do with having to look at what's bothering me? It's easier to put it off for another day than it is to face some of the issues and write it down.
I hit another breaking point this evening. So I felt led to come here, change a few things up, and see if it would get things flowing again. Just like an artist, I'm always wanting to go back and change something. My moods and interests are like that too... one day I'm diving into my meditation and prayer time, next thing I know, I'm finding something different to occupy my time.
I really admire those who just live their spiritual life, and make time to do it. I know they struggle too, but it just seems like some people can keep that close to them and integrate it into their daily lives. Mine feels like, well, moods. Moods that last a couple of months, and then it changes to something else. Oh it's still there in the background, but I'm not into it like I should be. Surely I can't be the only one who goes through this? 

Segue >>>  Let's talk about my faith. I've come to a point in my life where just hearing the title 'Christian' rubs me the wrong way. Ok, first I should point out this important fact... I have Christian friends, I love them, I don't think they're wrong for pursuing what they believe in. I'm not going to stop being their friend just because they have different beliefs or don't worship the way I do. 

I'm Messianic. I think of myself as a Messianic Jew, but don't I dare say that. You're a gentile dammit. Why "Messianic Jew"? Because in my mind, when I accepted Yeshua into my life, started to study and practice Jewish traditions and beliefs, and was grafted into that tree, I became one of them. Ok so technically I'm more like an adopted Jew, that puts it into perspective. But don't you love and care for that adopted person as if he/she were your own blood?? Maybe I should save that for another rant. Lol

My main focus right now is this, believers who call themselves Christians have gotten SO far away from their roots. I grew up hearing about how Jesus was Jewish, He was born in Israel, and did these traditional Jewish things. I heard about important Jewish people in the Old Testament and their relationship with God. I heard all about these people, but it's always felt like it was being presented as"Ok these Jews were important because of what they did and said, and Jesus also did these cultural things, but they were in a different part of the world and were of a different religion. We're Americans and don't do things that way. So yea, learn from them, accept Christ and His teachings, but don't worry about the traditions he took part of because all of those things are about a Jewish culture in your history book."

Again, I'm not saying that every Christian out there is doing things wrong. Whether you call Him by his Hebrew name of Yeshua, or you accepted Him into your heart as Jesus, He's in your heart and God knows what's in your heart. 
But it seems there should come a time when you realize that your faith is based on a Jewish faith. Don't you think we should learn more about it? I'm not talking about doing things that an Orthodox Jew would do. Or for example, do things we think must be done in order to be forgiven. Yeshua has already died for our sins, we don't need to keep sacrificing those animals (I'm using that analogy to make a point)He was THE ultimate sacrificial lamb and we come to the Father through Him. There are things we can do, should do, as believers, that Yehsua did. If He did them, then why aren't we?! (I'm referring to certain holidays/traditions that are still very relevant to our walk with God).
I'm sure that would open up arguments that would point back to what I said earlier, that "it was a different culture, so why should we?".

This whole thing has me very angry. Sometimes to the point where I can't even discuss things calmly and I get loud, even with people I love. I know its because of this condition I have, and I hate that part of me. The anger, the defensiveness, the fear. I know that these people aren't trying to hurt me, even if they do say something that's insulting. So why is it so hard to learn to discuss things like a rational human being? Yea, passion for the topic influences it, but this is too much. This is fighting. And I always feel like a jackass afterwards, thinking to myself "way to show God's love you moron".

I don't even know what the moral to the story is. Wait, yes I do. It's about learning to communicate with people, to remind myself that it's not the person or situation that made me this way. That is over. As Yoda said it, "I must unlearn what I have learned". Because no matter what the topic is, religion, politics, hobbies... you can learn to debate all of those things calmly, without a fight. I know I can get there.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Changes

Changes, everyone (well almost everyone) hates it. Even if knowing the changes coming up mean, it's for the better. Like I've said before, no matter how much you prepare yourself for it, when it's something major, you're knocked on your ass.
In time I think therapy will help. I'm a big supporter of therapy, in fact I don't understand why some people frown on it. Egos getting in the way I'm sure. "Oh I don't need to do that, I'm a (insert excuse) and can handle it on my own." Or sometimes it's just our upbringing or how we've been conditioned... "I don't need therapy, (insert excuse) is more important and that/they come first and I probably just deserve this." It's all just crap. I don't mean that as an insult to the person saying it, I mean the excuses are crap.
Yes we need to take care of family or friends who need us, but if we don't take care of ourselves then what good are we. How can we expect to help others when we're falling apart bit by bit until we're so low that it seems like there's no hope.
Or that other excuse, and I'll use me as an example.. I'm a man, it'll look weak if I ask for help. So fucking what? Let them talk if they want to, you can't let others make decisions for you on everything.
I've fallen under both of these examples, letting my ego get in the way or thinking I really don't deserve help because I'm a screw up.
So back to that change thing. God, my wife, family, and therapy will help me deal with this change in life of having a dad in a nursing home. Part of me is still holding onto how life was before, that it'll all go back to normal. I know it's silly thinking that way, like I'm refusing to accept reality. It's a strange battle though, internally. I love my dad and want to see him get stronger and have this damn disease disappear, but this is the person who planted that seed in me that grew into the lovely flowering PTSD. You know what happens in your head when you tell people that? You start worrying that you'll be judged for "just putting the blame on someone else and not getting on with your life".
I really do hate that thinking. It is true that some people can use it as a crutch, I'm sure I've leaned on it too much at times, but think about it, any kind of injury comes from somewhere! Whether it's physical or mental, something caused it. (I'm not referring to the illnesses a person may be born with). I don't even know at what age it started, the abuse, the fear, the nightmares. It goes back so damn far, in fear for my life. Feeling that way for years, getting a little older and the world becomes bigger, I can run away now, there's more out there. Except now you're conditioned to even fear the world and people because you know you're going to get hurt or reminded you're just a fuck up. Why try right, we can't take that risk. Getting a little older, ah yes I'm big enough now I can fight back, but what's stopping me from beating him up or killing him? A conscious, your mom gave you that. She may have been too over protective, but you learned about the love from at least one parent. Can I really trust that other parent's love? Abuse... tear you down... oh here's a present for you, see how much you're loved? Then of course that conscious, and some morals tells you, if you do something you'll end up in prison.
So finally there's that day! You've long been past the age to get out on your own, it was hard, but you're doing it. I'm slowly getting on my feet now, look! What's this? Confrontation.... it's not life threatening, so why the hell am I feeling fight or flight sensations, I'm losing the ability to speak intelligently because my brain and mouth aren't working. Ok so let's add another small incident onto the fire making it feel bigger. A bigger growing flame of pain, hate, fear, and lack of confidence.
Years go by and here I am in my 40's, having that foundation of shit that happened, and the man who started it all is withering away, a frail human being in a nursing home dying from some bullshit chemical imbalance that we can't even see or know how to fight.
I do love him, so why am I trying to avoid the situation? How do you take all of that inside of you and neatly tuck it away so you can be there? Should be easy right?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Still Kicking

Well, it has been awhile since I've written down my thoughts here. A lot has happened since the last time too, but I don't think I need to write everything down all at once.
Had to move back to the Oregon coast to be near family. I'm glad we got here when we did, because dad took a turn for the worse.
It was so damn hard to see him in his condition, suffering physically and mentally from the affects of Huntington's Disease. I hate it equally as much as I hate cancer. Both have taken family and friends from me.
Dad fell and fractured his hip, went to the hospital for awhile, moved to a rehab facility, and then straight to a nursing home.
You know these days will come, when something happens that throws your world into what feels like mental chaos. You know its coming, but when it happens it still slaps you senseless. Its been months now and there's still a part of me that feels like he's coming back home anytime. Bad moments hit me out of nowhere, reminding me that he really is permanently in a nursing home now. So my emotions have been all over. And that's just part of what I'm dealing with. Lets not forget the fact that he is the reason that I spent almost 20 years of my life living in fear. Needless to say, there's quite a battle going on in my head. But I shall leave that for next time.
I want to end this on a positive note by saying that Randi has been such a huge help, she's an awesome wife and best friend. Another reason for staying afloat is due to the fact that over the past few months, I've enjoyed getting my nerd on by diving back into comic books and all things related to it. Plus, I've also found myself growing stronger in my faith. So not only has Randi kept me sane, but I can thank God and Batman too. :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Darkest Moments

The other day I had an attack, it had to be one of the worst I've had in a couple years. 

Things have already been a little stressful with the move coming up, but after a really good writers meeting with awesome friends, a horrible and emotionally draining event happened. I don't want to go into details because I wasn't directly involved, but definitely felt the affects of it.
Later that evening I had to deal with an ongoing issue with a safety issue here at our apartment. This place has been a headache... we've dealt with theft, someone taking our cat, neighbors stomping around upstairs waking us, a woman being shot and killed in the building next door, and now this issue of flood lights not working in our hallway, for four days, after reporting it. People should be safe in their homes. Anyway, I'm getting off track..

Around 4:00am, while Randi was asleep, I heard a sound outside that reminded me of a gun shot. Who knows, maybe fireworks echoing in a parking lot? A sound like dropping a board from a third floor? So I'm not 100% sure, but it got my attention.  I was "OK" until the second one occurred.
Which resulted in me calling security to check into it.

The affects from the 2nd time it happened, is hard to explain. I tried getting my mind on something else, a video game which is always a good outlet for me... but suddenly, as I was staring at the TV, it felt as though I was no longer there. Like tunnel vision, seeing but not seeing. Images moving, but not being able to react to them.
Then my insides began to shake, not so much my body, just an internal shaking that made me feel like I no longer had control. I took prescription meds, but they were of no use.
Fear set in. I was afraid of the sound, of hearing it again. My mind went to other things happening like someone breaking in. It was a constant feeling of not knowing what was going to happen next, a "flight or fight" emotion that wouldn't end.

I was too afraid to go to bed, I wanted to. I was drained mentally and physically, and wanted to take something to help me sleep. But those damn thoughts of "what if I fall asleep and something happens, I won't be able to take care of Randi"
Not since the shooting on Ft Hood in 2009, hearing those fucking sirens over the PA system, have I felt this fear. Not everyone will get that or understand it... how a person who wasn't even in the vicinity of the shootings could be affected. But I'm afraid it can happen.

Dark, scary, trapped, the unknown, protective instincts - they all bombarded all at once.  I couldn't wake Randi because I didn't want her to worry. I had some friends who happened to be awake and online that I could chat with, which I am eternally grateful for. They listened, let me talk and get to a point when I felt somewhat calmer and the sun had come up.  I love them for that, for being there, even if they didn't get it.  That right there frustrates the hell out of me, them not knowing or saying things that don't always comfort someone dealing with this type of issue. But my frustration is NOT with them not knowing what to say... they were being awesome friends... my frustration is in not knowing who to talk to when these things happen (when Randi can't be there, or I'm not able to go to the doctors). It's a horrible feeling to go through it and feel like you're alone.

It has passed since then, I'm doing better, but it's still there. Buried inside, taunting me. A feeling that says "I'm still here, and I'm going to fuck with your head when you least expect it.".

Note to my friends - I'm sorry this one is so dark. I just need to get it out, to see my words and see if it can help me understand things. Thank you for being there!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Where To Begin

That is the question. I keep putting this off and finding excuses not to write... everything from "it's hard to talk about", "no one would want to read this", "he's just on a rant again". Then I keep coming back to it like its calling me. So I think what I've decided to do is to just go for it, start typing and see what comes out. To put an answer to my obstacles, let me think and try to reason through it here.

A) It's hard to talk about - Ok, it is. But this might help putting it into words instead of carrying it around in this jumbled fucking mess in my head. It feels like I can't even have a direct thought anymore, 3 or 4 hit me and I'm going everywhere. This has got to help me focus right?

B) No one would want to read this - Yea, that's a possibility, but what are the "cons" to that. Whether someone reads this or not, when it comes down to it, it's really for you, not them. Yes, someone may get something out of it, and that would really make me happy. Someone reading my ramblings and finding something amongst the jumbled mess that says "holy crap! that's what I'm feeling!" or "I can SO relate to that!". Who knows, maybe it will open up some door that allows a friend or random viewer to get to know me better and understand how my head works.

C) He's just on a rant again - Yea there's the one that really triggers emotions for me. I don't know how many times I second guess myself thinking my posts on Facebook (and now here) are just empty, annoying thoughts that people see enough of... (see section B Jason)
So what if I am on a rant? If I'm not specifically pointing a finger or naming names, who's it going to hurt? If someone doesn't want to read it, they won't read it. Isn't it better to get it out? But then can't I post positive things too? Doesn't everyone see enough bullshit on social media sites of people talking about, well, nothing... and everything. They have issues too I guess and need to write it. Are they looking for sympathy? Am I?? 
See what I mean!! This one always has me going in circles. Always worrying about what people are going to think of me if I say something I'm feeling or dealing with. Like that whole "unfriending" thing on Facebook... why give a shit that this so called friend deleted me from her friend list. The signs have been there when you've read her posts, you knew there was no reasoning with a person like this. Like talking to a fucking wall.  Ok where was I?
Always worrying. I've always been rebellious to an extent.. doing things I love, dressing a certain way that not everyone likes, listening to music some people hate, and on and on. God I wish I could be one of these people who can say who gives a rats ass what they think!  I say it to myself, and have told others, and yet there's that "to an extent" thing... deep down I'm still worried about what they're going to think.

If anyone is reading this and really wants to know why I'm like this... here you go. I grew up in an abusive home. A drunk, adulterer, wife beating, psychologically abusive father is what I dealt with for too many damn years. To this day I remember the nightmares, the constant nightmares, fearing for my life, hearing fights, seeing the after affects. Come to find out it did get abusive with me too, something I had blocked out of my mind until a counselor saw something in me that told her there was physical abuse too. So I asked family, yep, it happened. Sure maybe only once or twice. But it must've been bad enough for me to completely blank on it. God, all of the mental abuse. Wow. As I'm writing this, it just slapped me in the face so to speak. And here I am writing, everything flowing out.  I hope I haven't lost the ones who did decide to follow this.  But I think you knew already by the "PTSD" in the title that it wasn't going to be pretty.

I want to get into my experiences, thoughts, etc concerning the pursuit of my goal in Independent filmmaking. My wife and friends tell me, even though I haven't put a ton of work out there, I'm still a director, and I really think that's cool. That's something I can remind myself about, I'm going after it.
You have a dream? Something you've been wanting to try but you have your demons stopping you or people telling you that you can't do it? Do it!! Just do it. There will be ups and downs, but I swear to you it's worth it. And don't ever worry about being too old, or too young, or not educated enough... you know what I did? Grabbed my wife and friends, told them the idea, got a video camera, and jumped into it without a clue as to how to do it. Who cares?! Learn along the way! Take classes if you must, that's an excellent step, but just go out and do what you love and get hands on with it.

I'm going to save the stories for another time, and somehow talk about them without giving too many details, because I'm not setting out to bad mouth people. But I will talk about the experiences and people I've dealt with, to show everyone that it will happen, you'll hit those obstacles, but DO NOT let it stop you.   I just realized something.. this advice I'm giving, is for me too.  More to come my friends. Thank you for sticking with me so far!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Whisky Tango Foxtrot!

Yea, the title says it all. Wow, that was some reaction on my Facebook page when I announced starting this blog. For those of you who didn't witness the debate there, basically an old friend (and I use that title loosely) pretty much called me a liar when I mentioned that I have ptsd, and that I "hide it well". She was more or less one of these people who seem to think that only soldiers can be diagnosed with it. What's even more sad (sadder?), she thought that just because I don't go around announcing it or wearing it tattooed on my forward like a label, that I can't possibly have it.
Well, my friends there had my back and tore her a new one. I don't mean to sound cruel, but I loved it lol. I mean, how cool is it that my friends were there for me and support me in this.

If I have to point out one of THE most important things to have on the road to recovery, have a support group! Whether that's close friends or a group of people who deal with it too. You're not alone, and you shouldn't be alone. Even if the causes are different, symptoms and suffering can be the same. Talk to someone, don't store it inside! Guys, I know its hard for some of you, we're taught by society that you're not a real man if you talk about feelings or don't have it all together. Fuck that! You're human! And no matter how tough you are, or you think you are, we all need help at some point. We can't do it alone. That goes for all of you, not just the men.. I know there are some women out there who suffer in silence thinking "no one will understand" or "I have to be strong for ____".  I think it's admirable to be there for family and friends, but if you can't take of yourself, what good are you to them??

Getting Help for Mental Illness

VA Caregiver Support

Ok, off my soap box. I know this is supposed to be about me and my experiences and so on, but you know what, that is me. I care about people (depending on who you ask lol). I don't want to see anyone suffering. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. It's real, and its a disability that can affect you physically as well. I know!! One more thing and I'll get off this... it sickens me to hear people say "Oh, just suck it up". I won't bother saying what I'd like to do to people who say that.
Ok that's made me think of another topic (those comments, not the bodily harm I'd like to do to them), but I'm going to save that for later, I think I've bored my visitors enough. :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Beginning

I have to point out to the people who know about this blog already and who know me from other social networks, I have a hard time keeping things like this updated on a regular basis. It's very hard for me to focus sometimes and my train of thought tends to jump the rails.
I think a good way to start this off would be to write about why I started this blog and what I hope to accomplish with it. **WARNING** This blog will occasionally contain adult content and language.

As you can see by the title, I have PTSD. I am also the spouse of an Army Vet who suffers with symptoms of PTSD.  Why "Through the Lense" in the title? I'm a new Independent film director and graphic artist, so that was my artsy fartsy way of letting people know I'll mostly be talking about my experiences in those fields while dealing with this disability.
First and foremost, this blog is for therapeutic purposes. I'm hoping by writing about those thoughts and experiences, it'll help me to get things out and deal with them. So I'm really not going into this expecting to have hundreds of people following me and reading my ramblings.

However, the other thing I hope to accomplish with this blog is to help others who may be suffer from symptoms of PTSD, or know someone who does. I don't claim to have all the answers, it's all still very new to me (being diagnosed and being a spouse of someone who deals with it as well) so I'll be learning along the way.

Which brings me to something very important and kind of a conundrum I'm facing... since I'm more or less in the public's eye, albeit a small community of Horror fans, artists, and filmmakers, how much do I share? God knows I would love to go off on some of the bullshit I deal with, but the last thing I want to do is slam people on a public social network.
So bear with me as I try to find the right words to talk about these things. It may not always make sense or might come across as cryptic, but I will be honest and upfront about things. I'll just have to find a way to do it that doesn't hurt others or make me look like an asshat. Because the one thing I've learned about mental illness, not everyone will understand what you're going through and won't take the time to think about the "why" something is being said. It's easy for some people to blame and bad mouth others over those things, and I certainly don't want to mirror those exact things that piss me off.

For those of you taking the time to read this and who are interested in following me here, thank you!