A Hard Step

The semester is over and the start of warmer weather is here. For me, this means about two months of serious therapy work before I return to school in the fall.

My assignment this week: anger. More specifically, why I seem to be able to feel anger at so many little things while I still cannot seem to be angry at the people who hurt me the most.

What is behind all of the anger? That is a scary question. All I thought was that I am not ready. Then again will I ever be ready? Probably not! I just have to see where my brain is ready to start. What words will come out on the page.

This is not going to be easy and I have a bad feeling that this assignment is going to take me into some dark places. I need to remember to take care of myself. To take breaks and to do those things that will relax me. This is not an assignment for a grade. What comes out of this needs to be there.

So, I will see how it goes. I will try to put one foot in front of the other and move forward even a tiny bit!

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Missing 

Having a mental illness is a challenge. Being a parent with a mental illness is even more of a challenge especially when the other parent seems to be always trying to take the children away.

This weekend is my holiday. Two of my three children came. I have had a great time with the two who did come. We had a cook out yesterday and are out as a family today.

My third child was given a choice to stay at his house. That is what he choose. It hurts. I knew that the day would come when they would be upset with me. Upset about all of the times I could not see them because I was in the hospital. Upset that I was not always there because I was sick.

I guess as much as I prepared it still hurts to know that there is already one child who does not want to come. I hope that one day he can resolve his feelings and that we can talk about them. I cannot go back, only forward.

Not a Choice!!!!

I wish that people who are not aware of mental illnesses would realize that having one is not a choice. Even not taking medication is sometimes not a choice. They are expensive and some people have other expenses that have to come first.

One mental illness is not better or worse then another just different. They all suck!! I wish that I could work. I am not lazy. I have even tried to work. I get overwhelmed and start to have panic attacks. I get hyper-vigilant and very angry. My doctors have said it is best to not work right now.

There are those out there who call people with my illness and many others all kinds of names. I think that we are strong. We are doing the best that we can, or at least the people that I have met are.

Mental illness is not a choice! 

I Have Stopped Looking for an Ending

I love to read. Mostly autobiographies and other true stories. Each has a clear beginning, middle, and end. For the most part, books do not leave one hanging unless they are a series.

I also love movies. There is something about the way everything comes together to put the viewer into that world. There is a feeling of escape. Again, most have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

With PTSD and complex trauma, somehow everything gets jumbled up. It is like the story has turned into an unsolvable puzzle. If it were a book, there are pages missing and out of order. If it were a movie it might suddenly shut off in the middle.

In therapy, we talk about the trauma. That might only be one little piece of it. One glimpse into an even that will take weeks or even months to put together. There is always one more page. One more scene. 

Nothing ends. There is not a nice little bow to tie it all together. Then there are the impulses. The impulses that are not safe and that have to be fought and dealt with to get through the event.

I just want an ending to one thing that happened to me. I want to be able to go through a holiday without having to look around every corner. I also would like to know when I leave the house I can handle the triggers. I am not at that point yet. In the meantime, I have to keep working. 

***Trigger ***Warning*** Growing Up

As my kids have grown, there have been memories that were brought up. I started thinking about what would have happened to me. I would have been hit for doing that or sent to my room all day without any food.

Ideas were imposed on me. There was not a choice to talk to someone or not, it was what my parents wanted me to do. By contrast, my kids go to other people homes and have sleepovers. They have friends. The idea of a friend is pretty foreign to me.

Now, the kids are teenagers. Yes, it brings up more memories of abuse. It also brings up the fact that my mom did not know how to handle it. She would not let me do the simple things that all of the other girls were doing. I wore undershirts well into my middle school years.

My daughter is growing and maturing like a normal child her age. She is interested in nail polish and lip gloss. She is starting to ask about ways to take care of her body. I know that the discussions that I am having with her are different than those that I had with my mom. I am open with her and let her know her limits with make-up and nails. Right now, we are starting with lip gloss. She is growing up and it is a nice feeling knowing that she can come to me and confide in me.

She has personal boundaries. My boundaries were broken time and time again without anyone helping me even when I told. Right now, I have to take it one day at a time with her and keep reminding myself that everyone out there is not a predator.

An Internal Battle **May Trigger**

My eating disorder has been an internal battle. To look at me, I look like I do not have a problem with food. Just under the surface is a raging battle. A tug of war between not eating and overeating. 

There are times when I tell myself that I am not going to overeat. I am going to have a normal meal. Then I feel guilty for eating because I have eaten and part of me feels like I was not supposed to.

Going to bed feeling empty is an accomplishment. Going to bed feeling sick is a failure. I have experienced both. 

Eating or not eating has become an obsession. Luckily, I have been through treatment and have coping skills. Instead of binging yesterday, I decided to go to a yoga class. It helped to get my mind off of the issue and it helped to focus me on what I was doing.

That is what I need to do. To put my health first and do what I need to do.

Hidden in Plain Sight

Mental illness is not always noticeable. In fact, most people who have a mental illness go through life looking like everyone around them.

This can be deceiving. For myself, I may be having a flashback or hearing parts having an internal meeting. There may be the start of a panic attack or a feeling that I want to run away.

I hate when people say I look great so I must be doing well. Sometimes I wished that they would ask me how I am doing. Even then, do they really want to hear about all of my troubles. 

A physical illness is harder for people to turn away from. It is sometimes more accepted. I wish that I could talk about what I am going through with other people, yet I feel like I have to keep it bottled up. Keep it hidden!

School is Over. Why Haven’t I Felt Better??

I knew my classes were stressing me out. Getting up, leaving the house, and interacting with others. All of this challenged my PTSD symptoms. I was forced to use coping skills. At least now I can say that I did it!

The semester is over and Ifeel more stressed then ever. Part of the reason is that things are going horrible with my ex. He wants more child support to begin with. That is stressing me out. What if the court does award him more support. I still have bills and expenses such as therapy and medication that I need to keep up with. Then there is the fact that he somehow wants me to pay for the kids field trips and activities. I already pay child support. That money is included in there.

Then his new wife got her feeling hurt over something that the kids told her. Never mind that the event never happened. She should have gone  through my ex, yet I was the one who got the texts on my phone.

It seems like he likes to start stuff. I should just ignore most of it and just not worry about it. I though of blocking her number from my phone, yet what if one of the kids gets hurt or injured. I want to know about it.

The eating disorder is at a high point right now. I am trying to do the right things, yet it is so hard not to give into impulses. I need to get that under control. Journaling and reality testing are a big thing right now.

Yes, school is over. Now I need to get some of the other stressors in my life to decrease. I need to work in that and make a plan.

Rain

I should start out by saying I am not big into religion or looking for signs. That is most likely due to my past.

Maybe it is just coincidence. My therapy appointment is on the same day at the same time every week. Almost every week it rains or snows on the days that I have therapy. 

Therapy is getting harder as we are delving deeper into my memories from the past. Feelings are not a subject that I deal with very well, yet they are part of therapy. I wished that I did not need to discuss or acknowledge them at all.

To this day, there are people in my life that I lost a long time ago. They cared about me. They showed me love and compassion. Even when they could no longer do as much, they still told me stories and made me feel special. 


Sometimes I think that the rain is them showing their sadness along with those who others have lost. The sadness that trauma survivors have to go through so much just to make it through the day. Maybe even the sadness that they could not do anything to stop it:

It was not their place to stop it. They did not know what to even stop. There was always an excuse for everything. 

As I am writing this the rain is getting stronger. Maybe there are some people that will always be on my side. Just a thought.

Two Pre-teens and a Teenager **May Trigger**

My kids are growing up so quickly. Sometimes I do not even realize how much until I look at photos. At other times it is right in front of me. They do not want to socialize with people they do not know or they hate school and do not want to do their work. They want their hair and shoes to be the latest style. Their interests are starting to peak out in the form of the shows they watch and the web sites that they go on.

My daughter just went through puberty education. She would have rather skipped it and done something else. All three kids feel that they know everything and will tell me all about it.

This all makes me think back to when I was a teenager. My mother did not care about name brands. I was lucky to have clothes on my back. I was being told that my parents did not want me by my parents. At school, I was bullied relentlessly. 

My mom made out like my 11th birthday did not exist. I could not do anything right. No matter how many awards or A’s that I got it was not enough. I could not live up to their standards.

These were the same years that I decided that I was not going to be like them. I was not going to ridicule and beat my children. I would be there for my kids if I ever had any. The abuse was going to stop. Another generation was not going to have to endure what I did and what my parents did before me.

That is one promise I have kept for going on thirty years. My kids come to me and talk about what is bothering them. I never could have done that. Even though I know that things are not perfect for them and they are upset by the divorce until this day, they have an outlet. Therapy is ok. Feelings are ok.