Tag Archive: safety


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

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Gratitude Attitude

I’ve had a piss poor attitude lately. And it’s still lingering and may strike again… but at the same time, through all the murky, painful things I feel–I can feel and recognize the many blessings I have in my life. If I listed all the blessings and things I’m grateful for, perhaps I’d climb out of the smog…. but I’d also be here developing carpal tunnel syndrome (which I must say I know entirely too much about, thank you professor…) and I’d never accomplish any of the adult responsibilities I have to take care of and never get to school, nevermind think of opening a book. (Hmm… but living in peace and gratitude sound mighty appealing at the moment)

First of all:

I am grateful that I can open a book. Yes, I’m grateful I have all my fingers and they work properly, but I mean I can open and I can read. Not only am I literate–but I am slowly but surely better able to concentrate on my textbooks and course material a little more with every passing day. Reading a post-it was hard not all that long ago, and I am grateful to be attached enough to what I’m doing that I can read and slowly take things in.

I am also grateful for the slow lift of my depression. I’m still depressed. I studied and sulked today. But I don’t hurt so badly that I’m on the brink of harming myself. In fact, I haven’t even thought of it today. Nor has it come up frequently in weeks. I’ve had a lot of crap go on, but I’ve been given strength, willpower, and courage to get through it. Even when I feel like a mouse, I am actually making a lion’s roar by standing up for myself, not quitting (holding him accountable, school, or life), and not falling back into the pit.

I am also grateful for the friends I’ve had for years, and the new ones I’ve made since school started. A few of them, I truly believe are true. Or… they likely wouldn’t tolerate me. 😉 You know who your friends are when it’s 4am and they’re dealing with you being a hot mess after you went to socialize with your classmates at a post-exam party and *he* was there and you drank your feelings away. (<—admittedly, one of my less bright decisions, however, they were there–and they stayed)

I am grateful for learning how to sip thanks to a friend from school. I’m still working on this process, but evidently I chug everything from water, to milk, to juice, to beer. I can now sip a martini. I’ve never been one of those people who gets wasted at clubs, etc. but I have definitely been engaging in binge drinking at several social events where my classmates were partying.

I know that drinking til I only feel sparkly silly happiness is not a healthy way to cope with school, the assault, seeing him everyday. And for that wisdom, I am grateful.

I am grateful that I have enough money to pay the rent in the coming week. I know so many people are struggling with their housing–and if I could, I would be running a free hotel at the castle (what my friends call my apt. lol) for anyone I knew who was safe and in need of a warm place to stay. It hurts me that my aunt and my mom are struggling to make their mortgages, but I am also grateful that even if it’s tough and a scramble, they can make it. I learned everything I know about getting by with whatever you’ve got, and being a tough cookie from them.

Baby… it’s cold outside. And I am grateful that I have great roommates, a lovely place, and more importantly than it being pretty… I have a place to rest my head every night. That hasn’t always been the case during my recovery. But, my pillow is in a bed, in my room… and I am ever so grateful for that.

The beginning of the aftermath

**TRIGGER WARNING: This post is about a recent assault. It may trigger you and I hope you will engage in enough self-care to discern whether or not reading about this may cause you difficulties.**

I really wanted to write a post about Rape Trauma Syndrome. And earlier today and yesterday I had the emotional fortitude to do it, but at this moment, I don’t. So at a later point in time, hopefully I will be able to write about that.

I will admit, I’m in disbelief of what happened. I won’t go into any details because I would like to keep this as non-triggering as possible for anyone who decides to read this. But, I’m having a really hard time today. I got out of the house and went swimming, then went for ice cream w a friend and hung out at my house for a bit. The guy I like is coming home from vacation a little early just to hold me. Or so he says, but … I’m sorry, I expect nothing from anyone and don’t believe what people say, I believe what people do. (Note: He and my closest friends have been amazingly supportive… I’m just in a total funk right now) And now I’m alone again. I feel so unsafe when I’m alone.

I have so many supports; friends, family, professional, here. I think I’m doing as well as one can. I’m engaging in a lot of self-care, feeling my feelings, doing reality checks and thought stopping when necessary, keeping my routine and living my life, and reaching out… and I’m still here sobbing right now. And earlier today I felt so unsafe. I even felt unsafe for almost the entire time I was at the pool. I felt scared of everyone, even the (usually to me, adorable) little kids bumping into me.

I have so much to do. I have to prep for classes on Monday. I have to handle housing and tomorrow go sign a lease. I have to pack. I’m a former horder (I believe because many things were taken from me, tangible and intangible), most recently just totally overwhelmed by the amount of crap no matter how much I throw out, sell, and donate, donate, donate. I presently feel like purging my house of everything other than my furniture and clothing. I want to get rid of a lot of my clothing too, which is totally unusual for me. I know I need to get rid of things so I can move and be in a mindful, serene place emotionally, I just can’t believe that I was assaulted and now I want to throw out EVERYTHING.

I’m really trying to use distraction. I feel a lot of fear. I can’t isolate about specifics, but I am especially afraid when I’m alone. And the fear hurts my chest. Just like it has in the past… And now I’m listening to music and in a few I’ll get back to tossing things in the trash and setting aside worthy things to donate. I want it all gone. I want to start my return to school with strength and determination. But mostly, I just want a SAFE hug.

Wishing you serenity and that incredible feeling, safety,

Joy

I Don’t Know Where to Begin

**TRIGGER WARNING: What I say later may be difficult for you to read. If you are not in a safe place, or may be triggered by something that I’m going to describe–PLEASE take good care of yourself and DO NOT read this.**

First of all, I suppose you can gather that I still am, in fact, alive. Things have been INSANE lately, and not in a clinical sense. I have returned to medical school, am in the process of relocating, and a bazillion other things. I am ardently looking forward to settling into my new home, and in with classes, so that I can get my routine going again. I have been able to talk to my friends and see them, but not as much as I would like and is typical of us. I have a lot LOT lot of things I’d like to write about, and I’ll get to them eventually. But, I have something I would like to share.

********************This is where the possible TRIGGER begins********************

Over the past day I have learned to say the four-letter word of what happened to me a few days ago. On the third day after my return to medical school, I was raped by a fellow classmate. I have been taking extremely good care of myself and honestly, cannot believe how well I am handling what happened. I got the appropriate medical care and counseling/advocacy that I need to start the healing process the day after. I will be ok. I took a day off from school (orientation) and missed my White Coat Ceremony because I told one of the Deans in Student Affairs that I was purposely being vague; and that something bad happened the night before, and that I need to get appropriate medical care and counseling so that I am ok to start classes on Monday.

I have been doing what I think is best for me to heal. I have read information, spoken to my friends and other supports, and continued LIVING. I will not isolate and/or spontaneously combust because something bad that was not my fault and absolutely out of my control happened. I have been processing my feelings, and letting them happen so that hopefully I will have less repercussions later. I expect this will slightly disrupt my life, but I refuse to let it derail me. I have survived too much and worked way too hard academically and even more so, therapeutically to get through and reclaim my life. I won’t let someone else’s actions get in the way of that. This is what I have control over.

I have genuinely missed my online community between here and twitter. I hope you are all doing well, and I have thought about you very much despite the fact that I’ve been MIA. Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity. Namaste.

~Joy

*May trigger: Inpatient discussion, as well as mention of suicidality.*

I view inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations as mental health vacations (on the best of days) and holding cells for safety (when I’m not in such a pleasant mood). For some people, going “inpatient” is a whole different experience and is really therapeutic. But, with me, they never really know what to do with a suicidal trauma patient, so on gen. psych., they tend not to bother. I actually, at this point, prefer it that way.

“Don’t want your hand this time. I’ll save myself.” ~Evanescence

I’m not viewing an inpatient hospitalization as a poor experience for me. I go when I need to maintain safety and can’t do it with my skills and outside supports. I’d rather do that than be dead (as much pain as I’m in at that time & as much as I see that as the ONLY option, logically, somewhere–I know it’s not). By doing so, I have committed to safety, removed myself from my triggering environment, and have given myself a few days to figure out why I was downward spiraling. I do know why now, and it has mostly to do with fear of failure (aka going back to school, maintaining a real life, etc.) and interpersonal hurts. I had been downward spiraling for about 8 weeks and in a pit for about 3 weeks. At some point in time, I was going to have to do what was in my best interest, and continue with self-care. Now the fears to me felt like absolute terror, suffocation, and the hurts felt like the size of Texas because G-d forbid I have a feeling that isn’t at least as big as the county (this after reality checks, radical acceptance, mindfulness, and everything else up the wazoo). My flashbacks had increased, and they hurt like hell. I wasn’t able to contain them as well as usual, my skills were not working as well as they had been. I know why now, but at the time I couldn’t figure out why I was in some aspects doing very well, and in others falling apart (several times a day). My symptoms were huge, my flashbacks were huge, my urges were huge, and my progress was huge. It was oxymoronic to me.

Regardless, I am glad to have gotten a better grip on things. Self-care means more to me than do the old patterns of self-harm that are dying a slow painful death.

I’d like to thank the people closest to me for supporting me through another bump in the road. I’d especially like to thank my Mom, for stepping up to the plate now that I’m an adult (hey–better late than never!!!) and need her even more than when I was a kid now that I’m healing. And I’d like to say an exceptionally huge thank you to my best friend, Hope, for driving a 100 miles just to spend a little bit of time with me, and being my unbiological sister.

I hope you are all doing well and look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed while I was inpatient (and um, the week after I got out lol).

Peace and serenity to you,

Joy (and another who really wanted to put her 2 10 cents in lol)

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

**Although I’m pretty sure this is a pretty non-triggering post, it does mention trauma, parts, flashbacks and eating issues. So if you are particularly sensitive at this time, please do not read this until you are safe and supported enough to. Ty.**

Upon returning from my Mom’s a few weeks ago (no NEW triggers there, same old, dealt w them well, etc.)… I seem to have fallen off my recovery path a bit, or maybe found a new direction. I’m not sure. All I know is that since I’ve come home, I’ve gone to my psychiatric rehabilitation program increasingly as the two weeks have gone by, gone to every DBT session, and stayed s/h free. It has not been easy. Outside of PTSD stuff, there’s been a LOT going on for me in my personal life, be they interpersonal problems, financial difficulties, pending homelessness, and eating issues.

I have made a lot of mistakes the past few weeks, but nothing too detrimental. I may have said the wrong thing, even though I meant it to be so gentle, yet not so subtle that someone didn’t get the boundaries I asserted, I may have shared too much or too little at times… but, I am doing my best. I have also embarked on a little bit of late teenager silliness… and then the following does not include any mistakes I’ve made: but I’ve let my parts play. It’s been phenomenal for all of us, including me, as the host. However, what I’ve come to know for myself is, as I’ve learned how to better communicate w my internal system, and become more stable… now the traumatized parts are coming out more. And if I’m not going to care for them, they’ll be in the same boat they were when they fragmented off. So, I choose to be a good parts mom & nurture, love them, and keep them safe. I don’t have a DID nor a trauma therapist. I am essentially winging it, and doing what I know works in other situations, other safe skills, and I am riding the wave and seeing it through to the end of the pain. I am also consulting w two trauma tx’ists soon bc this is becoming much too much for me to manage on my own. I know when to reach out for help. And I’m pleased that my clinician at my program, though she is a very emotionally boundaried person, and truly barely knows me–knows that I REACH out (even from the pits in the past) when I need more help than what I can currently do by myself and with my current supports.

I also called Renfrew yesterday bc the not-eating thing was not something I was managing well. I have no idea why this is going on. I am a little chubby, but I am a curvy, cute lil thing according to most–so I am a teensy weensy bit insecure. And some of my more protective parts have eating issues (namely 15, she was ballsy and would eat in the middle of the night, not caring if she got caught bc we needed nourishment), but nothing like this. And it’s not just lack of appetite. I refuse to eat. I will eat socially. And not in a disordered manner w lots of rules, but I can only will myself to eat socially. I am a very strong-willed individual. I figured going to the supermarket and getting Carnation Instant Breakfasts, baby food in flavors I’d consider, and other similar things I could will myself to consume those. But, I couldn’t. All week. So I called Renfrew. But, I have decided, I don’t want to go back to the hospital. I WILL manage this on my own. And if it does become so incredibly unmanageable, I will go. But–I am willing to work my tush off so I don’t have to go back inpatient for any reason right now. I am safe, I am not suicidal, I am dealing w my symptoms as best as I can. And that’s THAT.

So that’s where I’ve been hiding these last two weeks. I even let my fb games peter off. I have been working on me. And experiencing the absolute joy and serenity, when I’ve gotten through the pain. It’s so oxymoronic. It has been such an ugly and yet beautiful, self-actualization, phenomenal time for me. And if you have any suggestions on the nurturing and keeping the traumatized, little (and sometimes a little older) ones safe and protected, please by ALL means share. I would be forever indebted to you bc I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope you are all doing well. ❤

Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity,

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

Plate SMASHING

Hi everyone! I hope you are doing well. When I last wrote, I had been out of the hospital for a few weeks and had been doing extremely well. I am happy to say I am still doing just as well! I will update you on how I’ve made my life a little bit better place for me to live these past few months later on today.

However, I want to comment on a great idea that a twitter friend had mentioned yesterday; PLATE SMASHING. She shared an article by a fellow survivor about how therapeutic this had/has been in her recovery.

I had watched “Starting Over”, a tv show that follows the journey of women struggling with their lives for a plethora of reasons; and who want to (and do) make changes with the assistance of life coaches and other professionals. Mind you I had been watching this show before I even had gotten my first accurate diagnosis. I could NOT for the life of me figure out what was “wrong” with me, why I was in so much pain every single day, why I felt I was going to spill all over the place at any given moment. I kept the “everything is fine, I swear!!” mask on through about two years ago. It was actually a scary, fake-smile fascade. My friend, Joe, recently told me that he knew I was incredibly depressed by the time we hit 11 years old. I asked him how he knew, and he replied that even as young as we were then, he could clearly see I was trying too hard to keep it together. Back to my experiences watching “Starting Over”. I would watch this show hoping with all of my being that somehow they (who they is, I still couldn’t tell you, producers, maybe?) would subliminally know something was dreadfully wrong, and knock on the door of my single room in my dorm. I wanted to start over as each of these other women had. I wanted to find out why I hurt so incredibly badly, why my life on paper (resume) was so “perfect” and yet I was about to totally snap.

On one of the “Starting Over” episodes one of the women is given the task of writing down all the negative statements fed to her as a child. So I took my tush to the nearest place where I could get blank CDs and wrote every single negative, incongruent, falsehood I was fed about myself as a child. I still have every single one of them. I treasure this first step of me intuitively acknowledging where some of my pain was coming from. Acknowledging then led to challenging and “trashing” all these obscene and false ideas I held about myself several years later in therapy.

It was about the same time that I began to trash all the crap I was fed as a child about who I was as a person, my role in life, my potential, etc. that I began plate smashing. This idea was inspired by putting together some of the tx modules I had seen on the “Starting Over” show.

My first plate smashing session occurred with a set of plates given to me my one of my abusers, my step-mother. I felt this was the perfect place to start for obvious reasons, but gave myself permission to do so because there were so many plates, bowls, and mugs missing from the set. So I tossed these plates with all my might into an open dumpster when most of my neighbors were at work. I pre-sorted all of the plate collection so that I had an even set for four which I donated to the domestic violence center I was involved with at the time. The other plates, etc., were fair game for me getting out some of my enormous, hidden rage. It was a safe way of getting that brimming anger out on something inanimate, and not myself. I have journaled, spent hours in individual & group tx, exercised, among about 50 other things to safely get my feelings out. But nothing has ever compared to plate smashing.

Wishing you a wonderful day of feeling your feelings in a safe way,

Joy