Mommy Anxiety

pre-k

I believe every parent goes through a level of anxiety when their children start school, for the first time or even every year they go back.  It’s a natural instinct to be nervous for them, especially in todays day and age of atrocities that have happened at our schools. I know my fears and anxiety aren’t unique nor earth shattering, but if I ignore these feelings, then I’m doing a disservice to myself, my family and others. Here’s where I am right now and I have to acknowledge the truth.

When my oldest son who is 22, Spicoli, was 10 months old and I was married to his dad; my life at that moment changed drastically.  I had doctors appointments on a day in June, so I had taken the day off from work, but I took Spicoli to daycare to make the running around easier on me. After all of my appointments, I went home to grab a bite to eat and was getting ready to head over and pick him up from the daycare. I got a knock on my door, and there stood some man who asked me “Are you Katy Sheffer?”, as I responded with a yes he handed me a large envelope and walked away.  I opened the envelope and wasn’t grasping what I was reading.  It was a court order of divorce papers and a restraining order to stay away from my son. I still wasn’t grasping any of it, we had just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary 2 days earlier.  Went out to a lovely dinner, he sent me a huge bouquet of flowers, so what I was reading wasn’t making sense.

I called Dick right away, he answered and I asked “What are these papers that were just delivered? I don’t understand.” His response, “Just read them and you’ll figure it out.” I did respond “Okay I’ll read them after I pick up Spicoli and then I’ll call you.” He sternly responded “No you won’t pick him up. He’s not even at daycare, he’s with my mom, besides you now have a restraining order from seeing him. You are no longer welcome to go to the daycare and if you do, they have been ordered to call the police to have you arrested.” At this point I started yelling “I don’t understand! What are you doing? This is crazy!” Then he hung up on me.

I called a friend that is an attorney and asked her to please help me, that I couldn’t understand what was happening, so together on the phone we read the documents word for word. Bottom line, Dick went to the courts that morning and filed for divorce. In order to gain leverage to keep Spicoli all for himself, he told the judge I was unstable, suicidal, had severe postpartum depression that he was afraid I would pull a Susan Smith and kill our son. The TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) was issued based on a lie. From this point forward my life dramatically changed.

Spicoli was only 10 months old and it took three months to get in front of the judge to prove that Dick had lied, so basically my baby was kidnapped from me for 10 months, at least that’s how the judge put it once he was proven to be a liar. During these three months the prolonged trauma caused PTSD, I went from 155 lbs down to 98 lbs. I couldn’t eat, sleep nor stop the fear of wondering where my baby was.  What was he doing? Were they feeding him correctly? Are they cuddling him? Are they talking about me to him? Will he recognize me when I get him back, or if I get him back?

Yes I got him back, but the trauma still lingers. I’ve been in counseling for 22 years, I’ve gone through desensitization therapy, EMDR, PFT, trauma therapy; but the fear and trauma is still there.

Right now my 4 yr old, Calvin, is set to start pre-k tomorrow. I’m a fucking wreck. When I had him I experienced postpartum depression again, but this time it was way worse. A lifetime of trauma’s and having CPTSD made it ten times worse. It caused me to develop a ferocious level of protection over him, it was so bad I couldn’t go back to work. No way in hell would I have my child at a daycare, because in my mind, they aren’t safe. No my marriage now is nothing like it was with Dick, and I know this, but that doesn’t stop the mamma bear instinct to protect my young.

I wish I could wait until he was 5 and ready for kindergarten, but Calvin needs speech therapy support. He really has had a heck of a time with certain consonants and vowels, and in order for him to be ready for kindergarten we felt it best for him to start pre-k and obtain some special education with speech therapy. Yes I could clearly just take him to a speech therapist, but I believe peer support is an important part of his growth.

I am a mess. I’m irritable, tired, shaky, can’t sit still, can’t stop thinking. That trauma from 22 years ago has played in my memory over and over and IT WON’T STOP! To add to this, he’s scared too! We now live in a new state as of 3 months ago, so he has a new home, new room, new friends, new experiences…his life has changed. He was doing great about starting school, until we went for the meet and greet at school last night. This poor kid was so overwhelmed, there were people everywhere, he held my hand so tight he refused to let go, he didn’t want to explore the room on his own, I had to hold his hand and walk him through it. When we got home he had a complete meltdown. “I scared mommy, I scared!”

Meanwhile inside I’m thinking ‘DAMN IT! I’m scared too!’, how do I handle this? How do I convince my son it will be all okay, when inside I’m scared it’s not going to be? How do I nurture him and calm him, when I’m a bottle of nerves? We went to bed, read a book and I cuddled next to him and told him a story. A story about a brave little boy who was starting school for the first time, that he was scared too, and that it was okay to be scared. The little boy was going to have wonderful nice teachers full of love and comfort, he was going to meet and make new friends, he would have daily adventures and different toys to play with; but most of all his mommy would be there to pick him up at 1:30 on the dot and because he knew this…he felt safe. I reminded him that he has Jesus with him ALL of the time, protecting him and loving him, and because of this he’ll never feel alone. Calvin then kissed me and said “I love you  mommy” and rolled over and fell asleep. It was so very precious.

I don’t know if that story I told him was just for his benefit and comfort, but I think it helped. I hope I convinced him or helped him, especially because I can’t help myself right now. I can’t stop the intrusive scary thoughts, my body remembers that day, not just my mind. Sick to my stomach, can’t eat much, headaches, shakes and rapid heart rate….body memories are as bad as the mental memories.

I will continue to push forward, I will continue to ask God for strength and pray daily, I will do my best for as long as it takes for me to get comfortable….if I ever do. I will put lipstick on this pig and keep on keeping on.

Oh and one more thing: Fuck you Dick.

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Physical & Emotional

scars

 

“There are so many secret wounds, so many types of hidden scars. The soul, being stronger than we think, can survive all mutilations and the marks upon it make it perfect and complete.”

This is from the PBS series Call The Midwife Season 6 episode 6. I love this series because of all of the stories of true life. It’s not just in today’s society we see aweful injustices on women. It’s been happening for years, behind closed doors, victims kept silent.

The ending spoken narrative, stuck with me. Something to reflect on.

 

Blogiversary

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I started this blog one year ago in an effort to work through my past and present realities. I’ve grown in knowledge based on putting my feelings and experiences into words. I’ve made some amazing “blogging” friends who have similar experiences in life. I’ve even managed to piss some people off.

My goal was to create a space where I could raise awareness to CPTSD, and it evolved from there. I wish I could be writing more currently, but my health isn’t allowing it. My “brain fog” is a mother fucker at its best. So while I’m not able to put feelings and thoughts into words, I’m still going to do my best to raise awareness.

Thank you to those of you who have been loyal readers, without you…I have no voice.

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.

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.

My CPTSD Relapse Description

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A relapse is when a person experiences something that reminds them of the actual traumatic event. It could be something they see, hear, feel, smell, taste and/or dream. I’ve been triggered all six ways and my relapses seem to get worse and worse.
I recently realized that I can’t not get help when triggered. Finding someone who knows what in the hell they are doing when treating someone with CPTSD isn’t an easy task. I once had the same psychologist for 10 years and she is phenomenal. Recently she stopped seeing clients because she has been writing books and teaching on narcissism. I briefly saw 2 counselors that have experience with PTSD, but not equipped with the type of advanced training and treatment I needed. They weren’t effective and I felt lost. I then ended up with Kaiser insurance for 2 years….what a fucking nightmare! Kaiser’s behavioral health care is the worst system EVER! I was ignored, doped up, mistreated and pushed aside. I lived in emotional hell for 2 years and by the grace of God we got new insurance. Best insurance I’ve ever had and I immediately started searching for the perfect fit for me. I found a psychologist that has done more for me in 2 months than Kaiser would have ever done for me. She referred me to the BEST Psychiatrist office I’ve seen.
With this treatment she’s providing and my medication changes, I’ve had a 90 degree change for the better. But what did I look like before this transpired? A big pile of shut down blob of poop.
When I relapse my first response is to turn inward and shut down. I fret internally over and over again. I then become afraid to leave my home based on a number of reasons. I believe in my mind that one of many things may happen to me. The stalker may find me, I could get into a car accident and die leaving my baby motherless, there could be an Aurora Theater shooting type situation, I could have a heart attack or cancer and die, my baby could die…I could go on and on with these “what if” scenarios. Scenarios that I can’t turn off no matter what I do.
Then because I’ve isolated myself from the world I become severely depressed. This depression makes it difficult to just get up and go brush my teeth. It paralyzes me from even wanting to shower. I’ll sit on the couch, turn on my toddlers favorite movie, and let it play over and over all day while I just sit there.
I’ll do as minimal as I have to just to get by. Then after wasting the day away I feel raw shame for being the worst wife and mother to my family; which depresses me more. I then physically feel like molasses has been poured over me, rolled me in dirt and put out in the cold to harden. A full body suit of gross that fits me tightly yet hangs off of me like it’s too big. Then I walk around like the mafia put cement feet on me, like a dragging slug. I want to just sleep and stay in bed with the shades drawn and the covers over my head.
Can you picture this?
I then eat sweets all day, just to get my dopamine levels up a little. I’ll wake up at 2am and eat sweets because my levels were dropping off. I weighed 140 lbs when I gave birth to my son, 2 years later I’m 165. I’ve never been this weight my whole life. I weighed 130 lbs or less before I got pregnant, then the relapse hit with post partum depression. Having a history of PTSD, depression and anxiety increases your risk of PPD 10 fold.
Don’t ever tell a depressed person they should just force themselves to go out and sit in the sun, or go for a walk, to stop dwelling on the past, be happy they’re alive, eat better, go out with some friends, pick up the phone and just call people, take up a new hobby, take a long hot shower or soak in a tub, put some makeup on or my most recent…just look at your smiling son’s face that’ll make you happy.
Anyone within an arm’s length of me say anything like the above to me, is at risk of being throat punched. Or you’ll be cussed out so bad it’ll end the friendship.
Now add-on to the above depression description with a short temper, bursts of screaming anger, bouts of uncontrollable crying, irritability, loss of memory or words, zero affect, no sense of humor and unrealistic expectations of others.
This is what a full-blown CPTSD relapse looks like for me. Isn’t it pretty? Like lipstick on a pig.