My brain is so broken. My PTSD stuff feels a lot stronger than I remember it for awhile. The first year or 2 were super ugly. Then I seemed to get into more of a rhythm with it. Noticeable to me but much less noticeable to others. This past year it’s really been creeping back up on me and catching me off guard. Whether it’s triggered by the obvious violent stuff happening every day or something more subtle such as a work day schedule where meetings are booked back to back with no breaks in between for a full day. That lack of control and inability to collect myself throws me off. Control is a huge piece of it.

Since August, I have had 3 really brutal, multi day episodes….one of which landed me an emergency EKG. Last night was a really fast one. I think it had been pent up all day but I was just stopping at a bar to write, have a couple beers while waiting on takeout. I wound up making a new friend and stuck around for a little while longer and a couple more drinks (don’t worry, I did Uber.) By the time I got home I was in full blown panic, racing thoughts, sky rocketing heart rate and didn’t sleep at all. Right now, I am home with the dog and planning to fall asleep on the couch once I take an anxiety pill. The idea of being around anyone I know, being looked at or touched causes this really gross, shivery feeling.

It’s embarrassing to have so little control of my thoughts and my body. It’s also haphazard. Some violent events really get me and others sort of just breeze on by. I’m an empath so when something catches onto me, it just sort of starts at the top and drips it’s way all the way down my veins to my toes. I’m actually pretty used to being able to feel other people’s feelings and mistakenly assume everyone has the same ability as me. It’s oddly naive and childish the genuine shock I experience when I encounter someone who doesn’t. It does not compute.

I am not embarrassed by my human rights beliefs. I was going to call them political but they really aren’t. I have voted Democrat and Republican on midterm ballots more than once. I used to only look as far into issues which impacted me personally. Amsterdam was the catalyst of me beginning to change that stance. Then, once Trump was elected and I saw McConnell in much more action, I stopped voting based on what I hoped a politician would do for me and started supporting anyone who would basically promise not to do anything to me or my loved ones. Because right now, in this country, that’s all it can be about. I actually feel very sorry for anyone who hasn’t caught up to that.

I am not embarrassed by noticing my privilege and wanting to change the way I move in the world. I am not embarrassed that I am willing to put my needs aside to vote for someone who needs more than I do. I am not brainwashed by anything other than my own heart and empathy for others. I am many flawed things but a follower has never been one of them. I’m a leader in my career which was never what I set out to do. It happens wherever I go because I have a moral courage and very unshakable “why” that makes me comfortable actually standing away from any crowd which carries less than those intentions. It’s just coincidence my love for other humans has led me to a small crowd of courageous, eccentric, like hearted people. These people exist in every historic moment of adversity. They are always the minority who stand firm and fight….and win while everyone else benefits from it. That’s just the skin I was born into. There’s no reason to be anything but proud of that.

But, yes, it is embarrassing to have a broken brain. I believe it is for everyone who has one like mine. The ones who hide it are even more broken than me. So you may see my dysfunction right out in the open like an oil spill. You don’t understand it. You are often even frustrated and angered by it. I get that. But it’s better for me to turn on the tv of myself than to put it on mute.

I watched my dad explode all the time when I was growing up. He made me so angry sometimes. But I didn’t love him any less. In fact, as I grew to understand more about his broken brain, I only loved him more. Someone like him as broken as him getting up and going to work every day to provide for his family, give us an amazing education and teach us to empathize for others….kind of remarkable, actually. He certainly seems to function better than I do. I think I have inherited a little more of his father’s weaknesses in the way I deal with things. I’m a little more destructive and numbing.

I also received no training for the things I have experienced and I certainly don’t encounter troops and troops of other people just like me in my daily life. I’m pretty much alone with my broken brain. And even though I can’t stop it, I know you are judging. Maybe try a little less of that and dip your toes into some empathy. Not just for me but for everyone who can’t follow your standards or exhibit your grace in life. Who is to say my brain is the only broken one? We just know my diagnosis.