Tag Archive | change

Where do we go from here

What if you can’t get there from here? What if you can’t go back, those roads are gone? What if you look ahead and see the same familiar roadblocks?

I lost hope that hubby will ever be a strong yet gentle supportive being I need. We try to be kind to each other but it is not working. The hurts run deep. Each unable to forgive and trust. Each day only hurts worse. The tension makes me sick as I try to smooth things over, do what he needs, explain again why I can’t, try to avoid him and this horrid sense of obligation and burden. I feel obligated to be affectionate. He keeps telling me how much it hurts him that I can’t. He keeps telling me how he can’t stand to hear all my negativity. He keeps saying he is confused, and frustrated.

I feel like a burden. I can’t be what he wants and it seems no matter how much I explain I cannot get him to understand ptsd and what this therapy is digging up.

I tell him I can only sleep for about 15 min at a time, then I wake up in a panic. If I am lucky those minutes are nightmare free. I am usually not lucky. No, my brain is creating new gruesome images to torture me, things that would make Dexter queasy. 

I tell him I barely manage to shower once per week.

I tell him most days I don’t eat food, only coffee or ice cream.

I tell him I have daily flashbacks transporting me to various childhood memories unexpectedly.

He knows all of this, and yet he is confused when I struggle to respond quickly when he invites me out to lunch. I say I don’t know, because it is the truth. I don’t know if my prison of a brain will let me out today. 

And he is frustrated when I dare to give him conditions for this lunch, like that place is too noisy, that one is too smelly. Yes it is frustrating for me too. No I am not being manipulative as you said to me today.

I think if you could, you would understand by now. So I think you can’t. I think you lack the empathy. I know you care about me, but it isn’t enough. You need to be nice to me too. You need to accept me as I am.

I know my behavior is odd. Ptsd is winning right now. But it isn’t like you are clueless. You know my stories. And yet you remain confused.

The sad truth is I feel much better when you aren’t near me. Without you my anxiety is not crippling or devastating. Without you I can make decisions without being badgered. Without you I feel less guilt, more valuable, less fear, more happinesss.

Things can change. Maybe they will. But you were given tools, ABC sheets and homework from the counselor. You never did them. I can’t ask you to change, I can only work on myself. But one day I will be back on my feet, a completely changed woman. If you don’t learn, grown and change too, I fear the distance between us will be irreparable. It is your choice to stay stuck. I want out of this mess.

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Progress or cycles

I slipped away for a bit, dipped my toe into the darkness. I didn’t even know I left until I started to return.

Dropped the kids off at Grandma’s house on Friday night. I became aware on Tuesday that I was still in the same clothes as Friday. No shower? Guess not. Check my hair, it was a knotted matted mess. Check the time…2pm and I am not out of bed, had not eaten. Did I eat yesterday? I see an empty bag of chips. Oh. And a mound of candy wrappers. Oh no.

Depression got me. 3 days in bed with half watching tv and half sleeping.

When I dropped off the kids, I also dropped off my reasons to get out of bed apparently. I knew I was only living for them right now, but this is scary proof of how true that is. I am not living for me.

I am starting to think this ‘progress’ stage of my therapy is not really progress at all, but an upward swing of my cycle. Meaning I have been here before. Do I really know more this time to prevent a future suicide attempt? Has anything really changed?

How can I measure PTSD recovery progress in a real, meaningful way with metrics and goals?

What do I want?

I want to feel safe. Alone. In a crowd. In bed. In a relationship.

I want to sleep. At night. Every night. Without nightmares.

I want to trust. Others. Myself.

I want intimacy. Closeness. Connection. Friendships. A social network.

I want to require less control. Live and breathe. Be free.

I want to enjoy affection. Human touch. Be comforted by hand holding and hugs.

I am not any closer to any of those wants. Which leads me to the next one.

I want to stop wanting to give up.

Be curious if not hopeful

Hope is not something that comes easily to me. I’ve also discovered it exists on a spectrum, from sliver to boundless rays. I used to think it was all or nothing, like most things in my world of extreme unbalanced thoughts.

Hope is something I used to have, I remember how it felt, how it kept me going. I hoped for a better future and started working towards it. When I got my scholarship and started college I was ready, full of life, full of hope.

But then that year wasn’t exactly as I had hoped. The world I had run away to wasn’t much better than the one I was running away from. I encountered cheaters, liars, manipulators, abusers, and people out to hurt me. I was crushed. Everything I worked so hard for…seemingly for nothing. I lost hope for a while then, at age 18 I recall getting lost in depression and listening to the soothing sirens call of suicidal ideation.

But I didn’t lose all hope, I bounced back and made a new plan, transferred schools, started over ready again. But i t never was the same, and I had to talk myself into this new plan daily. No more enthusiasm to save the world. I didn’t have enough hope for that anymore.

Then when I lost my first real job, the one I didn’t actually want but had convinced myself would be OK, and my new marriage was so difficult, and life was not good…I lost all hope it could ever be good.

At age 25 I sunk into a much deeper and more dangerous depression, obsessed by suicidal thoughts constantly. I made a plan an attempt.

At age 26 I had my first baby. I never had treatment, the suicidal thoughts were still there but I ignored them. I was both comforted and ashamed by them.

Babies and work have kept me busy these past 12 years and I became an expert at ignoring myself.

Until I couldn’t. One day I just couldn’t do it any more. The dam broke, the wall cracked. I was too tired. I didn’t care enough to hide it. All those things and more.

But this time I asked for help. No attempts on my life, I know how much I mean to my kids. So after a nice lengthy stay in a psych ward and months of group therapy, I’m in a bit of an odd place.

I am aware.

I can feel all of the terrible crap I’ve been ignoring, but I’m not yet able to fully cope or function with it. We are tackling these pesky suicidal thoughts first in therapy.

After a session today, all I can say is sometimes being curious is more important than having hope. I don’t have hope right now. I feel beaten and kicked to the curb. I feel it cant improve. And yet I continue to attend therapy, continue to get out of bed and exercise, and continue going through what feels like pointless motions. Why?

Because I don’t know everything. I can’t predict the future. It might be worse, it might be the same, it might be better.

I’ll never know if I don’t try, and I’m curious what could happen.

Hemiplegic Migraine Triggers – Figuring me out

Starting to figure out some of the sources of my migraine misery with direct cause and effect.

Tannins!

Wow this took a while to figure out. I’ve been on a strict trigger free diet eating only whole foods, nothing processed, no alcohol, nothing aged or fermented like cheese or yogurt, nothing smoked or processed like deli meat, no bread at all for no yeast or malt or sourdough or other processed items.

I’ve had some better days and some not, and I wasn’t sure why not.

First, I’m fairly certain the anticonvulsants are doing nothing to prevent the migraine attacks, I think all the improvements are due to my diet changes, hmmm.

I’ve noticed some specific symptoms for years like I can’t drink red beer like Killians without an instant killer headache. I never called that a migraine, because just head pain and no weird neurological stuff. I stopped drinking that beer and no problem. I have a similar but much milder headache from green tea. These headaches are instant and felt after just a few sips right in my forehead.

The biggie seems to be bread and I thought it was yeast, but now I’m thinking its the malted barley. I’m getting a predictable reaction to this now as well, and its not a headache. Its a hemiplegic migraine. I’ve had no bread, no pizza, no crackers, nothing. Now that I stopped eating all of that, I can clearly see my reaction to it, and it isn’t pretty.

I tried again yesterday. I made waffles for the kids, and added chocolate chips and blueberries. (guess what chocolate and berries also have tannins, I know this now..) Oh they looked and smelled so good and I haven’t had anything like that in sooo long so I joined them for breakfast. I knew it might make me sick or blur my vision or something but I had nothing planned, didn’t need to drive, and wanted to experiment on myself. Sigh. Not fun being a human guinea pig like this but I need some answers before I see my neurologist again in a few weeks.

Link to Foods that Contain Tannins

These phenols are also in aromatics like perfumes, which just ties it all up in a nice big bow for me. Aha! it all makes sense. So if I eat it, wear it, or even smell it, these phenols are hurting me. The weird thing is – they are antioxidants and should be good for me. But we all know how much good it does to say SHOULD. I can’t explain it yet, I can only say this is my story, and the pieces are starting to fit together at least. I hate random. This isn’t great, but at least it doesn’t feel random and I feel like I can control it somewhat, or at least try to manage it.

Anyways, it hit me hard. it was not instant. It was a few hours later. See below to see the sequence of fun events I have from eating this waffle. Its unbelievable. I’m starting to put this together. The biggest culprit seems to be the malted barley. I’ve been thinking of the ‘allergies’ and ‘sensitivities’ I’ve had my entire life and wondering how much is related to tannins and polyphenols, it is making sense chemically now. Problem is, America puts this stuff in everything processed, and its also in many healthy foods too like nuts, beans and berries.

I just need to stop eating. Problem solved. I had the right idea with my anorexia in high school, maybe I was actually trying to feel better and not self harm….wouldn’t that be something.

First I feel my face go numb and droopy on the right side, like my cheek is too heavy. It is hard to talk because it is hard to move my mouth, but also because it is hard to think and find words. It is hard to understand words. I hear my kids talking but it sounds funny. I laugh. I know I’m confused but it isn’t scary, it amuses me in this state. So strange to explain this because it makes no sense as I type it, but I’m describing what happens when half my brain shuts down, so I guess it doesn’t have to make sense. Next is the arm and leg and right side weakness and pain. This type of nerve pain is searing and deep. My muscles twitch and spasm. I’m unable to grasp a pen in my hand and bear weight on my leg. I stumble and lose my balance. Everything spins. I get nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. I either can’t urinate or urinate too frequently with a weird cloudiness. My vision is distorted in some way, always different what it looks like, sometimes like Picasso, sometimes double vision, sometimes like alice in wonderland. I don’t panic any more, I just enjoy the show. No not really, but I know I can’t fight it and sometimes I do have a sense of awe at what I am seeing. I take magnesium and motrin and rest with ice on my head, neck, back, arm to help with pain. And then all I can do is wait for it to go away. If I’m lucky and it hits quickly I will fall asleep, nearly black out when it first hits. The head pain comes later, like a brick, and can last for days, along with the pain in my limbs. I have to massage and keep moving to get the bad stuff out, its worse if I lay in bed or try to hold my twitches still. So I drag my limping, wobbly butt over to my cane and the wall and pace about the house for as long as I can tolerate. I try to do it for 10 minutes at a time all day long.

Air Pressure

My other huge trigger is changes in barometric pressure. This will give me the instant -I must pass out and sleep- type of trigger its so intense sometimes. I have an app on my phone that tracks air pressure on a graph and alerts me to changes and I’m analyzing the history against my symptoms in my journal. I noticed the other day I was triggered at the drs office at the hospital. I thought it was a stress trigger until I checked my pressure app and saw how high the pressure was during my dr visit, and then it went back down so quickly. I thought that was odd and started investigating what happened. Turns out buildings have positive air pressure inside! A LOT of air pressure for large commercial buildings like hospitals that are sealed tight. I never knew. I started checking my app for other buildings, sure enough the pressure is raised a bit – instantly – every time you enter a sealed building. But this hospital was a difference of like hurricane level, no wonder it got to me. The app I use is called “Pressure Tracker” if you want to find it for android and see for yourself. I had to calibrate and tweak it, but I needed something to apply my geekiness to since I’m not working. The air pressure trigger also brings on a similar hemiplegic migraine as described above, but tends to be more intense and cycle more quickly, more painful, but passes in hours instead of days.

That’s my life now. Try not to get triggered, and spend all my time recovering from being triggered. Nothing is really controlled yet but I am starting to learn and uncover what is happening. I’ve made the diet and lifestyle changes. I’ve accepted my new life. I’m going to ask the Dr about my future and possibly going on disability payments at my next visit. I don’t have much hope at this point of recovering.

I have no idea why I am more sensitive now than I was previously in my life, why the migraines I’ve always had and managed turned into debilitating hemiplegic crises. The Drs don’t know either. All they do is offer me other pills to try. If I didn’t try this elimination diet I don’t think I would have been able to walk at all at this point, just getting sicker each day. But its like some switch flicked on and I can no longer tolerate a few triggers at all, sends my brain off instantly.

I’m Fine, You dont have to help me

I have given up. on him, not me.

After over 20 years together, I find it unbelievable and inexcusable that Hubby is still so clueless about me. I have never felt more misunderstood

I need to stop giving him the power to emotionally torture me. I don’t think he does it intentionally. I don’t think he is cruel. I actually think he has been trying to help and understand but he is so far wrong each and every time even though I spend literally hours explaining with examples until I am exhausted.

He has no empathy. He just can’t see something from someone else’s point of view.

He’s never had depression, or panic or phobias. he doesn’t get it, how hard this, how hard I’m trying to recover from the suicide attempts in April. That life is really fragile for me right now, and nothing is easy that may seem easy to him.

I asked for his help, no I begged him. I said I am stuck inside my head. I am stuck inside this house. I haven’t walked my dogs in nearly a year. I haven’t had fun in …. years. Its been so long that I’ve been declining I really don’t know when I lost the ability to feel joy. I asked him to try to encourage and include me in outings instead of assuming I don’t want to go. I tried explaining that although I do avoid everything, I actually long to be included and feel like I belong and like I matter to people.

I have this binder from my group that I keep asking him to go through with me, so he can learn what I learned, for himself, and to help me, to help us. I keep waiting for the ‘right time’ to do this activity. He’s always tired from work, or resting its a weekend, or playing with the kids, or doing all the household chores and tasks that I havent been doing. I get it, he’s a busy guy trying to fill in for me. And I’m asking for more. I’m asking for emotional support as I learn to rewire my brain, do the hard dbt steps, rejoin the living. I’m asking him not to yell at me when I tell him I’m scared or worried or upset.

I’m asking him to be the strong one. And I’ve never asked this before. I’ve never admitted my weakness before. I’ve never said I am scared when you touch me. I’ve never said I cry all alone. I’ve never said I stand there paralyzed with fear. I’ve never said how many times a day I wish for death to find me.

I know this is hard. This really f*cking hard. But I can’t mess around anymore. I need to do this NOW. I can’t wait for you to help me. I can’t wait for you to see and understand me, and figure out how to help. Maybe one day you’ll be that person, but for now you aren’t.

So my emotional safety will not be placed in your hands. When you ask how I am, my answer will be “Fine” back to how you’re used to it being for the past 20 years. I will self soothe and go to others for support. My emotions are not for you.

I waited for the right time to be convenient for you to help me.

You chose to help your friend, who lives an hour away, to fix his lawn mower, instead of working with me.

Your abrupt change in plans devastated me and left me at home crying, feeling like a failure, and as important as a piece of sh*t. And then I got angry. I’m usually afraid to confront you with thoughts like those, but I did. I texted that to you, and didn’t hear acknowledgement until nearly 12 hours later, right before bedtime when its too late to talk about it. Thank you for the “I’m Sorry”. But you need to know what a dreadful day I had waiting for it. This type of distress sends me to the ghost land, where I disassociate and can barely stay present no matter what I do. The fury boils underneath my skin but I can barely move it makes me sick. Especially when you try to sit next to me, I say yes, waiting for you to say something, but can only take for so long before I have to run out of the room. I’m afraid of you, I resent you, and I need you all at once. This is too confusing and familiar for my brain thats trying to get healthy.

You’re not a bad man, but you’re not always a good one. Not for me. I swear my hair could be on fire and you would have no idea what was bothering me. So good news, you’re officially off the hook. Stop trying. Leave me alone. I’m Fine. I’ll ask someone else to help me.

Maybe your bad behavior is a blessing, the final push I need to reach out of my isolation….

Volleyball pants aren’t right

There I said it. I am a mom, trying very hard to teach my girl modesty and what is right, and to care about her body and to have self-respect, and today I dropped her off at a volleyball camp hoping that she hates it.

Why?

Because if she wants to join the team I will have to decide if I can allow her to wear to those ridiculous little underwear bathing suit type pants that come as part of the volleyball uniform.

I’ve been trying to decide how much of this is based on my past. Well, of course a whole huge freaking bunch of it is, but then again, some of it isn’t. Let me explain. Some of this is me being a rational human and trying to advance women past the stage of being sexual objects bouncing around for men’s viewing pleasure.

I have varying degrees of disgust with how some of us dress our young girls, and the conflicting messages. School dress code would not permit them to wear these volleyball shorts to school, so why to a volleyball game? It’s not like you need the maneuverability or aerodynamics that short tight shorts provide. Swimsuits allow you to swim quickly, they have a purpose. Short cheerleader skirts are meant to make the football team happy, those skirts are also too short for dress code and not allowed in school otherwise, but also may provide room to do acrobatics. Girls basketball has very long baggy shorts, I often think those are too long, they actually look like they might get in the way and look boyish.

I started thinking of boys uniforms and I guess football pants are very tight, wouldn’t want them getting tangled up when tackled I guess. And wrestling uniforms are a bit obscene really, but again, you need that agility and flexibility I guess, but they make me uncomfortable too honestly.

So I guess I’m uncomfortable with the kids showing too much period, and then it feels out of my control when I have no choice in the matter for the team uniform, plus then another choice removed when the team photos are all over the town newspaper, facebook, school website, for the world and all the creepers to see. So It makes me angry when there is no reason for it. I can work through my discomfort when we are swimming, even though I know there is a creepy dad, coach, grandpa, etc somewhere in the crowd, bleachers, or watching the footage or photos on facebook. I know this as a fact, and I can’t UN-know this. I don’t keep my kids covered head to toe, we do swim, although not in a string bikini. I guess I just think maybe, just maybe I am adding a layer of protection by not drawing extra attention to ourselves. Maybe. What else can we do? I’d rather stay home and keep them home safe where no one can look and drool and I know no one will attack them, but I don’t do that. I and letting them out in the world to grow up. Even though I don’t trust this world, and I pray my daughter does not become a statistic. So many girls are hurt, I know this stuff.

Here are some of the facts that I know and maybe some other people should know, so I am not crazy or over protective, and that if encouraging our girls to dress modestly might help, then maybe we should speak up and help. Maybe it wouldn’t help, and maybe these girls are just as appealing in more modest clothing. Maybe I am wrong, but it sure does make me uncomfortable to think I might be helping to put sexual thoughts into a predator’s head.

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Among all victims, about nine out of ten are female.
  • 29% of rape victims are age 12-17
  • 44% of rape victims are under age 18
  • Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault

My daughter is entering middle school. Right now she agrees with me. She curls up her nose in disgust at the girls with the short shorts, cutoffs so short the pockets hang out, and the skinny jeans so tight you can see what brand of underwear someone is wearing or not, and the belly button showing shirts. Drives me crazy.

The thing is, if boys also dressed like this, I wouldn’t mind at all. If we lived in a hot climate and everyone bared skin, no problem. My problem is that we teach young girls to do this for attention, and we teach young boys to look, and many young boys, and way too many old men, can’t control themselves, they think nothing of these girls, and that we were put on this planet for entertainment purposes only. My young boys are already being taught not to look, and that it isn’t a big deal.

I also want to make sure you don’t think we dress in wrist and ankle length clothing, my girl wears ‘normal’ clothing like her friends and fits in just fine. We are not extreme in any way, other than when selecting shorts and skirts I expect them to serve a purpose of actually covering the underwear underneath no matter what position you may find yourself in, like her cousin’s shorts that seem to disappear when she sits. Not flattering to her, and embarrassing to us. But that is the STYLE in high school right now. Its also an expensive style for that tiny bit of fabric. And I’m the crazy one.

What do I want?

Have you ever felt like you didn’t exist? I’ve had feelings of being invisible, like I don’t matter, like I’m nothing for most of my life. But sometimes, I realize I don’t even exist. Sometimes I feel I have lost my substance, and I am losing my grip on anything that matters. Like I am a spirit in a physical world and nothing makes sense.

Like when my counselor asks me

“What do you believe in?”

“What do you want?”

“What would make you happy?”

And all I can do is stare back at her in silence. I have no thoughts in my head. empty. I know what I used to want. I know what I used to believe. I know what I used to tell people I wanted. But was that real?

I am still confused, understandably so, as I am standing at my new beginning once again. Every time you imagine your end, you must recreate yourself anew. Although this could be a great time of growth if I can remain strong and positive, I find myself wavering, daily, and plain old tired. I feel pressured to step back into my old life, but my old life has repeatedly pushed me to my limits, so I seriously reconsidering this time. Proceed with caution. Maybe that life was not a good fit.

Or maybe it was and I don’t have the emotional regulating skills yet, or the other coping skills I need. Or maybe I am beyond repair and will never function properly. Or maybe I need to finish growing up, parenting my inner child. Or maybe I need to learn to feel safe before I can learn to want anything.

So for now my answer is still a blank, I don’t know what I want.

And that’s ok. Totally ok. I’ve never left a question unanswered before. I think this is growth that I can sit content with this unknown, content that I have time to figure it out, content that nothing bad is going to happen to me because I don’t have the answer. AF is gone. I can relax. I can say things “I don’t know”. I don’t feel stupid. I feel human.

I also feel like these answers are out there and are too important to rush.