Monday, August 1, 2016

Living involves a constant risk assessment.

500,000 people saw the Fireworks Saturday night.

I went to Bruce’s to sit on his balcony to watch the Disney fireworks on Saturday night. I was taking in the event along with another 500,000 people. The crowds and the explosions of loud noise didn’t go well with me. My PTSD made the explosions and roar of the crowd hit me like a tornado.  
As did the parade: There were too many sirens and screaming, too much amplified music and far too many people in loud brazen party mode. I was really happy for all the celebrants but even eight floors above it, I had to retreat deep into Bruce’s apartment to bear the noise. Even that was ineffectual, so I took my medications and slept through the much of it. It’s a festival of extremes.
However, I did manage to see Prime Minister Trudeau and his family in the parade. It made me weep to see him so casually dressed and with his wife and children walking and waving. The sight of him so casually dressed and pushing a stroller with our handsome gay-friendly mayor at his side (in a muscle shirt) and my favourite federal ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Harjit Sajjan marching with them in my community’s parade—whereas once we were shunned.
It really moved me, as did seeing Pride posters and colours all over town. Pride is the biggest party in the city now and it began as a parade for outsiders who were vilified at the time. Olive Howe remembers being spat on in early Pride parades.
And now, our Prime Minister proudly leads a celebration of acceptance. The churches, that were once places where acceptance and tolerance are corruptions of their founding values so Pride has replaced them as a true environment of inclusion. God bless us.
And now it is Monday morning; we are in the penumbra of Pride. It is recovery day. Up at five-thirty am, I see the last of yesterday evening’s celebrants heading home in their glittery and scant costumes.
Today Steve will go home. I will be happy to have my home back to myself but I am going to miss him terribly. We met, fell in love instantly, lived together for fourteen years, separated honorably twenty-two yeas ago and remain brothers. We fit like ham and cheese.
It’s a drug, intimacy, and I want to be addicted. I have an intellectual/spiritual intimacy with Dwight that brings purpose and meaning to my life. And my friend Rob is a tender straight man whom I adore who often throws an arm around me as we watch music videos. It makes me uncomfortable but I hope he never stops.
But having Steve here so very comfortably living with me in my small condo has been the nicest time alive I have had since developing this crushing PTSD.
I crashed on April 9th. In a week, I will have been living with acute PTSD symptoms for four months. In short form, this is what I have learned.
Home alone is best. Walking alone in the city is tolerable; walking alone in nature is sacred.
If a friend comes to visit or is I go to visit someone, for the first five minutes I am going to have difficulty speaking. Then I will be fine.
I can handle up to three people in a quiet place, and no more. Parties are anathema to me.
Movies are too loud; they are intolerable.
The medications I have are effective (but sleep-inducing).

Living with PTSD involves a constant risk assessment.

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