Last Day Here

It is officially my last full day here.  By this time tomorrow [the rest of] the move will surely be underway. I am both excited and nervous for this new chapter of my life.  A month ago I did not know that I would be leaving yet here I am.

Most of my clothes are packed away.  Upon packing said clothes I realized I hate most of them and wish to slowly start upgrading my wardrobe.  Not all, just some.  Too many items remind me of the person I was and of certain feelings I may have had when I wore this item or that one.  For example, I have a long sleeved knit white tunic from Walmart that I have owned and worn for over 10 years now.  It used to be my go-to “going out” or “date” sweater.  It now looks more beige then white and whenever I wear it I can’t help but remember that time I had an anxiety attack whilst en route to the Mandarin.  Got there only to NOT EAT ANYTHING. I just silently panicked at the table while insisting the party I was with “please enjoy themselves”.

I have a Barbie sweatshirt that is baby pink and I love it but every time I touch it I recall how I ordered it right before going to Cuba in 2013.  A trip that I recall as a shit ton of panicking, throwing up and just wanting to go home.  In trying to move on with life and continue to improve myself I feel as though I don’t want these cloth reminders of memories.  As of this moment these items are packed away but as I unpack I plan on donating a lot.

I am feeling better about this whole thing [this morning] then I thought that I would.  I have only had to take 1 ativan so far this week and I will allow myself 1 for tonite and possibly 1 for tomorrow because I just know now that I will not be sleeping and good grief I cannot let anxiety get in my way.  It has gotten in the way of my life enough already and has led to me where I am at this current moment.  I’m not in a bad situation per se but I am not where I wanted to be.

I am not working and I am on social assistance.  Something I was advised to do by both my Doctor and my Therapist a few years back.  At this point in time I am trying to focus on completing EMDR and healing myself without the extra stress of working or trying to work.  Also after 10+ years of shitty jobs, shitty hours, shitty pay, working multiple jobs and still not getting ahead, I was mentally and physically exhausted.  I have worked so many places my resume should be a novella.

I have no idea what the future holds for me, and us but I can only hope and pray that is is a good one.  I have had enough bad things happen in my life, it is time for some good stuff.  I know that this move is a step in the right direction and I am so looking forward to being the person that I am supposed to be.  It has been a long time since I started a new chapter, perhaps a little too long.

So, here we are, last day of this chapter, last day in this room, last day in this house.  It’s bittersweet.  Part of me can’t wait to shut the door tomorrow afternoon and the other part of me wants to hold on for dear life… then there’s another part screaming “just defrost your fridge already!!!”.

 

DEEP BREATH.

… The fridge is waiting.  Along with your new life.

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I am freaking out.

My poor boyfriend ought to come into our room at any moment to find me sobbing like a baby.  I can’t hold it in any longer today.  I am trying not to freak out but I think I am freaking out.

I first showed up in my therapists office about 5 years ago now, claiming that I am “just naturally thin” and that “my mom is my best friend”.  Both of those lines were slightly blurred.  I had managed to finally arrive in that office, in search of EMDR Therapy, because my mother had told me I needed to.  That I needed to get this therapy and to “hurry up and try it” so that “maybe” she “could try it too”.  Well, here we are 5-ish years later and I am still working on my EMDR whilst my mother will most likely never try it because “it takes too long” and she can’t seem to decide wether or not she needs therapy.

I am not one to tell anyone that they need therapy, that is something you need to decide for yourself and I have always said that if you can live with life and your mental health is not bothering you enough to seek out help then you are probably fine without out it.  But my mother could use a session or 2.

I miss my father immensely, I wish I could just speak with him, I look at his photo and it makes me cry harder.  I wish he was here to give me one of his famous hugs and to tell me not to worry about my mother.  He was always very observant and empathetic, something I am realizing my mother is not.  He noticed when my 7 year old self was not doing well and he tried to get me out.  He noticed when I was losing weight in high school and he knew it was more then just shedding some puberty-weight.  He always reassured me that he loves me and I knew I was wanted.  He encouraged me and allowed me to be myself.

My mother not so much.  She has controlled so much in my life that now that I am leaving I am terrified.  I don’t know how to be myself anymore for fear of being not taken seriously  or perhaps even lectured on life.  I can’t tell her how I really feel for fear of being gaslighted.  Something my mother is very good at.

This is what hurts the most.  Feeling as though I can’t even tell her how I am feeling about the events of the past month/year.  I am so angry that I have been working so hard to do EMDR therapy and I am in the thick of it now, and now is when I am being forced to move. The EMDR therapy I “had to get” because of traumas that she helped create.

I know that it is best for me to go.  It is time for me to go.  I should have gone a long time ago.  Perhaps I am angry with myself.  I allowed myself to end up in this position.  I am sad that I am not yet the person I am supposed to be.  I let myself down too many times and this is my consequence.  I listened to someone who did not know what they were talking about and I dismissed my needs and wants in exchange for pleasing someone else.

* * * 12 HOURS LATER * * * 

I need to remind myself that this move is the start of my new and improved life.  I thank my lucky stars that I found someone that shines light into my life, sees me for me, and loves me unconditionally.  I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like without him.  When he first came along a few years ago I promised myself I would stop making decisions based on my mother.  He was one of my first decisions and it has been the best one I have made in a long time.  We decided to move together and I am committed to moving with him.  I am also committed to finding myself and learning to love life again.   I know that this is a step I need to take in order to find my happiness.  I should be excited, not terrified.  I have found something that I never thought I would, love and acceptance.  I need to focus more on the love and acceptance part and try to let the fear go.

PHEW. A few moments of mulling that [last] thought over and I am feeling a little less teary.  WHOA. This post is kind of all over the place but I am posting it anyways because I took the time to write some things that I would like to remember.

After feeling anxious and crying last night and then having a repeat this morning I am tired.  At the same time I don’t want to sleep, I want to work towards my new and improved life.

Maybe I will pack some more stuff.

 

MOVING OUT

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The time has come where I can no longer stay in my current situation/environment and I have decided to move.  This has been a long time coming and should have happened a long long time ago.  I am to the point where I no longer feel welcome here, I isolate myself on a daily basis and I am stifled creatively.

I have mixed feelings about this move.  I know in my heart that if I stay here I will only stagnate, and I have been stagnating in this toxic and negative place I call “home”.  Thanks in large part to my PTSD and quite possibly my mothers own PTSD I have allowed and been allowed to stay in this house for too many years.

I am 33 (just turned) and I am leaving my mother’s house for the first time.  I have travelled in the past and I have lived in many other places for short periods of time but I have never packed up all of my things and left.  For what I hope to be permanently.  Like I said- I have been here too long.  I have allowed myself to think that I am not capable of living outside of this house.  I have been made to think that it is too hard “out there” and that if I can’t make it here then I certainly can’t make it “out there”.  I have become accustomed to not inviting ANYONE over anymore, even my best friend who has known me for over 20 years.  Partly due to embarrassment and partly due to the feeling that I just shouldn’t.  Socialization is not promoted in this house.  I am sick of being talked down to, I am sick of the constant negativity.  I need to be able to breathe. I need to be able to live.

So. I am moving out.  I have spent the last 2 weekends packing and moving all of my belongings to my mother-in-laws house where I will be staying with my love until we can save up first and last for our own place.  Trust me- I did NOT want to move from one mother to another but as my luck would have it the decision to move happened rather quickly and as we have no other place to go and we need out immediately, this seemed like the best option.  For many reasons.

And so here I sit, in my room, for the last Tuesday I may ever sit in this room.  Most of my stuff is gone to my new home, aside from my bed and a few large furniture items that will be moved Saturday morning, and my cat Marble.

I feel as though I need to remember this. I need to remember sitting in my own house feeling so unwelcome.  I need to remember that this does not feel like home – and then I have to ask myself – has it ever?  Grandma’s house felt like home.  This has never felt like that.  Looking back I realize that this “home” has allowed my PTSD to fester and erupt.  The worst it got, the more I thought I had to stay, all the while being suffocated by the thick, negative air.  Why do I feel like the family outcast? Because I found out 10 years of anxiety and depression where a part of something much bigger (PTSD)? Because I decided to take time off to heal myself? Because I fell in love with a wonderful man? Well. Pardon me all to hell.

I used to think this “home” was a safe place.  I have come to feel that it is not safe at all.  Not for me and my mental health.

I am sad.  I am sad that this took 10 years too long to happen.  I should have been in therapy and moving out 10 years ago.  The time and tears that I have wasted trying to find myself here, and falsely believing this was the best place to do it is frightening.  I am sad that I have allowed my self esteem to be on the chopping block for so long.  I am sad that I let my mother so interfere with my relationship with my father.  I am sad that I let myself down countless times because I was too afraid to be myself.  I am sick of hiding.  I am sick of isolating myself, I am sick of not living my life.

I should be happy that I am leaving- and I am happy but I am also hurt and afraid.  I am hurt because I feel as though the rug has been pulled up from underneath me…AGAIN.  I am afraid because this is all I have known.  I feel like I am about to be freed but I don’t know how I feel about that freedom because -at 33 – this feels very new, overwhelming, and scary.

Stay tuned my friends, this could be a bumpy ride.

The PTSD Tag

Thank you for calling me Brave

THERAPY THURSDAY | July 2016

 

The PTSD Tag

I was tagged ages ago now on YouTube to answer the “PTSD Tag” questions.  I have actually filmed this twice yet I have never put my footage, and ultimately my answers, out there.  I decided to blog it instead.  Maybe I will eventually re-film it and upload it but for today let’s just blog it and see what happens.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PTSD?

The cause of my PTSD is childhood trauma, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.

WHEN WERE YOU DIAGNOSED? ARE YOU IN TREATMENT?

I was misdiagnosed for a number of years as mildly bi-polar.  In and around 2012/2013 is when I was re-diagnosed with PTSD which made a lot more sense then the previous diagnoses did. I am currently in treatment and have been for about 4 years now.  Every 2 weeks or so I go to Therapy.  For the past year or so I have been getting EMDR Treatment.

WHAT IS EMDR?

WHO KNOWS ABOUT IT?

My family is aware.  My boyfriend knows.  A few close friends might know.

WHAT ARE YOUR SYMPTOMS?

My symptoms range from mild to SEVERE anxiety, dissociation, and depression.  SO NOT FUN.

HARDEST PART ABOUT LIVING WITH THIS DISORDER?

I find the hardest part about living with PTSD is a combination of never knowing when an anxiety attack or depression is going to hit and feeling like a failure.  I feel like I am failing in life, no real job prospects, living in my moms basement, hating where I live… but I am here, failing, because of PTSD, because I have been hit too many times with crippling anxiety and/or depression and I needed to take some time out.

COPING SKILLS THAT HELP YOU?

Therapy has helped me immensely.  Not everyone needs Therapy, but I did.  Talking about it helps me sometimes.  When I start feeling anxious I can get overly chatty about it.  I also like to lay in a hot bath and try not to think about anything.  Or hide under a soft and cozy blanket in front of my space heater, I like the noise of the heater.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PTSD?

That we need to be medicated.  That is not true.  I tried medication for 3+ years and it was terrible.  Medication does not treat the root of the problem : TRAUMA.

That we need to “just get over it”.  Honey, if I could just get over it I’d be way past it, believe me.  I have made my Therapist cry with some of my life stories.

That is is mostly a Military issue.  Yes, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT our Military men and women suffer PTSD, and I feel for them, I really do.  They deserve our utmost respect and they should be entitled to the best care that can be given.  It is an absolute travesty that we let men and women fight for our Country(ies) and we tell them we support them.  But who supports the Veteran who is fighting for his life in his own head?

At the same time, THIS IS NOT JUST A MILITARY PROBLEM.  It is a PEOPLE PROBLEM.

People are fucked. Not all, just some.  Sometimes a really fucked up person comes into your life and really, well, fucks you up.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO OTHERS WHO SUFFER FROM THIS DISORDER? ADVICE?

Wether you are a Veteran, a regular person, hec, Lady Gaga – you are not alone.

YOU

ARE 

NOT

ALONE.

We are NOT failures and it is NOT our fault.  Don’t let anyone ever make you feel bad about something that you cannot control.  And if they do, your better off without them. Yes, even if that person is a parent, a sibling, a boyfriend, girlfriend or a spouse- if they make you feel bad about something you have no control over then that person-whomever it may be- is not good for you and is not healthy for your healing.

My advice is to cut out toxic people, which can take time.  And to look into EMDR, who knows, maybe it could help, maybe not, but I figured it was worth a shot.  I may not be healed yet but I am on my way to living a healed life.  I really do not want to know where I would be right now had I not decided to pursue EMDR… but that’s just me 😉

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Thank you so much for stopping by! Please feel free to take these questions and answer them for yourself (if you suffer from PTSD), I would love to read your answers!

FUN FACTS ABOUT THIS PICTURE:

My Dad bought me that KoRn sweatshirt when I was 16.  For my birthday.  It’s almost 17 years old now but I still love it!

This was a video still that I was going to use as a thumbnail for a YouTube video I never ended  up uploading because I got too stuck in my head about it.

I crocheted myself that yellow scarf.  I don’t even like yellow that much but I love that scarf.

That’s 2 studs you see in my nose.  Currently I only have one in.  I can’t decide if I like 2 or just one.

 

Thank you for calling me Brave

To the teller at the TD Bank in Fonthill, whose name I did not catch, thank you.

You asked what I was doing [for work] and I decided to, for ONCE, be honest.  I said “I write a blog”.

“About what?” you asked.

“About anxiety, depression, mental health” I replied.

To my surprise you seemed impressed with my response.  You said I was brave to talk about these things and get them out in the open.  I think you even thanked me! I had no idea that admitting that I write this blog would have such a positive impact.  If I was smarter I would have given you a card with the name of my blog on it but hey, one day at a time.  Maybe that could be a goal I work towards, feathering my cards to potential future readers.  Hmmm. Interesting.

I feel like this is a sign.  I took the leap and decided to stop making up some “normal” job that I do not have and just admit that I am currently writing (instead unemployed and on Disability).  I am not currently making any money from it and that is FINE.  I do not write to make money.  That would be nice, of course.  But I write for the love of writing, venting, and typing.  If that goes somewhere I’d be over the moon but for now I am just happy that someone I don’t even know is happy that I am writing about mental health and the struggles of having a mental health problem.

I will never forget the feeling I got talking to the teller at my bank about my blog.  I will never forget the way she looked at me, very genuinely and almost with respect.  For that I will be forever grateful.

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I just started Typing (and this came out)

I am sad.  Again.  The kind of sad that keeps me in bed all day, sometimes sleeping, sometimes crying.  The kind of sad that prevents me from eating or bathing because I just don’t care.

I had a pretty good weekend and Monday wasn’t that bad either.  I filmed for my channel iCarlaVlogs and even re-edited some old vlogs to put up because I felt they were actually really good and I did want to share them.

As far as I know I have a microblading appointment tomorrow morning that I WAS over-the-moon about.  Now I am worried that I screwed up the date or something (I have already send a confirmation text to my eyebrow professional).  I am also worried that I won’t have the $300 to pay for it.  I had some money saved but for some (STUPID) reason I thought I would be paying $200.  It’s funny to me how this all seemed so “do-able” yesterday, last week, even 2 months ago and NOW I am feeling like the walls are closing in.  The walls of disappointment are closing in on me and I wonder why I ever thought I could or should try to improve my appearance and ultimately, my self esteem.

Am I just a boob for wanting to try to make myself feel better ? And for thinking about YouTube again?  It always comes back to YouTube.  I thought I could improve my self esteem whilst also saving for and acquiring some better tools – lights, that DLSR I have wanted for 2 years now, that cool background I can’t stop thinking about.  I want to make videos and I LOVE making videos but that little yet loud voice of negativity stops me in my tracks every time.

I don’t even know why I listen to that little voice.  It’s not like it has been all that helpful.  I started making videos for a reason.  I wanted to be able to see my journey and I also wanted to start documenting more of my life so that I can look back at it in the years to come.  Show my [future] kids who I was before them, remind myself of the bittersweet journey through therapy and life, what did we look like? What were we doing? I also wanted to potentially reach out to anyone who may be dealing with the same thing(s) or even similar thing(s) that I am, let’s form a positive metal health community.  Let’s talk about it and share our experiences.

PHEW.  My eyebrow professional JUST text me back.  I do indeed have an appointment tomorrow, I did not miss anything.  WHAT A RELIEF.  Now I just have to locate the rest of the funds I need.  Ok.  Ya.  That makes me feel a little better.  I was beginning to picture myself not going anywhere tomorrow and having to stare at my terrible brows for who the hec knows how long.  Perhaps it’s because it seems too good to be true.  Maybe that is what my WHOLE problem is.

I am not really used to things working out well in life.  I kinda taught myself that whole disappoint-from-the-start (s0 you are never surprised when you are inevitably disappointed) sometime around 7th grade.  I can surmise that it came from many years of disappointments.  As a kid (and even into adulthood) I was not allowed to partake in any after school activities or clubs.  I was yelled at a lot especially if I tried to express my feelings, I feel like I was always in trouble for something even though looking back I really didn’t do anything wrong.  My mom just was not a happy camper back then, she had good reason but it still doesn’t excuse her lack of emotional presence and overall encouragement.  I spent half my weekends here, in Tiny Town, Canada but I spent the other half with my Dad, wherever he would be.  Newmarket, Toronto, Sharon, Woodbridge, I have stayed in all of these towns for various lengths of time.  This was my escape.  My escape into a more positive world where it seemed anything was possible.

My Dad and my grandparents supported my creativity and always encouraged me to be myself.  They never made me feel bad about being me.  When I would return home to Tiny Town (p.s. this is my made up name for my “town”),  I always felt like I was leaving something behind.  In a sense I guess I was.  I was leaving my true self behind.  My true self was safe with them.  Back in Tiny Town I would put my shield up and hide inside myself.  Things I wanted to do or create, places I wanted to go, all seemed so unattainable sitting in my bedroom in our old farmhouse.  I suppose one day I just gave up.  Before becoming a teenager I gave up.  So sick of getting excited for something only to be crippled with disappointment.  It happened ALL THE TIME.  So I said f*ck it.  I got you beat.  I will just stop expecting anything therefore I can stop feeling so shitty when nothing happens.

It took some time to get used to but by high school I was getting used to living in the land of don’t-expect-anything [positive].  By college I got so depressed thinking “what’s the point” that I dropped out of my Art & Design program a year and a half in.  This became on ongoing pattern for me. I would start something and inevitably it would cave because I would become so wrapped up in feeling like nothing-good-can-come-of-this.  It seemed anytime something positive would happen, Captain Negative was there to smash it.  That is what my mom turned into- Captain Negative.  I realize now it was a protective measure meant to inform and warn us but I got too stuck in the negative zone which mixed oh-so-well with not expecting much.

This problem has followed me into adulthood and ultimately prevent me from doing things-such as uploading videos or feeling that I deserve to fix my eyebrows (just quick examples).  And man am I sick of it.  I hate feeling this way.

I want to live.  I want to create.  I want to be me and not feel bad about it.

I need to be my own escape now.  My Dad is gone and my Grandma lives too far away to visit regularly.  I am an adult now.  I am no longer a child or a teenager.  I can and need to learn to support myself in a more positive way.  If something doesn’t work out SO WHAT?! It’s not the end of the world.  But it is a sad world, to live waiting to be disappointed.

 

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The Careful Clouds of Doom

Thanks to early childhood trauma and and ongoing battle with anxiety and depression, I have learned to be entirely too careful.  With EVERYTHING.

I am worried if I don’t worry something bad will inevitably happen.

This, of course, is no way to live.  It takes the fun out of a lot of things.  It causes a lot of dark clouds to form and gather in my conscience.  The clouds build into a storm of doom that then follows me everywhere I go and influences everything I do.

I try to be careful enough to avoid the doom but sometimes I can’t.  It all becomes too much and it overwhelms me.

I don’t want to be SO CAREFUL all the time.  I don’t want to worry about things that may or MAY NOT happen.  I want to change my life.  But it is hard.  It is hard to change your thinking after over 30 years of learned thinking patterns.  This of course is one of the many reasons that I am in therapy/receiving EMDR treatment.  I don’t want to be stuck inside my head anymore.

I am sick of the voices of my past in my head.  And I resent those who put them there.  Now I am spending countless hours and dollars trying to essentially put those voices away.    As the voices and memories become reprocessed and put away I am seeing so much that I was too emotionally stunted to see before.  It is frustrating and liberating all at the same time.

Where has careful gotten me? Sure, it’s kept me out of trouble but at the same time it has kept me from living.  Careful keeps me at home or in bed all day because I am “safe” there.  But am I safe really?  I am starting to feel like I want to break the cocoon I surround myself with and see where it takes me.  I want to clear the careful clouds in my head and bask in the sunshine of making and achieving my personal goals, and ultimately loving life.  I feel as though I can see the sunshine peaking through but I am impatient, I want the whole damn sky to clear, like, ASAP.

There are rays of light breaking through and these rays are slowly starting to do something.  I have a few goals I would like to achieve.  They may seem mundane to some but their mine and I need not CARE what those who are not me think.  It is the first time in years, possibly ever, that I have real, genuine goals in mind.  I want a Cavalier again.  I love ’em and I feel good in ’em.  I want to get the hell out of this house.  The negativity here is suffocating.  I want to explore University.  I am now realizing if I want the kind of career I think  I want that I need to upgrade my skills.

I have absolutely no idea how I am going to get to where I want to be but I do know that if I continue to be too careful I will never get there.  This is terrifying but the thought of dealing with doom on my back for the rest of my life is even more terrifying.

Take a hike Careful, you have done enough damage already.

via Daily Prompt: Careful