On Mother’s Day I had lunch with my husband and the kids. We had played games the day before and it was a great weekend. I had decided that I wanted to visit the cemetery to put a wreath on the graves of the two women in my life that had acted more like a mom to me than my mother.
I have always felt guilty that I was not there when they died. That I did not get to say goodbye. I have carried that feeling around for over twenty years.
When we arrived at the cemetery, I told the kids that they could stay in the car. They did at first, then they came up to the headstones. I was surprised as I looked in back of me. Here were two kids who even if they wanted to go somewhere could not drive and still needed a parents permission.
That is when it hit me. I could not have physically gone to my aunt’s house. There was no one to take me there. I was not allowed to call my aunt or speak to her if I saw her. Seeing my kids gave me a new perspective. One that made me realize that I did not have a say in what I was allowed to do. I still feel bad that I was not there, yet in my heart, I know I did not have a choice. One wall that for years that has been blocking my recovery is slowly coming down.
There is part of me that lives in the present and another hurt and very raw part from the past. Today life is good, yet I still feel depressed. I have a loving husband, kids who are teens and still tell me they love me and check to see how I am, and the ability to be me with all of my quirks.
Then there is the other part of me. The part that was called ungrateful. The one who’s mother stated over and over that she should of had an abortion with her. The one who carries guilt at some of the losses in her life. The one who was made to feel that she did not exist.
It is hard to have a dichotomy like this going on in my head all of the time. I lead toward believing the negative even when positive things are said. My bruises have healed, yet the words that’s stung then sting just as much today. I am a work in progress. Maybe one day I will like who I am.
As I look at myself, I see scars that will not go away that I have created because of the anxiety and self-hatred. This summer I cannot hide them. I wish I could hear what others think when they see them. Do they see someone who was strong enough to get treatment when she was ready to give up on life itself? Will they just think that it is for attention and snicker behind my back? Maybe both are happening. There are others out there like me who have been through the tunnel of abuse and back. Those that are survivors. Maybe I will get to meet some.
When is the government going to wake up to the needs of the people who are not funneling millions of dollars to have their view expressed?
Columbine was not the first school shooting, yet I remember the day that it happened and thinking where is our future going? Since then there have been additional school shootings. 7000 pair of shoes were outside the capital. Imagine 7000 children in those shoes. What would they say if they could speak?
The government thought that mental health was solved with deinstitutionalization. Nothing was solved. No additional help was given and the mentally ill could not find adequate treatment. What has happened is that more prisoners are diagnosed with mental health issues. Often these prisoners are not there for violent crime. If the government can afford to give medication to inmates why can it not afford to continue that medication when the inmate is released to end the high rate of recidivism?
There are thousands of properties that have been condemned. The government complains about how much they are losing. Why not build houses no for the homeless where they can find stability and possibly a job?
All of the above populations have no voice or influence in today’s government. They represent groups that have become invisible to those who are supposed to represent them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same result. Does that mean that our government is insane or bought out.
Something needs to change so that those who do not have a voice are let in and allowed to be heard. I think the government would find that the oppression of the individuals has hurt them and the population of the US. Those in power need to listen to those that up until now have had very little to no power. Then things may have a chance of changing.
At one time I was going to school for education and even had a job as a schoolteacher. I had kids and stayed home with them. Then, the mental illness hit with all of its challenges.
So, I tried to stay stable and went to nursing school. That would have worked out had it not been for a physical illness. I was so let down at that point.
Then, I worked for years with my doctor to start Social Work classes. I had no idea that I would not last even 5 clinical days in my placement when I was told that I did not fit in. Social work just was not right for me.
As I sit here writing this post, I have absolutely no clue where my life is headed. What do I do now? Where do I go? No one is going to tell me, I have to figure this out on my own.
For now, I am taking a DBT class. It is interesting and has given me a different way to look at situations. It is still the beginning. Time will tell. I still see my therapist as well. I am not even sure what we are working on at the moment. I think grief and loss.
I have been able to see the kids twice so far. I enjoy spending time with them. Now that they are older they get sarcasm and humor. They still put a smile on my face. I will not ever stop being in their corner.
So what is my path right now? I think that it is to discover what I am made of. To take each piece and event apart and examine it in order to move on and be able to stop allowing it to run my life.
There was a time that I did not think that I could get away from the abuse. Then there was the realization that handling 120 students was not for me. I had a trying marriage and a terrible divorce.
In that time I have also learned to fight for what I believe in. Even though I do not have custody, I make sure to see the kids every time that they can visit. I am still taking my medication as prescribed and being honest with my treatment team. Sometimes they never know what I will say.
Right now is another time to dust off myself and figure out where I am going to go with my life. I have a few ideas, yet I need to see if that is really what I want to do. Therapy tomorrow. Hopefully one more step toward a life that I can be proud of.
Christmas is a holiday with conflicting memories. I used to have a great time at my Aunt’s house, yet I remember my parents being forced.
This Christmas was the first Christmas that I could not see my kids because I had to go into the hospital. I felt like I was being punished and that I could not even hold it together enough to be able to see them. I had to go inpatient. I needed the staff and the support.
In two days I have a meeting with my ex to see about when I can see the kids again. I hope it will go well. Who knows with my ex.
Christmas at our home was great. I was able to see the cat stick her head into a treat bag. I received some cool art supplies and a bubble light. I was able to spend the day with my husband just relaxing.
I hope to get my kids back soon. I miss them. They at least still talk to me at night.
DBT is going well. I like keeping the diary cards each day and keeping track of my symptoms. Right now we are focusing on mindfulness. After the new year we will begin emotion regulation. I know that I need it and that I am going to need to work really hard to be able to use it.
My sleeping is like it always is. I found I get more sleep without taking sleep medication. I am going to see how it work out for the next few nights.
The holidays are almost over and for the most part they have been good. Let’s see how the beginning of the new year will go.
I thought that the effects of my abuse were becoming manageable. I had learned coping skills for moments of anxiety or periods of darkness. I had my little pile that I could pull from.
Yesterday seemed to open up a black hole in me. One that I did not realize that was there. One that made me realize just how far the abuse went and would go.
A conversation happened yesterday that put all of the cards on the table. That stated in pure terms how because of my trauma, I could not handle the stresses of a field placement. Not even a job.
Is this how I am seen by others? Do those closest to me see me as nothing more than my illness? Have they given up hope of me one day moving on?
Today, I am numb. I just want to be left alone and stay in the house. I want to attempt to deal with the reality of how many parts of me are broken and how severe the breaks are. The unseen wounds are there and run deep. They are the scars left behind from all that went on. Yesterday, just proved how others see them as weak when I see them as a strength.
For now, I just want to be able to see my doctors today and tomorrow and forget about school and all that comes with it. Maybe by the weekend I will have a better outlook and more hope.
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.
I have loved dance ever since I can remember. The smell of the studio and the leotards and tights. The barre exercises and combinations going across the floor.
At almost 40, I decided to pursue a dream of getting a dance degree. This first semester has not been easy and has tested my emotional and physical strength more than once. The fibromyalgia and the wave of exhaustion it brings on have been a challenge.
I am being considered as an instructor for a rec council next year. Right now, I am assisting with their recital. It is so energizing to see the young dancers and the joy in their face as they move. That is what dance always was . A way to be free. While backstage with them last night, their excitement was palpable.
Can I teach? Can I choreograph? Will I do a good job? These are questions that I will never know the answer to unless I try. If I am offered a position, I think I may take it. It would be a way for me to share what I love with students. Not bad for a part-time job!!