Hidden **May Trigger**

There was a time when I just thought that people could see. That by looking at me, they could tell that I had PTSD or depression. I dreaded going into someplace new because of the thoughts that others would just know by looking at me how messed up my life had been.

The reality is that those around me cannot see. Maybe that is a blessing in some ways. In other ways it is a curse. Hearing people talk about parents with mental illness should not be allowed to have their kids, people who self-harm are weak, and the worst is that my mental health diagnosis does not exist.

If that is case then why do I visit with my kids on a regular basis, how can I be sitting in class and they not know, and how do they know what is happening in my head. Most classes I actually forget. My memory was affected by the ECT and has not fully recovered.  I can have a flashback sitting in the middle of class. Topics such as molestation and physical abuse trigger memories that I would rather forget, yet seem to be etched into my memory.

What if what I saw in my mind could be projected onto a screen. A mother yelling at her daughter that she wished that she were dead, a mother who broke one curtain rod while administering a beating going to get another curtain rod, a small child going as far as possible into the corner of her bed so that the beating only hurts in certain places, a child being molested by a family member, a father holding his child by the neck, a mother putting a pillow over her daughters face…. I could continue, yet I won’t. By this point many people would have walked out of the room. Either they feel uncomfortable, they cannot believe abuse exists like that shown to them, or they have experienced the abuse and cannot bear to see what is up on the screen.

Instead, I sit in class. Another student. Another number on another day. People are not aware of my past or the reason why I want to be a social worker. They do not see the struggles that I go through just to make it to class and look “normal.” Sometimes I want to say something, to be able to let it go, yet I have been told to keep most of it inside.

People like it better that way. To pretend that the world is ok and good. All have their reasons. Maybe, I would like people to be honest. Hurt sometimes strengthens us. Those who are going through it need to know that there is hope and a future on the other side of the nightmares. That sometimes for a few hours a week, they could have the opportunity to focus on something else.

Advertisements

Another Day, Another Memory

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.

Looking Back: Not a Pretty Picture **May Trigger**

12 years of treatment and yet I can still become triggered to the point of dysfunction. Last week, there was a video shown in one of my classes. What I saw and heard on the screen made me want to throw up for the first time ever. To hear the sound of an object against bare skin. To hear the terror and a child pleading to stop.

I am trying to deal with what was brought up in therapy, yet part of me realizes that it will not ever change what happened and just does not want to talk. 

Mental illness. The attitudes that some of the people around me who want to work with oppressed groups really gets to me. The word crazy has been used. The idea that people with mental illnesses should not have children or their children should be taken away from them. What would they think if they knew about me? 

Now it is about hiding. Trying to act like nothing is affecting me when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs. The word ignorant comes to mind. I think they really do not realize what they are saying and who is sitting next to them.

Looking back on my own abuse. The beatings, the sexual abuse, the emotional neglect, the psychological abuse. How did I get through it? People do not want believe in DID, yet that is what got me through. That internal environment was the only place that was safe for me to go into. My own world that no one could take away.

Two Exams

Of course it would happen this week! Only two of my classes even have exams that can be grade changing. Those happen to fall on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

At least I have the relief of being able to take them at the testing center instead of the classroom with all of the other students who a freaking out and trying to remember every last minute detail.

Trying to study is hard because my medications cause me to become drowsy. I know I need to go home and study, yet I just want to sleep. That is not going to pass an exam! 

Therapy is not enough. I just feel empty. Like I am all alone in a room full of people kind of empty. Even worse, my closest support is out of town this week. Somehow, I have to get through and pass these tests, go to dance, teach dance, and take care of the cat.

The cat is the one animal that can calm me down. Her favorite place to lay is on my binder. It is like she is trying to tell me to take a break. 

Going back to school is definitely challenging. The material and the hours are crazy. There is just this overwhelming desire to want to help. To be able to change the fate of one child. That is my goal. The reality is that I cannot save everyone, yet to help just one. At least it is one that will not have to suffer. One that will have a chance. That keeps me going!

Knowing Where I Have Been

Knowing Where I Have Been

First, thank you again to everyone who is reading my blog. It means so much to me. I was fortunate enough to be nominated by a fellow blogger for a Sunshine Award. I am still trying to figure this blogging out, so thank you and I am looking at how to proceed!!

The other day I was talking to a group of patients in and inpatient setting, and suddenly realized that I had to know where I had been to know where I was going. Over the past week, I have looked into going back to work. It is a scary thought for me. For all of the times that I did work, I was not able to keep any one job for more than a year. That is not what I want to do at this point.

Like any job hunter I thought about my skills. There are so many that I cannot put down on a resume. Being knowledgable about the intake procedures on a psychiatric unit, helping others on the unit while being helped at the same time, lending an ear to a fellow patient, getting the results of tests that were negative just to have to go through more testing.

Then I thought about what my “marketable” skills were. I can type, yet not very fast. I like to help people. I have a CNA and I know CPR. I am not sure how these are going to help in my job search.

I do not have bumper stickers or t-shirts that say that I have any type of illness, yet me being ill is what got me here. I am stronger because I was able to leave an abusive marriage and talk about the horrible things that happened to me as a child. Today, I like myself better than I did before I was committed to a psych unit. People look different to me now. I would rather sit down and talk to someone than pass judgement.

I am proud of who I am. Maybe I cannot type 40 WPM or use the latest version of Excel, yet I can get along with a variety of people and adapt to all sorts of situations. What I have been through has made me stronger. So while, I will not be putting my hospitalizations down on my resume, I am not sure I can just forget them or move on. I am not sure how I will answer interview questions.. Well, yes I am. Honestly. I am just going to be who I am!!

My Brain Is Spinning

My Brain Is Spinning

Therapy this week was hard. Not that my therapist asked me anything off base. I realized that the life I have created in my head is really messing with my actual life.

My family is one of those areas that I tend to avoid talking about. I really want everything to have been ok, yet I know it was not. There have been triggers, flashbacks, nightmares, and actual accounts now from others about what happened.

My therapist showed me a few questions out of a book. Basically it was dealing with narcissistic mothers and the effects on their child. As I read through the questions I could answer yes to every one of them. Years ago, another therapist thought that my mother was narcissistic. I read about it and thought that I was not qualified to make that judgement.

So, now I am reading the questions and can answer yes to every one of them. Scary to say the least. So what did I do. I downloaded the book and really started working on what happened and how I feel about my mother.

Not feeling the best right now. I feel like the mother that I thought I had only exists in my head, that she was not like that when I think of the experiences in my life.

So, at the moment I am confused as to what my life is and who I am. Am I being like my mother to my kids? How much pain do I have to go through until I feel better? Right now I feel like I just need to keep working and maybe the swirls in my head would ease up and things would be ordered.

Against the Current

Against the Current

*May Trigger*

My entire life I have felt like this picture. When I was young I did not “get” how to play with other kids. Fun was not part of my vocabulary. My toys had to be perfectly lined up, so much so, that my kids today can still play with them like they are brand new. Probably because I never could.

People around me moved forward and I seemed to stay in one place. Make-up, dating, college, friends: they were doing all of that. I was still in the same house being compared to two stillborn children, being hit and verbally abused.

Even today, when faced with a social situation I do not know what to do. My first instinct in to hide in a corner. All I hear in my mind in the message from childhood to not tell and to not over stay my welcome.

So, I wind up in a corner not talking to anyone. The only people who I seem to be able to relate to are those that I am in the hospital with. Those that have gone through hell and back and now are recounting their experiences.

I am also different in that I talk openly about my illness. PTSD is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is any other mental illness. I am a person with feelings like everyone else, yet I am not like everyone else. Other people do not check around them every two minutes waiting for something to happen, other people do not get thrown back into the moment from the past just because they see or smell something that reminds them of what they went through. Okay, not ony see, smell, but also feel, touch, taste, and basically be transported back in time.

Now I am getting a service dog. I realize that for those who knew me before my physical and mental illness it is hard to imagine why I would need such a luxury. I know not everyone with an illness has a service dog. I guess all those years of standing in the corner have caught up with me and I am a little low on friends at the time that would come and help.

I am getting a service dog to help me get up off of a chair. To help me up and down stairs. Help with retrieval and balance. At this point, I have had to crawl up the stairs more than once or stay where I am because I cannot get up and feel to week or dizzy to do so.

The service dog will give me the independence to go out into the world again. Hopefully that will mean starting small: going to the store by myself or going for a walk, to other greater goals such as returning to work.

So yes, I have gone against the current most of my life. Not by choice in many cases. It has led me to where I am today. Trying to turn around and even though I may still be different and unique, be able to function like everyone else!

Not Sure Where I Am

Not Sure Where I Am

Today in therapy, I was all over the board. When I was in Psych, I learned the nice linear stages of grief. To bad they are actually not like that at all. Just when I think I have gotten through one stage, something happens that seems to put me right back there.

My mind and my body are definitely not in sync. My brain still wants to be able to get out of bed in the morning and start the day. My body has to lay in bed, stretch, maybe take a shower, and hopefully be able to function.

I miss what I used to be able to do. Physical therapy is helping. I also had a med change yesterday that I am surprised seems to be working. Crossing my fingers that it will continue.

I have the service dog to look forward to and the kids are coming this weekend. Well at least two out of three. One has plans and I want him to be able to have a good time. Life is to short to not experience what one can.

Tomorrow, I do not have any doctors appointments!!! How great to be able to have a day to recuperate. Not to long from now, I will be going on my son’s field trip. I need to realize my limits and listen to my body instead of just pushing through everything.

Tomorrow is a new day. Who knows how I will feel when I wake up tomorrow. Will I deny that I even have an illness or be mad that it has taken some of the things away that I enjoy the most in this life? I shall see.

The Shamrock Through the Trees

The Shamrock Through the Trees

**MAY BE TRIGGERING**

Yesterday, I took the kids shopping with my mom. We were supposed to get shoes and only shoes. So how did the kids wind up with watches and hats. She does not have any boundaries!! It upsets me.

This is not necessarily about my mom, this is about the memories as a child. Not the good memories of going to the circus or of family members who I miss to this day, but the memories of a childhood filled with hurtful words and rods that hurt.

There are so many days that I want to believe that the abuse did not happen. That I am so sick that I made it all up. Then yesterday something happens to bring memories flooding back and verifying all of my fears.

Being children, my kids wanted to show their new shoes to my dad. I was skeptical about going in the house. It was late and I was not sure what mood he was in. He seemed ok until he opened the mail and became enraged over one of the items. All went downhill quickly from there. The last thing that he did was get an empty wrapping paper roll out to threaten their dogs with.

My daughter began to cry and my sons just stared open-mouthed at the scene in front of them. I got myself together enough to tell the kids to get their coats on. At that moment, I remembered all that he did to me. The rages. The times when he said that he could not stand the sight of me and sent me to my room for the entire day and I was not allowed to come out.

At least I could get my kids out of that situation. I could save them from seeing it escalate any farther. They talked to me on the way back home and seemed to understand that their grandfather was sick and that we would not be seeing him for a while. At least at his house. He is not healthy and not a good role model.

I am so disappointed that he could not keep it together for even an hour in front of my kids, yet I am relieved to know that the memories are not all in my head. They happened and I have a right to be upset over them.

So one shamrock represents another memory uncovered in the forest of memories. I am sure that after the kids leave I will be journaling and will see what comes out.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I hope that anyone who reads this has a good day. For me, the day means spending time with the kids and just hanging around the house. No stress!!

Thanks!

Thanks!

Thank you for following my blog. I know that I am all over the board sometimes. I talk about PTSD, DID, Fibromyalgia, Service Dogs, and even some other random topics. I appreciate all of the comments and just the fact that you took the time out of your day to look at my blog.

When I started this blog, I did not think that anyone would want to read it. All of you have proved me wrong.

Just a little update: I have physical therapy today and already not feeling 100%. For some reason my balance issues have been really bad lately.

Trauma therapy has been interesting and I am still working on completing the assignment regarding if I were good enough. Apparently, I focused a lot on how my parents and everyone else around me would be different, not how I would be different. I usually do not even go back and read what I wrote. Now I need to not only read, but complete an activity. We shall see how that goes.

On other fronts, I have an amazing new color be number book that seems to be a great distraction!!

Again, thanks for reading all about my adventures!!