Category Archives: PTSD

Scars

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Child abuse leaves scars.  Both seen and unseen.  Both large and small.  Both chronic and acute.  Yet they are all scars.

I think that everyone carries some scars.  Nobody has a perfect life.  But the scars that abuse survivors carry are more extreme.  They impact daily living for so many survivors.

I try to hide the scars I have.  I was “lucky” that my parents tried to minimize leaving marks.  My mom was a guidance counselor and knew the things that CPS looked for.  I was a cutter for many years, and thankfully, I didn’t scar a lot.  Those are the seen scars.  The unseen ones are still there, though.

There are times when those scars get ripped open again.  Flashbacks, physical memories, panic attacks.  All are our mind’s way of reminding us of what happened.

My scars make me who I am.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I can’t get rid of my scars.  As physical scars are permanent, so are psychological ones.

Mask

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I live my life behind a mask. My mask is happy.  My mask is confident.  I’m good at wearing this.  Despite how I feel inside, I don’t reveal my honest feelings and fears.

I don’t really let people see the “true me”.  Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the “true me” is.  I’ve hidden behind a mask for so long that maybe that is the “true me”.

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character has a bunch of laws to live by.  Her law number one was “You always have to rely on yourself”.  I totally agree with that.  But my law zero is “Trust no one”.  If you can’t trust, it’s hard to show your “true self”.  It’s hard to take off that mask.

I’m slowly learning to trust Dr. D and Dr. W.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me.  Last week, I tried to cancel my appointment with Dr. D and quit therapy all together.  I made a deal to come that one time.  Ordinarily, I would have hidden how bad things were and just tiptoed around the issues.  But I didn’t.  I sat there and talked through the flashbacks.  Making myself that vulnerable was extremely scary.  And although nothing bad happened, I still want to put that mask on.

Maybe this is a turning point for me.  Maybe it’s okay to drop the mask and let safe people see what’s underneath.

Punishment

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It feels like I could never go a week without getting punished for something.  Those rare times when I brought a bad grade home (spelling assignments, I’m looking at you), it seemed the punishment was more severe.  And I wonder where my extreme perfectionism comes from…

Bringing home a bad grade was my worst nightmare.  It was usually followed by the wooden spoon, no dinner and no books.  The dinner and the books, although crappy, weren’t probably abusive.  I can’t say the same about the wooden spoon.

The hitting was almost always done with my shirt on.  She couldn’t risk leaving any marks.  Sometimes it was the spoon base.  But more often than not, it was the handle end.  In some ways, I preferred the spoon end.  It didn’t sting as bad.  And, in my (probably) distorted view, she seemed to tired out more quickly.

It came to the point, I no longer cried.  I laid there, dejected.  Resigned to my fate.  There was no fighting back.  If anything, tears made it all worse.

Thankfully (I guess) I did well in school except for spelling.  I still can’t spell to save my life.  I’m thankful for the invention of spell check, even if I do still stump it.  So school related wooden spoon contact was rare.  Not that there weren’t numerous other things I was punished for.

Creating a Dialogue With Your Inner Young Child

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Creating a Dialogue With Your Inner Young Child

From: Cathryn L. Taylor M.A. The Inner Child Workbook

 

1. What is her favorite food?

Fried chicken.  But only her grandmother’s chicken.

2. What is the activity she would most like to do?

Read.  She could read all day and all night.

3. Has she done this before? Is so , what happened? If not, ask why.

She reads all the time.  Her favorite book is still Green Eggs and Ham.  But now she can read it on her own.

4. Ask her to tell you about her fear of being blamed and criticized or of doing or saying something wrong.

She is always afraid of doing something wrong.  She’s terrified she’ll bring home a bad mark on a school paper even though she’s only in Kindergarten.  She’s terrified that she’ll be taken to the orphanage for real this time.  She’s afraid of messing up her dances.  She doesn’t want to disappoint Miss R.

5. Does she feel overly responsible? Why?

Always.  B was just born.  She’s supposed to take care of him when mom is drunk.

6. What does she need most from you?

She needs me to understand that she wasn’t a bad kid.  She was a good kid in a bad situation.

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I’m exhausted now.  I’ll try to finish the remaining questions in the near future.

 

 

 

No Rest For the Weary

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Sleep is not coming tonight.  I slept for about 45 minutes and woke up out of a nightmare.  I have extra Trazodone I could use.  But honestly, I don’t really want to sleep.  It brings nothing but pain lately.

Add muscle spasms from hell into the mix.  Can we say fun?

I’m sitting here in the living room and the tears just keep rolling down my face.  This is the first time in a long time that I’ve cried.  Really cried.

I’ve been up for a good two hours.  I think I’ll go downstairs and try to sleep on the couch.  Beds are triggering me like they used to.  I’ll probably bring it up with my psychiatrist when I see her in a week and a half.  I’m sure she’ll basically say therapy (which I’m working on).

I’m half tempted to call mobile crisis because I’m having serious SI urges.  I don’t know if talking to someone will make any difference though.

Okay.  Signing off for the night morning.

Itty Bitty Baby Steps

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After working on it for like a month, I’ve finally called a psychologist.  I tried doing the Psychology Today route.  Too confusing since my insurance is administered by X company, but because it’s Medicaid, people who take X don’t necessarily take my form of X.  Today I worked up the courage to call X company directly and get some names.  I took those names and Googled.  Luckily one of the people specializes in trauma.  I left a message on voice mail.  Thankfully, she’s out of the office until Monday and I can quit stressing over it until then.

Earlier, I saw useless GP.  Remarkably, he wasn’t all that useless today.  I guess it helps if you go in focused and only asking for one med change.  A few weeks ago, I started Couch to 5K.  I messed up my previously messed up ankle.  So after resting for almost a week didn’t do anything I made the appointment.  Now, all of this could have been taken care of last week, but drunk family member fell down in her driveway and I had to take her to the ER and wait around while they scanned her head.  I barely know this person, but nobody else who could do it was around.  I swear, I think I’m going to start using the phrase “Not my monkey.  Not my circus.” around my family.

So I see GP.  He orders an x-ray basically to cover his butt should the 6 weeks of PT he prescribed not work and he wants an MRI.  I guess having a GP who also does sports medicine is handy.  He says I can continue walking, but no more than a half mile or so and no C25K period.

He also gave me a referral to a different rheumatologist to evaluate for seronegative arthritis.  Despite lab results and symptoms and joint pain responding to steroids, current rheumatologist doesn’t think there’s anything else going on aside from fibromyalgia.

Oh, and I get to increase the Vitamin D I’ve been taking because I’m still deficient despite taking a standard 2000 IU a day.

Only other thing is I had a sleep study done.  I wish they’d hurry up and send the results.  I had a split study, where they monitored the first part and then put me on a CPAP machine the second part.  I’m guessing the fact they did the CPAP means I had a significant number of apnea events.

Psychiatrist is being a bit pushy, but I don’t expect less.  She’s ready to call up Company X and go off on them because they want to do her job.  She’s the one pushing therapy.  I think things have lifted a bit because as I said above, I’ve been able to deal with looking into it.  She also wants me to go back to the NAMI group I used to attend.  But I haven’t been there for like 10 years.  There’s a meeting tomorrow night.  But I don’t know.  I guess I’m minimizing things again.  I get all “But it isn’t that bad” all the time, despite evidence to the contrary.

And no, dear psychiatrist, my mother’s voice isn’t going away.  It’s been in my head my entire life.  And no, I’m not psychotic.  I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

A Very Long Day

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I’m so mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.  I started the day with the psychiatrist.  Initial sessions are always long.  Having to go through my history is beyond demanding.  Fighting back tears (and failing miserably) left me drained after the first 30 minutes.  Then she drops the little bomb shell that she thinks I’m psychotics.  I basically told her I respectfully disagree.  Hearing the voice of one of my abusers is more likely a PTSD symptom (PDF) rather than a psychosis symptom.  She wanted to put me on one of the newer antipsychotics.  I told her no.  I absolutely and positively wouldn’t go down that route again.  I gained so much weight on them and they sent my cholesterol sky high.  I don’t need that crap again.  She didn’t seem pleased with my refusal, but it’s my body.  Honestly, it’s not causing me that much distress that I think it needs to be medicated.  I’m quite aware the voice isn’t real and what the origin of it is.  I’m not putting those drugs in my body unless I’m going crazy.  I think they’re overused for things like bipolar, PTSD, ADHD (!) and Autism (!!!).  So, in the end, she upped one of my meds and put me back on Cymbalta for the depression and chronic pain.  Once I’m doing somewhat better, she wants me to get back into therapy.  I’m not against that.  I just need to find someone the energy to find someone.

Then it was to the hospital side to register for blood work and an EKG.  I’m still not 100% certain why she feels she needs the EKG, but whatever.  The nice man filling in from another department was trying to register me into the ER, which is why he couldn’t find the doctors name.  Once that was fixed, I got to the lab where the paperwork was screwed up because my age ended up getting entered as 103.  I don’t even know how that happened.  I got stabbed in the hand, leaving me with a nice little lump and a big old bruise.

Then the fun really began.  Gynecologist time.  I kid you not…  when the nurse took my BP, I almost had a stroke right there given how high it was (190/130) after it being normal (120/80) earlier in the day.  She was pretty alarmed until I told her I was basically sitting there having a panic attack.  The doctor was really nice.  She tried to be as gentle as she could.  It isn’t that easy since my body is a bit weird and I was, well, freaking out.  At least I don’t have to go back for a year, and then only for a quick check, not the full thing.

I’m about to take my meds and go to bed.  I’ve finally gotten myself mostly calmed down.  But I’m exhausted.

Blogging

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I just don’t have the energy to blog.  I nearly freaked out when Dr. P told me to take two showers a day.  I was frank and said it was never going to happen.

I bought a glucose meter.  More often than not, I’m hypoglycemic.  I have Gatorade on hand and a small can of Coke if my sugar really drops.

As before this blog is officially on hold.  This is just an update for those asking.

Red Alert

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So much has happened.  I had an upper endoscopy last Thursday that was a literal nightmare.  The good and bad news is they didn’t find anything.  So I’m still nauseous all the time and have stomach pains.  The doctor didn’t return my call today.  Hopefully he will tomorrow.  I’ve been crying off and on because the whole thing retriggered some of my PTSD issues.  My anxiety has been through the roof.  I guess I should call my GP and see what she has to say.  I’ve been trying to hold onto my sanity until I get back to Daejeon and I can see my psychiatrist there.

Sleep is a joke.  When I do sleep, I feel like I dream constantly.  They aren’t nightmares, per se.  But the people in them are faceless.  It’s really quite creepy.

I’ve been living with high levels of pain since July.  I was hoping it would calm down on its own, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.  Again, I was waiting to get back to Korea to see my rheumatologist, but that’s looking 2-3 weeks off.  I don’t know how much longer I can take pain at this level.  Sleeping hurts, sitting, stand and walking hurt.  Basically, everything hurts.  I guess it’s another reason to call my GP.

I’m worried about going back to work.  I’m worried about the time change and jumping right in to a new school with a curriculum I’ve never seen.  Just the thought of packing overwhelms me.

I’m tired.  I’m anxious.  I’m depressed.  And I hurt.

Sexuality

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I’ve tried for a long time to write this post.  Rationally, I know it’s something I shouldn’t be embarrassed about, but I am.  I feel so different than everyone else.  Again, rationally I know there are other people who feel (or don’t feel as the case may be) the same way I do.  I just don’t know how to go about connecting with them.  I suspect for many it’s a big secret.  I sometimes think it would be easier if I felt attraction for women.  Or men.  Or both.  But I don’t.  I don’t feel anything.  I have no interest in the whole dating, marriage, relationship scene.  If you would ask, I’d say I’d identify as asexual.

I joke around that I watch football (the American kind) just for the huddle and the tight ends.  I find nothing about male butts in tight pants appealing.  I feel as guilty about that as I would about trying to fit into Lesbian culture.

I used to think this was a consequence of the abuse.  That it was a PTSD thing.  But maybe I’m wired this way.  I firmly believe sexuality is more hard wired than environmental.  My brothers are of the same no relationship mindset, but they have a normal sex drive and find women attractive.  I don’t judge their choices and I understand the not wanting relationships.  I think those similarities are enough to point at the toxic environment we grew up in.  But I’m definitely different from then.  Then again, I took the brunt of the abuse, especially from male relatives.

I can hear people out there saying it’s totally understandable to feel the way I do about sex, other people and relationships.  But I can’t help feeling like a freak.  There are so many survivors that go on to have normal relationships, be it with the same or opposite sex.  I can’t even work up the sexual energy to try to see where I might fit in on the spectrum.

I’ve looked at men of all kinds.  I’ve looked at women too.  But I feel nothing.  It’s like there’s a huge part of me missing.  Well, missing according to societal norms.  Maybe I just need to learn to be a little kinder to myself and live with what God gave me.  I know it’s possible to thrive in society without be married.

But honestly, I’m stuck.  I’ll be moving back to Korea and I’ll have the same psychiatrist.  I don’t know if I should bring it up with him or try to find an English speaking therapist (probably easier said than done).  If anyone has words of wisdom, please share them.  I don’t know if it came out, but this really has been bothering me for a long time.