Navigating a mine field 

I’m always wondering if I should bring certain things up in therapy, online, with my husband etc. There’s a part deep inside me that says “you need to talk about this if you want help”, but another telling me all the bad things that would result. I randomly remembered a session with my therapist, S, today. We were going over trauma and behaviors, and I brought up borderline personality disorder. Everything about it resonated so deeply with me, and I felt like I had answers for my bizarre behaviors. 

She said she couldn’t really tell me with certainty that I had it, but that it was common in those suffering from PTSD as a result of childhood trauma. On the end, she tacked on: “but, typically, people with BPD struggle with suicidal thoughts and actions with alarming regularity”. I felt like she had sprung a trap, but I couldn’t detect it in her voice. I’ve been seeing S long enough to be able to read her semi-accurately. But it was an awkward session. Because I have been very regularly struggling with suicidal thoughts. Almost daily. 

Why don’t you tell her that? How do you expect to get help?? Because it’s terrifying. I’ve been in and out of hospitals since I was 10 or 11, and my experience with them has been overwhelmingly negative. They are grossly underfunded and don’t punish or fire the bad employees and mental health workers. And the second you start talking about suicide, no one wants to hear you out, they are already mentally filling out your paperwork to get you put away. 

I’m scared to be honest with her because I’m scared of being put away, even for a short time. I’m scared of them assuming I’m not complying with treatment well enough and court ordering a 90 day hospitalization. I’m scared of not being seen as a human being, of being seen as an animal or inconvenience to society that needs to be locked away. I constantly(figuratively) look over my shoulders during treatment. I rehearse everything before my sessions, and then make sure I meticulously go over my sessions afterwards to see if there’s anything I need to be on guard about. 

Every aspect of my existence is blighted by paranoia and anxiety. I can’t do something simple like shopping without being terrified that I don’t seem normal enough. That someone is going to see how shifty eyed I am, how shaky I am, etc and call the police. And unfortunately all of my soothing techniques and grounding techniques make me look crazy(e.g. tapping on things or myself, whispering to myself). 

I’m so exhausted. I’m so fucking exhausted every fucking day. I never asked to be like this. This isn’t something cute or edgy or fun for me. It’s not ~tragically beautiful~ it’s fucking miserable twisted fucking bullshit. And of course, I live nowhere near therapy centers that offer EMDR, CBT/DBT, etc. Nope I just get plain talk therapy with someone who frequently reminds me that she “doesn’t really deal with this sort of thing”. What the hell am I supposed to do? How is recovery supposed to happen in these conditions?? How am I supposed to not feel like trying is fucking pointless? 

I’m so fucking worked up right now. I hate it, I fucking hate it. 

Signing off,

A

Terror and grief from another dimension

I’ve been living in an alternate reality crafted by my inner child for years now. It’s familiar and feels like home, despite the intrusions and panic. No, the panic is almost like my safety blanket. It’s validating, soothing in a perverse way. Delusion sings me a sickening lullaby.  It cradles me. It whispers about how evil and wrong the outside world is. It reassures me that I don’t have to go there, in fact–I’d be keeping myself safe by being locked away. 

The answer, of course, is clear. Who in their right mind would expose themselves to how horrid the world is? I raise my walls, and nothing besides me is real anymore. But I feel myself fading, why? I’ve done everything right, I’ve kept myself safe! I’ve locked myself away, haven’t I? My inner child is crying. She doesn’t understand why we can’t make them pay. They hurt us. They are the ones putting us here. Why won’t I do anything? How can I sit back and hide when there hasn’t been justice? 

Paranoia creeps up behind me, and grips my neck from behind. It’s nails dig into my scalp and throat. They’re after you. It whispers menacingly. They’re watching you. They know where you live, they see what you write, and they are going to get to you one day. I’m paralyzed. Delusion offers its lap to me. My inner child pulls at my right arm and begs me not to listen to them. She tells me she needs me. Everyone starts talking at once. Paranoia’s grip tightens, and now scrapes at my spine. It tells me that if I don’t come with it, horrible things will happen to me, and my inner child. Delusion grabs my left arm and strokes it gently with a razor blade, offering me respite if I just listen to them, if I just let go. 

I look off into the distance and let my eyes lose focus. A soft fog fills the room. I take a deep breath and close my eyes. The voices fade away. My limbs go numb. And then…nothing. Beautiful nothingness. I am weightless, I am free. I am nothing. I open my eyes again, and I see my inner child crouched in front of me. I see myself still being gripped by Paranoia, lulled by Delusion. I can see myself in a catatonic state, not responding to them, not responding to me. Wait, I think to myself. This isn’t right…I’m supposed to be safe! I try to drag my unresponsive form from their grasp, but it’s stuck there. I yell at Delusion and Paranoia. I tell them to help me, that I will listen to them if they just help. 

The room dims suddenly, and I hear a faint knocking. I’m in my old bedroom. No…no no no NO NO NO NOT THIS! I frantically try to move furniture in front of the door, it melts into my hands. Useless. I reach for the lock, which dissolves into dust. I stumble backwards, landing on something soft. My bed. The bright blue and green blanket. The tasseled throw pillow. I turn to see my inner child. Her eyes are gripped shut, tears rolling down her cheeks. She whispers to me, she asks why I didn’t stop them. The door clicks open. It’s too late. Again. 

Called it

Things are steadily falling apart for me here. All those storm clouds and all that charged air just converged into something massive.  It’s getting harder and harder to weather these. 

Found out I fucked uo my college application, meaning I applied for fall semester instead of spring. That leaves me under two weeks to get financial aid, paperwork, assessments done, etc. Further adding to this time crunch, since I didn’t have any college credits to transfer, I have to take two assessments. One in math. I have dyscalculia(it’s like dyslexia for math, for those who don’t know). But where is my paperwork for that diagnosis? Oh yeah, my mother held it hostage. Because I was a minor at the time of diagnosis, and she (as well as my father, actually) told me I just wanted excuses for being lazy/stupid etc. I can’t get special accommodations for the dyscalculia without proof, and there’s no way I can get that in less than two weeks time.

I’ve already glanced at the sample tests. As far as math goes, I’m screwed. It may as well have been in a different language. If I fail my assessments, I have to wait 30 days to retake. If I fail a second time, then I can’t attend this college. Which is the only one in my goddamned area. 

Let’s revisit the “why do I bother?” question, since it’s so fresh. No matter what I do to try and improve myself or my life, shit like this happens. With dyscalculia, it doesn’t matter how much I study for this shit. I could be as knowledgeable as humanly possible in mathematics and still fail, because my issue isn’t about knowledge, it’s about math problems getting jumbled up when I try to read them. It takes a painstaking amount of time and colored pencils and scrap paper to make heads or tails of a simple word problem or algebraic equation. It’s not something I can explain, but looking at math problems is like looking at hieroglyphs. Second point, while I was trying to deal with the college prep stuff today, I was also running back and forth from the kitchen back to the living room, because dinner doesn’t cook itself, and then having to handle two kids that kept fighting and screaming and slamming doors(making a phone call to my guidance counselor impossible). I didn’t get one second of silence in order to study, take the sample tests, make phone calls, or do anything. 

That’s exactly what it’s going to be like if/when I go back to college. I will still be cooking dinner, cleaning, raising two children(who are special needs), and dealing with my own mental health issues. I broke down today. I sobbed. I had to take clonazepam. And then I cried more. I feel so alone, and yet I never get a chance to be alone. I wish I had a better way to put that. I wish I had support. I ended up binging again tonight. I’m so fucking ashamed. This feels so cruel. It’s so exhausting living like this every fucking day. 

On the bright and sarcastic side, if things really go south, my life insurance policy is for 100k, which is more than enough to pay off the overwhelming debt my impulsive bullshit caused and pay for any other associated costs. Not that that’s even a realistic option. Again, just an offhand sarcastic observation. Not doing anything. 

Signing off,

A

Paranoia

It’s been eating me alive lately.  I feel so much pressure to be perfect, to accomplish amazing things.  I’m scared someone I know will somehow find my blog and say “she’s still like this?”.  Being mentally ill and being scarred like this means constantly having to justify my existence.  I’m supposed to have something good to offer society, like really good, to make up for my baggage and inability to function.  Society will look upon you fondly if you have personal struggles, but you work 50 hours a week, or make amazing art, or you are a positive influence in your community.  But that isn’t my reality.  I have nothing to contribute right now.  I’ve tried to get back into writing, but after being out of school so long, my skills have greatly suffered.  I’ve thrown out or deleted every rough draft I’ve started for the past three years now.  Sorry, I’m not a tortured artist.  I’m just a tortured loser.

I dread the “so what’s new with you?” questions from family and acquaintances.  Especially from family.  Because with my family, at least, it’s not an innocent question, but a probe.  They want to compare me to themselves or their children, nieces/nephews, etc.  They want to remind me that so and so is in college, such and such just got a promotion/bought a house/whatever else.  So I am very guarded about myself.  But I am also terrified of my online presence being revealed and giving everyone ammunition.  As if I don’t hear enough that I’m an adult now and that I’m supposed to be normal.  It doesn’t matter how many bridges I burn, I still fear someone peering in and seeing me struggling.  To add insult to injury, a couple of relatives of mine are still friends with my rapist.  I’ve written them off, but all i can think of is them passing along all of my misfortune for him to revel in.  Do I have proof it’s happening?  No.  Does one family member have a history of using my misfortunes as gossip?  Absolutely.

My fears don’t stop at family.  I have severe paranoia about my therapist and psychiatrist.  I feel like I tip toe around eggshells.  I’m so scared that they will put me in the hospital because I’ve said too much, or seem manipulative.  I’m scared of having my freedom stripped from me.  I am always on guard.  The things I always really need to talk about don’t get mentioned because of this fear.  I’m scared to tell my doctor that I don’t think my medication is working, because she may mark me as being insubordinate.  So I keep taking the same medication, dealing with humiliating and life altering side effects, because I am so scared of being given up on, I’m so scared of being locked away.

I’m so exhausted.  I don’t want to be scared anymore.  I want to trust people.  I want to get better.  But I’m terrified.  I feel trapped.  I’m so fucking trapped in my own existence.  I would do anything just to be able to be honest with everyone.  I would love it if I didn’t have to ghost myself online and run from any potential person finding me out.  I don’t even know how long I’ll be able to keep this one little corner of the web before I’m scared off of it, too.  No place is safe.  Where do you go when no place is safe???

Signing off,

A

Uneasy

I’m unusually calm despite it being the night of(er, early morning after, rather) a therapy appointment. Particularly since I brought up so much. I binged earlier, which usually happens, and I was slightly irritable. But that’s not enough to really concern me. No, what concerns me is that this feels oddly like the calm before the storm. I feel an uneasiness inside me. The air around me seems charged. 

I don’t think my mind is going to let me off easy. I’m scared to go to sleep in case I have nightmares, but I fear staying awake because late hours increase my paranoia. I wish I had a second person to unpack these things with. My therapist doesn’t really give me closure at the end of appointments, if that makes sense. Usually I’ve just unloaded some massive things, and right when I’m about to take a breath she tells me our time is up. I crack open Pandora’s box every time  and then I have to fumble around trying to close it myself. 

Is this how sessions are supposed to be? I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. It’s nice to let it all out, yes, but I don’t feel I’m actually dealing with anything or that I’m being taught skills for day to day. I feel sort of lost. The more I talk about my childhood and my traumas, the more isolated I feel. I can’t emotionally unload in my husband. He’s not equipped to cope with this mess. Sometimes I look at him while the storm circles my psyche and think about how far apart we are experience wise. I wonder if he can ever understand me. Can he really sympathize the way i need him to? 

I love him to pieces. I just feel like I drag everyone down with me. I’m so tired.

Signing off, 

A

Aftermath

I am still processing my appointment from earlier. But I knew when I got there that I didn’t want to discuss my weight or eating habits. I knew what I needed to talk about. So I made sure to blurt it out the second she asked how I’ve been. 

I told her how I found out that a man’s house I used to play at as a very small child was a convicted child rapist who failed to register while living there. I told her how despite seeing his face, I couldn’t remember for sure if it was him, but I felt sick inside. I told her that I contacted my grandfather, and how he urged me to fix the relationship with my mom, and how I wasn’t sure what to do anymore, but everything was caving in all at once. 

I don’t think she was expecting so much to be going on, because her eyes got wide for a second before she said we had a lot to process today. She pushed more into my relationship with my mom and what had gone on when I was growing up. And I know I’ve been angry at my mother, but I didn’t realize just how much was simmering beneath the surface. I must’ve looked crazy. I couldn’t be still. I kept picking at my fingers and rubbing my eyes, gritting my teeth. Laughing nervously as I recounted my mother’s callous, manipulative behavior towards me as a child. 

I have never been in a safe place to say those things about my mother. As a child, she drove me from hospital to hospital, specialist to specialist, and any time I was committed or any time I had a session somewhere, she would interrogate me afterwards. She demanded I tell her everything I told the therapist or doctor or she would have been hospitalized again. I stopped opening up in sessions, and as a result I was labeled as insubordinate. My mental state worsened as I grew up with no real outlet. I would leave my mother’s abusive clutches and house for visitation at my father’s, only to land in a sexually abusive home there(not my father, someone else). I wasn’t safe anywhere. I self-harmed with increasing frequency. My mother started fabricating new problems for me. On one trip to the ER after a minor self harm incident, she yelled at me and told me she would have me put away so no one had to deal with my shit anymore. And that I better be honest when taking the assessment. I seethed quietly. When I was taken back, my mother followed, and during the assessment I was given the usual rundown of questions. The nurse got to the homicidal thoughts section, and I was about to answer “no” to that, since I had never had violent thoughts towards others. But my mother piped up. She said I had threatened to kill her. That she worried about her safety and burst into the most fake tears I’ve ever seen. I tried to tell them it wasn’t true…but when you’re crazy, no one ever believes you. From then on she kept it up, telling every one she could that I was a killer in waiting. Despite me never getting violent with anyone. 

I remember arguing with my mother about her insistence that I was homicidal. I tried pleading with her and telling her she was ruining my life by lying. She responded with “well, you already ruined mine.” and smirked at me. They(being my mother and stepfather), went through a song and dance of putting a deadbolt on their bedroom so they could show the visiting mental health professional. They were instructed to lock up all sharps and weapons. They did, sort of. My stepfather left his loaded handgun on the dining room table once the social worker left. I told them they were supposed to lock everything up, and why would they leave a gun out? My stepfather bet me I was too much of a chickenshit to actually shoot myself and they both laughed. They left the gun out for as long as I can remember, only removing it when people came over. It was pointless trying to tell any therapist, doctor, or caseworker about it. No one believed me about anything. I was worth nothing in their eyes. At one point, one of the social workers who worked with me remarked that she’d be seeing me in the local homeless shelter once I turned 18. 

Suffice it to say that I have serious trust issues with social workers, mental health care professionals, nurses, ER doctors, and police officers. 

My mother sincerely believes she can just push herself back into my life like nothing ever happened. And what I revealed today? That’s not even a quarter of what she’s done. My therapist advised that it wasn’t a good idea to give in to my grandfather and speak to my mother. She says it would be too triggering for me, since just talking about it got me upset. I agree, I just wish there was some way I don’t have to be painted as the villain. It looks like I will lose my grandfather just like I lost my grandmother. My mother has no remorse for causing this turmoil. It disgusts me that society expects you to love your mother because “she gave you life!”. It’s bullshit. Abusive mothers deserve absolutely nothing. Except consequences for their actions. 

This is getting long, and I need some time to think more. 

Signing off,

A

Why do I bother?

I had a brief fleeting moment that my life was coming together this morning. I felt like I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. That lasted an hour, maybe two. Reality struck me down. 

I’ve been trying to find some sort of linear path to recovery. Because nonlinear is obviously not working. But even looking at a semi “straightforward” plan, it all ends up falling apart. I ordered a couple of copies of my high school transcript a few weeks ago and finally received them. I finished my application to go back to college. All I have to do is mail in the transcript and hit submit on my application. Except…it’s not that simple, it never is. 

It struck me today how futile this all is. I’m a stay at home mother to two kids who are soon returning to school. Even with them both in school, it means dedicating all of my free time to self paced college courses, homework, and studying. It means digging myself further into debt I already can’t repay for something I will likely never be hired for. I’m not an idiot. I’m well aware that companies don’t see being a parent as something needing skill. I’m also well aware how next to impossible it is for me to even get through a day dealing with my own poisoned mind. 

It struck me that I never get to be alone. From when I wake up, to when I go to bed, I am with my kids and/or my husband. Everyone always needs something. If it gets quiet in my house, it generally means one of my kids has gotten into something they shouldn’t, which means I have to go fix that or redirect. All day. I’m in charge of cooking meals and making sure we are stocked on things we need. Once they are in bed(which is a joke, because they get up at least 20 more times), I have a few hours sometimes before my husband gets home if he’s on night shift. On day shift, alone time is out of the question entirely. So that small window of a few hours will be dedicated to school work and studying and that’s it. I have no identity beyond “mother” and “wife”. And most people don’t see a problem with that. Which is why I don’t get along with most people. 

I feel suffocated. I used to have hobbies, I used to have friends. I used to feel like I had a whole life ahead of me. Now I look around and realize this is all there is. This is all I amount to. And I sound ungrateful, because so many don’t have what I have. I suppose “so many” also don’t struggle with complex PTSD. So many don’t deal with the everyday paranoia and anxiety that makes my breath catch in my throat so many times per day. 

Most people say I should go make mom friends. I’ve tried. I feel like such an outcast. I don’t fit in to the mom culture, especially where we live. Any time I feel I’ve met a kindred spirit, they ask me what church I belong to, or they make an offhand comment about how they don’t get people with mental illness, or a million other things and I’m just like “welp, it was nice while it lasted”. Military communities are particularly toxic. If you don’t look like or act like the trophy wife, they eat you alive. 

I have my appointment on Friday with my therapist. But I don’t even know what to talk about with her. What am I going to do? Just repeat the same things I’ve been repeating for months and then listen to the same lecture about how things aren’t working? Then be lectured and scrutinized on if I’m bigger or smaller than last time. No place is safe for me to just be a human being. I can’t go anywhere without being judged harshly. I can’t make decisions without someone telling me I’m stupid, or ruining my life. I don’t have a support system. I’m just pumping my words onto a blog that no one even reads. And why? I don’t know. I feel like there’s no hope for me. Nothing I want even makes sense. I’m suffocated by never being alone, but I want a friend? I want to go back to school, but I highly doubt I will get any financial aid because of our debt. I don’t fit anywhere. I feel like such a burden on myself, my husband, and my kids. When I’m out in public and people react in disgust to my size and how I take up space, or how dare I eat something or show hunger while fat. Or when I go to therapy and my therapist just sighs and shrugs at me. I’m wasting every one’s time, I’m wasting my time, I’m wasting time pouring words into some form no one is ever going to even read. 

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post anymore. 

Signing off,

A

I’m done with summer

I can barely think with this heat. And, of course, we don’t have air conditioning so I’m just switching out ice packs all day and sitting near fans. There is nothing glamorous or cute about summer. It’s just three months of fighting off heat exhaustion and sweating. Right now it’s almost 10pm and we still have to have all of our windows open to bring down the ambient temperature. 

Anyways. I suppose I should at least try to have a productive blog post today, despite the heat. 

I finally got a call back from my therapist. We rescheduled for a week from now. I really don’t know how it’s supposed to go. When I first started my sessions with her back in 2014(?), we started exposure therapy…right when my husband deployed. Imagine having your first ever exposure therapy appointment, dredging up all that muck in your mind, only to go home to no support system, and also having to cope with a deployment with two young children. It got pretty bad. The first three months of deployment were the worst, and eventually, my therapist said that I was getting too triggered by the exposure therapy, and having too many problems with to, so she suggested patient-led therapy. That was three-ish years ago. 

If you saw yesterday’s post(or early this morning’s, really), I guess you can see that she believes patient-led therapy isn’t working. At least that’s what I’m assuming. Within the past year, she got her own practice, rather than working with a mental health center, so maybe that changes how she treats patients? I don’t know how much oversight therapists get while attached to a treatment facility as opposed to having a private practice. But I have a sick feeling that she’s going to drop patient-led therapy. There is so much I need to work through, and the sheer amount of it seems insurmountable. I don’t have easy access to group therapy because of my location, and therapists in the middle of nowhere are few and far between. I also happen to really like her much better than therapists I’ve dealt with in the past so I’m worried. I’m worried about being dumped again. 

It’s not even about having coping skills, it’s about my coping skills only keeping things at bay for a short time. It’s about how I end up falling back on dissociation when things start going south, because my coping skills only hold me up so long. I genuinely don’t know what a more permanent or longlasting solution would be. I don’t know where to start. I feel like everywhere I go, I leave a path of destruction. Which is why I don’t go anywhere. I’m scared to try and make friends because it’s next to impossible for me to keep appropriate boundaries with other people.  I meet people, and the second they start treating me nicely my brain is like “let’s tell them about your troubled past!”. And I respond “no, brain, we can’t keep doing this, it scares people off.” To which the obvious solution, for my brain here, is to convince me I need to fuck my new friend. Why?!

So rather than deal with the turmoil of wondering how to act like a normal human being around others, I just avoid people altogether. I don’t have friends. My circle includes my husband, kids, and cats. Sometimes I will text my dad, but I wouldn’t consider us to be particularly close. It’s been this way for years. 

I do wish I could go out into the wild and socialize like a normal person, but I don’t see it happening. Or if it does happen, I see it going badly. I wish I could keep better boundaries. I wish I didn’t have sudden moments of possession where I’m compelled to discuss my tragic backstory. It doesn’t feel like I consciously do it, either. It’s almost like I watch myself do it? I don’t know if that makes sense. Nothing makes sense to me. 

Annnddd now I want to binge eat. Like fucking clockwork. 

“Oh wow, A, did you touch on sensitive subjects?? Better go eat until you hate yourself.”

Joke’s on you, me…I already hate myself.

Signing off,

A