THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE: The Story of PTSD and Me

Depression

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”

Laurell K. Hamilton

I have written a lot of extremely personal blogs, but this one might take the cake.

This blog has been dancing in my head for a few weeks now, but I couldn’t find the perfect time to sit down and write it. Seeing how I just had surgery yesterday and am on bed rest, I figured now is as good a time as any to tell this story.

I have been very open with my chronic health and mental health issues; I wrote a piece on this very topic back in May, it was my way of reclaiming my power.

I have even had a hugely successful blog published on WITCH regarding my battle with chronic health issues and how it directly relates to and affects my Magick.

I wrote about Trauma the Teacher on The House of Twigs.

This is a follow-up of sorts.

A redefining moment in my life that I want to share with all of you.

If you have read my past blogs about my health you know that I have struggled for essentially my entire life, but more so recently; mostly regarding degenerative disc disease, a torn disc between L5 and S1, degeneration of my Sacroiliac Joint, Arthritis, Hashimotos, fribromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Not to mention cervical and skin cancer in my past, along with 7 abdominal surgeries for a variety of feminine health problems which resulted in a full hysterectomy.

Besides these physical ailments, I have been facing head on both my anxiety and C-PTSD.

Let’s rewind for a minute.

Back in 2010 when I was just coming out of an abusive relationship I kind of lost my shit; I don’t know how else to describe it. I didn’t suffer a psychotic break, I did not have delusions, I can only describe it as “losing my mind”.

Now, to be clear, my entire life has been one giant reel of traumatic events, there is not a singular moment that caused my pain; 2010 was just the tipping point.

Out of fear of what was happening, because I didn’t know what was going on, I checked myself into a private mental health institute where I was medicated with poisons and diagnosed: Bipolar 2, ADHD, OCD, Anxiety (GAD, Social Anxiety), Agoraphobia and PTSD.

For 3 years I went to therapy session after therapy session and pumped my body full of toxins; I was even forced to go to substance abuse programs because I was open about smoking cannabis.

They labeled me as “self-medicating”.

For the past 14 years cannabis has been my medicine of choice, and of course some of my closed-minded family members and Doctors alike thought I was (and am) nothing more than a pothead.

A druggie.

In 2013 I stopped all medications besides Estrogen, Synthroid, vitamins, a muscle relaxer for my back and allergy meds; I have not been medicated for my mental health. Though about 2 months ago I was given a low dose of Klonopin to help take the edge off because my anxiety can be debilitating some days. I have continued my use of cannabis, which as you may know is illegal in NYS; I have always been open and honest with my providers about my use.

Recently having found a great PCP and a Pain Management Doctor I was given the gift of hope.

A cruel gift sometimes, but I embraced it for once.

When my PCP prescribed me the Klonopin, he suggested I try to find a mental health professional for medication management; I understood his point completely and a few weeks ago I went to the appt.

I walked out before even seeing a Doctor.

I was filling out paperwork and the very last sheet was a checklist that you had to initial (30 something “agreements”) and it read like a court ordered type document.

It basically said I would be subject to random drug tests, and *forced* to go to talk therapy because I have an anxiety disorder(s).

WHAT?

I specifically asked about therapy beforehand because it’s not my thing, and they said they force no one.

When I asked the nurse about the checklist she said that if I test positive for any trace amounts *at all* of cannabis that I would be weaned off my medication and put into a substance abuse program.

Now, I know that checklist and that office saves people’s lives, but that was not a place that jived with the kind of treatment and healing I need.

I left that appointment so, so discouraged.

It was like my dreams just blew away in the wind.

Dreams

I went to my PCP the following Monday (the appt was on a Thursday), told him all about it and even he was shocked, but then he said, “well, just so you know in the next few months St. Peter’s (the hospital in which his practice is associated with) is sending out contracts for all users of controlled substances” (which Klonopin is).

He continued to say that he has no clue what will be on the contract, but it might have something in there about cannabis; reminding me it’s a Catholic establishment (he is an excellent Doctor, I don’t care about religion).

He told me he would continue to prescribe the low dose for me, and we will “Cross the contract bridge when it comes”.

I went home and immediately started researching Medical Marijuana and how I apply, how much it will cost and what the qualifying conditions are.

You see, it’s not easy to get approved…like not at all.

And, it’s costly. Very, very costly.

I had to weigh my options; do I give up the Klonopin? Do I give up the cannabis? Or, do I try and legitimize my use?

I decided I was going to try to get certified for Medical Marijuana.

I found a brilliant Psychiatrist, said some prayers to my Gods, and started walking this new path.

My appointment was August 15th, and not only did she tell me that I was, indeed, misdiagnosed and that *I AM NOT BIPOLAR* but she said I have one of the more severe cases of PTSD and C-PTSD she has seen. The PTSD is a direct result of sexual trauma; the C-PTSD is from long term abuse as a child, and abuse as a teen and young adult at the hands of my Father, Step-Father (not the Step-Father in my life now) and romantic partners.

For the last 8 years I have worn a scarlet letter of sorts as far as the medical world is concerned.

They would look at my chart, and for the last 5 of those 8 years all they saw was “unmedicated bipolar” and treated me as if I was going to kill myself or someone else.

She granted me FREEDOM and POWER by telling me, “Jaclyn you are not at all Bipolar, you do not suffer from any personality disorders; you suffer from severe trauma, and your body remembers.”

Freedom 2

I will not go into all the ways in which PTSD paralyzes me, and all that it entails to carry this diagnosis.

I will say:

It’s why I can’t leave my house for days on end.

It’s why I haven’t been intimate with anyone in 5 years.

It’s why I can’t be touched.

It’s why I don’t like loud noises.

It’s why my nightmares torment me.

In one swoop, with a few words she ripped that scarlet letter off of me and the weight that lifted with it was tangible.

We sat and talked for almost 2 hours, and she told me how intelligent and insightful I was; how impressed she was with what I know about trauma, more specifically my trauma and my reactions to it.

Then, she said, “Jaclyn, remember this day. Remember this day because you are certified. Congratulations.”

To tell you that I started sobbing would be an understatement; I am telling you I was full on ugly crying in her office.

This has quite literally changed my life.

She gave me my certification form, told me the next steps and I went right home, printed out my temporary card and walked into the dispensary for the first time that afternoon.

As of right now I am on pills and vape pens; I might try oralmucosal (tincture) but because I have been smoking for so long my receptors are dense, and I need high THC content for it to be medicinal in my body.

I can now travel (within the state) with my medication.

I can now be drug tested and it won’t be considered illicit because it’s my medicine.

I can now show my family and Doctor’s that I am not some druggie, but a person who genuinely needs this plant ally as MEDICINE.

I have written over 1,000 words telling this story and still they are not enough to describe the feeling I have, the freedom I have been given, and the emotions that are still overwhelming me.

We must be our loudest advocate for our own health and well-being, and if you ever needed inspiration to be that, use me.

I did it, so can you.

Always listen to your gut, and always follow what your body is telling you.

Don’t give up, Warrior.

Keep fighting.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: Willpower and Intuition

Will

image source

 

“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”

Madeleine L’Engle

For the Magickally inclined Will and intuition are two paramount concepts on our path; these are not divided into RHP and LHP, they are simply part of being a Witch, and/or Occultist. When people think of Will, and Willpower in an esoteric context they immediately think of Thelema and Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.”

But, what people don’t think too much about is how our Will translates and correlates to other areas of Magick, and life.

Essentially, our Will is part strength and part (embodied) intentions.

Our Willpower is what motivates us, fuels us, and drives us towards our goals.

Desire and lust exist in the shallow, mundane areas of our Willpower; when we begin to go deeper, and silence the chatter of the world we can hear our true Will speaking loud and clear, revealing to us secrets long forgotten and intentions waiting to come to fruition.

Willpower is endless, and limitless; only limited by how far we are willing to dive, and how hard we are willing to fight.

In the beginning of September, I read an article on WITCH about ways to strengthen Will, and use it to manifest greatness, and momentous changes into our lives.

The Author goes into great detail about how self-talk affects us and what we manifest into our lives; the difference between saying “I will” and “I am going to” are profound, and something I would not have thought of without reading their words.

It really got me thinking though; the Author goes on to state that our Will becomes stronger the more times we follow through with our word.

Your Will/stating your Will is like a promise to yourself and the Universe; when you keep that promise, it solidifies the bond and brings back to you that which you put out (think Law of Attraction).

This is how intuition works, too–

When we listen to it, and follow its advice, it becomes stronger, our connection to it becomes stronger; we become stronger.

When we ignore our intuition we feel defeated, detached and unable to decipher between anxiety and intuition based warning signs.

Screaming

image source

Questions about how to strengthen intuition are probably some of the most common that come into my inbox, and while the answer may vary person to person based on their situation, it’s also kind of the same: listen to your gut, and don’t be scared to fuck up.

There will be times that you “listen to your gut” and it will be wrong, your gut will be wrong.

You will be wrong.

“Does this mean my intuition is broken?”

No, it means your intuition needs to be calibrated and exercised; it’s a gift we *all* have but like all gifts, those who work with and work on it the most, will see the most reward and benefit.

To this day I have moments where I listen to my intuition and it’s wrong, but I take the lesson and learn from it. I ask myself was I anxious? Was I scared? Was I simply making excuses? Was I picking up on some other energy that made me not follow through with (insert task/scenario here)?

Then there are moments where I ignore my intuition altogether; I talk about those moments all the time.

Living with anxiety, being extremely Empathic and having insecurities makes it hard for me to listen to my intuition all the time; self-doubt is a demon we all share.

Sometimes I am simply naïve, other times I am giving people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t deserve it.

There have been many times that ignoring the waves in my chest and literal feeling in my gut have burned me. I accept those moments, and own them.

You should, too.

And, you can’t fear them.

You will fuck up; which is pretty much the only true guarantee on this path.

How you handle the fuck ups determines the trajectory on your path.

Stars 2

image source

Then on some random day for some random reason you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, and ignore the chatter in your brain and tune in to listen; you hear a faint whisper, a gust of wind that turns into a howl and scream; this is the day your intuition comes through for you, this is the day you step into your power.

This is the day you punch your self-doubt in the throat and become stronger than it ever was.

This is a day you will never forget.

Just like our Willpower, our intuition is limitless, endless and abysmal with its lessons of wisdom, we must be willing to tap into it and overcome the fear of being wrong, and failing occasionally.

For there are lessons to be had in every wrong and failure we encounter; Willpower and intuition are the greatest teachers.

Learn to trust them more than you doubt them, and you have the keys to Magick.