Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

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Telling my story…

November 20, 2013

is not easy. Nor is walking out my healing. There are many who would not understand my story. They would think it too fantastic…to unbelievable. They would not want to believe that such things even happen. Funny thing is…some of those same people will read the Old Testament in the bible and not question for a moment the child sacrifices and pagan practices mentioned there. (For those who are upset that I use the word “pagan”, get over it. That word is used in the bible, so if you don’t like it, take it up with G-d. I mean no offense.)

In addition to not being able to fully share my story, there is the fact that I still have to deal with what I dub “trauma” brain and PTSD. I kept thinking I was getting better and then things would happen that would seem to throw me backward. Now, the reality is that I AM better on so many levels. But my other reality, as I have been discovering over the past 6 – 8 years, is that abuse in childhood results in the brain developing differently than the brain of a child who is not abused. I have a whole page dedicated to articles on that topic. Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain  Most of the articles are technical and deal with medical studies. There does not seem to be much in the way of practical information on how to heal from this or live with this. So, I do the best I can.

There are some things I have noticed. One thing is that the PTSD leaves me very vulnerable to “over”reacting to stress. In other words, I cannot handle the same stresses that a non-PTSD person can handle. What might be merely an annoyance or discomfort for someone else can result in my insides shaking like crazy. The intensity can be huge. I also have flashbacks that are sometimes so strong that I want to rock back and forth to deal with all that energy.

It can be very challenging for me to be out and about as I never know what will hit or when. I can be at the store or on the road when, all of a sudden, I just want to be home…NOW. It diminishes over time, that is, until I get hit with some other life event that knocks me for a loop. Then I feel as if I am thrown back to square one. For a long time, I thought I should be able to fix this…I just need enough therapy or counseling. But that won’t fix a biological problem. Even the PTSD has a biological tie-in and is connected to the trauma brain…seeing as how the same things caused both.

Between trauma brain (which affects how memories are stored and retrieved) and PTSD (which leaves me more vulnerable to life’s stresses ), day-to-day living can be very interesting…to say the least. Oh, and did I mention that I am also rather amnesic? Yep, I am missing all but a handful of memories of ten years of my younger sister living with our family and a whole host of other things in my growing up years and some of my adult life. Some of it may be missing due to improper storage or non-storage because of trauma brain. Some of it is repressed. Some of it may be hidden behind the cloud of dissociation.

At least I now know that there is precious little I can do about a lot of this other than to pray and just keep pushing forward, one day at a time. I used to think there was something I was neglecting.

Ever since my son was arrested, I have been struggling a lot more than usual…a lot. I am forgetting things…or as one doctor once told me…I am probably not forgetting them, I am simply not recording them. I find myself oftentimes leaving things unfinished as I get so easily distracted. I cannot focus as well. Food gets burned. I leave things out in recipes (not often, thankfully, as I have really been working on checking my recipes multiple times while cooking).

Even before his arrest, I was noticing flashbacks, but my ability to handle them is diminished. Too much added stress, I think. I see things and can feel the stress inside starting to skyrocket, so instead of going through that door or down that tunnel to see what is there…what memory is trying to surface…I find myself pushing it away.

Anyway, that is life for me right now. Or at least some of it. I feel overwhelmed. I cannot call people I want to call. I am just making it through each day and trying not to feel guilty for not being “better” than I am. Yeah, I know this is not my fault and largely out of my control, but the rest of the world does not understand and that is what makes it hard. I so want to look “normal” to others because I don’t want to have to tell my story to them. But the reality is that, sooner or later, I need to tell at least a part of it. Maybe…just maybe…they will understand.

To all my friends that I am not calling. I am sorry. It is just beyond me right now and has been for quite a while. I was hoping things would calm down by now…but they are not. In fact, the family situation just keeps getting worse and I am fighting against the effects of it.

I don’t have the energy to proofread this. I hope it turned out OK.

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More Resources…

July 31, 2013

I am amazed at how much more information there is out there on how abuse affects the brain than there was only about 10 years ago. Back then you could hardly find anything…or at least anything for the lay person. Now, I see all kinds of articles and studies. There is more understanding of how the brain works and how memory is affected…lots of good information. I hope it helps someone.

I have updated my Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page once again.  It looks like this will be an ongoing thing as more and more research is done. I hope that I will also see start seeing a lot of articles on successful healing and how the lives of survivors are made better.

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So, what’s new?

April 12, 2013

I am determined to lose the weight I have gained. How’s that for a goal? I think I am finally in the right mindset to do it. As I watch what is going on in my country and in the world in light of the scriptures, I am thinking I really need to get more fit.

Here is another goal. Continuing to write my jailed son. Yep…jailed. He has not been to trial, but is most likely facing life. Just writing the words stirs up all kinds of emotions. I am so tired emotionally right now. Our only form of communication is hard copy letters. It is difficult to really assess where he is inside. Is he telling me what he himself really wants to believe? Is he telling me he wants me to believe? What is real? Only time will tell. Each letter to him takes days to write…days of praying and thinking. Then it suddenly comes together and I write…and rewrite…and edit some more.

I cannot let my life go on hold because of what he has done. Neither can I just ignore it. His family is affected by all this…horribly. We are not physically close, nor are we especially close in any other way. I have given my son and his wife lots of space. The last thing I want is to be the “mother-in-law” that everyone dreads. Now, I need to draw closer, at least to my grandchildren. My daughter-in-law (whom I do love) is just living day-to-day and hour to hour. The challenges she has are huge and I am not there to be able help.

I am still adjusting to honoring Shabbat. Bit by bit, I get it more and more. It is becoming a time I look forward to setting aside during my week.

I ran across a post about dealing with Mental Illness in the “church”. I am going to reblog it because I feel it is a very important subject…one that really needs to be looked at.

That is it…for now. My brain is mush, but I wanted to get something in writing out here. I know how concerned I get when I don’t hear from someone in a while and I don’t want others to get concerned about me.

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What Is Healing?

March 16, 2013

When I first started out on this last leg of my healing journey…the awareness of DID and the realization of some of what had happened to me (which was an “aha-now I understand” time)…I had an idea in mind of what healing looked like. For me, it meant that my hard work (with G-d’s help) was somehow going to reverse all that had been done to me and there would be a complete merging which I called “integration”. I looked at it like a broken bone or a sickness. I wanted to be restored to the condition prior to the break of illness…or to be made even better. After all, they say a broken bone that heals is stronger in the area of the break and will never break exactly there again. I wanted to be like pre-DID and trauma.

Looking back, I would have to say that I was pretty naive, but not in a bad way. I believed what I needed to believe in order to start the journey and do what needed to be done. There were things I did not yet understand about DID and how abuse affects the brain. There were also implications in my view of healing that I did not fully think through…implications that would later change my view of healing…and again…not in a bad way.

Initially, my goal was simply to work on whatever needed to be worked. If I needed to face a memory…so be it. If I needed to reach out to an insider…so be it. Whether it was writing, listening, sharing, art…I did it. I believed that if I just kept doing what I was doing that integration/merging would occur naturally. It would not have to be forced. And it pretty much did happen that way. As I focused on healing, integration and merging seemed to happen almost seamlessly and without any real effort. Some of it happened in huge chunks during several days I spent with a counselor at her home. I stayed with her twice and through days of prayer and working with insiders massive amounts of integration/merging happened.

Over time, I came to realize that not all of healing is as simple as that. Now, I believe that a huge part of healing is to simply live my life…enjoying it as best I can…and seeing the beauty around me in addition to seeing what is evil in the world. I walk in the Spirit of the Creator, trusting Him to show me whatever I need to see and to help me with whatever I need help with. He has always been my greatest Healer…my best therapist. And He has helped me see that my idea of what healing looks like was very faulty.

I know the Creator can do anything and I believe He could even make it like nothing had happened…but that is not real. Like so many others, I had to come to terms with a childhood I simply never had. It was not just a matter of putting the brain back to how it was originally created. All my childhood experiences shaped and affected my brain. Removing the effects of the negative experiences does not replace them with the positive effects of the good things that never happened!

I also realized that all those things that did happen a part of what make who I am today. And even with all my foibles and what I perceive as “weakness” and “brokenness”, I am a pretty awesome person. I am a walking miracle and I am doing pretty darn good considering all I have been through. So, part of healing is also accepting imperfect functionality.

So…maybe…healing is not about restoration (like a broken leg). Maybe it is more about learning to live as I am and celebrating the me I have become and the me I am becoming. Maybe it is more about giving myself the freedom to enjoy life now…without guilt and with less and less impact coming from the past. It is about accepting imperfect functionality. (What is “perfect”, anyway?) It is about learning not to compare myself to others…not my abilities, my weaknesses or my strengths. Every one of us has abilities of some kind; we just don’t all have the same ones. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths, regardless of how healed or broken we are. It is about not comparing my healing journey to another’s. We all walk on different paths.

I know I still have more to learn, but I carry one thing with me on my learning/healing journey…one very important thing. I know the Creator of all things and I know who I am in my Creator. I know I can trust Him to continue to lead me. Whatever is ahead, He will help me to face it.

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22 Faces — Jenny Hill and Judy Byington

January 24, 2013

22 Faces is a fairly new site dealing with Satanic Ritual Abuse. It shares the story of Jenny Hill, the only known survivor of an intended sacrifice victim. The goal of the book written about Jenny’s life and the website is to offer information about ritual abuse and to offer support and hope to survivors in the form of several resources.

I am always wary when someone approaches me to share their site or services, as Judy Byington did. I have experienced enough of people not being what they present themselves to be. Or simply of them not being altogether altruistic. I really try hard not to let my nightmare experiences with some therapists online keep me from putting good resources out there. So, here is 22 Faces.

I do not know Judy Byington or Jenny Hill. I have no personal knowledge, good or bad, about them. However, when I read what happened to them on Dr. Phil, I was not surprised. What he did to them is, sadly, very common among “talk show” people. They are not interested in the truth, but in ratings. I watched the clips they showed on Dr. Phil’s site and felt very unsettled. I was uncertain what to believe.  After reading Jenny’s “Open Letter to Dr. Phil” and now Judy’s “Dr. Phil — The Rest of the Story”, I am disgusted. I have read of such things happening to others I know so I have no reason but to believe their take on things, especially since I saw hints of it even in the clips Dr. Phil has on his site. It took courage to approach him and go on his show. Shame on him for the way he treated them!

Below are links to 22 Faces and to their responses to what happened to them on Dr. Phil. Read them and judge for yourself. There is also a letter on their site from another therapist who has worked with clients who have DID/MPD which I have linked to on my “What is SRA?” page.

22 Faces

Jenny Hill’s Open Letter to Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil — The Rest of the Story

 

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More Articles on the Effects of Trauma on the Body

December 28, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood

 

Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins

 

Factors underlying variable DNA methylation in a human community cohort

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Healing in the midst of living…

December 5, 2012

Healing can be hard when you also have to focus on living. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go someplace safe where our physical needs were met and there were safe knowledgeable people who could support us and walk with us as we face our pasts and work toward our futures? It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Oh, how nice that would be.

The reality, though, is that most of us do not have anything even close to that. We take snippets of time here and bits of space there and try to sort through what is happening to us…attempting to make sense of the experiences that are rocking our world. We have any combination of families and loved ones to take care of,  jobs to tend to , classes to take, sick ones to nurse. And somehow, in the busyness of life, we try to heal.

There are so many things I had to learn about how to heal without taking a vacation from regular life. Recognizing and accepting my limitations goes a long way…instead of fighting them. When I feel overwhelmed or like I am pushing against a wall, I find it is better to take five to ten minutes and go hole up in the bedroom (or some other safe alone place) than to try to keep on slugging through it. Just taking those few minutes to breathe and refocus helps so much.

What about when I cannot leave or don’t have the option to be alone? I try to find an opportunity to close my eyes for a few seconds or minutes. Or, if that would be seen, perhaps I can sit somewhere just outside of the conversation zone and just sort of “tune out”  for a minute or two. Letting my mind wander, or even just listen to other conversations without taking part in them can really help.

How do I extricate myself when I find I am engaged with someone? Go to the bathroom. Seriously, if I am at someone else’s house, I can quietly excuse myself and then take my time getting back…a reasonable amount of time, of course, as I don’t want to be rude. When I come back out, I do not have to go back to the same conversation, especially if there are scattered groups around the room or house. I can go get a breath of fresh air or even just sit in another room for a minute or two…just long enough to not be considered rude. If someone notices and asks, I can just say that I needed a moment to sort of clear my mind and/or just soak up the wonderful atmosphere of the event. Or I was just taking a moment to feel appreciation for all my friendships…or whatever other creative thing I can come up with. And, of course, because I always want to be as truthful as I can, I make sure that I actually do something suitable for the environment and the people and go with it.

Being able to take good care of myself when I am feeling stressed goes a long way toward my healing. It helps to keep me from slipping backward. And when I do get some precious alone time to work on my healing, I don’t have to spend it decompressing. I am ready to jump in because I have been dealing with the day-to-day stresses as I go along.

Sometimes, though, I do need that alone time to simply relax…or to simply not have to answer to, or be responsible for, another person. It might even be a good time to take the phone off the hook. Or take a nap. Or just do something I find difficult to do when others are around. I work on doing as much as I can when I am not alone so that I can be most productive for my healing and personal growth when I am alone.

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