Trauma, Diagnosis, and Therapy
Hardcore Chema shows her tats but not her face
(Born again Cholas show their face and not their tats).
This is the latest update following my therapy and re-adjustment to my home life after surviving a near-death experience. I see my Psychiatrist twice a week. I am currently taking Tramadol for headaches, Xanax for anxiety and sleep problems. I started my sessions late last year after my health care provider approved my doctor, but denied my request for counseling with a regular Psychologist. As such, in exchange for short talk sessions with my Shrink, I maintain my medicine regimen.
The drugs are starting to kick in. They're placing distance between good memories and bad. It's like the schizophrenics conundrum -- only sick people take meds, but if you take your meds, the voices stop, so you are not sick anymore. So we stop taking the meds, and the voices return. But since we're well, the voices must be normal. They are good voices. Sick people hear bad voices. In my case, the meds are supposed to help me deal with my dreams, but the Tramadol makes them worse. My conundrum is that only sick people have bad nightmares; I have good nightmares. The Shrink says that they are good because I can remember them. I can't remember the bad ones, the ones that wake me up all shaking and sweaty. Another thing that the meds do is make me want to stop writing this blog. The Shrink has to twist my arm to return here with more accounts, but I guess I get it. These are the normal voices telling the Schizo that he's getting well, that I'm not the only one with these problems.
A friend of mine from the Maravilla Projects in East Los Angeles shared her account with me for Update #3.
Cecilia s Account
I was 16 years old. I was living with my mom and two younger sisters in a duplex in Boyle Heights, California. I was attractive in my tight jeans and bra one size too small for my bust. The boys were always dropping by to see me, but my mom didn't let me go out. She didn't mind when her dates paid attention to me. She mostly dated old gang members. Veteranos (veterans). They dressed sharp and smelled nice with cologne. Sometimes two guys would visit me and my mom in the same evening.
Once my mom went to bed early and two guys showed up. I don't remember exactly because I change it so much each time I remember it, but I do remember teasing them. The younger one of them got mad and tried to slap me. The older one took out a knife and swung it at the angry one, backing him up.
That's when I noticed it. The young guy's eyelid was hanging. You could see his whole eyeball. It was looking for its lid. The older guy with the knife took off running down the long stairway leading to the street. The injured guy blinked his other eyelid furiously as if that would reattach his lid.
Mom woke up from the guy's screaming. So did our neighbors. I didn't even hear the screams. My mom told me to call 911, but I just kept staring at that naked eye. My neighbor, the nosy old lady, kept asking me, "What have you done this time? " So I punched her. She fell down the stairs. The ambulance took the guy and the old lady. He survived, but the old lady died, the police took me.
The cops didn't charge me and ruled it an accident. They said I was in shock. I stopped going to school and started dating older guys. My mom kicked me out when I got pregnant by one of her boyfriends. He ditched me. I lost the baby. I was smoking crack back when it was new in the hood. Lots of times it would explode. I had burn marks on my face. I wasn't so pretty anymore.
I joined a girls gang, the Maravilla Projects Girls (MPGs). Got busted a lot. But lucky I found God after I ODed on some good caballo (horse, herion) going coming through the neighborhood when the Salvatruchas tried to muscle the Mexican Mafia (LA EME) out of East Los. I wasn't used to such strong drag. I couldn't straighten up. I was in the hospital in a coma for about a week. When I woke up, I looked down at the floor and saw some sandaled feet by my bed. It had to be Jesus.
I cleaned up my act. I'm 40 years old now. Got two kids. Yeah, they're cholos but go to school. I go to church and go to therapy with our Pastor. I talk to him about my nightmares and my paranoia. I'm taking antipsychotics and antidepressants. I also counsel young cholas who recently joined girl gangs in the Montebello area.
If there is one image that stayed with me that all the sex and drugs and shit couldn't erase, it was that naked eyeball. That young dude died a couple years ago. He once said hello to me, but I threw up and told him to leave. The second image is the one of the old lady at the bottom of the stairs. She appears all the time in my dreams. I can't tell her I'm sorry, but God forgives me. That's all that matters now.