Triggersplaining

TW: Talking potentially triggeringly about someone else talking definitively triggeringly about the Kavanaugh hearings.

I talk very loudly at times. It’s an occupational hazard of ADHD. In hindsight, I’m sure that I have said things about things that have happened in my life loudly enough into cell phones in various public places and on various forms of public transportation – possibly even this summer – such that my coastal co-commuters have formed firm impressions that the 9th Circle of Hell is not the sort of place they should put on their tourism bucket list. On a few occasions, they may even have had to awkwardly share a train home with their crying stranger.

I’m thoroughly oblivious to the volume of my voice, especially when I’m upset. To the best of my knowledge, though, those unwitting unease-droppers only learn that the 9th Circle of Hell is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad place. They don’t know the details of why it is so horrible, both for my safety and for theirs. I don’t share any specific details of lived traumatic events over cell phones. 1) Who would I be talking to on a cell phone that I trust that much? The only person I share those things with – besides the entire Internet, of course – is my Partner. If I’m on a train, he’s probably no more than an hour away from hearing more detail than he ever wished to have seared into his brain about the most recent horrible thing inflicted by that place for the next three hours, so a tearful warning to brace himself is probably sufficient for the phone call. 2) It’s hard to be anonymous when I yell a lot. ADHD. It’s not just for interrupting. It’s for interrupting obnoxiously enough that the whole room takes notice. 3) Most importantly, I may be fairly oblivious, but I have learned what triggers are and why overly detailed accounts of trauma shared in unexpected spaces might inflict on others the kinds of PTSD episodes my boss so charmingly calls the marker of a “difficult working style.” I’m still uncertain if PTSD or some other spoon-sucking diagnosis will eventually cost me my job, but taking someone else down at the same time seems like forfeiting to the 9th Circle of Hell without so much as a fight.

Given that I am generally as oblivious and audible as they come, I find it – surprising – that I still have more subconscious self-decorum then the presumably neurotypical know-it-all I shared an evening train ride home with tonight. The guy – dressed in what I presume still qualifies as generic early 20s hipster while proudly manspreading across three seats – was boasting loudly to his cell phone partner about how sensitive he was for recognizing that sexual assault survivors might be re-traumatized by what they had heard during the hearings today, how he had taken up the mantle of explaining to his less-enlightened male friends exactly how prevalent sexual assault was, how there are many reasons why women might not come forward, and how he considers himself an ally. Good on him and all –

–  except for that bit where he explained all of these things by shouting them into his cell in a train car populated enough to be carrying at least a couple of survivors, based on his own quoted statistics?! He then illustrated his point about how certain words and phrases that don’t register to men can trigger women by offering a play-by-play of the Kavanaugh hearings today in the same booming voice.

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20H8: H8as vs. D8a

I want Mueller to take down Trump. My head wants Trump taken down any way possible, but my heart specifically wants Mueller to do it. He’s a wonk. He’s a wonk who is described (by anyone other than the most vocal House Republicans) as scrupulously based in the data, cautious enough to only act when his case is unassailable, and impartial to the point that he will fire members of his own team for the crime of admitting they dislike Trump in a private text, lest Mueller inadvertently feed into Trump’s unfounded accusations of a witch hunt against him. (Trump keeps using that word – I do not not think it means what he thinks it means.)

I’m a wonk. I’m a data nerd now, but as a kid I was a would-be historian. What is history if not the raw data for psychologists and sociologists the same as statistics is the raw data for epidemiology or economics? I think I developed a reverence for the scientific method partially as a way of holding on to sanity in a world of gaslighting and injustice. Abusers try to deny reality, and they know how to make their victims – and the authorities who might be able to cause consequences for them – believe them. But, looking into the history of women’s suffrage or the Civil Rights Movement, looking into public health statistics, looking into the academic achievement gap in America’s schools, looking into how many Americans believe the words that come out of Trump’s $7i7hole about women, minorities, the poor, the disabled or anyone else who isn’t him, I could/can reason out why abusers use gaslighting to ensure their victims are too ashamed to speak out. I could/can begin to release my own shame. It isn’t my fault horrible things happened – it’s the fault of systemic power imbalances that disenfranchise Americans, abusers who turn a blind eye to the basic humanity of others, and bigots in positions of authority like Jeff Sessions who reinforce those imbalances rather than put the weight of law on the side of lasting change. Through a principled method for determining the truth, I could hope there was a way to hold on to it amidst lies.

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Overload…

A very well-informed blog post that I had to share. Doable suggestions for how Spoonies who cannot physically manage protests and who may be triggered by reading the news regularly can stay informed and speak out safely.

I can only begin this post by stating I am aware of the privileges I have as a white middle class woman. I recognize my experience is different from that of a person of color. In fact, I recognize my experience is different from that of a person with a visible disability, instead of my invisible illness. In societal terms I am, within the boundaries set forth for women, acceptable, and to a large point, welcome.

So I can only begin to imagine the stress my less welcomed fellow Americans are undergoing right now. I can only extrapolate from my own sense of powerlessness the helplessness they must be feeling. I share in their anger and dismay but I cannot fully understand how they feel.

I can only hope there is something I can do to help put an end to this madness.

There’s an added complexity for me, one…

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POTSies Against Nazis

I have a colorful new diagnosis. (I also have gastritis, probably as a result of being allergic to everything.)

I’m not inflammatory (IBD), but I’m pretty salty. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a type of dysautonomia officially characterized by a heart rate increase of at least thirty bpm upon standing. This tachycardia is often associated with a drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension), though clinically OH warrants its own additional dysautonomia diagnosis. There are multiple types of dysautonomia. I seem to be able to catch ’em all.

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First they came for…

Leaving aside everything else that is wrong and immoral about this proposed ban, at the moment there are something like 11,000 trans people currently serving openly in the US services and reserves. They are there legally, and it is currently their right to serve openly. Trump’s ban, at first glance, appears to take away their…

via A Note on Trump’s Proposed Ban of Transgender in the Military — Whatever

I have no words for a country that wants to take rights away from people, instead of arcing towards justice.

I could say something about how a big part of why I have PTSD can be traced right back to the belief that some people are less ‘people’ than others. I could cite more sources about where that dangerous lie leads in the end. I could just insert a middle finger emoji. However, I am not a professional writer. So, instead I’ll share the words of a best-selling author and hope he’s more persuasive than I am.

I’m not trans, and that’s exactly why it matters that I be angry, too. Yes, I have my own struggles going on, today in particular, but that makes it all the more important I speak up.

I read a lovely post today from another blogger that included the line “slowly dying of survival.” That is one of the best descriptions of trauma I have ever read. (I guess this means that I need to watch Sense8!) I feel like that often. My PTSD stems from events which both have not resolved and which I can’t just run from to personal safety because that would mean abandoning someone else who needs me to injustice. I feel like I’m just done often, today in particular. I’d never hurt myself, but I’m slowly dying of survival. I feel like just trying to fight for stasis takes too much to leave anything for change, yet an advocate is what so many marginalized groups need in the face of the systemic dismantling of human dignity that is the U.S. today.

I feel like my PTSD/ADHD make me too much of a hollowed-out flake to be the kind of advocate the people who rely on me need – to dream of systemic change – but personal experience has taught me that you can’t assume anyone else will be there unless it affects them personally. I will thus keep fighting in however meager a way I can to save others from the fallout from unjust systems that deny human dignity.

I ask that you join me – be that speaking up when you see a disabled individual, a person of color, or an LGBT individual being discriminated against, calling your Senators to advocate for the care of America’s marginalized, buying a meal for a homeless individual, or just voting with a conscience.