Tag Archive: mental issues


Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having quite the hard time of things. This isn’t surprising since this is the time of the quarter that I hate so much. That’s right it’s PMS and on into that horrible female affliction known as a period. I’ve never really enjoyed it… I don’t know many girls that do.

For me, it’s always been a horrible mass of pain (I get horrendous cramps), moodiness, and general discomfort. The pain I can handle. Sure, it can be double over and can’t move bad. Frankly, physical pain just doesn’t hurt as much for me.

Then there’s the hormones. This I hate.

OK, I don’t mind my hormones. I hate the psychological mess they make me.

Normally, I get pretty weepy and generally low-level depressed around this time of the month. But not this time. Nope… because that would be easy and expected. This time, I have to be dealing with a lot of emotional go-booms and dealing really heavily with my PTSD from abuse.

This makes me an even bigger mess.

While I know I’m not alone, I feel even more afraid to ask for help. I’m afraid that I’m going to be judged because I can’t handle my shit. That I can’t just get over it. That I can’t pack it up in a nice little box and put it on a shelf somewhere to ignore and never see again.

I really wish that were the case. I wish dealing with this all was that simple.

Then there’s the worst part… I feel so damn emotionally needy that I don’t know what to do.

So, what of these go-booms you were speaking of earlier?

Well, funny you should ask…

I know that issues with one of my partners has been very well documented. The biggest part of it started in December. Then it looked like we were working through things, albeit somewhat slowly. Then he has the audacity to do the same thing for a second time. Not just once, but twice. So, yeah… I’m pretty angry, hurt, and frustrated. I feel that the time and money that I’ve been spending on couple’s therapy has been a huge waste. I’m not even sure, at this point, that there’s anything that might be left to salvage because of how I feel. You know how the saying going, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In dealing with this, huge “Do Not Touch” buttons have been hit. That means that I’ve been triggered pretty hard… to the point of a panic attack. One of the things about complex PTSD that’s different from garden variety PTSD is that you won’t just get visual flashbacks, you also get emotional ones. All the emotions come flooding back… and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

And, I had to deal with my ex-boss. This is something that I haven’t really talked about. After all, it’s not all that important, normally. So, he decided to sit on my check two weeks after I quit. I had the mediation session for that. I will say this, I didn’t even get close to what I deserve. I got a fraction of it. At the same time, I do feel a good amount of vindication. You know your ex-boss is an asshole when the deputy commissioner tells you that if the wait wasn’t 7 months for a hearing, you should totally pursue that. That’s pretty bad.

The past three paragraphs have happened in the last week. This isn’t over months, this is in the last 7 days.

So, here I am… this huddled mass of hurt and pain… and a certain amount of anger. I’m not angry at anyone but the people whom I should be angry with.

Then there’s the hurt and the pain. This is the hard stuff… and I do mean hard.

This is the stuff that can make me ask the questions I don’t like to ask, because I know exactly where my mind is.

Yeah, I’m asking them.

So, what do I need now? I need love, reassurance of that love, I need to be held, and hugged, and all sorts of things that have to do with physical touch. I need it from the important people in my life. I need people to check up on me. I feel so pushed back to when I was a teenager that I feel awkward asking for what I need because, in my mind, I feel like I’m not going to get it. That I’m going to be told what I was told all the time when I was a kid, “You need to fight your own battles.” I feel both powerless and voiceless. (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the last sentence, given that this is in a blog post.) I want to ask for it… and constantly, but I’m too scared. I want to talk to my supportive partners about this, but, once again, I’m too scared. This is the only way I know how to. It’s the only thing that served me well when I was a teenager.

So, maybe that’s the point of what I’m writing this. Maybe it’s to get it out there. Maybe it’s to give voice to how I’m feeling because I don’t feel like I can accurately convey it verbally. I don’t know. But right about now, I feel hurt… hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, and alone, even if that is of my volition (but not really because CPTSD is a bitch).

Welcome to emotional flashbacks.

The next major event that I remember was my mom not really being there for me. At the time, my mother was undiagnosed for bipolar. She was medicating how worked best for her at the time. While I understand that, it also meant that I had to step up and do more than I was even prepared for. I wasn’t even 10 at the time. I felt that I had to be responsible. In many ways, I resent having to give away my childhood and a part of my innocence.

While I know that there’s nothing that anyone could do, because my mom was undiagnosed. I’m also angry and sad about it. I had to face many hard realities before I was really prepared for them… and in some cases I had no preparation for them… like seeing my grandfather’s body at the funeral home. It’s that moment that I pinpoint my changing opinion on death. This is probably one of the healthiest responses I’ve had. I don’t fear death. I accept it as inevitability. I don’t let this realization allow me to do things that will kill me, at the same time, I’m not afraid either. I treat it with the proper respect it should while not shying away from it. So, one positive takeaway from this was that.

But the negative… that’s also there. And it’s more numerous than how I deal with death.

My sister and I remember more than we really talk about. We’ve seen more than we care to discuss… but those memories are so hazy to me, probably because I didn’t want to acknowledge what was really happening. More than anything, I felt neglected. I felt like I didn’t matter. I wasn’t important enough for my mother. This was later confirmed when my mom apologized to me for driving while heavily intoxicated because she was trying to kill herself. Except she wasn’t just trying to kill herself, she was trying to kill me and my sister as well. I think I already kind of knew that because I have always felt like maybe I didn’t deserve to live. This really haunted me after my rape. The rape helped confirm this thought I had. I’ll get to that later though.

That’s probably the hardest thing to try to tackle as a child… that I’m not important enough to be a reason to live and that maybe just maybe I didn’t deserve to be alive. These thoughts still haunt me to this day.

Honestly, I know that my mom wasn’t in her right mind. Unfortunately, this is the hand she was dealt. She may not have realized that this was an issue until her diagnosis. So, I can’t really fault her for this. That doesn’t mean that it still isn’t a reality… and it still really hurts. Even writing the paragraph above hurt straight to my heart. Just because I understand the situation, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. And, of course, there was the day that she was hospitalized… it’s good that she was because then she could get treatment.

At the same time, this made me scared because I had no idea what would happen to me or my sister. I knew my dad mostly worked at night. There was a degree of insecurity there. When we had to go and live with my mom’s ex-best friend, it felt like we were just people who could be passed on. I still deal with this issue, especially when it comes to relationships. I feel like I’m a transitory person… or just there for now. I haven’t had many people tell me that I am in no way temporary in their life. I can count the people who have told me that way and not treated me that way on one hand.

I still struggle with that and it’s a constant fear. Because it was so easy to pass me along to someone who beat and tortured me. I’ll get to that explanation in a while. I try to remind myself that I’m not transitory. People genuinely want to be with me. It’s hard to see that sometimes… and it’s interesting, because I never thought it was from my sister and I being handed off to someone who beat me.

Since I seem to be having huge issues with insomnia as of late (not too terribly surprising), I figured that I would write out things since my brain is keeping me awake (I’ve been up since 3:30). And every time I try to sleep, it feels like a have a cacophony of negative emotions going on at all times.

Now, I’m not really surprised this is happening. I knew that this would after deciding to go somewhere that’s triggering. I did it to myself as a form of therapy. A part of PTSD therapy is to do what isn’t comfortable to make things better. I’m a big fan of going outside of my comfort zone in order to become a better version of myself. If we stick with what’s comfortable, we rarely learn anything about ourselves.

So, here I am… at 5 in the morning… after being up 1.5 hours.

Yesterday was particularly emotionally rough for me. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I felt out of step with things. My brain kept telling me horrible things… things that I just ignored in the past. Apparently, just ignoring it isn’t enough. It’s as though someone gave these horrible, unhelpful feelings a megaphone and no matter how hard I try, I still have to hear it. Instead of ignoring it, I guess I’m going to face it all head first… so to speak.

So, what was I dealing with last night… and am dealing with as we speak?

Well, a big part of it is that maybe I deserved the rape. That I didn’t fight back enough. That I also deserved the abuse that I endured for decades. That I wonder why it had to happen to me. Of course, a lot of this is paired with the lingering illogical and completely unhelpful thoughts that maybe, just maybe I’m undeserving of happiness.

Now, this is something that I’ve always been kind of proud of, even if it doesn’t always help in the short run. While I know I’m having these thoughts and feelings, I also know that they’re not rational. I also understand where they are coming from. I triggered myself. I stood before the spot I was raped. I talked about the details of the place I was in when it happened. Which, in turn, brought back the memories of exactly what happened. Of how trapped I felt in that place. How small and claustrophobic it all was.

And that I’m getting nightmares I largely don’t remember because of this. Every night… sometimes multiple nightmares a night. I’m getting less sleep now. Which goes back into the spiral of negative thoughts. Maybe I’m hoping for something wonderful and positive to come from this. Maybe I’m just hoping for karma to actually start working for me and not against me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been weary for some time. I feel like I’ve had to shoulder a lot of this burden… and that I need to continue to do so. Even though I have support and help, it’s still up to me to do the dirty work. It’s up to me to handle the feelings and thoughts. And that’s part of the reason I’m continuing to write this out. Because no one can understand what it’s like going through this… unless you’ve had to go through it. And even then, I still need to go through it myself because only I know what it feels like.

I’m also discovering how sensitive I am to things that I didn’t think I was sensitive to… especially when I recognize that I’m guilty of having done them myself. It’s not my place to not let other people make their own mistakes, but it’s my nature to not want to see people hurt… especially when it’s something as simple as not doing something. If I can impart that piece of knowledge to someone (albeit ad nauseam), then I can’t just not do it. At the same time, I know that people have to learn from their own mistakes. It’s the interesting part of me that understands that learning comes from mistakes, but the healer in me wants to make sure that no one hurts. This can be incredibly hard for me to reconcile within myself. I think that once I finally get through my shit, that then I have to repeatedly tell myself, “I have to let people make their own mistakes, even if it means that they have to suffer. No one learns unless it’s from their own mistakes”

After all, a key belief in many versions of Buddhism is that through suffering comes enlightenment.

If that’s true, then when do I get to be one incredibly enlightened being?

Maybe I’m asking too much. All I want at this point is to be a better, happier version of myself. I have amazing things to be happy for. I have some incredibly beautiful things that can make me happy… that do make me happy. I just need to not be afraid to embrace that happiness.

Really, that’s the bigger problem, isn’t it? That I always expect the other shoe to drop. I still do it in all things… even with things that are well established. Maybe that’s the fear I need to get over. It’s certainly the fear that I’ve received for years of abuse. I need to trust what is and stop fearing what might be. More importantly, I need to keep fighting these sleepless nights, these nightmares with the thought that I will be a better person once it’s done. I need to try to fight past the despair that partners this… and drops me into a world of why am I still alive.

I can do this, right?

No, scratch that.

I can do this.

**Trigger Warning: I do write about things that could be potentionally upsetting to some people. While I don’t go into specifics here, I do include a link that does. If you are afraid you might be triggered, please don’t click the link. Thank you**

 

There are some things that I know are going to be constant in my life. There are certain inevitiabilities that everyone deals with (death and taxes). Then there’s the personal situational ones. If you’re someone who’s been sexually assaulted, then there will be a time that you will be triggered again.

They say that you are largely over your PTSD is you can talk about it… but really, you never really get over it. It’s something that stays with you. It’s a matter of how often you are triggered.

I talked about my rape when I was 18, 5 years after the rape itself. I’ve even written about it here. (This link needs to some with a trigger warning. I talk about my sexual assault.)

I also like to see if I can tolerate certain things. After all, I try to live my life as full as I can. I don’t like that there are certain things that I can’t tolerate to see. For a long time, I couldn’t watch Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, since most of the crimes are largely sexual assaults. You never know what you can tolerate and what will trigger you until you test your boundaries.

I was reading an article that a year old talking about the open letter to Facebook asking them to not allow rape jokes on Facebook. Linked in the article was a link to a page that documented all the things that were posted. The words “Trigger warning” were clearly posted before the link.

I thought to myself, “It says trigger warning, but I’m going to look anyways.”

So I did. I don’t consider myself a comedian, but all the “jokes” they showed weren’t funny… not even in the tasteless humor sort of way. Some of them could be tantamount to admitting to a felony. But I looked because I need to see where my limits are. I need to see how far I’ve come when it comes to dealing with my rape.

I’ve come far. I took quite a bit of the horrific images to get to me. Then there was one that was exactly the same circumstances as my rape. I tried to ignore it, but the “joke” keeps running in my head. And it’s not all that funny when it’s not a joke but a reality.

Of course, I have no one to blame but myself. It said trigger warning. I knew the risk I was taking. I still triggered myself. Yet, I’m not really mad about it. I’m saddened, I’m disgusted, in many ways I’m disappointed.

Maybe I might be a little sensitive because I’m a rape survivor and I don’t see jokes about rape and domestic violence to be funny. They’re both serious problems and should be discussed with sensitivity. Sometimes humor can be used to bridge that gap, but this isn’t the way to do it. These “jokes” aren’t really there to make one aware of the situation.

Do I think that humor could be used as a teaching element in these instances? I honestly don’t know. Humor can help broach some of the most difficult topics. Is there a way to use humor to help bring awareness to the topics of sexual assault and domestic violence? I don’t know that there is. Patton Oswalt actually writes an interesting piece about rape jokes in this closed letter (it’s #3). Well worth the read.

So, why am I writing this? What’s the point of it? It helps me mentally process what I’m going through, what I’m dealing with. Abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence… these are things that have long-term repercussions. This is something that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. I’m hoping that the more time that passes, the more things I can tolerate; but for now, I need to do the best I can to keep myself functioning. So, I’m doing that the best I can.
Hopefully I can purge that horrible image and “joke” from my head. It won’t be easy, but I hope to be capable to do it somehow.