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About bluetara

  • Birthday 08/20/1980

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  1. i really need to get some things off my chest right now. i came home for the holidays to visit with family. i have been looking forward to this time a lot. it was supposed to be a time to relax, but instead problems are popping off left and right between my family members and i am in the middle of the crossfire trying to make sense of it all. ****VERY IMPORTANT background about my abusive maternal grandparents: when i was growing up, my mom was honest about the abuse she experienced throughout her life by her mother. my mother and her siblings were physically, emotionally, and verbally (and most likely sexually) abused in extreme ways by her mother and neglected by their father. i grew up avoiding my grandmother like the plague and that seemed to work out fine because my grandma didn't seem to care and notice that i was alive. the only sibling that my grandmother focused her love and attention upon was my older sister. the rest of us, she put down, threatened to beat, and belittled because we were scum to her. my grandmother has no problem admitting to our entire family that my older sister is 'her favorite.' my mother, siblings and i grew up in domestic violence and my older sister and i were physically abused by our father. my mother eventually had enough and found a way for us to leave and be safe from harm. in order to cope, my older sister has blocked out any memories of the abuse. i have vivid and clear memories of the abuse and the memories still haunt me., during our childhood, my oldest sister stayed over my grandmothers a lot, because my grandmother liked to have special time with her. my grandmother would buy her pretty dresses, bake for her, and give her bags of candy to bring home with the message that she wasn't to share with anyone else. we even lived with them for a couple of years until they threw us out on the streets. my sister eventually told me that during these visits, that my grandmother would tell her a lot of 'bad stories' about what our father did to her. when she shared what our grandmother had told her, they were pretty outrageous and extreme (like that my father stabbed my oldest sister when she was an infant in her crib- if that really happened- he would have been put in jail) a lot of what my sister was told by my grandmother about what happened to her didnt match with my own vivid recollection. i would get so confused and would ask my mother to confirm these stories, my mother said that they weren't accurate and that grandma was making things up to be malicious. my grandmother told my older sister a lot of things, one of them being that my mother was a bad parent and that my mom was so incompetent that my grandmother had been placed in the position to raise her all by herself. what is frightening is that my sister truly believes these things.**** when i came into town on monday, i received a call from my mother who was in tears telling me that my oldest sister decided last minute to not join us for christmas eve dinner. my sister and mother haven't spoken since july when i was hospitalized. i believed that this was because they had an argument about where i was going to go after i was discharged. when i went to the hospital, i found the courage to finally tell my oldest sister for the first time of my experience of sexual abuse at the hands of our maternal grandfather. she was very supportive and sympathetic when she called me to tell me that she read the letter i sent her discussing the matter. she said that she hurt for me, that she could not imagine how painful that must have been because nothing like that ever happened to her. i felt proud that i was able to break the silence. i thought this could bring us closer. this did not happen. shortly after this conversation happened, my oldest sister decided to start therapy for the first time. we were still talking daily at this point and she told me a little bit about her first session. she announced to me proudly that her therapist told her to terminate any contact with our mother. i was shocked at this, and something inside my gut felt very sick. my sister also spoke with my brother and told him the same thing. we were both very surprised. i thought that this was extreme advice considering that the two of them just met. personally, i have not had positive experience with therapists who are eager to tell me who i should and should not talk to- especially after the first session. red flags went off in my mind. my sister is very trusting toward those who present themselves as experts. if she is handed a pill by a doctor, she takes it, no questions asked, and still takes it even if it makes her ill. she is subservient to authority. she is passive and a people pleaser. i know that she is also vulnerable to being taken advantage of, so when she told me about what her therapist suggested, i grew concerned, and decided to just try to keep a the lines of communication open and observe. i am very supportive of the idea of her getting counseling, but i want to make sure that she is not being taken advantage of. my sister has been very shallow with me after she started seeing this therapist. we used to be close, talk everyday, say i love you and when i was in the hospital she would come to visit me every week. when i was discharged into a residential mental health facility, she slowly started drifting away, calling less, and stopped visiting. at the facility, i was having trouble with what was happening there and for many reasons i decided to leave. i was not in the best place of communication with her so she had no idea what trouble i was having, so when i told her that i was deciding to leave and that was the healthiest decision for me to make in my recovery, she grew upset and me that what i was doing was a making a mistake. i tried hard to explain that the environment was toxic and that another resident has tried to physically assault me. when i told her that, she put up her walls. making only infrequent and shallow conversation now, i thought i had done something to offend her and tried my best to communicate with her. all i would get is silence on the matter, unless i spoke of something rather shallow, i wouldn't get a response. something seemed very very very wrong. she was pulling away from me and i wasn't able to figure out what was going on. i called my brother to see if he knew what was going on with her. my brother told me that she had been pulling away from him too. i have a younger sister had also mentioned that she felt estranged from her too because my older sister didn't even know my younger sister had been attending college when my younger sister called her to wish her a happy birthday. now, it has been months since my older sister has spoken with our mother and not a word was ever mentioned about the therapy so i thought that she had stopped going. my mother and sister started making communication about what to get my nephew for christmas. my mom got up all the courage she had and asked her to join us for christmas eve dinner. there seemed to be a sliver of hope that she would be there but at the last minute she decided not to come. she explained to our mother that she does not want contact with her, but if she wants to see her grandson that her husband could make arrangements for her to have visitation at a later date. our whole family has been devastated by this. we were hoping that we would have her here with us for christmas, but she will not be. i felt heartbroken about this news too, so i took this disclosure as an opportunity to try to communicate with my sister and find out what has been going on with her and to better understand the decision she is making. i wrote her a letter in which i asked her to help me understand what was going on with her and why she changed her mind. i told her that her absence would be felt, that i wasn't angry and would respect her decision. i asked her if she was still seeking counseling and wished her the very best. my sister wrote me back and told me that she no longer wishes to have our mother be a part of her life any longer. she told me that she is open to seeing us siblings, she vaguely stated that if we did have contact that we would have to keep the subject matter 'light.' she then went on to rave about how great her therapist is and how she has helped her grow 'stronger and stronger every day.' red flags waved wildly in my mind again. my gut felt pained. i started to cry and i haven't stopped shaking since. i'm scared that i am losing my sister right now. from there, i couldn't sleep and i stayed up late trying to figure out how to reply to her letter in a safe and respectful way that allowed me to get a feel for what she is actually doing in her recovery with this therapist. what i came up with is that i asked her if this cut off is something that she came to the therapist for help with- if this was a goal that she intended to address herself or if this was recommended as part of her treatment plan with the therapist. i asked her to explain to me what was safe for us to discuss now. i offered to work with her in whatever way would be the least stressful. my sister replied in a vague manner telling me that her therapist recommended this in the treatment plan and that she agrees with it, and went on with more detail to discuss her workbooking, journaling, and other types of theraputic approaches. my sister mostly focused upon how angry she is at our mother and did not offer insight to me on what our boundaries are as sisters now. my sister told me that she wants to surround herself with happy and healthy people now and live her own life away from a mother who has put her through hell for the past 34 years. my sister expressed that she believed she is owed an apology from my mother for this and refuses to make further contact until she does. i wrote her back and explained that i did not understand her intense anger toward our mother and i told her that i respected her feelings. i explained to her what i thought was different about my relationship with our mother and hers. i told her that i noticed that they have trouble communicating how they really feel and that i hoped that one day that my sister could feel comfortable freely expressing herself with our mother like i have been able to. my mother and i have a healthy relationship in which we communicate and process our feelings together in a very honest way. we have been able to navigate our way through conflicts. i then encouraged my oldest sister to challenge herself in therapy to find the words to express to our mother what she really feels. for as long as i have been alive, my sister has harbored resentment against my mother- a puzzling kind of hatred. when i thought about the reasons why this might be, i had to look back at my sisters relationship with our grandmother, the wife of my sexually abusive grandfather. that's when it hit me. all of those years of hearing those stories by my grandmother that filled in the scary blanks of lost memory of abuse must have had such an impact on the way that my oldest sister sees our mother. as soon as i could, i called my mom to talk to her about this. my mom and i started piecing things together and figured out that my grandmother was abusing my oldest sister through the telling of stories and grooming her with special attention so that she could manipulate her. nothing on this earth makes me more sick than confronting that this has really happened. the HATRED i feel for this person i call 'grandma' is intense. the anger is raw. the damage is profound. earlier this evening, i got a call from one of my maternal aunts who wanted to talk about her concern about how my mother is taking all of this right now. the last time i spoke to my mother, she seemed like she was in a very good place, but something happened. what i learned is that my sister has told my mother that she is angry with her for not protecting her from being sexually abused by our father. my mother has not come to me to talk with me about this. i am very concerned as to why i have not been told. my sister claims that she had learned about this from one of the stories our grandmother told her about what happened to her when she was a child. seriously, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE this stuff is coming from, and it completely defies what my sister originally said in response to my disclosure about the sexual abuse that i experienced by my maternal grandfather. my oldest sister said SHE WAS NEVER SEXUALLY ABUSED, but now she is saying this after going to someone who seems rather questionable in therapy and after my grandmother telling another one of her mean-spirited stories??? please believe me, if my sister was sexually abused, then i would definitely be able to recall that happening to myself too. also, my sister would most DEFINITELY have shared this information with me after i opened up to her about our grandfather. instead, she said that she couldn't even fathom what kind of pain the sexual abuse must have caused because she had NO MEMORY of experiencing that kind of abuse herself. i also don't have any memories of her being abused sexually by our father, only physically. also, i am wondering why in the correspondence that i have had with my sister that she did not mention this part to me at all in the entire litany of grievances that my oldest sister has with my mother? and lastly, if my oldest sister is in the spirit of cutting off ties with people WHY ON EARTH is she preferentially closer and more social with members of my fathers (the man who she claims has sexually abused her) family???????? lastly, if my older sister was abused sexually, it was done in such a secretive way that NO ONE ELSE KNEW. my mom is a good woman and she didn't tolerate abuse PERIOD. if my mother knew that ANY of us were being sexually abused, you BETTER BELIEVE that the bastard would be rotting in jail today for it. if somehow, my grandmother had special insight about my oldest sister being subject to sexual abuse by our father, why the HECK didn't she tell my mother and report the abuse to the authorities herself?? i am so sick right now. i just want this nightmare to end. i've had a lot of reason to dislike my maternal grandmother, but now, i see nothing but an abusive sociopath. i can't say for SURE that my sister was or was not abused sexually. i know that she would have told me. i would have known by now. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? this is supposed to be a happy time of the year, but i am reeling. i am sick right now. i just want to be able to make sense of all of this. please pray for me and my broken family.
  2. On thursday of this week, i had little choice but to surrender my beloved cat and ptsd companion, Pentagram, to a no-kill shelter. i am angry with the people who work at the shelter that he came from when i contacted them for help in the matter. i told them that i didn't want to have to give up my little cat, but that i was prepared to if doing so could get him the much needed treatment and relief from intense suffering. even though i don't have an income, my partner does and had helped at times (i would use most of the monies i have had to pay for quality care for my little buddy) to cover the cost of extra care for the cat's increasing trouble with allergies. my partner is a full-time student and when he is not in class, he works and is very self-sufficient and usually has enough to support me as well. due to circumstances beyond his control in the scheduling of his classes and the demand of his classes, he had to cut his hours slightly to make everything work. due to this, we were out less money than normal, which made it not only difficult for us to choose between a meal and a utility bill, but also made it more and more difficult to help the cat who was getting sicker and sicker as each day passed. pentagram went from being this very sweet, affectionate, gentle boy to a withdrawn, obsessed, pained, and isolated creature. in response, i did everything i could to research what the problem could be and what i could do to help him get better. based on this research and the symptoms of the cat, i concluded wholeheartedly that he suffers from a rare disease called rippling skin disorder. the enlarged pupils, the random crying and howling and darting from room to room, spooked and behaving mysteriously pained, skin along his spine moving, sensitivity to being touched near his spine, tail chasing, body mutilation was all present. one of the symptoms of this neurological disorder or triggers is allergy, be it to food or other environmental factor. in this case, the fleas triggered it for him. even before he developed feline allergy dermatitis, i could see the above described symptoms of rippling skin disorder. the fact is, the presence of fleas just made it worse. when i took him to the rescue shelter vet after they offered a free examination to prevent surrender, they knew, in writing, about his symptoms and my concern that he be tested for rippling skin disorder as well as be treated for his apparent allergy. when i arrived with my cat, they acted like they didn't know a thing about me and reacted puzzled about the disorder i had discussed. when i came in to the vet office for the exam, they didn't address the problem with me. they saw his body and concluded that he had feline allergy dermatitis and gave me a cheap free antibiotic and told me to pick up some childrens liquid benadryl to help with the allergy. throughout my visit, i was being accused of not giving my cat flea treatments, and i was offended because my partner and i spent all the money we had trying different topical treatments for fleas. we live in an area that due to global warming, has not had a freeze in two years, and has left our community with a flea epidemic with fleas that are resistant to most high quality topical treatments. since the flea population has thrived, they are hard to get rid of even with extermination. thankfully, we did have an exterminator visit our home to rid our place of fleas when we had them. the problem continued to subsist as a result of our townhome neighbors. we live in a row of 100 year old townhouses, the wood floor is shared by all tenants and separated by thin walls. our next door neighbors are country folk and borderline animal hoarders. they have two very large dogs (Australian shepherd and Bloodhound) that they keep crated for most of the day (and force them to defecate in the crate) and three cats whom they adorn with cheap and toxic flea collars. they have a flea problem and are not interested in asking our landlord to have the exterminator over because they are afraid they will end up paying for the exterminating) no matter how much i clean (and i CLEAN: sweep, vacuum, mop the floors EVERY SINGLE DAY) the neighbors do not and i have never heard a vacuum or seen evidence of them cleaning in the time i have lived here. they have fleas and there is no way i can stop the critters from migrating here through the shared wooden floor. you might say, why not call animal protective services on them? the answer is that yes, it should and will likely happen, but that it could realistically take MONTHS for the neighbors to be forced to actually take care of their flea problem, and i didn't have months to watch helplessly as my cat suffered during that time. that is because the vet told me that all it takes for the cat is to be bitten by ONE flea for him to suffer for weeks and that there were only a few flea treatments that work for the fleas in our area (that of course, THEY sold at really expensive prices at the shelter) that i had to protect him at all costs for the fleas. i was told that the benadryl could only be used for as long as the antibiotic was administered to take care of his skin lesions that were self-inflicted. this led to a huge concern for me that he would NOT get better in this environment. i was angry at the shelter workers for doing the minimal in care because it was a free visit. it seems more to me that they offered this so that i didnt surrender him there. they made it apparent that they didn't really care about him. they even state on their website that they would prefer that animals that need to be surrendered who had been adopted from them be taken elsewhere and you can't even call a number to discuss with them about any problems- they just refer you to two 'specialists' who do the very least they can to turn you away. so, i tried my best to see if the benadryl would actually work and my research suggested that it would at least calm the guy down. what i didn't know was that it would be nearly impossible to dose the cat with the benadryl because cats naturally foam at the mouth when the medicine is ingested. not only that, their senses are so much more piqued than ours and can smell the medicine in food. at first, i tried giving the cat his favorite wet food with half a dose of the benadryl. he ate some but then got repelled at the fact that it caused him to foam at the mouth and he wouldn't touch the food. so, with the help of michael, i got the needle-less injector out and filled it with half a dose of the benadryl. pentagram is a VERY gentle creature and he clawed and bit at us so severely while we attempted to give him the meds to the point where we felt uncomfortable, he was feeling tortured by it and getting scared of the medicine! so, we gave up on that after getting scratched to bits. then, he walked over to the dosed wet food and ate it without much problem. i was RELIEVED! he ate it all and licked the bowl clean! about twenty minutes later, i checked up on him to see how the meds affected him. i found him biting, scratching, and licking obsessively, to the point of drawing blood! he then spent the entire evening and early morning, scratching, biting, pulling out his fur, and mutilating himself to the point of causing injury. let it be known that the benadryl DID NOT WORK for him in the least!i didn't feel comfortable with the way both the cat and i were treated at the shelter vet, so i was immediately reluctant to contact them and complain because they would likely accuse me of not doing something right, like give him the meds in the proper dose, though i was careful in my administering and gentle in my approach. also, i had been planning on leaving for my hometown for a visit. i knew that my roommate wouldn't be able to handle taking care of my cat in the state he was in, so i planned on taking him with me to make sure he was getting his medicines. the problem is that he had been using the floor as his litter box. even though i placed the litter box RIGHT NEXT to the area where he would sit for hours, staring at the wall, he would walk out of his way to the heating vent underneath the coat rack and defecate there. by doing this, the cat was letting me know how distressed he was. after the benadryl dosing attempts, he would run away from me every time i would try to hold him. the whole experience destroyed his intense trust in both my partner and i. knowing that we couldn't prevent one flea from getting at him and knowing we couldn't count on the shelter to actually provide him with the right care he needs, i had to make a very difficult decision. the most compassionate thing i could think of was to find a really good no-kill shelter to surrender him to in my local community and the following day, that's what i did. my heart was heavy. i couldn't even hug him goodbye because he wouldn't let me near him because he was still traumatized by the dosing experiences. i placed him in his carrier and michael and i drove to the shelter to surrender him. the shelter people were really judgmental of us and treated us as if we were poor, stupid, irresponsible, heartless kids who thought that our pet was a disposable toy. this is THE OPPOSITE of how we have ever felt or thought!!! the rationale was that if we couldn't do right for him despite our best efforts, that someone else could. the shelter could investigate, give him the testing he needs to rule out tumors, discover exactly what his allergies are, and give him the RIGHT meds for his neurological disorder in a lot easier manner than we could. let me tell you, it was HEARTBREAKINGLY difficult to have to give up my beloved ptsd companion. he was there for me in ways that other humans could not. he loved me as much as i love him. we left the shelter in tears, not only from the obvious loss of our friend, but from the attitude of the shelter folk who seemed to look down upon us as if we were horrible people. i spent the day crying, forgetting that he was really gone at certain points. just looking at his food dish, his litterbox, his remaining toys, his grooming tools, all got me crying for him and missing him. thinking of his beautiful and gentle eyes and our mutual delight in our shared morning routine would send me into a grief so profound that i can't even put it to words. i don't want anyone to say, well, you're too poor to have a cat, and you're an arse for having to give up something you love. i won't tolerate that. i am not ignorant, i did all the research and i am not heartless. i have a big big big heart and it aches for the company of my best friend. i tried everything, i skipped meals, i went without so that i could help my little guy suffer just a little bit less and that wasn't enough. i feel like a failure at times, but i know thats just the grief talking because the reality is that i tried until the very end. i tried and i still lost. the fight was not fair, and i was unable to win and help the cat on my own. it will take some time to get over this. this loss reminds me of others in the past. i might not be here for a while due to my need to be with myself and take care of myself while i mourn pentagrams' absence. in the meantime, i ask for your understanding and compassion. i ask for you to hug and pet your beloved animal friend for me, to remember that you're still with them and that at least today, you wont have to find yourself making the difficult decision that i did.
  3. sigh. the past few week has been filled with a lot of activity and stress and it really causes me to think about how i truly need to come up with a stress 'safety plan' to better cope with it all. about a week ago, my kitty cat developed some alarming behaviors that seem to have originated from a flea infestation a couple of months back. after a weekend of dog-sitting, my home became infested with fleas. my friend didn't seem to realize that his house was in bad shape with the fleas and thought he had it managed with natural remedies. the flea problem was so bad at my apartment that i had to stay for a week in hotels until the exterminator came to rid the home of the flea issue. turns out that my kitty is severely allergic to fleas, the fleas are still lingering and are resistant to Frontline. I was able to haggle my vet for a free examination and medications due to the fact that i am broke as a joke. thankfully, the vet came through, as i was in the position where i had to consider re-homing the poor guy. i'm happy to say that WILL NOT be happening, we will be able to spent our first holiday together in good health. over the weekend, i developed a very painful infection in my finger. my middle finger was swollen three times its normal size and felt as sore as a toothache might. when the pain started to spread to my wrist and forearm, i ended up seeking help at the ER. it didn't take long for me to be seen and they performed emergency surgery on my finger to help relieve the infection. the procedure was incredibly painful, despite the fact that they numbed up my finger. i have been taking pain meds since and i have discovered that they cause me to feel very irritable, forgetful, and tired. the only reason i am taking them is for the pain and i have no idea why anyone would want to use these drugs recreationally. they are not fun. i can't wait until my finger feels better so i can stop taking them. i am actually impressed with how well i am now able to type without the use of my middle finger, since it is all bandaged up. i have been stressed out by the limitations though. i can't get my finger wet, so dishes are awkwardly done. i even had to hand-wash some of my clothes and that wasn't easy to do one-handed. the clothes couldn't be wrung out properly, and i was getting overly frustrated with it. michael and i have been touchy with one another and conflict has been making its way into our dynamic based on some externalities involving a lack of money. i am waiting on money to come in for the holidays that will help us be able to pick up a few things that we need. michael had to pay a boat load of money for utilities last month, due to the fact that our roommate has been using her space heater quite a bit. this ate up a majority of his check he got and we're waiting until friday for things to level out with his finances. we're both smokers, and we have been put in the uncomfortable position to have to go a day or two without cigarettes. this has been another stress on top of everything else. we really know better than to smoke, yet, we are addicted and went through withdrawal for a couple of days, and on top of my pain med irritability, the cat being sick, and me not being able to fully use both of my hands to get chores done has been rough. i even made the mistake of thinking that my appointment with my T was today. i rushed from the vet to the bus stop, waited for the bus and nothing came. i called my T to complain about the lateness and to explain that i would get there asap. when i looked at my calendar on my phone, i discovered that i actually have the appointment tomorrow! i called her back and she told me i could have come in either day. she's great and i am hoping that we can tackle an important trigger in EMDR. especially since this is our last appointment of the year and i will be back in my hometown to visit family and friends for the holidays. this trigger has some bearing on how i feel around my family during the holidays, so i hope we can do something about it to see if it helps. with the cat being sick, it looks like i'm going to have to bring my cat for a part of the visit too. i would ask my roommate to take after him, but the fact is, he needs to get medication a couple of times a day by way of syringe dropper, as well as benadryl two times a day for his flea allergies. my roommate just started seeing this guy and they are in the honeymoon phase. she has dropped the ball recently on doing things around the house, replacing things that are used and shared by all (we take turns buying the essentials) and has been spending a great deal of time with this new man. i don't know if i can rely on her to help with the cat, so i'm going to have to take him with and have him travel back down with michael when he is done visiting his family in our hometown. so yes, i still have holiday cards to make for my family. i haven't had time with all of these happenings, especially since my middle finger is all bandaged up and it makes it difficult to draw, but i have to do that and pack two weeks of stuff, including laundry, for the visit. i really can't wait until things quiet down. i am going to come back to this entry at a later date and see if i can figure out from what i wrote how to best deal with stress and change. i think my coping skills in this realm are not as great as they could be. for me, all it takes is a lot of 'little' things to end up relapsing, so i gotta be on top of my game. that is all for today. sigh.. i need to decompress now! -bt
  4. in a couple of hours, i will be headed to this weeks therapy session. i am a bit nervous about this based on just how confused our last session ended up. however, i am starting to better understand why it is that i have such apprehension. i want to address that here so that i can have some dialogue in mind to discuss with my T. last night i woke up from a nightmare about my T. i had been waiting with michael to see her in the waiting room. i overheard her say to her colleagues that she was going to try to book as many appointments as she could so she could make the most money possible. i was freaked out by the idea that making money mattered more to her than helping people. while i waited to see her, i had a change of heart and decided to leave and not return. when i woke up from this dream, strong emotions followed. let it be known that i really like my T and believe she is helping me. i think that the problems i am having right now with therapy are more as a result of what happened after i was hospitalized in july and briefly ended up in a community residential mental health agency. i have come to face that what happened with the therapists and staff there was very traumatic for me. what traumatized me is that they didn't see a person with ptsd. they didn't listen to me and they wanted to hear nothing from me about the various traumas i endured which led me into crisis. i felt betrayed by the way that the therapeutic director of the home treated both michael and myself. i was left without the best kind of help as a result of them changing my diagnosis to borderline personality disorder, which ended up dramatically re-framing how my trauma history was perceived by them, as if they saw that what happened to me was my fault or not even real. now that its over and i resumed with my T, my trust in her has been compromised. thankfully, we will be able to address this together in session. maybe even work through some of the trauma and triggers through EMDR. i will write back later today after i have my appointment to highlight the result of what happens after i confront my T with my fears and concerns about how i was treated post-hospitalization.
  5. sometimes music puts it better than i ever could in several paragraphs.... enjoy!
  6. i've been one busy bee in the past couple of days so i didn't get a chance to write until now. friday was kind of scary for me in that i had a pretty serious asthma attack that woke me up and continued to become more severe until i broke down and purchased my inhaler refill. i would prefer not to lose my entire life by not spending 50 dollars on the medicine i need to catch my breath. as a direct result of the worsening asthma situation, i spent a large part of friday engaging in some cleaning to further reduce the allergens in my apartment. after that, i had an enjoyable and relaxing evening with michael. after a long and much needed discussion with him on thursday about sex and intimacy, we have made an agreement that we are committed to working through this problem together. some very profound insight was captured during that talk. michael broke down and discussed his difficulties as a co-survivor and shared with me that the pain he watches me go through becomes his own. that what had been done to me has also been done to him indirectly. we discussed the problem of 'the wall between us' and not each other. we stayed in present and on task and we took breaks when either of us started getting overwhelmed. michael is a very interesting person to me. part of what brought us together is that i immediately sensed that he understood the very important things. what i have come to understand is a little more about why that is. michael is a survivor, not of sexual violence, not directly speaking, that is ( i will write further on this, but i think that its a society problem, not a victim problem, like many myths try to propagate.) instead, michaels direct experience of trauma is derived from the sudden and unexpected death of his father at the age of ten and the loss of this very important part of michaels life has led him through similar channels after he developed ptsd around that loss. michael told me that there have been times that he has been afraid to lose me the same way he lost his beloved father. there is a background to this fear as i began a strong period of crisis between october 2011 and july 2012. during that entire time, i was without agency and was actively suicidal. we tried to 'go it alone' during that time and there were many 'almosts' on my end that were stopped by him intercepting in the middle of an attempt. one can only imagine that this has caused created a lot more complexity to his trauma and his reactions at times really caused me to question if he really wanted to end things. that had been my previous perception and our talk clarified that this is not the case. michael explained that he is working through the fear he has had witnessing the various times where i battled with my own life. i have a great amount of compassion for how terrible that must have been watching me self-destruct and this strengthens my resolve and love for him to overcome and keep working at healing. i am fortunate that i have someone who is willing to see me through this. michael told me that he doesn't give up on the things that matter to him and he's right. the evidence exists in his commitments, his work ethic, and his dedication to the things in life that he believes in. i am fortunate enough to be one of the things he believes in. in response, i told him about my problems with intimacy. in fact, what i started to realize as we were sitting very close to one another, with my hands in his hair, is that i have been really terrified of intimacy for most of my life. sometimes, when you're almost rock bottom falling in the lows of healing, you convince yourself that the abusers have taken everything and that there is nothing left for you to stand on. truly, it seems so bleak at those moments. however, i realize now that i do have something to offer foundationally that the abuser could NEVER have and take from me: my ability and choice to have a healthy, intimate, and sexual connection with another being. that's right, the real deal! no one can EVER destroy that part of me, even if they tried! and what's awesome, is that its always been there, dormant and waiting to be shared with people who are deserving. there were many, many times in the past with previous companions where i would start to check out of the relationship and begin terrifying dances with my trauma and anxiety. around the time i started to accept that this person was committed was when the flashbacks, body shame, overall dis-ease and severe sensitivity to triggers would begin. when that happened, i would find it difficult to share my living space and my thoughts with someone while also engaging with them sexually at the same time. truth, i always got very sick inside about six months deep into a relationship and then check out in an attempt to find some inner relief. i would get this sick feeling that they were too much like family and too little like the various users and abusers who would take stabs at my power and run. i became afraid at what i did not recognize and didn't fit into those two limited categories. after all, that was all i really knew concretely and i was not yet ready, willing and able to confront that part of myself.. so, instead of running with the fear, listening to poorly articulated therapists, and acting out; i am running toward that fear and challenging it. i am going against the grain with michael because i have decided that i can handle 'staying still', to see what this whole thing with intimacy is about with him. i am noticing that its enabling me to go places in a physical and sexual way with him that are much more satisfying than anything i have ever known. progress is being made right here. i am untying the knot of confusion within myself about where to go and i am learning and then changing. this is one of the coolest times of my life and i am happy that i have the sense to document it somewhere. i have no unrealistic expectations about moving forward with michael- this is not some overnight miracle. i know that we both must take our time through this and it is great for both of us that we are actively in counseling right now to remain stable through this beautiful period of growth and transition. i know that there will be days and times of challenge ahead and i am willing to move forward and see it through with him. i also know for a fact that michael feels the same way. after we spoke, i feel closer to him and i can tell that michael was a lot less withdrawn than he has been for months now. some of the things i originally came here freaking out over are being addressed so my mind is being cleared to reflect on other matters. i have been incredibly creative and efficient lately in my actions. my mind is getting more grounded now that the shaky withdrawal period is over from the ssri's. i don't feel nearly as anxious as i have around this time last year. i really think that the EMDR is helping me in very profound ways to assist in making such posts possible. next year, i have the career program and DBT to look forward to. let it be known, i am kicking ass and i am making progress!!
  7. the above link contains one of my favorite music videos. it also features one of my favorite artists, boards of cananda. lovely stuff right there. today was an awesome day. i took a bus trip the career center for orientation this afternoon. throughout the presentation of the services offered, i almost started crying tears of joy after hearing more about the program because its exactly what i need to return to the working world. after the career counselor gave us a detailed explanation of the types of services they offer, i met with her to talk about what i would like to participate in specifically. the career counselor was super rad and signed me up for a ten day intensive job readiness program that they offer specifically to women in transition. i explained to her what my needs are: finding a stable, long-term, and SAFE place to work. the counselor told me that she could help me make that possible for myself. after i am finished with the readiness program, i will go into a two year program where i work with the agency so that i can return to school and finally finish my BFA. after i am done with the year or so that i have left in my studies, i will be applying to law school. while i wait for my long-term goals to be achieved, i will be assisted by a job placement specialist at the agency to help line me up with a job that is compatible with what i am looking for. i made a point to tell the career counselor that i no longer have it in me to work in customer service. i have a lot of library work experience and i am interested in possibly working for the library system here in the city i live in. other than that, i will get a better idea of the type of work that i want after going through the readiness program because we will be spending that time taking career assessment tests and working one on one with a career counselor to point me in the best direction. so finally, i will be back to work and it will be AWESOME!!!!! not only that, but i will also be able to add another layer to the support system i have been cultivating. one of the difficult things about living with PTSD is that it causes you to sometimes feel as if you don't have a future. now, with all the buddhist study that i have been doing for the past decade or so, i've learned that the future is kind of a silly thing to get wrapped up in. however, there is a difference. the teachings re-frame the mind to be in the present moment. however, the present moment always has a meta connection to the past and the future. the teachings as i understand them encourage you not to LIVE in the past or the future, so its more about making the most of my present! with that being said, i have already picked out a couple of law school programs that i want to apply to after i take the LSAT. i am a pretty determined person, so i am confident that i will be able to get into the schools that i want to study at. i am very excited about what i am about to embark upon and its great because the readiness program starts in early January. this means that once michael is done with his semester, that i will be able to spend at least half of december visiting with family and friends from my hometown. after breaking some things down in the forums about my frustrations with where i am at with sex, i had a breakthrough. i am seeking to investigate the concept of intimacy. i am super excited to read up on the subject tonight and study for the placement tests that i will need to complete by the end of the year for the education training program at the agency. today is good. sometimes i have really shitty days and i forget about all the good ones. i am going to try to make a point to re-examine wonderful days such as this and see if it helps change how i feel when things arent so great.
  8. 'in life you'll meet a lot of jerks. if they hurt you, tell yourself that is because they're stupid. that will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance. always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.'
  9. i was finally able to get some sleep after a busy night of personal writing, term paper editing, and book selling for michael on amazon. unfortunately, that sleep didn't happen until about 1pm today, but thats fine. the insomnia has returned now that i'm off my meds and so are the nightmares. i'm at the point though, where i can better tolerate the nightmares. i am now able to break into them and recognize that they are what they are. as long as they're not really happening to me in real life,i know that i'm going to be ok. what they boil down to for me is an annoyance. i have no idea what its like NOT to have nightmares, to the point where i usually just refer to them as dreams. i am super relieved the narrative of what happened last year with steve out of my system and put it on one of the forums. i have really tried to avoid thinking and talking about what took place then and it is a sign of progress that i am actually able to do that. telling the story gives me a better way to think about what took place and inspires me to feel strong, because if i went through all of that, i know that its possible to get through anything. sometime last night, i sent a voicemail message to my T, letting her know that the EMDR stuff felt pretty off and how i would have liked to go about the session differently. i specifically expressed that it was not necessary for her to contact me until our next session, but she did call and i was sleeping so i missed that call. i have decided that i need a break from thinking about that session right now, so i will either return her call in the next few days or wait until we meet again. i always feel weird contacting her outside of the sessions. firstly, i don't want to end up becoming too dependent upon her for my healing- i would prefer to be able to use that hour to develop skills and then apply them to my life on my own. secondly, i want to keep the boundaries secure in that we aren't crossing too many lines by having contact outside of the hour a week where we are scheduled to interact. right now, i am feeling really good, like i just want to jump, laugh and dance. i spent a couple of awesome hours with michael when i got up from sleeping. we went to get some food and cigarettes. it was excellent just taking some time to relax and laugh with each other. i also find that all the work i have been doing here and beyond is really helping me feel a lot less creeped out about being affectionate toward him. i am still not yet ready to go back to having sex, but i am moving slowly to being at a point where i can be comfortable with that. last night, i had a long phone conversation with my mother. to my surprise and hers, i felt comfortable enough to describe to her the problems that michael and i are having about sex. even though it was weird at first and worked hard to keep my comments on the matter 'G' rated, she pointed out something profound with me. what she mentioned was that by breaking down and talking to her about this issue should be seen as a sign of progress. in other words, she pointed out, "if you can talk to your mom about your sexual problems, you can talk to anyone." i laughed because its so true. she has encouraged me to open up more to my T about these problems so that she can help me work out some of the issues i have started to unwrap here on this site. my mom thinks that my T has been holding off on approaching the subject of sexuality because she doesn't want to frighten me, since she knows already that i have a lot of problems connecting with myself as a sexual being. for the first time in almost a year or so, i can tell that i am starting to open up. seriously, i couldn't and wouldn't even say or write the word 'sex' after i reached my own personal limit with sexual violation. now that i'm processing how i feel and think through writing, the word 'sex' is becoming much easier to use. i think that my fear and inability to discuss sex has had a lot to do with protection. i think its because the fact that the sexual trauma situation had gone very public. i felt vulnerable holding the status of crime victim and even though i went to great lengths to hide myself from public scrutiny, i still recognized that it was ME that they were describing as the victim of a crime in the newspaper and local news broadcasts. i admit that the lack of silence around my violation caused me to feel very damaged. i remember during that summer that i had tried to date a couple of different dudes before i met michael. the first guy i dated was kind of an asshole in that he told me that he thought i was crazy, damaged, and needed long term professional help before he thought i would ever be ready to date. this dude pretty much told me that my sexual trauma history was a major turn-off for him after i freaked out during an attempt to have sex. the way he went about it was pretty freaking rude, so it wasn't that hard to write him off, but i think that it kind of started there. i was going through this profoundly difficult experience and yet, there were people i tried to connect with expecting me to not be affected. the next guy i dated was in a pretty well known as a musician in diy noise scene here in my state. at first, things worked out very well since we shared a lot of the same interest in music and art aesthetic and i came to discover that it was only surface deep. i came to learn that he was incredibly narcissistic and shallow. for the most part, i got the impression that he was dating me because i was in the epicenter of a major scandal in the music and art community in my state. since he was really interested in making his way into the inner-circle of the scene, i think he dated me hoping it would somehow get him scene points to date me during the height of the awareness of the criminal case. furthermore, he liked calling me, 'nancy drew' and would always want to discuss the ins and outs of the experiences i was going through. i felt more like a subject in a true crime documentary than a real person that he related to and liked. i ended up flipping out on him over the phone one night after a night of drinking and dancing where i broke down that i thought that our whole connection was really too shallow for me to continue with. things got weird for a few days after that, but then we went our separate ways. i guess he got what he wanted though, because he can now say that he once was dating the girl who pressed charges and put this larger than life person in jail. the rollercoaster ride with michael is coasting at a pleasant glide, which is a nice change of pace. i know that i still love him and that he is someone that i really want to work through this with. i believe that he is worth going through this with. time will tell, but i think that right now, taking a dialectical approach to the whole situation and perceiving it as a time of transition and change will be most helpful when things are rough.
  10. this song by moral truly captures the heaviness i sometimes feel about my trauma. listening to this song has been known to conjure up happy tears and also helps me connect with the grief to all that has been lost throughout the years. i really like a lot of minimal electronic music from the early 80's and my exploration of this type of music (as well as other genres like industrial/diy punk/noise/darkwave/etc) can be found here on my tumblr ( i find that i am best able to process my trauma through music, words, and visual work and i am excited to be working on ways to show some of the art projects i am working on. yesterday, i had my usual weekly session with my T and it was rather intense. we did EMDR and it was surrounded by a current crisis i am experiencing with my partner. we are experiencing difficulties right now. i think that he is struggling to find the best ways to support me with my healing and i have come to face that he also has a history of trauma to work through and has just started going to the same trauma counseling agency that i have been going to. the fact that we are going to the same place for help is very difficult for me right now. i guess it would be easier if he were just going there as a co-survivor, but they have come to realize that he has his own trauma to confront before he could truly be as supportive as i need him to be. i just really hope that we can make it through this difficult time together, but i'm having my doubts. there seems to be a wall between us and a lot of coldness. we have not always been like that. the EMDR session was very rough. i had a difficult time with it because i was very tired from the night previous. this is because my cat pentagram had used my favorite winter coat as his litter box in the early morning and i got quite an asthma attack from cleaning up the mess. i had taken a lot of allergy medicine to get my breathing back since my inhaler is all used up and its going to cost me money i dont have right now to replace it. so i was exhausted and loopy from the allergy medicine. i was not able to focus much. i was not able to explain what emotions i really feel when i hear my partner make threats about breaking the lease we have with our roommate to live somewhere else without me at the end of the month. i was not able to state that i actually don't feel angry and sad as much as i feel afraid when he tells me these things when he is angry about something. my T and i touched on the fact that the words, 'i don't care what happens to you if i decided to leave you, it is not my responsibility' are extremely triggering to me- not that they would be great for anyone to hear. the EMDR wasn't quite as successful and i left the session feeling raw and that something was left incomplete. the emotions inside of me from our session were too big for my body to handle, music wasn't sad or angry enough to help me find relief. thats when i realized it was fear that is the governing emotion. first its numbness, then its raw fear. i think that something went wrong in the session and the replacement coping thought doesn't match the feeling of fear. i attempted to process things in EMDR with the closing sentiment that i am strong and calm enough to handle the cruel things that people say. i really want to replace that with, though i am afraid of what i am hearing and this has led to horrifying outcomes that i can empower myself in response to figure out a way to survive if my partner decides that its best for him to leave the relationship.' i was not in the best of places to do EMDR and i regret that i didn't tell my T this. due to the fact that i wasn't in the right place and the session wasn't as organized as i needed, no wonder i came home feeling like garbage. i am going to work out my thoughts on that in my private journal to explore further why i left the session in such a bad shape so that i have some talking points to share with my T. i think i am going to leave a voicemail to her when i know she is not in the office to share some of my thoughts on the matter just so she has a heads up for the next time we meet. even my T struggled with the session. when i first told her what my partner was saying to me, she looked horrified. then she immediately proceeded to go into EMDR. i think we went too quickly into an aspect of my trauma that im not yet ready to deal with through EMDR. i am kind of upset that she didn't recognize that. i was dissociating so much that she went from moving her finger in front of my eyes to using this electronic device that sent vibrations through my hands. i also think that she didn't give me enough time to talk in session about how afraid i am of what will happen to me if my partner and i do break up and how related that fear is to what i have been through in the past five or so years. i think that my T is awesome, but something in that session wasn't quite right. i am confident that i'll be able to speak with her about this and we be able to resolve and better address the issue we opened up in EMDR together. -bt