Tag Archives: trauma

30 Day Mental Health Challenge – Day 1

Day 1: What is/are your mental illness(es).  Explain it a little.

 

I am currently diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

My Bipolar disorder has varied from BP 2, to BP 1, to BP NOS — so honestly I am not sure which one I have.  I have moved a few times since getting the diagnosis and depending on the psychiatrist, they just decide on what they want.  I think my most accurate diagnosis is probably Bipolar 2 though.  I have had the severe highs before, but only 3 times since I ever was diagnosed back in 2012, and the majority of it is extremely severe depression.

With my PTSD, I basically have horrible flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation related to past traumatic events in my life.  These include childhood abuse that has happened to me.  Sexual abuse by a teacher when I was 13.  Also I was raped in college.  I am not currently facing this, but for a time I also had some PTSD related to a surgery which paralyzed my right arm due to complications and then in turn caused a great deal of stress and depression due to lack of my use of my arm and my future of my job.

My BPD affects me in many ways – although I honestly figure that out on a day to day basis.  My bipolar makes me depressed 97% of the times.  But then if something makes me mad or upset, I will be set off to be even more depressed or angry than I was before.  If I was suicidal before cause of my bipolar, my BPD could cause me to become even worse because of something someone said or did to me.  My emotions don’t usually swing up though like some people do.

How do you open up to your therapist?

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?

Not – “Why Did This Happen”, But “What Can I do Now, Where Can I Go From Here?

This blog has been a great release for me.  I have also said I still struggle.  At the moment, that last sentence is something that has been a problem for me.

It is a struggle that I am dealing with in a way I am not very much used to.  In fact, anything that is misspelled or looks weird in this I am sorry.

I have been dealing with trauma therapy.  It has been going well, I have an amazing therapist and am so grateful that I her.  She has stuck by me even when I could be open right away.  It is getting hardest though and I can’t stay present much.  Im awake then Im interacting with someone.  If I sit at home, going off, I dream, I imagine, I cry, its in my face, its happening to me.  Im fighting on the floor.  The thoughts are being yelled in my years

I took ambien cause I just feel myself leaving.  I talked to a friend from  my NAMI group.  I told her that my meds have made me better.  I am not severely depressed like how I was.  I do find joy at times.  I still have this underlying ever day depression though.  I still have this need to die though.  It is this bizarre need, like I have always felt like I wasn’t supposed to be alive.

Is it because of the childhood abuse?  Is it because of my genes?  It is because of both?  Nature, nurture, both?

I am not I will ever know what has cause my brain to hurt the way it hurts or have such hard feelings.

Anyway, I am on ambien and am completely falling asleep.  So as I said there maybe a completely a million mistakes and this may make no sense.  But I felt the need to write this.

Thinking our thoughts is hard.  Ruminating on why things happen can consume our lives.  From here, we really should just be asking, not why? but what now?

Not why did this happen. When did it happen?

But — What can I do now, from  this point forward, what can I do?Where Can I go From Here

Anyway, I am posted this ahead of time, so it should be posted in a few days, but I am totally tired from the medication now… so if it appears as if I should have been awake when it is up and posted, this is why 🙂  Best wishes everyone ! For some reason this was on my mind and I felt like writing it, perhaps I will re-write it or a follow up later though.

Please add your thoughts as well!

You did not fall apart

One small crack does not mean that you are broken,

it means that you were put to the test and you did not fall

apart.

Not Asking for Help – A Mistake I Won’t Make Again

What is a mistake I will never make again?

I won’t ever not ask for help again.  I went for years not asking for help.  Hiding my depression, hiding my pain.  I didn’t want people to think I was weak.  I didn’t want people to not love me or care about me.  I wanted to be strong and competitive in this world.  I wanted to prove I could be somebody.

Depression, Bipolar, BPD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, OCD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Trauma, Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, Rape – whatever the mental illness  or Trauma/Past is though – it doesn’t mean you are weak.  It took me far to long to figure that out.

All I knew was that this world was about getting ahead.  That is all that was preached to me in school – you have to do this, you have to do that.  Learn this, learn that.  Get into the best school, earn the highest grades.  Take the ACT, the SAT. Apply, apply, apply.  I was miserable, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

On top of that, I really didn’t believe I was going to be alive.  I really thought I was going to be dead, either by a natural death or by suicide.  I didn’t think I was actually going to have to live up to those expectations anyway.  So I never asked for help.

Then there was also the little fact that it was brought to people attention that I needed help, and no one seemed to care – so why would I ask for help when no one wanted to help me in the first place when others told them I needed it?

After being miserable for years though, and then seeing what my life has been like with the right medications and proper therapy — I would give so much to go back and get these things earlier in my life.  What a difference I think it would have made, how much easier my life would have been.

Even though people don’t always listen when we ask for help.  I still will always ask for it.  I still will always plead for it.  I won’t give up.  I will keep asking, I will keep begging, I will keep pleading for the help.  If I need help – I will get it – no matter what.  Because not asking for help, will just lead to my destruction.  I know that now.

PTSD-How to help

Having PTSD is really hard, and so many people do not understand what it is like – they may read about it or hear about it more because veterans are being diagnosed with it more frequently, but unless they have experienced flashbacks and panic attacks, hyper arousal and the anxiety related to it— it is hard for them to know what it is like. Multi Me wrote a great blog about some ways that you can help someone who has PTSD.

Multi-Me

If you have PTSD then you know how absolutely awful and debilitating it can be. I thought I’d write a post about the ways in which you can help someone with PTSD. Remember this is from my own perspective.

Listen, and validate the persons feelings. We all like to feel validated, it really does help.

Talk about the symptoms. Dont be afraid of them. PTSD is really scary to the person going through it.

If a person who experiences PTSD is going through a flashback, sit with them, and listen, hold their hand, soothe them.

Allow the person to express how they are feeling. Dont minimize the persons feelings or experiences as trivial.

Dont make fun of, or laugh at the persons symptoms. They are very real.

If you are staying the night with the person, and they have a nightmare, help them by getting them a cold drink, or…

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When Life Gives You Lemons — No… no I won’t make lemonade

Word Press Post A Day –  When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

I am sure that there are many times I have fixed things in an unorthodox way.  I was a very creative kid.  I went to Math, Science, Technology Magnet schools.  We were taught all sorts of critical thinking schools.  In nursing school you are taught critical thinking skills and to think outside of the box to help patients and solve problems.  I have had to come up with ways to fix all sorts of things with unconventional methods.

I hate the term, “When life gives you lemons just make lemonade” though!  No, when life gives you lemons you can’t always  just turn the situation around.  Sometimes life gives you lemons and it just sucks!  You have to just take it, know that it sucks, let yourself feel those emotions that it sucks, and acknowledge that it sucks.  You have a right to feel those thoughts and feelings and emotions.  Why do people always have to tell us to get over it, move on, just fix it?  I know we cannot wallow in it or ruminate on the problem or have pity party – of course not.  But what we feel is what we feel and we have the right to feel those emotions.  There is no reason that when something bad happens in our life that we should not be allowed to express that.  If something bad happens, let me feel like shit.  Stop telling me to just go make lemonade.  I don’t want to make lemonade.  I want to be pissed off for a while.  Once I work through those emotions then perhaps I would have squeezed through enough of those lemons with my anger and frustration that the lemonade will appear and I might have bought some sugar at the store to add to it.

Pushing the bad stuff that happens to me to the back of my mind and never dealing with it, just makes it come back 10x harder later on in life.  It builds up in me and eventually comes out as anger or resentment towards others.  So no, no I am not just going to make lemonade or something else when life gives me lemons.  Not right away anyway.  Perhaps you will get some lemonade over time, a cup at a time over a while.  But you aren’t going to be getting a jar of it all at once and I surely wont be setting up a lemonade stand making any money off of it.

Good Days and Bad Days, This Blog Has Helped and Will Help Me

I used to write all the time.  I had a journal on blogger and I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I wrote about my depression, my frustrations, how much I hated life.  I would write suicide notes and good bye letters.  I wrote about how I thought suicide was ok and how those who loved me should be happy I was gone because I wasn’t in pain anymore.  I had a physical, tangible journal too that my therapist gave me, and I wrote in that periodically as well – I would scribble down any thought that came to my head, over and over again, rambling on about everything – but it was always the bad stuff.  I never counteracted any of the negative thoughts with good things.  I never put any positive self talk in there or reminded myself about what was going on that was good.

I couldn’t see anything good around me – at all.  There was good stuff though.  My siblings cared a lot about me.  I live no where near them, we are all in different states.  We don’t even talk very much, but when we do, I can cry and let all my emotions out and they listen and understand.  Each day, I have food and an apartment to stay in.  Sure, I struggle to pay the bills and have food to eat — but I have it.  There was a time in my life, that I basically was kicked out of my apartment and had to move back home or be homeless, and I attempted suicide because of it.  I did not want to live with my mom.  Now, I have those things.  I have to think about that.  I have a mental health team, I am able to have my medicine.  I hate taking medicine, but it makes me stable.  There were times I couldn’t pay for my medicine – now I can and it is works fairly well.  I have struggled incredibly hard to find a good therapist and psychiatrist, but I have those now.  I have a team that wants me to get better.  There are good things in my life.  I may think that life is horrible and miserable, but not everything is working against me like it may seem.

I started this blog because I was so focused on the negatives in my other blog.  WordPress is a really active community and I wanted to be able to be involved with interacting with others.  I wanted to discuss mental health issues.  I wanted to be involved with reading about other interests of mine.  I wanted to focus on positives.

I still have horrible days.  Just two weeks ago (or something like that), I broke down.  I called the crisis line and then a day later called my dad and about went to the psych hospital.  I thought I was going to kill myself.  Life isn’t perfect for me.  My days can still get really shitty.  I still get super depressed.  But, I want to help people.  And writing on here has helped me feel better.  And talking with others on here has helped me feel better.  Connecting with others that are going through the same thing, knowing I am not alone.

I’m going to eventually have the posts where I am hating life again, but I am hoping that those are few and far between.  I’m sure starting grad school is going to make them happen a lot more frequently – bringing back memories related to my sexual abuse and rape.  My PTSD is going to be stirred up even more than it has been lately with therapy.   I hope to use this as a way to vent still, and get my frustration out, but in a more positive way than I was on my other online blog – which was quite negative as I was simply writing out my plans for death.  Here I can just write out my thoughts and even ask for advice.

I really think that writing on here and connecting with others on here and seeing this as a support has really helped though.  I hope that it continues to do that.

PTSD…It’s a normal reaction

 

PTSD is a normal reaction to extreme trauma.

Just like bleeding is normal reaction to being stabbed.

 

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. 

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Jenga at Christmas, 2009