Monday, August 31, 2009

My New Brother

My new brother,

When I was younger, my brother and I were both polar opposites. He was placed with our family shortly after I was placed. He was very much an FAS baby and he went through TERRIBLE withdrawal from alcohol. I remember days and nights where he would SCREAM and shriek at the top of his lungs. It was absolutely terrible. We were powerless. We couldn't help him as an infant going through the withdrawl. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for him.

My brother and I grew up hating each other. I would beat the ever living crap out of him almost on a daily basis. He was another target of my rage. In fact in one very bloody animal killing, I was ready to run away from home. He stopped me (He was much smaller than me) and said "Where are you going, I love you!??!" My response to him was "If you don't get out of my way, you will die too...". Of course he moved. Who wouldn't. I was known for my violent tempers and he knew how strong I was.

My brother and I enjoyed the relationship that every other brother/brother doesn't. I think in part we secretly cared about each other deep down but we were on our own separate paths of personal destruction. He really heavily got into drugs, I got heavily into booze and pills. He ended up in jail after his drug addiction caught up with him. I ended talking backwards for a year after the paint thinner I was huffing daily caught up with me.

There were times that we did enjoy each other's company but it was a rare occurrence. Both of us were adopted and we just didn't feel that deep connection to each other. We were strangers in our own home, albeit a very broken one. Our relationship mostly revolved around making each other miserable and we did a great job at it. Too many times I stole one of his girlfriends or he would scream, yell and spit at me. Ahh...The memories. :-)

There are very few pictures of us together. In the pictures we do have of each other, we are both frowning, or doing our best to keep each other at bay from one another. In essence, we lived totally separate lives of pain and suffering and we weren't doing each other any favors.

I told myself I hated my brother. I told myself I wanted him dead. I am sure there were plenty of times he said the same things. My brother has always been a very passive person, which I respect. You can't tell him to do anything he doesn't want to do. He has always been a lover, not a fighter of which I was secret ely jealous of. That guy always had a cute girl by his side (Which pissed me off of course, loll) that was always beautiful!

Our relationship didn't sour per se, more kind of faded. Over the years as things got worse for me, he drifted in and out of the family's lives, doing whatever it was he was doing.

Once my recovery began, I tried talking to him, which of course was hard. We all remember those horrible days in living color. It took a good 6 months before he would say more then a word to me, which I totally understand and appreciate. Every time we would talk, it would be one sentence, and then on another call, 2 sentences. Finally, the dam broke when he started reading my RAD (Yes I said it) blog. Once he started reading about the sorrow I felt over everything I had done, he realized that I was reaching out to him through my words as well.

"What your doing takes allot of balls, Mike" he said to me. I was almost giddy. My brother and I were once again talking. This time, however, we were REALLY talking. "Thanks man, I really appreciate that". For the first time in my life in regards to my brother, what he said made a huge difference to me and helped me write even more, regardless of what people had to say about me or the things I wrote. He gave me allot of strength, of which I am still indebted to him for.

Finally, I met his boyfriend and him at his place. My parents showed up, my girlfriend and I were there along with my brother and his boyfriend. I learned something about my brother that I never actually took the time to understand. He is without a doubt an inspiring cook. That guy can cook like I have never seen before. He shocked me with his knowledge. He sliced, he diced, he minced and he baked. It was totally amazing. I saw my brother and his talents for what they were, without motivation and without reflection. My brother, was a cook! (That's not his profession, but it should be). I was PROUD to see him do something that he loved. He was truly in his element and I was honored to see that side of him come out.

My family, my brother, his boyfriend and my girlfriend all sat down, eating, laughing and having some drinks. The tension that usually is in the room as we all sat down wasn't. The years of hatred wasn't there. The air wasn't thick anymore. This is the way it was always supposed to be. It was a great time that I wish didn't have to end.

My girlfriend, my brother, me and his boyfriend all went to a BAR! I usually stay away from bars because every time I would go to one, I would end up in fight. It took allot of coaxing but I finally gave in. I wanted to hang with my brother for the first real time in my life. It was great!! :-)

We had some beers and played some pool, laughing at each other (With the occasional punch in the arm with a hardy FU added in for brotherly love). I cheered him on as he missed an easy corner pocket shot and his boyfriend rolled his eyes at my clean side pocket shot. We laughed together and it was quite the spectacle. We did shuffleboard (Which he kicked my ass at) and laughed at each other.

After the night was over I said to him via text: "I was a really shitty brother and I want to prove to you that I want to make things right. I am going to prove to you that I want you in my life". He didn't respond but that's like my brother. He will get back to me when he's ready and I accept that. I am willing to wait on him.

Finally we are brothers. I am looking forward to learning more about my brother and there are still many things about him I don't know yet. I am willing to learn, however. I am so glad we had the chance for that evening it's one I won't ever forget. I look forward to the rest of our lives as brothers, having put the past where it belongs.

I still say he hit's like a girl! :-) :-) :-)

Michael

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cleaning blood from the walls.....

Feeling Suicidal?

**Graphic Post**

One thing that any R.A.D. Adult or sleeper will tell you, is they have come in close contact with suicide. Whether it be a personal story or someone they knew in an RTC most RAD Adults (Or RADults) have first hand knowledge of suicide. I urge all parents and those that are feeling suicidal to read about one of my many experiences with what suicide is really about and how devastating it truly is. I warn the reader that this is a very graphic post, so please read at your discretion.

With each step closer towards that creepy house, I knew that it was going to be bad. The sun was shining, and cars whizzing past one of Cleveland's busiest streets. Birds chirped innocently as if the scene I was about to enter didn't even exist. I knew otherwise. My girlfriend's brother had been hanging in his attic for over a week in 100 degree heat. These scene was going to be worse than anything I could have imagined and I knew there was no way to prepare for it.

As I opened the front door with my girlfriend in tow, the smell of death was beyond overpowering. It was like walking into a wall. The sweet smell of death was beyond overpowering. Instantly, I wanted to throw up. I knew however if I lost it, my girlfriend would lose it to. I swallowed hard and walked into a living room that was torn apart by the police officers two days before when the body was discovered. My girlfriend, speechless instantly walked into his bedroom which was equally in shambles by police officers looking for a suicide note he might of left behind. They couldn't find one.

I however, stayed in the living room, gazing into the kitchen. There, was one of Ryan's family members SWEEPING piles of flies off the linoleum floor. I didn't have to remind myself not to inhale through my nose, or my lunch would be all over the fly strewn floor. Ryan's parents were sitting at the kitchen table, still crying over the loss of their son. His death was sudden, a shock and a terrible loss to their family. I however, couldn't cry. Not because I didn't know this person, but I had already lost friends to suicides. This wasn't anything particularly new for me. A human life was gone and I was oddly detached from the entire scene. That was until of course, Ryan's mom and dad insisted we visit the scene of his actual death. Upstairs. This nightmare was going to continue.

Each step of the squeaky stairs was another step closer to something that I wasn't expecting. With every step, the smell of death became heavier and heavier. With every breath I took through my mouth I could literally taste the sweet taste of decomposition. The air was THICK with that smell, something you never forget. This was beyond nightmares that most people have. The thing, very confining steps only induced more claustrophobic terror. The entire house was devoid of life, of sound. It was the oddest and scariest thing that I had ever experienced. It was almost as if we were ascending into hell itself.

At the top of the stairs, the crime scene tape had been cut after the police finished their investigation. That tape was on strewn about the floor. I could just imagine some police officer saying "We are done here." and leaving in a hurry to the next call, callous to what must have been a horrific scene. The door to Ryan's room was open. As I walked in, I could feel the dead flies crunching underneath of my feet. Then, I saw it.

The cord.

The cord was still hanging from rafter, attached and tied to a pillar outside of the attic where Ryan hung himself. It was almost if this cord was lifeless itself. It was eerily still. Below the cord was a huge stain. This, we came to find out was blood and the fluids that flowed from Ryan's body as he decayed for over a week. This was suicide in all it's gory horror invading everyone's senses. I felt forced by the family to witness this. This is what finally got to me. The only thing left of Ryan was a rope and a stain on the floor. I imagined the scene, in fact, my girlfriends sister found the body. When she opened the door after hearing the millions of flies buzzing, his body was hanging right in front of her. She said his eyes were completely out of his head and his entire face was black (Which in a hanging suicide, is normal). I cannot even imagine seeing a body in this condition.

I couldn't stand it anymore. I was going to throw up. I instantly walked to downstairs and out of that house trying to step on dead flies. I didn't throw up. I let the cool breeze blow the stench of death from my nostrils. It took me a good 5 minutes before I started breathing through my nose. "We need help cleaning the house, Michael" Ryan's father said red eyes still welling tears for his son. "Ok, I will help you." What was I going to say, no?

1 day later, I was back in the home, cleaning these silly little spots off the walls with water and a sponge. "What the hell are these things, these damned dots?!" I kept asking myself. With each sweep of the sponge in the water, the water would get darker. This was the dirtiest house I had ever scene or it was something else. "If I were you, I would be using gloves" a voice boomed. I turned around startled. "That's blood." a police officer said. "Are you fucking serious?!?!" I asked. The officer nodded, smiling at me curtly as if I should have known what it was. "The stuff we spray to kill the flies, they expel their stomach contents, which is what kills them." I instantly dropped the sponge on the floor. I was cleaning my girlfriend's brother's blood off the walls with my bare hands.

That was all that was left of Ryan, and now, literally his blood was on my hands as well.

For those of you who are thinking about suicide, if your a R.A.D. Survivor thinking that suicide is the answer I promise you, it's not. Suicide isn't grandiose, it's not brave and it's probably the most selfish act imagineable. I know, however how hard it is sometimes to not think about suicide. We as R.A.D. Survivors have to deal with allot of memories that are buried deep within. I know how horrible the depression can get. I learned however that through Ryan's suicide, I don't know that I could ever let my friends or my family have to clean my own blood off the walls.

Would you??

Sunday, August 23, 2009

R.A.D. or Not R.A.D. that is the question

Dear All,

Ok. I try my best to be as open minded as possible. I have to tell you. I have seen more and more ANTI-R.A.D. websites popping up on the web with this simple message:

RAD isn't real and R.A.D. is a diagnosis to further the career of attachement therpaists and doctors.

I was shocked beyond words. A listed, documented disorder that has been defined by the medical community is now "junk science?" to line the pockets of doctors and RTC's?

So, in effect, R.A.D. isn't real anymore. It's a spin off of PTSD or some other disorder at least in the minds of some. These groups insist that the suffering of thousands of children and adults is null and void because R.A.D. is a money making scheme?

Ironically, every SINGLE one of the disorder's listed traits I exhibited in spades. The parents that read my blog don't have children with R.A.D., they have PTSD, Depresion and other afflictions.

I can't say I am angry but I wonder how many of these ANTI-RAD groups really understand what real R.A.D. is? Or how destructive it can be. Over diganosed by
doctors with their own interests. I can buy that. To suggest however that R.A.D.
isn't real is something that just nibbles at me.

I have looked into these online groups for their statistical and empirical data and of course, they don't have any data supporting their claims. I say this to those that don't believe R.A.D. is real:

Write to the APA, present your empirical data in a clear way and inspire change to the diagnosis. Until that day happens your not justifying your claims.

That's called junk science.

Michael
http://www.rad-online.org

Michael

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Looks like I am headed to the woods

Dear All,

Sorry I have been so quiet the last few days, as alot has been going on with RADOnline.

I have been ORDERED to go to the woods for some me time. So, like any good survivalist, I am headed into the woods for a day of relaxation, campfires and trail coffee. Apparently, I need the time off.

I shall return with pictures!

Michael

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

R.A.D. And Religion (Follow up to email)

Dear All,

I recieved an email today with some words of encouragement from a fellow blogger. This person thanked me for my writeup about R.A.D and religion and urged me to continue to write. Yes, it's dangerous. Yes, to tell a R.A.D. child they are going to hell for something they may have already done is terribly dangerous.

This blogger sent me a video link of something I thought I would share with my fellow readers. This my friends is simply shocking. I don't know what to say. To subject ANY child to this..let alone a R.A.D. child is simply unbelievable. I don't know what to say.

Thank you for sending this to me (You know who you are). I will let the video speak for itself. Thank you for encouraging me to continue writing even though I have gotten alot of hate mail these days.! LOL

One word: Wow

Monday, August 17, 2009

The earliest picture I have of myself.......It's still hard to look at














Dear All,

For those of you who are still following my blog, my mom (Bless her heart) kept and digitized a picture of me when I was 2 years old. My first home visit, the first time my family decided they wanted to adopt.

Apparently, from what my adoptive mom says I gave both of them a "Big Hug" and I was very clingly. Apparently, I was a very loving child. This picture is still very hard too look at, but as I promised to share my entire life story, I want to share it with the community.

What does this picture tell me? It tells me a couple of things:
  • The horrors I am sure I saw are masked with smiles.
  • I am a time bomb waiting to go off.
  • My parents don't know what's about to happen to me.
  • I want to mourn for this picture and warn this child about what is coming.
  • I wonder, what horrible things I had to suffer as a child because of my birthparent's mistakes and screwups.
  • I wish I could hold this child....
  • I shed a tear for this picture. It's the only picture I have that isn't masked with some horrible, ugly, terrible memory. It's the only one of it's kind.

Welll, that's all for tonight. I have a long night of work ahead of me.

Michael

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Kidnapping (Graphic Post Warning)

Dear All,

Well here we go. From RAD-Online.org to some more R.A.D. stuff. This is the first time I have ever told this story. It has taken me almost 17 years to come to some kind of grip with it. **Update** I write this after I buried this story 17 years ago to bring this story to light, in effect to empower other RAD/Abuse Survivors, through my experiences. I urge other R.A.D. survivors to come forward and speak out with their emotions and stories. I warn everyone that is about to read this, it is explicit and graphic. Read at your discretion***

My kidnapping.

I remember after I left the RTC that I was placed in, a staff worker's friend took a particular interest in me. He always seemed to be interested in me and how I was doing. Seemed like a cool guy. Some of his proclivities always had my guard up. (I made the assumption he was gay based on some of his outward suggestions).

One day out of the blue, right after my 17th birthday, he called me up. "Hey man! I am headed to Florida, check out some chicks! Wanna go!?!?" What horny, 17 year old suffering from R.A.D. say???? No? Of course not! Some fun, some sun and some women! (If I was lucky, perhaps a few beers). I told my parents about the trip, and my parents spoke to my friend and even they thought he was ok.

The trap had been set.

Next day, I took a bus up to Cleveland, Ohio where I met my old friend from RTC and stayed at his place. The next day "Max" (Edited for privacy) picked me up. We talked about all kinds of different things, how much fun we were going to have, the women we were gonna meet. I was so excited to be hangin' out with an older guy (A brother like figure to me) talking about real guy stuff. I was so excited!!

We got to his house and immediately trouble began. Max's house was really nice. He led me to my guest room (Which was nothing more than a mattress on the floor, TV a few windows and a T.V. He closed the door after I got comfortable, hanging out, watching T.V. A few minutes later he knocks on the door. Before I could get up and open the door, he was already inside. He immediately started wrestling with me, which I took as just guy play.

This person was extremely strong, almost animal like strong. While I was held down, he grabbed the remote next to me and starting playing some gay porn. I was instantly terrified. What do I do? Reader's must remember I was a TINY kid. This person easily weighed 270 pounds. He said:

"Doesn't that look like fun??!?!". No, it doesn't actually look like fun at all, I retorted. I was frozen, I was terrified. Was I going to be raped? Was I going to be killed? I just didn't' know.
He looked right at me as if to say "Your not going anywhere". Instead of raping me, however, he simply got up and left the room. Still kind of shocked over this whole event, I looked for a phone.

No phone in this room. I literally was scared to the point where I couldn't move. I just sat there.

Pretty soon, it was time to leave for Cleveland. This person already shown that he had strength over me and could control me if he really wanted to, and had declared what he wanted to do with me.

We got into his car (I should have run, or bit him or something) and we drove and drove and drove. All he did was talk about giving me a blowjob, me giving him a blowjob and how fun it could be to have sex with him. It was kind of odd, he was almost begging him to giving a handjob on this ride. We literally didn't stop until we were somewhere in Georgia. This later, I conclude was to keep me from phoning anyone and I can't run in a car going 70 miles an hour.

That night was pretty scary. There was only one bed in this hotel room and considering this person in my mind was still a friend (Can we say RAD) and considering his strength and demeanour I dared not move. He demanded that I sleep in the bed with him.

My thinking was this. If I didn't he might really hurt me or leave me stranded with no money in the middle of no where. This is where the friend part kind of faded fast. The entire night he kept grabbing my crotch, silently. Any every time, I had to take his hand off of me and put it somewhere else. Relentlessly he kept grabbing me. This happened for roughly 4 hours. It was pure hell.

Before long, it was morning, and I wasn't raped and it was time to move out. No time for anything. Breakfast was on the road. We ended up in Florida a few hours later. Finally, I could get onto the beach flag someone down, something.

That wasn't to be.

We arrived in Florida in the middle of the night. Instead of hanging out as this person promised, we went right to his room (Which of course, was yet again a one bedroom suite). This time, there was no denying what he wanted. He said "Come to bed with me". This time I was ready to fight to the death. "No, I won't". He went from friend to really pissed off person. He told me to sleep on the couch. I was fine with that. In the morning, I would make my escape.

The morning soon rose. "Let's hit the beach" he said. "Good, I thought, surely there would be a cop there." Of course, however he followed me. Once again, I had to be on good behavior. I didn't know what this person was capable of.

We were on the beach for 15 minutes before he said "We have to go...". Remember readers, i was confused, terrified, let down. I had no money and I felt stranded and alone. I had no choice. We went straight from the Florida coastline to the steamy inland of Ocala, Florida. Finally, he let me call my dad. There was one stipulation. He was to be right there when I made the call.

"I'm ok dad, thanks", was pretty much the entire conversation (if I remember correctly) so my parents thought I was with a legitimate friend. We stayed in Ocala for one day.

We finally ended up in S.C. where "Max"continued his sexual banter almost 24 hours a day. We stayed with his cousin and his girlfriend "Red". The first thing that happened when I walked in and sat down, "Red" put her arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "What the hell is going on here?!?! I thought. She was a beautiful woman yes, but what was going on here?" I kept asking myself.

The next day "Max" said, "Red wants to fuck you, and you can have her if you give me a blowjob". I wanted to puke right there, but there was this odd disconnect that I felt. Now "Max was playing into my disturbed side. There was no way that was going to happen. I said "Oh come on now man, she's with your cousin, no way she would do it with me!!" I said, smiling. This little ruse seemed to knock some of the steam out of the argument.

The next day was the final straw. I write this to educate those around to me as to the reality of the situation. I haven't SPOKEN of this to ANYONE. I haven't been able to repeat these words in over 16 years. I choose to do it now in hopes to let go of the event and to help another that has gone through the same thing. You arent' alone in your struggles, I have been there.

He walked into the living room and said "Wouldn't it be cool if I gave you blowjob?!?" "Not really, no" I said, not looking at him, totally disgusted. **This is where it get's graphic, you have been warned. This is so hard for me to repeat..I haven't repeated in 16 years.

He said "I really want to taste your cum, tell you what...Why don't you jerk off on a pillow and I can taste it that way." I literally wanted to puke. What was I into?? How did I get here..what was going on. He of course offered this with the promise of some money to buy something I really wanted.

That was the breaking point. That night, I called my dad this was the conversation (bear in mind, as usual "Max" was right by the phone:

Me: Hey dad, whats going on??
Dad: You ok son?
Me: Mom is sick, really?
Dad: Mike is something wrong?? If there is keep talking about mom
Me: Mom is sick? Whats wrong with her, do I need to get home??
Dad: Mike, are you still in SC?
Me: Is mom going to be ok, I need to come home don't I?
Dad: Keep talking to me, whats your address????
Dad: Tell "Max" to get on the phone.

After this, "Max" was very physically distressed. His game was up, he was caught and he knew it. He told my dad that he would bring me home asap.

After he put the phone down, he said to me "You know, sometimes, sons and dad's have a secret message that something wasn't right." "Is that what is going on?.

I was a dead kid. He was going to kill me right then and there. He got really antsy, and he got really agitated. "Your out of your fucking mind man, why would I do that, your cool" I said. I am a VERY good actor and he bought it. (Can we say R.A.D. again?)

I was finally reunited with my adoptive parents. I was so physically ill, I had to say something. I told my parents what happened. Sort of. I didn't go into alot of detail. They took me a counselor and I was so sick and exhausted (And horrified as to what happened) I really couldn't say much. What was I gonna say, some guy wanted to lick my semen off of a pillow? He grabbed me in the middle of the night for weeks on end?

The police said they couldn't press any charges because serious laws hadn't been broken and finding this person would be very hard considering how much this person moved around. Nothing.

Michael

Pride hinder's our community's progress

Dear All,

WOW! What can I say! Two of RADOnline's staff DROVE over 1600 miles in three days. We got back and we were exhausted. 8 hours each way, and then another 6 hours in Ohio on Saturday. To say we are sick of cars, roads, traffic and heat is an understatement!! However, it was in the name of good so it was well worth the trip.

It's still hard to believe. 1600 miles in 3 days. ACK! So here I sit getting ready to do 10 miles on the treadmill. ACK!

_____________________________________________________________________

To everyone that read's my blog, everyone knows I am very, very pro awareness. Some think that I preach awareness to the point of being offensive and that's OK. As long a dialogue about everything R.A.D. it's good.

I spoke with an RTC CEO the other day and we agree that our community has to put it's differences and pride aside and begin to unite. The problem is pride. There are so many great forums and groups that have so many awesome ideas out there, it's truly amazing. Imagine for a moment if we could all come together and share our own ideas and stories to facilitate understanding and change without the fear of someone else's pride injected into the conversations.

I have spoken with ALOT of very educated, very successful people (Including PH.D's) over the last few weeks. Every single one of them are really amazing people. My conversations with them always end up with the same message:

We can change, but getting past pride and personal opinion is "an uphill battle" or "almost impossible". Really? Does it have to be that hard? I don't think so.

While I agree it's a tough fight, imagine the good we could do, imagine how many people we could inform if we all chose to say "Our opinion's are ours, but our message is paramount.". Imagine for a moment what we could say to the community and the WORLD if we could put aside our differences for a few weeks and simply talk as professionals, survivors, RAD Parents, RAD Kids and non profits.

We would prove to the world that our message is change, not personal gain or acknowledgement. We would show everyone around us our very message isn't muddled with the politics and religious beliefs that has kept our community in the dark (to an extent).

I will be the first to admit, that I have "ruffled some feather's" in the community, which of course was not exactly what I was intending to do but was done regardless. It is my true belief that dialogue begins with placing pride aside and acknowledging the fact that I am willing to listen to varying opinions. I would like to think that the people I have spoken with are open minded and willing to listen to other's points of view.

Our community, while fractured into smaller groups with their own ethos, their own core structure and their own personal views are wonderful groups. Each person, owner and blogger I have spoken with are GREAT people with wonderful messages. Imagine if we could all sit in a room and exchange ideas that are facilitating change and hope!!! Our community would be a much different place.

People that know me know that I am a very opinionated person and my own beliefs about RAD Awareness is my only goal right now. It's what I do, it's what I am. I believe that no one child or adult should have to suffer in this day and age with the resources that are available today. While some organizations don't necessarily agree with my point of view, that doesn't mean a healthy exchange of ideas isn't possible.

I want that exchange to happen, regardless of our differentiating points of view.

These groups, doctors, bloggers and clinicians are the glue that holds the RAD community together. All of us have a role to play. All of our messages are the same. Hope and healing. Everything else is pride and opinion. I wish all of us could remove that for a week and begin a massive dialogue. It would be truly awesome.

This entire post is of course an opinion! Wouldn't it be neat if someone emailed me and said "I DON'T agree with your position and this is WHY." At least it's constructive dialogue that begins a relationship that can eventually lead to effectual change.

Until our pride is off the table we are treading water in our own pools in our own backyards. We are only letting people in that we like, know and subscribe to our belief system.

Let's all meet at the YCMA and do some laps together, as a community.

Michael
http://www.rad-online.org

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Having a bit of fun!

This is alot harder than it looks, trust me!



I am practicing firelighting techniques. This video will be
used in my upcoming survival lecture at Bass Pro!

It was about 90 degrees out that day and the humidity
was horrible! Notice the houses? The neighbors were
lookin at me kinda oddly! "Why doesn't he just use
a lighter" I am sure was whispered more than
once!

Slammed, shoved around, but still here, and still kicking

Dear All,

I know I haven't been posting as much but as you can imagine, I have a ton of stuff going on. A book just published, OFAAT to run (To mention, we may have snagged a new client) and of course, rad online.

I am writing today because I received a very disturbing email. Not from an angry ex girlfriend, not from a family member, but a professional contact that I hold in high regard. The contents of this email were at best not complimentary and it's really screwed my entire night/morning/work day up badly.

It really has me bugged. Then I realized why. This email wasn't about professionalism or working together for change, it's about a stupid, petty grudge. This email screamed "I am really mad at you for something" and wasn't a constructive look at anything.

That really has me bothered. I was taught in the professional working world, when the message of healing and hope are paramount that's all that matters and unity is more important. Professionalism trumps emotion every time and it seems like lately, some people I work closely with choose emotion.

I also realized just this morning a few things that have me both overjoyed and darn near exhausted at the same time.

Since RADOnline opened I have:
  • Made great new professional contacts
  • I have lost people who I thought were my friends
  • I have been ORDERED to remove public content from rad online
  • I have been told RAD Online is a "disappointment"
  • I have spent hundreds of hours campaigning and networking
  • I have lost contact (for whatever reason) with alot of people that used write to me on this blog all the time (Still stumped on that one)
  • I am literally working all most 24 hours a day every day to stay on top of things
  • I am heading out of town of which I am very excited, tomorrow.

I will probably change this blog over to RADOnline when I figure out how to do that, simply because this blog pertains more to RADOnline than OFAAT which is a totally separate bear.

A lot of negative things have happened since RADOnline has opened but a lot of positive things have happened as well. I am quickly learning that to bring a message of hope and galvanizing a community that is generally pretty quiet is a tough, tough thing.

I have not however given up, and I WON'T GIVE UP. RADOnline and it's volunteers have called news stations, forged alliances with really great RTC's, Non Profits and Blogs. We have also made INTERNATIONAL contacts as well!! RADOnline is getting ready to be covered on a LOCAL news station as well!!! We have contacted social agencies, foster care systems and the biggest one of them all:

The White House! (That's right! We mailed a R.A.D. Online informational packet directly to Obama!! Hand built, hand laminated, hand mailed!)

I will however not give up there. This is just the beginning. I guess from a "personal" perspective my message of positive change has to come at a cost. I have to be willing to lose friends I thought I had and I have to expect a certain amount of discord from those that don't see change and community as paramount.

Without sounding like I am rambling, I guess I am just feeling the effects of trying something that is massive in scale with many different views that will of course clash from time to time because R.A.D. is such a personal issue for so many families, I feel beaten up and bloody, but still hanging on. I feel as though I have been put through the proverbial ringer.

Well, that's all for now! I will have a ton of pictures of our trip to the RTC that RADonline is touring!

Hoping this blog finds you and finds you well.

Michael
http://www.rad-online.org/

Monday, August 10, 2009

My CHALLENGE to RAD Survivors.

Our sufferings are only in vain if we remain silent,

We are a band of brothers and sisters who have struggled against our own minds in a battle that has raged for years. We are a group of survivors that have given our tears, our blood and years of our lives to defeat an invisible enemy. We are the ones that professionals said "You will always be this way". We have survived. We have flourished. We have overcome the odds. We have not given up hope. We are stronger then we think and we have a powerful voice for all those willing to listen. Many want to listen.It's our turn now.

It's our turn to claim our lives. It's our turn to tell our stories. Today, we can rise as a group that have suffered and caused suffering. Our stories we can share with the hopes that another may not travel the paths that have caused so much suffering. Today we have the opportunity to talk about the shadows and the cold nights. Today, we quite literally may hold another's lives in our hands by the bravery to come forward and let the world know of our muddled, but powerful existence. Today, we can begin to repair the damage we have done through a collective voice of hope and healing. It's our turn to give back to so many people that dedicated their lives to our very survival.

We have suffered quietly and alone but no longer. We have a common bond of dried tears on our worn faces each with it's own tale of both happiness and tremendous sadness. The very destruction of our lives will be the rebirth of other's. We no longer have to live in shame. Today, we can stand together and save a life that's worth saving. Today, we can begin to repair the damage of our pasts with the cleansing acts of kindness towards another that is still quietly hiding in the dark.

No longer must another human being huddle in the corner of a dark room quietly suffering from the invisible enemy we all have come to know so well. Our trials, our tribulations, our tears have a meaning:To educate others.

Our sufferings have happened so that another may listen and learn from our stories. The insanity of our lives can bring calm to the storm in the mind of another that hasn't had the chance to realize their own potential voice. The cycle of silence must be broken and today, we can end that cycle with peace and understanding. The shame of our actions doesn't outweigh the possibility of a life we may save tomorrow. As we quietly sit in our homes, leaving our stories dormant collecting the proverbial dust, another is suffering our same fates. It doesn't have to be this way.

What I am asking takes bravery, it takes courage and it requires fortitude. We as R.A.D. survivors posses those qualities simply in the fact that we have survived everything we have. We ARE brave. We ARE courageous. We must overcome the fear of exposing our deepest fears of judgment and realize our most endearing quality: Strength.

We have survived and today we flourish. Let us help another flourish and live in the peace that we as human beings are given by our right to live. Let our voices serve as the testament to the human spirit that someone else believes they lack.
It's time to stand together as brothers, sisters and a family born through tragedy and strife. We are a family of survivors.

We must expose that tragedy and strife and lend our hands and our lives to those that need those qualities.

Otherwise, our sufferings are truly in vain.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Religion and R.A.D. A possibly combustible mixture.

Dear All,

**This post is not meant to offend ANYONE. These are simply my thoughts. Religion is special for each person that it touches. While I don't hold a particular religious belief, It's not my intention to offend anyone of any particular religious interest! I respect everyone's religious background!**

Many of the forums that I have spoken with are "Faith based" forums and I have to tell you R.A.D. and religion don't mix well. I am not a particularly religious person (in fact organized religion in my mind is ridiculous to the point of absurdity).

I remember in a previous post at the age of 12 I thought I was the devil himself. Today, I realize why I believed this. I was TAUGHT that I was the devil. Every Sunday I listened to how I can't have sex before marriage, masturbation was a sin. In fact, almost everything was a sin in my mind.

The precedent had been set.

Many, many R.A.D kids and R.A.D. adults have been cast into a world of both abuse and horror that many people will never completely grasp. We have been the abusers, we have been abused, and for many of us, those horrible memories linger in the back of our minds, ready to strike when the time is right. Religion is a major player in the R.A.D. puzzle in my mind (I'm not a professional, just a R.A.D. survivor).

My parents took me to church because I guess they thought raising me in a Catholic home was a good thing. I can't blame them as they are very religious people. What they and I failed to realize was that everything those pious priests spoke against, I was already knee deep in. As a child, the message I took from religion was that sleeping with a school teacher meant instant hell for me. For a confused, angry child, religion can be an incendiary combination. No, I wasn't the devil, but the "devil" was in my life because of the acts that I engaged in before I understood the context of them. That only scared me.

I see bloggers that are DEEPLY religious going so far as quoting bible passages and I wonder what are their R.A.D. kids taking away from those messages? "Because I had sex when I was 9, I am going to hell?". As a R.A.D. survivor, I can tell you first hand I thought I was the devil because of the basic teachings trying to "save" me from a lifestyle that I had engaged in both freely and against my will. I can understand now why that association formed. Hell and brimstone.

Many R.A.D. kids have already had sex. Many R.A.D. kids and adults have killed. Many R.A.D. Kids and R.A.D. adults have abused. How children process something they don't understand by listening to terrifying stories of hell, the devil and damnation could very well only be making the child feel even worse and setting a precedence:

If I am already going to hell, why stop now? For years, I didn't stop, I only got worse. I was already dead and hell was the only place I was going. Why improve my life?

That's how, 27 years later I came to understand why I felt like the devil. when I was a child, night after night I would slice open an arm to see if I was bleeding, or if I was devoid of human blood and spirit. We have religion and it's absurdity partially to blame for that precedence. The messages that R.A.D kids take away from organized religion can be the exact opposite of what you want them to take away from it.

I say this to all highly religious parents and bloggers out there.

Be VERY careful with what your R.A.D. child takes away from religion and it's teachings. If not, they may very well be taking away a message that they are already doomed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sharing some of my life with the R.A.D. Community. (A suggestion from a friend)

Dear All, Since some of my friends think that I talk plenty of R.A.D. and nothing of myself, I thought I would share some outdoor pictures and some odds and ends with the community since many of you don't know a thing about me! :) :) So here goes!!!! Comments welcome!!!


Me taking a rest at the top of Hocking Hills. That hike damn near killed me!













MMMMM LUNCH AND DINNER! MRE's!!














A primitive survival shelter.









A general pack loadout, cold weather operations




It was 20 degrees that day, Ohio River!!
















10 degrees outside. Ohio River banks. Note the primitive Shelter! I was cooking food on fire heated rocks!!

















Hiking at Eastfork Park. I didn't have a pack on because #1 way too warm #2 it was only a 7 mile hike through some basic hilly terrain. Note the military water canteen!












Me building a primitive hunting trap. No animals were harmed, simple a teaching tool.













A beautiful sunset picture on the ohio river bank. What you don't see is the 10 degree wind.













4am, building a firecone in 5 degree air.













My "walk for adoption" It was a 55 mile trek from Cincy to Dayton. Took 3 days. Not one news carrier covered the walk. Of course.

















Me in my vagabonding outfitting. Notice the military trowel.














The view from the remote "Courthouse Rock" in the Red River Gorge. Note the military hunting/survival knife! Saweet!













Fall camping at the gorge. Note the firewood layout.












Me during my 55 mile trek to Dayton. I couldn't life weights, so I chopped alot of wood that day.











So there I am!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's all our fault.

Dear All,

This post is probably going to get me into some trouble, but unpopular speech every once in a while must be embraced even with the limpest of arms. So, any mean, nasty or inflammatory posts will be automatically deleted.

It is our faults you know. Everyone knows what cancer is. Everyone knows what AIDS is. Everyone knows what bi-polar is. Almost no one knows what R.A.D. is. And it's us that we have to blame. We live in a world were information is transferred at light speed. We are more connected to one another than any other time in human history, and yet Reactive Attachment Disorder always receives the same response:

"What the hell is that".

Since my community portal has opened, I have been on the phone with reporters, doctors and social workers and the answer is always the same. "What is Reactive Attachment Disorder?" While blogging is a great way to expose the myth's of the disorder, more can be done. We can get out, we can speak, we can become united as a community and bring this terrible disorder to the table and begin a dialogue.

One of the problems (And this is just my opinion) that while blogging, forum browsing is a great way to get the message out online, it's not the kind of fundamental action that will FORCE school officials, lawmakers and members of our communities to listen to us. Each of our stories is an important puzzle of R.A.D. and each story is special.

I have heard the argument lately "Too many parents are scared of legal repercussions" by telling their stories. They are afraid they or their children will get into trouble. While I understand that fear, we have to consider as a community what good this is doing. Sure, we may be hiding behind the cloak of "Safety" but we aren't changing the minds and the perceptions of those around us. We are huddling together in our little online forums and blogs discussing issues that we already know about. We are a cliche and that's even worse then saying nothing.

As long as we as a R.A.D. community hide in the shadows afraid of the big bad bear another family may very well be trying to recover a picture out of a burned down home. This happened, recently in Ogden, Utah. Our inability to move past the realm of the online world is WHY no one knows what Reactive Attachment Disorder is. We need to do more and we can do more.

Every blogger out there has the strength, the courage and the fortitude that many other's in the world don't have. We should capitalize on that bravery and galvanize our group. We as an RAD community must come together and begin grassroots programs that don't depend on the online presence. Not everyone has a connection to the net, and not everyone can afford it. Some families have children right now clutching a kitchen knife threatening to kill someone. Are they somehow to magically find our blogs in hopes of some solace and understanding?

Once again, I am not saying the bloggers and forums aren't a great tool, they are. I salute everyone with the bravery to come forward. We must transcend this online world and step into the real one with our messages. They are all powerful messages. Your words could and may very well save a life, TODAY.

We can no longer hope that a family in trouble will find us. We need to find them. Our unified message of hope and healing should no longer remain in the shadows of a blog or a forum.

It's our fault the world doesn't know what R.A.D. is.

Tomorrow, however, is a different story.

Michael
http://www.rad-online.org

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happiness and R.A.D. Two Words That Don't Mix

Dear All,

One issue that I never really tackled with R.A.D. is happiness. Those that suffer (or at least) never understood the basic idea of happiness. While I knew the definition of happiness, it was for me, just another word. I was more content hurting someone or something as opposed to being "happy". Sure, I had poignant moments, but the base emotion was totally devoid in my life.

I never understood why people hugged each other and I never really understood why families got together and did things together. I never really completely understood the concept of closeness and unity within a family unit. Joy for me wasn't in the context of healthy, natural things. It was of wanton destruction and depression.

My parents when I was younger talked about how I felt like a "Board" when I was younger. There was simply no connection to anything. I didn't understand why people laughed and had friends. It just made no sense to me.

Even today, it's still very hard to maintain friendships. I still question why ANYONE would want to befriend me, lest love me. It's an emotional disconnection that started 32 years ago. To live in a world without the need to connect was paramount for me.

It's extremely hard to describe. Marythemom asked me what it was like. I told her, it's not like I missed it, because I never understood the need to connect to anyone or anything. In this sense, the motel syndrome took over. (Once again email me about this) I was able to operate as a robot. Alone is what I understood and ironically I was as happy as one with R.A.D. could be.

To accent this point here is an example:

When I was younger I was buy some smokes and a group of guys asked me to come over and hang out. We sat around and talked for a while. It was kind of cool. We talked of course about women, beer and more women. You know, guy stuff. After about 25 minutes of talking, I ended up at home. However, for the next few hours I was bawling. Why? My case manager asked me why I cried about the event? I said "Because I have never really had someone just come up and talk to me like a regular person." This was partly my design.

Even to this day, I have a hard time connecting with other people simply because they don't share the same experiences that I have had. How could they? We meet others and have friendships based on common experiences. For me it is still very odd and uncomfortable to hug other people or have friendships. I don't have that switch in my body that says "Hey! This person is a friend, they aren't going to hurt you.". I have of course learned how not to self sabotage but I still maintain a big distance from other people.

For a R.A.D. person, (Instead of using the ubiquitous RAD CHILD), they live in a sea of people, totally alone, floating along waiting for rescue ship to come by that never does. It's living in a world on your own, even though those around you try to understand your situation but can't. It's a terrible place to be in.

There are still days where I have to remind myself I am trying to do good. I am trying to improve. And then there are days like today where nothing really matters and the depression takes over, full tide. These are days where I and every other R.A.D. survivor has to remind themselves they are beautiful people no matter what they have done or had done to them. It's day's today that RAD sufferer's have to reach out and begin to talk, even though it's the hardest thing for me/them to do.

Reaching out isn't another word in our vocabulary.

Michael

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What is a rage like?

What a rage is like.**Graphic post, read with discretion**

People have told me the people I hurt, the animals I killed and the general rampant destruction was a choice. I can tell you right now, from a R.A.D. perspective, there is no choosing involved. When a rage begins, the loss of control is a complex and the victim of a rage collapses into a darkness that I can only describe as one thing.
The abandonment of self.

The total lack of physical and mental control. It's a dark corner of your mind and your body that you literally have no control over. The only thing that you feel in a rage is a searing, white hot anger that has come from no where but you know it's been there the entire time, ready to bubble up again.

The only thing you want to do in an R.A.D. rage is kill and destroy. There is no choice, and nothing else matters. It's a deep and very profound experience that grips your mind and your body and that very lack of control makes it almost impossible to understand to the laymen or a parent who's house has just been burned down by an angry child.

The rages continued for me until something was dead, something was burned down or I was emotionally and or physically exhausted. There was no stopping me and anyone that did try to stop me would end up dead or in the hospital at the very least.
Rages differ from anger fits in that you can control and regulate your responses to outside or internal stimuli. With rages you cannot regulate that, and there is no magical switch. At least there wasn't one for me.

One particular incident that stands out with me, when I heard the neck snap of an animal that I threw against a wall, the anger only got worse. Not because I just killed again, but because I couldn't control what was happening. I couldn't stop my own hands from destroying whatever I saw.

In a rage, I could feel, I could understand and I could see what I was doing, but there was no way to regulate my actions. The anger came over me like a tidal wave and I was drowning in anger. When I would have rages I would stop thinking, my survival mechanics stopped.
The entire world stood still. It was only me and the anger, with no where to go. I was trapped in a hellish room and there was no door. I simply had to ride through the anger.

For those that don't understand, let's put a perspective to the actual event.
We all watch movies. We go to the theatre. We see a scary movie. We can see whats happening, we can hear and emotionalize, but we are out of control. We are along for the ride. That's exactly what a rage is like.

What is important (And I am not a professional) is finding the triggers that cause those rages. When I was a child, any time I perceived a loss the rages would instantly begin. When my sister left for Greece, I killed her cat. When I lost a girlfriend (Huge issue) I literally ripped my parents house apart from the ceilings to the carpet. Literally. Everything in the house was destroyed. Glasses broken, shelves tipped over, animals dead something burning.

Once the anger passed, I was usually clutching a dead animal or watching something burn. As soon as the rage passed, just like a tornado was in shock as I witnessed the destruction that I myself caused. This of course, only made it worse. I remember being 12 years old and crying myself to sleep, shocked that another animal was dead. I knew in my rages that animal was going to do but I didn't want to kill it. I wanted to die and I couldn't. I was in hell.

As much as i LOVED the violence, I detested it. I clung to it as a way to expression my emotion. Those of us that understand the expression of violence and why it plays such a huge role in a rage. We are fascinated with gore, with death and blood. It is no wonder that this fascination floods over when we rage. It's our best mechanic. It's a love/hate relationship. I can promise all R.A.D. parents these rages aren't ABOUT YOU. It's simply survival mechanic that unfortunately results in terrible loss of life, property and the abandonment of self.

I write this not to shock, and not to offend but educate. I am sharing this part of my life with the R.A.D. community so they may have a better look inside a rage and how they came to be with me. Perhaps, if we look deeper into the triggers of rage and the perceived/actualized loss model there will be less lives ruined by a R.A.D. rage.

Michael
http://www.rad-online.org