Trigger Warning & Discussion Guidelines

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kitten 1I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.

Also, be kind and compassionate to ME. If you want to stroll by and attack me when I fuck up (which I’ve done, and I write about it) or because you don’t like queers or what-have-you, or if you want to fight about the psychiatric profession or EMDR or anything else, please know that I screen all comments and I just won’t let them through. This place is not a debate page. It’s a personal blog, and I’m blogging for connection and support.

This one goes out to the ‘girls’

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In the car. On the radio, Martina McBride: “This One Goes Out To The Girls.”

It’s a stupid fauxpowerment song that is itself deeply sexist:

This one goes out to the teens: stay virgins.

This one goes out to the ‘girls’ in their 20’s: something equally sexist and boring.

This one goes out to the ‘girls’ about 42 ‘dropping coins into the fountain of youth:’ you’re still beautiful (which is of course what matters).

blech.

It comes on the radio; I reach out to turn it off, but then she sings: “This one goes out to the girls around age 13”

And I burst into tears and sob all the way home.

#perhapsIhaveissuesfromthattimemaybe

Mobius Strip

moebius

Where does my trauma end and my son’s adolescent autism begin?

I mentioned in my therapy appointment yesterday that I felt like I was crawling back into survival mode.

I worked so hard for so many years to be a full person: to refuse to just be in survival mode– to have hobbies (dancing, biking, choir, studying Irish, learning the bodhrán, writing), to have a social life. To take a walk just because I wanted to.

In the last few years, I have contracted back into a grim ball: no more hobbies. No exercise. No studying. A sharply constricted social life.

That’s when she reminded me that since my son has hit adolescence, in a very real way I am re-living my childhood, and it’s triggering me EVERY FUCKING DAY on a low level. (This is what I might call ‘tweaked,’ but she uses the word ‘triggered.’)

In 1986, I was constantly on the lookout for signs that things were about to get nasty or violent. I was constantly working to soothe narcissistic ego, to protect my sisters, to head off conflict. In 2016, I am constantly on the lookout for signs that things are about to get nasty or violent. I am constantly working to calm an autist’s anxieties, to protect my other son, to head off a meltdown.

And now my kid is bigger than me. Taller, probably stronger.

Right now, I am working in my bedroom to guard the electronics because he is stalking around looking for them like my mom used to look for a wine bottle after he followed me around badgering me about them for an hour. If he finds them and grabs one, all hell will break loose.

He does not yet know that I confiscated a stashed extra computer I discovered under his bed today, and so when he heads there to watch YouTube all night like he did last night and the night before, leaving me baffled as to why he was so exhausted, he will find nothing.

I don’t THINK he’ll have a meltdown — I think he’ll have enough shame to acknowledge that he got busted and just go to sleep — but I will lie in bed waiting for the meltdown nonetheless, just as I lay in bed at night waiting for my parents’ nightly hideous screaming fight to begin every night.

This was my life. This is my life. And the violence is intense: I got the bruise of my life a few weeks ago. He gouged out chunks of his father’s scalp just a few days ago.

I never felt safe in my own home as a child, because I wasn’t. I don’t feel safe in my own home now, either, because I’m not.

I’m completely exhausted and when I don’t feel safe and removed from the violence I have no idea how I’m supposed to do EMDR and heal from it.

We’re on a waiting list for DBT. I’m working on getting my son a Mental Health Caseworker through the county. We are taking steps. But right now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m back in my childhood home. It is a scary, confusing, and anxious place.

I’m exhausted.

 

Gratitude

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This morning, after meeting with a bankruptcy attorney with my soon-to-be-ex, I came into work at the only job I’ve ever really adored and was immediately laid off.

Lately, my kid has been absolutely horrible to the point that I actually ASKED FOR PARENTING ADVICE ON FACEBOOK and HID FROM HIM IN THE BATHROOM FOR HOURS; the election results and his haranguing has set off my PTSD and anxiety something fierce.

I’d been thinking: “Thank god for this job; if I didn’t have a job I loved and a partner I adored I’d be DESTROYED,” so stay tuned for my followup post saying that my partner came home from work after I wrote this entry and dumped me!

ha ha ha

ha

Anyway I need to not think: “Oh no the job was the only thing keeping me from the brink” so I’m going to list out genuine gratitudes instead because I have had enough goddamned therapy to know this is healthy and will make me feel better:

  1. My partner. I have never felt this loved, ever. Possibly I felt this loved by my father. Probably. When I was very, very little. A love like that is an astounding, sustaining thing that I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have. I can’t believe ANYONE is lucky enough to have this much love from another human being.
  2. My two other regular partners: one, who works nights, immediately told me to come to her house and made me tea and a snack and talked to me about life; the other called me as soon as she got away from her work even though she was outside in the freezing cold waiting for a bus just to say she is thinking of me and loves me. I am so lucky in love.
  3. My friends. As soon as I posted that I’d been laid off, my cell phone and messages EXPLODED. People care about me. I even have an informational interview of sorts set up for tomorrow morning. People want to help and they really care. How lucky am I? Not many people with an ACE score of 8 have friends like this. I am so, so, so lucky.
  4. My anxiety. No; I am not kidding. I have already revamped my resume and my portfolio site even though all I wanted to do was sleep afterward and sent out that info to several people. My anxiety would not let me rest until I had done that.
  5. My little sisters. They will not let me go homeless. They just won’t.
  6. My therapist. She will take less each week if I need to. She has already offered for me to pay ‘whatever I can afford.’ That is GOLD. PURE GOLD. She is a wonder.

Now. I have napped, I have sent out my resume, I have written my gratitudes. Soon I will have to explain to my autistic son who is obsessed with money that I have been laid off. Wish me luck.

Major Victories

Posting from my phone so I’ll keep it brief. I am calm. I am content, in this moment.
This weekend I decided to focus on one thing I felt I was particularly guilty of in sabatoging my relationship, which was dwelling on the negative. And I decided that I would let go of small annoyances and tones of voice, and just BE.

We didn’t have an argument once all the long weekend.

BAMF

Second: I dealt with kids who flipped out over homework AND a difficult client AND anxiety and I didn’t yell ONCE. Nobody did. Nobody assaulted me, either. Or vice versa.

WE ARE ALL BAMFs.

And last but not least: I bought myself something I love. On a whim. 

It will keep me warm this winter during the coldest parts and it is beautiful and my son made fun of me all weekend for freaking out a bit (“what kind of monster spends money on herself how could you”) but I fucking DID IT.