Tag Archives: PTSD

Body Memories Suck!

Today was my 3hr session, and it always amazes me how emotionally exhausting it can be. Tonight the emotional hangover sets in and I begin the process of dissecting what took place.  My teenager arrived first thing, which means she drives us there and starts the session. We discovered she had a relapse this morning, which makes me sad for her.  After doing so well for the past 2 weeks, it was a struggle to cope with the things she had shared during Tuesday’s session.

I certainly was not upset with her, she did what she felt was necessary.  I wasn’t sure what was going to take place in today’s session, but once again, I was blindsided. I had noticed a bruise on the upper part of my leg this morning, in the shower. Surprisingly, I seemed puzzled by how it happened.  My teenager talked about how difficult it was to see me so upset and feel responsible after Tuesday. My T spent quality time talking with her about forgiveness, grace, and that letting go of the things, we try so hard to hide, only hurts us in the end. She responded very well.

….enter the blindside….                    ****TRIGGER WARNING****

She said that I noticed a bruise and she wanted to tell me what had happened to cause it to appear.  She began to shake, almost to the point that seemed uncontrollable.  I could feel it as well, and hear what she was saying.  I was thankful for her allowing me to listen from the beginning, but I knew it was going to be difficult.  My T moved beside her, covered her with a blanket, and reassured her that she was safe. She began sharing about the night I got engaged (college boyfriend, who raped me and later on I returned to the relationship unaware, because of my DID, that he was abusive) to a guy who I didn’t really love.  It was the worst proposal ever!  He was at my family home, waiting for me to return from a conference.  He handed the ring to me while I was opening the cabinet to get a glass, and said, “I thought you may want this so we could make it official.”  Really?? Not even on one knee?  No expression of your love and dedication?  Nope, none, zilch, nada!

My equally abusive parents were in the next room, sitting in their usual chairs, watching TV, when I walked in to say, “I’m engaged.”  They didn’t move, hug me, take a picture, congratulate us, nothing!  They said, “Ya, we heard.”  What??? I’m I in some sort of freaking nightmare?  Wow, could it get any worse?  Oh ya!

At some point I dissociated and headed to bed.  Apparently, I was unaware that he had to stay at our home, since he lived 4 hours away.  My teenage part began to share that he forced her/me to have sex and caused the bruising on my legs.  As she shared more, she continued to shake the entire time, wondering why she couldn’t “go away” and why he was so rough and mean.  The automatic body responses followed and she began to cry and asking for my T to explain what happened.

I wanted to wrap my arms around her, hold her tight, and tell her everything was going to be okay. My T was so good at calming her down, making her feel safe and cared for in that very moment. When I returned to the present, I broke down and sobbed. I asked if I was ever going to be normal again, if this was ever going to end, and why did my parts and myself, have to go through all this suffering.  My T must have been crying as well, which is so comforting and validating (in a caring way).

Honestly, I don’t know how any T could hear these kinds of events in clients’  lives  and not have some type of reaction.  They are strong and courageous people, who have a unique and special gift to work with trauma victims. May God bless them and the work they do!

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After about 20 minutes of tears, hugs, and prayer, I was able to gather my thoughts  and talk through what I had just heard.  I took a break and went to the bathroom, and noticed that my other leg had a bruise in about the same location as my other leg.  I knew that it had happened during my teenager reliving a traumatic event and going through the emotions associated with them to hopefully heal and move forward. My T had explained to her before I was present, that it is a process called abreaction. This process gives clients a way to release their unconscious pain and escape from the memories and feelings that have kept them from moving forward.

I hate body memories, reactions, and overwhelming emotions…and this week has been record breaking in all those areas.  Ugh!  This is the time where I would want someone to walk in, give me a plane ticket for two, to a beach, on an island, where my hubby and me would be catered to for a whole week. Ahhhhh sounds perfect!  But for now, I’m going to bed, asking God for at least 4 solid hours of sleep, and trusting that tomorrow will be a new and better day!

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Sliding down slowly

Tonight I have felt this overwhelming emotion that vacillates from anger to hurt (sadness), I hate feeling like this and would like it to end.  Since my Friday session, the feelings have amplified to a level I’m not comfortable sustaining.  My insides feel like they are on fire, rage at the peak of the feelings and then back to this sadness.

The things I’ve put together, things that have piled one on top of another until it hurts to breathe, seem really stupid.  I wonder if it’s because it all feels so familiar, this feeling of betrayal, and being lied to about things.  In the past, I would want a part of me to take this anger and run with it, do what needs to be done.  Only because when I try to feel it, it gets messy and the sadness wells up within me.

When you trust people (which is extremely difficult), you think they won’t ever hurt you, whether it be on purpose, or they’re completely unaware they hurt you.  The latter of the two is what has happened in my case.  Good people, who care about me, have hurt me without knowing.  Although I realize it is inevitable, people hurt people…that is life.  It would be ludicrous to think otherwise!  Now what??

What does a person do with this?  Do I tell them, even if it seems completely absurd, and I know it wasn’t intentional? Why put myself through the painful emotions of saying it out loud?  Yes, they are my feelings, I own them, I feel them (damn it), so maybe I’m justified in feeling them??  They don’t feel good, on the contrary, they feel wrong, bad, and unworthy of having to care about them.

However, here is the problem with shutting down, isolating, numbing, and blah, blah, blah. In my limited, restricted circle of trusted people, this affects 2 of the 5.  One being my therapist, and the other my closest, dearest friend. And if I were a betting individual, which I am not, I would bet the farm they have no idea…and therein lies the problem.

My current “thinking” is not go to bible study tomorrow (isolate), cancel my therapy session (what’s the point), and withdraw from my circle of support (protection).  Makes sense in my mind, and yet it makes zero sense.

How did I end up here?  Where did this all go awry? I want to go to bed and wake up normal, no DID, no PTSD, no Mental Illness, no Depression, nothing!  Where did the person go who used to be strong, adequate, empowered, driven, successful, with things in order?  I want that girl back!  Where are you…..

“Search and Rescue”

Friday therapy was not what I had planned or expected, but generally, therapy never goes as I have planned.  One of the many things I love about my therapist is that we don’t always go with the obvious.  God always directs the sessions, she follows that lead, and it is always the best thing…even though it seems unexpected.  Don’t get me wrong, most times she has a plan, but we trust when God shows her/us a different path.

We thought we would discuss the harmful behaviors that my teenage part, Kat has been exhibiting.  The drinking, smoking and cutting seem to be at the forefront.  The bulimia isn’t as bad right now, and I’m so thankful.  I usually feel the after affects of the drinking and smoking.  I don’t know when it happens, I’m usually nauseated  and have a headache. It’s still so strange to me that this happens, and I’m unaware. I hope she can find ways to cope other than doing these things.

Friday, however, was dominated by another teenage part, I’ll call B.  She is our system protector, bad ass, leader, and very direct. She hates to “talk” about her abuse, and the part she played in protecting me from an abusive relationship I had in and out of college. She works well with D (my therapist), they have mutual respect for each other, and a unique friendship. D depends on B to fill her in if my community is struggling on the inside.  She is loyal and honest, but won’t say things that aren’t “her place” to say.

She and I have been experiencing some pain (body memories) because of an upcoming anniversary date of abuse.  I hate that these are difficult times of the year for my parts.  I know as we go through therapy and as the years pass, they will be easier.  Although this memory was discussed prior to Friday, it was a place B was stuck.  She told D that God promised to provide a way out, when we experience difficulty.  D said that He also said we must go through things to get to the other side of the healing.

As she shared about the memory, we realized that she literally felt stuck there, and felt as though she couldn’t get out.  D has done, what I call, “search and rescue” with my younger parts.  When they have shared their stories of abuse, they always feel like it is still happening in real time.  D always reminds them, they are not there, and are safe.  Several times as they share, she tells them she is coming to get them out, to take her hand, and they will never return again.  It’s an amazing thing to listen and be a part of, I don’t always get to “participate” though.  When I do, it is difficult for me to hear, because really, that was me.  I learn to have compassion for them and then for myself later on.

Anyway, Friday turned into sharing a painful memory, horrific events of abuse, and needing to be rescued from that event. D came in, searched for B, and she walked her “through the house to find her”, when D got there, she had words for my abuser, put her arm around B, and rescued her from that stuck place.  She tried so hard to be strong and tough, like usual, but it was too much to endure.  Here is where I feel like having a therapist that gets what needs to happen, is so important with DID. She isn’t afraid to get on the floor, or sit beside, sing a song, pray, swear, hug, color, hold onto, or whatever it takes and then model healthy relationships, not only for me, but my parts.

Of course, who doesn’t want their mom in times like this…but that isn’t possible for me.  I grieve it many, many times.  I know it is something I will never have, and it pisses me off, but God does provide other’s in my life to nurture, support and love me.  My amazing husband, sons, my 3 closest friends and even my therapist. It is all learning healthy attachments.  Not easy in the beginning to trust someone with all this, but I am blessed to have D modeling what it should have looked like and how I can become healthy in that area.

Some day when this therapy thing is over…I would love to have coffee with D and talk about life events, she is so wise, kind, spirit-filled and fun. That isn’t going to happen now, but maybe someday.  I’m 46 years old, I wish I had things I don’t, can’t, and won’t, but I can have others in my life, that God has so graciously given me instead.  I know many with DID, PTSD or trauma related issues have unhealthy attachments with their therapist.  I’m thankful that I don’t have that, I’m sure in the beginning it was a normal feeling.  I read some research that said 98% of those of us without a nurturing, loving, and caring parent, find ourselves struggling with these attachment issues with our therapist. Especially if she is female and we didn’t have a mother figure. D has set healthy boundaries for a working therapeutic relationship, she has encouraged friendships with my parts, and has helped me be a mother figure to them. I’m not good at it but she models how healthy relationships look and work.

The plain and simple truth is, only God, and Him alone, can and will fill the painful hole that is left by a missing parent, in my case, my mom.  He provides for us, if we ask, and He will give us immeasurably more than we could ever ask or dare imagine.  He did it for me, and He can do it for you!

My therapy ended with a nap in the vacant office, and a major cry.  Both were needed and necessary.  And today, I feel like we had a huge step forward, a win for the team, and peace.

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Inner dialogue

self talkAs all of us with DID know, we have constant inner dialogue happening-whether we are aware or not, whether we accept it or not, and whether we desire it or not!  Sometimes we can shut it out, and other times it’s all we hear.  It is a component of who we are and how we function.  In the beginning we think everyone has this kind of dialogue happening too. And it’s always shocking when we find out, oh, it’s just us!

This past week has been some of the hardest, no, it has been the single, most difficult work, I have attempted. Since beginning my therapy 3 years ago, the last 2 years being intensive, I can honestly say, no one could have prepared me for what I was about to go through.  Like those of us with DID, PTSD, OCD, eating disorders, traumas, abuse, etc…. there is no, one “fix all” to use.

Learning about sexual abuse was hard, learning about it happening to me, even harder, then learning that one of the times involved my dad…unbearable.  I’m still not doing well with this new information.  I’m trying to care for the part of me that endured it, but at the same time, realizing it was me, and having to deal with that as well- it’s been excruciating.  I feel like I’m failing at both ends.  I feel shame, disgust, dirty, bad, defective, sad, very sad, hurt, angry…..you get the idea.  When will it stop?  Will I ever be okay?  Am I even getting better?  I want to run away, hide, never get out of bed, isolate, numb…..Ahhhhhhhh

Then today, I was reminded of this psalm that was given to me before I left my job and began the intense work 2 years ago.

Psalm 13~ A psalm of David.

Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.

 

David is pleading with God, asking the question I have asked God so many, thousands, of times- HOW LONG?  But even in the depth of his cry to God, David, like me (most days) hangs on every word of verses 5 and 6!  BUT, you know there is always a BUT!  But I will trust your unfailing love!  God’s love is unfailing, unchanging, unconditional and unending.  You are His beloved, prized possession and He has a wonderful purpose for your life, despite where you find yourself today.

When people look down upon us, God doesn’t see what they see. He knows the end from the beginning and He uses everything in our life to restore, redeem, make you whole, and put you back together again.  The struggle, difficulty, trial, setback, and loss will one day be a testimony.

I’m truly blessed and beyond grateful for my therapist, who knows so much about DID.  I am abundantly blessed with an incredible husband of 25 years, and my boys.  My husband constantly loves, supports and encourages each part of me, he calls them “his girls”…except for the two boys. 🙂  I have wonderful friends, who have walked along side me and my family.  Love you all!

Celebrate the Small Stuff

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Today I am celebrating, what I would call, a small victory!  It has been a whole day since I’ve binged/purged or cut.

Whew!  I said it, that wasn’t so bad, right?  I hate admitting to things, because it makes me feel bad, corrupt, or not good.  Especially when I’m not fully aware of them happening.

I have learned many things along this journey with DID, PTSD, Depression, Eating Disorder, Addictions, and a Survivor of Abuse…

  • Don’t Quit-Keep Going
  • Persevere
  • Fight
  • Rest
  • Pray
  • Trust
  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love
  • Believe in Yourself

I am sure there are many more, but you get the idea.  This reminds me of the verses in Philippians 3:12-14:

 12″I have not yet received all these things. I have not yet reached my goal. Christ Jesus took hold of me so that I could reach that goal. So I keep pushing myself forward to reach it. 13 Brothers and sisters, I don’t consider that I have taken hold of it yet. But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. 14 I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.

Now, before anyone gets upset about the line that says, “I forget what is behind me.”  Paul, is talking about his own past that God had forgiven.  He had done horrible things, and was washed clean, forgiven, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

I, however, look it from my own perspective and think of the verse this way… I do not want to be controlled by my past! I won’t forget, I can forgive, but I don’t want any of it to have control over me any longer. So, I push forward toward what is ahead…healing, freedom, wholeness.

God no longer holds my sins against me, because His Son paid for that on the cross.  He has forgotten all my transgressions, when I accepted the gift of His Son.  So, then why should I continue to beat myself up over the wrong things I’ve done?  He doesn’t want me to be controlled by my past wrongs. And I believe, equally, He doesn’t want me to be controlled by the things that were done to me.  He wants me to learn from my own personal mistakes. Also, He has taught me that the wrongs, sins, mistakes, and abuse of others was NOT my fault.

This is a new year, fresh start, new beginnings, whatever you want to call it in 2016.  I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead!  God is making all things new and I am following Him forward in 2016!

Thank you- to ALL of you- who have shown me so much in this short time while on this blog.  Your courage, strength, honesty, perseverance and encouragement has been a true blessing to me.  I am grateful to each of you, even though we have never met.  We share so much in common, and yet we are different at the same time.  I count it all JOY to be supported and encouraged by such wonderful people!

I have had a hard time allowing people to comfort me, give me hugs, etc., but I couldn’t help but send this…

 

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It Is NOT Your Fault

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No matter how many times you may hear this or see it written, it never seems to be enough!  Somehow we invariably believe the abuse was our fault. We tell ourselves, we should have done something, or maybe if we did this or said that, then it would not have occurred.  This thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth!  When we can see ourselves faultless, then we are one more step closer to the healing.

I’m not saying it is easy, or I have it mastered, but it is essential for the healing process.  Another area that seems to consume me (and I’m sure others) is shame.  Shame can keep us locked up inside for years, if we don’t do something about it.  Yes, we can do something about it, we don’t have to carry it any longer.  It is a choice we must make, difficult, scary, and paralyzing at times, yet vital for healing.

Brene’ Brown, one of my favorite authors, explains shame like this:

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. It’s the most primitive human emotion we all feel—and the one no one wants to talk about. If left to its own devices, shame can destroy lives.”  

“The less you talk about it, the more you’ve got it. Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives:

secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

By keeping quiet, your shame will grow exponentially. It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life.”  

The solution is empathy. When you talk about your shame with a friend who expresses empathy, the painful feeling cannot survive. “Shame depends on me buying into the belief that I’m alone.” 

Here’s the bottom line: “Shame cannot survive being spoken, it cannot survive empathy.”

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. However, if we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.”

God has created us to be in community with one another.  He wants us to encourage, pray for each other, and bear each other’s burdens. Be friends, kind, compassionate, generous, and serve one another.  When those who are close to me love and accept me, I feel Christ’s love, too. When I confess my struggles, they are quick to forgive.  I am grateful they pray for my brokenness, because it is the healing work of Jesus at work.  When we feel the crushed by our own failures, it is a blessing to have a community surround us with compassion and encouragement. It lightens our loads, strengthens us, and gives us the courage to keep on trying. And that is exactly what God intended.

I pray you have found some family and friends whom you have created a safe place to share your journey with DID, and can receive the love and acceptance they offer.  For me, it was courage to trust just one person.  It was like talking to yourself like you talk to someone you love.  It is worth taking the risk, because it has been life-changing for me.  Be brave, and trust God to bring the right people into your life.

Blessings!

The Good and Bad Days

04ebcd9109fd03165799419547e733550ae01 copyToday started out like usual, up at 5:30am and out the door with my friend to run our 4 miles.  I’m recovering from a week long cold and that combined with little sleep, made it difficult to run for about two weeks.  I am hopeful to get back to my regular 6 mile route.

Most people seem surprised when I tell them I run everyday, with 4 hours (or less) of sleep.  One of the difficult things about having DID is the lack of sleep.  Maybe we just get used to it, but it always seems to catch up and knock me down for awhile. Those are the bad days that I call being in the pit.  Now, being in the pit doesn’t mean I am trapped there, it means I have been blessed with an incredible support team who climb in, rope intact, and get me out!  What a blessing!

The bad days, which I call the “I don’t know”, because in those moments, hours, or days, I simple “don’t know” what to do.  Of course, in my head, I have all the answers.  It somehow never computes or gets to the areas that need an answer. Unfortunately, it is a common place for those of us with DID.  I am not going to let it define or break me, but it certainly shuts me down for awhile.

I’m thankful that God knows what I need before I ask or even if I don’t know what to ask.  He hears my groans, tears, and at times, shouting.  He is always faithful, even when I am angry or feel like I’m never going to find healing.  That my friends, is GOOD NEWS!  Nothing, no not one thing, can separate us from the love of God!

Even though my day started out well with a run and then bible study, I hit a brick wall after therapy- crashed and burned from there.  I know it is normal to have days like this, I’m not going crazy, and it is part of the process.  The great thing about it is I can hit the restart button at any time.  Keep moving forward and asking God for the strength you need to get through the next minute, hour, or day!  Don’t give up…You are worth it and deserving of the good things God wants to give you!085aa07921a8675890ff26fa8b2ea48f

Blessings!