John Hoppin portrait in front of fig tree

Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, “grief and trauma”

My brain chemistry, the amygdala, stress, fight-or-flight part of my brain is throttling my hippocampus, which is the intelligent part of my brain. The fear and anxiety part of my brain is getting the upper hand because of all of these traumas that are happening right now. I’m recording this episode to try and get it out there to say it all and to hopefully move beyond some of this fear, trauma, and anxiety.

Thank you for tuning in to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast.

My name is John. I’m 40 years old, husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster. I have multiple sclerosis, so I made this podcast to share what I’m going through. What’s The Matter With Me? is an MS podcast and it’s also about other things.

I’m not a medical professional. Don’t take this for medical advice. And if you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.

Recap

Recap, last episode I was having a whole new life. It’s like I have … My life feels totally different now because I don’t have pain in my face. I’m recovering. Life feels different. I’m on less medication. Check the last episode. That’s where I was last week. Past episodes can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, whatsthematterwithme.org, or wherever you get it. You go there and get it there.

Why do I make this podcast?

I do it to let people know that when bad things happen they don’t have to quit and they can keep going. It’s not the end of the world. I thought I was a sick person, something wrong with me. That’s how I started out. But now I know I’m in recovery

There’s lots of grief and trauma in my life.

I’m having a lot of anxiety, and I think it’s coming from these overlapping grieving processes that are the result of different traumas involved with different people in my life. For example, I have grief for my old self because I’m got MS, and I have MS, and I go through changes. So I have to grieve for my old self that … I used to be able to run, and jump, and play basketball, and shoot with two hands. I can’t do that, so I have to grieve for that. So that’s like a product of disability. But at the same time, it’s a product of getting older, that everyone has to do. They have to grieve for their old selves . They go through changes, the limitations of space and time. I mean, everyone deals with this.

It’s intense for me because it’s part of having MS. The first thing they ask you in the doctor’s office is, “Have there been any changes?” I feel like every day there is always change. I just don’t know how to answer that question. I’m like, “Today’s a new day. Of course everything is different.” It’s hard to kind of conceive of it that at one time everything is the same, but everything is changing. And that’s life, you know? So that grief involved with MS kind of overlaps with the grief that’s part of my life. That’s how implicit feelings, and fears, and anxieties can get mixed up with explicit feelings, real feelings.

I have a family member who has gone through a major car accident.

A couple episodes ago, I talked through going to her wedding. Prior to having MVD surgery, I went to a wedding. It was both wonderful and very difficult. Then, four weeks after the wedding, the bride and groom got into a major car accident. The groom was okay, but the bride is deeply injured. So I have grieving process to go through for that trauma. That’s trauma. People don’t have to die for you to grieve because traumatic things have happened. I think it’s a similar grieving process you have to go through the deal with trauma and get past it.

One of my very good friends who I’ve known for a very long time is very ill right now.

She’s having a major struggle in her life, and that means I have a struggle in my life. I’m going through the grief process for her as well.

I’ve had post-op medication changes, and I have fear of trigeminal neuralgia.

I don’t want it to relapse. I’m now on so much less medication that it’s creating brain chemical imbalance from the changes with my medications. I’ve been on these thousands of milligrams of intense narcotic painkillers for four years, and now I’m off of it, and it’s a great thing. My life is totally different now just like I said last episode. There’s a lot of good things, but at the same time it’s like waking up. It’s like I’ve been frozen for four years and I’m like a cave man who’s walking around the world and I’m like, “Oh my God. This is the world now.”

So the brain chemical imbalance, fear of trigeminal neuralgia coming back, which is not totally unfounded, I guess, but it basically would be very atypical. Also, not all microvascular decompression surgeries are equal, and that’s a good thing. My surgeon has a good idea that things were good. It is very successful, but I still have that fear because I’ve been through that trauma of terrible pain.

A lot of things beyond my control.

There’s a lot of these traumas, fears, grief. It’s related to stuff I can’t control. Like MS: I can’t control multiple sclerosis. It just happens. Like I said, I go to the doctor. They say, “Do you have changes?” And it’s hard to quantify that. I mean, things are always changing. Today I can’t undo my belt. That happened at some point, but I didn’t tell anyone there were changes. It just changed. It’s the same with all this trauma in my life. It’s beyond my control. It’s just changing.

Anxiety breeds more anxiety.

My brain chemistry, the amygdala, stress, fight-or-flight part of my brain is throttling my hippocampus, which is the intelligent part of my brain. So the fear and anxiety part of my brain is just getting the upper hand because of all of these traumas that are happening right now. I’m recording this episode to try and get it out there to say it all and to hopefully move beyond some of this fear, trauma, and anxiety. I hope it worked.

I’m here in the backyard.

The plants are beautiful. They are yellow yuzu. Yuzu are Japanese citrus, kind of like you put them … If you’ve ever had ponzu sauce, that’s like a reduction of yuzu and soy sauce together. So it’s kind of like this Japanese citrus taste.

It’s very green in the garden right now. It’s very peaceful. I can hear birds and cars.

Thanks for listening to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast.

Past episodes are available on whatsthematterwithme.org and on Apple Podcasts. It’s on all these other podcasts services. Get it where you get it. Listen to What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast.

Shoot me an email. My name is John Hoppin. You can shoot me an email via the contact form at whatsthematterwithme.org. Shoot me an email. Say what’s up. Think I could kind of use it right now. I’d love to give you a email. I know people listen. They shout me out. Shoot me an email & I’ll shout you out. All right. What’s The Matter With Me? Another one in the books. Thank you for listening.

Got to give a shout-out to the universal, worldwide, global, cosmic sponsor Hoppin Hot Sauce. (singing)

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