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Archive for February, 2012

Just Checking In

Hi, all.

Believe it or not, I am still not over this crud. GGRRRR!! I have completed three rounds of antibiotics. My doctor sent me to get an X-ray on Monday (2/20), which showed that I did NOT have a bacterial infection in my sinuses. Nevertheless, I was still fatigued with no appetite and suffering from head pain.

My doctor them put me on a nine-day treatment of prednisone on Wednesday a.m. By Wednesday night, I was feeling better for about an hour. I also felt better on Thursday morning but was still fatigued by lunch. My appetite returned on Friday afternoon, and I didn’t need a nap on Friday or Saturday. However, now that I am tapering off the steroids, the headache is returning along with the fatigue. I am at my wits end!!

I have an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor on Tuesday. I’ll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, please be patient with me. I am so far behind in every area of my life right now. I am overwhelmed! ~ Faith

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Quick update

I saw my doctor (again) today. It’s not another cold — it’s a drug-resistant bacteria that fought back with a vengeance when I stopped the second round of antibiotics. I got a steroid shot and am on the strongest antibiotics available. If this doesn’t clear the sinus infection up by early next week, I might have to have surgery. Yikes! I’ll keep you posted. ~ Faith

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Taking a blogging break

Hi, all.

As you know, I have suffered from back-to-back-to-back colds since MLK Day (January 16) with a severe sinus infection mixed in for good measure. I am going on hiatus from blogging until I can regain my health.

~ Faith

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Sick AGAIN!!

Believe it or not, I have another cold. Please shoot me now! I have only been marginally healthy for six days (three at a time) since 1/16. I am miserable. :0( I’ll blog when I can. ~ Faith

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A reader wants to know how to forgive yourself for what your abusers forced you to do or watch as they harmed those you love. This is a complicated process that is going to involve different steps for different people, but the big picture process is the same – you need to find a way to accept at a heart level that you were not responsible for your abusers’ actions. This includes not being responsible for doing things that you were forced to do.

When I first recovered the sickening awareness and then memories that I had been forced to sexually abuse my younger sister, I didn’t think I could bear it. I was flooded with suicidal urges and simply wanted to die. Thankfully, my mind released a montage of memories of my sister being forced to abuse me. I knew at a heart level that she was not responsible for any of those vile things. Even at the time, I never blamed her for the things our abusers forced her to do to me. That was the starting point for me removing blame from myself – if I could see that my sister was not to blame for what they did to me, perhaps I was not to blame for what they made me to do her.

It helps that my sister and I talk about our shared abuse, so I was able to tell her that I had recovered memories of us being forced to harm each other and that I was sorry for all that they forced me to do to her. She was able to tell me immediately that she did not blame me, which helped the process along. The conversation was not a switch that made the self-blame go away, but it was a huge start.

From there, I had to force myself to stop blaming myself. When guilt or shame would ooze out about what I had been forced to do, I would actively stop it. I would tell myself that I was not responsible for those actions and refuse to put more energy into hating myself over them. I would then replace those thoughts with positive ones, focusing on anything I could to feed the right wolf.

One thing that worked for me was doing positive mantras. (Some child abuse survivors have told me that this doesn’t work for them, but they have found other ways to achieve the same goals, so don’t despair if this doesn’t work for you.) During this phase of healing, if I was flooded with guilt and shame over what I had been forced to do to my sister, I would recite, “I love you; you are safe; I’m sorry” over and over and over and over in my head. I didn’t believe a word of it, so it’s OK if you don’t, either. However, over time, just as I had been brainwashed by hearing how rotten I was as a child, I was able to “brainwash” my way back to believing that I loved myself and was safe.

Feeding the right wolf works. You need to find a way that your wolf can be fed.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Thank you to everyone who provided me with support yesterday. I really needed it. I was an emotional wreck for most of the day while also burning a fever with this #$%& sinus infection. I am so glad I was able to get in to see my therapist that afternoon. I don’t know how I would have survived dealing with my son after school if not for my T.

My T has several years of experience working as a psychologist with children in residential treatment. For those of you who don’t know what that is, residential treatment is like a boarding school for children who are so out of control that their families cannot handle them. My T has seen it all, so he understands how my son’s mind works much better than I do.

My T validated that my son is the problem here, not me. There is nothing wrong with my parenting, and 90% of the children out there would flourish being parented by me. I am parenting a child with special needs, which is hard for anyone. This issue is about my son’s issues, not mine. That validation was step one in dismantling my knee-jerk reaction to all of my triggers.

My T said that many ADHD children have trouble processing their emotions, and I have a kid who has both ADHD and a bunch of other special needs, including a processing disorder, which, by definition, makes it difficult for my son to process anything. On top of that, my child was adopted, which is a lot to process for a tween, and his birthmother passed away, which is enormously painful for a child to grieve. On top of this, my son has dyslexia (among other learning disabilities), so he struggles every day to try to read when most children who are younger than he is are able to read effortlessly.

My T says that my son simply has no idea how to process all of the stuff that he has to deal with, and I, as a layperson, am not expected to be able to guide him through all of this. My T referred my son to a child psychologist so he can learn how to process his emotions, particularly his anger. My T says that my son messed with my toothbrush because he truly does not know what to do with his emotions, especially his anger. A child psychologist can teach him these skills.

My T also assured me that my son is doing as well as he is because of my efforts. If my son had not been placed for adoption, he would have lost his mother in kindergarten and been raised by a father who did not want him. His birth family would not have been able to afford all of the special education we have provided, and my son would be failing out of school and much more out of control. My T suspects that my son likely would have wound up in residential treatment if not for his adoption. My efforts are not fruitless – it is because of all I have invested in this kid that he is doing as well as he is.

All of this outside perspective really helped. I will call today to set up an appointment with the child psychologist. I will also give myself respite today – I am having my son go to the afterschool program (which he does not usually do on Fridays) so I can take care of myself emotionally. I am also taking the day off from work so I can have lunch with some girlfriends and try to relax (well, as best I can with a fever and sinus infection).

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I am still batting this #$%^ sinus infection, so I don’t know if I am “back” yet, but I can’t stop crying and need some advice. I have posted the full story of what happened on my professional blog. The short version is that my 11-year-old son, who has a bunch of special needs, scrubbed the toilet with my toothbrush AGAIN in retaliation for making him go to school on Monday, when he was tired after staying up to the watch the Super Bowl (and the two friends who watched it with him got to sleep in), and then again yesterday when he woke up feeling congested. He had no fever and has a history of “crying wolf,” so I told him to go to school for two hours so he could at least go to his core classes. I **think** he was feeling guilty, but he told me what he had done as I was already brushing my teeth with it. And, no, it wasn’t a bluff because I was wondering why my bristles felt softer before I found this out.

Please don’t start with the “you never say no” or “you don’t enforce boundaries” parenting advice. It’s not true and not what I need right now. What I need from you is support for working through triggers of the sickening awareness that I, once again, am living under the same roof with someone I cannot trust. I have locked up my toothbrush, my laptop, and other items he might damage or place in the toilet in my safe along with my son’s Ipod, his most beloved possession. I have told him he can have the Ipod back when I can trust him again, which might be a very long time.

I was hoping to feel better after sleeping (I took enough Xanax to make sure I slept), but I still feel nauseous and just plain sick (on top of the sinus infection) this morning. I feel like this is just another person I opened my heart up to that betrayed me. He did this toothbrush thing once before (that I know of) last year, confessing months later because he felt so guilty. We calmly talked through why it is so wrong to do and how hurtful that was. No amount of reward/punish or reason works with this child (I am sure his special needs have a lot to do with this), which leaves me feeling vulnerable and unsafe in my own home. I don’t think I can live like this, but I also don’t think boarding school is an option at age 11. Advice?

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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