Tag Archive | triggers

Steps I’ve taken to get better sleep

I’ve really not had a good night’s sleep ever in my life. Let that sink in a minute and you’ll I must be exaggerating or what does she mean, she’d be really unhealthy!

I am not exaggerating and I am really unhealthy. I’ve described before reasons I couldn’t sleep, so I’ll just list a quick reminder here:

childhood – asthma, bedwetting, afraid of the dark, no bedtime/no routine/neglect, chronic bronchitis/fevers/coughing, oh and of course the nearly nightly sexual abuse from AF that eventually made me try to stay awake all night every night to stop because the coward always came in my room once I was asleep

adolescence – spinal cord injury caused back pain, leg pain and twitching, constant waking up to roll over, nightmares, still staying up all night and napping after school when AF was at work, homework

adulthood – I continued this pattern for 20 years, grabbing sleep when I can, afraid to sleep, waking up in terror whenever Hubby moves or makes a sound in the bed next to me

Better Sleep Steps:

  1. Gabapentin – I was prescribed this miracle drugs for the migraines, which it did not help, but it stopped the burning crushing pain in my spine and the constant twitching that was keeping me awake. I have to take so much that I’m a bit dopey and blurred vision, trying to find the balance here. For now, I think the sleep is more important, such a new thing for me, and an unexpected side effect. I’m not sleeping all day on this drug either, just at night.
  2. Zonegran – another anticonvulsant. It does nothing for nerve pain in my spinal cord, I tried reducing gabapentin and sci pain came back with a vengeance. I was stunned to think that was the pain I had been living with, no wonder I had to go numb. Apparently though the zonegran either makes me sleepy or helps my sleep cycle, because I crash soon after taking it each night and don’t wake up until 6 hours later. A straight 6. wow thats impressive. The first few times it happened I was freaked out. I put my head down, and next thing I knew birds were singing. I never had time disappear like that unless I had surgery or something, and I didn’t feel too groggy, just confused. My brain wasn’t sure what had happened, I usually am aware of every night passing, all night long I hear every noise, I drift in and out of sleep, I have multiple dreams and nightmares. I didn’t even dream that I could recall. Once I got over the weirdness, I realized that this is probably what sleep is actually supposed to be like. I started asking people. OK, I don’t have people. I started googling. Turns out sleep and dreams should not be remembered, kinda the point of it, to turn OFF your brain and let you rest.
  3. Vitamin D – my vitamin D levels had plummeted to critical last spring at 11, and after months of supplements got it up to 25. Dr decided to double my supplement. Target range for ideal sleep is 60-80 according to current research, but many doctors seems to disagree on this, and the exact number will vary on each person. vitamin D is not a vitamin, it actually functions as a hormone in the body, more like thyroid. Please see this link to Dr. Gominak’s site I found, and why I’m choosing to take OTC D3 and prescribed D2. My doctor gave me the ok on this and the right dosage for me. Please know that vitamin D supplements are fat soluble meaning you can take too much if not careful it can be toxic, so just because its OTC and made by the sun you can’t take it willy nilly all at once to get your levels up quickly, it takes a while to deplete and it takes a while to restore. Patience grasshopper. Vitamin D, Pain, Sleep Disorders
  4. Magnesium – This goes along with the vitamin D, it prevents hypercalcemia while supplementing which is the biggest toxicity concern of taking large doses of vitamin D. It also is a calcium channel blocker to prevent migraines, and reduces muscle tension. Again I have a dosage prescribed to me by my doctor.
  5. I sleep alone now- Sorry Hubby. I don’t know how long this will be. I think it will be forever because I can’t see a way to fix it and damn now that I know what it is like to sleep I am guarding this like fort knoxx. I’ve been sleeping downstairs in the recliner so no triggering noises or bumps in the night startle me to panic. If the kids or dogs wake me I am fine. But if Hubby does it, my sleepy brain must think it is AF and it is instant terror every time. I’ve dealt with this our entire marriage and each time I think Hubby understands, he forgets and grabs me and I scream. I’ve asked Hubby to not wake me any more himself, but if he must, then to do it by talking, saying something like, “good morning” from the other side of the room, not hovering over me, and not touching me at all while I am asleep. It makes him sad and feel rejected, and I am sad for him, but I for once in my life I am doing what I need to heal and take care of me and feel safe. It didn’t matter before, I wouldn’t have slept anyway. But now that I can, I’m not going to sacrifice it by pushing the panic button needlessly. Maybe one day a therapist can ‘fix’ this. But I honestly don’t think so, not after so many years of AF attacking me in my sleep, and I honestly have no desire to fix it if all I have to do is sleep alone. It already seems fixed. Done, problem solved, hallelujah its a freaking miracle I can freaking sleep at all. I have no desire to cuddle while I sleep, I never have. We make the kids sleep alone, why can’t Hubby? Why does he continue to make me feel bad about this? Sorry, I didn’t mean for the marriage issues to sneak into this post.
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Triggered at doctor’s office, panic

Triggered at doctor’s today, it was big one. still coming back down to earth.

Had a good talk with Hubby last night, not feeling angry any more, I think we both recovered from the big fight the other day. That’s a relief.

Because I needed him today. I knew this trip to the dr would be stressful, but I didn’t anticipate just how much. I went to see an allergist for all the hives and swollen tongue from foods I’ve been getting lately. The questionnaire was difficult to fill out at home, and I’;m always tempted to leave off the truth just so I don’t have to discuss it. But I want to feel better, and so I answer questions about my sleep quality and depression history, even though I’m not sure it could be related to food allergies.

First thing nurse says to me is, “I’ve read your history and wow, you’re too young to have all of these problems!”

Really? Thanks. I feel so much better starting off with a dumbass judgmental comment like that.

I find out they don’t have the food allergy tests for anything I have been reacting to, like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes. They have all the usual pollens, grass, molds, dustmites, etc. I ask her is there any benefit to skin testing for specific pollens? We can all see I am reacting, that my nose is swollen and drippy, my eyes are red and itchy and watery, does it matter what it is – or will the treatment be the same.

That nurse looked at me oddly, and said well no, we’ll give you the same treatment no matter which ones you are actually allergic to. So I said if it is my choice, I prefer to be poked and itchy less than more, but I’ll do it if it helps your diagnostics and plan for me. She decided not to do it.

Then they went on and on about how congested my nose is, and I say a hundred times, yes it is, but you made me stop taking claritin for the last 2 weeks so it is much worse than usual. She keeps saying how great the nasal sprays are and I said I can’t use those, I either get headaches or nosebleeds, or the smell and taste is worse than the nasal symptom. They sent me home with 2 rx for nasal sprays.

Then they asked about GERD and heartburn, and I have a huge long history with that, and a treated ulcer, and I’ve been doing fine for a few years now. They are insistent that I have silent GERD and gave me 2 rx for heartburn.

Then they ask about my sleep, and keep digging and digging until I have to say about the PTSD and nightmares and pisspoor sleep quality. She recommended xanax and I said my therapist didn’t want me on anything addictive. I have a rx for xanax.

It was going ok with the nurse, she was quiet and gentle. The sinus xray was ok, I held off the triggers from the xray room and all of my medical trauma, mostly, by deep breathing.

When the doctor came in, I freaked out almost immediately. He had old man pants like my AF used to wear. And he was close talker. He came right in, invaded my space, held my hand way too long, inspecting it after the handshake. He said something about my fair complexion and sat down on the stool in front of me, with his legs so close they wrapped around mine. I was seated against the wall, I could not back up and it took everything in me to simply not die of panic. I wanted to scream at him to move back, but of course I said nothing and he babbled on about nothing new to me and drew diagrams of my nasal passages and made promises to get me feeling not just better, but 100%. I said I didn’t believe that was possible.

And then he picked up the light scope thingy and reached for my ear. And completely creeped me out when stopped way too long, he brushed my hair aside and kinda petted a bit, just staring at it, and saying “my what pretty hair you have”

I nearly vomited. My heart felt like it was going to explode. I stared at the poster on the wall depicting asthma to avoid looking at him and his old man pants. I started counting and intensely reading that poster to keep myself grounded.

Somehow I got through the physical exam, and this guy did not back up. And kept promising me the moon.

The only thing that made sense is that I am likely not allergic to any foods, but I am highly sensitized, we knew that right already, but I didn’t know it was related to sleep quality. So when doctor left, the nurse asked me some more about sleeping, and I explained how I was attacked repeatedly in my sleep and I still have a fear of sleeping. Her eyes got so big, but she didn’t say anything else stupid.Just, “oh, I see”

So here I am, I don’t want all these rxs. And I’m thinking screw it all and I won’t ever go back there. IF my GERD is back, I know how to handle that. I really need to stop eating so damn much at night time and lose this extra weight too. Maybe this is the motivation I need. I’ll do about anything to avoid all these meds. It took me years to recover from having my stomach acid turned off, years of zantac, prilosec, nexxium, protonix, tums, rolaids – ugh I’m not going back there and I don’t want to do that during cold/flu season, we need stomach acid to fight off germs.

At least Hubby responded to my SOS text and called me from work to help calm me while I was crying the van after the doctor. I just needed to release that fear and panic. His call meant a lot to me. I felt so stupid. I know I am safe. I know that doctor isnt going to hurt me, but telling myself that does NOTHING. My body starts responding and all I can do is try to control it and seriously not die. It feels like I am in mortal danger from the nice old doctor knee’s touching my knee.

Now I’m not opposed to taking meds if needed, but I need to try non medical solutions first. I ad no idea that my binge eating could be affecting my allergy and immune system and further reducing my quality of sleep. I’d have to truly hate myself to continue this self harming action, and since I dont hate myself any more I should be able to stop. right?

I so miss my regular therapist. I’d love to run this all by her. I will share with the new one, but I don’t trust her or value her opinion as much. I think she gave me bad advice in not sharing my true feelings right away with Hubby about that massage gift. I should have followed my 3 day rule and told him months ago how I felt. how stupid.

Triggers lose power when you name them, like Voldemort

OK so I finally figured out why I’ve been feeling so oddly down, anxious, negative, off balanced, not good enough, etc

We adopted a new dog from the humane society a few weeks ago. She’s a 5 yr old border collie mix, and is turning into a great companion for my 15 year old shepherd collie mix.

So new dog came with some issues, as they always do when you adopt a rescue. I’ve been channeling my inner Cesar Milan and the 1st week I felt great, heroic almost. in charge. calm.

Next week I starting feeling odd and could not name it. I was struggling with everything and felt like my life had gotten too hard and the old familiar tapes started playing in my head – just give up, this is too hard, you’ll never be good enough, why did think you could help this dog-she was better off at the pound . . .

This tape started affecting my every thought and I put on the brakes, realizing I had been triggered but not knowing how. I told my brain to shut up and just went through the daily motions until the shame storm eased up.

Yesterday I finally figured it out.

My AF used pets to torture and control me. I have lost count of how many pets we adopted that were killed, vanished, or taken to the pound. Each time was the same – he was the hero for getting the pet, we all fell in love and bonded (except him of course), and then at the first sign of trouble from new puppy or kitten – the threats began. If I couldn’t control that ‘disgusting beast’ and teach it to potty outside/stop chewing/getting in the trash, etc – it would have to go back.

I remember all too well the hyper responsibility I felt, as young as age 6, thinking it was all up to me to save this poor creatures life, if only I could train it fast enough and make sure AF never saw the puddle or mess from the accidents. It was always MY FAULT, not because that is what is to be expected for new puppies or kittens. He set up these unrealistic expectations, again and again, and I always tried to meet them, and always failed.

So new dog is not completely potty trained and has some territorial issues during feeding time, and I think that’s when I started worrying that she would be taken away from me and it triggered all that pain, desperation, and feelings of not being good enough. All my fault. I would certainly.

As soon as I named this fear, like screaming VOLDEMORT, it removed the fear. You can’t fight what you can’t see. I let the old pain resurface, grieved for that little girl – again – and felt a release. I am finding that I have to go through this process each time, start the grieving process each time I uncover a new hurt based on an old hurt. I think this is part of the rewiring process. I hope it is working. I think it is working.

I had to see my AF in all his terrifying ugliness, and understand that I am no longer that little girl, and that this dog will have a happy home here, just like my other dog. I will work with her until she becomes part of our pack. I will not respond in anger to things that aren’t her fault, I will gently correct and show her what to do instead. I understand this will take time, something I was never given as a child. Now did AF understand this too? Yes I am sure he did. He set me up for failure to purposely cause me pain, and manipulate my tiny emotions, to rip me apart. I do believe it was intentional, I no longer give any ‘benefit of the doubt’. I have accepted this and no longer ask why.  Why did he choose to hurt us? There is no answer and no good asking it. It is just who he was.

And so I can move on. Another obstacle hurdled. A few weeks of suffering and mental anguish survived, processed. Another part of me healed. until next time.

BIG bad day, and it was going so well

Big bad binge last night. Big bad morning today. Big bad news this afternoon.

But I am still going – just more slowly.

I spontaneously invited my brother and his boys to my house yesterday. He kept saying he wanted to visit, and I figured I’d feel safer if they came here where I’m in control. I haven’t seen him or my nephews for about 2 years, and they haven’t been to my house in about 4 yrs. so a BIG part of me wanted to do this, and my therapist said to visit on non-holidays to reduce stress and triggers.

Brother texts – Can Mom come too? I stared at that text, not knowing how to answer. I really wanted just him and the boys, that was enough. BUT my mom can’t drive down here herself and the torment of not inviting her would be so much worse than her presence.

— Whatever you want, either way is fine, it’d be nice to see her–

See I wasn’t sure if he wanted her or not and was trying to figure out if I wanted her, so I left it up to him. He brought her.

The visit was ok. We caught up on work stories, we both have new jobs. He seemed oddly happy, for someone being held hostage in his own house from a fiancée-squatter that won’t leave. I was glad to see his spirits so high.

Mom was good ole mom. at least I know what to expect. nothing horrible, really it was fine. I had a few triggering moments, but nothing too powerful. I was smiling most of the visit and thought I was relaxed.

So I was surprised at my BIG binge after they left. We went out to a restaurant and I cleaned my plate, where usually I can only eat half. then at home I wanted more. I cut up cucumbers and filled a bowl with them and a bit of lite ranch. I felt the pressure in my belly but the gnawing emptiness that comes from elsewhere grew. I wanted sweets now. I have not been buying candy and cookies, to limit my binge attacks – but I found the kids lunch cupboard. I had 2 fudge dipped chocolate chip granola bars, and 2 swiss rolls. Then I moved on to fruit, some mandarin oranges because the sugar fiend was still barking.

I fell into a restless sleep, and woke a bit later needing alka-seltzer, feeling bloated and ill. I had bad dreams all night, the run around chasing, doors locked, can’t scream dreams that used to plague me constantly.

I barely got the kids to school this morning, and then went back to bed instead of to work or to curves. I woke up just before noon and attempted to work, but nothing was making sense. I called my therapist and got the BIG bad news. She had to take emergency leave of absence – until about January, but they’d be happy to schedule me with someone else? Receptionist asked what my issues were, stress or anxiety? . . . . Ummm, I have too many complicated issues to name right now. She said no problem hon, I’ll give a call to your girl and see who she recommends for you.

Mental fog turned into mental storm. I’ve relied on her to keep me stable for over 10 years now. How could I possibly re-tell my tale to someone new? She won’t understand me. I’ll have to watch her grimace as she reads my file and recounts my horrific youth. Part of me wants to think this change could be good for me – a fresh perspective! But I’ve been doing so well, I don’t want anything fresh.

I just had 3 plates full of lasagna and I’m ready to run out for some candy right now, because the need is strong. my thoughts are frantic, obsessive, worried about ALL future events instead of my wonderful going from moment to moment balanced thoughts I’ve ben growing used to.

Did my family’s visit trigger this much in me, even though I didn’t feel it at the time?

 

so hard to go home – triggers everywhere

Holidays and dysfunctional families. It seems to me that every family has some level of dysfunction, but only a few are truly toxic or unhealthy. It impossible to have so many different beings, different ages, different personalities in one room without some conflict or clashing.

I am still working on enforcing my newly found boundaries and each holiday brings an onslaught of new decisions as I keep myself safe and also expand into the uncomfortable to keep growing.

I had a strained, but not terrible time at my inlaws for Easter. I had some honest conversations with them, which was nice, being able to be me there. I spoke of my AF’s poor health and did not have to feign much sadness over it. I only spoke of it because they asked about him. But some of the other conversations could have been from “Mean Girls'” with all the back stabbing and two-facedness going on. My FIL thinks my SIL kids are overweight, ridicule them and blame SIL completely. They offer all kinds of ways to fix the problem  – but not to her face. Then they attack her for making the family late to this gathering because she always has to go overboard with her baking. MIL said she doesn’t need anything fancy, just wants the grandkids to get together. She made her feel guilty for having to hold ‘dinner’ past 12:30. No time was ever given to us, no time is EVER given to us, but whoever is last is late and made to feel guilty. As soon as SIL re-enters the room, the topic is changed. I chose to stay silent for that one. (I did ask SIL later about the fancy breads she baked, they were all done the day before, and she was not the reason they came later, but that’s an entirely different story. I asked her why she worked so hard – did she enjoy it or did she feel she ahd to go overboard to be ‘supermom’ or get inlaws approval? She said she truly enjoys baking and feels happiest in the kitchen and the only time she allows herself to get creative is for holidays.)

I can’t argue every out of line comment. I’d wear out in less than an hour. Besides I needed strength to battle the next ones.

Next they asked about my brother, who has been in the divorce process for over a year now. His wife left him and the kids and is living with her boyfriend. They speak of her like a less than human whore. What she did was heartbreaking, but she does not deserve their judgment, they didn’t live with my brother or grow up in her shoes. MIL said something like, “well your brother better hurry and make that divorce final or she may decide she is bored with the boyfriend and want to come back home.” Then FIL said “can she go stay with her parents?” I said “no, she is happy with the boyfriend, and she would never go live with her parents, because she hasn’t forgiven her dad, and her parents are divorced, he was an angry drunk that used to beat her and her sister, and her mom is a messed up piece of work. I remember the bruises in high school, and she basically lived at my mom’s house all during high school”

Thinking that was the end of it, until FIL said, “Well you know some women like that. ”

The whole room was silenced and open mouthed.

“What do you mean?” I said. He said, “Some women get off on being dominated, some men too, and they do crap to get themselves beaten.”

I said, “you obviously don’t know what you are talking about, and should go read 50 shades to see how domination works. Her dad would drink and beat anything that came in the room, and then would hunt them down and beat them if they didn’t come in the room. He was mean and scary and hurt his entire family. No one wanted it or made it happen, he was out of control. None of those girls deserved what happened, it was not their fault.”

FIL said, whatever, MIL told him to shut up, he sounded like an idiot. I felt very sad.

What happened in that generation of men? FIL is a good man. He has never hurt his family. And yet he believes that most men hurt women ‘for a good reason’. I was done, I can’t change his mind. No more energy wasted that day, I went off to work on the computer and avoided any more conversations.

————————————————————————————————————————–

Next day I was thinking it would be nice to see my own mother. I hadn’t heard if my family was gathering for Easter, they still keep me out of the invitations at my own request. I don’t want to feel obligated or hurt them when I’m not up to going. Not yet. So I called my mom in the morning and said we were going to a park near her house and would like to stop over for short visit. I told her what time and made sure she had my cell number.

Now it was gorgeous sunny, 70 degree day and we went to a state park with amazing cliffs, ledges, and huge stony outcroppings. I had not been there since I was a child on a school field trip. I could not believe as we pulled in that I remembered the path I took with my friends almost 30 years ago. It was such an amazing feeling reliving a HAPPY childhood memory. And even better seeing my kids having just as much fun being mountain goats, exploring mini-caves, crevices, and climbing the rocky path as I did. I was thrilled to discover I had enough strength in my weak leg to do some easier climbing along with them. I couldn’t keep up, but they would go ahead, find a great scenic spot to rest and wait for me. It was pure joy. Exhausting – yes for sure, we were all sweating tired and hungry at the end of it.

So we eat our picnic lunch, and head to my mom’s house. We get there and my brother that lives with her says she is not home, that everyone is having Easter dinner at my other brother’s house. So decision time. Do I go over there?

No one had called me. I later found out she had emailed me this information, even though she knew I was going to be out all day, not at home checking emails. I thought maybe I could do it and we started driving towards my bother’s house. As we got closer, the panic grew. I started shaking, and picturing the room and the lock on the door that used to hold in my AF. He’s only been gone a month or so. I did not want to gather in that house, see the marks on the wall where his scooter scratched everything, see the missing door lock, see any sign that he used to live there. I decided it was too soon and we headed home, knowing it would be impossible to make an escape with the kids with us. If they saw the cousins on the trampoline, how could we leave?

So I got home to another series of emails from my mom. Sigh. Old habits, she had to lash out a bit because she was hurt that I did not visit her.

First email: Sorry I missed you. (That’s all it said)

Next email: If you let me know you were there I would have driven to meet you alone.

Next email: We had a nice dinner at your brother’s, salmon and chicken on the grill. the kids all played on the trampoline and swingset. I got to see all of my other kids and grandkids at least.

Next email: Here’s a photo of my cousin’s Easter gathering, all of her kids came to see her.

I did not respond to any of those emails. They were meant to hurt me and cause guilt. I am the only child that did not come to see her. I’m keeping her grandkids from her. Even her cousins get to see all the grandkids. Yes I get the point. I felt a prick of pain, but I only allowed the point of the sword to touch me, I did not allow it to plunge too deeply, because I know better.

I think I need to start with lower pressure, non-holiday visits. It is just too triggering and difficult still. But I hate keeping my kids away from the cousins. One day, it will happen. I am not rushing this one.

I asked Hubby why my brother with schizophrenia is not given guilt trips for staying home. Hubby said, “He avoids all social situations, and for you it appears you are only excluding them, so it hurts them.”

OH! That made sense. I am functional in every other social area now, I only avoid my mom and brothers, and their houses. I feel afraid of them. Too much I can’t control. Too many triggers and memories still floating around. I do love them though, and I appreciate that they don’t hate me, and mostly support my decision to avoid them. They want me healthy, but they also want me to join in the family fun. And maybe these events are not scary anymore, without AF in attendance. I don’t know.

All I know is I’m all good, I think I made the right decision this time, and will take the next step when I feel prepared for it.

 

 

 

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Sleepover freak out

My nerves need some recovery time. Another hurdle jumped.

My daughter had a friend sleep over our house this weekend. It is the first time someone stayed here, my daughter has been on many sleepovers at other houses.

This was not a big sleepover party, just one additional girl, and a fairly quiet girl at that. The girls are tweens and don’t need much from adults. So why did this freak me out so badly?

I was a nervous wreck all last week anticipating the event. I knew it was silly, but I also knew I can’t ignore my feelings, because they are based on something, usually a trigger of some sort. I haven’t entirely figured this one out yet. She came over last week for a few hours, so the house was fairly clean already, and Hubby was awesome helping with the chores.

But I could not shake the feeling that I DID NOT WANT HER TO STAY. It was such a strong feeling. I was not afraid, I only recognized anger. Why was I angry at this sweet girl? I wanted them to have a good time, and planned some things to do, like we were going to go out for pizza, make cookies, watch movies, play Wii. I planned to make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and got fresh strawberries to go with it. I enjoyed the thought of making them happy.

But I still felt angry.

We went out to eat, and the anger was building. I told everyone 1 topping please. I snapped at my girl when she argued and wanted 2 toppings on her pizza.  She started to complain and pout dramatically. I wanted to save the extra dollar, but would have given in easily, and then felt pressured to cave, and embarrassed by her tone. I told Hubby I didn’t really care and didn’t mean to make this a big deal but I don’t like kiddo whining – just ask for it.

Back home, asked the girls if they want to make the cookies. I take pictures of them stirring the batter together – two spoons in one bowl, very cute. I monitor them through the first batch, and my boys call me to take a turn on Wii. I ask Hubby if he will help with the second batch that needs out in a few minutes. He is watching something on the computer with his headset on, but says yes. I go to the other room with the boys and soon hear a scream and a crash. My girl burned her fingers and dropped the tray – and Hubby is unaware, still has his headset on.

I am furious. Beyond furious. He said yes, he said he would help her. I am so hurt that he would say yes and continue to watch his show. The girls are old enough to bake, but not without supervision. He could have told her she was holding the towel wrong. I feel like he could have prevented her burn. But he sure could have helped her more quickly. She didn’t know to put them in cold water and was about to try to rescue the dropped tray herself, dropped on the oven door. Luckily the burn wasn’t bad, no blisters just a bit red.

The kids eat cookies and watch a movie, and I disappear to my room to watch TV. I let Hubby be in charge of getting them settled for bed.

The next morning I am woken up at 6:30 by a boy, I tell him it is too early, go back to bed. Then again, at 7am. and again at 7:15, 7:30, 7:35, every few minutes. They want the special breakfast and I am not ready to get up yet. I usually sleep in until at least 9am, sometimes up to 11am on Saturday and make the big breakfast then. I could not get myself up. I am aware Hubby gets up and I hear him start cooking. And then kids come up again, mom, breakfast is almost ready. Mom, breakfast is ready. Mom, your coffee is ready.

I was ready to cry. Please leave me alone!! Finally Hubby comes up and says breakfast is over, do I want any? I said no, I am not hungry, but I’ll get up if he needs me. I realize the anger is back, or still there, and I am quite awake now. And feeling ashamed and humiliated that they drew so much attention to me sleeping in while the friend was here. My sleepy brain forgot we had a guest until that moment. I didn’t want her to think I sleep all day, so I got myself up and went down for coffee.

Kids were every where! How could 1 extra kiddo change everything? Someone was on my computer, someone at the TV, someone at the table. I felt attacked. My house was full of tiny intruders (all but 1 were mine, but they all felt foreign that morning for some reason) I sat on the stepstool in the kitchen to drink my coffee in the only quiet(er) spot. Hubby was busy putting food away and not sure what else and asked for the stepstool, the one I was sitting on.

Et tu, Brute? Yes, I felt betrayed. I felt like I did not fit in my own home. It was terrible. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Then Hubby announces he is going shopping. What? Panic!

I asked if he could wait until the friend went home. He said yes, but he didn’t understand why, and gave me the patronizing ‘you are such a pain and make no sense’ look.

 

So – – –  What was I afraid of? Why was it so difficult to have this girl in my home for so many hours? Why all the disproportionate anger? Why the shame?

I don’t completely understand my own reactions over those 2 days, I can only share what I felt. I did not have any flashbacks, I don’t think I had any triggering moments, nothing well-defined anyway. So why is this situation so troubling?

I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I am not a natural hostess – Martha Stewart would run away screaming from my home.

I felt like I had to be available and extra observant. I felt like I had to keep the peace, not allow squabbles to escalate to fights as they often do. I felt like I had to monitor the language more closely. I felt like it was all up to me when Hubby had the headset on.

And I felt like I wasn’t enough.

Did I really think this little girl would judge me? Or give a bad report to her mother? Or did she simply tread on my turf for too many hours and prevent my introvert escape? But the anger came before she did – days before she did. I was angry that she was coming.

Can anyone else make sense of this or put into a context I can understand? (Yes I’m seeing my therapist later this week, so no need to suggest that one 😉

 

Seasonal and Cyclical Battles

So what’s up with me? I’m not entirely sure, it has no name. Every November I risk losing my mind. My brain and body attack me until I wave the white flag. I think it may be some physical and psychological symptoms working together – like an annual perfect storm.

I think my PTSD kicks up a notch with triggers all around.I fear all of the upcoming holiday gatherings and memories of years past. My guilt picks up as I dread gift exchanges, never having enough money and giving handmade gifts, or sometimes nothing at all. I am tormented by giving tons of junk to my kids so they can have the same experience their friends have, and my own belief that the stuff is junk and not needed and I hate feeding their greed and materialism. (NEW! My therapist has a new theory as well, she thinks the darkness of the shorter days is actually a trigger to me since most of my abuse occurred when I was in my room at night. I may be feeling like it is almost bed time all day long, triggering my fear of abuse. Not sure what to do with this new theory though, just tossing it out there for consideration.)

I think my immune system crashes, after months of fighting allergies to pollen, grass and  mold, and the rotting leaves outside and the dry/dusty furnace air inside put me over the top. I get so dry that I can’t smile without my lips cracking and bleeding. My lips cause me all sorts trouble, from peeling to cracking, to chronic painful sores (chelitis and cold sore blisters – not so pretty). Running humidifiers, drinking extra water, peroxide rinses and using lip balm helps a little. My sinuses and ears stay blocked up, I have a constant headache and can barely hear. Antihistamines and decongestants only help a little. Neti pot and showers help more. (I have spoken to a friend with lupus and have decided to visit a rheumatologist to investigate a possible autoimmune disease. I’d hate to blame PTSD and actually have a physical disease. I get rashes from the sunlight, joint pain (I have a special mouse that keeps my thumb straight, have to wrap my knee to prevent it from locking while I sleep, have red swollen knuckles, mouth/nose sores, GI issues)

My sleep/dream cycle goes batsh*t crazy. I can’t sleep very long at all, sometimes wake up after just 10-15 minutes with a feeling like I have slept longer and get so disappointed to see the same TV program is still on. Often I can’t sleep on purpose, like a restless toddler, I can only fall asleep when I’m not trying. If I lay down and try to sleep, I get a panic attack. The flip side is I fall asleep when I don’t want to, like during business meetings. And my dreams are always vivid and wild, sometimes terrifying, sometimes just wild goose chasing – always exhausting. I’ve increased vitamin D supplements again, reduced caffeine, try meditating, and that list goes on, I blog about it often. But the fact remains that a big part of me still fears falling asleep.

My negative mental tapes start running and looping endlessly. I fall into cognitive distortion land where everything is black/white and all or nothing, I misunderstand simple comments and interactions to my detriment, and I somehow misconstrue my own beliefs to unintentionally sound hurtful. I think I’m not good enough, feel like everyone is sick of me, that I’m a huge bother, and can’t accept any compliments without it feeling patronizing.

I stop taking care of my body. This time of year, my eating gets all disordered. I don’t ever feel hungry or full, so I try to eat by the clock and the plate size, but I end up not eating for way too long, and overeating sometimes too. I get random cravings, I stress eat junk food, and sometimes I get a panic feeling when I start eating and I just can’t stop, so the overeating enters binge territory. And then the shame, hiding the wrappers and empty containers from my family, avoiding the scale, knowing my pants are getting tighter. I’m too tired to move, I barely shower and change clothes, actual exercise seems impossible. More shame. I want to be healthy. I know I’m mistreating my body, but I can’t figure out how to change this part yet. (NEW! My therapist has a theory about this too. She thinks part of me wants Hubby to scold me for over eating and putting on weight – like my both my parents always did. She thinks I still don’t trust that he loves me for being me, and that I may be partially testing him to see if he can love a fat slob. I don’t want to be that messed up, but I’m not ruling it out. ALSO something very interesting. I was playing Sims with my 2nd grader last week, and creating a sim that looked as close to me as possible. I adjusted the body weight to what I thought was accurate, and he started laughing and asked why I made myself so fat. ?? I was seriously confused and asked him to make it look like me, and I thought he was just being nice when he went down several sizes. My therapist said a 2nd grader wouldn’t be nice, he was being honest, and that I seem to have some body dysmorphic disorder to go along with all my other distortions. She told me I am beautiful and I cringed and felt nauseous. Hmmm. I understand this intellectually, I took psych courses. But once again understanding does not translate to  instant change. My BMI is 1 point on the overweight side, but could I be wrong about what the extra 10-15 pounds looks like on me? I feel huge and uncomfortable at my current weight.)

So lots to think about, that’s for sure. MIL is taking kids for the few days and I intend to sleep, sleep and sleep, and focus on my eating and any feelings I have while eating (homework from therapist).