Tag Archives: Survivor

Mother’s Day: The Love/Hate Relationship

Mother’s Day is often a painful time. For those of us with DID, abuse, PTSD, etc., this day can be a love/hate relationship with the survivor.  I love it because I have two incredible sons; young men who I love and cherish deeply.  I would fight for them, no matter what! As a survivor with dissociative identity disorder, mom issues are complicated and difficult to sort out or make sense of. These issues are multi-layered and uncomfortable.

For some survivors, their mothers were simply not there to protect them from the violent abuse of the father, sadistic family members, babysitters, or other predators.  Whatever the reason, these mother’s were not there for their child; maybe they were the ones doing the abusing. So whatever the case my be, the issues around our mom’s create so many mixed feelings as this day approaches.

My story, with my mom, is she was too blind or too lost in her own denial or self, to be willing and/or able to protect me from abuse.  At that point she became irresponsible for her role in not protecting me.  She was in our home, and could have been instrumental in helping to protect me. However, out of her own fear or denial, she refused to look, to protect, or help.  Maybe she let her own fear overcome her and her willingness to save me. Or maybe, she just simply didn’t care, or thought I deserved it somehow. It wouldn’t surprise me if she acted as an accomplice….fear or not!

So every Mother’s Day, it is difficult for me (and I’m sure you other’s as well) who grew up with a mom like that.  It hurts.  No matter how much it hurts, at times I just want my mom. It’s confusing. The things I desired from her was never given to me, and it’s like a knife through my already broken heart. The anguish of wanting my mom to do something, anything to save me from this horrendous, scary environment, leaves a void deep within me. It is almost sickening to believe she would choose herself over her child’s safety and well-being.

The aftermath of such events in a child’s life do not heal quickly or easily. This gut-wrenching pain is felt for years, because it is wrong!  It is shameful, disgraceful, and pathetic….this is NOT what a mother does-EVER!

I didn’t have a role model that I could follow as a mom, but I was NOT going to make the same mistakes with my own boys!  I have made plenty of mistakes along the way, trust me, but none like what I have described above.  God, is His goodness, grace and mercy, helped me to do what I never learned to do from watching my mom. He could only have given me the strength to love unconditionally, support, care, fight for, protect, and provide a safe place for my children.  I am truly, eternally grateful for His grace and kindness.

Although it is going to be a day with joy and sadness; I know that God has given me women in my life to look up to, to seek when I need help. These women are mentors, godly women who remind me that God provides EVERYTHING I could possible need. Women who I can call without hearing criticism or judgment. Women who are safe, who will laugh or cry with me. I feel blessed to have these women in place of the one person who could never do any of those things. Thank you God!

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Share Your Struggles…You Never Know

It’s Thursday and I have had 3 migraines since Friday! I realize that this is completely wrecking me physically, emotionally and mentally.  I can’t be present to myself, my family, my job, my life….when does it end? I’m sick of myself saying the same thing over and over again. Then the kind words from everyone saying…This is temporary,  it’s only a season, it won’t last, the worst is behind me, God has this, God has me, I am strong, brave, courageous…blah, blah, blah

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Now don’t get me wrong, I know all that is true! I am thankful for all of the support, but damn it, I want out of this pit. The crying is too much, and it comes out nowhere. I’m sure it’s a little depression; I certainly know what that feels like.  Not willing to get back on an antidepressant because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. My dissociation is stronger and more frequent, since I don’t like what it happening.

I attempted canceling therapy for tomorrow, using the migraine as a way out, even though it’s the truth.  However, the migraines are here because I need to talk through stuff and that means going to therapy.  My mental state has been so bad at times that I have wanted to call my parents so they can tell me I’m okay. Geesh! Like they have ever said I was okay…but that is where I am right now.

So right now I’m sitting in the dark, in my bed, alone, crying off and on (more on than off), my kids and husband are gone for the evening, and that is never a good combination. I have this “cocktail” of medication for my migraines, it only knocks me out, not the migraine, and I’m thinking, “Perhaps I should take 1 or 12 of these???”  I would be knocked out for sure- completely out!  But I’m not going to because it’s not who I am, who I want to be, and it’s not the answer.

So I want to share something I read tonight as I lay here in this depressed state….I believe God gives us exactly what we need at exactly the perfect time. I was going through and reading blogs that I follow, catching up and hoping to find some encouragement along the way.  This “blog community” has been a valuable resource for me in my healing journey.  But this particular blog I read possibly changed my perspective, well not possibly, it absolutely, without question, took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and unmistakably changed my thinking.

I don’t believe in coincidences, but believe God is in all things, speaks through others, even when they don’t realize.  God uses our struggles to make us stronger, but also when we speak them, share them, write them on a post; He will use them all!

Tonight when I arrived home from work, early, due to an oncoming migraine, I was taking my jewelry off and I noticed the 2 pictures I have hanging above my dresser.  One is when I was 5yrs old and the other I think 7 or 8.  I just stared at them for a moment and then got in bed and began to cry, thinking all this is so not worth another day!

And then I read Rachel’s blog post. This is what changed things for me.  She shared her struggles, who suicidal thinking, all the while being honest and vulnerable.

I don’t think I would actually pull the trigger. I don’t think, even if I had a gun, I could actually do it. Because I don’t believe in killing, and I am a person. And would be killing a person. And also, that 3 year old keeps flashing in my mind. That 3 year old me, I can’t shoot her in the head. I looked at an old picture, and just can’t imagine killing her. So I don’t think I am actually in danger, I just feel really bad right now. And I don’t even feel reactive about it, that I need to necessarily do anything about it, other than take care of myself and wade through it as best I can until it passes. Clearly something is being worked out.”

Thank you, Rachel! Thank you for being real, honest and seen.  You had no idea when you put those words out there that someone, somewhere, would be encouraged. God used your life experiences to get me through a difficult place.

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Whew, long sessions wear me out!

Friday therapy is my long one, and today I was literally “gone” for 2hrs and 45min.  My teenager, who has been gone, did all the talking.  There was 15min. left when I “came back” to present.  It is wearisome work. I was exhausted, had one of those emotional headaches, and wanted to sleep. I heard about half of what was said, I think.  The information I did get, I’m pretty sure was not over 2 hrs. worth, hmmm….”Lucy, you got some splainin’ to do!”

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Anyway, all humor aside, it was good and very productive.  She is my part that engages in multiple addictive/harmful behaviors.  She has made me aware of her alcohol and cigs stash, showed me what she uses to cut, and we talked about the bulimia.  I can’t imagine trying to stop all that at once, so it will require patience and grace, lots of grace.  I believe in her 100%, she is a fighter, and we are going to do it together.

My therapist (D) spent a significant amount of time with her on the topic support. Learning to depend on others, letting her people know when she is struggling, communicating with me, journaling, and that she could always text D, if needed.  It isn’t different than any other ‘outside person’, we all need accountability and support.  We need love not judgment, care not criticism, encouragement not put-downs.

My husband has been a strong support for me and has been there for “his girls”, as he calls them.  He can hug and rock them when they need, where I can’t wrap my arms around myself, like I want to be held.  I am truly blessed by his unconditional love for all of us!

Looking forward to progress, even if it is slow, or stalled at times.  One day at a time; and we can always hit “Restart” at any moment.

Friday Therapy

Yesterday was a long session, I was preparing mentally for it all week. I had shared in my previous post about the body memories and how it was affecting us all.  This was what we worked on yesterday.  I knew I needed to be present as Kat shared her trauma,  to hear it, understand it, and love her through it.  She shared hard things, painful memories, and I am so proud of her, she is so brave!

What I’ve learned about myself in all of this, is that each part of me has a story to share, whether it be trauma, abuse, neglect, or anything thing else.  They came for a specific purpose- to help me, and keep me protected.  They need to feel safe, believed and know I’m going to be okay before they share anything.

This process takes a long time, but can take even longer unless you have a therapist who understands, knows what they are doing with DID, and cares about you and your inside parts.  I will say, it is difficult to find someone qualified enough to walk you through the journey, but when you find them….do the work it takes, you are worth being whole and healed!

We made it through the session, crying, wrapped up in a blanket and curled up on the couch…there seems to be comfort in being wrapped in a blanket.  My inner circle of support have started calling it the “Blanket of Vulnerability”.  I am not a fan of vulnerability or sharing my deepest thoughts and emotions, because at a young age- it wasn’t allowed.  I am learning to do it now, it’s painful at times, but oh, so necesssary for healing.

None of this is easy.  No one said it would be. It’s painful and grueling at times. I hate that. I am embracing it. I do my best. I keep fighting.  I stumble and fall.  I get back up.  I hit the restart button.  I know God is with me.  He has gone before me.  He gives me strength. He loves me NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! And I am going to be okay, even good!

My hope is in the Lord….my hope of finding healing and wholeness can only come through Him.  I love these quotes from the movie Shawshank Redemption, I know that seems weird, but they have encouraged me many times.

 

 

3 hour session, not a 3 hour tour!

We all know the show and the song from Gilligan’s Island, right??  I thought today, I would make a few modifications to the lyrics.  Why?  Well, I’m not exactly sure….but maybe it has to do with my Friday, 3 hour, therapy session.  I could not have been more proud of Kat today!! She did hard and productive work.  So grateful for her courage and strength!

This past week was hell, with a migraine everyday, somedays we didn’t get out of bed-just about took us all out!  So like the The S.S. Minnow in Gilligan’s Island, we felt tossed around and beaten up. Anyone that has ever taken a three-hour boat ride can tell you, it gets pretty insufferable by the end. People are hungry, cranky and seasick!  And anyone who gets a migraine can tell you it’s debilitating and immobilizing.

hqdefaultAnyway, here is my new song!

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a true tale and grateful trip,
that started three short years ago,
aboard this human ship.

The Host was a mighty private gal
the Protector, she’s the bravest one,
nine insiders set out one day,
for a 1 hour session,
now a 3 hour session.

The memories started getting rough,
this human ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of this fearless group
the Host would be lost.
The Host would be lost.

This Community set out on the course of this
uncharted life style
with Sis and her sister
Wendy and Mary too.
The boys are here, to help thrive
the artist, Cindy
the Protector and Kat are here,
in our Host’s Body.

So this is the story of all our parts,
they’re here for a long, long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
sometimes it’s an uphill climb.

The Host and her amazing team
will do their very best,
to make the insider’s comfortable
to grow together and finally rest.

No abuse, no hurt, no abandonment
not a single painful thing
like God had intended,
it’s safe and loving as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
you’re sure to get a smile,
from nine, awesome suvivors
here in the Host’s body!

Grateful!

Today was my long therapy session, and it is safe to say, one of the worst to date!  By “the worst” I mean, emotionally devastating.  One of the hardest, heaviest, painful memories of sexual abuse from my father was revealed.  A part of me had these memories locked up inside for a very long time.  I had all week to think about it, prepare for it, pray about it, but nothing could quite prepare me for what I heard today.

It’s one thing to not have a loving and nurturing mom- a mom who was emotionally abusive, critical and judgmental.  Then to find out that your whole life has been tormented by abuse from the two people who are supposed to love you unconditionally-it SUCKS!

All of my thoughts around this so called, “normal family” came crashing down today.  I have spent this past year isolated from my family, and today has confirmed why I have had to stop communicating.  It’s like a this dream of wanting something I will never have, died today!

I walked out in the middle of my therapist discussing what happened, locked myself in the bathroom, and cried.  Why would this happen to me? What did I do that was so bad?  It felt unreal and I wanted to run away and hide.  Facing difficult memories, is all a part of having DID.  It’s coming to terms with your past, loving and accepting the parts that saved you, and walking through the pain to find healing and wholeness.

I went from crying for 2 hours afterwards, to anger, disbelief, and then finding comfort in my husband and close friends.  I don’t know what I would do without them, my therapist, and God’s love.  There will be up days, down days, and the “I just don’t know”days. I have to trust God and the work we are doing in therapy.  I have to believe, I am who He says I am.

Grateful that I am a survivor!

 

 

Sleepless nights & Emotional Hangovers

Tuesday was my first day back to therapy after a 2 week, Christmas break.  Things on the “inside” seemed to grow increasingly worse, and I wanted to “be done” with all of it!  Not show up for work, bible study, or therapy on Tuesday.  What was the point, too much, too many emotions, too many tears, too much pain, too much everything…

I managed to get up and run with my friend, which always, always helps get me somewhat focused.  Somedays, I just want to keep running and never stop.  Running for me, is a way of escape, getting my mind refocused, and even though I sleep 3-4hrs a night, it helps me physically.

After my run, and shower, I headed out for BSF and praying that God would show me something.  I realize He is always with me, never leaving me “out there hanging”, but on days like yesterday, I needed something.  He is faithful, and gave me comfort in another person’s answer to a question, “God intensely loves me, He is personal and intimate in how He cares for me.”  Wow!  Just what I needed to hear.  God is so Good!

From there I headed off to therapy, which I knew was going to be difficult, for two reasons:

  1. It had been 2 weeks since my last session, and we left things undone with one of my teenage parts.
  2. She did NOT want to share her trauma.

I was switched from the start of the session, until end, two hours later.  I hate when that happens, because I don’t get to say the things I’d like, but mostly, because I was blocked from hearing the conversation.  My teenage part, who is out-going, fun, aggressive, and an enigma at times, hates being trapped in any kind of pain-mentally, emotionally, or physically. She will do anything to numb those feelings.  Which is why, for the past 2 weeks, her behaviors have escalated:  cutting, binging and purging, drinking, prescription drug use, and thoughts of suicide.

She shared some extremely hard memories with my therapist, and at one point tried to leave the room.  She was brave and courageous!  She was able to trust D (therapist), and share her abuse,  or as much as she could handle for a session.  My therapist called later that evening to check on me, and see how I was doing. She had suggested I go home and sleep, instead of going to work.  We usually have a plan in place when there are difficult sessions, and yesterday, the plan actually worked!

I had decided to sit in the lobby for a few minutes, allowing myself to somehow move forward from something I knew nothing of, but felt so sad and heavy inside.  The tears began to roll down my cheeks, on after another, until they seemed to have no end.  This is when I leave, because the idea that someone would see me this way, is not acceptable.  When I felt steady enough, I stood up, walked slowly toward the door, and out to my car. I knew I was going to require help getting home, I called my employer, who is a therapist as well, and she talked me all the way home.  She was a true blessing!

When I arrived, I took a scalding hot shower (which was odd for me), put my PJs on and got into bed at 4:30pm.  I didn’t get out until my husband arrived home at 6:30pm.  Not sure how much I slept, spent lots of time staring at the wall and crying.  But what was so terrible?  I can only speculate, and you know what they say about speculating…..Don’t do it!

So today, I am exhausted from all the emotions, the tears, the headache from crying and 1 hour of sleep.  Selfishly, I want my therapist to tell me what happened, but I know she cannot betray trust.  I’m trying to block it out, but like waves crashing against the rocks, it seems to never end.  My therapist, husband, friends, and myself are all praying and asking God for peace and comfort in the waiting, for me and my teenage part to know she is loved and cared about too.

We go back Friday for our long (3hr) session.  I hope I can make it until then!

 

 

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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but…”I just want my mom”

child_hand_reaching_out-t2I don’t know how many times I have heard that cry from the depth of my being, from the parts of me, the young children, who never experienced what the love of a mother is all about.  They desperately want a mom who will consistently, love them unconditionally, nurture them, hold and care for them, comfort and show compassion for them and listen without criticism or judgment.  The cries, at times, seems overwhelmingly painful, cries I cannot comfort.  Why can’t I help them?  The answer is simple:  I just want my mom too!  The age old saying, “You can’t give what you don’t have”  was beaten into my head while working in ministry.  I hated knowing that I was not good enough as a child and then finding out I was still not good enough as an adult.

We found ways to comfort ourselves though, ways that were unhealthy, but brought a sense of comfort all the same.  For some of us it was an, eating disorder, alcohol, exercise, prescription drugs, cutting, stealing, and perfectionism.  While the littles, simply saw no boundaries and attached themselves to anyone who would show love. These behaviors are a desperate attempt to be “good enough” or fill that emptiness within.

I have learned that I may never get what I so intensely need.  She may never change, and I have to accept that.  The other day, my therapist said something I have let swirl about in my head.  She said that, she believes, God can give us someone in our lives to replace that “mom”, or He gives us friendships that have attributes of the things we never received (simply hugging me when I’m sobbing uncontrolably), or maybe He does it all by Himself….because He is God and He can!  At times I believe this to be true, but others times I’m not sure.

However here is an example:

I think about never being rocked as a child.  My husband, on the other hand was always rocked by his mom.  To this day, he rocks so hard, that the base of the chair comes off the floor.  Now that is some serious rocking! In the past year, I have found myself crawling up in his lap and letting him rock me.  He loves it, for many reasons.  But for me, it is allowing him to hold all of us, rock us, offering us comfort and a safe place to be.  I know that is a sweet gift God gave me in my husband.

Our need for a mother or father’s love and approval almost out weighs the need for oxygen. Parents can be so emotionally reserved or detached, they have no idea their child is left with a gnawing ache for affection and/or approval. As a result, there is an unfillable hole in us that refuses to diminish even after we have grown into adulthood.

Some of us suffering this way can minimize the significance of having felt deprived of love as a child. We may even justify the abusive behavior.  However, like malnutrition in a child can have serious, long-term complications, so can the feeling of being unloved, abandoned, and unwanted. Unfortunately, this unmet desire for a parents approval or love can not only last a lifetime, it can evolve into a gut-wrenching, painful, empty feeling of inadequacy that produces an ongoing need to be “good enough,” or even result in self-hatred.

All of this can separate us from a relationship with God and what He wants to do for us. I’m challenging myself to seek God for this healing- this horrible feeling of emptiness.  He cares deeply for me, for all of us!  He wants to restore what has been lost.

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.  Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me.  The bible tells me so”.

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Cindy (my inner artist) drew this for my younger part who was was afraid, but eventually able to reach out and take the hand of someone who cared.

I love my frogs!

Recently, I read a description of someone with DID, it caught my attention instantly, almost as if she knew exactly how I felt for many years. Here is what she had to say about the beginning of her journey.

“I felt like I was constantly pushing a wheelbarrow full of frogs down a bumpy, winding road. The frogs would not stay put; they croaked at the slightest movement and made the wheelbarrow lean over dangerously whenever I encountered a bump or a pothole on my way. It often took more strength than I thought I had to keep this wheelbarrow upright and to continue down the road.

The worst part, however, was that I didn’t see anyone else struggling with such a peculiar load. I was ashamed of my wheelbarrow and did my best to make sure that nobody would notice it. After all, what could I answer if someone were to ask me how I came by so many frogs? To be honest, I hardly knew most of my frogs. I thought of them as green monsters and regarded them as no more than a burden that I had to bear. I did not even know how or when some of them had climbed into my wheelbarrow- or why?

Then one day, when I arrived at the biggest, deepest pothole in the road, I realized that I could no longer do this alone and that I needed help from someone else to keep the wheelbarrow upright on this stretch of the road. It took a lot of courage and a great deal of trust to dare ask for that help- trust in that other person, but even more, genuine trust in myself. I needed to believe that I could ask for such help, that I would not helplessly collapse if someone cast an eye on my many frogs, and that together we would find a way past, through, or over the biggest obstacles.”

-Jolanda Treffers                   wheelbarrow frogs

My takeaways from this were: I needed to acknowledge, get to know, and learn how to rely upon all my parts. And also, to connect with, begin to trust others and myself. What I know to be true is that there are people whom I can trust, that are safe, and worthy to hear my story; people who care, show compassion, and love-even on the hardest of days.

I believe I have come to a place where my takeaways have become reality. I am thankful for the support, care and kindness. However, I would have not been able to “keep my wheelbarrow upright” if it weren’t for my therapist. She always has my best interest at heart. She possess’ the knowledge, experience, and the empathic skills to help guide me on my own journey. She put a name to something I could not and would not name, and revealed what I elected to never uncover. She taught me how to trust God, others and myself. And I watched her begin to trust me; something that I valued deeply.  I am extremely grateful for her counsel, her kindness, and her walk with the Lord.

I am still learning new skills every week, I’m not perfect, I have meltdowns, but I’m not giving up because I am worth it! And I have people in my life who love my “frogs” and me.

There are some days that my parts have to help me guide the wheelbarrow, keep it upright, and continue on the journey.  I would not have survived without each and every part-they truly are a gift from God.