Thursday, August 3, 2000

In/Exhale - Interlude - Kai's Journal #1

From Kai’s Journal #1 - Early Fall 2000

Listen to me reading this excerpt here.

So Dr. Miller told me I’m crazy.
Ha. Dr. Miller would never say that. You could have a full psychotic breakdown in the checkout lane of the Walmart and she’d say, “You’re simply struggling with your concept of reality. Let’s talk about this and see how we can help you work through it.”
What she actually told me is that I have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and a panic disorder, too, along with a whole spiel about how I need to learn to accept the validity of my emotions and not be afraid or ashamed of them. No fancy acronyms there, but then my psychiatric alphabet soup is already pretty full. Lucky me.
I guess the good thing is she’s confident I can “get better.” The rest of my life doesn’t have to be ruled by nightmares and panic attacks and emotional breakdowns. Fuck, I’m even starting to sound like her.
That’s why I’m writing this journal. Part of my “therapy.”
A preferable alternative to Dr. Miller’s initial suggestion when she diagnosed me: group therapy. I laughed at her. Then I apologized for laughing at her. Then I said, “No fucking way.”
It’s been hard enough for me to talk to her about all this. I still struggle with Jon. He deserves to know, but. . . . Anyway, I’m not going to tell a room of complete strangers about my aunt. The things she . . . did to me. The things I let her do to me. . . .
Deep breath, Kai.
I’m not supposed to dwell.
Some of Dr. Miller’s tips have actually really helped. One suggestion she made was when I feel like my emotions are getting out of control, I should suck on a really sour candy, and focus on the flavor and the texture as it slowly dissolves on my tongue. It’s a way to get my brain unhinged from the crazy loop. Not that Miller would call it a “crazy loop.”
It helps. Sometimes.
The hydroxyzine helps, too.
I have nightmares only once a week now. And I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in a couple weeks.
I finally sucked it up and went to Disability Services and got tested, so now I get extra time during exams. Yay me. I also went and talked to all my professors. Decided to withdraw from psychology and philosophy. Turns out, at least for psych, it might work out better, since the professor says he has a small section next semester that usually has only a handful of students. He said I might benefit from the smaller class size. And my history and writing professors have been really understanding about why I’ve been struggling and why I’ve missed so much class. They’ve each given me some makeup assignments to do so I can try to improve my grade. I actually already have an idea of how I’m going to tackle my English comp assignment. I’m going to do what she’s wanted me to do all along: be honest. It’s kind of scary, talking about myself and everything I’ve gone through. Well, not everything, but everything I’m willing to tell a relative stranger, anyway. Dr. Miller says it’s a really good step for me.
Hmph. Steps.
My leg’s been healing pretty well. Troy’s been letting me use some of the equipment even when I’m not in PT, since I’m not allowed to swim yet. Micovic says there’s no way to control the flexion of my knee in the water, and even with reduced gravity and all that, he says it’s too big a risk. It’s still not clear if I’ll walk again, but Micovic thinks I can start working on weight bearing soon, and my MLS has been relatively controlled lately, so I guess that’s something.
Jon and Vicky are doing well. It’s nice to see him happy. I’ve been trying to balance being more forthcoming with him. After I went apeshit in the hospital because I was off the Valium, and he fought for me . . . I realized he deserves to be “let in.” The fact that he defended and protected and consoled me without knowing everything, without demanding to know. . . . In some ways, that means more to me than anything else he’s done for me. But, at the same time, I’m trying to take care of myself physically and emotionally so I don’t ruin things for him with Vicky. I’ve sabotaged enough relationships--my own and his--that I don’t want to do that again. Jon deserves happiness. And so does Vicky, for that matter.
I’ve come to terms with Nikki. I mean . . . I don’t know what things would be like if she showed up again, but . . . it’s not like Becca. Dr. Miller’s helped with that. But I don’t want another Becca, and Nikki wasn’t--isn’t--Becca. Nikki’s sent me a few postcards, always from a different place. She doesn’t write much, but it feels like it’s her way of letting me know she’s thinking of me. I still miss her--not just the sex, though, fuck, I miss that--but even though I try to be more honest and open with Jon, and he’s been great, really, it’s not . . . the same.
I still feel alone. Lonely. Dr. Miller says I’ve isolated myself as a defense mechanism. Though she’s suggested I stay away from romantic relationships for a while, she says I need to “socialize” more. I’m convinced she and Jon are in league to get me back in the local Deaf Community, but they don’t understand. I’m not part of that anymore. I’m just some hearie now. Besides, it’d dredge up the past, and “past” is something I don't handle well.
Though I did give in to Dr. Miller's suggestion that I return to County House. Facing a part of my past will make it easier to face the rest, she said. I was reluctant at first; David and I had always promised each other we wouldn't even spit on that place again, once we aged out, but. . . . I called up Ms. Cathy, offered to take the kids trick-or-treating at the hospital. That way I can't back out later. There's no way I'll disappoint those kids, no matter how anxious the whole prospect makes me.
And then there’s Renee. . . . I’ve been avoiding her. It’s been . . . weeks. I just . . . I plan my arrival and departure from class so I don’t have to see her. And the few times I notice she’s waiting for me, I skip, because I just . . . can’t. I know it’s not realistic in the long term, but . . . Dr. Miller’s pretty disapproving of the way I’ve handled the whole Renee situation. She thinks it’s unhealthy to avoid Renee, that avoiding my problems is at least partially what got me where I am in the first place.
I just feel like my life is this intricate card tower and Renee is that final piece that will either make it perfect or send it disastrously to the ground, in pieces, and I may never be able to put it back together again.
And I’m just not sure I want to take that risk.


Continue to October 26, 2000 - Part I ------>


  1. Nice to see Kai's perspective, here. Can't wait for the stuff that connects all that is yet to come.

  2. Thank you for posting despite your busy schedule! Glad to hear that Kai's doing better!

  3. Agree with Pepper - really nice to hear his voice, as it were. Let's hope he risks it :) (and that he comes out ok!)