Self-doubt, is that you knocking? Come in for tea!

Untangled

A rare, but familiar knock on my self-esteems door.

Come in for tea, Self-doubt and tell me what you think of me.

Self-doubt sips it’s tea and begins to play the old tapes, the drone of familiar chants.

You’re not good enough, not worthy, not well enough, smart enough, you’re a poser.

The fear and rejection hangs in the air between us as it tells me all the reasons

I shouldn’t try or that I should give up.

I listen, with respect, compassion, and a loving ear because I know

Self-doubt wouldn’t come uninvited.

When I’ve heard enough, I thank Self-doubt for the visit and say we’re done with tea.

I show it out the door, shake it off, take a deep breath and

reset my sails into the wind, as Self-doubt fades onto a distant shore.

I may hear this rare, but familiar knock on my door again, and if…

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A Little Rescue 

Just when I’ve had about enough of the world and drama and life in general this little guy toddles over, looks at me with his giant grey eyes, smiles and says: “Mama” before laying his head down on my lap. 


My Little B1 is by far the most sensitive of my Littles. All of them love me, all of them need me to a certain extent, but B1 is a total Mama’s Boy. 

That, and he just loves everyone in our family so much. Anytime Hubs comes to visit, B1 gets big tears in his eyes and starts giggling uncontrollably. He gets upset when B2 isn’t feeling well or isn’t in their room at nap and bedtime. He follows Little around everywhere chanting “Sissy! Sissy!” He comes up to me at random points through out the day just to look up at me, snuggle, and smile before bouncing off to play again. 

I don’t have a favorite kid. I love all of them equally, and do my best to give each of them equal age appropriate attention. B1 clicks with me, much better than the other two. I think it’s because the other two are so much like me and little B1 is basically a minature version of Hubs lol. B2 and Little are much more independent than B1 and can pretty much entertain themselves. B1 is very social and rarely plays by himself. 

They are all beautiful little individuals, and they all make me smile on days when I feel like curling up and hiding in a hole. They are my Little Rescue Squad, and the only thing they have to do is be themselves. 💕

Fighting February 

February is a rough month for me. There are a lot of trauma anniversaries, plus my mom’s birthday, and Valentine’s Day and just a whole host of yuck. 

I’m not going to take the time to hit on each individual event, since most of them have faded into parasympathetic memories where they belong. I am going to acknowledge that I’m having a rough week, and my moods are kind of all over the place right now. Which is actually somewhat of a relief compared to the weight of depression that used to consume me through the month of February. 

I’m healing, however slowly and the broken synapses have made most of the repairs. It’s just a few lingering ones still misfiring here and there. With time those will right themselves too. Even if I am left with one or two rogue triggers, an occasional nightmare, or flashback it’s a vast improvement over all. It’s encouraging, even in the midst of my difficult week. 

She’s The One Who Died

Skinny and Single

pregnant-422982_1920Don’t grieve for her lost child.

She’s the one who died.

Don’t tell her the pain is too much to bear.

She’s the one who died.

Don’t tell her there will be others.

She’s the one who died.

Don’t say it. she can’t hear.

Because she’s the one who died.

shes-the-one-that-died-pin

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Flashforward, Flashback

Last Friday morning after a night of restless sleep and oddly detailed dreams I shot up out of bed at 6:30am on the nose in a panic for no immediately obvious reason. I sat there for a minute getting my bearings; then reached for my phone, feeling like I had missed a call or something important.

What I found randomly scrolling through all of my social media, was that Friday noted the three year anniversary of a retraumitization event. A conversation via text which set me off into a panic attack that lasted several weeks, and the first time I realized I had fallen prey to yet another manipulative, emotional abuser. 

I could sit around and mope about it like I usually do, taking the time to write out a sad, empathetic post from a place of understanding for the others involved in the event. I could do that, but this time? Nope. I’m angry. I’m angry that I was doing really well after my meds leveled out, finally getting my motivation back, and finally getting things in order when out of nowhere I’m sidelined by this flashback and memories of an event that was entirely avoidable. There was zero reason to contact me, involving me in that event at all, aside from toying with my emotions and attempting to get information out of me. Pro tip: Any conversation that begins with “I hope this doesn’t trigger you, but…” is most definitely a triggering conversation so STOP. It’s kind of like the “I’m not trying to offend you, but *insert offensive comment here*” Obviously if you felt the need to introduce the conversation that way, you’ve already thought about the fact that it’s triggering so just don’t. It did trigger me, and it was a problem. 

I’m angry that I fell for it, AGAIN. That I let someone else take advantage of my kindness and compassion AGAIN when they probably never deserved it in the first place. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, instead of trusting my gut instincts which immediately told me to run away as fast as my legs could carry me. AGAIN. This has been a broken record pattern in my life for far too long.  

I’ve always been a firm believer in the philosophy that everyone is generally good, but is often a victim of circumstance or environment leading to bad choices and by providing them with a stable, loving, nurturing environment the bad habits would fall away and the good would eventually shine through. I’ve only recently accepted that in some situations, that is simply not the case. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. The same is true for people who have become so comfortable being the “bad guys” for whatever reason, or circumstance that providing them with an alternative is so foreign and scary they run the opposite direction.

There are also people who leech off of the kindness of others for their own personal gain, never giving a second thought to the damage they’re causing. Much like the first group: you can show them the alternatives to their behaviors and they will never accept it, unable and unwilling to recognize their own faults. No matter how many chances you give them, it won’t happen.

I’ve cried heartbroken tears too many times for the first group, and I’ve been taken advantage of one too many times by the second group. I’ve finally found my anger about it all. I’m not going to play the devil’s advocate for them anymore. The damage they’ve caused in my life fucking hurts, and I’m angry. More so at the second group than the first. Members of the second group are the reason I have my PTSD in the first place. If it weren’t for those type of people in my life I wouldn’t be having flashbacks of anything at all!

I probably never would have gotten involved with anyone from the first group, and I’d be social and “normal”. I wouldn’t have this constant burden hanging over my head, and the suffocating depression that comes with vivid memories that I don’t want anymore, but I can’t erase. It makes me angry, and I really just want to stand on the top of a mountain screaming each of their names with a giant fuck you at the end. I can’t get to an actual mountain right now, so this will have to do.

It feels good to acknowledge the pain and my frustration. I’ve been so busy trying to shield others from the affects of their poor behaviors under the guise of forgiveness that I’ve been neglecting my own emotional health in the process, denying and attempting to repress a lot of my feelings. 

Which isn’t to say that I don’t forgive them, because I do. I’ve just been misinterpreting how to express it. Forgiveness is really about yourself much more than it’s about the other person. Letting go of the negative emotional energy and moving forward. I’ve always thought that in order to forgive someone it meant making excuses for them and setting my own hurt on the sidelines to allow for them to heal, and I’ve caused myself great amounts of grief because of that philosophy. 

I’ve also learned that hatred is not synonymous with anger. Anger is a healthy, natural emotional reaction. Hatred is toxic. So yeah, I’m angry. I want to stand on mountain tops yelling my frustrations at the top of my lungs, but I’m not dwelling in hatred, wishing any ill will towards my abusers. The anger will fade, (it really already has as I’ve typed this out) and eventually I’ll forget about it all together instead of getting dragged back into it by my subconscious.

Eventually… but right now I need my mountain top of healthy anger. 

Valentine’s Day 

And today on the day Hallmark set aside to express random acts of love, I give you our wedding song. Hubs and I are coming up on six years of marriage here next month, but this was our first dance, and the song we played during our Unity Candle lighting at our ceremony. It’s our song. 💕

PTSD Support and Insight

So vlogging is a thing right? I threw together a vlog post for a mental health support group I’m part of last week, and decided to share it here as well. B1 smacked me in the face with his bottle giving me a wonderful bloody lip, and I’m operating on four hours of sleep, looking like a damn hot mess, but hey. #momlife lol.

A loose transcript:

Hi everyone. I’m a writer by nature and expressing myself vocally is kind of hard, so this is a huge step for me to sit and actually TALK about my PTSD. It’s actually one of the most obvious signs of my disorder: the inability to articulate my emotions. 
A little bit of back story: the roots of my disorder come from a childhood of emotional neglect, and abuse from my mom. Most of it was purely mental, but as I got older and gained more independence the abuse became more physical. I was also homeschooled through all of this, so my entire world consisted of my mom’s views until I turned 18. 
It was then when I met the man I experienced my first long term relationship with. I felt like he was my hero, literally picking me up off the floor when my mom’s abuse became too much and I wanted to end my life just to escape it. He welcomed me into his home, and protected me from my mom’s retaliation as I finally broke free of her control. Unfortunately I kind of jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire so to speak. Three weeks after saving my life, the man I was living with raped me, and continued to sexually, physically, and emotionally abuse me for several years, calling what we had a “relationship”, myself too naive to understand otherwise. 
The relationship ended on bad terms, nine years ago Monday actually, and ever since he’s been continuing to threaten and intimidate me via cyber space. At one point he was driving by my house yelling at me, and even went so far as to slash my tire. 
While the relationship with my ex isn’t the cause of my disorder, the trauma I endured while with him is where most of my other symptoms manifest. The flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and a lot of the anniversary dates I struggle with mostly surround my time with him. That’s what lead me to seek treatment and my eventual diagnosis three years ago.
My inability to “move on” and “forget” all of the trauma I endured with my ex began to cause a rift between my current husband and I. He didn’t understand my disordered behaviors, and neither did I until I received my diagnosis. Reading the symptoms and information about PTSD was like opening a treasure chest into my soul. It just made sense, and with a specific condition I could TREAT it. I wouldn’t just be “crazy” I could explain why I displayed disordered thought processes. I thought just receiving my diagnosis was the key I needed for my friends and family to understand too. Another part of society I was really too naive to understand at first. 
I think that’s really one of the most important things loved ones can do to support those of us diagnosed with PTSD. Acceptance of the diagnosis no matter what the trauma might be. A lot of the misunderstanding I think comes from societies unclear definition of trauma. Certainly being in the military, enduring the horrors of war, life and death for months sometimes years at a time is traumatic. Being a law enforcement officer, or a first responder dealing with life and death daily is traumatic. Surviving an accident or crime with lasting physical damage is traumatic. Those are all of the things that society readily views as “acceptable” trauma. Something that you can tangibly hold, or visually see, an experience where physical damage is caused or highly probable. 
Where PTSD’ers often get left in the dust is when the trauma endured is the result of emotional manipulation, and abuse. The clinical definition of trauma is an emotional response to overwhelming circumstances. Emotional damage isn’t always easy to see, like the physical damage many of those with “acceptable trauma” endure, yet it’s just as damaging. It doesn’t make the diagnosis any less valid simply because someone doesn’t wear a uniform, or doesn’t bare physical scars.
One of the most detrimental things I hear from friends and family trying to offer their support is a comparison of my trauma to their own, or someone else’s. Being an emotional response, trauma is a deeply personal thing, as unique to the individual as the color of their eyes, or fingerprints. What is traumatic to me, may not be to someone else and vice versa. If someone you love has been diagnosed with PTSD the first thing to do is accept the situation as real and valid. It’s easier said than done, especially considering it turns your world upside down receiving any new diagnosis. It won’t happen overnight as you work through your own emotional response to the news, but being willing and making the effort will mean the world to those affected by the disorder. 
The second piece of advice I have to offer is this: listen. When they are ready to talk about their trauma, be patient and listen. Even if they tell the same story 100 times, about the same traumatic event, years and years after the imminent danger has passed. Being able to process emotions that get locked away when the brain kicks over into survival mode is one of the best ways to manage acute PTSD symptoms, but it takes time. Sometimes even when we feel ready to talk about things, actually talking triggers anxiety so consuming it’s easier to shut down; than continue forward. Sometimes it takes years of passing that date on the calendar, and a thousand times telling the story before the trapped emotional energy is released, and the pain and anxiety subside.

Finally, I think another really important thing to keep in mind helping a loved one navigate through their disorder is to understand that there is no cure. There are many different ways to manage the symptoms, quiet effectively to where you kind of reach a remission status, but the possibility of a relapse is always there. I just recently went through my first instance of relapse since entering treatment this past year and it was brutal. I think personally it was more difficult for me to have the stability, have the remission and then to lose it, even understanding that it’s the nature of the beast so to speak. It’s a part of the disorder, a package deal. Relapse will happen, and it won’t always be predictable. What helped control symptoms the first time around might not work after relapse. It’s a constantly evolving thing, and the best way to offer support is to keep offering it, through the bad days, and the good days. The relapse and the remission. 
Anyway… I feel like I’ve been talking for hours. I guess I have more to say than I thought when I started. Thanks for watching everyone. I hope this helps provide some insight.

Curtains!

For Valentine’s Day this year Hubs treated me to new curtains for the apartment. Well, actually, my first ever curtains since I moved out of my parents house. I didn’t realize they served a purpose aside from decor so I never really bothered with them thinking: why have one more thing to clean or for the pets/kids to tear down? 

After looking at our most recent electric bill I changed my tune really quickly lol. I went to just pick up some inexpensive plain Jane cover the window and keep out the winter panels and instead with Hubs’ blessing found these gorgeous silk panels! They were about twice as much as the plain ones so nothing too extravagant, but they’re so soft and so shiny. I just love them. Not that I’m going to ever really be touching them aside from opening them in the mornings and closing them at night, but I like the way the soft fabric hangs and folds on itself. 


I got a new curtain rod too that isn’t in this picture but really completes the look.

My heat hasn’t been running nearly as much even on cold days, and they’re pretty! Who knew something so simple as hanging fabric could make a girl happy? Lol. 

I guess it’s a phase of transitional life that I never paid attention to before. I find myself instead of nesting during pregnancy, building a cozy little space for my children to grow and thrive in. Somewhere in my brain that means they need curtains I guess. My parents are getting ready to retire this year, and I’m getting ready to send my Baby Girl off to school. I recognize that young adulthood is completely behind me now, and it’s a little weird. 

Most likely the next home Hubs and I purchase will be our last, unless we downsize after the kids are off on their own. We’ll spend the next 20 years there at least, and it seems… I don’t know. Lol. A home like that needs curtains, and until we find it, my little Hideyhole will be a great place holder.

ABC’s  

I found out Monday B2 needs to be evaluated for sensory processing issues and the Autism Spectrum. His pediatrician wants to get him evaluated and started with some developmental therapy as soon as possible, which wouldn’t be too much of an issue if I knew were I was going to be living in the next six months. 

I’ve known since he was born that my Little B2 wasn’t quite up to speed developmentally. Call it Mother’s Intuition, but I’ve been waiting for this as I’ve watched him fall further and further behind his brother. Right now it only seems to be physical development. He has a huge vocabulary surpassing his brother, keeps up with social cues, enjoys interacting with his siblings, and enjoys trying new foods. He just has no desire to stand or walk. Anything that touches his feet sends him into a kicking frenzy, and he won’t put pressure on them. He hasn’t even started pulling up yet and he’s 14 months old.

We checked with his Endocrinologist to make sure it wasn’t his thyrhoid first, and now with our regular pediatrician out of ideas… we’re taking the plunge into SPD and the Spectrum. I know it isn’t really all that difficult to accommodate these days, which I’m thankful for in regards to B2’s future, and being vigilant, catching it early will give him the best possible opportunity to reach his full potential. 

At the same time, it’s nerve wrecking to be jumping into all of this stuff with so much uncertainty in our lives at the moment. Especially jumping from state to state where EVERYTHING is different.  

I also need to get Little into the Kindergarten evaluation and figure out if she’s eligible to enroll in our local district this year or if she’ll have to wait until next year. She’s doing great with everything except penmanship and some of her social skills are a little bit behind, but I mean… I’m 30 and most of my social skills are behind so she doesn’t exactly have the best roll model there. Lol. She cares about other kids, even if she’s a little behind the curve with sharing and personal space. That’s really the most important part, I think. 

Two entirely new adventures that I’ve never experienced before in my parenting journey. Both of them which would be much easier if I knew where we were going to live. It’s a little overwhelming and intimidating honestly. Especially since I’ve NEVER been involved in the public schooling/health system, even in my youth. 

Honey-Do

I had my Hubs this weekend. We had the opportunity to go out to dinner while my parents watched the kids for a few hours, plus with two adults in the house we each got the opportunity to spend some much needed one on one time with the kids. B2 was so excited to have his Mama and Daddy to himself for a while. None of the kids are neglected by any means, and I really don’t have any one of them that I relate to more than the other, but when it’s just me their one on one play time often gets cut short by another needing something. I still try to give them each as much individual attention as possible, it’s just not easy being on my own most of the time.

Hubs also helped me catch up on most of the housework that I had been trying, and miserably failing to keep up with this past week as ALL of the kids were exceptionally rambunctious for whatever reason. I normally vacuum twice a week, but last week I had the vacuum out every day often TWICE per day. Little was into everything. She generally gets into some things being 4, but I mean literally everything. She was literally following me around undoing any sort of organization I accomplished from pulling all the books off of the bookshelves, to tipping out the toy bucket, to unfolding laundry. That kid was a hellion last week. She dumped an entire box of goldfish crackers onto the floor and began jumping on them smashing them into the carpet while I was in the other room changing B1. Finally got all of those cleaned up, and she dumped out a box of cheese crackers, also smashing them while I was changing  B2!

I picked up all of the toys I don’t know how many times last week. Usually the toy bucket gets completely dumped once or twice a week, but last week? Every day. Sometimes twice. Little and B1 have come up with a game where B1 rides around in the toy bucket while Little pushes him, which is adorable to watch except for all of the toys being scattered hither and yon. lol. The Twins also decided that they would play a game every morning during breakfast. “Let’s Scatter EVERY SINGLE Cheerio Off of Our High Chair Trays and Onto the Carpet.” I honestly don’t actually know how much of their breakfast made it into their stomachs, because after dumping my little Bissell sweeper thing four times I estimated picking up an entire box of Cheerios.

It was so nice to have Hubs here just to sit with the kids while I caught everything up. He even made us brunch Sunday afternoon WITHOUT BEING ASKED. He’s always helpful around the house, but usually he waits until I’m asking him to complete a task for me. This weekend he just jumped in and helped, which was a super nice treat. We also found some nice houses we’re super interested in. Not at all where we were originally looking, but they are at least in Indiana so that’s exciting. One of them we were REALLY excited about was lakefront! There were some additional fees to live on the lake though, and it’s a pretty popular vacation lake. It’s still on our list of possibilities, but it’s kind of taken a back burner at least until we explore some of these other listings.

Apparently we were just looking on the wrong side of the state this entire time. Everything Hubs and I can agree on is just one county West of Nowheresville and a hop skip and jump away from Illinois. Maybe I will make it further West after all. lol. Slowly inching my way back to California one mile at a time.