Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Memory is weird. a mental illness interlude- Why I Blog So Much

Bear in mind, the ambien is kicking in, but what the hey. Why is this chick on ssdi anyway? Well I have PTSD. Bad bad stuff happened, not talking about that HERE. part of the problem I have with PTSD is memory issues.

Bo says I have an amazing memory.
That's sweet of him, and my memory is great, in certain ways, to a point. But then if I wait too long to record my memories, they are gone. Just... gone.

The other day, a friend who is dating another friend of mine asked me about his mother. I really like his mother, and only three years ago I lived with her for a month, and drove her from Colorado to Las Vegas.

I can barely remember anything about her. I remember that she embroidered. I remember that she's Norwegian, 1st generation I believe.

I don't remember what she looked like, what kinds of things she likes, what her personality was, really, though I liked her. I don't remember what month or year it was. If I saw her right now I would not recognize her face.

I've already lost the names of all but one of the stablehands at Hossmoor. They were just absolutely great guys, and I miss them. I made Christmas cards for them. But I only remember Enrique's name. There was a sweet guy who would always smile shyly and duck his head. I was rather fond of him. And the guy who helped me down the hillside when I panicked. But I'm losing so much of it already, it's just slipping away.

I mean, everyone forgets things. Tons of things. But sometimes I forget how to end a sentence. Or the word for spoon. What month it is. What someone sent me off to do. The color of my mother's eyes and her birthday. Whether her hair is long or short now/

About the only time when things tend to feel clear are out with the horses. It's like they give me this great magical gift to focus my head and make memories stick, instead of them being these fleeting gossamer things that drift off into the ether.

So here's the thing, I was born wihtout a mGluR5 receptor in my brain. A genetic defect. Essentially it helps you overcome your trauma, and overwrite old traumas with newer memories at the forefront of one's mind, and memories. A person with PTSD not only doesn't do this properly, but their brain utilizes entirely different parts of the brain for memory storage. So say something happened a lot time ago. You saw someone get shot. But it was a thing and it happened and you moved on. Once in a long time you think aobut it, but it's more of a story than anything else. The memory is linear, back at the back of your mind. There is a sense of distance from it.
With PTSD, a traumatic memory is placed right up there in the front. You experience it over and over agian, you feel exactly what you felt then. Hell, sometimes you even see it. Certain triggers can bring forth a full-on flashback. A massive wash of fight or flight instincts can override the rational part of your brain. Your body responds by secreting chemicals designed to help you overcome immediate, life-threatening danger.
Except to some degree or another, it's always like that. The trauma is always at the forfront in your mind, of lurking close beneath the surface. All those little memories, thoughts, linear experiences where you were having lunch or someone told you they loved the color pink, all of those are pushed aside, overriden with "I am going to DIE!" because the memory isn't 10years ago, it's RIGHT THERE and your brain cannot poperly sort and store things out.

So. For me. Horses help sort things out, somehow. They help me, I don't know, go through the filing cabinets a bit. I don't feel that I'm in mortal danger from them, even when I am... that's not to say I don't recognize it, but I can be rational about it. Horses are emotionally sensitive, and in a way the sort of project their emotions as well, if you can learn how to interpret their language of gestures, angles, and sounds. To me they just radiate "if you are careful, safety is here."

But even with horses, it can be hard to remember. It can be hard to remember things that I treasure. You know treasured memories?I never know when I'll lose them entirely.

So I write. I write so that the next time I try to think about, say, summer at the ranch, and what happened then anyway, I can read and I can watch and hope that the memories can be found, resurfacing from a sea of confusion.

When I am in the city, I never feel safe.
When I am with my beloved, I feel safe at times, but there are so many things beyond our control that are scary.
When I am on the road, I never feel safe, and often feel angry.
When I am with horses, I feel safe, I feel home.
So even when my life changes, for better or worse, I can at least come here and remember, there is a home for me, in my heart if no where else, where I can be safe. And it is made of silly faces, velvet noses, walking in time to my dorky singing, warm air blown gently in my hair, great, round eyes filled with so many things, and a a strong, warm neck that sports a mane wet with my tears.


Maggie said...

I remember you blogging about a house for rent near the barns. Is there anything you can do to make that your new reality? I cannot live in the city and I wish Sol and DDranch were so much closer for you...

Evergrey said...

I could, so very much. But I cannot afford two rents and bills and things. :( The man cannot commute from Pope Valley to San Francisco every day either.