Tag Archives: abuse

Life Isn’t Always A Straight Line

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge – This week, share a photo that foregoes the straightforward in favor of the twisting and winding.

untitledMy trip to Mesa Verde National Park, 2007 

Life never goes in a straight line.  It goes left, it goes right, then left, and right.  The straight line is usually the quickest way to the destination (thank you math class), but the quickest way is not always the best way (thank you life for teaching me that, it is not always the easiest or greatest way either and most people hate it). I don’t think my life has ever let me use the straight path, or I should say, it rarely has let me go down that road.  Sometimes, I wish it would, I pray that I could just take that straight path.  Looking back though, I have learned a lot from all those twists and turns – all those zig zags that life has taken me through. 

I hated going through what I went through.  I hated the abuse.  I hated what my teacher did to me.  I hated being raped.  I hated when I got my brachial plexus injury and my arm was paralyzed.  I hate dealing with my nursing school.  I hated being diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder and PTSD.  Would I wish any of that on anyone else, no.  But would I change what happened to me?  No, because it has made me who I am.  It has shaped me, and I like who I have become.  I would not have said that a year ago, and there are days I still don’t think that. I know that I am going to turn my pasts hurts into something positive though.  How do I know this, well I am already doing it – and I am saving that for a future post, just give me a day or two!

Sometimes, the zig zags are good things too though, those twists and turns aren’t always bad.  They can be great adventures.  They can open our minds and our eyes to amazing and beautiful things.  I have had plane delays and trips turn out to be completely unexpected adventures.  I have taken the longer way, the zig-zagging path, to reach a goal – and it was much more meaningful and fulfilling than the easy way. 

19935_908780549468_1751874_n

Jenga at Christmas, 2009

 

Daily Post – Abuse of One’s Power

Word Press Post A Day – Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?

Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride.  The 7 deadly sins.

There is an 8th deadly sin for me.  Well there are probably a 100 or more deadly sins in my book, but today – we will talk about the 8th. 

I can’t sum it down to one work, but four – abuse of one’s power.  Taking advantage of someone because you have more power of them.  Using your title, your badge, your degree, your social status, or whatever it might be to get what you want or enforce your punishment or authority on to someone else.

I guess, a lot of people would think of cops when I write them – they pull someone over and get overly aggressive.  Or there is even a higher number of domestic violence cases within the households that have a member of the law enforcement living in them (of course, many cops are good).  People will say cops speed even when they pull others over for speeding and they are not even chasing anyone or going anywhere special. 

For me, I personally had a teacher abuse his power.  I was molested by a teacher when I was younger.  He took advantage of me.  He abused his authority.  I was depressed and he found out what was going on in my life and told me he would make it better, he would fix it, I just had to listen to him and do what he said.  For months, he made me do things.  He verbally abused me, he sexually abused me.  It took years for me to trust a teacher again.  My life was turned upside down.  My mental health was awful – and still is.  I struggle every day with trust and socialization. 

When someone abuses their power, they take away someone freedom.  They take away that persons self worth.  It might not seem like a big deal.  It might not seem like it affects anything at all.  But it is a big deal.  Whether it is simply doing something because you can – because you know that no one will challenge you for fear of what you will do to them even though no one is going to get hurt, or because you want what you want and someone is going to get hurt – emotionally or physically. 

The 8th cardinal sin – abusing one’s power.

Frustration, Arguments with Friends, Life, Everything

Tonight was a rough night. 

Today actually started out amazing!  I got great news – which I will reveal in a later post at some point.

But, the day ended horribly!  I feel bad and I don’t feel bad at the same time.  I went to a support group meeting and spent some time talking to a few friends after.  We got into a discussion that just ended with me blowing up.  I majored in sociology and am extremely open minded and liberal.  Anyway, yes, I should have been more open to letting them have their views, but I guess when it comes to social issues regarding race and social justice – I just cant sit back on stuff when specific comments are made.  They were not saying horrible things or anything of that matter – don’t get me wrong.  But it still struck a chord with me.  I just blew up, I lashed out, I yelled. 

The things is, I feel bad about how I reacted, but I don’t feel bad about what I said.  My anxiety and depression haven’t been the best lately, and I don’t want to blame my reaction on my mental illness, but I also don’t think I would have had that reaction if my meds were working correctly.  I did gain control and just walk off – granted it was in the middle of me yelling – I walked off in the middle of it before I kept doing it. 

I feel really bad though. I feel like a failure.  I feel like I just messed up my life again.  I literally started this day off on such a high note!  And I ended up so low.  When I woke up, I had this plan of completely starting my life over, not that I can’t still do that.  I just feel like, if I was going to do that and then already fell so deep within 24 hours – how can I keep going? 

I know I will get over this.  I know life will go on.  But getting into arguments with your friends sucks!  These people are my main support system here.  I go to this support group, and I only am close to a few of these people in it, and I just yelled at 2 of them.  I don’t even know if I want to go back?!  I know things will go back to normal, but it is going to take time.  And that makes my anxiety worse, and my depression worse.  I feel like I lost my support system – and it was my fault.  I always screw things up. 

I’m going to try to not think about it all though.  I may take a day off tomorrow – I may get on and off here, look around, try to do the daily prompt, but if I don’t get on here — I think I might just take some time to decompress after what happened.  Let out my pent up anger and anxiety that I have held in over the years from the abuse and trauma and everything else that I am only now dealing with.   

An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters – by Portia Nelson

This is a wonderful poem that I was given when I was inpatient.  Then I was given it again while in therapy.  There is so much power in this poem and I feel like it represent my struggle with mental illness so much.  I feel like I have gone back and forth between the chapters of it multiple times in my life and I am sure I will continue to throughout my life. 

 

A POETIC INTERLUDE:  AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERSby Portia NelsonI

I walk, down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in

I am lost…. I am helpless

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again

I can’t believe I am in the same place but, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there.’

I still fall in…. it’s a habit, my eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

pothole

 

Daily Post – Bringing Me Back to Childhood

WordPress Post A Day – It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

 

I hate umbrellas!  I absolutely do!  This rain, did it have to rain though?  It was perfectly sunny earlier, ugh I guess I really do need to start watching the weather report.  – I think these things to myself.  I look around the dreary, antique shop, the owner appears. “Hello!”

‘Um, hi!  I really don’t want anything.  I’m sorry, I just had to get out of the rain,” I explained.

“Ok, ok.  Well look around.  There are still lots of fun things around here.  Old things, things that might bring you back to your past.”

I decide, what the heck – I’m stuck here, I might as well do something than stare out the glass door at the rain.  So I walk around, there is actually quite a mixture of things – lots of old dishes, chinaware, depression glass, pottery, music instruments, but what really caught my attention was a toy. 

I’m not antique, I’m not even old, or I don’t think I am. It brought me back to childhood though, when I was carefree.  Whenever I played with this, I was happy, I wasn’t sad.  It was this giant spinning top! I am not sure how else to explain it.  I could sit and watch it for hours.  In the middle, you pushed up and down on a stick which made it spin around on its base.  Mine was pink with swirls of yellow and orange.  I had it when I was about 5 until 8, but I took it everywhere, including out in the rain (what a coincidence!), so it became quite rusted and quit working. 

He was right, looking around did bring me back to my past.  A time when I was happy.  The rain stopped and I was free to go, to get out of the dark store.  I couldn’t leave that top behind though.  It had brought me so much happiness and maybe I needed it again now, to remind me that sometimes I just need to step back and have some fun, to look at the little things in life.  So I paid for the top, thanked the man for the shelter, and went on my way.

original_giant-spinning-top

Found on: NotOnTheHighStree.com

 

All too often, I don’t have good thoughts about my childhood.  I think of all the bad things, the fights, the arguments, the depression, and abuse.  I don’t think of the things in between that I held on to, the things that kept me going. My toys were one of those things.  As a kid, they are an escape for you.  As you get older, it is usually your friends. As a kid though, your toys mean so much to you!  That giant spinning top – it really took me out of my thoughts.  I was mesmerized by it. It really didn’t do much but sit there and spin, but I could play with it for hours.  It is really amazing how much a toy can bring such joy.  When I look back on my life, I realize I need to try and focus on some of my happy thoughts now.  To balance out all the negatives that I am having to deal with during therapy, I also need to focus on some of the positives.  The good people that have been there for me, the things that did get me by, the hobbies I had, the healthy escapes that I used.  I made it this far, and I did that somehow.  I need to focus on those positives – and not just on all the negatives.  If I simply focus on all of my trauma while going through therapy, it will be hard, it will be incredibly hard.

My Story

I had no idea what was going on with me.  I was 10 and sad.  But I wasn’t just sad.  I was really sad.

I was 11 and I wanted to die.  I planned on how to die.  Our school was taking a trip to Six Flags and I wrote out my suicide note, and I put it in my backpack and I was going to kill myself at the park.  My mom found it though, she asked me if she needed to keep me home.  I said I was fine and went to catch my bus.  It was never talked about again.

I was 13 and still really sad.  Suicide still ran rampant in my head.  My art teacher found out.  He found out about my home life.  I trusted him. I thought he would help me.  He said he was going to.  But he took advantage of me.  He made me do things to him.  He did things to me.  He verbally abused me.  He sexually abused me.  He hurt me.  I believed all his lies. He molested me and hurt me and fucked me up so bad.  I wanted to die more than ever before.

I was 14 and moved to a new city. Life was worse than ever before.  A new school and no friends. My school counselor found out about what my teacher did.  Chaos broke out.  I didn’t want to deal with it.  I began cutting. I did not tell the police everything. He was never charged. My depression became more severe. I became sick from stress. I missed more than half the school year and stayed home because I was “sick.”

I was 15 and 16 and 17 and high school happened. My depression trapped me.  I faked my smiles and I wore my mask.  I immersed myself in school work.  I tried to pretend like I was happy and make myself believe I was. Deep down I was choking, I could barely breathe. Every day I planned my death. I didn’t even believe I would make it to graduation. Surely I would do something before then.

Graduation came and went. I was 18. College was a new start. Surely life could start over now. I was raped. My mental health went down hill. For the first time in my life I was put into counseling. I couldn’t talk though. I didn’t know how to express myself. I isolated more than ever. I cried more than ever.

Therapy continued and I made no progress, but I just kept going.  I kept my emotions in for so long that I just avoided everything. I turned 21 and my life went upside down. My arm was paralyzed. I lost control. Again. The molestation. The rape. My arm.  I had lost control again. I needed to die now. My depression consumed me.  The year was 2009.

Trigger Warning –  the next paragraph mentions a suicide attempt


 

I had many suicide attempts.  My worst was in May 2012 though.  I had strategically overdosed on Tylenol.  After being given the antidote (Mucomyst) and Reglan, both of which I had reactions to, I was transported to the ICU where I spent 4 days before being sent to the psychiatric hospital.  This was not my first time in the ICU but it was the worst attempt I had.  And it was also somewhat of a wake up call. It was my last attempt, but not my last visit to the psych hospital.

Between January 2011, my first psychiatric hospitalization, and October 2012 – I had 15 psychiatric hospitalizations and ended up with three diagnosis (bipolar, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder). On that last hospitalization I was committed for 6 months to the state hospital.  I was terrified, but at the same time, I was so frustrated and sick of life, I really didn’t care what happened to me.  I was so sure that I would kill myself no matter what anyone did and that I had no future, that it didn’t matter to me.  The state hospital was the best thing that happened to me though.

On Halloween of October 2012 I went to the state hospital via the backseat of a Sherriff’s car. It was a two hour drive and it took me to a life changing experience.  I had the best psychiatrist, psychologist, nurses, rec therapist, music therapist, group therapists, psych techs, dietician, and other support staff possible.  They were all determined to get me and others back on the right track. I left the hospital in April 2013 more stable than I had been in a long time.  On the correct combo of meds and with coping skills that I actually felt comfortable using.

Today, in 2014, I still struggle.  I have been hospitalized since being out of the state hospital.  But in no way am I in and out like I was two years ago.  I take my medication and I acknowledge that I need it.  I accept that I have a mental illness and I try to educate myself about them.  I attend therapy and participate in it actively.  I am working through my PTSD which has been a huge factor in my hatred of myself and life.  I am always working on improving and finding new coping skills.  I continue to attend my support groups.

I know I can continue to fight.  I know I don’t have to let it consume me anymore.  I don’t have to let it win. It still knocks me down sometimes.  I just have to make sure I keep getting back up.

Dissociation and Staying in the Here and Now.

Dissociation.  It sucks.  It has been happening to me a lot I guess.

My anxiety medication was making things worse for me, so I was taken off of it.  But while I was on it, my dissociation was even worse than before.  But even off of it, I still dissociate. It is completely frustrating

So, some of you might not even know what dissociation is. 

Dissociation – It can be mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.

It does not necessarily mean you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).  Dissociation can simply mean you , somewhat zone out, detach yourself from what is around you, go off into your own world so you do not think what your mind wants you to think or feel. 

Dealing with my past history of abuse has been incredibly hard.  Thinking of that, the sexual abuse, the rape, everything – it has just made me incredibly anxious and depressed and quite honestly, the suicidal ideations have been running rampant in my head. 

Sometimes, I don’t even have to be thinking about any of it, and suddenly a memory will just pop into my brain and trigger me and I either have a flashback, a panic attack, or completely dissociate.  During therapy, the dissociation has happened more frequently.  It is really frustrating.  Sometimes I come out of it and just want to cry.  I feel horrible.  I don’t want to talk at all. 

It is really hard to deal with.  Staying in the here and now – I guess I just have to keep learning how to do that.  I guess I need to practice using my grounding techniques more frequently when my anxiety is high and the dissociation occurs.  As my therapist says, she is there to help me through it when it happens in her office, but when she is not around, I have to learn how to do it on my own. 

FUNNY FRIDAYS

I am going to start a new weekly series called “FUNNY FRIDAYS”

I just want to clarify that in no way am I trying to make light or make fun of mental illness.  But humor is healthy and sometimes we just need to learn to laugh at ourselves and our situations.

 

When life gets you down —

 

 c5ca62fbbd1bc8c9919c05eb9f79a0a3

LGBTQ – Not a Mental Illness, but they are faced with mental health issues

Homosexuality. Gay. Lesbian. Bisexual.  Transgender. Questioning. Asexual.

These are not a mental illness.  In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees removed homosexuality from it’s list of diagnoses in the DSM.  All major mental health professionals agree with this, that it is not a mental health condition.

However, there are greater levels of mental health problems within this group of individuals.  It is not due to their beliefs though.  In large part, it is thought to be due to the discrimination and stigma that they face on a daily basis.

When a young person is faced with “coming out” to their parents or peers, and rejected by either, their risk for depression and suicide is quite high.  Anxiety and self harm becomes and issue as well. Substance abuse might begin to occur.  Abuse – physically and emotionally at home can occur.  All of these factors can lead to a decline in mental health and serious mental illness later on in life.

It is important that mental health issues of that are LGBTQ are addressed if they need to be.  No, not everyone in this group has them. But when they do occur, they should not be afraid to seek help. And there should be adequate resources to help them.

We should stand behind them to help them get the support they need.  All too many times people tell them they need to change, to seek help from church, to pray, even to get “conversion therapy.”  I am not here to debate beliefs on this blog and will not do so.  I am simply here to discuss that those that are so defeated by the stigma and discrimination due to their own beliefs feel the need to escape life by suicide or self injury or substance abuse – need help.  Professional help through counseling, therapy, psychiatry.  Friendship and understanding.

I had friends come out in middle school, I had friends come out in high school, I had a lot of friends that were out in college.  I am 26 so I knew people that were coming out when we were 12,13 back in 2000 or so.  It was hard for them.  They were not treated that great.  But then, once they came out, a few others did too, and it wasn’t such a big deal.  Honestly, in my generation, it really isn’t as big of a deal as it was a long time ago.  But it still is a really big deal at the same time.  So, if you know someone battling stress, anxiety, self harm, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts related specifically to this issue – here are some resources.

Some resources are:

GLBT National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

GLBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE (7743)

Online peer-support chat: http://www.glbtnationalhelpcenter.org/chat/index.html

NAMI – GLBT Resources

Longing for a Friend, but Not Wanting Anyone Near Me

I am so scared to meet people and get close to people, and yet I long to have friends to trust and be able to go to and spend time with.  My mind can’t decide which is more important – protecting myself from possibly being hurt, or taking the chance of actually having someone to help me when I am feeling hurt.  I know this occurs partially because of my BPD – pulling people in and pushing people away.  But I think it really occurs with all mental illness in some aspect, and I think mine occurs more because of my social anxiety than anything.

Since the abuse from when I was younger, the molestation by my teacher in 7th grade, I have had a hard time trusting anyone.  I began to isolate from any friendships that I did have.  We moved the year after the sexual abuse happened and I didn’t want to make new friends or have to trust anyone.  Despite that, I really wanted to – I wanted to be able to confide in someone, to have them tell me everything would be ok. 

Now, 13 years later, my mind still works that later.  Constantly arguing with itself – should I socialize or isolate?  I am terrified to go out and meet people.  Will they judge me?  Will they see through me, will they see that I was abused? Will they blame me for it?  What if they find out I am on disability, what will they think of me then? 

What if they actually like me though, and then they want to hang out with me? See, I have been able to meet people sometimes.  I have made some friends.  But I am not someone who can constantly be around people non-stop.  I still need my space or I get overwhelmed.  I feel trapped, just like when I was being abused.  So keeping the friendship is hard for me because I begin to pull away and isolate.  Turning down offers to hang out, quit answering phone calls, and slowly letting the relationship dissolve until they no longer call me.

Isolating is so bad for our mental health though.  It keeps us in a negative state of mind.  Sure, it is good for us to have time for ourselves.  It is actually healthy for us to take time out for ourselves and spend time alone — sometimes!  Key word, sometimes.  But when we let our depression or anxiety take over and keep us from getting out to do things or spend time with others, we are preventing ourselves from actually enjoying life and living.  It is something I really need to work on.  I have definitely not won this battle yet.  I struggle with the social anxiety.  And when I get depressed it compounds my isolation even more. 

It’s funny how we can long so much for company and yet not want anyone near us at the same time.  Our minds work in funny ways.