Tag Archive: support


What up peeps? It’s been a while. Tons has gone on my end, as I’m sure on yours. I stopped in today to take a peek at some of my favorite blogs, but also to comment on something I have been thinking of for the past few weeks: Physical illness and PTSD symptoms.

My body is currently boycotting health. I have been sick for three weeks. To be honest, I would not be exaggerating at all to say that I feel like my teensy lil body’s been hit by a mack truck. I have often in the past few weeks reflected on the plight of my future patients who are chronically ill. Clearly, I am in several ways chronically ill, however this is a new experience. I have had back problems, surgeries, pain, etc. since I was 2. I had a super-shitty immune system. I get sick when someone who’s ten miles away sneezes. My nebulizer is my best friend (sorry to my human best friends… but open my airways and we’ll talk). 😉

Obviously, my PTSD is also something that is a chronic issue for me. But, I seem to be hacking it (oy! no pun intended) pretty well with that and with the damned my-body-thinks-it’s-88-not-28 pain. I have not been using narcotic painkillers to drown out the pain. I have not been dissociating (with any real frequency ;})… I have been FEELING it.

Ew!

As I said last time, I am not a fan of feelings. I still thoroughly stand by that. At the time I was talking about emotional pain for the most part, not visceral. But, I can say, this is not my cup of tea either. I used to crave pain of any sort because at least I knew I was in fact alive (that is NOT why I self-harmed, I think my self-harm was mostly motivated by my desire to drown out my emotional pain with physical). But, right now I’d really like to just LIVE.

I have been holed up in my house for a few weeks, and at some point gave up on the pretty much bedrest crap that was going on because I wasn’t getting any better two rounds of prednisone, antibiotics, and a partridge in a pear tree later. So, I decided, screw that—I’m not going to overdo it per say, but I’m not going to lie in bed. Bed sores are not something else I want to add to my shit list. I’ve had friends visit (which has been freaking AWESOME! Yay & thanks!), gone out a bit to do things I really want to, and I’ve enjoyed myself. But, I’ve noticed something the past few weeks, particularly as my physical symptoms have exacerbated…. so have my PTSD (and its friends) symptoms.

I have found over the past decade or two, that when I’m physically ill, my mental health takes a major nose dive. The only thing I can relate this to is the fact that when I’m physically ill, it doesn’t matter if I ignore that I feel alone, or am alone, or have to talk myself out of the fact that I’m not a little, helpless girl that no one is going to take care of (again)~I feel alone. And therefore I have to consciously or unconsciously remind myself that I’m an adult and I will take care of me with appropriate help.

Being sick leaves me feeling very very small and very much alone. I become a lot more symptomatic, feel a lot more anxiety, feel desperate, and am a lot more attention seeking. I often wonder if other people with PTSD or other mental health issues feel like those things turn up a notch when they are not feeling physically well?

Since I’m both feeling physically unwell & experiencing a lil mental health kick in the ass, I, though not depressed (there really is always another side to the rainbow), I feel really professionally unmotivated. I can read my Pathology book for fun at 7am, but not reach over for the material I’m actually supposed to be reviewing. This has been REALLY frustrating to me since things have really started to look up with my academics the past few months. I was sick (and around the time of my second to last final was flashbacking EVERYWHERE in a way I hadn’t since I was raped last summer) and still trying to keep other aspects of my life in balance, but my grades were stellar. I wanted to keep that motivation going at full speed. But, I think I misplaced it somewhere. I’ve searched high and low, and I cannot find it. I have an ugly feeling this is a fake it til you make it moment–and I hate those.

I have a lot more to say, but I will save it for later (hopefully not like 2-3 months later)… I really want to talk about hoarding, cleansing (of excess tangible baggage from hoarding), flashback reapperance, rape recovery, and keeping it chill during potentially triggering patient care. I look forward to being back soon and I hope you have all been well! Wishing you peace, safety, and some sunshine especially for those cloudier of days.

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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

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

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.

Don’t Want Your Hand This Time

“…I’ll save myself…”

If there is one thing I should have listened to that my father said when I was younger, it would have been, “You can’t trust anyone but yourself.” If my entire life hasn’t taught me that by now, I don’t know what will. Perhaps the last year has finally drilled that concept into my head?

People are supposed to earn trust. I’m supposed to discern whether or not people deserve to be trusted based on their actions over time. But, over time? How much time? Six months, six years? What about the people who were your family of choice? What about when they can no longer be trusted after 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? Nothing in this world is constant. The only things in the world that are constant are human suffering, and the insidious nature of human beings. That’s something you really wanna curl up with at night, isn’t it?

The people you think you know the best are in actuality a mirage. All of my human relationships are a charade. The friends you think will likely be your bridesmaids disappear. The person you thought you would marry is a monster you never saw in her worst moments of the 5 years you were together.

**Trigger Warning**

Classmates involve themselves in what happened as the school year started. And when I say, involved, I mean INVOLVED. What future physician goes before an administrative disciplinary hearing for someone who allegedly violated another classmate, and testifies against her? Particularly, who does that when they have spent less than an hour in the last six months with me? To vilify his behavior. Is that because it is too atrocious to believe the allegations are true? Would you like to see the description in my rape kit? How about the photographic evidence of the assault? My torn clothes?

I don’t need anything from any of you. Classmates, family, so-called friends. You will all rip the ground out from underneath me when I least expect it. I am no saint. I’m melodramatic, sometimes emotionally disregulated, always late, sometimes a lot of things. But, there are a few things that are consistently me, no matter how sick or well I am: I am loyal, I am loving, understanding, and supportive. I can be at my worst, and have been at my worst and have been able to shelf my insanity to be there for people I love, and for people I don’t particularly like, but who deserve love–just like everyone else. It’s not a question as to whether or not it is too much to ask that people are remotely considerate, loyal, loving, consistent, etc. There is no question. The people I’ve met in this world have repeatedly shown me over and over that no matter how sick or well I am, no matter how bad or well-behaved I am, no matter how malicious or kind I am–you will screw me, it’s just a matter of when.

I actually prefer the hurt from people like my classmate than from people I loved and trusted, whom I thought had earned it. At least then, I had no expectations of someone I just met to behave like half a human being. It is only a matter of time before the friends I’ve made who by anyone else’s standards have proven themselves beyond measure that they are true… will disappear, or stab me in the back. At least look me in the eye and stab me in the front.

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)

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 😉

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