Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dear Stranger - it's not you, it's me...

Dear Stranger on the interstate - I'm sorry I almost side-swiped you. The person driving the 18-wheeler truck who passed me on the other side, looked over. You know, that happenstance glance that motorists exchange every once in awhile. Only he was a 60 something year old, bald, except for long mullet, santa clause looking black gruffy bearded guy. Driving a truck. Like "him". It scared me and I instinctively swerved in your direction. I'm sorry.

Dear person in the library - I'm sorry I screeched when your child dropped his book with a LOUD bang. I wasn't mad or upset at him. I just was startled.

Dear Client - I'm sorry I yanked my arm out of your grasp. I know you were just grabbing my wrist to get my attention because I didn't hear you and it was so loud in the hall. I didn't mean to infer you were someone to fear. I'm sorry.

Dear Elderly Grandfather-like gentleman in store - I'm sorry I snapped at you when you wanted to give my child a dollar to buy some candy. I'm trying to teach her not to take things from strangers. I'm sorry that your, probably good intentions, were thwarted.

Dear X - I'm sorry I looked at you in horror when you introduced yourself as J__ and that your spouse's name was J__, that you liked to ride motorcycles, go camping/hiking and garden. One of those factors would have been fine - maybe even two, but all together there were too many similarities. I'm sorry.

Dear Client - I'm sorry I jumped 10 feet when you patted my arm. I know you are old enough to be my grandfather and you meant it as a way of saying "thank you." I just don't do well with touches that I don't see coming. I'm sorry

Dear Cashier - yes I heard you say, "Can I help the next person in line?" I ignored you. The fact that you had no teeth and were chomping gum made me panic. I'm sorry.

Dear Other Client - I'm sorry I didn't laugh it off when you said that your children wanted to know who this "girl named __(me)___ is that you keep talking about and how old I was?" I know you meant it as a joke and were just making conversation. I'm sorry.

Dear Colleague - I'm sorry you think I'm stuck up because I won't go to lunch with you. Really, it's not the eating in a public place that bothers me so much as the car ride to get there. I don't do so well in the passenger side of cars, alone with a male driver. I'm sorry.

To beer-bellied; toothless; bald, but with long mullet hair in the back; unkempt looking; long, scraggly, dirty gray/black beards; gum chomping; grease stained fingers; shirt-less; short short - but otherwise innocent and nice 60-ish year old men everywhere -- I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me.

Dear Friend - I'm sorry I won't go out for a girl's night with you and leave my daughter home alone with your husband. I know he is a nice guy. But I just can't...

Dear Husband - I'm sorry I elbowed you (hard) when you tried to snuggle the other night in bed. I've asked you not to touch me from behind. I'm sorry I shudder when I pass you in the hallway after I'm coming out of the shower. I'm sorry.

Again, it's not you -- it's me...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sticks and Stones

There is that old saying, "Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you." That's a crock of dog shit. I've had physical injuries, torn ligaments, needed stitches. All have healed with much less pain and scarring than the words that haunt me.

Lisa's post about the Canadian sex offender on her blog, Sadly Normal brings this point home. The criminal was interviewed following his arrest. "A psychiatrist who examined the accused following his arrest said the man tried to portray the girl as a willing participant. The doctor’s report quoted the man as saying: 'It takes two to tango. She knows she was having the same thoughts I was.'" What the hell? She was 4 or 5 when it started. A 4-5 year is not capable of consenting. What kind of person looks at a 4-5 year old child and thinks that the child can, could, is possible of or would "consent"? Unfortunately I know those words all too well, even if I was a bit older when I heard them. I can say that the words will likely haunt that child far beyond the physical acts. Words do hurt. They hurt when they are said and they hurt when you hear them over and over in your head for years.

Words said flippantly hurt too. Last night I was very jumpy and panicky. I was trying to keep things under control through dinner, with the thought of lying down after we ate. Must not have done a great job, because my Husband said "what is your problem. Why are you acting all crazy?" CRAZY? Because I am crazy. Because I feel trapped in our kitchen - like the walls are closing in. Because I jump whenever you, our daughter or the dog brush up against me. Because you are in my way every time I move to get the milk out. Or put something on the table. Because when I go in to finally take 5 minutes and lie down, I feel like my heart is beating so rapidly and so strong that it will pop out of my chest - yet I take my pulse and it's normal. So it's all in my head. Because I take 9 pills per day just to maintain some semblance of normalcy. If that is "crazy" then I guess I am.

Words stink and words hurt. Far more often it is the words that trigger me. Words people say or the words I hear in my head. The "forgive and forget"......"you wanted it"......"get over it"......"why can't you just let this go"....."you liked it"....."when are you going to be done dealing with all this"......."why are you so jumpy"........"sometimes I think you exaggerate just to get more breaks"

I teach my clients, when answering questions, to count to 3 slowly in their head. It gives me time to object. But more importantly, it gives them time to truly think about their answer and not to respond in anger. I think all adults would be well served by remembering that rule. I know I would do well to remember that rule. I also need to remember that some people fight with words. Deliberately say words to "get your goat" and upset you. I need to learn to let certain words roll off my back and to "consider the source" in letting people get to me or affect me.

I'm not going to teach my child that "sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you." I am going to teach her that words are powerful. They have formed the basis of some incredible revolutions in history. Some words like, "I have a dream" will forever be remembered. When she speaks, I want her to weigh words carefully. I also want her to know that she doesn't have to hide her hurt or sadness at other people's words. That it is "normal" to be affected by them.

As for me, I responded to my husband, "yeah I am crazy. Thanks for noticing." To which he responded, [sigh] "I didn't mean it that way." To which I responded, "well then maybe you shouldn't have said it that way." Maybe I can teach that old dog some new tricks.....if I repeat myself often enough!

EDITED TO ADD - USE YOUR VOICE -
this girl did. And won a huge victory. Way to go!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Coping with What I Do

Friends (hi!!) asked me a very thought provoking question earlier - "How do you process all the heartbreak you see" in your job. My answer -

I don't - And therein is the problem. I didn't have time or the luxury to process anything growing up. I had to "do." I talked on the phone with my sister today. Her children start back to school next week. We remembered when we were in school. I was in 3rd or 4th and Sister was in kindergarten or 1st. Mom was gone when we got up. So was Dad. We got ourselves up to an alarm clock, ate breakfast, gathered everything we needed and got ourselves out the door. In middle - high school, we came home, did homework, and went to our jobs. I was babysitting after school from age 12. Had jobs after school thereafter. After work, I fixed supper, did homework and went to bed. On weekends I worked. Or took care of my sister. I was the one who cleaned the house. Made the grocery lists. I was the adult. Simply put, I didn't have time to "feel" - I just "did" For years and years and years I lived "numb" - I didn't feel anything. No spontaneous emotion. I would intellectualize emotion - think about what "normal" people would feel and put the appropriate mask on.

Through counseling I am learning to feel - to take the mask off. I started doing that. Unfortunately (or fortunately??) numb doesn't work anymore. Now I feel overwhelming floods of emotion. The problem now is that I don't know how to process them. I don't know what to DO with them. I keep trying to DO emotions instead of just FEEL them. I don't know how to process them. I turn them inward and blame myself - that is where the SI comes in. That is how I process emotions/heart break right now. Intellectually I know it is not healthy. But it is a lot healthier than the other alternatives I've used through the years.

I've thought about getting out of this line or work. But I feel led to be here. I feel like maybe (and this is where I'm still struggling with God) this is the "good" that can come out of my horrific childhood. I want these children to know that someone will fight for them. I want these parents (be it mom or dad) to not give up. I want them to know that someone is standing by them, encouraging them to do the right thing.

I don't have much time to process each individual case, because there is always another one around the corner. Sad but for me, a saving grace on some days. Rather than sit around upset about losing this case on Friday, I was productive in working on this next case. I just know I do this because I "HAVE" to.


I'm also turning my practice to focus more on the children - in a few months I'm attending training to be a 'Parent-coordinator' which will allow me to be appointed in high-tension cases to represent the children.

When the going gets really tough, I try to remember the good cases - walking a father through the process of filing an emergency motion to rescue his two children from their abusive and alcoholic mother. Helping a father get his children back from a mother who turned a "trip home to family" into an attempt to kidnap the children and hide across state lines. Fighting hard to keep a sixteen year old daughter from being forced to visit her father who was inappropriate with her.


I guess you could say I 'process' things by reminding myself that all I can do is my best. The rest is up to God. I struggle with that a LOT. But every time I think of giving up and finding another job, I'm reminded of why I do this. I do it to try to give someone a better childhood than I had. To give them an advocate. I may not win - but I'll try. In my life, no one tried. I think if someone - one person - had told me "I believe you and I'll fight for you" - it would have made a HUGE difference - even if they had failed. So that is what I'm doing - believing and fighting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Pain of Doing it Right

I was working on a burning a CD today. On it I included "Goodbye Earl" by Dixie Chicks - "She put on dark glasses, long-sleeved blouses and makeup to cover the bruises"......."Earl walked right through that restraining order and put her in intensive care"....."it didn't take them long to decide - Earl had to die."

Then I added "Independence Day" by Martina McBride - "She tried to pretend he wasn't drinkin' again, but Daddy left the proof on her cheek"...."Well she lit up the sky the 4th of July. By the time that the fireman came, they just put out the flames and took down some names, And sent me to the county home. Now i ain't sayin it's right or it's wrong - But maybe it's the only way"...."Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning. Let the weak be strong, Let the right be wrong, Roll the stone away, Let the guilty pay - On Independence Day."

I also added "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith - "What did her daddy do? What did he put you through? They said when Janie was arrested, They found him underneath a train, But man he had it coming, "........."She said cos nobody believes me, The man was such a sleaze"......"Run away, run away from the pain"........"now that Janie's got a gun She ain't never gonna be the same ."

I like those songs. I like the beat. I like that the "good girls" win. (disclaimer - I am not encouraging, condoning or suggesting anyone commit violence or take the law into their own hands). There hasn't been a lot of "good girls" winning in my real life lately. I like thinking about these songs and that maybe - out there somewhere - they do win.

I've had a rash of cases lately where parents protected their children the best way they knew how. They followed all the rules. They trusted the justice system to keep them safe - the justice system that I work in. It didn't protect their children. It failed them. A toddler child is growing up in a home with a felon father - developing, perhaps, into a young teenager that will be more pleasing to his disgusting and perverse tastes.Other children will grow up without a mother or father. They will grow up knowing that their mother died after trying to protect them - shot by their own father.

I don't condone violence. But some days I understand why Earl had to die, why Janie got a gun, and why there was the need for an Independence Day.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Survivor's New Clothes

I have to dress professionally in my job. In school we had days where we were required dress professionally - whether it be for a particular class or seminar or a guest speaker. In a conversation with a professor, I asked why. He advised me to watch the way people walked and carried themselves in their professional attire. So I sat back and observed.

The professor was correct. In "dress-up" clothes, there was less frivolity, less sitting on desks, less goofing around. People sat up straight, paid attention and carried themselves with more confidence.

When I get home, I immediately kick off my shoes. Next I typically change into my grub clothes. If I have something after work, I will usually carry a change of clothes with me. I can not wait to be out of my pantyhose, high heels and restricting suits. I change before doctors' appointments, our Wednesday evening "relaxed" church services and counseling.

With the shedding of the professional attire, goes the shedding (somewhat) of the professional mask - the one I hide behind. My clothes tell a lot about me. So does how I hold myself.

If I don't know you real well, or am not relaxed, I'll dress in more formal attire. Definitely long pants or capris. Hair will be down or pulled back in a bun. Make up perfect. Contacts instead of glasses. I'll sit properly - like a proper young lady. If I'm comfortable with you, I'll dress casually - hair back, in a ponytail or a hat. I might even wear my glasses instead of my contacts. I'll wear shorts without regard for the scars on my legs. I'll sit cross-legged, kick my shoes off and relax.

Lately I'm trying to shed more of my professional persona when I can. With that in mind, I'm off to shop - for some new clothes. Some relaxed clothes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Need this to be Over

I have this emergency return hearing this week. The that kicked my butt last week. It was supposed to be yesterday. I spent the end of last week and beginning of this week preparing. Off and on between other things. I really started preparing on Wednesday because the hearing was supposed to be today (Thursday). Started getting nervous and anxious. Then I found out we would not be reached until Friday (tomorrow). Ugh. So rescheduled everything again Today I'm in court and find out we may not be reached tomorrow either. If we do, it will be later in the day. So I have to be stressed out all tomorrow morning. And then if we don't get reached, postpone everything for another date. I hate waiting. Patience is not a virtue I was blessed with. And this case haunts me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time for a Change

I've decided it's time for a new look. I really like green as a color and decided to make my blog more green oriented. Some of the post colors are a bit difficult to read, but I think the are still viewable. I'll try to use font colors that are more legible in the future. Let me know your thoughts.

My office is green finally. I moved into this office in 2003. I was pregnant and not able to have it painted then. It took me until last year to finally decide on colors and get it painted. My office has ugly blue/gray carpet, but the office keeps promising we're getting replacement carpet soon. Below my cream chair rail is a seafoam green. Above it is a celery type green - very pale. Several people have remarked that it looks like a spa - very relaxing. I like it. I decided to incorporate those colors here.

I've also added this new picture on the lower right hand side of my blog. If you can't read it, it says - "It is so much more horrifying than what I told you. More than I ever knew was possible. More than I will ever tell you. More than I will ever admit to myself." I've had that picture on my computer for awhile. I may even have referenced it before. This week, it is a good depiction of how I feel.
You may notice the contrast - my new colors/office are relaxing, serene peaceful, spa green. The picture screams out in agony. That's me - the battle going on within.
(decided green was too serene - back to dark blues/greens as of 9/11)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Glimpse Inside my Mind - A Look Back at my SI

**TW - SI**

I picked up a new book at the Family Christian Store, called "Inside a Cutter's Mind" by Jerusha Clark with Dr. Earl Henslin. It's geared less toward those who SI, and more toward those involved with them - like counselors, clergy, loved ones, family, etc. But I found the book wonderful. It was less graphically descriptive and talked more about the WHY - from all angles - mental, physical and spiritual. The book put many of my feelings into words. It also caused me to re-visit some of my older posts about my own SI experience (Here, Here , Here , Here and Here) for just a few of them) Sad to say that things have gotten "worse" and I'm now more entrenched in SI-ing. Because, as this book says, it works. On some fundamental level, it works.

Some of the things from the book that spoke to me -

"The desire to cut is like longing for sleep after a tiring day - cutting seems more like than a want."

Yes, it is a "need" for me. Sometimes just thinking about it and knowing I can do it later when I get home, is enough to bring the panic down to a manageable level.

"Self-harmers on the whole 'are either too numb to cry or find tears woefully inadequate to express and release the overwhelming; pent-up emotions they feel.' As another self-injurer writes, "I need to see [the] bad feelings bleed away...I couldn't cry and bleeding was a different form of crying.'"

I don't cry often. I used to not cry at all. Now I will cry some - only on my own. Not in front of anyone. It's never when I want to cry though, or need to cry. It's always when I don't have time to deal with my emotions or am not in a "safe place" to cry. So I push the tears away. Then later, when I am in a place I feel "safe" enough to cry (at home usually) I find myself unable to cry. So, I use the SI to cry instead. SI is my way to express myself since I find myself woefully inadequate at expressing myself verbally.

SI is a way to keep from killing yourself. Rather than an exit strategy, self-inflicted violence serves as a life preserver for people drowning in emotional pain. In the words of one self-harmer, she is slowly "dying to survive."......Self-harmers often believe they are preserving their life by cutting, burning, or breaking pain from their body.

SI is my preservation. When the lure of the pills becomes strong and the concrete bridge pillars look too enticing, I cut instead. I cut the bad feelings out. It's like I live on a 1 - 10 scale. Levels 1-3 I have no desire to SI. Level 4-5 I start feeling urges. Level 6-8 I actually do SI. Level 9-10 I do not SI because I know it will be way out of control and bad. It's like I have to get down to a 6-8 level first - sort of a self-protection type thing.

I was reading a prior post I wrote (
here) about WHY I SI. I wrote then, I've never ended up in the hospital, needed stitches, gotten an infection, or anything else dangerous from SI-ing. In fact, at this point I have no scars (well, maybe a few from picking on my arms). I keep myself supplied with band-aids, antibacterial cream and mederma anti-scar lotion. That wasn't too long ago. Actually it wasn't too terribly long ago that I didn't cut with razors - instead I pinned (back in February when I "just" poked with a safety pin). Then I "graduated" to razors. And now, while I can say I've never had stitches - I can't say I've never needed them. There are a few that probably did. I definitely have scars - lines as well as words - ugly words - that will be on my body forever.

Excerpt in book "From A Million Little Pieces" - "It Flows through my veins like a slow, lazy virtue, urging me to do damage...I want it to go away. I want it to leave me. When [they Fury] is at its full, I am often at it's mercy, but not now. I know what to do to make it go away; I know how to make it disappear. Feed it pain and it will leave me. Feed it pain and it will go away."


That spoke to me - that is exactly what I do. Feed my emotional pain - replace it with physical and it goes away.

I have been looking back through old blog posts, journal posts, emails, etc (I think Beauty is the one who started this reminiscing thing!) In some ways (a lot of ways) I'm pleased at my progress. In other ways, I'm sad. Especially on the SI front. I've "progressed" to where I (somewhat) freely talk about it. I've even worn shorts out in public and gone swimming in a bathing suit. I still panic about it though. I've "progressed" to where I actually inquired of a store clerk where they keep the razors in their store. But then bought other, more generic, things to hide the fact that I was buying band-aids, a red washcloth and razor blades. I've "progressed" to where I actually bought this latest SI book in person at a book store and not anonymously online. But then panicked when the name of the book popped up in big letters on the register. I'm not so sure how much of this really is progress??

The book says that "I just want to let you know that I've never seen anyone fully recover from the urge to self-harm." That's a disheartening thought. I guess maybe it is like smoking - something I gave up a long time ago. But the urge strikes on occasion, when the environment is right. I guess SI really is like other addictions (drugs, alcohol) where you are always "recovering" and not "recovered."

I'm disappointed in myself for ending up here. I promised people (especially T) not to use anything other than a pin, to take 5 minutes before SI-ing, to only do it at home, to take meds first. I broke my word - repeatedly. Not something I take lightly. I feel like this method I use to control is controlling me. It's like a train running away without brakes down the track. I'm not sure where to go from here. I don't want to make more promises I can't keep.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I know Better than to open emails like this

Okay, my last several days have kind of sucked. Well, okay, they've really sucked. So I should know better than to open an email from my mother at 7:45 am on a Monday morning. The thought even crossed my mind "now (self) you know this won't be good. Save it for later." But the catastrophising part of my brain said that it wouldn't be worse than my imagination. So I opened it.

Keep in mind that my mother has my work, home and cell numbers. I called her last time (about 1 1/2 weeks ago). So it's her "turn" to call me (taking turns is all important in my family). I'm on Instant Messenger, as is my sister. But no - Mom does not pick up the phone and call me, or conference Sister and I in on Instant Messenger -- she'll save those things for the "guilt instilling" types of conversations. The "I miss you" and "I don't hear from you" type of crapola.

So the email is about my Aunt - mom's oldest sister. Who went to the doctor and found a lump in her breast. Turns out to be cancer. She'll know more details later. So I'm upset, pissed and mad.

I'm hurt that my Aunt didn't email me the message that she sent to others. Although I have deleted some stuff lately that I assumed were forwards, so need to go check those.

I'm pissed that my mom would deliver news like this over an email. But that is her typical operating standard.

Growing up, my Aunt wasn't really close with me - seemed standoffish. I asked my mother one time why that was and it turns out Aunt always wanted a girl. She has two boys. She miscarried a later term pregnancy one time and it was a girl. Mom thought that was why. Could be. I had a bit more compassion for Aunt after that. At a family reunion many years ago, Aunt was overly bossy and not enjoyed by anyone. But she apologized. Apparently there were still hard feelings though (with my Mom apparently you are supposed to "get over" and "forget" that your husband abused your children - but not that your sister had a bossy moment). So at the last reunion, things were awkward.

At the last reunion (about 2 years ago), my Aunt and her husband camped nearby where the rest of us stayed at cabins. So my Aunt called looking for a ride from the campground to the cabin. Apparently it came off demanding and mom/her other sister were drunk at that point and weren't going to be able to drive. So there were hurt feelings. My Sister and I and some cousins drove over to the campground and visited with them. It meant the world to my Aunt.

Later Sister and I communicated with my Aunt. There were some gaping holes in my mom's childhood stories and we needed to know but Mom wasn't talking. Aunt risked pissing everyone off to tell us. It helped me so much in my healing. My Aunt has been the best lately - maybe she was cold when I was a child - but she has been so helpful and supportive lately.

So it hurts to find out she has cancer through an email from my mother. Hurts a lot. And since I posted yesterday about it being okay to question God --- I want to know WHY. Why God? Why her? And why my family? Hasn't there been enough suffering? When will it end?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gideon - It's okay to ask

Our Sunday school lesson today was from Judges chapters 6 - 7. We studied Gideon. Apparently I've read this before because there are notes in the margins. However, I couldn't remember having read it or anything about Gideon or what he had done. In my margin it says, "God sees us as He is going to make us" and "it's okay to ask."

Gideon is asked by God to lead an army to strike down the Midianites. Gideon is awestruck that God would use him - a poor man from the least tribe. Gideon asks God to "wait one moment" because he needs a sign. So Gideon prepares a sacrifice which God causes to burst into flames. And Gideon realizes it is God. He obeys God's command to tear down the altars of the gods (Baal and Asherah), but does it at night so as not to be seen by others. Soon Gideon requests another sign and then another. Gideon needs reassurance over and over again that God is with him.

I think I'm like Gideon. I need a sign. I need a feeling. I need a stirring within my heart. I'd love to see God, a burning bush, a flash of lightening or something. But I'd be content with a feeling. To be able to feel God. I would like some response to my question --- God are you out there?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Maybe I Need a New Career

Okay, I lost that case Thursday. Well, really it was an emergency-type hearing. The big full evidentiary hearing is next week. So I had to prepare all the subpoenas yesterday. And know that my client had to deliver her 4 year old daughter for visitation with her felon father. It's killing me.

I was showering last night (big risk time for me). I found myself mad. I have spent the last several months mad at my own mother for not doing the right thing and standing up for me. For not fighting it in court. Then I have this case where the mother has done everything right. There was a prior offer for Dad to relinquish full custody in return for Mom convincing her sister to drop the r*** charges. Mom wouldn't do it. Said she wouldn't ask her sister to do that. Because Dad had all along threatened Sister that if she told about the r*** that he would make sure Mom never saw their daughter again. Mom felt like her Sister had already sacrificed herself by remaining silent for months trying to protect the little girl. Mom didn't want to ask her sister to do that any more. I so admired that.

So Mom followed the rules for her Sister. And followed the rules in filing for custody of her Daughter. My client isn't perfect. She's made mistakes. But she is a good mother and trying to play by the rules and seek justice through the court system. A system I'm supposed to work in and believe in. And it failed. It failed this Mom and this little girl.

So now I find myself thinking - so what if my mom didn't tell? Would it have mattered? My sister reported when she was 16 and all they did was drop it down to lewdness. What I don't understand is that Toilet got many months house arrest for lewdness. Had to move out of the house and no contact with Sister. But yet, this Dad has 1 month house arrest for a much more serious charge and gets visitation with his Daughter. I know it is a different state. But I don't understand.
I don't understand how this mother played by the rules and lost. And I participated in it.

I find myself second guessing every decision I made. I'm terrified of next week. What if I lose? I may need to get out of this profession. Anyone know of a job that pays well enough that I can pay off huge school loans?

Friday, August 17, 2007

OUCH - Those were my Toes....

I wrote this on my small online survivors board -

This devotional from my morning reading stepped on some toes ----1 Cor 6:19 - You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves. You will live forever in this body. It will be different, mind you...What is now faulty will be fixed. Your body will be different, but you won't have a different body...God has a high regard for your body. You should as well. Respect it...It is after all the temple of God...You wouldn't want anyone trashing your home. God doesn't want anyone trashing his.

My friend wrote this comment --- "Phew*** Guess it's a good thing I keep God out in the back yard instead of letting him into the house. Oh if he could see what a mess I've made of his place...... "

I think she meant it kind of tongue and cheek (maybe?) but it made me chuckle and hit me as well. I do the same thing. (Note - I remember reading one of those little small books (tracts I think they are called) a long time ago. It was about God coming into your house but not letting Him into every room. Eventually God is invited into every room except the "junk closet." I've tried to find that story/lesson online but haven't yet. If anyone has it handy, I'd love for you to send it to me.)

I have totally trashed God's house (my body). Oh boy have I? The SI scars and words permanently etched on my legs are a more recent example. The things I did years ago are another. I've made a royal mess of my body, my mind, my spirit. It's probably time for some spring cleaning. I just can't figure out where to start.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Can I call for a Sub?

In sports when you get tired, you can get a sub. I need one for life right now. I'm tired. I need a Time Out. I suppose I could try biting someone like my toddler does - maybe someone will give me a 3 minute time out?

Through the last 1 1/2 years and working through this mess, I've found strength online with friends, blogs, support groups and emails. In "real" life I've had the help of my family, friends, and counselor. These people have become important in my life, whereas before I relied on my own strength, titles, profession.

Today I lost the strength of my profession. I lost a court battle. I had to tell a mom to send her child for visitation with a man who was, by his own admission, abusive to another child. Just not this one....yet. I don't understand it. It doesn't make sense. And it hurts. I sat there and watched a mother cry and I could do nothing. Except hold it together until I got in my car and cry. Cry out of fear for what will happen to this child now.

I feel like God has pulled everything out from under me. The online support groups have become very hectic for me and my brain cells can't keep up. I find less and less time to visit there. I used to fall apart at home but my recent marital problems have made me afraid to be vulnerable there. Maybe God is pulling everything out from me - maybe to make me rely solely on Him? That might be okay with me if I could find Him. I've looked everywhere and I can't find Him - or feel Him. I catch a glimpse and it's gone. I feel like my core is shaken and breaking into fragments. I'm frantically trying to hold on while also trying to learn to live without certain pieces.

I'm afraid to let people get to know me. I'm afraid I'll let them in and then they will leave. I'm scared to let go of this hurt and resentment. I'm tired of feeling "not good enough" - so much so that on some days I (literally) try to cut out the bad parts to find the good. I'm not sure how much of me is really left. Or where I'll find the strength to keep going.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Interview of Me

Hi and welcome to my Interview. Today, Heart to Heart has sent me five questions to answer at my request. If this something you’d like to do, here’s how it works:

Instructions - if you would like to be interviewed -
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


(By the way - I did this once before with Lynn from Spilling Ink. My responses to her much easier questions (ha ha) are here.)

Questions (in blue)

# 1 You have just been given a gift of 48 hrs to do with however you please w/ unlimited $. Tell me what you would do.

I would tele-transport myself (not to waste any time on travel) to the Lake house where I summered as a child. I would drive through town slowly, relishing all the stores I remember from a child. I would drive down the long winding dirt road (my avatar on my blog reminds me of this driveway) with the windows down relishing the smells and sounds. I would enter the cabin where I spent so much time. I would sleep late, with windows open, under heavy covers since it gets cold at night. I would wake up with an early morning (chilly) swim across the lake to the buoy and back. Drink coffee at the picnic table. Feed the baby ducks. Spend the morning walking around the lake. Spend the afternoon sleeping in the sun on a raft in the middle of the lake. Cook my supper over the campfire. Listen intently for the sound of "old man charlie" yelling VVVVOOOOLLLLEEEYY - BBBBAAALLLLLLL across the lake. Then I'd row the canoe over to the volleyball game and play under the lights. I'd sleep in late, stay up too late around the campfire. Eat too many smores. Take the speedboat out for a tour of the lake. On the second evening I'd have to take the boat into town and get ice cream on the dock. For just 48 hours I would be a child again - one of the few happy childhood memories I have.

#2 You've mentioned recently, you and your "significant other" have a little tension in your relationship currently Try to put all of that aside for the moment, tell me what originally attracted you to him....try to come up with at least 3 or 4 things.

I came out of a very long relationship in February one year and was not looking to get involved with anyone. Met up with my now-husband through a friend (he is her cousin) in March - just one month later. I dated him through that summer but was planning on ending things at the end of the summer when I went on to further my education. Before the summer was out, he told me he "loved me" and I said nothing in return. I left for school and made it just a few hours before I called crying that I had made a mistake. Began commuting on weekends to stay with his parents so we could be together while I was in school. That's just a little background to set the stage for my 4 things - (1) I love that he was and is totally supportive of my education. He quit his job and moved with me the summer before my last year of school. He went from living with his parents to living in a tiny apartment with me inside of an all-girls dormitory. I was the resident director of an all-girls hall and we lived there our first year of marriage. (2) I love his sense of humor. (3) I love that he is so "normal" - parents still married, no deep dark secrets in his past. No divorce in his family. Just a pretty normal family. They've had their issues, like everyone, but nothing like mine. (4) I love that he is so laid back. I tend to be overly anxious and worrisome and he is not - now I think he is a little TOO laid back though!

#3 You have a very "haunting" picture on the side bar of your blog. It is a very powerful picture. I'm interested in knowing more about it. Where did you find it? Tell me anything else about it that you can think of.

I've always been drawn to the "Scream" painting. Here is something I wrote just prior to adding that to my blog - http://enola-survivor.blogspot.com/2007/01/silent-scream.html I have verbalization "issues" where I have trouble expressing emotions out loud. Actually I've made progress. I used to not feel emotions at all. Or allow myself to think about them. Now I can feel them sometimes. But I still can't talk about them or say them out loud. I'm getting slightly better about writing them. "Scream" is me - silently screaming but no words coming out.


#4 You've been blogging now for several months. What are some of the high lights and low lights of your blog experience?

I don't think I have a low light of blogging. There have been some pretty intense, rough, raw, "icky" things that I've written. But even writing them has been therapeutic. I've only had positive comments and responses. I've "met" some wonderful people online. (and even one in person!). I used to write all the time and keep journals. Then I became closed off and numb and stopped. Now that I've gotten back to writing, it's because so cathartic and therapeutic for me. I really enjoy it. Getting to know myself better is the definite high point. If I had to pick a low point, I'd say it's the remembering part of writing. The memories that were repressed/pushed down that have come back. I think ultimately that will be a good thing, and I don't have regrets that it has happened. It's just tough living through it.

#5 This may be another tough question. If you would, you tell me how your faith "intersects" with your life as you seek to get your bearings.

Hmm. I think that depends on the day. I've had ups and downs in my faith over the past 2 years. At times I do the "right" things like have a daily quiet time, attend a church Bible study, go to church every Wed and Sunday, teach a preschool choir. Other times I do very little. I've had one particularly memorable mountain top experience where I was sure I felt God. Otherwise I think I've been searching for God. Holding on by my fingernails. I have trouble "feeling" anything and God is on that list. I don't expect a Moses-type burning bush experience, but some sort of presence would be nice. My faith keeps me going though. I firmly believe there is no such thing as a coincidence. Someone told me a quote one time that "coincidences are when God chooses to remain anonymous." In a Beth Moore Bible study, she calls them God-STOPs which stands for Savoring The Observable Presence of God. As I try to find my bearings, I try to find those God STOPs along the way and use them as motivation to keep going. One step at a time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I don't Know how to Fix This

Husband and I talked again last night. He takes full responsibility for all our recent issues and promises to do better. We've been here before. I'm not sure I have the strength to do it again.

I need a new place to go. When I'm upset, I like to drive to this nearby park. It's just a little bench on a triangular strip of land about 2 blocks off a main street downtown. It's quiet though. And very few people there. In the center is a gazebo and lots of bushes and trees. I park on the side of the road in the shade of towering Leland cypress trees. When it's warm I roll the windows down and stretch across the seat of my car. In cooler weather I keep a blanket in my car so I can snuggle up and stay warm. I sometimes read. Often cry. It's my place to let loose.

It's been in the 100 degree range for weeks. Too hot to sit in the car. I could sit there and run the AC but I don't know how long it's okay to sit there and just let the car idle like that. I need somewhere else to go until it cools off and I can go back to the park. This is the time I wish I lived closer to work. So I could go home at lunch, have a good cry, and come back.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Option D

Had a really long talk (more like a fight) with DH last night. Apparently I'm controlling, make him grow up and be too responsible, having an affair (don't laugh too hard on that one), and blaming everything on medication. Thus begins the Internal War, Battle One.

His comment (see last post) was made because when I'm not around, he gets to be a little kid at his parents and is not forced to be a grown up or parent our daughter. His mom does everything for him. Yet, he gets mad if I make decisions for him or even schedule something for him because I am too controlling. Gee, maybe if I called myself "mom" while I did it, he'd take it better? My medical/counseling/jaw/orthodontic expenses are the reasons we are so broke, but when I work late two nights, he accuses me of having an affair (personally I found that one kind of humorous considering my aversion to being touched at all as of late). So I figure I have a few options.

Option A - stuff all my emotions, become the "perfect wife" who lets her husband go hunting every weekend, does all the housework, makes all the decisions, is available to meet her husband's every need, including physical, cooks dinner, doesn't work late and structures everything around husband. I become both Mom and Wife to my husband, and raise him along with my daughter.

Option B - let it all hang loose. Rant and rave. Insist husband grow up. Stop making decisions. Let him mope and cry and try his best to make me feel sorry for him. Watch him go overboard doing things for me in an attempt to make up for his barbed comments. Watch him try to do all housework and everything for daughter and then expect me to "get over it" because he is "trying." So I get over it and we have this same argument in a few months. Or I rant and rave too much and am accused of being hysterical.

Option C - Give it 110% and risk all. Admit to husband my weaknesses -- I did this when I had the issues with prozac - he was wonderful about helping me get off meds. His wonderfulness lasted about 1 week. Then he told me that I was not allowed to "use the medication as an excuse." I told him honestly that I, could frankly, live without sex for the rest of my life, but was willing to acknowledge that was my problem and work on it. One and 1/2 weeks later, I'm expected to have that all figured out and it's my fault that I don't. I'm supposed to enjoy being in a 100 degree house with no airconditioning with enough dust to make the world's largest dust ball (AKA my in-law's house). Not only do I fail to utter a single complaint, but I put together a family gathering and assist with a housewarming for a relative. Husband assumes that I'm complaining on the inside and attacks me anyway. So I can continue throwing myself out there to be trampled on, in hopes that it will improve before I'm crushed and destroyed?

Option D - the one that is most well-known to me. Option "D" for "Deny." Deny myself and who I am. Become the perfect Wife who kills herself at work to make the big money. Who comes home and fixes dinner, does laundry, and is the perfect parent. Who sends Husband off hunting every weekend while she stays home with the toddler, cooks meals for the entire week, cleans the house and runs all the errands. Who organizes everything, makes all the appointments, and tells Husband everything he needs to do. Mask the panic, anxiety and fear and sleep with Husband on a regular basis. Come home and watch him play his Playstation games for hours, engaging him in conversation. Develop a whole list of topics to use in replying when he asks, for the thousandth time, "What else is new?" (his attempt to engage in conversation).

Option D has a sub-part - the Plan for every possible scenario. The Lawyer part of me is taking over. Flashing little warning signs in my head. All those pieces of advice that I give to others. Protection plans. Stop blogging. Stop online writing. Go have a consult with an attorney and only write notes to the attorney. Quit counseling. Get off all medications. Be the best mom ever. Start putting money in your own account. Clear all the "survivor" and "abuse" websites off computer. Go look at condos/apartments. Copy all financial documents. Don't talk to friends. All that stuff that makes absolute sense from a legal standpoint and absolutely no sense if you are trying to cope and Live.

But then again, I forgot. I forgot the rules and got my hopes up. I'm not allowed to thrive and live. I'm just here to exist. To deny myself and live by someone else's rules and do what they want. Because otherwise I lose. If I admit who I really am - the messed up, on medication, having panic attacks, unfocused, self-injuring person that I really am - I stand to lose too much. My husband (who seems to be walking away himself) and my daughter. I refuse to lose my daughter because I've allowed myself to get so messed up dealing with this crap. I just refuse.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Barbed Wire Comments

I just got home from my weekend trip. It sucked. I was so freaking hurt last night (still am) and had nowhere to run and hide. I felt trapped at my in-laws' house. I had enough respect for my In-Laws not to leave but I wanted out of there so bad.

So on the drive to a barbecue, DH says "don't take this the wrong way but I have more fun when you are not here and it is just DD and me." WTF? My head reeled. Don't take this the wrong way? Like how the hell am I supposed to take that? After all I have done? WHY? Because when I am in, I get irritated when he leaves all day and I have to sit there by myself and do nothing in the 100 degree house? Because he actually has to do something with DD instead of just dump her on his mother and go play golf or hunt? Because every single time I plan anything with my friends, he rushes off with DD to his parents, because he can't possibly keep her occupied at home on his own?

So later, he says, "I feel torn." Torn? What? Torn between what? Between his parents and me? I told him that is because he will tell me "No" and argue with me, but he will never tell his parents "No" or take my side against them. He says "I can't." I told him to figure it out and he says he "doesn't know how."

What happened to leaving your parents and cleaving to spouse? And what the hell prompted this? I haven't had a fight with his parents - we hadn't been disagreeing. I've never fought with them. What the hell brought this on?

I really like my in-laws. I have always treated them with respect. I spent a whole week with them one summer helping out when MIL had foot surgery. I gave up holidays with my family (back when I still had a relationship with Mom/Toilet) when his aunt died on Christmas eve. I gave up a huge scrap convention when his aunt died. I spend every holiday here on the actual day and worked my family visits in between. Drove here after sunrise service on DD's first Easter because DH and his family were so upset at not seeing us and that we were missing the family meal. Make room readily for his family at DD's recital, choir performance and everything. Get doubles of every pic. I truly care about his family.

I do not know why DH feels torn between us. I get along fine with them. I have never made him choose. I have never told him not to visit or anything. We were not fighting or disagreeing when he made this comment. I have no idea why he said it. It just came out of the blue. Why is he doing this? Why am I not welcome or wanted? Why does DH feel he has to side with one over the other? Why does he feel like he has to agree with every thing his folks say or do? I feel like my heart has been torn out. Thrown down and trampled upon.....

Am I not good enough to hang out with his family? They are the "all-American country family?" I know I stand out and don't fit in. At a family-housewarming party for his cousin, someone walked in and said, "oh you all look so alike....oh, except for you (points at me)." I know I stick out. I didn't have the perfect childhood. I have divorced parents. I don't see most of my family. Once again, someone in my life that is supposed to love me and protect me, has chosen some other family member over me....What is wrong with me?

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Lap - Part Two

Last night I was tucking my daughter into bed. I had gotten her night light plugged in, fan on, music on, covers all arranged and laid out two storybooks and her Bible devotional. I sat down sideways on her bed, with a pillow behind me, while I waited for her to gather all her stuffed animals and dolls and arrange them "just so." I put her Dora pillow next to me and patted it for her to sit down next to me while I read to her. She shook her head and said "No. I want to sit in your lap." So I moved the books off my lap and pulled her to me. She wiggled around and got comfy and grabbed her blanket. Leaned back and said "I like snuggles. It's fun." We read our Bible devotional, talked about our day and said our prayers. I tucked her head under my chin and breathed in that special scent of her clean, grape scented hair and relished the moment.

We then read "I Love you Always" which is a book where various baby animals ask their mommies and daddies, "Why am I special?" The mommies and daddies respond with something unique about their baby and end with "and you are special and we will love you forever and always." When I finished reading, I tucked her in, kissed her and said "I love you always and forever." She smiled and said "Me too."

I love moments like that. I store them up and treasure them in my heart. I hope my daughter will always find my lap "fun" and enjoy "snuggles." I know I always will.

A few weeks ago I was asked by T to think of a second safe place. Drawing a blank here. I like my "lying on a raft, drifting in the water" feeling. I've thought about the time on vacation when I climbed up in the lifeguard stand and watched the sunrise. But that just wasn't quite working for me. Last night, something flashed in my head when I was reading to my daughter. Couldn't quite put it together though. Then this morning I remembered that I had written about a mother's lap awhile back on here. Found my post from February 2007 (Lap - part one). I'm wondering if my second safe place has to be an actual place. Because this lap thing is sounding appealing to me. I'm wondering if it will work?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mothering

Last week was one of my toughest struggles ever. It was about me - my thoughts, my actions, my responsibilities. The thoughts about hurting myself and ending my life weren't new. I've dealt with those off and on through the years. Still scary as they were more intense, but I was able to deal with them. The thoughts of just wanting my daughter to be quiet and get out of my sight were more intense and it was those thoughts and the fear that I would do something horrible to accomplish that - those thoughts made me realize something was wrong. In my innermost being, the thought of hurting my daughter made me cringe. I knew it was wrong - unnatural - something to resist at all costs. I didn't cry out for help for me, but for her. I know that it was the medicine making me think that way. But I still feel a sense of shame creep in about having had those thoughts at all. On the other hand I am extremely thankful to know that the core of my being will resist those thoughts and fight against them.

Last night I called my mother. I haven't talked to her on the phone in about a month. Maybe longer. It's a far cry from last year when we'd talk every week, email every day and IM every few days. Part of it is her schedule - her work and waking hours don't match well with mine. A bigger part is that I don't think about calling her and don't really have any desire to do that. My mother doesn't have that inner core desire to protect her children. I don't understand that. Even at my lowest point last week, I knew I had to reach out for help and do whatever it took to keep my daughter safe. The evil thoughts in my head weren't able to stifle that, try as they did. Why didn't my mom fight harder?

I struggle with those thoughts while at the same time recognizing the profound joy in my mom's voice when she realized it was me on the phone. And heard the sincerity when she thanked me for calling. I recognize the struggle within me as the memories of her sacrificing me conflict with the memories of her crying when I left for college and saying she'd miss me. I can't reconcile the two. Maybe I'm not meant too?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Morning Coffee with Friends


Good morning friends,
This is how I like to start my day. Get to the office before most others are here. Read my daily devotion calendar in the quiet. Sip my coffee and eat my carrot muffin or oatmeal. Then I commune with friends. I visit all the blogs on my "blogs I frequent and helpful websites" column (which I need to update by the way). I check in with a couple of other websites and friends. I look forward to the new posts and read them much like some people read the paper. I keep up with them better than I do with current events. I knew that Spilling Ink's husband had knee surgery before I knew there had been some big political debate over the weekend. Those things are more important to me. All of you out there (yes, you) are important to me.

I realized over the past few days just how important my online friends are. On three different sites/online arenas, three people I consider my friends talked about suicide. With one I knew where they worked, and I called and left them a message on their voice mail, as well as emailed. With another, all I could do was post on their blog. With the third, I spent several hours cyber-stalking her and finally got in touch with her. That was most important to me - see last week when I was having my medication crisis, she was my lifeline. She IM-ed with me for hours that day, talked with me on the cell phone as I drove home - staying with me until I got into my house safely. She checked in with me the next day and chatted with me as I waited for the doctor to call back. She walked me through my different choices and kept bringing me back to what ~I~ wanted to really do. I could not have made it through those two days without her. Last night I hope I was able to offer her even a portion of the support she offered me. I'm still worried about her and will spend most of today praying for her and waiting for her to check in via email.

And now, unfortunately, it is time to start my day and get to work. Cheers everyone! Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Coming Back To Me

I am slowly coming back to me. I hadn't realized just how much I had been affected by the meds. For every affect, I had an excuse. I had drunk too much caffeine, not eaten enough, not slept enough, etc. I never put it all together. I've been off the med since Thursday and started back to the old med on Friday (the one I knew worked). I'm feeling better now. Not totally back to me, but getting there.

Yesterday I got away for a girls' trip. We went to a scrapbook convention and had a great time. Bought way too much product. But had a great time in my classes learning new techniques. Now I just need to catch up on some more sleep.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Update

I have a call into my doctor and am awaiting a return call. I did not take the prozac this morning. I went home last night still feeling odd. Opened up to my husband and we had a good talk. He was so supportive. Couldn't have asked for a better conversation. But he did tell me to "get off those meds now." He was worried and scared. I've been very short-tempered with him lately. More so than ever before. Just snappy and not like myself. But last night I yelled at my daughter and was less than gentle when I put her into her room for time out. My husband was concerned - and that made me scared. I don't want to be one of those people that hurts (even inadvertently) my child because of some medication side-effect. So I contacted my T and called the doc first thing this morning. I'm going to go back to the old med. The one that worked really well - just caused me to gain weight. Guess Hubby will just have to learn to love "more" of me.

So just a note to all - thank you for your concern. I'm taking steps to get into a better place. And a warning to all - if you feel weird, don't assume it is just part of being you. Go check it out.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rambling Thoughts - Blah

(in no particular order)
- I'm tired. How can I be so tired? I have been in bed asleep by 9 pm the last two nights. Slept at least 9-10 hours each night. Over the weekend I got over 10 hours each night. What is wrong with me? I could fall asleep right now at my desk and I just finished a caffeinated soda and some chocolate. I have zero energy. Despite being in bed at 9 last night, I couldn't make myself get out of bed to go work out. My eyes are so heavy. They keep closing.
- So disconnected. Can't seem to attach to myself. Floaty feeling all the time. Keep tripping over things. My fingers feel like weird, floating attachments to my hands. I see them but can't seem to make them do what I want. I'm fading away.
- Nauseous all the time. Is it the stomach bug that is going around work? Or the summer cold causing drainage in my throat? Why is it that mornings and evenings are the worst?
- Dizzy - vision fades in and out. World won't stand still. If I try to stand still, I sway. Head keeps bobbing and twitching.
- Can't concentrate. "Come too" after several minutes of mindless mind wandering only to realize that I've been zoned out for several minutes.
- Memory - short term memory is fried. If it isn't written down, I can't remember if it really happened or not. I question everything.
- Snappy/No patience - I have no patience with anyone - clients, husband, daughter. It's like PMS only I know it's not time for that yet.
- Cold - I am SO cold. I am normally not the cold one. I am freezing. I've had my heater on all day.
- Twitchy - yesterday it was more my head. Today it's my leg. It jerks up and twitches. Fun times.
- I don't care - about anything. My house is a mess - don't care. My checkbook is 5 months behind on being balanced - don't care. Work isn't getting done - don't care. I just can't work up enough energy to care about anything right now. I haven't even been as chatty with online boards. Just can't keep track of all the names, details and everything. Makes my head hurt.
- Jaw - hurts. Gotta stop clenching my teeth. Going to undo all this jaw surgery and progress. I don't realize I've done it until my head starts hurting.

Numb - I miss being numb from yesterday. Still kind of numb. But more of a detached, unconnected feeling. Have sporadic bursts of things that break through - like a wonderful email from a stranger yesterday. And a crisis situation with an online friend. But then they are over, and I go back to blah. The rational, sensible side of me says this isn't normal and I should call the doctor or something - that maybe this new med adjustment isn't quite right. But to do that, I'd have to work up enough energy to care. And that's too much right now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Numb Place

I'm stuck in the Numb Place right now. I think I arrived yesterday. I used to live here all the time. Now I just visit. I haven't visited awhile. I think I had lost my way and have been struggling both to get here and avoid here. Now that I'm back, I wonder why I tried to hard to leave. It's comfortable here. Quiet. Very few intrusive thoughts. Peaceful. Except for the random twitching. I've had that for a few weeks now. It started when I switched medicines. It had gotten better but now it's picked back up again. Mostly it is my head that twitches, but sometimes my arms too. It's the only sign of anxiety that really breaks up the numbness.

The break is quite nice. I float around somewhat detached and observing everything from a safe distance. It's like watching the world with fuzzy colored glasses. I have times when a flash of emotion pops in. But it's been good so far. Like this morning, when my daughter came up and gave me a kiss and said "you're my mommy" to which the proper response is "always and forever" and then she says "I love you" and I respond "I love you too" and then we say together "always and forever." That's the type of emotion/feeling that I don't mind intruding into my Numb Place.

I'm not sure how long I'll be here. There is a Voice inside my head saying that I need to break free and get out. Another Voice tells me to get comfortable and that it's okay to be here. I guess I'll see what the next few days hold before I decide.