Tag Archive | fear

Letting go of Guilt – Telling my truth

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Guilt is heavy and can squash us. I carry so much of it for a multitude of reasons, many that are not my guilt to carry. I have been carrying this guilt that I was unable to visit my mom while she was sick, before she passed away. I wanted to. I tried so unfathomably hard. If you don’t understand, then you don’t you understand how one tries and fails at seeing someone. But I did. I didn’t have enough time to work through the anxiety, the deep dark hole of depression I was in at that time.

This is so humiliating to describe how I existed after my release from the psych ward. I was completely agoraphobic. I had complete and total social anxiety. I did not speak to anyone other than my husband and children and some days even that was difficult and I barely made eye contact with them. I did not make phone calls, could not call the pharmacy or order a pizza. I did not answer phone calls, texts, or God forbid, knocks at the door. I hid while panic flooded me. The panic that would rise in me was overwhelming at the very thought of any human interaction and I went numb, disappeared into myself. The world was terrifying to me.

I was alone. I was broken. I could not think or function. Light and sound hurt me. I spent my time in a darkened, quiet room unable to concentrate. Not really living. Partially from the severe migraines, partially from the terrible pain in my back and leg, partially from the severe anxiety and depression from PTSD and a total nervous breakdown. I generally did not move. I remember this, sort of, it is blurry though, like that year was a nightmare, not my real life.

I was in that state when my brother texted about my mom’s surgery and cancer. At first it did not sink in. I did not know what to do. I froze. I wanted to move, to act, to call her, to drive up there, but I was stuck. I had not spoken to her in so long, maybe over a year at that point and it all seemed impossible.

I finally was able to tell all of this to my oldest brother. I went to his house for the first time in years. They accepted me and understood. They did not hate me or think I was a horrible person. They could see my pain and let me cry –  many times. I was given kleenex and ice water and allowed to talk.

That may have been enough to let go of some guilt, but there was more.

My brother deemed me strong enough to fill me in on some of the story I missed while I was mentally away. He tried to contest my dad’s will on my behalf, saying it was cruel and that my pain and suffering was costing me all these medical bills and that I deserved some of his estate. He said that he contacted the lawyers and that I would have had a case. He said he wrote letters detailing what he knew about the abuse, my pain and suffering, and my medical costs to the lawyers and my dad’s siblings, the other heirs.

The lawyer told him I would have a case if others were willing to support me as well. If my mom and other brother and my husband were willing to support me.

If.

Yeah well they would not submit statements to the lawyer on my behalf. They all said no.

So I took that part in and he added another level. He said he could have built my case without that based on the police report or records from when I accused him and moved out when I was 16. My brother checked the records and did some digging and could not find anything. He asked my mom what year that would have been and she told him she never filed anything, she never pressed charges.

My head was spinning at that point as I tried to recall being 16, being interviewed by child protective services. I guess it stopped there, nothing criminal, nothing public.

Then there was more. Another punch in the gut.

My mom and other brother said they never believed me. It wasn’t that bad. My mom and other brother had actually supported my dad all these years in telling everyone I was a liar and a troublemaker. I always felt that…I always felt that in my heart but to hear this as fact was something else.

She never pressed charges. I always thought there was at least a ding on his record, some little bit of my voice saying what happened. I had no idea. I am betrayed by her all over again, that she would not stand up for me – ever, not then, not a year ago.

I have never cared about money or attention. But oh my god does this hurt. That this other brother got over $50,000 reward money for protecting a pedophile, and I think he thinks he has done the right thing, because mom told him I was lying. Why should he believe me? Well why shouldn’t he? Why would I tell these horrible stories, what benefit has it brought to me? It does not get me attention when I am isolated in my dark, quiet room. It does not get me fame, glory, money, or anything that anyone would desire. It is difficult to get angry with him when he was a victim in my messed up twisted up family too. It really just makes me sad. It is so effed up.

So my oldest brother wants me to speak up now and I am going to. I don’t think it will get me any money, but I feel it is time to insert my own voice and detail the abuse I endured from this ‘generous’ man. My brother is going to help me write a letter to that lawyer stating that I have been so disabled and dysfunctional that this is the first time I have been able to contact him since I received the will. I want to notify the other heirs, my other brother, my aunts and uncles, that I stand firm on my ‘story’ because it is my truth and it has devastated me, and nearly taken my life several times. I thought it was better not to bother anyone. Now I’m thinking they all need some bothering.

I called child protective services to get my records of my accusation and interview, and basically hit a dead end there. They could not guarantee the record still exists after 24 years, and if it does, since no criminal charges were made and nothing in the court system to make it public record, I would need a subpoena to release the file that may have been destroyed. I don’t think I will be pursuing this. A quest for truth is one thing, but spending my money on a wild goose chase seems silly.

But I do feel ready to do something more. I figure my parents are gone now. I am safe to speak up publicly, and my brother already started it for me. I am so grateful to him. He also lost his inheritance, as punishment for sticking up for me. Because in my world, the good, the kind, the ones who tell the truth are stepped on and spit on and ridiculed and hated.

As hurtful as all of this information was to learn, it has lifted some of my guilt and grief, validating me for where I was and how I got to be in such a state. I know I tried and that has to be good enough. Knowing that I tried so hard for all of them. Knowing that I loved all of them. And now knowing that even when I begged them for help and thought they did the right thing, they did not. Of course not. How stupid of me. That story would have gone public. How shameful. How could mom deny it if she pressed charges? Much better to say her daughter was insane. It actually makes sense now, for the type of counseling I received when I was 16. I bet mom told them I was a liar and needed ‘help’. I never got counseling for the trauma, help with processing, only stress management and relaxation and it was so patronizing.

It all makes sense now.

Of course I am still grieving her loss, but somehow knowing mom never believed me and would not speak up for me has lessened my pain. I was torturing myself thinking I was horrible to stop speaking to her, horrible to not make it up to see her before she died. I don’t feel so horrible now. I can see the events with more compassion as they actually happened and know I was struggling and doing the best I could. And that my best never intentionally was trying to hurt anyone, which I cannot say about her actions. She knew her actions were hurtful and chose to do them anyway. I think I understand why…but that is for another post.

Sadly, Hubby was also not willing to stand up for me last year when my brother asked for his help. I am still processing this information. I confronted him about and it was not a pretty conversation. I asked why he refused to talk to my brother? He said he didn’t want to cause me ore stress. I said how would him talking to my brother cause me stress? I think he didn’t want to cause himself stress, that he was avoiding the situation, that he didn’t want to deal with it. Like with so much of my illness, it is easier to pretend I am fine, and not sitting alone in my room with suicidal thoughts. It is easier to take no action or yell at me for being frustrating than it is to comfort me, offer a strong shoulder to lean on.

I am feeling like he turned his back on me when I needed him the most, when the darkness was swallowing me up, when I believed I was unlovable, that he was fine with my public shaming and felt no need to stand up for me when I had no ability to do it myself. This is no longer a man I feel good about. I have asked him for an in house separation, to leave me alone, give  me peace while I work through all of this. He has not even been acting as a friend to me, let alone a husband. Although sad, this distance has made me feel stronger. If I am released from obligation to keep trying to be a good wife, to fix a broken relationship day after day, maybe I can use my teeny bit of energy I muster up for each day more wisely.

 

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Managing Anxiety from PTSD

So it has come to my awareness that my anxiety and fears have reached epic proportions. I was actually unaware of some of my fears because of how isolated I keep myself, and how much I keep to the same routines, and dare I say rituals. I’m going to ask my counselor if this is a form of agoraphobia, but whatever we want to call it, this is what she has asked me to do for homework to start working on the fears. She wants me to break down the fears into categories as follows: What I can do with little fear or distress, what gives me some level of fear, and what is so much fear I avoid doing the item completely. I’ve started my list below. Interestly enough, compiling this list was quite distressing, as I imagined all of these situations, and also as I realized how many I do in fact fear. How did I let this happen? I didn’t let it. PTSD just did it to me, slowly, day by day, changing my life into what it is now. I’m ready to slowly change it back.

 

Situations with no or very little distress:

Situations where I feel in control, the duration is limited, I have a plan, a shopping list, know what to say or do.

  • Shopping at known stores: It is a super short list: my grocery store (0) in town, my pharmacy in town(10), Dollar Store in town(10), 2 walmarts(25) and 1 kmart just outside of town(25). I’ll go to Sears(35) at the mall if Hubby goes too and we enter through Sears, not the mall entrance.
  • Ordering takeout on phone or drive thru, picking up order if called ahead(10)
  • Teaching(10)
  • Public speaking(10)
  • Public performance(10)
  • Texting sister in law(10)
  • blogging or writing to online friends(10)
  • Anything alone with my kids(10)
  • Sitting/standing on my back porch while dogs are out(10)
  • Going to most dr appts(40)
  • Driving or sitting in my car(20)

 

Situations with some distress, might avoid or need pep talk, rehearsal, recover time:

Situations where the time limit is not predetermined, I may feel trapped, one or more elements are unpredictable, I do not know the ‘correct’ behavior or what to say, I’m unable to physically do the correct behavior due to my health or physical limitations, there are too many variables at once, people may surround me or need to touch me, I may disappoint people.

  • Family or friends gatherings(70): I like to be invited but I nearly instantly think of ways to back out of it, or I do back out of it last minute sometimes making up schedule, health or issues or problems with kids. Except for major holidays with in-laws, I feel obligated and force myself to go.
  • Ordering food at noisy counters(80) (chipotle), but quiet restaurants are fine
  • Calling to make dr appts: I hate committing to the date(50)
  • Telling concerns to Hubby(80): afraid of his reaction, either angry or aloof. Tough to tell him I’m not feeling well especially. Other tough topics include things that need fixed in the house, money issues, schedule updates,
  • Dentist appts(60) I put off until I have many cavities that need filled
  • School functions(60), sports practices, recitals, concerts. I go to most, but avoid if I can, sending Hubby whenever it is ok for me to miss meetings. Concerts I get anxious for days before.
  • If given email or phone, I will always use the email to contact teachers or coaches(70), and only then if absolutely necessary.
  • Texting real friends, even if they text me first(70)
  • Calling sister in law or mother in law(80)
  • Parking in unknown lots for first time, especially in the city, out of town(90)

 

Situations with high distress, avoid if possible

Situations where I feel I have basically no control and everything is unpredictable, I will be triggered and likely experience flashbacks, a high level of conflict, I might be wrong, sensory overload, I could bother people, I will be confused, I won’t agree or like what others do, people know I don’t belong, I could get hurt, my kids could get hurt.

  • A formal complaint (90)(to pharmacy, boss, teacher, neighbor)
  • Ob/gyn:(90) I have not been there in about 7 years now…
  • Lines like post office(80): I have not been to post office in about 15 years
  • Walking around my neighborhood(80), alone, with hubby, with my dogs or kids, it doesn’t matter: I stopped this about 2 years ago
  • PTO/volunteer at school(90): I have never done this even though I’m a teacher and I have time
  • Talking to other parents(90): I avoid this completely, asking Hubby to be our social planner if phone calls are needed. I have actually hidden in my own house when parents knocked on my door if home alone. Kids’ events (other than the final concert) I wait in my car to avoid other parents at dropoff and pickup. I pace around, use my phone, read a book, take a notebook to write in, or work on my laptop so I am busy and unapproachable when forced to be around others.
  • The school bus stop(90): After some ugly incidents with some neighbor girls and their mom last spring, I decided not to have my boys wait at the bus stop in the mornings. I drove them to school this year. I have not seen that mom in 2 years even though she lives a few houses away. After I drop off my kids, I even drive a block over to avoid seeing the crowd gathered at the bus stop on my back home.
  • Attend small town events(80) like the carnival, football games, tailgate parties, christmas celebration, artfest, etc….
  • Spend the day at mother in law’s(80) house, spending the night(100) is even worse
  • Taking kids to a busy playground(80)
  • Calling a friend:I have not done this unless asked to do so at a certain time for a certain reason since my high school friends(90)
  • Having kids’ friends over in my house(80), sleepovers(90) really bad (two friends have made it to the not so bad list, boys(100) have never been allowed to sleepover)
  • Feeling exposed outside(90): too much sun, wind, bugs, heat, cold, bird sounds, dogs barking, cars vrooming, will cause panic and send me back inside quickly.
  • Phone calls or visits with my brothers(90)
  • Working outside of the home(80): I’ve been working from home for 12 years to avoid daily face to face
  • Certain roads(90), buildings are off limits to avoid people or memories

 

Consumed by fear

When did I begin to fear my world more than live in it? I don’t actually know for certain.

I just tried to take a walk outside, around the block in my quiet little town.

The further I got from home, the tighter my skin and muscles felt, the harder it was to keep my breathing slow. We made it down our street to the main street and  I jumped with every passing car as if it were gunshots. The wind in the trees sounded ominous even though it was actually a quiet breeze.

Everything in me wanted to go home. I could hear, see, feel, smell everything a million times too strong. Hypervigilance.

I was wishing hubby would make some conversation to distract me. I was struggling to keep myself grounded.

Then a dog jumped and barked. I screamed. A bloody murder scream. All the tension in me rose up and turned into full panic. I was done. I froze in my tracks. I needed to go home.

Hubby was actually clueless somehow, said something about how peaceful the evening was and he was enjoying the walk. I could barely talk, but said my anxiety was at an 8. Hubby said ohh, wow, he didn’t know, sorry we could be so different.

Again I was wishing hubby would help me. Help me focus, ground, breathe. We walked back home in silence and he says he needs a bath. Which means I’m left to recover alone. And get the kids in bed myself. I was tired from the panic, but also feeling foolish. I did not know I was so afraid to simply go outside. I was fine shopping and at the doctors, so I didn’t know I was afraid to walk on my sidewalk.

I will add this to my list for individual therapy goals, as well as discuss it during couples counseling tomorrow.

Feeling Unsafe vs Being Unsafe

Fear rules my life. There I said it. I am not ashamed.

I realized I base all of my decisions to minimize fear and stress factors.  I don’t live in a warzone, there are no spies or missiles outside my door, only bunnies and flowers.

When did fear become my captor? The answer is not a warm and fuzzy one.

I remember being afraid in 4th and 5th grade:

  • to go on school field trips and getting sick to avoid going
  •  to go on overnight trips with girl scouts – I never went on any and quit scouts so I wouldn’t be asked again
  •  to talk to people and wrote them notes instead. I would invite friends over to play in notes. I created clubs to join with me in notes. I created big skating parties for the weekends in notes. No one ever responded, in the notes or by calling

I was never afraid of AF himself – he never hurt me (or I didn’t know he was hurting me, I trusted he wouldn’t hurt me like the boys or pets, I was special), I was only afraid of letting him down, of not being good enough for him, of not making him happy.

After the divorce and it was only the two of us, I was afraid of losing him. He was all I had. I used to beg him to stop smoking. I was not afraid of AF himself until I had children of my own and fully realized what he had done to me. I was too abused and part of his warped world to be afraid of him. I loved him. More than anything. And so instead, I was afraid of everything else, including being away from him.

Sooo – I’m still fearful and avoiding most social situations. I still prefer to hide behind notes, emails, texts. If I must or I really want to attend, I hide in my car and do breathing exercises in the parking lots until I can join the party or group or whatever people are waiting on me.

I’m starting to break down this feeling I get, when I feel unsafe. It drives me batty because I am actually safe. No one has a gun to my head, my life is not in danger, no one wants to hurt me, everyone will smile when I arrive. This social anxiety started at such a young age for me now that I think about it, I can recall it for age 8, so was it even earlier? Was I simply afraid to leave AF and I’m still carrying that insecurity around with me? Like the toddler clinging to mom’s legs, since my parents never reassured or kicked me out to fly on my own? In fact AF crafted me to be insecure so I would belong to him, emotionally torturing me, brainwashing me.

I know the biggest reason I was afraid to leave home too long was I was afraid he would kill my pets, directly or indirectly. I was always rushing home immediately after school to check on my animals and make sure they were ok. I had lost so many through the years to his wicked hands, all my fault, for being ‘less than …’ for breaking some obscure rule, or my favorite, for loving the pet more than him. I know that now, I didn’t then. I’d watch them die, hold them as their hearts stopped, or search the neighborhood night after night for the ones he already got rid of and didn’t tell us and AF would laugh, a laugh I can still hear in my soul like an evil wind-chime, and he’d tell me I was stupid for loving a stupid beast and that it was my love that killed it. That must be what he meant, but I’d always be crying and hurting and confused. And then AF would wait a bit, stop laughing, and come back to comfort me. He’d hold me until I stop crying and fall asleep, and I would feel safe. I remember feeling safe there. And then he’d bring home a new pet and start all over. I didn’t know cats and dogs lived longer than a year until I had my own. So many, so many poor animals.

Is that it? Is that enough? Is that enough of a sick, twisted, sadistic reason to make your sweet, big-hearted daughter forever afraid to leave her home and talk to people 30 years later?

What I’m trying to say here, is that abuse is made up of lies. Abusers lie to children to get what they want, and children lie to themselves to survive.

  • When young, I felt safest in AF’s arms. That was a lie.
  • I felt unsafe away from home. That was a lie.
  • I had to lie to protect myself. That was the truth.

So what really happened when I felt unsafe in this group therapy last week? I felt safe walking in the room Friday morning. No person there actually wishes to do me any harm. No one has tried to touch me or even come in my personal space. No one has forced me to say or do anything. It was only my own thoughts causing me to feel unsafe. And this mind-body-emotions integration thing that is causing me distress.

I spoke to the counselor individually and she apologized for the stress and gave me some canned phrases for any time in the future something feels too much, I can simply ‘pass’ and no one expects me to be able to do everything every day. Being the newest member I didn’t know these rules. Also, just not knowing my own healthy boundaries of when to say ‘no’, I had pushed myself too far without knowing it. Also, I discovered a neato parlor trick. I burst into tears and panic whenever you ask me to associate an emotion with a body part. (Are you feeling sad? Where in your body do you feel sad?) As soon as I attempt this feat, my system fails. I didn’t know this, and I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t of been in this group. I THINK it means I’m in pretty bad shape, that I’ve been operating in a detached state for longer than I can actually remember to protect myself from the emotions of the abuse. Like I have the memories here, the feelings there, and then the body feelings over there – all separate. I didn’t know I had done this. And I don’t know if I think it is worth integrating at this point. I’m so tired. I’d rather continue not feeling than have to reconnect with 16 years of detached feelings. Ugh this is hard.

So all of you that piped up and wanted to protect me, thank you. I was hurting and scared and upset when I wrote that post on Friday.

This group I am attending is a nationally recognized program for recovery of trauma like mine. It is through an accredited hospital and my insurance is paying for it. This is not a free support group of peers. This is run by ‘experts’ of social workers and clinical counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. If I’m supposed to trust anyone, these are the people to trust. It is going to be hard. I am going to hate it. But they have promised to get me further on the path of removing AF’s roots and footprints from my trampled brain and soul.

So even though I may not FEEL safe every second there, I know that I am. I am sitting in a room with 12 women and a counselor. 12 other women who have been to hell and are trying to get back. So I will count and breathe and continue to go and see what else I can learn about myself. I can wade through the bullshit and pull out what I need. I will continue to be honest with myself and the counselor.

because the honest truth is, feeling safe has kept me home, safe yes, but wanting to die most days of my life. What if they can show me how to live a life I actually want to live

The counselor said she actually isn’t sure if the group is the right placement for me, but we’ve both decided to try a few more times before pulling me out to individual only. I’ve waited so long to get into this group, and I’d hate to give up at my first failure, if you can call a panic attack a failure, which I don’t any more. The counselor wants me to come early tomorrow to do safety work before group starts…no idea what that means, so curiosity wins again.

I’m not well. If they throw 100 new skills at me and even 1 of them helps me, well then I think it is still worth going. I can’t go back to who I used to be, that woman is gone – poof. Something is broken, or something is healing and I don’t even know which, I just know I am completely confused, can barely think, can barely function, and feel more fragile than a soufflé, like I can be deflated so simply and have to start from scratch.

But I am safe. I really am. Maybe I should add this and ‘my pets are safe’ ‘my kids are safe’ to my breathing mantras. I’ve been in protective mode for 30 years that I can remember. AF is gone now. I can stop protecting, at least stop neurotically protecting from him.

So I am going to push myself to do things that makes me feel unsafe, because I truly am safe. Hubby, MIL, SIL, counselor in group, and my counselor I’ve had for over a decade are all supporting me. I need to stop running and hiding.

I am safe. We are safe. My dogs are safe. My family is safe. My kids are safe.
I am safe. We are safe. My dogs are safe. My family is safe. My kids are safe.
I am safe. We are safe. My dogs are safe. My family is safe. My kids are safe.
I am safe. We are safe. My dogs are safe. My family is safe. My kids are safe.
I am safe. We are safe. My dogs are safe. My family is safe. My kids are safe.

Don’t Become a Nurse if You Don’t Like Taking Care of People

My title seems obvious to me, but I feel the need to share this advice to the world after meeting so many nurses that simply should not be nurses, or at least not pediatric nurses.

I am not a nurse. I would be terrible at it. I love helping people, but I wear out quickly. I have so much empathy that I feel the pain of others and find it impossible to remain calm and strong in emergencies.

I am not a sunny, perky person. I tend to be quiet, introspective, and thoughtful. I can not easily walk into a room with a big smile and a big happy voice. I have never stretched a “hello” into 10 bouncing syllables.

My son went through so many traumatic experiences in the hospital last week. He did not need grumpy or apathetic nurses to compound his misery. I’d say we met about 20 different nurses last week. Most were fine – friendly and hard working but nothing remarkable. A few were stellar – they had those outward personalities that positively charge a room and make everyone feel at ease. A few should consider a different profession, or at least a break if they are burned out.

Stress is real, and its effects on health are well known now. Children are easier to frighten, and have more volatile systems and should be given extra special treatment when hospitalized to encourage recovery. Children are less inclined to cooperate with medical staff unless they feel safe and trust them. Children see them as strangers, and young children have huge emotions they can’t yet control. Hell, I have huge emotions I can’t yet control. Reducing stress is the key.

Some of the nurses forgot my little guy was a frightened, tired, hurting 5 year old boy. Some I think even forgot he was a person at all, and just tried to methodically complete the task at hand robotically, compassion-free. Some of the nurses are lucky I had enough self-control not to wring their necks. Some of the nurses were reported to the charge nurse though.

I have huge respect for all nurses. It must me a tiring, often thankless job. Like being a mother to all those helpless patients. I get that. But if you don’t like taking care of people, and can’t force a smile on your face and take a minute to make someone feel safe, and think it is acceptable to use force before an introduction, or blame the child for misbehaving – please find a different job.

Not Feeling Safe – Old Fears Resurface

(Caution – intense words ahead, trigger warning. I think I need to add that to my home page since I often forget to put the warning on individual posts)

I stepped back from that edge, but only one step. I’m not feeling safe and everything is just wrong right now. Here are some of the things bouncing around in my head. Things that used to live there but had vanished for a while. Please note I am fully aware that many of these are irrational and unhealthy, that’s kind of the point. But it seems every time I step up to a challenge, a new one is there waiting, and I just can’t take that many steps at once.

I feel fat. I feel ashamed of being fat. I feel like it has been too long since having babies to reside in that excuse. I feel like my stomach is an invader, not a part of me. After 3 babies and 2 c-sections, it is a squishy maze of stretch marks and scars. I am not obese. I teeter on the edge of normal-overweight BMI. 10 pounds more than my college weight, but it a stubborn 10 pounds. As soon as I lose a few pounds I gain it all back quickly with stress over-eating combined with the inactivity of depressed days. I can’t make myself exercise every day and I don’t why. I feel great when I exercise, both during and after, and yet I deny myself this. I guess it isn’t too surprising, as I don’t always have the energy or awareness to shower or brush my hair or teeth daily either. But somehow I forgive myself the slip in hygiene, but not this extra 10 pounds.

I feel judged. I feel ashamed by what might be judged about me from many sources. Some of hubby’s relatives are coming from out of state in a few weeks, and several months ago I gave myself the goal to lose 10 pounds before they came. We haven’t seen them in a few years, so I wanted t o be thinner than last time. My weight has not really changed for many years, up or down. The one relative always makes comments about his wife eating too much and that he’d leave her if she ever got fat, so I fear his judgement of me. Stupid, I know, but still there it is. I fear that man’s gaze on me and his controlling attitude.

I feel edgy in my own home now. My safe haven has been invaded. Although I am thrilled my kids have so many neighborhood kids come to play with them – my safe sanctuary, my home, is constantly and without warning – invaded. I can no longer have lazy PJ days, as they can knock on the door any time. No mom wants their kids playing with the kooky mom’s kids, the mom with haunting eyes and unkempt hair. So I force myself to look presentable even on the worst days. This makes me realize I was not quite functioning as well as I thought, and that makes me sad too. It shouldn’t be such a big deal to get dressed daily. I berate myself for being so silly.

I feel I am hurting Hubby and fear what he thinks of me. I was badly triggered as he initiated sex a week or so ago. We’ve been doing really well in this area, so this one shocked him. It was the way he initiated, not that he did, that triggered me. I froze up, went away mentally, managed to tell him, and he helped me through it. But the feeling remained.  I tried to explain what happened the next day in an email, as writing is my easiest and most natural form of communication. He is not a natural reader, and so lost my meaning in many places, and was generally overwhelmed by the one sided form. We did not speak of it or touch much for several days. It was too much to read all at once, he said.  This realization is always crushing to me, that my reality is overwhelming to others. So we tried discussing it a few nights later, as it still hung in between us. He blamed himself for hurting me, but wasn’t exactly sure what he had done wrong.

We both had a strong, almost urgent, need for him to understand, once and for all. In an attempt to explain, I took him through a typical evening for me as a child. I have never even gone into this detail with a therapist before, and maybe this was not a good idea, but I already did it. I was shaking and trying not to vomit as I placed myself back into my childhood bedroom and described some examples of what I had to endure from my abusive father. I needed hubby to understand certain ways of touching me were just not possible. I did not have a flashback as I told him my story, I remained present, but the fear – oh my god the fear! that I felt as I spoke to him. That fear is still with me. Stirred up and at the surface and I don’t know what to do with it now. And the grief. A whole new wave of grief for that little girl that even I can’t believe was me. It’s just too messed up. How my father used my love for him, and my need to be a good little girl, to seek his approval to fulfill his sexual needs. See, my father was always gentle with me, and made me believe for way too many years that he was acting out of love, and that he was only making me feel good, doing things I liked.

I slept downstairs on the couch for several days, terrified to go up into our bedroom. Afraid to have him bump into me while sleeping and set off the panic that is waiting to burst. Last night I was finally able to go to bed with him, and he held me so sweetly. He was so careful to only touch my shoulders, and kept his body away from mine. I hate that we have this ghost of a haunted past always between us. I hope this last revelation to him has been helpful to us and our marriage in the long term, because it has really sucked in the short term. I just look at this amazing man, so grateful he wants to know me even better, so grateful for his love, and yet not able to completely accept it. I’ve had glimpses of feeling loved, I just can’t hold onto it for long. I’m always proving to myself that I’m still not worthy and scolding myself for trying to believe otherwise.

I feel so selfish. I have not been a good wife and mom lately. I’m forgetful and distant. I freak out when they hug me. My first grader gave me a good night kiss last night that touched my neck just below my ear and I actually screamed in fright. His little eyes got big and he asked “What’s wrong? Did I hurt you” It took a moment for my heart to slow down and answer him, “No sweetie, just surprised me. Mommy loves you” And I left his room to finish out my panic without him watching.

I have developed a phobia of sleeping at my MIL’s house. I knew it stressed me out, but have dealt with it for years. I finally figured out that I don’t feel safe sleeping there, since I don’t have my own room, and the floor plan is so open and connected that I can hear everyone else turning in their beds all night. I love my MIL, but she is loud and often scary to me. I never know when she will be screaming, and even her normal voice is too loud for me.

I feel judged by Hubby’s relatives, as they always comment on my pale skin (if it weren’t for some freckles, I’d be practically albino), or my hair color, or how my kids’ hair is getting long, or how my kids’ clothes aren’t fitting well. Each comment stings a bit more until I can’t handle them with smiles any more. And then I have no where to retreat and lick my wounds. I don’t think they mean to be hurtful, it is just how they are.

I don’t buy gifts for teachers, we always bring some roses from the bush in my yard and the kids make cards themselves. I don’t money to buy anything nice, and as a teacher myself, I recall how special the handmade gifts were to me. Problem is my youngest made lovely cards for his preschool teachers, and in my distractedness I have misplaced them. My sweet little guy is making new ones right now. He is so accepting of me too. He helped me search the house for a while, but then just said, “It’s OK Mommy, it’ll be fun to make something else” His acceptance of my mistake actually makes me feel worse. I want to better for them. They deserve a mom that is living in the same world as them, not this shell of a woman that can barely manage daily tasks, that floats in and out of reality, and that forgets or loses everything.

And so the spiral of negativity continues, as I don’t understand how I have such a beautiful loving family and why I can’t just accept it and return it. I don’t feel like I’m enough yet. They say I am enough for them. Will I ever be enough for me?

I’m Not Enough Today

I’m teetering on an internal edge of destruction. Stress is nearly pushing me over that edge.

Anxiety is so high I can taste it. Fear is hanging over me, trying to swallow me up.

Thinking is painful, slow, and muddled.

 

I nearly called off work today. But I can say that many days, the ‘nearly’ part. Something has gotten me this far. Some reserve of strength has me in meetings and answering emails even though I want to hold my own hand, curl up in the fetal position and rock myself to sleep.

 

I am hurting. I don’t like myself today. And I’m trying to stop my inner bully. The conflict is exhausting and consuming.

 

I have some ideas where this is all coming from, but I can’t write those words today. Not until this passes. I’m afraid if I look too closely today I will decide I am not enough, and fall off that edge. I’m afraid, because I know what waits in that darkness down below, and it looks hungry.