A Beautiful Mess

A Sexual Abuse and Addiction Recovery Blog

Disarray

My life has been completely out of control lately and it seems that the only one who really knows this is me.  I have learned how to lie and how to keep things a secret so much more now.  It makes me sad that I’ve gotten so good at keeping those close to me out of my craziness.  Inside I am screaming help me… but no one can hear it.  I nearly broke down in tears today when I saw the proud fathers walking their small children to the bus.  I don’t know what it was, but out of nowhere I could barely breathe from trying to not feel whatever it was that I was feeling.  I’m missing out on life.  I’ve missed out on so much.  There will be a time in my life when I will regret all the time I never had with my family because I was too busy entertaining my addiction.  I’m scared inside.  I’m dying inside.  But no one knows…

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Self Compassion

Been having a couple of weeks that have been emotionally draining.  I’m pretty sure it has something to do with me being off of my medications and also being smack dab and in the midst of winter.  I’m having a hard time accepting that it’s okay to just survive right now.  After all, treading water certainly seems better than drowning.  It’s been difficult for me to truly allow myself to feel how I am feeling.  I keep judging it.  I feel lazy, withdrawn, depressed, zilch for energy.  I am thankful that I have my doctor’s appointment next Monday.  I am happy to know that this feeling will pass.  It’s why I celebrate the good so much.  I know that, too, will pass.

Life.  On life’s terms.

I’m working on not beating myself up, but lately I’ve had some negative thoughts creeping in.  It’s also some people on the outside of my head as well… some not so encouraging words, because I have never seem to deliver before, so why now?  And I feel their frustration, probably more than they will ever truly know.  All I’ve really wanted to do was make certain people in my life proud.  I seem to struggle with the basics sometimes… although other times I feel like I am kicking ass at life.

I don’t know.  I just needed to blog.  Vent.  Since there really isn’t anyone I can talk to about this.  Everyone is so busy with their lives and I, most certainly, hate feeling like a drama queen when discussing this with people who don’t get it.  It’s over their head and overwhelming.  I don’t want to put that on them and ultimately, there is nothing that they could do, but listen.  Sometimes I wish they could listen.  But when they hear the things I say I can see the looks of shock on their face.  I know they can’t handle my truth.  Disclosure is not 100% safe.   I feel like sometimes I have to put on this facade and be who society wants me to be.  When I do this, I feel so fake.  I want to just be able to be me, and not care what the world thinks.  I am moving closer to this, but I’m still quite sensitive to others opinions, particularly when they aren’t very nice.

Mad at myself for letting an old friend back in a door, as well.  Felt completely used and unappreciated after tending to their every need/demand because I felt bad that they were in a predicament.  On the flip side, they didn’t give a hoot about what I had going on and completely took advantage.

I don’t regret helping them.  I do regret that I will not be as quick to go out of my way for them again.  It is what it is.  All I can control is me.

My anxiety attacks have been in full effect.  Partially induced by myself because I keep letting a certain someone back in and within hours I am triggered again.  Practicing self soothing skills.  Trying to just allow myself to do whatever necessary for me to feel safe and not to feel silly about it.

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Respecting the Process

It’s been a while since I blogged.  So many wonderful things have happened.
For one, I am now employed FT and kicking major booty in the performance department.
I actually have health benefits… WHOA!
I have met some wonderful new people at work that I am starting to consider friends.
I am super flippin’ thankful!
Now with all that being said, it doesn’t mean that it’s all peaches and cream.  I’m still struggling.  I’m still fighting a daily battle to love myself unconditionally.  There are times that life is not what I want, but yet what I sadly choose.  I don’t beat myself up for choices that are not good for me, but I do realize that they are indicators.  Red flags that something must be put in check, because I know what a slippery slope things can be.
I am learning to respect the process, though.  I understand, fully, that my transformation into who I was and where I want to be is going to take time.  As they say, Rome wasn’t built overnight…

All in all, though, I’m still surviving and at times… even thriving.

Keep on keeping on and don’t lose patience or understanding of the journey.  It’s not quick and easy.  It’s hard as hell.  But I respect the process and I acknowledge that I am taking steps in the right direction.  Even though I may stumble, it’s that I get the hell back up that matters.
“Illegitimi non carborundum.”

((Don’t let the bastards grind you down.))

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In This Moment

My days are filled with sadness and sorrow.

I looking for unicorns, glitter and better tomorrows.

My choices are my own.

But it’s like I don’t even know myself in certain moments of time.

It’s like some other person, thing or energy overtakes me

and sings me a lullaby.

It makes me feel weak.

It makes me feel inadequate.

It makes me feel humbled.

It’s like a wild roller coaster ride that I’m in the passenger seat.

I feel like I don’t know me.

But as soon as I think I am starting to learn,

the roller coaster starts all over again.

I won’t give up.

But this shit is not easy.

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Emotions

I can’t say I didn’t know this was coming or that I haven’t experienced it, but it’s really coming to a head.  I’ve been really scared of my emotions from the beginning.  They were so intense and overwhelming at times that I began to think that I was going to be a hot mess for my lifetime.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster this past year, but thankfully due to lots of handouts and worksheets and yes, this blog, I am able to see a lot of progress.  I woke up this morning feeling a bit of sadness thinking about some of the losses I have endured and some that I am still enduring, but what was different is that I didn’t try and stuff it.  I let it out.  Laid in bed from 7:30 to 8:30 and allowed myself to cry.  I felt better after and hey, it really wasn’t as bad as it was when I was in the emergency stage of things.  It was cleansing and I validated myself in a way.  I have a right to cry.  What happened to me was traumatic.  I should cry.

A small step in the healing process.  Actually a big step for me.  Scary, yes.  Did it kill me?  No. 🙂  Life is good today.

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Meeting My Own Needs

Just an update about what’s been going on in life.  Life has actually been quite busy for me.  I remember a time when I used to fret about building a support network.  Somehow, somewhere along the lines, a support network much larger than I dreamed of has materialized.  I am blessed.

The hardest part of recovery and healing for me, right now anyways, is looking at my mother for the role that she played in things.  It’s hard for me to categorize her as one of my abusers, but it is the truth.  And I guess, the truth hurts.  I fantasized for a long time about her someday becoming the mother I always wanted.  Her apologizing for what happened, taking accountability, and us getting help and moving forward.  This will never happen.  I do feel silly sometimes because well into my adulthood my inner child was still seeking to have my basic childhood needs met, but through the wrong people.  I chased my abusers affection and attempted to get validation and acceptance from them.  Well, that’s like blood from a turnip.  I could rationalize all day about why things happened and all of that, but when it comes down to it.  I don’t have to rationalize what my abusers did to me.  In fact, it’s best that I create some boundaries and just accept things for what they are.  Hurts quite a bit, and deep down I feel guilty for placing the accountability where it belongs and not on me, but … it is what it is.

Anyways, in group last week, we made a list of things we felt a child needed.  Point: We still need these things and now that we are adults, it is our obligation to provide these to ourselves one way or another.

  • Protection (physical and emotional)
  • Guidance
  • Healthy food and dessert 😉
  • Unconditional Love
  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Positive encouragement
  • Acceptance
  • Healthy outlets
  • Loving healthy touch
  • Permanence
  • Stability
  • Sense of belonging
  • Toys
  • Consistency
  • Enrichment
  • Warmth and nurturing
  • Hope
  • Support
  • Someone in their corner
  • Spiritual development
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Positive role models
  • Mirroring
  • Limits with love
  • Age appropriate rules and rewards
  • Solitude
  • Natural consequences
  • Clothing
  • Life-applicable lessons
  • Respect
  • Friends
  • Validation
  • Hygiene
  • Outdoor activities
  • Exercise
  • Innocence
  • Fun/humor
  • Mother/Father figures
  • Education
  • Healthy sex education
  • Artistic expression
  • Age appropriate responsibilities
  • Privacy
  • Autonomy (rights to thoughts and feelings)
  • Morals/Values
  • Culture/Diversity
  • Imagination

How am I giving these to myself?  What am I already receiving?  How do I self soothe / calm myself?  Celebrate what I’m doing right!  What feels out of reach?

I am going to touch on those in the list that affect me the most:

Someone in my corner —->  Build support network, do unto others as I would like to have done to me, start getting more involved in my interests and find people who share the same ones (although, I have to admit, going to the gym was and still is to get fit, but all the cute gents… well, that’s just a perk – hey I’m single, I can soooo look ;)), working on character and integrity, I realize that in order for people to want to be in my corner, I must do all I can to be the kind of person that I would like to attract

Protection (physical and emotional) —-> I am more careful to look before I leap, I take heed of red flags when meeting people, work on physical fitness, prioritize my recovery and my family above all, avoid alcohol and drugs, create barriers between me and those that are not respectful of me, practice patience and not rush into exposing too much of myself to complete strangers

Stability —->  I still struggle with this one, because economically, I am usually in some form of crisis.  I only work very part time, but I did put together a resume that isn’t the most impressive, but hey, it’s the truth and THC is going to provide me with a letter or two that can at least provide the employer with notes to my consistency and showing up on time.  I am not quick to attach to people, so I am not dealing with the ups and downs of losing people in my life, because I don’t just invite them in immediately.

Respect —-> Respecting myself is rough.  Not because I don’t want to, but because when setting boundaries and being assertive, there is always the chance of rippling the waters and having to stand my ground, regardless of the outcome.  When, in group, it’s easy because the environment is “safe”, but in the real world, I’ve seen some really crazy shit and sometimes it’s scary for me to follow through and really stand up for myself.  I intellectualize a lot of this and know what I am supposed to do, but it’s a lot harder for me to DO, than to simply say.  My boundaries are constantly being tested by some people and I am realizing that these people lack respect for me and I have a great need to create distance between me and them.

Unconditional Love —-> I am not perfect.  There isn’t a person alive that is.  Although, I know these things, sometimes I want to beat myself up for mistakes and allowances I make for those that abuse or have abused me.  I am a work in progress and I will find ways, such as positive self talk, working my coping mechanisms, providing myself with a safe environment and surround myself with family as much as possible.  I am learning to love myself.  I’m not where I want to be, but this is a process and I’m dedicated.  I have gotten to a point where I can look at myself in the mirror and like who I am becoming.

Autonomy (Rights to Feelings and Emotions) —->  Sometimes this one is hard for me because others will not validate what I am feelings and sometimes they make me feel as though I don’t have a right to feel what I am feeling.  These people are NOT experts in my life, nor have they walked in my shoes, so I need to take the power back and validate myself, first.  Another one of those things that I am working on, but it’s much easier to intellectualize.

Privacy —->  I do not owe anyone my life story.  It’s a privilege for me to share it.  By allowing myself some privacy, I also protect myself.  This one is hard to wrap my head around sometimes because I feel like I owe authenticity to everyone I meet, but that is not true.  I owe it to those that deserve it.

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My family has been incredibly supportive.  I can’t begin to express in words how much it means to me to have their unconditional love and I could cry every time I think about it.  They mean the world to me and without them, surely I wouldn’t be here.  In my darkest hours, my dad, my stepmother, my aunt and my grandmother (RIP) have been so strong and there for me.  Because of them, I know what love is.  BLESSED.

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Baaa Baaa Black Sheep

I am having a hard time dealing with anger issues lately.  I feel like my parents aren’t being as supportive as they could with my recovery.  If I don’t call, I don’t hear from them.  I’m mad at them.  I’m mad at my perpetrator.  I know that I have a lot to be thankful for, but it doesn’t negate the fact that I feel like my losses are actually materializing to me more now than ever.  I feel like not only did my perpetrator steal my childhood and cause me an unnecessarily painful journey to this point, but I lost a lot of time with my family.  I distanced myself.  I never could put my finger on what was wrong with me.  I feel like the black sheep of the family because of all of the “issues” I have.  I have missed out on so much.  I may have possibly lost the opportunity to have relationships with younger relatives, because I was absent for so long trying to self medicate and make whatever was wrong with me go away.  It hurts.  It’s one of the worst “break ups” that I have experienced in my life.

I don’t like that for so long I was viewed as “bad”, “misbehaving”, “acting out” and to some, “never had a chance”.  It’s a flood of emotions that are surfacing more and more.  I’m letting it out, avoiding all methods of self medication.  I want it to hurt, because I want to put this behind me.  If I don’t deal with it now, it will never heal.  I am not bad.  I was just very confused and had quite a bit of trauma bottled up inside of me.  I had noone to talk to since my initial disclosure was far from good.  I felt broken.  I still feel broken.  But I have hope that someday I will be less broken.

It’s strange that what happened in Memphis triggered a ton of memories about my childhood sexual abuse.  Now that I am getting treatment for that, it’s triggering a lot of memories of what happened in Memphis.  I can’t get the image of my perpetrator(s) out of my mind… what a horrible night and day it was in Memphis.  It was, by far, the most horrible experience ever and I had no doubt that it was only moments before I was about to die.

Well I didn’t die, not physically, but emotionally and spiritually it did a lot of damage.  I am on my way to healing and recovery, but it’s not easy and it’s really hard without the support of my family on a regular basis.

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Coping and Living With Anxiety

Well let’s start with some fun and uplifting news.  Brain chemistry can be changed.  And we can do it ourselves.  It’s scientifically proven.  I’m not blowing smoke up anyone’s butt.

Let me start with also saying that the majority of this blog is material that is quoted or paraphrased from ACT Made Simple – free e-book via Google.

The mind can be a big bully.  It can play tricks on us.  It does play tricks on us.  Our mind is like a great storyteller.  It wants us to listen to it.  It wants our full attention.  And it will say whatever it needs to say to get our attention.  And while some of the stories our mind tells are true, there are times that it’s most definitely not factual.  It’s more like opinions, beliefs, attitudes, ideas, so on and so forth.  We need to learn when the stories are helpful and when they are not.  Close your eyes for 30 seconds and just listen to the stories your mind is telling you right now.

We are not our thoughts.  Thoughts do not create behaviors.  We need to retrain our brains.  Let go of the thoughts that are standing in the way of us doing what we need to do to live a rich, fulfilling and meaningful life.  Negative self talk is so destructive and I am guilty of entertaining it, but I do make a point for the most part, to dispute those thoughts.  My thoughts do manifest the reality I live in.  Sometimes we need to disconnect from our thoughts by practicing some in the moment exercises.  We must escape from our thinking mind from time to time and use our observing mind.

THOUGHTS

Pragmatism

If you go along with that thought, buy into it, and let it control you, where does that leave you?  What do you get for buying into it?  Where do you go from here?  Can you give it a go anyway, even though your mind says it won’t work?

Interested

That’s an interesting thought.

Meditative

Let your thoughts come and go like passing clouds.

Your Mind is Like…

A “don’t get killed” machine, a word machine, radio “gloom and doom”, a masterful salesman, the world’s greatest story teller, a fascist dicator, a judgment factory

Bullying Reframe

What’s it like to be pushed around by that thought/belief/idea?  Do you want it to run your life and tell you what to do all the time?

Problem Solving

You’re in pain, so your mind tries to figure out a way to stop the pain.  Your mind evolved to solve the problems.  This is its job.  It’s not defective; it’s doing what it evolved to do.  But some of those solutions are not very effective.  Your job is to assess whether your mind’s solutions are effective: do they give you a rich and full life in the long run?

Workability

If you let that thought dictate what you do, how does it work in the long run?  Does buying into it help you create a rich, full and meaningful life?

Naming the Story

If all these thoughts and feelings were put into a book or movie, titled “the something something story,” what would you call it?  Each time this story shows up, name it: “Aha, there’s the XYZ story again!”

FEELINGS

Healing Hand

Lay a hand on the part of your body where you feel this most intensely.  Imagine this is a healing hand — the hand of a loving nurse, or parent, or partner.  Send some warmth into this area — not to get rid of the feeling, but to open up around it, make room for it, hold it gently.

Normalizing

This feeling tells you that you’re a normal human being who has a heart and who cares.  This is what humans feel when there’s a gap between what we want and what we’ve got.

Compassion

Hold this feeling gently as if it’s a crying baby or a whimpering puppy.

The Choice to Feel

Suppose I could give you a choice: (a) you never get to have feelin ever again, but it means you lose all capacity to love and care, or (b) you get to love and care, but when there’s a gap between what you want and what you’ve got, feelings like this one show up.  Which do you choose?

CLARIFYING VALUES

Wealth

You inherit a fortune.  What would you do with it?  Who would be there to share those activities or appreciate the things you buy?  How would you act toward all those people who share your new life?

Character Strengths

What personal strenths and qualities do you already have?  Which new ones would you like to develop?  How would you like to apply them?

What Matters?

What do you really want?  What matters to you in the big picture?  What do you want to stand for?  Is there anything in your life right now that gives you a sense of meaning, purpose, vitality?

Missing Out

What important areas of life have you given up or missed out on for lack of willingness?

Artistic Methods

Paint, draw, or sculpt your values

Childhood Dreams

As a child, what sort of life did you imagine for your future?

There are a plethora of other dealing mechanisms for bringing out minds back down to earth, this is just a few.  I suggest visiting here to read Act Made Simple: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy e-book that facilitates and teaches the ACT method.  Retrain the brain.   Change the chemistry!  Because we can.

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A Dance With Anxiety – Life Slips Away

A lot of paraphrasing went on from my source which is an excerpt from “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety“.  I plan on purchasing it myself, because the four pages I did receive in group were very enlightening and encouraging.

Most people want to move through life with the sun on their face and no obstacles in their way.  I know I do.  Unfortunately, life is not that simple.  We experience things in life that can cause us to have to deal with painful memories, anxiety, nervousness, negative thoughts and the list could go on.  A lot of times, because we don’t know any better, we seek to avoid these feelings.  We freak out.  We stop going down any road so to speak.  We are at a stand still in life.  We sometimes turn around and start taking steps back in life.  We turn our energies into trying to get a grip.  We try many different methods to fix it all and make it go away before proceeding down the road of life.  All the while we are fixated on trying to fix or rid ourselves our these things, time is ticking away.  Our life is just waiting on us to live it and pretty soon our life, itself, also becomes sad because it knows the outcome if we continue to do this.  We simply remove ourselves from living.

When we pull out of life, we don’t get away from our hurt.  When we run away or hide, we take these hurts with us.  We feel exhausted, frustrated and defeated.  And then of course, here comes our negative thinking that keeps pecking away with questions like, “why can’t I be normal”, “why can’t I get a grip on my fears and anxieties”…  We are stuck.  We feel cheated, we feel mad.  Our life is not sadder than it was before but yet it is still waiting for us to live it.

But then something changes, something profound and beautiful happens!

We see what is really going on.

We take stock.

We say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

We open ourselves up to other possibilities in life.  Maybe, my thoughts and feelings are not barriers at all in life.  Perhaps I need to accept the fact that all of this just makes me part of who I am today.  Maybe I can live my life with these things in it, and still do things that I care about.

Life is meant to be lived.  We will all experience things in life that will seem overwhelming, daunting and perhaps make us want to throw the towel in.  But it’s the fact that we can’t stop living.  We can’t avoid these things.  And by attempting to do so and investing so much time and energy into the “what if’s” or the could of, would of, and should of’s, we utilize precious energy and time into the wrong things. 

I am committed to learning to act on my anxiety in a totally different way so that I don’t watch my life simply go by.

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Anxiety, Fears and Phobias (Academic Portion)

Anxiety

Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional and behavioral components.  It creates an unpleasant feeling typically associated with uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry.  Anxiety does NOT need a trigger to occur.  It can literally come out of ‘nowhere’.  It is a future orientated mood state that prepares or readies a person to cope with upcoming negative events.  It is a normal reaction to stress.  It actually serves its own purpose.  It prepares us for events that we are anxious of happening.

Some physical effects of anxiety are heart palpitations, muscle weakness, tension, fatigue, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, and headaches.  Some emotional effects are feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, feeling tense or jumpy, anticipating the worst, irritability, restlessness, watching and waiting for signs of danger, feeling like your mind’s gone blank, feelings of unreality, feelings like everything is scary.  Cognitive effects are thoughts about suspected danger.

When anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.  It is curable!

Fear

Fear is a present-orientated mood state to help one take protective action when safety or health is threatened.  Physiological responses include rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, increased blood pressure, may feel hot, nauseous, sweat, adrenaline increase to increase energy if one needs to fight or flee, become more aware of surroundings.

NOTE: Many confuse anxiety with fear and vice versa.  Anxiety, the act of being anxious, is worrying about a possibility of something happening and preparing for it.  Fear is being in the moment and having right here, right now fight or flight feelings.  Anxiety does serve it’s purpose though, that needs to be reiterated, because simply put, it does allow us to prepare for whatever it is that we are anxious about in the event that it does happen.

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