Black Wave 

The Patchwork Diaries

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Not only have I been wrestling with flashbacks of the break in at my apartment, Little has been struggling with her own. They only seem to bother her when her stress threshold reaches a certain point. As much as I hoped and wished for her to avoid it, she seems to have inherited the PTSD gene or series of genes or whatever genetic factor that contributes to a predisposition toward unresolved trauma.

We’re navigating these uncharted waters together. I’m able to cope with my own struggles, and I’m doing my best to teach her age appropriate coping techniques. All of her emotions are relatively new territory being so young, and what I’ve shared with her seems to be helping at least redirect her mind away from her memories.

It’s been heart breaking to watch her going through this. Heart breaking, and in a selfish way helpful for my recovery. It…

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Saving Daylight

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuugh… the dreaded “time change” is upon us Midwesterners. It generally becomes especially hectic around our house specifically because Little and Crash both have night terrors associated with the change in their sleep cycle. Champ does pretty well so far which is a good thing, but since he shares a room with Crash generally they’re all up and down nightly. So far this year doesn’t seem to be as hectic and stressful over all so they seem to be adjusting fairly well. We’re only on day one of the supposed saving of daylight so it’s yet to be determined.

NaNo is going surprisingly well, even trying to squish in my word count between tending the kiddos, work, and the gym. I’m right on target and haven’t run into any shortage of ideas to keep the story flowing. It feels weird writing fiction after being focused on my recovery writing for so long. lol. Different parts of my brain are being stretched and exercised. They’re a little dusty. The writing itself is full of run on sentences and fragments galore but the words are coming and the story is fleshing itself out nicely.

I still haven’t run into any of my annual November depression, but I have been having some weird dreams the past few days. They are legitimate dreams, just a product of my subconscious and not anything to do with repressed memories or my PTSD. They’ve still kind of put me in a weird emotional funk. They are disturbing, but not particularly violent or anything. Just weird things that would totally never happen. I guess it’s because I’ve kick started my imagination again or something? I don’t even know lol. It’s kind of handy though since they are just completely fictional I’ve been able to incorporate them into my NaNo. Maybe that’s it? Maybe my brain just isn’t completely shutting off at night and jonesing to continue my story? Who knows with my whacky brain. lol.

Guy Fawkes Night: Who, what, when, where, and why

Because it’s not JUST about overthrowing the Government… it’s about religious intolerance. I love V for Vendetta, but I won’t be celebrating anything tonight. Keep things in perspective.

Notes from the U.K.

November 5 is Guy Fawkes Night, when people across most of Britain (we’ll get into the most part eventually) light bonfires and burn a long-dead Catholic plotter in effigy.

The only time I went to a Guy Fawkes Night bonfire, all we burned were some potatoes (and we did’t burn them well enough, if memory serves), but we did at least light a fair-size fire. In other places, they go all out, shooting off fireworks, tossing the effigy into the fire, and (according to what I read) chanting bloodthirsty rhymes. (I’m not really sure if anyone chants it on the spot, but I’ve heard people quote a line or two, so the rhymes do circulate.)

All this dates back to 1605, when a plot to overthrow James I (of England) and VI (of Scotland; same person; same name; it must’ve been confusing for him) failed.

James was the son…

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NaNoWriMo 2017

I’ve done it! I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for National Novel Writing Month this year. It’s been ages since I’ve written any sort of fiction and I figured that it was time. Plus with life settling into a routine once again I don’t have a whole bunch to blog about, honestly lol.

We’re spending the upcoming weeks preparing for the holidays like the majority of the population. I’m not entirely sure exactly what we’ll be doing this year for Thanksgiving. My dad has to work this year, and I’m fairly certain that my sisters have to work too so there’s really no reason to travel all the way to Ohio. Hubs’ family doesn’t know what they’re doing either. Usually everyone kind of does their own thing for Thanksgiving and we have a weekly Christmas Extravaganza to make up for it.

Needless to say, things might be a bit quiet around here for the duration. Unless something happens or comes to mind anyway. Good luck fellow Wrimos!! Go! Write! Win!

When Cookies Attack

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with industrial convection ovens and the weight of the baking sheets, but I dropped six of them onto my foot at work the other day and I sincerely thought I broke it.


That damage was through the shoe and about fifteen minutes later. It was throbbing like it was broken, I couldn’t move my big toe and the pain never really went away even as much as I tried to baby it. So off to the ER I went with my workers comp claim in hand.

It wasn’t broken, just a bad sprain/bruise bit OMG DOES IT HURT. Still! I hate the fact that my PTSD gets in the way of judging physical pain just as much as it does emotional pain. I have no internal gage for discomfort of any kind. I was in pain, which wasn’t AWFUL by any means, but it was enough to make me think twice before just powering on through it and heading home like I do with 90% of any other injuries. Of course I felt that it was necessary to go get it checked out, but to everyone else it appeared that I was over reacting.

The doctor didn’t even understand why I was there when I didn’t ask for pain medication or a note to take days off from work but I also couldn’t just waltz into the place and demand an x-ray. I guess I could have just come in and asked for an x-ray, but most medical professionals look down upon us plebs with no medical training and wouldn’t have listened to me anyway. I didn’t really need to go to the ER per say, but it was the closest provider listed through our workers comp insurance so… I didn’t have much choice.

The entire thing just put a bad taste in my mouth. I missed out on half a day of work just to be cautious and make sure I wasn’t causing any more damage to my foot that I already inadvertently had by accidentally dropping the trays in the first place. Everyone thought I was just over reacting by wanting to get to the doctor for x-rays, and to make things even worse my boss had to come in and cover my shift since I’m currently the only bulk produce prep person in the entire restaurant. I couldn’t win for losing.

In other (better) news, the kids all had a great time Trick or Treating. Little actually had the opportunity to go up on some porch steps by herself while Hubs and I waited in the street, the Twins rode around happily in their wagon gleefully yelling “CANDY!” at every stop, and since we don’t normally have sweets in the house Little was content to fill one small bag and be done. lol. We were only out for about half an hour, got everyone home and in bed before 10pm. HALLOWEEN WIN right there!

Small Victories

This year I’ve been exceptionally well as far as mental status goes anyway. For the past 10+ years I’ve really struggled with a deep depression toward the end of October through the month of November. This year, despite all of the insanity unfolding in the outside world I’ve managed to maintain my stability. *victory arms* There have been days where I’m just tired, but most of that comes from the physical aspects of working full-time out side the home and trying to parent two rambunctious toddlers and a Kindergartener. Emotionally, I’ve maintained.

There have been a few days where things or conversations with people at work have triggered me, but the effects don’t linger past several hours maybe a day at the most. I’ve even passed a couple of trauma anniversaries without much of a hitch. Which is honestly damn surprising even to me. Lol. It’s almost foreign to be navigating so smoothly through so many things which previously would have thrown me off kilter into an emotional frenzy. I don’t even really know what changed to get me here either. It was like an egg timer. OVERWHELM, OVERWHELM, OVERWHELM… *ding* and now I’m done, we’re all good here. It seriously has not phased me at all. I’m simply busy preparing for the holidays, and the Twins’ birthday.

It feels really nice, albeit foreign, but really nice. I’m starting to get used to the idea that I’m allowed to be happy without this constant cloud of misery hanging around me. I can’t ever really remember feeling this way before for more than a week or two. Which I mean sounds horribly pessimistic, but it’s true. I guess this is what healing feels like when you reach the home stretch of the journey? 

H2OMG


So I’ve been dealing with this rash off and on for practically ever now. It’s an allergic reaction to something I come in to contact with regularly. For the life of me I could never figure out what it was and instead focused on treating the rash itself with generic OTC treatments.

Over the weekend it flared up to a level of intensity I’d never seen before so I decided to head to the Urgent Care just to make sure my rash wasn’t a symptom of something else that I incorrectly diagnosed as an allergy.

Got there, got all checked in, doctor looked at me and confirmed my suspicions. It was an allergic reaction. He asked me what if anything I had been doing differently in recent weeks. Nothing immediately came to mind. Then he asked me what I thought was a rather unusual question: does the rash flare up more after I washed my hands? I thought about it and noted that it does. He said: “Oh. I bet you’re allergic to the water. Or rather, something in the water.” Apparently this is a fairly common diagnosis locally, which I had never heard of.

I’m allergic to water. WATER. More than likely a mineral or some thing else IN the water because being allergic to hydrogen and oxygen themselves would make it pretty much impossible to sustain life. I have to scheduled an appointment with my GP next week to get some more allergy tests done. I haven’t had them since I was two so 28 years ago. I guess it’s pretty overdue.

It’ll be interesting to go back through the testing process again as an adult. It was one of the incidents that triggered the development of my PTSD. Being two and strapped down to a table with doctors and nurses pricking me repeatedly with different pins containing different allergens, screaming for my mom who screamed right back for me to behave. I was miserable for days afterwards and had painful reminders for weeks with the sharpie ink noting which reaction correlated with which allergen.

It won’t be so difficult now, as an adult, understanding what’s happening to me, but I’m still curious how it will affect me mentally and if it will trigger any sort of repressed memories. As long as we can figure out exactly what is wrong with me and triggering my recurring rashes I guess it will be worth it. The urgent care doctor put me on heavy duty steroids to calm my skin down until I could get in to see my GP. They’re making me sick… which I guess makes sense having been enduring a severe allergic reaction for weeks. Feeling NORMAL for once my body doesn’t know what to do with itself lol.

Falling

For those who are new to my audience, Little has struggled with sleep disturbances every Fall since she was a year old. It’s compounded by my own struggles with the ugly memories that pop up during the change of the seasons. Fall is just a generally hectic, emotionally messy time around the House of Hale, or at least it has been for the past four years.

This year, in preparation for Little’s mood shift/insomnia, Hubs and I have been brainstorming and researching all that we can to make the transition easier for her. We still don’t exactly know why she seems to cycle during the Fall more so than other times of the year, but we’re still trying to prepare with everything we can. In the process of reading through the various resources we also discovered why she’s continued to struggle with nightmares after the Egg Incident,

Hubs has worked second shift since Little was born. He’s always checked on her when he gets home as part of his nightly ritual. With me working early in the mornings everyone is asleep before he gets home. He always checked on the kids and came into our room to give me a kiss and let me know that he made it home safely. He’s done it for years. He’s a caring, loving, father and husband. lol. I mean… really. After Little had her run in with Egg Bandit, every time Hubs has been going in to check on her it’s been triggering flashbacks. She doesn’t realize that it’s her daddy who loves her standing next to her bed. All she sees is a man in her room again and it terrifies her.

It’s been over six months since the Egg Incident and she continues to struggle with this. Every time she brings it up I ask about it. I ask if Egg Bandit touched her or hurt her in anyway and she denies anything other than waking up and seeing him in her room. I’m thankful for that at least. I still hate to see her struggling so much. She’s five. She shouldn’t be worried about strange men in her bedroom. Her father should be able to check on her at night without worrying about triggering flashbacks. He should be able to tuck her in, or cover her up when she’s shivering because she lost her blanket.

It makes me angry trying to wrap my head around the reason that some one could justify that type of behavior. Not only egging our apartment in the first place, but choosing to break in after the fact and wander around terrorizing my children. I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again: I’m emotionally equipped to process what happened to me, if anything other than the trauma of the break in itself actually happened. I’m emotionally equipped to accept that I won’t have the full details, and may never regain any complete memories. I’m not wandering around in fear of strange men. Hubs coming home after work to check on me generally doesn’t phase me unless I’m having a particularly difficult brain day.

My baby girl is not. She hasn’t even fully learned what emotions ARE yet. She understands the basics, happy, sad, scared, angry, silly, but something as complex as enduring a break in is beyond her emotional comprehension. She knows she is scared when Hubs comes into her room at night, but she doesn’t understand why. It troubles her, even as small as she is and it breaks my heart while also bringing out the rage of an angry badger.

The angry badger rage I’ve found is justified, and I’ll write about it all day long, but I won’t waste any additional energy acting on it. Egg Bandit’s luck will run out eventually. He’ll get caught and tossed in jail where he probably should have been the majority of his adult life. Or he’ll go out in a blaze of homicidal glory… at this point nothing would surprise me.

Fate be Damned

I wrote this last year and for some reason it never made it to publication. I’m not sure why but I’m trying to clean up my draft folder and thought it was a good post. I don’t struggle with this issue anymore since my stalking nightmare is finally over, but it was a continuing theme in my life for many years. I do still get little prickles of intuition here and there, but instead of struggling with my head trying to decide if I’m running from fate like I did when I wrote this piece, I’m able to brush it aside as exactly what it is: an attempt to reel me back into the cycle of abuse. I’m precisely where I need to be in life right now. I’m with the right man, I’m in the right home, I have the perfect family, and a good job. It isn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but it’s where I need to be. 

Do you ever have one of those days in the middle of everything else that just strikes all the wrong nerves? Yep… Yesterday was one of those days. I don’t have time for these shenanigans, especially trying to move.

The day started out like all of my other days. Wake up with the Twins, get them changed, feed them, hop in the car to get my Starbucks, log on to my various social media sites and check my email. First thing, my Facebook page and blog stat report comes in from the past week. I read through it, generally annoyed by what I found. It wasn’t anything unusual, just the regular creepers creeping, and fans liking. My creeping ratio has been a little higher than usual, but that happens annually in February, so nothing that was immediately alarming.

Then I switched over to my personal Facebook scrolling through my feed, and the On This Day post popped up with a memory from several years ago referencing creepers. Which made me pause, and my intuition perk up a bit. So I scrolled through the rest of the memories and found a few more that also made me go: “Hmm… 🤔” After a few more posts I encountered, I decided perhaps it wasn’t a good day for social media. Lol. Algorithms are awesome for many things, not so much when you’re trying to control your emotional flux and have weird random triggers that can send you to either end of the spectrum at the drop of a hat.

So I logged out of everything and decided to forego any sort of social media for the rest of the day and busy myself working on the plethora of projects I have to do before we can list the house. I enjoy listening to music while I’m working, so I opened my music ap, Spotify, and hit shuffle. After about half an hour I had to turn it off. Everything that shuffled in was about fate, or goons, or revenge, which brought me right back to the start of my day with the breadcrumbs in my stat report. I turned the music off, and had to sit down for a moment trying to collect myself.

It’s been a difficult few weeks anyway with the additional stress of preparing to move, the last thing I need is to lose focus on my present and fall back into the traps of the past or anxiety about the future. Yet, life was throwing all of those things at me, and my intuition was tugging at my heart more and more with each sequential event. In the past I would have followed those breadcrumbs in my stat report to find any number of things that would be triggering and/or upsetting. Believe me, there have been times in my blogging career when there are more breadcrumbs than a goddamn bakery in my reports. I used to think they were left for me intentionally, especially considering what I found at the end of the trail. There’s still a small chance that they might be, but I’m leaning more towards the fact that Hansel and Gretel simply don’t understand how the reports work or realize exactly what they’ve left behind for me to see. Honestly, it’s mostly Gretel. Hansel could care less about me, my blog, or anything else. He just wants to find his candy house in the forrest and be happy. Gretel is the one causing all the problems, leaving the trails and hoping I take the bait.

Now that I realize that, it does make things easier to ignore, but some days like yesterday it’s still incredibly hard. Mostly because I’ve always been the type to immediately follow my intuition no questions asked, so turning around and ignoring it or trying to turn it off so to speak is incredibly hard. It’s something I need to do, because blindly following my heart keeps getting me in trouble. Emotionally, in regards to my mental health, and often times physically with confrontations and fights. I know I need to reign it in.

But then I always have to wonder, am I trying to run away from fate? Are these signs imaginary, or a glimpse of the path I’m supposed to take? That’s where the curse of being truly in tune with yourself and the world around you comes in. Mindfulness is only beneficial to a certain point before it tips over into something else. I am forever riding the line, and probably always will be.

Me too.

Only See Your Good Side

Me too.

Me too:

slow erosion of confidence

over the decades.

A secret’s corrosive; it lies

in your stomach and burns.

And I’ve lied, compulsively,

to myself: it didn’t happen.

Better to lie than lie down

and let it take me.

I thought.

But they churn out

excuse after excuse

for abuse upon abuse

of trust

of power

while we:

shower off the shame

that should be theirs

and hold their names

(the ones we know)

beneath our tongues for years,

as if the bitter taste, held down

could help us swallow fear.

Me too.

And maybe you,

it’s hard to say but every single day

it’s done.

And every single day my lips are sealed

they’ve won.

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