Faith

Consumed

I turned 29 about a week ago. Leading into this birthday, I started focusing on the future, I felt like a switch had been flipped, I needed what has been my life over the last “few” years to change. Then I started counting the years it has actually been, it wasn’t just a few… it has been 9 years, 9 years since I had a nervous breakdown and since that fateful day I have been consumed. Consumed with the horror of what happened, the fear of it happening again, terror of the unknown, panic attacks, and an inability to move forward.

I need this to change. I need positivity, I need hope, faith, strength, endurance, happiness, life. I made a decision on the morning of my birthday to no longer keep focusing on the past, being consumed by it. That has to end, I don’t live there anymore.

I wish I could write about happy things, but what I know, what I have lived, is dark and ugly.

So, final post on the dark truth before I start to shape my writings into something more positive.

I don’t remember my exact age when I was molested, but I was very young, and he had been a trusted family friend who was morbidly obese and could barely move. I never went near him again after the first time he touched me, he did end up going to prison (for touching/raping other girls) and he died there as well.

11, the summer that I stayed with my Grandmother and in those fateful months I lost all of my trust and faith in extended members of family. My cousin accused me of stealing her things, even after proven innocent, I carried the stigma of thief with *most of my extended family. I was a verbal whipping post for my Grandmother and cousin that summer. My sister was taken 75 miles away and I was left alone with them. Slapped every time I objected to being called names, I started to spend all of my time hiding in a room in the attic or outside in my Grandfather’s barn. Years later, I was still the one to blame if something wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

15, when I was raped by someone I met only hours earlier. My best friends and peers shunned me. He threatened to kill me and my entire family if I ever spoke out about it. So I didn’t.

19, when I broke up with a boyfriend who would go on to attack me physically, punching a hole in the wall when I ducked, breaking into the bathroom while I was showering to grab me by the hair and slam my head into the wall, raping me for leaving him.

20, when I moved in with a man who was so emotionally abusive that I would start my day by throwing up from stress, choked me and threw me into furniture when he was drunk and angry, and cheated on me with other men.

20, when I had a nervous breakdown. Which is ultimately what saved my life.

My life today is completely opposite of what happened over these years. My life is amazing, but I am only just starting to heal. That seems to unreal but at 22 I was safe and as each year has progressed I have made healthier choices for my life because I’m learning ….that I’m worth it.

Freshly 29, I see a future and I plan to focus on being the healthiest I can be for it, not on living in my past. Working through what happened instead of letting it consume me.

And removing my makeup every night. After all, it’s time I start behaving like an adult.

See no evil

The eyes are the window to the soul. – English Proverb 

Last Sunday, the Seahawks went to play the Broncos. Diehard 12’s, my husband, my family, and I were amped. At one point I really took notice of my husband’s face and he looked like a kid at Christmas, his whole face was lit up and his eyes sparkled. I took a close look at my mom when she came over and saw that her eyes sparkle too. These two people are the happiest and healthiest people in my life. They have a joy that they just wake up with every day, a great attitude, and a zest for life and you can see it in their eyes.

When I look into my eyes, I see pain, I see a vacant look on my face, and it feels so bleak. I don’t want this. I see bruises that aren’t there anymore and I see memories that I wish I could forget.

I want the sparkle, I want the inner happiness, and I am willing to fight for it, I just don’t know exactly what I am fighting. Fighting ghosts is what we call it, depression, PTSD, night terrors, an inner feeling of dread that something bad is going to happen weighs on me and there is a part of me that is trapped inside, screaming to get out.

Sidebyside

 

Matthew 6:22  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”

I don’t remember what day it was that the light left my eyes, but I know it was many years ago and I’m only just getting to a place where I’m fighting to get it back. I know what it has been like for me, but I am having an even harder time watching it happen to my sister. My heart hurts remembering that I saw the light and sparkle in my sister’s eyes leave on the day of her wedding. She carries the vacant look that goes along with the phrase “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Abuse sucks the life and the light out of us. With every fist and kick, the breath that is knocked out of you from a physical abuser can take away the sparkle and light that once was a part of us. With every tear that comes shaking out of us from the unkind words, slanderous speech, vindictive behavior, and negativity of an emotional abuser, our eyes cease to glow.

 

Insomnia

I can’t sleep. Again. It seems like this is a constant.

My husband and I have a night time “routine”, if you will. We snuggle, he falls asleep, we flip over to the other side and my tossing and turning begins.

I’ve tried countless things to lull myself to sleep. Counting sheep, counting to 100, meditating (difficult when the sweet man beside you snores..), thought movement (the imaginative process of putting stresses into bins to organize and remove jumbled thoughts), etc. etc. I’ve tried tapes to listen to, rushing shores, jungle, rain, all of that makes me have to use the bathroom, inducing more stress on top of not being able to sleep. Melatonin, natural remedies, sleepy time tea, xanax, alcohol. Sigh. Why. Am. I. Awake.

I know that a part of me doesn’t want to fall asleep because of the nightmares I have. Sometimes in my dreams I relive things from my past and I wake up terrified and screaming. Other times the nightmares can be something worse than what I’ve been through.

There is something else to this though. As I was laying in bed tonight I listened to my body, I cleared my mind and focused on what my body was feeling and what became apparent has startled me to an even more conscious state at…. 1:08 am.

I have a hard time breathing. My lungs feel like they are shaking and each breath is small. Taking a deep breath hurts.

My stomach an inner organs feel like they are quivering in fear, which is a sensation I usually only get during a panic attack.

My face has areas that feel like they are throbbing and swelling.

My neck feels like someone has it in a vice and it just will not relax.

My heart hurts, the racing, the panic, the dread, the hope, the pain, excitement…. it feels so tired.

I know this part of the cycle is what can make the next day harder. Good sleep, any sleep, is so very important to our health and state of mind. I just can’t fall asleep.

 

Unity … or no.

I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast on Sunday. While the biscuits were baking, and the gravy was thickening, that yummy, warm, fresh scent filled the kitchen. I had a flashback to my Dad being the one making this exact breakfast. I love these moments when I have a scent and memory that go together about my Dad, I breathe it in and have complete peace for a few brief moments.

Achieving unity – oneness – with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our friends and working associates, is the highest and best and most delicious fruit of the 7 Habits. Most of us have tasted this fruit of true unity from time to time in the past, as we have also tasted the bitter, lonely fruit of disunity – and we know how precious and fragile unity is. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I was living on the bitter, lonely fruit of disunity while I was with Aeron. When you are in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic tendencies and destructive behavior, there isn’t any room for two. They only have time and space for themselves, you aren’t an equal, you are a possession.

Just to set the scene, here are a few signs he is a narcissist ::I use he because it relates to my experience::

1. No empathy – most people care when you’re upset, but a narcissist will focus on how he feels, and how upset you just made him.

2. Sense of Entitlement – He feels entitled to things/successes even though he hasn’t earned them.

3. Exaggeration – embellishing everything, dramatic.

4. Needs excessive attention – He needs constant attention and becomes moody or upset when you’re attention is on something else.

5. Possessive and controlling

6. Behaves like he is the center of the universe

There isn’t any room for unity as a couple if you are in a relationship with someone that has these characteristics. When I was with Aeron, I thought that if I tried harder, did better, was prettier, skinnier, worked harder, cleaned better, made him happier, etc, etc, etc, that he would finally love me and we could be a happy couple. The truth is, he never wanted to love me, or anyone, more than himself. I deserved better than that.

The worst part of leaving was that I felt everything that he was incapable of feeling. I felt the pain of a relationship lost because I had put so much hard work into it, I felt bad for hurting his feelings when I left him, I felt awful for saying no each time he asked me to reconsider leaving, but because of days gone past, I knew his promise to try and to change was a lie.

There is in each of us so much goodness that if we could see its glow, it would light the world. – Sam Friend

 

Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future, but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. – Eileen Caddy

I set my sights high when I left Aeron, but recovering from the damage has taken so long that I’m only starting to look at them. I feel like I’m not done fighting because my sister’s husband is so much like Aeron, her relationship being so much like my last one in many ways. I see the weight of neglect in her eyes, I had the same look. I hear her put off her own feelings because he hasn’t cared about them since the beginning, and it breaks my heart.

I wish I could show her a picture of her sights set higher, of what she deserves to feel in this life; love, unity with someone who loves you, joy. How do you create a picture showing the weight that you carry by being with an emotionally destructive partner?

When we set exciting worthwhile goals for ourselves, they work in two ways: We work on them, and they work on us. – EDGE Learning

Pink

Motivation

It’s a Thursday, it’s Halloween, and it’s 2013. I’ve done hardly anything this entire week because I haven’t felt motivated. I can feel my slump turning slowly back into depression and it’s time that all of this changed. It’s been seven years since my panic began and for the first time I feel confident in taking charge of my life. I will fight this.

I need daily motivation, I know this. So I’m going to make it public. I can’t sit back if I tell everyone I’m going to do something. So here it is. I’m going to do this.  Day 1.

If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.  – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

My perception of almost everything has been bleak for the last seven years. I thought the worst of every situation, person, and dreaded interacting because they would see all of my past, my shame, my hurt. So how do I view today with a different perception? My short list for the day is that I need to do the dishes, I need to drag some things out of storage, and I need to take my mom on a drive to pick up a vehicle. None of this sounds exciting and ordinarily I would put off all of it except for the necessary, because the couch is calling and my pain level is at an 8. However, new leaf.  I will put music on while I do the dishes. I will get myself dressed and ready for the day instead of dreading leaving my apartment for storage and the drive. I get to spend time with my mom this afternoon, as well as my sister and her beautiful babies. I need to remember that every moment I get to spend with my family and friends is valuable. When we lost my dad a year ago I promised myself that I would never take the people I love for granted again, our time together is too short to be spent dreaded, put off, or unhappily.

If you can dream it, you can do it. – Walt Disney

Every candle lit; every home, bridge, cathedral or city ever built; every act of human kindness, discovery, daring, artistry or advancement started first in someone’s imagination, and then worked its way out. You have that power – use it. – To Your Success

I haven’t thought that I have the ability to do anything good in the last seven years. I’ve only thought negatively of myself and what I’ve accomplished. I’ve been wrong, even if it is simply human kindness today, I can do that. I’m an artist, I should be creating. We all have an ability to make more out of our lives… but depression, panic disorders, and PTSD, suck that belief and strength right out of us. Fight back. Today, I’ll fight back, human kindness I can do and maybe I’ll even crack a try at a little Instagram creativity.

Some people make the world more special just by being in it. – Kelly Ann Rothaus (The good life, celebrating the joy of living fully)

My dad was one of those people. My mom is as well. They have this innate ability to simply be wonderful. My dad took enjoyment from anything and everything, no matter how hard the day was – he was happy at the end of it. I remember how a picnic would light up his eyes, he would be spreading all of the food on the table, laughing at jokes, punning, and watching his wife and children simply be, and you could tell that he had utter contentment. I crave that joy. It hurts how badly I want to be happy again, but I have been so lost for so long that it has felt impossible to me. As I think about my dad and mom and their upbeat attitudes in the face of all things strife and contentious, I can’t help but think that the tug I feel in my heart is a shred of hope. I want to be happy, I want to enjoy my life again, that has to count for something. I gave up on it a long time ago, but today, I will embrace that tug on my heart as hope.