Am I Ready

My therapist has a new goal for me: to say hello to people at counters and restaurants. I have become an expert at being invisible over the years. It has led to not having friends and isolating myself inside the house.

I like the house, it is safe and I feel comfortable. I feel like a freak outside. My scars are so noticeable from all of the self harm. I am going to try to have one removed or at least decrease the size.

Therapy is going ok. My therapist and I have come to the realization that my feelings are buried so far down, they may never come up. We are working on trying to feel in the present. That is hard as well. I am used to shutting down.

Right now I am just trying to take one day at a time and know that I did the best that I could each night before I go to sleep.

Maybe I will be able to make friends. There is always hope!

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Why Can’t I See??

After my oldest child stopped speaking to me I have let it get in the way of my relationship with my two youngest children. I need to realize that they want to be here on the weekends and want me at their activities. For some reason I do not take my own advice that they are all different people.

I have also been told to make my illness clear to them. I do not know how to do that. I feel like they do not know enough, yet I still need to continue to keep a healthy boundary.

Finding the right words is going to be hard. Not only do I have a mental illness, but a physical one as well. One that stress negatively affects. I need to allow them to know that they are not causing any of this. The problem is that I already think that I have told them. From what I remember they did not even want to hear. Maybe instead of talking, I should put things in writing. Not to much, yet enough for them to understand.

Last night was a great example. One of my kids had an activity. I was exhausted and did not feel well. I really thought that it was best not to go, yet I had already promised that I would come. I need to begin to be realistic with them. This is where boundaries come in again.

My children mean so much to me and I want them to be able to focus on themselves. At the same time I need for them to understand that my decisions have nothing to do with them. They have to do with what is happening in my life. A good therapy topic and I can ask my therapist to read the completed letters before I give them to the kids.

Being to Truthful can have Negative Consequences *May Trigger*

I have been accepted into a graduate program. As part of the program, I have to complete an internship. That meant that I had to write a current resume and two pieces about myself and why I wanted to go into the field of my choice. I wrote from my heart and I gave an honest answer. I would not have been interested in this field prior to my diagnosis and hospitalizations in the early 2000’s. That changed the course of my life. I struggled to find myself as I slowly lost my family.

For me, coming through that horrible time and wanting to assist others in getting better is why I want to go into this field. Apparently, writing that was big mistake. People do not want to know about adversity or overcoming the worst parts of life to find something good. The real motivation of my own abuse and trauma and my experiences with the system were not accepted by those who controlled my fate.

As I write this this morning, I do not have an internship. No-one wants to take a chance on a person with a mental illness who admits to having that as a inspiration to learn how to treat others with the same struggles. I am not going to tell my story to those that I am helping. yet I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the situation. One that makes me just a little different from those who have only read about these experiences in a textbook.

I was asked to rewrite my essays to include less personal details of my experiences. I know that I may have to extend the original program because no one at this time is interested in having me intern. At least not the person that has been through the experiences that I have. I am left feeling like I have to hide who I am. That I cannot be genuine about why I want to go into this field and why I choose this field out of all others. I have to struggle not to say to much and to keep my past locked up.

 

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.

Cracks in the Image

Cracks in the Image

When I was younger, everything had to be “fine”. I had to use manners, make sure I did “not overstay my welcome”(whatever that means), and the most important of all to not tell what went on inside of my house. To this day the last message is very strong inside of my head.

When I had a mental illness, I could at least pretend for a few hours that I was ok. There was nothing on the outside of me to show that I was sick. Even when I was first in school, no one knew that I was mentally ill. Now I speak for NAMI and I hear stories of other people who try to keep their mental illnesses a secret.

Enter, one clinical day in nursing school when something triggered me. Needless to say, my cover was blown. At least, I was already in the program. I proved to others that over the next, year and a half that I could have a mental illness and take care of patients.

With the physical illness-fibromyalgia, arthritis, and who knows what else, the cracks are quick to show. Leg braces, a cane, a handicapped tag. These have become signs to the rest of the world that I am not like everyone else.

Sure, normal has a broad range of definitions. We have all faced challenges. deaths of loved ones, loses of things that were dear to us. To lose the ability to walk, to take my kids out for a day without the consequence of not being able to get out of bed the next day-these are things that I just cannot seem to wrap my head around.

So, the image is cracking that I have tried to put up. Who knows what the new image will look like. I have kept going and am in the process of trying to figure out what to do for a career now that my body is not as functional as it used to be.

Maybe the cracks are good. At least now, I am being honest with myself an admitting that I do have an illness!