In the beginning…

I’ve avoided writing for almost a month now…I’ve been afraid of what I needed to share next. But I’m in a stronger frame of mind at the moment, so here it goes.

Do you ever feel like “why the hell did I have to go through all that”? Or what about “what did I do to deserve that”? …yeah, me too. There are a million things that I will never be able to conceive a plausible reason for why it happened to me, but things still happened nonetheless. I’m not talking about those poor decisions of drinking too much alcohol and puking everywhere, kind of events. There are definitely things we “endure” because of our own stupidity! This is not about those.

OUT OF YOUR CONTROL

There are some shitty things that happen in your life that are 100% out of your control. Things that you shouldn’t have to endure or experience, but it’s purely just the way life works.

For me, I feel that my father passing away when I was about 2 years old was an unfair loss that threw my life (unbeknownst to me) into a trajectory that I would struggle through for the next 30+ years. Even though I have no memory of my father, I can look back at my life and see pivotal moments that could have been very different, if he had been there.

My mother remarried very quickly, and I was raised by them. I was made to believe that this man was my father, and I called him dad.  I loved, respected, feared, laughed and everything else that goes into a parent-child relationship, with this man. His parents were my Granny and PawPaw, whom I loved and cherished as being my family and I thought they loved me just as any grandparents would.

My sister was born when I was about to be 4; I can’t remember whether I was excited about it or not…honestly, I think I was too young to even realize what was going on or that things were going to change. But ever so slowly, things did change to no fault of my sisters. Soon Granny was yelling at me all the time, about everything and treating me so different than my sister. They would invite her to stay the night, but I didn’t get to go. They would buy her all kinds of treats and toys and take her places, but nothing for me other than the “here’s a birthday or Christmas present because we’re supposed to give you something”. I always figured (even at those young ages) that it was because I wasn’t the baby anymore (it wouldn’t be until I was about 9 that I would learn about my real father dying).

THE OVERLORD

My “dad” was a very stubborn person, we only went places or did things that he liked and he was never wrong about anything, ever. If he had no interest in something you liked (say, being in gymnastics), he wouldn’t go and would always find ways to criticize that interest. No matter what you did he would point out the flaws or talk about how much better he could do it, and he was always quick to anger.

One time, my sister and I were playing Nintendo (I’m talking the FIRST Nintendo…which was a HUGE deal in those days). I don’t remember if we were playing a two-person game or not, but we were pestering one another while we played. We were laughing and “fighting” and jabbing each other with our elbows…total sibling kind of stuff.

Out of nowhere, he yanks us off the floor yelling in our faces while pulling the game controllers from our hands. I remember my sister telling some story about how I was being so mean and that she asked me to stop and blah, blah, blah. Naturally, I was mad that not only was I being yelled at for no reason, but now I’m getting into major trouble because she lied. Next thing I know, he’s picked us up and thrown us on our butts onto the hard floor in the kitchen; he has us sitting with our backs touching. He does some more yelling and leaves the room. So, I’m steaming mad…and suddenly my sister starts throwing elbows in my ribs and giggling. So, I throw some into hers, but I’m not giggling. She jabs again, I jab harder…she screams. Next thing I knew I am being thrown across the room, my back slams into the refrigerator and just as quickly, he was pushing me against the refrigerator and yelling inches from my nose. My mom stood in the doorway, and said nothing. I remember her later telling me that I need to stop picking on my sister or they were going to take the games away.

I know what you’re thinking, the above doesn’t sound horrible. Sounds like typical sibling and parent squawking scenarios. To some degree, in a logical state of mind I would probably agree with you. However, the above is one scenario…these happened frequently, often with more intensity, over the smallest things.

DAMAGES

I may not have been physically abused to the degree some kids are, and I’m sure some people would say that I wasn’t abused, it was discipline…I can only say that disciplining out of anger, is abuse.

However you want to define it, doesn’t matter. In the end, living in this angry and unpredictable environment caused instability and fear in my life. I never knew what I was going to get in trouble for, or how far it would be taken. I was never able to share anything, without being blamed and yelled at. Even if something happened to me, I would get yelled at because I must have done something to deserve it.

This is probably why, a few years later when I was molested, I didn’t tell anyone. At that time (I must have been around the age of 8 or 9), I was always playing with a boy from my class who lived two houses down from us. He had an older step-brother who came to their house sometimes. On one of the visits, the older brother and his friends locked my friend and I in a dark room of their house and forced us to touch one another. I was so scared. I didn’t know if they would ever let us out of the room and they kept threatening what they would do to us if we didn’t do more or if we ever told anyone. I couldn’t understand why they were doing this. What was worse, I felt so ashamed and so scared; I thought I would be in trouble and beaten at home because of what happened…so I never said a word to my parents or anyone.

…Until today, no one has ever known.

 

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It’s Always a Test

The difficult days are starting to out-number the good. Hence why it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted.

For some reason, even though I’ve started working out more consistently and I’ve actually been watching what I eat/drink…I’m in heightened amounts of pain without relief, and I’m only able to sleep about 2-3 hours (as confirmed by my fitbit) a night.

My anxiety has been off the charts, and I’m never able to fully relax. When I do actually fall asleep, I wake-up feeling very disoriented and my pain is so bad that the thought of getting out of bed is excruciating. I can tell immediately that while my mind may have slept for a little bit, my body did not. I feel the remnants of a night long battle that drudged through a brutally cold night; my jaw is almost trapped shut and my neck/shoulders can barely move.

I’m constantly trying to stretch the stress away. Constantly trying to think of new things to help…to find even 5 minutes of release.

I feel as though I’m one of those rubber-band balls. Doesn’t matter if you take 20 rubber-bands off…there’s still a hundred layers of tightly wound wraps, clinging tightly around me.

After a few weeks of this tiresome, worn-out record…the depression was able to creep back in. Today I just felt so far away. I was alone. I started ruminating on the fact that all I am is a disappointment. Thoughts that I don’t do enough for my family, that I am failing them, that I have never amounted to anything, are so absolute in my mind…they are truth.

How’d I get through the day? Mainly, I stayed busy…pre-occupied my mind with checklists and chores.

Anxiety See’s No Age

My daughter seemed to be having a difficult day, more-so than I. Oddly, when she’s struggling, my personal battles go right out the window and my full focus becomes her. I already see that she is an over-thinker (at 4 years old). She already starts to stress out, at times, about the probable domino affect that could possibly happen because of one minuscule thing. She starts to harp and stress-out on one tiny little thing and gets so worked up that you’d swear the world was coming to its demise in the next 5 minutes!

I become calm. Otherwise, all I’m going to do is feed the fire. I have to remain calm. I am down on my knees, eye-level with her…letting her know that I understand how she feels; reassuring her that it is okay and we’ll figure it out together. I’m showing her how to calmly breath, the tension in my face dissipates and my eyes are locked in on hers. Soon, her body starts to relax, the worry in her eyes disappears and she is regaining control.

What triggered this? …she was extremely over-tired. She still struggles with the new “rise and shine” routine of being woken-up at 6:30am. She had already complained that she didn’t get a nap because the baby’s were making so much noise (the little ones at daycare), and she had a situation with one of the other kids during the day that had left her upset and made her feel a little bit invisible. Needless to say, she had a rough day.

Common Ground

I’m reminded that all of us are constantly in one battle or another. Some days they don’t seem so problematic, because we’ve gotten the proper amount of sleep, we weren’t in pain, we didn’t have poisonous thoughts running through our minds…the stars had aligned! Some days, everything falls into place nicely…and some days they don’t. No matter what, I never want to be the cause for someone else’s bad day…no one should be afflicted just because I am.

…and if I’m able to shield or help one person, for one minute from pain or troubles, then all of my tribulations are worth it. While some days will be burdensome, and my battle might be apparent for all to see, I will always try to do better and I will do anything in my power to help ease someone else’s troubles.

There are Valley’s Low Enough

It’s been a while since my last post…let’s just say that life got crazy.

No matter what change you agree to, or how happy you are about it; it can be difficult. For me, I believe that the anticipation and stress gets amplified because of the anxiety. Somehow I manage to “pick up my feet” and get it all done, but I’m not too sure that’s a good thing.

What change did I bring on myself? Well, I had my Essure tubal ligation, started a new job and had to switch to an Android phone (having had an iPhone for 5 years). When you list them out, they seem pretty simple. However, each of these changes had huge emotional and physical impact on me, which seemed to be amplified because they were all happening at one time.

I’m not sure that I can explain the reasons why, without them sounding like excuses to so many people, and maybe to some degree they are (the jury is still out on this). However, I have definitely noticed a trend with the highs and lows in my life.

A Personal Hypothesis – Stages of Depression

It almost seems like depression comes in waves or stages, similar to the stages of grief.

The Calm Before the Storm: I’ll have calm waters where I feel great, healthy and positive for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. I get a feeling of hope, like “maybe I’m on my way to getting rid of this disease”!

Survival (Fight or Flight): Suddenly, out of nowhere a hurricane hits and it takes everything in me to survive a day at at time. It feels like everything is coming at me 90 mph from every direction; I can’t make out a singular thought. I’m struggling to get my head above the water.

Anger: I get angry at myself or worse, those around me. Chronic pain spikes, making exercise unbearable. I can’t concentrate and I am unable to communicate complete sentences…often times, incapable of remembering basic words (or even the alphabet). I get extremely irritable and things that don’t normally bother me, become the bane of my existence!

Numbness/Hibernation: I start to shut-down, turning off emotions, saying “no” to outings, projects, chores. Everything in my day become a series of un-emotional task lists. “Took my daughter to school?…check”. “Eat something…check”. I become a robot and the thoughts that my life will always be like this, start to become acceptable.

A New Hope: This one seems to vary for me, in each cycle.

  • Sometimes my daughter nudges me into this stage of healing. A certain smile, laugh, a question she has or even witnessing a moment where she has learned/experienced something new, will remind me of why I’m here.
  • Sometimes my stubbornness will pull me out of my “funk”.  As though I’m taking a stand against myself and refusing to go down without a fight. I finally regain my strength and move forward.
  • Sometimes it will be a church service, reminding me that God has a plan…and even though I can’t see it or understand it, there is purpose and hope.

What Causes the Stages?

I know stress does.

I’m also starting to believe that the shear volume of stimulus that humans receive on a daily basis puts us into overload. I think we push ourselves too far with expectations of income, material items, self-image. We require instant information at the push of a Google search. We want instant gratification/results, with little to no effort required from us. I think we are are experiencing brain exhaustion…and I plan to dig into this topic more and share my findings!

 

 

 

 

 

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