Feeling Blurry

February 2017

It’s like I’m stuck and the whole world is blurring right past me. Like I’m a ghost and no one sees. It’s this feeling of trying to breathe underwater.

It makes me feel small, but like I’m floating in a huge black empty universe. The edges are blurred. There’s no sound. Just darkness.

It’s like my life gets blurry and I can’t see today anymore. I’m seeing the current reality as if it’s just a memory in my head and it’s scary. I don’t feel like I’m really in the present. It’s more like my life is all jumbled together and shaken up. It’s exhausting. I stopped dreaming. I sleep in 2 hour segments because I have to get up to pee. I don’t think I’d hit REM sleep in months. Haven’t slept through a night in over a year.

[Smiling to hide the abyss]

I wrote this in February, 2018, a little over a year ago. I had been asking my doctor for help and been brushed off multiple times. I felt like I was already dead. The darkness was so severe that I spent weeks in bed staring at the wall, my only reprieve from the emotional and severe physical pain I was in came from my cat Henry and marijuana edibles.

Then I received a wake up call: my parents getting a divorce after 33 years of marriage. It wasn’t unexpected and it definitely made both of them happier but a crack had appeared, a crack that had always been there but that I had somehow managed to avoid looking at. Suddenly it was all I could see, and I fell in.

[Photo taken at my fathers new home.]

The darkness got worse than I ever thought it could. I felt like i couldn’t breathe. I’d lay in bed wishing it would end, but not wanting to die, wishing I could live. I wasn’t upset about the divorce – i was drowning in repressed memory city. I had always thought that i had a great childhood, but i did not and now i had to face all of it.

I was sick and my doctor wasn’t listening. So I did something scary. I called my health insurance company, filed a complaint against St John Well-child and family center and had my care switched to the Los Angeles LGBT center.

Almost immediately things got better. My excruciating pain was taken seriously and within weeks we discovered my gallbladder needed to be removed. My overactive bladder was treated with medication and i was able to sleep through the night again. In November 2018 My physical health was slowly improving while I waited for the earliest surgery appointment- January 21, 2019.

I knew it wasn’t going to be all I needed, so I did another scary thing. I scheduled a mental health evaluation at the LGBT center. I dreaded it for three weeks and broke out in a cold sweat as soon as I arrived. I was honest and asked for help and something unexpected happened: they actually helped me.

THEY ACTUALLY HELPED ME. I went through 3 weeks of appointments to establish a baseline with an intake counselor who was phenomenally kind. Then I was matched up with a trauma recovery group and a therapist to help me heal from my complex PTSD.

I started attending weekly individual therapy appointments in February and I immediately clicked with my therapist. It took three sessions before I actually dropped my walls enough for him to truly see me, but there was no rush.

Therapy is not at all what I expected. It’s all based on how I feel and think, not changing who I am to fit a mold. I spent much of my childhood lying to therapists I didint trust and this is not like that at all. My current therapist never forced me to do ANYTHING. He puts the ball in my court and lets me decide how far we’ll push today. Therapy has dramatically changed my life by giving me some power back. I’ve been living in a constant state of emotional shock for at least five years, but I think it’s actually been 25 years. Growing up in an unsafe environment will do that to you.

I’m still renovating my mind, unpacking the boxes and deciding what gets to move into the future with me. I drop things off at the recycling center daily, letting go of all the old thoughts and habits that don’t belong any more. I survived, so there is no guilt over what I did in the past. It’s just the past, nothing to be ashamed of or worry over.

I meditate every single day. It keeps me grounded. I do yoga to have an ongoing conversation with my body. I’m honest with myself, my therapist, and my loved ones. I explore new hobbies and revive and change old ones to fit the new me. I embrace and celebrate all my identities. I attend therapy and group therapy every week.

I believe that it dose get better, but it won’t get better overnight, and it takes constant commitment to create a better place for yourself.

[with my sister Mill, who is my best friend and fellow LA resident]

“While you sit around waiting for someone to come and set things right, the world has moved on without you.” I don’t know if I made this up or read it somewhere but it’s true. And

“The only way out is through.”

-Robert Frost

I believe in you and I believe in me. Thank you for being here.

-Brodey Bartlett

You are not alone.

+Trans lifeline: 877-565-8860

+The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

+National suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255

Published by Brodhi

Brodey Ryan Bartlett is a 30 year old activist, artist, and free spirit. Brodey is a proud transgender man, a proud gay man, and a member of the Queer community. Brodey lives in Los Angeles, California with his partner Bob and his cat, Henry.

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