Overwhelming Amount of Stuff, but You Just Have to Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes life gets flat out overwhelming, for anyone. With having all my chronic health issues and now dealing with parental alienation, it’s been rough.

I’m doing my best to distract myself from the pain of never talking to or seeing my son, but every now and then, well nearly daily, I get in a good gut wrenching cry. My best advice if you have been subjected to parental alienation, Is to keep a journal for your child. No finger pointing, just talking about things I’m doing, reminders of some great memories we have had, and just that I generally love and miss him.

I’m also fact gathering from people who have had this experience and how they have handled it. The best thing to do is reach out for help.

I completed a 201 page book contract. Just when I think I’m done with my edits, I get another one sent my way. I keep pressing forward with it as I did write 201 pages! Even if I don’t get offered another contract with them, it showed me that I can do the impossible when facing huge health challenges and every computer problem that could have ever gone wrong. It has been a good lesson in frustration tolerance and using my best grounding skills to get through it without losing my mind completely.

The best possible thing that has happened lately is that I joined a local wheelchair basketball league. I had no clue what wheelchair basketball really was. I guess I kind of pictured a nursing home sport. Boy was I wrong. It’s like full impact, smash into each other as hard as you can with as much force as you can. I kept playing gently. My teammates kept yelling at me to hit the opponent harder. I finally did a full crash and got a “that’s the way you do it Lizzie!”

As someone who has always had a hard time expressing anger as I’ve never been allowed, the rage and aggression you can release by crashing into people appropriately felt like a high. I told my team the second practice that I was on an aggression high after the first practice. One of the other guys said, “it’s why we play this sport. It gives us a place to get out our rage and anger out about navigating regular life”. Navigating life is hard, throw in some physical disability and the fact that anger has never been something that was safe, I’m addicted.

I sprained my finger the first practice. I broke my thumbnail and it turned purple the second practice. The above picture is from minutes after I broke my thumbnail, the ball smashed me so hard in the nose, I was seeing stars. Despite the injuries, I’m definitely going back next week.

I don’t know if anger is a problem for you, but finding a way to release it in a positive way has given me a lot of sanity these past couple weeks despite some pretty insane things happening.

I hope if anger is a problem, you can find a way to release it. I’ve tried angry writing, lots of crying, but nothing gave me that physical release of a lifetime of unfairness. Injuries and all, I’m enjoying a new way to be angry, appropriately, and with support. There’s also nothing like being part of a team. We don’t talk about being inspiring or our challenges, we just go to play to have fun. I also needed to find a way to just be fun and free spirited without thinking huge thoughts or having to find meaning in everything.

The last graphic is about parental alienation. While it’s not 100% all true of my situation, the fact is I’ve been blocked from my son, and it isn’t fair.

I stay peaceful with it knowing he’s watched me do the impossible the past few months and has seen the strength in healing from so much. I’m not just deciding he learned this, he told me over and over how proud he was of me and that I was “Wonder Woman” to him.

He has a beautiful heart. I’m reminding him of it daily as I write my journal to him reminding him of what a beautiful soul and amazing being he is. Definitely a lot of sadness as I miss him.

The best I can do is continue to live a full life as I know he would be proud of that too.

So find ways to get out your rage and frustration as life is often totally unfair and wrong. The best we can do is manage it appropriately and get it out.

Wishing you all health and healing as I continue to put one courageous step in front of another.

Love

Lizzie

Creating Safe Spaces

When I went to my first official program to work on my developmental trauma 20 years ago, we were told to create a meadow in our head that had a dome over it so all the parts of yourself could be together. By parts, I mean that some people had lost their joy or sadness all the way to a complete dissociative split or what’s now known as DID.

The program was in Florida and most of the girls were from Florida (it was a 10 woman program), but I was from out west and knew the exact meadow I was creating in my head as it’s a place I have been, not a theoretical construct.

I have gone here often over the years, but I was always with other people, so while I would want to linger in this real place that was also my safe place in my head, I had to hurry along as I couldn’t explain what this place meant. Today, I chose to go alone despite inviting many to come along.

When I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis 3 1/2 years ago, I didn’t believe I would ever hike again. I was the most sad that I would never make it to my meadow.

It’s been a rough week. I knew to lift my mindset, I had to get to my meadow. I’m about 75% wheelchair bound these days, but I have forearm crutches designed for hiking specifically for people with disabilities. Today was my day!

I hiked 4.39 miles. Arriving at my meadow, I fell to the ground sobbing as this is truly my peaceful place. It’s the most spiritual place on earth for me. It’s been number 1 on my bucket list to get here.

When your body becomes so sick and disabled, it gets hard to lose sight often that there are good times to be had. Throw in some emotional upset, and it can make life feel empty and alone.

So all the pictures are of my beautiful meadow. It’s a real place, but it also became a beautiful representation in my mind of safety and harmony from all the scattered discord that used to be inside my head.

I probably took 100 pictures and a couple videos. It is my favorite place on earth. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back, but I did make it. I’m so proud of myself.

I’m proud of myself for pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. I’m proud of pushing myself to get to be back to my peace, and I’m especially proud of myself for making through one hell of a terrible week completely whole and content.

It feels good to succeed. I hope you can push yourself a little outside your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be hiking mountains alone, but even something small. You will receive huge rewards internally of pride and contentment. I did. I love this place. I love the fearless and strong woman I’ve become despite having no reason to be so.

Love

Lizzie

Believe in Yourself and Others Will Follow in Spades

(Near Daily yoga and my sweet pup give me strength to believe in myself everyday as I manage to do the impossible with a very disabled and sick body)

I spent a near lifetime of doubting myself and accepting basically crap from people. I didn’t believe in myself or my talents whatsoever. My mom trained me well to believe I would always fail and that I was just generally a loser unfairly taking up space on this planet when decent people could be in my place.

She was my mom, so she had to be right? WRONG!! After years of never believing in myself no matter how much others believed in me or how much talent I might have shown, I always gave up. I was taught I would always fail, so I made it come true.

I talk a lot about mother abuse on this blog as it’s very taboo. So many times I’ve seen people post on Facebook that “you have to love your mother no matter what”. “Your mother gave you life, so respect her”. “People who disrespect their mothers are terrible people”.

A friend of mine who also suffered terrible mother abuse said something along the lines of, yes her mother gave her life and in that mothers are supposed to enter into a contract of being loving, nurturing, and supportive. Well, if your mom didn’t hold up her end of the contract, then why should I as being her victim instead of her baby? I always say the biggest thing she taught me was to hate myself.

A couple years ago, I decided to take my power back. I had a wonderfully supportive psychologist and finally had the maturity to realize what was wrong with my mom, not me.

In taking my power back, I realized I didn’t have to be a complacent and a quiet girl who just accepted everything, good or bad. I began to feel empowered.

I was supposed to have lymph node surgery last week. It’s extremely serious, but a doctor I have never met decided to cancel it the night before as he decided I just had an infection despite what every other doctor said.

I didn’t just accept it. I believed it was wrong. I saw my primary care today who also believes this was wrong and unjust and ridiculous as an infection is usually your lymph nodes in your neck will swell for a bit and go down after you get over the infection.

I believe in myself. I believe in my right to proper healthcare. My primary care has more access to the radiology reports than I do. She said I have lymph nodes swollen in my chest, lungs, collarbone, and back. This has been consistent for 5 months. In believing in myself and advocating for myself, she believes in me.

She submitted a stat order to UC Davis medical center, which is the best of the best for this. She understands this is extremely serious and potentially dangerous to wait. It’s about 2 1/2 hours away. I’m not totally sure how I’ll get there, but I’m going to.

She also gave me the name of a doctor that will only take the rarest of rare cases that no one can figure out. If you remember the TV show “house”, she’s kind of a real life version. So we are going to submit my lifetime of medical problems to her in hopes that she will take my case.

I just say to believe in yourself as yes, this is a story about one medical professional so committed to me that it’s inexplicable, but I love it and despite the fact I don’t have tons of hope I’ll ever get well, it definitely helps to have people walk beside you.

Besides having a medical professional walk beside me, I have a growing number of people who do. People help in ways that are beyond anything I ever thought I deserved. I realize now that I do deserve it.

If trauma has made you meek, a total rule follower, utterly compliant, feeling like you deserve less than the best, or however a number of ways trauma teaches us to continue to be abused, I challenge you to turn those thoughts around. Unfortunately the strong get help. The meek and silently abused get ignored even if they need the most help.

I have attempted to mentor, mother, nurture, and just spread love to so many trauma survivors who break my heart as they stay in abusive relationships, don’t see their worth, and have a ton of self hate. I have been there. I was that person. I understand the feeling.

Please just challenge yourself to understand you deserve the very best. I will continue to spread my message of hope and healing from CPTSD as it’s possible. Wrap your arms around yourselves and squeeze yourself into the most beautiful hug to recognize that you are still here even with the horrible things that have happened.

The past is the past. Release it and live for today. They don’t deserve to make you miserable forever. Believe in yourself. I do.

Love

Lizzie

Sometimes the Decisions that Hurt the Most Will Be the Best

I have been lying in my bed for 4 days in agony. Of course the physical pain never stops, but this time, it’s been emotional agony.

I can’t go into too many details about what it’s about until I notify all the people involved and what I refuse to accept anymore. I will say, I refuse to accept abuse no matter how painful it is to leave behind or the implications for my life.

It’s been quite the day of reaching out for support in making an impossible decision. I have received wonderful words of encouragement, but when someone called me “selfish”, I knew that some people will never understand. I’m not selfish, I’m about to engage in huge self preservation.

There is no hidden fact that physical disease is exacerbated by stress. The situation I am choosing to leave behind causes me huge stress and aggravates my physical conditions every time.

I deserve to be well, whole, peaceful, and even happy at times. I don’t deserve to not follow my dreams and goals because of an abusive situation makes me question my abilities and talents, and often even my sanity.

I’ve spent the past couple years weeding out my closet of people who treat me less than what I deserve. I stopped being sweet and nice to the wrong people (plenty of people still get that side of me!), but the most important thing I realized in the past couple years is that I have a VOICE and a powerful one. People who used me as a doormat haven’t appreciated me figuring that out much, but as people who have developmental trauma, we end up losing our voice along the way. Our needs become unimportant. We become complacent with whatever.

I have shed a lot of tears over this decision. Probably more than any decision I’ve ever made. One friend suggested I write a love letter to myself about my bravery and courage.

Perhaps the best words I got today were:

I can imagine how that decision has weighed on your heart. Go where the peace is-even if it still makes your heart ache. I am so sorry their cruelty has brought you to this place. There is no reason to mistreat someone-ever…guard your heart above all things, and to me that sounds like what you are doing.

As I said, I’ll write more about what has happened as I can. I just want to reassure you, and perhaps me, that sometimes the most painful and impossible decisions may open up doors.

And with that, I’m going to get up to do some yoga, write a love letter to myself, and get to work on the wonderful opportunities I’ve been offered that I’ve been neglecting as I’ve been too busy engaging in being entangled in an abusive mess.

Love

Lizzie

Normalizing the Bad Feelings

(This isn’t my artwork and unfortunately don’t know who to give credit to)

I hope by telling you about a conversation I had, it may normalize things for you as well.

I went to my psychiatrist today. I haven’t truly taken psych meds in about 2 years, but as someone on disability, I have to have someone vouch that I’m “crazy” when I’m up for review even with all my physical disabilities.

I told her about my recent health crises. She said something along the lines of, “you’re so inspiring to probably more people than you know. You are a voice of hope. It must be exhausting. Who takes care of you?” By taking care of me, she didn’t mean my daily needs, she was talking about who listens to my fears and worries. I had to tell her besides a woman I regularly text in Florida, no one. I have fear about talking about how hard it is. Ever since they started using the cancer word in regards to my health and reached out to a dear friend about my fears and got rejected, I don’t like to talk about it. I understand why my friend can’t deal with it. She’s had family members die of cancer and admitted she can’t watch it. Understand yes, make me feel extremely abandoned, a definite yes.

I am in horrendous physical pain constantly and you add that I can’t share my true feelings with anyone about what I go through, it’s a recipe for disaster. I’ve been wanting to get the next statement off my chest and will preface this with I have NO PLANS TO DO THIS AND WOULDN’T. I next told my psychiatrist that with all the physical pain and isolation, I think about suicide a lot. Her response was, “sounds normal”. I honestly wanted to leap from my wheelchair and hug her!

Sometimes when something is so heavy on your mind but realize it’s not something you would do, you still don’t want to bring it up as medical professionals are trained to freak out. I also love and appreciate that my psychiatrist realizes I’m absolutely not depressed. My suicidal feelings are a result of being very physically sick and chronic pain, unless you live with it, is an extremely exhausting and overwhelming process. I still enjoy my good days like no other and when I’m having a bad day, I close my eyes and think about the good moments.

So not everyone has the ability to have such an understanding psychiatrist or doctor or even friend when it comes to suicidal thoughts, so I’m normalizing it for you. If you are managing lots of illnesses that have completely changed the trajectory of what you thought your life would be like, it’s totally NORMAL to get hopeless about it from time to time. Of course, if you feel imminently suicidal, please go to an emergency room or call a suicide hotline.

I am NOT imminently suicidal or even depressed. I just have a body that continues to fail me and it was an extremely hard couple weeks with IVIG infusions and subsequent side effects and not having the medical support of my neurologist.

Regardless, I’m still mostly grateful for every moment I continue to breathe no matter how painful it is.

Love

Lizzie

Causeless Joy

Causeless joy? What could that possibly mean?

Well, it’s a concept my meditation teacher taught me a year ago. It’s the idea (at least how I understand it for me) is that material things, places, vacations, people, family, friends, geographical location don’t cause joy. Joy is something that comes from within and just is, because we exist. As a former shopping addict who only had joy when acquiring stuff, this felt foreign.

It’s a pretty radical concept for me to embrace as my body has been riddled with physical illnesses and pain. How can you have joy when you can’t even come close to living the life you want? I’m not entirely sure I can answer it, but for me sometimes just knowing I’m still taking another breath will bring joy. It also sometimes brings heartache as my body is so diseased and painful that I wish it would give out already, especially in those moments I feel so alone.

So causeless joy is something I’ve thought a lot about today as I’ve been riddled with a horrible migraine for a week from IVIG treatment without any medical support to get through it or know what to do about it as the neurologist never called back after I returned their call.

When you are in so much pain and the slightest amount of light makes you vomit, how can you find joy? Well I didn’t mostly, but I remembered that even if people aren’t checking in on me, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Just because I mostly walk through life very alone (I have incredible distance support and a couple local friends who help as they can), I have to be joyous in just knowing myself and however many more days, months, or years I walk this earth are a gift.

Reality is I’ve really wished my body would die this past week. Nothing suicidal, but when you’ve suffered as much as I have physically this past couple years, it’s a reality. It’s not about depression, it’s about how much physical suffering can the human spirit take, especially alone.

Today, I had the memory of my meditation teacher teaching me about causeless joy. I’m working on embracing it over the suffering.

How can you incorporate a bit of causeless joy in your life? What does it mean to you? Is it a possibility?

The top picture is the day I was introduced to the concept of causeless joy. I was totally sick that day, but I stopped for a moment of sunlight on my way home from my meditation teachers house. This second picture is obvious how much I am suffering physically today, but I’m still looking for causeless joy in a life that has been feeling entirely empty of anything good.

Love

Lizzie

Abandoned: Probably the Wrong Assumption

After days and days of horrible migraine, nausea, vomiting, losing my appetite, and shivering, for almost the entire IVIG week and the subsequent days after, I called the neurologist. I was promised pre infusion that if I had any complications, they would get me in immediately.

After suffering through the weekend, I called the neurologist first thing Monday morning. With my light and noise sensitivity being so bad, I probably whispered in the phone, “I’m having bad complications from the IVIG”. I got a hasty reply of “go to urgent care”. I gently reminded her I was told I would be seen immediately. I then got a hasty, “well, we have no openings”. I asked if I could at least leave my symptoms as I personally knew I’d have to go to the ER and ours is generally a 4 hour wait. There was no way I could manage that. I didn’t receive a call back.

It was strange as I’ve NEVER had a bad interaction with them. In fact, I genuinely appreciate them. Being a survivor of developmental trauma, I immediately go to the idea that I must be the one that did something bad. With my trauma healing, I recognize I’m actually not the problem in most cases. Making assumptions about why people are acting the way they are will only lead you down the dark rabbit hole of despair and isolation. Yes, I went there for a bit, but I also recognized I was sending myself there. I also realized that several days of being in a literal dark cave will send you into a rabbit hole of despair too as physical pain is intense.

After taking round the clock nausea medication and some other suggestions from IVIG knowledgeable friends, I felt slightly better today. I was even able to get my new, sparkly pink wheelchair. (Making the transition to a wheelchair is a whole different topic I’ll save for another time)

I just wanted to make the point that making assumptions about others behavior is damaging to only yourself. After my assumptions being proven wrong, time after time, I have figured out it’s pointless. If you need clarification as to why someone is behaving a certain way towards you, just ask–gently. And the neurologist called 2 days later. I missed the call as I kept my phone on silent.

Love

Lizzie