…………………………………………….(35 to 45 minute read.)
Chapter One of Six
EXPERIENCING THE GREAT FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 2007-2008 GAVE BIRTH TO PIGGYBANKBLOG.COM
This true story is dedicated to all those who were abused as children. I have written this story to let them know they are not alone. Nevertheless please be advised there is very graphic imaging of real life events involving both physical violence and severe psychological abuse in today’s story. Therefore — with this being understood — it is highly suggested you do not proceed if imaging of this nature has been known to bother you in the past. Thank you. John Wright at Piggybankblog.com.
In 1998 I was prescribed a medication that was used to prevent an epileptic from having a seizure. I was prescribed the medication to help me combat the PTSD I inherited from one single traumatic event I suffered from as a child. I was instructed to take it three times a day. The only side effects were occasional double vision and some difficulty concentrating. This was especially when I was tired. For the most part it worked. It did help me tolerate the more extreme and obnoxious people in my family who were well-known by others for causing damage. Then something happened. In 2011 I lost my medical insurance. I could no longer afford the medication.
The effect of suddenly stopping the medication was profound. It felt as though my mind was a thin sheet of glass that had been dropped from a ten story building and shattered into a million pieces on the ground below. It was like a sleeping tiger had awoken. Soon I could feel everything and see every bad person in my life for who they really were. I was no longer willing to “cast my pearls among swine.” I immediately detached from anyone I perceived to be a danger to me as a result of their complete disregard for the welfare of others. I removed people from my life who were self-serving to such a pathological extreme that their victims could not possibly avoid being hurt — drained and damaged by the end of it. My solution was to get out of harm’s way.
It was around this time I started thinking about how we had all been drinking the backwash of all the mortgage brokers and Wall Street traders and bankers for years. I could slowly feel all the rage I felt from my childhood beginning to rear it’s ugly head. It was as if a billion beams of light had come together in the middle.
I started a blog in 2010 because of the Great Financial Crisis in the United States and in protest of Bank of America. It was my intention to break into a billion pieces any selfish and self-centered spirit who was unfortunate enough to land in my Venus flytrap. I say — “Venus flytrap” — because I had every intention of pouring twice the measure into the cup they were about to have me drink from. The tone within me and on the blog drastically changed overnight after losing my 25 year business in 2011 to the Great Recession of our times. It was like a sleeping tranquilized tiger had suddenly awoken. It was hungry and it was really pissed off. The words started flowing out of my keyboard like lava oozing out from an exploding volcano. The audience absolutely loved it.
I apparently was not the only one who felt this way about drinking the backwash of the self-centered people on Wall Street and those who worked at the top in the banks. Overnight the blog readership doubled and tripled and quadrupled. Even people in the United States Senate and United States Congress and the Executive Office of the President of United States of America started visiting my daily blog on a daily basis.
Tracking results below:
Then a major Russian newspaper posted my story and blog all over Europe. It must have been both admirable and disturbing.
I owned and operated a successful driving school in northern California for over twenty years. Then in 2008 “The Great Recession” of our times hit my small company. I spent all the money I had saved over the years trying to save it. I spent nearly 400k. However — unfortunately — on November 15th, 2011 — I lost my twenty five year company in the wake of the recession. It was ultimately the reason I was no longer able to control my environment with the vast amounts of money I had made from being in business for over twenty years. This would mean I could no longer afford the medication I had been prescribed to combat the symptoms of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Therefore — on November 15th, 2011 — without warning — the walls of my little Titanic exploded inward and the water started blasting in faster than I could control it. I lost absolute control over my environment.
I felt vulnerable because I was in the danger zone of my disorder. It is a “danger zone” because self-neglect begins during the time these kinds of feelings arise in a person suffering from this kind of disorder. I stopped answering the phone because it was probably creditors looking for money or someone trying to take advantage of me. I stopped checking the mailbox because it was probably full of things I could not control. I stopped mowing the lawn or trimming the hedges because I feared the bank would take my home soon after I finished the work. I stopped controlling my eating because I did not know when I was hungry. I eventually dropped down from 185 to 165 pounds at 6’1 in just a few short months. I stopped controlling when I slept because I would not know when I was tired. I would sometimes stay up for three days with no sleep. I stopped controlling when I would cut my hair because it involved me having to leave the house. My hair eventually grew down to my shoulders. I rarely went outside because the symptoms had started to become physically visible.
The solution in November of 2011 was to make my environment smaller because I would have less urges to control things when there were less things to control. This resulted in me locking myself in one room of my house for one year — away from everyone I knew because I felt vulnerable.
Therefore — on November 16th, 2011 — I officially became a prisoner in my own home and in my own body.
The medication had originally been prescribed to combat the anxiety I would experience during a flight on an airplane. It was to prevent me from exhibiting strange behavior at thirty thousand feet. I used to become a different person at thirty thousand feet. I would especially become irritable and anxious if I was not allowed to sit in my preferred seat on the airplane. That is based on the fact that I would always have to sit in the same seat on the right side of the plane by the window and above the right wing. Things generally went well for everyone on the flight as long as I had that seat. It only became a problem if you were already sitting in my seat when I boarded the plane. I would begin to feel more and more agitated the higher the plane climbed. What was my solution at thirty thousand feet? My solution was to sit right next to you and bug the living shit out of you until you moved out of my seat. It didn’t matter who you were either. I remember one time there was a football player type guy sitting in my seat. I thought he was going to kick my ass at thirty thousand feet after I told him where he could put his laptop in the event it did not fit under his seat. I still remember the slow turn of his head. His eyes locked with mine as I sat there with a shit eating grin on my face fully expecting him to move — and — after he did move — I began clapping. I would be so embarrassed when the plane landed that I would often find myself apologizing to any other passengers I had harassed. I remember one guy accepted my apology but explained how he thought I was taking the phone on and off the hook and slamming it on the back of his seat on purpose. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was doing it on purpose. I could not help it though. I felt like everyone was selfishly breathing up the air that I needed to live. There was just something about being thirty thousand feet high in a plane that would slowly turn me into the character Jack Nicholson played in the movie “As Good As It Gets.”
One time my bad behavior became so extreme that I was almost arrested exiting the plane. I was told that at thirty thousand feet my behavior was a federal offense. Therefore, I was faced with one of two choices. I could either provide everyone on the flight with pills to help them tolerate me — or – I could medicate myself to help me tolerate them. I realized that I would probably need some kind of medication for the anxiety — but — what I really wanted to know was why I acted this way at thirty thousand feet. So I went to a psychiatrist.
I went through a series of psychological tests in 1998 for the flight anxiety. A psychiatrist determined I was suffering from a lifetime of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) from one single traumatic event in my childhood. The symptoms were so slight they could have gone undetected had I not gone in for the flight anxiety. I am guessing the day I insisted on wearing a mask and gloves after my former wife made me take the children to the doctor should have been a sign. The kids thought it was hilarious. I must have looked ridiculous. It also explained why my eyes become watery when I watch the movie “Aviator” or “A Beautiful Mind.” I relate with that feeling of being trapped in your body. It does not happen all the time though. It depended on what was going on in my life. I have noticed it more when I feel vulnerable. It is hard to explain. Sometimes things bother me. Sometimes things don’t.
… . . .. .
The psychiatrist in 1998 determined I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after asking me a series of questions about my childhood.
Doctor: “It appears you are a person who has to control his environment at all times. This kind of phobia is usually based on some traumatic event that happened in childhood. Do you remember anything traumatic that happened in your childhood?”
John Wright: “There were a lot of things in my childhood that might be considered ‘traumatic.’ One of the most traumatic things I remember was being born – but — other than that — I remember my mother and father separating when I was six years old being traumatic. I missed him terribly because I loved my father more than anything in the world. He never hit me and was always nice to me. One of my best memories was when he dressed up as Santa Claus on Christmas when I was four of five years old. It is ultimately the reason I sometimes find myself often looking at the picture someone snapped of me sitting on his lap with a big smile on my face. I always do the same thing. I look at the picture and wonder what he was thinking.
My father was a tormented soul. So not all the memories were good ones. I will give you an example. I remember when I was five he took an axe to all the furniture in the house. He said to my mother — ‘Nobody can have you if I can’t.’ I can still remember my mother picking me up in her arms and frantically running out the door and into the car to escape. Her hands were shaking nervously as she tried to put the keys into the ignition to get away. It seemed we were always running from something but she had good reason to be running on this day. That is because my father was coming towards the car dragging a sledge hammer behind him. I remember he beat the shit out of that car as we were pulling away. I waived goodbye to him from the backseat as we left. I am not sure but seem to believe this was the day they separated.
The last time I would ever see my real father was in 1976 a few months after this last argument between him and my mother. I was happy to see him because I missed him terribly. He said that I could have any toy that I wanted that day. I remember he and I had walked to the toy store about fifteen blocks away from where he lived to buy the toy. Along the way we sat down to eat our lunch on a lawn beside someone’s house. The people who owned the house came out to complain. My father looked up at them and apologized. I was furious. I was mad that they had interrupted this time between me and my father.
Johnny Wright: “They are stupid!”
My Father: “No Johnny. They are not ‘stupid’. We were wrong. We were sitting on their lawn. I don’t want to hear you calling people ‘stupid’ again. I don’t like hearing you talk like this about someone.”
Johnny Wright: “I don’t care! They are stupid! Mommy is stupid too! She made you leave and now I am hardly able to see you!”
My father suddenly stopped dead in his tracks and let go of my little six year old hand. Then he knelt down to be at eye level with me while he turned my face towards his. He then grabbed my arms and turned me towards him.
My Father: “Johnny! I don’t ever want to hear you say anything like this again! Do you hear me!? Look at me! Your mommy loves you very much! Johnny I don’t want you to forget how much your mommy loves you! There is nobody she loves more than you! You have a family who loves you! Do you hear me!? I want you to promise me right now you will never forget how much your mommy loves you! Promise me! I want you to hug me and promise right now!”
Johnny Wright: “I promise daddy.”
This would be the last time I would ever see my real father. It had taken many years to realize he was saying goodbye to me. He killed himself a few months later. He was twenty six years old.
Therefore — doctor — these are some of the last memories I have of my father — and yet — I can confidently tell you it was not this event that caused my urge to control my environment. It was something far more terrifying and tragic. It would be something that would forever change the entire course of my life.
I am ready to answer your question now.”