What am I recovering from exactly

I’m supposedly in recovery right now. I just wish I knew from what exactly.

Although I had a suicidal ideation episode, I don’t think I’m in a major depressive episode right now. I can’t seem to get any 2 people to agree on this or a course of treatment. I don’t feel remarkably different from before I entered the hospital in April, although I do feel more in control, less reckless, but still quite hopeless, and it confuses me that these can coincide.

I am taking better care of my body, eating better, no alcohol, some exercise, getting outside, talking to friends more.

And yet the underlying thought remains – none of this matters, there is no point, no end to all this suffering, death would be welcome. But those thoughts aren’t desperate, aren’t powerful, but they seem to be at my core whenever I sit quietly and look inside. Whenever I ask myself what I want, that is the answer I get.

Last week, I found a newspaper in my closet from my high school, announcing my graduation. I was on the front page of this newspaper along with 5 other smartypants’es. We were the top 6 scholars, I tied for 4th place out of many hundreds graduating and had earned a hefty scholarship. I cried when I saw that photo of me.

I remember being that girl. I remember working so hard to earn my ticket out of hell. Ever since 6th grade when my big brother left for college, I was determined to do the same. I did everything they told me to do. I joined every club, art, band. I volunteered with Kiwanis, at Red Cross, at the hospital, at nursing homes. I worked 2 jobs. I took AP classes and college classes at the local college instead of at my HS. I had perfect grades, overloaded credits, overloaded life. I also had mono, an ulcer, anorexia, migraines, back spasms and weak limpy leg, insomnia, chronic bronchitis and asthma, and a really fucked up home life that I did everything possible to avoid going home. But I did it, I earned my ticket, I got out.

But I soon found out, as you all already know, hell follows you. There is no getting out. It doesn’t matter where you are, the demons will find you.

Here I am 20 years later still wanting to get out of hell. 20 years of hiding from, battling, ignoring, and thinking I had defeated those demons, or enough of them. Were the demons hiding or was I?

Or am I simply battling a horrific neurological disease, isn’t hemiplegic migraines bad enough, and this current suffering has nothing to do with my past abuse? Am I going to counseling and being treated for PTSD for what is actually a physical problem? But would I have this disease without the PTSD? No one knows. As with psychology, neurology is a load of guesswork as the brain is far too complicated for us to understand yet.

All I know is I am physically miserable most of the time. My emotions do go crazy all over the place when the flashbacks/memories flood in with the migraines. Otherwise I am fairly stable unless provoked/triggered. I am definitely edgy and worn out, my patience and stress tolerance is kinda nonexistent. How does a mom get to rest while kids are home over the summer? exactly, she doesn’t. So I’m doing the best I can to keep going with no energy and no chance to recharge.

I don’t know how to recover because I don’t even know what I’m recovering from.

I’m in all of these seemingly impossible situations, with no energy, no motivation, and I honestly just don’t want to work so hard any more. I just want to close my eyes and stop thinking and feeling and let it all disappear.

I feel pathetic, weak, and unreliable.

I know I’ll get through this, somehow, someday, but the frustration is turning into anger and I’ve run out of coping skills since these damn migraines have taken away all my usual stress relievers and turned them into stressors or impossibilities.

Any suggestions for something else to get rid of this anger? Writing only helps a little, and this post took me 3 hours with my stupid head and eyes and makes me angrier sometimes.

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15 thoughts on “What am I recovering from exactly

  1. Sadly no suggestions but since I stopped writing you’re the only blog I consistently read bc I identify so much with you. You’re not alone I your daily experience, I wish I had an answer but have massive anxieties for myself. Thank you for sharing what I cannot and much love.

  2. I’m not one to believe that every answer is secretly hidden in the question – like a prize in a box of snacks. But you did post something interesting. You asked ‘what am I recovering from?’ Then later in the post, you list ‘overloaded credits, overloaded life. I also had mono, an ulcer, anorexia, migraines, back spasms and weak limpy leg, insomnia, chronic bronchitis and asthma, and a really fucked up home life that I did everything possible to avoid going home’. You list SO MUCH to escape – homework, extracurricular, perfect student, perfect kid.

    I’d suggest you are recovering from escaping. If you were a physical prisoner in a classic dungeon and had to dig a hole, wriggle out through it, go out a stream & over a waterfall and through a fire – all the classic movie stuff; chances are when you actually got away you’d be pretty darn banged, bruised, burned, hypothermic… at the very least!

    You put yourself through a lot to escape. It sounds like it was worth it, but it was still a lot! And you can honour that you did it and tend to the wounds made in escaping while still knowing it was the right thing. If I injure myself running out of a burning building, the injuries still need to be looked after even though it was very much the right choice!

    I wish you healing!

    • Thank you for this thoughtful response, I really appreciate it. I am getting impatient for that prize in the box at this point, but I understand what you mean, nothing is that easy to unwrap.

  3. Tough question. No easy answer. I liked Alikina’s observation about all the escaping you did, and it was a brutal way to do it, running yourself into the ground. I’m all kinds of impressed in the way you went about it. I froze. I did as little as possible, only as much as absolutely had to be done. Taking a step to do anything was agonizing. What if I was wrong? What if I made a mistake? What did I need to do to make sure I did everything perfectly. An awful lot of my decisions were taken out of my hands by simple virtue of passing me by, too late to do anything.

    How to handle the anger…huge, massive question mark. I know those who work it out in the gym. Not me. Messed up ankle, knee, and back, making walking a challenge…

    What have I done? I bent a frying pan by throwing it on a cement floor. My sister threw clay pigeons at a wall; no, that didn’t take care of all of it, not even most of it, but it took the edge off. I’ve cried, screamed, howled, hit myself, eaten food I knew would make me sick… I didn’t know how else to express my sense of rejection… How funny, the show on my television right now is a Pastor Robert Morris talking about his struggle with anger.

    I don’t rage nearly as often. I haven’t thrown a pan in years. My dog forced me to face my anger from a different perspective. My anger terrified her. I hated frightening her. It didn’t cure the anger, but I recognized the need to handle it better.

    As time has passed, I’ve come to realize that anger, if you hold onto it, isn’t something you handle; it handles you. I had to learn to redirect it.

    You understandably have a lot of rage and there is no chance to ever direct it at the source. I think as long as AF was alive, there was always the chance you could confront him. Even if you never planned to do so, the door was open or could be opened. You had a box you could slide inside the door. With him dead, the door is not only closed but sealed. There is nowhere for the rage to go.

    How odd to think I have an advantage to having NM still alive. I’m able to work through the emotions with her present even though she is not participating except for adding more. I’m still able to direct the anger.

    Would it help to create a dartboard/punching bag/something like that you can use to vent your anger? A safe place not to escape to but a place where it’s safe to express all the anger. I was going to say forgive yourself, but I’m not sure you’re ready to do that yet. An awful lot of that anger is going to bounce back on you because it has nowhere to go. Anger that you didn’t protect yourself. Anger that you couldn’t and can’t take care of yourself. Anger that life wasn’t better. Anger that you didn’t figure out how to truly escape. (I recognize a lot of these in myself.) You had so many boundaries violated until you had none, and now you’re working so hard to create and maintain boundaries and feeling unsuccessful.

    You are succeeding, but it’s frustrating to not succeed as fast as you’d like. You moved out, started your own family and chose not to expose your children to the same abuse. You’ve worked hard to help your children learn boundaries, however imperfectly. You’re working hard to be the person you want to be. It’s maddening to see all the mistakes and shortcomings so glaringly clearly.

    You are good. Not perfect, blessedly. Perfect people are so difficult to live with. You are worth fighting for, including fighting through the anger. I hope you find the answers you need soon.

    • Hmmm, so much to think about here. I think you may be on to something here, that I no longer have a direction for my anger towards AF. Even though I wasn’t seeing or speaking to him in the past few years, he was still out there, something out there to focus this negative energy towards. I am noticing my fear is dissolving. I am waling around the streets and malls and not jumping out of my skin every time I see an old man that resembles him. So I know deep inside my being I am believing he is gone and can no longer hurt me, or my children. It would make sense that along with this realization of his physical permanent absence I have lost my target so to speak. Now I have this general unfocused anger. Hmmm

      And thank you for continually reminding me of how I kept my children safe from him. I cry every time I read those words, as that is the only accomplishment in my life that I am truly proud of, ever meant anything.

      So many people seem afraid to be angry, and don’t like discussing it, like it is wrong, or like I shouldn’t feel it. I have so much I think I could fuel the planet some days. Other days it is crippling, and like you said, can frighten the dogs or kids or can be misdirected, so I know I need to get it out in a healthy way. I think I’ve always put into my achievements before, and I’m also seeing that’s why they seem so empty. I don’t want this life I built on anger. I want a life I want, built on dreams. just need to start dreaming, seems impossible though right now.

      • One step at a time. I always wished I could use a punching back, but my knuckles are a mess after only a couple punches. Stupid sensitive skin. I have to admit that I’ve worked out an awful lot of rage in my books. My characters are healthier than I am. 🙄 Haven’t figured out how I did that.

  4. I often ask myself the same question, there are no easy answers. I found I had to separate each piece, learning to unwind what was physical from what was mental, what was historical from what was right this minute. With each I had to find a coping mechanism. Sometimes that mechanism was simple, exercise or medication or acupuncture or some combination. Other times, it was much more difficult. But first I had to unwind all the threads.

    It is never easy. None of us every get here alone, most of us had help. Know that you didn’t get here alone either and clearly you were trying to save yourself. You knew you were worth saving, you still are.

    • I do feel like a tangled mess. I need to slow down and find an end without making the knot bigger when I tug on it. I don’t need an easy answer, but I need a starting place when everything seems to fall apart at once. Thank you for the thread visual, I find it really calming for some reason to picture it that way.

  5. I came back to read this post again because it was on my mind. I am in awe of your achievements and you certainly don’t sound pathetic, weak, or unreliable, however, depression and PTSD can make us feel this way and it doesn’t seem to matter how many people try to encourage otherwise. We tend to beat ourselves up for being unable to rise above this illness’ .

    I am just preparing a post just now that talks about the difference between letting go and moving on. I have recovered from the actual experience, which led to PTSD, but that doesn’t mean to say I am not still carrying the diagnosis around like a heavy suitcase and often the weight can hold us back from moving on

    • Thank you Cat. Yes I have been beating myself up. I look at everything else I can do I guess, seems like I should be able to put my mind to it and rise above this illness. Some days I think I have, and then I am devastated and back at square one to find I have not, and then the weight nearly crushes me. You’re spot on.

  6. I’m finding I can really relate to your posts. I definitely know the question, what am I recovering from? In fact, I resisted a lot of healing because I was denying my abuse experiences. I knew it felt terrible, but I thought it was that I fretted too much. It was a personality flaw. I didn’t want to be happy. A million reasons, mostly blaming myself for my long-lasting depression. (Not saying that’s what you are doing, but just that that’s where the question led me.) I look forward to reading more of your posts and hope that you find a way to recover from whatever it is you truly need to recover from. Best wishes, Q.

    • Welcome! I know what you mean you here, I may be resisting healing without knowing it. I am at a different stage, unknown territory – again, and I feel like I don’t know who I am. I didn’t think I denied the abuse, but it seems apparent that I had compartmentalized if not completely detached my feelings connected to the abuse in my body. Looks like I may need to integrate memories with thoughts and feelings and my body to become whole, and I’m not sure I want to do that, to feel everything I learned not to feel. If that is recovery I’m not sure I want it. Thank you for your comments and I wish you the best on your own journey as well. xx

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