Saturday, May 21, 2011

Be appreciative of what you do have before it is too late.

Call your parents and say thank you. Thank you for the love and support. Not all of us get that.

Please take a look at this one.
Denny lost his wife and baby girl so fast. He is left to raise his three other children without her by his side. Their family has been a tremendous help during the process. The blog will leave you broken hearted. His spirit and strength is amazing through the trials. If only all of us could be as strong when faced with challenges.

Sometimes it is good to see things in a different perspective. While he has something I have wanted my entire life: an extended family, parents, children, a support net, he has had a tremendous loss in something I have: a spouse.

We all go through trials, like I said in my pain blog, we all feel them differently and experience them differently. His strength is amazing and I hope that others feel like saying I love you to their spouses tonight, fixing any issues/problems they are having and hold on tight, you never know when its the last time you may see them.



http://dennyandwendy.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 20, 2011

“How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”






Today, I turned down a contract to write a book for a great publishing company. The contract needed revisions, there were some things I didn't feel comfortable with. But what it boiled down to was that I always fail at everything I do, I always run away. I can't enter a legally binding contract and not finish, not succeed. I am held accountable and I know, I wont succeed. I never succeed. By accepting good I am inviting bad to happen. By having hope, I am opening the door for pain. I can't do that.

And writing is my release. Writing is where I go to when I cant go anywhere else. Writing is what drives me, it is the only thing I have that is mine. The only thing. It is the only thing I control, the only thing that gives me release, the only thing that has never been taken away from me or forced upon me. To be under contract and have someone else control, when, where and what I write… I'm unsure.

I know Id run. Id fail and Id fall. So I turned it down.

And then I tried to take a nap. Didn't work. Tried to do housework. Didn't work. I kept being called back to the computer, back to opening word. I was told, "write." When the write command pops in my brain I just do it. I sit down, vedge out and I write. Sometimes, I have ideas in my head about what to write, like I want to write a specific story today, sometimes I just sit and I let the pure emotion flow out of me and hit the page like a summer gully storm in Arizona. That is what happened. Below here is what I wrote. I tried to go back and reread it and edit it for grammar and spelling and content, but I couldn't get past the first few paragraphs without getting choked up. Somehow, reading it in "edit mode" as I call it, takes myself outside of the writing and makes me look at things objectively. I do this for my professional articles. So, I am reading it as if someone else wrote it, and for some reason, right now, I cant do that. I apologize in advance for the grammatical and spelling errors that I am sure are riddled through here.


 

I think I am afraid to go back to church because I am afraid of what it will move in me. I think that every time I get closer to God it just feels like I just get peace in my soul when a billion things fall around me. It is always the praise and worship that gets me most, I listen to the message and soak in the words, but the spirit seems to move most in me in the music. And that is the case whether Im sitting in church or listening to praise music at home. It is like it urges my soul to speak with God.

Today a friend posted ultrasound photos of her pregnancy at thirteen weeks. I immediately felt joy for her, what a blessing. Then, I started crying. Crying for me is unique, personal, and intimate. I was taught at a very young age that crying was showing weakness. Seeing the baby waving on the ultrasound, and knowing that some people think that babies in the womb are just fetuses… and having miscarried at that point, and beyond, and seeing clearly, just like on our ultrasounds, what a perfectly formed and visible confirmation of human life… and once again it concretes the fact that it was not a fetus, or just a miscarriage, it was a loss of life. A loss of a beautiful, innocent soul, that went off to home in heaven… a home I, have in recent months, started doubting even existed.

I think about the trials of my life. I overcame the child abuse. I overcame the foster care system. I over came the loss of a boyfriend, a best friend, and then the three I had left slipped away to Heaven as well. In a few short years all my closest friends died. I ran away. I ran to a new State, a new job, a new place. I had nothing to lose and no one to care about where I was. No one to notice I was missing. I rebuilt. It took me time to allow myself to let anyone in again, and even then it was always at an arm's length. Keep them disposable. I attended church during these times but it was always just a few weeks here and then switch, never get attached to the people, go only for the message. I never intended in falling in love, but I did that too. And it was hard, very hard, to recognize that I was setting myself up for loss again, and worst, marriage to a soldier, whose job was war; death and destruction.

The first few years I made many friends, but again, kept them at arm's length. A few emails here or there, a phone call once a year, keeps us in contact, nothing deep, nothing hard. I continued to pray, the only certainty I had in this life was that God would always be there.

Something happened along the path. The first miscarriage was a test of faith, but I got right up and went back, and the next, and the next. A stillbirth, crushed my soul, crushed my heart, crushed my hope. But I got up, I returned to church, but more importantly throughout the entire ordeal I never stopped praying. Prayed everyday of the pregnancy, and learned to pray for His will to be done, not what I wanted, but what He wanted. It was hard, but I was faithful. Falling from that was hard. But, I let myself get back up, I moved forward.

I figured, like the lyrics, "Better Hands" by Natalie Grant, that through it all it was ok, I was in better hands, God would move the mountains. I could be still in his faith. I was safe in his hands.

And we moved again, and this time I let myself branch out and make friends, beyond the surface, a couple, it was a huge step for me to let anyone in, even the little bit, that I had them. I was so worried about losing them, but even now four years later, we are still as close as sisters, yet I still haven't taken down all my walls… I had sisters before, best friends, who I would do anything for, and they had been there for years and then they were taken away. Always taken away. So even now, though I love them dearly, I keep my walls up so that when something happens I am not as broken, I don't let anyone in past the first walls, no one gets to the inner bailey. No one gets to the core. That's protected.

Our miscarriage in November 2009, angered me, it outright pissed me off. I had prayed and prayed, my soul was certain this was going to be the child that lived. I attended church regularly, I was prayed for by thousands of people on pray lists around the world. We had the best doctors, followed every order and were there for each other. Yet, the baby stopped growing and died. Another surgery. Another operation to remove another baby from my womb, they might as well have removed my heart.

I put on a brave stance for everyone, acted like I was fine. But in reality I was dying a little bit each day. Lord, hadn't I gone through enough? I asked him over and over. My husband and I have never ever been given anything easy in this life. We have fought tooth and nail for even the things we deserved. We built a life and a home literally from nothing. I would ask God isn't it enough that I was a tortured youth? Isnt it enough that I was adopted into a loveless and abusive family? Isnt it enough that my best friend, my brother, one of the strongest Christians I knew took his life right after telling me he would always be there for me? Isnt it enough to watch my mother die of Aids? Wasn't it enough to take the lives of my best friends and then not allow me to say goodbye? He had brought me through each of those obstacles and after each one I would pray and let him do the healing.

The healing started inside out. The healing started by falling into my Fathers arms and trusting in his love for me.

And each time I said, "Lord the bible tells me you will not give me more then I can handle. I am getting close to that point, so please no more." I would barely be healed from one when another would strike. I didn't understand. Why? Why so much? Why couldn't I have a break in the struggles? Is there no mercy? I would try to focus on what I did have, but each time I did it came back to superficial. I have been homeless, I have been hungry, but compared to the heartbreak of watching the only family you ever had, the one made of friends, die… and then for each baby you grow inside of you to perish… to be grateful for the food, the clothes, the house, it seemed so small. Grateful, I am, but I feel sad, cheapened, broken, and cheated. I feel crushed. Why?

Why did I not deserve parents to love me? Why did I not deserve to be told I was good, I was pretty, I made someone proud? What was so wrong with me? Why was I so bad? What was wrong with me? Why did I not deserve to have love in my life? I don't know. But I didn't deserve it. Yet, I grew in spite of it all. In spite of the treatment, in spite of the anger and the abandonment, I grew. And I flourished. I hadn't been given what so many others take for granted, I didn't have unconditional love in my life, I didn't know a mothers touch or a fathers pride, but that was ok. I had God's love.

After childhood I moved into adult hood. This is where everything would change. I would make a family of my own. I would have children I would love, cherish, and give the life I never had to. I would have a child that I could love unconditionally, tell them how much I loved them, how proud I was of them, how special and unique they were. We couldn't do much about providing them loving, supportive grandparents, or an extended family, but we could at least give them the love and support of parents. I didn't have anything normal growing up, ever, and this was the one normal thing I was going to do. I was going to have a family.

And then… life was not sustained in my womb. Once again the world told me no, once again I am pushed down and held down, for a reason no one can figure out. There was no reason behind being raped as a two year old, and there is no reason behind miscarrying children in the third trimester. No one can tell me why. None of the hundreds of medical tests have been able to find a single physical reason for what is happening.

After my miscarriages I always found myself searching more to be in God's presence. No one else could bring me the comfort I desperately needed. I found a lot of that comfort in music. One of the songs that had always helped me was the song, "Held" by Natalie Grant. The lyrics,

To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Always made me cry. They helped me get to the broken, sobbing mess that I needed to be to be able to heal. It was always a private matter, done alone. Literally a balled up heap on the floor, or kneeling at the couch, begging God to heal me, begging him to show me the good that comes out of the loss of a baby, begging… and then I'd play the playlist that I had made and I would sit, listening or singing the words, emptying my heartache and soul to the Lord and asking him to take it all from me. And miraculously it always worked. I didn't walk away with the pain completely gone; I walked away with it manageable because God was holding it on his shoulders, not allowing it to weigh down mine. Faithful. I would be faithful and I would be healed.

My miscarriage in 2008 was a private one. I didn't broadcast the pregnancy or the loss. When I miscarried I asked for prayer from a woman at church. She sent me a song, called "Perfect Peace" by Laura Story. Once again the lyrics rang true, once again the spirit moved in song. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it.

Stay close by My side
Keep your eyes on Me
Though this life is hard
I will give you perfect peace

In this time of trial
Pain that no one sees
Trust me when I say
That I will give you perfect peace

And you'll never walk alone
And you'll never be in need
Though I may not calm the storms around you
You can hide in Me

Burdens that you bear
Offer no relief
Let Me bear your load
'Cause I will give you perfect peace

Stay close by My side
And you'll never walk alone
Keep your eyes on Me
And you'll never be in need
Though this life is hard
Know that I will always give you perfect peace
I will give you perfect peace


 

Then the next miscarriage came. Another baby grew. Heard the heart beat, saw the features, felt the babies soul deep inside of me. Then, suddenly, without warning, the heart stopped, the baby stopped growing, and died. All I could think was, "It's unfair." Yes, the words are spoken in the song, Held. And then I thought, "God if this is love, you can keep it, I don't want love that is always pain, always hurt, never joy." I look back on my life and I try to find moments of joy, pure joy, the moments where things are so good and so right.

For many people two of the biggest moments of their lives are their weddings and the birth of their children. Our wedding was alone in a courthouse, no witnesses, no friends, no support. No dress, no cake, no cards, or presents. No, prayers or religion. A legality, nothing more nothing less, an empty legality. There was no sharing in the joy with loved ones, because lets be brutally honest, what loved ones did we have in our lives at that time who would have given a damn? Right. And the birth of a baby, we all know where that comes.

How about graduation? The one where I was told I was failure, and I owed her money for the time I lived there where she didn't collect her checks, where I was hurried out of the building, because God forbid I take up another moment of her precious time? My graduation was a joke, and I spent the night crying myself to sleep. How about the day I received a full scholarship to college and there was a ceremony, and at the last minute she decided she wasn't going to take me? So I drove to Chicago alone, and sat a table with seven empty chairs, the table that had "Rebekah and family" written on the seat holder. And when I was called up to receive the award, and he asked for "Rebekah and parents" to take the stage and he asked if I wanted to wait and I said, no, no one's coming. I smiled, I accepted, I sat back at the empty table and I made myself look busy reading over the booklet so that the looks of shock, curiosity and sympathy wouldn't get to me and I wouldn't cry. Or the time that I got the lead in a community play that sold out and I expected friends or family to attend. I had invited everyone I knew and opening night, I was backstage, taking off the makeup and no one came. I went searching, no one.

Or how about waking up in the hospital, finding out your friends are dead, and there's no one there. Getting discharged and having to call your old college roommate to drive two hours out of her way to come get you, they wouldn't let you leave alone but you had no one to call. Going home to an empty apartment, sitting on the floor and wondering what next. Thinking about taking your life, thinking, debating, planning it. Because you had no one left to call. The ones you would call were ripped out of your life, and you were truly alone. A bag full of medication, to heal your broken body and nothing to comfort your broken soul.

I can talk about countless Christmas's spent alone, in an apartment, or when I became homeless in my two door Chevy Cavelier. Making yourself not think about what day it is, or what anyone else was doing, just concentrate on getting though that one more day. I can talk about working double shifts on Thanksgiving just to not have to think about the family you didn't have to spend it with.

You know I never cried over those things. I didn't cry on Christmas or Thanksgiving, I didn't cry. You know, I didn't even blame God. I blamed myself. Myself for being a failure. Myself for not adapting into the foster care system, myself for testifying against my parents, myself for standing up to my adopted mother and not allowing her to abuse me anymore. I blamed myself for being born this way. Unlovable. But it never occurred to me that I was unlovable to God, just to humans.

With everything I went through and all the times I was completely alone, the conclusion was always the same: If they loved me they would be here. And the emptiness showed me the truth. It concreted what I had heard starting at six years old, in my first foster home;

"No one will ever love you." She said, matter of factly.

"Why?" A six year olds question, the same one Id ask about the color of the sky. Why?

"Because you are broken, people don't love broken things, they have no use."

And in a six year olds brain broken things could be fixed. Right? Everything can be fixed. And I tried. Home to home. I promised to be good, I promised to be better, to get good grades, to do what I was told, if they would only love me I would do anything they wanted. Anything. But, I couldn't terminate my parents rights, I couldn't make the court system go faster. I couldn't make myself stop aging, couldn't make myself adoptable, couldn't make myself permenant. I couldn't stay cute. I couldn't be loved. I could be tossed aside. I ended up in home after home where I was nothing more than a paycheck. Homes where I wasn't even allowed to eat dinner at the same table as the "real" family, or where I spent Christmas in my room until their "family" left and I could come out.

I was such an optimistic child. Thinking, the next home would love me, I would show them. I would show them the good girl inside of me and they wouldn't help it they WOULD love me. But years went by and I didn't have that forever home, all I had was a decade of horrible experiences and a loss of a childhood that I could never get back.

I became the queen of acting. Acting like everything was ok. Acting like I wasn't dying inside every single day, like I wasn't being told on a daily basis that I was ugly, that I was stupid, that I was fat, that I was broken, that I was… never good enough, never bright enough. That I was being spit on, hit, screamed at, hair pulled all behind closed doors. That every second I was reminded of what a hassle I was, what a chore, what a pain. That I was nothing but a waste of air. My adopted mother constantly called me a holey bucket. That it was not worth putting anything into me because it would fall right back out. That's why I didn't deserve clothes that fit, or were new, that's why I didn't deserve happiness, why I didn't deserve love, because I was too stupid/ugly/fat/worthless to ever maintain it anyway, it would fall out.

This is what it means to be held.

Yet, I tried my best just to survive, just to make it one more day; just to not give in and end the life that I was constantly told wasn't worth anything. Constant thoughts in high school, not that anyone knew, was how I could simply end it all. I didn't want to go to school, I didn't want to go home. I just survived on the thought that someday, someone would love me. I was foolish and optimistic.

I didn't do drugs. I didn't drink alcohol. I didn't have sex. I passed all my classes. I tried hard but I didn't know how to act. I didn't know what a normal relationship in any situation looked at. I tried teaching myself but it never worked. I just wanted attention, just wanted to be loved. I didn't care where it came from. But the harder I looked, the harder I tried, the more I was told I was bad. I talked too much. I was weird. I was pushy. I was an attention whore. I was stupid. I was fat. I was ugly. I was clingy. I didn't know how to wear makeup. Why was I eating that? Where did I get THOSE shoes? What is wrong with you? We don't like you. Go away. You don't fit in. What are you doing here? I don't want her in our group for prom. The words echoed around me.

Show me. Show me what you want and I'll be it. I don't know what to do. I don't understand why you hate me. I don't get it. Please just show me. Give me a chance. I don't know! I don't know the answers to your questions. I don't know why Im stupid. I don't know why I do these things, say these things, act this way… Please show me what good is, show me what love is, please… but it didn't happen. There was nowhere to run and hide so I graduated early and moved on with my life.

And I learned. I observed. I figured it out. First, I was homeless, then I moved in with a friend, then I struggled my first year of college to figure out it out, like I do often I ran. I transferred schools.

For the first time in my life I was doing something right. Good grades, great friends, a sorority, elected to Student Government, involved in campus ministries, wow, I was normal. For five minutes in the span of my life. I knew what it was like to be like everyone else, even if it was built on the perception that I had a family back home and I was normal to begin with, no one asked, so I didn't mention it. Then, the one person who showed my Christ love above everyone else, the one person who I finally lowered the walls for, the one person who showed me in actions, not words, what life was about… the ones person no one would ever suspect to, kills himself… five minutes after having a conversation with me where he tells me he will never leave, he will be the one constant safe place I have to go to in my life, and says I love you.

The beautiful house I had built around myself comes crumbling down. I recognized it. I would never be normal. I would never be that person. I would never be loved. It sealed my fate. I ran away again, switched schools, this time I didn't give a damn what happened to me, or who accepted or didn't accept me. I just was there because I had nowhere else to be… it was better than being homeless again.

When a few short months later I am in Chicago burying my mother who died from AIDS, and then to have the people I was closest too snatched up in a sudden moment, in a day that was full of life and a night that was full of death, and I was left, alone again, completely alone, like I had always been to, where was I to turn?

I turned to God. In each one of those moments. In each one of those times, when the sacred was torn from my life and I survived, I turned to God. Because, I was never really alone. At that table, I was not alone, God sat there with me. At the play, God watched in the front row. In my car, cold and miserable on Christmas night, waking every few minutes to make sure a cop wasn't going to ask me to move, God was there with me. I had faith in that. I had faith he was always there. I was unlovable, but not to God. That is what I was supposed to believe, and for a short while, I did, with all of my heart believe that.

I was saved by the blood of Christ. No matter what I do, what I say, how I feel, that certainty never disappears. Even when I try to deny him, like Peter, how can you deny someone you know exists? You do nothing but lie to yourself. I've tried to run and hide behind, hide from the fact that there is no where I can go that he can't I see. And I would be a liar to say I don't find myself praying, from time to time, for Him to show Himself to me again, and I see him… and I find myself saying, "Thank you Lord" in random moments, beautiful mountains with the setting gold of the sun highlighting it, a car spinning out of control that randomly comes to a stop without harm to anyone or anything, a healing dog, a moment of being able to breathe when my husband was safe on American soul again. Even now, I find myself thanking God. In the small and the big things.

Recently, I walked amongst the ruins of a tornado's path, and I saw the fallen power lines, the crushed homes and lives, the utter destruction of a community in Missouri… and then finding out that there were no causalities, no lives taken, even amongst the skeleton remains of property, a sigh of, "Thank God" comes raining out.

When I came out of surgery from our November miscarriage, I didn't feel like God was there anymore. I felt like they took Him when they took my baby. When I tried praying, I couldn't get past the first few words. When I tried healing, I couldn't get past the bricks that surrounded my heart and my soul. The music, no longer meant anything to me. I could hear Held fifteen times and I couldn't, I wouldn't cry.

I resolved myself and I have kept that resolve up for a year and a half now. I figured it out that day, I had been stupid all along. Because, if you are unlovable you are truly unlovable. That means to God as well. I have come to the conclusion that people think they love me. They convince themselves, it's not hard for that to happen, people convince themselves of "truth" all the time (is the world flat?). They think they love me and then one day they wake up and see they didn't. Like the foster parents I had, like the friends who wouldn't leave me and then take their own lives, in the span of a breath, as sure as I am of the mountains that surround me is as sure as I am that love, for me, in this lifetime, does not exist.

That is the explanation I came to. That is the meaning of it all. I wasn't held, I had talked myself into believing I was. I wasn't loved… you see, the promise is when everything fell we'd be held. But I am not. I am not. I can't fool myself into thinking that tomorrow things will be better. I have been thinking that my whole life. God has a plan for me. I survived. Something good will come from this. Tomorrow. Today my life will change. I will change it and tomorrow things will be better. It's been a cycle. I had faith through all of it. Faith before, during and after the storms that life has dealt me. Faith, bad thing happens, faith, grow and heal, faith, bad thing happens, faith, grow and heal, faith, bad thing happens. Stop. Stop it here. I don't want the cycle anymore. It is bullshit. Before I have time to heal, before I have time to take the next breath more topples over onto me. I have had faith. I have looked towards the future. I have found bad in good. I have done everything right.

I have done that. I have changed my life. I have sought help. I have opened my heart and let people in. I have been optimistic. I have searched and sought his plan. I had done everything right. I had healed, I had grown, I had determination. And each time, each and every time, I was slapped in the face. Each time I got up, each time I built something, each time I turned to God I was crushed down. I don't deserve happiness. I know now that happiness brings sorrow. Every time. I have faith in people, and then I am abused, abandoned, hurt. I build meaningful relationships and a semi truck driver, a disease, a drunk driver, their own hand, or God comes and takes them from my life.

You can only stand up so many times after falling down. If your house gets destroyed by a hurricane every year, after the second or third time people start looking at you and wondering why you keep rebuilding in the same spot, are you stupid?

How do I feel? How do I honestly feel? I was told once by a woman that if she was a child inside my womb she would kill herself too, rather than be born to me.

And the words ring true.

Right now I feel many things. I feel broken. I feel worthless. I feel dirty. I feel ashamed. I feel ugly. I hate looking at myself, I hate looking at pictures of myself, and I see failure. I feel hopeless. I feel guilty. I feel cheated. I feel useless. I feel torn. I feel like my best is never good enough. I feel hurt. I feel let down. I feel stupid. I feel angry. I feel selfish. I feel confused. I feel lost. But mainly I feel empty. I have rebuilt the walls that should have never come down and want nothing more than to hide behind them until it is my turn to go.

So I merely survive this life, one day at a time, until it is my turn to die. Where will I go? I am not sure. I believe in Christ, I believe his blood was shed for my sins, and in that I believe in Heaven. But can a person who is unloved, by God himself, get in? I have no answers.  I trudge on, I wake up, I go to bed, and I endure this life that is not worth living.  


Will I ever truly live again?



Empty, broken, a holey bucket… building up the armor so that the next time a building falls on me I wont be shattered, because I wont give a damn to have let my walls down enough for it to hurt.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Five Things



1. I am a good wife. Loyal, loving, supportive.
2. I am a good writer.
3. I am good with dogs. 
4. I am a good cook.
5. I am creative. 

My Husband





Let me tell you about my husband. He is an amazing man. He has to go through so much in his life, so many heartaches and pain. It is not my place to put it out there but let’s just say we both survived “the system”
I find myself in a familiar place as I did when I was adopted: cooking, cleaning, errands, organizing etc. 

Except, this time I do it because I WANT too not because I HAVE to. A lot of people in our lives joke about how spoiled he is, but in all honesty I like taking care of him, it is one of the things I do that I hope shows my love for him in my actions, not just my words.

He has had so many struggles in his military career. He has had to fight for things that others were just handed. 
He is the type of man that believes his work should speak the loudest above all else. He puts dedication and time into his job. He succeeds at being the best, such as Honor Graduate of EOD School. He never gives up, even when people target him unfairly, he just pushes ahead and does everything he can do to prove them wrong. When popularity outweighs skills, and personality outweighs intelligence, when wrong thrives over right, he still trucks on. He does what is right consistently, even when it is not always popular.

He supports our family by working hard. He fixes things that I have no idea how to, he is strong in my weaknesses. He is creative and caring.

He loves children and children adore him. They flock to him. He is playful, kindhearted and funny.

He is patient with me, all my insecurities. He knows how I feel and yet he constantly tells me how much he loves me, and tells me no matter how much I push he will hold onto me tighter. He holds me during the few times I allow myself to cry in front of him.

We have so much fun together. We laugh, we play, we explore.

More importantly, we are friends and tell each other everything. We love talking to each other and it makes our day.

I haven’t been blessed much in this life, but I was blessed with a perfect match. 

Living with PTSD and Attachment Disorder




Foster children are often evaluated regularly for psychiatric and mental health disorders. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for five different (3 as a child, 2 as an adult) and separate events in my life. Five. In addition I have been diagnosed with attachment disorder. I have never been diagnosed with depression, bipolar or any other disorder, not that there is anything wrong with that, but a lot of people assume that people who have gone through what I have gone through and write what I write must have something horribly wrong with us and need help.

The problem with PTSD is that it really never goes away. You deal with it and you live with it, you learn habits and coping skills to have a normal life, but there is always the possibility of flare-ups or triggers happening. Take a soldier, shell shocked from war who has PTSD and learns how to deal with it… now add Fourth of July fireworks right after returning home. The combination can retrigger his PTSD.

This year has been the worst, mainly because in the past I have ignored the triggers, put up walls and simply pretended it wasn’t happening. Seemed to work out ok, well for everyone else it did. I looked happy, bubbly, and never depressed, anxious or upset. That they saw. I kept it all in. The problem isn’t that people think I went from happy to this current state, the problem is I hid all of this and no one knew what I was struggling with before. Many people read my blogs and then see me in person and cant believe how night and day they are compared to my attitude, my happiness. That’s because the blog is therapy. In therapy you talk about things that are bothering you, you get it out and learn coping skills. You don’t go to therapy if everything is perfect in your life. My blog is my go to place to get the deeper stuff out, the stuff I don’t mention or talk about with friends or in casual day to day conversation.

Let me try give an example. If you find a good friend hanging after committing suicide. The event may cause PTSD. Even if years go by seeing anything that resembles that night might trigger it. The smell of the room, the shirt he was wearing, etc. Years go by, youve dealt with it well. Then, one Halloween you go into a store with friends to find a costume and you see a hanging skelton. It triggers the event, you have flash backs, nightmares for days. But you dont want to be considered weird, you cant leave or you have to explain what you went through to the people you came with. So you go to another section of the store... in the future you know how to avoid the store but for now, you are completely triggered. Or say you go to Six Flags for Halloween Fest and there are realistic bodies hanging from trees... That is what it is like for me. You learn how to avoid places that might have triggers but you never know, you cant live in a box, when a trigger happens having coping skills in place and having a support system is essential.

Accept, I dont have a support system in place. Most people in my life dont know what triggers my PTSD. They have NO idea, to include my husband. Because, I dont want to be a burden. I dont want to open that much up and give someone another excuse to walk away. So I deal. I cope the way I have been taught and I do it my way. 

 I had written a post about living with PTSD and Attachment Disorder on Facebook at one point. I found it and decided to repost it on my blog. I wrote it in October, 2010, some things were no longer relevant and thus not reposted. I hope it might shed some light on some things.

Living with PTSD and an Attachment Disorder

Many of you see me as a normal, happy, healthy woman. I am. For the most part. Being normal is quite overrated actually and I really prefer to be abnormal in a quirky sort of way. A lot of you have really seen my insecurities come full circle this year in a way that no one has ever seen. There have been a lot of changes this year that has thrust me fully into triggering my PTSD. I was diagnosed with PTSD (for three events) for the first time at the age of seven. I was re-diagnosed again as an adult, two separate events, and two separate sets of triggers. I have worked incredibly hard all my life to recognize and deal with the triggers as they come in a healthy way.

I have attachment disorder. I have never been on medication for a mental illness, never been diagnosed with depression, and for what I have gone through in my life that in itself is pretty amazing. I have however, been diagnosed with attachment disorder.

Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of mood, behavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments primary care giving figures in early childhood, resulting in problematic social expectations and behaviors. 

People learn how interpersonal skills starting as children. How they interact with others is dependent on the social circumstances they learned growing up. When my parents abused me and I was taken away and put into foster care I met with a counselor every week. I had to learn that the way my parents had treated me was not right, it was not normal or healthy. That was not what having a parent child relationship was supposed to be about. While they told me that the relationship I had been in before was unhealthy they never showed me what a healthy family home looked like.

My first foster home was physically abusive. I then bounced around foster care from home to home. There was a variety of reasons behind it but I kept being rejected until finally I ended up in a group home. They ran out of foster homes for children and thus I got placed in a home where I was the youngest by four years. I went from a healthy weight there to obese as I fought depression. The institution was far from a healthy place for a child of my age. In addition, the children there ranged from being mental ill (retardation, down syndrome, etc), to being one step away from prison and everything in between. Pretty much every misfit out there whose family didn’t want them or couldn’t handle them ended up there. A bunch of dejected, unloved youths with adults who were more interested in a pay check than the best interest of the children. My so called cabin parents were in their early twenties. I started fourth grade in the group home. It was me , a teacher, and a teacher’s aide. That’s it. Every move I made was tracked. 

Finally I ended up in my adopted home, although I wouldn’t be adopted for a couple years. At best it was emotionally unhealthy and abusive. I was not considered one of the children or family but instead a worker. My job was to take care of the children that my single adopted mother would later adopt. I took care of family and home and in exchange received room and board in one location. The nurses who came in and dealt with my handicap sister often took me aside and told me how it was not right the way I was treated there, but I tried to put forth a face that showed a happy person. Until I graduated from high school I never had a mentor or a good example of what a family unit was supposed to be like. All I saw in my life was people coming and going, never staying, never developing good bonds. I was a mess in high school… I wanted attention, I wanted love, and I would do anything to get it (I never did drugs.  I didnt  have sex until college, however.) I talked too much. I didn’t know how to interact with my peers in a normal healthy way. I didn’t know how normal people acted. I had never experienced that. The most important development age was spent with dysfunctional children in a group home.

In high school my first real boyfriend, Joe was a strong moral man. He had a lot of musical talent and we would spend hours and hours talking on the phone. He promised never to leave me, no matter what happened between us, we would always be friends. He was driving home and was killed by a truck driver that had fallen asleep behind the wheel.

In college I met this wonderful man, Brian. Brian was an amazing friend. He was a strong Christian and taught me about loving myself. He became like a brother to me. We really got close and spoke about everything. He promised, like everyone before me never to leave. We were both elected to Student Government. We had the same major, went to the same parties, his fraternity was close to my sorority. On Friday November 8th, 2002 Brian and I, with other friends, had dinner together. Brian and I went for a walk and discussed life, as we had many times before. An hour later Brian committed suicide. Moments after telling me he would always be there for me and he loved me. His funeral was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure.

Five months later, my biological mother died of AIDS.

Do you see a pattern here? I’ve never really been able to get close to people and sustain a long term relationship with them before I have pushed them away. Fear of abandonment attacks me every single time.

A year later I was in a car accident. Hit by a drunk driver. The only survivor. My best female friends were in the car with me. They died on impact.

My husband is the longest relationship I have ever had. He has stood by me during crazy nuts days where I have been so depressed and spent the entire day bawling. He has had to reassure me time and time again that he is not going to leave me. The thought of losing him, losing the only constant I have had, the only support that has consistently been there and not swayed, who has always stayed by me is something I can’t comprehend. The thought of losing him breaks me. I know this is the way it is with many wives, the idea of losing their husband is something incomprehensible and it’s nothing that I go through alone. I try not to think about it, think about him dying. .

My husband has deployed before. It didn’t trigger these symptoms last time because we had developed a strong, long lasting, bond of support before he left. I had a good job, I had great friends etc. Also note, I am not weak. I am not desperate. I can take care of myself with my husband deployed, have no fear of that. I am quite capable of living a healthy, happy, productive life when is gone. This does not affect my day to day life or the ability to support myself. I am just trying to explain the way I am and the way I think.

Because of how fast things happened in Colorado both my PTSD and my Attachment Disorder was triggered. My husband returned from Iraq in late September, in November he missed Thanksgiving and went on a VIP mission, and in December our house was packed. We travelled across country and he in processed here February 10th. He went to JRTC, Gator (an EOD course), the field, HME course in Utah, had multiple members of his family and three sets of our friends from Ft. Lewis visit all since arriving here. And then he deployed. We had very little time together to get settled, to make a life here and then he was gone. Within the first month of deployment one of his friends came home after being injured in an attack, another died, both from our tiny eod unit. It made this very real in a very short amount of time. I was forced with the fact, like all the other spouses in our unit, which our husbands might not come home. It is something we can’t focus on, we can’t dwell on, we have to move forward and be positive for our husbands and for ourselves. For someone with attachment disorder it is a major trigger however.

I feel all alone here. I am scared to reach out. I am scared to develop bonds, scared of losing them. I have kept everyone in Colorado at arm’s length. I have spent minimal time with multiple people in hopes to prevent future pain from losing them, whether it is from distance or death. And I have no one to blame but myself for being so lonely now. I make excuses to not see or socialize with people. I can’t have it both ways. I can either not develop long term friendships out of fear of loss or I can and see what happens. That terrifies me. Having to make that choice is hard.

Having attachment disorder means I purposely keep people at arm’s length. It means I push people away. It means that I see things that aren’t there- I perceive myself to be socially awkward, I perceive my outgoing nature to be a bad thing. I am paranoid people dislike me, I read too much into body language, tones, and words and see things that aren’t there. It is hard for me to know that I am liked. I don’t believe that I am loved. If I was loved why would everyone leave? It is a like an anorexic with distorted body image. I often feel like I am imposing, that I am bothering people. Then I apologize. Then people get upset with me being insecure and apologizing, and my insecurity and apologies in turn pushes them away, which in turn justifies my belief that I am not meant to have relationships with people.

For example, if a friend has to change plans with me, I wonder to myself if they don’t like me anymore. Instead of hearing that a friend is sick and can’t make it to lunch I automatically jump to the conclusion that they don’t like me. I have to battle that, I have to talk myself down from it, I have to walk away from that ledge and talk myself out of believing that they don’t like me and into believing that they are sick. I worry about the things I say, will it turn people off? I worry about the amount I talk. I worry about statements I say, innocently, will people hear them and walk away, reject me?

I have days, months, sometimes years when the triggers are big and I come across as paranoid and insecure. Then there are days, months and years when I appear perfectly normal. Like anyone else with PTSD triggers can hit at anytime and have to be dealt with on an ongoing basis.

Some of you who have been friends with me for years are wondering what the heck is going on. I get asked all the time lately, by those of you who know me most, if I am ok. Because this side of me is not something you are used to. You’re not used to me apologizing for everything. Those of you who have met me during this phase you might think that Im nuts. Wondering why Im constantly insecure about friendships. Now you know.

I am working really hard at overcoming these things. I am trying to see things how they are. This is me. I am insecure and awkward. I am strong and confident. I don’t have multiple personalities, I have triggers. Triggers I have to work with and face head on. I have demons. Not everyone can stand to be friends with someone like me. But there you have it. That’s who I am. If you can deal awesome. If you cant, well to be honest, I suspect most people cant and will disappear. That’s the biggest part of all of this. I have a really hard time attaching out of fear of losing. It takes a strong person to stand by me and continue to be my friend when I push people away. I appreciate all of you who are still here supporting me.

Some things you have to learn… something you don’t.



Ha, I often write the title of my blogs before I write the blog because I have an idea in my head of what I am going to write. I wrote that down and the “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t” jingle popped into my head.

This blog is going to be graphic… has adult material. Not for everyone.

When I was a foster child I had a lot of counseling and a lot of people telling me how I should feel about things. Not as many people cared about how I did feel about things. It was more about how they WANTED me to feel, and I gave lip service after awhile. I loved my mother. I didn’t care about the abuse she had afflicted on me, or the fact that she had allowed others to abuse me, she was still my mother, and for an unexplainable reason, I loved her. I loved her dearly.

When I was a preteen one of my foster mother’s tried explaining to me why I shouldn’t love my mother. She should have been the one to protect me from my abusers. It is a mother’s job to protect and shelter her children from pain, not inflict unnecessary pain or allow someone else to cause pain. A mothers first priority should always be to the wellbeing of her child, above all else. In her mind, because she was an outsider, it was black and white. She had deemed my mother guilty and that was that. Of course, she didn’t know about my mother’s past, or what was going on in her life when all that happened.

 I had visits with her at a maximum security prison. My caseworker would pick me up very early in the morning and we would drive four hours to the prison. Depending on how her behavior would be we would either sit or visit with her at a long table or we would be in a room and she would be shackled with a guard across from us. We inspired her to be good, if she was good she could hug us, if she wasn’t, she couldn’t. That’s how I grew up. Seeing my mother in chains in prison. And knowing in a part I was the reason she was there, that guilt, even irrational ate at me.

I remember the day I asked her. My caseworker actually looked up from the magazine she was reading and paid attention for once. I asked her, “mommy, why did you let him hurt me?” Simply enough right? I was ten years old, but way mature for my age, I had no choice. I had to grow up fast. I will never forget what she told me.

I was two the first time she saw him try to rape me. She came in, high off of cocaine, and saw her husband mounting her two year old child. She was angry with ME. She, in her drug induced state, thought I had seduced him. I was two years old. She said I was crying on the bed, saying “no, no, no” and she thought I was crying because we were caught and saying no because she came in. That is what the drug blurred vision made her see. After he was done with me she told me, and she was ashamed, that she beat me and screamed at me for seducing him. Then, she wrapped me tightly in a bunch of bankets and held a pillow over my face, trying hard to suffocate me. But, she passed out. I was two years old.

She cried as she told me the story, ashamed of her behavior. The drugs had made her see something that wasn’t there. But she choose to do the drugs. She choose the cocaine over her children. She was addicted to her husband. Whatever he said to do, she did. He pimped her out as a prostitute for money, he kept her stocked on drugs, so she never clearly thought. He, he, he. But at what point do you take responsibilities for your own actions as an adult? She never did.

I had my answer that day for why she let them hurt me. But, to find out that your mother let them do it, and then blamed you for the actions of grown adults when you were two years old, how do you come to terms with that? You know, she did apologize, and she cried, and she tried until she died to make it up to me. We would go on to have amazing conversations and get to know each other at a deeper level. I live with the fact that for several years my mother despised me and wanted me dead, and worst, tried to kill me. She said in times of lucidly she did love me and enjoyed being around me. Those would be times we would be around some of the other family members. Those memories come in patches to me. And I am grateful for the good, if minimal, memories I have from a stolen childhood.

To me, there are some things you just know are wrong. I know that murder is wrong. It doesn’t matter what I grew up around, what I had seen, how much I had been abused; living in today’s society you understand that this is black and white. You do not have to be taught by your parents that murder is not acceptable.  I get so angry when I see a story about a criminal and they toss in as an excuse that he had a bad childhood. So what? 

So did I. I have never abused a child, raped a person, committed murder. I have never tried an illegal drug in my life. I graduated high school a virgin of choice. Why? Because I knew the pain of my past and I didn’t want to go down the path my mother did. There is no excuse for hurting another person, especially a weaker person.

There are some things that you have to learn. Interpersonal relationship skills I believe is one of them. I had a very hard time with males growing up. My father had sexually abused me, and physically abused me. I never had a male relative around or male authority figure in my life that taught me the proper way to act around men, and there is a difference. I knew I wanted male attention and I would do whatever I needed to get it. 

Thankfully, in college, I met a family who I became close to, even if it was for a short while and I saw what a loving father figure looked like and I learned more about that. But, until then I had no idea. I know I craved attention from guys and I would do whatever it took to get it. Socially, I didn’t know what I was doing. See, in most of my foster homes I was secluded from everything. It was obvious it was about the money. I didn’t eat dinner with the family, I didn’t have holidays with them. They didn’t want to see me, didn’t want me around. Having been abused and then cast into a system where I wasn’t loved, wasn’t cared for, and then supposed to recognize what care and love looks like… how does that work? Never having a family to show me how families work together, how am I supposed to know? TV and books were my closest thing to seeing how families interact. I didn’t have super close friends in high school who included me in their family events. I had friend, but none that invited me to dinner with their families or I was around when their families were. We did our own things outside the house, or were in their rooms inside the house. In fact I can tell you in detail every family dinner I ever attended at anyone’s house. Recently I contacted a girl I knew when I was ten to ask her if she had her mothers Cornish hen recipe, that she had made me for dinner when we were ten… eighteen years ago. She was shocked I remembered that.

I remember that because a family sat around the table and ate dinner together. They laughed, they talked. It was normal. Something I wasn’t used to. It was like something out of one of my books, and I drank in every detail. It was something I would strive for later as a family. The reason I eat dinner alone at a table that seats six while my husband is deployed.

You would think that love and care would be something you wouldn’t have to learn, but like the studies done on children who aren’t held as a child, interrelationship skills start as a baby. I haven’t been shown love in my life, not at the barest family level. I didn’t hear the words “I love you” growing up. The first time I heard those words came from a boyfriend when I was fifteen, and I laughed. I wasn’t hugged, kissed, cherished. I wasn’t told, “I am proud of you.” The first time I heard those words was when I was eighteen. Our house got hit by a tornado while my adopted mother was in Las Vegas. I had all the children and I was taken to a friends house with them. Several other peers were there and one of the guys told me he was proud of me for how I had handled the situation, gotten the children safe etc. My adopted mother when she came back screamed at me, for hours, about everything I did wrong. How dare I accept help from someone else. I should have kept the children at a hotel, didn’t matter that I didn’t have a credit card and the hotels wouldn’t let me check in, then I should have kept them in the car, it was only one night, or figured something else out. How dare I make her look bad by letting people know she went out of state and left me alone with them, especially a toddler, it made her look bad. I had to hear about what a terrible person I was for months.

I was adopted into a horrible home. I woke up to screaming. I went to bed to screaming. She could turn on an act as soon as she was outside the home, but inside it was horrible. I was called vicious names. I was the cook, did the cleaning, took care of the kids. That was the purpose of being adopted. I was adopted by a single mother who wanted kids of her own, toddlers and infants. Knowing she couldn’t do it on her own she choose me. She told me she would give me a permanent place to live but I would never be hers. She manipulated and controlled me. She even would take church away if I did something she didn’t like. She pulled my hair, spit on me, and repeatedly told me I was unlovable. She would warn boyfriends away, literally sit at the table with them and tell them that I was unlovable, I would never be in a successful relationship etc. There was only one adult in my life who didn’t see through her act and that was my therapist. She had to petition the State to allow me to have private sessions because my adopted mother would punish me for saying certain things in therapy and would censor me in my sessions. She cared about her reputation way more than any of us. My home life was hell. Utterly. Several of my friends heard her or saw her doing things when they would be on the phone or coming by to get me. As long as the house was taken care of and the kids were, she didn’t care where I went or what I did.

Nothing anyone will ever say will make me believe that she cared, or loved me. Even now, that she has had a stroke and remembers very little and suddenly is nice and says, “I love you” readily and on cue. It was almost as awful living there as the abuse before being taken away.

Some things people learn. I never understood my intense need for approval. I never understood how badly I need to hear that I do something right. All I have ever seen is people pointing out the things I don’t do right, where I mess up. Hearing that I did something good, that is foreign to me. More then half a dozen foster homes and a group home later, being told by all of them, especially my caseworker that I would never be loved… my peers growing up telling me how much I did things wrong, was socially awkward, did things for attention, etc… When your entire world tells you you suck, sooner or later you believe that you suck. Most people have someone in their life that is their safe place, some where they go to hear they are good, accepted, loved. Many people that comes from mom. Some it comes from another family member or close friend.
I didn’t learn how to accept love, accept care. And you know, I don’t know if I am really missing much on that end. I have accepted being unlovable. It doesn’t phase me in the least. It is something that is who I am. As much as I am female, or white. I accept that.

I do. I also accept people convince themselves, normally for short term that they care about me. Then someday they wake up and realize, that wasn’t the truth, like all the foster parents before me. My worst fear is for the day that my husband wakes up and recognizes that too.

I know that I have no problem loving other people, caring deeply. Showing that is another thing that gets me all jumbled up. I do what I can, with what I know. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Big Enough Closet






Sometimes it doesn't matter what you say, how you say it or what you do it will be twisted. It doesn't matter the intention behind the action, someone somewhere will find a way to change it. I guess that is part of the problem with the written word compared to in person. The meaning can get lost in the black and white of paper. Even on days like yesterday where I tried to have a good day, it gets clouded with unfair accusations and words get put into my mouth. The great thing with written word is you can reread what you have written and you can ask exactly where something was said. The worst thing is everyone has their own interpretations and feelings behind it.

The sad thing is no matter what situation I am talking about someone will assume this is about them. Because, of course, I only received one email ALL day yesterday and only one person reads my blog, and there is only one person in my life. My best friend pointed out tonight when I was telling her how there were a few people that emailed me assuming they were the ones I was talking about when I said yesterday that I was paranoid people were talking about me, and they all confirmed that they and their groups of friends do indeed talk about me, but ironically none of them were the people I actually wrote it about, that sometimes people have guilty consciences. My paranoia obviously was founded, but I didn't realize at what extent it was.

I just deleted 75% of my facebook "friends." I really think that if we live in the same town but haven't seen each other in months, that is not real friendship. Lately a lot of the comments on my facebook statuses only come when it is a negative status. And, I noticed a lot of people leaving backhanded compliments, or snide remarks. I am not stupid. It doesn't take a genius for me to figure out your laughing at me.

Care.

This is a hard topic for me. It's a touchy topic. Because, I genuinely care about a lot of people. There are people I have never met in my life who if they needed me to I would be there. A couple of women I have met off of a website that we have corresponded over time via phone, email, etc. I haven't met them in the flesh but you better believe I would drop everything to be there for them and someday I hope we will all meet. I have several friends in my life that I also care deeply about. Enough to drive across country in a snow storm, or drop everything and babysit, or stay up all night to listen to them. I have said it before, I will do just about anything for the people I care about.

But the people in my life who I care about I either talk too often, or we have a history. For instance I have a friend who I have known for over ten years. We used to live together and we went to college together, were roommates. We now talk a couple times a year maybe, haven't seen each other in five. But I love her. I would be there in a second if she needed me.

I care too much, too soon, and too often I get hurt.

I know how I work BUT I have a very hard time turning it around. I don't often believe someone cares about me, lets not even go into the love realm. I have a hard time accepting care and concern and more often then not I don't recognize it. What I do see and feel is confrontation, accusation, criticism, (not the constructive kind either), and I walk away feeling like once again I wasn't good enough, or my intent was twisted, or my meaning wasn't felt. I feel misunderstood, misquoted, and often times like pure shit after these types of conversations. And then to hear it wrapped up in the words care and concern baffles me.

I don't only show my friends care when they are going through something bad. It is there all the time, in the little things, the texts, the phone calls, the brief emails.

I struggle with the concept of care, because I know I am unlovable. As many people have argued the case with me that is absolutely, 100% how I feel. But, care is different then love. I know I love a very small number of people in my life but I care for a great big number. It doesn't take much for me to start to care for a person, and unfortunately that is not always healthy or good. Too many eggs in too many baskets.

So while I care vastly about a lot of people, I think there is fewer than a dozen in my life that I would say that I would believe care for me. Warped. Im sure. But there isn't a lot about me to care about. I suppose, I feel like Im lacking in many ways.

Hmmm… Now I feel like I have gone totally off point.

I have decided I wont be posting statuses on facebook for awhile, or photos of myself, or thoughts. I would really like to hide out and live in a closet but that is not feasible. I have very few interactions with people in the last few months. I did this on purpose. There are a coupe people I see a couple times a month, but other than that I haven't really been very social. In fact, even they have realized the lack of seeing me compared to before.

It seems to me the less I interact, the less I care, and the less I get hurt. That being said, I will stick to my blogging and try to perhaps figure some of this out.

Pain


We all bleed red, 
we all taste rain, 
all fall down, 
Lose our way,
We all say words we regret, 
we all cry tears, 
we all bleed red

Note: Yesterday I had decided not to post this. I had written it and then decided it wasnt worth it, I was trying to get out of the past after all. Tonight, I have decided to go ahead and post it. I will say this for the last time. I have been evaluated by psychiatrist. THERE IS NOTHING MENTAL HEALTH WRONG WITH ME. Thank you for telling me over and over that I "need help" I actually, according to two licensed psychiatrists, I don't.
------------------------------------

It took a lot of soul searching about this blog. I don’t want to step on toes, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or for them to feel betrayed. I had written the second half a long time ago. Because of current events it made me feel like now was a good time to post it. I genuinely and honestly am not posting it to cause drama, or to confront anyone, this is something Ive heard from a couple people. I know the typing is going to make it appear like that, but it is not. I had a friend read my blog a couple nights ago and ask me why I have so many people on my facebook that give lip service if I don’t think they care. That was a good point. I have coworkers, friends, KC’s family, and fellow military wives on my page.  Some Ive never even met, some I have known online for years and consider friends even though in person weve not gotten a chance to meet up yet. I guess I don’t take facebook as seriously as some people do. In the future I may decide to limit the number, but for now, Im satisfied. (Tonight, I have changed my mind.)
~R

Here is the thing people. This is MY blog. I am writing about MY life and MY feelings in it. It is the one place in my life where I get to be selfish. Just because I don’t talk about other people in it doesn’t mean I don’t care or I don’t recognize what is going on in anyone else’s life. Just because I  write about eating meat doesn’t mean that I don’t respect a vegetarians right to not eat meat. Just because I write that I hate heavy metal music does not mean I hate people who listen to heavy metal music. It is my blog, my space, and yes I will be selfish. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

It hurts me that people read my blog and think that I am selfish or judging others. It really does. I don’t want that to come across because I am not like that. I am not a judgmental person because I don’t want to be judged. I know not everyone puts their struggles out there for the world to see, and a lot of people keep them inside. The people who know me in my day to day life would never have known any of this about me had I not started blogging.

I had written this blog months ago. I had it posted all of ten minutes before I had taken it down. There were parts of it that I had thought were not the most sensitive. I had mixed feelings about posting it and thus had set it as a draft instead of published. I had been thinking about reposting this blog for awhile. I heard the song posted above, and it had made me almost post it. But it was because of an email I received, where I feel the person totally misread, and misjudged me that has inspired me to revisit this topic. Today I went in and changed the date on it (to bring it to the front of the blog) added a couple paragraphs to the top and republished it. I have the people who I use as pain examples permission to post it. I don’t give personal intimate details about another person’s life without them giving me the go ahead.

I blog because it is my therapy. I have had therapy. I have been evaluated for bipolar and depression along with anxiety disorders. For those of you who, without a psychiatric license, feel that I have one or all of these, the professionals disagree. I am a just a woman who has gone through a lot in her life and is dealing with it the way she knows how.

Now, these blogs are often depressing. I get that. The people who know me in real life, know that is not how I act. It is very very rare that Ill bring up my past, that Ill ask for sympathy, that Ill use it for anything. I just ont do that. I don’t have the desire or the need to. While my blogs may make it seem like I am dwelling and I am obsessed with it, I am not. It is my outlet and the only place I go to with it.

For someone to say that I don’t look at others pain or what they are going through is a slap in the face. In fact it hurt so much that I asked a couple different people, without giving out who had said that, if they see that about me. I asked people I knew would be brutally honest. They all laughed. All of them. I get yelled at often for giving too much of myself to people and in the process getting hurt, or run down, or sick from it.

I am not a perfect person. But I am going to say I am a damn good friend. I will give anything I have, physically, emotionally to a friend in need. I have babysat, driven across country, shaved my head, paid utility bills, sold my own property to provide for a friend in need, opened my house, my heart to friends. I have gone out of my way, rescheduled my life, spent money we didn’t have, given things we couldn’t afford to be there for my friends. I am fiercely loyal and supportive when you are inside of my inner circle. I put other people and their needs above me. Every time. I get yelled at for it too. I give so much of myself that there are some days where there is nothing left for me.

Recognizing others pain has been something that I have done naturally all my life. I am often the “therapist” in a group of friends. People find me easy to talk to, to relate to and come to me with their problems and hurts a lot. I listen, I don’t judge, I don’t bring up my pain in comparison, I simply listen. I paid a friends utility bill recently when her family had received notice that it was going to be shut off. I didn’t judge her, I didn’t ask her where her money goes to or why they couldn’t afford it, I didn’t judge decisions she made, I didn’t even ask or care to know why. I simply paid the bill.

I don’t venture to understand everyone’s pain. I have never had my husband die, I have never lost a limb, I was not born deaf, or blind. While I can be supportive, while I can hold them while they cry, I cant truly understand the pain, because I have never gone through it. I can show concern, I can show care, but I wont say “I understand your pain.” Because unless you have gone through the exact same situation you cant know it.

I don’t believe that one persons pain is better or worse, higher or lower, more sever or less than anyone else’s. Pain is pain. It hurts. That said, here is the blog I wrote January 25, 2011.

Post 34
There are different types of pain. Emotional and physical. There are different situations in which pain occurs that affects the person equally. The same event can happen to two people and the outcome and the level of pain can be very different. I don’t judge what a person goes through in their life because I don’t want to be judged for what I go through.

Pain is a funny emotion. It hits when you least expect it, it manifest itself in a variety of ways and it can bring people together or tear people apart. Physical pain, I believe, is easier to get over then psychological or mental pain. For instance: two children are at the emergency room. Both are there due to broken bones. One child sits with loving parents, he is wearing a baseball jersey and has broken his arm during a game. The other child is sitting there with a stranger, a social worker, who has brought her there after her father broke her arm in a violent drunken rage. Both children are feeling similar physical pain, their arms hurt. They will have similar healing times and cast wearing. However, the little boy with the loving parents will have a cool story to tell to his friends, the little girl will be off with a new set of parents, a new situation and have to deal with the emotional pain for years to come. The physical pain is the same, the emotional pain changes things.

How you were raised, the environment you grow up in, the support system you have often effects the level of pain in your life. I have two friends whose parents have divorced recently. One of my friends said “It was about time” when she found out. It was no secret that her parents were fighting all the time and should have divorced years before. She was relieved that they finally took that step. She was worried about having to bring her children to their home while the tension existed.

One of my girlfriends, M, is twenty eight, she has never seen death in her life. All four of her grandparents are alive. Her high school years were bright and fun, her college was paid for, her car, her apartment. The biggest struggle she has had to deal with was where to go to school and where to apply for a job after college. She has never been poor, never been hungry, never felt pain outside of the boyfriend girlfriend relationships dissolving. When her parents told her they were divorcing after twenty five years of marriage she felt like a knife went into her. She cried for days, she had a break down. Everything she had known for years was a lie. She found out they had been wanting to divorce for most of their marriage but wanted their kids to be raised in a home that wasn’t broken. She had to seek therapy for the divorce. She missed work the first week she found out because she couldn’t stop crying. It rocked her world and the pain was deep, and real.

I did not judge M. I did not say, “Oh get over it it’s just a divorce!” Nor did I ever think that. Other people had said that to her and it hurt her deeply. I was there for her. I listened. I told her I couldn’t relate because I never had parents’ divorce, or go through that situation. I never told her she should just be grateful that they pretended and gave her a good childhood. Because now to her her childhood was all a big lie. I didn’t say, “M, I went through x, y, and z how dare you come to me with something so petty as this.” Others did. She found out who her true friends were as she went through her pain, when others were so quick to judge and to compare the pain. That is not right. Pain is pain. Her pain, is hers. She owns it. My pain is mine. And I own it. I wont ever say to someone that they don’t know pain. That they have had a perfect life. There is no such thing as a perfect life. I may say, you don’t know this pain because you haven’t experienced it. I don’t put pain in levels.

I have gone through a lot in my life. So when a setback happens, or something painful occurs, I tend to deal with it well. Some of my friends have said during these times that they wouldn’t have been able to deal with the situation, they wouldn’t have been able to laugh it off. Comparatively the pain I had felt in the past was more than the pain I had felt in that situation, and I was grateful it wasn’t as deep as the previous one.
If you are in a car accident and break several bones, have to have multiple surgeries, hundreds of stitches and years of rehabilitation time, and then years later are in another car accident where the car is totaled but the outcome outcome is a minor sprain, the second accident may never affect you at all. You laugh it off, move on.

If you have never been in a car accident before in your life, never even rid in a car, and the first time you did you got into a car accident, the car was totaled but you walked away with just a sprained your reaction may be very very different. You may never trust cars again, you may never ride in one again. Your sprain may hurt you more because you had no previous pain to compare it to. The insurance claims may completely overwhelm you.

Same accident. Same end results. Different pain.

Pain is pain. It hurts. It sucks. It is something that no one wants to deal with in their lives. I have experienced physical and emotional pain. But I recognize that my situation is very different then other peoples and that I have no right judging their pain. I don’t want mine judged either. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almond Joy Coffee Kind Of Day





Yesterday the weather was gloomy, rainy and cold. Today the weather is sunny and bright. While out shopping with my bestie she had told me that she learned in church that every day is its own day, a fresh start. I thought about that. I have been living in the past a lot lately and more recently have been waking up depressed, nothing has changed from going to bed and waking up, I still don’t have kids running around my house, my husband’s not home from Afghanistan, etc etc. So, last night when I went to bed I was determined to wake up and give today a new chance, make it a blank page to write upon.

Sometimes, I get paranoid. I don’t know if it my gut feeling or if it is paranoia. I feel like there is a group of people who talk about me, mock me behind my back, gossip about me to each other, “Omg Did you see Bekah’s blog?!” and write status messages pertaining to me, but wont openly admit it. I have a feeling some people are on my facebook purely for entertainment and not because they care. It’s a hard feeling to have. I don’t know if its true, and I don’t know if I am just being cynical, but it sucks. If you don’t like me, if you don’t genuinely care about me, please just remove yourself. I don’t need onlookers gawking at me like the 800lb woman at the circus.

This morning I woke to a couple emails that I would have rather not received, but was thankful for the honesty and bluntness of the senders. That had me going and finding an old blog I had written to respond with, I mean I’ve already written it, why rewrite it? Then I realized, once again, I was looking into the past. I wrote a response and put the blog aside and had vented my anger, Im not sure if I am going to post that blog or just leave it sitting in the blog save space. I am conflicted over that. It is my blog and my feelings but I don’t want it taken the wrong way. After all that, I did something very strange.

I went back to bed.

Which my dogs seemed vastly confused over. I rolled over and went back to sleep for an hour. At nine o’clock in the morning. And I woke up to Gretel, she jumped on me and laid on my chest. Did I mention she is a German Shepherd? I am not exactly sure what had gotten into her. I laughed as she jumped up and turned in circles trying to get comfortable. “Dog, I’m afraid I am too lumpy to be a body pillow.” She turned her head completely to one side and starred at me. I laughed. Hansel just groaned, as if he was asking us why we were making so much noise.

I got out of bed and reminded myself that today was a new day. I met a friend for lunch. I let myself enjoy the food. I didn’t count the calories but I tried to make good choices and choose healthier options. Mediterranean food is not something I was exposed to growing up, but is something I enjoy a lot now. The fresh ingredients and the combinations of food makes me smile. I am not the biggest falafel fan, but the rice, chicken, hummus, pickled beets, etc tasted delicious.

I had several positive conversations with friends today. The deployment is on the downwards slope. The biggest part is over. We are so close to being able to breathe again, for our families to be whole again. The redeployment cycle isn’t nearly as crazy as the deployment cycle. The deployment cycle is filled with a lot of dread, preparing for a year apart, the guys gone a lot. The redeployment cycle is so much happier. It’s filled with joy, and also, a ton of stress. I am sure as we get closer and closer to their return we will get more and more stressed.

After running several errands, going to the doctor, and a meeting, I found myself at the Starbucks next to my tanning salon. I had received a text from the bestie about the Mocha Coconut Frap. So I asked if I could get it skinny. I could, so I did. It tastes like an Almond Joy bar! Seriously, delicious. If you haven’t tried it you should.

And  I went to Starbucks, successfully! Didn’t get hit by a car, didn’t almost hit a dog, didn’t spill the drink all over me. Success! Sweet, sweet victory. Ordered a drink, drank the entire thing! Who would have thought that was possible? Ha!

I can’t say that I didn’t feel the emptiness of infertility today. I cant say I didn’t think about it at all a couple times during the day. But I would shoo the emotions away and concentrate on something else or distract myself the best I could. I had a new day, a new page to write upon, I didn’t want to fill it with depressing thoughts.

What I did accomplish was looking towards the future. I have decided to go back to school, come hell or high water. I have to payoff my old school to get my transcripts. It’s a substantial amount of money but KC said we could use part of his bonus to do that. During the deployment I used the money I made working to pay down my student loans, and to get them out of default! My loans are no longer defaulted! I can now qualify for grants, loans, scholarships again. Once I am enrolled fulltime I can get them differed. Also, that was the major item on my credit. Now, it will show up as a reoccurring payment and no longer as a negative, in fact they are taking all the negative off my credit report in the next ninety days. That makes me very happy. In addition to returning to school full time, I miss volunteering with the Red Cross. I had been on the Red Cross Disaster Relief team when we had met. Working with disaster victims brought such a deep satisfaction to my soul. I am going to have to look into the requirements to get recertified but it is something I really want to do again.

My husband understands that I don’t know if I fully believe he loves me. Not so much what he has done, or not done, there is some of that, but moreso, how I have been raised and how I feel about myself. He has been reading my blog and he sent me an email today that was so sweet. He told me the more I push him away the harder he will cling. He told me that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him, I push him to be a better man. There was more and reading it made me tear up. I don’t see myself leaving or having a real impact on anyone. That made me think, for a second, that I matter to someone out there, it was a nice feeling.

There is a lot going on tonight so I am writing this blog now. Im pet sitting a friends Bulldog for awhile while she travels. Three dogs in one house, well it will be my own personal circus. I look forward to setting some goals in the future, but I am not giving up hope on eventually having a family of our own. Hopefully nothing happens between now and tomorrow morning that needs blogging, haha.

Remember, tomorrow is a new day, a fresh chance to start over. Make amends to those you have hurt, apologize for what you have done wrong, accept an apology, or simply move forward with your life. Let each day start anew. The page is blank. Get a pencil out and fill it in.