I Struggle…

I struggle to feel.

I struggle to feel nothing.

I struggle to feel something.

I struggle to feel like everyone else.

I struggle to feel like myself.

I struggle to feel like I fit in.

I struggle to feel special.

I struggle to feel.

I had it right the first time.

 

Posted in c-ptsd, childhood trauma, complex ptsd, feelings, healing from childhood sexual abuse, incest, mental health, mental illness, ptsd, self harm, sexual abuse, substance abuse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Greatest Time Traveler!

I take exception to those who do not believe I time travel. Thanks to my PTSD I feel like I am able to travel back in time at a moments notice. These trips are often not pleasant  but one moment I can be my usual 51 year old self and then within the hour I am a five year old wanting to throw a tantrum.

Many can understand that statement but only others with PTSD can truly feel that statement.

Recently, I was with a client who was having a full blown panic attack which included much yelling, crying,  arm waving and running around the large group room at work.

I sat calmly and spoke softly to her as she worked through her process. I felt some fear but tried not to let that dictate my response. The client hugged me when it was over and thanked me for being there for her.

The time travel began following that incident. My supervisor stated she had walked by the group room, heard the yelling, went to the front to see which staff had which client and figured out it was me and the client who is not allowed to attend my supervisors group because of her erratic behavior.   That was the end of her conversation with me.

My supervisor’s response did not set well with me. But I moved on that is what I do.

Later that week, I engaged in self harm, had lots of intrusive thoughts about wanting to not be alive….. I was feeling out of control….sort of like a five year old wanting to throw a tantrum. Five year olds do not understand grown up things. I couldn’t connect what I was feeling with the incident earlier in the week. Five year olds can’t do that and I was in five year old world.

When I discussed it in therapy, we were able to discuss feelings of abandonment that were triggered. You know being left at the mercy of someone who is out of control. Mom walked away during the abuse, just like my supervisor walked away and left me to deal with an out of control client.

Once I made the connection I was able to travel forward in time and get back to being a 51 year old adult. Part of me wishes I could throw that tantrum….just once. But I’m not five anymore, I just occasionally visit five year old world.

 

 

 

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Oh…the irony of it.

Since the seventh grade I have wanted to be a social worker.  I went to a workshop on child abuse for my health class and my brother (my perpetrator) was the police officer providing part of the workshop. Oh the irony of it!  Most of the memory is a blur but I remembered hearing that a counselor also needs to empathize with the perpetrator.

What!   You have to be  (enter your own swear word or words here) kidding me!

So after my goal changed that night and I wanted to become a nun. I even sent away for information about doing a summer program to see if this was for me. I never went.

Ever so slowly I went to school and ended up with a bachelors psychology which does not mean a whole lot in the work field. Then my therapist asked if I was going for my masters and I said….

What!  You have to be  (enter your own swear word or words here) kidding me!

But I did get my masters in social work and all that time my goal was to open a private practice. I just rented my own office that I will use part time until I finish my clinical hours.

I guess I have always been goal driven in my own way but never in a million years did I think I would accomplish any of this.

I think back on all of the times I wanted to die, the hate , the fear, the loneliness the confusion, the not knowing, never knowing how strong I really was.

Don’t get me wrong I still have my moments and I still go to my therapist but my biggest challenge today literally is what will my next goal be. Granted it took 30 some years to reach this one but I did.

I write this  because I know somewhere there is someone considering ending their life because of the damage caused by sexual abuse and incest. I know I have been there many times in my life but I am not there today. If others had not told me this is possible I would have never known. That is why I write this.

Please know there  is a way through this, it does get better. Healing is possible!

 Please reach out and find someone who will listen. It won’t be easy but it is definitely worth it.  

 

 

 

 

Posted in c-ptsd, childhood trauma, complex ptsd, healing from childhood sexual abuse, incest, mental health, mental illness, ptsd, sexual abuse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Addiction

It seems like forever since I have posted. Life just gets so busy that my mind does not clear enough to write. For those who do not know, I am a substance abuse counselor. I write the following as I struggle with an overdose death of a client.

 

A young girl, 26 full of hopes and dreams

A future delayed due to heroin addiction

She fought and she won

It was temporary

Addiction is so strong,

It called her name

She tried to resist,

Addiction is so strong

It called her to the edge

She knew the dangers

I imagine her saying “just one more time”

Addiction is so strong

There is no more time

Addiction took her life

That is the cause of death

People will say she overdosed as though she had a choice

Addiction is a disease

She fought and she lost.

 

 

 

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Innocence Lost!

Simple Definition of innocence (Merriam-Webster)

  • : the state of being not guilty of a crime or other wrong act

  • : lack of experience with the world and with the bad things that happen in life

When I stopped feeling guilty about the sexual abuse that was done to me, I began to understand innocence. I was able to intellectualize my childhood was a story about innocence lost.  I thought I understood.

I didn’t run and play, I hid and prayed

I didn’t want to see more, I closed my eyes to the world

I didn’t want to feel touch, it always hurt

I didn’t want to laugh and sing, being invisible was the goal.

I thought I understood how living this way affected me but I was wrong. Today I am at a place where the PTSD is manageable and I enjoy the life I have. I am grateful to be at this place because many on this road do not make it. Still there are days when I need to “manage” my PTSD and it hurts.

When I see my 4 year old niece run and play or jump into her fathers arms for love and attention. I listen as she sings and dances around the living room or in an aisle in a store She gives me a hug and a kiss and she is not afraid. She explores the world and is inquisitive. She is unafraid because she knows there are people around her who will love and protect her. She is encouraged to take risks and reassured when she makes mistakes.

Most of all she is sassy, she has an opinion that is all her own and she uses her voice.

Watching her sometimes makes me happy and angry at the same time. I am happy for this little girl and all the possibilities that are ahead of her.

It also triggers the little girl part of me that says why was it so different for me. What does she do so different to deserve this kind of life. What did I do so different to have been given the life I was. Sometimes I even wonder ….what if…. I trudge into that dangerous territory despite my better judgment.

Spending time with her hurts a little because it is no longer an abstract concept. It is real, it is in front of me and it hurts.

 

 

 

 

Posted in anger, childhood trauma, complex ptsd, feelings, healing from childhood sexual abuse, incest, mental health, mental illness, ptsd, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another FUN day!!

I would like to be a go with the flow kind of person but I am not. I really can’t be. The world is a different place for me. It is filled with dangerous, scary sights and sounds that others don’t see because I live with PTSD.

Today my nieces want to take their kids to an animal sanctuary.  Sounds fun right, little kids and baby goats and pigs running around. Sounds absolutely adorable.

Except…..there is always and exception for me.

The animal sanctuary is literally next door to my childhood home.

People with me are aware, they know my history….sort of.

I will likely spend the day in a fog… trying not to think about the incest…. trying not to remember  and doing nothing but REMEBERING!

Sounds like another fun day!

 

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No need to wonder…

Three steps forward one step back. That is how my therapist describes it when I have a flare up of my PTSD. I can be doing fine and then suddenly, from what feels like out of the blue, I am struggling.

Sometimes I know what the trigger is and sometimes I do not. The times I do not know I attribute to the years of memories still buried somewhere in my mind. I may not be conscious of them but they are there, haunting me with what I can not remember.

I know I am lucky to be alive because there were many,  many, nights when surviving seemed more difficult than dying. In fact at times dying was preferred. I don’t know why I survived but I know I never want to go back.

For years, I have fought demons of every shape and size, internal and external, to get to where I am today. Life is good today.

When my PTSD flares up, I feel out of control, like I am spinning and unable to stop myself. It feels like I am going back to the person I was before. For 40 some years I was a tortured little girl trapped inside, unwilling and unable to love myself or anyone else. The visions, physical sensations, sounds, smells dominating my mind, day and night.  I did not understand what it meant to just be in the world, to trust and have fun.

It is no wonder why the thought of going back to who I was is terrifying. It is like going  to the scene of a giant forest fire and wandering through the burning embers looking for years looking for a sign of hope and not finding any.

 

Posted in c-ptsd, childhood trauma, complex ptsd, feelings, healing from childhood sexual abuse, incest, mental health, mental illness, ptsd, sexual abuse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments