Inescapable Thoughts **May Trigger**

Why can’t I just get through all of these memories. My therapist says that talking about them will lesson their strength, yet I have not experienced that. Often I find myself thinking about what went on in the past. Sometimes something reminds me of a memory.

Self-harm is not a solution, yet it seems to help decrease the severity of feeling helpless. When I think of my kids and my husband I feel lucky. When I think of where I am at in my life I feel horrible. The physical illness that prevented me from finishing nursing school is much easier to take then the social workers who did not accept me due to my PTSD.

How many times can I start over and try again?

Then there are the reminders about what has happened to me. Dates of the year, smells, or even the way that a stranger may look. It is like I cannot get a break even if I want too. Thoughts of how isolated my parents kept me along with their cruel punishments still paralyze me into staying in the house where it is safe.

The thoughts also turn to nightmares and daydreams where I cannot figure out if I am still asleep or awake. Intrusive thoughts take over and I think of how to stop them. It is not a good path to be on.

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Staying Away Does Not Work

I try to stay out of politics. Even after taking a political science class, I did not start to join groups or go out and lobby.

Now, I can no longer ignore how the shutdown is affecting those around me. I see people who work for the government and live paycheck to paycheck. These same people are trying to negotiate with their mortgage company to be able to stay in their house.

In other housing issues. Section 8 could be stopped. How many people are going to lose their housing. SNAP and other assistance programs will stop. How are those in the most need supposed to get food and other necessities?

These are only some of the many trickle down effects of the shutdown. To me, we are living under a terrorist who is using his position to manipulate others into giving in. He is not thinking about what his choices are doing to those Americans who want to work and now cannot because of him. He wanted to “make America great again”. He is making things worse for everyone.

I feel that this shutdown could have so many unintended consequences and create an even larger divide in our society than is already there. Hopefully, Americans can come together at this time an support each other even if only it is a small gesture.

How My Mental Illness Affected People’s Perceptions

My first taste of how my mental illness would impact me was when my ex took all of the money out of a bank account during one of my hospitalizations. After that I had to ask to use the bank card any time I needed gas or something for the kids.

After that was my divorce. I was not able to afford an attorney and wound up with visitation of the kids that I had stayed at home with for six years. I was told I was lucky to get that.

Luckily, I found NAMI where I was able to meet other people with mental illnesses. I was also able to tell my story to audiences that included future law enforcement, students, and peers. At that point there were some great questions and I felt accepted.

After a lot of back and forth, pros and cons, and discussion, I applied for admission to a Masters program in Social Work and was accepted. I used my experiences in the mental heath system as part of my entrance essay. For my field placement, I also used my experiences. Come to find out, my competency to become a Social Worker was questioned before I had set foot in my placement. My field instructor pointed out that I was to traumatized to be in the field after only two days and I was told to leave the placement after only three days.

I was hurt beyond repair. Here were people that were supposed to be empathetic telling me that I could not do this. They did not even give me a chance. If those people did not accept me, I began to wonder who would.

I did not choose to have a mental illness. No one does. However, once people know that I have a mental illness, it is assumed that I cannot do the task at hand.

To this day, I still want to be a social worker and assist people with obtaining g resources and counseling to get them back to where they want to be to reach their goals. The one huge roadblock is my diagnosis and knowledge of how it feels to be a patient in the hospital. Reaching out for a social workers help for myself.

I am not sure where this year is going to take me. People can be cruel and I am not sure I can face the rejection again.

Writing What I Know

My memories are not linear. I wished that they have a beginning, middle, and end, yet they are sporadic at best. I am trying to write what I can remember. Hopefully as those memories come out, I will have more details emerge.

Some of these things need to get out into a container other than the one that I have created in my head. It is liberating to write down what I know and then to be able to go back and read what has happened.

That is the the thing with childhood trauma. Not all the memories are bad. I want to capture the good memories as well. Maybe that will give me a direction to go in with my life?

PTSD: Same Diagnosis, Different Outcomes

I have PTSD and feel like a failure. I have tried to go back to school, only to have a physical or a mental wall bring me right back to where I have started. My memories are constantly with me no matter how much mindfulness I practice. I am scared to leave my house and am worried to be around other people. I guess one could say I have a pretty thick wall of protection.

Then there are other people with PTSD that seem to be able to tolerate their triggers and even live a life. What makes us different? Is it the age the trauma happened, the length of the trauma, the location of the trauma, the frequency of the trauma? I would love to know so that I can stop having so much anger and frustration at myself.

I want to know how to get through something that is so shameful and that I feel guilty about. Losing time as days go by is not helpful. Isolating myself is only helping to put a bandaid on the problem.

Right now, I am mad at myself. I hate that I do not feel strong enough to go through the crap and come out the other side. I have more physical scars that do not even come close in number to the mental scars. The scars that have left me isolated and self harming.

While I wish to be one of those people who recovers and moves on I am afraid that I am stuck and cannot move. Instead of moving forward the storm just seems to stay.

Last Day of 2018

So much has happened this year. I have moved away from my abusers, I have a new cat, I have stayed out of the hospital, and I have found ways to relax or at least have tried.

I should feel better. I should be moving on with my life. Instead I still am scared to leave the house. I am not even sure why. It just causes a panic attack to get near the door.

True, I was able to get away from the proximity of my abusers and where the abuse happened. The dates and events still live in a corner of my mind and in some ways have gotten louder.

Today, I feel like my body and mind have created a prison for me. One that causes me to believe that the outside is dangerous. One where even when I close my eyes I have nightmares of what happened. One where I still lose time and easily get stressed out.

I am realize that all the move did was to separate me physically. Mentally, I am still that girl who was abused, teased, and unwanted.

Hopefully, the next year means that I will be able to work through some of this, yet I am reluctant to discuss what went on. Somehow I need to find a way to live with this and stop contemplating ways to end all of this discord and unrest.

Looking Forward to a New Year

I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. I like to stick to what I know could be true. This fall I was able to move into a wonderful neighborhood. People talk with one another and try to help out whenever they can. I am looking forward to seeing more people coming out in the spring.

The other adventure that I am beginning is a book club. I have always loved to read and hopefully it will be a way to meet new people. It will also mean interacting with others which I need practice in.

My kids are also going to be a part of the year. One will be moving out of middle school into high school and another is thinking of a future in the military. It means a lot that they want to discuss their courses with me.

I will also have the cats to enjoy and care for. They each have their unique personalities. I cannot wait to watch the kitten continue to grow and for our other cat to accept her a little more each day.

Therapy will get harder as I pull back the layers surrounding my abuse. Maybe I can learn to direct my anger toward the right people from now on. All I know is that I need to get in touch with my emotions.

A Good Christmas

For years I have been wanting to get out of the neighborhood that I lived in. That neighborhood was the same one where my abuse took place. It held so many bad memories for me. Along with the memories, there was so much crime that I had trouble sleeping. My husband and I had talked for years about getting out of there.

This summer we were able to have everything fall into place. We were able to buy a house in a safe neighborhood that did not carry any memories. My husband has allowed me to feel safe and to have new experiences. He gave me the best present that I could ever have. The gift of love and understanding.

In addition, I get to have my kids for the holiday this year. Last year, I was not even able to see them because I had been in the hospital. This year we are having them over along with some family.

Christmas is all about love and kindness. We have so much Christmas spirit in our home this year.

Unexpected Effects

Medications. I am on many for my mental illness and fibromyalgia. I never realized how addicted my body was to them until this past week. They help with anxiety and nerve pain.

I had run out of one of my medications before the doctor could call it in. I thought is was no big deal and that I could wait a couple of days. The next day I had stomach cramps and cold sweats. I felt horrible. I thought that it was a 24 hour virus, then it happened again the next day.

Finally, my husband went and picked up the prescription. I took it and within a couple of hours was feeling better. The stomach pain and head ache had gone away.

That is so scary to me. That a prescription can cause the same withdrawal symptoms as some illegal drugs. I am dependent on these medications for what I thought was to keep my physical and mental health stable. It turns out that my body is dependent on them to not have withdrawal.

I know that I need the medications, yet the fact that they control me makes me nervous. I would hope that the drug companies would work on the symptoms that happened when someone does not need the medication anymore, yet it seems that the drug companies are the ones who have made them this way.

Can I Overcome My Thoughts? *May Trigger*

My opinion of myself has been influenced by years of abuse. I feel damaged and defeated. No matter what I try, it has not worked out and I am back at the start. I have tried taking one step at a time, yet right now I seem to be going backwards.

I am struggling with thoughts of self harm. That would at least make me feel better if only for a little while. Then there are the even darker thoughts of suicide. There are times when I actually think that people would be better off if I was not around anymore. There are those that would be relieved that they did not need to deal with me any longer and there would be those that truly do not care in the first place.

I feel like I am damaged. My oldest son does not talk to me, I cannot work at this point, and I am scared to leave the house even to get the mail. I am worried what people think about me and if they already realize that I am damaged just by looking at me.

The scars on my body tell a story of fighting and defeat. Of pain that is so intolerable that I can think of nothing but getting out of it.

Most of all I am lost. I am not sure which direction to go in or what path to follow. Do I start over with trying to be a social worker or do I find something else to do? Do I participate in a book club or stay in the house? Am I ready for people to know me or should I still hide?

This weekend is a family get together. I am lost going there. They do not know who I am. I wish that I knew who they were. I was kept away from them for years and being socially awkward does not help. What should I talk to them about?

So, my thoughts turn to suicide. To end all of the pain. To not have to worry what anyone thinks of me any longer. To not have to try and fail at something else.

Trying to overcome these thoughts is hard. I think that even my therapist is stuck. I do not know where to begin to get better, I need to figure it out. I need to push through all of these horrible thoughts and start to think about what I do have in my life. Maybe today I can spend some time trying to think about what I have instead of what I am missing.