When Even the Smallest Tasks are Difficult

Depression and PTSD have taken a part of me away. I am not even sure what that part is anymore. I know that I do not seem to have any energy, I remember the details of my traumas daily, and I struggle with things that others can do easily. I do not leave the house with the exception of therapy.

For some reason there are those that equate depression with sadness. It is so much more than that. It is like someone has completely darkened the space around you and then confined you into an even smaller space.

Cooking, laundry, showering, talking, and many other small things become absolutely earth shattering chores. With PTSD it is hard to hear triggers and try to do anything remotely easy. My cats are my support. As long as I pet them, they still like me. In fact, one of my cat’s is my emotional support animal.

There is not any medicine left to try at this point. I just need to work on my skills and try to do a little at a time. Sometimes it is very little at this point.

My Experience with Parental Alienation *May Trigger*

When the dust cleared and the agreement was signed, neither parent was supposed to negatively discuss anything about the other parent. The problem is that when one side has a top attorney and the other side does not have the money to afford an attorney, the terms of the agreement tend to get overlooked.

That is what happened to my children. It began with my ex and his mother. They would say that I was faking my mental illness, that I was not giving their father enough money. And even that I did not love them. When my ex married, the comments became worse. My kids were told that they were not from my culture, my daughter’s body was criticized, I was accused of lying and of not being genuine.

Every time that I went into the hospital for treatment of my mental illness there would be a long breaks between visits.‘I had to get letters from all of my doctors stating that I was not a danger to my children. Then I had to be evaluated by an independent doctor. This process could take as long as 10’months.

Now, my kids are teenagers. One does not speak to me and repeats that I am a selfish individual and a liar. That I do not look out for him. My second child visits and ask questions about my illness to tries to gauge the truth. He has also done some research. My third child has begun to move away from me. She is frustrated that I do not always know how I will feel in advance and believes that I am keeping the truth from her.

The state that my divorce was finalized in does not even have a statute for parental alienation. What I have learned over the past 10 years is that parental alienation begins with the adults surrounding the children. The messages become like a broken record. As the child ages, those messages are internalized and become the child’s beliefs. Once that happens it is hard to adjust their thinking.

I believe that every state should have laws regarding parental alienation and try to prevent it from happening in as many cases as possible. It can ruin a relationship between a parent and a child for life. Keeping each from experiencing the love and affection from each other. Life events go by without acknowledgement and soon kids turn into parents and grandparent is kept from their grandchild. More needs to be done!! Parents should not be shut out of a child’s life because of the other parents negative feelings.

A Savior and a Monster?? **May Trigger**

This is my first Father’s Day without my dad and I am conflicted. My dad was the person who took me to have surgeries. He was the person to buy me ice cream. As I got older, he was the one who would defend me to my teachers and make sure that I was being treated fairly. We often joked about who would have the last of the custard or bread pudding. When I was in high school, we went to the same junior college. People around us took half of the semester to realize that we were related.

Then there was the other side of my dad. The side that seemed to not be able to reign in his anger. The one who beat me beyond a spanking. He often told me that he could not stand the sight of me and to go to my room. At times he put me up against a door or a wall by my neck. There were other things that he also did when he was angry that made me feel like he hated me and wished that I would just go away.

Then there was the frail man in the hospital bed. The one that was in so much pain that he could not even pay in the same position for a few minutes. At times, I would need to ask the nurses if he could have anything more for the pain. I was there for the last days.

I feel like I should only be preserving the good memories, yet there were both and I feel like my life is flat without both. He was my greatest advocate who also happened to be one of the people who hurt me the most. Luckily, I have my therapist to help me work through all of this because I know that I could not do any of this by myself.

So on this first Father’s Day without him, I gruels that’s I need to begin to accept that he was both. That is the problem with working through childhood abuse. Often the abuser is someone who is also a caregiver. In my case one that I just wanted to please.

A Noncustodial Mom’s Struggle

Thirteen years ago, I lost my children. My ex had one of the top lawyers in the state and I could barely afford the phone bill. I tried to speak to my kids almost everyday. They were so little, that they did not say much and were often distracted. I hoped that the magical age of 18 would come quickly. The age that they could choose when and how often to stay. The age when it would be their choice instead of a legal document.

My oldest stopped speaking to me 4 years ago. To this day there is no reason given to myself or anyone else. A lot happened over the past few years. He has a girlfriend and went through his senior year. He graduated a few weeks ago. He wants nothing to do with me. As far as he is concerned I do not exist.

This is a disadvantage of being the noncustodial parent. There is not enough time with the children to form a strong bond. Alienating the other parent or turning them into a villain is easy. I wonder if I will ever see or speak to him again.

Now I Understand How Privileged I am

Ok. Let me just start off for apologizing to anyone that I may have offended over the years. I used to really believe that class was what defined us more than race. Than the upper class did not respect or give as many opportunities to the lower classes as they had, causing oppression.

After, the past few weeks, I can honestly say that my views have changed. From not informing an entire black community about the possibility of an increased risk of a virus to the death that did not have to happen to a young man.

I did not realize that a person could be treated so badly just because of their race even though they were calm and cooperating. That being black, often led to the police following innocent men and women down the street.

I was in my Masters program program when I first heard the hundreds of names of the black men and women who were killed. Some shot in the back and others just because they happened to be in the same car that was stopped.

If that had been my son, he would have been treated differently just because he is white and that has to end. People need to stop moving over and getting off of elevators just because someone of another race gets on. We do not know each other’s stories and what has happened. Maybe listening and learning how to change the perceptions of some people may help.

All police are not malicious. There have been many who have joined protests or talked with the people in their district who were protesting. There are neighborhood patrolman who get to know the people on their route. They talk to people and may even play a game with the kids.

As a human being, I just want to know how I can help. How I can do something about this in my community. Education and learning is a large part. Thank you to those who have shared their stories of oppression. Speaking up and protests may be the only way for change.

Please let those of us who want to stand by you and support you know what we can do, because we can never truly understand what each of you has been through. Please do not stop sharing your experiences. They are a valuable tool for change

As for me, I am going to see how I can support change and stop the oppression of an entire group of people. Now, because of another son yet lost, I understand that race is more important than class.

Telehealth is a Great Idea, Yet Needs Some Help

COVID19 has brought many changes to all of our lives. I know as someone with a mental health issue I have had some interesting experiences. The first couple of times that I tried therapy over the internet, the signal was not so great and I could not hear half of the things that my therapist was saying. That was an easy fix. We now just have therapy directly moved the phone and we go over everything that I need to discuss as well as homework.

My psychiatrist has been the harder of the two. My outpatient psychiatrist has now become inpatient. During this time, I have had to work with a new psychiatrist. My medicines have been hard to keep track of without any appointments. Some have had refills, others did not have any left, and still other were questioned by the insurance company. This week, I am beginning to keep better track of what I need.

Having therapy while on the phone can be interesting. Cats are getting in my lap and meowing. The kitten is trying to eat all of the non food items in the house. Not to mention that I feel exposed. I like the office setting. I can take my artwork in and discuss what I have worked on. There is no way to do that over the phone.

I know that things will improve with time as all of the glitches are worked out. Maybe, I will finally be able to have a face to face session. Here is hoping that things go smoothly. Remember to use hotlines and reach out to others if you are struggling.

7 Weeks of Finally Feeling Normal

COVID19 has changed how we think about viral transmission, how we shop, and maybe even our priorities. Board games and kids playing outside became sounds and activities again. Parents had more time with their kids. It even changed some of our lives in negative ways. Job losses, children and adults who could not get the services they needed, and many burned out essential workers.

For those of us with a mental illness, it changed therapy in person to over the phone. Hotline calls became the norm for anyone in trouble. It was not the same. For some, this has caused a situation in which one cannot wait to get back to going to the therapists office or support groups.

Maybe there are others out there like me. I have agoraphobia to the point where I do not leave the house except for therapy. I do not have many friends and I do not feel comfortable with any social gathering. I do not have photos from parties or get togethers to put on social media. Holidays are a hit or miss with visitation. There are once again no photos.

What I do have are books, coloring apps, and other activities that I can do by myself. Not to exciting for others to see. The past seven weeks has made me feel normal. Stay at home orders meant that all of the gatherings on social media did not exist. People only posted about what they were doing in their homes. For once I could actually relate. The pictures of pets became the norm.

Now the country is trying to get back to going out using social distancing. I am not sure what that will look like? Will the virus start to spread again? I will no longer feel that I can relate to friends and families getting together. Maybe, this is the time to work on changing me. Social distancing means that no one should come close to me. Maybe my therapist and I could work on a plan to get outside? Maybe I could actually begin to be around others. We shall see!

After Shocks *May Trigger*

It all started with a call on a Saturday afternoon that my dad was in the hospital. The doctors did not expect him to make it. After not seeing him for at least 5 years, I went to the hospital to say a final goodbye.

My mother was pissed that I was even visiting him. The next day she called me for a ride to the hospital and now she has some how slithered her way back into my life. She calls at least 4 times a week. Often it is to relive my father’s final months and days.

I am not dealing well with my own grief. I am like a zombie, barely functioning. I cannot handle her. On top of that one of my child.has began to self harm. They are stressed about how my mother treats me. They feel like she hurts more than helps.

Lost *May Trigger*

Two weeks ago one of my parents died. I did not even know that they were sick until I got a call one night saying that they were dying. I went to the hospital to find a shell of a person who had trouble even making a sentence. Four days later, I was there when they took their last breath.

The person who died was one of my abusers. Not as bad as some others, yet still an abuser. Their words and actions caused me to feel worthless and invisible. I was never good enough for them and they always expected more.

Then there were the good memories with this person. The time that they backed me up when an admissions counselor told me that I was unable to do something. The times that they took me for ice cream or helped me with my homework. This person taught me how to drive when no one else would get into a car with me.

When they took their last breath, it was as if they went into a void. If that is the case, it makes me wonder why I am struggling everyday to not even have much of a life. My self harm and suicidal impulses are so high. I have been able to contract for safety from therapy appointment to appointment. It is hard though. I have lost all motivation and energy. I want to be anywhere but in the present.

I have been told that this will get better. I am not so sure. All I see is that shell of a person taking their last breath.

Will I be Able to Deal with the Inside?!

New therapist. Nothing like opening up old wounds again. At least I am being encouraged to work with parts and not rush this work. It just seems to take everything out of me. I am mentally and physically exhausted.

My system has so many roadblocks up. How am I going to get through them all? Are my parts going to cooperate? What if I cannot handle things and melt down? Maybe I need some meltdowns. They would allow me to get through all of the emotions that have been held in for so long.