Landfall

love-spiralAll of my life, I have never had the experience of being in love with only one person.

There have always been at least two people in my romantic desire field, and sometimes as many as six. But everyone I’ve ever been in a relationship with before now (all of my previous relationships have been very monogamous) has been staunchly anti-polymory, and treated my feelings about it very unkindly. Being now, at last, in two relationships with people who are themselves poly, something just became obvious.

It has literally only just occurred to me that this “stay hidden or be chidden” experience of being polyamorous was just as much a contributor to my PTSS as transphobia and homophobia (and the abuse and bullying stuff) have been.

This is the first time in my life that I’m able to be fully “out” as being in love with more than one person, and to act on it, and to have them respond back wholeheartedly the same way, and it be accepted and rejoiced in by all of us – and I can tell I’m still wary and flinching, expecting anger and punishment for something that’s entirely normal and has always been a part of my experience. Again.

I name this tormentor: polyphobia. I have had partners in the past literally declare me mentally unwell for just having feelings for other people as well as them (even though I never acted on those feelings, having agreed/resigned to monogamy). The relief at being with people who just empathise with and affirm this experience brings up both joy and sorrow.

What a thing.

It’s reminded me of a poem I wrote years ago, which I think I already posted here at some point – but I’m going to do so again. This is for all of us who have been made to fear our true selves. We may look, and love, at last.

Mirror, Mirror

So there’s the great ocean there
And one day, you glance out
Out beyond the land
And you know something bad is coming

Gulls start from the waters, yarring
Bubbles and things rise, float
Stillish seas no longer still
Disturbed sun shatters in sparkles

Something huge
Something terrible
Long ago foretold, long feared
Rising from the very roots

Finally you glimpse it
Dark vast shape surging
Inescapable through the depths
The ocean dances and bows to it

And it breaks through the surface
Looming, menacing
Dripping, encrusted
And it looks at you

And looking into its eyes
You see your scared reflection
And then with fine cloth, and your warm breath
You gently begin to polish it

Consensuality

I’m in two polyamorous romantic relationships (yay me! ahem…) They’re both asexual relationships, but until a month ago, only one of them was.

I finally summoned up the courage to tell the partner I’ve been reluctantly sexual with/for that I couldn’t be that any more. It wasn’t an easy conversation at first, though in the end they made their peace with it – because it had been on the cards since we first got together (I’d always told them I was essentially asexual).

But what clinched it, for both of us in a way, was that after we’d agreed to take sex off the menu at least for the moment, they suggested trying a role-play where they would ask me if I wanted to have sex later, so that I could experience saying no. And what we found was that even in that most supportive of contexts, I still almost can’t.

What I’ve come to realise as a consequence of that conversation is that I don’t think I’ve ever had consensual sex in my life – by which I mean that I can’t actually consent, because (as a consequence of an abusive childhood) in the moment I find it near impossible to withhold consent.

I’ve got no idea what this is going to mean in the long run, but right now it’s very, very liberating to acknowledge that this is a true thing about me, and to have immediate, direct experience to back it up (for those times when I might turn up the self-doubt to 11).

And it’s freed me up into sensuality. I mean, I’ve already been describing myself for a few years as asexual and polysensual – but knowing that the person I’m being sensual with knows that from me, it’s absolutely not going to be foreplay, makes me feel way more safe to express my passionate self sensually instead. 

I still experience a lot of confusion. Being part of a very sexualised society, and having had a very sexualised childhood too, some part of me is strongly inclined to interpret physical intimacy through a sexual lens; I also have a body that does sexual response, though I’ve no desire to act on that. But this is a confusion I understand well enough not to be distressed by it. I’m embracing my consensuality now… 🙂 

Abstention

[Trigger Warning: medical squicky stuff, sexual abuse references]

This may be uncomfortable reading, but it will be very honest. I’m currently on antibiotics that mess with my mood, so this may also be more dark than it’s meant to be. End of warning.

Three times a day, I have a routine to go through, post-surgery. This involves dilating my neovagina with a narrow stent (a.k.a. a dilator), and then a fatter one, for ten minutes each. The stent in this case is a clear, colourless plastic dildoid thing with a tapered front end, sort of like a giant blunt pencil.

There’s more to this: I have to get set up, which takes about ten minutes (sterile wipes, baby changing mat to lie on, bowl of warm water with antibacterial stuff in, towel, water-based gel, paper kitchen towels — then clean everywhere crotch-related, before dilation). Then after the dilating, I tidy up, and then douche with warm water with iodine stuff in it (after next week, this will just be warm water), clean the stents and douche, dry myself carefully. The whole thing takes about an hour. I listen to music on random shuffle whilst doing the dilating.

So that’s the practical aspect. What I wanted to write about here, though, is the emotional aspect.

It’s been hard to admit this to myself before yesterday, but going through this routine is quite distressing, and I feel resistance to doing it. Yes, this is just partly because I’m still very tired from the surgery, and it’s quite an effort to go through all this (which includes walking down and up a flight of stairs twice each time, as my bathroom is downstairs). But it’s also for two other reasons.

The first is that inserting a stent into what is still essentially a healing wound is uncomfortable, and sometimes painful — and is therefore an abuse penetration trigger. This is hard to bear. Since yesterday, when I let it be true and was lying here with my stent inserted, sobbing my heart out, I was able to embrace the experience, and say to myself “Know this: if you so desire, nobody else is ever going to penetrate you again, ever. This hole is not for that purpose, unless you choose it to be so at some point. That power is solely yours.” Since this, today dilation has been easier, something has shifted, I’m not fighting myself.

The second reason, though, is just plain sorrow. When I was in my teens, I read Triton by Samuel Delany, in which someone in the far future (and on the moon Triton, natch) goes through a complete male-to-female body change (including gene manipulation) in under half an hour, and walks out sore, but essentially completely healed. That’s always been my dream, I suppose, but what I’m going through is a much more involved and medicalised experience, with pain and slow healing. But the worst part, the saddest part, is that every time I dilate, I’m reminded that because of a quirk of fate and prenatal hormones (or whatever the fuck made this happen), here I am trying on a daily basis to persuade my body not to heal up this artificial hole that I’ve had to have sculpted, because my body came out wrong.

I have something which, a few months from now when all the mad swelling has gone down, will pretty closely resemble a vagina, and that’s amazing. But it’s also an artifice that in many ways will never behave like a real vagina, and my body will require (less and less constant, it’s true) persuasion for the rest of my life to keep it how it should be.

Let me be clear: I’m really happy to have this, my body feels much more congruous and complete than it ever has, but I’ll always have to live with that sorrow too. So it is. I expect as we become more accustomed to each other, and all the healing happens, and I can live more normally and not spend three hours of every day persuading my body not to reject its new configuration, I will feel much more ease around all this. I’ll probably eventually forget about it for stretches of time, and that’ll be good. I just want to honour, right now, what I’m feeling right now about it — because the Post-Op Transwoman Bible™ says Thou Shalt Only Be Seen To Rejoice, and I want all my voices to be heard.

Oh, and fuckin’ antibiotics, if I never have to take them again it’ll be too soon.

By the way, the stent is named after some dentist who invented them. I was expecting some connexion with Stentor, the mythical singer who died after losing a singing competition with Hermes. But I like that abstention has “stent” in it, since it reflects my inner desire to abstain from dilation, and my need to let these stentorian voices sing out and be appreciated.

It amazes and amazes me, how over and over I have to discover that so much of my experienced pain is coming from resisting being conscious of uncomfortable feelings, whether physical or emotional. Let’s be soft out there, folks.

20140528-201118-72678754.jpg

Pishapaisha

beechwoodMy grandfather Saba (who was in a sense my only real parent) used to play a card game he called pishapaisha, which it took me years to realise was his Ukrainian way of saying peace & patience. I don’t remember how you play it, and that’s not the point anyway – just that as a kid, I loved the name of this game. As a younger kid, because it sounded funny, and similar to pischer, someone who pisses themselves – and then as an older kid, because peace & patience is a magical incantation, a wish.

I’m in need of both, at the moment. Peace within a jangling mind, and patience with myself.

I have, I am reliably semi-informed, Complex Long-Term PTSD. I say semi- because I await what is apparently a necessary full diagnosis at the hands of a Proper Psychiatrist, to validate the experienced observation of a number of psychotherapists who have known me very well. Anyway, lately, I’ve been feeling as though I’d learned to manage this condition well, and had probably unconsciously started to feel as though I’d somehow “overcome” it. Ah, context is everything…

Over the last few days, I’ve found myself dealing with contention on a couple of online forums, on one of which I’m one of the moderators. It’s all blown over now, and people are getting on better with themselves, and each other, and all that, and I feel like I responded as well as I could. But for the first time in a while, my Inner Meerkat has kicked off in a way that doesn’t fade after a short while. So here I am, a couple of days later, feeling like I’m trapped within a hyperalert and anxious body/mind.

My experience as a Buddhist teaches me… what? Well, that how I got here is not as important as how I respond to now. I’m trying to sort out the layers: I feel angry, once again, with the people who landed me with my PTSD through their violent actions; I feel scared and overwhelmed and exhausted, because my system is flooded with adrenaline; I see myself looking for things to be anxious about, and conveniently finding them; I feel sad and despondent, and wish to be different from how I am.

peace & patience

Fuck the cards I was dealt. Being like this is not my fault. Being like this deserves my compassion. Though I long to be someone who makes a positive impact on the world, I need to remember that I am part of that world, and that if all I can do today is make a positive impact on myself, then I am succeeding. Craving for a state that’s different from the one I’m in just sets me at odds with my own self, which is painful and unnecessary. So let’s stop doing this, and sit down in this experience, be with it in the forest. If that’s all I’ve got, that’s a fuck of a lot.

I’m sorry if this all sounds a bit encounter-group or Californian (well, apart from the expletives) to you who aren’t me. I’m just trying to be honest. Minds are efficient things, sometimes to their own detriment. Someone who is abused when young will work out for themselves why they deserved that, and then base their life, to some extent, around that created belief… until they get to let go of it. And you don’t let go of a lifetime’s habit just like that. So here I am again, reminding myself that I deserve to feel better than this, and that if I don’t feel better, I’m deserving of my own love, not my own impatience and disapproval.

peace-rainbowI’m writing this for me, but also for you, if this is something you ever go through:

Nobody deserves to suffer.

Here, may there be love.

*

*****

*********

Actually, now that I’ve posted this and had time to think a bit more, I want to add something to it – the real reason why my hypervigilance got kicked off in the first place. It’s been exacerbated by the online contention thing, but what stirred it up in the first place was a big affirmation. I got invited to participate in a panel discussion next month on the subject of “How can we best support LGBT young people?” with some people on the panel who are much more important than I am.

And as often seems to happen when I receive affirmation or praise, my Inner Dad kicks in and engages the Self-Sabotage Device. I have a visceral fear that I will be publicly exposed for the <insert whatever the fuck it is here> that I “know I am”. I will not be good enough. I will let the side down. And so forth.

I’m so fed up with this Device – every time I feel like I have a positive place in the world, this Inner Dad tells me to self-destruct. Go fuck yourself, Inner Dad. I am not who you wish me to think myself. I belong here, happy.

How can something sarong feel so right?

blossom-bootsSorry. Even when I’m narked about something, I can’t resist a good pun. Just be grateful that I don’t write copy for tabloids.

Anyway. Before I get onto the main topic of this blog-thing (sorry, this is going to be a long ‘un), let’s just take a moment in awed silence to admire this photo to the right, here. It’s what I imagine my 50% BUTCH teeshirt would look like if it were reinterpreted as an impressionist painting.

…shhhh…

Honestly, the first time I saw this photo, it made me cry, because it’s such an adept and beautiful expression of what I meant by 50% BUTCH, the commingling and flirting with multiple gender identities and stereotypes and expressions. I love it so much.

Okay, now back to being narked, and the subject of this blog-thing. Two separate but interconnected experiences I had today, and my reactions to them, and consequent musings thereon.

This morning, I was singing sea-related songs with a choir I’m in, at an RNLI (that’s lifeboats) fundraiser in a posh little estuary town. During our interval, I got chatting with one of the women I like most in the choir, though I don’t know her very well yet. It turns out she’s worked in the past with endocrinologists and plastic surgeons, and is down with the whole trans thing. Sort of. We had a really nice friendly conversation about my transition, and she asked me how long I’ve been on hormones (two years). And then she said “And when do you plan on starting to wear women’s clothes?” and I couldn’t help myself, I laughed out loud.

I then pointed to my ensemble and said “The socks are the only menswear items – and that’s only because my feet are too bloody big.” I then proceeded to educate her on The Life And Fashions Of A Trans Tomboy. She took it well, and was apologetic, and got the point that women present a vastly broad spectrum of clothing expression, within which my outfit was by no means anywhere near the “masculine extreme”. (I was wearing black cotton moleskin bootcut trousers, a pale-blue-and-white striped vest top, an equally pale blue cotton hat, and purple converse lo-tops. I mean, come on.)

So that was alright, best belovèd. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this, and won’t be the last, I’m sure.

Then after the gig, I headed home on a blisteringly hot train, and got home to a flat that was 30˚C. So I thought I give in, and I broke out the sarongs. I have four sarongs – two Thai ones, and two tie-dyed African ones. I put on one of the Thai ones, and then for a laugh, I photographed myself and posted it on facebook (I don’t habitually go for selfies, please note) with the caption “I don’t do skirts/dresses, but sarongs are unisex, and it’s bloody hot, thus… for the well-dressed trans tomboy about town.” (Yes, I am out everywhere, including on facebook.)

What happened next was very frustrating, until it became more hilarious than frustrating (though it stayed frustrating too, and I’ll get on to that…)

I received several responses (including private messages) of “encouragement” from straight women friends (both trans and cis), and I discovered that it was virtually impossible for them to get their heads around the fact that when I write “No, I don’t like skirts/dresses on me ever, and almost never on anyone else either :)” I mean exactly that, and not, for example, “Aye me, I long to wear skirts/dresses but alas, I lack the self-confidence and/or fashion knowledge :(.”

I kept thinking I’d got there with each of them, and that they finally got it, only to have them somehow press their own reset buttons, and jump in all over again with “…but you could look really good in a skirt if you <insert heterofemme fashion tip/self-help bollocks here>…” In the end, as I say, I got more amused than frustrated – and decided to share the frustration, so I began simply posting “No, I don’t like skirts/dresses” over and over again to their replies, until they just shut up.

These two experiences together in one day have wound me up into writing about them, but also been cause for me to wonder: Why do I feel perfectly comfortable wearing a sarong, and perfectly uncomfortable wearing a skirt/dress? So that’s what the rest of this is going to be about, because (as they say on South Park) I’ve learned something here today.

How is a sarong so different, for me, from a skirt? (Let’s assume from now on that skirt is shirthand hahaha, shorthand for skirt/dress, because I can’t be bothered to keep typing that – even though explaining this to you has taken up way more characters, blah blah eat less peanut m&ms, Womandrogyne… (…okay…))

Well, as I said earlier, a sarong is a unisex garment. In many countries where a sarong (or its analogue – I’m using sarong as shorthand for colourful-piece-of-cloth-that-you-wrap-around-your-bottom-half) is worn as everyday wear, both men and women wear them. Yes, there are usually different forms or colours depending on your gender, but the basic garment is unisex. This is why I’m comfortable wearing it – because it’s an androgynous garment. It doesn’t (for me, and that’s what’s important here) point in my own culture to a very specific gender. Slinky girl models wear them, hunky expensive male footballers wear them.

That explains why I like wearing sarongs, and am comfortable wearing them in front of others (though I prefer to do so barefoot). But why don’t I like skirts? this is the bit I’ve got a lot closer to understanding over the last few hours. (I’m sorry it’s taken us so long to get here, I had a lot to say and I’m full of chocolate and peanuts and a bit überverbose in consequence).

When it comes down to it, it’s a visceral suspicion that women’s skirts are a symbol of oppression of women. Why? Well, if you set up a culture so that exposing your genitalia (even if slightly covered) is considered a no-no, and then you put just the females within that culture into clothing whose bottom ends are freely open, you’re basically saying “No: you may not – and it is assumed that you will not – be as active and free with your body as men are, because otherwise you will show your slightly-covered ladyparts and be immediately written off as a harlot of some sort.” And it is often harder to run in a skirt (let’s not even get onto high heels – I’m certainly never going to get onto them, and it’s not because I’m 6’3″) so a degree of relative helplessness is often built in too.

So something in me is sufficiently certain that on women, skirts are somehow a symbol of shame and repression, and there’s no way in hell you’re getting me into one of those things.

Of course, there’s also the fact that I hardly ever find them aesthetic (or in fact not-absurd) when other people are wearing them, so I don’t want to wear them because I think they look ridiculous. But that’s also intertwangled with my sense of what skirts represent.

For sure, you have the same potential body-parts exposure issues with a sarong – but then men share that burden, so it’s no longer a finger pointed at women.

I’m really surprised to find myself thinking all this, and writing it, today. But then, as you’ll have gathered from my recent blog-thing about the girly-keys, I seem to have entered a phase in my growing-up-into-a-woman where I’m becoming acutely aware of the bollocks going on out there, the profoundly deep, thick, and cloying layer of Double Standards in the What’s Acceptable In Women/Men game.

I know I’m by no means the first person to notice this stuff. I’ve read some of it before, myself, especially about how so much of women’s fashion seems to be about the sexualising of defencelessness. It’s just that, as the saying goes, This Time, It’s Personal. And I’ll come back at this point to the fact that all my queer women friends just get it, and most of my straight women friends (as seen above) don’t. I have to assume that it’s very firmly implanted into the straight woman’s psyche that True Woman = Skirts/Dresses, to the point where they’re condemned to defend that nonsense. And that queer women have already had to swim upstream against so much cultural conditioning about what makes a True Woman that they have no problem understanding my mistrust and dislike of skirts, even if they like them themselves.

I expect I’ll have more to say on this, either to clarify or contradict what I’ve just written today. Because it’s a big conceptual leap to take, and why should I assume it’s perfect first go? For example, it has just occurred to me to add that my visceral mistrust of being made to appear defenceless is fed by my experience of having been abused. So apparel suited to flight is relevant to my needs (running away, not wings).

I leave you with another image I’m rather fond of…

apronangelo[I apologise: unusually, I don’t know where either of these two images originates.]

Romanception

fractalBy the gods… Romans everywhere! Legions within legions… We are doomed!!

Um, no, seriously, this isn’t about Romans.

[Trigger alert: this blog-thing will be about sexual abuse, amongst other things]

Hello. It’s been a little while, as I’ve been busy sorting some things out. So… no Romans, I’m afraid, though that would have been fun, in a bronzy, leathery sort of way. No, this is about romance. Specifically, it’s about (cutting to the chase) me trying to work out why I seem to be in love with being in love (hence the memeish title… for which pandering to modernity I deeply apologise…)

Yes, this is going to be pretty personal, but I’m really onto something here, and it helps to write these things out, and well, here we are. What is it that makes me think I’m in love with being in love? Well, a comprehensive list of the people I’ve been properly in love with over the last, erm, lots of years, comes to 80. To be fair, only about half a dozen of those were the true, full-on, this is going to make me die! kind of being in love. But the rest weren’t just “people I fancied”, they were pretty full-on experiences in their own right.

And most of these were unrequited, too, of course. In fact, only 8 of them have been requited, and they were all women (iiiinterestingggg…). Oh, did I mention that the figures come down pretty much even between women and men? They do. And there was actually one perhaps-requited on the men side of the list, since I think we were both too scared to tell each other. And of course, there are a number of people on both sides of the list whom I never told, so maybe it was requited after all, since they never told me anything either. And only one of those Death-Or-Glory Half-Dozen was ever requited.

I’m aware, by the way, of using very gender-binary language here. There are more recent people on this list who are only nominally on one side or the other – or are in fact neither. And I have no actual idea what a lot of these people’s gender identities were in my more distant past. Hence I think of myself these days as polyromantic, as well as polysensual.

Okay then, that’s the embarrassing part of the disclosure out of the way (really 80? really 80). What I’ve been asking myself is: Why do I keep falling for people in this way, and why is it so rarely requited? Well, the thing is…

I think that as a consequence of being sexual abused by my parents, I’ve spent my life very carefully falling for people who are not available, or not mutually attracted. Because it’s safest that way. The few times I’ve ended up in sexual relationships (because that’s what I thought I was looking for), it’s been terrible, because I get scared and angry when I’m sexual.

That explains some of it, but there’s more going on. While I’ve been trying to figure all this out, my teens have been very much on my mind. I spent almost my entire teenage years without having physical contact with anyone, and I think I did that on purpose, because it didn’t feel safe. Then when I was 17, my life changed as a result of meeting someone who’s now my oldest friend, and through him. a crowd of local hippy types that I fell in with – and all of a sudden I had a social life, and friends, and was (within that particular subculture, at least) for the first time in my life, somehow cool.

And then the bomb dropped. My friend’s sister gave me a hug, and I immediately fell in love with her, and I added to the hardship in her life for several months (she was busy dealing with anorexia) until I let go of the infatuation part, and we managed to become proper, loving friends. She was the first person I ever really loved, and she died in a fire, aged 17, three years after we met.

I think I keep on looking for that safe love. And it’s possible, now that I’ve realised I’m essentially asexual, that I’ll eventually find it with somebody similarly asexual – because that’s what it would take.

I started writing this a couple of weeks ago, and I’m still unsure about posting it; but it feels significant to me, for other people living with the consequences of abuse, to tell this story.

Since I’ve come to terms with my asexuality, and more recently since I’ve begun making more sense of this romantic compulsion I seem to have, I’ve been able to sit more lightly to it. It’s not like the habit of a lifetime is going to stop all of a sudden. It happened to me only yesterday, and that after I’d been joking that it was one of the things I’d have to watch out for yesterday… I spent the afternoon doing improvisational harmony singing with some other women in a house in the country, and I fell for one of them. Gorgeous, Canadian, musical, lesbian, happily committed to someone already. So it goes.

I know that singing makes me very open emotionally, so I was prepared for the possibility of falling for someone (it’s happened this way before – I met my friend-belovèd at a singing workshop, and fell for her in exactly the same way, though way worse… and now we’re great friends). So I’m feeling the sadness of this, but at the same time I’m able to feel a gentle smiling compassion for this part of me that just wants safe intimacy with someone, and has been too scared to ask for it in the past, and has ended up with unsafe intimacy (or none) instead.

The one thing that gives me more satisfaction than almost anything, lately, is the knowledge that I’m now someone who knows what she wants, and is able to say it out loud, and even to ask for it. I don’t always get what I want, but it’s very satisfying nevertheless to ask. And often, I do get what I want. Or I get what I need. Often enough. Everything the collective that is me has done in this life has been worth it, just to get to this point.

Oh, what the fuck, we all deserve this to end with…

rory-roman

We happen to each other

ombre-de-citronA few days ago, I read a web article someone posted to me entitled Is PTSD Contagious? Quite a train of thought has pulled out since then.

The main gist of the article is that being constantly around someone suffering from PTSD can lead to you suffering “secondary PTSD”. When I read this, it rang very true for me, because last year, while I was in a relationship with someone as my PTSD really kicked in, I witnessed them beginning to suffer their own symptoms, as a consequence of them being around someone whose emotional states were so unpredictable and changeable. This is one of the reasons why I feel that them breaking up with me, and then wanting no contact for a long while, was very much the right thing for them to do – even though it really hurt, and hurts. Because I know what this is like, this PTSD, and I would never wish it on someone I love.

Since reading that article, though, some other things have occurred to me.

Firstly, I sense that the healthcare professionals (and bystanders) in the article treat the war vet as the one with the “real” PTSD (assuming they ever actually get a proper diagnosis, which is notoriously hard to obtain). I suspect this is partly because most people who actually believe PTSD is real in the first place still don’t imagine it exists outside of the kind of trauma experienced in a war zone (I wish).

But there’s a reluctance out there to take seriously the effect of being around someone with PTSD that somehow reminds me of “passive smoking”, and how reluctant people have been to take that seriously. This is hard for me to say, because I don’t want to over-pathologise myself, or isolate myself – but it still feels true, and therefore needs saying.

I also felt that there’s an assumption that these people experiencing “secondary PTSD” are not dealing with something that’s theirs, but something that’s entirely imposed on them (like passive smoking is). This oddly reminds me of how loads of trans people I know (including myself) have had doctors assume that whatever’s wrong with us when we’re ill is just “because you’re transitioning.” Yes, being around someone with PTSD is in a way the ideal incubator for beginning to experience it yourself, since it’s very likely to make you feel under threat all the time. But that’s not to say you don’t have your own unrelated trauma issues which it dovetails into.

I guess what I’m getting at here is the Buddhist concept of mutual causality, as compared to linear causality. Linear causality is the idea that “this makes that happen, then that makes the next thing happen, and so on…” whereas in Buddhism, there is the acknowledgement that everything is both affecting and affected by everything going on around it – so nothing is the “sole cause” of an event, because this inherent interconnectedness makes it more like an endless constellation of conditions, perturbing each other’s orbits all the time.

So causes are both complex, and reciprocal. It’s definitely my experience that two people with PTSD (or any kind of stress or anxiety issues) can make each other’s symptoms worse fairly easily, if they’re emotionally involved. So it’s my fervent hope that the partners of people with PTSD who have their own symptoms can get support that takes into account their relationship with someone else dealing with it, but also treats them as a standalone person dealing with their own issues.

This is one of the reasons why I find it very frustrating, how hard it is to get help with PTSD – because suffering from it doesn’t just affect me. I find myself, since that last relationship experience, very reluctant to get very intimate with anyone, because is some ways, I am the last thing I’d wish on anybody I love.

I am fortunate to be getting concrete help, although it’s proving a really convoluted business getting financial support to do that. I’m investing in getting this help not just for my own benefit, but for the benefit of people who are or may become close to me.

cobweb-dewdrops[down below, dew on cobweb – up above, lemon tree shadow]