Emotions Transferred


Yesterday while in group I had spoken of how I feel virtually nothing for my family and that when asked if I missed them, or if it scared me with the lack of feelings, I replied that after trying for so long, and repeatedly being ignored, I suspect that combined with years of domestic abuse on top of it, I no longer want to feel those feelings of longing for family. 

The therapist mentioned that the love I have wanted to feel and haven’t, I have transferred to animals because they give back to me everything I have never received. 

Yesterday my sister was out with my nephew at his swimming lessons. I had asked what level he was, she replied that he if he completed level 1, he will be an Orca. I was very excited for him and said I would love to watch sometime. Well, crickets entered the room and communication was instantly stopped. 

This, unfortunately, is all to common in my life and I can see why my emotions are not with humans, but with animals. 

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Dark Secrets


I have no idea what to title this blog entry.

I’ve been struggling with what to reveal. I am sure that must sound strange given how much I write on my blog about my struggle with mental illness. But somehow, this deep dark secret that I have kept to myself for almost 30 years seems to feel vulnerable; open to being criticized and made fun of.

I’ve struggled with body image; I know many do, so what, right?

For me, I remember wanting my mother’s acceptance and attention. I remember watching her when she would diet. How she would measure her food on the food scale; or read an exercise magazine, that gave her tips to help her lose weight. My mother has never been a large woman, I’d say more curvy but nothing more.

I remember taking that said exercise magazine and hiding it under my bed, pages dog-eared so I wouldn’t forget which ones I HAD to do. I had a tape measure so that I could measure often my neck, wrists, hips, thighs and definitely my butt.

As I was responsible for making meals in our house, I would nibble as I cooked so that when I put food on my plate, I already knew how much I had eaten. When it came to how many calories I had eaten, I don’t remember keeping track at first. Given that I was in school and did like gym class, often I didn’t get angry at how much I ate because I would work out extra hard in class or at home, where I would do sit ups, push ups, side bends, leg lifts.  I would do these nightly and quietly, so no one would hear me in my room.

I started to get into laxatives when I was in my mid twenties. The man I was involved with had a niece who had an eating disorder and she used laxatives in large amounts. I figured if it kept her skinny, it would for me too.  I used several products, to the point I knew which ones gave me the results I wanted, simply by how much I expelled.  I would weigh myself right afterwards so I would learn how much I would want to lose per bowel movement. If I didn’t lose anything, I would take another laxative, determined to “make” my body get rid of everything inside of me.

Herbal cleansers I used those for the same purpose.

My days became more about what the scale would say or how much my thighs measured.  If the scale went up, I would become instantly angry. I would beat myself up verbally in my room, pinching fat on my waist and telling myself negative words.

I don’t recall my mother ever saying or commenting to me about my physical appearance; nor my sister.

Soon as I began working my first part time job when I was 14. My days were about going to school and working. By doing this, I could stay busy, thereby not eating much and away from my mom and sister. I was probably more like the average teenager.

When I had to pay rent for my room, things really changed for me. If I wanted a phone, I had to have it installed and pay for it myself. I did my laundry as well. I was feeling more and more like a tenant than a daughter.

Yet, all I wanted was someone to notice me.

Fast forward to now. I revealed all of this in group recently, when another member was sharing her pain and hardships with using food as her self harm. I am the same. I will eat especially when stressed out or upset. Blindly eating whatever I could find in the house. When my clothes began to feel tight, I would step on the scale and the cycle would start all over again.

I would go to the gym, 2 maybe 3 months of dedication. Meals are made with a healthy view. Feeling in control, but everyday like clock work I would step on the scale and depending on what it says, decided how my day was going to be.

That hasn’t changed except I now I from time to time will hide my bathroom mirror so I can only see from the neck up.

However, since starting group, I’ve avoided my scale and the mirror is presently available to look at myself. But before anyone gets excited I do judge myself and most of the time I just use the mirror for my hair and when I brush my teeth.

I don’t want to live like this, yet the anger and frustration I feel over so many things, I do self harm with food. I have wondered if I would just feel better if I cut myself instead. At least with cutting there would be some kind of relief. However, I don’t want anyone to see my scars or what I have been doing, so I know that this is why I have been using food to self harm.

I struggle with the belief I have control over self harming with food. I’ve convinced myself if I don’t stand on the scale, I am in control, but I am fooling myself, I know I’m not.

People talk about self-esteem and having self-worth. When you have become an expert at appearing like you are all together, its difficult to let that go, even if you really, really want to.

My hope is my admittance will be the start of something positive and hopeful.

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Self Soothing


Today in group, one of the therapists asked a patient what does she do to soothe herself when life becomes to stressful as this person relies on her mother, father, friends and hubby to go to. This got me thinking on what do I do when I need to self soothe. 

For me, I enjoy being around nature the most. I love walking in the park that has trails. I enjoy touching the trees or in the summer time, feel the grass between my toes. I also love to be near the ocean and am glad I can drive to the ocean if I really need to. 

The person said she felt that when she is at the height of a panic attack she can’t think of anything other than the feeling of being overwhelmed in emotions combined with the words that are in her head. 

I can understand this because when I become triggered whether it be rage or panic, it is hard to focus on the moment and regroup. 

We also talked about “why me” when we feel totally overwhelmed. I mentioned that for me, because of my past with domestic violence, I no longer ask “why me”. I actually say out loud to my higher power “what lesson are you wanting me to learn?” I find that by doing this, it helps me to remove the victim role because if I don’t then I sink deeper into the bad emotions, where I don’t want to go any lower than I have been. 

I know there are tools that I have implemented into my life and have no idea why I have or where they have come from. Some read before bed, I play solitaire on my android. I also turn down the lights, turn down the tv before I settle down for the night. These are pretty much routine for me and find that they soothe my mind into knowing that it is bedtime and that it is time to rest. Now I realize that there are many a time where sleep doesn’t come easy for me and I will have the tv on low, but normally not on the news say after 10pm. We often will watch comedies because I have learned I would like to go to sleep with happy thoughts. 

What do you do when you need to self soothe? 

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Too much going on in my head!


I feel like I need to be writing because today a lot has transpired and honestly I am not sure where to start. 

I guess I could start with the fact that today at my psychiatrist’s appointment we are finally reducing my Effexor XR with the goal of removing it from my medication regime. I’m happy about this as I’ve known for a while it hasn’t been doing anything in terms of depression and mood stabilization. As I said to my psychiatrist I feel like I am a chandelier in terms of mood swings. 

We are starting with Lamotrigine tomorrow which is used for bipolar and it is also a mood stabilizer. I believe he is putting me on this because of my experience with being on Lithium.  I understand from the pharmacist today that the usual protocol is every 3 months there is a blood draw to check levels. 

I am feeling drained and shut down. A lot of drama has been going on with the group I volunteer with and I am drained. I also feel resentful for what happened and I did talk to not just my psychiatrist but to my group this morning. I discussed how I really feel like my childhood resentment and the adult person I am are completely blended and I don’t like it. I don’t like how fast I can go into rageful emotion. I’m struggling on how to accept this emotion and to allow it to be released. 

I learned about repressed emotions today. What that means is as a child, whether it be I wasn’t heard, or I wasn’t allowed to express how I was feeling, I learned to stuff them. This makes sense because as a result of the last couple of days of arguing and being defensive and protective of myself, I am exhausted and I feel the wall and it is high! I don’t want to talk to anyone, I just want to be left alone to quieten down my thoughts and regroup. 

I know there is more I could be typing right now, but I feel good for just getting this out for  now.

Repercussions


I realized today I don’t miss my mother. This reality came as a result of discussions in group about the emotional connection and parents. There is a member in group who is really wanting that connection with his father. 

I gave up long ago, I realized that no matter how much I wanted that emotional connection, it will never happen. Its something she isn’t capable of giving me. It is easier to blame my grand parents saying they brain washed me versus owning her inability to feel an emotional connection to me. 

The outcome of this realization is the repercussions of not having that emotional connection with my mother is huge. The lack of emotional connection has folded over into my adult life and this is a huge awareness for me. For a long time I just assumed my abandonment issues stemmed from my father’s passing when I was a young girl. Seems that is not entirely true for me. 

As an adult though, when I hear of friends doing social activities and I’m not included, my trigger place instinctively goes to a reactive place of “what about me?” Then I go to the place of blaming my self centered thoughts on believing I should be center of attention, even though my partner says that is not what I am doing, what I am doing is recognizing my value as a person to my friendships. 

Last night that happened where I felt my self worth undervalued and I instinctively went to self destructive behaviors. I also said today that I don’t blame people for not including me because there have been invites a few times and on the day of the event, I would and have felt panicky and cancelled or not shown up; therefore I’m not the first person people think of inviting when they make plans. 

There was a question posed to me if I have a memory of a good relationship with my mother. I don’t recall any out right mother/daughter special moments. The one I have is of a family, in the back yard, I’m on a swing set, dad is in the garden and I think I was holding a cat/kitten. I subsequently fell backwards and ended up getting stitches at the back of my head lol. My first introduction of my doctor bribing me that he would give me a quarter for my choice in favorite ice cream if I were a good girl when I got my stitches. I was a good girl and to this day Mint Chocolate Chip is still my favorite ice cream :). 

When I process what has transpired in group, I don’t feel anger; I feel sadness; yet no tears fall from my eyes. I have come to realize that ever since I left my former home town and the circumstances that caused me to leave, I haven’t felt much in the way of emotion. Perhaps it is more about protecting myself and my feelings? However, the repercussion of this inability to feel is the emotions feel stuck inside my throat; the feeling of boiling and bubbling but not enough to come out. The last time I truly felt any emotion was when I became so very angry at my former partner, the rage inside me was like a volcano spewing lava continuously. That rage scared me because I never knew a person could feel that much emotion and be able to lift objects that normally I couldn’t because they were heavy; suddenly I’m able to lift them and toss them! 

My reality is I am an emotionally starved person, now emotionally locked down in my ability to feel emotion. How I go about removing those layers on my journey to wellness and healing, I am not sure right now, but I hope to learn somehow that I deserve to feel love, I deserve to feel emotions.

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Realities and Adoption


I realized today in group, during discussions regarding the “longing” many of us feel about our fathers or mothers, I said out loud that I think I would have had a better chance at feeling accepted by someone if I were adopted. At least then I would have had a chance, instead of spinning around and around in the same vicious circle of longing I have all my life.

I realized today that I don’t want contact with my mother. Anytime I do, an instant wall goes up and I panic. I panic because that longing instantly comes back but with it comes insanity. I shared with group today that I recall many arguments with my mom over my connection with my grandparents.  The more negative that she said, the more drawn to them I was. The more she tried to keep me away from them, the more I begged for them to take me away.

It was accepting today for the first time in my entire life, that I was in a room with other clients who have experienced a lot of what I have gone through and where I am wanting to go.

The hurt, fear, frustration and how anger has protected all of us. Being angry has taught us all that we don’t have to deal with our emotions because we are so angry at what has happened to all of us.

I felt a flush of heat hit my face when I said the word “adoption”. I had never said anything like that before, not even to myself.  But I knew it was the truth. My sibling although she has me on her FB, we don’t actually communicate. Rarely will I get any conversation from her. I have come to believe that I am on there so I can see how my nephews are doing. However, the very idea of not having my sister in my life, makes me very anxious and scared. She is my last link to what I know family to be. She in a lot of ways is my everything.

A group member, desperate to understand, says that although he can respect where others are coming from, if what people have decided is best for them, then why are we all in this room together?

I waited a few minutes as others were talking and when a break happened, I commented by saying that for me, the tools I learned as a child, although they worked when I was younger, don’t work now an so for me, I am hoping to learn more adult ways of dealing with situations.

The doctor said that as children, we learned survival skills, those same survival skills are no longer viable because we are adults. However, I feel that some of these skills are ingrained and my problem is figuring how on earth those ingrained tools will be removed, creating a place of space for more mature tools to be inserted.

I still struggle when I learn of holiday get togethers and family holiday vacations, because I know I will never be a part of them. This the longing I miss, the being included. This is also why I wonder if I would have done better had I been adopted by a family who wanted me.

Not sure exactly how I am supposed to feel right now.

 

Process Group


This morning in therapy, a few of us were talking about our pasts with working, some of our behaviors around working and going back to the work force. I am not even thinking of ever going back to work, I have no desire to go back downtown to the rat race, even if I felt powerful in my business suit, polished nails and hair and make up done. I just don’t miss it, as well I “appeared” together, but on the inside, I wasn’t. 

We talked about behaviors that should have been questionable and for me I never questioned those behaviors. I never thought of consequences or what I was doing, I just did them. 

Another person spoke about her weekend with her family and realizing that her husband is very controlling and needy. On top of her own mental health issues, going home being a parent, and wife. She is at her wits end. 

While talking she spoke about the reality that her husband is abusive in that she asks him if she can do this or that and it has been more so that she has realized these things, as she has started to discuss more with him. 

As she was talking, I found myself rocking side to side; then I switched to vibrating my legs and feet. I realized I was feeling anxious at what she was talking about. How she talked about the honeymoon phase of domestic violence, how she has done therapy, gone to groups on DV and she feels like an idiot that she didn’t see the current situation she has with her husband. 

I did mention what I was feeling to the psychiatrist after group, but all he said was I seemed to have had some things stirred up. A couple of members from group said that the doctor is very cut and dry. Meaning while in therapy we talk about it, but once therapy is over, there is no discussion, which is difficult because sometimes delayed emotions happen, such as what happened to me. 

The two that stayed behind with me, said that I was processing what our other member was saying and not to be surprised if I felt totally differently tomorrow. 

I said either way I was going to be getting it out of me by blogging or talking to someone. I wasn’t willing to hang on to all these emotions. I know what it is like to have a full on panic attack and it is so difficult to focus on anything, including breathing.