I have severe Asthma, and just walking that length on my own causes heavy breathing. When I am carrying my son or anything else more than 5 pounds, I can hardly breathe by the time I get in my door (my son is 20lbs, mind you).
That is only one reason- a very good one, considering I tend to have anxiety that arrives as soon as I realize I have to make that trek again. I always become overwhelmed with worry and frustration at the thought of things that cause me discomfort. Lack of oxygen is most definitelysomething that causes discomfort.
Another reason is my neighbors. The walls are thin and directly on the other side of my son’s bedroom wall lives a family with 4 kids and 2 adults. Their apartment is a two-bedroom like ours, and just my husband, 1-year-old son and I are cramped- I cannot imagine what it’s like in that home.
Here is my main issue with that family: they are loud, undisciplined, and don’t care in the least that the kids run wild and the Mom openly disrespects anyone who has authority within our complex. They also mainly speak Spanish, and it gets frustrating when they will speak to each other while eyeing me and sometimes giggle. I don’t know what they are saying, however it is never a good feeling.
Over the last few weeks, the 4 kids that live next door have been randomly running through the halls knocking on my door and jiggling the handle. I didn’t think much of it, because I am so used to them being completely unruly and it seems that complaining will do no good.
That is, until yesterday.
My husband, son, niece and I had left our apartment to pick up my sister from work to take them home and passed one of the kids that lives next to us as he was going up the steps. Well, when we got to the car and settled with the kids all buckled in, I realized I forgot my phone in the house (that never happens- I always have it within reach). So, I went back inside to get it, and as I climbed the steps, I heard a door handle jiggling. As I rounded the second flight of stairs to the final set that led straight to my door (we live in a small building with three levels that each have a short, straight hallway with 2 apartments on both sides of the hall. My apartment is directly at the top of the stairs) I could see my door from the landing, and I saw the little boy we had passed on the stairs about 10 minutes earlier dart away from my door as soon as he heard me on the last flight. Obviously, he knew I had caught him- what made me really nervous was that he kept looking back and staring intently at me as I unlocked my door. The kid was watching me so much to the point that he was walking almost completely sideways down the hall, so he could stare at me. He watched me until he got inside his door, and I went into my mine right afterwards. I know it takes maybe a minute to get up the steps, so the fact that he was still in the hall was not lost on me in that moment, and he is old enough to be fully in control and aware of what he is doing.
I have always had anxiety surrounding people invading my space and either stealing from me or hurting me. It is not a completely invalid fear, either, because I have had too many experiences of this happening, particularly while I was living in a place that was not my own. I cannot handle the stress of the anxiety on top of a new and completely legitimate reason to be afraid of someone invading my space. I am unable to sleep without my husband in the apartment- I can’t even nap without him here, and now my body is constantly on high alert even when he is here.
I have a mixture of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD (plus Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depression), and a part of my PTSD surrounds when I was only 20 and homeless in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I was raised in a Christian Bubble. My parents protected me from a lot while I was growing up- much of which I thank them for and plan to use to raise my own child. Unfortunately, they sheltered me greatly from many of the cruel truths of the world (by no means on purpose. Every parent wants what is best for their child, and they had no way of knowing what the future will hold).
While I was homeless, I was molested, raped, emotionally and verbally abused, and stolen from by many of the other homeless youth I came across in the shelters and Drop-In Center I spent my life in. That alone is enough to scar a person for life. Not to mention I have a hate to go downtown without my husband or a trusted friend/family member with me because of the memories that assault me just being there. So many places have negative memories of things that happened to me, being a naïve girl thinking that the boys that showed an interest in me actually liked me.They knew all the spots downtown to take me to make it impossible to be witnessed, and just hanging out with them while we wandered around has terrible memories attached to just being in that area.
I became homeless because my mother suffers from Bi-Polar disorder anddidn’t know how to control the extreme emotions caused by it. Therefore, when she was angry, she hit me. It got so bad that I finally made the decision to call the cops- I felt as though my mother was beating me and nobody bothered to save me. Even the cops treated me as though I was overreacting because by the time they got there, Mom was calm, and I was in hysterics. The thing is though, I was terrified, because my mom had been punching me and aiming blows at my face, while I blocked and yelled for help. Nobody came to help me. To this day it is my experience of the events against hers. Neither of us was innocent in it- I tended to egg her on after awhile because I resigned myself to the fact that she was so angry nothing I did would change what she was doing, so might as well just let her keep going and end my life if she couldn’t stop. When she finally stopped, I called the cops because she had always come back. It never ended with one attack- she would walk away and come back 2 or 3 times before it really stopped. The cops completely disregarded my fears and experience and told me without a care I had to leave. They didn’t care where I went, they just said I am no longer allowed in my parents’ house.
Yeah, those were dark times for us both. My Mother didn’t realize what she was doing, and while I was going through hell being hurt by her, she was going through hell knowing she was hurting me and not knowing how to stop. Fortunately, our relationship has improved back to the point of being a close-nit, happy family again. Sure, we still have disagreements, but none have been anywhere near physical since then. Plus, we have forgiven each other, and I only even think of that time when I have flashbacks of the events- always without negative feelings towards my Mom.
I have so many layers to my PTSD- physical, emotional, sexual and verbalabuse, rape, distrust, abandonment- the list continues to grow. It seems as though I cannot do anything in life without a flashback ruining the moment, and sometimes the day.
I am not letting it beat me, though. I am so much stronger than my illness, and I have spent years gaining the skills to counteract it and live a productive life.
I volunteered at a concert last week, on a Friday night, at the Target Center in Downtown Minneapolis- by myself. That’s right, I signed up and went to the concert to volunteer without hesitating, even though I would be alone. I literally didn’t even think about where the Concert was until about an hour before leaving. The best part? I had a blast. Being there alone gave me amazing opportunities to meet new people and share an even moreamazing night with people who I may never see again but will always be a part of my life.
I no longer let my fears fully control me. I have become able to stop my illness from stealing my joy, though it is not at all easy to do most of the time.
I have a crappy past, and a lot of hurt that will follow me for the rest of my life.
The thing is, I can choose to let it control me and live in fear or take control of it and live life to the fullest despite the pain I relive every day.
I am choosing to live in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest. Who’s with me?