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Archive for December, 2010

Last weekend, I was in a very dark place. However, I managed to pull myself out on Monday by putting all of my tools into practice. I am no longer concerned about being “abandoned” over the Christmas holiday. Whenever the thought even crosses my mind, I know how to fight it.

I was OK on Monday and Tuesday, but then I started getting jittery on Wednesday and then feeling anxious on Thursday. My sister also had a panic attack on Thursday night. I thought this was perhaps another “disturbance in the force” outside of myself, which is frustrating because I do not yet know how to fight that. When the problem is not within me, it is much more challenging to know how to fight back within myself.

I stayed anxious all weekend. I used Xanax to sleep at night, and I found myself compulsively overeating for several days. I couldn’t tell you why – only that I felt “off” and anxious, and eating soothed that feeling.

On Saturday, my sister mentioned in passing that her university’s graduation was that day, and she was reminiscing with her children that it was exactly one year ago that she was the one graduating with her Bachelor’s degree. I did not think much of the comment at the time – no dots were connected.

Then, on Saturday night, I had a flashback dream that told me exactly what my problem is – It has been one year since I forced myself to see my mother/abuser again after a six-year hiatus. I only did this because my love for my sister outweighed my aversion to seeing my mother, and my sister invited us both to the graduation.

In the dream, I relived the moment of my mother hugging me. It wasn’t a complete repeat of the place, but it was a repeat of the emotions. I was having to spend time with my mother, even though I did not want to. I was making a real effort to be polite even though I wanted to run screaming from being anywhere near her. Then, she wanted a hug. I did not want to give her one, but I believed I had no choice, and my friend (who came with me last year to the graduation to be my “buffer”) stood next to me watching and letting me make the call. She had no way of knowing that there was no choice – only compliance because I never feel like I have a choice in my mother/abuser’s presence.

She hugged me thoroughly as I tried not to touch any part of her. A part of me wrestled with whether it would be easier just to let go and embrace her hug, but the larger part of myself had flashes of all of the ways I had been hurt in childhood by her body touching mine. The hug seemed to go on forever. As soon as it ended, I forced myself awake. My heart was racing, and I was very shaky.

It took me a couple of hours after being awake to tie it all together – Seeing her again was traumatizing, and her hugging me added to the trauma. I know all of you are thinking, “Duh!,” but I guess I never really made that connection. I saw it as facing past trauma, not as adding more trauma that needed to be processed.

I had so much drama trying to get home (our flight was canceled due to weather), and then I faced a breast cancer scare as soon as I returned, so I never took any time to work through my feelings and reactions to the trauma of seeing her again. I just wanted to put it all behind me…and now it is back on the anniversary of that newer trauma. Oh, joy!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I am going to take off the long weekend and start blogging again on Monday. I am so behind in every area of my life right now. I just can’t seem to catch up.

– Faith

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I have shared over the past couple of days about my struggles with seasonal depression and feeling very triggered. This went on for a solid 2-1/2 weeks. It kicked off with numerous emotional triggers on top of physical illness (two back-to-back colds). I had lots of little things happening that kept the triggers going. Over the weekend, I was in a pretty dark place, which was when I wrote my blog entries for Monday and Tuesday.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning and could not fall back to sleep. I finally gave up and watched a TV show. It had been a long time since I just sat and did something nice like that for myself. (My son was sick with a 102+ fever for a week last week, so there was no time to nurture myself.)

Then, I did yoga, meditation, and mudras for contentment and to relieve anxiety. All weekend, I just felt the need to cry uncontrollably but never had the privacy to do it. I was able to release some of this emotion as part of the yoga and meditation process.

Through meditation, I zeroed in on the lie that was kicking my tail – the lie that I would be abandoned over the holidays. As a child, the holidays meant that all contact was cut off from those who were positive influences (teachers, friends, etc.), and I was left 24/7 with my dysfunctional father (when he was around), abusive mother, and my mother’s abusive friends.

Being sick followed by Thanksgiving followed by being in isolation with my sick child set that lie off full force. No matter how many emails I received inquiring about my son’s condition and no matter how many phone calls I received from friends, I felt abandoned and alone.

I turned to my faith to help fight the lie. I wrote Joshua 1:5 on an index card and recited it multiple times throughout the day. Whenever my mind when anywhere unpleasant, I stopped “The Voice” and replaced it with this Bible verse.

I also went to see a movie with a friend on Monday – something that had been postponed first for her sick kid and then for mine. There was a scene that triggered the abandonment “voice,” but I immediately shut it off with the verse I had memorized.

For whatever reason, everywhere I went on Monday and Tuesday found me running into someone I knew – someone who was sincerely happy to see me and wanted to chat. I think this was grace – helping me to see firsthand that I am not abandoned or alone even though we are in the holiday season.

I know I am making this sound simple, but believe me – it was not easy. By Sunday night, the darkness was enveloping me. This is a huge battle going on inside of me, and I feel like the weary warrior who keeps getting knocked off her feet and has to keep finding the courage to stand back up and face down her demons.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Can anyone else relate to feeling “trapped” in a body you don’t want to be in when you are really triggered? I am not quite sure how to explain this feeling other than feeling like I am a spirit have a “human experience,” and I want that human experience to end. (This is not a suicide note.) It is like I know in the deepest parts of myself that I am supposed to be a spiritual being not tied to all of this humanity crap, and a part of me rebels against being “forced” to experience humanness. Does this make any sense to anyone?

When I am in a very dark place (as I have been for the past couple of weeks), I just want to be released from this body and this “human experience.” No, I am not considering suicide or anything like that. It is more of an internal anger at being forced to experience human pain that I don’t think is a natural state for a spiritual being. In my head, I “get” that my time here on earth is a learning experience to help me grow into whatever I am supposed to grow into. However, in the moment when I am very triggered, my spirit gets really p@$$ed off, and it is like I know in the depths of my being that it is not supposed to be this way.

I wonder if that is why we dissociate in the first place, even as little children. We know that we are not supposed to experience this type of pain, and we also know that we are not supposed to be confined to these human bodies. So, we flee to the extent that we can through dissociation.

I don’t know about all of you, but I have memories of being pretty far away from my body while dissociated during some of my abuse. I remember being way up in the treetops while my body was being abused way down below. It is like a part of me knows that this is not right – that I am not supposed to be confined to a painful human existence. And yet, for some reason, I am tethered to this body and cannot escape it until I die. I wonder if that is part of what drives some people to suicide. (Again, I am not suicidal as I write this.)

The irony is that I feel most alive and where I am supposed to be when I choose to live in my body. I was successful living in this manner for a few weeks recently. However, in this moment, as I am triggered and have been for a while, I cannot fathom wanting to stay in this body and embrace being there. My head knows that my place is fully living in my body, and the triggered part of myself fights this knowledge completely, desiring to be anywhere but here.

I don’t know how much sense I am making. Can anyone relate to this? As I have shared many times before, my incredible strength can also be my downfall because when I go down the “wrong” path, it is at 200 mph.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Everyone,

Thank you very much for the numerous comments and emails that I have received. I am feeling better today than I did when I wrote this (and when I wrote tomorrow’s blog entry), and I will blog about my “fighting back” on Wednesday. (I just need time to blog!!)

I am woefully behind in reading comments, and there are several waiting to be approved in the moderation queue. If you posted something but don’t see it published yet, that is the reason for the delay. I have not had a moment to spend on the blog in the past few days, but I will try to get to it tomorrow.

Thanks for being such great readers!

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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I hope all of you mean it that my “downer” posts are as helpful as my inspiring ones, but I am simply not in an “inspiring” place right now. My offline friends are trying to be encouraging, reminding me that I got triggered on October 1 last year and pretty much stayed triggered until mid-January. I didn’t kick off this year until right before Thanksgiving, but it feels unending right now.

I just want to have a good old-fashioned cry, but I haven’t been able to get the privacy to do it. It feels like if I risk letting a little out, emotions are going to explode out of me. That would be okay if I could get one friggin’ moment to myself, but I have had hub or child with me just about every single second for almost three weeks, and on the rare occasions that they haven’t been right there, I have either been sick or frantically preparing for that job interview.

Hub is pretty much perpetually depressed, but he also pulled his back, which is making it even worse. So, he is a downer. My son is making up for being so sick by being extra hyper these days (he has ADHD), which is wearing me out. And now even the dog has a swollen paw, which I am  treating with meds from the vet. It’s like it just doesn’t end.

The thing is that I know in my head that my problems are not that big of a deal compared to what so many other people are going through at this time of year. I talked with a woman today whose husband was laid off right before the holidays – that’s got to be incredibly stressful. My husband has a secure job. My part-time job is going very well. We can pay our bills (although our health care costs are killing us), we have a roof over our heads, etc.

And yet, even knowing that I am blessed with all of these things simply is not quieting the wounded little girl inside. All she can see is that the holidays are here, and that means that all of her positive influences and support are going to abandon her while they tend to their families and holiday hoopla. It happens every year. Group gatherings (book clubs, Bible studies, etc.) go on hiatus. Play groups get canceled. People are too busy to do the things they enjoy year round. I don’t understand this because I spend my time throughout the year in a way that works for me. Why on earth would I want to stop seeing my friends and doing the things I love doing just because there are Christmas lights everywhere?

And I know this is going to sound really stupid, but the little girl inside even feels abandoned by fictional characters! Even the TV shows I enjoy go on hiatus at this time of year and are replaced by never-ending, sickly-sweet “family is what matters” propaganda movies. You know what? My family SUCKS! My issue is not a lack of appreciation for my family – My problem is that they abused me during the holidays. They cut me off from anything positive (school, friends, etc.) and left me to their insanity 24/7. That is what the holidays mean to me.

Believe it or not, I am writing all of this on my maximum-prescribed Xanax dosage. So, you can imagine the level of anxiety I am experiencing right now without it!

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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Struggling

The past 2-1/2 weeks have been pretty tough, so this is just a venting blog entry. First, I had a cold, so I spent a lot of time in bed (plenty of fluids and plenty of rest). I was okay for one day (Saturday) and then came down with a second cold. Again, back to bed … plenty of fluids and plenty of rest. Unfortunately, as an adjunct online college instructor, my job responsibilities don’t just “go away” when I am sick, so I had to push through and continue working while being sick.

As soon as I recovered, it was Thanksgiving, which I cooked. I spent my first day of not feeling sick cleaning the house for company and then the second day cooking a Thanksgiving feast. Hub’s family came over, ate, and ran (they were literally here for 95 minutes – 30 to help with last minute cooking, 45 to eat, and 20 to collect leftovers), which upset my nine-year-old son. I told my son that we will have a rule next year … if you want to eat the food, you have to stick around and play a game of Monopoly afterward.

We had planned to go as a family (hub, child and me) to the zoo on Friday, but the weather did not cooperate. So, we went to a less fun indoor place, where my son caught a nasty virus. He started ailing on Saturday night, looking lethargic and pale. He awoke on Sunday with a fever that stayed over 102 for most of the next four days. This is a kid that I have to pull off walls (he has ADHD), so seeing him pale and listless was scary. I took him to the doctor’s office twice, where they ruled out flu, strep, mono, and anything with a rash (measles, etc.). The doctor thinks it was a nasty virus going around that mimics the flu without the cough – just ~ five days of a high fever.

The fever finally broke on Thursday morning, so I was homebound with an ADHD child who was bored out of his mind and wanted to get out of the house. Meanwhile, I am an extrovert who has had no “girlfriend time” in weeks and someone who also needs some alone time and has had no alone time while healthy in over two weeks. I didn’t get around to writing a blog entry yesterday because I was about to lose my mind!

I also have not been sleeping very well because I have had a feverish kid in my bed. Two nights ago, I had such a disturbing ritual abuse dream that it took me hours to shake it. I also suffer from seasonal depression, and I have not been able to use any of my tools because of my life circumstances over the past few weeks, so I have been feeling the tide of depression trying to pull me down.

And, finally, we are having issues with health insurance coverage and have had to pay over $1,000 out of pocket for both November and December for medical expenses, including four prescriptions for my son’s asthma and ADHD – two medical issues that simply cannot go untreated. I am trying to get a part-time job with a company that offers health insurance for part-time workers. That interview is tomorrow. I have to put together a five-minute “audition” of how I would teach a class, and I have not had one spare minute to practice. Fortunately, my son is going to school today (I need to take him in a few minutes), so guess what I will be doing today?

I know this is not a blog entry on healing from child abuse, but I just had to get that off my chest. It’s been a very long few weeks, and I am worn out.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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