Tag Archive | hope

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.

Empty

Ever look deep inside and realize there is nothing there? A vast hollow vessel full of only echoes but nothing of substance?

I’ve graduated from my cpt group. So now I’ve completed two intensive group therapies, one with a dbt focus and this recent one was cognitive processing. I’ll think about sharing some of the exercises we completed but not today.

Cpt has taught me to feel the pain. It taught me exactly how much is excruciatingly wrong with me and allows me to feel it, and name it. The counselor calls this progress, and I suppose I’d see her point if it wasn’t me having to feel it. Honestly I’d rather return to the nice even numbness I had going for nearly four decades. It was more tolerable than this awareness. Of knowing what’s wrong with me so clearly now. Seeing the path ahead, I’m not afraid, but I’m not motivated. I see no point. I feel like a car totaled in a crash…best to junk it and get a new one. Or a condemned house needing demolished. I no longer think its possible to grow roots in this emptiness. I don’t dare dream any longer. I continue through this treatment program asking them to do the impossible. I’m asking them to help me to want to live, for me, for my own sake, not only clinging to a thread for my kids.

I’ve realized I have no sense of self. This is worse than no self esteem. I actually think I’m talented, smart, pretty, good at many things. But I have no value because I have no existence. You’ll either understand or you won’t so I won’t try to explain much more. Just to say it is apparently a parents job to instill a sense of self in a child. Mine wasn’t stolen by abuse, it was never instilled at all. I was never a separate, valuable human.

Like a slave, outcast, an untouchable, an invisible ghost only used and abused.

I’m starting the individual portion of my trauma recovery program now that the group work is completed. My counselor seems to actually understand a traumatized brain and has a structured program, saying I’m not a lifer, therapy will end one day, and one day I’ll have less PTSD symptoms and more living. I want to believe her.

We established some goals and metrics to get us started so our sessions stay on track. I feel like I wasted so much time and money on past counselors not trained in this traumatic stress program. But I didn’t know, no one knew. I’ve absorbed so much knowledge its going to be difficult to relay it all here.

I’m not who I was a few months ago, my brain is changing.

Dance to the Song in your Heart

I would. If only I could hear it.

I have this haunting faint memory of the girl I used to be. What I used to dream. When I used to think anything was possible.

I wanted to save the world.

I wanted to create amazing medical breakthroughs to reduce pain and suffering. I started reading medical journals in middle school. the other girls in school were interested in mascara and the latest boy band heartthrob. I was reading about medical labs and planning ways to save the animals from cruel testing. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. The human body is truly a miracle and I wanted to understand how it worked. How I could be a lump of tissues, cells and biochemical impulses.

I wanted to save everyone from the terror of asthma and living on the brink of suffocation every day.I wanted to create the best imitation nervous system and regrow damaged spinal cords.I wanted to create brain boosters to stop nightmares and and unlock human potential.

I wanted to work hard, and travel and teach the world everything I had discovered. I wanted to be beautiful and powerful and famous. And then I wanted to have a great big house and adopt the children no one wanted and hug them all, just hug them.

I used to have a song in my heart. I used to want to give myself to the world. I used to have something to give. The crushing realization of this absence is making it hard to breathe, and bloody hell, it is making it hard to BE.

What happened to me?! How do I get my song back? I can’t keep going as an empty shell. One day I will simply cease to be, and that thought gives me the most comfort of all. And that terrifies me.

And so today, yet again, I will dance to someone else’s song, because not dancing at all isn’t an option, and pray my own song returns.

Enjoy Ed Sheeran’s song, Don’t. I love the down n dirty feel of this song, and paired with Philip’s amazing dancing. You can tell Philip hears the song in his heart, it comes out in every step he takes. I was amazed by him on So You Think You Can Dance and wanted to share it here.

Okay

 

 

Discovered this song and I can’t get enough of it. I love that it sounds so bright and chipper and makes you want to dance or sing along, but the words are sad and dark  – yet hopeful too.

You may need to watch this a few times to catch all the images, they go by quickly and some are truly worth seeing. Great job whoever made this.

I love the contrast, because how many of us live with this contrast every single damn day?

The sound of this song makes me remember being a little girl, twirling my pleated skirt as I spun around and around, just because I could, and just because that skirt would twirl. I also remember my heart was heavy and hurting, even as I twirled, wondering why I was so unlovable and that I never had anyone to tell me everything’s okay. But I still kept twirling that skirt.

As I got older and understood more, my heavy heart turned dark, and I often wondered “how do I go on?”

I learned the answer to that, is you just do. You go on. That’s it. The how doesn’t matter.

I have people in my life now to tell me ‘Everything’s Okay”. More importantly, I finally tell myself an even more important message – “I am Okay”. Me. I. Am. Okay.

The other night, I witnessed something beautiful that confirms we are all going to be okay. My youngest seems to have a recurrence of night terrors, he cries in his sleep and is inconsolable. I went in his room and found Hubby already there with him, holding him so sweetly and telling him Everything’s OK. He is such a good dad, and who I am honoring today. And my son’s, those future daddies, that are raised with love and will know how to be good fathers, and will always know that they themselves are OK, because they have a daddy that chases away night terrors.

Not a daddy who was a night terror, like I had. Not a daddy who stole my hope, dreams, and innocence. Not a daddy that made everything so not okay.

I am so blessed to have my little family, but at times it shows me, so clearly, what I did not have.

“How do I go on? Sometimes I need a little sunshine, and sometimes I need you.”

I go on. With love. With hope. Okay.

I have a little hope to spare today, (even though it is coming out in the form of tears as I type this), so I can share, but just give it back when I need it. okay? okay.

What a truly great song on so many levels.

 

 

 

 

Love Saves Me Every Time

I talked to my Mom and she was supportive and loving and helpful. I spoke freely about my suicidal thoughts over the past few weeks. She listened to me and I felt completely understood. She said she has been listening to my brother, the one with schizophrenia that lives with her, as well. She is not running away from the truth, she is standing strong for her kids.

I am completely blown away by this. She has been on her own path towards becoming authentic, and I am so proud of her. She is helping all of her hurting children now.

I am turning a corner here. I have had loads of rest, time alone and time snuggling too, trying to be gentle on myself and my family. I told my kids how much my back and head were hurting and that I needed extra time in bed. My 8 year old asked if he could read to me while I was in bed. He came up so gently, not to bump me much, and read “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” to me.  When the story was done, he lay there next to me, giving me the biggest hug, and whispered that he would never wish to be anyone else. It was all I could do to hold back tears at his act of love. (In the story, Sylvester had wished to be a rock, to avoid getting eaten by a lion, and remained a rock, all alone for a very long time. I had never thought much about this story before, how it models my own life. How I turned myself into something for my own survival, and how alone that had made me. I could go on with the parallels, but I’ll let you do that for yourself)

I am starting to think ahead again, starting to look forward to events and make plans for a future that include me in them, alive and smiling.

I felt the love. And love saves me every time.

Change Your Life, Don’t Escape It

Change your life. You can do it. You are in charge, even when it doesn’t seem that way.

A few years ago I woke up and examined my life, and realized I liked very little of it. I was miserable and trying to escape my life through a series of endless distractions, just to make it through each day. I hated myself and thought everyone on the planet hated me too. I did not attempt anything social or fun. I worked (from home), cleaned my house, and cared for my children. I was barely functional, the fatigue, depression, and general lack of life and spirit held me prisoner. I would somehow manage to guide my older children to the school bus each morning, and then collapse onto the couch and hope not to oversleep to take the youngest to preschool each afternoon.

Thinking was a chore. My thoughts were scrambled fragments that often got stuck in obsessive loops and phrases, and my inner critic, those negative thoughts, would fill in the blanks. I had suicidal thoughts nearly constantly, and only my obligation to my husband and children kept me here.

To escape that pain, I used alcohol, binge eating, sleeping (though that often backfired into nightmares), and computer games. I did not enjoy those games, it was more of a NEED to play them. Back then I couldn’t even enjoy books or TV, as my thoughts would override the stories. Only computer games allowed me to think about the task at hand and avoid my dismal reality.

And then I found blogging. At first I silently read the blogs of others, looking for someone like me, trying to not feel so damned alone. After nearly a year of reading, I started anonymously commenting. When a blogger responded to me, it hit me full force – I AM NOT ALONE. I started a few blogs before creating this one, attempting to make light and fluffy, and even humorous ones, but they felt fake. I wanted to be real. I needed to really be heard. Slowly I watched my little blog gathering steam, accumulating followers, and I made some friends. People seemed to care about what I wrote, and seemed to care about me. I can’t even explain properly in words how grateful I am to these strangers reaching out with open arms, offering love, hope and strength. Things I never thought I deserved.

I started a series of small changes a few years. I started getting real with my therapist. I shared my pain with my brother. I tried reconnecting with my husband. Many of the things I tried did not work out too well, some were terrifying and painful, some were merely uncomfortable. But I kept changing, and I kept trying new things. Each day felt like nothing much was happening, I was too close to see it. But now I do. I can remember what it used to be like, but it feels like it must have happened to someone else. Could I have been in so much pain? Could I really have thought myself to be less than human and not deserving of love? Yes, that was me.

Blogging brought out my humanity, connected me to other humans, and I truly believe joined our spirits as well so we could help each other heal. So many days, I’d be in a rough spot, and BAM, another blogger has posted exactly what I needed to hear.

I am not done changing. I don’t think I’ll ever be done changing, because I now think that our role in life is to continually grow, and growth can’t happen without change. I’m trying to loosen my expectations for what I think my life SHOULD be. My life is fine right now, and I can gently guide myself into new directions without hating where I am right now. Self hate is not necessary to induce change. In fact, change coming from self love is the best kind of all.

So be gentle to yourself. Accept where you are, but always keep an open mind of where you may want to explore. Sometimes the smallest change can have the biggest effect.

And most of all – Don’t ever think you are alone. This world is way too big and full of so many souls, I guarantee you can find someone who understands, someone who has been exactly where you are and can throw you a rope or a roadmap to help you take that next step. Don’t give up. There is always a next step, even if it is a step backwards, just take that step.