Posts Tagged ‘despair’

Droplets (c) HekatekrisToday is just a venting blog. I have been struggling with what the point to my life is. This year has been such a difficult one. I have worked much harder in just about every area of my life with fewer dividends than I have experienced in the past.

As an example, at my part-time job, I am on pace to earn 1/3 of what I made last year despite working much harder. I am juggling two part-time jobs this year versus one job last year. Both have required an enormous amount of investment toward future work – at minimum wage at one job and with no pay at the other. (Both are flexible, part-time teaching jobs – Preparing for a new class is a lot of work and either not compensated or minimally compensated.) I am worn out from investing without benefit. I keep hoping that the investment of time and work will have a payoff, but I am feeling skeptical at the moment.

Then there is parenting my child. He has a string of special needs, including asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dysgraphia, and across-the-board learning disabilities. Included in the long string of diagnoses is an inability, even at age 10, to connect cause and effect. That means that I can consistently impose a consequence for the same behavior for years with no effect on future behavior. It took me nine years to find any system to redirect his behavior, but even that is only somewhat effective.

I feel like I pour so much energy into other people with so little payoff. I am not saying I don’t love my kid – I do. It’s just hard when most of my friends’ children are reading the Harry Potter series with no effort from the parents and my kid, who I have invested tons of energy into helping be successful, won’t pick up a book and, if he must, is reading books for second graders. When after years of pouring and pouring my energy into trying to help my kid with all of his special needs yields so few results, it’s hard not to throw up my hands and simply give up.

I have already written about the marital stuff, although that is improving. For years, I poured and poured energy into trying to pull hub out of his depression, all to no avail. It was only when I popped off and said I was done trying that hub started pulling himself out.

Then there is friendship. I invested so much into a nine-year friendship, and now she treats both my son and me as if we are invisible. I was a faithful and loyal friend, and the end result is that she is gone, and I feel stupid for ever trusting her.

I feel like I am getting slammed on all sides, which is doubly hard as we move into the holiday season, which is always a difficult time of year for me. I know that I need to focus on the process, not the outcome, but it is so frustrating that I work soooo hard with so little payoff. It is hard not to despair and just stop trying. If putting this much energy into everything in my life results in so little, why bother?

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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A reader emailed me the following questions:

I have a question about sad [Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) alter] parts. Obviously there are tons of reasons to be sad but do you think sad parts are more thoughtful than angry or scared parts? How do they operate, why are they created, what do they need to heal?

Each alter part was created to hold the memories and/or emotions that you could not handle as a child. As a child, you felt extremely sad (that’s an understatement) and lots of despair. However, you could not function if you allowed yourself to experience those emotions, so you shoved them away from your conscious mind. Those emotions had to go somewhere, so they split off into alter parts. Each sad alter part is an emotion that you should have experienced as a child but were unable to work through while the abuse was happening.

To heal sad alter parts, you need to choose to experience that deep sadness. That can be a very difficult choice to make because, while you experience the despair, death can seem like a much better alternative. It is best to heal those parts of yourself while you are in therapy or after you have developed good coping strategies through therapy.

My alter parts that held the deepest sadness were unable to cry. One time, I experienced the memory to which the sad alter part was connected, but I could not cry. (This is ironic because I can cry at a sappy commercial.) I finally worked up to a single tear. The amount of relief this part of myself felt was enormous.

I later chose to experience that pain and used a song to do it. I wrote about it here. Once I gave that sad alter part a voice, I sobbed in ways that I didn’t know were survivable. I felt really lousy for a little while, but then I felt much better than I had in a long time. It was a relief to release all of that pain.

I don’t like to “compare” my parts because they are all me. They all served a function and helped me to survive. Labels like “good,” “bad,” or “thoughtful,” as applied to alter parts, are not helpful to me. I view them all as “me,” which means that each part is worth loving.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Sorry to be posting late today. I have had a busy week with school starting back for my kid and traveling right beforehand.

The Holocaust has been on my mind a lot lately. A friend recommended that I read the book, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and I read it while I was at the beach last week. It was a very good book but was so sad at the end. As a book about the Holocaust, I obviously saw a bad ending coming. However, the book had a tragic twist to it that I only saw coming at the very end right before it happened. It really drove home the tragedy that befell the innocent.

I then completed my nine-week Beth Moore Bible study on the life of Esther. On the very last day of “homework,” Beth Moore shared how her father had been among the soldiers that liberated one of the concentration camps within days of the end of the war. When he was in the camp, he found the following words etched into the prison’s wall:

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.

I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.

I believe in God, even when He is silent. (Author unknown)

Nobody knows whether the person who wrote those words survived the Holocaust or not. I was so touched by the hope that this person held even in the midst of deplorable and desperate conditions, and I was encouraged to apply this determination to feel hopeful in my own life.

The past year has been a very difficult one for me. I have lost people (and a beloved dog) that I loved and will likely lose my grandmother before the year is out. I have integrated one of my most traumatizing memories, and I continue to wrestle with integrating the pain, terror, and despair held by that wounded inner child.

I have struggled a lot lately with feeling enveloped by the despair, but I know that there is sunshine outside of the dark clouds around me. I need to keep on hoping and believing, even when I cannot feel the warmth of the sun.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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This morning was not a good one. I decided to move toward indifference in this relationship that is bothering me. I decided to stop connecting emotionally with this person and see what happens. If the person does not even notice, then I have my answer about the health of this relationship.

However, being indifferent is not my strong suit. I wish I could just shut my feelings down, but that never does seem to work. Instead, my emotions kept fluctuating from anger to hopelessness. I became overwhelmed with the feeling of despair, and I struggled with suicidal urges. I actually caught myself thinking that maybe I should not volunteer to lead a Bible study in case I don’t want to continue living much longer. Then it hit me that I must be triggered. Ya think??

What is most disturbing is that, when I am flooded with these emotions, I have such a difficult time determining what is about today and what is about the past. Is this despair a result of what happened this week, or did what happened this week trigger feelings of despair from long ago? (I am guessing it is all about the past. It usually is for me.)

What really scares me is how quickly I can dive deep down into the despair. I started thinking about how alone I am in the world. I don’t have parents to serve as a safety net if I need them. I better be able to take care of myself (which I actually do quite well, thank you very much) because there is nobody who is going to take care of me.

I also circled around the trust issue. This relationship that is bothering me this week broke my trust, and I still don’t handle that well. When one person breaks my trust, I find myself back in that place questioning whether I can ever trust anyone or if everyone is going to betray and then leave me. (Do you see the extremes here? It’s all black & white thinking.)

I found it hysterical that I can be an inspiration to other people when I can be such a friggin’ basket case like I was this morning. I fall just as hard as any of you, and I can fall much harder and faster than many. I guess the difference is that I am relatively okay now (only a few hours later), whereas it used to take me weeks to get back to being okay.

I don’t know when, if ever, I will reach a place of accepting that it is not a “bad” thing to feel pain and that it will pass. To this day, when I am in that dreadful place, I see no way out. I just want to disappear and stop existing altogether. But, I am still here. I guess I still have the rest of my life to figure all of this out. Oh, joy.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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One of the most difficult parts of healing from child abuse is struggling with suicidal urges. As I moved through the child abuse healing process, I would feel suicidal urges from time to time. The pain ran so deep that I was willing to do anything – A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G – to make the pain stop. Even death seemed preferable to continuing one more minute experiencing such a deep level of pain.

Also, my suicidal urges would come with very deep despair. No matter how much progress I had made along my child abuse healing journey, I could not see any of it. It felt as if I was enveloped in a dark cloud, and I could not see past my immediate pain.

If you are in this place, keep holding on. Sometimes that is all you can do when the suicidal urges wash over you. The most important thing to remember is not to act on those suicidal urges. No matter how intense they are in the moment, those feelings will pass.

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, suicidal urges feel kind of like coming into contact with dementors. They suck all of the hope and joy out of your life, and you are left with the deepest pain that you ever experienced. Also like with dementors, eating chocolate afterward always did wonders for me in recovering from the encounter. :0)

I made a life decision that I would never attempt to take my own life. No matter how bad it got, I would use all of my coping tools to fight back. I refused to end my life in that manner, if for no other reason than to prevent my child abusers from winning. As long as I am still alive and not an abuser myself, I win. If I kill myself because of the pain that they inflicted, then they win.

If you are struggling with suicidal urges, this is a normal part of healing from child abuse. What you are feeling is not about today – you are feeling the echoes of your past. You are releasing the despair that you could not face while you were being abused. You need to pour those painful emotions out of your spirit so you can heal.

Whenever you feel suicidal urges, remove giving into them from your list of possibilities. From there, do whatever you can to ride them out. Rest assured that suicidal urges always end. It might seem like you will be miserable forever, but you won’t. Emotions, even extremely painful ones, always end.

Related Topic:

Aftereffects of Childhood Abuse: Suicidal Urges

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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