Be proud of who you are and everything you have overcome.
How do you talk about trauma?
How do you talk about childhood sexual abuse? Or childhood abuse? Or rape at any age – childhood or adult? Or any type of crime that has been committed against you?
It is important to be open with you counselor, I understand that. I have an absolutely amazing therapist! She makes me feel comfortable and I feel like she would understand and believe what I told her.
I do not know how to talk to her though. I have written a few things, but even with that, it is hard. I cannot go into details about things. Writing or saying things just makes it real. I don’t want it to be real. I know it is real though – and I just want it to all go away. It won’t though, and it haunts me, and until I deal with it — I am always going to feel bad and have these flashbacks and nightmares and want to hurt myself and die as much as I do. I know I have bipolar and borderline personality along with my PTSD. But I know if I deal with this PTSD, my symptoms will go down much more.
How does everyone else talk about their traumas? Or just talk in general? How do you let our your feelings, your frustrations, your thoughts? I’m so scared to. I want to. I think about it over and over in my head because therapy. All week sometimes. I go in there with what I want to say. I have rehearsed it in my mind. Then, when I want to say it, my mouth can’t. It is like it is all jumbled up.
I have gotten better about opening up. But not about much. It is never going to go away unless I talk. I know that. She has told me. I believe her. I just don’t know how to. This is the first time I have ever face this stuff in therapy. I have told her more than I have told anyone else. I have gotten a lot out, but there is so much more.
So, how do you all do it? How do you talk in therapy? If you have been through abuse, sexual abuse, rape – anything like that – how do have you been able to talk about it? Even if you haven’t been through any type of abuse — how do you talk in therapy, how do you let out your emotions?
One small crack does not mean that you are broken,
it means that you were put to the test and you did not fall
PTSD is a normal reaction to extreme trauma.
Just like bleeding is normal reaction to being stabbed.
Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge – This week, share a photo that foregoes the straightforward in favor of the twisting and winding.
My 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.
Jenga at Christmas, 2009
I recently read a wonderful post written by the Musings of Fred. It discussed how the signs of mental illness in minors are often ignored. This post hit home with me. It was extremely true for my particular case growing up. Not only were my signs of mental health issues ignored, but even when they came to light, they were just not addressed.
Why does this happen? Why does it take so long for parents to step in and get help for their children? Honestly, I don’t have the answer. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I have done no research whatsoever. So I am not here to give some scientific answer.
I just I just wanted to give my thoughts. And I wanted to see what everyone else thought.
For me, I honestly hid my emotions and feelings of depression quite well. I am not sure my parents actually knew up front. My mom did find a suicide note when I was in 6th grade though, and she asked me about it, and then it was never talked about again. Some teachers asked me about my depression, but again, did nothing. One teacher seemed to care, but he abused his power and molested me. This is when it all came to light – my 8th grade school counselor found out about the molestation, she told my parents, I was cutting and I was suicidal. My school counselor urged them to put me in therapy. I did not want to deal with anything and did not want to go. My parents never discussed anything with me and I was never put into therapy.
My mental health deteriorated over time, Deteriorated a lot, suicidal thoughts were awful, life was awful, my parents never stepped in, teachers never stepped in. No one seemed to care even though everyone seemed to be aware.
I think a lot of people were in denial. How could I be having problems? My grades were still perfect 0 straight A’s in fact. I was in all AP classes. How could someone doing so well in school really want to die, how could they be destroying their lives – they had a bright future. I don’t think my parents wanted to believe that I had been molested. I don’t think they wanted to believe that their child had a mental illness. I don’t think my teachers wanted to get involved and as some told me, I always seemed to be better at the end of each semester when my grades mattered.
I told people I didn’t want help when I was younger, and yeah, I was scared of getting help because of what my teacher did to me. I had told him about being depressed, and he took advantage of me. But I also longed to not feel the way I was feeling. I wanted someone to save me from my mind and how much it was torturing me.
I hope that people quit ignoring the kids and adolescents that need help. I hope that those that are reaching our for help, and those that are silently suffering because they don’t know how to reach out for help or feel they cant, can receive the help they need. Too often people do see the signs – teachers, pastors, friends, and family, they do see the signs – but the blind themselves to them. They don’t want to believe it could happen in their kid. They are too preoccupied with their own problems or work. They think it is just a phase.
We can’t look the other way anymore. I truly believe if someone had helped me when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time in college, I would be suffering as much as I am now. Yes, I said I didn’t need help then, I said I didn’t want therapy then. I was 13 or 14 though. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was scared. I didn’t want my friends to judge me. I shouldn’t have been able to make that decision, I was a kid.
If you want to know more about warning signs in kids from preschool to the teen age years click here.
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.
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. 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.
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.