Letter to 30 year old Katy

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Dear Katy;

It’s me, 46-year-old you, and I want you to know something deep from my heart.

During the time of the stalker, not only were you in trauma from him, but your mother was dying as well. You had double the trauma happening to you with no support or advice on how to handle it. This combination is a rare occurrence and you need to be recognized for that.

Every step you took to protect you and your son was spot on. It’s not your fault the stalker became obsessed with you and terrorized you. You had no coping skills except for what you were taught, which was very little. I recognize your pain and desperation for help, how helpless and scared you felt.

As mom was dying, you had the same feelings about that. You felt helpless and scared, you’d never experienced anything like this. It was your first grieving experience with death.

If you’re feeling shame because maybe you’re choices during that time weren’t the best, IT’S OKAY! You have nothing to be ashamed of. I give you full permission to grieve these traumas. I support you in all you did and why did it.

Katy I love you no matter what, I forgive you, I’m proud of you and I’m sorry you had to experience this. I have to forgive us for any shame or guilt you felt during this time. You were a child of God then, but our eyes have now been opened about His love for us. I’m proud of you for doing what you had to do to survive. But you need to see YOU MADE IT! You’re alive today and your mind and choices are at their healthiest. You’re an example of God’s love and grace. Your heart, soul, mind and strength was God working through you. You are now a queen, lover, magi and warrior because of what you’ve been through and you came out shining! I have so much empathy for you, because you didn’t do anything to make this all happen. You were a victim of circumstance and a scared young woman. Although you didn’t receive empathy from your family and your friends walked away from you, please know THAT was NOT your fault. Not everyone can face that ocean of shit and have the strength to move through it. That ocean has been cleaned up and dried up, it’s now clean, refreshing, relaxing and Gods beautiful creation.

This ocean of life can be unforgiving through the storms, but you now know how to navigate through it better. When the storms pass, you come out a bit scathed, but You’re alive! That’s badass!

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You are loved and supported by me no matter what. Katy I’m proud of you and I love you. ūüíõ ¬†Now move forward and keep fighting because I’ve got your back! You’re safe and I will protect you at all costs!

I love you and God Bless you,

Katy at 46 years old

The Stalker Part 2

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As I promised when I felt safe to come back to this trauma I would share what I could. ¬†It’s a “moment” that I recently worked through in EMDR and I can now share without a trigger. ¬†I have to say that EMDR has come a long way and the process is much gentler and effective than it was 16 years ago. ¬†Here’s my experience.

I was working at the hospital and John was no longer employed there. ¬†He had left a note at my home prior to this moment that we could now be together because we no longer worked together. ¬†I didn’t anticipate this next experience to happen.

There was a celebration at the hospital in the cafeteria with a new menu and roll out of food, so I decided to venture down and have lunch. ¬†I felt safe because he wasn’t working there anymore. ¬†Like most cafeteria’s you go through the buffet style lines and walk to the cashier to pay for your food before entering the dinning area. ¬†When at the cashier line you can see the entire dinning area. ¬†As I stood there in line, which as quite long, I gazed out over the dinning area. ¬†Checking to see if there was a place to sit since there were so many people. ¬†There was a column in my way so I couldn’t see every area. ¬†As I reached the cashier closer I could peek around the column, and there he was. ¬†Sitting perfectly to be able to see the line at the cashier. ¬†I started trembling and shaking and we locked eyes.

My heart is pounding right now as I write this, but I know right now I am safe in my home with my dog and John isn’t here….so I’m pressing on.

When we locked eyes John got this sinister grin on his face, I’ll never forget it. ¬†Creepy grin of ” You see me now and I see you…are you afraid yet”. ¬†I was horrified. ¬†He lifted his right hand and made it look like a gun, pointing his index finger at me with his thumb straight up….then POW! ¬†He pretends to shoot me with his hand shaped gun. ¬†I gasped, locked up and dropped my plate. ¬†I ran out of there through the back area where you enter so I didn’t have to go past him to get out.

I walked/ran as fast as I could down that cold windowless basement hallway crying and saying out loud “Oh my God, oh my God”. My mind racing with thoughts of “He’s going to kill me. Why would he do that? He’s going to kill me.” ¬†I entered a panic attack once I got to my office and sat down in a back closet so he couldn’t find me. ¬†I called security from the phone in this closet that once served as an office. ¬†They came right away and the lead security officer was a friend and he was very helpful. ¬†He comforted me and called for the other guards to have John removed, there was no reason for him to be at the hospital. ¬†My friend “Murray” listened to my story of what had transpired for months prior to this event and he became my biggest advocate.

Murray went to the executive office and spoke with the Chief Operating Officer, they got me an executive parking pass so I could park in a secure area where the executives parked.  They made note of everything and issued a letter to John telling him that he had no reason to ever be on the hospital grounds and if he returns that they would call the police.  They installed a panic button under my desk.  They reassured my safety and were fantastic at helping me.

Murray had a guard get my car from the parking garage and place it in the secure area. ¬†Then he drove me to the County Court House where I resided to obtain a restraining order. ¬†The order was a temporary restraining order, but I thought it was something that would protect me. ¬†As I got the TRO I was reminded that John now worked in the cafeteria of THAT county court-house. ¬†Can you believe it? ¬†This fucktard worked where I was having to legally stop him from coming around me. ¬†I couldn’t believe it.

A friend from high school was on the police force in the city I resided in, and after I told him what was happening he increased police presence on my street.

At this point I was secure at work for parking, panic button placed, security well aware of him; TRO in hand and local police increasing their rounds on my street.  I felt like I was getting somewhere.  I prayed for all of this to scare him enough to stay away from me and to just vanish.

A TRO is a piece of paper…A PIECE OF PAPER TO PROTECT MY LIFE! It was a good start legally for what was going to happen down the road, but pieces of paper don’t stop a bullet, a hand coming at you or any other physical assaults. ¬†IT’S A PIECE OF PAPER…USELESS! So I called Kojak and he came over and helped me order and get a highly effective security system installed in my home. ¬†Panic buttons in 3 rooms, every window and door was activated. ¬†I could have obtained motion sensors in my house, but with my son, a little boy, who wanders in his sleep that wasn’t a good option. ¬†It was a hefty financial burden, but money was needed for protection. Then Kojak and I called my attorney, who in turn wrote a letter to John for a “cease & desist” all contact per the TRO.

Kojak gave me pointers on leaving my home and traveling. ¬†I no longer took the same routes to and from work and my son’s school. ¬†Use different stores each time. ¬†Carry my cars key-fob with my thumb on the panic alarm and keys pointing out between each finger as a weapon when walking to and from my car. ¬†Taught me how to watch for someone following me as I drove. ¬†Taught me to be vigilant of my surroundings.

You’d think with all of this I would be able to sleep, calm down and feel safe. ¬†This is when I became “hyper-vigilant” and my world of sleep no longer existed. ¬†I paced through my house 6-10 times per night checking on my son and windows and doors and security system activation. ¬†This became my new normal and it has stuck with me for 16 years.

I won’t be doing EMDR again for another couple of weeks. ¬†The process takes its toll on me and I have to keep processing the trauma’s slowly. ¬†I’ve stayed away a bit from blogging because I’m so afraid of getting triggered. ¬†I sometimes feel like blogging can be a task on my mind that causes me more anxiety. ¬†I don’t want my readers to fall away as I know there are many who have appreciated these stories for their own healing. ¬†I’m doing my best. ¬†I’m plowing/pushing through as I can.

Right now the evil forces of negative energy has been attacking me recently, through my own experiences, my oldest son, my husband, my father and sister. ¬†This evil doesn’t want me to heal, it wants to suppress me and keep me down. ¬†It attacks my family which affects me. ¬†God is bigger than these evil enemy forces and I trust in Him. ¬†He has my back and I know I will come out of this a better version of myself, His strength is in me and I will be a testament to His love for us.

 

Photo credit: Jeff Garner

http://www.jeffgarnerimagery.com

Motherhood and Anxiety

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Anxiety seems to sneak up on you like a virus that attacks your stomach. One minute you’re feeling great and then you feel tired or tummy becomes achy then the next thing vomiting your guts out with explosive diarrhea. Over the past couple of weeks I have been exhausted, irritable, frustrated and now explosive. Not realizing what was happening until just now.

Why is it (anxiety) here now? What triggered it? What am I afraid of? All of these questions with no answer is the most frustrating experience.

I’ve been extremely short-tempered and have no patience when it comes to my 3-year-old. The anxiety in me says “Why can’t you just behave Calvin? Why are you so naughty right now? Can’t you see I need peace?” How fucking irrational is that? He’s 3 years old, he has no clue what I need, he only knows what he needs. I believe he’s feeling my energy field of anxiety. Calvin’s simply reacting to my shit behavior…or I’m perceiving his behavior as bad because I’m just so anxious.

The mom side of me feels an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. “I have to be better at this mom job, he deserves it, he deserves my full attention and guidance. He deserves to feel my energy field of love and patience.” I’m a stay at home mom for 2 reasons: 1. We want him to receive our parental influence and guidance during these first 3 years of life, which are critical foundational and bonding years. 2. My CPTSD and anxiety are so bad that I can’t come close to working and I suffered moderate to severe postpartum depression and being away from Calvin would have done us both a great deal of harm.

My precious Calvin has the kindest heart of love and compassion. His love is pure and unconditional. His personality is simply amazing, he’s funny beyond measure, his imagination runs deep, his memory blows us away daily of what he remembers and his learning and following instructions is spot on. He’s an amazing child and we are blessed beyond words he is ours.

God gave me an opportunity in life at 43 yrs old to be a mom again, 20 years later after my first son. Calvin IS our gift from God and Gods gifts are precious.

With all of his amazing gifts why do I feel like such a failure? If I was such the failure as I feel, Calvin wouldn’t be who he is today. I’ve apparently done something right…I just can’t see it.

So where is this anxiety coming from? Is it the stalker? The death of my brother? The thought of starting Calvin in preschool soon? The EMDR starting in a couple of weeks? I seriously have no idea what is causing it, but I fucking hate it.

I honestly would rather be vomiting with explosive diarrhea than have anxiety. Let’s look at some ways I can calm down and hopefully be less anxious.

  1. Yoga (almost impossible with a 3 yr old crawling on you)
  2. Meditation  (same issue as #1)
  3. Bilateral tapping (works for 30 minutes max)
  4. Benzodiazepines (addicting & too sedating for safety purposes)
  5. Exercise  (too exhausted)
  6. Find the source of the cause (stuck on this one)
  7. Pray (not working)
  8. Breathing technique (can’t focus long enough)
  9. Serenity Prayer…

That’s as far as I’ve gotten on ideas. Working on finding more but feeling stuck in the moment. Feeling helpless to help myself is a miserable feeling. I have repeated the serenity prayer over and over in my head, it helps a little, just not enough.

I know I’m not unique in this feeling and time in life, I just hope by admitting it can bring some peace to me. Maybe help another mommy not feel so alone. Would like to hear from you if you have or are currently experiencing this anxiety.

I’ll end with my final prayer of the night.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Good night.

Stalker Story Temporarily Discontinued

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I thought I was ready to dive into this, I thought after 17 years and years of therapy I could tell this story. It has unexpectedly opened a door that is causing severe hypervigilance, nightmares, triggers and causing a CPTSD response I wasn’t anticipating.

I’m suspending my story until I can safely tell this story without mental and physical repercussions. I feel unsafe and wish someone would just hold me close and give me a safe feeling of security. My dog was that safe point for me, but since his death 2 weeks ago I’m a hot fucking mess.

I walk the house all night, eat through the night, have nightmares, flashing images of his face and events, migraines and feel tortured. I feel broken and unfixable.

I’ve tried refocusing, staying busy, medications, meditation, safe place comfort measures and it’s just lingering. So this story is on hold until I can safely reopen this can of smelly shit.

Will I ever be free of you John? You piece of dog shit! My soul belongs to God, not you. Feeling defeated.

The Stalking Part 1

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My friend the private investigator is an amazing man, for the sake of privacy I’ll call him Kojak. Let’s be honest, Kojak was a badass and so is my friend…he’d be giggling if he knew I named him this.

Kojak came over right away and helped me strategize how to best handle John’s behavior.

  1. We made a plan to make my house safe until I could afford a security system. We put 3 inch dowels into each window. Secured the garage door. Put timers on lights.
  2. We bought disposable cameras and placed them around the house next to all of the windows and doors. In case John showed up, drove by, I could take pictures for proof. Every morning I took a picture of the newspaper with each camera to prove the picture was from that day. I also put one in my car.
  3. We installed night sensor lights around the outside of the house and secured my gate. We even stretched barbed wire across the top of my fence.
  4. I called the local police and had them come over for a first initial report, which they looked at me like I was bat shit crazy and didn’t take me seriously.
  5. I gave Kojak all of John’s information that I could find and he started a back ground investigation on him.

Good start to what I thought would be easy to maneuver and document, and I actually got some sleep that night.

Within 2 days Kojak had this dudes story and it was a weird one. John was a personal chef for a very famous Playboy bunny for about 2 years and left that job to become a chef in a cafeteria in the basement of a not so famous hospital. Kojak spoke with John’s previous employer’s personal assistant and she said “Regretfully I cannot divulge any information about the reason for separation of his employment. I’m so sorry this is happening to her¬†too“. Hmmmmm.

John left the hospital job and was now working in the cafeteria of my county court-house.  He was employed through a food service industry contractor.

Kojak confirmed that John was indeed married and bought his home with a large down payment after he “left” his cush job for the Playboy bunny. John’s record was squeaky clean, nothing else jumped out.

A couple of weeks later I came home to a VHS tape in an envelope at my door. I called Kojak and he came over to watch it with me. John video taped himself driving through the mountains and talking to me and played me “special” songs on his radio. He proceeded to tell me that we could have a perfect life together if I’d just give him a chance. He said he quit the hospital job since I said I wouldn’t date people I worked with and now we could be together. ¬†He said he loved me and would do anything to have me.

I remember being sick to my stomach and shaking all over. Kojak had me call the police and report it, so I did. The police told me that I should just “ignore him” and he’ll get bored and go away. Completely unhelpful and again looked at me like I was crazy.

About another week later I came home to another larger envelope with another VHS tape and a shirt. Kojak was out-of-town so I watched it by myself. This time John was taping himself while riding a dirt bike through the mountains and then would stop and tell me how great our adventures could be together if I’d just give him a chance. That the shirt he’s given me was one of his favorite shirts as seen on him currently wearing in the video, that he wanted me to sleep in it and think of him. That he’d find great pleasure knowing I’d be inside his shirt like he was constantly holding me.

I called the police again, and again there was no harm done, just ignore him and he’ll eventually get bored and go away.

A few weeks went by and it was quiet, almost too quiet. I remember my girl friend coming over on a Saturday night and we watched the movie Caddyshack and drank some wine. This movie used to crack me up to no end, and the gopher bit was hands down hilarious. I remember at the end of the movie it shows the gopher dancing and my friend and I were pretty buzzed from the wine and we got up and danced like the gopher. It was a great night.

Two weeks later I come home again to find a box on my doorstep. ¬†Inside was a replica of the gopher in Caddyshack and a button to push, when you pushed the button it would play the Caddyshack song and the gopher would dance. The handwritten letter stated “I loved watching you dance. I look forward to the day we can dance together. Love John”.

That creepy fucker has been watching me through my windows! I flipped out and called the police again, and they said since I didn’t catch him in the act there’s nothing they could do. Just stay vigilant. I couldn’t sleep and from that point on for years I’ve¬†never slept through an entire night again. I was up every hour peeking out my windows to see if I could see him and I still do it to this day.

Luckily my neighbor saw the truck he was driving the day he delivered the gopher. Another friend who was an attorney wrote a letter to John telling him that he is to no longer contact me through any method, no longer come to my home as my neighbors and I all knew his truck, that the police have been notified and he was to cease and desist all contact, gifts and communication with me. Kojak gave him John’s address and he mailed the letter.

After a month of not hearing from him I thought “it” was over. Wrong. It just made things worse. I’m stopping for now, it was hard enough to build up the courage to blog about this part. ¬†I appreciate all of the encouraging words I’ve been getting from my readers and followers, it’s very helpful.

The photo featured in this stalker series was taken by a lifetime friend who has mad talent and with his permission I am using this picture. It represents so much doom and darkness and fear to me and resonated with me down to my bones.

Photo credit: Jeff Garner

http://www.jeffgarnerimagery.com

 

 

The Stalker

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Seventeen years ago I worked in the administrative offices of a hospital managing all of their satellite medical offices. My office was on the main floor across from the sandwich deli, so I had a lot of people traffic that would walk by and see me at my desk. I could see the deli counter through their window when at my desk. I didn’t utilize the deli often, as a single mom I couldn’t afford to eat out ever. I was well-known by all of the hospital staff since my work was directly with many of the physicians and their support staff, and I’m a friendly person that used to be very talkative to anyone and everyone.

The main cafeteria was in the basement and it staffed the deli upstairs. Our cafeteria had moderately good food and they were promoting a new chef, often we would get lunch vouchers to try out the food and then were encouraged to recommend it to patients families or visitors.

The new chef started spending a lot of time in the deli, I only noticed because he’d always have a white chef coat and hat on, which was different from the other employees. ¬†I have named him John for this blog, because of the notorious Jodie Foster stalker John Hinkley Jr. back in the 80’s.

John started making me food and bringing it over “to try it out and let me know what you think” line. No red flag, just thought it was a normal behavior. ¬†Then John would come over and visit, asking questions to “get to know me”. No red flag, had a wedding ring on and seemed nice. One question was asking me my favorite dessert, which is Crem√© Brule. ¬†He showed up the following week serving me this dessert on a full silver platter, china and a rose. Hmmmm…red flag. I knew something was up, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I accepted this gift and ate it and of course had to call him to come back and get the dishes. That’s when he asked if he could take me to dinner

The answer was “No, your married and I don’t date people I work with.” I got the most dejected look and uncomfortable vibe from him that red flags popped up left and right. I always kept my office door open, as it helped with fresh air, allowed visitors to feel comfortable asking for directions and physicians liked the opened feeling of coming and going. That day I closed my door, bought a fan and kept it closed. This stopped the direct line of sight to me from the deli and became my barrier. The visits from John stopped and I avoided the cafeteria like the plague. Then I ended up hearing through the office grape-vine that John no longer worked at the hospital. ¬†Thank God! I was free to open my door and not feel confined nor watched. It was truly a freeing moment and I couldn’t have been more relieved.

Two weeks later I left my office and headed for the parking garage to go home, it’s dark out and in the garage, get in my car and there’s a rose on my windshield with a note. “Just wanted to say hello and I miss you. ‚ô• J” Red flags popping up in my head:

  1. Why is he leaving me a note?
  2. How in the hell does he know what I drive?
  3. Did he walk the WHOLE garage looking for my car?

I was freaked out! If I was 16 I wouldn’t have been upset, I would have been flattered. As a grown woman and single mom…freaked out! ¬†The next morning I went to our security office and filed a complaint and let them know what happened and prior to. They immediately got special permission to let me park in the physicians lot that no one could get into. Gave all of the other security personnel his picture and name and to have him removed from the premises. ¬†Now I feel better and safer at work, and let it leave my mind. Deep breath and relief.

Month later I get home from work to find a bag on my doorstep. Sis lived across the street, so I figured it was from her. My son was 5 and he and I opened it and it was a large remote control race car. With a note “I’m sorry I upset you, please forgive me. ‚ô• J”. ¬†Red flags:

  1. How in the fuck does he know where I live?
  2. How does he know I have a son?
  3. This is bazaar abnormal behavior and I need help.

Called a friend who is a Private Investigator for help. He did a full back ground check on this guy and then helped me find ways to prove it’s him coming to my house, started driving different routes to and from work every day, became extremely vigilant of my surroundings and if someone was following me.

This was just the beginning stages of his stalking. What’s to come became an extremely intense nightmare that has altered my life in the most negative way. I can only write this story in small amounts because HE is why I live in constant fear and anxiety and telling the story scares the shit out of me and what it’s going to bring up in my mind.

My Date With A Grocery Cart

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Having a form of agoraphobia is excruciating. My fears take control of my body and paralyze me from the inside out. “What if” scenarios play in fast forward and on repeat. I am incapable of attending large crowd functions like concerts or festivals. I do attempt it and choose to go to them early when the crowds are small, yet when the crowd becomes more than a 1000 people and loud…I’m done. ¬†My flight response is immediate.

I run in a hypervigilant state consistently, even in my own home. While sleeping, it’s as if I have an awakened sense running at all times, the minute I hear anything, I’m awake. The best way to describe my awareness settings is from a book written by Jeff Cooper – Principals of Personal Defense / Combat Mindset and the Cooper Color Code and The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition. ¬†He describes levels of awareness as follows

“In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your adversary is totally inept.

In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode. 

In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant.”

I run yellow 24/7. When I go to the store, church or to someone’s home; I move up to orange. When a crowd suddenly increases or chaos appears, I switch to red. Going anywhere is mentally and physically exhausting.

I have my Conceal Carry Weapon permit, but I don’t usually carry. Not because I’m afraid of my weapon, but more afraid of hitting the Red zone and using it under a hypervigilant state of irrationality.

If I’m with my husband I don’t switch colors quickly, I have a sense of safety. Recently over the past couple of months I’ve started to feel more comfortable at the grocery store. I have full knowledge of the store and where everything is located, I know all exits and hiding places. I’ve been able to move from orange to yellow successfully.

When I get to go grocery shopping..it’s like a weight lifts off my shoulders. I end up enjoying it greatly. I get myself a latte, snack, grocery list and pen. I stroll through the aisles at a leisure pace and my grocery cart becomes my safe point.

I’ve learned when the safest time to go is, never on a holiday weekend, never on football Sunday or in the evening rush hour.

I pray over time I’ll be able to master more places I visit like I have the grocery store, and it may take me 30+ years to do it. I just can’t give up on my freedom. I have days sometimes where the mere thought of leaving the house causes anxiety and I listen to that anxiety, it’s safer for everyone. Those moments are becoming fewer and further apart. I’m good with this current status in my social life. My date may be hard and cold, veer off to the left, be riddled in germs and squeak…but it’s MY date and MY moment of stress free bliss.

I will not take a mind/mood altering medication to leave the home, because THAT’S like putting lipstick on a pig. I will wrestle this pig to the ground, hog-tie it and win…some day.