Posts Tagged ‘triggers’

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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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Updated Page…

December 3, 2012

I updated my “Abuse and the Brain” page. It is now called “Abuse, Trauma & the Brain” and I added two more articles at the bottom.

These two articles deal with soldiers who have PTSD. Why do some have it and some don’t? They are beginning to study these soldiers lives PRIOR to going into battle to see if there is a clue there. It appears, so far, that it is possible that those who develop PTSD in combat actually already have it. They have had traumatic experiences that caused them to have some symptoms of PTSD prior to the military, symptoms which subsided a bit while in combat, but then came back with a vengeance even worse afterward.

I have to say that my personal experiences seem to bear this out. I have difficulty watching videos that have intense scenes in them. I used to be able to “handle” it when I had to, but it is still there. You would think that, with all the healing I have experienced that it would be better and, in some ways, I so seem to be better able to handle it. However, in some ways it is worse.

I think  my age and the fact that I no longer have the strong young body that could take the stress and bounce back faster is a factor. I simply don’t have as much energy for the “fight”, so I try to be careful about what I expose myself to. A little bit of nervousness (like when I am going to sing) can turn into a raging shakiness that almost incapacitates me. I feel things to the extreme and I believe it is due (at least in large part) to how my brain developed because of all the earlier trauma.

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Thinking back…

August 14, 2012

In between preparing for another year of home schooling and a potential huge change in our living situation, I have been thinking about why I was so triggered the other day. I think I know why.

There are some who interpret scripture in such a way as to say that an abused wife must stay with her husband…that is is G-d’s will for her to do so! The scriptures they use to “justify” this position are not really saying that at all.

It is really frustrating when people take English translations and make dogmas out of them not realizing that there is no precise translation from one language to another. Word for word is impossible and, sometimes, even thought for thought is a real challenge. You have to take so many things into consideration. The author. The audience. The culture. The language. The idioms. The style of writing. The style of expression. How the author likely meant it and how it would have been understood by the reader/listener.

What is even harder is when I run into someone who is unwilling to even hear about these things. They simply want it to say what they want it to say. The idea that they might be wrong is simply not acceptable to them. They do not want their “world” to be shaken. And I can understand that…I truly can. I have had some major paradigm shifts in my own understanding of G-d and the scriptures. And there was a time when my self-confidence, my self-image, was very dependent upon my being “correct”. But sooner or later we need to mature and grow and heal so that we can truly say, “Show me the Truth, L-rd. Show me the Truth!”…even when it is something that is uncomfortable…something I do not like or really want to see.

While these people are annoying, that is not what was so triggering. It was the idea that an abused wife should stay with her husband…that she has no real recourse. That makes the woman (and, potentially, her children) trapped in a situation that will only perpetuate the abuse on to the next generation if it is not stopped. It also has to potential to damage the children’s relationship with, and understanding of, G-d.

Children tend to view G-d in the same way they view their fathers, which is not surprising given that G-d presents Himself as a “Father”, even though G-d actually has no gender or has even both. We are made in His image…male and female. When children are abused in the home it tends to cloud their image of G-d. When they are abused in the church, or by church people, or in the “name of G-d” (which is a lie, for G-d does not approve of abuse), children tend to get confused about the nature and character of G-d…and understandably so.

I had scriptures used against me by my abusers. My father quoted the commandment to honor my parents to me…while either not understanding what “honor” really means…or understanding and simply being manipulating. I was even an adult at the time! Oh, I have been accused of breaking a few commandments. I have had spirituality used against me by church leaders. And I have had spirituality used in very healing ways.

But back to being triggered. I think it was the idea of the woman being trapped…no way out…no recourse…no support. Now way to turn…no where to run. When someone tells me that, it is very difficult to not view that person as either an abuser currently, or a non-abuser who would turn a deaf ear and blind eye, or a potential future abuser. You see, this kind of belief gives the husband a kind of power that I do not believe G-d ever intended in His word. And we know what a lot of power can do to some people. I shudder to think of it.

I believe that the triggering is a form of emotional flashback. I was thrown back, in essence, to the time when I felt trapped…whether as a child or an adult…to a time when I felt helpless and hopeless. Thankfully, that is no longer my life, but I sure can get triggered and thrown back into that emotional state.

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Today…

October 16, 2010

…it is one foot in front of the other. I went out to get the oil changed on the van…for free! When I came back I really did not want to get out, but I did. I still have lots to do today…my checkbook, the bills, working on something for the house.

I was shaky when I got here this morning, but as I read and responded to comments, things started to calm down a bit inside. Now I am taking a few minutes to write before going outside to help with something.

People say that I am courageous. That always takes me by surprise. I guess I just don’t see anything I do as being courageous so much as it is what I need to get by. But I think I do get it. There was a time when I was afraid to put anything out here. It has taken time to get to the point where I can write what I write as openly as I do. So, yeah…maybe I get it. But I still am not sure I am all that courageous. I see other survivors doing things that I cannot imagine doing. I think THEY are courageous!

My body is flooded with emotional flashbacks. It is difficult to think straight…yet I must. It is times like these when it is the most difficult. There is no place to just go hide out for a while. Plus, when there are things that need to be done…well…they need to be done. I have already left so many things undone because I just could not do them. But I cannot leave everything there…as much as I would like to at times.

Sometimes I just wish I could go someplace safe and shut down. No responsibilities. Nobody needing me…for ANYthing! Just rest and healing. Like a retreat. I used to have a contemplative style retreat every year…just Yahweh and me. I have not had one since 2005. Oh, how I miss it.

As for mom…more on her later. Still no further word from her.

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So…

July 28, 2010

OK…sorry that I am not responding to comments right now. I AM reading them. I am just overwhelmed? Your comments…your caring…mean SO much right now…you have NO idea!

Is it OK to cry now? I know I did earlier…outside…alone. Now my guys are gone for the evening and I am truly alone. Can I cry now? Again? I don’t know.

I know things are on the crux of getting better. We are just about to step over the edge into something better…or at least that is the goal that has been presented to us. By the end of August, he said…that is what he was shooting for. So…while we are approaching the edge of something good…I feel as if I am walking so close to the edge myself…emotionally.

I am glad that I cried earlier. It was good to cry. But this is not over. I have been walking the edge for quite a while…just holding it together. Actually…truly…my Abba is holding me together. I am fighting…but only in His strength. I just could not do this without Him.

I know I am rambling…and maybe not really writing all that coherently…but I just need to write. I need to express. I really need a safe place to process pain. Hubby actually offered to take me to the hospital today when I lost it and told him that my PTSD is soaring. I told that a hospital is NOT what I need. He does not understand what they would do to me there…in addition to the expense with no coverage. I doubt they would even take me anyway. I am not suicidal. I don’t self harm. I am just very beside myself.

I need my online friends more than ever. I need support from those who understand…those who have been through the tough stuff…even if it is not exactly like what I have been through.

I hurt.

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Un-Mother’s Day…Might Trigger

May 9, 2010

Today is Mother’s Day. It is a day of cards and flowers and cute poems about sweet mothers. If you grew up with a sweet mother that is fine. But what if your mother was not so sweet? Or worse…what if your mother was an abuser?

For years…even before I started remembering some things, I would struggle around Mother’s Day. I would read card after card trying to find something that I could honestly give her. I looked for things that simply wished her a nice day. When I would read cards about how wonderful mom was and how she was always there for me, I would just about choke.

I made this today for all those for whom “Mother’s Day” is NOT a joyful day…for those for whom it is a day filled with painful remembering and longing for the mother they wish they had and never did. It is for those who are still trying to heal from the wounds inflicted by their mothers. It is not really meant to send so much as it is to express a truth that you do not see expressed in the greeting card store.

I understand that my mother was wounded herself. I get that. She did what she was trained to do…and so did I. Then, by the grace of G-d, I broke free.  I hope that she breaks free someday, too. In the meantime, she does not seem to want anything to do with me.

This card…although I, personally, would never send it to her, speaks the truth.  I left it as a small thumbnail because it might be triggering to some people. However, if you click on it, you will see a larger image.

I hope that those of you who have been abused find peace. I hope you keep working on your healing and never give up. Don’t let your abusers win! Heal…in spite of them!

Oh…and Father’s Day is coming. I’ll be thinking about that one, too.

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Wiped out…

May 5, 2010

I am wiped out…emotionally and mentally exhausted. Tomorrow morning I have to get up early and I am dragging myself around trying to put on a happy face…or at least an “I’m OK” face. Not sure is is working very well.

I feel almost paralyzed. Someone I love…someone I used to be very close to…is so changed that I am grieving. He was a dear friend…someone who understood multiplicity…someone who was instrumental in some of healing earlier on. But that person no longer seems to be around and hasn’t for a while.

He is there physically…but all of our communications are awkward…whether via phone…or email…IM. It does not matter…he just does not seem to hear me anymore and sometimes I cannot understand what he means. He has said and done things that have closed  off my ability to really open up my heart to anymore. Oh…I love him. That has not changed. But trying to communicate with him is high stress for me now and has been for a few years. It is time to accept that the person I knew and interacted with isn’t coming back…not without a miracle. I am tired of hoping, though.

My living situation is stretching me to the max. The stress levels are soaring and a neighbor and his fence thing was just like the catalyst for the breaking of the tear dam. I find myself fighting tears off and on every day. There are so many things in my life being effected by our situation…hubby’s unemployment…the tiny living space…no privacy, etc. And through it all…the old messages keep wanting to play.

I had a dream the other night that really reflects how I feel about some things…but I am too wiped out to try and put it here. I did start to type it up in Word and then added to the printout. Maybe tomorrow I can edit the doc and copy it into here. I don’t know. I am just not doing well.

I am safe, though…so no worries. I made that decision about 9 years ago. I am just beside myself. Of course…only a multiple can TRULY be beside him/herself. *wink* Yeah…see…no matter what…gotta keep the sense of humor…right? Right.

I don’t know what I am doing. There is a couple I have sort of come to know…a home schooling pastor and his wife…that keep coming to mind when I think of 3d support. It is scary to be open…but I am trying to see if they would be OK with meeting with me every week or two for a while. I just need someone I can talk to about what is going on…someone to listen…someone non-judgmental that I can share my history with. This couple knows me well enough to know I am not a crackpot. In fact, I have been there for them in some ways. But this is asking a lot. I am not in their congregation. I don’t live really close…in fact, I am not even sure I can figure out the gas thing. I need to at least be able to afford the gas to go see them.

I don’t know. I just know that I am facing stuff and I am really trying to hold on. They are supposed to be putting in a foundation so they can build a house shell so that we can have some ROOM…some DESPERATELY NEEDED ROOM!!!! I am trying to hold on…and deal with PTSD…and grieve. Grieve. Grieve. Grieve.

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