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.
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.
Over 10 years of therapy and relatively nothing has changed. Treatment resistant, medication resistant, unable to assist. All of those have been written on my paperwork.
I told my therapist the other day that I want to die, yet no way of dying is 100%. It has been suggested that I get out and join a club. I tried a book club. The book had to many triggers and the discussion was even worse. Child abuse, spousal abuse, and substance abuse were all a part of the book.
Then I am told to go out and do normal activities. I have panic attacks at the store that leave me frozen and feeling like the store is closing in around me. I always feel like I will be attacked at places that do not have many people around like gas stations. My vocal cords seem to freeze up when I want to ask for something.
I have resorted to buying things online. Even then, I do not answer the door when the doorbell rings because I am scared of who may be on the other side. I feel like people can tell I am damaged by the way that I shake and avoid eye contact.
Then there is the anger that can be activated at any time. This is not normal anger. I am afraid I will actually hurt someone else. Anything can set off the anger and once it begins I have trouble stopping.
Where is my place in society? What do I do if I cannot leave the house and am scared to hurt people? How do I perform everyday tasks while the space is closing in on me and I am shaking to the point of just wanting to sit and scream for help?
How do I begin to work through this? When are my thoughts not automatically going to go to not existing? Who am I ? All of these are questions that I need to answer, yet do not seem to know how.
My divorce was 10 years ago. Since then, I have tried to go to nursing school which ended when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and placed on a narcotic until the doctor could figure out the correct combination of meds. The narcotic made me ineligible to continue my clinical.
During those years, I was also in and out of the psychiatric hospital and my ex successfully took my kids away for 10 months while I was evaluated by the court. Eventually, I had them back. A little over a year later, my oldest stopped coming over and talking to me. I have missed so much with him that I cannot get back and miss him everyday.
Having PTSD and having problems leaving the house began working with my therapist on ways to get me out of the house. Since I knew that I could not go back to nursing and I still wanted to help people, I went to school for social work. The first year was good and I was comfortable with the other students and campus. Then I was accepted to graduate school.
I did not even last three weeks. In the classroom, I received A’s on my papers and was successful with projects. Field placement was another story. I had to interact with others. I knew that it would be a challenge and attempted to keep my head down. I was at my placement for a total of three days when I was told that I was no longer welcome. My mental health diagnoses were a problem and the supervisor did not think that I was stable enough to work with the clients. There went another dream and another potential career.
At this point, I stay in the house and only leave to go to therapy or to pick up medications. I do not even like to answer the door or open the door for delivery people. In some ways I have isolated myself, yet every time I have tried to put myself out there it has not worked out. It is like people know that I am different and stay away.
Treatment centers. I get to know the people around me in treatment. Most of my stays have at least been 20 days if not longer. I get to know the people that are there and often keep up with them through social media.
It is great to see when they graduate from college, master a skill, get a new pet. Have a baby. The list can go on for a long time. Sometime it can be motivating when I am having a hard time.
Today, the news that I learned was not so great. Someone that was a smart, funny, friendly, and creative individual lost her battle. It is hard to see this and to know the potential that she did not know that she had. We are all fighting a battle. I wish that mental illnesses could get more than one day for a walk or a quiet share. They are a daily struggle.
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.
School is over for the semester. By some miracle I passed my classes. The next few days, all that I could do was sleep. Life has caught back up to me. Therapy and doctor’s appointments are still on the calendar. I still have my dancers to teach one night a week. Winter break is not going to be as relaxing as I thought at first. I really need to work on the issues that were brought up this semester in therapy and in class. Next semester, I have some pretty challenging classes to get through related to what I went through as a child.
My ex is not letting me see my kids until New Year’s. This is the first year that I will not see the kids on or near Christmas day. Court is still on the horizon for next month. Hopefully that will be the end of things for a while.
Yesterday, I lost a friend. She battled cancer for a long time and became a true angel yesterday. I wish I had half of her optimism. She lived everyday to the fullest and never let the pain get her down. She was a true inspiration to everyone who met her. She also was one of those special people who accept others for who they are. Flaws and all. I was lucky to have been a part of her life.
Next week, I have to start going into the past. The nightmares will probably begin and I will have trouble sleeping. Parts of me will fight over how much to tell and when to tell. We know that we need to do this. It has been a long time coming. The past is not going to change just because it is talked about and is out in the open!
This past week was the last appointment with my psychiatrist. A relationship with a doctor is important with how I will do with my recovery.
I have PTSD. This is from years of abuse by my parents. I was isolated as a kid and even as a teenager. I did not trust many people then and that has continued into adulthood. Until this past doctor, I did not stay with many doctors. They had assumed to many things.
I am not sure that I have the strength to get to know and trust someone else. Suicide has been on the table again lately. I hate living everyday in emotional pain. The black hole it creates is horrible.
My therapist thinks that it is good that I am feeling. Why feel when all it brings is hurt? All I want to do is disappear. Doing what needs to be done has become a chore yet again.
It has been suggested that I go back into the hospital. Part of me knows that I need too. I need the support that the hospital can provide. The negative side is that I would have to battle my ex again for my kids. My kids would be affected. Who do I think of first right now? My kids are so important to me, yet my mind is in such a bad place.
I just want to tell my professor that I do not feel well today. I want to go home and try to just get to therapy tomorrow. Maybe that will help. At least I am hoping it will. The reality is that I most likely need more than an hour to deal with what is going on. The hole is to great right now.
It is a rainy and cold morning where I live. The weather is not helping the fact that I just want to stay in bed.
Yesterday, was my last visit with my psychiatrist. A large part of how well treatment works is the relationship that a patient has with their treatment team. I have a new psychiatrist that I have been set up with. This person is supposed to be good and understanding. Am I going to trust this person? I am worried about forming a connection with him. I do not trust or open up to to many people.
My therapist is trying to get me to open up about about what happened to me. He wants me to try and start to draw again. There are parts inside of me that are fighting this idea. They are worried how the art will be perceived and what will be said. Art is so personal. We are not sure we are ready to share.
Then there is the overwhelming feeling of being alone. Not knowing who to turn too. Feeling lost. One of the most important people in my life is gone. So what is the next step? Do I open up more to the therapist who has also been there and is trying so hard? Will I get along and form a bond with a new psychiatrist? Only time will tell!
Today is my last appointment with my psychiatrist. I have been seeing her for almost six years. She has become an important part of my life and my treatment. She understands trauma and PTSD unlike any other Doctor I have had. She genuinely cares about her patients.
I am worried about what I will do when she is gone. At this point in my treatment, I still need a good amount of support. I wonder who I will be able to turn to during those dark times.
This feels like a death to me. I will find out today who I will see once she is gone. I hope that I can have half the relationship with them that I did with her.
She saw past the illness and was interested in the person. I never felt like she was reciting from a text or giving me the same talk she had given everyone else. I am going to miss her.