Are You Strong or Are You Surviving?

Life is hard. Life becomes harder when you have survived a traumatic event. You try and stay strong for your family, friends and the world. You forget that you are in the equation and without you, survival will never take place. Being strong for others becomes only a part of the race.

Most persons with PTSD don’t want to just survive. Being strong becomes a way of life. It has for me in many ways.

As a survivor, strength is something I heavily rely on daily. It takes mental strength for me to do something positive daily. That starts with me waking up. I have to spiritually believe God to wake me, give me wisdom for that day, strengthen me to carry out the physical part of the day and emotionally prepare me for what will happen throughout the day. This can be draining without God.

For one thing, my belief system has God at the center. Everything radiates from Him. I trust him to guide me daily in all that I do. I receive my strength from Him. My survival is based on Him.

When trauma entered my life, I was too busy making sure those around me did not suffer. The results of that lead to C-PTSD. For many years, I isolated, self-abused, victimized myself for being a victim, and made excuses for the perpetrator. I stopped relying on and trusting in God as my source of healing. PTSD took its toll on me.

I am so glad God never gave up on my ability to renew my faith in His ability to heal me. He never left me. He led me to many good sources of humanly support. From there, I learned a lot about myself and I am still learning. Yes, you are strong for surviving. Yes, you are strong and you are a survivor. What you must remember is this: you are not strong or surviving all alone. There are people who show up every day to make sure you stay strong and for me, it is God who strengthens me through Christ to survive. Philippians 4:13.

Until next time,

II Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

I Just Want It to be Right!

I have been told by many people, professionally and otherwise, I am a perfectionist. “You have a type A personality.” “You just have to be right; don’t you?” “Why are you in competition with yourself?” There are many more things that have been said. You already know them, because you’ve told them, or had them said to or about you.

I am learning to take it easy on myself. It’s hard, but I’m working just as hard to overcome perfectionism. I was taught this as a young girl. My mother did not tolerate failure or any sign of weakness. I learned early never to cry. Even when I got physically disciplined, I never shed a tear. I took my punishment seriously. I would always go to my room and sit and try to figure out how to improve myself and never to make that mistake again. To this day, constructive criticism doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the fact that I did something wrong in the first place and now I have to be told to correct it. It’s never the criticism with me; it’s what the person thinks of me for the mistake forward.

I know what you must be thinking, but I’m giving you a glimpse into my thinking. This in part leads to my anxieties about how I will engage with others socially. If you are like me, you need to take better care of yourself. One of the ways I’m caring for myself is by seeing a C-PTSD therapist. You would be happy to know; I am making progress.

Until next time,

You and I don’t always have to be right.

Self, Do You Care?

I always had a routine of the strictest when it came to my self care.

  • Kept my weight at 150 after the kids
  • Exercised like a maniac
  • Read a book weekly
  • Skin care routine daily
  • Doctor and dental care as scheduled

After the traumatic event, I really didn’t pay that much attention to my self. I had ovarian cyst that I had known about before hand. I was seeing my Obgyn regularly for treatment. I soon quit going. At 45, I had a total Hysterectomy. I had let the cyst get to the point of completely covering my ovaries. The results of that, me having severe hot flashes and gaining 72 pounds. After the weight gain, I stopped caring about myself. Or, was it before?

I moved from the job I loved back into the retail management field. Once I did that, standing, kneeling, reaching above my head took its toll (I was a Presentation Team Leader) starting with my knees. I had to have weekly injections. Next, bunions developed on both of my feet. I had the right one removed. I soon found out years later (which is now) I not only have nerve damage to my sciatic nerve; it is the root cause to all of my back, knee,and foot pain!

I could go on and on about what has happened to me because I haven’t properly cared for and about my self. I have to say that I haven’t taken care of myself physically and mentally for a long time. I felt like living in any form was painful. There were times when I would not get out of bed. There was life going on around me and I decided not to be present.

Finally! Two years ago, I started seeing a different type of therapist. The therapist started helping me to take part in reclaiming my life as I heal. C-PTSD therapy. I didn’t like it at first. The more I participated, the more I discovered about myself. Slowly I am learning how I came to this point in my life. I care about myself! I care about my physical, emotional, and mental self. I care enough to seek out the professional care I need.

Until next time,

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are in life. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or your ethic background is. What does matter is this: how do you care about yourself?

Relax, This May Take A Moment.

I used to think that I could instantly overcome anything. To the world, I was this strong leader. Able to withstand any kind of pain. Not to worry, I could help you solve the hardest problem without blinking an eye. If I was scorned, mocked, or troubled by another, you’d never see me cry. When told to retaliate, I would smile and walk away.

In reality, within I was broken, ashamed, and humiliated by the things that took place in my life. I felt I had no control over my circumstances. I began to breakdown showing signs of a weakened exterior. I needed help to learn how to heal myself.

I sought out God to lead me to someone to help me with the problems I had within and the cracks that slowly leaked out the pain I was in.

Pain. When we normally think of that word, we think of guns, knives, or a punch to the gut. No one ever talks about the lingering mental effects it can have on a person.

It doesn’t matter how strong you are physically. If you have checked out mentally, your entire system shuts down. When that happens, you no longer wish to survive. This type of pain can live within your walls for a lifetime. No matter how much you try to avoid dealing with yourself, at some point in your life you will have to.

It takes time to rebuild that exterior. You may be able to plug it up for awhile, but soon that crack will lead to another and you’ll find that you need something stronger to seal it.

That’s what happened to me. I had layers of pain I had not dealt with in years starting to surface. I used the resources I had and start working with my therapist on a C-PTSD program. This program is helping me to peel back the layers and work on each problem separately.

I know I can’t instantly heal. What I do know is that I can rebuild a better equipped me. I know I can take as long as I wish. Healing has no time stamp.

Until next time,

Relax, this may take a moment.

You’re Not At The Bottom! Look Up!

Some times it is necessary to yell to get people to understand where you’re coming from. I’m not a yeller. My sultry voice is very calm in the most extreme situations. I have a way of calming people with words and support. I know that’s my gift. I’m not boasting, I knew I would be a problem solver when I was 12. I knew eventhough I was socially afraid of people, I was gifted to help them through encouragement and advice. My world could be falling apart, but my duty was to assist anyone who reached out to me without judgment. I can say I have done this job emphatically throughout my life starting from childhood. I’m very proud of this part of my life. I thank God I was and still am obedient to this call on my life. Call it what you may, but we all having a job to do while on Earth.

Depression has tried to destroy myself and my children. I’m just finding out about their adult struggles. I guess they thought it better not to tell me. During their childhood, I was depressed throughout their middle school and high school years. I taught the older 2 how to drive, pay the bills and cook. I taught the 3 of them how to clean, cook,comb their hair, and complete their own laundry. This was only to be done when I isolated to my room, which was to be kept dark. I also suffered from migraines. I only had the strength to go to work at that time. I was a social service worker with the dual diagnosed adults in the community.

I had taken the children to a Psychiatrist when the incident happened and found them to be thriving just fine. The Psychiatrist told me they may soon forget what happened because of their young ages 8,6,5. I was happy to hear that.

I happen to live with my oldest daughter. I help her with her children while she goes to school to become a dental hygienist. She’s beginning to take the harder core courses before she gets into her degree. College is hard especially if you have 3 children. As she prepared for a paper, I heard her crying. When I got to the area, she told me she was going to quit because it was too much. I was able to comfort and support her. Earlier today, she thanked me on Facebook. I hope you don’t mind my long response. Well, here it is:

Life is hard. No matter how much I love you and will be there for you, Jesus is who will go the mile for you. He went so far as to die before you were born or ever taught about him, or given your first bible to show you how much he cares for you. It is through Him I get the wisdom to help you in these times. You know me well enough to know when I hear the faintest tear in the 3 of your voices, I am crying. Not because I don’t know what to do, but because of my love and concern for you 3. You shape my heart and it hurts everytime you have to experience life. I think about how sad mine was. How at times I wanted to quit. How at times I only had 2 friends who cared. How I wondered why those things happened to me, a good person. But you know what? The world does not care. People tire of supporting you because they never intended to to begin with. The great thing I learned alone in my darkest hours was this: I had no time to cry. I had no time to feel sorrow for myself. I had no person to go to. No one. Not even my beloved mother. When that happened, I did not despise or resent those people because they were just that. People. I did like Job did. I recited the scriptures of how my God was supposed to support me as he did our forefathers. I did what Joseph did. I cried out to the God of our forefathers. And that is where my help and strength came from. That’s where my support came from. That I will never forget. That you will learn and never forget. Because someone, a person will need you and you must remember where our God picked you up from when your face stained with tears cried out to a person to pray for you, Jesus was there all along to strengthen you with no questions or judgement.
I love you. As a Christian I can say I never failed to do my duty for my brothers and sisters in Christ because I know personally the struggle.

I just want you all who struggle with PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression I am here for you. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. All we know are each others stories. We have to support each other with more than words. We have to uae everything God has gifted us with.

Until next time,

Look up! You’re not on the bottom!

I Can Only Imagine!

I haven’t written in awhile due to a Vertigo attack. I’m feeling a little better thank you.

I want to talk about my last therapy visit. I have to say it was one of the most important visits I had. I hadn’t really told my therapist the complete story. I couldn’t remember all of the story and as for my son, we have never spoken of the incident.

My son called me a few weeks back to discuss somethings that were bothering him. After we got the situation resolved, I decided that would be the perfect time to ask him how’s he been handling his life since the incident. His next words shocked me. He told me his was fine, never thought of the incident although he remembered that day as if it happened yesterday.

I couldn’t believe it! He did tell me somethings I didn’t remember. I was relieved. For 23 years, I worried about him. I was concerned about his mentality and ability to make it in life. He seems to be doing better than I imagined. For that, I am grateful.

Now, I can continue to work on myself. How to let God heal my heart and soul. I feel blessed to have the therapist I have helping me. I’m starting to see changes in myself. I’m starting to understand I will never be the person I was 23 years ago. That person needs my help to heal from the injustices that were done to her and her children.

Definition of imagine

transitive verb

1: to form a mental image of (something not present)imagine accidents at every turn

2: SUPPOSE, GUESSI imagine it will rain

3: to form a notion of without sufficient basis : FANCYimagines himself to be a charming conversationalist

4archaic : PLAN, SCHEME

1: to use the imagination

So, in this moment, I imagine myself as a total person with positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Until next time,

Fix your eyes on the prize. Let nothing deter you from you goal.

The “Son”Shines in the rain!

The Lord and the sun shines through and inspite of the rain that tries to fall on me. For instance, yesterday was my perpetrator’s birthday. I would have easily forgotten that day along with every significant thing we did together in the name of love, but three reasons stopped me. Our children. I happen to live with our oldest child.

Every year they boast of their love and how much he is missed from their lives. I could have let the mental rant I was going through come out verbally, but I decided, as I always have, to let them have their moment.

Usually I would walk away with tears in my eyes remembering the trauma he’s put me through and the years of raising them alone. But this time through determination and grit, I held on to the words of Christ, “Forgive those who trespassed against thee.” I am proud of myself! I didn’t let negativity cloud my thoughts! I took into consideration how the kids may have felt and left it there.

Until next time,

It may rain, but not on my day!

Growing is a pain!

Growing can be and is a pain! I hate it! I didn’t go through a metamorphosis. I was an adult as long as I can remember. I had to handle this or solve that. Get someone under control or make sure you cook that!

There are 6 of us; my two sisters and I had to care for the younger ones. It’s a common thing in single households. That includes if you have a father or stepfather who has checked out (if you know what I mean).

When you have to be a responsible person at such a young age, you forget about all the things a young person is supposed to do between the ages of 10 and 21. When the age 21 came along, I was already in that fated relationship.

I soon got married, had children, divorced and was about to move on when tragedy hit. I approached everything as an adult would have.

Later, which is now, I would have gone to many Psychiatrists and spoken to numerous therapists. I told myself “This is it! The last stop! If this doctor and therapist can not help me, I will just resign to never grow past this stuck point!”

The therapist turned out to teach a different type healing of which I had never been taught throughout the 20 years. I found that I was making some progress, but I was in a metamorphic phase. I was excited! I was after all transforming. I didn’t have to stay in the cocoon of despair for the rest of my life. I was never going to return to my 12 year old self, but I could heal the wounds from that time. I could pluck up and discard of those dried out roots and replace them with new more beautiful seeds that would grow into whole plants.

It would not be easy, but with nurturing the seed would grow and produce fruit. Fruit I could pick from and eat daily. I would grow. I would be able to leave behind those things that caused pain. Realizing that growing is a pain that anyone can get through!

Until next time,

You may be an ugly caterpillar right now, but soon you will be a beautiful butterfly!

What Good Days?

I’ve always been a very optimistic person. There are no bad people born; they are taught by behaviors seen and introduced to them as the grow. So, when I was kidnapped and raped by my then estranged husband, I couldn’t see that he had purposely done this bad thing to me. I had a very hard time processing the whole incident. Soon, the sky became dark and cloudy showered with rain drops. What good days?

From that day on, seemed like I continued to have the worst days of my life. I was consumed with trying to figure out why he would hurt me, why he would try and kill me? Surely no illegal drug would cause him to think that I would stay with him in that state? Surely no illegal drug would tell him it was o.k. to try and sell our youngest child for that next high? From cloudy and dark days I went straight to midnight.

It was during my darkest night I forgot about him. I started focusing on what I may have done to cause this pain, hurt, abuse of love and kindness to fall upon me. My mind, my heart, my soul began to loose sight of who I was before this terrible thing happened to me. I began to write across my sky, “GUILTY! MY FAULT!”

I no longer saw sunlight. I began to feel as if I did not exist. If I did not exist, then I was not alive in my body. I had reached the lowest point. I tried something that was against my moral code, my Christian beliefs. I tried suicide. I couldn’t get that right, thank God! I wouldn’t be here to tell you how I am progressing.

Something happened! I reached up out of the darkness and found a hand. As I held on, they pulled. I began to see glimpses of light. The more I saw, the more I tugged on the hand to pull. Looking around, there was no more darkness. Day. Sunshine. Bright sky. I saw 1 good day. With the help of my children, Psychiatrist, and therapist I am focusing on creating more good days. They are adding up! Yay! I am taking 1 step at a time! I’m coming out of the fog! I am learning the difference between victim and victor!

I’m still that optimistic person! I don’t let bad days become a part of my success. I listen for what that day may try and tell me. I make it a focal point for becoming a good day!

Until next time,

What bad good days?