I had to go for a mandatory test yesterday with a doctor that I did not know. The test was administered in an area where I grew up. Everything came flooding back to me as I sat in the damp waiting room with a tiny air conditioner which had seen better days.
I remembered my mother leaving me in the car as she would go shopping in businesses that were gone long ago or going to the dentist in the same buildings. Just down the street was the church where I had made all of my sacraments and was glad to get away from as soon as I could.
This was an area that I choose not to go into because it was a dark hole in my past. This was an area of living nightmares and haunting experiences. I intentionally avoid the area when at all possible. Yesterday, I did not have a choice. I was mandated to go into a little building with a dark staircase and a mildewy smell.
This caused all of my symptoms to become active. I was having flashbacks, I was hyper vigilant, I began to shake, and I had impulses to self harm to feel better. The examiner asked if I was like this all the time and I replied that I was uncomfortable and the shaking was not unusual.
The examiner actually followed me out to my car after the test to make sure I was ok. The first thing that I did was to email my therapist and then call my psychiatrist. The next thing that I remember was that I called my husband to tell him that I was not safe to drive home. My hands and feet were going numb and I was in and out of the present.
I felt violated. Someone who did not know me or my condition was asking me questions that I had a hard time answering. I did not want to discuss my abuse in detail and only gave who and the years that it occurred. She wanted to know details about my illness that I have not shared with those who have been treating me for years.
She seemed to believe I was ok because I white knuckled it to stay out of the hospital to see my children. Even though I told her I was needing to call my treatment team more than once a week to check in with my safety.
Yesterday night was hard. I have flashes of my husband asking me about my PRN’s and what I needed. I do not know what I would do without him. Today, I just want to isolate. I do not want to see or speak to anyone. I am questioning if this brought up to much and if I should go into the hospital and am trying weigh the pros and cons of inpatient vs outpatient treatment. Inpatient would at least make me feel safe and allow me to have staff there, yet I need to work on things in outpatient treatment in order to function outside of the hospital’s protective walls.
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.
Last therapy session I really got on my therapist. I will go off topic again if I can every time an uncomfortable subject comes up. It is not concious, yet thinking back to the session, I know that I have done it. At this point, it frustrates me.
When I was a teen and people were asking me questions, avoiding was a way of survival. I was so scared that I would make a mistake and talk. What would happen if my abusers found out? Life was all about making excuses and making sure that no one knew the real truth about what was going on.
Fast forward to today. My parts still feel like we are going to get in trouble for talking. Like my abuser will somehow magically know what is going on. Yet I need to talk. I need to go through all of the events from the past that are still weighing me down and causing my symptoms to be high.
I know therapy is not easy. I have asked my therapist to push. To not let things get off topic. I am tired of walking out of therapy being disappointed that once again I did not share what I went in to talk about.
This means facing my demons head on and not being able to hide. I need to do this. I want to try to get a little better, yet my brain fights getting well. The memories are pure hell. Sometimes I would rather be physically injured then have to talk about what went on behind closed doors.
I have asked and we shall see how today goes. There is a topic that has been floating out there for a while. Today, it needs to begin to be discussed.
I wish that they made a medication or a treatment that would make all of the memories go away. They are always there, always a part of my past. There are the days that I can use my coping skills and diminish the effects of a memory or flashback. There are other days when even the best coping skills do not work.
Sometimes I wish that I knew more about my family history. That people were more honest about what they went through and if it still bothered them. Maybe it would help me to understand why I have PTSD and others do not.
I was once told by a treatment provider that everyone does does not get PTSD. There could be 40 people in a space when a traumatic event happens and only a small percentage would have the symptoms associated with PTSD.
I think of it like a switch. The switch can be turned off for years. Then, something happens, and that switch gets turned on. Why can’t the doctors figure out what that is and make a medication or therapy that treats that switch.
Instead, those memories take the form of flashbacks and nightmares. They are a part of me. A part that some people cannot accept and others think that they will catch.
One day, with advocacy and education, more people will understand mental illness and be open to accepting those who have it. Those in medical school will be interested in researching trauma and there will be more students who choose to go into the field. That is my hope!
I do not remember what class it was in high school, I only know that it was a math class. There was a problem about digging a hole. The problem went something like the person dug three feet and two feet would get filled back in. How long would it take to dig 10 ft. That is how trauma work feels right now.
The only problem is that the hole gets filled completely in or there is a mountain on top of the hill. Spring is supposed to be a good time. The weather is warmer, summer break is around the corner, and my husband even booked a wonderful vacation for us to a spot that I love.
Memories. The memory of being told that I should have died, the memory of having to just get over everything while my mother talked for hours and days about her two stillborn children, the memory of being molested. Other memories of being bullied or wearing long sleeves in 80 degree weather to cover up bruises on my arms.
Right now the past sucks and the present does not feel much better. True, there are some things that I do have control of. Then there are those things that I do not have control of. My ex wanting more child support. My body feeling to weak to be able to dance, yet pushing through.
This has all led to thoughts of suicide and self-harm. I have been trying to get “better” for 12 years now. There are days when there are glimmers of hope. This time of year those days are few or do not exist at all.
How do I explain this to the people around me. If I had a stomach bug or the flu others would understand. People cannot be inside my head. They do not know the flashback and the exhaustion that comes along with all of this. Most people do not want to hear about negative things.
Where does that leave me? Feeling very alone and frustrated. Anger has built up inside me. I feel like screaming that I just need a break. There is no break from my mind. I cannot turn it off.
Trauma is often not understood. Terms like flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and dissociation are foreign.
Today, my kids wanted to watch The Hunger Games. As I watched with them, I saw all of those terms come alive on the screen. I thought, I wished more people understood.
Trauma does not go away. It gets relived and revisited. Therapy is slow and tedious for me. I am a detail person and some memories are like walking through a fog, while others are clear.
It is scary to say them out loud. For me, it makes whatever happened real. It is easier to believe it was all a horrible nightmare.
I did not even realize how long it has been since my last post!!
My cat is healing from surgery. It has been quite a month with her. A simple surgery turned into Pet ER visits more vet visits and a pretty miserable kitty for a few weeks. She is now back to begging for food and her hair is growing in. No more kitty cone!!
My car is finally back and better than before the accident. The more important part is that I can get to therapy and groups!!
The kids are doing well. Their dad has started to date someone with kids and they are feeling upset about him spending his time with someone else. At least they have continued to open up to me! I guess that I have not done a completely horrible job as a mom.
Stress has crept up on me and I am acting on my Eating Disorder. Not everyday, but most days. I wish that I could just stop, but it is not that easy.
I have started to apply for jobs. All have rejected me. I will be the first to admit that my work history is horrible. Someone is really going have to want to take a chance on me to hire me. I am just waiting patiently for that person.
I was able to see my service dog in training at the organizations annual picnic. It was so freeing to be able to walk with him and have him by my side! I cannot wait until my formal training with hm.
Other than the above, my mother had a birthday. I barely survived the day, yet I got through it. I am debating over what kind of relationship that I really want with her because I know that the current one is not healthy for me.
Well, that is it for now. I am sure that I left something out. I need to get better at doing this more often. Again thanks to everyone for the support, esp. when my cat was sick. It really helped.
Sorry about not writing. The past week has been a blur that seems to have taken on a life of its own. It all started last Monday with a trip to the vet and the cat being sick. She needed surgery and we will not find out until next week whether or not the mass removed was cancer.
This was followed by an appointment with a neurologist. I have seen every other kind of doctor, so why not? The diagnosis may be somatization disorder. Great, another mental health issue. This is frustrating because I cannot just make the symptoms go away, yet I wish that I could.
Then, later in the week, right after therapy, someone rear-ended my car. My back was in so much pain that I asked for an ambulance. Turns out my fibro had been stirred up.
Over the weekend I was dealing with the pain and trying to think positively about my cat!
This week, she had the surgery and is in some discomfort, yet overall eating and acting like her old self.
Without a car, I have had a lot of time to work on myself. It has been good in that therapy was very productive this week. The bad part is that I now know I have a ton of issues to deal with.
The eating disorder, all of the traumas, the feelings regarding the current events in my life. Feelings and emotions are things that I tend to repress and keep deep down where I do not need to deal with them.
My therapist is recommending increasing the amount of therapy each week since I am struggling with impulses. Not only that, but the eating disorder is taking over!
So I do not know where to turn right now. Life is hazy and I just want to be able to clear away a little at a time, yet it does not seem to be that way this week!
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.
**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!!