How do you come to terms?

How do you come to terms that the people who are supposed to take care of you, to love you, to protect you, abandoned you?

I’ve carried this anger, rage, hostility, hurt, sadness, disappointment all my life. I’ve attended numerous groups, coping with change, anger, depression and anxiety, body image, building compassion, I’m sure there are more, but I can’t remember them at this moment.

Until yesterday when I started another new group. A person who I’d never met before, reminded me of my family of origin. The way she looked, her mannerisms, even similar way of what she wore. In all my time of doing group therapy, this is the first time this has happened. I can’t help but feel it is the universe (for those of you who are of spirit belief such as myself) suggesting that it is time for me to start to deal with my feelings, so I can put this to rest and truly work on healing.

Feelings, they scare me. The idea of digging deep within myself, and discussing what really hurts, followed by whatever comes up, whether it be tears, fear, gut wrenching heartache, makes me fear that if my emotions are allowed to come to the surface and I am vulnerable, that those emotions will not stop, and that I will be left with the clean up, however that looks.

We talked about this yesterday and I learned that even though I feel this way, this won’t happen. Our bodies go in ebbs and flows. However, I think this is just going to take some time and learning to trust for me to feel safe.

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Bad Reaction

I have had a set back a big one with my eating disorder recovery. I realize its a journey and there will be times when stuff like this happens, yet the difference is now I could see what was causing it, but I didn’t stop it.  I did admit in my eating disorder group what happened without going into detail as I didn’t want to trigger anyone. The facilitator said that its hard when a “wave” happens when we are trying to find a tiny piece of positive to take away from moments that are difficult.

As our session continued we talked about Body Image and all the different ways it affects who we are. I felt very intense emotions. We then went onto to talk about ways to make sure your child has a great body image. I shut down. I just couldn’t give any answers that would be positive because I struggled to even think what a positive body image comment would be.

I left feeling very angry, not wanting to talk to anyone; I just wanted to be alone.

When I got home, I was bitchy, obviously reactive still from our session. I started to work quickly in my garden, clearing my tomato plant leaves that are dead, checking the remaining plants, picking up pine cones and dead branches as well as planting my daffodils for next year. It always feels good when I am left alone in my element.

I guess that is what you would call being compassionate; something I am not very good at. I’m still stuck at the “you deserve it” voice code.

So how does one become compassionate with themselves? How does one accept that what is going on is a moment and that it is ok to go back to things that are old behaviors and are fine to use but not stay in? How is it ok to acknowledge how and what you are feeling, especially if you struggle with expressing your feelings? It’s not easy to put things into perspective, when your emotions are so intense that it is hard to remind yourself that this moment will pass; especially when it goes longer than “a moment”.

I know last night and today I have felt a lot of doubt. My thoughts and feelings definitely have wanted to give up. The one thing that came to mind is that I deserve to feel the way I do and the other was “go ahead, no one is going to know but me”. So you can see how difficult it is when there is no balance.

One of the things I often forget to do is BREATH. When I’m in the moment where I am triggered, I am so engaged with that thought, that breathing is the last thing I think of. I know that it has been suggested that I take a moment and take 3 deep breaths because it will help my mind and body to relax and to calm down.  Now if I can just remember to do that!

I don’t know about you, but I talk to myself; sometimes it is encouraging and empowering; last night/today “not so much”. I haven’t found a positive tool to go to when I talk to myself in a negative way. I don’t like talking to myself in front of a mirror,  I just know that as I learn new and continuing coping skills, I too will learn to love myself.

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:

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

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.

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.

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  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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As a recovering Perfectionist and an aspiring good-enoughist, I’ve found it extremely helpful to bust some of the myths about perfectionism so that we can develop a definition that accurately captures what it is and what it does to our lives.

  • Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievements and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. It’s a shield. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.
  • Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn  approval and acceptance. Most perfectionists were raised being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule-following, people-pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, we adopt this dangerous and debilitating belief system. I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect . Healthy striving is self focused – How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think?

Excerpt from “Gifts of Imperfection”

This is just a piece of what I relate to. I do have more to share on this topic and will do so in bits and pieces. I don’t want to overwhelm you as it is a heavy, thought provoking topic.

I welcome your thoughts and views to this or any of my writings.



Digging in the Deep

Today was the first day back since before Christmas, of attending group therapy. This one is called Building Compassion.

As usual on first day get togethers there is a usual go over of boundaries, expectations, things like that.

We started on a the 3 Pillars of Compassion:

  1. First pillar: Self-kindness
  2. Second pillar: Common humanity
  3. Third pillar: Mindfulness

First Pillar

I try to be kind to myself about my flaws and inadequacies but it is not easy. I see fault a lot of times and reminding myself that it isn’t true is challenging. In times of difficulty/stress being extra kind and caring towards myself isn’t something I think to do, often I usually punish myself. When I feel emotional pain, I go numb because it is a place I have gone to most of my life.

Second Pillar

Reminding myself that I am not perfect and that it is ok to make mistakes, is something I am learning to do and will get better at.  However, when I am really down I struggle with reaching out to other people for support and understanding. When I am upset, reminding myself that I am not alone and that there are lots of other people in the world feeling like I am. This is something that will take practice, a lot of times we do feel alone when we are in our darkest moments. I need to keep aware of the fact that everyone suffers in some way.

Third Pillar

Being mindful is something that I work on and practice, reminding myself that I have a lot to be grateful for. I will be honest though, when I am down I don’t remember to make an effort to focus on what is going well. The same goes for when things upset me, I don’t remember to try to keep a balanced view of the situation.

We talked about your wants and needs as a child and how that affects you today. Some things really struct me hard and I wrote them out as the words came to me. I haven’t decided if I will share them here or not. Sometimes one needs time to process before words are spoken.



I met with a person yesterday who runs a support group closer to my home, strictly for eating disorders. She was very friendly and assuring, mentioning that much of what I have been experiencing is common and she has heard it from other clients.

There will be topics each week, just to help us stay on track (I also find having a routine helpful). Yet most of all, there will be others who “get it”. I don’t have to hide, or explain what its like to live with an eating disorder. To know someone or others can support you on your worst day, and embrace you on your greatest.

The downside to this program? its only 10 weeks.

I’m hopeful that during my time in the support group, I will learn of others and perhaps make a friend or two along the way.



BPD and Trust

I know that help is out there if I ask for it. Many times it isn’t obvious; sometimes you have to dig and dig, to get what you want.

For me, having Bipolar and BPD, I don’t trust very easily with outside support. I have been let down one too many times to believe that people/friends/family are available and support me.

I’ve been researching out a therapist who deals with trauma. I’ve not shared those traumatic situations, perhaps in time I will. My therapist who I’ve seen for a long time has said that she doesn’t do “trauma therapy”, not that she wouldn’t, but she did recommend a couple of places/links to seek out someone who does.

I have thought about this and researched this; as well as left it alone, thinking perhaps the answers would come to me on their own. I’ve come to understand I am not comfortable adding another person to my regime of therapists. I don’t know if it is my Bipolar/BPD talking but the idea of resharing my life with someone new makes me feel uncomfortable. I’ve also wondered if it is because I have a good client/therapist relationship with the therapist I have now.

I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone a few times and it is a 50/50 crap shoot if there will be a positive or set back result.

How many of you struggle with Trust and Mental Health? How have you worked through it? What has worked for you?