White Knuckling the Suck

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Have you ever had to drive in a storm or situation that scared you so much, you grasped the steering wheel so tight your knuckles turned white?
After driving through a gnarly blizzard up the mountain to a church event, I realized how white my knuckles were. Which seriously surprised me, as I have been driving for a few decades in this type of weather. In fact, I am an excellent driver in snow and have a four-wheel drive. But this current situation caught me off guard and made me question…why?
To be honest with you, I’m afraid to die, it’s that simple. Not because I think I’m going to hell or hades, I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I’ll be with Him. I just can’t bear the thought of leaving my toddler, my 21-year-old nor my husband. I know in heaven I will be forever happy spending eternity with my one true Father. My fear-is how will my family survive without me? Not because I’m a perfect being and the be all end all, but it’s how I’d feel losing any of them.
My little guy, Calvin, would be lost without me. I am his everything. I can’t pee alone EVER, because he fears losing me. If I am out and about for more than five hours, he’ll be glued to me for 2 days straight.
I also have agoraphobia, I fear going places. I fear running into the stalker, the DV nightmare or being at the right place at the wrong time; like the Aurora Theatre massacre.
“What if” scenarios can play out in my head ALL day. I have no control over them at times. I simply panic and that panic takes over me and paralyzes me.
I’ve recently been white knuckling everything in front of me. Such as the drive up the mountain, leaving my little guy for a couple of nights for the first time, going to an event with well over 500 people and stepping up and “going first”. Paralyzing fear which results in and pounding heart, increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, tears, confusion and thirst.
This white knuckling is not to be confused with nor compared to “white knuckling addiction”. THAT is a whole other topic of blogging I will get to. That type of white knuckling will get you into trouble one way or another.
White knuckling the suck is courageous, heroic, adventuresome and horrifying. It’s taking on your fear, giving fear the middle finger and turning your back on it. However, know that after being so extremely brave, you might transgress a bit. The shock of your courage might keep you hulled up for a bit afterwards, DO NOT LET THAT UPSET YOU!
My psychologist gave me a tip recently on when my panic or anxiety steps up to the plate to jack with me. I have a 5×5 box with a lid, little note pad and pen; whenever I have to or want to go somewhere, yet fear is trying to stop me I write my fear down. Then I put it in the box put the lid on it and say to it “I’ll deal with you later”. Simple. It’s not the perfect antidote and doesn’t always work, but it’s helped me through small steps.
Each small step I take is celebrated. I shake in my shoes afterwards, trembling a bit. Yet I bring myself back and this huge accomplishment, even if it was to simply walk down the front walk to the mailbox.
This “suck” is growth, don’t minimize you’re accomplishment. Be proud of yourself, stop shaming or doubting yourself. Sometimes just getting out of my bed is a huge accomplishment.

 

We CPTSD-ers are a continuous work in progress, we are forever unique; even if we feel like lipstick on a pig.
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Pray harder

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During one of my PTSD relapses, I had a woman tell me that if I’d pray harder, then God would answer my prayer and heal me forever.
Let’s just take a moment and look at how much this pisses me off and in turn what I have found from God that does actually make sense and work for me.
I am a Christian woman married to a Pastor. I am not a perfect Christian and I am far from a good one. I do my best at what I know I can do and I don’t fake it. I don’t pretend and show my life to outside people that we’re some devout bible beating Christians. I’m an open book….in case you can’t tell. I’ve only hidden my identity on this blog to keep from getting some people upset and hurt. Most people mentioned in this would be really mad to have people know what their true character is, personally I don’t give a rats ass what people think of me now at this point in my life.
According to this woman, I am a poor example of a Christian because I don’t trust God enough. If I trusted Him more then I’d be cured. That my faith in God is tarnished and it shouldn’t be because my husband is a Pastor. You should pray more and harder and God will obey.
Here’s my rant to this woman’s absurdity:
1. God is NOT a genie in a bottle. He doesn’t work that way…if He did there’d be a lot of people getting what they prayed for.
2. Jesus Christ is my lord and savior and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I’ll be going to heaven when I die. I trust the word of the bible and I have faith in His grace & mercy.
3. Yes I’m married to a Pastor, what does that have anything to do with it?
4. God will obey me? Seriously lady? It’s my responsibility as God’s daughter to obey Him.
5. That finger you are pointing and shaking at me…please notice the 3 pointing back at you while you’re doing it.
6. Mind your own business. I didn’t ask for your help nor your opinion.
I have held onto my bible tightly and cried to God and begged for help.  I’ve reached out to a couple of women that struggle with different types of depression through the years, I’ve accumulated several passages and verses that have given me solace during these really rough times.
My prayer for you while reading this will give you some peace, something to hold onto when desperate, something to ponder and be thirsty for more. To know that Jesus loved us “broken” people. He didn’t hang out with the “Pharisees”, He hung out with us addicts, people with mental illness, SINNERS! Jesus loves US and died for US! God is not ashamed of us!  I am not a religious woman, I am a Child of God and there is a difference. I shame no one and I’m not better than anyone. I’m a simple woman with a not so simple disorder.
Here are the books, chapters and verses.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

New International Version (NIV)

7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 

Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Psalm 143:3-12 (NIV)

3 The enemy pursues me,

   he crushes me to the ground;

he makes me dwell in the darkness

   like those long dead.

4 So my spirit grows faint within me;

   my heart within me is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of long ago;

   I meditate on all your works

   and consider what your hands have done.

6 I spread out my hands to you;

   I thirst for you like a parched land.

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;

   my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me

   or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

   for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

   for to you I entrust my life.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,

   for I hide myself in you.

10 Teach me to do your will,

   for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

   lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;

   in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.

12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;

   destroy all my foes,

   for I am your servant.

Isaiah 43:13

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

13 I am God now and forever.

No one can snatch you from me

   or stand in my way.

 

 

Psalm 136 (NIV)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,

His love endures forever.

5 who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever.

6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,

His love endures forever.

7 who made the great lights—

His love endures forever.

8 the sun to govern the day,

His love endures forever.

9 the moon and stars to govern the night;

His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt

His love endures forever.

11 and brought Israel out from among them

His love endures forever.

12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;

His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder

His love endures forever.

14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,

His love endures forever.

15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;

His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;

His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,

His love endures forever.

18 and killed mighty kings—

His love endures forever.

19 Sihon king of the Amorites

His love endures forever.

20 and Og king of Bashan—

His love endures forever.

21 and gave their land as an inheritance,

His love endures forever.

22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.

His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies.

His love endures forever.

25 He gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

 

 

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord,

   and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

   you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

   you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

   you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,

   and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

   too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

   Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

   if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

   your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

   and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

   the night will shine like the day,

   for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

   your works are wonderful,

   I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

   when I was made in the secret place,

   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

   all the days ordained for me were written in your book

   before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!

   How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

   they would outnumber the grains of sand—

   when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!

   Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;

   your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,

   and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;

   I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;

   test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

   and lead me in the way everlasting.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 91:1 (NIV)

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]

4 He will cover you with his feathers,

   and under his wings you will find refuge;

   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart

   and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

   and he will make your paths straight.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NIV)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:12 (NIV)

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 8:32 (NIV)

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

 

Lamentations 3:19-26 (NIV)

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,

   the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,

   and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind

   and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

   for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

   great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

   therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

   to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly

   for the salvation of the Lord.

Safe Places

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After the emotional shit storm of destruction caused by the stalker, nothing and no where felt nor feels “safe”.
The stalker served no jail time for a Class 5 felony, apparently it was his first run-in with the law, so he walked away “free” in my eyes. I don’t believe I was the first woman he stalked with obsession, but it was the first time he was held accountable. In my eyes…he could find me at any moment and finish me off.
He didn’t have the repercussions I did. I don’t even know if the conviction stayed on his record. He was married when it happened, and to this day still married to the same woman and now has children with her. He got to move on, live his life…with no one hiding in the dark shadows for him.
I on the other hand developed a horrible fear that has been wreaking havoc in my life for 15+ yrs now.  I read the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker right after he was arrested. Hands down the best book for a woman walking through this type of experience, I also read The Psychology of Stalking: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives by J. Reid Melloy.  The stalker and me never had a romantic relationship between us, we just worked together. His obsession was completely created from his own sick twisted version of reality.  These books gave me a sense of “armor” for my future. How to be safe, recognize red flags and be more aware of my surroundings; fantastic skills all women should have.
The experience made me weary of everywhere I went, including just being at home. I could no longer go to any event with more than 50 people attending that I didn’t know.  I drive with such an acute awareness that any distance of more than 2 hours away wipe me out for 12+ hours once I arrive at my destination.  I have insomnia still, but back then the insomnia was so bad that a night of 3 hours of sleep was a good night. I’d stay in such a hypervigilant state that I’d check my windows and doors every hour through the night. I’m still hypervigilant, just don’t obsess over the doors and windows anymore, unless my husband goes out-of-town.
Needless to say, no where felt safe during that time, except for 2 places. 1. My bed with all lights out, 3 inch dowels jammed into each window, doors deadbolted, alarm system activated, wolf hybrid dog by my side and my .38 snub nosed pistol loaded under my pillow. #2. My dad’s place high in the mountains, where a cars headlights will wake you, our great pyranese would bark and growl at any human or animal she would see, smell or hear and knowing my dad was in the same house as me and has always protected me at all costs.
I’d been an extrovert my whole life, outgoing, talkative, curious and explorative. Now I’m mostly an introvert, quietly observing, assessing, reviewing, analyzing, plotting my escape if needed and processing how I would kick someone’s ass if needed.
This type of PTSD does not go away, not completely. I worked hard seeing a psychologist once to twice per week for a year, did EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), psychiatric medications and time.  Again 15+ years ago and still today only these 2 places make me feel safe. As I lay here in bed at my dad’s mountain home feeling safe, feeling the “let down” of the hypervigilance leave me; I realize that I have a lot of work to still do.
Will I ever feel safe again? Will I ever go to concerts again, state or county fairs? Will I ever not need to conceal carry my gun? Will I ever stop looking over my shoulder?  Will my agoraphobia go away?  Will my panic attacks stop?  Will the bumps in the night subside?  So many fears and questions that spin through my head.
Hopefully the EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping treatment will allow the original ME to return, the new medication will help and I’LL feel “free” once again.  Wouldn’t that be nice.
Until then…I guess this is my normal.  Dear God I hope this isn’t forever.

Victim

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Victim
vic·tim
ˈviktəmnoun: victim; plural noun: victims
*a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
synonyms: sufferer, injured party, casualty; fatality, loss; “a victim of crime”
*a living creature killed as a religious sacrifice.
synonyms: sacrifice, offering, burnt offering, scapegoat “he offered himself as a victim”
I never knew how it felt to be a victim of a trauma. It’s not taught in school, it wasn’t spoken of growing up and it’s not something you think about until you see or experience it first hand.
After my initial experience of a personal trauma that I recognized as a real trauma…my life would never be the same because of it. To me the act itself is & isn’t important to being a victim, just being labeled “victim” impacted me severely.
The word “victim” has been thrown around society and used as such a cleche. Like the word “love” for example. It’s used in so many different forms that it’s lost its luster of its true meaning.  For example “I love that movie” to “I love my son”.  Same word two meanings.  Same goes for “victim”. I hear it used so sarcastically like “Oh geez you’re such a victim” to “The victims of 9/11”.  Same word used so differently.
My trauma impact was 90% emotional. I didn’t have any proof via broken bones, physical bruising, amputation, physical paralysis, no gushing blood or surgical incisions. Isn’t that what a victim is supposed to have?  Wait…no?  So how will anyone know I’m a victim?  How do I explain this to people like my doctor, family, pastor, banker or employer?  What the fuck am I to do next?  Stand up on a soapbox on a street corner yelling I’M BROKEN PEOPLE! SOMEONE HELP ME I’M BROKEN!  Since that option is apparently ridiculous what else can I do?  Ah ha…the police is who I tell right?  For some of my traumas…yes I tell or told the police. Did they believe me?  FUCK NO!  Did they care?  FUCK NO AGAIN! Why?  Some of what happened to me wasn’t illegal, some of what happened it’s validity was questioned, some of it was lack of training for the patrolman sent to my home and only one on my list came to a conviction of the accused…which took a year to prove was happening to me.
I thought if I was a victim people would believe me once they knew “my story”. One of the most painful things in life is to be a true victim and no one believe you nor the impact it has / had on you. It’s like being victimized all over again. Then maybe a year goes by and those that know you and what happened to you say things like “Aren’t you over this yet” “Why are you still dwelling on this” “You just need to move on” “The past is the past”.  Please know that by saying this to someone who was victimized is revictimizing them again, it’s destructive, inconsiderate, rude, uncaring and quite frankly FUCKED UP!  You’re also at risk of getting throat punched by me.  Whether the trauma happened 1 to 80 years ago…trauma is extremely difficult, healing takes time and the PTSD it caused can or will rear it’s ugly head down the road.
Whether or not you can see the trauma physically or not, it’s the victims reality and their truth. They didn’t purchase it nor ask for it, but they now own it….like a painful cancer that can’t be cut out easily.  The healing process is as hard as the event (s).
By the way…I HATE BEING A VICTIM;;;;;
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Bowing Out

2016-06-05_14.05.42-1If you came back to my blog after my previous post, I want to thank you for not bowing out after reading my trauma list.
I have experienced over time the impact my story has on people. There are 3 specific ways people have responded to my story.
  1. 100% interested in my story – these people want to know me and what has happened to make me who I am today. These people invest time in me, want to learn from me, want to walk through life with me. These people represent less than 1% of the people I know.
  2. Silently interested in my story – these people know what I’ve been through, they’ve listened. These people are my friends, but with limitations. They know I struggle with severe depression. They tell me to let them know if I need anything. They typically don’t ask how I’m doing with my PTSD or depression. Not because they don’t care, but because they do care and it hurts for them to hear how I am; because they feel helpless. These people bow out gracefully and I completely understand why.  These people represent 24% of the people I know.
  3. Not interested at all in my story – these people have heard a fraction of my story, but don’t want to hear anymore. It’s too overwhelming for them. It’s not believable. It screams “train wreck” “run away” “don’t get involved”. Or the person feels they need to “one up” my story and follow-up with “yeah you think you’ve got it bad, well listen to this”. These people bow out ungracefully and I never hear of or see them again. Which I completely understand, but wish they had the ability to own up to their response. Take responsibility for once. These people represent 50% of the people I know.
  4. The remaining 25% – I don’t trust you and you’ll never hear my story.

 

What really really hurts is to think that my friends are my true friends, yet they refuse to accept me into their inner circle. Don’t ever invite me to go places even after I’ve shown interest.  I’ll do anything for anyone at all times when they are in need, this is not reciprocal with most of my friends.

If you’ve been through any sort of trauma, I believe the above examples of people hold true for you too. I don’t damn or shame the latter type of people, not all of us were born with resilience. It’s just that some of us don’t mind another person’s “muck” especially when we’ve lived a life covered in it.