My own reality and the self check I’ve been avoiding


I started off “ok” this morning, much to the broken sleep I had. Yet even after a conversation with my best girl and laughing and catching up, plans discussed and meetings agreed to; I never left my home. The thoughts have been creeping in today, my own mind’s eye has been taking inventory of my self. 

It is much easier to focus on my cousin and his very recent death. Its been enlightening to be able to share what has been given to me, and know that maybe I can make a difference to someone in a positive and helpful way. . 

The feelings that I have been feeling are ones that I have told myself are not going to give me any answers, if anything they will cause me to spiral further down in a direction versus the fighting I have been doing to stay on top. Sean’s death on March 18, 2012, shocked me in ways I’m sure many can relate to. I spent all that time prior to his Celebration of Life service this past Wednesday, non emotional. I questioned my mortality, as I questioned how is it I have felt little in emotion and it took my Uncle’s anguish to truly feel his pain and realize the full extent of what has happened. 

I realized then that Sean really wasn’t coming back and that no matter how many times I wished him back, he wouldn’t be. That has left me very bewildered and confused, when I’ve thought of ending my life, I’ve never thought of what it would do to anyone else. When I’ve been in that space in my head, the dark black pit, it isn’t simply because someone turned the lights out, it is the point where if left to my own devices (at that time), I wouldn’t be here. I have my sister to thank for that, she drove me to the hospital and stayed with me the 9+ hours it took to get me registered and into a room, where I ended up staying for 16 days. 

My ED hasn’t gone anywhere, as much as I had hoped it would just quieted down, it hasn’t. I’ve spent most of today on links and sites trying to figure out what really my caloric intake is order for me to lose weight. My old pattern of not eating much, working out is no longer what works for me. 

I’ve had way too many dramatic changes in my life, that I feel like I’m slowly starting to make some changes that are for the better. Yet, the changes get trumped whenever something major happens and then all the work I have been doing for myself, ends up getting placed on the back or side burner. Sometimes I can mentally force myself to push through the negativity and focus on what’s good and important.

Today isn’t one of those days. 

All I’ve wanted to do is stay in bed (which I pretty much have), other than having a shower, change of clothes and some housework. The weather has greatly affected my mood today, but it has for many days. I have thought about what it would cost for a Sun Lamp but after googling that and seeing how much they cost, chances are unless I can somehow get the Ministry of Social Services and Housing to cover it, not likely to happen. 

So I am totally at a loss as to know if what I am feeling happens to be “normal” or not.

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I wonder if I will ever know what it feels like to have an “off” day, but not have it carry on for days and days. I know that the work I am doing is for my betterment, yet when I have a major life event happen. It throws me for a serious loop.  

What is my coping mechanism for this?

Angel Babies


Things like Mothers Day, Christmas, etc. always stir up many conflicted emotions for me and while many say that they are enjoying their Mother’s day, others say it is just a day. I wish I even had a day. My Angel babies are gone but never forgotten. They would have been 10 and 11 years old. I realize that life is what it is and there is always a reason even if you don’t know what it is. I do cherish that positive pregnancy test I saw for both of my babies, they soothe my heart to know that I did create a life even if he/she didn’t make it to term.

I just want people to realize that this day can be quite painful for mom’s too. So please remember that there are others out there who are mothers, but just with babies in their heart until they can meet again.

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Women’s Survivors of Sexual Abuse Month


SAAMThis topic may be a Trigger to some of you, so please remember to take care of yourself. If you have a self care plan in place, please have it nearby for you to turn to.

I have been in group therapy for the last few months in the above program. Today I learned that on Friday, May 1, 2015, it will be the 5th anniversary that there is a recognition of Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Did you know that 1 in 3 women before the age of 18 will be abused? That is an increase, as it was 1 in 4 women. We need to encourage women to speak, to seek support, to realize they aren’t at fault for their abuser’s behavior. That there are programs available to them.

I really want to share this piece with you all. It so clearly shares what I have lived with, how I am learning to overcome and the survivor I know I am meant to be.

Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

With respect to the author: https://www.rainn.org/get-info/effects-of-sexual-assault/adult-survivors-of-childhood-sexual-abuse

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings. These may include feelings of fear, guilt, and shame. Abusers have been known to tell children that it is the fault of the child that they are abused, shifting the blame away from the abuser, where it belongs, and placing it on the child. Along with this, abusers may threaten or bribe the child into not speaking up; convincing the child that he or she will never be believed.i The reaction of a survivor’s friends and family to the disclosure of the abuse also has the potential to trigger immense feelings of guilt, same and distrust, particularly if those individuals denied that the abuse was taking place, or chose to ignore it.

While each individual’s experiences and reactions are unique, there are some responses to child sexual abuse that are common to many survivors:i

  • Low self-esteem or self-hatred
  • Survivors may suffer from depression
  • Guilt, shame and blame
    • Survivors may feel guilt or shame because they made no direct attempt to stop the abuse or because they experienced physical pleasure
  • Sleep disturbances / disorders
    • Survivors may have trouble sleeping because of the trauma, anxiety or may directly be related to the experience they had as a child; children may be sexually abused in their own beds.
  • Lack of trust for anyone
    • Many survivors were betrayed by the very people they are dependent upon (family, teachers etc.) who cared for them, who insisted they loved them even while abusing them; learning to trust can be extremely difficult under these circumstances.
    • 93% of victims under the age of 18 know their attacker.ii
  • Revictimization
    • Many survivors as adults find themselves in abusive, dangerous situations or relationships.
    • Woman who were sexually assaulted before the age of 18 [are] twice as likely to report being raped as adults.iii
  • Flashbacks
    • Many survivors re-experience the sexual abuse as if it were occurring at that moment, usually accompanied by visual images of the abuse. These flashes of images are often triggered by an event, action, or even a smell that is reminiscent of the sexual abuse of the abuser.
  • Dissociation
    • Many survivors go through a process where the mind distances itself from the experience because it is too much for the psyche to process at the time. This loss of connection with thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity, is a coping mechanism and may affect aspects of a survivor’s functioning.
  • Sexuality / Intimacy
    • Many survivors have to deal with the fact that their first sexual encounter was a result of abuse. Such memories may interfere with the survivor’s ability to engage in sexual relationships, which may bring about feelings of fright, frustration, or being ashamed.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse often adopt coping mechanisms (or survival strategies) to guards against feelings of terror and helplessness that they may have felt as a child. These past feelings can still have influence over the life and present behavior of an adult survivor. Here are some common coping mechanismsi:

  • Grieving / Mourning
    • Many things were — childhood experiences, trust, innocence, relationships with family members. The survivor may feel a deep sadness, jealousy, anger or longing for something never had.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
    • The abuse of substances can act as an escape from the intense waves of feelings, the terror and helplessness.
  • Disordered Eating / Eating Disorders
    • Compulsive control of food intake can be a way of taking back control over the body that was denied during the abuse.
  • Self-injury
    • There are many ways survivors have coped with the feelings that can cause emotional or physical injury on the self. Burning or cutting are some ways for a survivor to relieve intense anxiety, triggered by memories of the abuse

Treatmenti
In most instances, the survivor never discussed the abuse with others while it was occurring. In fact, many survivors do not remember the abuse until years after it has occurred, and may never be able to clearly recall it. Usually, after being triggered by a memory, this individual learns how, as an adult, to deal with the effects of the abuse.

It is important to speak with someone, whether it be a friend or counselor, about the abuse and past and current feelings.

Community health centers, mental health clinics and family service centers may have counselors who have worked with survivors before. They may also be able to refer you to a self-help group.

If you are an adult dealing with the effects of childhood sexual abuse, please remember that you are not responsible for the abuse and that you are not alone. You can overcome the effects the abuse may have on your life. Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or visit the Online Hotline. It’s never too late to get help.


iAdult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Dr. Carol Boulware, MFT, Ph.D. 2006.http://www.psychotherapist.net/adultsurvivors.html

iiU.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000.

iiiExtent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: National Institute of Justice. 2006. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij

This product was supported by grant number 2009-D1-BX-K023 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

I am so pleased and encouraged to see that there is finally help for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and their website is http://bc-malesurvivors.com/.  You can reach them directly at

  • B C Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
  • Address: 3126 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K 2H3
  • Phone:(604) 682-6482

April is their month help make people aware of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

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What Forgiveness is Not


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I have come to realize forgiveness is not an easy task. I have come to realize that there are many things I can forgive, but there are core issues that I hold so tight, they scare me.

So I admit I have A LOT of work to do.

Below is a list of what forgiveness is not provided in a recent session I was in.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. So nothing has been able to turn back the clock and remove the unpleasant incidents from your life histories, and forgiveness will not do that either.  We cannot forget, nor should we. Those experiences, and even the pain caused, have a great deal to teach us, both about not being victimized again and about not victimizing others.

Forgetting is not condoning. In fact, true forgiveness cannot occur while we are in any way denying, minimizing, justifying or condoning the actions that harmed us.

Forgiveness is not absolution. When we forgive the people who hurt us, we d not “let them off the hook”. They are still responsible for what they did and must make their own peace the past. What’s more, “I absolve you” are words spoken from atop our mountain of self-righteousness and demonstrate that we have not yet healed our wounds or let go of the pain from the past. They let us play God, a benevolent got this time rather than a punitive one, but still a god who judges then condemns or absolves the sinner. Absolution is just another way to be “one up” on the people who hurt us. And that is not forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice. Forgiveness is not swallowing our true feelings and playing the martyr. The “grin and bear it” approach forgiveness makes life less joyful and more difficult. Actual forgiveness has the opposite effect and cannot be undertaken halfheartedly. We either forgive or we don’t. Being honest about not being ready to forgive yet is better for us in the long run than pretending to forgive.

Forgiveness is not a clear-cut, one-time decision. It cannot be forced. Forgiveness happens naturally as a result of confronting painful past experiences and healing old wounds.

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Pedestals


59054_397950956941420_1785674337_nI realized something as I was at support group last night and that is I put people o pedestals.

Years ago I had to learn the hard way that my father (who passed when I was 7 years old) wasn’t everything I had decided He was. See, I had come to the conclusion that all the things I do/did remember of dad, although they are my memories. the reality is He wasn’t always the person I believed him to be.

Well it has come to smack me in.the face that I do this with most if not all people. I’ve had a past relationship where I saw him as my Knight in shining armor and I believed that He would always have my back and protect me. It was very painful to realize that the pedestal He was on,  just like my dad, was not at all I had thought it was to be.

I’ve been doing some reading and have been learning what “putting someone on a pedestal” means (to me). I have/had done this behavior seeking an idol to reach to become. However, In doing so, I take away the reality that I distance myself from who person really is.

This has been one of my ah ha moments where the insight gained can help me move forward in my journey with wellness.

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When Trust and Responsibility are broken


I write this here instead of my rescue blog because I will be writing about Trust and Responsibility, both of which apply to my mental health blog AND my animal rescue blog.

I volunteer for animal rescue, namely dogs. I have experienced two rescues who have turned what is supposed to be a positive experience into a breaking of trust and responsibility.

When rescue organizations take on dogs, as part of their agreement, regardless if the animal needs medication, spay/neuter/ or surgery, it is the responsibility of the rescue to cover those expenses. Right now a rescue I helped a dog named Zeus receive surgery by fundraising, has closed shop and is no longer taking responsibility for the expenses for Zeus’ surgery or to the spay as well as behavioral issues of another dog I have been made aware of. Phone calls, emails, and text messages have been sent without a reply. This is completely unacceptable. I have been working with other people today to figure out the necessary steps so that Zeus and other dogs who require medical attention, receive it.

The rescue community does not look kindly to those who seek to take advantage of fundraising because those monies are raised in good faith and are recorded on the account to show coverage of medical expense. In Zeus’ case, only $1,000 was shown, and the fundraising raised was $3,200. At this time, there is no accounting of the other funds.  Today a new fundraiser has been set up for Zeus because he now needs his second surgery, things will be handled very differently so that all involved will see where the fundraising monies went to.

Dogs coming into rescue don’t come just from where I am located, they come from all over so it needs to be noted that some non ethical rescues are going to walk away from their dogs no matter where they come from. Ethical rescues don’t, no matter where their dogs come from. Isn’t it time to focus on how rescue is done rather than from where?

I write this blog because I feel it is very important that people know what they should be aware of. I know there are other rescues out there, some are called “flippers” which means they take on dogs strictly for the money. They do not check out the applicant or their home in screening. Some have been known to adopt “right off the truck” so to speak.

Below is a message on the Go Fund Me Page for ZEUS. Please share his link or if you can, please donate as ZEUS is in real need for the surgery – https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/rc8y8z4

I am a volunteer, I am not affiliated with any rescue, I have stepped up to help with running Zeus’ Fundraising.He used to be with a rescue but they shut their doors and Zeus’ foster family have been left to attend to Zeus’ surgery out of pocket. This is unacceptable.

If you can help share this page, or the Go Fund Me Page, or Donate, it would be greatly appreciated!

ZEUS - Marion

Flashbacks


Tonight something hit me hard. The kind of hard where the pit of your gut does flip flops, you feel the temperature rise and your knees fall weak.

Long ago when I was married someone did something incredibly cruel to me. I dealt with being shunned by people, my ex dealt with the stress of it all, law enforcement were involved, but it was before there was any task force involving computers and the like.

It took a long time (at least a year) until it was resolved. But the trauma done was intense. It affected my friendships and my marriage. To this day we never did know why the person did what they did.

Tonight a friend on social networking had a status up that at the time I didn’t realize was a joke. As I read it I clicked on the attached link and it took me to my name.  The status talked about someone sharing named pictures and that they have asked that person to stop. In the mean time if we would help by clicking on the link to share and that’s when it took me back to mine. If you haven’t guessed someone posted photos of me that had been photo shopped doing inappropriate and disgusting things.

I just needed to get this out because I need to take some time to process and move passed this.

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Manic and then Fatigue


The last few days I’ve been manic. I have been rapid in thoughts, cleaning inside and outside. I raked my yard, cleaned my garden, washed floors, laundry, you name it I’ve done it. Combined with healing from my injections it’s virtually impossible to stay still or not have racing thoughts.

Then I fall asleep, crashing from the energy I’ve exerted. Nightfall comes and I’m awake sometimes till 2 or 3 am.

It’s a struggle.

Everything changes, my cravings for carbs goes up, late night eating increases… So not good for my body dysmorphia issues.

I seek things that give me peace…. Candles, incense, my pets, my partner, but in the middle of the night it’s very difficult as I don’t want to wake my house.