Coming to the End

It is almost the end of the semester. I have one paper left to complete. I cannot seem to even get started on it. Not that I have not done the research, I have just not put any words down on the page. First, writing the paper is just plain overwhelming right now. I have had my fill of child abuse and neglect stories. This is just one more that I do not want to have to face. Second, my kids are coming this weekend and I really want to spend time with them, not writing another paper. Third, I am just tired and mentally drained.

I think that #3 is the worst. I just want to take a nap and wait for the kids to come tonight. Maybe do some laundry in order to have clean clothes. Do a paper, not so much. Just getting food prepared to eat seems like to much. I wish that I had someone to support me and be by my side this weekend to be a cheerleader to finish this paper. Maybe once my kids get here, I will be more motivated.

They Just do not and can not Get IT! **may trigger**

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IT! The feeling of loneliness, emptiness, despair, anger, relief, and it seems like everything else all balled into one. Why children who have been abused still love their abusers? Why molestation survivors blame themselves? How one person becomes the focus of support and caring? Why one loss can make a difference so powerful that it changes the course of one’s life.

People who have not been through shit, and there are many types, just do not get what it is like to have been abused, molested, put down, ridiculed, and treated like a mistake by the people who were supposed to care and make you feel safe. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that there are those out there who had a good child and good memories. Whose parents loved and encouraged them. Who had a two-parent household.

IT, is why I have a passion for going into the field of social work. Understanding the experience plus having the knowledge of the process enables me to be able to make a difference. I do not know exactly what that is yet. I know that I will have to choose one area, yet I do not know where I want to focus. Personally, I have been through many categories of topics that could turn into research and change. Right now, I am trying to decide where to focus. Recognition and signs of abuse and neglect, prevention of child maltreatment, family therapy for those who have been affected by violence, domestic violence, parenting skills, a woman’s right to choose….  Yes, those are all going through my head at any one time.

Being passionate is advantageous when studying and researching. It is also a hinderance in that I want to do more than I can. I want to make the most impact in whatever path I choose to go down. I want to know IT. That subject or area that only I lived through. I want to become an expert on the researchers, laws and policies. I want to become involved and informed. Most of all I want to help in whatever way I can. I do not just want to sit back and talk about changes, I want to make them. One small step at a time. I know that I will get there because others have that have come before me.

 

Another Hard Night

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Apparently, I better get used to frustrating and overwhelming night classes. I hate the dark. I did not want to take an evening class, yet I do not want to take a professor that will stress me out either. Toss a coin at that point I guess.

I already know that class is going to suck tonight!!! We are talking about child welfare policy. I am taking two other classes this semester on the same subject. It is good to know the information, yet sometimes it is just to much. Why can’t anyone talk of change? Why do we continue with the same disheveled system? Being the end of the semester and the fact that I reached my limit weeks ago, I would rather just go home and work on a paper.

It does not help that I feel that the professor and I are in two different schools. I want to see the future as being one that can be changed to make laws and policies more realistic and effective. I feel like sometimes it is just go with the flow. Why? In order for things to get better sometimes they need to change. Hell sometimes, the entire thing just needs to be torn up or broken and completely redone.

That is what I think of some of our social policies. The policies for children are the worst. Adults think they know best, yet ask a kid and they will tell you something different. Sometimes no matter where they live or what background they come from, you can still get the same answer. Essentially, love, support, and some respect. They are not objects on a chessboard or a game piece that can be moved around. Something needs to give. Although I doubt that it will be anything tonight except my temper!!

Another Day, Another Memory

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Everyone around me is talking about Cinco de Mayo. They are excited about going out with friends and having a great time. Me, this is yet another nightmare that I had to live through. Another loss of a person that I could not get back. Actually, the loss of the first person that I was told that I just needed to get over and move on from.

Life just went on. No matter how bad or devastating something was there was not time to morn. Grief was not allowed. Today, that same grief still haunts me wherever I go and each year on anniversaries. Physically, I do not feel well. My stomach hurts and I can barely keep my eyes open. Mentally, I cannot focus and thoughts turn to dark places.

Yet, today is another day and no-one cares. There is not one person who can see the pain and agony on the inside. There are no physical wounds to show. There is nothing that is “wrong” for anyone to see. Everything is invisible. Once again, I just have to deal with it and go on like nothing has happened.

A Moment That was a Dream

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When everything else seemed to be crumbling around me and I was in one of the darkest moments of the past few years there was a moment that changed everything.

My psychiatrist asked me what I wanted. No one had really asked me. So many people had assumed that I was finished. I said that I wanted to be an advocate for those that did not have a voice. To make one person feel important, special, and cared for. 

Fast forward to too many sessions to count, hospitalizations, and more stress then I thought that I could ever handle. I am in school and if all works out, will be able to be a part of a field that I thought was out of my reach. At this moment, I am about to have an encounter that may allow me to go a little farther down the path. I just wish that provider was here to know that what we worked on all of those sessions is becoming a reality.

If They Knew **May Trigger**

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Socially accepted. There are those who argue that mental illness has become more socially  accepted. I would argue against that idea. First, illnesses like depression and anxiety are accepted. I feel like this is because those are illness that medications are effective. Again, are we accepting or are we disguising. Then there are illnesses on the other end that are often misunderstood or even encouraged. The person who stops eating, loses weight, and whose behaviors are reenforced when they told that they look good. Those who hear voices or are paranoid of what is around them. Maybe it is me, yet I do not see people befriending and supporting them.

This brings me to a new series on a certain network. People seem to have taken sides. I have seen videos of that is not true, that the show is sensationalizing the issue. One thing I do know for me, is that I do know my abusers. I know the people who hurt me, who told me that I should have never been born, the people that put their hands on me. All of which resulted in me feeling like less of a person. If other factors are there at the same time, I have self-harmed and have even tried to take my own life. I am not proud of that, yet I wanted to stop feeling the pain.

Those around me are turned off when I talk about my mental illness. They want to ignore that I have a therapist or a psychiatrist and that I am unable to do things at times because they conflict with my appointments. People around me do not want to hear that I lost my kids due to the fact that I have a mental illness that unfortunately cannot be “fixed” by medicine. When I was diagnosed I lost people around me. The few who have stayed accept me and they are ok with the reality that I have bad days.

So what if people really knew. People discuss allergies, pain, and other chronic conditions. They receive empathy and are often asked if there is anything that will help them to feel better. What if I said that I was struggling with getting out of bed because I could not bear to face the memories that the day would cause due to my past trauma? What if I would say that I needed someone to support me because I was scared of self-harm? Would anyone be around and help, or would they suddenly have things that they need to do?

Would people be supportive if they knew? I don’t think so based on my experience. I think that they would act funny and then slowly disappear. I think that if I was working that I may lose my job or not get hired. For me, my mental illness is not ok to have to most people. I should get over it or deal with it. I wish that I could. Could someone tell me how? I would be happy to know.

Feeling Horrible is the Norm

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Three weeks left in the semester. Three weeks of having to wake up, go to class, and finish work. My mind knows that I need to complete this in order to move forward. Well, part of my mind. The other part of my mind is over this. All it wants is to be able to rest, stay home, avoid people, and isolate in every way possible.

Not that isolating for long periods is helpful, yet there are some times that one just needs to be alone and be able to journal, color, or watch tv alone. There are still the mornings where I need to see my therapist or psychiatrist. There are still the visits with my kids. So, I cannot isolate for to long even if I want to.

Right now, I am having issues with eating. To much, not to little. I am having thoughts of self harm that I need to use skills in order not to act on to stay out of the hospital. There are mornings that I just do not want to get up because my body does not have the strength to get out of bed.  It is like my joints and muscles are not functioning. I just want to be able to sleep.

This weekend was one example. I just wanted to sleep and I used my self to do what I had to complete. Even though i completed the task that day, the next day, I could not function. I could barely stand up and I felt that I was in a fog.

This morning I still feel that way. The fog that envelopes me. The parts that are fighting to get their way of just staying home. The parts that are angry at having to go anywhere and therefore want to act out. That normally means lashing out at people around us. We are trying not too. We are trying to be appropriate and promising parts that we will go directly home.

Instead of self harm, we think about the fact that we promised our doctor that we would stay safe and we respect him. It would feel so much better to just be able to act on those impulses.

An entirely different issue is the kids. One of my kids has decided that he is no longer going to talk or communicate with me. His father supports this and is not assisting in attempting to get a relationship going again. My other two children are struggling. They want to see me, yet they are being told that I do not care, I am not giving their other parent enough money, that I do not see them as much as I can, and then the list goes on. It seems like no matter what I do, it is not going to be enough. I fear that what happened with one of my children will happen with the other two. It is just a matter of time. Money and power go a long way and can easily manipulate a child.

A Child Should Not Hace to Choose

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Ten years. Well almost. That is how long it has been since separating from my ex. I was naive then. I thought that things were fair and that I would get my kids 50 percent if the time like most people.

Instead, it was the beginning of a nightmare. There have been three clear court issues since then. My ex used my mental illness and financial influence to obtain physical custody. I had a win in that I got joint legal custody.

Today, the kids are teenagers. Instead of just following an order, I am put down and my kids are told that I am a bad mother. That I am not doing as much as I should. I have even been told that high school graduations are not a place for me because I am not there enough. When I want to be there more, I am refused.

The kids are getting old enough to choose what they want according to my ex. My oldest has already chosen not to communicate. He believes that I am hurting his father. It must be tough to always hear negative talk about your parent.

I have determined that as long as my kids want me in their life that I will be there for them. Even when they no longer choose to come visit, I will attempt to see how they are doing. It is scary to know that one day they may not talk to me. That I will not be there for the big events or the holidays. That I will be shut out.

As a non-custodial parent it is hard in so many ways. To know that your children may not want to see you. To be able to be looked up and found that you do not have custody. People then assume that you must have done something wrong. Sometimes the other parent just has a better attorney. Sometimes, there is no way to “win” only a way to have a relationship that is far from ideal. 

My hope is that my kids will continue to communicate with me, yet there is no guarantee and I do not have the power to see into the future.

One Solution Does Not Fit All

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The array of treatment choices is daunting. Finding out what works is an even more difficult struggle. What won’t make me feel worse, what does not cause weight gain, what does not cause sleep issues etc. For me the worst side effect was tardive disconesia. My extremities shook to the point that I could not complete everyday tasks, my speech slurred, I had problems swallowing. Yet even with all of that I regret that I had to go off of the medicine. It actually took the symptoms away, it just gave me to many more.

Evidence based practice is a big term right now in the world of psychology. Part of me thinks that they are trying to be more clinical. To find the magic button. There is not a magic button when working with people. Sure, hand washing and personal protective equipment prevent transference of germs. How are my flashbacks supposed to lesson? At that point what works for me may not work for the next person.

If a treatment worked for everyone we would not need hospitals, therapists, psychiatrists, and medical specialists. I wish that I could go in one day and there would be the elusive cure just waiting. A cure that would take all of the symptoms away. Yet, there is nothing that will work for all of us. We are all just a little different. Our thoughts and past events are different.

Treatment providers struggle to find the right combination. I know that as a patient, it feels horrible. Even after a treatment works,life happens and the treatment needs to be shifted. I wish that there was something that would make all of the horrible feelings go away right now. Instead I have to live with what I am going through. There is no one size fits all solution that I can turn too.

When Will It Be Over

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Another 10 hour day. My therapist has recommended noise cancelling headphones to try to decrease the irritation that I feel during the day. I am looking into them. Apparently, someone who I know has children who use them.

This morning sucked!! Resiliency. Yes some people have the ability to bounce back and think positively. What about those of us who for some reason cannot just “get over it.” I feel defective. Like I should just be able to magically get rid of all of the nightmares, flashbacks, sting issues, problems socializing, and all of the rest of the symptoms that I had. Why are myself and people like me looked at as weak, while they are looked at as strong and likable.

It makes me question the future. Will I ever have anyone who is willing to hire me? Can I even work when I get so irritated and hyper-vigilant around people. If I am hired, what do I say about children and family? There are no easy answers. There is no guidebook for having a screwed up life and then having to turn around and relate to those who have not experienced anything.

It feels like all of the hurt, anger, despair, and all of the other crappy feelings are just going to continue. I am not in a place to rationalize things. Being irrational is not good according to my doctors. I am “burning bridges.” Maybe I was not ready to make them in the first place. Maybe I am not up to that yet.