Monthly Archives: April 2014

so incredibly tired

Yesterday, we headed out to the other coast for a day trip.  A friend was down for a visit, and we decided to meet up.  It was a much-needed and quite awesome experience.  My wife and I detoured on the way over and took a road that led into the swamp.  We pulled over a few times to check out some of the wildlife.  I’m so grateful that my wife indulged me like that.  I was able to get some cool pics of vultures, 2 kinds of locusts, and a box turtle (<–really cool coz I have never seen them in the wild before).  Then we headed out of a refuge where we saw more really cool critters.  THEN WE SAW WILD DOLPHINS!!!! We were at the beach taking pics and noticed a bunch of people watching something in the water.  That’s when we saw what it was: 2 adults and a baby dolphin!  L and I were not dressed to go in the water, but we figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  We pulled our wallets and phones out of our pockets.  I held everything up high in one hand and walked out taking pictures with my camera in the other (I kept forcing myself not to play out any worst-case scenarios of being knocked over by waves or tripping and losing all our electronics to the ocean water).  I waded out farther than L, and got a pretty good view of them.  They swam about 4 feet from a lady and her adult son.  We must have watched them for a good 15 minutes before they swam off towards the gulf.  Luckily L and I had remembered to bring a change of clothes with us so we were not soaked the whole rest of the day.  We were definitely on a high the rest of the day though.

We got home just after 11pm, but my head was already spinning with how tired I was by the time I pulled the car into the driveway.  I slept like a rock and had a lot of trouble getting up in the morning.  I was able to stay awake for a few hours before that same head-spinning, “about to pass out I’m so tired” feeling hit again.  I crawled back into bed to sleep for another 2 hours.   I’ve been up for less than 2 hours, and that feeling is back.  I thought it may be from not eating enough today, but even having dinner has not helped much.  I guess I really tired myself out these last few weeks.  But yesterday was totally worth it. We got to cross 2 things off our bucket list…


internet presence

I had a panic attach.  I searched my name on the internet and found a whole ton of information.  Accurate information.  Complete information.  It scared the crap out of me.  I had always wondered how bitch found me all those times… how can you escape a stalker if all your info is out there for the world to see?  how can I erase it?  oh shit. oh shit. oh shit… someone tell me how to disappear. please?


What kind of warrior are you?

There was a quiz attached to a list of art therapy prompts I found online.  I was really looking for a clarification of the prompt, but it led to the quiz.  I thought it was kinda interesting, but also quite accurate.  I’m impressed.  I didn’t look into who came up with it, but it’s pretty neat.  The following is what I got:

What kind of Warrior are you?

Results:

Your sphere is Guardian (Person of great Love and Altruism), and your class is Defender (Peaceful, yet Potent).

You are a Warden.

To be a Warden is to be the ultimate Guardian. Whether a physical Guardian or an essential Guardian, is up to you. You may be both. To be a physical Guardian is to be a living, breathing testament to the love you carry for a person, or people, whose lives you will always defend if you possibly can. To be an essential Guardian is to be a living, breathing testament to the security that your wards seek, and will look to you for your always kind, always nurturing support.

Get HTML of this result to paste into your online journal

Fun Facts

33385 people have taken this test so far.

55.5% of the 4804 Wardens surveyed say that they are strict about sex, keeping it only for serious relationships.
27.9% agree with you, saying that they love many people, but are intimate with few.


midnight ramblings

My stomach hurts (from an infection due to an antibiotic), my head hurts… and my heart hurts.  And I can’t seem to alleviate any of it.  The medicine doesn’t take away the stomach or head pain, and I don’t think there’s a medicine for the heartache (at least none that would be “healthy”).  So I’m trying to drown it all out.  I’m sitting here bingeing on Grey’s Anatomy hoping that their story will make me forget my own for a bit… It only works half-way.

Friday De asked me to help her help me figure stuff out.  She said that she was willing to work on stuff, but I had to point her in the right direction.  She wanted me to tell her what I need… Great, if only I knew.  This all has eluded me for 2 decades, how the hell am I supposed to come up with insight now? I tried to express what I mean when I say I “get stupid” about things, but I don’t think I did a good job.  What I mean when I say it is that I cannot apply any of my learning to myself, nor can I figure out a helpful strategy for any hypothetical client that may be going through any of what I am. I get lost and I don’t know how to help anyone else or myself.  I’m at that stage now.  I have no clue what else needs to happen to allow me to move on from things.  The only thing I do know is that the flashbacks, unwanted memories, body memories, and nightmares don’t go away… I don’t know how to alleviate them or make them less of a problem.  I just don’t know what to do next.  She had said she could just ask me questions, but that it would not be helpful, more along the lines of torture.  I can handle torture.  I know what to do with that.  I don’t know how to deal with all this though.  I know how to run or numb or cut, but I don’t know how to simply move on.  Apparently, neither does she.  I tried to tell her that the time she sprung talking about Duckboy on me was good, but she doesn’t want to over-do that.  I have no answers for her.  I have no insight or ideas.  I just don’t know what to do (if I did, I probably wouldn’t need as much of her help).

So what do you do?  How do you move on? What makes things like this better?


that hole…

I went to feed the dogs tonight… Twig’s dish was just sitting there.  I can look past her absence during the day, she used to sleep all the time lately (though taking them out is weird. you wouldn’t think one dog out of 5 makes such a difference, but it does…).  At night, the lack of her weight on the bed is chalked-up to her sleeping on the floor (at least in my sleep-fogged head).  But when I go to feed the dogs and her dish just sits there empty and unused, it’s weird.  and sad.  and empty… There’s a Twiggy-shaped hole in the house (and my heart).  I know it was the right choice, but it doesn’t take away the hurt of missing her.  and it adds one more thing to the huge list of losses.

De keeps trying to convince me this is all normal and even expected, but my head and heart wishes it wasn’t.


RIP Twiggy…

Yesterday she took a turn for the worse.  It was decided that she’s just suffering needlessly, and we can’t do anything to make her better at this point. Mom took her this morning… this was the first time in my life I chose not to go. The humane society doesn’t let you be with your pet when they euthanize them, so what would the point have been other than torturing myself? I cuddled her before she left, and told her I loved her… and I cried.

She was the third pet to go this week. Every 2 days… :(…

image


Every demon has it’s reasons **triggering**

This post has been hanging out in its infancy stages in my draft folder since April… I keep meaning to add to it, to flesh it out, but I have trouble articulating.  I think I am just going to hit post and hope for the best. I know I didn’t say everything I wanted to, but maybe this can be an ongoing thought process.   TRIGGER WARNING for talk of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence…

Recently I’ve been seeing that a county in Florida is posting “public service announcement” signs declaring the residence of sexual predators as such. I’m filled with mixed emotions in this. The survivor in me is happy that others will know, but the clinician in me cringes.

As someone effected by sexual violence, I want others to know that it’s not ok if it’s being done to them. It’s not ok to ever be hurt like that. It’s not ok to live with that fear. I want to be able to spot a “predator” from miles away and warn anyone that may come into contact with them. I don’t ever want anyone to go through anything like that again.  I want all failsafes in place to forever prevent situations like that. I want that as a professional also. I hate to see clients hurt like that. I want to stop the cycle of abuse and victimization. I want to be out of a job (or the prospect of a job, since I don’t currently work). I understand all too intimately the struggles of victims. I know the emotional torture these situations can bring about.  I know the lasting effects af assault and abuse.  I have taught classes on the effects of trauma.  I have interjected my personal experiences to these theoretical classes.  I can speak with some authority on it, but I wish I couldn’t. So totally I understand the need to point out dangerous people and situations.

The other side of me however, balks at the idea of signs proclaiming the presence of a “sex offender” plastered outside their homes. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly do not ever want to see anyone else harmed like that, but I also know (from training and experience) that most sex offenders have some sort of trauma history.  Most offenders did not get to the point of harming someone else without first being harmed themselves.  Take the story of Aileen Wuornos (made into a movie, Monster, in 2003). She was one of a handful of female serial killers who murdered men in Florida.  She was tried, found guilty, and executed in 2002.  On the surface, she was a horrifically scary woman who seemed to kill her “johns” for no reason.  But if you dig into her story, you find a scared, damaged little girl who responded to the world in the only way that made sense to her at the time.  No, not all (or any? I can’t remember the full story at the moment) of the men she killed harmed her, but several others did.

I think there’s a very fine line that keeps some victims from becoming perpetrators themselves.  Many of us don’t ever cross that line, but some teeter on the edge, and some do cross it.  And not everyone that crosses that line is dangerous.  I worked in a clinic once where a “sexual predator” was receiving services.  To most people, he was a sick bastard who like to get off under women’s windows, or in the backyard by the kids toys.  He was arrested several times for exposing himself and “voyeurism”.  When he came to the clinic, he was quiet and shy.  He looked and acted more like a wounded animal than anything else.  Once he opened up to his clinician, we quickly figured out why he was doing the things he did.  Initially, all but one of the clinicians that had been asked to work with him had refused to do so.  Because of so many being reluctant to engage the client due to prejudices, his case was used in on-going training everyone at the office was required to attend.  The first training had almost all staff leaving either in tears or in a slight fog.  We were floored by the horrific abuse this man endured as a child.  One of his many punishments was being stripped naked and tied outside by his penis for hours at a time in all sorts of weather, and for seemingly innocuous “transgressions” (eating outside of a meal time, taking more food than allowed, not returning home at the appropriate time, simply existing).  He lived this his entire life.  No one made a move to take the child out of the abusive situation. No one helped him when he was “bad”. In turn, he learned that exposure and sexual discomfort were appropriate punishments for being “bad”, and that being bad could be as simple as thinking the wrong thing, or being early/late by a few minutes.  He learned to punish himself. After he grew up, he would stand outside a family’s home and expose himself.  He would stand there until someone called the police, or until he felt he had been sufficiently punished (sometimes hours in the snow). He replayed the same abuse he grew up with, only we didn’t see that part of his story.  All we saw was “some creep” being inappropriate around families, and it scared us… I still cry thinking of his story.

There’s a huge disparity in the treatment provided to victims vs offenders.  This is evident not only in the way we treat sex offenders, but in the way we treat perpetrators of domestic violence, or anyone in the criminal justice system.  We tend to forget that traumas wound deeply. Sustained traumas or early traumas tend to wound more deeply than later ones, but all of them have long-lasting effects on the people who experience them.  I think a good recent attempt at illustrating this is the Netflix show Orange is the New Black.  While it centers on one woman’s journey through the prison system, it does a good job of telling the stories of others also.  The characters we are introduced to as vile and unsavory turn out to be some really endearing and struggling women.  I don’t like every character on the show, and I don’t agree with all their life choices, but I can understand them.  And the show reminds me to take a breath before judging someone.  I try to let the anger wash over me, but then wash away.  I try to remember this for myself also when I get too down on my actions and behaviors.  I could easily have been one of those perpetrators with a sign in front of my house, but I’m not.  I had the presence of mind (and the support of others) to realize that certain actions are not ok.  I wasn’t pushed as far as some others have been, but that does not mean that if I had been in their exact situation I would have behaved differently.  I still very much struggle with the concept of some of the thoughts I used to have as a child.  It’s something I had only started admitting to De very recently, and only in the most vague sense (there is SO MUCH shame around it).  But I think it’s very important to realize every action or inaction has a reason. The more I learn about trauma and abuse, the more I deal with in my own personal life, the more I begin to think that the “nature” side of the debate is less and less pivotal than the “nurture” side of things.  Yes, there are very much differences in the way people are wired. There are different levels of sensitivity and resilience that have no known root in nurture, but nurture goes a long way in dictating the rest of our lives.  Had I not had the conversations with my mom and aunt that I did as a kid, had I not overheard their conversations, or seen the way they and others reacted to some horrific stuff, I doubt I would have set out on this “different” path than some others who became perpetrators.  I could have easily become the violent and out-of-control “monster” my father was (and still can be). I could have easily been in jail by now, but I’m not.  And I’m thankful for that every day…

I don’t want anyone to think that this blog is meant to advocate no punishment, or no consequences for actions, because that is certainly NOT my intent.  I just want to get wheels turning and people thinking.  I want to advocate compassion in everyday life, and an awareness that sometimes acting out is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are certainly people who are beyond scary. There are people who will likely not benefit from treatment or leniency, but there are also a lot of hurting people out there in the world.  I think we need more compassion for that…

I’m suddenly reminded of a TED talk that I first heard about last year or the year before.  It’s a different way to look at mental illness, and it speaks about “psychosis” with similar insight. It’s definitely worth a listen (or re-listen). Abuse and trauma has long-lasting effects, and maybe as a society, we need to start being more trauma-informed when dealing with perpetrators of abuses and crimes. We certainly need an over-haul to the mental health system in this country.