Old Habits Die Hard…

Screenshot_20170903-131035

I feel blocked. No, not constipated, blocked. My energy, my potential, I feel blocked. I know it is because of the way I was raised, and the old beliefs I still hold on to because I am too afraid to let go. Blocked feels comfortable, as odd as that sounds. It feels frustrating, fearful, and yet, comfortable. It is what I have known my entire life, since birth. So how do I let go of this feeling, these stale, crusty beliefs that hold me back? How do I learn to release the krakken….no, I mean fear, and move forward? The other day I tried to listen to healing music and journal myself clear. Let me just say it rings true, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” By day’s end I was spiraling into a sea of negative thoughts and fear.

I believe that the world is made up of energy, and this energy flow determines what we attract, or repel, in our lives. I believe my energy is stuck, is blocked. I truly believe I am stuck because my subconscious refuses to give up the old, negative thoughts that were instilled in me as a child. So now, everything I want feels just beyond my reach. Everything I want to accomplish seems daunting and almost unattainable. Have you ever felt that feeling? Have you ever felt like you could see yourself at the finish line, but you have no idea how to get there, and the path along the way just keeps hurdling obstacle after obstacle?

How are we to keep moving forward when our own selves are raging against us, raging against the change we truly know we need? I listened to a podcast in which the speaker said to change your life 1% every day, and in a year you would be where you want to be. I feel like I am making small changes every day, and then, my old self, the self that is terrified of the new self, rages against me dragging me back to the starting line. How do we let go of fear and find faith, when everything we have ever had faith in has failed us, and we are fearful above all else? What is the cure for this?

I find myself exhausted, mentally and physically. I find myself distracted and missing things that I should not be missing. My blocks are inhibiting my progress, and I hate this feeling. How do I heal 40 years worth of neglect, fear, anxiety, and blockage, from my parents, my significant others, myself? How do I stand up to my subconscious and say enough is enough? How do I finally get what I want, what I need, to be happy? At what point is the change less fearful than remaining the same?

I need healing, I need to put myself on the top of my priority list, I need to set the example to my kids instead of just talking the talk. I need to show them what a strong woman looks like, instead of telling them how to become one. I need to face my fear, and shove it off a cliff…my fear, not myself, don’t worry. I need to be the strong woman everyone sees me as, and not the helpless, scared little girl I feel like inside. I need to empower myself, and stop focusing solely on empowering my daughters. Right now, as I write this, the one word raging in my head is, but, but, but, but….but nothing. I have to stop sabotaging myself.

And here I sit, waiting for the next words….but…nothing. I have to find the way. I have to find my way. I have to stop obsessing about this, living in fear, feeling blocked, feeling unworthy. I have to allow myself the same opportunity I want for my girls. I have to see the good in myself the same as I see the good in them. I cannot talk the talk and not walk the walk. They deserve better, and so do I, whether I want to believe it or not. So now what? Honestly, I have no damn idea.

Help Me Mom…

StockSnap_RO7HF83PPB

I cannot fathom losing one of my children. I cannot even consider what parents who lose a child go through during the grieving process, and for the rest of their lives. Yet, I feel as though I was close to losing one of my own children. Two weeks ago, my oldest daughter had homecoming. She went to the football game Friday, slept over at a friend’s house, and attended the dance the next evening. I picked her up from the dance, she looked so gorgeous. The next two days she spent in bed. I thought she had overdone it over the weekend when she spent Sunday in bed. When she stayed home from school on Monday, I knew something was wrong. She stayed in bed, complaining of exhaustion and joint pain. The pain is something chronic, we have spent years dealing with the issue. The exhaustion, I attributed to her hectic schedule. I did not give her a problem about staying home, but I did let her know Tuesday she would need to get back to school. She never made it there, because by Monday evening we were in the emergency room.

Late Monday afternoon my daughter came to me, crying, saying she needed help. I sent the other girls in the other room, and tried calming her down. She was inconsolable, but I could not understand why. I know we have been through a complete upheaval and trauma for the last 8 years, but I honestly thought we were all on the path to repair. She was crying, and hiding under her hair. She was rocking back and forth telling me the bad thoughts would not stop. I kept asking questions, calmly, trying to understand what was going on in that moment. Then she uttered the words, “I do not want to hurt myself, but I cannot control all the thoughts anymore.” At this moment I realized, my daughter literally was struggling for her life. She was battling thoughts in her mind that were telling her to kill herself. My child was battling suicidal thoughts. I struggled not to break down.

I sat there, shocked, scared, and struggling to keep talking to her without having a nervous breakdown. What do I do? I have to help her, I have to protect her, even if it is from herself. I tried to calm her down, and assess the situation. Could she be calmed enough to wait until the morning for help? She said no. Should we go to the emergency room? Is there somewhere else I should take her? Do I call 911, or take her myself? What do I tell the other two kids? My mind was swimming. She was alternating between complete silence, and borderline nervous breakdown. I told her I would take her to the emergency room if she felt she needed help right now, and it could not wait. She said yes. I made sure a friend could keep the other two kids, and we left for the emergency room.

I sat there filling out the papers, looking at my beautiful, tortured soul of a child. Her hair was greasy, but still borderline perfect. Her eyes were red from crying, but still captivating and deep. Her body was twitching and anxious, but still in peak, athletic condition. My daughter looked so together, and yet so broken. I wanted to trade places with her, I wanted to take away all her pain, and make sure she never hurts again. They took us back, and I watched as the nurse systematically removed all the long cords and sharp objects from the room. I watched my daughter as she began to realize why the nurse was removing items. I watched a bit of the reality set in, and I watched her face fall a little bit.

Blood work, urinalysis, and mental health interview done, and here we sit. The mental health professional sits us down to review our options. Inpatient treatment at the local mental health facility. Three-five days of treatment, possible medication, and therapy set up after discharge. Option two, partial inpatient, ten days of 8-3 in the mental health facility, but she would come home at the end of the day. Long duration, and more school missed, but she would come home every day. I looked at my daughter, and I let her know I would support whichever decision she wanted to try. She asked me what I thought she should do, so I told her, let’s talk through it together and decide. Ultimately, she decided to go with inpatient. It turned out to be 7 days, not 3-5.

The first two days I was a disaster. I cried, uncontrollably. Guilt, sadness, and fear took over my soul. I visited her as often as I could, almost every single day with little exception. She is home now, and seems much better. She is on antidepressants and antianxiety medication. She is also starting therapy, and back at school. I have dealt with depression throughout my life, as well as anxiety. I have never felt suicidal, but I see how it impacts a person. I see the struggle in her eyes. I will always be her biggest cheerleader, her greatest supporter. I will always be her champion.

Mental health issues are still taboo to a point in this society. My daughter was scared for her life, scared about losing control and hurting (or killing) herself. She came to me for help, she came to her mom to fix it. Watch for signs in your children, and other loved ones. Let them know it is okay to struggle and need help emotionally. Support your loved ones in their emotions. Give them the support they need, and do not be afraid to seek emergency help. Suicide is irreversible. Do not wait until it is too late.

On the Cusp….

Have you ever had that feeling that you are on the cusp of greatness? No, really? I have this feeling that comes and goes, mostly around times of great change. It feels like a rush, excitement, anxiety, fear, intensity. I feel as though I am on the verge of some huge, great breakthrough, but I just cannot quite navigate the path ahead.

StockSnap_5YKT5Q1O9X

I am at that point right now. I feel as though the world is open to me, whatever direction I want to go. But then I look around and feel as though my obligations are obviously something to consider, not to mention I am not 22 anymore. At this point I second guess my thinking. Am I just becoming negative, or is it realistic? I want to do great things, but then, I do not know what these great things are yet. I am a great #mom, that I have going for me. I want to take my strengths and turn them into the greatest life I have ever known, work wise. But when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, it is kinda hard.

I cannot shake this feeling like there is more to life than what is going on now, and I am right on the other side of the door. I just cannot figure out how to open it. Maybe I am meant to break it down, but I feel as though there is a key somewhere that I am missing. I hate that feeling. My therapist would probably tell me to meditate on feeling complete, as though I am not missing anything, and have all the answers. And he would he correct. Soooo, I guess I will try that first.

Remember those parent/teacher conferences where the teacher said you (or your kid) were not working to their potential? That is me. I am not working to my potential….but I do not know in what direction I am meant to aim my potential. Plus, I still have insecurities about where my true potential lies. I work hard at whatever job I have, and always have. I want to feel passion, fire for what I do. I like my job, Virtual Assistant, but it is not where I am destined to be. It is a placeholder, for what, I do not know yet.

I love helping people, and I love children…but I got burned out on childcare long ago. Perhaps, after everything I have been through something in the advocacy realm for abused women and children. Hmmm. Social Services? Non-Profit? I don’t know. I suppose I have to have faith in the journey, and remind myself that I am where I am meant to be until I am meant to be somewhere else. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Flashbacks…

Due to the trauma I have experienced in my second marriage, and throughout my life, I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. My second marriage is responsible for the brunt of the issues, but I allowed that relationship to continue due to unresolved issues from my past. Anyway, I have flashbacks, not all the time but often enough. The triggers are anything, or nothing. I think this aspect is one of the worst of PTSD because it can trigger a panic attack at any given moment. I am then left feeling vulnerable and out of control, which is not what any PTSD sufferer needs.

One of my most common flashbacks is to when my now ex kicked in the bathroom door on me. We had been arguing for several hours, about nothing because all the arguments are about nothing. At this point I usually just take the screaming at, occasionally throw in my own retort, and wait for the switch to flip and the remorse to set in. But lately, things have not been going that way. He has been raging for longer periods of time than usual. What was once an hour is now half the day. He is becoming more aggressive, more explosive, scarier.

 

StockSnap_E792698C10

On this particular day, I told him I was done fighting for the moment and needed a break. I told him I was going to the bathroom to compose myself and just take a break. I went into the bathroom, closed and locked the door. I sat on the toilet and just cried. Within a minute he had followed me upstairs, and screamed from the other side, “We’re done talking when I say we are done talking, and you’re gonna listen to me God damnit!” He then kicked in the door, and continued screaming at me, berating me. I almost vomited from the anxiety.

To this day, everytime I close a bathroom door, I flashback.  Every. single. time. Sometimes are worse than others, but every time I visually recall that moment when he kicked in the door on me and showed me once again I was the bird trapped in the cage and I was not going to escape if it was up to him. Some day I know these flashbacks will stop, and I long for that day, but for now, I am where I am, and it is going to be ok.

The Little Victories….

StockSnap_7LXMC88RJP

 

I have learned on my short-lived journey little victories are going to lead me to the ultimate success. In leaving the abusive relationship I was in for 7.5 years, I have found just how much I need to fix in my life, and just how difficult it can be to do so. I have to fix my credit, reduce my debt, increase my income, all while working my current job, and juggling three kids, and let’s not forget all the court it entails to leave a marriage with kids, and keep those kids (and myself) safe in the process. I have also learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for, I can rely on people for help, and it IS GOING TO BE OK.

Yesterday was a tumultuous one. Actually the whole week has been a roller coaster (see yesterday’s post). On Sunday, I filled out an application for an apartment where the leasing agent assured me she would do everything in her power to get me in and my situation was nothing new, and she herself had been there. I got them all the necessary paperwork by Monday, and waited. I called the next day, nothing….the day after, nothing…finally on Thursday the leasing agent actually answered my call. “Oh, I’m sorry but the manager said no, and I pretty much cannot do anything.” I asked about the possibility of paying a large deposit, or even paying a full year up-front (borrowing the money from family and paying them back monthly instead of paying the rental office). She turned it down…yes, CASH, rejected. I was speechless, which is probably a good thing for this leasing agent.

So yesterday I was hunting again, and mind you, while I am apartment hunting, I am NOT WORKING, and thus LOSING MONEY. So basically yesterday was a frantic journey. At the end of the day, I secured an apartment, and the kids and I will be in a safe, clean, quiet, neighborhood that is in the same school zone as what we need. So there incompetent leasing agent, I don’t need you anyway. I count that as my small victory. I can now focus on working, getting through the impending trial and protective order hearing (trial because my soon-to-be ex broke the emergency protective order six times from jail 30 minutes after being served).

I am now checking off the list ‘find place to live,’ and moving every item up a notch in the priority scale. A top priority is finding a job that is Administrative, which is what I do now, but not independently contracted. I need to establish reliable, stable income, hopefully with benefits. But I am not frantic, since I do have a job. I can relax a bit, and not feel that sense of urgency, that impending doom. For far too long that has been my feeling every moment of every day.

Being married to an abusive, narcissistic person drains you of all your hopes and dreams. It leaves you a shell of the person you were. My children are excited because fun mom is back. She is still strict and has lots of rules, but she is not as anxious and on edge as abusive relationship mom. I can take a deep breath, and let the energy course through my body, without fear that an emotional, mental vampire is going to rob me blind. That is a victory.

Relish every victory in life, because the smallest ones can yield the biggest results. I have a big mountain to climb, but I am not climbing it alone, and I have surpassed some of the roughest points. I can feel the refreshing air in my lungs, and I can see the peak. When I get there, be ready, because I intend to scream from the mountain top that I have arrived.

Want a Ticket For The Roller Coaster??

Leaving an abusive relationship is almost as scary, difficult, taxing, and anxiety inducing as being in the damn relationship to begin with, at least for me. I have to rebuild myself from the ground up. I have a job, but as an independent contractor, and only for the last 5 months. I have 3 years into my college degree and desire to finish, but uhhh who has the time and money for that right now?!?! No, really, WHO?? I need a place to live, with my 3 kids, but I have very little credit, and apparently some medical bills I was unaware of from like 4 years ago….so, that is another pile of dog poo poo I am trying to deal with currently.

You know that saying, “God only gives you as much as you can handle,” well, I think he fell asleep with the remote, because I feel overwhelmed regularly. He must think I am freaking Wonder Woman to keep piling it on like this. Either that, or he knows I have questioned his existence, and he does in fact have a mean streak in him. Who knows, and quite frankly, who has time to worry about that….not me.

I am dealing with PTSD, finding a new, more reliable job, finding a place to live, keeping myself and my children safe, working my current job in the meantime, and trying to sort out the issue prohibiting me from moving forward. It feels like I am drowning. I always pictured this time as feeling like I regained my freedom, and yet, I feel as though I am now a prisoner to my life. If that makes sense. I have these moments, like what I am in right now, where I just ramble in my head, not quite sure if I am making sense.

I will say this, to anyone reading who is contemplating getting out, but reads this and is now scared shitless….do it anyway. Because as scared as I am right now, I was more terrified living day to day with an abusive, narcissist. Get out, whatever you need to do, just figure it out, and get out. Do not second guess yourself or wait until…until is now. The rest can be figured out.

It is 5:09 am, and so far, I have filled out 4 job applications, vented on social media, applied to a couple more apartments, and found 4 more places to go see soon. Oh yeah, and written this little gem. I feel like a full day has already been accomplished and yet, there remains so much more to do.

I just keep saying, “It’s going to be ok.” I also ask everyone in my support network to tell me the same thing, over and over on a loop.

I have always said I perform best under pressure, and this is certainly pressure, so I guess it is just an opportunity to show myself just what I am made of. Hey, maybe I am Wonder Woman….where’s that damn lasso??

Domestic Violence…Find Your Freedom.

Domestic violence has many faces. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, controlling behavior, fear mongering. It can be a husband, father, mother, daughter, or any other family member. The face of domestic violence is every face. Every person you see in the world could potentially be a victim of domestic violence. I have learned a great deal about this issue over the last several years, but the most in the last couple months.

I have endured domestic violence over the last 7.5 years. As have my children, and even my family pets. I spent too many years with a man who abused me mentally, physically, emotionally, and left me feeling like a caged bird. The worst part, I have been blaming myself the last 7.5 years, for choosing this person and not seeing how damaged, and damaging, he is inside. I became numb to his abuse, because I viewed it as a temporary issue. I believed he would change, because after the rage he would profess to want to change. I believed if I could keep the waters calm, the rage would fade away. I was wrong. The stormy sea is inside him, and no matter what I do, it will be there until he is ready to do what it takes to calm the tumultuous waters himself.

I believed I could love him better. If I could show him unconditional love and support, he would heal. In the process, I ceased to provide my own self with the unconditional love and support I was giving to him. I focused so much on caring for him, I neglected myself. I abused myself, and thus, he abused me too. I valued myself so little, that I accepted this behavior, because I valued him enough to endure his abuse in an effort to help him get better. Why would I do such a thing? Simple, it is my comfort zone. Now, I know what you’re thinking, here is where she blames her parents for everything. No no, no assigning blame. BUT, I will assign responsibility where it belongs.

I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD. While it has existed most of my life, the brunt of it came from my abusive marriage. My therapist stopped me when I boarded the blame train, and started heading towards myself with it, full boar. He said I chose what felt familiar, whether it was good for me or not. He said, after a lifetime of traumatic experiences, it is what my mind knows, and where it feels most comfortable, and thus, because I have these issues, I would gravitate towards what feels familiar. So now what? Well, lots of therapy, that is what. I have to rewire my brain, my impulses. I have to retrain myself to accept positive, healthy relationships, and not be drawn to unhealthy, neglectful, abusive ones.

So how did I know now was the time? Well, I did not. My credit is awful, my income is unstable, and my life does not feel as though I am in a place to take on the world by myself….with three kids. But, I became more afraid of staying than I was of leaving. He was escalating to a point that I feared for my safety, and my children’s well-being. I became more afraid of the familiar than I was of the unknown. I called the police, and did what I needed to in order to have him removed from the home.

 

StockSnap_OCVYX6FNQN

Now, I am doing something I have feared more than anything in my world, asking for help. I am asking anyone and everyone who will help me, to help. Support, safety, stable employment, whatever people offer, I openly accept that which I need. I have let my guard down, and let the positive influences in, because I cannot do this alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and I have three. So I have alerted my village that I need their help. Something that has always terrified me, because of my childhood. But I am finding the more I ask, and receive, the better things are working out. The universe is showing me I am doing the right thing. This road is rocky, uncertain, and damn scary. But scarier is staying in an abusive relationship going nowhere healthy….fast.

My journey is still moving forward, one step at a time.

Fear….What a Bitch.

“Only thing we have to #fear, is fear itself.”–Franklin Delano Roosevelt uttered these words during his first inaugural address. It rings true throughout every aspect of life. The element of fear can be debilitating for some, while a driving force for others. What is it that makes the determination? What causes some people to fuel their fire while facing their fears, but the same fear sends other people running for the nearest sandbox in which to stick their heads? Life experience? Genetics? A combination? Neither?

Screenshot_20170903-131035

I have lived my life afraid of so much, and yet, I have faced many fears in my life. Some fears I conquer easily, like I am freaking Wonder Woman. Other fears, have me emotionally, and somewhat physically paralyzed, as though I will die if I have to deal with the consequences of dealing with the fear.  But really, would I die? Is my fear really so terrible that I would die of it? Probably not, but in some cases I have convinced myself of the fact I am stuck, without options but to stay in the place I fear. What will it take to move myself from this place of fear, to the other side? The side that holds everything I want….feeling uncomfortable enough in the fear, that I desire change more than I fear it. Sounds simple, right? In some cases yes, but in other more complicated, intricate situations, not so much.

I have learned one thing, I need to be patient and understanding with myself. I need to stop coming down so hard on myself when I fail, or do not even try because I am afraid. I need to stop assessing blame, and start assessing what the problem is and how I need to adjust my plan to ensure success. I need to think about what I would tell my children, if they were in my situation, and apply the same understanding, empathy, and love to myself. I need to love me as much as I love others. So now that I have figured that part out, the rest will come in time.

My past life experiences have left me traumatized, afraid, totally lacking confidence in my ability to accomplish my goals. While I am not responsible for putting myself in this hole, I am responsible for getting myself out. I refuse to spend the rest of my life being a victim of circumstance. Others have concurred far scarier things than I have faced, and if they can thrive as opposed to just survive, so can I. Instead of sitting in ‘I can’t,’ I am going to change my view to ‘I can.’ I may not have all the answers right now, and that is okay. I will find my way, anyone can if they believe and have faith in themselves.

“Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” and once we move through that fear, everything we want is on the other side. It is a journey through life to get to what we want. Every experience along the way is designed to teach us something, and give us opportunity for growth. Seize every single one, good, bad, ugly, or beautiful. Do not let one moment of one day pass you by, do not sit on the sidelines, but rather, be an active participant in your own life. It is going to happen, with or without your participation.