Anxiety, Depression, Grief and loss, Mental health

Gathering hope, one more try

I have overcome many obstacles in my life that I thought at the time would break me. Ten years ago, while I was still married, I lost my house in the housing crash of 2008. Even today I still struggle putting that experience into words that accurately portray how that felt. In the three years following that catastrophic event I endured a few more deep losses, the horrible death of my beloved cat, having to give away my dogs followed by my divorce that ultimately broke my relationship with my boys. Shouldering the blame for it all, now I realize just how naive I was to the pain and sadness I was truly feeling. I had to make some tough decisions in order to survive. The financial ruin is still something I haven’t fully recovered from. In true C-PTSD fashion, it has taken me years to heal from grief. At the time I wasn’t hopeful God had opened a window in response to the many doors that had been slammed in my face.

Today however, it is these experiences that have reshaped me. I had to construct an overhaul of my thinking in order to get out of bed everyday. The heavy seriousness of such stark change was absolutely suffocating at times. I attempted to stuff and swallow it all by drinking to excess, over exercising and restricting my food intake. I have a terrible knack for kicking my own butt and punishing myself when things go wrong in my life. My resistance to accept what was going on around me proved completely futile. Something had to change and the only thing I had control over was myself and my responses to the lemons I was receiving. I learned how to make lemonade by redirecting my thoughts and gathering hope where I could find it.

Throughout all the heartache, my faith in humanity was tested. I have some wonderful lifelong friends that put their arms of support around me and guided me back into the light. I’m someone that prides myself on being there for others and I don’t ask for help often. During these years my priorities shifted when I made the decision to wave the white flag of surrender. Swallowing that pride was one of the hardest and most fruitful choices I made.

There are many misconceived notions about what it means to be strong versus weak. We all go through dark times and our ego’s will lie to us by telling us, “I have got this.” I was forced to realize that I most definitely didn’t “have it” and I needed help. My friends uplifted,¬† guided and at times carried me through a time I was sure would destroy me completely.

People tell me often how strong I am. Most days I am proud of where I have come from and what I have achieved. Understanding what is truly important, what I need instead of what I want. My route to these realizations was a hard lesson to learn.

In the United States, we live in an over consumption culture fueled by the myth of the more you have the happier you are. In reality, I have learned this is false. Bigger, better, faster, more of everything is a sure fire way to disappointment because the emptiness we try to fill with those things provides a false sense of security. The depressing reality of materialism causes one to feel secluded, lowers human interaction and socialization. We must work more and spend less time with family and friends in order to maintain what we think we “need”. I believe this driving cycle is a self fulfilling¬† prophecy. We gain real happiness from our connection with others which is not something that can be bought.

Today, I don’t have many possessions and I live more of a minimalist lifestyle. The things I have lost can never break me because I choose to invest in relationships with the ones I love. I now understand that if I hadn’t experienced loss, I wouldn’t have gained hope and faith. It is the people around me that continue to support me, proving to me that as long as I keep trying and never give up the sky’s the limit. My dreams can become reality and I definitely have more than one try left in me.

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Anxiety, Domestic violence, Grief and loss, Mental health, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's self care

Purple

Purple is my hand down favorite color. It has been since I was a small girl. My room was painted a pretty lavender and I incorporated unicorns as a main decorating theme when I was in third grade. It was my oasis and my safe place. Since I can remember just looking at any shade of purple calms me down and soothes me. I have always been a scared and fearful person, like my whole body buzzes internally constantly. My spirit animal is a rabbit. Perhaps it’s the trauma I have endured since childhood or reading and picking up on energy. Most likely a combination of the two. When I got really scared I used to hide under my bed or in my closet. I can admit to doing this even as an adult. That last admission has made me feel ashamed of myself. I understand for me it became a way for me to self soothe.

Three years ago I bought myself the best Christmas present ever! It’s a weighted blanket in a customized purple material. I found it on a sensory/tactile products for healing website and it’s become literally my adult security blanket. Children and adults with autism love it as well as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s likes getting a huge hug and gits all my pressure points at once. My nurse in the psych hospital introduced it to me. We patients had to share it because there wasn’t enough to go around. There was a sign out sheet for it. I always told myself once I could I would get my own.

My weighted blanket is part of my self care routine. My fiance throws it over me when I’m about to or having a panic attack. Similar to smothering a fire, it brings my engines down to neutral. It’s also extremely beneficial during my time of the month. I can’t say enough good things about the benefits of using one, I highly recommend it!

This poem grew from that love and became elevated into my commentary on humanity. I wish we could wrap a purple blanket around the Earth so we can all feel its vibe!

Anxiety, Depression, Grief and loss, Mental health, Uncategorized

What if

It has been raining here for days without end. I have been laying low because that’s what my mood dictates. Searching through an app I have that streams the latest movies and television shows, I stumbled upon the series “Forever”. Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen play a married couple caught in a prediticable marriage when they suddenly find themselves in an unexpected situation. I can relate because in many ways my marriage was similar. What happens when we get into routines and for me with my children that became our pattern. The ninth episode focuses on the afterlife. The couple find themselves pushing past their personalities, boundaries and expectations from when they were alive. The characters in their own way start acting out in more fearless and truthful ways. It got me thinking about how confined we can get within ourselves in life. As an empath, it’s easy for me to put myself in others shoes, whether real or imagined. All these questions sprang to mind and I wrote this poem.

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Anxiety, Depression, Domestic violence, Grief and loss, Mental health, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's self care

A monster came knocking

Seven years ago I was coming out of an emotional denial. That time now feels like a hazy dream. I was functioning daily in a robotic way. Truly going through all the motions, nobody would of guessed how much pain, confusion, loneliness and anger I was feeling inside because the woman on the outside showed everyone she was beautiful and perfect. Always happy and content. Yet unsettled, not peaceful. I know now I was on the path to a severe nervous breakdown. I was working three jobs while trying to survive a messy divorce. My two boys whom I had been a stay at home mother to for 10 years moved out to live with my ex husband. It was at my request. My act of compassion in attempting to protect them. From me. I believed I was cracking under the pressure of the charade I had been keeping up for twelve years and that it would be safer for them not to be around me. Growing up with the way my mother was I was terrified about becoming like her and making my boys feel like I did. My mental health issues came to a head. I likened it to dropping a million piece puzzle on the ground. That’s how my brain felt. A tearing at the seams turned into shredded material strewn all over my house. I had been the three males in my life’s everything mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and there was nothing left for me. I stuffed my emotions, my dreams and my desires. I wasn’t even on my list of priorities let alone at the bottom of it.

Yet at the time I didn’t know that. I certainly didn’t acknowledge that. I felt fulfilled by my jobs, intensive exercise training for races I was running in while being an exercise anorexic and consuming huge amounts on alcohol and Xanax. I thought I looked great and it wasn’t until a dear friend brought his concerns up to me. He said, “who do you think you are, a rock star?” I was in a constant state of perpetual motion almost 20 hours each day. That had been had been my routine for months. Truly burning my candle at both ends. Literally running away from life.

Then the monster walked into my life. I refuse to call him by his name because remembering it and saying it honors him and he is not deserving. My ego was off the charts and I presented as a charismatic woman without a care in the world. I believe now it was my sheer brokenness that he sniffed out and was attracted to. Whatever started the spark between us grew rapidly into a raging forest fire within just four short months.

The monster moved into my home and I wasn’t lonely anymore. I had found someone who loved me, cooked and cleaned for me. Yet went through these crazy incoherent and incredibly violent controlling episodes where I ended up battered and abused on the floor. I have never seen that kind of rage before. Growing up my own mother who is clinically insane had scared the daylights out of me with her fits. She was a lamb compared with this lion living in my house. He said he loved me and I blindingly believed him.

That last month was the most terrifying time in my entire life. He wouldn’t let me out of his sight. I couldn’t even take a shower alone. He controlled what I ate, when I ate, when I slept, if I slept. Absolutely everything. I actually allowed another human being to fully dominate me 100%. I survived being screamed at in my face, choked and strangled, punched, kicked, thrown right through a wall and raped repeatedly. By that time I was completely isolated from any of my friends and family. My family lived many states away, not at all close. He held my phone anyways and monitored all my calls so either way I wasn’t telling anybody what was going on. The police came many times to my house. My neighbors would call them anonymously trying to save me. Each time I would swear to the officer that I was fine. He would stand behind the door glaring at me, making sure I was keeping his secret. Nobody could save me and there would be not rescue.

Finally, one Saturday morning as I was getting ready to teach my dance class he started in on me. First the screaming than the hitting. The thought came to my mind that he might actually succeed in killing me this time. So my act of taking back control in the situation was to swallow a bottle of pills and chase it with a few shots of vodka. I would be the one to kill me not him. He watched me do it and then continued his beating of me before he threw me in the car and dropped me off at the ER.

Upon waking up in the hospital in that bed with my arms tied to the gurny I learned I would be committed to a psychiatric hospital. Not only was I alive but God was offering me a new life, a chance to change, it was my moment of desperation. Where I realized I had two choices. I could try to stab myself with a medical instrument and get the job done right this time or I could use this opportunity to see hope in my future. Trust me I grappled with the first option for awhile. Lastly I thought if I could hold on to that hope and give myself a chance to heal, I just might make it. The acronym I like for hope is hold on pain ends.

In the years since that time I believe I am living proof of that statement. I had to learn how to put space between my thoughts, feelings and actions. Determine if I was to react or respond in certain situations. Start on the path of trusting myself, knowing my self worth and most importantly believing in myself. God shown his light through my hospital window that day. He reached out his hand to guide me. All I did was take a small leap of faith, held on tightly to hope and received his hand.

#mentalhealth #complexptsd #suicide

#hope #god #love #lifeisbeautiful