I Have No Quote or Song Lyrics to Use as My Title……So…….yeah……..

So last time I wrote I was telling you all about the havoc going on at my work place. Things haven’t necessarily gotten better, but I can say things have become more consistent. Everyone is getting more used to the changes and while no one I believe can honestly say they like the changes, we all can say we are glad to have a job. I don’t like the changes that have been made. I feel they are basically a band-aid to the problems deep below with irresponsibility and poor management of money and running the organization. I believe in the organization though. I believe in the mission of it, the purpose of it, and I believe in the reason I started as a volunteer for this organization in the first place. THOSE are the reasons I decided to not just get caught up in all the chaos going on and changes and just quit. I have chosen to see where things go, where things lead my position to and to see what skills I can learn and build upon because of the changes we are going through as an organization. I know this won’t be a job I’ll be at for years upon years…….it doesn’t pay nearly enough for that; but I can take advantage of learning while I am here and utilize it as a stepping stone to something bigger and better.

I have made some really good friends because of where I work. I have mentioned Johanna in the past and I want to mention her again. She is older than I am, yes, but I consider her to be one of my bestest (yes I know that’s not a word) friends ever. She just gets me. She knows when I need a hug, and she knows at the same time when to just not push for whatever and just let me be. I feel like I understand her too. Well, she just had total knee replacement surgery last week. Her husband was working and her kids were either working or at school and none of them could be at the hospital with her the day after her surgery. Let me tell you…. you don’t leave someone with high anxiety alone in a hospital room the day after a major surgery. I couldn’t believe it when she told me no one was going to come sit with her. It honestly, made me mad. That’s not how family is supposed to treat family. I knew what I had to do right away. I offered to go sit with her, it was my day off of work anyways and I had no problem driving out there just to sit with her so she didn’t have to be alone. She was baffled. Which baffled me. For real, to me, that was what friends do for friends. Friends are supposed to be there when others can’t when everyone else is being bitchy or whatever. I didn’t think twice about it. Just as I didn’t think twice about driving her home when she was discharged from the hospital, and I didn’t think twice about just being with her for as long as needed when we found ourselves locked out of her house. All these things, they were just instinctual to me. I hope she knows now……that’s just what friends do, they are there when no one else can be.  She’s an amazing friend to me…….why wouldn’t I return that?

Speaking of friends. I think I’ve mentioned this person before…..Karlee….. She is 14 years younger than I am. I started as her tutor when she was in 5th grade.  She had the worst behavior I have ever seen. She was struggling. I was struggling in my own ways and her mom needed help getting her to do her homework. I was there 4 days a week helping her with it. She would get so angry, she would punch holes in the wall, her mom had called the cops on her at times and yet, after awhile of me being there, she started to change…..at least during the time I was there. She started respecting me. She would call me throughout the week when she was fighting with her mom, or when she’d get in trouble at school. We formed this bond. I became more of a mentor and big sister to her and she became a little sister to me. She was someone who I was determined to work hard with in order to help her to succeed. Every time I would see her do something where she succeeded at it…..I would get this overwhelming sense of pride. This relationship/ bond went on for years where I’d pick her up on the weekends and we’d just go get lunch, or go hang out. She would call me all the time or text me just letting me know how her day was going or about a boy she thought was cute. Then, 2 years ago, her mom and her moved to Fresno California. That’s a long way from chicagoland. The phone calls didn’t stop, but they started to get further and further apart. I tried to text her as often as possible just to “check in”. but I didn’t want to invade her new life either. She was trying to adjust to a whole new state, school, friends, etc. I didn’t want to interfere, but I still wanted to be there for her whenever she needed. I talked to her last night, it was the first time in a long time…..probably 6 months. Well, she’s going to be 18 in January, she’s taking an AP class in school, and over break she is going to do 4 classes online so she can graduate early because she wants to start nursing school at the local community college. I never thought I’d see the day when she would say to me “I want to take this class over again to see if I can get a better grade to help later on in college” She said that to me yesterday and honestly, when I hung up the phone, I cried. Not sad tears, but because I was SOOOO proud of her. I miss her tons. She means the world to me. I am so happy to know though just how far she truly has come, and I am honored to have had a part in her life and to continue to play a part in her life.

 

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“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie the Pooh

I use this blog as a place to come to write out everything that’s going on in my life/mind at the moment. I don’t write every day, or even every week. I tend to only write when there’s something, or a few things that have been going on in my life that I need to just let out. I don’t expect responses from people, I don’t even know how many people actually read this blog. I’ve said this before. I use this blog more as a journal that I know at least a few people read some times and because of this I feel heard. I never was able to just have a journal that I would write in and no one read it. I never really saw the point. I didn’t ever feel as if that helped me because I would be getting the words out but no one would know how I was feeling. With this blog, even though I don’t know the people who read it, I can say I feel heard. It’s a form of validation.

Anyways……. I don’t really know why I decided to start this specific blog with that statement above. I just know that the last couple of weeks there have been some really stressful, bad, and some really good things that have happened. Over the last month or so changes have been made at my workplace. People have been laid off, and other people have had position changes. All because the organization wasn’t, in my eyes, being responsible with the money that was coming in, and was spending to quickly rather than taking a step back and looking at where we really could be spending and where we really needed to save. The executive director, I feel, is only letting the employees in on a small part of the reasoning behind all these big changes, and I just get this gut feeling there’s something more going on. I love the organization I work for. I love helping the people we help. And I can honestly say, this organization helped myself and my family through some of the darkest times of our lives due to my mental illness. I’ve been volunteering for this organization for over 5 years, and officially on staff since March of this year. I hate to say I am considering looking for a new job because of all that’s going on.

On top of all the stress at work, there is the stress at home. I don’t want to get into it much, but let’s just say my mom has some major depression issues she’s not working on and it’s pushing myself and my dad to the edge.

My grandpa. He was diagnosed with dementia over a year ago. Things have been getting worse and the fact that my grandma is the one taking care of him (with the exception of 6-8 hours a day they have a care taker come in to help 5 days a week), is draining her to her core. She is getting frustrated, angry, and she just can’t do it anymore. We are often going up there to help, my aunt and uncle are too, but it’s just not enough. I fear for my grandma. I fear this will put her over the edge and I honestly fear she will die before my grandpa. I have thought about quitting my job and telling her I will be up there full time from 8-8 every day to help her with him. I told my dad this and he said he won’t allow it. I just want so badly to help more than what we are now. I don’t know how to do that though. My family is really close. I talk to grandma at least every other day, and we are at their house multiple times a week. We all would drop everything if it meant it would help a member of our family, and we all know we have family support no matter what. This doesn’t just mean immediate family. I’m talking about my cousins, my aunt, and my uncle too. We’re all like a big puzzle and if there’s a piece missing we all work together to get that piece back and complete the picture.

I fear the day my grandpa dies. The picture will never be complete again. I don’t know what we’ll do. I don’t know what my dad will do…..he’s always been so close to pa. We all have. I can’t even think about what it will be like. Empty. That’s all I can think of to define what that moment in time will be.

I know I’ve been talking about some of the tough things that have been going on, but I wanted also to bring up some good too. I was finally able to get together with my good friend Johanna …….outside of work…..not just talking for a few minutes over a quick lunch in the office on a day we’re both there, or a quick phone call while one of us is driving. We managed to get together for lunch and while we talked mostly about work, we were able to laugh, bring up random things, and just have fun being together. This made my week……my month. Honestly, I can’t say how much I appreciate her friendship and just knowing she’s there and that she “gets me”. That is what friendship is about. I had a great time that day and I just cherish moments like that.

Another good thing…..just this past Saturday my parents and I went and spoke at my therapists class she teaches at a local university for the master’s of social work program. We shared our story of living with mental illness and how we all worked together and continue to work together to support one another and help each other through the good and the bad days. I was really proud of my parents.

Thank you to everyone who does read this blog, whether it’s 1, or 100 people. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to gain this glimpse into my life, my mind.

 

When You Wonder Where The End Of The Tunnel Is Exactly…….Isn’t There Supposed To be A Light?

This blog post is going to be a lot about tough things going on right now, if you aren’t up for that, then quit reading right now.

The last few weeks have not been ones where I can see that light at the end of the tunnel….in fact, they have been leading me to feel as if there is no end to this tunnel. Now, I know that’s obviously not true, but it’s how I feel and I’m putting it all out there right now.

I haven’t been doing the best…..in anything it seems. A couple weeks ago was my cousins wedding. We had to drive 4 hours just to get there. I have always had a great relationship with my cousins on my dads side. We grew up like siblings. I do have to admit though, I didn’t want to go to this wedding. Not at all. I’ll get right to the point as to why I didn’t want to go. I suppose I was in many ways jealous. There, I said it. All my cousins and my sister, they all have either a boyfriend, fiance, or now husband. They all have someone who loves them in a way I never have known, and have come to believe I never will know. I didn’t want to go to the wedding because I knew it would be just another time where that would be thrown in my face. Petty? Perhaps, but like I’ve said before, it’s how I feel and that’s what I write about on here, my feelings. I feel ugly, dirty, because of the abuse from my uncle. I feel as if I can never be loved by any man….that I am not worth it. I can’t even love myself most of the time, how could anyone else love me?

I went to the wedding. My cousin was beautiful. She deserves the best. I know that.

My depression and anxiety have not been the best. This ongoing med change has not been easy and it’s truly having an effect on my daily life. I have however, started a new medication that has honestly decreased my nightmares tremendously and that in itself is a miracle. They aren’t gone, but they have reduced so much.

Work has been hell lately. Things have been happening that shouldn’t be happening, and because of those things people are getting laid off, hours reduced, and job roles are changing. I work for a non-profit organization and lets just say they got too big too fast and didn’t have money to support the programming and keep everything going. That’s the jest of it…..I can’t really go into everything, but I am starting to look for a new job. I just don’t know where I will find a job that can be flexible with me to be able to have every other Friday off so I can have my ECT treatments. I’ve come so far with coming off of disability and gaining insurance through this job and now, now it seems to be falling apart and I feel as if I have no control over any of it. I’m scared, frustrated, anxious, depressed, and my emotions just feel like a tornado inside while I have to be a peaceful spring day on the outside.

The self injury thoughts and impulses have come back full strength over the past few weeks and I can’t really pinpoint why. My doctor knows about it, so does my therapist. However, I didn’t tell my parents until this past weekend and that proved to be a problem. See, I have this deal with my dad especially, that I would talk about what’s going on, and how I’m feeling. That there would be no secrets. Well, Saturday, dad tells me he and mom are going to go to Wisconsin for the weekend and I freaked out. I told him they couldn’t go, I got really angry, I yelled at them and I walked out telling them “if you had any idea what was going on you would know I couldn’t be alone for a whole weekend.” I walked out and didn’t tell them where I was going or anything. I’m sure it scared the shit out of them, and looking back it was really dumb of me. I just went and parked in a parking lot but I just couldn’t be home because of how angry I was. I had no right to be that angry. How would they know what’s going on if I don’t tell them? They couldn’t. Dad texted me they cancelled the trip and that I should come home and tell them what’s going on. I went home and told them all the feelings I have been having lately. How hard it was for me to go to the wedding, how it made me feel. I told them how everything going on at work was really setting off my anxiety and stress to the point I couldn’t handle it, and the self injury thoughts were getting to the point where I didn’t feel safe being by myself for 2 days in a row. I haven’t done anything to myself, I can honestly say that. I just have been having more and more thoughts and frustration and wanting to do it to just release, to relax, to quiet the thoughts and feelings even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s hard to explain.

I don’t know what else to say really, all I know is I can’t be thankful enough for my parents, my boss Patty, and my friend Johanna, who have all just been there through it all.

So It’s Been A Long Time…….

Yes, I know. It’s been over 2 months since I wrote on here last. It isn’t because I haven’t wanted to. It was mostly because I just couldn’t find the words. The right words. The words that would fully express what was going on in my head and make sense to those of you who actually read this. See, it didn’t even make sense to me, so how was I supposed to translate that into words for others to understand? I just couldn’t. I haven’t forgotten about this site though that is for sure.

Today, I decided I was going to write. Write whatever I could about whatever I could whether it made sense or not. So here we go.

The last couple of months have been a crazy road of ups and downs. Mostly downs on the inside, and ups on the outside. Let me explain. The last couple of months I have felt more depressed than I have in a long long time. All while on the outside smiling and telling people I am in the best place I have ever been and that I am proud of where I am in life. I have been telling those around me that I’m happy, content, and just going with the flow. In some ways those aren’t lies. In other ways they are. They aren’t lies in sense that I have come thousands of miles from where I was just 5 years ago in my recovery journey. Am I happy about that? Absolutely. Am I happier in many ways now than I was before? Definitely. Am I where I want to be in my life? Definitely not. That is where the lie comes in. I cannot say I am in the bad place I used to be in, but I can say I am in a different place. A different kind of bad, a different kind of depression, and a different kind of wishing for something more. Something better. I ache on the inside to be a person who has found love. To be a woman living on her own, taking care of herself, and surrounded by friends. Plural. FriendS. I have a couple of people I call friends. But mostly, the people in my life are what many would define as acquaintances. People who you see at events, occasions, etc, but also people who don’t know the real me. People who don’t bother to call on the weekends just to say hi, or check in and see how things are going. People who have your number in their phone, but never call. People who when I’m around them, we have fun, we laugh, all that, but once the night is over they are the people who don’t initiate ever hanging out again. I am at a place in my life where I feel very lonely. The people I can honestly say are my friends, Johanna and Sally, I love them to death.  I love the friendships I have with these two people. They mean the world to me. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I just hope they know just how much I appreciate them, their random texts, and their hugs when I see them.

I am in a place in my life where I feel sad. Sad I am not more. Sad I don’t have that special someone. Sad I just don’t see my worth.

The depression is bad lately. Nowhere what it was 5, 6, 7, years ago, but different. I have skills now where I can recognize what is going on. I can help myself. But there are just so many days I wake up and feel disappointed I woke up. I  see other people worse off than I am, and I know how it is to be where they are, and I am soooo grateful to have come as far as I have, I just wish people would realize. Realize that even though I have come so far, made such huge strides, there’s still a road in front of me. It doesn’t mean the sadness goes away. It doesn’t mean I don’t still hurt on the inside. It doesn’t mean I don’t see or believe that I matter.

I love helping everyone else. I love seeing others smile. And yet, I hate it all at the same time. Let me explain. I hate it because I get jealous. I long for someone to notice the hurt inside of me the way I can notice it in others. I long for someone to tell me, it’s ok to not be ok. I long for someone to see I can’t be everything for everyone else, and nothing for me. All while at the same time, I put my energy into everyone else because I don’t see the worth I have. I don’t see myself being worthy of even my own time.

The past couple of months, I’ve been changing meds and it’s not been easy. Starting one med, stopping another, having a reaction emotionally and quickly stopping the new med and starting another new one. It’s been a total shock to my serotonin levels and my emotions have been all over. I’ve isolated. I’ve put all my energy into work, and doing my job, and when I get home I just have nothing left. I’ve been pushing those people I love the most away and  I hate it, but I “have” to in order to keep myself going to the point where I can say I am functioning and I am able to get through the day. I have to because if I wasn’t isolating, I’d be taking on everything of everyone else’s also and I’d breakdown even further. I know. It makes no sense at all. It’s the fucked up type thinking that comes along with the depression, the med changes, and in a way it’s a type of protection. I’m trying to protect myself from things getting worse.

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist, and her boss, who just so happens to be the psychiatrist who does my ECT treatments. We all sat and we talked about what has been going on. We talked about the med changes and how I’ve been feeling….all that stuff. We talked about things going on in my life. Things with my Grandpa, my mom. We talked about what I’ve been going over in therapy. I told them. I told them I’ve been diving into the sexual abuse by my uncle. I told them it’s not been easy, but it’s something I have been keeping inside for so long it was time I had to share it. I had to let it out. Well, he said maybe doing that in therapy and doing this med changes and such all at the same time wasn’t the best idea. They mentioned I stop talking about the abuse for a couple of months in therapy, take a break. They said give my body, my mind a chance to catch up, to adapt to the new meds, and then see if I even feel I need to go back to the subject of the abuse. I agreed. I told my therapist on Saturday I wanted to take a break. She 100% agreed also.

Life isn’t easy, it’s not meant to be. If life was meant to be easy, God wouldn’t have had to die on the cross. If life were meant to be easy, Christ wouldn’t have even existed. We all have tough times. We all have sin. We all need help, love, and companionship. I know I have God, I know I will never truly be alone. I know these things. I, though, also, am a sinner, and I long for earthly things. I long for human relationships, and I long for feeling like I matter to those around me. These are all things I need to work on every day. Things I need to pray about. I love that I can look forward to heaven. I hate. at the same time, how I have no control over when I go. I need to learn and accept many things. I need to.

When Everything Around You Takes You By Surprise…….

I know I am not as “regular” of a writer here on this blog as many of you are, but I tend to just write when something’s going on, or when something just inspires me to write. I don’t do the every day thing, but I really enjoy reading the blogs of people who are. Anyway, there’s no real reason for that little side note, other than the fact that I am stalling writing this next blog.

Everything I’m going to write about today may not make too much sense to you all. It may be a longer blog than normal, but I would still appreciate your feedback; whether through comments, or just simply liking the blog. Thanks.

So the last time I wrote was just a little over 2 weeks ago. I had just tried the support group for women victims of sexual abuse. I was so anxious that day, and I wanted to give a quick update on how the second one went. It went really really well. There were a couple people who didn’t make it to the first one, but are part of the group, and made it to the second one, and the mixture of personalities is really cool. I felt super comfortable with these ladies and the facilitators and I really believe this is a good thing for me. I don’t want to lie, I still took an ativan, and I was still crazy nervous to get out of my car and actually go in, but once I did, I was super glad. I have a feeling this next meeting will be a lot less anxiety provoking for me.

A lot has been going on in my life over the last 2 weeks. I had a group of co-worker’s over to my house for a BBQ and it was great. I love each and every one of them, and respect them all just as much. They are truly great people doing great things. The only unfortunate thing, however, is I found out the Thursday before this BBQ (which by the way had been planned for over 3 weeks), that the program these co-worker’s are part of at the organization was going to be going through some cuts due to budgetary issues. I didn’t know what to think when my boss told me this was going to be happening. I was angry, sad, scared, and just shocked that the organization let the budget get this out of control (I can’t say specifics, but it never should have gotten this bad). I decided after hearing the news to still have the BBQ and enjoy the time with all these people. It was hard though, knowing this budget issue would touch each of them personally, either directly or indirectly. Then the following week came, and we had to sit down and have a meeting with these people to tell them all the basics of what was going on. Some got really upset, others, just sat there in silence, and you could just see they were boiling. We met with them as a group, but would be setting up times to meet with each individually to talk to them about how it would affect them personally. We were going to be cutting the hours of the program in half basically, and go down to staffing for those hours being done by only one individual, and not two. So some of them would be losing all their hours in this program completely.

It was horrible to be in the meeting where our director and my supervisor were telling everyone what was going on. To see the faces of these people, who just 3 months ago, I was working directly with, I was doing the same job, they were not only my co-workers, but my friends. Now, I had to sit on the other side and be there when they all found out this news. It’s not easy for sure. I don’t want any of them to feel like I “went to the other side” or “ditched them” I just took on a new position and I care for each of them just the same. Unfortunately, some of them just don’t that.

 

My Grandpa has also been struggling pretty bad lately. He went into the hospital on Memorial Day because he was leaning to the left and saying he was sitting straight up. He was unable to lift his feet up to be able to walk effectively or to step up a 3 inch step into the house, and we as his family, feared stroke, and so did his doctor when we called him. We took him to the ER and from there he was admitted. After a couple days in the main hospital, he was accepted into the rehab program. He was over in that program until just 3 days ago. While in the program, he was so so confused. He also had dementia, and as part of that horrible disease, when you are taken out of your known environment, the confusion gets worse. Well, it did. He had no idea what was going on 99% of the time. Unsure of who was around him, where he was, why he was there. He believed at times he was at a hotel and he was insisting on making sure it was paid for. Every time he would get a meal to eat , he would ask for the bill and would want to pay it.

This is so hard to watch, as it is not my grandpa. He is not the man I know. He is in there somewhere, but this disease has taken over his mind and it’s horrible to watch, to see it affect my grandma and my dad, and the rest of my family, and it’s hard to be on this side watching pa get frustrated because at times I truly believe he know’s something is wrong.

 

Lastly, there’s my mom. I’ve mentioned on here before, she has a lot of health issues, depression included. The problem, though, is she doesn’t seem to be moving forward in her treatment. She uses her therapy sessions as a time to complain, rather than a time to let things out, and then challenge herself to change things. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be able to just unload on your therapist, because I do that too, the difference is, my therapist listens, AND when I’m done, challenges me to try things differently in order to make things better. She doesn’t just say “oh I’m sorry it’s going like that” and then “I’ll see you next week”. So my mom has been super irritable lately, and no matter what you say to her, she snaps back at you. And I’ve gotten to the point where I’m standing up and speaking up, asking her why is she so crabby, or standing up for myself, or at times, I quit responding at all because I’m not looking to get into an argument and I refuse to respond to her when she is seeking an argument out. It feels like no matter what she’s looking for a  fight, and I’m tired of it. Dad’s tired of it, and neither one of us knows what to do anymore. We have tried going to therapy with her before for family sessions, but it ends up as as fight, with her saying “you are just teaming up against me” and other crap like that. We AREN’T against her, we are TRYING to get her to realize she has to be the one to make some changes in her own recovery to be able to move forward and feel better. SHE has to come to a level of acceptance that she at this point is refusing to do. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or giving in, it just means you no longer want whatever it is in control of your life to no longer be in control. Acceptance is taking the control back into your own hands and preparing to move forward. Mom and I are always fighting it seems like lately, and I’m tired of it. I’m missing the mom I used to have, the person she used to be. I miss my friend I no longer have.

 

 

There’s No Such Thing As “Being Prepared”

I let you all know I was going to be going to the first support group meeting for women survivors of sexual abuse. Well…..this past Tuesday was the first group. The Saturday before, I had an appointment with my therapist and I was feeling really good about going to this group. I felt……prepared…..ready…….confident. Then Sunday came, and Monday, and my anxiety started getting to be more and more. I relied on my good friend, talking to her a bit, and I relied on Ativan too….I can’t lie. I was getting nervous, but still felt like I could do this, like I knew my nerves were going to be there, but they didn’t have to get in the way.

Then Tuesday came…….I worked and worked and worked. I didn’t take a break at all that day. I felt like if I kept myself busy all day then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t think about the group that night, or my anxiety wouldn’t get any worse. I took another ativan, which helped. Keeping busy helped to an extent. I got off of work at 4pm and the group wasn’t until 6:15pm. So I called my dad, who’s office was halfway between my work and the location of the group, and I told him I was going to get some dinner and just bring it to his office and eat it there, and then sit there for a bit before heading to the group. I did that. I got my food, went to my dad’s office, and started to eat. I was so hungry because I hadn’t eaten lunch that day. However, it didn’t matter how hungry I was, my body was responding to my anxiety. I took a few bites and felt like I was going to throw up. So I gave my dad the rest of my food and just sat there staring at my phone as if I would actually remember what all I was looking at.

The time went soooo slow. But finally the time to leave my dad’s office and head to the group came. My dad knew where I was going and could tell how anxious I was. He gave me a little dad to daughter pep talk, letting me know he was proud of me and to take a deep breath, that it would all be good. I felt better after that. I drove to the group with my window down and my music up trying to distract myself and my mind. I got to the location and just sat in my car. Going back and forth with myself saying “you can do this, you are strong, you got this and it’s going to be good”  and then saying “no you can’t do this, you don’t deserve this, you aren’t worth this, it’s going to suck” and so forth. I sat there for what felt like an eternity, but was really only about 10 minutes arguing with myself and trying to gain the courage to get through those doors.

I finally got myself out of my car and into the building. I felt my face getting red, and I sat in the waiting room with 3 other women who at that point I didn’t know were there for the group also. The group leader came out and got us all and brought us to the group room where there were positive quotes and paintings on the walls, which I’m assuming were done by previous group members during some activity or something. I sat down, and when I finally found myself looking up, I looked across the table, past the person directly across from me, and saw a painting on the wall with the words, “Just Breathe”, and I knew I had to be breathing, but I wasn’t being mindful of it at all. I took a deep breath and finally was able to focus. I realized the group had started, but to this point I hadn’t heard anyone saying anything because I was so focused on my own anxiety.

We talked about a lot of heavy things. About our self-esteem and how the abuse had affected it. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I realized I didn’t have much positive self-esteem at all, that I don’t see my own worth.

We talked about the fact that the perpetrator of our abuse doesn’t deserve to have the power over us that we unconsciously give them. They were wrong, they were the ones who made the decision to do what they did, and we are not at fault. This was a really hard thing for me to even think about let alone grasp. I still am not at the point where I don’t blame myself for a lot of what happened to me, even though I was only a child, I feel like I should have stopped it. I know, it’s messed up.

When the group was over, I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and in some ways, proud. I was processing everything we had talked about. I was thinking about the people who had been there, who have also been to previous groups and are further along in there recovery than I am. I thought about how I want to get to that point, but I also realized those people gave me hope. Hope that it is possible to get through this.

I went home that night and literally went right to bed, and fell asleep the fastest I have fallen asleep in a long time. I was so emotionally exhausted from everything over the last few days. I still had nightmares, but I have a feeling over time with this group and the healing that will come from it, those nightmares might, just might, get better.

There’s one last thing I want to mention. On Sunday before the group, I was in my class at church and I brought up the fact I was anxious about this upcoming group and that I would appreciate prayer. I shared the reason I was going to the group, which I haven’t shared with a lot of people in general, and the whole class stopped right then, a few put their hands on my shoulders, and they prayed for me, in that moment. They let me know they supported me, loved me, and that they would be praying the whole time for me. I can’t tell you enough how much that meant to me. I haven’t felt the way I did in that moment before. I felt like I was completely wrapped in God’s arms and that He was 100% with me and in me. It was amazing. I can’t explain it. I appreciate my church family so much. I appreciate my best friend, who often will pray for me also, and who lets me vent and laugh and cry with her.  And my family, who may not understand, but they love me through it. I don’t know what I would do without any of these people.

“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.