Monday, July 30, 2007

Why the Where?

I have been asked before WHY I self-injure. It's a very common question actually. I'm not sure that people who do not SI can really understand. On a really basic level, the answer is "because it works." It provides an escape from the overwhelming feelings of that moment. (I could elaborate, but I've discussed this before so I'll move on).

I was asked a different question recently - Do you SI on a particular part of your body, and if so Why there?

I didn't know SI included all the things it apparently does. I have picked at my skin for years. Have scars all over my arms, especially my shoulders. Actually, even now, if I'm feeling the urge to SI, sometimes I can delay it/fight it, by picking at my skin. "Luckily" for me (?), I have horrible skin, so there are always clogged pores or other blemishes to pick at.

But when I started really SI-ing -- the pinning/cutting part, I used my legs. Never really consciously thought about it, just did it there.....

I've always been told I have nice legs. My mom has chicken legs. Extraordinarily scrawny. As she's gained weight, she's put it on everywhere except below the knees. My sister is slightly bow legged. Mom was always teased about her legs. I remember my one aunt bemoaning the fact that she, too, had the family legs. My other aunt teased them as she had escaped that fate. I remember my grandmother and my aunt talking about all us cousins and which ones of us had the family legs and which did not.

I did not get the family legs (the family nose is another story entirely). So everyone noticed my legs. I guess they are shapely? My mother always encouraged me to wear shorter skirts. I liked ankle length skirts because I prefer to sit cross-legged and can do that in long skirts. But my mother, who had been relegated to long skirts all her life in order to hide her legs, thought I should show off my legs and wear shorter skirts. I know my Husband said one of the things he noticed first was my legs. (maybe I need to be a leg model?)

I had previously made the connection between cutting and the human/body part of me. Cutting is a way to connect with my physical being - a connection I otherwise have difficulty making. It's a way to punish my body for betraying me so long ago. It's a way to control how my body responds - I cut, it bleeds, it hurts - very simple. It's a way to cut out the "bad" part of me. To make my own mark. To put my words in my skin. To punish my physical being.

I think maybe I subconsciously chose my legs because of those comments. Because it is the part of my body that was noticed. Especially in the summer. Summer is when the abuse happened. When I did wear shorts and get noticed. Since cutting, I've had to adjust my wardrobe. No more shorts in the summer. Capris or really long shorts (I finally found 1 pair of casual jean shorts that are long enough to wear). So my legs aren't shown off.

So I think that is my answer to Why the Where.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Carnival Against Child Abuse

The July 27, 2007 edition of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is up at Wired for Noise's site. Go check it out.

Back to Day 1

(SI trigger warning) Twenty three long days down the drain. Back to square one, day one. Damnittoallhell.

I've been so tempted for 2 days now. I had to work late Wed. It worked out well because I got home and had to take a really quick shower (highest temptaton comes here) and do some more work from home. Then went to bed and Husband was already in bed. Tonight I had some work to do late. But really it could have waited or been done from home. I didn't want to come home though. Husband and I are walking on edge around each other. And I knew that at home was my pretty purple case. So I worked late. Got home about 9 pm. Then I realized something. On Wed. I came home well after Daughter was in bed. She was sort of awake so I snuggled with her a few moments. This morning (Thurs) we overslept and were rushing in the car. Then she was in bed when I got home this morn. So anyway, my plan was to get up tomorrow and hit the gym and shower there. But Husband tells me he leaving for his parents tomorrow straight from picking her up at daycare and won't be back till late Saturday. So that means I wouldn't see her tomorrow or really Saturday since she'd likely be asleep or almost when he got home. That was too long for me. I decided to skip working out tomorrow so I could see her in the morning and take her to daycare. Spend some time with her. But, that meant I would shower tonight. Bad move. I knew better. I knew when I walked in to shower what I would do. I prayed for the strength to resist. I cried wanting to resist. But I couldn't or didn't.

Why? Over vacation my Husband got his feelings hurt because he apparently expected us to sleep together on vacation, especially as it was his birthday week and our anniversary. I just find that too triggering lately. Have for awhile. After a huge fight in which we both said some pretty nasty things, he wrote me a letter in which he said that he felt like there was something wrong with him - that I wasn't attracted to him. That's not the case, but I don't know how to explain it to him because I don't know how to talk about it without triggering myself. I tried to write him a letter just to tell him that it's me - not him. I'm not rejecting him. I don't want his feelings to be hurt. But I couldn't write it. I just couldn't get the words to come out.

So Husband and I have been tip-toeing around each other for days. Tonight is four nights where there has been no good night kiss and no praying together before bed. When we talk on the phone there is no "I love you" before we hang up. Once again I am pushing someone away because I'm too afraid, to chickenshit to say what I feel (figure out what I feel first and then say it). So I turned all that anger inside and cut myself. It doesn't make the hurt on him any less but I felt like I needed to punish myself.

I could have - should have - asked for help. I spoke to three people today that I know would have listened and tried to help. But I couldn't tell them how I was feeling because I didn't know why I felt that way. I'm afraid to disclose how I feel if I don't know WHY I feel that way. I'm afraid I'll be told "you shouldn't feel like that" or "that is crazy" or "you don't have any reason to feel that way" or "get over it." So instead I say nothing and just suffer in silence. I'm such an idiot sometimes........

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interview with God

Check out this Interview with God. Go to "view the presentation." The scenery is awe-inspiring. The words are profound. Especially these - "it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those you love......and can take years to heal."

So my question to you - consider this a Tag/Meme if you wish - what are some questions you would like to ask God. And if you're brave enough, what do you think His answers would be?

Emotional Starvation

(for the inspiration for this post see JIP's blog and comments)

JIP's post on emotional starvation and the comments posted there really made me think.

One commenter said, "One thing, for me anyway, is when things enter my life that have been absent, things I never got before, even when they are good things, it can hurt a little. Just someone saying :I'm proud of you" can be painful, because it reminds me that it was the first time I was ever acknowledged that way. So it is the absence of good things, like hugs, and affirmation, and someone rubbing your hair to comfort you, that you need, you deserve. But is also reminds you of the grief you have that you had to wait SO long to ever get that."

Another said, "When people pay me compliments IRL, I don't even hear them or respond. It's like they didn't say it. Then when the conversation is over and the person has gone, it hits me what they have said and I wonder why I couldn't respond."

Still another, "When we grow up in abusive situations we learn that apparent kindness means getting hurt so we distance ourselves as adults."

All of those ring so true to me. A part of me loves to hang out with "normal" people. To be a fly on the wall and just watch. I people watch all the time. Observe what normal, loving families look like. I listen to normal people talk about things they do with and for their kids. They don't realize what they are saying sometimes or how much of an impact it makes on me. One time in session my T took a call from her child. No big deal to her, but it really impacted me. To think of a mother taking time out from her work to speak to a daughter who needed her? Totally foreign to me. A church member called to cancel on me because her grown child was having a small outpatient surgery and she needed to go be there. My mom dumped me at the hospital and left me alone overnight when I was 7. No way she'd cancel anything to be with me as an adult. So while these seemingly small comments/actions are routine with some families, they touch me deeply. I'm determined that my daughter will grow up thinking it is perfectly normal for me to interupt whatever I am doing to take her call when she needs me, to cancel whatever plans I have to be there when she is ill, and to put her needs as a very high priority in my life. These experiences also make me sad as I realize just how abnormal my life is/was, and all that I missed out upon.

I wrote in an earlier post about my Happy Mask. I keep that on so people won't see my true feelings. I keep up a wall to avoid letting people in. When people are kind to me, I express appreciation, but I don't tell them exactly how much it means to me and how much I need it. One online pal took time out of her busy day yesterday to IM me because she knew that I had a tough experience on another board. Just a 3 minute "how are you" conversation, but it made my day. I have another friend who is free with hugs and casual touches. Just a hand on the shoulder, a hug hello and goodbye. Normal to her - makes my entire day. She called to catch up last night after I'd been on vacation all week, and to verify plans for this weekend. Just a 10 minute call. But meant the world to me. A hug from my T as I leave her office can make my day. My sister's sending me a funny joke that only she and I would find humorous. All these things mean so much to me. I don't let them know though. I'm afraid too. I'm afraid then they'll use that knowledge to hurt me. So I risk being rude and unappreciative and cold. I pull back first. Get off the phone or IM conversation first. Pull back from a hug first. Be the first to break away.

JIP said on her post that she needed a hug. And she got them, albeit virtual ones. Commenters told her to just ask for one. If only it were that simple. Someday, maybe I can go up to someone and say "I could really use a hug" - for now I just relish the ones that are freely offered.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Happy Mask

Others - How are you today?
Me to most everyone - Fine, how are you?
Me to some people - I'm okay.

Why can't I be honest? I'm not okay. I'm sitting here panicking and jittery. In tears because I'm paranoid about work and worried about my appointments this afternoon. Yet I know I will put on the Happy Mask at the doctors office and even in T's office. Why? Why do I do that? Why won't I let it down? How can I expect people to help me if I won't let them in or see that I need help?

Had an ortho appt this morning where they changed my wire. It appears my jaw clenching isn't doing too much damage and things are healing well. But of course I didn't ask about the jaw clenching because that would have admitted how stressed I am. Instead I just asked general questions about how stable my jaw is and they said fine. Didn't mention the headaches/jawaches I'm having again from clenching.

Doc appt this afternoon and counseling early evening. Still having bad anxiety problems and am fairly certain my meds need upped. I'm ______ about all this. (still not able to verbalize emotions real well - I think I'm mad, sad, upset, frustrated, extremely pissed off ). I had convinced myself that I didn't need meds anymore. Then the doctor told me he wanted me on them a total of 4-6 months with push toward the 6 month range. So that meant 3 more months. I was willing to live with that, although you may recall from past posts that I wasn't happy about it. Did not like the weight issues with the lexapro. Talked with T about switching to prozac which was supposed to be better on the weight front and also be safe during pregnancy. So assuming I needed to be on something, I could get off all else and just do the prozac. Called the doc and he okayed the switch. So dropped the lexapro and started the prozac. And I immediately was hit with the realization that my delusions about normalcy were just that - delusions. I'm not "healed" or "better" - I'm just drugged.

What the hell is wrong with me that I need drugs to cope? And why do I have such a problem with it. I have no issues with the fact that I have to take allergy meds every day. Why do I beat myself up so bad about anxiety/depression meds? I was so mad when the panic/anxiety kicked back in. Mad that it happened at all. Mad I couldn't deal with it. Mad that all these new "coping mechanisms" weren't working. Mad that all the progress I thought I had made wasn't really progress - it was just drugs. So I'm back to square one with the anxiety. Appt today where I guess I'll up the prozac and go from there. I need to have a real candid conversation with my doctor/T about whether I can realistically ever get off the other meds (trileptal or xanax) and then make some decisions.

Still having the "bad thoughts" - thought I was done with those. But again, just meds masking them I guess. Bridge columns looked mighty good this morning. The urge to SI is horribly fierce and it is taking everything not to do it. In fact the only reason I haven't is that I know it would be really bad and out of control. I'm jumpy and edgy and not fun to be around. I've been so snappy and impatient with Daughter. Today I just turned the radio up loud to mask out her "Mommy you are not listening to me" wails. All over the fact that we were running late and I wouldn't let her buckle her own seatbelt.

I feel like a whiner and complainer. I've been accused of that by Husband. Apparently I'm always saying I don't feel well or am panicky - at least in the last 10 days or so. Guess it's time to put the "happy mask" back on at home too. We are not getting along real well. I feel like I should be able to let my guard down at home. And timing wise, I'm due for another xanax about 6 pm. But I try to push it off and wait until closer to bed. That way I can use it to help with the anxiety and to sleep. So evening is a rough/panicky time. I know I take it out on Husband, but he pushes my buttons too. I mean how hard is it to stop standing in doorways and blocking my way. Or to stop following me around. Or to pick your crap up and put it away when you are done.

Anyway, enough whining. I hate whining. Maybe that is why I leave the Happy Mask on? When I whine and complain I hear my mother's voice in my head. She is such a whiner and always engaged in self-pity. So I be the brave, it's all okay, I'm in control person. That and to allow someone to see just how broken I am is to be vulnerable and risk being hurt.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

NOTE - Do Not Try this At Home

NOTE TO SELF - do not go get your hair cut when you are off-kilter on meds and in a foul mood. You will go into the salon intending to have the dead ends from the beach cut off. You will then ask about covering your roots - the ones you attempted to cover yourself but messed up. And to even out the blonde streaks the beach put in your hair. You will forget that your mother and you have the same color hair and same facial features. You will forget that there is a very good reason you have always gone darker with your hair color, including adding in auburn highlights. You will forget your mother has short hair. You will forget what you looked like the last time you had short hair. You will forget that you spent forever growing all the layers out of your hair.

You will come out blonder than you ever expected, with 8 (yes 8) inches cut off, with hair the shortest it has ever been (chin-length), and in layers. You will like it at first....maybe......looks not too bad while you are still dressed in your dressy church clothes. Wondering how it will look when you try to do it yourself. Knowing stylists always can get it to do things you can not.

Later, you will put your pajamas on, take contacts out, put glasses on and catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and totally freak out. You look like a horrible combination of your 6th grade dorky self and your freaking mother. Shit. So how long before I can put more hair color on? I colored it 2 weeks ago and then today? Think tomorrow is too soon? Think purple is too big of a shock? At least it would be different.

The Crap Bubbles Over

I don't make much sense lately so this post probably won't either. I woke up still crazy and twitchy but with pink eye (I think). So now I'm the crazy, twitchy, zoned out lady, with pink eyes! I opted not to volunteer to keep children's church today - wouldn't want to give any kids nightmares.

Came into office to wade through email, mail and get ready for hearings tomorrow. Only two (only??) two cases totally fell apart. Another one had some good news. One ratbaztard finally decided to plead guilty to felony child abuse for his rape of a then-15 year old. I represent ratbaztard's now-ex-wife (ratbaztard raped her sister) and will be preparing to file for emergency custody of their young child. You would think that being indicted for rape would have been enough to deny him custody, but apparently not. Some despicable attorneys who shall remain nameless throw out false child abuse/rape charges in custody cases often enough that our judges have become cynical of any ongoing custody battle that has "new" abuse charges pop up. Unfortunately, it is only after separation that some children feel safe enough to disclose the abuse. So it's a catch-22 situation. They finally feel safe enough to disclose the abuse, but the timing being right as a custody battle ensues, the judges sometimes see it as a ploy to get an advantage in court (and to some, less than ethical attorneys, it is used as such). At least in this case, the ratbaztard had some semblance of humanity left and is accepting a guilty plea. Either that or maybe he finally became scared enough of what would happen when trial arrived in a month and he went to jail. Or maybe we wore him down after three years of fighting.

I'm still a PITA for deciding to switch meds right around vacation (according to my husband). Oh, and for the fact that somehow I expect hubby to realize vacation is over and he needs to get off his butt and help out with the house cleaning for our showing (the one that might sell the house) on Monday. And yes, I do need to go into the office on a Sunday. Yes, that does require you taking Daughter home and getting her lunch. And yes, I am ticked that you want to avoid a Sunday school gathering scheduled for next week while I'm out of town because you can't possibly enjoy hanging out with the guys and watching daughter at the same time (can't exactly dump her on me all night if I'm not there). So instead you'll run back to your mommy and daddy and let them watch her so you can do hunting stuff AGAIN. So let's see, we saw them three weekends ago, this past weekend, you'll be there this upcoming weekend, then the next weekend, then the one after that. Hmm..........yes I do see a pattern. Course I think he's still pissed off that I informed him to NEVER expect sex on any certain dates. Hey, if the man expects me to read his mind, know when he might possibly want it, then inform him in advance not to get his hopes up --- I figure I'll just cover my bases for eternity. HAH! He still thinks it is all my problem and that I ought to talk to my T about it - as if there aren't a million other issues I'm dealing with. But this is the THE most important one to him, so I'll just have to drop all others and address this. I think I'll get a "escape pass" though because I left it up to him to make the arrangements and set the appt. I have strong doubts that will ever happen. That is if I keep my mouth shut and don't tell him that I would be quite happy never to have sex again (oops, did I really say that out loud?)

My cynical side is coming out. It's not a nice side of me. Can be pretty mean with a sarcastic and biting sense of humor. Great for dictating all those mean, nasty letters at work. Not so good in my personal life. I'll try not to bite too many heads off though.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back from Beach - General Update

Back from the beach. We left Friday and dropped dog at in-laws and came back today (sat). So there for 1 week. It was just long enough. Long enough to feel well rested and ready to come home, but not so long that we go bored down there. Had 1 storm the night we arrived, but otherwise awesome weather.

I enjoyed relaxing on the beach and getting tan. Daughter was so well-behaved. An absolute angel with the schedule shifts, eating at odd hours and everything. She wasn't thrilled about the ocean waves but played some in the water. Enjoyed building sandcastles, the nightly ice cream cones, and the pool.

I did bring the "pretty purple case" but it stayed in the dresser drawer. So I am officially 19 days SI free. On one of the first days down there, I was sorting through my purse and trying to just take what I needed in my beach bag. I found my "contract" where I agreed only to SI after taking certain steps to avoid it. And to leave the razors in my home bathroom and only cut there. So since I'm a huge believer in keeping my word, I resisted. It was difficult though.

I made a dumb decision. I hated the lexapro I was on. Was making me hungry (ravenous) all the time and I had gained 30 pounds on it. So I called the doc and he agreed to switch me to prozac. Plus prozac is "supposed" to be safe if I ever decide to go for baby #2. I called to ask about switching and scheduled an appt this week (after vacation). I hoped the doc would go ahead and call in the switch and he did. I was grateful at the time not to have to try to get in before leaving, and thought a week on the beach would be a fine place to adjust. Really I didn't expect any problems adjusting since the zoloft-lexapro switch earlier had been so easy. On the other hand, I received no instructions about switching or what to expect. So I just did it. What a mistake. Sometimes I doubt I need meds at all. Then I do something like this and I realize just how crazy I am. I'll spare you the list of everything, but my head lolls around and occasionally falls backward against the chair, I get very dizzy easily, zone off, twitch easily and have incredible urges to jump off high buildings (like the top floor of my sister's hotel). Talked to both T and doc's office with differing opinions. So in the end, I dealt with it by putting on the happy face and not ruining everyone else's vacation. Liberal with the xanax. And a doc appt on Tuesday. I think the prozac will be okay - I just need a higher dose. Until then I just try to minimize the twitching and head lolling. The zoning out I can get away with fairly easily - at least for a bit.

Celebrated my husband's birthday and our 8th wedding anniversary on vacation. By the way, men expect certain favors on special dates and if they don't get them, terrible fights can result. Who knew? But hey, if you can find a twitching crazy woman attractive ?!?!?!

Anyway, all cynicism aside, I had a good time. I feel caught up mostly on sleep. Spent a ton of good time with family and my daughter. Got to talk some with husband and spend time together outside of our normal household chores. Oh and we returned home to find out that we have a very interested buyer in our house. Add looking for a new house to my list for tomorrow, along with wading through emails, running by work, catching up on 6 loads of laundry and housecleaning. For me, it's back to life and back to reality!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Plans for the Next Week - I'm outta here

A nice bright orange color font because I am going to the beach. And beach means orange sun, and lying in the sun makes me happy!! These are my plans for the next 10 days.

- tonight I'll be 4-wheeling on one of those gater style golf carts with my husband and daughter, laughing and screaming.
- tomorrow I will be driving down to the beach relishing that moment when I can roll down my window and catch my first whiff of the beach air.
- tomorrow evening I will watch the sunset at the beach.
- over the next week, I will nap often, stay up for too late, sleep in as much as a 3 year old will let me, eat way too much food, ride the waves and laugh until I cry.
- I will twirl my niece and nephews, teach my daughter how to build sand castles and have bonding time with my sister.
- I will chase my husband, brother-in-law and nephews around with buckets of sea water in the inevitable girls against boys war.
- affectionately refer to my sister as a brat and find a stairway to chase her up, yelling "butt smacker" all the way up until we both collapse in laughter and exhaustion at the top.
- have girl time with my niece and daughter and let them paint my toenails (and entire foot) hot pink
- spoil my daughter by letting her have junk food, skip naps, sleep on Mommy and all the other things she doesn't get to do at home.
- sit on the balcony with my husband with NO TV, computer or playstation. Heck, we might even (gasp) talk to each other.
- I will eat so much seafood that I'll make myself sick on it.
- read fluff novels on the beach
- go to church and pray as a whole big family, and remembering how far we have come - from 2 sisters who never stepped foot in our church except for weddings and funerals, to moms and wives who find a church on vacation so we can worship together with our families.

I will NOT over the next 10 days -
- cut (it's day 11 today) - or at least I plan try my utmost not to do this. As I speak, the purple bag is not in the suitcase :)
- purposefully think of anything abuse related
- let my mother ruin my vacation
- let my job interfere with my relaxation
- worry over how much junk food I'm eating
- look at my sister and hate her for being prettier, tanner, skinnier, taller and more sane (well, I'll try not too!!)
- stress over medication - if I need it, I'll take it and not tell myself I'm crazy for using a pill to feel better.

Oh and I intend to spend a lot of time in my "safe" place - sunbathing on a raft with the sun over head and the gentle rocking of the waves beneath me, with one hand dangling into the water to keep me cool. Only this week, I actually will BE in my safe place for REAL - not just in my head.

Toot-a-loo everyone. See you in one week !!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wedding Anniversary

Next week my Husband and I will celebrate seven years of marriage. Despite wanting to strangle him at times, I do love the man. Another friend of mine is celebrating her wedding anniversary soon too. We chatted about what we remembered.

I was in school trying to plan a wedding with a zero budget. My family is so dysfunctional that I drove myself crazy imagining the "what if" scenarios. My husband's family is huge. His dad is one of nine and his mom is one of four. There are second cousins and third cousins twice removed all over. Throw in a small town and the invite list became huge, on his side anyway. On my side there were invitations but I knew only 10% would probably show.

I threw myself into the details and tried not to worry about the "personal" side of things. Husband's elderly uncle (retired pastor) would marry us. A cousin handled the refreshments. An Aunt did the wedding cake. Another cousin did the flowers. The only thing I threw myself into was choosing my dress. Out of the entire wedding, that is the only thing I really had any emotion and feelings about. It was a beautiful dress with a cathedral length train.

I wasn't like most other girls. I hadn't played weddings with my Barbie dolls or dreamed about my wedding day all my life. I had no expectations. The only wish I had was that no one would make a scene, stand up and object, or get drunk.

We had the reception out in the fellowship hall. No dancing. Just punch and finger foods. A typical country small-town reception. Then my mom and her husband hosted an "after-party" at the hotel where they were staying. There we had a full meal, music, alcohol and a party.

When I try to remember how it came to be that Toilet would escort me down the aisle and give me away, I get a wave of panic and blackness. Best not to go there. I think I just fell into it. Everyone assumed he would. I guess I had played the "perfect little family" card too well. At that time, my Sister was the black sheep who was living on her own (had been since age 16) and not having contact with anyone. Mom did a great job of alienating us from one another. Sister made it clear that she would not come if Toilet was there. It was far easier to explain her absence than Toilet's absence, and so that's the way it went. I couldn't handle the "why" questions if I had done things differently.

I was numb during the rehearsal and wedding. I threw all my attention into the details and managing them. Friends who knew a tiny bit about my childhood were outraged I would let Toilet be the one to give me away. One friend has distanced herself from me. She pulled me aside and said "I'm disappointed that he is here." We've not talked much since. Others asked about my Sister and how dare she stay away on this day. Really, I was glad she wasn't there. I missed her horribly, but I didn't want her around Toilet. I still had that need to protect her.

(what a conflict - not want Sister there in order to keep her safe, but let this same man walk me down the aisle.)

My biological father was not invited but I was terrified he would show up. I worried someone would ask too many questions about my sister. When we took wedding pictures, the photographer kept saying "your parents" and "your dad to put his arm around your shoulders" and "you look just like your father." Only it was Toilet playing the role of my father.

All of this overshadowed my wonderful day. I dissociated during the ceremony. When it was over, I was so out of it, that I almost forgot to kiss my new husband before walking out of the church. That prompted a bit of a laugh from the crowd. I cried on my honeymoon - not because of romance, but because I had no idea what on earth I had gotten myself into. How dare I think I was good enough to marry this man? What on earth was I thinking when I thought I could actually be a wife to someone? I was far too messed up to be with anyone other than myself.

It makes me feel a bit better to have friends tell me they don't remember much of their wedding either - all a blur because of stress and excitement. And my marriage, despite the rocky wedding memories, has lasted and is stronger than ever. I think that is much more important than some photographs and memories. When I look at the photos of my wedding day, I do see a smiling happy face. And I can connect with flashes of joy and happiness. So there are some good memories there too.

I told my Husband that on our 25th anniversary, we are renewing our vows. And this time the wedding will be done MY way with who I want there. And this year, I want to go out to eat with my husband (while Sister watches our daughter) and have a nice, quiet, romantic meal, remembering how God brought us together and how far we'll come. I will rest secure knowing that I am on vacation with my SISTER and her beautiful family, that Toilet is 500 some miles away and that he has never laid eyes on my child or any of my nephews or niece. They are safe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Milestone

First, some rambling - I have been edgy for a few days. I don’t know why. I keep rubbing my jaw, only to realize that it hurts because I’ve been clenching it yet again. Wonder how long I can keep doing this before I’ve undone all the last 3 years of jaw surgeries and realignments?

I've been having problems with dizzy spells. Waves of panic that come over me as a huge wave of dizziness. Slightly different than how my panic usually starts. I've looked back over my journals and I can't find a pattern. I'm eating enough so I know it's not my sugar level. There doesn't seem to be any correlation with anything except that a few of the times (not all), I've just finished drinking something with an artificial sweetener, asperatame, in it.

I’m so tired. I read a book today that had a line in it about a woman who was caught up in a new employment opportunity. She realized one day that she had "forgotten" to be a survivor that day. And then forgot for a few days, until it no longer controlled her identity or her life. I can’t relate. Haven’t been able too in so long. I’m looking forward to vacation next week. I hope I can escape for a week. On the other hand, I want to use the relaxation time as an opportunity to maybe connect with some more of me. Some more memories if there are any? Maybe connect the dots a bit more.

Now the Good News - It’s been 9 days since I cut. Since April, eight days is the longest I’ve gone. So today is a new milestone. I usually have two days or really strong urges before I give in. The urge started yesterday. I really want to try to make it through until I go to the beach. Then the "Test" - will I pack the pretty purple bag of razors? Will I leave them at home, knowing I can dismantle a disposable razor or hit an Eckerd if I need too? Will I leave them at home and resist all week at least through Wed, because my Sister will be there and will kill me if she sees fresh marks? Will I leave them at home and resist the entire week, knowing if I can make it through that, it will have been TWENTY days. What is that saying? Twenty one or three or eight days? To make a new habit. Isn’t there some correlation with most out-patient rehabs being 28 day programs? Anyway, the beach is supposed to be relaxing and not stressful. If I can make it until then and through then, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be on the road to healing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What do you Mean I Can't Control the Weather?

I leave for vacation on Friday. A whole week at the beach. We will leave on Friday to drop the dog at the "house of luxury," otherwise known as my in-law's basement, where she will be coddled, fed table scraps, and allowed to run through the fields all day. On Saturday we will leave for the beach. My sister, her husband and their three kids will be there through Wednesday. We're staying through Saturday.

My sister and I have been talking nearly every night. Comparing packing lists. Trying not to both bring some items that we only need 1 of. Making plans for activities and just sharing our excitement and readiness to go. Sister commented that the extended forecast called for temps in the mid-high 80s with scattered showers (typical beach forecast) but then remarked that the "chance of rain was 60%). I told Husband who began to fret. I started with the assurances.

Me - Better to be stuck at the beach in the rain than at work in the rain.
Him - I'd rather be home in the rain and at the beach when it is sunny.
Me - One day of rain would be okay. We can do sightseeing.
Him - I hope it's not cloudy and overcast the whole time.

Me - I'm going to check the condo details again to see what we need to take.
Him - I hope it's clean. I hope it looks like the pictures. We better not have any problems with it.
Me - I'll pick up some air filters when we are there, since pets were allowed.
Him - forgot about the pets being allowed. There better not be hair all over the place.
Me - we can vacuum
Him - I'm not cleaning on my vacation.

Me - I'll print off directions.
Him - make sure you verify where we pick up the key. I don't want to be driving all over looking for it.

Me - anything else we need to pick up at the store? I'd like a rectangle shape raft.
Him - you don't want that. You want a round one. You can relax on it just as well and better to surf the waves.
Me - I just want one to relax and sunbathe on - out past the waves.
Him - get a round one. Then you can use it for both.

Me - I'll cut some coupons to take for our food shopping trip there. And check out some restaurants.
Him - that one we tried last year was good. The other one wasn't though. Let's not buy too much food down there. We had too much left over to throw out last year. I hate that.

Trigger, Trigger, Trigger, Trigger, Trigger, Trigger.

Flashback to being in backseat assuring Mom and Dad that everything would be fine, we'd eat all the food, we'd have fun no matter what we did, the clouds weren't ruining our day. Please be happy. Please don't get depressed or moody. Let's just have one good day.

I can't control this vacation. I can't control the weather. I did the best I could picking out the condo - Husband looked and approved it too. We both decided to take this one despite the pets allowance. Last year, I had the directions to the realty office, we just both missed seeing it as we drove past the office several times. Overall we had a great vacation last time. Why does Husband insist on recounting all the negatives? Why is he such a "control" freak here and why do I turn into Miss People Pleaser. Why do I let him do this to me? Why do I let his moodiness, anxiety, fretfullness ruin my vacation? Why do I spend the entire week worrying about what mood he will wake in and if he is having a good time? UGH. I can't control the weather and I need to give up trying. I am determined to relax and enjoy this trip FOR ME.

Monday, July 9, 2007

My Daughter

My daughter brings me the greatest joy in my life. Husband and I discussed having children for a long time before we actually made the decision to get pregnant. I even had a bout of counseling before attempting to get pregnant. This, because my sister told me that old issues would come up and bite me in the butt and I ought to plan ahead. Wanting to do things right, I did just that. Talked about my relationship with Mom and (at that time) with Toilet. My husband and I had talked about the fact that there would be rules - Toilet would never be left alone with our child and Mom was not an appropriate supervisor.

So I got pregnant and felt an immediate bond with this unborn child. I told my mom about the pregnancy and some comment about Toilet and grandfather-something was made. Then Toilet - first time ever, called my work. Just to say Hi. He was driving through town. Didn't want to get together and do lunch, but just to say hi. I freaked. Felt something rushing through my head and things went black. I called my Mom and cut things off with Toilet. No more contact. I had to protect my child.

Amazing how early the maternal instinct kicked in for me. Especially given my roots. My daughter has never seen Toilet. Never will if I have anything to do about it. My sister's kids call my mom "the grandma without the grandpop" to distinguish her from their other grandparents.

My daughter was born around dawn. After a night of no sleep and a day full of visitors, husband and I were exhausted. We decided to go to bed early. He was sleeping on the hospital couch, me in the bed with our daughter in her bassinet. Husband pulled out his Bible and began to read and we prayed over her. I remember tears welling up in both of our eyes as we were hit with the enormity of what having a child really meant. I never knew I could love someone so much. Husband and I realized, too, the full impact of God's sacrificing his Son for us. My daughter was only hours old and I wasn't giving her up for anyone.

There have been additional "keepsakes" moments - her having to hold my finger in her chubby little hand to fall asleep, our last nursing session, waking up to her lying beside me, the nights we stayed up all night with her crying or sick, her first smile, and the first time she said "mama" and meant it.

My daughter is now 3 1/2. She is still the light of my life. Every night I go in to her room before I go to bed. I tuck the covers back over her, smooth the hair out of her face, and kiss her forehead. I kneel beside her bed and pray over her. I would die for her, kill for her, do anything in the world I can for her.

My daughter has reached the age of memories. My earliest childhood memory is when I am 2 1/2 and my sister is born. Then I remember next being about 3 1/2. It occurred to me yesterday that what I do and say will, perhaps, be remembered by my daughter forever. It will shape her and impact her. What an awesome responsibility. My husband and I have had several arguments lately (he's still alive by the way) and two have been in front of our daughter. She got herself into trouble and I realized it was solely to distract us from fighting. I felt horrible. I remember doing the same thing with my parents.

As my daughter approaches milestones, I worry about what memories will surface about my own childhood. They are there - the memories. On the fringes. I catch glimpses when she does something, says something or reacts a certain way. I catch myself holding back and dreading what she will do next sometimes.

I'm committed to raise my daughter better. To be her protector. A friend's recent experience with a memory of being sacrificed to the Wolf made me even more determined to protect mine. I think today calls for some Mommy and Daughter time - just some Girl time for the two of us. It's time to create some memories of my own for her - some good ones.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Guilt & Shame - well-known words in the world of CSA

I picked up a new book called "Secret Survivors" by E. Sue Blume. It's a decent book. Seems to overly generalize a bit. And the section on "mothers" went way too far (in my humble opinion) in letting moms off the hook for not stopping abuse. However, I just skipped over and ignored those parts and concentrated on the nuggets of good information I found.

Every single survivor book has to include a section on Shame and Guilt. This book had the usual info and then two little paragraphs that I found profound. I've heard and read the information before, but last night it struck me in a different light and I was able to piece together some more ways that it was applicable to me. The book says -

Self-blame or Guilt is a way of preserving the illusion that you are in control of your abuser's behavior. The alternative is more difficult to face - Powerlessness. It is less threatening to see oneself as somehow responsible and, therefore, guilty than to admit that one has been basically powerless and, therefore, the victim of a situation out of control.
Just as guilt is an alternative to powerlessness, shame is an alternative to a more threatening reality. If I am not bad (that is if I have nothing to be ashamed of, because I am a victim) the someone I relied on has hurt me. He has not been safe for me and I can not count on him. Shame is therefore, the alternative to being alone, to facing that I reality that I have been Abandoned.

I already knew statement #1. That I would rather see it as my fault because otherwise, he (my abuser) seems more powerful and in control. I have discussed it in counseling and on here. Statement #2 hit home though. I can relate the statement to both my mother and Toilet.

Toilet told me that I wanted it, liked it, it was my fault too. He made it seem like we were co-conspirators in what happened. I bought that for a long time (still do on bad days). The book made me realize WHY. Accepting it was my fault too made it easier for me to go on living with him. To treat him like a father figure. To accept gifts from him. To live in a "normal" parent-child relationship. To care about him (gag) as a father-type figure. Which I did for a long, long time.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Help Save my Husband from my Killing him

My husband would be very thankful that I have this blog. That is, if he know about it. My writing this out before I head home will very likely save his life. Because at this very moment I could kill him.....slowly.

We are listing our house for sale. Tomorrow actually. So there has been a frenzy of activity in cleaning, minor repairs and organizing. I arranged for the rental of a storage unit and moved all of the storage containers (big rubbermaid tubs) out of the garage into storage. Things like, Daughter's outgrown clothes, my winter clothes, and all of the baby stuff that we might (hopefully) need again some day - like infant carseats, cradles, high chairs, etc. It made our garage clean and our closets look like real closets instead of piles of junk. I made sure that this task was one I completed. I had to do it myself. Otherwise, Husband would have gone through every bin and thrown out a ton of things. With the excuse that we would just replace it or buy a new one later. (when it comes time to buying a new one later, he always finds a reason we don't need one after all).

DH (and today it stands for "Darn Husband" instead of "Dear Husband") is an odd mix. With some things, he has to save every little item. He is a hunter. He saves the boxes that his guns come in, every receipt, and every piece of paper. I can not throw out old T-shirts or socks. He cuts them up into little squares for rags or gun cleaning. He saves any type of rope or twisty tie, in case we need it someday.

On other things, DH is opposite. He periodically purges the file cabinet. Goes through his drawers and throws things out. Why try to remove a stain when you can just throw out the item? Why try to clean the grease or burnt stuff of a kitchen pan? Just throw it out. And knick knacks - no way. There will be none in the house. They are thrown out. We have received many gifts of candles, picture frames and other knick knacks that have "disappeared" before I could even get them out of the box.

My mother-in-law has not a single spot of vacant space in her house. There are knick-knacks on every possible surface. The in-laws' basement is full of junk. Old magazines that "might be worth some money someday." They deal in cash and keep every receipt known to man. Stuffed in every drawer imaginable. My mother-in-law recently bought a new dresser for the guest room so she could store more knick-knacks and have another surface for her "set up stuff." I know some of my husband's aversion to clutter comes from his childhood. Mother-in-law is way over the top and, while I have no desire to be like her, I would like to have some things out on display (like pictures for instance).

I have informed DH over the years that he is welcome to throw out anything that is of a personal nature to him. However, my stuff is off-limits. Our walls are all cream. We have cream blinds on our windows. Draperies in two bedrooms only (one came with the house). DH thinks curtains are "too cluttered." I have one picture on my living room wall and one hanging candle decoration. I have 1 tiny corner shelf with our wedding picture, wedding candle and the telephone. Because it holds the telephone, it is "practical" and okay. We argued about the entertainment center. I wanted one with shelves. He did not. DH got rid of my bookshelves (without discussing it) one day and packed all my books up in boxes. He said, "books don't need to sit out." I threatened him with death that day. I unpacked every book, removed his toy tractors from his "set up case" (that was okay to collect because they would be "worth something" some day) and put my books in there. He apologized over and over and promised never to do it again.

We have had repeated discussions to "leave my shit alone." I have ranted and raved. I have threatened to go into the gun cabinet and start disposing of his guns, or at least, packing them up in boxes and relegating them to the attic. (by the way, a gun safe in both the bedroom and guest room is apparently okay - just not bookshelves or any knick knacks). We, I thought, had come to a truce. He left my stuff alone. I left his stuff alone. I did the dusting since he refuses to move knick-knacks (the very few that I have) and dust underneath. When we had my daughter, I told him to leave her stuff alone too. I keep it neat and organized and he tries to overlook it.

Now I'm not a packrat by any means. I go through my clothes with the change of every season. I regularly take things to a non-profit thrift store. However, with the listing of our house for sale, I have gone through our things with an extra fine eye. I did NOT dispose of anything belonging to DH. Anything that was remotely "marital" I discussed with him.

We wanted to get our lawn mowed and finish pressure washing the house before listing it tomorrow. However, it did not get done. Apparently this stressed DH out. Or at least that is his excuse for taking 1/2 day off from work and leaving at noon. He called to say he was going home. He told me he would mow and pressure wash. Last time DH took a day off to stay home (with our sick daughter), he went through our file cabinet. He pays the bills. He is supposed to file the bill info in the 2 drawer file cabinet so that I have the info later for taxes. The file cabinet that takes up 2 feet by 3 feet of space regardless of how full it is. Apparently it was too cluttered. DH cleaned it out. Bundled papers together and put them in storage. So when I needed something for tax purposes it was not there. I threatened him with death. I threatened to destroy his guns. He promised me he would never, ever do it again. He has promised this a lot through the years.

This all passed through my mind when he called and mentioned he would be home, at the house, alone all afternoon. However, I thought I was over-reacting to be worried. Surely it would take the rest of the afternoon to mow, weed eat and pressure wash. Surely he would not have time to do any damage.

In between meetings I checked my messages. I received a nice long rambling message from him that he was going to pick up pine straw for the front of the house (finally). He had gone through the attic and house (alarm bells went off) and found some stuff to take to storage (okay, I know this is stuff I probably need, but at least he didn't throw it out), and by the way, is it okay if he gets rid of x, y and z. (NO, I think. But he's asking so we'll just talk about it later). I go into my next meeting and call him back a few hours later.

He's dead. That's all there is too it. First, he took stuff to storage that I use. That I could live with. He was being nice and cleaning the house. I would have let that go. He swears that we discussed throwing out my daughter's sandbox (one of those plastic turtle ones) because it gets water in it and spiders like to live there. As I recall, we discussed building a new sandbox, decided to wait until we moved, and agreed to use the current one for now. Either way, I know for a fact that I use it as a "rinse your feet off pool" and have within the last few months. I was upset that DH took that to charity but since I couldn't remember the exact conversation, I would have let it go. However, he took more stuff too. My DD's little tykes picnic table. The one she sits at whenever we have adults at our picnic table. The one we use all the time. The one I told him to leave alone. I don't know what else he took. It all went fuzzy after he told me that. I gritted my teeth and told him I was "not happy." I told him we had discussed his not "doing this sort of thing" when we got into the moving process. That we had talked about the fact that anything thrown out or given away had to be discussed first. He said, "I'm sorry. I won't do it again." At that point I said, "That is what you say every time."

I wonder if our local charity takes hunting equipment and firearms...........

EDITED TO ADD - I was driving home, ready to commit murder, when it finally hit me upside the head as to WHY this bothers me so much. When my parents separated, Sister and I were sent to stay with my grandparents for 2 weeks. When we got home, we had moved. Mom had gone through our stuff and "weeded through it." I don't remember what happened when we moved to the house. I left my room as it was when I left for college. My mom and Toilet made plans to move out of the house and I asked Mom about getting some of my childhood things. She said she was "sorry" but she had gotten rid of most. She didn't think I wanted them. She heard that I was upset on the phone and said, "don't worry, I saved the important stuff." That was, she saved her version of the important stuff. Both times we moved, we "lost" our pets.

I tried to explain to DH why I was so mad when I got home. He wasn't getting it. Kept making excuses and saying it was not a big deal. So I told him the above. He said, "Well why didn't you tell me that before?" That made me madder. I shouldn't have to have some reason for asking that he leave my stuff alone. Or for insisting that he keep his promise not to do it again. So......anyone want to volunteer to help me move a gun safe?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

One of "Those" People

(disclaimer - I am only talking about me here. Just Me. Not passing judgment on anyone else except myself.)

I guess I'm one of "Those" people now. The crazy ones. The one that blanks out frequently and then startles when their friends snap their fingers in front of their faces. The one that has those weird marks on her legs. The stupid one that cut her wrist instead of being content with cutting up her legs. The one who can't be satisfied with the memories she does have, but has to go digging new ones up. The one who is so screwed up that she can't figure out what memories are real and what are not. The one who has panic attacks over the littlest things. The one who can't enjoy or laugh at a stupid little joke but panics instead. The one who freaks out when her completely innocent, adorable daughter hugs her from behind. The one who freaks out when her wonderfully, fabulously, patient husband rolls over in bed and touches her, even on accident. The one who has to dig up her past and try to make sense out of memories and events that have lay perfectly dormant and non-threatening for years. The one who can't go anywhere without having child abuse issues thrown in her face - all the time anymore at work. What the hell is wrong with society? Is there not any custody case where abuse is not a factor anymore?

I'm the one that hears voices in my head. Battling back and forth. One saying I'm an idiot, making this all up, crazy, lunatic, out for attention, stupid, shameful, dirty, deserved it, and all those other words. The other saying that it's okay and I'll get through this and to just hang in there.

You know those people that just seem crazy? They have all those problems and issues and always seem to be in a crisis? The ones no one really wants to talk to or be around for fear of being sucked in. Yeah, that's me now. Except I don't tell anyone about my issues/problems. Because I know better. I know what happened in childhood when I told. I know what happened when I tried to talk to friends in middle school/high school. I was the weird one with the weird family. The one that everyone thought was odd because I couldn't keep the stories straight about why I couldn't join certain clubs, do certain activities, have people over to my house. The one that was seen as odd for not remember what version of what half-trust I had told to what person on what occasion. I was seen as a liar. I was seen as out for attention. So I just keep being the professional helpful one that helps others deal with their issues, while I ignore mine. I try to play the "I'm okay" or "it's nothing" game.

When I was about 12 or 13 I had horrible cramps. Took some ibuprofen. Then went to an activity where I had to run a mile and try to make it under 8 minutes. Pushed myself hard. Immediately before the event I took some more ibuprofen. Then couldn't remember when I had taken it so took more. Counting back later, it appeared I had taken about 12 or so. Got extremely sick. No one believed I didn't do it on purpose. Mom punished me and degraded me. No doctor call or hospital visit for me. Just shoved me in the car, drove me home, sent me to bed, and told me to quit it. Years later, when my sister actually took pills on purpose with the intent to commit suicide, Mom punished her and yelled about the hospital bills. That's all Mom cared about - the bills.

I had my suicide attempts later. But I kept them secret. Didn't tell anyone. I never wanted to be accused of doing it for attention. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on the day) I didn't succeed. I get mad when people think that SI is a suicide attempt. It's not. I have never thought of it that way. Never ever done it with that intent. For me it relieves the pain or the numbness, depending on the day and time. It is as if I can cut the emotional pain out and replace it with physical pain. I know how to handle physical pain.

I don't want people's pity. I don't want their sideways looks like "there goes the crazy one."

My husband tells me to just talk about it. He doesn't understand that I can't. That I want to. That I open my mouth and there is stuttering and gagging and nothing comes out. I KNOW I need to talk. I need to LET GO and give up this tight rein on my emotions. I KNOW I need to let God in on this process. I KNOW I need to stop trying to restrict the memories and block them. I KNOW I need to stop SI-ing and develop better coping mechanism. But I don't know HOW. No one has an answer for that. The "how" part. Other than to "just do it." Yeah, as if it were that easy.....

Cutting out the Bad Parts

This one is ugly people. So if you're not up to reading it, just back away and come back later.

I'm struggling with putting some pieces together that lends itself to there being more abuse than I can remember at the moment. The pain is unbearable. I'm not in control. It's out of control. I've given up any thought of getting off the meds at the moment. I'm taking all of it as often as I can. I'm trying to pray, do deep breathing, take time for myself, write and all that other stuff to cope and get a grip. Last night the pain was so bad, I tried to cut it out of me. It scared me. Because normally my SI is controlled. Neat lines and controlled. A deep breath, feel the relief. Control. Wasn't like that last night. It was my wrist - not my leg. It's fine. I wasn't trying to end my life. I just wanted to end the pain. It's not bad - no stitches required. Yes I told T. So I'm dealing with it the best that I know how at this point.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Still Alive

I'm still alive even if I've not been around or writing much. Can't remember the last time I've gone 3 days without writing (if ever). I could blame it on an overly busy weekend, but truth is, I don't know what to write. The stuff whirling around in my head is too painful and too shameful. And most of all, too confusing. It's a bunch of disjointed memories/flashbacks/visions/words/sounds. That are all swirling around in my head but not making any sense. It is a fleeting thing. As soon as I try to reach out and grab on, it's gone again. So until I can make a tiny bit of sense out if, there doesn't seem to be much point in writing it down.