They Say It’s Going To Be Okay…..But It Doesn’t Feel That Way At All.

So, I think I mentioned in my last post about how my position at work is basically being eliminated due to budget issues. Well, I have until July to find a new job and I haven’t been getting any bites on my resume……I had 2 job prospects at 2 different places, but both would require me to work every weekend, and that is just not something I can commit to. I just built a community of support at a new church over the last 2 years and I can’t give that up, it wouldn’t be good for my own recovery and I can recognize that. I have applications out at other places too, and just haven’t been hearing anything back. I feel completely hopeless. I don’t know what I’m going to do when July comes and I don’t have a new job…..I need insurance for all my ECT treatments and meds etc. I don’t know how I’ll be able to pay for COBRA insurance, and I just have so much anxiety inside of me right now it’s ridiculous.

I have been going to work and feeling completely unmotivated and just dreading it each morning when I wake up. All because of how they went about this, what they did, and how betrayed I feel. Honestly, if I had a choice in this, I would just walk now….but as I said, I need the insurance as long as possible.

On top of all the work stuff, my sister got engaged last weekend. I know, I know, I should be happy for her……and I am in some ways. And at the same time I feel jealous. Out of all 5 kids (my 3 cousins and then my sister and I) I am now the only one who doesn’t have either a husband, fiance, or significant other. I am the only one alone. The only one who doesn’t have that relationship. I never have, and honestly, believe and feel like I never will. I feel so unworthy of being loved by a man. I feel so stupid, ugly, and worthless. I feel as though no one will ever love me, how could they? I can hardly make friends……yes I have a few, and I love them to death. I have a best friend whom I can rely on for anything, and I know she is always there for me. But my head tells me I am unworthy. Ever since I was a teenager and was shot down by guys when I asked them to go to a dance with me, or hang out, or in college when guys just showed no interest in me either, to now that I’m almost 32 y/o and I wouldn’t even know how to go about meeting someone or dating someone. I just feel unlovable, unworthy, ugly, and stupid. My sister is a bitch. No lying there. She is not nice to me or my mom, He is a great guy, he is funny and just ideal. But God bless him honestly. I hope he knows what he’s getting into.

I know this is a random post….talking about work, then relationships, and now I’m just going to say that I have really been having a hard time…..mostly because of the things mentioned above, but the self injury thoughts are coming up more often, stronger, and I just feel blah. I feel somewhat better than I did now that my psychiatrist changed one of my meds, but I am far off still from being where I want to be and need to be. I just feel empty. I feel worthless. I feel more stupid than I ever have and I feel incapable of succeeding in life. I just have no hope for the future, and I hate that feeling. I’m scared. Anxious. Lonely. I just don’t know where to go from here. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live either. (no I’m not suicidal, I just am saying how I feel. I won’t do anything to hurt myself, and I would tell someone if it got to that point. I can promise you all that).

I know I have supports around me. My best friend, my parents, my grandma, my therapist and psychiatrist, people from church. I just feel so ashamed sometimes to speak up and say anything. I just want to cry all the time, but the tears just don’t seem to come, so in turn I get this blank empty look on my face and when someone asks what’s wrong I just respond with “I’m just tired” because as I’ve said before, there are times where it’s like the words just haven’t been invented yet to describe how I feel. It’s like everything and nothing is going through my head all at the same time.

Advertisements

“I Don’t Know How You Do It”…….”Yeah, Neither Do I”

God has been blessing me over the last week. Or maybe I should say it this way, I have been seeing God’s blessings to me this past week. I am still struggling, hard, with the depression, but there have just been some times in the last week where I can truly say “God did that”. There’s a co-worker of mine— Rachel— Who has also been struggling lately and she saw a facebook post I had put up and she texted me to let me know that I wasn’t the only one feeling as if there was no positive feedback within our office. She let me know that I am doing a good job, and that she can see it bothers me that I try so hard and then get no feedback other than things like “well you could have ……” or “why didn’t you …….” it’s frustrating and it wares on a persons self-esteem fast. It’s just been good to know Rachel sees it too, that I’m not alone in this as a staff member at our office.

Another viewing of God is my friend Johanna. She just seems to be there to give a hug at all the right times. She comes into the office for her meetings and they all just seem to be at the right moment. She makes me laugh, and we are even going to go to lunch today and just hang out. I’m really looking forward to that. I am anxious about it too….and I know she’s reading this blog, and I just want to say, I’m only anxious because I am not used to having friends who are truly interested in me or interested in getting to know me as a person, not just a coworker or whatever. I’m not used to having friends ….. only acquaintances. Johanna is an amazing friend though, always knows just when to text a “hello” or “good morning” and just seems to “get me” she understands where I’m coming from and it doesn’t scare her away.

After lunch with Johanna today I’m going to grandmas house with a bunch of my family to make potato pancakes. It should be interesting. I say that because, well, I don’t know why. I am anxious about this too, and I’m not really sure why I am anxious about it. It’s just going to be a few cousins, my mom, aunt and uncle, my grandma and possibly my sister and a friend at some point. I guess I’m anxious because my depression has been overwhelming, and it’s going to be hard to stay focused, in the moment, present with my family, and not “zone out” or isolate within the group of people. I suppose this is also known as dissociation. It hasn’t happened in a long time for me, but I just have been feeling lately like it’s been harder and harder to stay in the moment and while I have been able to up to now, I don’t know I will be able to later today. I don’t know for sure, so we shall see.

I don’t know how many people actually read this blog, and I’ve said that before, but I just want to let you all know, I write exactly what’s on my mind and I do this as a way to let it all out. I have found that writing in a journal doesn’t work, because I feel like I’m not truly “getting it out” because no one is seeing it. With this blog though, even though you all are strangers, I feel like I’m being heard, that my deepest thoughts and aches and questions of life are being heard and acknowledged, that I am not just writing, but I am writing and people are “hearing me” it does a lot for me to know I’m being heard. So thank you to every single one of you who have ever read my blog, liked it or commented on it. I really appreciate you all.

 

My Mind Is Racing And My Fingers Can’t Type Fast Enough To Keep up

Literally, the title of this blog is exactly what’s going on. Today at therapy the only way I could describe/ answer the question “how are you” was with the one worded answer of “crummy”. I have no other way to describe the tornado of thoughts and emotions that happen in my head throughout the days and weeks. I had an ECT treatment yesterday, the doctor asked how I was too, I told him I was struggling, and he asked if I wanted him to “up the intensity of the treatment”. I told him no because he was also telling me that it would make me more tired and forgetful for a few days, and I just can’t have that right now. SO for now we left the treatment where it was. It helped some, but this depression is getting worse. My psychiatrist is going to try a couple of small changes in my meds and see where that takes us, but I’m not the most optimistic about it. Truthfully, I’m not optimistic about anything in life right now………thus the depression.

I am so lucky to have the people at church that I have. I have specifically made friends with one couple, Michelle and Patrick. They’re my parents age, but they have given so much to me spiritually. The whole Adult Sunday school class has, but these 2, they have shown specific interest in me and my life and it means a lot to know I will be going into class and they will be there and they will mean it when they ask how I am, how my week was, and what has God been doing in my life? I feel comfortable with them. Talking with them, sharing with them. I truly believe God put them in my life for a reason, and right now that reason looks to be to give me something to look forward to each week and to give a fresh start to the week each week. I am truly grateful and blessed.

The self injury thoughts have been coming back……slowly but surely, stronger at some times than others. I say “coming back”, truly they never went away. I have had at least one thought of SI every day since the last time I engaged in it, but this, now? This is more it’s tied to my emotions, and my thoughts are more invasive and it’s getting harder to not engage in the behavior because honestly? I know it makes me feel better…..I know it works. At least for the short term/ in the moment. I know too, that it causes a lot of problems for me later. It leads to lying, betrayal, and feeling even worse than I already do. BUT like I said, it works in the moment to make the thoughts stop, to get the frustration out, to release the anger and to remind myself I am real, I am still here, that I have more control than my mind is leading me to believe. I just want it all to stop.

These are some of the thoughts going on in my head:
1. I’m worthless and no one, including myself, even know me.
2. People just pretend to like me while I’m around, if they really wanted to be my friend or were truly interested in me, they have my phone number or email at least and they could send me a message or call.
3. I’m ugly
4. I won’t ever succeed or meet my dreams– hell, I don’t even know what dreams I have.
5. The so called “dreams” I can think of, I’m not worthy of anyway.
6. I’m stupid
7. I’m unqualified– for everything I would ever want to do
8. I might as well be dead, because the way I’m feeling isn’t worth it either
9. I know my family would miss me, but I know with death, people manage to move on.
10. There is no hope in life
11. I’m not good enough
12. I just want people to like me……but how can they? I don’t even like me?

As you can see the list goes on…….I could keep going but no one wants to read a bunch of crap thoughts someone is having. I don’t even want to read it. I can give you reasons as to why each one of those thoughts is false, but the problem is I don’t believe it. I don’t believe in myself, and I don’t believe I ever can or will. I believe the world around me. I believe the words of others behind my back or the looks I get from people at times. I believe the way I am treated is a direct result of who I am. Why? Because people treat people the way they do based on what I know of them. People must not like me/ who I am because if they did I swear they’d treat me better. Now, there are people who treat me well. I can say I have a few friends. Like my friend Johanna. She’s someone who I don’t know what I would do without. She makes me laugh, let’s me bitch to her, and we both just vent whatever is going on. But I don’t have friends really around my age. I don’t have a boyfriend, and I don’t have a social life really outside of my family. I can say, I try my best to live a Christian life and treat others kindly no matter what because I don’t know what’s going on inside their heads, I don’t know what they hold in their pasts, and I will never know if I treat them poorly because that is no way to start a friendship. I just don’t understand. I don’t understand how so many people can say nice things about me, say I hold all these traits for good, but then just walk away and never contact me again. I don’t know what it is. Actually I do…….it’s ME…..they simply don’t like me.

I’ve wanted to cry the past week multiple times, but it was that feeling of I want to cry but I just can’t. Like my eyes just won’t let me cry right now. I don’t even know why I wanted to cry……other than the time I smashed my hand in seat of the car as it was sliding forward…..that was a legit reason to cry lol…..but seriously, I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve said it multiple times to my therapist, it’s as if the words haven’t been invented yet.

That’s all the words I’ve got for now…….talk to you all later.

“Always Stay Humble And Kind……”

Well, a few things have happened since I wrote last……so here we go.

As many of you know, my sister and I do not get along…..I mean, I love her because she’s my sister, but she’s not my friend. Granted, things have gotten let’s say about 2% better over the last year but even that is a stretch. Well, for those of you who have read my blog before, you know that I have a mental illness. I have been working for years on this illness to get to the point where I could work a full time job and come off of social security disability. I’m 31, and I feel like I am behind in a sense from where I “should” be at this age. I live with my parents, and I don’t have a boyfriend, and I just feel like I’m failing because of my illness. I feel like this illness has caused me to fall behind in life and what I mean by that is I don’t feel like I can relate to people my age who at this time seem to be buying homes, getting married, and having kids, and I’m just here working a 30 hour a week job living with my parents. Anyway, while I feel behind, I know at the same time that I have come a long way through a lot of challenges and struggles and circumstances that others my age have not had to endure. I am moving forward just at a different pace than my peers. And I have to be ok with that. I have to be ok with the fact that I am different and that my life does look different from others my age. Anyways, the reason I’m bringing this up is because last week I had a complete break down. Long story short (if that’s even possible lol) I was running into some problems with my insurance company and they were saying they weren’t going to be covering my depression treatments that I have every 2 weeks, and the only way I could get it paid for would be to pay over $500 to Medicare….which I was trying to get off of when I ended my social security disability. When the disability ended I had the option of paying for 2 years to continue the medicare, or I could just have it stop. Well, I wanted to just go on my works insurance and go from there. Then I found out my work insurance like I said, wasn’t going to cover these treatments because they were showing that I still had medicare (when I didn’t at that point) and it was just a mess, let’s put it that way. Well, it created a lot of anxiety in me and I came home that night and my dad said he would pay the $ to medicare to get the treatments covered for the next couple of months and then we would figure out how to make sure the medicare ended/ was cancelled correctly and that my work insurance would be able to cover it. I broke down. I broke down because I felt like a complete failure, like I couldn’t take care of myself, pay for my own healthcare, and that I just wasn’t good enough. This all came a few days after my parents got a good deal on new mattresses from a friend who owns a mattress store and they bought me a new bed. Well, my sister found out about this, and called my dad and went off on him saying things like “why the heck are you buying her a bed?! She should be paying for this on her own! She is an adult and needs to be responsible and act like it!” Well, she was yelling at my dad loud enough I was able to hear her through the phone. This made me feel like shit. I never asked my parents to buy that bed. I even offered to pay them back for it. They told me they got a really good deal for buying 2 and that I didn’t have to pay them back. So I graciously accepted it. But when a few days later all that happened with the insurance and I needed my dad to pay the deductible because I didn’t have the money (but I am paying him back in payments) I felt worthless. I felt like I had failed at life. Failed at everything. I broke down to the point where I was crying and my depression and anxiety was horrible in that moment. I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe, not even 2 ativan had an effect on it. This moment in time I was having thoughts I hadn’t had in a long time. Thoughts about actually hurting myself, and yes, I have those thoughts every day, about self harm, but the daily thoughts are more like passing thoughts that I am able to just ignore. These thoughts that night were thoughts about what am I going to use to cut myself, how can I hide it from my parents, and when I could do it. I had thoughts about the release I would feel and that it would make it all better. I couldn’t get these thoughts to go away. All I could do was shake, cry, and let my dad just hold me tight because I think he could tell what was going on in my head. He hugged me and held me and just kept saying I love you and it’s going to be ok, we’re in this together. If it weren’t for him and my mom that night I truly believe I would have hurt myself badly and probably ended up in the hospital. I took an extra ativan and was able to go to sleep though it was restless; but I didn’t hurt myself and I made it through.

I’m doing much better than that night for sure. Things have settled down, but I’m still in a rough spot of depression. I pray each night God would just take me in His arms and end this pain inside my head.

My grandpa is not doing any better either. He usually is ok mood wise up until about 3 pm when it the day starts to drag on and come to an end. My parents and I went over to the place he is at 2 days ago after I got off of work at 5 pm. He was agitated, restless, angry, confused, and just saying some really mean things. He was trying to stand up and setting off the alarm on his wheel chair. He didn’t want to eat his dinner and kept getting angry at dad for trying to help him eat. He was swearing at my dad and I for telling him to stay seated in his chair that we didn’t want him to fall. He doesn’t understand he cannot do what he used to be able to do because he isn’t strong enough. His dementia has worsened and I know it’s not him when he tells me to shut the hell up or to get the F*** out, I know that’s not my grandpa, but it’s the disease. But it still hurts. It hurts to watch him diminish and know that he will never be the same. It’s hard to know he will never be the pa I know and love and would joke with. He will never be that person again, and that kills me. When he got to the point where he was just so agitated that he was getting even more mean and not stopping, we decided to leave and let the nurses handle him for the night. I made it out to the hallway and I lost it. I just broke down crying because I just want my pa back. I just him to not have to go through this struggle where he has no idea what is going on, but at the same time believes he does…..he believes he is on a train, or at times on a fishing boat, or all these other things. I can’t just not go out and visit him, because he doesn’t always remember my name. I can’t do that. I have to continue to go see him, let him know I love him and that he’s not alone. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about how bad it hurts to watch him struggle, but it’s about loving him and letting him know he isn’t forgotten, he’s still my pa, he’s still my family and I will love him forever.

 

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.

 

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.