I’m not sure anyone is reading this…… 

For real, I only know of one person who actually reads this. I don’t get much feedback from anyone on here so it’s hard to tell how many people really are reading my posts. I suppose it doesn’t matter all that much, I just wonder sometimes is all I guess.

The past week and a half has been something else. Let’s just say,  I am really glad for all the supports I had during this time. Friday, May 12th, I finally took the step and went to the YWCA to meet with a counselor there to sign up for their survivors of sexual abuse group. I was terrified. I had been told about this group all the way back in October, but was just now able to make an appointment and go in. My last post was all about this meeting, so I won’t spend a lot of time going over it again. On the way to the meeting though, my boss decided to call me and tell me about a scheduling error I had made for that day. I felt dumb, useless. All I could tell her was I was sorry, I didn’t know how it had happened, and I would fix the schedule for the upcoming Friday’s when I got back to the office of Monday. She responded with a “Well I guess I’ll have to call and find people to come in today,” and all I could think was, “yeah, I guess so, because I’m not there and I can’t fix it from my car.” I feel like she called just to point out I had messed up, and that it caused her to have to take time time to fix it. I felt terrible, and honestly I thought about it all weekend. When Monday came along, I was so worked up, so anxious, I got to work and it wasn’t even 2 hours into my shift when I had to call my dad and tell him I was about to just start crying because I was so worried about what my boss was going to say to me about my mistake when we met in a little while. I just wanted to cry, run away from it all, even the thoughts of quitting my job came to mind. I know, I know, ridiculous, right? Everyone makes mistakes, and we all have to learn to deal with consequences and learn from them. Well, my anxiety and depression told me otherwise.

I didn’t run, I didn’t quit. I did go to the bathroom and cry, and I did stress out most of the day. The stressing out was noticed by a few of my co-workers, to which I just responded that I wasn’t feeling well and it was no big deal. Tuesday came and we had a speaker coming in to do a presentation that evening. I came in late for the day as I would be staying later in the evening. Again, I was stressing out. This time though, I really wasn’t feeling all that well. My cold/allergies were being wacko and I just couldn’t get my anxiety to go away. My boss noticed I wasn’t looking good, my face was red and hot, and I just wasn’t myself. She even told me I wasn’t looking so good.

After the speaker’s series, which no one showed up for, and we had to send the speaker’s away, I went home and just crashed into my bed. I woke up Thursday feeling ok physically, but so emotionally drained and beat that I called in sick. I told my boss I was physically sick. I was having physical symptoms, but I believe a lot of it was because of the level of depression and anxiety I was having. The same thing happened on Thursday too. So I only worked Monday and Tuesday last week, and took Wed/Thurs off (I have Friday off every week anyways).

I went to my psychiatrist on Wednesday, told her I felt terrible for calling in to work when I was only having emotional issues and not physical. She pretty much told me that “mental health” days are and should be treated just the same as “physical health” days. She told me she would write me a letter of necessity to give to my boss if I really thought I’d need it. She’s right. I shouldn’t feel bad for taking 2 days to just care for me, to give myself time to just BE.

Wednesday and Thursday came and went, and here I am at Sunday wanting, and not wanting to go to work tomorrow all at the same time. I know I should, I know I need to, but my brain and my depression is telling me to just stay home, stay in bed, and not do anything.

My psychiatrist raised one of my meds and we will be weening off of another over the next few months or so. So I know things will be changing and hopefully getting better. I just struggle, with my thoughts, with anxieties, and with depression. I just want it all to go away. I get tired of not knowing, not being able to describe, not having a definite answer to the question “What’s wrong?” or “What’s going on?” I know only one person who truly understands when I say the words for how I’m feeling haven’t even been invented yet. She knows who she is.

If anyone else reads this……how do you all get through the dark times? The anxieties? The depression? How do you all gain confidence in yourself? How do you know and believe you are worth it?

 

 

“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step” – Lao Tzu

From the parking lot to the building was only a few short steps, but the one step it took to get in through the door was the biggest step I’ve had to take.

Yesterday I took one of the biggest steps I’ve had to take on my journey to recovery and healing. I finally took to heart what my co-worker told me about way back in October about the YWCA and all they have to offer for women survivors of sexual abuse. I have, for the last 6 months, kept his words and encouragement, and advice, in the back of my mind, terrified to call the YWCA and set up an appointment to do an intake and join their therapy/ Support group. I kept telling myself, “I don’t need that. I can do this with just my therapist, and I don’t need to put my full story out there to a bunch of strangers.” or “All it’s going to do is trigger me and make things worse.” Well, a couple of weeks ago I finally got to the point where I said to myself, “Maybe being around others who have experienced the same things and hearing their stories will help me. Maybe it will help me to feel not so alone, so ashamed, guilty, and dirty.” I picked up the phone and set up an intake appointment. Then I put it all out of my mind. Subconsciously hoping it might just all go away.

Yesterday was the day of my appointment. The week leading up to this appointment was full of anxiety, headaches, spacing out, and fear. I’m pretty good at putting on that mask of everything’s alright, and no one ever really truly knows what my mind is telling me, putting me through. There are even times I don’t even know. It’s like the words haven’t even been invented yet to describe the thoughts, the pain, the emotion in my head.

Yesterday came way too slow……but yet so fast. This past week was long, but not long enough either. I dreaded the appointment, scared of being judged, scared of being told my story wasn’t bad enough that I didn’t really need this group and I should just leave. I was scared I wouldn’t be believed, that the person wouldn’t really get it. Scared of, well, scared of how real it was all going to feel as I told the intake person my story, and my fears. I texted my best friend before the meeting, just to make sure she would be available when I was done, so if I needed to talk I would know she was there…….it brought a sense of peace and solace knowing she knew I was going into this meeting scared shit less and that she would be thinking about me and praying for me. I had this sense of not being alone and I can’t thank her more for that.

I told my dad about this meeting weeks ago, but I’ve been terrified to tell my mom, as I was scared it would upset her. I did finally tell her though right before I went to the meeting, she took it well, and I’m glad I told her about it.

I drove to the YWCA office. I got there early (go figure right? I’m early for everything) I sat in the parking lot with the music on in my car. I knew the music was playing but I didn’t hear it all at the same time. I couldn’t. I was so caught up in thoughts and fears and just didn’t know what I was doing. Should I stay? Should  I just go? I looked at the clock and it seemed as if the time wasn’t changing. I felt frozen in this moment, stuck in the fear, and yet feeling this overwhelming need to get out of the car and just do it. Just walk up to the building and go in those double glass doors. I sat there and I said a prayer. I said, “God, I don’t know why you put Mike in my life to tell me about this place way back in October, I don’t know why you finally put it on my heart to do this, and I definitely do not know why you have brought me to such an unknown and scary place. I do know though, that You are Great and will be with me the whole time. I know You won’t bring me to anything You can’t help me through, and I also know this sucks really bad. I am terrified God, just give me strength.” After I was done praying I got out of the car, stood next to it for what seemed like minutes when really it was probably just a few seconds, and I took those steps to the doors at the front of the building. The sun was shining down on my face and I could feel it’s warmth as I stood there, trying to lift my arm that felt like a thousand pounds, to open the door. I did it. I opened the door and I walked in. I stared at the receptionist and knew she was saying something to me, but I couldn’t hear her. I responded with a shaky “what?” and she asked me to sign in and have a seat, that she would let the counselor know I was there.

I took a seat on the fake leather chair and just looked around and took in my surroundings. I noticed my leg was shaking and my palms were getting a bit sweaty. I sat for what seemed like forever, though it was really only 5 minutes, and then Erin, the counselor came out to get me. She welcomed me, shook my hand, and told me it was nice to meet me. All I could think was “don’t say that too fast, you don’t even know me yet, you may not think it’s so nice after we get done talking.” I have a lot of doubts about myself. I have a hard time finding myself worthy of being liked by anyone.

We went to a small conference like room with two chairs and a small table and we started talking about the YWCA and generally what it is for, who it is for, and what the group I was looking to join was all about. Erin talked to me like she had known me for years, she listened to me as if what I had to say truly mattered to her. It’s not something I’m all that used to. I mean, my family and friends and my therapist they listen, and they care, what I mean is this person was completely new to me, and yet she still had such an interest in me, my story, and my experiences. I told her a lot about things that had happened, but not everything. I even said at one point, “I don’t want to answer that question yet, I don’t really know you well enough to go that deep.” and she accepted that answer as valid and said ok, that she completely understood that.

She understood that. Wow, she understood that I wasn’t quite ready, that I had limits. This was a realm of unfamiliarity for me. I felt this meeting to be completely  non-judgmental and safe. We talked for close to 2.5 hours about everything and going over intake questions and paperwork and all that. I left feeling exhausted, worn out, and just drained. The first group is on May 30th. I’m terrified, nervous, but looking forward to it at the same time.

Taking this step really wasn’t all that big, but the impact of it already has been huge and it can and might leave a huge impact on my process of healing from the impact of the sexual abuse of my uncle. I imagine this is a lot like sky diving. You jump out of a plane, free falling, you see the possibility of the bottom, and you have confidence your parachute will open and the landing will be standard/ easy, but there’s that standing fear of what if my parachute doesn’t open? What if when I land I get hurt? But you still take the jump, because you know it’s going to take you on a path you’ve never been on before, and it could teach you so much about life and yourself.

 

Dip Into Depression and……Do Others MAKE Us Feel Guilty? Or Do We ALLOW It?

I know that was a bit of a long title for a blog post…..and maybe I could have split it into 2 different posts, but I’m not, because the two things for tie together. At least at this point in time.

I’ve put it out there multiple times that I have a mental illness. Part of my diagnosis is depression and anxiety. Well, things over the last couple of months have gradually been going down…..and when I say “things” I mean my emotions. I have been slowly falling into a depression and I didn’t even really notice it until just last week when it really hit me hard. I do ECT (electro-convulsion therapy) on a regular basis, about one time per month to help with my depression and keep me stable. It is in addition to my medications and has helped to keep me stable. I am so grateful for these treatments as I have tried over 50 different medications and over 100 different combinations of medications and they, by themselves, were not helping me enough to be a functioning human being in the world. So we added the ECT to help supplement the meds and since we started the treatments I have been able to stay out of the psych hospital for over 4 years. I bring this up because in May we decided to spread out the ECT , from once every three weeks to once every four weeks. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it would be great. I thought what’s the big deal, it’s only one more week between it can’t effect me that much right? Well, looks like it did. I knew over the last 3 months I was having more days that I seemed to struggle, but I was able to manage and get through and all that. I let my psychiatrist know, but we left the ECT’s where they were at every four weeks because I seemed to be managing. I wasn’t quickly dipping into a deep hole of depression and becoming unstable. I was just having more negative thoughts and urges to self injure but I wasn’t engaging and I was like I said, managing well.

Well, last week things started to really drop for me. I started not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to shower, and sometimes not showering at all for a few days, I was seriously considering self-injury as an option, rather than just having passing thoughts that I was able to cope with, and I began having suicidal thoughts pop up …..no plans or anything, just thoughts that wouldn’t normally come up at the times they were coming up. My dad said I was more irritable, and I was having this overwhelming feeling of wanting to cry, but for some reason, I just couldn’t, like my body wouldn’t let me shed a tear. I had cancelled my therapy appointment for this past Tuesday over 3 weeks ago due to a training I had at work, so I didn’t see my therapist this week, but I did have an appointment with my psychiatrist. I told him what was going on and he decided to adjust my meds a little bit, but also move up my ECT appointments to every 2 weeks for awhile rather than every 4 weeks.

It’s hard living with depression. It’s hard living in this world in general. What makes it harder is when people say things to you that lead to feelings of guilt and shame. I am putting this in the same post as the other stuff because this person and her words are not only leading to feeling guilty and shameful, but those feelings are just compounding my depression. My mom had a hard life, most of her 7 siblings died before the age of 50 and her dad died when she was a baby. Her mom always told her she was the ‘good one’ that she made her feel so good when she was around her and stuff like that. In other words, my grammie had a way of saying things to my mom that led her to feel guilty, like she was never doing enough, that she had to be perfect. Well, my mom has started doing those things to me. Just the other day for instance, mom asked me if I wanted to go to a couple of stores with her. It was my day off of work and I was tired and I honestly just wanted to stay where I was on the couch and relax. I told mom I didn’t want to go, to which she responded by sighing loudly and saying “you never want to do anything with me, or go anywhere with me” and then she started crying and went upstairs got her shoes and proceeded to leave the house without saying goodbye. Her doing that, left me feeling really badly. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, that I was hurting her, that I HAD to go with her next time or else I’d upset her again. I don’t like upsetting mom or dad, or anyone for that matter. I know it’s not true what she said, but the way she said it and how she reacted, it made me feel like a really bad person for wanting to just stay home for the day. I know that sounds pathetic or whatever, but that’s how I felt. I wonder, is she MAKING me feel this way? or am I ALLOWING it to make me feel this way? I don’t like the feelings of guilt and shame, I feel like I have no control over them, but I in a way feel like I should have control over them. I don’t know, what do you all think? All I know right now, is that with the depression being where it is right now for me, this guilt and shame feelings are even harder to deal with, and I just want it to go away.

 

 

Changes Can Cause Us To Look At Ourselves, And Sometimes Make Us Feel As If We Have Fallen Behind……………

I just posted right before this about how my cousin had her baby earlier this week. I cannot even begin to express the amount of excitement, pride, and just joy this brings to not only me, but every member of my family. We are all so happy she is finally here. So happy she is healthy. So happy to have an addition to the family. Grandma is is just ecstatic to finally be a “GG” or Great Grandma. My Aunt and Uncle are so proud to finally be grandparents, and I am just so excited for my cousin, her fiance, the family, that we have a new addition to the family as a whole, and I’m excited to watch her grow up, become her own self, and to discover everything there is around her.

I have all this excitement, but at the same time I am finding myself looking at my own self, my own life, as a result of this new beginning and change. Please don’t get me wrong, I love this baby with all my heart, I am so so so happy to have her in this world, to be part of her family, and to have the opportunity to be part of her life. All I am saying is with all this excitement going on, I have started to look at where I am in my life compared to where my cousin (who is 2 years younger than I am) is in hers. I know, I know, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but I have, and I wanted to just let it out a bit. I am 30 years old. I still live at home with my parents because I haven’t been able to work for a long time due to my mental illness. I just started a part time position about a year ago, and it is going really really well, I can only hope that eventually it will lead to a full time position and I will be able to make enough money to be on my own. Anyway, I don’t have a boyfriend, and like I said, I live with my parents. I spend my free time helping my grandparents and doing things for my parents, but I also have a couple friends I occasionally go to lunch with or spend time with. I also have found a new church home and have really been trying to become more involved there. I can’t complain about where I am in life, I am lucky to even be alive. I attempted suicide multiple times in my past and I have fought hard to get through all I have been dealt. I just naturally, as anyone would, wish I was further along. Wish I was somewhere else in my life. I wish I could meet the standards that society sets for where I should be at this point in my life. I wish I had a boyfriend, I wish I lived on my own, I wish I was at a point where I was starting my own family like my cousin. I guess in some ways you could say I’m jealous of my cousin. Jealous that she is where I want to be. That she doesn’t have a mental illness that makes life that much harder. I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. I just know that I wish my life were different. I know my story and my struggles have helped many people, I know this illness happening to me has it’s purpose, and I know I need to trust God and His ways and His plan for my life. I guess I just wanted to know, does anyone else ever feel like they are behind where they should be in life? Am I alone in this feeling? Is it wrong to feel this way?

I absolutely love Abby, the new baby. I cannot wait to be able to hold her and love her, and spoil her. I cannot wait for all the life lessons I can teach her, and even more so the life lessons she will most likely teach me.

That Moment 

That moment when you don’t know why, but you just feel like crying, but your eyes just won’t. I have no idea why this is happening right now, this morning has been ok. Mom and dad came home from vacation last night so I’m not alone anymore, but for some reason, in the last 10 minutes I just got this overwhelming feeling of depression. I just want to cry, but can’t. 

I hate mental illness. 

I’m Scared, Angry, and a vast amount of other emotions

I had some time to write yesterday, but I didn’t write all I wanted to. I didn’t write what I’m about to. I didn’t let all the emotion that is inside me out. I’ve said this before, but the reason I’ve been writing on here instead of in a personal journal that I keep hidden in my room is because I can 1. type faster than I can write and I am able to better keep up with my thoughts, and 2. I feel like a journal that I keep to myself is just another form of keeping what’s inside, inside. I don’t understand what the point of that would be if there was no chance of anyone reading it. I feel this way I am fully letting things out, releasing it. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone…..but it does to me and that’s all that matters.

I think I mentioned in a different post that my therapist had me write a letter to my uncle who sexually abused me when I was younger. He has since died….in fact he was murdered when I was 11. We have been slowly working through the topic of the abuse and writing this letter to him was a way to let out some of the anger, the thoughts, and fear I have kept inside. Well, I have held on to the letter for weeks now, up until last week that is. Last week I gave the letter to my therapist, and today, during therapy we are going to burn it, together. We are going to release all that negative, all the anger and all the emotions by burning it and getting rid of it for good. I’m looking forward to doing this….but at the same time….I’m scared to death. I’m scared and I don’t even know why. I feel like I’ll get in some sort of trouble…. by who? I don’t know. I feel like I don’t know what I’m going to feel when we actually do it. I’m scared of what emotions it’s going to bring up. I’m angry at my uncle. I’m angry in some ways at my parents and grandparents for not noticing it was going on……angry at myself for not speaking up. I feel like a bad person. I feel like a dirty person, like I’m unlovable and unwanted. All these things I feel because of my uncle Bob and what he did to me.

This past week while I was at work, I went on facebook and I saw I had a new message waiting for me. I checked my messages and it was from someone I never expected to get a message from…..ever. It was from my cousin….Archie….my uncle Bob’s son. He wanted to know how I was, how life was and he told me what he’s been up to. He said in the end that he didn’t like that it’s been over 15 years since we’ve had contact and that “family is important” and he wants to link up on facebook and keep up with each other. He asked about my parents and my sister and I honestly had no idea what to say. I had thoughts of “what is his motive?” “What does he want?” “What trouble is he in that he needs help out of?” I thought about my uncle and how my mom says he did what he did to me to Archie and his brother’s too. Does Archie know he did it to me too? Why is he contacting me and talking all as if we had been in contact for years? I just got really confused. I told my dad, he said just take it slow and see what happens…..mom was excited, she has wanted to be in contact with him and his brothers for years, but always felt like she had to leave it up to them (I don’t know why, I didn’t ask either). It’s just putting this stress on me like, what is going on?!? I feel all the emotions from processing through the abuse in therapy already, and then all of a sudden this message comes up ….. what kind of timing is that? I mean, I get that I can’t hold my cousin accountable for what my uncle did to me, like I said, it was done to him too. But for some reason, I feel angry, confused, sad, stressed, and so many other things I can’t even describe. I had sorta just put him, his mom and his brother’s out of my mind, out of my life, they live on the other side of the county already, so it’s not like we’d be getting together anyways. It’s just been easier to live as if they aren’t even there. Now though, this happens. I can’t just pretend like I never got it. I’m not that type of person. But I really don’t know if I want contact with him either. What do I do?!?