Category: Day by Day


fasten your seat belts, blah blah blah. Yep, things have been tough, feel free to send chocolate. 😉

Whenever I am so silly to believe that things are on the upswing, I’ve been duped again. I feel like Murky Dismal in Rainbow Brite, the dude who tries to take all the color out of the world. And … the best part, is that’s how I describe my father. I don’t even have time for daddy issues right now.

I don’t know how I still go to school. It requires every ounce of effort I can scrounge up to drag my ass here. I’m not sure where the extra effort comes from for studying, and the other things an adult needs to do every day. My brain feels like it’s going to explode. I feel like I’m going to vomit. Eh, I likely will. The vomiting thing, not the head exploding thing. I have stomach ulcers. There’s a shocker.

I seem to have lost the sparkle that was me. I go about every day and survive and get through it, but I lost the zest, the (ironically) joie de vivre. I gain more attachment to the planet, less times where my mind throws up bad crap at home, in public places, other things die down, and I am swimming in a pool of pessimism. I have been severely depressed before, this is no surprise, but the pessimism is astounding.

Things were going relatively well for a while, but then I got the decision back from the administration saying they’re not going to do shit about “the incident”. I knew regardless of the outcome, I would likely spiral at least a lil out of orbit, but I seem to have become consumed with foul, angry thoughts, and very little else. A few weeks of this and my non-trauma friends are still hanging in there. I talked to a few of them today about “the crap” and by crap, I mean how I’ve been feeling and behaving. I’ve tried my darndest to not spill all over the place and make my crap become theirs. But it’s more than hard to go through this alone. Especially since I’m fortunately or unfortunately feeling so much more every freaking day for the past year or two now. I must say, I’m not a fan. Feeling SUCKS!! But, if I want to engage with the rest of the planet who does not live in my inner solar system, I better get used to it. Learning to feel is an atrocious experience. I highly recommend children and anyone younger than me learn to feel your feelings while you can. Before it’s a few decades later and they smash you like a brick. But, really, our minds did what they could to protect us at the time. And being dissociative was just as normal as some kids playing outside, having sleepovers, swinging on swings without a care in the world…

So moral of my story, feelings hurt like hell. They cause me visceral body pain. It hurts to hurt like that.

Although I’m seeing almost every aspect of the world through grey goggles recently, my friends have graciously and without prompting reminded me that, I’m not always like this. And to me, if they can even see that, that’s even more evidence that this too will pass. It just sucks hardcore right now.

My stomach is having a blast at the moment and I’m in a lot of pain elsewhere. I’m gonna go take care of my stomach, and then attempt to eventually eat and take care of myself.

I hope you’re doing well. And if today’s not such a hot day for you either, you’re not alone. And… likely tomorrow, or soon, things will start to look up. Every time I think they won’t, they do. I think it’s just to prove me wrong. 😉

Peace n safety,

Joy

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Ferocity In Me

~I am grateful for my ferocity.

I feel as though I am finding a glimmer of my former self (;} remove all ideas about dissociation from that statement). I am a feisty, persistent, tough cookie. I am doing great! I hit a low point a couple of times a week, but I’ve never felt this good. Nor have that many other acquaintances, friends, and people closest to my heart noticed quite like this before. I’m living my life. It’s actually a little odd and uncomfortable. But, hey, I’ll take it. This is the first time I’ve ever been remotely interested in my studies. I can take care of my adult responsibilities. I can make it through the day without falling apart. I would do a cartwheel and little dance, but I must admit that I fear nothing gold can stay…

I also believe I have to step up in a major way if I want any repercussions for the assailant who assaulted me during the first week of school. I certainly live with repercussions each and every day. If you make such an egregious error in boundaries, violating a person’s rights, etc.–you should experience consequences. I will not stop until that happens. I don’t care what other people think of me, or what occurs as a result. It can “always get worse”, but I’m presently the pariah at my med school to some, the situation has interfered with my academics, personal life, relationships, healing process.. I could go on and on. Some people have awful things to say to me (go on brush ya shoulders off), about me, behind my back, some people don’t know what to make of it, and one person told me it happened to her in college and she didn’t have the courage to report it then and is amazed that I’m still standing and grateful to know me. I’m good with all of that. And the fact that one woman told me she feels empowered by me standing up for myself is extremely moving. Everyone seems to have an opinion, everyone supposedly knows—and I don’t care. No matter how uncomfortable it is for me and my squeaky lil mouse self I will continue to stand up and keep elucidating it is NOT OK and I won’t let anyone sweep this under the carpet.

Continuing on what I am thankful for…

~I am grateful for my incredible friends.

~I am grateful that my roommates and I were able to come to a relative agreement and expect that our communication will make living together even better.

~I am grateful for all the therapy that I have underwent, and all the work I did on my own, because my roommate who is getting her Ph.D. in social work told me the other night that she felt like our conversation included an MFT (marriage and family therapist–me lol). She is very logical and not particularly warm and fuzzy–but she told me I was effective, well-spoken, practical, solution-focused, & amusing (considering her profession and mine) and that I’m going to make an amazing doctor.

~I am grateful for the hours/days/weeks where I feel well.

~I am grateful that the times that I feel crappy are continually and slowly decreasing.

~I am grateful for the other survivors I know both “in real life” and those whom I have connected with on here and other venues.

~I am grateful for sleep.

~I am grateful that even though I’ve been dealing with some physical health crap that I’m still ambulatory and keep it moving.

~I am grateful for my own personal healthcare needs being mostly met.

~I am grateful for the current time, which is the longest I have gone sans an ip stay in two and a half years.

~I am grateful that tomorrow is a trauma anniversary and I’m feeling relatively strong.

~I am grateful that I FEEL OK.

Hope you all are well and are on your path to healing, no matter how bumpy, winding, and/or smooth that road may be. ❤

Love and peace,

Joy

The Monster

I woke up more times than I can count this morning. I knew I was dissociating before I went to bed, I felt stuck in the background. I have no idea what it feels like for other people, or “everyone else” who dissociates, but I feel like I have varying degrees of “stuckness”. I still feel totally fuzzy, confused, and disorganized. I have a dissociation headache. I’m having difficulty concentrating because I feel like I’m floating off into the air, but it’s the tail end of it–I’ve only felt this way a million times before. The floating is so common that it feels safe.

I woke up to what seems like an exacerbation of how I went to sleep. I was stuck in the back, more so than usual. I was screaming and trying to regain control, and instead I felt like an evil monster was guiding my thoughts and actions. I was afraid if I moved we would hurt someone. Who ever was forward was so angry and had no concern about morality or consequences of the evil things streaming through our consciousness. It wasn’t anyone I recognized, and the rest of us were freaked out too, so it wasn’t just me reacting to the fact that I felt like I lost the one thing I have control over, which is  “me.” Or so I like to think. I really like to some days think I don’t have DID or DD-NOS. Everyone dissociates, I just float off more than the average person. But, other times I’m gone, or I am so far removed, I have no idea who is driving my life. Sometimes I have the system down to a science, We have it down like a science. Sometimes, I get showed who is boss–and I get punished for doubting that there are others. Sometimes I have my very own awful thoughts against myself or other people. But, this was unfamiliar. I guess the best way I can compare what I felt trapped behind would be my dad, if there were no laws or consequences for what you did, the kind of evil rampage he would go on, spewing evil and hatred everywhere. My most angry selves are never like that… nothing has ever felt like that. I woke up dissociated numerous times between 5am and 11am. It was so confusing. I’m still confused. When I’m in my head, or the people I know are immediately in front, anger is a great motivator. But anger was a monster. I don’t know how to describe who or what was out, but I felt like I was in the backseat of a soundproof, bulletproof taxi–and no one could hear or wanted to hear what I had to say. The monster was shear rage. And… what it all comes down to, is that the monster, is me.

Best I’ve Ever Had

This is the healthiest I can ever recall being. And the saddest part is that it also coincides with me being the most pessimistic about relationships ever. I am finally in a place where I can maintain my daily adult responsibilities, participate in my life, including my life as a medical student. Anger is a wonderful motivator. I was stuck for so long, I felt like I had taken mile-long leaps backwards. Yet, I’ve made it through–with only a few metaphorical scratches. I’m finally at the anger part of my grieving process. I had a post-trauma bout of depression for approximately 4 months. I didn’t see how I could possibly continue with school if things continued progressing as they were.

And yet, as things always do, they change. Many things have changed. In the last year I’ve rid my life of some of the most toxic people I’ve ever met (next to be nixed are my parents ;}). I’ve made so many strides therapeutically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and so many strides in the right direction to LIVING. My housing and financial situations, my emotional state, my desire to live are all remarkably stable and healthy. I never thought things would be “this good”. I never thought I’d be able to bounce back after what happened, and, it took time (as it should, if it didn’t–am I human?). I didn’t think my soul could handle one more assault. But, as hackneyed as the adage is, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

One more assault against my body, many subsequent ones against my psyche and soul. In all the loss I’ve experienced in the past few months, I’ve gained more of ME. Clearly I am very pained and bitter as a result of my interpersonal losses still. I would like to forget them, however, that will take time. And then it will take even more time for me to forgive myself for letting people in to have them tear me apart in the end. I tip-toe with my current relationships. I am who I am, and if you don’t like it — get out. Which plenty of people have done. But, I do await the moment when the people I have in my life now leave, or … perhaps worse, need to be discarded. They will invariably leave. And as I mentioned not only a few moments ago, I will be the only one left behind to love and care for me. I am the only person I can realistically expect to be there at the end of the day.

The Black Sheep, The Sick Child

In the olden days (for me), before I got incredibly symptomatic, I was a feisty little thing. I still am, but I feel like I have diverted my own fire to learned skills, coping, self-care, etc. I hated being told that I couldn’t do something. And, as many of us have likely experienced, we were told we couldn’t, or would never make it, in whatever capacity, quite often. I plowed through hs and college because I was told I’d never make it and would flip burgers for the rest of my life. I never worked in fast food, but good G-d did my father want me to fail miserably at everything. That’s what happens with sick parents, they want to kill the light within their children, starting from an early age–so hopefully by the time it’s time for their child to “fly on their own”, their wings are too broken and they remain “the sick child”.  It diverts ever-so-much attention from the sick, dysfunctional family. I choose not to be “the sick one”. I’ve been working for several years in therapy without my abusers, two years particularly on my trauma disorder and any associated issues. My entire life isn’t going to be like this. This has just been the ugly part. The undoing of my entire psychological and some of my personality sweater only to be re-knit in a healthier way without the same disgusting messages about who I am woven in between. I’m not by any means done “re-knitting”. I’ve got a long way to go. But, I’ve come a long way. And when I’m symptomatic, I know why and at least a good portion of the time, how to cope (sometimes alone, sometimes reaching out to my awesome supports). Bad things happened, but I am not to blame for them, and patient is not all that I am. I’m terrified, but I’m desperately trying to carve a life out for myself that includes all the good things I’m doing to get better, but also includes reclaiming my life, and altering the old one I was living. I just want to live, as frightening as that may be to me.

“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

Wishing I was fearless, but at least I have courage (and a red cape… but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Have a great day if you so choose! =)

Love,

Joy… and some others 😉

All I want is for some semblance of normalcy, to be well enough to get through the day, not have my symptoms follow me incessantly, and to return to and do well in school. I worked so hard with the facade going on for decades and now I feel very stuck. It’s like I made it out, but I want to be more than what I made it out from. I want to live the life I crafted for myself, the one I have the intellect and many other qualities for and yet it seems so evasive. And to be quite honest, it pisses me the hell off. That’s it! It makes me very angry. I feel a lot of other things, but the root is anger. Especially today I just wanna be like, screw you (past, symptoms, old patterns of behavior, I could go all day), I want to LIVE my life!

**This is a portion of a comment I left on Hope’s blog. It so clearly defined how I feel, I really wanted to share it here. I have more to say, but I want to gather my thoughts, and cope with my anger in a healthy way before I share any more.**

Wishing you an awesome day,

Joy

I’m sorry I lied

Hi. I just wanted to tell you that this is all a lie. The others and Joy might get mad or sad because I said that, but I don’t care. Nothing happened with grandpa. He just gave us gum. The others still hate that gum, but I just want it back. It was so yummy. And he would let us play with the teeth models downstairs and tell us how smart we were and how we were his favorite.

Daddy was kinda mean. But, that’s because we were so bad. We took too long with everything. Homework, piano practice, clarinet, “perfect practice makes perfect”. If we didn’t get 100 like in Geometry when Joy was 8, she got a 92, he said “where are the other fucking 8 points”? But, that’s because we weren’t perfect. And we didn’t do our chores fast enough or perfect enough. So anything that happened was our fault. We knew the rules, and even if we worked really hard at them, we didn’t “stick to them” like Daddy said. So what happened with Daddy wasn’t all a lie, and we kept our mouth shut like we were supposed to and then school people kept asking questions. So if we told one little thing, they would call home and things would get worse. I think that’s all I have to say. Sorry for lying.

From, 7

I’m not sure if I’ve shared with you the concept I learned about two years ago; that getting better doesn’t necessarily mean feeling better. Either way, while I’d love to comment on that and will elaborate at some point, I have found that sometimes it actually does lead to feeling better. I’ve been able to feel a lot more feelings in a healthy way, some lovely feelings, some less than pleasant. I am grateful for this hellish journey. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to survive just life, in general, if I hadn’t been on the PTSD recovery war path for the past two years. Every time I think I’ve got something down, got things in a decent place (notice I didn’t say “under control”–the only thing I can control in life is my behavior and actions); a huge curveball is thrown at me. I think this happens to everyone. But, when I’m working so hard to get “better”, whatever that is for me (mostly coping [and NOW learning how to actually contain flashbacks until I can have them in the safe environment of my tx’ists office] safely, not further abusing myself physically, emotionally, etc., and maintaining a somewhat normal-ish adult life)… I don’t take the curveballs very well. At least not the huge one that hit me at 90 mph yesterday.

Yesterday I went to two meetings in NYC. The first was a DID meeting, which was fabulous. I then spent the day with my best friend until my next meeting. Even better! And then, upon the THIRD parking spot, all chaos descends. I return from celebrating my 90 days self-harm free (no keychain lol—some of you know how ardently I want a keychain for my 90 days lol), to find my car is not where I parked it. I wonder, okay, before I panic, let’s search the dissociative rolodex and make sure I didn’t park it elsewhere. I end up having to call 911 to find out if my car has been stolen or towed (the latter I believe the more likely suspect, even though I was parked legally). Apparently during a random plate check, the NYPD decided that I owed $624 in parking tickets from 2007 (um what?) and it would need to be paid Monday through Friday during typical business hours before I could even pay the $185 to have my car returned from the tow service. Now mind you, of course my albuterol nebulizer for my asthma, my computer, and everything under the sun is in my car. My phone is dying, no one is picking up their phone. I NEEDED to get my car, or I was literally going to die. I was in the hospital for my asthma last week and am still not doing well.

Wheezing, and hacking I call the tow service (open 24 hrs!) 4 times to no avail as I am walking halfway across the City to get to my car. I get there and am permitted into my car. Then, I’m told that according to their system my license and registration are suspended and expired (which is not true, I know because of an incident from very recently). Unfortunately I can’t verify this on a Saturday night, or fix any of it. The tow guy was going to let me have my car provided there were no complications, likely because I was polite and/or he felt so badly for me because it was very evident that I was incredibly sick. Of course, there were complications… so I plug in my nebulizer so I can breathe while an angel in my life does come to my aid. She drove me home, since there was nothing I could do at that point. I got sick in her car right by my parents’ house, on our way to my house. I threw up in front of my parents’ house three times more 😉 and then knocked on the door so I could use the restroom. Then we proceeded home.

I woke up this morning with horrific self-harm urges and felt terribly depressed and hopeless because I really didn’t see how I could think or pray myself out of this debacle. I managed to calm myself down to a safe point, and then not long after totally lost it again. Now, since I’m so allergic to everything that is outside, I couldn’t lock myself out until my urges were manageable, nor could I flee in my car (um, since it’s impounded at the moment). So I flipped out for a little bit trying to figure out how to keep myself safe. I decided to lock myself in my room, perhaps lock my utensil drawer on my porch. I figured maybe some more sleep would do me some good, and decided maybe I’ll take a Benadryl to help with the allergies and help knock me out. Sadly and luckily, I ended up crying myself to sleep, and was therefore stable enough to leave my room when I woke up a little bit ago. I’m not saying things are great right now. I don’t have fairy godmothers, or a magic wand–but I’m still here and I’m SAFE! It’s day 91 and I’m still self-harm free. Some days it doesn’t seem I am going to be able to make it 9 seconds, and yet by the grace of God, or who/whatever you believe in… I’m still safe. There’s tangible evidence right there, I am getting better. And, yes, I’m pretty sick at the moment, and am having a hell of a time, but I’m feeling pretty ok considering. I had two great friends tell me some really wise and beautiful things earlier today, and it was really hard to hear considering the place I was in. But, I am so grateful for them. And for my rescuing angel. The situations still is pretty sucky, and I haven’t gotten it all figured out, but: Everything is gonna be alright. I leave you with this:

“When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back, relax, and let the whole world wonder how the hell you did it.” -Who knows

Three Little Birds -Bob Marley
‘”Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!…”‘

Wishing you a peaceful, safe, and beautiful day,

Joy

Today is Self Injury Awareness Day. Therefore, I’m using today as an impetus to share with you my own experience with self-injury (aka self-harm=s/h). Please do not read this if it will trigger you. Also, I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not condone self-harm as a coping skill, however do not judge myself or others for resorting to it when we feel as though nothing else will assuage our pain (or whatever other things trigger an urge to self-harm).

My first incident of s/h was when I was 7. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. All I recall is that I explained (and lied) to my step-mother and told her I was trying to shave just like she did. Needless to say, when it did come time to shave in my early adolescence I was not permitted to do so. I have no idea why. Especially since I was apparently very convincing when I told her it wasn’t on purpose.

I then began sneaking hard liquor (and refilling what I had consumed in the most brilliant way an elementary-aged child could) from the liquor cabinet until my parents gave up drinking quite as much. Then, since their liquor required less space, they relocated it to a cabinet that was well out of my reach (then and almost now).

As I look back on these experiences I can recognize that they were ways for me to drown out something, what? At the time I had NO idea.

I achieved my first degree black belt when I was 16. I used these skills to s/h in a way that I was pretty sure no one would know about and no one would question. I continued this from middle school through college. I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain; that I couldn’t get rid of. All I knew is that my parents didn’t love me and it made me feel like my heart was slowly dying. Nothing I did won their approval. No amount of good deeds at home, the meticulous attention to my chores (which included EVERYTHING while my brother, of course, had none), my excellent grades, my involvement in the community in various ways… nothing. So my Catholic school girl self abused herself in the only way I knew how without getting caught. I had such enormous pain, and severely repressed anger, hostility, shame; I could go all day with what I had stuffed in my “little box”. I was a breakdown waiting to happen. I believed I had to be perfect in every aspect of my life, stuff all the pain away, and put on my (apparently slightly scary) fake-smile.

The year before I started medical school I had an extremely abusive relationship with my first girlfriend. I had previously been treated like gold by my boyfriend of 5 years. We had some major PTSD-related issues in our relationship now that I can look at it in hindsight, but he was the least abusive partner I’ve dated.

I slowly descended into madness during and after this relationship. I ended it, I simply couldn’t take the tumultuousness of our relationship anymore–I knew I was about to snap. And I did. But, I apparently was still able to put on a fascade that I was “just fine”. I did well in medical school while the symptoms of complex-PTSD continued to ravage my life. I was finally diagnosed with C-PTSD in medical school after a litany of misdiagnoses. I continued in the s/h behaviors I had long used, and introduced more. These new ones I was terrified by, these new ones had to be so minor that no one could see them or “everyone would know”. Que dira de la gente… what will people say? That was my only concern and the only reason why I kept my s/h superficial.

I took three weeks after the summer of my first year to seek out trauma-specific treatment. Every summer since I was a sophomore in college I had spent doing research to bolster my resume. I took a little bit of time from this for my treatment. I figured three weeks was plenty of time to figure out what the hell was really wrong and how to quickly fix it. I was adept at most everything else I did, therefore I approached intensive trauma tx with the same tenacity.

Apparently, my PTSD didn’t give a crap about my timeframe. Beginning trauma tx was like ripping off a bandaid on my fullbodied wound. My flashbacks got worse, my s/h urges became totally unmanageable. I tried using some of the skills I had learned and they were ineffective. I resorted to the only thing I knew would help alleviate some of my pain.

I used to (and still do) restrict access to certain rooms in my apartment in order to avoid s/h and to see if I could tolerate the pain until it ended. Sometimes, some days I was successful. Others I was not. Going to the ER with a self-inflicted wound got me nowhere. I did a good enough job tending to my wound that it was not necessary for the ER to intervene medically. And since I was no longer suicidal, my psychiatrist who happened to be on call that night, told me to “step up the individual tx and step up the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)”; and I was sent home. That was the first time I had actually scared myself by what I had done to my body.

After almost two years of therapy programs, I have come to realize that I no longer need to physically abuse myself. However, that did not stop my s/h. I would do it in the same place so that no one would question it should they see. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t rock my skills which I knew and practiced like it was my job. As I explained to my mother yesterday, the pain of my flashbacks or other PTSD-related pain is about a million times worse than any physical pain I’ve ever had. The other day she saw me, and I was barely able to walk because of undiagnosed rheumatological problems (I have been to the doctor several times to try to pin down why one day I can run a mile and others I have to army crawl to the bathroom).

I have used s/h when I saw no other options to reduce my pain/suicidality, or when after going through the most effective coping skills (for me), several times, I was still in intolerable pain. I am in no way glorifying my s/h behaviors, but as I said before, nor do I judge them. It was all I had at times when I was emotionally grasping at straws and knew that I didn’t want to permanently terminate my existence (even if it hurt so bad that I obsessed about it). Everyone who s/h’s does it for their own personal reason. This was mine.

I have not purposely taken any action against my body in 50 days as of today. It has not been easy or pretty as I have said several times elsewhere today. Am I proud? Yes. Has it been hell not resorting to self-abusive behaviors? Absolutely. I will gladly share some of my favorite coping skills in the next few days. But for today, I wanted to share a part of my journey to recovering from child abuse. And I also want a keychain, coin, or gold star to recognize my efforts to end my addiction to s/h. 😉 I cannot for certain say I will be able to continue to abstain from s/h as I continue in my recovery. But, I never thought I’d be able to abstain for a significant amount of time any time in the near future, and the 50 day mark is a pretty damned promising start.

Wishing you peace and safety this evening,

Joy

Never Leave Your Heart Alone

Never Leave Your Heart Alone ~Butterfly Boucher

I have much to say. But I’ll catch up with you guys tomorrow. ❤ In the meantime, please check out our fellow survivor and my fellow medical student’s blog about her mission to doctor to people and her Earthquake Relief Mission to Haiti.

Wishing you peace and safety,

Joy, et al.