Tag Archive | choices

Running, running

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Running, running to catch a star
She needs to go, go so far
away
from there and here
she is
Blindly leaping, crazed, and dazed
Idiots they are amazed
by her
They are running, running to catch a lie
stick a needle in your eye
promises broken, again she cries
screaming silently, can’t you hear
from there and here
she is
Running, running to catch a thief
A stolen life, eternal grief
lost
before being found
Her shooting star, was shot down
nearly lifeless to the ground
Running, running, to catch release
She needs to find that life can cease
to chase her
from there and here
She is
Blindly leaping, abused and bruised
lost and confused
seeking
only
peace

Get Motivated. Right Now.

How do you reach that motivational state of mind?

Motivation is tricky and not well understood. It is not linear or one sided. No motivation is complex and loopy and involves multiple factors, some within us, some external to us. Each move we make is a choice. How do we choose?

Our motivation is a combination of our beliefs, our goals, our dreams, our environment, and our mood. Currently I’m in a safe environment that is a bit lax on housekeeping standards. No one here cares if I leave some dishes in the sink or dust on the shelves. No one cares if the papers pile up on the counter. The clutter is overlooked.

I would prefer if everything was perfect and tidy at all times. Somehow I allow myself to overlook the clutter as well, feeling overwhelmed and defeated by it, by the repetition, by the fact that even if I clean it all up perfectly now it will be destroyed later the same day. I can’t keep up so I stop trying. I lost my motivation long ago in this losing battle.

But when someone is coming over to visit, I dig in deep and take care of it. I talk to myself encouragingly to get the job done. I break it down into small steps and lists. This may sound silly. If it does, then I am happy for you that brain functions without you having to kick its ass. If I don’t jumpstart mine, I will remain motionless, thoughtless, an empty shell trapped inside itself. I have tried being my own drill sergeant. That makes me angry and stubborn. No, I like to be my own nurturing mom, holding my hand, gently reminding and encouraging myself that I can do it and what I need to do next. I speak to myself firmly but gently, just like I do to my own kids when I give them instructions. They listen to me because I’m supportive and authoritative. They know there will be consequences if they don’t

Make yourself some coffee
Load the dishwasher
Wipe down the counters
Sort the papers from the hutch

Go on, get up, get started, you can do this. (give possible consequence: You don’t want so-and-so to see this mess, right?) back to supporting. It won’t take long. You’re strong now. Just get started and it will be done before you know it.
Coffee, dishes, counters, hutch

Coffee, dishes, counters, hutch

I turn into a Dora the Explorer episode, repeating to myself what I am going to do. I usually do about 3-4 things in my list. Then I start a new list if more needs done, so nothing gets overwhelming. Often I turn on music once I have my list going in my head.

But something always happens, I can feel the change in my brain and mood once I make the decision and start this motivation process. I go from feeling empty, spaced out, exhausted, to having a bit of energy and focus. Although I don’t exactly enjoy the tasks I am doing, I feel good about doing them. I battled depression and won again.

I found an interesting article here http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/03/469033034/could-you-hack-your-brain-to-get-more-motivated explaining how people could use feedback to access the motivation centers in their brains. With practice and fmri they could see this area of the brain lighting up. Super cool.

Excerpt from the article:

Two of the researchers, Kathryn Dickerson and Jeff MacInnes, tried the system out on themselves. Not everything worked. Dickerson said she tried thinking about different memories that left the feedback meter cold. “Zip lining was super fun, but [thinking about that] was just terrible and not effective at all.”

So she switched strategies and tried giving herself a pep talk in the scanner. “I was like, ‘Come on Katie. Move the thermometer. Just do it and move it.’ And I just pumped myself up. That was very effective,” she says. “It was exhilarating.”

It was also exhausting, MacInnes says. “The experience of the task was very difficult. You’re being asked to generate these intense motivational states for 20 seconds over multiple periods. It was very fatiguing for people.”

Study participants had a similar experience, Adcock says. Some people sang Queen songs to themselves or imagined having an angry coach yell at them. “My personal favorite was running down a line with everyone giving you high-fives,” Adcock says. When she took the feedback meter away, the participants were still able to light up their ventral tegmental area by thinking about the same things.

People really are changing their mood when they’re doing this, Adcock thinks. They’re really becoming more focused and eager. And it seems the effect begins reaching out to parts of the brain involved with learning and memory,

“We think that’s exciting because it shows after this training, something changed, Dickerson says. “The brain isn’t quite the same.” She thinks people might be achieving a state of mind that’s more conducive to learning and motivation.

I believe I have learned how to do this myself with the self talk I mentioned above. I know how to get myself moving. My problem is, I don’t often find a reason to these days. Most things sadly seem pointless. I’m struggling with staying motivated or setting goals that I care about. I used to be an overachiever. I know how to get things done. I simply don’t want to anymore. I’m not even sure I’m depressed exactly. I’m struggling with my purpose and identity, which I suppose is depressing and exhausting. But I’m able to motivate myself when I need to, when I see a reason to. And so I am desperately searching, seeking a goal, a dream, something to cling to, to attach motivation to, to stop floundering and wasting all this time.

What I’m good at:

  • I go to the gym and workout at home because I want to be stronger and have a healthy body. I hate being weak. I hate relying on others to lift and carry things. I hate feeling vulnerable. So I am motivated, this one is easy, I exercise daily to meet this goal and my progress is easy to see.
  • I eat whole foods from my safe list because I do not want to have a migraine attack. I do not want days of pain and suffering. I do not want to let my family down and be a burden. I want to take care of them. I am motivated to avoid pain and be a good mom.
  • I continue to blog and fill out cpt worksheets even though my therapy program has ended because I want to continue to heal, to process, to grow. I am motivated to be self aware of ptsd, to manage it as best I can, and work towards minimizing the symptoms.

What I’m not good at:

  • I am not working yet. Although money is tight, we are managing with one income. I am not motivated to return to work. I feel I am a better mom and wife without trying to work. I’m already exhausted and stressed daily. I do feel guilty, but this guilt is not a strong enough motivator to overcome the rest. I am grateful Hubby supports this decision.
  • I am not doing much with my free time. This should change. Eek there’s a dreaded should, but I’m leaving it because it came out. I do have considerable guilt about how I spend my days. I don’t feel like I am doing enough, or like I am enough. No one complains, I put this on myself. I’m so used to achieving and I feel so lost. I want to feel motivated again. I’m hopeful this whiny stage is the first step to finding an action item. As odd as it seems, this is better than not caring. This is an improvement.

So. I know how to put my mind to something I care about. I know how to make a change. I know how to set goals and achieve them. I just need something to care about. I need something to do. Right now. (Yes of course it’s Van Halen time)

 

Rest in peace, my good boy

This morning I was fairly certain what was to come. I tried to prepare my kids that their dog might not be coming back home. I explained we would try to help, but if the vet thought it was best, we would instead make a choice to end his suffering.

My kids all gathered round and lay on the floor hugging the sick, barely moving dog. They formed a nest around him, each one crying while they petted him. Then it was time to go. Our 10 yr old put himself over the dog and said, “no, you can’t take him, he is not ready to die! I will protect him.”

Oh no. Now what. He doesn’t understand. The other kids do, but he does not, as is usual.

Hubby had to physically pry him off and remove him from the dog. We promised him we would do everything possible to help and would make the best decision for the dog, maybe not for us.

He slammed his door as we left. So angry at us.

At the vet, I minutes later, I said goodbye to my sweet dog. I already knew that the vet was not going to have good news, but when I saw that he had lost 10 pounds since his last checkup it cemented how poorly he has been doing for some time now and made the decision somewhat easier.

He had barely eaten in several days, could barely stand. We were carrying him up and down the stairs to get to the grass. He was not even attempting to stand on his own. He would drink if we brought a bowl and held it just right. His head was stuck at an odd angle, he was unable to lift it upright.

The vet said the vestibular disease could pass…in 3 more days or 3 months if it was an infection, or it may keep getting worse if it was a brain disease. Counting in his confusion and anxiety, and his snapping at us lately, plus the large number of fibroids all over him, we were thinking brain involvement.

If we were able to possibly nurse him to recovery, he would be weakened and stiff. He could barely stand already, with his hip displacement and arthritis. He looked at me, so sad and tired, and I wanted to end his pain.

I signed the termination papers with shaky hands and blurry vision through my tears.

The vet first gave him a sedative. We petted and talked to him while he fell asleep on the table, but cradled in our arms. Then she shaved his leg and delivered a lethal injection. Hubby and I were both crying now. I was using kleenex after kleenex, petting him and rubbing his ears the whole time. Hubby and I recalled happy puppy days and other stories, and then we hugged each other.

After a bit the vet listened to his heart and ordered another injection. She used the other leg. We continued to pet him for nearly 30 excruciating minutes. The vet checked again and said we should go, they would need to administer another injection in the back room, that his veins were blowing and not delivering the full dosage to his heart. She apologized and had tears in her eyes too.

I didn’t want to leave him, but she said she would stay with him herself, he wouldn’t be alone.

So we left. With tears running down our faces. With heavy hearts and empty hands. To return home to our kids.

Our 10 yr old saw the empty leash and screamed, “noooo, you killed the dog” and started crying. We tried to explain that he could never get better, that his brain was sick, and we were being kind, humane, to end his pain. Again the other kids understood, but not him.

I’m not sure how else to explain it. I did not want to lie about any of it or bring home my dog to slowly die a painful death. I know I did the right thing. I’m just not sure middle kid is ever going to agree or forgive me.

I fed only one dog dinner tonight where usually two eat. The other dog looked around the house and at me, sad and confused. I told her, its okay, you will be dining alone now. Go ahead and eat girl. This is going to be tough on all of us here.

Rest in peace my sweet boy. You will always be loved. I pray you are pain free and running happily now. I pray I truly did make the right decision for you. I’m so sorry you are gone. So sorry.

Dog decisions

My heart is aching. I am afraid I will need to make the toughest decision and say goodbye to my dog soon. He has been a sweet boy by my side for 17 years. Yesterday he started to lose his balance and can barely stand or walk. Today he refuses to eat. The vet will see him tomorrow, but I am thinking I will be going to the checkup with two dogs and returning home with one. I can’t stand to see him suffer. He has had a good long doggy life. He is losing his sight and hearing. His hips are out of place. He has a bad disc in his back. His back leg joints are frozen solid with arthritis. He lost the ability to jump 2 years ago, and to run 1 year ago. He has been slowing down and showing anxiety and confusion. He often does not make it outside in time, many times a week, though he tries. I will see what the vet recommends for my furry friend, but I am steeling myself up in case this is the end.

What’s right when nothing’s right

I’ll have a choice to make soon. Not today but soon. And as often seems to be the theme of my life, my choice is between crap and poop. Or poop with a side of crap? Or how about no poop perhaps, but an agonizing pain in my azz?

OK enough, understood I think.

I’ve been happily denying the existence of my mom and siblings, for quite some time now. Maybe not happily, but it was working for me to have them all in a mental storage box while I attend this intensive trauma recovery program to deal with the PTSD I have from growing up with them.

Then my brother texted that my mom is having surgery. No details. I didn’t ask for any but replied I hope it goes well. Because I did. I wish her no harm or suffering.

Update is that my brother called and said mom has cancer. Bad, stage 4, liver, colon, not sure what else cancer. They were unable to remove it during the surgery. She hasn’t told anyone, my brothers found out same day as me.

So I have a choice to make. Let me share some of my thoughts first.

This news doesn’t suddenly flood me with love or make me miss her. I guess I wish it did. Instead I feel the familiar hole, the dreaded emptiness where the love is supposed to be. And some guilt, for not feeling what I think I’m supposed to feel.

I want to do what’s the most right for everyone here. Ideally I’d have more time for my therapy before having to deal with this. But I’ll be fine. I’m having flashbacks and memories and swirling thoughts, but I’ll be fine. My new counselor seems to know what she’s doing. Let her earn her money! Here

Seriously though, I want to do what’s right for my kids. And for my mom. And for my brothers. In that order. My therapist says what about me? Oh…yeah, I wasn’t part of the pros and cons analysis. I never am. I don’t matter to me. She cocks her head and says hmmm knowingly and I thought she forgot about it until she assigned my homework today, which I’ll describe at the end of this.

For my kids, they know my mom but aren’t terrifically attached to her. Visits are always short, a bit uncomfortable, but not unpleasant. Other than our cats and a distant uncle, my kids have not witnessed sickness and death. I wouldn’t keep them from her if we were close, but it is unclear to me what to do with this awkwardness. I don’t want to teach them to avoid life’s difficulties. I want them to have a chance to say goodbye perhaps if they want to.

For my mom, I don’t hate her. She is toxic to me. I’m better with distance and boundaries. But I also understand her. She, unlike AF, is not purposely cruel. She had a tough lonely life. She’s done her best. I can understand some of her actions, especially when you know she was AFs first victim. But I don’t feel it gives her a free pass, not for all of it. I was open to the idea of slowly letting her back in my life. Eventually. After my therapy. But it looks like I may not have time for slow and eventually. And unlike AF, I don’t think I’m OK with her dying alone thinking her kids hate her. That feels cruel to me, and I’m not cruel. So even if it means nothing to her, I may have to take the chance that it does. I’m not talking about rejoining her life or helping with care or hospital visits. I’m thinking some gesture on neutral ground to reach out to her. Nothing grand, but big enough out of this vacuum we are in now.

For my brothers…well they are big boys. The one that lives with mom will need someone to care for him. It’s not me. I’m sure my oldest brother has a plan. He’s good that way. Let them rely on him. I can barely rely on me. Plus that’s the brother that molested me, not like I’m opening my home to him.

This is only some of my thoughts, feelings, concerns. It’s much more complicated of course. I’m getting tired though.

So the homework…my counselor wants me to keep a log. Not a journal, but a log to enter a quick title for which memories and flashbacks are getting stirred up right now. Taking the dysfunctional family mental storage box off the shelf has me shaken up and caused some distressing PTSD symptoms. Usually these memories are too overwhelming and I disassociate, distract, and ignore, then self harm. But with my new skills, I’m staying present, mostly, and aware. I’m feeling crap. I’m crying. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m ashamed. Then I cry again. Yay for my new skills, right? So much fun. Stupid skills.

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.

Personality Type: I have none

As in I have no personality – or I have no personality type, I am still undecided. 😉

Still tossing around the question “what do I want?” and drawing so many blanks, more than blanks, it is like the black hole in there with a solitary cricket just for fun and sound effects.

I recall taking personality tests in high school and then more recently recommending them to students to point them in career directions and learn about themselves. I’ve also used some of these assessments to help manage teams and people at work, so I thought I would revisit them myself despite my huge cringe and distaste for them.

Why the cringe? Well, a number of reasons:

  1. I’ve always been able to see right through these assessments and I’ve never been able to take them honestly without thinking about how my every response will skew my overall result (too many assessments and statistics classes)
  2. I think too much about it and debate each response like ‘well sometimes I prefer that but sometimes not, it depends…’
  3. I’m afraid of choosing the ‘wrong’ answer
  4. I don’t think people fit neatly into little boxes
  5. Sometimes I truly have no idea what it is asking – the question has no relevance to my life experience. If you’re doing blank would you rather blank . . . well, I would actually never blank in the first place, so none of these choices fit.
  6. I don’t know if I should answer for how I am NOW or how I WANT to be, like based on what I’ve been told is unhealthy isolation or my goal of being healthier and more connected to others
  7. I don’t know if I should base it on my actions, my thoughts, or my feelings – because those are never in agreement
  8. I don’t know if how I am now is my true personality, or should I base my answers on other experiences, like before depression hit me, before I attempted suicide, before I knew how messed up my world was. Would my true personality be more of what I was like as a child? or does it change as you grow up naturally? and how much was mine influenced under the brain-washing control of AF and my dysfunctional family environment?

This applies especially to Myers-Briggs, where it fits you into 16 personality types. To me everyone falls on a spectrum and should receive a percentage for each area to show preference of where we most naturally fit, not an all or nothing as it suggests for each of the 4 categories.

But I need a starting point, and I thought it would be interesting to compare my thoughts to a test I know so well already. I guess what trips me up is I can’t seem to choose from what would seem to be even the most basic ideas about myself, still, after all of these years past high school I guess I was hoping for some more solid ground, something to jump up and bite and say, yes that sounds like me.

Extrovert or Introvert: I’ve written on here many times about how I am an introvert. I am pretty sure this is correct, even though I have always loved performing, the bigger the crowd the better, and public speaking and giving presentations. I hate any type of party, and tend to avoid social gathering that are people getting together to just ‘hang out’.  I like when groups get together to get stuff done, planning and discussing, committees, and things with a focus and an agenda. I typically listen more than I talk, and often have no idea what to say to just fill the air with talking. Unless I have a great idea, or someone has a bad idea, I have no problem speaking up. Or if someone needs help. I do have huge anxiety related to chit-chatting with neighbors, the parents of my kids’ friends, or people I’ve just met. But I have no anxiety to teach or lead the group. I find my mind wanders when the stories and laughter that everyone else enjoys are being told, especially the same stories they like to retell, can’t hold my interest, and I’m off looking at how the light fixture made a cool shadow or petting the dog. Not always though, I can tune in as well, I laugh with them, I get goofy, but still usually in a quieter way. I have a few friends that have seen my rougher, foul mouthed side, but I tend to keep that hidden with most people as it doesn’t fit with my perfect mother/teacher persona. I find great satisfaction in a few well placed cuss words. My kids have heard them on occasion recently, because sometimes I do forget to be perfect these days.

Intuitive or Sensing: OK this one confuses the bejeezes out of me as I don’t understand this as being the flip side of anything. These are not opposites in my mind, and not something I use one or the other but rather both at all times. I simply can’t choose between these two traits. I don’t know how many people feel like this, or if being an abuse survivor has fused these two skills, since survival meant relying on immediate senses in ourselves and our abusers, and then using intuition to interpret the next move. I’ve always escaped into my imagination, no matter where I am, I can be somewhere else, fully experiencing it. And while I’m in this escape zone, I can sense my environment, feel the sun and breeze, hear the birds, or switch into creative thought and planning mode. It’s all the same to me.

Thinking or Feeling: I am further on the thinker side of this spectrum, preferring to rest in the impersonal analysis, use logic, pros, cons, be highly critical and see all flaws quickly. I like to fix things, refine processes, make improvements, make plans, work efficiently, reduce wasted time and energy, minimize errors. Although I am highly empathic, it doesn’t always mean I understand the feelings I feel coming off of others. And then I try to think my way out of them. And I think and think and think and think until I have an action to take. I’m confused by feelings that seem illogical or invalid, and I appreciate when others point out to me my errors, that I need to allow myself to have all those feelings, whenever I need to have them, and they don’t need to make sense. I am forever trying to make feelings make sense and they never cooperate.

Judging or Perceiving: This one is easy, I am a Judger all the way. I hate surprises. I have lists for my lists and alarms for my calendars, notes for my goals. I feel lost without a current set of daily, short-term, and long-term goals. I must achieve. I must make decisions, not knowing eats away and gives me terrible anxiety. Time is always running out. Sometimes for me, it is always like the end of the MacGyver episode, 3 seconds on the clock, everything is beeping and blinking and we must decide now which wire to cut or everything will blow up and it will be too late. I put huge pressure on myself to get things done. That’s why this healing business is not working for me. I need to know how much time to pencil in my calendar. How much rest do I need. What kind of rest. If I cram better rest into a month all at once can I get better more quickly? I’m always looking for the advanced studies route, and darn it if life doesn’t seem to offer this. My brain may learn quickly, but it heals at the same rate as any other neuron on the planet. I also can’t stand to think I’ll know if I am actually healed, since we all heal and grow throughout our entire lives. I understand this human viewpoint theoretically, but I REALLY want an end date, a graduation date, a diploma, a degree, a certificate, SOMETHING that says I am officially recovered from PTSD, with honors of course.

And of course I can’t get this, I know. So what do I do without this? I’m starting to figure it out, but I know without knowing the answers, from past experience, you just keep going.

I’ve made some interesting connections to the personality types and schema types during my reading that I hope to be able to put into words soon, a cool crossover for guidance counselor and clinical counselor and a kind of putting it all together moment for me when I started to look at strengths and talents and not just personality/behavior.