Old Coping Strategies are Hard to Break

(This little girl fell down and it looks like it hurt. I bet she’s getting back up too and even with the help of a trusted adult)

I’m sorry to be so doomsday these past few posts, but I decided to be very honest about what’s going on in my life instead of being a false representation of who I am as that is not what my blog is about. This blog is about finding my authentic self while healing from CPTSD. It’s difficult subject matter even though I’m usually pretty positive and see the good and why of things.

I was thinking this morning about why would I turn to feeling like killing myself when things get very overwhelming. Well, I’ve spoken about my mom being an extremely evil person, but when I was young, my mom would say to me when I had sad feelings, ” well, you can always go kill your self if you don’t like your life”.

What a horrible thought to put in my young head and that coping skill has always been one that I thought was viable as my own mom, the woman who gave birth to me, told me that’s how you cope. No wonder I’ve gone there so many times.

Maybe some of you have had the psyche interview where they ask how many times you’ve tried to kill your self. I actually don’t even know. I know there have been a couple where I clinically died, but just attempts??

Of course that’s how I coped though. My primary attachment person said to do that. I’m really glad I pushed through this time, as giving in would be giving into her. I certainly don’t want to become anything she said I would as she made sure i was a nothing and knew it and she would be happy from wherever her soul sits now to see me end my life.

I’m also glad I pushed through as I’ve had this insight about my coping skill of committing suicide came from my mom. I never want to do anything she told me to do as my mom had nothing to do with parenting and much to do with destroying everything i could have ever liked about me or this world.

It’s ok that I fell so hard these past few days. I have 41 years of hers and other family members and negative people in my life’s programming to get over. It’s been beyond hard and lonely, but I’m learning everyday, and falling down, but showing yourself you can get back up is part of it too. It’s going to be a lifelong process that does get easier.

Today, I choose to get up. I’m not excited or even happy about it, but I’m choosing it. The pain of my current life is all still here, but I’m choosing to show up for life today. It doesn’t mean I’ll go out and be social or skip down the streets whistling a happy tune (I just had surgery afterall), but I’ll commit to being alive. I’ll commit to being who I want to be and not what my mom wanted me to be. I’ll commit to taking it in tiny steps and getting done what I can in my incapacitated state.

I wish I could be more inspiring or helpful, but perhaps today you can look at your own negative coping skills and see if you learned them from some awful person in your life and eradicate them and that negative way of coping out of your life. Just something to think about I guess.

I’m not saying feeling suicidal won’t come up again in my life, but I’m proud I didn’t try. I’m proud I attempted to reach out, and I’m definitely proud it didn’t overtake me so hard that I ended up in the psyche hospital as has happened countless times in the past.

I’ll be ok and maybe I’ll even get back to my more optimistic self!? I can only hope as I don’t aspire to bring people down. I do aspire to show people that you can live life, and a good one at that even with severe trauma. My life may not sound great at the moment, but this is a blip. If you would have known the me of even a year ago, you would be applauding me at how well I handled this. I’m going to give myself a gentle pat on the back and not be mad or overly think about my stumble.

I’m going to move forward with being real and move forward with being who I want to be. You do too.

Love

Lizzie

I’m Still Here

Perhaps if you read my last post, you are saying that’s a good thing, or if you’re one of those people I’ve had to put a lot of boundaries up, you may have some disappointment.

Despite having so much darkness overwhelm me, I took a moment to literally just breathe and continue and put my lethal concoction of pills away to be taken appropriately.

It’s not that I had any huge epiphany of why I’m staying or that anything has been fixed in my life. It was simply a comment of a loyal reader that reminded me I’m not alone in this world or how I experience pain. There’s nothing unique to my experience, the only unique part is that I choose to put it in a public format as it’s important for me to express, but I’m also beginning to understand that it’s important for others to read. I may not get many comments or likes on my blog, but my stats show lots and lots of people read it, so that has to mean something? And that simple fact gives me meaning.

I often believe I was gifted pain (and decent grammar) so I could share what it’s like to go through painful times so others will come to my blog and just say “me too” and realize none of us are so special or unique that we hurt, because we all do. Some may just feel down or others, such as I just a few hours ago have real struggle to not just take their life as I had a strong urge to do.

I will say, one comment made me realize that the most important part about my life is that I have myself. This comment made me realize I’m not ready to give up on the relationship with myself as I’m just getting to know who I really am. I’m not the person that has behaviors or traits of trauma, I’m the person beneath all that who is creative and witty and likes to be outside and works incredibly hard to be as healthy as possible so I can fulfill a list of dreams that have to do with the core of my soul, not trauma. Killing myself is about being mired in that trauma, not digging into who I really am. If I can stay focused on that woman deep inside who is innocent and pure and not hurt, life is not only ok, but has plenty of moments of beauty.

I ask all of you to dig deep inside to see who you are while taking away what people have projected onto you. What are your true dreams and desires, not what other people want for you, but what you want for you? Take lots of moments to go inside and listen to all parts of yourself and find that being that was so beautifully made before the ugliness of the world changed you. That centered place is extremely peaceful and where true strength lies as no one and nothing can penetrate or change your core, but you must find it.

I can write more about how I found mine, but it’s 3:30 in the morning, and I’m feeling tired and like this hasn’t been terribly coherent.

I just wanted you to know that I’m trying another day and with the help of another reader, I was reminded that I’m trying for me, the true me, the authentic me. You do too.

Love

Lizzie

Struggling so Much

I did an amazing job at reaching out today. I had a fever of 103.1 and the pain from surgery was more than I could take and then my coparenting relationship gets more screwed up daily and that is extremely emotionally painful for me.

As I said, I reached out. I told people I was overwhelmed and in trouble. For the first time in a really long time, I want to die. I know it’s all the pain talking and feeling like I’m going to be stuck in this high amount of physical pain forever, but it’s wearing away at me. It’s wearing away at me that I have to reach out to others, but others don’t reach out to me very often. It’s wearing away at me that when I say I’m in real trouble, people shrug me off because I show such “strength”.

Everyone hits their breaking point, and I’m hitting mine. If you’ve ever been in excruciating physical pain combined with excruciating emotional pain, which is a combination of being alone during the holidays, not being able to talk to my child without it being monitored, and toss in some financial stress and a general forgetfulness of your coping skills, it’s a recipe for disaster.

I recognize my friends were all busy tonight, and I’m proud of myself for trying multiple people with multiple responses of being busy. I get so tired of people posting on Facebook that they are people you can call because they are always listening if you have serious thoughts of being suicidal. Funny thing is, they are too busy to listen! I know I’m strong, but I’m also in trouble right now.

I learned so much about the beauty of connecting with others while I was in the hospital, but now I feel like all I’m learning about is the true reality and that is that people really want to disappoint you as they can’t handle your pain. I’ve “talked many people off the ledge” so to speak, but today people said they could get to me tomorrow. It hurts.

As I sit here and stare at my lethal amount of pills in my possession, I’m angry that my despair and hopelessness gets put off until tomorrow. Yeah I’m strong, but yeah I’m in trouble too.

I want to mention I have one friend who lives in close proximity to me who would probably listen, but it was my friends that have experienced true suicidal feelings that I wanted to talk too. I’m grateful for that one friend, but today I’m feeling like I’m only important when others need me, but when my own life is at stake, they’ll get to it when they get to it. I didn’t want to overwhelm my friend who is close by.

Instead of taking all those pills, I decided I’d write about the very real feelings of suicide as I know I’m not alone in this feeling and definitely not the only person who has experienced it. I hate feeling like the world would be better off without me, and I especially hate that I think my son would be better off without me, because as I said, I’m in a super screwed up coparenting relationship and perhaps my son wouldn’t be confused anymore if I were just gone.

I’m not going to kill myself tonight, I just really feel strongly that the world is done with me, and I with it. Again, I know it’s the intense pain talking and the feeling that no one had time to care about me today and it was probably the worst day of my whole year. I always make time for people in distress, im so freaking angry that all I get are texts that I’m strong.

So don’t be scared loyal readers and followers, I’ll live to see another day, but maybe some of you, even if you don’t know me could send me some encouraging words. I know I’ve been through a lot and I’m going through a lot, but even the self assured need assurance sometimes, and I especially need it tonight.

I’m clinging to a pink teddy bear for life as someone who I know cares from a distance sent it recently. I’m trying to feel the love with which she sent it to come into me to fill that dark hole that wants to die.

And to my normal support system, could you amp up the support, just for a little while as I try to heal from surgery and move into my new house and especially as I’m helpless in everything I can’t do? I’m sorry to be burdensome, but I need a lot of help right now as I can’t drive and can barely move. Even if you know me a little, can you send me a message as to why I should keep going?

If this blog means anything to you, please tell me soon. I can’t do it alone. None of us can, and I’m not sure I’m holding on for too much longer at this rate.

I don’t ask for much, but I deeply need support. Remember, your comments can always be anonymous.

I’m trying to hang on but if the world doesn’t need me, I’m certainly feeling like I don’t need me. I’m hoping the morning will bring new perspective and maybe I’ll wake up to some encouragement.

Sorry this post has been so depressing, but believe it or not, everyday of my life comes nothing close to perfect and today I just couldn’t see any good. I at least hope that others who have struggled like I am right now try to reach out and do something different as I am now by being very real that this is hard.

Love

Lizzie

Being Strong also Means Being Sad

Tonight I’m sad. I mean really sad. Not in a depressed way kind of sad, just grieving a lot tonight, and I will give you a partial list of why.

I’m sad, because I know I’m strong and people look to me for strength, but it often doesn’t leave time for my hurts to be expressed. I am realizing that my being strong also means I need to be real and the realest I can express right now is that I’m sad.

I’m sad because I have had the privilege to meet some of the most incredible people in this world, yet the truly incredible ones have been the most damaged by others or continue to be hurt or they allow their trauma to continue to ruin their lives.

I’m sad as just as I was beginning to love and appreciate myself and get out of a lifetime of feeling suicidal and make a list of aspirations and goals for myself, I fell so physically ill that I’m afraid none of it will ever happen.

I’m sad that even though I powered through my holiday all alone and made the best of it, it was lonely and brought up painful memories of the past.

I’m sad that I haven’t seen or talked to my son in a few days, and I don’t know when it will happen as I’m so sick and the situation is just screwed up.

I’m sad because I try to make everything positive, and I generally and genuinely feel positive about life even with all my setbacks, but sometimes I want to be super negative and angry, and I have no safe space to do it.

I’m sad that the last therapist I had hurt me so badly and ruined my trust of the profession that I’m feeling like I’m overwhelming my friends with my problems.

I’m sad because I keep so much to myself.

I’m sad because I splurged and bought a print of my favorite piece of art for my new house, and I just went to the kitchen where my dog was happily tearing it to shreds.

I’m sad that people who used to be my chosen family will never come through for me, but I still wish they would even though I know I can’t have them in my life. I’m just generally sad that the people I thought should love me, don’t.

I’m sad because every time I go to a doctor or hospital and they ask for my emergency contact, I have no one as I don’t have that kind of relationship with anyone in my life.

I’m sad because anytime something goes wrong in my life I feel like that little girl of my upbringing who tried so hard to smile and be happy and be smart, yet she was always made to feel like she was bad and could never do anything right.

I’m sad because people disappoint me and don’t appear to care no matter how much I ask for conversation or why. I’m sad too because I still choose people who will just disappoint me, so I know I’m setting myself up, and I can’t figure out why.

I’m sad because I feel like I don’t deserve to be sad or grieve or be anything but happy and grateful as that’s what was drilled into my head as a girl even as I was being horrifically abused.

I think the part that makes me the most sad is that as I sit here and cry alone and make my short list of why I’m sad, I know there are thousands of others sitting alone feeling immeasurable sadness alone as people don’t truly connect and want to hear others sad. We all say we do, but we really don’t. I’m lucky that I have a couple people I could call, but my life used to be one of dealing with this in solitude and I’m sad that that is the case for most people whether you had a lifetime of trauma or just a bad day.

So for all my sad friends, especially those of us in the US that are coming to the end of a holiday week and people may be more sad than usual, I again implore you to comment or email. Tell this community or me personally why you are sad. I will say I already feel a whole lot better putting it into words and into this public forum.

In sadness and love,

Lizzie

Thoughts on being Alone on a Holiday

(These are my boys, Napoleon and Sappy. The best holiday companions ever)

I spent thanksgiving alone, all alone except for my two loving dogs. I was just too sick with the pain of surgery and a flare from one of my autoimmune diseases.

At first I was horribly sad and angry as I pictured people I knew being together, laughing, enjoying good food, and each other’s company. What I really realized was making me angry is that sickness, whether it has been my CPTSD or my physical illnesses has stolen so many holidays away from being with my son. My son is 11 now and I love spending time with him as he’s just a very unique, bright, and outside of the box kind of kid. He’s a lot like me.

The anger about that came knowing he’s with his other parents, which normally doesn’t bother me, but my son is terrified of his step mom, which he doesn’t express to any but a couple people. You see, she was substantiated on charges of abusing my son this year, but as politics go and they’re upper middle class white people, it got swept under the rug as several investigations have before this one. Every time I try to fight for my son to be truly safe, I get sick. I get so mad at my body because it’s not fair my son lives that way. There’s not much I can do in my weakened state. Honestly, it’s an extremely screwed up situation I won’t go into more as this wasn’t what I was going to write about, but it weighs heavy on my heart and does everyday I don’t see my son.

Anyway, back to being alone on thanksgiving. The thing I realized is that I had no expectations. I was just going to be lying alone in my bed, so nothing.

The thing that disappoints so many of us about holidays is we have this expectation that it will be one of the happiest days of the year, when it’s usually not. I don’t know about you, but I’ve set holiday expectations high to where I think they’ll be magical. I’ve never had a magical holiday and I usually just want them to be over so I can climb in my bed and cover my head! Perhaps that’s why thanksgiving was so great, I stayed in bed with my head covered the whole day!

It was just a good lesson in expectations. Holidays at my house in my youth usually started out ok until the liquor came out. My mom would drink too much and then my parents would get in a nasty fight where my dad probably went out and sought solace with one of his mistresses while I was left with a violently angry mom. No wonder I used to hate holidays so much. Didn’t mean to write about that either.

Anyway, the next holiday for me is Christmas. I’m doubtful I’ll have my son, so I’m not setting any expectations except I like to decorate my house. My expectation will simply be to make my home pretty and really appreciate it on the day whether I’m surrounded by people I choose or absolutely alone. I’m realizing that no matter what, it will all be ok. Nothing has to be magical. Holidays aren’t magical, it’s those tiny moments that sneak up on you, like my friend helping me so much today. That was magical.

Sorry for the disjointed post. Hopefully you still took something from it, and I especially hope you aren’t feeling too disappointed about your holiday.

Love

Lizzie

It’s Thanksgiving Isn’t It?

(Just a silly picture for a heavy day for many)

It was interesting that when I opened my news this morning on my iPhone, one of the first articles was something about “how to avoid invasive questions from your family”. Another article said something about “how to survive thanksgiving”.

It made me realize that not just traumatized people have a difficult time with this day, but obviously enough that dealing with it were some of the top stories of the day. There were several other articles that had to do with getting through painful emotions that holidays bring up.

I had originally planned to have thanksgiving with a couple friends that were coming from out of town. I was going to make them a fabulous meal in exchange for them packing my house up as I’m moving in just 10 days. My home health nurse was afraid my body was going into sepsis and was encouraging me to go to the emergency room for the second day in a row. I once again said no as with all I’ve been through medically, I just needed the comfort of my bed. So my thanksgiving guests decided not to come.

So here it is thanksgiving. I’m alone in my bed in tremendous physical pain, but I’m grateful I didn’t have to read those articles to be around a bunch of people I don’t care for (in my case my biological family and the chosen family I recently cut out of my life). Those events are so phony. You can tell so much of it is obligatory and at least all the thanksgiving celebrations I have attended were not joyous, but depressing, and I would go home feeling even more awful and unwanted even though I was supposedly around people who cared about me the most. If you are at one of those “celebrations”, I’m sorry. Send me an email to vent. I can take it, and I’ll send you one back so you know someone understands, and you are loved.

So I’m actually grateful that I’m not recovering well from my surgery. As people are so busy, I’m being left alone to sit by myself and contemplate the good in my life.

When I first had to cancel all my plans yesterday, I was NOT grateful, in fact, I was mad and felt super sorry for myself and for the first time in months, suicide crossed my mind. I knew I wouldn’t do it, it was simply fleeting and an old habit from when I’m so overwhelmed and can’t figure any way out.

But today, after lots of much needed sleep, I’m calmer and ready to support anyone and everyone that this is a hard day for. Perhaps you had to spend time with abusive family members or super toxic people because it’s the holiday and that’s what you do? I hope you didn’t have to, but I know plenty did.

Perhaps next year, you will think of a better way to spend your holiday that honors what you want to do and who you authentically are. I hope that for you.

All I know is that right now I’m grateful to be so sick and have received one amazing phone call from someone I consider one of the truest friends I have. She made me feel so much better. And who knows? If I feel better tomorrow, I can make my amazing meal I planned and eat it with my truest of true friends and a group of people she considers to be friends without families.

Thanksgiving a day late without pressure to be fake sounds pretty darn peaceful to me.

I won’t use a traditional holiday greeting here, but I will say, find some peace in this day or even the smallest of contentment. I’m totally and completely serious about sending me an email. You don’t even have to use “nice” words or punctuation. I will love to hear from you and respond.

Love

Lizzie

PS If you had an amazing holiday, I am so happy for you. I know it happens, just hasn’t in my life and so many that read this blog. Perhaps you could comment on what made it good?? It would be super helpful!!

Don’t Take Crumbs When You can have the Whole Cake

Friendships, relationships, people in general are very confusing to me. I’m not exactly sure how you manage any of this. What I am learning is that I won’t be treated as less than anything I deserve, but should I be? Or what does this mean?

I have figured out that we get different needs met through different people and different types of relationships, so a variety is necessary. I have also found a very small circle who I share the intimate details of my life, and they are incredibly supportive. We may not always agree, but they show up and make me critically think about my actions, which I think makes me a better person.

One place I won’t sacrifice is in an intimate relationship. I have been dating this guy, and I will say, he is probably one of the kindest people I know, but he gives me crumbs. He doesn’t take much initiative to see me. He has flaked on some really important things and most recently with all the surgery and serious health issues I’ve had, he just hadn’t been there. I’m also getting ready to move in less than two weeks, and he hasn’t offered much in terms of help that would be useful, even though I’ve tried to be specific in my needs.

I think I’ve hung onto him because he’s nice, but he doesn’t necessarily make me feel special. I was writing him these very long messages about what our relationship means to me and plans for the future for when I’m healed up, and all I would get back was an emoji most times. I feel like my writing something special deserves more than an emoji. So once again, crumbs.

I realize I’m a hard person to be in a relationship with considering all my health problems, and I was beginning to give him an out as I’m just not good enough. Then I decided, NO!!! He knew getting into a relationship with me that this was part of my life. I am a joyous person most of the time with excitement for life, big plans for my future, and I deserve someone who is equally passionate about living and living well. I also deserve to have someone to have fun with as well as someone to support me through more difficult times. With all the pain and frustration that come with healing from major surgery, he’s never felt like someone I could call for support. Just more crumbs.

Maybe I don’t need a cake to be perfect and whole for it to make a relationship work, but I at least need it to sustain me. A few crumbs won’t do much to keep me going and be sustainable. I’m also noticing that throwing me a crumb of kindness every couple weeks is much less than I deserve.

I keep going back to a quote someone gave me several months ago by Buddha when I was weeding people out of my life, “It’s better to walk alone than amongst fools”. I’m not saying any of the people I’ve weeded out of my life were fools, but it was foolish for me to stay in any type of relationship with them.

I crave connection, and I have it. I just need to remember to turn to those that have connection with me too. Thank you to those people. There are so many moments when just thinking about you and knowing you exist are what keeps me alive.

Don’t settle for crumbs. In the end, it ends up being extremely painful.

Love

Lizzie