THERAPY THURSDAY | July 2016

I started therapy before my Dad died, before I quit my job, before everything got really bad.  I am still here and I am desperately trying to finish what I started.  I have quit a few times only to return in need of help.  I went with the goal of receiving and completing EMDR Therapy (what is EMDR? click here to learn more ).

I am currently pretty much smack dab in the middle of reprocessing.  I am in the third and final stage, the home stretch if you will, and I hate it.  I want to be finished.  I want to be finished and I hate it not because of the therapy itself but because of how I am feeling physically and emotionally towards my environment and surroundings.  I am starting to see certain people for who they are and it makes me very sad.  I hate living in the my mother’s basement and I need to get out.  I should have gotten out a long time ago.  I should of used my inheritance to get myself out of here.  This environment is crushing my soul.  It is very negative, tense, and close minded here, it makes me feel like I am suffocating.  My boyfriend lives with me and for that I am forever grateful.  Without him I would crawl into bed and just stay there.  But we both know we need to get out of here.  We want out so bad.

EMDR has been monumentally helpful to me since the very beginning.  What is hard is seeing people and situations differently.  Realizing you need to and want to make changes but you can’t yet.  Feeling yourself change.  I am feeling myself change.  I was really worried about this change in the beginning – who will I be? what will I like? will I like me?? – essentially WHO THE HELL AM I REALLY? but the more we press forward in EMDR the more solid in myself I feel.  The more I understand why I feel so overly sensitive, why I decided to silence myself and essentially just give in to the constant yelling.  I understand why I was giving up.

A person can only take so much before they give up and after living through multiple traumas since the age of 2, by 28 I was out of gas.  I was out of gas and my best driving buddy – my dad- had just left me.  Needless to say, I trashed the [metaphorical] car.  I stopped sleeping, I stopped eating, I started drinking because nothing would take the pain away.  I looked worse and worse, I bleached, coloured, and dyed my hair so much I had to chop it all off a la pixie.  Somewhere along the line I plucked almost all my eyebrows out, which I am STILL trying to grow back.

It was in that time period when I looked and felt my worst that an Angel came to me.  To this day I truly believe my Dad had some hand in it, I think he was watching from above and knew what I needed.  Who I needed.  It was a few weeks after I had started drinking. I was already (back) in therapy but I was struggling.  At this time I should also note that my father was an alcoholic and I never really enjoyed drinking, I stayed away from it, everything about it turned me off.  Then one day I just stopped caring.  I found a bottle in the house and just started drinking.  My days became a routine of waiting for the liquor store to open so I could get home and drink … Until it dawned on me to buy BIGGER bottles (oh geez…).  I spent a lot of time alone, with my short hair, drinking on the deck listening to the oldies.  I do believe that is one of my most sad times in my life.  I was very sad and I felt very alone.  I felt like I was dying inside.

And then something happened.

One day this lovely and incredibly handsome Facebook friend I had insisted we meet at the beach.  We had been fb chatting and texting each other for months but being so preoccupied in my grief I didn’t want to think too much of it only to become more sad if he wasn’t interested in me.  Luckily he had caught me before I made my first drink of the day and I could still drive.  I blogged about it here!

I did not know then but I know now that he was my Angel.  I did not drink that day.  Nor did I drink the day after.  He became my other half and inevitably saved me from going down a very dark road.  He built me up when I was weak and enabled me to continue therapy, he inspires me to get better and to do better just by being there and caring.

My therapy sessions improved immediately.  Finally feeling like I was loved and supported made it so much easier to go to therapy, to actually want to do the therapy.  See, I did not realize then and I am just coming to realize NOW how little love and support I was feeling and getting before he came along.  I was made to feel like my feelings didn’t matter, my anger was unreasonable, that I was being dramatic, when really I was crying out for help.   He could see it and he did not run away from it.

My therapy session this week involved this topic of feeling very dismissed by certain people and learning that it’s not really their fault.  They simply do not have the capacity or willingness to understand my feelings.  This saddens and angers me but at the same time has brought me the decision that those people shall not need to be informed.  They cannot understand so why waste my breath?  It is a new and interesting decision for me but I want to be happy.  I am sick of being weighed down by other people and their ignorance towards mental health.  Especially when those people are family members.

I now need to focus. Focus on finishing therapy and building my life with my Angel.  I am terrified because I do not know what is on the other side.  At the same time I am grateful because without therapy and his love and support through all of this I cannot fathom where I would be or what I would be doing.

That’s all I have for this, my first instalment of “Therapy Thursday”.  Today I just let my thoughts come out regarding this week’s therapy session.  I am not sure where this series is going but I plan to keep writing and find out!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I write, I appreciate it more than you know.

 

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Quotable Quotes | Led Zeppelin

quotable quotes 2

“Standing on a hill in my mountain of

dreams telling myself it’s not as hard,

hard, hard as it seems”.

~ Led Zeppelin | Going to California

Ain’t that the truth.  For me anyways.

Even now I feel as thought I am standing on a hill, a very small one, in my mountain of dreams.  I keep telling myself it is not as hard as it seems.  Life is not as hard as it seems.  I keep thinking and hoping that if I work hard and keep going that I will reach the mountain.  I will reach my dreams.

I do not know how I will get there but at this point in time I am trying not to concern myself with the how.  The how will come.  At this point I need to worry about me, my metal health, and getting through therapy so I can live my life to its fullest.  There are many little hills to stand on before reaching my mountain.  I must reach them all so to ensure that I will be ready, willing, and capable when I reach my dreams.

My dreams are not huge.  Really.  I just want to be happy.  I want to love and be loved.  I want to work and make enough money to live off.  I don’t want to be constantly worried that something bad is going to happen.  I want to move out of my mothers basement into a place that is ours (by boyfriends &mine).  I can’t wait to feel what it is like to wake up and not feel as thought I am mentally and creatively suffocated.  To wake up and begin my day without running into triggers before I have even had my morning tea.  These triggers range from anxiety, depression, and panic – sometimes all 3 at the same time which makes for quite the EXPLOSIVE morning let me tell you.  It’s also exhausting and embarrassing but I can’t help it sometimes.

My bud can only bloom so far under these conditions.  It will only reach a certain point before it will stop and stall.  I feel like I am already beginning to stall.  At this point (July 2016) I wanted to be further along in not only therapy but in life as well.  I have been off [from work] for 3 years now, I had hoped these years would have been more productive, on my part, creatively.

I want(ed) to do more about mental health and the issues and stigma that surrounds it.  I wanted to create an example, a documentation, a smiling face that says “hey! it’s ok! You are not your Mental Illness! You can do this!”.  I want(ed) to create a community of care where we can share our plights and talk them over.  Help each other out and lift each others spirits in a positive and non-judgemental environment.  If you are in therapy we can encourage each other to keep at it – sometimes therapy is great and sometimes it sucks.  If your not in therapy for whatever reason that is cool too, maybe you have your own way of coping and that is awesome.  I am not here to preach therapy but I would like to promote positivity, talk about mental health, and ultimately learn to love and accept myself.

My mom has often said “go with what you know”.  After battling PTSD over half my life I feel that it is something I know very well.  I know what it’s like to be misdiagnosed and medicated (ahem … overmedicated).  I know what it’s like to not be able to go to work or school because you are so anxious or depressed you simply cannot get out of bed NEVER MIND leave the house.  I know what it’s like to feel like you are crazy because the “norms” just can’t understand what is wrong.  Therapy. Oh my lanta do I know therapy.  I’m on my 3rd therapist now, so far she has stuck but we have had some fraying moments.

I know a lot about dealing with anxiety and depression and I don’t know what else to do with all of my information except share it.  Share my story, share my journey, for not only you, the reader, but for myself to look back on when I [presumably] reach that damn mountain.

Quotable Quotes | Anais Nin

Rainbow of Petals_Fotor

“And the day came when the

risk to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk

it took to bloom.”

~ Anais Nin

My therapist turned me onto this quote a few years ago.  I remember vividly hearing these words and feeling such a connection to what they said.

Somewhere along the line I started to turn down the volume my personality and dreams and began to raise the volume in the afraid-to-be-the-real-me department.  Looking back I can see that it got so bad I almost lost myself completely.  Toxic people, toxic relationships, and toxic thinking can affect so much of you if you let it.  I had gotten to a point where years of the 3 T’s (the toxic people, toxic relationships & toxic thinking) had forced me into a bud.  A tight, closed off, suffocating bud.

Even though I was trapped in this bud I knew I wanted more. I want[ed] to be that beautiful flower that I was born to be.  I was so afraid to go forth and enjoy my life [and myself] that I felt I literally could not stand it anymore.  It was becoming entirely too painful to remain living tightly in a bud.  I started by making small changes that ultimately turned into bigger changes.  The first few changes were terrifying.  I spent a lot of time alone.  MONTHS.  I cried a lot.  I cried myself to sleep, I cried on the cat, I cried if I spilled tea, I cried while driving – which I do not recommend by the way.  The anxiety of hating where I was in life literally made me sick to my stomach at times.  Whatever it took, I had to get out of that bud.

The risk I was taking staying in that bud was becoming far greater then the risk it was to let myself bloom.  I knew I could not do it myself so I put myself in therapy.  I quit therapy a few times before I finally realized I needed to stay.  I owed it to myself to stay and try my hardest because I did not want to find out what would happen to me if I didn’t.  I am still in therapy and still working on blooming fully.  I still have bad days and I still get the urge to quit therapy from time to time but when I remember being a bud it inspires me to keep going.

It is not an easy road but I feel that it would be even harder to look back and have never even tried.

Grandma’s House

When I was a child I used to have this reoccurring nightmare.  I would wake terrified and disoriented, feeling a stress I could not understand and would not understand until 20 years later.

The nightmare was always the same.  I can still remember it.  I can see it.  I almost feel it.  I am at my Grandparents house, as a child I frequently stayed at their house as my father lived with them at the time and I visited my father on weekends and vacations.  I loved staying there.  I was treated nicely and made to feel wanted; my father and grandparents often called me “Princess” – not because I was a little Princess but because I was THEIR Princess.  I was allowed to be myself.  Nobody yelled at me unless there was a good reason. It felt good.  It felt safe.

In my nightmare I walk into the house as I always have, excited to see and hug my Grandparents – I was especially close to my Grandma.  As I walk in it appears no one is there.  I look around and I feel alone.  I realize my father is not behind me as he usually is.  “What is going on here?” I ask myself.  It’s quiet.  It’s so quiet that it is deafening.

I’m standing in the kitchen, it’s small but cozy, still has that 1970’s vibe to it.  I can still see the ever popular “Harvest Gold” refrigerator, brown accents, and dark wood cupboards  when I close my eyes.  So warm and inviting.  Always a buzzing place… but not this time.  This time it is not buzzing.  Grandma is not fluttering around cooking or baking something for Grandpa.  Grandpa is not in his chair with his tea and cigarette.  Something does not feel right.

I try to walk but its as if I have no feet.  Instead of taking steps I feel as though I am gliding.  I glide to the hall, everything looks dark.  I start checking rooms.  Every one – including mine – is empty.

I find myself unexplainably in the basement.  My Dads room.  The whole basement was almost all my dads room aside from a small laundry room to the right of the stairs when you reached bottom.  It was a neat laundry room, had its own chute from the bathroom and everything.  Oh how we loved to throw clothes and toys down it, rushing down the basement stairs and into the laundry room to see that our items had indeed made it into the basket. It was almost magical.

Nothing is as it should be.  There is no laundry.  My dads room looks bare.  Where are all of his things? Where’s the t.v.? The Bed? My Family??

I feel as though perhaps they forgot me.  But how?  They would never forget me.

This is when the Orbs show up – I get goosebumps just thinking about the orbs.  Three of them.  Three bright, white, circular orbs.  They came together floating down the basement stairs.  They approach me, they get so close I can almost touch them.  I feel like I know them.  Their presence is all too familiar.  Is this my dad and grandparents? Why are they like this?

We are not together long, myself and the Orbs.  They begin to bounce all around me as if in celebration.  I am still confused.  I don’t have time to make sense of it because the Orbs decide to hover by the stairs.  I move towards them.  I hope that maybe they will lead me to where everyone is.  I get near to them only to have them bounce back up the stairs.  I run after them as fast I can.  I’m back in the kitchen.  I look around and there is no sign of anything or anyone.  I suddenly feel very alone and very sad.  I feel abandoned and lost.  Sometimes I start to cry, sometimes I call out for them hoping they will come running from somewhere to hold and comfort me.

This is always when I wake up.  I would wake up in my room, at my grandparents house.  I remember thinking of how horrible it would be if that really happened.  I would always feel a sense of sadness after these Nightmares even though I was relieved to know I hadn’t been abandoned and I was not alone… Yet.

Over the years my Grandparents retired, they decided to sell their house and move a few Provinces over.  My Dad got his own place and I started just visiting him on weekends and vacations, sans g-ma and g-pa.  I got to go visit my Grandparents during summer vacations which I always looked forward to.

I did not know at the time but this was the beginning of my Nightmare.  My Grandma was my best friend and she moved away.  Without the glue of my grandparents holding the family together, we fell apart.  By my early 20’s I had stopped going to see my Dad because he was drinking too much.  I found out I missed my Grandparents 50th Wedding Anniversary because NOBODY REMEMBERED TO INVITE ME.  As time goes by I find out my Grandfather is not well and neither is my father.  I have called all over Canada more then once to track down my Dad so I can find out if he is okay.

My Grandfather died before I could say goodbye.  It breaks my heart that I could not even afford to fly out for the funeral.  My father predicted his own death and I did not listen.  I spoke with him only 6 months before his death and had no idea it would be our last conversation.  He told me he was going to die.  I told him that was crazy talk.  I had not seen him in years.  He told me he’d be in my Province for summer and would love to see me, all he wants is to see me.  He never gets to.  By summer he is gone.

I watched my father die.  He spend a month in ICU, lost both of his legs, and due to complications did not survive.  I went to visit as often as I could, I talked to him, I held his hand and begged him not to go.  On July 3, 2013 he left me.  It was not long after this that I realized my Nightmare is now my reality.

My Grandparents old house still stands but no one I know lives there.  No one will be coming to take me there.  No one is waiting to shower me with hugs and love there.

My Grandma is still with us, but lives out East. I talk to her on the phone from time to time.  I don’t call as often as I should because as happy as I am to talk to her I get very sad.  I am sad for all the time lost.  I am sad I need to jump on a plane to go see her.  I am sad that she left.  I miss her.  I miss Grandpa.  I miss Dad.  I want them back, I want it all back.  I want to wake up in my room at Grandma’s house and have it all just be a Nightmare.

DAILY PROMPT : Nightmare 

Blogging : Branding and Growth

I have stumbled upon WordPress’s Blogging University this evening and I must tell you that I was quite excited to enrol myself in one of their (FREE!) courses.  Why not?  I do love to type and write about things.  I used to write short stories as a kid and long before the confusing years of High School I wanted to be a writer.  A writer of anything.  I love words, I love typography, I am a full fledged english nerd (who sucks at grammar from time to time).

Though I posses the pizzaz to write, I lack in nailing down what I actually want to write about.  Not because I have nothing to say, quite the opposite, I have SO MUCH to say about SO MANY things.  Thankful I am, complaining I am not 😉

Anyways, my objective here is to come up with (and in my mind commit to) 3 goals for my blog.  This, though it seems obvious, never really occurred to me.  To set ACTUAL goals for my blog and (attempt) to achieve them… Here it goes.

Goal [gohl] 

-noun

  1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
  2. the terminal point in a race.
  3. a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.

… there are more definitions but their mostly sports related.

I started blogging to reach out to those with the same interests and struggles as myself.  I ultimately want to aid in the fight against the stigma surrounding mental health and mental health issues.  I would love to post daily, maybe even carve a career out for myself. I would like to gain more followers, perhaps make some blogger friends.  I would just love to be able to type about something relevant that I feel passionate about.  I would want to work all day and night just out of the sheer passion I have for it all.  Ok. So.  ACTUAL GOALS.  Here they are;

  1. to blog daily for the next 10+ days (at LEAST 10, if I go for more – awesome!).
  2. to establish a weekly feature which we will call “THERAPY THURSDAY” documenting the remainder of this therapy journey I am on.
  3. to finish every assignment given to me in this course and then take another one.

Hey now, that was not too bad.  I have impressed myself and I am really happy with my 3 goals.  I think they are do-able.

What do I have to lose? Nothing.  What do I have to gain? Everything.

 

 

 

The Morning Storm

I hate mornings.  I always have, and quite frankly I think mornings hate me too.

Every night I go to bed knowing that the Storm in my head is brewing.  I don’t even know what happens to my brain while I am sleeping but there is SOMETHING going on there.  If I wake up too early – regardless of whether I have had enough sleep or not – I feel anxious, nauseous, angry, confused, and agitated.  It is a lovely combination that makes for one hell of a Storm in my head every. Single. Morning.

It is frustrating and depressing.  I hate feeling so nasty in the morning.  I wish I could feel as good at 7am as I do at 10pm.  This problem has plagued me for as long as I can remember, even as far back as pre-school.  It’s like as soon as my eyes open I am precipitately anxious.  I am worried and anxious about my day before it even starts.  It got so bad [when I was still working] I literally threw up before every 7am shift I was scheduled for.  It makes no difference if I go to bed early, try to catch a nap the day before, eat breakfast, don’t eat breakfast, snack before bed, no snack before bed, bed location, gravol before bed – nada.  NADA.

I have learned that I need space in the morning and I need to give myself time to relax and process the upcoming day – wether I am busy [that day] or not.  The morning Storm usually only lasts about an hour but has been known to knock out power until well after lunch.  Either way, it makes it very difficult for me to get motivated and moving.  It takes so much energy to battle to storm and not let it get out of control (HeLLoooo morning PANIC ATTACK !), that by the time it clears I am mentally drained.

By mid-afternoon the skies are always clear and the morning Storm is but a memory.  A memory I know I will repeat again tomorrow.  I also find I need to be wary of evenings and certain lighting (i.e. The Keg’s dim dinner lights) because for some reason both can be intensely triggering.  The storm can re-appear and riek havoc on whatever it is I may be doing.  I have a few places I avoid – such as The Keg – as a safety measure against the Storm.

I find it best to not ignore the warning signs, my mind gets foggy, the winds of too many thoughts pick up, the spiddle spaddle of anxiety drops fall throughout my body and the tremble of nausea begins like thunder rolling in the distance.  At this time it is a good idea to get myself to a sheltered, safe place quickly.  Once in my safe place I can ride out the waves of the Storm, however long and exhausting that may be.

I am lucky.  I [now] have a few life preservers that come floating to me when the Storm begins to flood, and good grief, does it flood.  My main preserver is my boyfriend, my best friend, my soul mate – he loves me unconditionally and is not at all intimidated by the Storm.  He helps to remind me that I am not my illness and I can [and am] capable of being loved.  He accepts me for who I am and never judges me because of the Storms.  He has taught me how important it is to feel loved and supported.  What an incredible gift that has been.  My second preserver is therapy.  With [going on 3 years of] therapy I am learning to cope with the devastating effects of childhood trauma, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse.  I am also learning to cope with my Fathers death which was sudden, unexpected, and absolutely crippling to me.  Though distant, he too was a preserver and I lost him.  Without my boyfriend and without therapy I would never stay afloat.

It is a battle. Sometimes it’s daily.  But I refuse to give up.  The eye of the Storm is fast approaching and I will fight it.  I will fight to see the rainbow at the end.

DAILY PROMPT : Storm 

I am sad. Sad I am.

Depressed again.  It comes and goes as it pleases and I hate it.

I tell myself I am only ruining my own day (my mothers words actually), but sometimes I just get in a rut and I need to be left alone… At least by certain people.  Also, I have now learned that when one is loathing one’s living arrangements, it can really weigh on one’s mind.  “One” being me.

I so desperately want to move out (of my mothers basement) with my boyfriend.  Just the thought of not living at home feels SO GOOD.  I want out so bad.  Due to unforeseen crappy jobs and [until recently] planning on paying for everything myself kind of put me 10 years behind schedule in the moving-out department.  Right now I am on a short term disability which hardly provides enough to pay my bills, never mind cover my therapy appointments.  Though this is temporary the lack of jobs in my area combined with my severe anxiety towards leaving the house for 6-12 hours a day does not help the situation.  I have no idea what the hell I am going to do when I am off disability.

I love people that tell me I need to move – Ya, because I don’t know that.  You need money to move and I have no money.  I have tried many little projects to generate money on the side; eBay, Etsy, YouTube, Storenvy; after 3 years none are worth my time.  I either have what nobody wants or I am just making and selling what everyone else is.  It is very discouraging.  I would love to work from home somehow, in some way.  I would work SO MUCH if I could do it from the comfort of my own home.  I have tried a few online jobs too- Swagbacks, Megatypers, Surveys … again NONE are worth my time, or yours for that matter.  I’m NEVER eligible to take a damn survey, oh the frustration.

I still love Youtube thought lately my viewing and interest has been dwindling.  I don’t know if this is something to do with therapy or perhaps my extreme disappointment in myself regarding my own Youtube channel.  I want(ed) to film regularly, if not daily.  I want(ed) to talk about therapy and anxiety and all the lovely things that go along with that.  I want(ed) to create [more] outfit videos and get back into one of my first loves – fashion.  But then part of me doesn’t care.  I hate that part of me doesn’t care. Who am I if I don’t love these things anymore?

Then again… back to moving out – I feel like I would feel more inclined to do these aforementioned things if I was not here (sitting in my mothers basement, fracking FREEZING from the a/c).  I stay down here because well, there is no room for me anywhere else in the house and I feel comfortable here, its my comfy cave, but at the same time I hate it.  I am grateful- don’t get me wrong- but just because I am grateful [to my mom for putting up with me and my mental instability] does not mean I am happy.  It could be worse but it could also be better.  I am trying to seek out the positivity in life and ignore the negative.  That is very hard here.  Good test I must say, but hard.

I actually worry that I might die before I get to move out and live independently.  Who knows what could happen between now and whenever the hell we manage to get outta here.  I’m 32, another 5 years and I’ll be 37, if I am still here at 37 I really don’t know what I will do with myself.  I didn’t even want to start working again while living here (unless online/from home).  We live SO FAR from everything.  Just driving to a town where there might be work will take over half an hour AT LEAST.  I hate it.  I am stating to see how condo living in a town or city can be appealing.  I want to be able to walk places for crying out loud.  The only place I can walk here is to the end of the driveway to the mailbox which at times CAN be exciting not gonna lie, but only when I am expecting something and thats never these days.

Sometimes I wonder if its just me.  Maybe I was just born this way.  I was born in February of 1984, 3 months earlier then I was due.  I spent the first weeks of my life in an incubator and I feel lucky to have not only survived but to have been blessed with no physical or mental damage.  Then I got Kawasaki Disease when I was 2.  Very rare, can be deadly but thanks to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto I lived.  Again, without physical or mental damage.  I cheated death at least twice now and sometimes it makes me wonder.  Maybe I am having a hard time finding my place in the world because I wasn’t suppose to be here.

I plan to stay and see what happens.  I like to hope I am here for a reason.