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.

Autoimmune Disorders Are My New Normal

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For many years I’ve had weird physical issues, swelling and pain in my hands & feet, abnormal fatigue, extremely cold feet at night which then turns into burning feet, rapid heart rate and shortness of breath, painful joints, right leg numb from the knee down and very low blood pressure. All of these symptoms have been sporadic over the past 20 years, never all at the same time.

I finally went and saw my doctor about the swelling and he ran blood tests. The test for Systemic Lupus Erythemous came back positive. So off to the Rheumatologist I went, and he ran more tests but the SLE test was negative this time, but the Sjogrens Syndrome was positive and Celiac Disease also positive.

Since this diagnosis combined with other severe stressors in life I feel like utter shit. All of the above symptoms have hit me at once and I’m not handling it well. Going to see the Rheumatologist again today to further discuss and hopefully start on some medications to help bring this “flare up” down and relieve some symptoms.

In all honesty I’m relieved and scared of these three diagnoses. Relieved to have a name to my bazaar symptoms, no more wondering. Yet horrified because this will be no walk in the park. I always thought my severe fatigue was depression related, which seemed to have been the logical answer. Doctor told me that I may notice a big change for the good with my energy levels as long as the medications do their job. Another reason I’m completely relieved, the possibility of having energy and no more fatigue…how fucking great is that?!

Yet the unknown is really making me panic a bit. There are other symptoms I may start developing and it’s really scary. One being the sun and exposure to it. The sun triggers a terrible rash apparently, I haven’t had that happen yet, but if I am in the sun for more than an hour it destroys my energy. So much so that I have to nap after being outside, the heat plays havoc on my blood pressure and then I’m beat red all over for weeks.

Part of the frustration with this is that SLE and Sjogrens are triggered by stress and emotions. Based on this finding, it’s caused my EMDR therapy to be halted. Can’t delve deep into my traumas for a while, therefore I’m quiet frustrated about all of this.

A few months back I applied for Social Security Disability because of the CPTSD, anxiety, panic, depression and hypervigilant state. I won’t know of the decision from SSI until July. Now if I was to add my new autoimmune diseases to the mix of the claim, it will push back the current application. Such a conundrum.

Praying that SSI approves my claim, praying that the medications do their job and suppress my symptoms, praying I can get back to my therapy and praying for enlightenment for all of this.

What does this mean for my future? What am I to be learning here about all of this? What are my next steps? So many questions and no answers. For an analyst like me…not having answers to see where this is going is brutal!

Thank God for my amazing friends who are available and willing to lend a hand. Gluten free recipes are coming left and right. God blessed me with an amazing support system and that alone makes this current “bump in the road” not seem so destructive on this old truck of a body.

Letter to 30 year old Katy

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Dear Katy;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you and God Bless you,

Katy at 46 years old

The Stalker Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photo credit: Jeff Garner

http://www.jeffgarnerimagery.com

Motherhood and Anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good night.