Saturday, December 21, 2013

UNWRITTEN: A Letter to Ned Vizzini

UNWRITTEN: Last Writes: A Letter to Ned Vizzini

Unwritten:: A letter to Ned Vizzini




From: “Ned Vizzini” 
Hey, sounds like me!  I’m headed towards ruin quick.  Hope all is well

-------------- Original message ---------

From: “Ned Vizzini”

I’m not good, Elyssa. Very depressed.  I was such a different person when I knew you.  But maybe I will be different soon. 

-------------------------




From "Elyssa D:

god ned-- I wish we could talk—based upon what I’ve read (what you’ve posted on line and through your interviews) it seems as though you are going through all the emotions and emotional chaos that I was experiencing the first year we met back in new York.

Another friend of mine just checked himself into a psych ward after a suicide attempt and I feel so helpless because I care and respect you both so much.

it is funny because I always thought that if I could just finish that damn book I was working on ten years ago—or just finished law school, my PhD. or any number of things—everything would be okay.

It confuses me because you finished your book—rob finished law school- I finished nothing.

A few weeks ago, I “lost my shit” so to speak, came across your interview, and was completely blown away—I used to be the crazy one—now I have my sanity back but nothing else.

having been through several crises myself, I came to believe that when you see someone in crisis, they become so overwhelmed and confused that they do not know what to do first—and how to dig out of the hole they have dug for themselves.  I decided that rather than asking, I just try to figure it out and give it to them, no questions asked, no thank you necessary.

How many people have told you, “Call if you there is anything I can do” and when you do call—nothing!  Nothing but disappointment and regret.  So I have decide never to ask somebody what they need—

Mostly because they don’t even know themselves— hen I came to the realization a few weeks ago that my transient existence is so tangential that no one would notice if I never took another breath—I tried to figure out what I needed so that I could give it to myself.
So I started going back through my old journals to see if I could identify the missing element of my life—you know that “thing” that would both make it all go away and make all come together so I could be a whole person again.
That thing is a figment of my imagination.  I used to think it was being loved by a man—I had that.  Wasn’t it.
Then I thought it was having money.  I had that.  But that wasn’t it either.
Then I thought it was health insurance—but no, that was not it either.
Then I thought it would be having that oh-so-critical Ivy League degree.  I have that.  That still wasn't it. 
So obviously, none of those things could have been “it.”
The thing I need most, I lost long ago, and that was hope. Perhaps I never really had it at all.

So I guess some things just can’t be bought, learned, earned, or acquired. 
I think of the long twisted road, and I remember one of my favorite childhood movies, where a girl named Dorothy was so determined to find her way home after a great storm.  Disillusioned and distracted, Dorothy would not yield to the many obstacles that had been placed in her way.  Determined to meet the great Wizard, she stayed one path. 
Yes, there were detours, obstacles, and the Wicked Witch of the West.  Each of these obstacles may have taken her of course, yet she never once lost sight of the road home.   She believed in one thing, the Wizard, and his ability to bring her home.  

Having great faith and determination, she never strayed far off the path to righteousness.  Dorothy had a clearly defined goal, a means to get there, and a bright yellow brick road to guide her.  Through her determination and unyielding faith, Dorothy never once doubted that she was on the right path. 
In the Wizard of Oz, the yellow brick road may have been the path she was taking, but through her determination and blind faith, she was able to bring others onto the road t enlightenment.
The lion found his courage; the tin man got a heart.  The scarecrow got some brains—and even Dorothy got what she needed most. 
Dorothy began her journey looking for one thing.  She needed to get back to place she began, and find her way home. Dorothy teaches us a valuable lesson, but she was lucky enough to know what it was she so desperately longed for... home.
If all I had to do was click my heals three times and find my way home, well, sadly I would not even know where home is.  Yes, they say home is where the heart is, and perhaps that is part of the problem.  But for some of us, out childhood homes were not places of happiness and nostalgia.  They are places from which we run, searching endlessly for that magical place and can only hope that we have come across a road that is clearly marked to guide us in our destination. 
Of course, we know there will be that take us off course, and it will up to us to find our way back.  Unfortunately, there is a certain point when we lose our direction and we lose our faith.  As I grew older, I came to realize recognize that my feeling of detachment went far beyond having a dysfunctional childhood a broken family life that even my sister and I never lived in the same house for more than a year or so in the summertime.

So no matter how long I have been in Nashville, in many ways I am, in fact still a stranger.  I am a stranger because homeless is a state of mind. 
In my mind, I like to think a home is a place of acceptance, shelter, and a place you can find forgiveness, comfort and recognition.  For most, going home means to reconnect in a way so that you are reminded that you have something, someone, who will always have your back. 
Homer represents more than a structure; it represents a strong foundation that will always be there whenever you need to feel safety and comfort.  For me safety is marked by the boundaries that are supposed to keep me safe and protected. 
So this is my home.  I don’t necessarily feel safe here, but I do feel consistent.  I do not have to worry that I will be forced to switch schools, neighbors or friends every six months just because my parents could not get it right.  What they failed to realize is just how very wrong it really was.  Changing schools, changing friends, changing siblings; changing myself just enough each time so that I could fit in. But after 16 years of constant change, I never got the opportunity to find out anything real about myself.  Even my name was changed when I moved--- dad called me Liz, and my mother called herself any number of last names as she desperately tried to hold on to her youth, her beauty, and delusional fantasies of entitlement and sacrifice that I think she may actually believe. 

I have never had plastic surgery, could not afford it anyway, but what do have is a clear memory, vivid nightmares, and a place of my own.  What I also realize, is that until I can live free from fear and dependence, I will never truly be able to know what it feels like to be at home.  If home is where the heart is, then homelessness is clearly just a state of mind.  And today I have some hope that I might someday no longer feel just as homeless at home.  So now I know more than ever, that homelessness is a far more than a concrete structure or family property. 
I will always feel a little homeless at home.  It is knowing that you are the thing that remains constant—regardless of any dreams I may have, I will never have the constant I would need to get bring a child into this world--- as much I  would like to. 

I envy those who feel they have so much in their lives that they can trust without any reservation that the world is a loving enough place they want to share with a child. Especially a child of their own.  No, my mother told me long, long time ago, that I can never have children.  

She also told me last year, that I could not have a dog.  My own mother does not think I am capable of raising a puppy.  Maybe she’s right.  She did put her fears into action when she once donated my cat of 14 years to the animal shelter under someone else name so that I truly was left without any ties to the condo I stayed in for a few short months while I tried to come up with a plan to take him and myself far from a place where we could be safe and live free. 

I adopted him back from the animal shelter 40 miles out after learning that she had used someone else’s name at the agency so I could not find him on my own.

I will not look elsewhere to find the essentials things healthy children receive that in turn makes them healthy adults. 
I will never be “healthy” but I do think I wish I could give more than what I have received.  I regret never being the kind of “community member" I think I could have been, and I doubt I will get over the sheer humiliation of having to love this way for so many years when I should have been doing so much more.
in having truly been able to do the great things for society that I believe I could, but I can’t regret not giving no longer need constant reassurance, recognition, or validation, but I will always question whether things could have been different if only one person had taken the time to show me I was worth it.  That I deserved more than what I could actually afford and realize that I do give so much in so many other ways.  

The ways that people cannot calculate or see just how badly the ones who received them needed those gifts.  It was the little things.  It was Kody, it was Desiree, but above all else, it was me setting goals, the feelings of that my feeling I would never and was no longer subject to bi-annual custody disputes and shifts  and us to realize that homelessness is merely a state of mind. 

Where would I go?  10 years “down the road” and now, more than ever, I realize I am truly and deeply, “homeless at home.”  
You see it is not so much that I doubt myself, I just don’t trust that people will not do horrible things even if that means doing nothing at all. 
I do have much love to give.  Actually too much.  So much that it often pours out of me in inappropriate sentimentality.  I know when I need to keep to myself, and I know when my anxieties starts to make others a little anxious.  I know because as I see you react to me be anxious, it only makes me that much worse. It is one of my worst, but at times sometimes, that sensitivity is also at times a wonderful attribute and god given gift.

But should that prevent me from getting out into the world just because other people think I should be don’t like me … that’s not my job.
I have spent more than half of my life in self-imposed isolation, and the other half wondering how I can be less annoying and high strung so others would want me around.  The sad truth is, yes, I am annoying, but also, I am perceptive and very aware.  

Sometimes I do it purpose. 
I should not have to live in isolation because I have nervous tics or sometimes say the wrong thing.  But regardless of what people seem to think about welfare recipients being lazy bums guess what—FUCK you right back.   I have chosen to keep to myself just in case I really am so horrible to be around and my parents were right. Even my own mother thinks I would be better off dead.
and the rest is still unwritten... 

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M. © 2008-2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HMO AMERICA

HMO AMERICA

Hello, and welcome to HMO America where your health maintenance is our number one concern.

Your call is important to us, so please do not hang up.

If you think you have a life or limb-threatening emergency, and need to go to the hospital before the end of this message, do so now.

Remember, however, that ifHMO America determines in hindsight that you did not have a life or limb-threatening emergency, you will be responsible for all of the hospital and physician charges which could mn into several thousand dollars.

Please select from one of the following options:

☎ If you are having head pain, press one now.

☎ If you are having chest pain, press two now.

☎ If you are having abdominal pain, press three now.

☎ If you do not know where the pain is located, press five now.

Incidentally, if you are still using a rotary phone, you are going to die!

Thank you for calling HMO America, where we manage your healthcare so your physicians don't have to!




edd, edm

Friday, September 27, 2013

No Teacher Left Behind

SUBMITTED THIS MORNING... DO YOU AGREE?

To the editor:

The City Paper featured a front-page story (“Metro School district
begins revamp of failing elementary, middle school,” May 21, 2007)
that completely sugar-coated the situation in two metro middle
schools that have fired (via involuntary transfer) the entire staff
and faculty as a result of their failure to meet NCLB benchmarks.

For the last 5 weeks, I have been working as a substitute teacher at
Jere Baxter Middle School and the experience has shaken me to the
core.  Everything I used to believe about school finance reform has
been turned upside down.  Jere Baxter is a Title I school with
access to numerous resources including a math specialist on site
full time, district mentors to advise and assist new teachers.
They have mental health specialists come into several classrooms on
a weekly basis, and it is not uncommon to see caseworkers and
prevention specialists from a variety of community agencies on
campus.

However, despite the plethora of enhancement activities and access
to resource materials, the majority of the 7th and 8th graders do
not know simple math such as long division, subtraction (if they
have to carry the one) or their times tables.  You could throw a
million dollars into this school, and it would not make a bit of
difference!

For the first two weeks, I was assigned to a self-contained
classroom  At one point, the Assistant Principal walked in,
observed the children, and even acknowledged the small black and
white television hidden in the teachers aide desk tuned in to the
Young and the Restless.  She smiled and walked out.  Apparently,
she did not have a problem with the children watching Tom & Jerry,
Sponge Bob and BET music videos from 10 a.m. through dismissal. A
few days later, I gave a make-up assignment during the students
“free time,” (lunch-time through dismissal) and I was told that my
expectations were simply too high.  That class in particular lost
15 teachers this year alone—16 including myself.

The children are running the show at Baxter and they know it.  The
faculty receives little, if any, support from the administration.
As a result, the majority of the teachers have simply given up.
Dealing with disciplinary problems has become the primary focus in
the classroom displacing teaching, learning, and cooperation.

The numerous behavioral disruptions that occur each and every day
prompted the administrators to pull the most effective teachers out
of the classroom to enforce (or re-enforce) school policy while
their classrooms remained empty or were covered by floating
substitute teachers.

The children are completely out of control and simply refuse to do

any work. I was told not to give any student a grade below 75--
even the one who threw his crumpled up science assignment in my
face and walked out of class shouting profanities.  What the
students have learned is that there will be no consequences for
inappropriate behavior or actions.  The administration treats
teachers with complete disrespect: in front of students, teachers,
and guests, completely undermining any sense of autonomy, authority
or cohesiveness. Even I was embarrassed for them, and I was only
there for a few weeks!

This is a classic example of a top-down policy failure.  As a policy
analyst, I always advocated for equity in education, and believed on
some level that throwing money into poor schools (poor performance &
achievement records to disadvantaged students) might help level the
playing field for disadvantaged schools, translating into better
outcomes for students and the community.

The City Paper glossed over the magnitude of this desperate
situation by calling it a “fresh start.”  These teachers have been
treated poorly enough by students and administrators, and now we
have a number of young professionals who are underpaid, uncertain,
and unemployed.  We all know that teacher pay is ridiculous to
begin with, but coupled with the added stress of the re-application
process, Metro may lose a large number of educated, motivated,
displaced educators to surrounding districts, counties, and states.
This is simply ridiculous.  By cleaning house, Baxter will lose the
few experienced, dedicated teachers they have, prompt the younger
set to leave the profession all together, and discourage future
teachers from applying for jobs in Metro.

Everything we know about the positive outcomes in neighborhood
schools is their strong reliance upon community buy-in and parental
involvement.  One thing that makes magnet, lottery, charter schools,
parochial, and private schools so good is the fact that parents,
teachers, students, and administrators fight to get in, and fight
to stay there.  The act of choosing, in effect, leads to an
enhanced sense of community and builds a supportive, consistent,
and structured environment.  Calling this decision a fresh start is
ridiculous-- it would be more accurate to call it a very bad ending!
In this case, No Child Left Behind is, in effect, leaving No
Teachers Left Behind.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
37115



-- 
Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

"The paradox of education is precisely this-- that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated."   - Baldwin

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Unspoken: Letter from my mom

I just watched both "Secret Garden" videos again. They are absolutely my favorite ones ever.

Your focus is definitely more positive and I hope that it is indicative that you are moving towards being in a better place emotionally.

I want you to be be happy and believe in your self worth. I told you earlier today that I believe that you have a purpose in life and are a very special person.

You have the ability to enlighten others. I felt happier after viewing your videos.

Thank you for sharing them with me.




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Powers That Beat From amazon.com: http://amzn.to/12GylaP





From amazon.com: http://amzn.to/12GylaP


Posted by Picasa

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bringing you the best of the best from the Autism and Asperger's support community. Hear from parents, professionals, advocates and people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Additional posts about health law, technology applications, research developments and education.

Kindle blogs are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you're not wirelessly connected. And unlike RSS readers which often only provide headlines, blogs on Kindle give you full text content and images, and are updated wirelessly throughout the day.


Product Details

  • Publisher: Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M. (February 18, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BHUVCDG

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and insightful

This review is from: Powers That Beat (Kindle Edition)
Ms. Durant has drawn on her sterling academic background and extensive experience in health services policy development and actual service in the field to present a comprehensive analysis of the organ transplant situation in the United States. She thoroughly discusses all aspects of the situation - not only legal and medical, but also moral, social and ethical aspects and the dilemmas faced when this topic is addressed. Ms. Durant raises significant questions that must be addressed as organ transplants become more commonplace in today's times. A thought provoking book that should be read by everyone as this question touches every American. Highly recommended.

J. D. Yencharis
NASA Mission Planning & Mission Control 


When Elyssa writes something, you should read it. She is one of the most intelligent and articulate people I have ever known. She is an amazing researcher and really digs deep for the important facts on any topic she focuses on. If you want to learn details about a topic and get some cutting edge viewpoints related to it, read anything Elyssa Durant writes.
Stuart Silverberg, Ed.D.
Columbia University

Ms. Durant has a talent for explaining complex legal issues in interesting, accessible format. Her level of expertise on the subject matter is impressive and comes through on every page.

Rick Silver, Esq.

Ms. Durant has drawn on her sterling academic background and extensive experience in health services policy development and actual service in the field to present a comprehensive analysis of the organ transplant situation in the United States. She thoroughly discusses all aspects of the situation - not only legal and medical, but also moral, social and ethical aspects and the dilemmas faced when this topic is addressed. Ms. Durant raises significant questions that must be addressed as organ transplants become more commonplace in today's times. A thought provoking book that should be read by everyone as this question touches every American. Highly recommended.

Ray Harris
Advocate for People with Disabilities

Ms. Durant has an amazing ability to discuss complex policy issues in easy to understand language. She has a tremendous grasp of her topic and of her audience. Easy to read and understand; Ms. Durant explains difficult concepts and evolving health care law and policy issues in a user friendly manner. A real eye opener!

Karen Baker, MSW 


I just want all to know what a Hero for the Autism community Elyssa has been for us and how much we appreciate her advocacy and intelligent posts. AutismAid has been a dream of mine for ten years. my heart was just about broken when others took advantage of us. I know that in the end we meet people who we connect with and do the right thing. The 13 Service non profits under the AutismAid Umbrella and many others are in the fight for their life in this economy and environment. This Web and viral traffic is great. Thank you providing the support, documentation and logistics are needed to make the event happen.

Tim Welsh, Executive Director
AutismAid.org



From amazon.com: http://amzn.to/12GylaP

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

UNWRITTEN: Patient File and Formal Apology

August 2006

Elyssa - thanks for continuing to update us on DB. I received an email from Eric Henderson who has been looking into DB's case. 

According to his information there was a CFTM schedule for DB, transitional living staff, etc. on 9-6-06 and she did not attend. In the email, Eric states that DB signed for a certified letter regarding the meeting in August. 

This meeting might have been a way for DB to meet everyone face to face to discuss her needs, etc. From her past experience with DCS, I wondered if she was discouraged about meeting with them or felt it might be more of the same old, same old." 

You probably have the best rapport and insight into how she if feeling with the situation.

Is DB at the place where she can follow a program, rules, or guidelines that might be required by certain programs, etc. to receive housing, services, etc.? 

In my experience working with many older foster children they can be so tired of all this with the system, that they basically shut down when needing to access services, etc. after aging out. 

Does she need a case manager or support that she can partner with for these meetings and contacts that will provide the consistent "cheerleading" when perhaps she cannot she the forest for the trees (needing to attend meetings, follow expectations, file forms, etc)? 

My reason for asking these questions is to get your perspective on where DB is in being able to access resources and then maintaining them (again relating to following a program, etc.) 


[Redacted] CMSW 
Assistant Statewide Program Coordinator 
Office phone: 615-269-7751 
1315 8th Ave. South
Nashville, TN. 37203 
Mark Your Calendar's Now !!!!!!!! 
TVC's State of the Child Conference 2006 
October 16-18, 2006. For more info, visit our website, www.tnvoices.org



 



 
 

POST SCRIPT: Transportation never showed up to take DB to the meeting. As a member of the team and DB's primary counselor, CM and the person who requested the meeting to help advocate and secure services for my former client, I was not at the meeting because the state conveniently forgot to tell me when and where it was. 

DB later informed me that did go to a meeting and sat alone on one side of the long table in the conference room and had no one there to defend, advocate, or support her throughout the meeting.  

She was not offered ANY post custody services and was too intimidated to speak or advocate for herself with five to seven state employees sitting on the other side of the table blaming her for their mistakes and denying services that she was legally entitled to under state and federal law. 

She left that meeting with no services, no benefits, no hope, and no recourse. 


DB if you are reading this, please know that your story needs to be heard. 

In a court of law. I saved your records and gave them to an attorney for your protection. 

I hope you sue those fuckers for what they did to you and so many others. 

Your file was audited and I submitted a report to TVC and TCCY that your case file had been falsified by the for profit agency that pimped you out for $60/day. The court knew this because I called Carrie and told her. 

She told me that she was too busy to be bothered bringing you in two months before your eighteenth birthday. 

I did pick you up much to everyone's horror, and they were pissed that I managed to locate you just in time to benefit from post custody benefits that would entitle you to educational expenses, housing, transportation, healthcare, and transitional funds to get you started.  

That was an illegal placement and when I resigned, I left the agency because they refused to comply with federal laws and I refused to sign a false treatment report. 

Your file was audited and my signature was forged by KM. 

He used white out and didn't even try to color between the lines or match my handwriting. 

Two of us quit that day. Both of us will testify on your behalf. 

I'm sorry I couldn't do more. Your file is available if you need it. 

Be well, sweet girl and Happy Birthday. 

-Miss Elyssa

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Last Goodbye

I can no longer protect the one who hurt me the most, and I officially declare myself as independent and free.

Goodbye for now to The Powers That Beat, I am growing so tired ofthat nightmare where I cannot move my feet.

I am one today, but I am not alone; my DNA and birthright does not make me a clone.

Any genetic disorders, whatever they may be; will never again stand in the way for my fight to be free.

My bloodline alone comes right back to you, and your ridiculous denials are nothing new.

I must protect myself from your twisted mind, never forget, late last night, you left me behind.

You may think I have forgotten all your hysterical pleas, but I am legally required to remind you of these.

I hope you are ready for what lies ahead, because I do not think anyone else will agree this was all in my head.

You may dispose of my photos, writings, and more, I am sorry you do not realize you have officially now escalated funny money into a full-fledged war.

You declared this yourself, on March the Fourteenth, and I will expect it in writing before the next April 15th.

You no longer manipulate my ID or actions and blame; for I am not the one who falsely claims to be poor.

You may find it a little bit harder to blame it on crazy and point the finger at me; I am posting it here for the whole to see.

Do not blame my siblings or my father's new wife; material wealth should mean more value than your own child's life.

I got excluded from the human genome, stop feeding me crazy, just bring it back home.

The suicide note I once left in your possession, should no longer be guarded as your greatest protection.

I defy the heritage that left me broken inside; any tears I have shed will finally subside; I no longer will allow myself to be tried by the ridiculous facade that has given YOU a false sense of pride.

I am now on my own, as was always the case; it is so very sad you thought of this as a race.

I will honor your request to sever all ties; it is long overdue that I be free from your lies.

I never signed on to your game of deception, there was much more at stake than a strangers' perception.

So just as you once photographed my tattoo, sadly but surely, this one joke is on you.

I doubt you heard my very last words, but they were words of sincerity I hope that you'll review because my concern was genuine; just too familiar, we discussed nothing new.

I defy my heritage and reject your faith; I think I am worth more than an aborted mistake.

I declare my freedom and reject your "good faith" I am sorry you believe I was your biggest mistake.

You are so transparent it is easy to see, I hope you leave this behind the same way you left me.

My bloodline runs deeper than your maternal pride; I pray for your sake psychosis is real, for I see no other way your pain will ever be healed.

I am over and done with this stupid game, I gave you more than one warning to amend your tax claim.

So as I fight for my freedom, my health and my name, I hope your psychosis protects you from shame.

I must no longer allow trauma to guide me through life; I cannot worry about details as you become a new wife, you are correct in your assessment that you have earned all the "things" you cling to for dear life.
 
If there ever was a time to say, "This too shall pass...," then please go ahead and kiss my tattooed fat ass!





ELyssa Durant, Ed.M. © 2009-2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New York Voices: A Letter To My Former Therapist

A Letter To My Former Therapist
Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.
« Article 1 of 29 »
Hi Elyssa,
It's nice to hear from you, I had just been thinking of you. Is there a reason why you sent me two copies? Talk to you soon—Elyssa's Former Therapist

Now how can you call yourself a qualified therapist and ask me such a stupid question? I have at least two of everything!

So my alter-ego as a "cyberwhore" is no longer a secret! I always send duplicate copies of every outgoing e-mail to myself to a number of free-mail accounts. Most have probably expired and I can't even remember most of the passwords to access them, which leads me to wonder what happens to my written works that I have so carefully created? Do they just float around in cyberspace forever? Are my words now immortal? Does that make me grandiose or paranoid?

I had my first appointment with my new psychiatrist on Wednesday and he seems very "eager" to help. He is a very young resident, and I think he is kind of psyched that he got placed at Vanderbilt in Nashville rather than some community mental health center in rural Tennessee. For his training, he needs a number of hours conducting therapy—so I graciously agreed to be one of his guinea pigs. I negotiated a one-hour session every other week.

I hate therapy. It seems so staged and rehearsed. I actually spend hours before a session trying to think of what I should say.

That never seemed to work with you. That kind of annoyed me, because I wanted you to play the game with me. This is the way it is supposed to work: I'll tell you what happened as a child, and you tell me the source of my insanity.

I would try to remember the random things that happen each day and let you know that I was telling you the truth about my life, my world, and my family. On many occasions, I would forget my zinger, my "punch-line" if you will, and I would be so disappointed in myself. I would drop these little tidbits of information hoping you would recognize that I was not completely beyond help, and you might understand the method to my madness. Would that make it okay to be so fucked up? Loony. Crazy. Nuts.

You never once said, "Aha!" Instead, you would listen impatiently as I reflected on childhood traumas. Even the most elaborate reports of my childhood experience did not make you flinch—well, maybe a few times! At what point did you realize that there was some truth in what I was telling you? I would say the same thing over and over because I knew it to be true, to be fact, to be far more cruel and evil than anything I could I make believe as a child. I want to stop playing those games. I am ready to be a person. I am ready to love. I am ready to be "normal."

As I grow, I would like to become more direct, more assertive, and more sure of what I am saying and how it is being received. In the past, I would sit with silence and ambivalence and just fall into situations by default. I don't want complacency to guide me through life. I am not incapable of protecting myself anymore. I hated being such a passive participant in my own life not knowing where I would be living, with whom, and for how long. Learned helplessness. I wonder how things might have been different...if only.

I will never know how events shaped my life and broke my mind. What caused my mind to break? Was I too weak? Was there some point where I should have thrown in the towel and taken my own life? Was there anything, anything I could have done differently to survive? Is there a "normal" breaking point? Did I put up a good fight? Did I do okay?

I want to act with purpose, speak with conviction, and be confident in my decisions. I want to choose action rather than inaction and feel comfortable with the choices I have made. No more ruminating over what I should have, might have, or almost done.

How did you manage to put my mind back together again without knowing what went wrong? Is my head okay? Can I have children?

You were a good therapist, you are a great therapist-- the best! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trapped

Have you ever been trapped?

I am not talking about your every day run-of-the-mill subway congestion or an elevator that is filled beyond capacity.  

Trapped.

No way out.

Paralyzed.

Frightened, frustrated, angry and desperate.

Like any ordinary "normal" person, you are going about your daily activities and the next moment you are drowning in unfamiliarity.  In reality, little has changed.  Sadly, nothing has changed.  Minutes, hours, years have passed... but nothing has changed.

Despite evidence to the contrary, your actions seem to have no consequence.  

This is how I feel.  Not as often as I used to, but more often than I care to admit and more often then I would like.  It leaves me paralyzed-- much like a deer frozen by the illuminating light of oncoming traffic.

It is a short journey from the trigger back to the beginning.  

I wonder what I may do if my task was completed.  It is my greatest hope to find a place where I can end this debilitating madness.  Just break the cycle. Free. Free from the need to provide objective verification of my physical existence and a rational basis for a seemingly bizarre obsession.

I know these things.  I organize my life in a sequential, numerical, historical, logical order where everything has a designated beginning, middle and end.

There must be a place where reason and purpose replace obsessions and insanity.  

Can anyone understand this madness?  Why can't you see how simple everything is for me?

I need things to be simple.

My patterns seem so obvious. Pay attention!  What seems like chaos to you serves as my salvation.  Don't you see how resourceful I am?  I know my methods are rigid but they are clearly consistent with my "mission" in life.  

Few can be bothered with the elegant simplicity of my rituals.  My behaviors are rational! They protect my delicate foundation. I do not have far to fall.

I need an out!

Why question my methods? 

By collecting physical evidence of my experiences and transient existence, I can be someone. Someone with a past, a present, maybe even a future.

I collect, therefore I am.

Look! I have proof! History. References.
I want to be part of your world.  Really I do.  

I want roots, consistency and foundations.  I want high school reunions and a hometown.

My task must be finished!  It is destroying my relationship with my future self.  My soul is withering away beneath this desperate facade.  

Please give me a moments consideration and see me.  

I am not cruel.  I am not evil.  Nevertheless, I am so alone and isolated.  I am here and I am ready.  I am ready to end this endless search for home.  But how?

I need you.  I need you to help me find a place where I can feel comfortable ending this vicious cycle.  

I am looking to you... the collective you of humanity to help me through this time of need and uncertainty.  

All I seek is compassion, empathy, and understanding. I continue my search hoping I am not completely alone in my quest.

Restoring order dominates my very existence.  Keeping me trapped in the past; invading the present; dictating my actions through repetition, ruminations, anxiety and fear inhibiting my growth and progress.  I do not have it in me to climb out of another depression.  

Don't you see how this life is breaking me?

If only I had the same resignation and grace of that lone Buck crossing a quiet country road, I would cherish the instant where I am faced with certain death or total salvation.  I would search for a sanctuary where forgiveness replaces damnation.

For one instant, I would welcome the challenge to live freely in this brave new world...  to explore and run free on a distant, winding path.

I would stand proud, defiant, and free.

Really, truly, trapped.  

Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.  © 2002-2013

Take the Long Way Home: Lost on Long Island

Naked.

Raw.

Exposed.

I am ashamed and embarrassed, yet I am strangely in control.

And such are my insecurities-- for whatever it's worth, and that may be quite a bit, this was the original message I wrote, but I sent it to myself and sent you an abbreviated version.

I think the uncensored version was better. 

I try to articulate.

I try to be interesting.

I try to be normal.

I need someone to hear what I'm not saying-- sometimes-- I don't like talking in riddles all the time.  I don't like talking in riddles all the time. I don't like obsessions and ruminations.

I don't like explaining the obvious.  I don't understand why it must be so complicated. 

I have one task. I have no idea how to complete my task, but I must keep searching.  

I developed new skills last night.  My car is still having problems and then my phone locked up.  I was completely lost on Sunrise Highway and could not find my way home (though I wasn't quite sure where my final destination would be.)  

I finally realized that I needed to pull over every twenty minutes to gather my bearings and plan a short term traffic route.  Forcing myself to stop for about forty minutes each time I got lost allowed me to process the emotions of the whole thing.

I pulled over at a diner in Long Beach and they were able to reconnect my phone so I could call for directions or support, or whatever!  

As I sat on the phone with tech support for over an hour, I started noticing that there were people sleeping in parked cars a few spaces away.  I couldn't tell if the couple that just emerged from a car just two spots away were committing an underage indiscretion or a felony in the back seat.  

As I noticed others around me, I wasn't so frightened anymore and I settled into my home for the night.  I did not feel so uncomfortable shuffling around in my somewhat respectable Honda Civic.  I almost forgot for a while that I was lost so I took a baby step to the next place and what an experience.  I was still lost but closer to my destination.  

This time I settled into a "execustay" type of hotel/motel.  This was working, so why rush. 




Why so frantic? 

Even with the phone now working, the car situation had not improved and I simply could not think of anyone to call.  Even if someone could come and get me, where would I go? Where would I put my things?

So finally, I made it over to Starbucks on the perimeter of the Hofstra Campus.  I was the only car in the lot, and I boldly parked facing forward and watched the police race by me without notice.  

I became very sad for this world just around then.  They were racing all around me and it took about 30-35 minutes before a cop car pulled into the parking lot.

Saddened by the reality that my suspicious activity did not invite further inquiry, I had already decided to tell them the truth before they pulled up to me in the lot.  

I did not even bother to park in a space.  I boldly parked horizontally taking up two or three spaces placing myself in a precarious situation.

Do you think they knew it wasn't the first time? 

Do you think they saw through my decidedly in in-your-face tactics and saw this as a thinly disguised effort to feign temporary homelessness? 





Would they be back tomorrow night? Would I?

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.  © 2002