June 6, 2012 to present. For Loki.

I don’t remember walking in, but I remember being carted out; strapped to the gurney, I cried and the EMT held my hand and promised to undo the straps as soon as no one could see us, only leaving one remaining- the one on my waist- as he told me about his wife, his move from Florida to Pennsylvania- and anything else that would distract me from looking out the back window during the hour drive south.  They let me walk in- I somehow managed to pack my red bag with the right clothes- I don’t remember doing it
I had the same intake doctor as before.  He asked me about my studies of Muhammad Iqbal, and of Rumi once again- and I broke down. I just asked him for one thing:  Give me the same doctor I had before; the head doctor- the only one who would believe me- request granted.  But they would not give me the same nurses as before.
I went directly to my room- my brother had bought me all three books of “The Hunger Games,”  and my roommate was quiet and from Eastern Europe- brought in by her own mother when she would not disclose why she would no longer speak.  To me, she said, she had just ended a secret affair with a woman.  Her husband didn’t know- and since she was not there on her own volition, anything she said could be disclosed to her family.

In the morning, they asked for blood, I sat in the chair- and the rubber around my upper arm caused me to panic-  I felt trapped to the chair again, I closed my eyes, the phlebotomist was incompetent.  I met with Dr. C…. I listed off every single method one can kill themselves in under 15 minutes (the amount of time between being “checked on”)

“Is that really the best use of your intelligence you can think of?”  He sighed.  “You know, I told you if you kept going you would end up back here- but there isn’t much we can do for you except keep you as safe as we can for a little while.  What do you want?”

I wanted to erase the past three years…. I wanted the police borough that held me for 5 hours handcuffed to a chair to burn down,  I wanted the past 2 years erased from my memory.  I wanted to forget how to speak Farsi.  I wanted to be left alone, I wanted to be held, I wanted to die.

Instead, I said- “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”

He replied:  “Well, the same offer is on the table as last time…. Look- I can divide C-PTSD and make each symptom a separate diagnosis.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Severe Depression, Agoraphobia, Delusional disorder, non specified.”

“I’m not delusional.”

“Flashbacks are delusions.”

I always look people directly in the eyes- the opposite of most of my friends and family.  I don’t think I blinked.

“So, then what happens?”

“You take a break.  You stay in treatment- you stop applying to graduate schools for now and concentrate on getting better… If you don’t, you will keep ending up back here.  You know what’s wrong with you, I know what’s wrong with you- and we can’t do anything for you except give you a safe place to be for a while.”  He repeated.

“What if I never feel safe again?  Am I here forever?”

“Insurance wouldn’t take kindly to that.”

“Oh.”

“When do I get to have a life again?”

“When you stop making decisions based on how you want to die rather than on how you want to live- Graduate school in Tehran was a ridiculous idea and you know it…. when your medical team can come to a consensus that you are healthy enough.”

“They rejected me anyway… after the Canadian embassy was sacked, they said it was unsafe for an American woman to enter any of their programs at this time.”

“So, then- go to group when you can- do what you usually do. At least out of everyone here I know you know how to keep yourself occupied.  Worry about the police thing later- I know it seems impossible- but try not to think on it too much.”

So, I went back to my room- the mattress creaked of plastic- I already knew how to steal extra blankets.  The weather outside was warm enough to spend an hour a day in the sunlight- I read all three books quickly and passed them on to other patients.

I listened to other people’s stories- I played and read cards.  Who was in and out is a blur-  after your third visit, you can’t recall who you met each time.   At night, I would pace the hallways until the sleeping pills worked.  I would wake up with the sun, cover my head with my stolen pillows from the released patients, and wait until 9am.   I sat through tediously boring sessions.  Dr. C would see me once a day and occasionally ask me, out of curiousity, what *I* would diagnose a new comer.   I was getting good at it by now- after 20+ cumulative days of three different visits- you can almost detect the patterns immediately.

The Borderline, The Bipolar, PTSD, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD, Anorexia Nervousa- and the combinations of conditions.   The Schizophrenics would undergo swan-like transformations from raving lunatics to articulate, intelligent geniuses in a matter of days.   The borderlines would stay exactly the same- the center of attention- telling elaborate stories of their suicide attempts like one would speak about their time elected as prom queen.

This time, I had a Hamaval- I met a Swede who I lent it to, “This is a REAL religion- the Norse Gods are Real?”
I told him, to the best of my knowledge, they were- but hey, I was in here too- how much could you really trust what I believe?

After three days I noticed a pattern… despite auxiliary conditions- everyone in the ward this time was in for the exact same reason.  Each person had JUST suffered abuse at the hands of another, or several other, people.

The group sessions were centered on identifying how not to become re-victimized, the traits of sociopathy/psychopathy and how to identify them and avoid their webs.  One man was told to break up with the woman who held a knife to his throat three days before- he was in his 40’s and sat against the wall with his head in his hands, shivering.  I gave him my sweatshirt and asked him to keep it.  It was June, the air conditioner was malfunctioning and I raided the lost and found for warmer clothing.

A young man with Asperger’s gave me his shirt in exchange; his marriage at 22 was collapsing and he had the blue medical band wrapped around one wrist tightly that proclaimed he had second thoughts halfway up his arm.

A retired chemist with MS and I spent a great deal of time talking about Kevorkian….and the idiocy of how they would show a ward of almost-suicides a video about a man who wanted to row his boat into the middle of the ocean, hang off the side by one hand, and shoot himself.  A perfect, clean kill.

She wrung her hands…. “I just don’t know if my body would let me row far enough out for it to work for me- and my fingers.  And what if the gun got wet if the sea wasn’t calm?”  I suggested a dowel rod threaded into the trigger, a plastic bag to house the gun, and an outboard motor- rowing was unnecessary, and it wasn’t like she would have to worry about returning the boat.  Her laugh sounded like a cough.

My father visited and brought pizza- my best friend and my brother and sister in law took turns visiting.  A local folkbuilder and some friends made a trip out to see me.  On the phone I heard my friend Al’s voice for the first time in the 12 years I had known him from the think tank we had both been in when I was younger.

On the day I was released, my grandfather called me telling me I “had an imaginary condition, I couldn’t have PTSD- I was no soldier, it wasn’t “real” like a heart condition.  I would have done the family a favor by killing myself as opposed to shaming the family with my voluntary commitment.”

When I came home, I was in the process of moving from the woods to the city.  I had a guy I was dating casually (I never see more than one person at a time) who packed most of my things for me (not that I own much) out of machismo and I rented a room to wait out the next few months.   I stayed confined to that room for the most part, leaving only to use the bathroom or to eat when my roommate was not home.  I began to run out of food- because I did not wish to drive despite the grocery store being less than a mile from home.   On occasion, I could be coaxed to reading or to visit my brother or the boyfriend at the time- driving behind elderly drivers, tractor trailers, and older cars than my own.

Another friend became incredibly jealous and psychotic- spreading lies about the two of us- and I cut him out of my life without mercy.   The romantic relationship with my now ex-boyfriend at the time ended congenially by the end of June on account of irreconcilable political differences.  We’re still friends.

In July, there was a beautiful young redhead with bright teal blue eyes in Reading interested in me- but he was a little young, I thought, until he disclosed he was actually 29.

I had put him off for three months at this point and I agreed to meet him at Freyfaxi- July 28th.  I dressed up for the occasion, and oddly enough, as did he- in a kilt.  The relationship started immediately, much to the happiness of some and consternation of others.

Within a week, I had a dream-  I was in philosophy class but the teacher had red hair-  the test was wrong, the questions were on mico-biology and I was woefully unprepared.   I woke up, fell asleep again….the same teacher with the red hair was now gym teacher or some sort of sports coach….he wore a red and white track suit, his bright hair neatly slicked back and his face sported a perfect goatee.  He offered me candy, flavored tootsie rolls to be exact, and he seemed to be nervously happy that I wasn’t afraid of him.

“Most people don’t like me much these days,” he said.

I replied, “I don’t understand why not, you seem nice enough to me- are you nice?”

“I try to be- but it doesn’t always turn out for the best sometimes.” he looked down and smiled sadly.

“That can be said for anyone, don’t be so hard on yourself.  Kant would approve at least…he says that it’s the intention that counts.”

“Yes, but you also think that Kant is an asshole.” he smiled again, and teased at me a little- I can’t remember if he poked me or flipped my hair- something of that sort.

I woke up again, flipped the pillow over to the cool side, and passed out a third time.  My windows were dark with a tapestry- I stayed up late and woke even later most days.

This time, the same man met me in front of the statue of John Comenius in front of my old college.  There were no cars on either side of the road- and this time, he was dressed in a long black coat, dark jeans, boots, and a white shirt.  His hair was the same- tied back into a short ponytail and he asked me to sit next to him.  I had met him 3 years before in a dream- where he taught English and was Heathen- and told me to protect my mentor at the time…. the situation ended catastrophically- with the grand finale the 5 hour long interrogation by local police, handcuffed to a chair, as I was broken.

The red-haired man apologized. “I didn’t expect things to turn out this way-  I can see many things, but I can’t see everything- I can be many places, but I cannot be everywhere.  I honestly thought you would be fine.  Better than fine.  I am so sorry.”

Sometime during this conversation I said “So, you aren’t Bragi, are you?”- and he smirked despite seeming rather defeated looking overall.

“Look, I promise you- I will make this right.  I will protect you, and I will give you Eddie to protect you on Midgard- and this is my promise to you.”

From inside his coat, he pulled out a perfect red rose on fire with bright flames but did not burn.  I touched the petals with my fingers and felt only coolness, as if the flames were made of wind and breezes rather than fire.

He had his arm around me, protectively, like an older brother as I held the rose-  he looked forward into the distance with his green eyes at things I could not see and seemed to be paying close attention to countless things and thoughts I could not perceive.  I kept looking at the rose and I quietly thanked Him for everything.  I knew it wasn’t His fault, and I told him so.

He complimented me for my grace and understanding.

I shrugged.

How could I hold someone accountable for the free will of humans to do wretched things with deliberate purpose?

Not even a God can control a man, much less more than one whose only intentions and motivations were to cause irrevocable harm….

Right now, I am trying to learn how not  to blame myself for being too naive at the time to know otherwise, either.

This was my flashback today-  I rode it out, and it lead me back to Loki.  I feel better for writing this, and between His concern and the guidance of Tyr in particular I am in a much better place than I was a year ago.

Freyfaxi is Sunday- and I will be marrying that beautiful redhead for real- not just the stupid court thing, but the real thing, by Braucher and Universalist Pastor….and Loki’s statue will be on the altar. (among others)

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4 Responses to “June 6, 2012 to present. For Loki.”

  1. Remember that chaos sows change. It forces us to grow, even if we don’t want to. To me, that’s what Loki’s all about.

  2. I am so happy for you and Eddie’s upcoming wedding. I am sending blessings and best wishes to your union, finding that special person is awesome. I am glad that even with your struggles with your flashback today it led you closer to Loki.

    Reading through your retelling of the past made me wish I could give you a hug. I can imagine meeting those people that you described, and having very similar conversations with them too.

    *hug* us broken people have to stick together right?

    • Agreed. Perhaps that is why Lokeans are so misunderstood- Loki has been broken, and thus, oftentimes seeks the broken to care for, I think.

      It’s not the brokenness that attracts him- it’s our stubborn endurance to keep going anyway.

      • I tend to think our stubborn endurance is one of our star qualities, even if there are times when we wish we could give up. I know that I never could, even though it would have been the easy way, it was never an option for me.

        Loki seems to extend His aid and protection to the broken and mad often. I am glad He does.

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