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

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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.

Migraines After CPTSD Emotional Release

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Until this past year I hadn’t experienced many migraines and I certainly never put two and two together for their cause. In the past I’ve had chronic pain associated with severe depressive episodes, I grind my teeth when sleeping during high stress moments which causes jaw pain and broken teeth and gone through chronic fatigue syndrome right after traumatic events.

It’s been proven by medicine that pain is typically a side effect of emotional trauma.2¬† What I hadn’t known nor anticipated were the crippling migraines that would follow after working through a severe past emotional trauma. At this point I can’t count the total migraines I’ve had this year, which seems bad, but it’s actually a good thing in my eyes. It tells me that I’m really working hard to get through the really tough shit buried deep in my thalamus4. Those memories that I thought I had moved through before are clearly coming out in my psychology sessions. I’m ¬†seeing a correlation though, it’s typically associated with crying.

The crying isn’t a cry like an unfairness, anger or physical pain directed at me. ¬†It’s a cry that comes from deep within my soul, that bellows out of me like a grief I had never experienced before. A grief I didn’t know existed until my brother traumatically died this past year from a hiking accident. That loss alone has destroyed me this year and I can’t put into words what it’s like losing him. My own mothers death wasn’t this painful. But I can’t get into his death just yet on my blog, it’s too fresh and too painful.

The grief I felt and still feel losing him, is like the grief I feel when I finally open that closed trauma that I thought I had worked through. Opening that door again and touching that emotion again from the trauma is kicking my ass. My psychiatrist calls it a “body memory”, where my body is helping me process the emotional pain and it’s literally hitting me with physical pain.

After some trips to the emergency room in the evening, trips to my doctor’s office during the day..I finally put the two and two together. The downfall for me is that the migraine is not caused by dilated blood vessels, therefore typical migraine3 medications don’t work for me. The other option is a narcotic, well that’s not a good choice because I had a 3 month addiction to Percocet after a PTSD trigger. My only option has been to go to the doctor and get a cocktail of injections, which consists of Torodol, Phenergan and Benadryl. If that doesn’t work fully they add some Valium on top of it. Knocks me on my ass! Then I wake the next morning to a rebound headache and have to pound water and ibuprofen. ¬†Thankfully my doctor found a new combination of meds we’ll try so I don’t have to go in for injections and I can take these medications at home, haven’t tried them yet or should I say I haven’t had to try them yet.

I’m learning through this process that this type of grief goes away after opening that door to the trauma. Death grief on the other hand is an unrelenting asshole and I can’t shake it.

CPTSD is destructive and I believe to be life threatening if you don’t treat it. It’s scary as hell to face, but I would rather face it – fight it – kick its ass, then to let it paralyze me from experiencing true happiness and freedom. So I may have to deal with migraines for a while and drool all over myself from the treatment of them, but it’s better than the alternative of living with that trauma closed behind a door in my thalamus.

 

The photo used in this blog has been approved by the artist as long as I provide you a link to her work. I find her Jettison gallery fascinating.

jet¬∑ti¬∑son noun \ňąje-t…ô-s…ôn, -z…ôn\:¬†a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship’s load in time of distress.

http://www.mollystrohlphotography.com/

How The Grief Stole Christmas

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Christmas has always been most special to me, because it was always celebrated near my birthday. Since I was two years old it’s been family tradition to put the tree up on my birthday and we’ve never faltered from that. Christmas ornaments have been collected by me since I was a little girl and I’ve made sure to never lose nor break the ones that mean so much to my heart.

Though after dad left and moved out, Christmas lost its wonderment and magic. ¬†I looked so forward to putting up the tree and celebrating my birthday and the start of Christmas. Let’s face it, Christmas is what a child waits for all year round! When dad left, especially that first year, my mom went through a level of depression I’d never seen before nor knew existed. She lost an extreme amount of weight, lost her smile and her infectious laugh.

Yes my mom was a narcissist and I don’t have many good memories of her, but her smile was big and beautiful and her laugh could be heard miles away. These are a couple of things I’ll always cherish about her.

That first Christmas was rough..and every year after that. Before the divorce on my birthday I would come home from school and find all the Christmas boxes and tree pulled out from the crawl space and in the middle of the living room. Pure bliss would course through my veins! This first year without dad started a landslide for me. I came home from school fully anticipating to find the boxes in the living room, I walked inside with a smile ready to yell “yay”; instead I came home to an empty house and no boxes.

Befuddled, I sat down on the stairs and just stared. About an hour later mom came home with a store-bought cake and a card. Before she had always baked a cake for me and there were always presents to open, but not this year. I was 11 and I was beyond heart-broken. I asked if we were going to put up the tree and she told me that if I wanted to put it up I could have at it on my own, but she wasn’t in the mood.

Now as an adult who suffers with depression, I can completely understand where she was at the time, but as a little girl I felt completely rejected and lost. The divorce was the death of my childhood in so many ways. I couldn’t wrap my head around the rejection and at that moment didn’t realize it was the birth of grief that I have felt every year on my birthday.

I did do just what she said and I dragged those boxes up the stairs one by one. I read the directions for our fake tree and put it together. I wrapped those lights with such care, learned from years of carefully watching my dad. I hung the ornaments with design and meaning. I created a tree of beauty in my eyes and it was lit in brilliant colors.

I finished with decorative nuances around the house, displayed the nativity scene, hung lights in the window and just opened my creative mind. Then I turned all of the house lights off and laid under the tree. As I looked up and gazed at the ornaments I hung inside the tree and the twinkling lights, I day dreamed about being in the movie Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Like Rudolph, I felt rejected, but hoped in the end I would be seen as useful and I would be loved.

From that point forward in my life I made it my tradition and decorated alone every year after that. Each year I hoped she’d join in and want to be a part of “my day”, it never happened. I was a misfit and although I had hope, it didn’t fill the loss deep in my heart.

Friends would invite me over knowing Christmas Eve and Day were hard for me. Their parents knew my life, they knew my loneliness and they knew my grief. They all did their best to include me, I’m still friends with all of these people to this day.

A couple of years I got to spend my birthday with my dad and he made it all Who-ville for me. Singing, laughing, joking around and celebrating. Moments far and few between, but engraved in my memory.

Unlike the Grinch, Joan didn’t try to make it miserable for me, but she sure didn’t try to make it nice either.¬†Her pain was deep and it wasn’t from having a tiny heart like the Grinch.

However, like the Grinch she didn’t want to appear “bad” to Little Cindy-Lou Whoo, so she tried to be kind and complement my decorating. Would brag to her friends about the beautiful job I did. Unlike the Grinch she didn’t steal anything of monetary value, just made me feel robbed of the happiness of family and love.

I never let her see me cry when I was sad, but I was in deep pain. I grieve for the 11-year-old little girl to this day and I still have moments of pure disgust for Joan at Christmas. This year I told 11 year old me that it’s okay now to have been so sad and I had every right to have expected love, excitement and celebration on Christmas tree day. This year my husband surprised me and jumped right in without me having to say anything. He brought all the boxes in, he helped decorate and he celebrated my birthday like we did when I was a little girl. This year is an extremely healing Christmas tree birthday.

Grief on the other hand is an asshole and I hope someday grief see’s how much more important unconditional love is, ¬†and hopefully grief will learn to love and not be so mean.

No matter the gifts, wrapping nor ribbon…I am in awe of the magic of God’s love for me.¬†

Merry Christmas to you all, now go enjoy your roast beast.

Katy…the Rough Draft (Part I)

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I believe all masterpieces were created through several rough drafts. A masterpiece comes in many different forms and mediums. Such as oil vs. watercolor, Broadway play vs. film, novel vs. television and food vs. food.

I believe both of my son’s are masterpieces, each unique and beautiful in their own way.

There are flaws in a masterpiece, but only the artist knows of them all. What we see as a possible flaw could have been meant to happen by the artist; therefore I feel critic’s are a waste of space and time. A masterpiece is in the eye of the beholder.

I also believe that God created us each unique and each a masterpiece per His great design.

I also believe that a masterpiece evolves and can continuously be altered, added to or adjusted. For example, Oscar-Claude Monet didn’t conduct just one painting titled Water Lilies. Monet painted over 30 variations, presumably to create each very distinctly, yet with just enough difference you can tell them apart. At least to the trained eye you can identify them.

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What I love about his work are the combinations of color, chaos, free-flowing brush strokes and depth. This is how I feel God created me. I have various colors I portray, I’m not typically just a sterile white, I have several colorful moods I vacillate through. I am not a super intense person about most things, I’m free-flowing and laid back. ¬†There’s a depth to me most will never see on the surface. My mind is in such chaos at times I feel like a tornado sucking up everything in its path.

To know this piece of work, you need to take the time to get to know me. By this time in my life per the blog, I am about 22 years old. I have many appreciations and gifts for who I am and what I have.

Physically I no longer looked like I was 14. I actually started looking more like a woman with curves. Still slender, brown hair, big green eyes, classy dress for work and play.

For employment I was in a career by my own doing, starting off as a receptionist and working my way up in a financial analyst industry. Which is funny to me now, especially since I failed geometry and had to take math for dummies to make up the credit. ¬†Watching my mother and father, who were both professionals, I watched them and absorbed their mannerisms. ¬†I was excellent at customer service and making clients feel important. I cared for them like I’d know them for years. I was well-known for what I did and I loved it.

My domain was perfect and living on my own was liberating, in a little “matchbox” sized house I rented. I’d decorate it from garage sale finds. Heck at Christmas it was decked out, but I don’t think I ever invited anyone over to see it or visit. It was mine and I was “playing” house.

Financially I¬†was able to buy my first new car on my own. ¬†Little red semi sports car. I was so proud of it. I wasn’t a frivolous spender, I watched my money closely. Very responsible.

Relationships were few and far between. I had a couple that were very serious and would have gone somewhere. Yet one had cheated on me, ¬†which ruined the trust factor and reminded me of my father. The other was emotionally destructive, couple bouts of violence and I was done. ¬†I wasn’t sleeping around and just enjoyed life.

My family at this point was scattered. I tried to build a relationship with Joan, it was important to me, maybe hoping she would see how well I was doing on my own. Hoping she would be proud of me..looking for the nod of acceptance. Clint was still in California and we spoke every few weeks. Our closeness went away, his wife basically shamed him when talking to me. Sis moved to California to live with our Father and start over. I guess when I look back, Joan wanted me around more after Sis left.

Spiritually I believed in God and Jesus Christ as my savior. I was baptized non-denominational at age 5. Yet we never went to church, not even on Christmas Eve or Easter. I longed to understand more about the bible. I tried reading it, I didn’t understand it. I’d go to church with my paternal grandmother, it was a Baptist church, I felt like a big piece of sin when I left. I never went back. I’d have moments of feeling lost and unattached, I’d drive up the mountain and go to the beautiful church I was baptized at and just sit. ¬†I felt so safe there. I’d cry. Pray and talk to God and then go home, never to return until that feeling of emptiness came back.

Deep down I was confident in what I knew and I portrayed that confidence in all that I did and how I looked. I was tender-hearted and clearly a caregiver at heart, I helped anyone I could with anything they needed. I was hungry for life and to learn more. I could analyze any situation rather quickly. I thought I wanted to be a career woman with a lot of options to go anywhere anytime. Yet I yearned to be married, to be with a man who would love me unconditionally and take care of me, have babies with. Make a life of longterm, one of which I never had as a child.

This is who I was as a young adult from the foundation laid out for me. Damn if I could go back to when I was 11 with the knowledge I had at this point, was a lot of the thoughts I had during this time.

Naive little piggy.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

 

A Simple-Minded Pig

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I graduated high school! It was basically a miracle according to Joan. Since I wasn’t smart enough nor pretty enough to find a “good man”…at least I had my high school diploma.

Joan was also dating my old high school principal, Leisure Suit Larry. He left the school my sophomore year and was placed in the Superintendents office which was a little “cottage” office right behind my house. He was transferred out of the school after he got a DUI and was plastered all over the newspapers. ¬†Larry drove by our house twice a day to go to work and always would see Joan; who was beautiful, dressed well and drove a nice sports car.

One day while I was in class I was called to the Vice Principals office. He asked me about a friend of mine that was in a psych ward for attempting suicide. ¬†Extremely random question and was weird. Before I left his office he asked me about my dad. He says “I pulled your emergency card to get your class schedule and saw that your dad lives in California and works for an oil company. Does he work on an oil rig and travel back and forth?” ¬†Random right? ¬†I explained he lives there full time as he and mom were divorced. It was so strange how he came to that conclusion or question, he was a weird dude anyway, so I chalked it up as that.

Little did I know Larry had asked the VP to find out my mom’s marital status so he could ask her out. The story of Leisure Suit Larry is a whole other topic and posting, but Joan told me it was most likely his influence that helped me graduate.

My teachers treated me like I was stupid and so did Joan, maybe they were right.  It was even more clear that I must be stupid when my college fund was no longer available.

When dad left he had set up 2 college funds for Sis and I, $10k each to start our schooling. When I graduated I didn’t get to start right away as I had to have an ovarian cyst removed 3 days after graduation and then Joan became very ill (another topic for down the road).

The following year I was ready, so I worked the previous year selling sports shoes. I went to mom and told her that I was checking out college courses and needed to know how I was to pay for it, with a check from her or a credit card. She smiled at me and giggled, “what makes you think I have the money to send you to college?” I explained that I thought dad had set money aside for us, and she told me he did but there wasn’t any left.

Joan further explained that life isn’t fair and sometimes we have to make sacrifices. My college fund was spent before I graduated on a new sports car for my sister. I remember the day like it was yesterday, I just didn’t know I was the one who actually bought her the car.

My sister drove a muscle car through high school that Joan bought her. After Sis graduated she had come home one day and called mom at work, telling her that she found a new car she wanted. I believe Joan said no based on price and that’s when Sis lost her mind. She cried and screamed like a toddlers temper tantrum, on the floor kicking and throwing a fit. Pleading “Please mommy please. At least I’ve never left you like Katy did. Maybe I’ll just move to dads too.” There you have it, a 19-year-old behaving like a toddler.

Basically Joan gave in at that point and she bought Sis the car..with my college fund.  Yes folks, Joan sacrificed my future to pacify the little monster she created.

Once I realized where the college fund went…I died. It felt like a knife in the gut with Joan shoving it in deeper while in my face saying “You stupid little girl, you’re not good enough, paybacks are a bitch”. I clearly wasn’t smart enough to send to college. She clearly had to have balanced what was more important right? I sucked in school, her boyfriend helped me graduate and my sister’s happiness was more important than my future.

I felt stupid, ashamed and embarrassed to even think I could manage college. What was I thinking? Oh and Dad..he didn’t want to be bothered by it. ¬†Nothing he could do about it from there. It was done, and what’s done is done. Dad helped solidify my simple-minded self.

The Wild Pig & The Barfly

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High school was completely crazy! ¬†I had no supervision once I moved back to Joan’s house. ¬†I came and went as I pleased, no curfew and no restrictions. ¬†A teenagers dream life! I was responsible though for cooking my own meals, cleaning the house weekly, my laundry, having a job and paying for my gas and car insurance. ¬†I was handed a ridiculous amount of responsibility at 16. ¬†My friends loved my mom because of all of this and I pretended it was amazing. Yet deep down I was frightened, insecure, sad and very angry. Little did my friends know I was envious of their required family dinners, doing homework at the kitchen table, having to call and check in after school and be on a curfew.

Let’s start with the free reign to do what I wanted. ¬†If I was hanging out with friends my age, we were required to be to their home by a certain time. ¬†Honestly I loved the freedom at first so I rarely hung out with friends my age. I was typically dating someone 18 and older so our nights consisted of drinking, sex and mischief. In the 80’s we could have parties that lasted all night without any cops being called, alcohol was easy to get and if a home wasn’t available for our soiree¬†then a field somewhere was just as good.

Drinking and driving was normal. No other way to put it, we drank and we cruised, radio blaring Motley Crue or Van Halen. We drag raced, no seat belts and open containers in the car.

School wasn’t optional in my eyes, but I loathed it. I had ADD and didn’t know it, I don’t think it became a real diagnosis until the 90’s, so I was considered rebellious as a student. Teachers thought I didn’t care about my education, so they didn’t care about me. Very simply put, they never invested time in me. I couldn’t focus on reading as I couldn’t retain any of it. I couldn’t understand why I could read an entire page and not have any clue what I had just read. I truly thought I was just stupid and my grades reflected that. I had to take summer school classes after my sophomore year and a full schedule of classes my senior year to graduate with a 2.5 GPA.

I was wild and out of control. I had a mouth like a truck driver, my bark and my bite were both terrifying, but you couldn’t tell by looking at me. I was an underdeveloped skinny girl who had to prove herself as a badass, for fear that others might feel they could treat me the same way Joan did.

My mom, the barfly, despised me. She didn’t EVER want to be bothered by me. Thursday through Saturday nights you could find Joan at her favorite watering hole dancing and drinking the night away. ¬†Typically dressed in a leather miniskirt, pumps, low-cut blouse, big earrings and even bigger hair. ¬†Just picture Tina Turner in the 80’s and you have Joan.

It wasn’t odd that sometimes we strolled into the front door at the same time on the weekends, typically between 2 and 3am. Both drunk, looking like hammered shit and never saying one word to each other.

Joan made it clear that she didn’t care what I did or how my grades looked. She told me to marry into money because I wasn’t smart enough to have a career that paid well nor pretty enough to have my choice of men. No wonder I didn’t bother at trying to be a better student, mom didn’t believe in me so why should I believe in myself.

I have to say that writing that last paragraph made me nauseous! I couldn’t imagine telling my children this EVER! My two beautiful gifts from God are my life and I will walk through hell to make sure they know they are loved and wanted and worthy! I don’t expect them to be doctors or engineers, I just want them to be happy and to follow their dreams. To feel loved and be loved by me. To know they are worthy of God’s love no matter what happens in life. To be kind-hearted compassionate souls to everyone and everything they encounter. To know that love is not conditional from me nor God.

I deserved better from my mother, her mother didn’t treat her this way, there’s no excuse for her behavior. I was her pig.