I’m Not That Guy In The Old Senshido Videos Anymore.
That was a very reactive guy. A guy whose reactions were predicated by self diagnosed (based on extremely limited understanding back then) complex PTSD and severe ADHD (diagnosed in early childhood along with an IQ of 140, much of which multiple head injuries have probably reduced to double digits by now). I was angry to say the least. My anger was oppressed, misdirected and consuming. I didn’t even know it as I used to sell it as righteousness, and many bought it. But it governed my then, extremely violent lifestyle. Along with chronic depression I managed to override and bury through a perpetually distracting lifestyle and the uncanny skill of being able to lie to myself until my world from under me eventually collapsed, I found myself spiralling down to the point of not wanting to live anymore. I wasn’t suicidal per se. I didn’t have thoughts of killing myself, but I would wake up disappointed I have to face another day. Depression for me (a symptom of both complex PTSD and ADHD I later found out) came in the form of cynicism, lack of motivation, extreme boredom and the subsequent urge of killing it, perpetual mental fatigue and especially, anger. I began hyper focusing on conspiracy theories, projecting my anger on my perceived wrong doings of humanity. Things of course, that were completely out of my control (which was prevalent to maintain my misdirected anger and need to fight and lash out along with solving my fear of both failure and success as no single person can solve any major government or major corporation conspiracy by themselves, so I appointed myself the “outer”, can’t fail or succeed when outing shit to people, so if they listen, great, if they don’t keep on fighting till they do, it’s a perfect self distracting predicament as it never ends and feeds ones dopamine receptors, and since mine are fucked to begin with due to ADHD, well...)
My work began to suffer, and I got to a point I didn’t even want to continue teaching self defense and martial arts anymore. I quit and sunk deeper into my dark world hyper focussing on various things beyond my ability to do anything about them other than rant to the world about it on social media and arguing with anyone who disagreed with me. It wasn’t until 2015 when thoughts of not wanting to live anymore became a little more rampant than I liked that I finally decided something was wrong. After all, I fancied myself a “warrior” and “warriors” aren’t quitters. So, I wasn’t about to give in to these thoughts, and as my third marriage crumbled and I found myself a single father sharing joint custody of a child while thinking about not wanting to live anymore, I decided it was time to see a psychotherapist. I went through a few before finding the right one. I’m glad I didn’t give up after the first few shitty ones either because it came damn close. Too damn close. I was about to give into my anger and preconceived notions that all therapists are assholes who can’t wait till your hour’s over to collect their ends, which both obviously and logically aren’t factually true. However, from my personal and anecdotal experience, the good ones are as far and few between as good self defense instructors. You really gotta do the work to find a good one unless you luck out first time around or had a great one referred. Anyway, therapy did wonders. It crossed the proverbial i’s and dotted the t’s for me. I was finally diagnosed with complex PTSD, disassociation, social anxiety and acute ADHD. The symptoms of these overlap too. I suffer from all of the following: Memory loss and loss of time (like major chunks of my life, stories interlap, I remember shit that never happened), executive dysfunction (this one’s a bitch and the list of its symptoms are too long, just google them of you’re interested), emotional dysregulation, hyperfocus, difficulty controlling attention and impulses, disorganization and problem prioritization, poor time management skills, excessive restlessness, problems following through and completing tasks, interrupting people while they talk, and those are just the side effects of ADHD which have literally helped crumble countless relationships and work opportunities.
COUNTLESS I TELL YOU. Not to mention the number of times I was called lazy, stupid, careless, selfish, inattentive, disruptive, rude, obnoxious, fucking list goes on. What’s that proverbial saying? Had I known then what I know now?
Then there’s CPTSD. The symptoms that have governed most of my life since the tender age of 12 and worsened with time as I put myself in more traumatic situations to deal with my initial trauma, which include but aren’t limited to: Hyperarousal, which kept me being constantly on hyper alert, triggering my amygdala 24/7 releasing stress hormones causing insomnia and decrease in ability to concentrate. Social anxiety and paranoia, which includes avoiding gatherings, large groups, areas that trigger traumatic past events, relationships with other people including old friendships, not being able to trust others and believing the world is very dangerous. Distraction to avoid dealing with thoughts and feelings from working 100-hour work weeks to sex to substance abuse, I did everything possible to avoid dealing with my shit. Now, emotional dysregulation comes with both CPTSD and ADHD. Good times, good times. This meant misdirected anger, which came in many, many forms like road rage, smashing inanimate objects (walls, computers, cars, TVs anything that wouldn’t work to my expectation or immediate satisfaction) and who suffered from these the most? Not the inanimate objects, as at the end of the day, those outbursts cost me money. Not the people I road raged at, they couldn’t hear me and those that happen to have because our windows were open, and traffic slowed never really agreed with me. Nope, those that suffered were those that were there to witness my misdirected anger expressed in the way it was. I was abusing them, not the intended targets as they were the ones that had to deal with my venom. And the reality is and was, it wasn’t my computer, car, guy who drove to slow in front of me that I was angry at, at all. It was all the shit I hadn’t dealt with from my past which I buried deep inside along with the lifestyle that I purposefully, although unconsciously chose to perpetuate it. I attracted every kind of antisocial personality type in existence today into my life. I worked for several and with countless. I attracted violence. I preached de-escalation while I manipulated the opposite to my justification narrative’s satisfaction. I was aggressive, dark, violent but virtuous at the same time. Luckily, I have an overabundance of empathy, or I would have turned out a highly destructive psychopath. So, the abuse I did to my loved ones through road rage, misdirected anger, lying, cheating, overworking, self-sabotaging, self-destructing, etc. was all without conscience intent to hurt any of them along with the lack of understanding and willingness to acknowledge that it did just that. It’s not intellectual stupidity, it’s emotional stupidity. Therapy identified and brought forth to consciousness many, many things and though there are certain things I cannot fix due to both my neurodivergence and CPTSD, there were many more I was able to fix and even more I am able to manage a good portion of the time. Enter Pam in my life and her knowledge and personal experiences shine an even brighter light on my personal predicaments which have allowed me to deep dive (hyperfocus) into PTSD, CPTSD and Neurodivergency and their effects on both me, relationships, and our work. Doesn’t mean I’m healed. Doesn’t mean I don’t fuck up, sink, or lose myself every now and then, but the incidents are further apart with time. I’m a much more patient person, road rage is gone. I don’t hit walls or get pissed at inanimate objects anymore (saved loads of cash. Loads.) I don’t attract violence anymore. I no longer get triggered by the things that used to trigger me. I don’t stash knives behind my couches, beds, toilets, kitchen tables etc. anymore. I’m not angry at the world anymore. I don’t see evil lurking behind every corner waiting to get me or my loved ones. Doesn’t mean I don’t get angry at certain situations or events, but I am no longer governed by that anger. I have a much greater sense of peace. I’m in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in and by a landslide. I’ve cut many frivolous relationships out and maintain the healthy ones. I no longer self-destruct or substance abuse of any kind. I no longer have thoughts of not wanting to live, matter of fact, I have become supremely grateful for my life and all that I have. I have no perpetual or destructive hate in me anymore. Besides my personal relationships bettering, my work and career have both tremendously grown and evolved along with my finances. There is something to be said about changing the world by first changing yourself, and that comes with accountability and admittance that we all need fixing/healing to one degree or another. From my personal experience, the more you think you don’t and the more you fancy yourself a “warrior”, the greater the chance you’re the one that needs it the most.