Tag Archives: self esteem

Avoidance

I think I need to have a conversation around avoidance with Dr C… I find it difficult to go in after a week and try to delve right into difficult stuff. I tend to talk about the weekend and allow the session to veer from the heavy things I’ve been holding onto for the week. I was able to eventually mention the memories from the weekend, but I didn’t talk about it to the degree I wanted to address it….


Thank you :)

Thank you for the wonderful words of support around my last entry. You all rock and know how to make a girl feel loved! the entry came about when thinking about the question of why goodbyes are so hard. I’ve been told I have a particularly difficult time with them (they can be excruciating). There’s more to my reasoning than what I talk about there, but I’m not ready to express that publicly just yet (it’s nothing major, just a confirmation of what I’ve suspected in relation to where my attitudes originate)…

I do have to admit though, I’m feeling like a fraud reading your amazingly wonderful comments. The inner critic doesn’t even let me finish reading before she starts on her tirade: “drama queen! You’ve made people lie about wanting you around. You’re fishing for compliments. This is so¬†manipulative. You know you’re not worth anything to anyone. Even L just stays out of pity. People don’t actually like you, they just think you’re pathetic and a decent charity case…” She drones on and on, but you get the gist.

I do my best to block her out and counter her words. Compliments are really difficult for me to take, but I’m learning. So thank you again for your wonderful words of support. They spark my inner critic, but they also help shut her up. You all have no reason to lie. There’s no obligation to like and follow my blog. She needs to stop talking and take a seat for a while ūüėČ


Feeling urgency

I’m not sure what it is. I’m trying to figure out the driving force behind this intense desire to see TM again and to try to talk about this again. It always kicks in. Once I open the door to starting to talk about anything vulnerable at all, I need to just be able to spill it. All of it. At one time.
I feel this desire to talk myself into exhaustion. It’s like all this stuff needs to come out of me and into… I don’t even know. Someone who can safely hold it? Someone who can throw it out? Someplace other than myself, but also someplace safe.
It’s not attachment related, because I have no attachment to TM at this point. (Actually, I think this need to divulge is stronger before I know the person… maybe. I’m not sure though, since I know this urgency is also there after I’ve grown to know and trust the therapist). Maybe it really is just related to a need to share this with another safe (neutral, non-judgemental, uninvested) human being, to not being alone with it all…

I find myself trying to think about history and diagnoses, and how this desire (though gods, does it ever feel like a need) fits into the puzzle. is it part of the ptsd, the bpd, the self esteem issues, the anxiety? What? Where does it fit? Is it legit to talk about and ask for? Is it just part of the human condition to need to be able to be completely honest with someone? I know there’s thoughts floating by that contradict one another right now. One questions if anyone would actually like me as a human being if they knew everything, every dark secret? Would I still be worthy of breath if they saw the real me? Another thought wonders if they may be more OK with the concept of me as a human being if they knew all the motivations and fears behind everything I think and do. One thought looks for validation while another thought is sure judgement will follow. Will I turn out to be the horrid person I’m afraid I am if you see everything that makes up “me”? Or will it give you a deeper understanding of all that appears to be random craziness and weirdness and awkwardness? Please don’t hate me, but please prove my fears right, and prove them wrong, and hate me, and…

There’s so much inner conflict around my self-worth. There’s all these years of that little voice saying I’m worthless and stupid, but it’s being countered by the voices of everyone who has tried to convince me I have value. It’s very loud and confusing. Sometimes one is winning, other times the other is. Right now, I think the voice that whispers “they will (should!) hate me if they knew everything” is the driving force behind the need for disclosure. I want validation that the voice is merely a fear, and not reality. And I need to find that validation. Right now, no one knows everything. No one has all the puzzle pieces with all the disconcerting revelations, so I’m not sure they wouldn’t hate me if they knew everything. But I’m also not sure I would believe they knew everything if they didn’t hate me (because how can you look at me, all my dark secrets and blackness and not hate me, not think I’m vile and disgusting and scary?)… I think I need people to prove I’m worth life, but I have a feeling I won’t believe them unless they say I’m worthless. It’s a wonderful little trap. “Please, please, please say I’m an OK human?” You’re an OK human being “Fuck you, you don’t really know me unless you hate me! (But gods, please know me and don’t hate me)”…


Where secrets live (it’s about the journey, not the destination)

Didn’t really have a direction for this piece when I started other than wanting to try some techniques I’d seen in a tutorial the other day (I spent the better portion of a morning watching various YouTube art journal tutorials. There are still several more I would like to try, but I have to figure out how to MacGyver some supplies because I just can’t afford to go out and buy them).

This piece wasn’t working out as nicely as it had for the YouTuber that posted the tutorial, but I was able to make it my own.

I picked up “purple” distress paint yesterday (woohoo for 50% off coupons and the honoring of competitor coupons). I thought it would be more purple… it’s really mauve. Oh well, live and learn. Anyway, I picked it up and got to work on the base coat. I still have to learn how to work with it better, because I wanted a different background texture but it dried too fast in some spots and way slow in others. I also have to figure out how these distress stains work with the paints. The stains come out super dark on paper, but not so much when used over the paints (should have remembered they have a “resist” effect on the stains). It’s ok though, because the stain I used muted the horrifically bright background.

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It took a bunch of digging around, but I finally landed on a decent silhouette from which to create a mask (reverse of a stencil) for the figure on the right. [Useful tip: those plastic page dividers work well for stencil-making. I would suggest ones that are slightly thicker than the ones I snagged from the dollar store though, because these are pretty floppy and flexible. Just trace or draw out your design and cut with an XActo knife]… I started by tracing around the mask with charcoal, but it didn’t stand out enough. I tried to fill with gesso, but then disliked how light it was. Finally I covered it in black paint (ahh… so much better!). By then though, I had gone outside of my lines quite a bit and it looked like the black sludge creature from the first season of ST:TN that killed Tasha Yar… yes, I’m a huge Trek geek, but that wasn’t the look I was going for. I put the mask back into place and decided to try to give the woman a “glow” (or in this case, a shadow?). I painted over the edges of the mask with am antiqued bronze color. I kinda wanted her to look like she was draining light rather than emitting it (like a black hole). Again I lost the definition of the figure, so once the paint was dry I outlined her in white charcoal. She kinda ended up with a glow, but it reminded me of backlighting, so it worked.

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I added the drips and spats. I added more washi tape (new-found appreciation for the stuff), and then I added the words. I was limited by what was on the stickers I have. It took me about 40 minutes to settle on the ones I did use, but then I ended up disliking what it said, so I covered over it. First I tried writing other words over the stickers, but I didn’t like those either. Finally, I settled on ink drops to totally obliterate the words while keeping the boxes… I kept the words inside the silhouette, but had written over them as well, then removed the writing. You can still see both the original words and my own if you look at them hard enough.

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Much playing, tweaking, and waiting-for-things-to-dry later, I ended up with this. I try to be lighter in both color and content sometimes, but it’s just not me. I also found I really am not feeling this mauve color much. I’m sure L will end up being the one to use it more than I do… branching out in my art just doesn’t work with me when it involves stepping out of my color-pallet comfort zone. Oh well.

Aside: I think I write so much about the process for these journal pages not only to remind myself it’s often a frustrating and imperfect process, but to show that, while pieces don’t always turn out the way you want, they can still end up decent. One of my biggest challenges is dropping the notion of needing “perfection” from my work. I tend to have a picture in my head that I want to create. I’m slowly becoming ok with the result being different from that picture. One of the things that the woman who teaches the journal workshops always reminds us is to just keep going. Even if you think it’s ugly, just keep adding and tweaking. Eventually you will love the result… it’s more about the process anyway.

Most artists (people) don’t admit the blunders and frustrations of the process (life), they simply show the (happy) end result. Art (life) is rarely that neat and tidy. There are lots of bumps and dips and spins along the way. Projects (goals) start out one way and end up totally different sometimes. That’s just how it goes. We need to remember that. And that it’s ok…


To the World & On the Outside – Final

I finished this today…

I wanted to keep the tissue paper with words visible, so I did the left side in charcoal and crayon. Turns out it also works for the concept of not having “the full-color photo” when you only see what someone presents to the world. You have to see the darkness as well as the light to be able to see the real picture. Seeing just what’s presented to the world is lacking in substance…


2014 100-Theme Challenge #46 & #47 (WIP)

I’ve been trying to catch up on my theme challenges lately. I also saw (again) the art therapy prompt to make a mask representing what you show to the world, and what goes on inside (similar to last year’s¬†“inside-out box”). I liked the idea of the duality, but didn’t want to do an actual mask. I decided instead to do a single piece with a face split down the middle (combining two of the 2014 theme challenges: #46 – to the world & #47 – on the inside).

wpid-20140920_232157.jpgI tried to sketch out the basics first. I kinda like the way the right side came out (the “inside”), though I still need to work on my color-shading skills and painting skills in general for faces. I can get more inanimate objects painted well, but facial features elude me… Anyway, I wanted to make the inside kinda gross and zombie-ish, because it’s how I feel most of the time (and pretty much always like that deep-down). I would have prefered a more realistic look to it, but I’m going to say it’s ok because my painting skills have never been on par with my drawing skills (back when I could draw better). I added the words around the image to convey more specifically my inner dialogue… Needless to say, my self-esteem is below pond-scum most of the time (though with my continued practice of art, it’s growing a bit at least around my artwork).

to the world; on the inside IP)I wasn’t sure what to do with the left side. I thought of trying a painting of a happy face with a happy, confident, and calming image in the silhouette and then marker in the features, but I couldn’t decide on an image I wanted to use that would convey all the stuff I project. ¬†I remembered I had found some cool “inspirational” tissue paper on clearance at the store the other day and had yet to find an art application for it. I tried that for the bg of the “outside” half of the face. I forgot tissue paper gets pretty transparent when glued, so the words are sadly not easily read (had to use multiple layers and over-lapping pieces). I have yet to decide how to do the rest fo the face… There will be positive words around that head, ones that represent all the stuff I display to the world so they don’t see what’s really there.


I admitted something I never expected…

… and it’s not what you may think: I told my wife that I had actually seriously considered giving up our little dog on more than one occasion. ¬†The people who know me in real life would know how incredibly out of character this admission is, but the rest of you may not quite get the full impact. ¬†My animals are my children, and my dogs are held highest of all of them. ¬†My little dog (we shall call him “Fred” to protect his real identity) is joined at the hip to my lab. ¬†He would not know how to survive without her (he is a totally different dog when he is separated from her, shaking and moping even when it’s just for a few hours). ¬†When he’s near her though, he is a little punk. ¬†He has been known to kill cats, and will try for the kill any chance he gets. ¬†We had managed to get that under a measure of control a while ago, but he’s back to his antics again (totally our fault). ¬†Recently, out large male cat has decided to move in with a couple at the other end of the neighborhood. ¬†We think this is because a few weeks ago, Fred managed to slip between my legs and chase the cat, most likely cornering him and hurting him in some way. ¬†After that incident, the cat refused to return to the house. ¬†Today, we had to go pick him up after the couple trapped him in their garage. ¬†I feel bad for him (and our other cats). ¬†They are social. ¬†They miss spending time with us. ¬†They miss the cuddles, and so do I. ¬†I really love Fred, but he’s such a pain in the butt. ¬†I won’t actually move to give him up (I would also be forced to give up the lab who happens to be my favorite dog), but I just need to remind myself that consistency matters a lot, especially with Fred. ¬†There are some dogs you can be more lax with, but then there are the ones that will become a menace if allowed to take any hint of leadership. ¬†Sadly, we give Fred a lot of room to walk all over us. ¬†I need to remember what my trainer friend told me and keep him on a short leash (figuratively).

Knowing that I admitted out loud that I have considered re-homing Fred has messed with my head a bit. ¬†Like I said, my dogs are my kids. ¬†To seriously think of giving one up has only ever been admitted when I was suicidal. ¬†I have moved more times than I can count to be able to keep my pets. ¬†I have bent over backwards and given up a lot to have them in my life. ¬†To know I actually thought of re-homing that little punk because he upsets the rest of the family dynamic has my head spinning…There’s a voice in my head screaming at me; telling me I’m worthless and useless and I just don’t care. ¬†There’s judgement beyond belief for even having the thoughts. ¬†There’s fear and resentment, and there’s anger. ¬†The anger comes not only from what other people think of all the animals, but also from my changing attitudes. ¬†They still fill a void, but I’m finding that they also create a whole lot of drama. ¬†My depression makes it hard to motivate to do anything beyond the basics for them. ¬†They are going stir-crazy, and we are all slacking on the training (especially for the puppy). ¬†I find myself becoming angry at them for misbehaving when it’s all my fault for not being consistent and giving them what they need. ¬†I’m turning more and more into my father, and I hate myself for it…

I look around myself and see all this material crap that I really don’t want anymore. ¬†It feels like all of this is weighing me/us down. ¬†I wish I didn’t waste money on a lot of this crap. ¬†I wish I didn’t have piles and piles of “junk” lying around… I wish I had motivation to take care of things. ¬†And I wish I knew how to remember to save money. ¬†The animals need more flea stuff, and they need to get out of the house. ¬†If I had the money, I would have gotten the puppy training also. ¬†There are a bunch of behaviors I just don’t know how to tackle anymore, nor do I have the energy to try. ¬†The same with Fred. ¬†And I hate myself a lot. ¬†I know I made this commitment to them, but I’m not following through… ¬†I know the steps to take for some of it, but the energy and motivation disappear quickly. ¬†The more I fall into the cycle of wanting to do things but failing, then being hard on myself for it, the more I just feel like crap about everything. I start spiraling down a litany of things that I see wrong with myself: my weight, my social life, my motivation, my lack of working, my self-worth, my worth to others… De is right that I get trapped in my thinking and it just makes everything worse. ¬†But then there’s that tiny voice in my head that whispers possible solutions… Maybe it’s time to start with baby steps to fix things…


Journal entry from 11/15/2010 – TRIGGER WARNING & LONG

Found a few journal entries from a few years ago. ¬†I’m afraid I may lose them in my email, so I’ll be putting them here. ¬†Many will be private, but some I may make public… I’m far-enough removed from the experiences to risk putting them out there… ¬†I may make this one private shortly, but for the moment it’s out there for everyone to read.
This one has some graphic descriptions of SI, a suicide attempt, eating disorder behavior, and details of sexual assault… please don’t read it if it will trigger you.
Names have been removed and replaced with initials to maintain anonymity.  Spelling errors have been fixed, but the rest has been left in tact in the form that was sent to my therapist at the time.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
had a good day.¬† signed c’s lease.¬† we will be moving in around dec 1st… it’ll be a bit weird, but whatever… we need to get out of here, so it’s a step up.. and cheaper over-all then here…
I feel like I should be writing something, but I am not sure what.¬† Been feeling weird lately.¬† wanting to take klonpin during the day instead of how it’s prescribed… wanting to drink… wanting to float away.¬† not as off as I was feeling last week… seem to have alighted on a branch somewhere on my way down.¬† kinda like that I didn’t take a huge fall.¬† i can’t afford it; financially, emotionally & in terms of our relationship… it would just be too much for her…¬† I have fleeting thoughts of od’ing… thoughts of crashing the car, or jumping out in front of a train… just thoughts… and just fleeting.¬† but fleeting thoughts can sometimes lead to impulsive actions.¬† I’m not going to go down that road any more… i’m wearing everyone around me out… i’m too much.¬† too much drama, too much emotion, too much to handle…¬† I really wish L would get some more support for herself, and use it regularly… she’s frying out her friends and supports and me… it’s a catch-22… I stress her out & she stresses me out in response to my stressing… and it just cycles.¬† I got her in touch with a therapist in Dr. C’s office, but she only went once and didn’t even call about being sick for the second session, I had to do that… i hope she goes back to her.¬† she needs more then I or her friends can give her.¬† and she needs to learn more about depression and ptsd and suicidality…¬† I can’t teach her that, because I am too wrapped up in it…
I miss Samantha Jane.¬† she was only with me for a short time (well, she had been there for a while, but rarely showed herself.¬† just hid in the closet or in the fibers of the carpet… ¬†Dr. C said she thought it may be some mild DID going on, but it wasn’t/isn’t… just someone I can picture loving, coz it’s hard to picture myself as a person during my childhood and much of my teens… I see pictures, but i don’t necessarily connect them to myself.¬† I try, but it’s hard.¬† it’s like memorizing what people have said about the events in the picture to know what to say when someone asks what was happening then… I have no real memory of it, just the stories I’ve been told… it’s sad… and empty-feeling, like I’ve just now become worthy of person-hood… but still at the bottom of the ladder…¬† not totally a whole person, but on my way there… that’s where Samantha Jane should have come in… giving me some link to the world of being a human…¬† i felt sub-human (proto-human as Andy would call it) for most of my life.¬† this is a very new feeling.¬† i don’t think anyone really gets it.¬† I don’t really know how to describe it to anyone.¬† It’s just that before I was empty and just a shell… now I’m slowly trying to fill up that shell with something that vaguely resembles a human being… but it’s hard.¬† I feel like that wire statue that someone has filled with wet sand.¬† while the sand is moist, it holds the shape.¬† as the sand dries, it falls out of that form, turning into a pile at her feet.¬† I’ve wanted to make that piece for a long time now, I just don’t really know how to execute it.¬† I’ve never really done wire-work before.. and I don’t know how to keep wetting and drying out the sand… it’s a fluid piece that needs that slow progression from emptiness to form to a pile of sand at her feet…¬† Maybe if i figured out the wire-work, then took a video of the process of filling her up, moistening the sand, then letting it dry… that might work… but I really like the idea of an actual piece that you can see and touch… feel the sand, both wet & dry… pick up the piece in both states and get the metaphor of the feeling… but I will likely sit in my head for a longer while until I gain the skills to produce it.¬† I wish i was better at my art.¬† I wish I didn’t take the easy way out with photographs lately… but I just can’t draw anymore.¬† I can’t paint… it’s all left me.¬† I try, but nothing looks right… nothing feels right when I’m done… except those pieces from the hospital (and even out of those, I only liked a few).¬† I need to take a class or something… join a group… anything to get me flowing in art again.¬† pics are great, but I feel like they take less and less creativity… eventually, everyone’s photos all look the same… even on dA where people are supposed to be growing and finding unique and new ways to present the subject… it’s all really the same.¬† all the fall pics look alike.¬† you can’t tell one sunrise from another… even in my own work.¬† I don’t feel there’s much originality to it…
Speaking of work on dA… I read some moving journals and notes…¬† they were on recent suicides of people… everyone seems to know how to describe the Hollywood version of it, the romanticized version of suicide where it all goes well and you never have second thoughts… truth is, you do, and it doesn’t always all go as planned.¬† If it did, i wouldn’t be here today.¬† I would have died that time with N… No one ever recognizes the second-guessing part.¬† I don’t even think therapists get it (unless maybe they’ve been there and tried it…).¬† There’s that momentary feeling of fear and being trapped by your decision… even though you have only made the decision to end your life by yourself, you’ve only committed to doing it to yourself, you somehow feel trapped in that decision… I hadn’t even started taking the pills, but I felt compelled to go through with it, even though I was frightened and unsure… I felt like I¬†had¬†to do it… so I started taking the pills, and the fear slipped away.¬† I was once again ok (not sure, but ok) with my decision… I didn’t know what to do after I swallowed them all… would I just wait?¬† would I know what was happening? would I just fall asleep and never wake up?¬† I grabbed Beary and my iPod on repeat with Breaking Benjamin’s “Phobia” and curled up under the blanket hoping that it would all be quick… I don’t remember stumbling out of bed and throwing up… I don’t remember N finding me.¬† I don’t remember the ride to the hospital, or having my stomach pumped and charcoal dumped down a tube into my stomach.¬† I don’t remember getting the IV’s.¬† I don’t remember watching tv with N and laughing as if nothing had happened… as if I wasn’t in the ICU for a suicide attempt… I don’t even remember the first 20 times my doctor introduced herself to me… (this was all told to me after the fact). ¬†I vaguely remember floating in a soft cloud… someone smacking my hand because it was going for the IV again… someone telling me I would be restrained if I didn’t leave my IV alone… me telling them my arm hurt… them reminding me I had IV’s… vague memories of being tied to the bed… of being talked around and at by the nurses and the visitors (though I have no idea who visited or who my doctors or nurses were…) It was all just a fluffy dream… the impact of not having taken my life did not sink in until I was in IOL…¬† I became angry at N & those that “helped save my life” because I did not want¬†to be saved… I wanted to put an end to the depression, hurt and emptiness… the worthlessness and chaos inside my head… the feeling of being left alone in this world, because I wasn’t worth the energy to fight to keep me… I had lost someone every time I had gone to the hospital… you think I would have figured it out by then… by now… but it still hits me sometimes… in the car yesterday, L was saying how she never thought she’d be so poor that she would have to go to a food pantry to get food into the house… that she never thought she’d be this sad… in my head, I thought that none of this would have happened if she never had gotten to know me.¬† If we had never talked that first night… she would be so much better off if she wasn’t with me… if she was with someone stable and caring and easy-going and so much better then me.¬† she deserves that.¬† everyone deserves that.¬† I am not sure why anyone considers me worth a second glance.¬† I guess I know why when I put on my smile and my happy face… but I don’t know why anyone would want to know me when I’m a mess… which is a lot these days… and people still think I am worth attention… I don’t really get it.¬† My dad thinks all of this is¬†for¬†attention… all of this is to¬†get away from¬†the attention.¬† to hide and float away from myself and everyone else.¬† I threw out M’s pot…¬† I should have kept it, even though I know it would have messed me up for the next few days, and that I can get better stuff if I just ask around… I want to drink or take pills or¬†something¬†to get me away from myself… but the bad part about it all is that it’s only temporary, and i will “wake up” to myself once the substance wears off… sucks… I wish there was a way to be high all the time, without ruining my life, my relationship, or having all the detrimental effect of substances… cutting does that, but again it’s only for a while… disassociation helps that, but then I end up missing life and just getting myself deeper into a hole… and I want to be present for L & the kids… I want to¬†know¬†and¬†feel¬†them… but at times, being numb would feel great… and not that kind of numb where you know something’s bubbling just under the surface, destined to break out… but the kind of numb where the bad feelings go away, and you are left with the normal, even mood that most normal people experience… where memories don’t intrude daily, and nightmares are about monsters under the bed, not in your bed with you.¬† agh… I want to cut… I want to float away… I want to be at peace… not pieces… I’m afraid to bring this up to L or Dr. C because I’m not suicidal… and I don’t want to go there (or maybe i really am more comfortable in the blackness and push myself there deliberately…).¬† I know I should want to be happy, and part of me really does want to leave all this behind… but there’s another part of me that feels really uncomfortable and out of place in a happy world.¬† she’s the part of me that survived so much… dealt with so much… and gave up so much… she’s the child that Samantha Jane represents… she’s the one who just wants to stop hurting and being scared, but has been like that for so long, that the outside world really scares her… she doesn’t know what to do with it all.¬† it’s overwhelming and troublesome because the ways she learned to survive all this time doesn’t work there, and she has to learn a whole new way of life… maybe that’s why she ran away… maybe she just doesn’t have the energy to learn it all just yet… maybe she’s really just hiding under the blanket with Beary listening to her iPod to keep her company… music and art have always been comfort to her… and Floppy-dog… I really miss her… I so wanted Budda because he looks and acts like her, though intellectually I know he isn’t her… he just brought me & Samantha Jane comfort… another throw-back to what works… I love Sadie & Alex, but it’s just not the same… there was something very special about Flops… and I think part of it had to do with the situations we were living though.¬† She did the best she could to protect me, mom & A & K from dad & bitch… she took a lot of abuse for it… but she somehow felt responsible to do it… like I felt responsible to take care of everyone to make it all better… and neither of us succeeded… both Floppy and I ended up just getting more hurt the more we tried… I miss her so much.¬† And she reminds me of Kl… I miss her too though I’ve been slowly realizing that she wasn’t as great as I remember… she was abusive in her own way… but she also protected us in so many ways.¬† T tried too… he stayed away from my dad unless he had to physically intervene to protect us… and he stayed away from A because he did not want to end up like his family and abuse him… he really was a good man… but so tortured and protective.¬† I think that’s why he and K fought so many times… he hated to see dad being abusive to us… he rarely said anything, and was always “a grouch”… but I think that’s how he protected himself from feeling too helpless in protecting us.¬† I don’t know… nor will I ever know for sure… but i guess that’s my fantasy of him, because I needed to have some sort of positive role-model in my family… everyone else took part in the fights and abuse… everyone else was caught in the mix.¬† He made sure to stay out of it the best he could…
I feel sad and longing for a real sense of self… longing to have SJ back to be able to assure her and protect her like I couldn’t do with everyone else… like I couldn’t do with myself even with duck-boy… mom even called one time because she thought something was wrong… because she had heard me call out in her head, and needed to make sure I was ok.¬† I had thought about her helping me just then, but I couldn’t grab the phone, and he wouldn’t leave me alone… to keep him happy, I didn’t tell mom anything, just sat there while he touched me and groped me and told me it all wasn’t sexual… he would lock his bedroom door even when no one was around.¬† He made sure I always wore short shorts around him so he could feel me whenever he wanted… he would zip open his pants and rub himself on me… but it wasn’t anything sexual… we had intercourse in his parent’s pool… but it wasn’t sexual because we both had our bathing suits on… he put his fingers inside me when we sat on the couch babysitting his little brother… but it wasn’t sexual… he made me dry-hump his erect penis, but it wan’t sexual because we had our clothes on… he made me suck his penis… stroke him and feel him and lick him and fondle him until he came, but it wasn’t sexual… I can feel his fingers touching me and making way for his penis… i can feel him inside me still as I write this.¬† the memories are strong and painful… it was painful… i remember crying inside, and wishing the date would end so I could go home and curl up… so i could wash him off of me… but I kept going back… for months I kept going back… then he graduated and I thought I’d be free of him when he went away to FSU… it was far enough away, and he would meet other girls… but in reality he called me every night to “chat” which was really checking up on me and grilling me on what I had been doing all day, who I was with, and what I thought about.¬† Did I miss him?¬† Did I think of him every second of the day?¬† Did I know he was coming home this weekend and he wanted me to spend the night at his parent’s place with him…?¬† We did more sexual acts on those weekends then we had ever done before.¬† He’d claim it wasn’t sexual, but by then I knew better… I had lost my total submission to him… when he went back to school, I would talk to J and try to find a way to get out of the relationship.¬† She would even offer me to stay at her house the weekends he was home… but he would come looking for me, so I declined.¬† I tried to break up with him for¬†months… every time he said he loved me and that we could make it work and that he couldn’t go on without me… the day after he gave me a suicide note, I had J call his school and report it… he got SO mad at me for it… even though I just wanted to protect his life… he said if I really cared about him and wanted him to live, I would not break up with him… so I stayed a few more months, all the time half-assed trying to break up with him… them finally he came home for the summer, and I told him I did not want to see him anymore.¬† He yelled at me over the phone.¬† When I hung up, he drove over in the middle of the night crying, begging me to take him back… J and I had written out a script for just this occasion… I kept reading it back to him.¬† he kept begging me and threatening his life… finally,I told him he had to leave or my mom would call the cops (told him she was there with me, in the bedroom, and if he didn’t leave by 1am, she would call the police)… it made him leave… at least for then.¬† he kept trying to get back together, but I don’t remember much of that… My anorexia got worse… I started cutting while I was with him… he pretended to care… i pretended to care… but I really didn’t care about anything but being afraid to gain weight… afraid to keep living.¬† I didn’t remember this part (the early start of the cutting and suicidal ideation) until I read a profile I had written for a website¬†a college student & I had started together… it was supposed to be a peer-run support site for teens and young adults… I vaguely remember doing it for about a year and a half, then it fading away as she & I both got busier (though I think it was mostly her…).¬† we dropped updating the site and checking the email… so the site closed down… and as I was cleaning to pack today, I found a rough draft of that profile… i didn’t remember that everything had started that early… I know the eating disorder started after K died, and increased significantly while I was with duck-boy… I went from a size 13-14 to a size 3 in a matter of a few months… the woman I babysat for kept asking me if I was losing weight… I kept saying no, coz at the time it wasn’t about the weight, it was just a sub-conscious attempt to deal with life… if I could only fade away, nothing could hurt me anymore… then the cutting started… as scratches with a pin at first for a long time… about the first two years or so of my bout with self-injury remained at scratching with pins, paper clips & keys… that night at the play, when I got no recognition at all for my work behind the scenes, I ran out the back and grabbed the car keys from my pocket.¬† I scratched my arm so long and hard behind the building that my entire left arm was a huge raw bruise for the next few weeks… I remember G coming after me when I ran out of the auditorium, but not finding me till later… she caught me scratching, but didn’t tell on me… she scratched too… that was the first time I had encountered anyone else that did it. As the months progressed, and my anorexia got worse, J called my parents to tell them about it b/c she was scared for me… my dad said that I was just doing it for attention, and hung up the phone… I had made J promise to call me back after she had spoken to my parents… she told me how it went… i am not sure what else happened, but I remember searching like mad for something to scratch with and only finding scissors… that was my graduation to cutting… she never told them about that though… One time when I got back from Kairos and felt really depressed, I called her and left her a scary message (so she says… I didn’t mean anything by it other then being really tired and wanting an out…)¬† I went¬†to a Kairos post-event that night, and she almost ended up calling the cops on me because she thought I had tried to kill myself. She had called my mom first though, and she told J that I was at the Kairos thing… later that night J called me and told me how scared¬†I had made her, and that I shouldn’t do that again… so I only left her happy messages after that.¬† She still knew I was sad and hurting, but we only talked about that stuff in her office… I kept my nightly despair to myself…¬† She saved my life in¬†so¬†many ways… if she and her boyfriend hadn’t been so caring and helpful, I would have died a long time ago… I forgot I had tried to kill myself then… but it was only a mild overdose if anything… not even enough to make me sleepy… how is it that I forgot all this until writing it?¬† it’s all coming back to me.¬† that night after the play, the stays at J’s… the panic of gaining weight again (once it finally became about the weight, and no longer just a method of control),¬† the vomiting…¬† the half-spoon of fruit baby food or yogurt that I could barely force down because it felt too much (slowly trying to kill myself with starvation).¬† It’s funny, I lost so much weight, and refused to eat so blatantly, yet no one noticed except Mrs. K (the woman whose sons I babysat).¬† Her & J… but J gave up on my parent’s helping me (she had tried so many times) that she just referred me herself to Renfrew for a support group (you had to have been in the hospital before to get out-patient or in-patient treatment…) and then my parents would have to realize I had a problem that was deeper then attention-seeking… so I stuck to the support groups… mom actually came with me a few times… then dad yelled at both of us for wasting gas and time… so we stopped going, and that was the end of my treatment till i came to UConn…¬† That part is where my memory gets better…
Wow, that was a dump… maybe I should send this to Dr. C and maybe she will have time to read it by tomorrow… (please tell me if you mind that I sent this to you)…

behavioral observations

I have a knack for working with animals… and people. ¬†I have found that my success comes from careful (and often unconscious) observation. ¬†When I worked in animal control in college, I was the worker with the reputation for being able to handle and calm aggressive and anxious dogs and cats. ¬†I would take the time to watch them and pay attention to their reactions to things. ¬†Most of the aggression came from fear, so I would volunteer my time and sit with the animals for hours on end, alternately talking to them and just going about my business nearby. ¬†I instinctively made my posture non-aggressive (see, leaning to tip-toe around abusive and explosive adults can help with something). ¬†I brought animals out of their shells, and worked with them to mold the aggression into acceptable and wanted behaviors.

I have found that most aggression comes from fear. ¬†The fear may be deeply rooted and hidden, but it’s almost always there. ¬†I have found this true with my reptiles as well as my mammals. ¬†I have a snake that will strike wildly whenever I go into her enclosure for any reason. ¬†I am working on hook training her and getting her used to handling. ¬†When she does not feel cornered or uncomfortable, she is a cuddle bug (yes, snakes do cuddle, they like the warmth after all). ¬†By using less intimidating body language and actions, I can communicate to her that I will not try to eat her or harm her in any way.

I think the same is true for people. ¬†I think we are either so wounded or so terrified of being wounded that we often lash out in anger. ¬†I think the anger is a defense mechanism. ¬†People don’t have time to get under your armor if you are busy throwing out spikes. ¬†They can’t get close enough to hurt if you run around bearing your teeth and pushing everyone away.

I think this relates to self-harm in some ways. ¬†Self-harm is a form of aggression, only against yourself. ¬†It is the result of anger and fear turned on the body. ¬†It can be preventative – no one can hurt me as much as I can hurt myself; I’m going to get hurt anyway, might as well get a jump on things. ¬†It can also be reactive – I screwed that up, so I deserve to be punished for it. ¬†Both inadvertently work to keep people at bay. ¬†The concept of self-harm is a scary one. ¬†Most people will cringe at the thought, and bolt at the sight of it. They will over- or under-react to the news, but rarely be helpful in their reactions at first. ¬†Those of our family and friends that have dealt with it in the past react a little better (we have given them reading materials, access to our treaters, insights into our pain), but they still give distance, or at least that is what we hope – that is what I hope. ¬†I don’t want questions about my scars. ¬†I don’t want to launch into my story with everyone that notices. ¬†Why write a blog you may ask? ¬†Well, I still want to tell my story, but I like the measure of anonymity the internet provides. ¬†I can give you glimpses of my inner crazy, and you won’t change your opinion of me if you see me on the street. ¬†If you don’t look closely at my arms, you won’t guess that I struggle (ok, if I’m crying my eyes out, you may have a clue, but that’s rare, especially in public). ¬†If you don’t see me on the psych unit, you wouldn’t know I can barely make it through a day without craving peace at least once.

Even those that know me rarely ask about the scars (we are trained to mind our own business, and I doubt they really want an honest answer). ¬†They look past it. ¬†It’s scary and dangerous to be let into a world that allows someone to do so much physical harm to themselves on purpose. ¬†It keeps people from asking with any real honesty what my life is like. ¬†They anticipate a drama, so they avoid the inquiry.

The long and short of it is that aggression is a defense mechanism, as is self-harm. ¬†It keeps people away from the real you so they can’t reject you and confirm all that you fear about yourself (but in their distance, they confirm that you are not worth it, so it kind of just back-fires).

This train of thought was brought to you by the article I saw online this morning that named 3 small breed dogs as the most aggressive… It got me thinking about the roots of aggression, which lead me to the thoughts on self-harm… lots of branches, but really all the same tree

(I want to add also, that self-harm is not only engaged in for the reasons mentioned above, but they are some big ones. ¬†It can also be relief, a grounding method. ¬†It can be a visual and outward symbol of inward pain and turmoil. ¬†For me, it is mainly a release and grounding method. ¬†It also has the added benefit of being somewhat preventative in that I feel no one can ever hurt me more than I can physically hurt myself… it’s really figurative, because it doesn’t really hurt, and mostly it’s trying to prevent further emotional pain, but it has still been a reason in the past).


another thought: vocabulary and context is everyhting

Ever have a day where you feel like shit? ¬†You’re thoughts would generally be along the lines of “I feel like shit today” ¬†Well, that would likely be your thought if you were not dealing with depression or PTSD or Bipolar or some other fun diagnosis… ¬†My thought would go something like “I am shit” ¬†and it wouldn’t be limited to today either… My self-esteem has been so low as to even¬†categorize¬†myself as less-than-shit for many years… It’s all in how you formulate your sentence, and the words you chose for it (consciously or unconsciously). ¬†You can take the meaning of a negative thought and ascribe it to the day, or to your whole being… It’s like Hiccup’s conversation his mentor in How to Train Your Dragon, only it’s all within myself:

Gobber:

See, now this right here is what I am talking about. If you ever want to get out to fight dragons… you need to stop all… this!

Hiccup:

But you just pointed to all of me!

The dissatisfaction with myself can be huge and overwhelming… I think it’s a problem for a lot of people… It’s quite sad. Though I do not know what is worse: being dissatisfied with yourself and hating your core; or having everyone else be dissatisfied with you for who you are.

I read a post on a forum today where a woman asked if PTSD was commonly treated by advocating for a complete change in person: changing name and “killing” the person you once were… I have not heard of it as a treatment for PTSD, but I can see it as a way to cope with hating yourself as a result of the trauma. ¬†This person was one who had been deployed several times. ¬†I am guessing he participated in some acts that went so against his image of himself, that he felt the need to obliterate that person… I think I could see needing to completely change if I had killed innocent people, or participated in a war… It goes so against who I see myself being that I don’t think I could reconcile that with the actuality of having done it. ¬†While I would be more likely to make a less conscious split (ie: fall headlong into DID) than to consciously legally change my name and act like someone else, I could see it happening. ¬†When you see yourself as something so fundamentally different from the reality of the situation, I can’t imagine having to know that and live with it every day… I’m actually a bit surprised more veterans don’t come away with a DID diagnosis or go ahead and change their identity all together… but then again, I would never volunteer for “service”…


lacking…

I’ve been struggling with coming up with something inspirational and deep to write. ¬†I’m at a loss. ¬†I’ve been distracted lately. ¬†I play with my animals in hopes of keeping the crankiness at bay, but it doesn’t work. ¬†I’ve been a bitch lately. ¬†It comes with the territory of being a woman – hormonal roller coaster every month; gotta love it. ¬†I thought walking the dogs would help, but I just caught myself being very short and rough with them. ¬†That is not “me” (at least not the picture I have of myself in my head). ¬†I try not to let my frustrations out on anyone, but I trip up and… well, it makes me angry at myself, ¬†once I get over being angry at whomever or whatever I snap on that is. ¬†I feel like shit and I want to make up for it, but that throws me into feeling like I’m just as bad as all the abusers out there. ¬†Then I’m reminded of my training: everyone’s actions are driven by a past. ¬†Everyone has a history that influences them. ¬†Everyone has a reason for their actions, no matter how¬†awful¬†the action, or the reason… ¬†I’ve been trained to look for the underlying motivation/trigger for the action… It helps me understand the world a little better. ¬†It helps me find compassion for others, but I still have trouble seeing myself in a less-harsh manner. ¬†We are our worst critics and greatest enemies. ¬†But knowing that and realizing that help to motivate for change. ¬†So I’m working to keep that little voice toned down. ¬†It is not easy, but I’m trying…