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.

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. 💛  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

CPTSD You Are My B*tch!

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What if we obeyed Jesus, our commander? If you just read that question and shuttered because you don’t believe in Jesus or the church somehow wronged you in your past; PLEASE DON’T STOP READING THIS. Please hang in there with me as the following is about a man who didn’t believe in God or Jesus either. We were taught about this in church last weekend and it made a huge impact on me. The title of this post came to me in church. Yes I’m a Pastors wife and yes my language is foul, but I promised to always be real in this blog and not try to be what people “think” I “should” be.

So if you’re still with me and ready to read more, please read the following passage. Then I’ll explain.

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Matthew 8

The Faith of the Centurion

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.  

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Are you still with me? If so, thank you! I promise I’m not trying to sell Jesus to you or convert you, just telling MY story and experience. 

Basically the centurion had faith in himself to know that when he took command of his soldiers and gave them orders…they listened. Any soldier today in the military, they follow the orders of their Commander In Chief, they don’t do this just because they really like their commander, they do it because they have “brothers” in their unit whom they would die for. These soldiers took an oath and they learned physical and mental discipline that would blow any civilians mind.  If you go against the commander it puts all soldiers at risk of injury or death. The bond built between these “brothers in arms” is unbreakable. 

I chose God as my Commander In Chief on November 11, 2009. I’m  a terrible soldier of God, my faith in Him lacks daily. When I had my most recent CPTSD relapse I closed myself in and DID NOT seek God’s comfort nor direction. My faith went straight out the door. With all honesty it will falter again and again, not because he sucks as my commander. It’s because I have trust issues, control issues, I don’t like being a follower and I hate rules. I’m not a good soldier in Christ.

Going to our regular Sunday morning service last weekend was my first time back in 3 weeks. Why is it every time I go the teaching is ALWAYS about what I’m struggling with? Do my Pastors know me so well they’re actually speaking to me? The answer is no they don’t know me well at all, but they know God and Jesus and they teach truth from the bible. I found a fire and a strength in me that morning I hadn’t felt in months. Jesus answered that centurion’s request not because the centurion was a loyal follower of Christ, it was because he had confidence knowing his soldiers so well. Not arrogance…but confidence…FAITH! Strong faith in his soldiers and Jesus was amazed by that. 

I refuse to break and let CPTSD run my life for another 30 years, I refuse to put my faith in knowing it’s going to return again and again…CPTSD doesn’t own me! I own it and I will break it and it will be my bitch! Why? Because I have God on my side, I have his strength inside me, I have a fire in me much like a soldier charging into enemy territory.  I know I have to take this fight slow and gently, because the trauma on me was aggressive and fierce. I have to nourish my soul as I take on this enemy and kick it’s ass. 

I have been meditating an armor of God’s strength around me daily. I’m practicing a bilateral soft tapping to calm my anxiety. I’m getting ready to engage in battle by use of EMDR against the stalker trauma. I’m scared as hell, anxious…but ready. I’m going to own its ass and make it my bitch. This is my war effort against my mental health disability. My faith is in my fight against it and I will win

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 \ˈje-tə-sən, -zən\: a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship’s load in time of distress.

http://www.mollystrohlphotography.com/

Your Growth Is Noticed

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As you are shifting you will begin to realize you are not the same person you used to be.  The things and people you used to tolerate have now become intolerable.  Where you once remained quiet you are now speaking your truth.  You are now understanding the value of your voice.  If you’ve angered anyone with your outward honesty, be proud, for THAT fear to remain silent has left the building.