BRAKE CHECK!!! BRAKE CHECK!!!

TRIGGER WARNING!!!

If there is ANY doubt on your mind, then skip this article!

Decided to share one of many stories that is a building block in my life history that’s only added to the construction and reinforcement of my C-PTSD. The C stands for Complex…

I have a great deal of empathy, respect, and compassion for Vets that have PTSD. They need yours too. The civilian world has it’s own kind of terrors, so it’s no surprise that some form of PTSD is possible for anyone. Facing the injury, which any form of PTSD is, can be just as or maybe more terrifying than the injury (or injuries) that caused it.

Some people may wonder how I got the way I am. Fewer will take the time to ask why, and then try to wrap their own head and emotions around what I may share with them. Kindness, compassion, and a great deal of true caring, are prerequisites to at least appreciating and considering what someone else may have been through. When any of those qualities have been absent in the person I’ve related a story to, I’ve wasted my time. Because without all three qualities, you’re dealing with a cold hearted person.

Driving an 18 wheeler on day, probably grossing out at close to 70,000 pounds, I found myself being a middle truck of a small convoy of semis. Heading westbound on a 2-lane rural road in northern Indiana, no one was speeding. This was back in the mid 1990’s. Most truckers in those days had CB radios, and they were used for many things. Sometimes it was just blabbing and bantering about almost anything, just to help pass the time. You could be informed of anything going on up ahead, like traffic delays, detours, road conditions, etc. In an emergency, that CB was often a life saver!

There were probably about 8 trucks in the impromptu convoy I found myself rolling along in. I was about number 4 in the line. A sunny fall afternoon, dry roads, and not much traffic going the other way. Just a bunch of truckers heading back toward the interstate. Maybe others heading to Chicago like I was, or through it.

When you’re driving a big rig, it becomes 2nd nature to ALWAYS know where you are, which direction you’re heading. You know the mile-marker or some nearby landmark. Back in those days it was much for common for local PD’s and Highway Patrol to monitor CB channel 19 that the truckers used, or Channel 9 which was the Emergency channel. Especially in more rural areas, away from larger cities and towns. Cell phones were still a newer thing, and not many people had them yet. So, the CB was the lifeline many times. It wasn’t unusual to warn each other about a “brake check” up ahead. Increase your interval, slow down, and be ready for it. Not a big deal…

In the middle of a conversation I was listening to, I heard another driver key in and scream, “BRAKE CHECK!!! BRAKE CHECK!!!” I stood on my brake and all the axles locked up as I watched the smoke begin peeling out from under the tires of the trailer just ahead of me. In the same instant, those tires had stopped turning too, like mine. I held on to wheel hoping I wasn’t going to feel a thud from behind. It felt like coming to a stop was taking forever, as that time slowing down sensation kicked in. I had stopped about 10 feet behind the back of the trailer ahead of me. I set the parking brakes and cautiously got out to look ahead down the road to see what was going on. The drivers ahead of and behind me were doing the same. The smell of the melted rubber from truck tires sliding on the pavement filled the air. The word was already going out over the CB that there had been a serious accident, and anyone that could call for help should do so. I didn’t have a cell phone in those days. But a few did…

I trotted up to the driver from the truck just ahead of mine, and we walked ahead to see what had happened. We got to what was now the lead truck, stopped in the roadway like us. That driver and the one from the truck just behind him, were up tending to the driver of what had been the lead truck. That truck was now laying on it’s side, at about a 45 degree angle, completely in the ditch from front to back. That driver was on the ground, leaning against a small tree, just ahead of his tractor, with those other 2 drivers.

The driver I was with and I  took a quick survey of the accident scene. The 2nd truck had stopped just short of where the victim was located in the middle of the road, almost right on the double yellow line. He was the first thing we checked, thinking that some form of first-aid may certainly help. In the middle 1970’s, I had been driving a tow truck at night and weekends for a local company that handled most of the emergency calls for several of the local PDs and FDs in my suburban area. I had already seen many wrecks, and many victims. This victim had just been through a horrendous impact, been ejected from his pickup truck, and then an unforgiving interaction with the road surface. As i looked him over for any signs at all of any life, I noted the numerous severe visible injuries. A heavy jacket and jeans were all that was holding him together now. There was no life.

The driver I was with wondered out loud if we shouldn’t try CPR or something. I pointed out that the way this person had been broken, twisted, and rolled in to nothing more than a ball of something once human and alive… I believed that if we even could revive him for a few seconds, it would be only to experience agony and the quickly death again. When that driver again wondered if this victim might still be alive somehow, I told him “Dead men don’t bleed.” With all of the clearly visible open wounds and breaks, there was no blood, no bleeding. Just the rawness showing…

The impact had sent the engine from the victims pickup truck flying off in to the cornfield next to the highway, The pickup itself was a crumpled wreck at the edge of the field on the opposite side of that road. And then there was the victim in the roadway.

The local PD and FD were on scene very quickly, as we were just a few miles west of a small town. The road was shut down and we were stuck there until the investigation was completed and the roadway cleared. Except for the drivers in the lead and 2nd truck, none of us really saw anything happen, but we still had to give statements.

The lead truck was a fleet truck of furniture moving company, so it certainly was most likely not breaking any rules. The guy in front of me and I were also driving company issued trucks. Only a couple owner-operators in our line parked there.

The driver that had the pickup nose dive head-on in to his truck was more shaken up than anything else. Apparently, at close range, the pick-up had veered in to him. He had tried to steer away, but no time, too close, to avoid the collision. It was the driver in the 2nd truck that had given the BRAKE CHECK warning as he had locked them up. It was a bad day all around. It was an obvious suicide by the pickup driver. He was looking right at the semi driver, and they had made eye contact.

Standing around with other drivers for a few hours, one of them had a cell phone that I used to call my boss and tell him I’d be late and why. That victim in the roadway was around the same age as myself. All I could think about was “why”, and then wonder about his family if he had any. Wondering about his life and what drove him to do something like this? This wasn’t the first suicidal act that I had witnessed.

I always felt bad for “them”, but more so for those they left behind. A life ended that way is over. But, the injuries suffered by others as a consequence of the act, just begins.

Did this experience make my own C-PTSD worse, or add to it in any way? Honestly, I’m really not sure myself… All I know is that when I said those words, “Dead men don’t bleed.”, it just rolled out too easily. I felt nothing. I was already at a point of being shut down and dissociative in many ways I guess…

When I got home that night, a little later than usual, I ate dinner. I slept like a baby.

 

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Moments of Hope

This is the first post in my new category called “Moments of Hope” 06-21-2018

Life goes on a long time, at least for most. There are so may twists & turns in our path, that we could have never expected, nor anticipated. The real questions are these:

“Do we choose our own path, staying true to ourselves? Or, do we end up constantly altering our course in order to satisfy & accommodate the needs & desires of others?”

When, if, you break away and escape in to freedom one day, you may find yourself in a place that’s pretty scary. At least at first. You’e alone, on your own, and now it’s all you. Just you and that face in the mirror now…

Take it a day at a time, or by the hour if need to, but you must trudge through the time. Moments of dred followed by moments of learning. Moments of insecurity followed by moments confidence. Moments of panic followed by moments confidence. Moments of self-loathing followed by moments of self-appreciation. Moments of feeling worthless followed by moments of self-value.

Whether you’re in a crowd, or by yourself in the wilderness, you realize that you are and always will be alone. And it’s in that moment you can realize…

Moments of despair can be followed by moments of hope. So hold on. Never quit.

A few videos for some reference, and maybe some moments of hope for you too. smile.

 

 

 

Yep… Wilson Philips and Steppenwolf. Who woulda guessed? LoL  ~ Mike

Keep Believing that you can Fly, and maybe one day You will

 

 

 

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A Personal Epiphany

Wow… How many of these can one have in a single lifetime?

Seems like everyone (well, at least many I think) would like to find that one special song, book, movie, or whatever, which seems to have come in to existence just for them, and maybe just because of them. Something that they can relate to on a very personal level, in a way only they can appreciate in the manner that they do.

I’m going to try to keep this short because I plan to share in my FB and Google pages. Giving back to the universe, in my own way I guess?

When you’re out in the zone and you see your own reflection looking back at you, you wave Hello! Cool…

This replaces “The Old Tune”, but the old tune is still also valid, as are many others…

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It’s 2018… April almost May? Already? Time flies…

I can’t believe a whole year has passed since my last post… Not much of a surprise really when you live every day out in the zone some place. In at least one regard, it seems like the last year had been somewhat of a break, after the exhaustion brought on by the constant survival mode and living on the edge of existence. If you have any kind of a ‘moral support system’, as in family and friends, count your blessings. My support system is practically non-existent. On rare occasions, I’ll touch base with a neighbor. Not intentional avoidance, but more that paths seldom cross. I have no contact with 99% of my relatives. This is including biological, adoptive, and other-wise, are all history as well. Some by my choice, some by their choice, and some by nature’s choice. On some days when the feelings of my loneliness might become noticeable to me, I’m reminded of the comforts that are found in the solitude that surrounds me. Living in the silent absence of all the drama… It’s a good place. A quiet place. A peaceful place. It’s the kind of place where at least no more injury is likely to occur. There’s even a chance that some healing might take place as well. Maybe?

Coming to grasp with a concept can be tricky… Essentially, I’ve lived a whole life. Now I find myself looking at one tomorrow after another with no idea of which way to go or what to expect. It’s not what I’d call feeling lost. There are so many directions to choose from! So many that have to be weighed, evaluated, and vetted! It easily becomes an overwhelming task just to decide ‘what to do next” and then do it. Small things, everyday things, maybe as simple as making a phone call, can become something to just avoid and put off. Routine? What’s that? Schedule? I’ve heard legends about those things. Deciding what needs to be done, what can be done, and when it will be done, becomes a real process. Having a dog really helps! Most days, things run largely according to the dog schedule at least. Dogs need to eat, go outside, be fed & get water, vet visits, some play time, and some grooming. Also, dogs seem to have a way of knowing when you need to be pulled out of the zone too. Having a person in my life is something that I’ve often thought that I might want, and maybe even find some mutual benefits with. Then again?… Probably not. My dog has needs and can be demanding at times, but that’s OK. Dogs generally don’t judge, demand, rant, get angry, or ignore you. If a dog bites you, hurts you, it has a valid reason. People… They don’t need a reason to hurt you. Not even a real one.

Out there, somewhere, there are those that are able to understand and appreciate everything I’ve written here. They are rare though, I believe. In my rare travels out in to the world, mainly only for necessities, I occasionally recognize something in someone that I can relate to. Unfortunately, it just makes me sad because normally they have no clue, nor understanding and comprehension, of their brief moments I’ll call ‘wake-fullness’. They’ll just shrug off things instead of letting them sink in, and thereby obtain and appreciate the value in them. To those people, I’ll make an extra effort just to be kind to them, and then let it go.

Yeah… Rambled all over this road, I did! Sorry about that. It has been a whole year, and there is still much to be said, to be written about. When the rivers begin to run high in the spring, the water can get a little foamy and disorganized just below the dam. Seems like this has been somewhat like that?

Just one thing… Call it a Flash Back to some days gone by, I guess. Those that were there will know. hahahaha Otherwise, do your best and carry on. OK?
Until next time. and yeah yeah yeah yeah, hahahaha you got the evidence!

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Opening My Eyes

Life is a journey. It’s more so about the trip, and not so much the destination. So I’ve been heard and have been told many times… There seems to be a lot of truth in this.

I’ve spent the last few years mainly in what I’ll call “Empty Places”. Much of the time, I spend alone. There are times when I would relish some company, some conversation. But most of the time is spent just being alone, yet not in loneliness. I’m grateful for my peaceful spaces, physically and emotionally, and I spend as much time there as is possible.

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve spent enough time digging down inside, getting as close to the bottom of “why” as I possibly can. A journey of discovery in a way, and that is seeing things, recalling things, and understanding things, in hindsight. The roots of many things that have troubled me in life, and still do in some ways, run deep. I was a child at one time, but it didn’t last very long. By the time I began grade school, I was already operating on “another level”, much different than my peers. I can cite probable causes, but that may sound like me assigning blame and responsibility to people. In fact, it was a much larger set of circumstances, a true comedy of errors, and there were many characters and players in those circumstances. Adults and other children, the times being the 50’s and early 60’s, and myself already being so disconnected because my journey had already begun without my realization.

Always on the outside looking in. That’s the best way I am able to describe it. Never fitting in, never feeling accepted, never feeling a true bond (except with dogs and other animals). I understood what loyalty was, but at best that can be a fleeting thing. A change in circumstances beyond your control, and loyalties can change greatly and suddenly. That’s how people are. That’s not a bond. A true bond endures changes, good times, bad times, and ages gracefully. I’ve never felt that. That is, a real bond. Except with a dog.

I’ve been told I have PTSD and a major depressive disorder. Great… At least I have a label and somewhat of a definition of what’s been going on all along now. Gaining some understanding of ones self, is well… Progress? But towards what?

So many things have happened on this path of my long journey through life… People are quick to remember your mistakes, short comings, misdeeds, failures, etc. Especially when you’re someone on a path like mine. And I don’t kid myself. I know I’m not the only one out here. In that respect, I’m not alone, never alone. There are many of us. Too many…

Instead of trying to cure us, fix us, judge us, shut us away… I’d suggest recognizing the good in us, the things of value from our unique perspectives and experiences? Take an inventory of our good qualities, and of the benefits we have brought in to this world. There is much understanding, compassion, kindness, to be had because we tend to transmit just what we’d like to receive. We just don’t do very well in circumstances filled with conflict, anger, and meanness, especially when we get blamed for it being that way. Look beyond the end of your noses… See the person inside, and you might find something special.

My path, my journey, has lead me to a place where my history only exists in the minds of others. They recall just what they want, and interpret everything to suit their own needs. My history just vanished one day, along with everyone that I ever thought I meant anything to, or that I though meant anything to me. Loyalties change… It’s not much different now from when I was about 5. I feel like… No, I know I don’t belong here any more now than I did then, or much of the time in between. If you took away all those years in between then and now, for me it’s just “same shit, different day”. Why? Because I can’t see how anything I did, or did not do, made any difference at all. It’s like there was just a lot of “filler” in between now and then. Just busy work. Things to do to fill those times…

I look back now, and I have hard time seeing myself at all. Except that I’ve been in survival mode much longer than I ever realized. I guess, if anything, I have the one accomplishment of not having succumbed to life’s BS and letting it snuff me out? Maybe I’ve always been meant to be just a “place holder”? A thing to keep other things from bumping in to one another? I don’t know… That’s the best I can do to describe it.

What’s up ahead for me now, hearing 62 coming up the walk towards me? I’m hoping it won’t be more of the same of what I’ve been living all along. But, statistically speaking, and in spite of holding on to some faint glimmers of hope, I’m not expecting much.

Some day, this will all be done. Finally. The lights will go out for the last time, and I’ll be on my way to whatever, if anything, awaits in the hereafter. Most people, many people, live their lives in fear if dying. I don’t fear it at all. In fact, it will be a welcome change of pace. I’m in no hurry to get here though! So please don’t get the wrong idea. I’m just saying that if anything, being as I am and have been, You can’t loose nor miss what you’ve never had.

PTSD and major depressive disorder, etc etc, what fun…

To any kindred spirits who may wander by… Hang in there! If nothing else, just enjoy the fact that we can be anything from a pain in the ass to a real conundrum for those who don’t get it and never will. And don’t be in a hurry! Sooner or later life has a way of tapping everyone on the shoulder when it’s time to get off the roller coaster, even if you’re not like us. So if nothing else, just enjoy the ride and whatever scenery there may be…

~ Mike

Almost 62 going on 12….

and yeah, this is much closer to real life these days than you’d believe…

Special Thanks to : R.E.M., YouTube, and REMVEVO

 

 

 

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The leaps and bounds of March 2017

March is a very busy and eventful month! Holy crap Batman! Break out the Bat Calendar!

Starts of with the “jump ahead an hour”, Daylight Savings Time, event at 2:00 a.m. local time for most people. This used to be AWE-SOME!!! When I was working the graveyard shift in a Major Casino in Reno, just a few years ago. Our first “15 minute” break was at 1:00 a.m. and then we set the clocks ahead an hour at 2:00 a.m., which then became 3:00 a. m. Whoop! Just an hour between first break and lunch? dinner? past midnight snack? what you called it, it was our BIG break for the night. Also, the best part was that even though we only worked an actual 7 hours, we got paid for 8. Cool… 🙂 In the fall, fall back was almost as good. Got the 8 hours on the clock, plus the extra actual hour. so for the year we were 1 hour ahead if you worked both days. Also, at 2:00 a.m., when it became 1:00 a.m., we of course took our offical 1:00 a.m. 15 minute break AGAIN!!!! Buhwahahaha  🙂

Then just about a week later, it’s St Patty’s Day! woo-Hoo!!! No extra pay or extra breaks, but usually there was at least a few “patrons” that provided some impromptu entertainment of some sort. Which was usually related to a high BAC rather than how Irish they were. Always at least a few laughs.

Then just one more week later, spring in to spring! The Equinox, First Day of Spring, big holiday for the druids and others of course. The best part was that by that time, I was usually driving home in  the sunshine now, with the shift ending early in the morning. The bad part was driving east… Sunshine in your eyes. That’s also when windshields got cleaned, inside and out, because with the sun glare it was worse than fog… Complete “white out”. Like trying to drive with your windshield covered in white paper.

And what would be March, if you didn’t keep Marching On?…  🙂   hahaha

The Gothard Sisters ~ Marching On

 

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You want it darker?~ Leonard Cohen

Not having a TV for over a year, and having slim choices on the number of stations I could get on my vintage 70’s clock radio with the FM band, I spent a lot of time listening to  central Wisconsin NPR. I heard about Leonard Cohen’s release “You Want It Darker?” that way, and immediately it became a favorite of mine. Not very long afterwards, Mr Cohen passed away, God bless him. You can look him up easily, and you may be surprised about how much this musical legend gave us. That’s up to you, but I sincerely recommend it.

Before you watch the following video, just a short bit of information that should make the video more understandable and enjoyable, as there is a “context” necessary to understand and appreciate the word “Hineni” used throughout the song. Not understanding what this word is and it’s meaning would be like going to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” without reading the book first. Yeah it’s like that… Take the time for a short lesson, and you’ll probably really enjoy the song and video SO much more!

“Hineni”:

https://www.hineni.org/rebbetzin/rebbetzins-column/true-meaning-compassion-part-one

https://www.hineni.org/

Hineini means, “I am here for you fully, with the trust and vulnerability to do whatever it is you ask of me.” except from article- http://www.stljewishlight.com/opinion/dvar_torah/article_802594b2-3708-11e1-b672-001871e3ce6c.html

and now the song and video….

You Want It Darker? from VEVO at https://youtu.be/YD6fvzGIBfQ

 

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January 2017

Halfway through 61 now. Well almost… Now that I can do things again because I can, I have no clue on what it may be, that I would like to do. Thought about building a time machine. Same old, same old. Even if I had a time machine, where, or rather when, would I go to? Sure nowhere, nowhen, in the past. Been there, done that. I’d probably just hit some random date, at least many decades in to the future, and see what’s there when I got there. Hopefully, they’d still have coffee.

What is a body to do when the opportunity comes along to begin anew with a “clean slate”? No baggage, except for a dog for now and she’s old now too… No whining needy kids, or backstabbing relatives of any kind to speak of. No one from high school, or any other school, lurking in the wings. I haven’t had to mail out, or been able to mail out, a single Christmas card for years. No birthday cards going out, none coming in. No anniversaries to remember.

Only recently got reconnected to the internet, cable TV, and a landline phone too. I was feeling “disconnected” after going without for about a year and a half. Now I’m connected again. A very few friends, a bio brother, a bio nephew, couple of cousins, and that’s about it. Talk with my brother the most. The rest, well they know I’m here and I know they’re there. Everyone has something going on, a life, so they’re pretty busy. That’s OK. A few minutes on a phone, or a message here and there, isn’t much but it’s better than zero. I can’t complain, because it’s about all I can handle anyhow. Too much company, too much connection time, just makes the loneliness darker and deeper in between.

Still living rough, I guess because I’ve gotten so used to that it’s become normal now. I could easily spend some time traveling around the country once the weather gets warmer. Getting stuck in snow storms, or having roads get shut down, just isn’t much fun. I could make some further improvements to this house, like maybe getting a few windows fixed, a stove to cook on, or even a window A/C or two. But why? Making my self-imposed sanctuary more comfortable would be a little counter productive. There would go much of my motivation to just go out the door and in to the great outside`on most days.

I have my moments of hopefulness. I just don’t let myself become to excited over them these days. Hopefulness is too often just the prelude to more disappointment, which refuels and resupplies my depression. Status Quo is a safe place. You may not go up, but you really don’t go lower either. It’s safe, and fairly consistent. If I was going to snap, to break, to give up, it would have happened by now. At least that’s what I believe and hold on to during the worst days. Maybe someday, I’ll get lucky? I doubt it. At least in the meantime I play this game that my life has become, it’s called “Survival”. And for now, it’s all I got.

This is going to be a more interesting year at least, I hope. Maybe a road trip or two? I have time to think about it. I have time, and I at least know that. I just have to think of a destination or two.

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December 2016

Cold and getting colder. Snowed in just a little.

Back from a several year long trek, well almost back, through some dark and empty places. When close to 40 years of your life just disappears, becomes as meaningless as if it never happened, but you still paid your dues for it…

About all I have left is hope and a mile wide streak of stubbornness. Dauntless.

Depression is not fun, but sometimes it’s the only company you’ll have.

Maybe some day… Hopefully, I’ll be ready to be ready.

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Happy 40th Birthday

The headline really says it all.

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