Depression, Mental health

Tales of the heart

Love is such a complicated emotion. There is scientific evidence that it makes our minds go insane. Two very distinct and conflicting instincts take place within us. One is our desire to merge our life with another person and the other is for us to remain an individual. I believe both are equally terrifying and with that comes positive and negative consequences. For me, I have always been a lover of love. I am a companion type of person and I feel more myself with someone else as my partner in life. Perhaps it’s because I’m a middle child and I have always had other people around me. My upbringing conditioned me to always consider those other people’s emotions and care deeply for them. I have always been the peacemaker in my family and I play that role amongst my friends as well. I believe being an empath and a natural healing person by nature, that makes me a consummate companion. It’s one of my strong characteristics, I’m a team player all the way.

Something I didn’t fully comprehend until about six years ago is the meaning of  unconditional love. I definitely wasn’t raised with it and I never felt the secure feeling unconditional love provides. The very first time I experienced that wonderful feeling was from a woman who was mentoring me during my recovery. I am so blessed to have encountered so many kindered spirits along my journey of self growth. She taught me so much that I didn’t realize I had been missing in all my relationships. For me, love always came with conditions and requirements.

I am a giver and I choose to love even when people in my life may not be deserving of it. We may not like everybody that crosses our path but we all need to be loved. Many people in our society who display objectionable behavior are in desperate need of love. It’s a core need along with shelter, food and the ability to financially support oneself. The World Health Organization sites rates of depression rising as a result of modernity and individualism in our culture today. People may joke around by saying, “do you need a hug” in a flippant way when in actuality that answer is YES!!! Humans need physical affection and touch is hardwired in our DNA.

After my divorce and the abuse from the domestic violence I endured at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. When I agreed to go out with some friends one day for coffee I certainly didn’t think I would be meeting my future husband. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself that day and felt some chemistry between us I refused to call him when he gave me his number. We ran into each other a few weeks after that initial meeting and he asked me why I hadn’t called. I don’t remember what my answer was but I’m sure I blew him off. He and I went out on another group date before I agreed to go out with him alone. After that date I was absolutely smitten and knew he was someone special. Over these last five years I can say that I have never felt more acceptance and unconditional love from another person than what my fiance shows me. Our love is so deep for one another, the more time goes by the more I learn about it and the closer we become. He is my best friend. He is the person I feel closet to and value our companionship intensely. His laughter is the greatest sound and my favorite quality of his character. All of my feelings for him are expressed in this poem.

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Afterlife, Angels, Mental health, Spirituality

Signs of beauty from beyond

I haven’t always believed in angels specifically the guardian kind. Growing up and trying to navigate through life as the emotional being I am was very challenging for me because of my family of origin. I didn’t have the guidance from either of my parents, neither one of them ever came to me when I was sad in my room to talk to me or seemed to even care about my feelings. It always seemed like a burden, an after thought, something that fell by the wayside. My battered soul was the by product and result from their lack of communication regarding emotions. Instilling fear and guilt were perfectly excuted by both my mother and father yet how to cope with sadness and anger were void from existence. I wasn’t aware then that there were angels around me guarding and protecting me. In fact, at that time if somebody had  told me so I wouldn’t have believed them anyways.

Books became my best friends. I especially enjoy biographies and memoirs. I used to day dream about what my life would be like if Mother Teresa (my middle name coincidentally) or even Maya Angelou were my mother. I have always admired these two women for their thoughtful insights about spreading love and kindness. I am however eternally grateful that I did have one selfless and generously loving  woman in my life growing up, my Nana.

Ellie was always the life of the party, the matriarch of our family. Growing up we were always closer to my mother’s side of the family, to this day I’m unsure why. My mother’s mother, my grandma, my Nana was an extraordinary woman. I always remember her being so cheerful and happy to visit with us. She taught me how to sew and make Russian nutballs around Christmas time. She was our biggest cheerleader and I always looked forward to her letters. Her swirly expressionist handwriting was sometimes difficult to read but looking back it was so her. Upbeat and animated, like she lived her life. Unfortunately she and my Pop-Pop lived in Florida and I was raised in New Jersey so we didn’t have the luxury of seeing her whenever we wanted to. They retired there permantly when I was about six or seven I think so most of my memories are of our visits to Florida or when they would come up to stay for the holidays. Nana lived to sing and dance. In fact I remember her getting up on the table, or threatening to after have one to many Black Russians at a restraunt for dinner once. She sure was a lively character! We would go caroling at Christmas around the neighborhood with Nana as our leader. Ellie had a huge and generous heart. I believe it stemmed from her growing up in an orphanage. Her personality shown through in her style, her hair, jewelry and outfits were always impeccable.

Today, had she lived Nana would be 97. Fifteen years ago she was diagnoised with ovarian cancer. It was unbelievable to all of us because she was always so healthy and took no medications even into her 80s! The doctors put her on chemotherapy and I believed that’s what did her in. She passed away thirteen years ago on St.Patrick’s day. My 4’11 Polish and Irish Nana went to sing with the angels. I was utterly devastated and heart broken. At the time, I couldn’t foresee the devastating consequences her death would have on me. Her passing was the beginning of all of my major losses including my house, my marriage and my mind.

Along my journey to recovery, one of my therapists who I attribute so much of my success to, guided me in visualizing my guardian angel. We were talking about who in my life whether alive or dead would want to take all my burdens away. Who in my life loved me so much that they wouldn’t want me to feel so sad and depressed about my life as I was at the time. It didn’t take long for me to answer her, it was undeniably my Nana. She helped me understand that Nana was in fact my guardian angel and that all I needed to do was talk to her. Call upon her for advice, protection, warmth and a sense of peace. In return I would receive signs of her existence working on my behalf here on Earth.

I wrote this poem and it’s dedicated to my Nana. She sends me signs from the beyond  in the form of butterflies and birds. Just the very thought of her makes me smile. I love you Nana, this one’s for you.

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Anxiety, Depression, Domestic violence, Grief and loss, Mental health, Spirituality, 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 of 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 no 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

Healing, personal development

The beginning

Welcome! I have contemplated starting a blog like this for years. My own insecurities and obsessions with perfection have held me back…….up until now! I am throwing all caution to the wind by just doing it! Right now in my life I feel I have nothing to lose.

I am a woman living with C-PTSD or Complex PTSD. I am not a military veteran however I consider myself a warrior in life. My entire life, more specifically my formative years, were incredibly traumatizing. My family of origin was emotionally abusive. I always felt I didn’t exist, the forgotten child, blending in with the walls of our house. I am the middle child of six, ours is a blended family since my parents were both previously married and came with two children each upon entering into their marriage together. I understand and accept that both my parents did the best they could, it was the 1970s and I believe they didn’t fully understand the emotional repercussions they inflicted upon their children.

I always felt I had to pick a side between who’s team I was on, Mom’s or Dad’s. My mother is a Borderline personality and her behavior was always chaotic at best. My father was a workaholic who owned a car dealership. We were upper middle class and I never wanted for anything. Sounds great right? Not exactly. My father wasn’t home much and when he was he was emotionally absent, very controlling and strict. My mother has the EQ of a 4 year old and couldn’t regulate her own emotions let alone guide those of her children. My younger sister and I were left to our own devices, raised by wolves as one of my therapists has described it. I was never allowed to show anger or sadness. I was to always be happy and in a good mood for fear of not being accepted or loved. Love was dolled out with conditions. I was shamed into believing that only happiness was allowed to be expressed. Every other emotion was stuffed, stifled and forced away. This was done by verbal abuse and sometimes mild physical abuse. I can admit now I would of rathered it of been all the latter because those wounds heal. The emotional scars from my childhood are still prominent today. My fear of abandonment and acceptance hinder my relationships with others but mostly with myself. I have had over 30 years of therapy both inpatient hospitalizations and outpatient courses of behavioral modification.

The best outpatient course I completed was in DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy. I nicknamed it emotional college. The principles I learned to integrate into my life have been life altering in such a positive way.

The most difficult of these is the idea of Radical Acceptance. It is a daily task for me to accept not only myself but what occurs around me. When I can get to that place, I have peace. I understand that things are not perfect, I don’t have to agree with everything but things are as they are. It is what it is. I can let go. Ican accept the moment for what it is but most essentially I can accept myself.

I look forward to exploring more of my emotional processes here in my blog. I believe I have an unique voice because I am insightful. I am also an intuitive empath which comes with it’s own set of challenges and gifts.

Let this writing adventure and self introspective begin!

Anxiety, Depression, Mental health, Spirituality

Words

There is so much to say yet I get stuck on what to say
The time goes by so fast and I ‘m left here
Alone
Without the ones that made me feel special. Gave me purpose, knew me the best and saw me at my worst.
Blanketed by guilt I hide.
Shut away, trying to abide.
The pain, the memories.
So much promising talent squandered.
Let down, let down, down.
It’s a long way down.
Drifting and falling
Need to be released and revived
A jolt, a kick start
Back to reality.
What can start the fire burning in me again
Just a spark can start the flame
Reignite the dream
Move me along down the path
I’ve taken off the mask
But I still can’t believe it’s me that’s afraid to see
The shame of the past, the feelings they last
And the memories are cemented
Dragging me back
Over and over again
Till my end.

When I went through my separation and divorce from my ex-husband I remember constantly feeling an immense sense of guilt and shame. I took on everything and only blamed myself, it was all my fault. My fault for having mental illness. My fault for not being able to mother my two boys like I had for the previous twelve years. My fault for our financial ruin. My fault for losing our house to foreclosure.

In hindsight of course and since processing all of that grief, I know now that I was taking on too much of the responsibility. I was thinking and behaving irrationally. I have been conditioned my entire life to take on everybody I care for’s emotions. Therefore, I was always accountable and responsible for everybody. I believe most of that is due to two factors that were influencing me greatly. One was that my mother has Narcissistic BPD. She is incapable of regulating her emotions, unable to have positive interpersonal relationships and my daily life was chaotic. I’m also someone with ESP (extrasensory perception) manifesting in me being an intuitive empath.

I wrote”Words” as a reflection of that time in my life. It also serves as a permanent reminder for me that I don’t have to feel that way anymore. It’s not healthy more me emotionally and I have had to put some emotional boundaries in place. Writing is my form of self care. It’s how I process all the difficult emotions and the traumatic events that have gone on in my life. It’s how I am healing and will continue to.