Category Archives: ssri

Self-medication and depression

Depression is creeping back in through a side door.  I should have seen it coming.  Even reading my most recent posts on this blog are clues that it was making a reappearance.

Ruminations.  Negative self-perception. Exhaustion even without alcohol.  Hating my husband and my life.

I saw my therapist on Saturday and she raised the Wellbutrin to 100 mg. and lowered the Klonopin to half a 0.5 mg pill.  I continue to take 20 mg Celexa.  Lynn must think my depression is worse and the Klonopin is making me tired.  It’s been 4 days with a higher dose of the SSRI and still not feeling better.  My plan is to continue lowering the Klonopin but since I use it to sleep I fear insomnia so I’m tapering off gradually.

My resolve is down and I am weak right now.  I broke my 100-plus streak of sober days and drank on Saturday night.  It’s odd how I really don’t feel that bad about it.  In fact, I liked the tranquility.  Sad but true, self-medication is what I know when my thinking turns against me.

♥ Daylily ♥

Shop for lingerie

What’s a better pick-me-up? I’ve been riddled with depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, anger, and guilt; really, you name an emotion that attacks from the inside and I’ve been feeling it.

Tonight I went to the mall and bought myself a present: panties, bras and camisoles. And no cheap Hanes briefs from Wal-Mart (which I wear everyday so don’t get me wrong about that). My recent weight loss boosted my self-image and I don’t feel like an obese sea cow swimming in the lingerie department. I went all out and bought the softest Jockey panties and camisoles I’ve ever felt. No, they aren’t satin and lace or very sexy but they are stylish and comfortably cotton. I know I will feel happier tomorrow just knowing I did something nice for myself.

My mood was so low today that I almost shut down my blog and cut myself off from my therapist. The only way I can explain it is when I feel judged or criticized I get defensive. For some reason when others are disappointed in me I take on their condemnation as my own. I feel utterly worthless and push others away because I’m not worth their worry or care. The pattern goes like this: someone I trust hates a behavior of mine; I can’t change it so I hate myself equally as much.

I woke up feeling so bad I fantasized about suicide. I thought just get me the fuck out of this world. I didn’t plan anything or take the idea any further than wishing I wasn’t alive.

I called Lynn, my therapist, and we talked things out. She made me realize that I focused on one tiny part of our session and blew it way out of proportion. Lynn assured me she is committed to working with me. She observed that all of my relationships have the same dynamics and if I work on how I feel with her I am helping my other relationships too. She’s right.   I can get so stuck in inner turmoil.   The conversation was pretty long and it helped to be able to express myself to someone who was reassuring. I won’t go into the whole binge drinking thing except to say she explained her position a little better and I understand where she’s coming from. First of all, I did choose a therapist who is a prescribing doctor so of course that person would be concerned if I mix alcohol with her medications. What really made me see her point was after I asked “Would you tell a patient who self-harmed through bulimia or cutting to just stop the behavior?” Her answer was, “Alcohol is a form of medication and I am a prescribing therapist. I have a responsibility to be concerned about mixing the two.” I calmed down after that and said, “I can understand that.”

What I know is this blog is about my depression. Lynn has her eye on that when I lose my focus. Of course, she’s right that I’ll never be well until I stop drinking. It does not mix well with my medication nor help my depression.

My perspective is slowly changing.

♥Daylily

Confused with PTSD

My therapist confirmed that I was exhibiting classic symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) during the “Radical Forgiveness” workshop I attended.  I guess I put myself too far out on a limb and was dangling by a twig.  I had no way to protect my mind from the onslaught of feelings that got stirred up and I resorted to what I know, to disassociate and shut down.  I told Lynn I can’t remember what I said.  What others said.  What I was supposed to say.  I can’t remember the names of anyone (including the leader) although I said their names many times in the workshop.  href=”https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/2188/”>

Radical anything should have been a red flag,” said Lynn.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “But I wanted to practice mindfulness and be aware of my negative thoughts toward myself in order to move on.”

Lynn told me, “You know what your problem is.”

Hmm?  I am wondering what  a person does if they know what the issue is –poor self-image, self-protectiveness skills in abundance and a facade that no one sees through.

I am trying too hard to fix my psyche. I think I know what I need to do.  Share my issues with safe people, open up to my feelings, get healthy in mind and spirit through exercise and meditation.  I’m doing all of that but the acronym PTSD keeps popping up in my thoughts and scaring me.  I fear my own feelings.  I shut down with my own thoughts.  My coping skills are to not deal with raw emotions.  I dissociate. I also drink to escape.

Sometimes, I am strong and can deal with this vision of my life.  Since my medications were increased I was doing well but then I saw my therapist.  She spoke words that I haven’t heard in years. Back 25 years ago, when I was working on sexual abuse issues, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I thought that was in the past.

I wonder what Lynn thinks of me now that she recognizes the depth of my issues.  PTSD is not small potatoes.  It’s overwhelming and I don’t quite know where I stand right now.

There is this general feeling that my whole life is a fake out.  Every “intellectual” interaction is blocking my true self.

Of course, that can’t be true.  My mind is playing evil tricks on me.  It’s those stories my narrative self has taught me along the way.  I blame myself rather than seeing things as they are.

Since I saw my therapist, I have not been able to meditate.  I feel no peace.   I have been preaching about mindfulness but I’m unable to find that stillness in my brain.

I will stay focused on the goal, which is to accept all of me and see that my thoughts are not me they are stories I’ve told myself.

But, again, I must ask, what do I do when the stories take over and feel so real? 

♥ Daylily, who apologizes for this unedited post.  I know it’s all over the place and I sound mixed-up.  To try and intellectualize my feelings would be one more attempt at a fake out.  This blog is the real me and right now I do feel confused. ♥

Doubling SSRI brings relief from depression

One week ago today my therapist increased my SSRI, Celexa, from 10 mg to 20 mg.  The effects are obvious.  My worries have been lifted.  Not kidding.  Peace has befallen me and it didn’t come about from mindful meditation, exercise, cutting back on my drinking or weight loss.  All it took was a little white pill that’s smaller than the eraser at the end of a pencil.

I’m reminded of my “about” page where I assert my depression is no more than a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters.  For a bit, I lost sight of that belief.  My effort at changing thought patterns required me to look hard at my negative thinking and that in itself caused a spiral downward into depression.

I’m a bit worried because this time was the worse yet.  I gave into a sense of helplessness like never before.  But, on the flip-side, for years I’ve envied people with mental illness who are able to express themselves and put it all on the table.  I’ve lived a closeted life of depression and it’s been quite isolating.

Last Monday was a first; I exposed that part of me to a few close people in my life and I felt embraced and supported.  I feel liberated!  It feels like a miracle has taken place.

In-a-nutshell, I do not feel anxious about anything.  I am my calm, rational, even-keel self.  When I was on Paxil I enjoyed this feeling for about 3 years before I got tired of the weight gain and lack of sex drive.  Let’s not go there!

For now, I will enjoy the calm waters.  I need a break from the turbulent ocean I’ve been crashing around in.

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
I take credit for making this reprieve occur.  Whether it’s seeking my therapist’s help, calling my mother or doing a shit-load of grief work at the radical forgiveness workshop, it happened because I am actively pursuing a better state of living.  I am determined to continue exercising, meditating and easing up on the alcohol. ♥ Daylily

Reaching out during a depressive episode

The bottom of despair is a shitty place to be; I know because I spent the morning there. Schools were cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy so I took advantage of this day off from work to settle deep into depression. I didn’t consciously do it but the opportunity arose and I took full advantage.

Why am I talking like I did something helpful when I felt like such crap last night and this morning? Well, that’s where the silver lining comes in. There may even have been a rainbow.

I have never, ever climbed into bed and expressed my feelings of depression while there. My pattern is to wallow alone and then pull myself together, all the while hiding how awful I feel – to myself and those that love me. No bullshit. This is one of my learned behaviors leftover from childhood.

This morning I passed the hours curled up under my down comforter crying that I was so pitiful. I cried that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed; I cried that I wasn’t hungry and that I had no desire to eat. I was alone in my misery for what felt like forever. I determined that I was really bad off because I could neither lift my head nor could I find the strength to eat so I should call my therapist. Isn’t depression the reason I was under her care? I contemplated this for a long time as I huddled under my covers with my cell phone. Eventually, I just did it.

Lynn answered on the second ring and I casually said who it was and then, “I see you’ve returned from your vacation.” She responded, “Yes, just in time for the hurricane.” Small talk out-of-the-way I said, “I called you because I’m really not doing well.”

I haven’t seen Lynn for close to a month due to her 3-week vacation. “Is it something that just came up or has it been building for a while?” asked Lynn.

“Well, I have to tell you, this is a first for me, to call my therapist and talk about how I’m feeling. I have never called for help before but I am really low right now.” I cried that I couldn’t get out of bed, that I wasn’t hungry and that I’m failing my family by not cooking for them, by being distant and isolated and I threw in something about my husband saying I didn’t know how to be intimate.

Then I stopped talking and asked, “Is this a good time for you? I don’t want to keep you from anything.” How stupid of me, as if she could hang up now. I’m just standing on the edge of this cliff but I can wait for you to call me later. In hindsight, that was a “duh” moment. After a brief pause from her, she said she certainly had time for me.

I quickly caught her up to speed about how I went to this “radical forgiveness” workshop to release feelings of self blame. She agreed that was quite a big step for me and when I told her I got overwhelmed with emotions and I couldn’t get away so I went into auto pilot, she asked about the facilitator. I told her I emailed the facilitator and I was reassured that I hadn’t done anything wrong although Lynn said usually a psychologist will tell you what to do in the event things become overpowering. I don’t know what to believe but it’s been 3 weeks since the workshop and I still feel like crap.

One major trigger to my sense of despair could be a book I’m reading because it hits so close to home. Living with your Heart Wide Open is exposing so many open wounds that every chapter is like getting re-traumatized. It’s all about self-criticism and a prevailing sense of unworthiness. I can’t get to the part about self-compassion because I’m busy beating myself up over negative patterns the book says I’ve developed and that I must learn to break.

Lynn asked if I could talk about the one thing that is upsetting me – is it feeling unloved. “Can you tell me how you’re feeling?” I was still buried under my covers and I said, “I don’t know,” while I audibly sobbed.

For me to be without a word is rare; I typically control the ebb and flow of our therapy sessions. Of course, she was trying to figure out what was going on with me and, I’m guessing this response was a red flag that I was depressed and not thinking straight.

Lynn said I must ask my husband to help me. Explain to him how I don’t like to feel a lack of intimacy. I cried that I couldn’t, that he and I were berating each other.

Lynn suggested that I stop reading the book but continue with the mindfulness cd, which has been helping me to fall asleep at night. She said that it sounds like I’m aggressively trying to fix my problem through forcing it. I can’t recall the exact word but she insinuated that I’m trying to direct my healing by micro-managing every piece of it.

She’s absolutely right. I felt as much and it’s backfiring; I’m worse and not better. Self-help groups, self-healing books, yoga and a sense of being broken have exasperated my depression.

Lynn thought I should increase the Celexa to 20 mg (I’m on 10 now). I agreed and I made an appointment for 2 weeks out because of my busy schedule on the weekends.

After hanging up, I whimpered quietly, under the safety of my blankets and soft pillows. In the back of mind I was thinking of the “radical forgiveness” workshop, how emotionally charged it was and I recognized that I never released all of the stuff that was brought to the surface. Intellectually I thought I should have cried but I couldn’t – until today. It was like opening the flood gates! I have not cried in years and, as much as I didn’t like how it took me over, the release was good for me.

Well, I still couldn’t lift my head or consider going down to the kitchen to eat something so I called my husband (who works in his home office). He said he was in the middle of an important presentation (everything is tele-com these days) and he would be done in 15 minutes.

My husband walked in the bedroom and there I was, in bed, crying with my elbow covering my face. I felt so ugly I had to hide but when he asked what was wrong, I spoke. I didn’t retreat inside my shell or tell myself he doesn’t really care (which is a well-worn pattern). Instead I told him I was depressed and I couldn’t get up. He told me just do it for the kids downstairs. I said, “They are enjoying their day off from school and don’t even care where I am.” Husband said, “They know you are not downstairs with them.”

I swore I would never get up and he looked flustered. He was rubbing my arm and telling me nice things that I don’t remember. He leaned down and hugged me and my arms felt limp like spaghetti. I accepted his hug but couldn’t give back. I said I need to eat something and he said he’ll cook and I should pull myself together and come down in 10 minutes. Again, I said I can’t get up and pleaded with him to bring me something. I told him I wanted toast and grits (I’m not southern but I love grits, anyway). He came back and demanded that I sit up but I just couldn’t do it. I made him put the plate and bowl on the bed 3 inches from my mouth and I fed myself as if I were a sick bird or a dying man. Husband went back to work and I sniffled in my bed. With every bite the food tasted better and I gained strength.

How could I have missed that my depression was back? The tell-tale signs are night-waking, lack of appetite and emotionally distant from the family. I misconstrued all of that for necessary paths to inner compassion and mindfulness. This experience highlights how directly my childhood thought patterns correlate to depression. With each day that I focused on my past “stories” my depression grew worse. It’s uncanny.

Next I did the bravest thing of all. I called my mother, from my bed, in a deep depression. I prayed she would pick up and not my step-dad and my prayers were answered. I said, “Hi Mom.” Her quick response, “What is going on, it sounds like you’ve been crying.” I snuffled that I have been crying and went into the whole I can’t get out of bed thing. She asked about my depression, my medications, my therapist and my husband helping me. To the last part I told her, “Husband doesn’t even believe in depression.” She’s known my husband for 3 decades and she said, “Well you should take him to your therapist so he can get educated.”

The reason I called my mom is I’m having extreme guilt that she wants me to host Thanksgiving and I don’t have the energy. I always try to do what is right and please her and I didn’t know how I would manage it this year. My mom recently moved to a retirement home and part of her down-sizing was dispersing things. To me, she handed down a large oriental rug for my dining room and her set of wedding silver. It is all beautiful and generous and I feel so obligated to use it for a family gathering. I told her I can’t host anything because I’m feeling like a failure in everything I do right now.

My mother’s response was better than I hoped because she was thoughtful and caring. She said she would stay at the retirement home for Thanksgiving. She offered to come and help me if I wanted her to. I told her I have so much going on with family, kids, sports, school, and work that if they came down it would be one more thing on my plate.

Then my mom asked me, “How did you get depression?”

I take the plunge and offer full disclosure, “It was caused by childhood trauma. I learned to tell myself things that weren’t true but that allowed me to grow up. I am still stuck in childhood thoughts that I’m not worthwhile or good enough.”

“Oh, honey,” she lovingly responds.

I reassure her, “It’s nobody’s fault, not my parents or my brothers; it’s just how things happened.” I stumble with words and say, “I learned to tell myself I wasn’t worth it.”

I tell her not to worry about me, that I will be okay. This is when she told me something that broke my heart in a good way.

My mom said, “I will worry about you every minute of every day. You know you are my favorite child.”

I quickly deflected her kind words by saying, “All of your children are your favorites.” But, I heard love and caring in her words. We said good-bye and I love you and when I hung up, I retreated back under my covers to cry some more. But, this time I was crying because my mom and I connected on a deep level. I was touched that she said I was her favorite child. Never in a million years did I ever think she would tell me that. I’ve got brothers who are successful, talented, intelligent and relate to my mom on an intellectual level where as, I fall short on all of those things that are important to my mom. Perhaps those thoughts could be part of the “stories” of my childhood that I made up and learned to believe. I just heard with my own ears that my mom thinks I’m special. I will try to hold on to that and use this silver lining to my advantage.

I slept after the phone call with my mother and awoke ready to get out of bed around 3 pm. The news stations cautioned that no one should be out on the roads so I was securely stuck in my home. We lost electricity around 4:30 pm and darkness set in. My husband set up our generator and so we have a few lights, heat, water and the refrigerator working, plus we have internet. I sit here typing and uploading to Word Press via backup generator. It’s nice to feel removed from outside forces after completely breaking down today. It looks like I have work tomorrow although many schools are closed for another day. I best listen to Lynn who said I must eat and get a good night’s sleep. The increase in my antidepressant will take a while to kick in. I’m hopeful because I do respond well to SSRI’s.

Daylily

Post that gets the most hits on my blog is…

Husband doesn’t believe in my depression. It sucks to have a mental illness and be around people who believe it’s all in your head.  But the proof is that there’s a 3rd person telling us we aren’t as bad as we feel, people do love us, we have a job where we are needed or a husband or child who depend on us.  On a deep level we know that every single one of us is born equal.  Our behaviors or thoughts do not change our inner goodness.  Then, we ask ourselves, why am I depressed, feeling worthless and unloved?  I sincerely believe there is a chemical imbalance in our brains that causes ruminations and self-defeating thought and behavior patterns.  Most often early trauma can cause faulty wiring but it can also be as simple as genetics.

Due to all the hits about husbands doubting the diagnosis of depression I feel compelled to say that even if no one else you know believes in “mental illness”  that doesn’t mean it isn’t so.  Doctors, nurses and therapists all know it is a real illness.  There’s no need for shame or self-blame when it comes time to seek help, regardless of whether you get support from your close family and friends.

I’ve been on a path of healing from early trauma and depression for 3 decades.  My husband doesn’t believe in medication but I do.  I have a doctor and a therapist that also believe in the efficacy of antidepressants.   The family I grew up in can understand it on an intellectual level however, I feel judged as being weak for needing antidepressants.

I don’t fight about my medication with my husband or my family of origin because I do not seek them out for support with depression.  Occasionally I’ll bring up my depression with my husband but he will usually reply with a quick answer like, “Maybe it’s that you are getting too much sleep.”  In my head I know I’m sleeping too much because of depression but I don’t argue with him.  I go and tell my therapist or my best girlfriend.  Acknowledgment of your pain and suffering is very important when you don’t have immediate family and friends supporting you.   You can love your family regardless of their ignorance and get help elsewhere.  ♥ Daylily

I have poor emotional control

My weekend was not good. I feel beat up physically and mentally. I feel like I was in a car wreck. The worst part is that I was the driver and I caused my own personal self-destruction.

Saturday July 7th, in the afternoon — Sadness weighs heavy

I have a twin who lives 100’s of miles away so we only see each other once or twice a year. He has 2 boys and I also have 2 boys. The boys range in age from 11 years to 16 years. This week my twin and nephew’s came to visit for 3 days and the chemistry was incredible. My SIL did not come so it was my husband, brother and 4 boys plus me – talk about a man’s world. I hate that feeling but it didn’t actually feel that way because my twin and I get along great.

Here’s an example that makes me appreciate him. I told him of a website I like about youth soccer. (Followers know this is a passion of mine). Well, my brother found the website and followed this long, drawn-out thread that I had started and talked to me about it the next day. I was genuinely surprised he took the time to go there. My own husband doesn’t care to see what I’m up to so I was touched that my brother did. My twin and I also looked through boxes of old photos and watched slide shows that our deceased dad took of us as children. In all the family photos, I am sitting next to my twin and he and I shared many bonding moments remembering the family events as if we were one and the same person.

He left this morning and sadness covers me like a cloak. I have had a miserable day. I want nothing to do with food so I haven’t eaten since he left. I’m going to climb into bed and sleep the day away.

Same Day, evening — Can I drink away my pain?

I’m not very good at knowing what causes my emotions. First, I thought my sadness was from spending the weekend with just boys/men but I realized tonight, I miss family and my brother. He is such a great guy, a wonderful husband and a devoted father and I hate when we can’t be together. I also feel lonesome for my grandmother that died a few years ago and I miss my dad who died over 25 years ago. Lastly, I am being hit with the reality of my mom’s aging life. This past month she moved to a retirement home and passed things on to me that I knew I would receive, such as my great grandmothers beautiful wedding dress and my parent’s set of silver. But, having these tangible objects in my house is evidence that my mom is rapidly coming to the end of her life. My heart is heavy.

Friends with children came by to say hi and they ended up staying for hours and we had a mini pool party. I ran out to get a few things at the store and stopped for a bottle of wine. My mission for the night was to block my emotions with wine. I sipped 2 glasses while the guests were here but as soon as they left I hurriedly finished off the bottle. I have regrets.

Sunday July 8th, in the morning – Feeling more pain

I woke up this morning with cuts, bruises and scrapes all along one of my arms, due to falling down in my bathroom last night.

I also awoke to a huge cut (2 inches long and a ¼ deep) on the bottom of my foot from cutting the lawn barefoot yesterday. I’m not even going to explain how that happened but it was stupid of me!

My head hurts from too much wine last night.

My eyes are swollen from crying after I fell in the bathroom.

I haven’t seen my kids this morning because my husband [H] took them out to breakfast before I got up. Did they hear me fall and crash over the big metal standing scale? How loud was I sobbing?

I just don’t know the answers and I feel self-hate and guilt that I inflict harm upon myself when my emotions are overwhelming. H was there because we had just climbed in bed and had sex. So, when I staggered to the bathroom and knocked over the heavy steel scale and was lying on the hard tile floor, he tried to help me. I say try because as soon as I fell and hurt myself I began to cry. H told me I drank too much (combined with no food and the Klonopin I took right before getting in bed I was a mess). H looked at my wounds and said I needed to clean up because I was bleeding. I didn’t care but he kept insisting so I got up and took a look in the mirror. I was shocked to see the cuts and bruises so I allowed H to help me. He washed the scratch and fetched an ice pack which he placed on my sore. As he did so he asked, “Are you going to write about this in your blog?” I ignored him and wept uncontrollably. He didn’t know why I was crying and I think he was trying to make me laugh but all I could do was cry. I didn’t know why I was crying either. As a survivor of sexual abuse, sometimes intimacy can overwhelm me but I think this time, the tears were shed for the love of my twin brother. There is no one in this world that I trust or love more. It hurts to love someone who is not with us, whether through death or distance.

I can’t describe it better.

Same Day, later – My family loves me despite my shortcomings

My kids returned from breakfast and called to me. As usual, I was upstairs, in my office on my laptop. H and both kids came into the room. My youngest asked, “Did you fall down and get hurt last night?” I felt ashamed and looked at H as if to say, what did you tell them? I answered, “Yes, did you hear the crash?” Then he said “Yeah. Can I see where you got hurt?” I showed him one bruise and scrape and he bent down and kissed my injured arm. It was such a sweet gesture. My feelings of self-hate evaporated and I felt loved by my family even though I did something stupid. My oldest son said “Where’s the cut?” And I proceeded to pull up my shirt to show him the cut under my armpit and the bruises and scrapes all along the underside of my arm. My youngest asked, “Did you cry?” Again, I said, “Yes, did you hear me?” He shook his head and said “No but Daddy told us.” My older son said, “That looks bad. You did not have a good day yesterday.” He walked away and H and the youngest looked at me with loving concern. I told my boy “I am sad because I miss Uncle S” and my lips trembled and my eyes teared. He gave me a hug and H explained “That’s Mommy’s brother.”

“Do not drink alcohol while taking clonazepam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.”

I know I drink to block out painful emotions and last night was an example. I’m not supposed to drink and take the Klonopin. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. When I went from a prone position to standing I was so dizzy I knocked into things and lost my balance. Shit, I really need to learn other more positive coping mechanisms. It scares me that I self-destruct.

I see my therapist on Tuesday and I know I should talk to her about this episode. Will my sense of shame and embarrassment or will my desire for help prevail? I haven’t decided but I do know what the right thing is. Don’t perpetuate the patterns of my past by hiding behind my shame. I must talk about my issues with managing sadness if I want to gain better emotional control.

Let the past go

You know how sometimes it feels like all the stars are aligned just right for an epiphany to happen?

Right now and right here in this moment I’m experiencing a striking realization that I do not have to hold onto my past.

For the first time I feel like I could discard every single journal and/or writing I’ve saved for the last 30 years. Perhaps it’s time to move forward without dragging my burdensome past along with me.

Could I really do this?

I really am not sure but the thought is there. The idea is liberating! For the last 20 years I’ve carried a burden from long-ago and I like the idea of letting it go – no longer being defined as a survivor or victim of sexual abuse and all that such a label entails.

Fast forward to later today…

I was looking back, to 5 years ago, and feeling the urge to analyze and explore what occurred with a therapist who tried EFT (energy field therapy). I found myself driving by her office and I remembered some of her techniques. I don’t remember all of it, by any means, but I know my journals tell the whole story. I was drawn to the idea of reliving what I went through. I had a fleeting thought that if I burn those journals I can’t go back to that particular time and figure out what went wrong. The therapist believed in energy fields and trusted my body to tell her what I was ready for and what I needed. She unknowingly had me relive an early trauma and the questions she asked as I was under her “spell” didn’t rescue me…I felt hurt and victimized because my emotional pain was not understood. After a few months the therapeutic relationship backfired and I left her practice. The experience was PTSD all over again. That’s scary shit when I’m re-traumatized by my past and have no sense of control.

Why do I want to hold on to that? I know what happened and I should be able to let it go… What I learned was I can not expose such deep feelings again…

I wonder why I hold onto my past. So strange that I feel I must repeat it, at least on an intellectual level, in order to move on.

I’m toying with the idea of just letting it all go. Burning everything. That is causing me apprehension because my past defines me.

This post was initially going to address how powerful I feel and how I am so ready to burn my bridges and let the past go. But, driving by my previous therapist’s office caused an aching for my past and what I didn’t heal or fix the first time.

I guess I need some time to digest the idea of burning my bridges… ♥ ♥ ♥

I am afraid of people. I feel alienated and alone

I wrote those words in my journal over 20 years ago, when I was young and dealing with the aftermath of an incestual childhood.

I’ve come a long way since then. I no longer feel afraid of social situations and in fact, I’m often the person organizing social events. There’s no magic going on, I attribute my personal growth to many years of therapy that have allowed me to become more comfortable in my own skin. And, no less worthy of acknowledgment, is the class of drugs known as SSRI’s. They have undoubtedly helped me become more consistent in my behavior and thoughts which has caused me to feel less fearful about exposing myself. Over time, therapy and antidepressants allowed me to become the person I was meant to be.

Why was I afraid of people? Why did I feel alone and alienated?

Here’s my story…

I didn’t just learn to hide my feelings I buried them deep. It’s something I had no control over. As a youngster, In order to go to school each day, after my brother sexually molested me in my bed at night, I had to shut down all emotions. I lost my free-will to speak easy and act naturally. I began to pretend I was normal so my siblings & family, friends, teachers and everyone else would not know I had a horrible secret. If I told, I would be ridiculed and ostracized.

My middle childhood was full of sexual innuendo and sexism against women. The worst of it occurred in my own house with 2 older brothers that idolized Farrah Fawcett, big tits and perfect asses. No way in hell would I tell anyone that my brother was rubbing his dick on my 9-year-old ass. Sexuality was a topic I feared most because I didn’t want anyone to recognize me as a sexual person. My coping skills kicked in and I shut down my emotions.

Well, not entirely. I became angry. I rebelled. I used the worst language I could think of, anything to deflect from my inner turmoil. The teacher’s didn’t know what to do with me, my siblings stayed clear of me (except the one molesting me), my friends saw me as a tough girl and my parents lost control. From age 13 to 18, the only emotion I knew was anger and a superficial sense of power I could get by seducing any guy I wanted. I abused that power and flirted, teased and had sex with many men. But, that’s not love; it’s really a form of self-hate that I fucked guys because I knew they would like it. This behavior offered a false sense of control over my life. The emotions on the inside were completely screwed-up.

In college, I alienated myself. I had one friend who liked to drink and party at the bars so we shared that experience, but, never more than that. She once told me she could only have an orgasm when her boyfriend gave her oral sex. I freaked out with this disclosure. This was way too much information and it scared me. I backed off from the relationship because there’s wasn’t a chance in hell I would share my sexual encounters with a trusting girlfriend. (I had told a boyfriend that my brother abused me but it was the sex that gave me the sense of intimacy, nothing like the safety of a protective girlfriend.)

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that my dad died while I was in college. Without any familiarity on how to grieve, I cut off from people more than I ever had before. I couldn’t openly express my sadness to anyone (including my family) so I spent a year crying, alone in my dorm room. One time a friendly girl knocked on my door to offer comfort and I told her I couldn’t talk right then. I regretted I wasn’t able to accept her offer of friendship and I blamed myself for my self-imposed isolation.

I began to panic if I had to be spontaneous and natural so I avoided social interactions, at all costs. My days were filled with intellectual pursuits, which gave me a high GPA when I graduated from college. But, I was without friends.

I hated myself and how I behaved. I recognized an unwarranted fear of emotional expression. I knew I deserved a better life.

I sought out my first psychologist in college, a freebie offered in the college health center. Her name was Dawn and I began to talk about my upbringing. I never told her about the sexual abuse but just the fact that I shared any emotion was a big step.

I met my husband in college and the sexual intimacy was so perfect I mistook it for a healthy relationship. But, it was far from it and over time, I challenged him by having sex with other men, getting a venereal disease and threatening to commit suicide. I was testing him repeatedly to see how much he loved me. Could he stand all of my fucked-up ways of expressing myself? I cried often and told him that I wasn’t worth the trouble.

I was tall, slim and unknowingly pretty with an arrogance that attracted men. But, my husband was the first guy I exposed all of my weaknesses and frailties to. He stuck by me, pledged his love and continually asked me to marry him. It took 7 years until I finally said yes. Once we were married, we suffered infertility problems. Imagine, a woman who doesn’t speak of her sexuality having to go to a doctor and talk about vaginal mucus, sperm counts and intercourse? Holy fuck. That was when I broke apart. The emotions were too great and I sought the help of the first therapist that I disclosed what my brother did to me.

I knew my inability to cope with the demands of infertility treatments were directly related to sexual abuse. I opened the window a crack and began to delve into my past in order to make a better future…

Today, I’m putting my life in an order that I never have before. It’s felt like one crazy, fucked-up year after another. Until the past 10 years where my life has settled and become predictable and stable.

I will tell you about therapy and all of the breakthrough’s in future blogs. I think I’m ready to put the pieces together, to look back at where I’ve been and to feel grateful for where I am now. I recognize the effort and hard work I’ve put into it. It’s time for me to assimilate the past with the present. ♥

Good sex with a survivor of sexual abuse

My life has been crazy-ass busy. I wish I had time to sit back and reflect but it’s one of those time’s in life where every day is fast-paced and my evenings are busy getting caught up for the next day. It’s not over yet either. I’m involved in some big community-wide events and they are coming to fruition soon. I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief later this month; until then, there’s no rest for the weary.

I’ve also been traveling every weekend: I went to a graduation in NY, a visit with my mother up north and a soccer tournament down south. Basically, I’ve been all over the New England states. I love the states but I don’t love traveling. Aside from my visit to my mother’s, the trips were with the whole family, which was good. My boys are getting older and my husband has so many of his own hobbies – it’s rare for us all to get together for extended periods. These days, the longest time we spend together is dinner, which might last 30-45 minutes.

My husband and I spent a lot of time together at the soccer tournament and that was great. He and I sat in our soccer chairs together and hung out in the hotel with the other parents, socializing, while the boys ran amuck. The weather was perfect, hot and sunny, and many soccer fans (specifically the women) were scantily clad. I say this because in the hotel room my husband was all over me, but with the kids in the same room I held him off. I don’t have the figure I did when I was 20 but he got an eyeful of women that do. I would watch his eyes follow a tight-ass walking by and ask him, “Is there something interesting to look at over there?” He would smile and respond, “I’m not dead yet.” Or he would say, “It doesn’t hurt to look.” I just smiled, secure in his love for me. Let him look – as long as he doesn’t touch.

Once we returned home from the weekend, he and I sent the kids to their rooms and, as is typical for me, I went to bed early to read my book. If you follow my blog you will know my husband and I have been married almost 20 years and he sleeps in a separate room. Not for lack of love but because we both get a better night’s sleep. He snores and I wake him constantly to ask him to roll over plus I don’t like to be touched unless my head is in the right place. (Survivor aftermath bullshit). As you might imagine, this sleeping arrangement leads to less sex but not less good sex.

Well, back to the story…

Husband follows me into the bedroom and starts licking, kissing and touching me all over my body. I try to get into it but after some time passes, I realize he is getting pleasure from my pleasure and this antidepressant I’m on makes it impossible for me to have an orgasm au natural. He goes and gets my new vibrator (which he had not tried out yet) and continues working toward his goal. I can tell this sex is motivated by his fantasies of all the women he was watching all weekend. There’s no kissing or hugging – it’s an animalistic craving for a woman’s body. Lucky me, I’m his woman because when he gets like that he doesn’t quit trying to please me. Unfortunately, it’s still not happening and I apologetically moan, “These meds make it hard for me to come.” I’m basically giving him an out, if he wants to move onto his own pleasure. But, he becomes more determined and pulls out a dildo hidden away (that he bought me years ago). I don’t have to do anything but lay back and let him do his thing to me. My pleasure is his. How perfect is that relationship? As a survivor of sexual abuse, I don’t think it could be better than to be with a man who is concerned only about my enjoyment. (Unquestionably, the reverse of what occurred to me as a child under the hands of a masochist.) I ended up having a major climax and then he did what he likes to get himself off. Okay, if you must know, he loves to jerk off all over my face. Hey, it was the least I could do in return for his hour of diligent effort. (Sarcasm, folks, if you don’t know my humor. I’m laughing at the thought of such an understatement. I give him 2 minutes for his one hour!)

When it was over he jumped right up and got me a towel. How thoughtful is that? By the time he had returned, I had already wiped off with my camisole shirt but the act was sweet. Later, I kissed him and told him he gets an A+ for determination. These medications make it hard to come but with patience, persistence and high-powered toys nothing’s impossible.

Moral of the story – even a survivor of sexual abuse can feel in control and enjoy intimacy. For men, the moral is, rewards will come to those that are patient.♥