Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NEW UPDATE - Bad DayS - Part III

When I committed to stopping self-injuring, I had a friend check in on me. She asked me how it went and I told her that, while there had been some temptations, overall it had not be as bad of a struggle as I had expected. I chalked it up to my determination and stubbornness. Without wanting to "bring me down," she cautioned me that there would likely come a time when I would find myself very tempted and have a difficult time - to be prepared and be ready. I am at that time.

I don't know exactly what is going on. I can't point to a specific cause or event that is making me feel this way. I know I woke up after a nightmare of sorts yesterday and had the mouth sore incident. I wasn't feeling great and went home early. Took a nap - got up at 6:30 and ate a light supper, and was back in bed by 10pm. Slept in this morning until 7 am. I should feel better and refreshed.

I feel anxious and jittery. Like I'm on edgy and coming out of my skin. I've eaten well, drank water, drank a bit of caffeine. Taken ibuprofen for the headache. Taken all my morning meds. Taken a xanax. Had some prayer time. Done some deep breathing. It's not working. Luckily I showered last night and did not need to do that this morning. Luckily I will go straight from work to the fall festival at church. So the opportunity to SI will be minimal (I'm refusing to acknowledge the stuff in my desk drawer). But the urge is beyond explanation. I just want and need this anxiety to chill out. I'm trying to think rationally but having trouble. I have done all that I rationally know how to do and am out of ideas.

If you are the praying sort, please pray. And if you have any suggestions or ideas, please send them my way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

UPDATE - on Bad Day (Part II)

A few months ago, what happened today would have thrown me into a huge tizzy. I would have been in a full-blown, level 9 panic attack. It would have definitely been a self-injury day. I would have fallen apart. Today was different.

Despite everything, I was able to retain some semblance of rational thinking. This morning I was able to maintain enough rational thought to know that the situation was going to cause panic. I knew enough to take things slowly and to take the meds immediately after my stomach was calm enough to tolerate it.

When I was still edgy at lunch, I was good to myself and went and got lunch. Then I took another xanax. I tried to keep a hold on my headache by taking the medication as often as I was allowed. I drank a lot of water and enough caffeine to make sure it wasn't a caffeine headache. By 2 pm, I recognized that things were not getting better. Three months ago, I would have refused to acknowledge that my body was weak. I would have played "superwoman" and stayed at work. Sucked it up and dealt with it.

Today, I acknowledged my weakness. At the end of my last appointment, I left work. I called my husband and turned over things to him. I came home, took another xanax and headache pills and went to bed. Two hours later I was feeling much better. I slept well. My headache has subsided to a dull roar. Stomach is still a bit off but I managed to eat something. I'm still edgy/anxious but it's manageable. I acknowledged my temptation to SI and took steps to minimize the temptation (quick shower). Now I'm relaxing and chatting with my husband.

Funny, I am struggling with issues of control. Giving up control. Relaxing my rigidity. Yet, today I made it through by maintaining some semblance of control over the anxiety. Maintaining a grip on rationality and being able to see what was going on and implementing my "safety plan" to deal with it.

I feel a genuine sense of accomplishment today. Yeah for me! Just felt the need to share and to encourage others to take care of yourself. You deserve it.

Bad Start to the Day

Rough morning. I had taken an Ambien and expected to crash and not wake up till morning. But I woke up about 1 am with heart racing. I guess I had a bad dream. I don't remember much except feeling of being chased and scared. I laid there awhile doing some deep breathing. Then got up and took a xanax. Fell back asleep.

Woke up and still couldn't shake the uneasiness. I went and got my daughter up and snuggled with her for about 10 minutes. I felt better after that -- and she was sure easier to get moving then.

Last night I had a sore spot on my gums. I've gotten used to these mostly - braces will do that to you. But I've also learned not to sleep with wax in my mouth. It inevitably loosens at night and I wake up choking - not a good thing. So I went and looked in the mirror and my inside (TMI alert) mouth/gum was filled with a huge, clear, fluid filled sac. I immediately started with a panic attack. I had thoughts of that thing popping in an office appointment or somewhere else, where I couldn't deal with it right then and there.

So, I took some deep breaths and tried to think logically. I got a clean straight pin - cleansed it in alcohol. Gathered the cleansing mouthwash I had left from my jaw surgery. Swished my mouth out and gently squeezed it. All the fluid came out. Gag. I cleaned it really well. Then went and laid down. Once the world stopped spinning and my stomach settled, I took my morning meds and a xanax for good measure. Then started to get ready - slowly. I'm keeping wax on that area - and all along my bottom teeth where there are sores. And trying to keep my gag reflex under control - it's still acting up. I can't get the "something stuck in my throat" feeling to go away.

When I got to the office, I googled this thing in my mouth and found this -- "MUCOCELE, a harmless cyst that may be caused by sucking mouth tissue between the teeth. These cysts usually go away on their own. To avoid infection, only a doctor should open these cysts." Hmm probably true. I do get mouth tissue stuck on braces. Guess maybe I shouldn't have opened it on my own. I did clean it really well. Although now the thought of infection is just making the gagging sensation worse. I think I'll just keep sipping coffee to keep the coffee taste in my mouth.

At counseling last night, I told T that I wanted to come to some resolution about whether or not there were more memories. To come to a (1) yes and here they are; (2) no so quit worrying or (3) yes, but you're not ready to deal with them yet. I wonder if this morning is trying to point me in one of those directions. I'm really hoping there isn't an Answer #4 - you don't need to know the answer yet :(

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Note to Myself

Dear Enola,

Knock it Off. You know to do (or not to do) these things, lest you become worn out, run down, overly anxious, lacking sleep, or a multitude of other things. Print these out and post there where you can see them often.

Thank you,

Your mind, body and soul

  1. Do not drink more than 1 (or maybe 2) cups of caffeine a day. Do drink at least 6 glasses of water. Otherwise your kidneys go into spasm which is quite painful and leads to requiring antibiotics and pain medications. Remember all those tests you had run about twelve years ago - don't go there again.

  2. Do not deprive yourself of chocolate. On the other hand, do not eat an entire handful of Hershey's miniatures. Otherwise you will not fit into your pants, thus beginning the downward cycle of self-loathing and avoiding mirrors.

  3. Do work out. Do not over-exert yourself. Get your heartrate up, but not too high. Too high of a heart rate feels like a panic attack, leading you to avoid exercise in the future.

  4. Get on a sleep schedule. Do allow yourself to sleep and to nap when you need too. Do not start going to bed at 9 or 10, oversleeping each morning and napping for hours on end each weekend. You end up overtired and miserable.

  5. Do remember to refill your medications. Plan ahead. This way you don't scramble at month's end trying to get them refilled before you miss one.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Divorced

A little background - Beauty wrote a post about needing a divorce. I read it literally and offered my assistance. Then after some posts back and forth (and some caffeine on my part to wake myself up), I realized she was speaking metaphorically. So, for fun, I prepared a divorce decree for her. What started out as fun - and with some hope of offering Beauty some comfort and support, turned into a therapeutic exercise for me. Beauty shared her divorce decree here. Mine is listed below. Feel free to borrow the language and proclaim yourself Divorced. From what? That's for you to decide.

FILE NO: 2007



THIS CAUSE came on for hearing before the undersigned Judge presiding over the October 25, 2007, Session of the County of Self-respect District Court, sitting in the State of Healing, on Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment as to her claim for absolute divorce, alleging that the parties have lived separate and apart for more than one year. The Court makes the following,


1. The Plaintiff is a citizen and resident of the County of Release from Bondage, State of Freedom, and has been a citizen and resident of said County and State for more than six months next preceding the institution of this action.

2. The Defendants are citizens and residents of Self-Proclaimed Hell in the State of Evil, and have been so for at least the past fifty years.

3. This is an action for divorce based on more than one year’s separation of the parties.

4. The parties hereto were joined together by Defendants’ actions and conduct beginning on or about 1985, and continuing until Plaintiff left the State of Evil where she was forced to live with Defendants. Since Plaintiff’s relocation to the State of Freedom, Plaintiff and Defendants have lived continuously separate and apart and have at no time resumed the relationship which formerly existed between them.

NOW THEREFORE, based upon the foregoing findings of fact, the Court concludes as a matter of law that:

1. The Court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter herein.

2. The Plaintiff is entitled to an absolute divorce from the Defendants based upon more than one year’s separation of the parties.

NOW THEREFORE, based upon the foregoing findings of facts and conclusions of law, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED as follows:

1. The Plaintiff is granted an absolute divorce from the Defendants and all bonds heretofore existing between the Plaintiff and the Defendants are hereby dissolved. Plaintiff is further granted freedom from self-hatred and self-injury.

2. The Plaintiff is further granted the present of truth, the love of God, and the freedom
and liberty from captivity to the teachings of a false prophet. Plaintiff is granted eternal life in God's kingdom and the love of friends to walk through her remaining time on life here on earth with her.

This the day of October, 2007.

BY: ____________________________________

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fairy Tales & Dragons

Last night I forgot to switch the channel after Kid Nation and got engrossed in Criminal Minds. Last night's episode was about a little girl who went missing in a mall.

As the show played out, the main characters were Mom and Dad, the little girl that was missing, an aunt and uncle and their little boy aged 13 (Cousin). The little girl (about age 7 or 8) had been in the video arcade with her Cousin when he disappeared. The Behavioral Unit questioned him but he had panic attacks and shut down. In the end, the investigation revealed a very complex, evil backstory. Uncle had been molesting the little girl. Aunt found out about what was going on, and separated from her husband, but never said anything to the little girl's parents. Aunt decided she wanted her husband back. She was jealous of the attention he gave the little girl and decided to dispose of the distraction. So she kidnapped the girl, intending to dispose of her "competition."

When the detectives searched the little girls room they found a Barbie doll. The doll had been defaced. Face painted black, eyes blotted out, red marks all over. The detective made the comment that "little girls don't treat their dolls like that."

When another detective (a female) was interrogating the Aunt, she started yelling at her. I recall her saying, "This is how this little girl sees herself - dirty, ugly, shameful." Then something about "how dare you blame her? She is an innocent victim."

In the end, the lead, Thomas Gibson as Aaron Hotchner, a true family man who often finds himself taking cases quite personally, gives viewers a quote. Perhaps he was thinking of the little girl playing with the Barbie doll. He was leaning over his sleeping little boy and said, "Fairy tales don't teach children that dragons exist. They already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be slayed." *

I love that quote. It is one of those quotes that just rings true. So often we try to protect our children from seeing any of the evil in this world. And I think we should, to some extent. But the truth is that children will discover just how jaded the world is. They will learn that there are some parents who don't feed their children, clothe their children, love their children. I can't protect my daughter from learning that dragons exist - although I hope to shield her from that knowledge for as long as possible. I think my efforts are better exerted on teaching her to slay the dragons of life. To have the self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem to see just how valuable and worth she is. To instill in her the trust and knowledge that her Mommy and Daddy love her and will do anything in our power to protect her. To instill in her the belief that she can tell her parents anything in the world. I want to teach her the skills to slay the dragons of life. Watch out dragons - I'm teaching my daughter to stand up and fight. And until the time comes when she is ready to stand on her own, I'll be on the prowl - protecting her from any flames you throw her way.

* I think the quote was from "Rawling" - I didn't catch that part.

It's the Little Things in Life

You know the little things in life that bother you? Things that, if changed, could make your life so much easier. What would you choose to change? Just a few minor changes (nothing earth shattering like winning the lottery) that would make life better. Give me your top choices.

  1. In the morning, my coffee would stay hot for the 2 hours it takes me to finish my cup - given that I can't possibly get through a morning without a zillion interruptions. At home, my cup would follow me around so that I would never set it down in the bathroom while curling my hair and then leave it there while I go to the kitchen to grab something - then spend 10 minutes looking all over for where I left it.

  2. At 2 pm in the afternoon, after lunch has settled, and I am in that mid-afternoon dreary doldrums, a Pepsi would automatically appear at my fingertips so that I could ingest my afternoon requisite of caffeine.

  3. At 4 pm in the afternoon, the font on my computer would automatically increase to size 20, so that my weary eyes could read it.

  4. After 7:45 pm, my home phone would not ring audibly. A blinking red light would flash instead so as not to wake my daughter up just as I am getting her to sleep.

  5. Throughout the day my water cup would automatically refill with ice cold, refreshing water. Maybe this way I would actually consume the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.

  6. At a snap of my fingers, I would be able to summon my car keys, cell phone or "to do list" rather than spend wasted minutes scrambling in the bottomless pit I call a pocketbook to find them.

  7. A big neon sign would flash in front of my eyes - WARNING food caught in braces - so as to avoid going to the bathroom after I've just met with someone for over 1 hour, only to find out that there is a big piece of green spinach in my front braces.

  8. An automatic truth detector would flash every time my daughter cried out at night that her "back hurt" or her "knee ached" or she "needed to go potty," so that I would know whether she really needed me or was just faking it.

  9. A big "duh" sign would pop out every time my husband asked a stupid question, like "where do we keep the mayonnaise?"

  10. I'd be able to find a nice ballpoint pen that would not leak all over my hand, desk, pants and paperwork.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Men - Think before you Speak

My husband knows that I was sexually abused in my childhood. He knows that I do not like comments about being a "sexy babe" or anything of a similar nature. He knows that I do not like cat calls or whistles. I do not like being told that I am "hot" - although I do appreciate being told I look nice or beautiful.

I have to dress in business clothes for work. When I come home, I typically put on my pajamas or lounging clothes if we are not going out anywhere. I don't see any sense in changing into casual clothes only to put on my night clothes a few hours later. Typically my clothes consist of lounging pants - cotton pants or shorts. Then a top - short or long sleeve depending on the season. In the midst of winter, I'll wear thick cotton or flannel pants and a top with a cotton tank or camisole-style top underneath.

When I go to bed I don't like all those clothes on. I don't like to wear pants to bed. They get all tangled in my legs when I sleep. So I usually strip down to the long T-shirt or camisole top. Then I can snuggle under the covers to get warm. I have slept like that for years.

Last night when I got home, I put on long cotton pajama pants with a matching long-sleeve cotton top. I was comfortable. When it was time for bed, I took off the pants and changed into a tank-style top. Spaghetti strapped. Then I brushed my teeth and was walking over to set the alarm and get into bed. My husband made the comment that I needed to start wearing flannel pajamas. I told him I did not think it was that cold yet. He said I needed to cover up more. I told him I was not cold but that if he was, I would get him an extra blanket. He then explained that I needed to put on more clothes when I was walking around because it was too much of a temptation for me to be walking around in such skimpy clothes. He "could not help himself." He said that it was "my fault" that he was turned on.

Those are the same words my abuser told me. That it was my fault for wearing skimpy summer outfits. That it was my fault for developing physically. It was my fault for wearing shorts. It was my fault for wearing a bathing suit and catching a tan on the back porch or playing in the pool. He told me that I "asked for it and wanted it." My fault, my fault, my fault............Those words echo in my ears all the time.

I plan to have a talk with my husband as soon as I finish counting to 10 -- again, for the 1 millionth time. I am going to remind him that he has a daughter. I want him to think about how upset he would be if any male said those words to our daughter. Used them as an excuse for pressuring or worse - forcing - our daughter into doing something. I know my husband would kill any male who harmed our daughter and then blamed her for the way she dressed. Used the fact that he was "turned on and couldn't help himself" as an excuse.

I know in my heart that my husband meant no harm. But he needs to seriously think on what he said and how he said it. Because those phrases and those words are no laughing matter.

(needless to say it was a long, sleepless night for me)

NOTE - talked with my husband and, as I suspected, he was clueless about what he said being perceived the wrong way. He apologized and agreed to think about what he was saying next time. I am glad I waited overnight to talk with him - I was able to express myself calmly and things went so much better.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Seed of Choice

He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground....All were silent as the Creator reached in himself and removed something yet unseen. "It's called 'choice.' The seed of choice." Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created earth's mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return. Now it's our choice. *

To choose life is to love the Lord, your God, obey him, and stay close to him. Deut. 30:20

This was my reading recently. It reminded me that God does allow us each to choose our own ways. If that were not true, then we would be robots, machines, non-beings. Our free will to choose our own pathways is what makes us uniquely human.
It is sad that too many people in this world choose to use their lives to do evil. It is sad that humans choose not to love one another. But as much as I struggle with the question of why something happened to me, I am grateful that I am not some puppet attached to a puppetmaster, with my every thought and movement controlled. I am glad I have the freedom to make my own choices. I've learned the most sometimes from my falls. I'll never be glad that the abuse happened to me. But I am grateful that God allows all of us to choose our own actions - and holds us responsible for them too.

* Taken from the Oct 19th reading of "Grace for the Moment." Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year - by Max Lucado

Friday, October 19, 2007

I guess I'm raising a Bug?? - Mom vent

Mom went to visit my sister last week. I've been waiting to catch up with my sister on how things went. Apparently things went okay -- except for my mom's parenting lectures. Since Mom did such a great (insert eyeroll) job raising my sister and I, she feels it necessary to lecture Sister and I on our parenting methods.

Our entire family is tall. I'm the shortest at 5'8". My sister is a few inches taller than me. My mom used to be taller than me. Growing up, my sister was always (still is) extraordinarily thin. She could eat anything and not gain weight. It wasn't until after three children that she was finally able to retain a few pounds. She looks much healthier now.

Growing up, I was the smart one. Expected to get straight As. Never caused trouble at school. Sister was the pretty one. Tall and thin, a hit with all the guys. She was expected to get Bs and Cs. Sister was able to get As - she just didn't put the energy into school. She was too busy socializing. I hung out with her, to get her boyfriend leftovers. I had horrible self-esteem about my looks. Sister thinks she is stupid. Really she is quite smart. She just doesn't try.

Sister almost dropped out of school. She never thought she was good enough. I had problems with my weight and self-image. My parents always compared us. "Why can't you get better grades like your sister. Get her to help you study." or to me - "You can't wear that top. You're much more 'endowed' than your sister."

My sister is raising three beautiful children. Blond haired, blue eyed, smart, well-balanced, great kids. The oldest and youngest are boys, and the middle one (almost 7) is a girl. My sister has nicknames for all the kids. She calls her Daughter "skinny Lynn-y" and "princess." She praises all the kids - about their efforts, grades, athleticism, appearance, etc. She and her husband frequently divide up the kids - Daddy and Daughter date night, while Sister takes the two boys. Boys night out while Sister/Niece have "girl time." And one parent with the older two for a school activity. Spending quality time focusing on their children.

Sister and I have talked about not comparing the cousins. I've "gotten onto" my sister for making comments to her son about calling me for help because she (sister) isn't "smart enough" to help him.

So Mom, who hasn't visited Sister's house in three years, and hasn't seen my Sister (or family) except for a few hours around Easter for the past few years, goes to visit. And criticizes my sister for calling my Niece a "princess." Says Sister will give her a complex. Mom also said she wouldn't be surprised if Niece had an eating disorder when she got older because Sister focuses too much on her looks and Niece can never live up to Sister's expectations. WHAT?

What expectations? To be a good, responsible child. To do her best at what she attempts. To love her family and others. To attend Church. To try her best at school?

So does this mean that since I call my Daughter a "doodle bug" and "Munchkin" and "munchkin bug" that she is going to turn into an insect? Or think she is tiny and has eight legs?

How dare my mom give parenting lectures? Or criticize my sister at all. This from the woman who stood up in court alongside her husband who was on trial for indecent liberties with her daughter/my sister. Ugh. She infuriates me.

Of Course We're Taking (blank) with Us

We're moving. Our house has sold and we move into our new one in mid-December. Given that our move will occur right in the midst of holiday season, we've started packing already. My three year old is a bit confused. We've shown her the new house. She is convinced that all their stuff, and especially their kitty cat, will stay there and be there when we move in. (no cat offers please - I'm allergic - although I have caved to my daughter's pleading brown eyes and agreed to consider an OUTSIDE cat IF the neighborhood is okay and only after we get settled).

Daughter keeps asking if we'll take (a certain item) with us. I keep telling her, "of course." Are we going to take her bed? Her toys? And the other night - are we going to take Tallie? I said, "Absolutely!"

When we rode around looking at potential houses, my husband immediately checked out the yard to see if there was room for Tallie; whether the yard was fenced and whether there was storage or an outbuilding. This irritated me. I saw the inside of the house and living quarters as more essential. At one point I told Husband that I was not buying a house for the dog, and if need be, the dog could go live with his parents. I felt bad after saying that.

Today I asked someone if they had ever moved with their dog. Trying to get a sense of how to ease the transition for Tallie. It struck me that I've never moved with a dog. My childhood pets "disappeared" during the first move I remember. When we moved from the apartment to the house, I got a new dog. That dog "disappeared" too, when I left for college.

I think, in my mind, I somehow was planning to deal with the dog not moving with us. A subconscious thing. It really hit me when I realized that this time I will need to adjust to moving with a dog. Because she IS going with us. Our new house sits on .66 acres of land. About 1/4 acre is useable yard. The rest is a steeply sloaped hill with large shade trees and woods. We'll probably fence in the yard eventually. But Tallie will have run of the woods. Also, we'll be within blocks of the hiking/walking/biking trails, as well as the park where she likes to chase ducks and squirrels. I think Tallie will love the move. And I'm looking forward to it as well.

I need to keep in mind what I told my daughter. Is Tallie going with us? ABSOLUTELY. I get to take my dog with me when I move this time. Yeah!

(so anyone have tips on helping a dog adjust to the move? She's 7 years old if that makes a difference)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Need some Advice - Expanding my Borders

According to T, I'm making progress in this process. That's always a good thing to hear. Especially when I felt stalled out for so long. So I think it's time to start working on more specific objectives - like medicine and those things. So I was trying to figure out where to go from here. This is what I think that I need to work on -

* come to some sense of peace with whether there are any memories out there I don't remember - (1) yes there are, (2) no there are not, or (3) yes there are but I'm not ready to deal with them yet.

* I have reoccurring dreams/daydreams/intrusive thoughts about this one particular theme - especially when I travel, which I've done a lot of lately. I dream/picture myself running into my Dad or Toilet (sometimes with Mom) and how I would handle it. I've pictured every possible scenario. But I need some resolution there. So those thoughts can go away.

* learning to sleep and relax without "busy brain." I can not drive in the car or fall asleep or sit in quiet. My brain is always busy. Planning out conversations. Imagining the worst case scenario and planning for it. I want to learn to relax.

* Forgiveness - I still don't like that word. But it keeps coming up over and over again. On TV, in books I read, in Church. I'm not sure where to go with it. Not sure I'm ready for an answer on this one - but I want to reach a level of comfort with where I am.

I'm sure there are more. Anyone else have any ideas about remaining issues? What issues are you struggling with? I'd really be interested in things you have found lingering beyond dealing with the "what" happened part of the abuse. I'd especially like hearing from those of you who feel like you've moved beyond certain issues.

I'm looking to expand my comfort zone and my borders and tackle some of these "fringe" issues now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Caring Blogger

I got tagged by Marj over at Survivors Can Thrive with the Caring Blogger Award. The award originated with abyss2hope and the rules are here.

I am supposed to give this award to people who make me care - I chose 2 -
* Lisa at Sadly Normal - her writing pinpoints issues about which we need to be aware. Even when she gets nasty letters, she does not step back.
* April_optimist at The Thriver's Toolbox - she always has such pointed insight and great analogies. She has a great ability to take the "big" issues and break them down to manageable chunks.

Note - I had to read the rules several times. At first I thought I was to tag everyone who cared about me or about whom I cared. I would have been forced to break the rules and tag every one of you then!

Monday, October 15, 2007

30 DAYS !!!


In some respects, it seems as if 30 days have flown by. In other respects, they have crawled by, agonizingly slow. While I hope this is the "end of the road," I also expect there to be speed bumps along the way.

Someone asked me the "key to success" and I can't say that I can pinpoint any single thing. I just became committed to not do it anymore. I heard a snippet from Beth Moore where she said that she knows that her initial victimization (she was sexually abused) was not her fault. However, she did bear responsibility for what she did as a result of the abuse. For a long time, I didn't want to admit that the abuse was not my fault. To agree with that statement felt like giving up control - if it was not my fault, my responsibility, myself to blame - then who? I did not have trouble blaming myself for what I did after the abuse. I've never had trouble taking on blame. It's releasing myself from that guilt and shame that I struggle with. Or so I said. Then I heard Beth Moore speak and I realized that she had a point. I was quick to blame myself. But I was not quick to take responsibility. Because taking responsibility means owning that I am doing something wrong - AND working to fix it. That's where I was lacking - I needed to be trying to fix it. Not that I wouldn't fail. Not that I wouldn't backslide - but giving it my all and trying my best.

SI was my coping mechanism. A way of punishing myself. I told myself "enough of that." I've punished myself (been punished enough). I've spent thousands of dollars in medical bills, prescriptions and counseling. Given less than 100% to my marriage, my child and my job while dealing with this. Lost countless hours to panic attacks and depression. I've spent money on longer pants, longer shorts, scar solution, antibiotic cream, bandaids and razors. Avoided situations where there was swimming. I decided now that the worst of the past (that I know of) has been drudged up, it was time to start dealing with these unhealthy reactions/coping skills.

I started with taking my medication and trying to do it on time, on schedule. To take the xanax as needed, and quit fighting it or trying to "do it myself" without medication. I decided to trust that I would not trade one problem (SI, panic, anxiety) for another (medication addiction). Amazingly (duh) the medication has helped with depression, anxiety and SI. Go figure. I am not trying to say that taking a pill has solved all my problems. I still have panic attacks. I still suffer with anxiety on a daily level. But it's getting to be more manageable. When I feel the need to SI (and I still do feel that quite often), I take the xanax. Then I make my plan - avoid the bathroom, arrange/schedule my shower to be when I have little time, when I know the hot water is almost gone and my shower will be quick, forego a shower until morning time. I have run errands, stayed away from home, or stayed on the computer IM-ing with friends. The biggest obstacle - leaving my purple bag at home on the last 2 trips out of town. It has not been easy. And I know there is still a long way to go. But for today, I'm celebrating.

I have committed to removing all SI items from my house and office once I make it to 60 days SI free. Haven't decided what I'll do with it yet. I had the idea of releasing it into the air in a balloon - but I can't figure out how to get razors inside a balloon. Or setting it sail on a small paper boat into water somewhere. But with both, I worry about a child finding it. So I'll figure out some alternative.

In the meantime, back to celebrating --

(Me - smiling with braces on !)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh My - Ricky is in the Hot Tub

My girls' trip (with seven of my best friends) was fabulous. We arrived in the mountains mid-day Thursday. The management company had not moved all the stuff out of the rec room so four of us moved the pool table to the side, lugged a couch outside on the deck, and shoved bookcases out of the way. Soon we had tables set up and were ready to scrapbook. Being "city slickers" we did not anticipate the difficulty in having pizza delivered, and having finagled our vehicles into the driveway (try parking 5 cars in a 3 car, steep hill, curved drive), we were in no hurry to go anywhere. Did you know that 2 large pizzas delivered up a mountain will cost you $37.50. Yikes!

Friday was shopping. ALL DAY. We hit the scrapbook outlets and then the shopping outlets. It was fabulous to shop all day for ME without a clingy, whiny toddler or a husband anxious to get to a sports store. We were out to 7 pm. Then came home and scrapbooked until 2 am. More scrapbooking Saturday and we came home today.

Friday night we had a visitor. One girl went up to the kitchen. We all heard her scream. With no room in the fridge, bottled water and sodas were in coolers on the back porch. She got a little too close to our visitor. We named him "Ricky." On Saturday, he came back - perhaps lured by the scent of leftover $40 pizza! I was on the phone checking in with my husband. I had just explained to him that I was sore after sitting in a folding chair, scrapbooking for hours. We had tried to line up 30 minute chair massages on site, but no luck. So I thought I'd just hit the hot tub instead. I was outside on the porch. My husband joked about us girls trying to hire some "hot masseuses." Then I shrieked, "Oh my gosh, I have to go. Ricky's trying to get in the hot tub." I hung up and got "back up" to shoo Ricky away. Then I had to call my husband back and explain. Knowing this would require "proof" I took pictures of Ricky -

Isn't "Ricky the Raccoon" cute ;) Ricky was not scared of 8 women. But the cabin management was. Threatened by the thought of eight women coming after them for not being able to get into the hot tub, management called in back up. We had two cops show up on our door. Of course, jokes flew. Instead of a masseuse we were getting men in uniform! We expected a park ranger, but instead the police showed up. One resembled Chris Farley. The other resembled Barney Fife. Darn. Of course Ricky had run off at that time. I tried to prove Ricky's existence by showing the officers my picture. But they weren't really interested. They did let us "out" of a ticket for violating fire code - apparently you aren't supposed to block all the downstairs exits. Oops.

Had a great time. My sides are still aching from laughing far to hard. Now to get my body readjusted from the 2 am bedtime back to a normal schedule!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

YEAH - Happy Thursday

- Offer made on new house - check

- Proposal submitted at work - check

- Court appearances complete - check

- Packed for girls' grip - decided to take entire day (not just 1/2 day) off tomorrow to do that.

AND THE BIG NEWS -- offer accepted on new house - CHECK. That's right - we now have an offer/contract to sell our house, and an offer (contract signed tomorrow) on a new house. YEAH !!!!!

Also, I am pleased to announce that it has been 24 days since I last SI-ed. YEAH. My goal -- no my plan, because I WILL do this -- is to leave all the "tools" at home and not take them on my girls trip. When I return, I will have completed 1 month. I CAN DO THIS.

30 minutes until work is over and vacation begins. YEAH !!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007


  • To my co-workers - STOP asking me how my vacation went. I wasn't on vacation. I was at a three day, including a Saturday, seminar. It was not fun and games.
  • To my "higher ups" - STOP making comments about how I just got back from vacation (see above) and am leaving again this week for another. First, I was not on vacation (see above). Second, I am SUPPOSED TO BE out of the office ALL week. But the "powers that be" decided I needed to be in court today, tomorrow and Wednesday. So yes, I am leaving and will be out of the office Thursday and Friday.
  • To my Clients - There are only 24 hours in a day. Of those, I work about 9 1/2 hours. There are only 7 days in a week. I am only supposed to work 5. I am sorry I did not call you back within 1 hour of your message. Your message said "spouse is being a jerk and called me names." GROW up! DEAL with it. And if you call me again after hours, I will invoke the "double billing clause" and charge you double for every minute we speak. Which still takes up my precious time, but at nearly $400 an hour, I can handle it a bit better.
  • To my girlfriend - it is not my solemn obligation to be sure you get all of the emails. You knew 1 month ago we were leaving at noon on Thursday. Make plans. Deal with it. Or drive yourself.
  • To my husband - I am sorry you don't feel well. I have made you up a bed on the couch (since you insisted I take the bed). I have fetched your medicine which you refuse to take. I bought you cough drops. I am not a doctor. I can not diagnose you. I told you it was either (1) a virus, in which case you should go to the doctor and get antibiotics or (2) a cold/allergies, in which case you should take some OTC medication and quit contaminating the rest of us. Failure to abide by 1 or 2, gains you no sympathy. You look less like a man (not more like one) whining in agony on the couch. Refusing to take medication does not "make it run through your body quicker" - it just makes you more of a cranky pants.
  • To the court schedulers - SECURED LEAVE. Read the rule. It means you can not schedule me in court this week. I don't care that it will just take 5 minutes.
  • Opposing counsel - I am not impressed with your arrogance. Get off your high horse and think about these children. I know you just took over this case. I am not willing to re-hash the last 2 years of litigation. And if you allow your client to think "Holding the children hostage" will improve matters? Well that just makes you as dumb as him.
  • My toddler - I am sorry you don't like what I fixed for meals. I do not have the crystal ball that allows me to know that your favorite food of all time is now despised by you. And no, you can not have candy corn for breakfast. Get over it.
  • To my Mother - no I've not heard anything on my house offer. No you will not be the first person I call. No I am not telling you the bidding price or offer price. My financial status is none of your business.
  • To the "hands of time" - is it Thursday yet? Can I have a "fast forward" button? The only thing keeping me going is the knowledge that on Thursday about 6 pm, I will be sitting in a hot tub, outside a mountain cabin, on top of a mountain, drinking an "adult beverage" (or 2 or 3) with 7 of my bestest friends. Ahhh

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doctors, Dentists, Flashbacks and Triggers

I have been struggling with my reactions to a dental and orthodontist exam this week, (which I wrote about here) coupled with an emerging flashback. Seems this is not an uncommon struggle. Lynn at Spilling Ink has written about it on her most recent posts. Then April_Optimist at The Thriver's Toolbox made a great connection between anxiety and medical/dental exams.

I dread going to the doctor. With jaw surgery in the past few years, I've had an orthodontist, dentist, jaw surgeon, and specialist. I have a doctor, as well as an eye doctor and ob/gyn. I get anxious about all these visits. I've always assumed the anxiety/panic surrounded the fact that most of these professionals are male, in an authority role, and me in a position where I am not in control (especially with dental chairs and the ob/gyn table).

My mother hated going to the doctor. I asked her about it once and she said that her parents didn't believe in doctors much. My mom had some resentment toward her own mom for having migraines and being "sick" and unavailable. My mom whined when she was not feeling well (sore back, feet, etc) but did not go to the doctor. She minimized all of our injuries/ailments. Mom also whined about the cost a lot. I distinctly remember one time we all got chiggers hiking. Mom took herself to doctor but did not take Sister or I. She said "yours isn't that bad" and then didn't even share the lotion/medication. My mom also portrayed a feeling of anxiety over doctors. It was never "that bad." She did not believe in routine visits or preventative care at all. Every year the school doctor would send a note home saying I failed the eye exam. Mom just blew it off - I wasn't having problems seeing/reading and was doing well in school. I have a lazy eye which, with some extra eye exercises, could have been less of an issue. Mom didn't want to do them - too much running. When I pulled my Achilles' tendon, Mom complained that the orthopedist office was too far and why couldn't I just go to our local doctor. If we did go to the doctor, we never went back for the follow up (i.e to see if infection really gone, etc).

I remember going into doctor's office alone as a child and feeling anxious about that. But then I remember other times Mom went in the room with me and I felt restricted in being open in talking with the medical profession. I remember saying things about pain, etc and Mom minimizing that.

I read April_optimist's post and she made a great connection -

I suspect this isn’t uncommon. If we were abused as kids, there would have been adults who were worried about what the doctor might notice or suspect. There would have been pressure to say that everything was wonderful. There might have been threats about what would happen if we didn’t. And we may have emotional flashbacks to those feelings when we have to see a doctor.

Hmm - at first I dismissed this. Because I don't remember there being outward signs of abuse. But I might have said something. I know my daughter's pediatrician is very cautious (which I very much appreciate) to tell my Daughter that it's only okay for her to examine Daughter's bottom because Mom (me) is in room, has given permission, and she is a doctor. I wonder if my childhood doctor would have said something similar?

I remember something vague (very vague) about Mom taking me to the doctor or questioning the doctor about my (her term) "over-occupation" with soothing myself by m****** when very young (before school - before the abuse I remember).

Now I wonder if my Mom did feel concern about what a doctor might find, might say to me or what I might tell the doctor. What information my father might learn from medical records or things released to his insurance company.

Dentists seem to cause the greatest trigger. Mom had the greatest fear (and still does) with dentists. We didn't go to the dentist at all until high school that I remember -- although as I write this, I have a vague memory of another office. I don't remember being warned or prepared as to what to expect. I am remember more as I write this - the awful fluoride paste stuff to keep in my mouth that made me gag - reminded me too much of soap in my mouth. I don't remember Mom going into dentist exam room with me. I remember having a ton of fillings in high school - from lack of dental care. As soon as I could drive, Mom was more than willing to let me drive my sister and I to dental visits on my own.

The biggest trigger for me with dentists is two fold - one being on my back with strange people (mostly men) leaning over me and invading my personal space. The second is the triggering of my gag reflex. I remember one incident when I choked on a tooth particle because the hygienist wasn't quick enough with the suction. Other incidents where suction device went too far down throat. Or the water down my throat feeling like it is gagging me.

With the recent jaw treatment, I've gotten a bit better about the "on my back" and "people behind me" issue. I despise all the models with that gum stuff and huge metal plates in my mouth - they gag me. The biggest thing this last time was this plastic thing they put in my mouth to hold it open and pull my gums away from my teeth, so they could put the braces on. That was really difficult. Then it got worse. They inserted this other plastic thing to keep my tongue from moving - to keep it from touching teeth. That triggered the gagging. I tried to sit there and breathe through it. I tried to shut my eyes, do some deep breathing (through my nose) and picture that light shining in my eyes as the sun beaming down on me as if I was on the lake in my Safe Place. It wasn't really working. As the ortho assistant put tools in and out of my mouth - especially the air blower/spit sucker thing - I was very triggered. I had the vision and feeling (unlike my more "typical" auditory flashbacks) of a "male part" going in and out of my mouth. I shut down.

My biggest fear - I have no idea who, where it came from, no memory of this, at all. I have never had any totally blocked memories before. This one doesn't even seem possible. I can't totally discount it. But I don't have the "fringe feeling as if something else is there." I think I could be blocking it. I want (REALLY WANT) this to just be some aberration - a scene from a movie - made up (although what sort of nutso person has those types of visions absent abuse). If there is nothing there, then am I some sort of pervert for having that scene in my head? If there is something there, then what?

NOTE - after typing this and coming home to nap, I remembered the surgery I had when I was 7. In the hospital for several days and after surgery, a nurse taking me to an examining room with a male doctor or pulled something out of my throat. I had surgery to remove an abscess from my neck. I remembered it was a string-type thing from my throat. I remember gagging and being made to feel ashamed for not handling it better and feeling as if the doctor was looking down on me for acting "babyish." Maybe that's just it. I could live with that being it. Or maybe I'm grasping at straws.......

Friday, October 5, 2007

Recipe to Be Triggered

Attend a seminar with a lecture section on Child Sexual Abuse. Receive a handout on twelve situations involving sexual “activity” and divide into groups of two to three to discuss whether each scenario is abuse or not. I took one glance at the list and decided I had no clue what was “normal” childhood behavior and what was not. So I left for a “bathroom break.” Guess I didn’t stay gone long enough.

I returned to the discussion of the twelve scenarios. Then a discussion of normal sexual development. Then a discussion of the stages of abuse – grooming to interactive. Then a discussion of the effects and results. Signs of an abused child.

Then the case discussions. Pervert grandfather begins grooming infant from diaper changing days to accept as “normal” genital touching. And it gets worse……..

To really induce a trigger, try to maintain eye contact with speaker. Do not make a scene when entering and leaving room for “bathroom break.” Take lots of notes. Act interested. Try to glean some positives from the lecture. Realize just how dysfunction my family was. Realize just how “set up” I was by the divorce, mom-moving-boyfriend-in type situation, dad abandonment timing.

Then, sigh of relief, time for next topic. Uh oh – it’s boundaries. Gee – I have none in some areas and a strict, HIGH, THICK wall in other areas.

WHAT? We’re behind – and you want to play boundary videos over lunch……now there’s a recipe to lose lunch – I mean weight. Hmm. Option 1 – leave for lunch. Option 2 – put on the “professional” hat and gut it out. I do it all the time at work and in my cases. And if I am going to do this work (for the children, which is why I do this) then I need to develop a tolerance and ability to differentiate between the ME STUFF and not me stuff.

Think I’ll go play some solitaire online.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mom Meeting

I am at a legal seminar for a few days. My mom IM-ed me a few days ago and I mentioned it was too bad her days off were scheduled different or we could do dinner. I never expected her to go anywhere on a night before she had to go to work. She agreed.

Today she emailed me. I was in the middle of the conference but was connected to wireless and emailing with some people (Thank goodness for wireless connections during boring sections). I mentioned that I was only about 1 hour from her house and asked her if she wanted to do dinner. She didn't respond right away and then said yes. So she drove here - about 1 hour 15 minutes. Totally shocked me. Especially when she explained she has to be up early for court tomorrow (someone passed a bad check at her store). Then she works 7 days straight before leaving for her road trip to see her parents and my sister. So I'm shocked she drove here actually.

She got here about 5:30 and we chatted a few moments. Then went to dinner. When the bill came, I paid and she looked at her watch and mentioned needing to get back. So she left and I was back in my room by a bit after 7. Less than a two hour visit - first time we've seen each other since Easter.

All in all the visit went well. We chatted mostly about the house we are looking at, work and other inane things. After all, we haven't seen each other in months so there was plenty to talk about.

I felt like I needed to ask her - like I was supposed to. As I drove in this morning, I was driving along the road I used to take 5 years ago or so when I used to visit her house. Part of me wanted to ask her - she's still my mom despite everything. Part of me wanted her to say NO - then I could rant and rave and moan.

But in any event, she came, she went, and it was okay.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I Refuse to Acknowledge this

let me whine a minute.

Dental cleaning yesterday - I hate dental cleanings. My back is to the door, I'm upside down on my back, and strange people have things and their hands in my mouth - totally triggering and panicky. I muddle through. They tell me I might need filling. I dissociate and zone back in just in time for them to say "nope it can wait." Go to counseling. We talk a lot about the house prospect. I'm sort of there. Go to Bible study. Sort of there - sort of out of it. Snap back to "me" on drive home and cry all way home. Having flashbacks of some sort. Very fuzzy and vague - something about dentists/doctors/something. Plan to go home and snuggle with DH.

Get home and DH is irate because he tried to balance checkbook and came up negative $600. Oh and daughter is still awake because he left all the damn lights on. Cause she cries if he turns them off. UGH - grow some freaking' backbone. So I deal with her. He follows me around shoving the bank statement in my face. I get away. Then grab some bread and sit down for 5 minutes - first time all day and by now it's after 9 pm. We talk about the house and my meeting with mortgage broker. He is flipping out. He won't let me do bill pay online. Won't let me do online checking. Wants me to check his math. Gets so irate I check out the bank statement online right then and there - there is well over $1500 in there. We're fine. I'll figure out the mistake later. I go into bedroom. He follows me, still waving papers, still yelling (he'd say just talking in loud voice). I go into bathroom. He's standing in door still talking. I climb into bed, turn out light and he's still talking. GO AWAY.

This morning I wake up, horrendously nervous because of braces. Not the pain - the procedure. DH is flipping because he's late. So I get DD ready and I take her to daycare, then fly to ortho. I took my xanax and some ibuprofen. Ortho is booked pretty solid. They put this huge thing in my mouth to keep it open. Mouth is still sore from yesterday's cleaning (TMJ makes it hard to keep mouth open long). This thing is gagging me. Some sort of flashback here. TWO hours later braces are on. I'm done. Wiped. Come to office. but I'm not really here.

There is something flashing. Something in my mouth. Can't go there. Just can't ... I refuse. I don't want to know - I just don't - I can't deal with this right now. Go away.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Say CHEESE - Smile for the Flash of Flashbacks

Smile real big for the flash. Here comes the (mental) picture. Say Cheese now --- no, wait, I said to say "cheese," not grimace. You're supposed to smile through this stuff. Grin and bear it.

We've been looking for houses. I knew right away why the basement bothered me in the one house. I also had a sense that I would be okay with it though. The layout was different and with some paint over the panelling, I am fairly confident it will be fine. I could not figure out why the bathrooms were such an issue. I just keep feeling like it would not be a good situation and became obsessed with figuring out how to make the 1/2 bathroom into a full bath (which I think is possible if I sacrifice a linen closet). I just blew it off as not wanting to share a bathroom with my husband. For the past 7 years we have had separate bathrooms and separate closets. It has been a life-saver for our marriage. He hates my clutter on the counter. I don't like his shaving remnants in the sink.

Today on my drive to court, I had a flashback. As frequently as I have them, I ought not be so surprised. This one wasn't really a new memory, per se. It was more of a "connecting the dots" thing. A memory which I hadn't really forgotten, but which hadn't been at the forefront of my mind either, suddenly surfaced. I saw it, heard it, felt it -- and understood exactly why the 1 1/2 bathroom situation was triggering.

Yesterday, my husband and I were trying to get ready to get out the door on two separate occasions -- in the morning for church, and later that afternoon, to go to a festival. Both times we had the same exchange. Husband likes to stand in doorways. Our current house is a ranch house with one long hallway, off of which are 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. There is our master bedroom, where Hubby keeps his dresser and some clothes. Daughter's bedroom across the hall. Guestroom catty-corner, where Hubby keeps his hanging clothes, belts and shoes. And then Hubby's bathroom. When he brushes his teeth, he doesn't stand in front of the sink - paces in the hallway. When he is helping get Daughter together, he doesn't stand in her room, he paces in and out of all the other rooms. When he is on the phone, he paces up and down the halls. He doesn't follow the "stay to the right" rule. We are constantly running into each other. Or I'll go to leave a room and he'll be blocking my way - standing with his back to me. Then he wonders why I'm always saying "excuse me" or "move it." He gets upset when I shudder as I walk by him, and has made comments like "am I that disgusting to you?" I again try to reassure him - "it's me, not you." When I'm having a great day, we'll joke about it and I'll tell him I'm going to glue his feet to one place to keep him from pacing. When I'm having a bad day (like yesterday) I growl at him to "get the hell out of my way and quit following me." It particularly bothers me when I'm coming in and out of the bathroom. My bathroom (the master bath) is right past the window in our bedroom. Hubby likes to stand there and gaze out into the backyard when he's brushing his teeth or his hair. MOVE I tell him. Don't block me in the bathroom.

As I was driving this morning, I suddenly connected the dots. In the "house of horrors" there was only 1 1/2 baths. My bedroom was downstairs where the half bath was. I had to go upstairs to shower. The upstairs had a long, narrow hallway, off of which were 3 bedrooms and the bathroom. I remember listening closely for footsteps and creaking to determine where everyone was in the house. I remember setting the alarm wicked early to go upstairs and shower before anyone else was awake - then coming back downstairs and going back to bed for about an hour before I needed to be up for school. My mom yelled at me for taking too long in the shower. She didn't think it was necessary for me to dress and undress in the bathroom. I could wrap a towel around me or even a bathrobe, and then change in my room. There were others needing their turn. My mom didn't understand why my sister and I locked the bathroom. She and Toilet left the door cracked - so the steam didn't fog up the mirror. She also didn't understand why I draped a towel over the window if I showered at night - after the blinds were broken. She'd say, "oh it's just us family. No one is looking. No one cares."

All of these thoughts came rushing back this morning. I remembered more and felt more. I remember the instances when I knew he was waiting outside that bathroom door. I knew that when I went to leave the bathroom, he would be trying to come in - waiting his turn. Knowing he would block my way, forcing me to walk past him. Crowding me. Forcing his body to brush up against mine. He in that awful maroon robe under which I knew there was nothing. Same thing in the hallway. He was constantly passing me in the hallway. I became an expert at deciphering the house creaks, and knowing just how to time my run to the bathroom. Mom used to get onto me for running in the house. I was an expert at leaping up and down those stairs, dashing into a room and slamming the door. Or running down the hall for the safety of the open living room. Ducking into the kitchen as I saw him get up from the living room and head down the hall.

I remembered one occasion where I ducked into Sister's room - he had come home unexpectedly or something. Sister and I (or one of us) were changing in her room. He tried to come in. We kept yelling "get out" and "stay out" - I remember our hysterical voices, screaming. We were both pushing on the door with all our weight. Slamming into it. I don't know what was in the way but I remember his girly screech of pain and us finally getting door to click. I can't remember if it locked at that time or not. But we both leaned all our weight against it and quickly got dressed. We complained to Mom but she just Mom "got onto us" for "making a big deal out of nothing." He hadn't known we were changing. He just wanted to tell us something.

This morning, I saw all these memories flash before me. Felt his body brushing up against mine. Shuddered and shivered. Jerked the car back onto my side of the road and with a flash came back to reality. Steadied my breathing and realized this is why I'm worried about having only 1 1/2 baths. This is why Husband's crowding into my space so triggering. Smacking myself upside head for not putting two and two together before this. Of COURSE this all makes sense now. Although I'm not sure what to do with it. Say Cheese and Keep Smiling, I guess. Such is life.