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?

Disassociation


I’ve known for many years that I disassociate. What this means is I don’t feel much other than anger/rage and anxiety. I haven’t cried in so long, that I can’t even tell you the last time, probably when my dog Rizzo passed away and that was about 4 years ago.

I realized yesterday at my group, that it is very possible I, in terms of the years of abuse I endured, have a subconsciou fear that the pain will happen again. I have layers of dissappointment, which I have transferred to many of my relationships in my life, even the unhealthy ones. I would unconditionally trust right off the bat, instead stepping in slowly and learning about one another. I realized that this behavior comes from not having my needs met as a child. I don’t wish to blame my childhood for everything that makes/made me who I am, but connecting the dots does help.

I will be doing some one on one therapy with this because I have layers of deep emotion/grief that I would like to work through.

I like to see this as growth.

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The Sting


You know I’ve never denied that I have “blank” spots in my memory. In fact, I try very hard to remember as much as I can. Years of mental, physical, emotional abuse caused my brain to “protect” my traumatised thoughts. Every now and again, when there isn’t a traumatic event and the place is calm and safe, I may have a memory return; sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Today’s happened to be in a place not expected, but then most aren’t where I expect them to happen. I’m not going to get into all the how’s and wherefores, let’s just say it came from a place I never dreamed of. My past has a way of creeping up on  me, when I least expect it. When something is brought to my attention, depending on what it is, can depend on how I will respond.

I was a very messed up, confused teenager. I did not have a diagnosis like I do now. I made plenty of mistakes and many choices were made as a result of the dysfunction in my home as well.  I was not stable, I know this now. When words are said to me that go back to that place, it feels like a “nail into my heart”. I felt ashamed that my past was that bad and moreso when I was reminded.

The sting felt far and wide inside of me; I contacted a friend who has been in my former group programs and we bounced it off one another. I just needed that person to help me filter and process it.

Words can sting especially when all one needs to do is “open mouth and insert foot”.

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Triggers and Facebook


What is it with people posting and others responding with the feeling they can bully someone for posting on their own wall?Earlier this week I experienced bullying myself and it triggered me because I hate derogatory comments and flame wars not to mention the social broadcasting of a family death over Facebook without even notifying me privately.

Social media has really desensitized people, in my opinion. No longer do I see any consideration of what a person may feel, its just put out there with no regard for anyone but the person on the other end of the computer, who seems to take pride in hoping to encourage an argument where everyone can see and contribute to or cast stones and judgment.

So how does one get through this? Most of the time I either scroll past it on my timeline, or if the person is seen as a constant s***t disturber, then I simply remove them. Drama lama’s take up too much space. My mental health needs as much calm and peace as I can arrange.

I’ve taken to my treadmill daily, I find it helps to focus on the endorphins while I am watching a comedy on Crave or Netflix. If anyone is looking for a fantastic British comedy, check Absolutely Fabulous. It has really gotten me through some stressful moments as of late. Plus, it makes my work outs go amazingly fast LOL!

Well this weekend is going to be hot, hot, hot, so I am going to be in my air conditioned home, making sure to use my treadmill and spending time with my pets. One of my favorite events is on tomorrow, horse racing – The Belmont, I’m curious to see if American Pharoah will attain the elusive Triple Crown, not achieved since 1978 when Secretariat won it.

In the mean time, be kind to one another – perhaps think before you speak, you may not realize how you affect the person on the otherside of the computer screen.

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Lack of family doctors, death, and mortality


Where do I start? Its been one hell of a 36 hours. First my cousin passed away yesterday. She had suffered with cancer and thankfully passed peacefully at home. She was in her 40’s. Then if that weren’t bad enough, I learn of this on social media! What is it with people blabbing private family matters before everyone in the immediate family knows? Has social media desensitized everyone so badly that privacy no longer means anything?

As if that weren’t challenging enough, a childhood friend died tragicially and unexpectedly yesterday. It has hit a lot of my high school community and friends hard. Friends far and wide have expressed how sad and home sick they feel about our friend’s death.

I struggle with emotions. I am great at expressing anger and anxiety, but horrible with showing emotions of sadness. What this means is I internalize and when the feelings become too much, my body releases that stress by increased headaches, nausea, diarrhea etc. late last night, I was overcome with intense cramping, sweating and such. This is how I realized I had too much stress within my body. I didn’t even work out today, that is how exhausted I am. But, because of my OCD, I keep looking at my treadmill and feeling like I am betraying myself, but I have to believe that is my eating disorder talking and not my body.

Now if this weren’t enough, recently my family doctor abruptly closed due to health reasons. We were given a referral, made an appointment, saw the doctor were under the impression we were now ok to have a new doctor, nope, received a call last Friday that he felt were not going to be a good fit for his office. This blew me away! I’ve never had a doctor turn a patient away before, let alone go for an interview. Today after trying several avenue’s to even find a list of possible doctor’s taking on new patients, most,if not all, on that list were no longer taken patients! So what is the purpose of this list anyways?

I went to a doctor today, filled out an application which is really you filling out your bio, medications you take etc. The receptionist called this afternoon and I have a “meet and greet” on Monday. Seriously this whole “doctor can decide if you are  good fit for his practice” is wrong. It used to be that you, the patient  to be, were the one to interview the doctor.

I’ve been knocked down, but I’m not out!

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Feeling the BPD and Bipolar


Well life sure has its ups and downs. I’ve had a roller coaster lately that’s for sure. After my laptop crapped out, I was relying on my cell phone for my social media connection and let me tell you I’ve done a blog off of it before and decided it wouldn’t happen again lol.

So my 6 month group came to an end this past Wednesday and i’ve felt several waves of emotions. The ladies I spent time with are wanting to get together weekly, to be honest, I’m not optomistic that will go on for long, but I know that it will be a good thing for it to continue. We all need support.

Bipolar and BPD have flared with all the overwhelmed feelings I have had going on. I’ve been obsessive compulsive with everything and it has been a huge trigger with my eating disorder. I am grateful I have a friend from my eating disorder program who I reached out and we talked it through.

My partner leaves on Monday for about a month, its a yearly trip but not one I am to thrilled with.

I’ve been really busy with a fundraiser for an abandoned dog and am really hoping he will get the surgery he needs.

I’m hoping to write more often now that I have a new laptop there is a lot to update on, but I am not up to typing everything right now.  Oh and our family doctor closed his practice and we went and saw a referred physician and they called us on Friday and said that they didn’t have time that they felt we would need. I have no idea what the hell means, except I don’t do well with being left hanging, granted I don’t need a family doctor like I once did, but I still want one for other things.

Right now I’m about adjusting to all these changes and they are difficult to say the least.

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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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