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About yarnfoolishness

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  1. A few months back I wrote about trying to break thru the frozen place and just make decisions. I've been working on it steadily since then. I'm not trying to imply that I never got frozen again - I did. Repeatedly. I just kept trying. I'm very proud of myself for this. It helps to look back at my last entry and remember where I was then and see where I am now. I've done a lot of small things that are actually big things. Two small/big things are: - I insist on finishing my dinner/lunch/breakfast before I am willing to go get seconds (or thirds) for anyone else. I figure if they're in that much of a hurry for more dinner, they can get the second helping themselves. It's amazing how much better this one thing makes me feel. - I now lock the bedroom or bathroom door when I'm bathing, dressing, etc. They can all wait two minutes for whatever it is they want. I've also done a big thing... a VERY big thing... You see. I moved my mom out of my house this past week. I did it. I still don't believe it some moments. I did this. Me. Regardless of mom's approval or lack thereof. I made a decision. - I found the secured dementia care home for her. I called my brother, discussed the arrangements, put down the deposit. - I told DH of my decision, after I put the deposit down. I did not give him a vote. (He was totally ok with that.) - I took mom over the next day to let her see it and meet the people. I did not give her a vote either. I just told her it was happening, kindly. - I moved her personal items, some pictures, clothes and so forth in a day in advance. - I took her to the place, settled her in, and went home. - I've stopped by each day (for less than an hour each time) to be sure things are running smoothly & to drop off items. It's only been three nights (tonight is the 4th) that she hasn't slept under my roof. I can't believe the difference in the way my household feels. I'm calmer. My children are ALL calmer. DH is calmer. It's QUIET. I had no idea how mom's behavior and influence was creating all this actual noise. I've slept better. We've ALL slept better. I keep having nightmares that she's broken herself out of the secured care section and found her way back to my house - chasing me down for whatever her need/desire of the moment may be - lol. I figure those will fade pretty quick now. ----- It took me a long time to realize it, but my mom's constant presence was making me ill again. There were some things that I learned from her presence that were helpful to me. I learned that despite appearances, mom is egocentric in the extreme, and always has been. She wants what she wants, and she doesn't really care if it's inconvenient for you or damaging for you. She wants what she wants immediately and that's it. She made me the mom of the house when I was only 11 years old, and she didn't care what it did to me. Indeed, she refused to even see what it did. She only cared if she got what she wanted. Her descent into advanced dementia while living in my house was eye opening, and illness producing. As the dementia progressed, her ability to mask her behaviors and motivations deteriorated. I was able to see what she has been doing all along because it became more obvious. What also became obvious was how damaging it was for me then, and now. It's funny how we don't always recognize the villains in our own stories. Ah well. No matter what, I made the decision and implemented it. That's a good thing.
  2. Maybe the trap door needs repair so it's easy to open - especially from the inside. Maybe the low of the cellar needs a sturdy set of steps so you can leave more easily when you find yourself there. Maybe the cellar needs a comfy chair, a blankie, a good cup of tea, a welcoming light, even a window if the top part of the cellar is above ground. This may sound weird, but I think the cellar is perhaps not your enemy. It's your pain - from the past. It's your fear of your pain from the past. It's not the actual past. Does that make any kind of sense? Forgive me if I'm way off base... It just seems to me that your pain and suffering deserve comforting and soothing, bandages, kindness. You know as well as I that comforting, soothing, kindness, bandages, blankies, and comfy chairs don't magically fix the pain of having the flu or a sprained ankle for example. (no matter how much we might wish for that magical cure) Yet, somehow the soothing and comforting and kindness create a kind of acceptance, an invitation to rest, a bit of support, an indication that healing is possible, that patience is called for. Can you give yourself a bit of that kindness, comfort...? The day will come when that cellar is no longer so dangerous to you. For now it may hold the child's paralyzing terror of the monster-under-the-bed. But. The monster is hear-and-now gone, long gone, from your physical presence. All that remains is to reclaim the space, now vacated, under the bed. Speaking as one who knows full well how big job that is. Sending good thoughts.
  3. 2/17/16 - "executive decisions"

    After churning on it for a couple of days, I grabbed a small amount of power and made a decision or two. Interestingly, DH seemed to like it... Weird. I've been triggered for a bit, obviously. Stuck in that frozen place where I don't move - a variation of the freeze response to threat. I would like to be able to see that state coming and to avoid it or get out of it sooner. I just don't know how. I keep churning away on it in T. I keep thinking I'll finally figure it out, and THEN all will magically be well. I have to remind myself that this is child-like magical thinking. Learning to live with the aftermath of rape and torture, learning to live with the Me who survived, is hard. Sometimes I just don't want to. Sometimes I just want out. Then I think of my kids and know I have to stick with it. I still don't want to. So I do it sullenly, grudgingly, resentfully. Sometimes I am not a nice person. A better person would stick with life with less grudge, I think. I remind myself of a spoiled child. All I can do is keep trying. I have an exam today. I'm not at my best - brain fog and anxiety. I hope I can do well enough. I should have studied more. In my mind I'm already blaming myself for doing poorly. I look at every block of time over the last several days and kick myself for not studying at every opportunity. Blame blame shame shame. *(Head-shake - I have some TERRIBLE thought habits. Look at that! Shaming myself before the fact.)* Deep breath. Just try Yarn. You might surprise yourself.
  4. Why do I accept bad behavior from others? Why do I twist myself into knots trying to accommodate it, work around it? Short answer: That's how I survived with abusive parents. But. I'm still doing it. Mom behaves badly, I twist myself into knots to soothe her. Kids behave badly, I try to reason with them. DH behaves badly, I make excuses for him. Actually I do that for all of them. Yes. They all have challenges. Dementia, ADHD, Aspergers, Illness and Injury. The thing is: So do I. I have illness; I have injury. I have mental health challenges. I work hard to behave well, not badly. The despair has been swirling around. I've been hiding my tear-fullness and dissociation, getting more and more distant from the present moment, and doing less and less, interacting less and less. During T he said: "Why don't you exercise your power? Make an executive decision or three. You carry all the burden and try to please everyone while it just gets harder and harder for you." He's right. I've allowed everyone's distress, wants, don't-wants, and so forth to dictate my actions until I'm taking no actions. Which is a trap. Traps feed the PTSD. Traps feed the despair. It's really hard. DH is fighting me (which is also a trigger), but I'm making decisions again. Little ones. Wish me luck.
  5. 1/21/16 - Anxiety is contagious.

    So. Mom has dementia and lives with me. I've mentioned it before. For her entire life, she has been obsessively anxious about things, anything. Back when I was going to group I met a person suffering with OCD. This person spoke in the same way as my mother. It was eye opening. I spoke with mom's PDoc at the following visit and described it all, and the person I met in group. PDoc agreed that likely mom has suffered with undiagnosed OCD for years, sad. PDoc added the treatment for OCD to mom's treatment plan for dementia, and it helped actually. So, fast forward to now. I pretty much care for mom full time now. It's exhausting. It is interfering with every aspect of my family's lives. Some time in this year she will need to move to a care facility. We all know it,and I'm slowly working through the process to make that happen. With the dementia progressed so far, her level of anxiety is massive and constant, despite all her meds which include benzodiazepines. She seeks comfort and reassurance from me every ten minutes 24/7. I remind her that all is well, over and over. The thing is, it rubs me raw. It grates at the PTSD until it flares. Anxiety is contagious, and I don't want to live with this any more. Deep breath. I just have to get through today.
  6. Yet again, yes, as usual. I got triggered a couple of weeks ago, and I've been suffering since. It's all the typical PTSD stuff: poor sleep, irritable, dissociative, poor cognition, anxious, reacting to perceived threats in everything. Frustrating. I guess I still feel that knowledge should free me. It doesn't, not completely, and I want complete freedom. I'm angry and sad that I won't get that freedom from the past. - I know, I'll get over it. Don't mind me on this. I'm worried about the very near future. I can't care for Mom much longer. I worry she doesn't have the funds to provide for her care for the remainder of her life. I'm worried about how to make this transition without bankrupting my own family. Worry, worry, worry. And useless worry to boot. There is not one thing I can do this minute to solve this, yet still I fret. T suggests I try less hard... I was talking about trying harder... There is too much to do for one person. T wonders when I can resume EMDR... Not looking forward to that. Oh heck, I'm just going in circles. Anxiety much?
  7. I have a teensy difficulty with perspective. (Ahem - rolling eyes at self.) For example, T said again this week that what I endured was enormously worse than any other in his experience as a T. (Not saying anything about anyone's experience here, just expressing how his words hit me.) He mentions R and T**ture, and we talk about how those experiences seem to cut my connection to the human race. We talk about finding language for those experiences. We talk about Pandys and group. We talk about making a new connection with the human race, and how scary that is. And all the while, I literally physically feel as though the earth beneath my feet is rolling like the deck of a ship at sea. Its a relief to switch topics to how I am coping with mom this week. I leave T with all my mental plans for how I'm solving this and that, DS13's ELA grade, Mom's day care, DS10's IEP, DD7's temper tantrums, school, bills dinner, housekeeping, etc. And I wonder to myself why I've not slept well since T, why I've had a headache since T, why I'm suddenly not doing my chores the last three days,why the nightmares are acting up... I could go on. See, perspective, or the lack thereof, leaves me kinda blind to myself. I busy my mind trying to solve ALL THE THINGS, and really, it's just a form of avoidance, an anxiety producing form of avoidance (because really, who can solve everything?). I wonder if it isn't more than that. I wonder if, having endured extremity, anything short of that seems like it "shouldn't be that hard". I think I'm walking around with a flawed measuring stick. Anyway. Enough ruminating for one day.
  8. 1/5/16 - a small victory

    Interesting thoughts lately. I find I can see the past a bit more clearly, and it's significant, very. So Mom is still living with me. The dementia has progressed significantly, and as it has done so, her veneers have peeled away. It has helped me to see some things made more obvious. The first obvious thing was her obsessive drive to control odd things. It's always been a part of her, but it's so easy to identify now. The second obvious thing was her fear, of EVERYTHING. This has also always been a part of her, but again much easier to see now. The third obvious thing is her selective memory. She actually said (about something significant): "Oh. I'll just forget about it because I don't want to remember. I do that you know." (!!!!???!) So I'm taking these things (obsessive control, fear, selective memory, and others) with me when I revisit the past. It has helped. You see, in the past my mother (and father) were absolute authorities, so everything was my fault. Their authority as my parents to my child-self was so "large" that no matter what my T or my logic would say, my parents authority was always "larger". Until now. Now I see my past-self and hear my past-parents, and I hear the insanity in them as well. Somehow the (now obvious) insanity of mom's behavior has served to shrink her authority in my memory down to more human size. It leaches the shame away, just a bit, to realize that mom was in many ways completely bug-nuts. (And still is). My parents were freaking lunatics who put up a very good appearance of normal. Hell, it would confuse anybody.
  9. 9/11/15 - then and now

    Some moments in time become landmarks along the journey of living. The births of each of my children. The advents of new lives... I remember events in the context of their times as infants, walkers, talkers.. Was DS2 born yet? Had DS1 started school? Was DD walking? They stand as landmarks placing things in context and order. Other things as well, the presence or shadows of deaths... The death of my father. Each of DH's big hospital stays. My big hospital stay. Each a meeting with death, either in the form of a nod in passing, or the form of a cordial greeting, or the form of a meeting. There are more landmarks, less personal perhaps, but powerful enough... The tragedy of the space shuttle Challenger. The terrible events of 9/11/2001. The first lunar landing. The Northridge Earthquake. The massive wildfires of 1993. These also mark my landscape. Each creating a "before" an "after" I'm old enough now that I can often sense the mysterious birth of another befor/after. Not all are newsworthy to others after all. It's happening now. A "before" is coming to be. I wonder what the "after" will be like.
  10. 8/23/15 - Fear. Again. (Blech.)

    I seem to be stuck, very stuck. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do things, but I suspect it is (at least partially) due to my own inner landscape. Inside myself I feel rootless, tossed at sea without a rudder or sail. It is a source of great anxiety. Intellectually I know that only I can grow roots. Only I can make the rudder and sail. I just don't know how to do that. So I Just Feel Afraid. All The Time. (It's exhausting.) I've registered for three classes this semester. I continue the job search. I just keep limping along. It has to get better.
  11. 8/11/15 - no sleep

    I had a horribly bad night. My sleep was broken over and over again by kids and mom and DH. I'm left feeling tired, anxious, and angry. Had a mini-fight with DH last night. It will blow over. I was baking, and he complained that I was using an ingredient that he uses for something that he makes. I just took a deep breath. He went to pains to say he wasn't 'picking on' me. I know this. I just get tired of hearing something along these lines every time I cook something. When he asked what was wrong, I said I was just tired of hearing things like this every time I did something in the kitchen. His response was some profanity and a slammed door. Deep breath. Things are already hard. I know he hurts. I just get really tired of all this. Mom is very dependent. I'm tired of the shadowing. It's hard on me. I need to get busy working on the dishes and such. It is so bleeping hard to see things objectively with the PTSD and Crap interfering. I feel like I can't get my head above water.
  12. 8/9/15 - Still standing

    A bit of a ramble. I had a challenging few days. The interview went well. I survived it. Will see if anything comes of it. An hour later I had a call from my son's pediatrician. The insurance pre-authorization showed a $2,000.00 share of cost - WHAT!?!?!? For a simple annual checkup? It took six phone calls, a drive downtown, two hours in line, and 20 minutes with a case manager to get it fixed in time for his appointment the following morning. The following morning all three kids had pre-start-of-school checkups. I get home to find mom very distressed and DH freaking out. DH lifted something he should not have. He was in a lot of pain, and his legs were not working too well. The pain meds were not helping. Mom was angry and upset because he had yelled at her. (He yelled at her to leave him alone because she wanted him to fix her something different for her lunch than he had fixed and would not leave him alone about it even though his legs were giving out.) So I find out what is going on. I insist DH take the anti-inflammatory med and the one for spasms. He rants the whole time. I find out he needs to see his doc but hasn't called. I call. I set the appointment. Then I fix mom something else to eat and listen to her vent about DH. I have to tell her repeatedly to leave him alone and that he is in severe pain. Her feelings are hurt because he yelled at her. I ask her why she didn't want the lunch he had made for her? She didn't know. I point it out, sitting on the table. She still doesnt know, and comments that she likes it. ??????????? Such are the challenges of dealing with a person with dementia. On the one hand, I am pleased that I was able to manage the situation. On the other hand, I quietly had a couple of days of panic attacks following. It seems to have settled now. T is on vacation. He has been gone for a week. He will be gone for another week. It is good practice, dealing with his absence. It helps to illustrate more clearly my areas of strength and weakness. I enrolled in a couple of night classes at the community college. I'm scared and excited, both.
  13. I reworked my resume today. I think it's much better. I feel good about that, but now I'm scared.... I sent it off to a couple of job postings and a couple of recruiters. Two hours later, one of the recruiters called me - gulp - I think I sounded like an idiot on the phone. Regardless, it must not have been too bad because I have an online interview tomorrow morning and I'm terrified. I am not confident in my skills, and I really hope I don't make a fool of myself. I realize that a large part of the fear comes from the fact that I had to give references - names and contact information of people I used to work with. I have no idea what they'll say when this recruiter contacts them - not that there is anything I can do about it now. I guess I just assume that these people are going to do me harm or (oddly) think badly of me (weird combination, I know). I'm coping with this mostly by labeling it "practice". If this interview is "practice", then I can make mistakes. If it's practice, I can relax a little. (wish I could convince myself.) Breathe Yarn, breathe.
  14. What the Hell am I going to do. DH pointed out yesterday that: I've spent a week buried in books, I'm not keeping my tech skills up, I've been out of work for 15 months. I'm not staying current in tech. That's good way to find oneself exiting the industry. In my mind, I think I've exited already. DH only put into words what I am already thinking: Time to create motion and momentum, activity. I don't think this time of stillness wasted. I've been processing like mad in the background. I've begin dreaming again. It's all to the good. I hope. I think the only thing I really disliked was DH saying that I'm not staying current. It's true, and I don't mind the truth of it so much. It's that ex-boss said the same. In the case of ex-job, there was literally no time. Now, there is time, so no excuses. And yet, I feel that old dread. I really wish that working wasn't so tied up with PTSD triggers.
  15. 7/31/15 - Still thinking

    Text from T (in reference to letting go of guilt where mom is concerned): "Your parents abused you, like (the ex), and made you believe it was your fault." When I first read it, I felt like the words took all my air away. I want to deny it, ignore it, something. It's so confusing. There was the supportive stuff... ...Mom took me in unannounced at three am, no questions asked, when I ran away from the ex. She and dad let me stay for two years until I got back on my feet (I paid them rent). ...When DH was in a coma, she watched the kids during the week so I could work until I was able to arrange childcare. She contributes to the finances now. I'm grateful for the help she/they gave. ...We didn't go hungry as kids. We had the necessities and a little more. And yet... ... She started leaving me home alone for hours, in charge of my brothers aged 5 and 7, when I was only 10-11. She went to work full time (we didn't need the money) when I was 11-12. I did the cooking and cleaning and watching out for them for all the years until I married the ex monster at age 20. ... ... Dad was often absent when I was a kid. He drank. When he was around, he had unpredictable rages where he would tear me apart verbally, then he'd back off, then he'd do it over again, repeat, for hours. Whatever the rage was about, it was all my failing. Worse, I "should have known better", whatever it was. Mom never intervened. She never spoke of it. ... They both made me very uncomfortable in my body. They tried to make me "sexy" all the time. Clothes, comments. They thought it was the way to be. I hated it. How does such a thing balance out? Were they "good" parents or abusers? Were they both-and? Nobody is perfect. They could have been so much worse. They could have been better. Where is the balance? I am most certainly NOT a perfect parent. How can I judge? Heck, I don't want to judge. Ok... I am seeing a glimmer here. I am going round in circles on this because, as usual, I THINK MY WANTS AND NEEDS DON'T MATTER. T's point is that my parents TAUGHT me to believe that MY opinions, likes, dislikes, wants, don't-wants, and needs DON'T MATTER. They taught me that everyone else's matter. It's such an automatic thing. I feel embarrassed and ashamed, still, when I don't want what others are raving about. OH!!! That too. There was a ton of overt pressure to outwardly agree with whatever they said was good or bad. It's like they owned the one and only universal definition of good or bad, desirable or not, respectable or not. (Mom still triggers me on this one all the time. I can see now why I insist that my kids are allowed to have differing opinions and preferences.) So now, when mom (or DH, or an authority figure) say they want something, my default reaction is to try to do what they wanted, regardless of how I feel about it. (After which I often feel trapped and abused. I must learn to take a pause before reacting and own my NO.) With regards to caring for mom now in her dementia. It is often triggering for me. T would argue that I don't owe her anything, and that the process of caring for her is bad for me. T would argue that DH's vote carries less weight than mine because she's my mom. T would argue that I get to choose if she stays with us or goes to a care facility. I'm still in a place of "drift" where this is concerned as I feel a bit rootless. So back to T's text... I don't know that I can hold the abuse word. I can't really right now. I will say that they set me up to marry the ex-monster. I will say that they taught me to blame myself for everything. I will say that they taught me that I don't matter and don't deserve help. I will say that they taught me that I'm on my own when it gets tough, although I might get help in extremity. They didn't do me any favors. So was it abuse? By today's standards, I think yes. By the standards of the 60's and 70's, I don't know. And does it matter now? Does it help me heal?