Somehow, I mistook tolerance for resiliency; functioning through a nervous breakdown, depression and CPTSD (triggered by a 4 year narcissist relationship & breakdown/discard) and burning the capital candle and both ends trying to "make it" as a performance artist.
Grateful to transition the same black therapist pre-pandemic into the virtual space - I was able to piece together that a lifelong association with Complex PTSD and anxiety/depression and (at the time) a rare yet thankful diagnosis of ADHD in the late 90’s - had finally rubbed my system dangerously raw to the point of successive blackouts. Furthermore, my time in therapy provided much self reflection of the 4 years spent in intimate narcissist abuse; (love bombing, pursuing, gaslighting, hoovering, discarding then regret/supply stalking) while somehow managing to pay my rent mid-throes of a nervous breakdown down - triggered by Post Traumatic Infidelity Disorder. Then there’s the post-breakup carnival of animals with flying monkeys, catfish and random ex-wack-a-moles popping up and down in supply seeking delusion (aka a relationship). Additional insight was spent on me scratching the lucky 7's with an increasingly and fiscally controlling sociopath. True to lesbian fashion, this union darkly erupted into the inevitable saturnic-return of a relationship fissure, replete with one trillion crisis coins, naturally unlocking beast mode into Break-Up-Stalker Upgrade.
I also began reckoning with how this toxic tolerance was a precedent set up in childhood, being the offspring of divorce and emotionally, physically & narcissistically abusive parents. Inevitably, this set me up for countless sub-par and dysfunctional relationships that I thought at the time were beneficial (professional, institutional, social, systemic, et al). Throughout my early 20’s and 30’s, my tolerance for high stress knew no limits. My hyper productive default allowed me to soar on the fumes of organically powered high octane immigrant guilt and I continued to mask and highly achieve, proudly learning later and immersively. By the time I finished graduate school (just after finishing my undergraduate degree) - my ongoing panic attacks were self-justified as a normally exhaustive event and regularly throwing up during thesis was par for the course. Culturally, I was already a "standout" to some members of my Antiguan family, not just as an artist (forgoing the typical health/nursing school track) but as someone openly in professional therapy (not a pastor) for Major Depression Disorder, ADHD and motherloss. Up until 2020, my life long occurrences of palpitations, dry mouth, and tingling hot flashes were internally deemed normal either in conflict, on the way to or during work, job interviews or other daily occurrences. It took 2020 for me to digest that as a black queer immigrant lesbian - there had been no collective platform for me to connect with other black or BIPOC women around anger and anxiety within our respective cultures. Earlier interventions around childhood anxiety, learning disorders (specifically around math/dyscalcula) and rage stemming from domestic abuse, trauma and my parents divorce - were not even in the books for professional intervention let alone for an immigrant family in capitalist survival mode.
As the shock wore off post 2020 hospital visit - the need to be proactive (not too hyper) showed up as me recalling a friends prior suggestion to play in dirt and that I also wanted to learn how to build things. A carpentry for queers class was happening in Brooklyn, and I found a community garden up the street from me and an additional gardening class in the Bronx. I began learning about urban agriculture and BIPOC farming justice and got into some great farming immersions and programs, and even learned how to ride a tractor. If Pirate Jenny hadn’t had the medium and truth serum of dirt along with her other tool making implements, especially when the stillness and reality of life patterns got to real and raw; I’d be more compromised and not for the better. I’m proud to say I’m not, but *Trigger Warning*: it was hard not to feel hopeless, overwhelmed, isolated and desperate enough to end it all initially during the pandemic, as I didn’t know how to deal with the stuff that finally came up when the chance to peel back layers was presented.
*End Trigger Warning*.
I’m no longer suicidal or posses intent of harming myself. There is a fully whole value in the community and the professionals I deem safe and loving enough to support me in my quest for living the fullest most revealing life yet.
This is a gentle work in progress.
Pics, posts, work images and such will later ensue with gentle insistency and ease.