The Morning After

I know that many people love Thanksgiving, but I’m one of the odd ones who doesn’t think it’s the best holiday. I like the people I spend it with well enough, but I’ve always felt drained after socializing with those I only see once or twice a year, and gorging myself on food that I really don’t like that much is hardly something I look forward to.

Many people I know focus on the fact that Thanksgiving is about the people you spend it with, and I believe that’s true. I do feel a great deal of gratitude in my life. But for some reason saying thank you on Thanksgiving feels disingenuous to me, as if it were required of me. I like telling other people how much I care about them, and so my first impulse is to be as gushy as possible on Thanksgiving, writing long Facebook posts, and spilling my heart about the gratitude I feel in my life.

But I ask myself: why couldn’t I do this every other day of the year? Why did I wait for today to tell people they are wonderful? It’s easy for us to forget to tell people we are grateful, to wait until someone prods us or asks us what we’re grateful for. Unfortunately, people need to hear that we care for them, that we’re grateful for them.

I know that I am grateful for a great deal in my life. I know that I need to say “thanks” more often, in a real, honest way. And so I’m going to make it my mission for the next year to find some way to express gratitude every day.

I’m going to start today. I am grateful for my mother. While we’ve had some growing pains in our relationship recently, she has given me more than I can say. She has guided me through incredibly difficult situations, both moral dilemmas and hard times. She has cared for me when I refused to care for myself. She has taught me the principles of feminism, of social justice, of caring for others, and yet she has urged me to be honest and caring with myself. My mother is someone who inspires me. She is brilliant, giving, and dedicated to what she does. She gives her time and money to others and never spends enough of it on herself.

But more than any of these things, my mother is one of the few people who truly is present with me. We can sit and talk for hours because she makes it a point to be THERE when we talk. This means we can talk about almost anything, and I know that she will give me her real opinions, think through what I’m saying, truly engage with me. This is the best gift that anyone can give another person: their true time and energy, and I am so deeply grateful for it.

I love you Mom ❤

Body Betrayal: Scars and Stories

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual check-up. I’m not a big fan of the doctor: you see your weight displayed prominently in front of you, you get naked and have things shoved up your lady bits, and of course, I always have to decide how much to disclose about my mental health. In recent years, I’ve stopped having much of a filter about my eating disorder. I’ll tell my doctor without hesitation. It doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s a nuisance to have to retake depression inventories and explain over and over what treatment I’m getting and that I have a team that’s kept it under control, but in the long run it’s easier than dancing around things.

So I jumped through the hoops that they asked of me and as I was laying back on the table with my body exposed for the doctor, she looked down and asked “Did you do these to yourself?”

It took me a moment to realize what she was talking about. The scars. They’re on my belly and my hips and my legs. I forget they’re there sometimes.

Unfortunately, it’s when I forget that I forget to cover them or explain them. And then they’re seen. And then I must tell the story.

There is nothing quite like being on your back mostly naked with your legs spread while explaining to someone that your self-harm is under control. “Stripped bare” hardly covers it.

But that’s the thing about bodies: they tell your stories even when you don’t want to. Having a physical presence in the world means that others can tell things about you that your mind would rather they not know. This to me is one of the struggles of coming to grips with my own body image.

Scars are stories. Every mark on my body came from something in my life: the scar where they cut me open when I was six, the stretch marks from losing and gaining weight in the midst of an eating disorder, the tattoo I got when I was just 18 and in love with beauty. Some of these stories are ones I chose to tell: when my bones stretched against my skin, it was my choice to tell the world that I wished to be smaller. The ink on my skin is my own story that I put there. Some of these are not the stories I wanted to tell: the scars from where I hurt myself were wishes to disappear, and now they are angry, loud marks that announce me to the world.

Many of us have stories that are announced without our consent, but there are some special difficulties when your body is betraying you in this way. A particularly difficult element of this is body dysphoria. If you feel that your body is reflecting a past that you no longer identify with, telling stories that are no longer your narrative, it can deeply undermine your sense of self, and can mislead others about who you are. It’s hard not to be defensive when you feel you have to explain your body away as something that isn’t true to who you are.

It is the constant struggle between your inner knowledge of self and the outer perception that others have, and the work you must do to reframe your story into bite-sized, palatable explanations. When the stories written on your body are socially unacceptable, you must go above and beyond to make yourself socially acceptable in those lies of omission, spinning of stories, and changes of subject that we learn to perfect.

But there’s also a fear to it: you never know when someone will ask you about yourself, ask you the hard questions. You never know when someone’s face will fall in the way you can’t explain, but you know means they’re writing you off. It’s the impossibility of keeping your secret, even when it’s your deepest, hardest secret, because other people can see it when they look at you. Imagine that: imagine another person being able to look at you and know about your hardest moments and your most difficult struggles. Imagine not being able to choose when to disclose information about yourself, but rather having to always be hiding against discovery.

These are not all my experiences. In the summer I have to watch what I wear. When I was skinnier I had to be careful to show that I was eating around new people. But most of my life I can live without wondering when I will be found out. There are those who have it much harder than I do. When your body tells a story that is personal, you are automatically put into a position of submission, and there are those whose bodies are screaming those stories.

I know that we tend to use what information we have to make judgments about a person, and often that information is immediate and visual. But as someone whose body is spreading lies about me, please don’t listen. I am not my scars. I am allowed to write my own story without anyone else’s perception of my body. I do not have to defend the way I see my body, nor do I owe anyone explanations of my body. But the dialectic is that my body always appears to others, no matter how badly I wish it not to. This, to me, is the challenge of creating positive body image.

Gratitude: Mental Illness

It’s Thanksgiving this week, and I’m going to be cliche and talk about gratitude. I’ve unintentionally spent some time earlier this week looking at an experience that I was grateful for, but today is going to be a difficult exercise for me: I want to talk about something in myself that I am grateful for. This isn’t easy, but I suggest all of you try it as a way to see those things in yourself that are good.

I spend a lot of time griping about my mental health, but after a lot of thought, I am grateful that I was born this way. My mind is quite often a bitch to me, but I’m glad that it is the way it is. Despite the fact that my mental health is probably my biggest hurdle in life, it has forced me to become a better person, to learn many things that I otherwise could have easily avoided, and to simply be kinder.

I certainly can’t say that if I was given the chance I’d choose my mental illness, and I’m not saying I enjoy my life the way it is, but if I’m being honest with myself, I’m a better, more selfless, and kinder person because of my mental illness and the places it has taken me.

First and foremost, my  mental illness has required that I spend time with myself. I have spend more hours than most people could imagine delving into my deeper fears and insecurities, ripping apart all the myths and lies that I tell myself, and examining why I do the things I do. I have become a far more facts-based individual due to therapy. I have become better at assessing myself and my situations. Because I’ve simply had to really BE with myself, in an entirely present way, I’ve figured out what I don’t like about myself and made improvements, and because I’ve spent so much of this time with a trained professional, I’ve also started to notice when my perception is a little off.

I’ve also had to spend a lot of time with therapists who are unafraid to criticize me and my coping strategies and who want me to improve my relationships. This means a whole lot of real, honest feedback about who I am and how my behaviors affect other people. Because of this, I often get to think about things I screwed up without falling into a guilt trap and with someone there to help me brainstorm immediate techniques to improve the situation.

While I have spent a lot of time thinking about myself, I have also spent a lot of time thinking about how other people influence me and how I influence others: I have learned to shift the perspective away from me, me, me. Your actions aren’t about me, and my actions are small. I have learned that often I should be thinking about someone else instead of about making myself smaller to fit someone else in.

In addition, I’ve found that I understand emotions better, both my own and other people’s. This makes me far more effective at Not Fucking Shit Up. I’m extremely grateful for that.

I can’t imagine that I would be doing the things I’m doing today if it weren’t for mental illness. I would be locked away reading books somewhere instead. I’m so glad that mental illness has forced me to engage with the world, that it’s led me to my VISTA year, and that it’s demanded of me that I do more for others.

But the thing I’m most grateful for is the compassion I feel I’ve gotten for people whose brains don’t process quite the same as mine. After seeing the confusion and frustration in people’s faces when they try to comprehend what I’m thinking and feeling, I don’t want to be the person that dismisses another’s pain or struggle. While those experiences were horrible, I’m grateful that I think I’m a better person for it.

My mental illness itself has not given me much, but it has forced me into situations that have given me tools to help myself and to help others. I am grateful. I would never have thought so deeply, been nearly as effective, or been so perceptive without the drive of mental illness behind me. I’m grateful that I now have a habit of therapy behind me, that going forward I will now how and where to find appropriate tools to improve myself, and that I will continue to reflect on myself in this way. I’m grateful that when I ask others to go to therapy now, I have the weight of my own work behind me. I’m grateful that I am in a better position to help others now.

So thanks mental illness. You’ve made me a better person.

The Lessons of Mass Transit

My bus was late today. No big deal, right? Buses are late all the time. This morning was different though. I walked up to the bus stop, and there was a man waiting for the bus. He was Hispanic, and had a number of prominent tattoos. He was also not wearing nearly enough against the cold Minnesota air. Conclusion: homeless or can’t afford jacket.

I’m generally a fairly anti-social person, and so I sidled up to the bus stop quietly, pulling out my bus card and looking at the ground. As I did so, he asked me the time. I checked and answered, thinking he would stop talking. Instead, he struck up a conversation: when does the bus come? Where are you going? Do you speak Spanish? Eventually he ended up telling me about his failed marriage and his time in prison. Part of me was desperate for the bus to show up already because I am not a happy person before my morning coffee, but the longer we talked, the more I realized that I was grateful for the chance to simply be with someone I wouldn’t normally be with.

To be perfectly honest with myself, I judged this man unsafe when I first saw him. I judged him as someone I did not want to converse with. Because of mass transit, I was forced to rethink that judgment. I was forced to be kind to someone, to listen to someone, to share myself with someone. It wasn’t a big interaction, 15 minutes at most. But I’m grateful for it. I heard an experience that I would never have heard otherwise. I gained a perspective that otherwise would have been lost to me. And these things are not small. I exist in a world of great privilege, with other individuals who are well-educated and well-off. I want to have the best understanding possible of those who don’t live in that world, and this moment was illuminating for me.

This person was real. He had stories. He was vulnerable. He just wanted someone to listen, and that was all I could offer him at that moment. I hope that it was enough.

This to me is the most important benefit of mass transit. It removes you from your insulated world and requires you to exist in the world with all the other individuals that exist around you. We live segregated lives. Oftentimes they are self-segregated, but we spend our lives around people who are like us. Particularly for those who are wealthy enough to buy cars, we rarely venture into places that are full of people of color or people in poverty. When we walk past them on the street, our eyes slide by them. We avoid.

When you are travelling with someone, you cannot avoid them. Oh sure, you can put in headphones or read a book, but you cannot stop seeing them. You can’t stop seeing the person who is talking to themself, or the mother who is hitting her child, or the people yelling at each other. You can’t stop seeing the gentle father, or the man who just wants to talk, or the kind person who gives up their seat for the elderly. These things happen and you experience them. You have conversations with these people and you begin to feel the shape of their lives barely forming beyond your ability to understand it. You are challenged by the actual existence, the actual humanity in front of you, of those people who are different from you.

You might be afraid. You might be disgusted. Or you might allow yourself to be challenged to imagine the rich complexity of how they live entirely apart from you. You cannot hide from the nasty things in life when they are invading all your senses: the poverty, the homelessness, the desperation in people’s eyes.

This, I think, is why so many people are opposed to using public transit. Yes, it can be a hassle, and yes, it can be slow, but in reality, many of us don’t want to mingle. We don’t want to get “dirty”. We are afraid of the lives we don’t want to see.

So as Thanksgiving looms, I am thankful that I am forced to see things. I am thankful that each day as I bus to work, in a job whose explicit purpose is to fight poverty, I see what I am fighting. I see the people behind that title. I am forced to accept those people in my space. I am thankful that they are there, that I can hear them and that in some places, they will not be ignored.

The Things I Carry

WARNING: Emo poetry ahead. 

 

Every morning when I wake up, I know there are things I must take with me

No matter what I am doing, I fill my pockets and my pores with the things I carry

When my feet touch the ground as I stand up from sleep

I know the weight of them.

 

Before I rise, my mind is full with the List.

It steamrolls over me and leaves its imprint:

What You Must Do To Be Acceptable.

I pick it up and pull my body skywards.

 

I walked from my bed to the bathroom and add the pills I take each day

settling in my stomach

Next to the heaviness of the breakfast I will not eat

I dress, placing the anxiety of eyes over my body

I have my bare essentials.

 

Today I carried a backpack.

A simple case for:

A laptop to channel words that build and build upon me

Reminding me that I never have enough words

A book of memories

joyful things I forget to read

A wallet, heavy with emptiness

A notebook, filled with fragments of days that I forgot to live.

They repeat themselves and I don’t remember to move

The loss of time on my shoulders

 

I remember to pick up my lover from his slump on the floor.

His sadness is large, black

But his legs don’t work today and so he uses mine

 

With my keys, I take the criticisms I heard yesterday and the day before and the day before

stretching back before memory.

Things begin to get heavy now, but it’s early

Before I leave, I turn back and pick up the hours of therapy I own

Each week

A prize for the size of my waist.

These are the things I take from the table before I begin.

 

As I walk through the day I collect things to put in my pockets

The letter from my landlord, rejecting a request

A note from the insurance, ending my benefits

The phone call from my mother, revealing secrets I didn’t want to know

They swell to bursting.

 

It is noon

I pull on my running shoes, and I feel the minutes I sweat falling on me

The time I am alone in my mind

The ripping breath I cannot end

Each mile is a requirement that I must complete, or I will drop everything

These are the rules, and I know that I cannot put down the things I carry.

 

Back to work, and my anxiety is large

growing and growing on the angry words that fly

A friend calls. I struggle to pick him up.

My legs are becoming weak.

 

As I walk from work, I take the knowledge that my hours were not enough

I have not, I have not, I have not-

done enough.

 

An hour with my therapist, and I know I have not been Good Enough to myself

I pick up the diary card

The numbers are wrong

Bad numbers go in my pocket.

 

When I get home, I tumble, headlong into bed

Dropping everything.

I carry too much these days.

Gratitude: People Who Teach

I’m back! I’ve missed you all and boy have I missed writing, but life should be calming down for a bit. Sidenote: I am sick at the moment, so I’m blaming any incoherence on that, and if I disappear again soon that’s why. This was a post that I really wanted to write a few weeks ago and just never got a chance to put down on paper, so here it is.

A little bit ago, I went to a concert in which one of my professors from college was playing. I’ve always enjoyed this person’s thoughts and company, and sitting there listening to him speak and sing, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia for school and for the people who taught me. I was struck with how my professors and teachers were so deliberate with their thoughts and their words, even those whose energy could not be contained. They were there because they were seeking after knowledge, and they respected each of us enough to treat their words with care.

I remembered the hours that I spent sitting one on one with professors, talking through an idea or a question that just wouldn’t let go of me, and how they never seemed to care how much of their time I was taking up. I remembered the lifelines that so many of my teachers threw to me when I refused to accept them.

And I was really hit by how much I owe to the people who have given me my education and how few opportunities I have to say thank you. And so despite the fact that most of the teachers that I’ve loved will never read this, I want to send it out into the void: I am deeply grateful for what you’ve given me. I am deeply grateful for you not just as teachers but as human beings who have expressed an interest in my life and my mind, and who have held me up when I am falling.

I don’t think it’s really fashionable to talk about the adults in your life, the mentors. And I think that’s horrible because teachers need to hear what they’re doing is making a difference. Publicly recognizing that who you are today is a direct result of the things that others have given you is necessary for us to understand that no one is self-made. We all rely on others, and my educators have been some of the most important people in my life.

As early as grade school, I had teachers who read hundreds of pages of my fantasy novel and encouraged me to continue writing. I had teachers who engaged with me, who would debate test answers with me to make sure they felt confident they had the correct answer. I had teachers who simply let me GO, who told me I could write and read and think as much as I wanted and they’d simply be there for me when I needed someone to talk to about it. In high school I had teachers who would sit around with me after school and discuss our readings and subjects in more depth. It felt like I had personal tutors because they simply cared enough to make time for me. Knowing how busy teachers are makes this even more important to me. These actions validated my curiosity and my drive. There’s no way I would have the love of learning I have now if it weren’t for the message these people sent that YES, these topics ARE interesting and wonderful.

And when I got to college I had professors who would develop things for me specifically to research and delve into. I had profs who created independent studies for me, who hired me as an editor, who sent me articles and conversed with me about them over the summer, who would spend hours talking to me about what major I should choose or where I should apply for grad school. I even had a professor who reached out to me in the midst of my eating disorder just to check and see if I was doing ok.

But perhaps even more than these specific memories, I think about the ways that my teachers approach teaching: through humor, with deep care, with passion. I think about the teachers who speak beautifully about the texts they love, or the teachers who are a little haywire and spout amazing rants that contain nuggets of brilliance in them. I miss the essence of the people who are teachers, the pure fervor with which they speak about their chosen subject. There are few people in the world who can speak about anything like a professor can about their subject, and I deeply miss being in the presence of those people.

Sometimes I forget that my teachers are human beings with complex lives of their own, but these memories mean the world to me. They remind me that there were people in the midst of my bad days who cared about me without having any idea what was happening in my life, simply for the mind I had and the ideas I shared. The most validating experiences of my life came in the classroom and came thanks to teachers who passionately cared about engaging.

So thank you. I am who I am because of you.

Triggers: What Are They, What To Do

I realize that I said I was going to be taking a blog break until this Thursday, but something happened to me last week that I really felt the need to write about and I wanted to do so while it was still fresh. Before I start the post, I want to add the caveat that this whole incident was very emotional and very upsetting for me. I am somewhat angry at some of the people involved, however that is primarily because I am hurt and afraid. I’m going to do my best to keep this post from becoming accusatory or rambling, but if it starts to go in that direction, that’s why.

I want to talk about triggers. A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about something that was triggering to me. I specified that I had been triggered. I was surprised at the response I got. Many people argued with me, told me I was wrong and that what had upset me was good and necessary, and even gave graphic descriptions of why it was so necessary (which was another exercise in being triggered). After things calmed down somewhat and I reiterated that I was being triggered and upset by their comments, I had one person mention to me that the had never heard of a trigger before: they didn’t know what I was talking about and so they didn’t understand that what they were doing was going to hurt me.

I was surprised. I live in a context where trigger is a common word. But I needed this reminder that it’s not something that everyone knows about, and that intelligent and well informed people may still need some explanations. So with that in mind, here’s a primer on what a trigger is, some basic do’s and don’ts of how to react to someone’s triggers, and a brief description of what it feels like to be triggered.

A trigger is an intense, uncontrollable, emotional reaction to something. It is typically a term reserved for someone with a mental illness because it is more than simply being upset or bothered by something. Triggers generally are related to past traumas that have left your brain impacted in some way. This means that when you see or hear or experience something that is a trigger, your emotions completely take over and you are in extreme, intense distress almost immediately. In its immediacy it is similar to an anxiety or a panic attack, although unlike those it doesn’t require that the individual react in certain ways. One could react to a trigger with a panic attack, but one could also react by sucking it up and dealing with it (which is what people are often expected to do).

A trigger is not the same as throwing a temper tantrum over something small, although it might appear to be so from the outside. It is also not weakness or simply being “oversensitive”. To take a parallel from physical health, let’s imagine you had broken your ankle. A trigger is like those elements of the ankle that never heal, only in your brain. Triggers are indications of where trauma has injured your brain. Being triggered is somewhat like being kicked in a broken ankle. It hurts, it’s scary, and you cannot stop that it hurts and is scary. The fact that you might have a friend who would laugh off getting kicked in the ankle doesn’t mean that you’re wrong for being hurt. It simply means that you have different situations.

Triggers can be all sorts of things depending upon the difficulties that an individual has faced before. For a vet, it could be loud noises, or the sound of helicopters. For someone who was raped, it could be the color of the curtains in the room it happened. For someone with an eating disorder it could be talk of calories and dieting. Triggers come in all shapes and sizes and don’t always make sense from the outside, but they’re simply about what sets off certain scripts and chain reactions in your brain.

So if you’re around someone and they say that they’ve been triggered or that something is triggering, what should you do?

First and foremost, accept that they are triggered by what they say they are triggered by. Respect them to know their own mental health better than you do, and whatever you do don’t tell them that they’re overreacting, that they shouldn’t feel the way they feel, that it’s inappropriate or wrong to feel what they feel, or that they should be able to deal. These statements are all very invalidating of the experience of being triggered: a trigger is not an opinion or an argument. It’s not something you can disagree with or argue with. It’s an experience. That would be like telling someone that you don’t agree with how much it hurt them to step on their broken ankle. It simply doesn’t make sense to say. So accept what they have said, don’t argue with it, and don’t tell them it’s wrong.

As a corollary DO NOT intentionally trigger someone. It’s important to remember that you’re not doing anything edgy, heroic, cool, or badass by ignoring someone’s triggers. You are not telling someone that you won’t put up with bad behavior or temper tantrums, you’re not teaching them about how harsh the real world is, you’re not “just having some fun”. You are being intentionally cruel. You are looking at an open wound and deciding what you can throw in it to make the person scream. This is a sick exercise. Don’t do it.

If someone opens up enough to you to tell you that they’re vulnerable in a certain state, the best thing you can do is ask them how you can help. Validate what they’re feeling, tell them that it must be horrible, and then ask if there’s anything you can do to help them avoid things that really hurt them that way, or help them when they’ve been triggered. Different people need different things when they’re distressed, so asking them what helps them is very important. If at all possible, try to do this when they’re not in the middle of being triggered.

Remember that when someone has been triggered, they are not themselves. If they’re typically someone whose statements are open to discussion, typically someone who’s analytical and wants to discuss things, typically someone who can just deal with whatever life throws at them, know that those things may not be the case when they’re in this extremely vulnerable state. Remember that you might need to give them a bit more space, or treat them a little more gently than you typically would. If they don’t want to talk about whatever has triggered them, let that rest. If they don’t want to solve whatever problem has triggered them, let that rest. If they simply need to vent, let that rest. They’re hurting.

So all of this discussion has been fairly hypothetical, but I’d like to finish by giving you a concrete example of what it feels like when you’ve been triggered. I’m going to use the example that prompted this whole post because it’s the most fresh in my mind and because I’ve spent a lot of time reliving it recently so I feel it will be the most vivid and descriptive. (Note: there is a trigger warning for eating disorders on this)

Earlier this week I went to Starbucks. This was out of the ordinary for me, but I had a Starbucks gift card so I went to Starbucks. I walked in and looked at the menu and there, listed next to each and every drink was a calorie count. I felt my whole body involuntarily tense, my breath catch. I nearly turned and left the store, or bolted for their restroom. All I could think about was that I deeply wanted to stick my fingers down my throat and puke up everything I had eaten for the last week. I wanted to leave this store and go home and hide where I would not be tempted by food, where I could wait until my body shriveled away and passed out, where I could safely avoid food for at least the next week. All these thoughts ran through my head immediately.

I took a deep breath and shoved them away so that I could get in line. I had to go to work and I was exhausted. I needed some caffeine. I stood in line with my mind racing and racing. I had to get a small. I had to get the lowest calorie count thing available on the menu, even if I didn’t like it. NO, fuck the calories, I should get the HIGHEST calorie count just to prove that I can. Or maybe a compromise, maybe if I just get a small of what I actually wanted I’d be ok. No that wouldn’t work, it was a full breakfast worth of calories and I don’t eat breakfast. Breakfast is unacceptable.

I barely remember getting to the register and ordering something in a haze. It bothered me for the rest of the day, and I threw up a post on Facebook about how distressed I was. I got comment after comment about how calorie counts are necessary, about all the hidden calories in our food, about the obesity epidemic, graphic descriptions of the size and calorie counts of Starbucks drinks and how they were going to lead to death from obesity. I have not been able to stop thinking about calories and this incident ever since. I imagine I will never go to Starbucks again.

I’m worried about going to restaurants now, something I’d finally been starting to get over. I keep replaying over and over how much I keep eating and wondering how many calories are in each dish. I had stopped thinking about calories for a long time, and now they’re hiding in the back of my mind again. I’m terrified that my diet is entirely unhealthy, that I’m going to give myself diabetes, that I’m going to become obese and get heart disease. I have been unable to focus at work during an incredibly important time, I have found myself dissociating extremely badly, I have almost cried at work. I’ve been unable to sleep, constantly composing responses in my mind that justify why I was hurt, struggling to let myself eat, struggling against the impulse to self harm or to purge.

It feels as if my mind simply can’t shut off or won’t shut off because the most important thing in the world has presented itself: calories. And now I need to react, protect myself, run, escape in any way possible. That is a trigger.

P.S. For anyone who thinks that triggers don’t exist or are made up 1.Go fuck yourself and 2.There is a great deal of psychological research into the ways the brain is injured by trauma and how that affects the way someone functions for the rest of their life. It’s real. Figure out google and find some articles.