I Need Something Human

This week has been intense and I’m struggling to figure out what comes next for me. Not in some big grand mysterious plan sort of way, but in an introspective “Am I the person I want to be?” sort of way.

On the ‘yes’ side of that question – I trapped five homeless kittens at the absolute perfect moment between being weaned and being mean. They are now living in our bathroom together and will be fostered by our family until they can be adopted out. We are still trying to TNR the mother. You want to brighten your day, put a nanny cam in a room filled with six week old kittens and just watch for as long as your heart desires. It puts my mind at ease because I know that even the little runt (Ariel) is eating heartily and part of the crew, not an outlier even though she hisses mightily at us when we are in the room. If yo’d like to help homeless cats, please support our cat food drive. 

Foster Kittens
I came into the bathroom this AM and found four of the kittens lined up on the window sill. Left to right: Artemis, Luna, Ariel, and Galileo. Not shown is Sun Volt. 

I’ve been interacting with my PCP’s office and Highmark insurance around the measle’s outbreak. You can imagine that hasn’t gone well because of course it doesn’t. This is the third time this year that my PCP has drawn my mental health diagnosis into a discussion where I’m not sure it is warranted. I just wanted to know if I needed a titer and booster, I wasn’t sequestering myself and ordering RTE meals for the duration. But I was pointing out that the Emperor was distributing conflicting information rather than wearing a lovely comforting “I’ve got this” outfit. That rarely goes well. No one seems to ever consider that an obsessive need to prop up a lying Emperor (at any level) is an actual sign of madness, right?

But she’s not completely wrong. I do think my actual concerns about measles stem from reasonable causes, but my emotional health is not great. I am diligently working on trauma processing with my therapist and this has brought all sorts of horrors to my mind. I’m having nightmares, again. I’m not eating, again. I’m sad and weepy, again. I’m beating myself up for all of the things, again. I’m devastated again and again by having to think about these terrible experiences and try to use all of these tools and not go completely out of my mind. It is really unfair, but even as I say that I feel obliged to qualify that other people have had it worse. And then I retreat from actually having to deal with my own pain. That’s not true empathy on my part and I feel even more guilty about that.

I should say that my psychiatrist also agreed that my concerns about my immunity were reasonable given my age and the fact that I have asthma and that I come to a health clinic ever week where people with compromised immune systems are also present. Too bad my PCP doesn’t want to listen to him!

It is hard to contain this trauma. That’s the skill I’m working on. Containment. I’m also working on reminding myself that I’m a human being because one of the aspects of the grooming I experienced was to isolate and alienate me from other people, as if I was lesser than them. Less human? These feel like ridiculous exercises, but they actually work. It just feels like it will take forever for them to work, work.

The world feels so hard right now. I met a young queer person who told me that they don’t know a lot of other queer people their age and that they wonder how their queer identity will impact their job prospects. That same conversation young queer people have been having forever. Is it getting better? Or are we just containing some of the bad? Losing abortion rights? This last gasp of Christianity trying to strangle all of us into submission? The triumphs (yes a fucking triumph) of Chick-fil-A? Watching people I love struggle with their recovery and resist help?

None of this is new, but as I bounce around this trauma recovery – it feels more real than it has in the past. It feels like there is no room in the world, among my friends or colleagues, for my brokenness and pain. I’ve had to shut people out who are making decisions that hurt me and I’ve had to swallow so much realization that I’m usually a means to an end, not a person who deserves compassion or comfort.

I don’t even know the person I want to be.  So I’m going to disengage for awhile, focus on kittens, and figure out what it means to be human. Surely, it has to get better.