At Least “Miss Muffet” Ran.

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“SPIDERS ARE EIGHT-LEGGED TERRORISTS.” – Americana Injustica

My CPTSD is in abstract form; surprise, surprise…”complex” is an understatement, at best. An “absolutely unreasonable” fear of spiders woke up with me in the hospital after I survived the Ripper; a strange manifestation indeed. It made me sick with myself; I remember how disgusted I felt by my own feelings and behaviors surrounding the fear I SUDDENLY felt of arachnoids. I didn’t understand it, couldn’t find a way to understand it, it just simply took over entire areas of my persona without my having a say in it. The arachnophobia took over my existence at first; and I found myself reshaping that existence to fit around the presence of the affected fear. I began to worry constantly about spiders falling into my hair from ceilings; I boycotted going outside, altogether. I even put a mosquito net up over my hospital bed for a while because it somehow offered me comfort (though, in hindsight – a mosquito net only could’ve translated into a huge, prefabricated home to any eight-legged creep lol).

Point here is:

I did things, felt things and perceived things very differently from the way I had before the traumatic event/injury. I mean, I earned my stripes at age 6 by hatcheting a baby rattler snake to bits while it was still inside the bottom of my sleeping bag – reflexively. I was never afraid of nature, like I should have been – until my do-over. And then, suddenly – I was lying awake at night on the lookout for Daddy Long Legs. Therapy didn’t help much at first, either…the therapist was a hippie, and preferred to go outside to the lawn for most sessions…I eventually stopped going at all and allowed myself to become rather incorrigible to the nursing staff upstairs. They likely had the BIGGEST party imaginable when I was finally released to leave. If I were any of them, I would have undoubtedly found a bag of spiders into the “goodbye” gift bag that they assembled for me – to begin with. So time went on and I went “home”.

The spider thing became an instant family favorite with my brothers and friends, none of them comprehended that I was truly terrified beyond of description of them now. Prior to this experience, I had never actually been stricken by the inability to move my feet when I was hit with fear; after I woke up in the hospital however, I was dumbfounded to learn that such fear DOES exist – as well as to regularly experience the associated “lock-up” pretty much on a daily basis. Being too afraid to move is a terrible, terrible thing: it humbles you beyond comparison; it limits your entire perceptive realm down to a teeny hole that you have to lean close to in order to press an eye against to see anything. It not only immobilizes your body – but your brain also chokes and defaults to idle; the only thing that is there is the fear.

I still struggle to put it into words that cast true light on the convoluted nature of the “arachnophobia thing”, all I can say is that you may as well put a rabid and ginormous dog with razor-teeth in front of me when I see a spider…my response is the same either way. I know, I know…it is lame. I have been to psychotherapy, hypnosis, etc. to try and un-fear spiders…to no avail, thus far, at least. But I have, at least, come to harbor a deep understanding of its roots, which in turn has empowered me to some degree.

In my former life, as a perpetually violated female body, I spent a lot of time in semi-consciousness as a result of physical violence; a sad amount of time, if I am being honest here. After a few times of getting my ass handed to me, the numbness began to kick in and I eventually evolved to survive via “dissociation”. I spent the majority of my time alone in solitude and helplessness (outside of the Ripper and my then baby daughter); I was a blank page, so to speak. During this era of my life, I would often awaken somewhere I didn’t fall asleep, or have things turn up missing often (when there was nobody else there to have taken or relocated them). Sometimes, I know it was the Ripper who had moved me while I passed out unconscious; but other times, I know that it hadn’t been him.

During a session of group therapy about two years ago – the memory was resurfaced in a matter of moments, the one that undoubtedly bore my arachnophobia on a subconscious level, so long ago. In the desert, there are all kinds of insects that we NEVER see in the city – ALL KINDS. It was June, a month when you can’t safely open your doors and/or windows, in spite of the insane heat, due to the multiplied masses of newly hatched and hatching generations of bugs from every genus. The Ripper had broken out three of my front teeth and kicked me so hard in the chest that my ribcage was stabbing me from the inside. I recall laboring to breath and the heat and dry air didn’t help. I got my ass kicked again at some point for being hurt, and wound myself up in HIS garage (actually, in a “secret room” he had in the very back of it – shiver).

He wasn’t in there when I woke up, luckily; but I could not move for the entirety of the time I lay there in near darkness. I think I must have either been temporarily paralyzed due to some freak nerve damage, or in physical shock or something…not sure, but I was literally stuck like glue to the dirt floor rolled on my left side. During the therapy ah-ha moment, I remembered that a spider crawled out of my mouth that day, while I was unable to move or scream or even spit. Most likely because of the more pressing and immediate life-threatening circumstance that I was bound to from day to day back then, this instance went right out the window with other “mundane and meaningless bullshit”; only to rear its delayed reaction after I was no longer in immediate danger at the hands of my husband. Just a little food for thought on the issue of PTSD/CPTSD, and it’s ripples…

“Every rule has an exception. Especially this one.”

Anomalous”, an “exception”, a “phenomenon”; these are all things I have been called in the medical community throughout my recovery from a near-fatal attack over ten years ago.

The “anomaly” came into play during the initial sweep of MRSA that ran through the ICU and burn units, claiming the lives of two patients and yanking many others into the circling of the proverbial drain for months afterwards; I was, once again, somehow spared death at that time as well, despite the many open wounds that left me like a sitting duck for the infectious riptide. Immediately following exposure to the initial strain of MRSA, twelve out of nineteen of the patients there, in my particular unit, broke out with the Shingles (a strain of it that is STILL with at least two of them, to date). Again, I was “unscathed”. It’s important to keep in mind while reading this, that I was unconscious for the better part of 3 ½ weeks straight upon arriving and being rushed into emergency maxiofacial/vasculature surgery – it’s not as if I even had a clue as to what was happening afterwards, in the unit. I wasn’t putting up any conscious fight against anything…that entire period is dark for me, and I carry no recollection of it now. Either way, it was then that I received the medical file label of “immuno-anomalous”; a label that has stuck with me ever since that time – only to be elaborated upon by other surgeons, doctors and various medical professionals in the days to come.

Next was something wonderful: ‘Raynaud’s Phenomenon’.

This is a very strange condition in which cold temperatures or strong emotions cause microvascular spasms in the fingers, nose, and/or toes. Doctors rarely see this condition – it has a very, very rare (identified, at least) occurrence in the world; thus, is difficult to get properly diagnosed, much less treated. I nearly lost all ten of my toes on two separate occasions due to Raynaud’s;

  • Once, before getting it diagnosed accurately, when a doctor came through on his rounds and basically told me that my toes were so gangrenous that they would need to be amputated;
  • Again, before getting it properly diagnosed, another doctor came through on his rounds and said that they wouldn’t need to amputate, because my toes were shriveled into raisins anyway, and would soon “come off on their own” (that was on my birthday, by the way). Happy fucking birthday – you’re toeless!

Either way, I managed to keep my toes – all of them – to the absolute shock and surprise of all of us…I’M still not even sure how that happened without medical interaction – my toes DID literally look raisins for about a week. But – “phenomenally, they bounced themselves back to bloodflow…”, according to the treating physician at the time. And so, was born: “the Phenomenon”.

Lastly, but most sticky, has been “the Exception to Every Rule of Medicine”; a quote, verbatim, about me from a seminary speech made at Stanford Hospital during a retirement celebration thrown for my original reconstructive surgeon – one amazing individual – when he was asked if I was the reason behind his “early retirement”. So many other people from the Medical community were there to hear an esteemed and well-respected old-timer say such a thing, that I will likely NEVER live it down.

Ah The Webs We Weave

PTSD: (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Noun:

An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as (but not limited to):

Survivor guilt,

Reliving the trauma in dreams,

Numbness and lack of involvement with reality,

Recurrent mood-altering thoughts and/or images; or

the recurrent and persistent memories and recollections of a traumatic event or experience.

 

ImageGiven an anticipated “predisposition” of mental instability attached to my very existence, since birth (my mother was a severely unstable, drug-addicted, drunken Shawnee Native American who was also still, an untreated schizophrenic when she gave birth to me in 1979), I believe my father and clan of brothers expected a mental instability just as severe from me someday. I have somehow always harbored – what was for a long time: an unidentified – fear of growing up into a schizophrenic drunk, just like the estranged and elusive Mom from my childhood days.

During preadolescence, I used to pattern-dream (a Shawnee term used to describe the attachment of one’s sub-consciousness to another’s through dream scape – away from the waking world of reality as we know it) about my scary and unpredictable mother often:

I was always a baby again – literally a yearling – wearing a soggy diaper, behind the lovingly hand-crafted bars of a wooden crib – alone in an unfamiliar room; and I am crying my lil’ heart out for someone to open the door and come pick me up, to hear me. Nobody would come for what felt like days, maybe weeks – to me, to a youngster ‘s warped perception of time…until SHE opens the door and stands there in the shadow cast by the hallway ceiling bulb – its greyness seeming to wash out any color as it beams down around her like a canister of smoke; I begin to cry again – loudly and more boisterously as to be noticed by her, I’m unafraid of her presence in the dream; I see her as my “savior” in my current-day recollections of its detail, I want her to come in and pick me up – I want her to hold me and clean me up and spend time with me. I don’t want to be alone and crying in this room any longer and she is my ticket out of there. I start screaming her “Mama…Mama!”, and I swallow small gulps of my own snot and tears in the process, I’m so desperate to catch her attention. “Mommy!”…she turns to her left and leaves without a care in the world.

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It was also during preadolescence, I should note, that my father decided to confide the truth behind the obvious strain in their relationship that went beyond the differences they blamed for their divorce: the fact that my mother had tried to “smother” me with my own pillow when I was an infant, still in a crib. Needless to say, this spun my world around a few times before throwing it off kilter for a few rounds, too; I was really caught off guard by this confession by my Dad, it explained so many countless mundane mysteries of my entire life – this horrible little secret of theirs. Who else knew? He said only “the older boys”, meaning my older “set” of brothers (typically referred to as “the Originals” in my writing), and my Papa (my Dad’s father) knew about the incident.

Um…okay, so you mean my Mom’s not only crazy as Hell, but she actually tried to “off” me when I was too little to defend myself?!…God damn, that was an eye opener for me at age eleven…it hurt deeply to learn, and never quite let life feel the same again after knowing this fact.

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It wasn’t until I was at least sixteen, and still trying desperately in vain to keep my baby brother (who later committed suicide) from falling mentally apart as a result of the same kind of schizophrenia that afflicts my mother, that the question hit me like a ton of bricks:

 

Why in the Hell did my father get my mother pregnant and have yet – ANOTHER – child, with a woman who had been put in psychiatric detention and “treated” for the attempted smothering of the most recent child that she bore him?

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Of course, my father had passed away by that time, as the story goes; and I never got the answer from HIS mouth on that lingering query of mine. I have come to harbor rather strong beliefs about the intrinsic “rights” of certain women to bear children; I do not believe it is fair for those who are historically mentally unstable to pro-create as freely as those who have not shown any repeated inconsistencies in sound thinking and behaviors. Such instances create humans like me, or my late, little brother – or, the older one in my set of full-blooded siblings – we’re all challenged in some majorly handicapping way when it comes to social behaviors and/or mental illness. I’m still shocked that it was my baby brother and not me who ended up with schizophrenia as a very young adult.

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I waited…and waited…and waited – waited to one day wake up and be “crazy” like my mom or just downright miserable and confused, afraid and aimless like my little brother had become. My brother was the natural kicking post in my family (natural to the Originals, at least) because he was the last in line, of a long line of boys (with the one exception of me) who are Scandinavian and Native-American by heritage and behaved much like a clan of cavemen, given the absence of any adult female in our household. I was the only one there to protect my little brother for, well – forever, since I can remember remembering. I was the only buffer between them and him, and I innately sensed a dire need to execute my power in this position day and night, all the time. Despite my fond recollections surrounding my childhood, it was filled with the constant stress of worrying over my little brother’s well-being. This lasted until the moment he committed suicide in 1999, at age 19.

I begrudgingly buried JJ while I was still a domestic hostage to “the Ripper”, never really being able to openly or worthily mourn his tragic ending because “the Ripper” would become enraged by jealousy if I showed any sign of emotion for anyone other than Him. It was one of the very darkest periods of my existence, to my recollections…a very, very guilt-ridden and deeply sad time for me.

Sometimes still, I catch myself pondering different things that do not matter anymore anyway; I often wonder if JJ ever used to have recurring dreams about our Mom turning her back on him, also….

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IMPORTANT NOTE:
I am currently in my umpteenth attempt at making my own amends to, and forgiving past discrepancies of: my Shawnee, medicated, therapy-involved, clean and sober Mom.

Justice for Boo Part III: The Secret “Settlement”

In 2012, nearly four entire years after Boo had been sexually victimized by an adult sub-contracted county employee at the residential “treatment” facility where the courts had ordered her to reside, another child at the same facility came forward with allegations so similar to Boo’s, that the “professionals” in charge of monitoring those in close contact with the Juvenile Wards in that facility were forced to finally take it seriously. This time, the nine-year-old victim had been under the predator’s consistent “care” for the essentially the entire duration of time that filled up te period of time between Boo’s allegations against the scumbag and her own – four long years (which means he had been preying on her since she was approximately five years old).

This girl’s story was so eerily consistent with details from Boo’s accusations from years prior – from a time before the second victim had even been court-ordered to the facility yet – rendering any collective conspiracy theory between the two girls as obsolete. Boo and victim #2 never met. Boo had already been shamed and exiled from the facility before victim #2 arrived.

For me, the first thing that stabs unfailingly at the backs of my eyeballs upon adding up these variables: is undoubtedly a sense of absolute disgust… most notably because every single one of the victims behind the very first one (Boo) was TOTALLY avoidable and DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. We all know too well, the ways in which childhood sexual trauma can change the course of one’s life forever – creating darkness that casts it’s shade across every existing space and time for the Survivor; we all know how this crucial pivoting point in the collective story of abuse and recovery has the power to steer the rest of the victim’s life in one direction or another, solely based on the initial reaction and response.

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  • Had Child Protection Services, the Police, and/or the Courts actually handled the “investigation” in a more appropriate manner when Boo spoke up in 2009, forensics would have likely put the animal behind bars back then – BEFORE HE WAS ABLE TO ASSAULT AND PREY ON ANYONE ELSE!
  • Had the Department of Family and Children’s Services acted appropriately during such a traumatic and life-altering instance for Boo, i.e. given her any kind of treatment for sexual abuse/trauma as is consistent with widely acknowledged psychiatric and medical care, done a “rape kit” for collection of forensic evidence immediately upon the allegations being stated openly (this NEVER happened at all), offered support in the forms of psychiatric and emotional follow-up treatment as is consistent with widely practiced sexual assault treatment globally, Boo’s chances of recovering from such a horrid experience would have naturally been much better in the long run. As it was, Boo was not only discredited and discounted by officials in control; she was also ridiculed and punished for bringing a pedophile to the attention of the courts that employed him.
  • A disgustingly lengthy list of other victims was enabled to grow during the time frame between when Boo (Janey Doe AKA Victim #1) was silenced sent away, and the time when “Janet Doe AKA Victim # 11” came forward with a story almost identical to that of my daughter’s – from almost a half-decade earlier. I don’t need to emphasize the fact that every single victim on that list after Boo was essentially assaulted by the Department of Family & Children’s Services and juvenile courts – given that these entities had been made fully aware of the Pedophile on the county payroll, but had chosen to ignore such knowledge and continued to employee the sexual predator.

Around the time “Janet Doe” came forward, and the Pedophile was finally arrested and taken into custody, preceding a slew of official questioning and arraignments, I was successful in retaining a high-profile lawyer who specializes in child sex crimes. He had literally just buttoned up a case in which he had publicly exposed an entire string of U.S. Olympic Swim Team coaches for sexual crimes against Olympian child swimmers that went on for decades back through history. He assured me that he could help despite the legal bindings tied around my life through the disposition relating to Boo’s status as a “ward of the court”; and quickly set to work in doing so. Unfortunately, and for reasons still very vague and unclear to me (because the laws that define juvenile courts nationwide – are unintelligible – even to those who write them), he and I quickly realized that the pending lawsuit was to be unjustly short-lived because of this very element.

I was not allowed to go after the county Department of Family & Children’s Services for the absolute negligence and cruelty that this agency displayed throughout such a heinous ordeal – one that was cultivated and enabled by the Department’s very own procedural outline. Technically, I was not allowed to go after anyone at all from a legal standpoint: I was not Boo’s legal guardian any longer by that time, despite my continued iron-clad grip on what are described as my lingering “parental rights” in this courtroom (a concept that is painfully hilarious in hindsight, as such “rights” never exist at all in this pit of legal Hell). The next road-block of Boo’s justice appeared then: in the form of legal constraints set forth by the code that determined Boo as “UN-representable” in the eyes of the Superior Court. She had been deemed a Ward of the Court, wiping away any legal standing I formerly held in regard to my ability to protect her situations such as the one we were glued into. In such circumstances, there is no one at all in a role to seek justice for the child victim – when the child victim has been victimized by one the county’s own. STAND STILL.

After several months of legal research and regular daily complaints to varying county officials about the total injustice being done to Boo right under everyone’s noses, some reference files I had assembled from another county’s online procedural handbook (as my county conveniently provides no such documents for public use) finally broke through and Boo was assigned a Guardian Ad Litem through the juvenile courts. This was something that it turned out – should have been done from the beginning of the lawsuit, but such information was never outlined or defined by the juvenile court judge who allowed the lawsuit to begin (certainly not an omission by mistake, as the result was another lengthy thwart to Boo’s very justice). Months had passed by during the waiting and judicial red tape; the DA had been building what he describes as an “airtight” case in criminal court at the same time that my private lawyer was jumping through lawsuit hoops as well.

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In the end, here’s what I know to have happened for sure:

In the end, Boo’s GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) (assigned by the same courthouse that was responsible for denying justice a child victim of sexual assault thus far) filed a suit against the residential facility organization in which Boo resided when she was groomed and preyed upon by a grown man on its staff – a sub-contracted agency that can be legally disconnected from the Department of Family & Children’s Services in regard to any liability. After this step in the process, I was blocked completely out of the entire thing from that point on, and, in fact – was intentionally avoided and legally restrained from any future information of the lawsuit’s outcome as well. Over a year passed by without any word from anyone, including the attorney I had hired who was now working with the GAL only – on Boo’s behalf.

He refunded my retainer, asked me not to contact him any longer about Boo’s pending case, and never contacted me again – except for one time, about one more year down the road: when he emailed me and said that the case “had settled” and he thought I might want to look into a private treatment option for Boo that was closer to home “because she should no doubt be able to afford any treatment facility of her choosing from now on…” When I replied to ask him if he could elaborate any further – In order for me to have a fucking leg to stand on in following his suggestions regarding a transfer for Boo to somewhere that might actually help her somehow – somewhere she wouldn’t be looked at as “the enemy” by people under the same umbrella as the man who violated her at age 13…?He said he could not give me any more information, and that I could not contact the GAL directly either, of course (That would be too easy and make far too much sense in the big picture of Boo’s justice, after all). The whole circus came to yet – another STAND STILL.

As of now, two years AFTER the lawsuit settled on some mysterious ground – agreed to by mysterious and elusive representatives of people who are mysteriously kept in the dark against all rhyme or reason – Boo has no knowledge or information regarding this supposed “settlement sum” that theoretically could have afforded her countless comforts, including the basics of support and acknowledgment of the tragedy that she has endured at the hands of a child molester and his professional posse. I am not even sure that a lawsuit took place at all. I have no way of finding out because I have been black-balled in the files, if they exist and am repeatedly shut out by any door on which I knock for answers. I have no legal standing, despite the full awareness on everyone’s part that I am the ONLY PERSON WHO ACTUALLY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT BOO. They all know exactly what’s been going on behind the curtain, and behave as if it’s acceptable – on even the most fundamental levels of humanity – by enabling the sickeningly broken system to keep me from seeking justice for Boo. Justice is intrinsically warranted when it comes to children, everyone knows that, naturally –children are innocent; even children who are troubled and struggle with authority and who have behavioral issues are innocent to the ways of the world as they are young and inexperienced – unable to properly fend for themselves. That is why nature is sure to give the young a set of parents to watch over them. Often, children are faced with life under the watchfulness of a single parent, but nature always gives an innocent young creature a guardian to protect them until they are grown enough to be solo.

The processes of this court are unnatural. The lack of safeguards to the fundamental rights that define parenthood is preposterous and absurd.

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The laws that define its code go against the very essence of natural intuition and any common good. The procedural format of this failed vision of child protection creates an arena in which the single, although loving and very capable parent of a high-maintenance and behaviorally challenged child – is systematically put on trial before a “judge” and the entire county Department of Family and Children’s Services with no legal support or guidance (despite an entire section of funding being spent annually on the so-called “court-appointed attorneys that are “provided” but who serve no purpose other than standing around and looking stressed beyond the point of being able to answer your questions), beaten down psychologically, mentally, financially, and spiritually – and being thrown to the wolves as her child is whisked away to another state. The actual outcome of this court’s interloping is sheer demolition to countless lives without a second thought about it. What the process has done in my own case and that of Boo has been to take her away from a worthy mother and replaced that worthy mother with the sickeningly inadequate surrogate of the “court” for guardianship and supervision and daily interaction. Why would anyone with half a brain cell have ever really believed that such a process would serve an already struggling child well? You’re telling me that the lawmakers and politicians who call the shots behind the laws that govern Boo and I’s personal dynamics aren’t more knowledgeable regarding the fucking things that they are passing laws on? Really?

While, in reality, any parent or guardian who responded to his/her child’s allegations of sexual assault in any way remotely similar to the ways in which the Department and the courts have responded to the allegations made by a “legal ward under its care supervision”, would be put in jail for accessory to such filth and exploitation. Also notable, is the court and social services’ long history of persecuting a parent based solely on a past accusation – validated or not; tell me why then, was it “acceptable” for a man who had been accused of sexual assault against a minor ward of the court to continuing working with kids for years afterward…who’s really the perpetrator here? Any mother who knowingly stood by and allowed numerous kids to be violated would be undoubtedly strung up from a tree and lynched publicly. Similarly, any parent who allowed their teenager to repeatedly go missing for months on end without actively searching for her would be considered as disinterested and uncaring, then possibly charged with neglect. But since the system is so obscure and confusing and hopeless, it’s perfectly okay AND legal for it to execute such traumatizing and despicable acts in its role as a child’s replacement guardian. There is no one to stop the courts from continuing the bullshit facade of “juvenile justice and child protection”; and unsurprisingly, this corner of the Superior Court is completely closed off to the media due to the “privacy laws that protect the information belonging to minors involved”. Whose got the bloodiest hands?

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