This is the imperfectness that is our house today. Yet, it’s been a good day fllled with my boys, Abby, and a few (mostly) incomplete chores.
So, I have a messy house. But, I’ve got happy boys, a happy dog, and, best of all…a good day.
I posted this picture of Liam because it always cheers me up and I can use all the positive energy I can create at the moment. My little dip into the past in writing the last post was destined to stir a variety of emotions. I knew it when I was writing that piece.
I’m grateful for that stir of emotions because it has spurred me into action. I will not play the victim anymore. It doesn’t create the peace I crave and it doesn’t create, well, anything good.
I’ve spent the much of the last twenty-four hours reading a lot and I’m only really just getting started. I’m determined to move into a state of looking forward with productive goals which will serve me well, rather than looking to the past with regret and shame and fear-creation.
My truth has been that I’ve spent most of my life looking backward in time to the past and second-guessing myself. That kind of thinking will never bring me to a place of peace, happiness, or productivity. I know that looking backward has been one of the sources of my long states of depression. The chemistry in my brain is only one part of the equation.
My truth is also that I have long struggled to find my identity. First, it was entangled in work. More recently, it has become encumbered in my status as a woman with a mental illness. Occasionally, it stretches out into my “mother” label.
I don’t resent being a mother and I don’t even resent being a mentally ill person anymore. I recognize that those are aspects of my identity. But I long for my complete identity to be something larger than those two aspects of my life.
It’s time to revise the mission statement I wrote in a personal development class a couple of years ago. It was relevant to me at the time and a powerful statement to those around me, based on the feedback I received. However, it is a statement of “I am my illness and my goals are scattered,” which, of course, was true at the time. On the fly, I decided to write what became a statement of being and purpose this afternoon, rather than a mission statement:
“I am a creative solutions facilitator and a steward of authenticity. As a positive force for change in this world, my field of work is the growth of maximized potential in peace and love. My gift is my creative voice, which takes on a variety of forms. My current project includes the lesson of learning to foster and grow holistic, healthy relationships based in love and trust. I invite dialogues to which I can contribute productive inspiration to any number of issues.”
It’s a fancy way of leaving room to acknowledge that I’m working on personal growth issues at the moment but that I also invite paid consulting gigs. And that last sentence is a euphemism for the fact that I know that I’m sick but I want a job anyway.
There. I feel better. Back to my reading…
I’m doing some inner heart work with this post. I am determined to “grow into my voice,” as I mentioned to someone today. I will find my confidence and I will heal successfully. In the interest of obtaining the inner peace I need to find my confidence, I’m writing sort-of candidly and putting some of my fear aside tonight, for once.
For once– for once– I’m not writing about all about the fru-fru family fun I like to imitate from other mommy blogs. This post is relevant to the topic I cover on this blog, that topic of parenting with a mental illness, because it is one of the prime factors that exacerbates my already severe illness. After all, I can’t successfully help raise little men to be responsible adults if I don’t set the example of dealing with my demons in a responsible manner.
Dealing with my demons necessarily includes medication and therapy. But i also have to become comfortable talking about my experiences outside therapy, too. That’s just something I have to do for myself.
I fully expect to make some of you, my readers, feel uncomfortable with this post. My hope that you will get past that discomfort to see the value in my ability to be sort of open about this subject. I am aware that I chance losing affiliate opportunities that I have applied for recently because I dare to tread on a touchy, volatile subject.
This post is about the gross reality of trauma and my anger at an injustice which will never find real resolution outside myself.
This post is about starting to forgive my own frailties and placing blame precisely where it belongs–outside myself.
I was a victim of a form of violence on November 12, 1998…
Nope, I still can’t fully write about it in public. I’m not ready to name the particular form of violence. I may be a little brave, but I’m not THAT brave.
I was psychotic at the time, in a mixed state of my bipolar illness. I was a freshman in college.
I am not a unique statistic. The mentally ill are much more likely to be victims of violence. And tragically, my brand of illness diminishes my credibility, as I am painfully aware. So, it’s much easier for survivors like me to be dismissed when they do choose to come forward.
What’s more is that I went on to be confused and had a relatively secretive relationship with the person in question for several years. I did not recognize that I was being used and abused for a long time. So, the incident went unreported and there is no evidence. Here I am fifteen years later, still feeling the effects periodically as if it happened yesterday.
At this point I should say that I have a supportive therapist now. That hasn’t always been the case, but I have found someone who not only believes me but who understands the nuances behind my particular kind of trauma.
The uncanny thing about my memory is that it is strangely precise, even when it comes to those times when I’ve been psychotic. After the fact, I can relate the precise paths my thought processes took which led to my seemingly erratic behaviors from the times in which my ability to explain my actions become paralyzed by psychosis. So, I remember the details of that particular night like it was last night, despite my psychosis of the time and despite the time that has passed.
It was the worst night of my life, though it took me years to even begin processing what had happened. I believe it’s at the root of my terrible ongoing fear, though I know I was destined for a certain amount of generalized anxiety anyway. I certainly know it’s why I don’t trust men, even my own dear, completely trustworthy Jared.
And, though I touched on it very, very briefly a long time ago in my little space here, I still can’t manage to be brave enough to write about it publicly in great depth. I’ve been very afraid, after all. I’ve been shamed into silence, fearful that I won’t be believed. I’ve trusted and confided in the wrong people in the past and I’ve been treated callously at times in reaction to my revelation. I’ve lost friends who couldn’t deal with the fact that I wanted to talk about it.
It complicates my already very complicated, very serious mental illness. It is trauma.
I’m still working on incremental, painfully slow recovery nearly fifteen years later primarily because real recovery didn’t begin until three years ago. My recovery is one that resembles a stormy ocean complete with building-tall waves, much like the moodiness inherent in bipolar disorder itself. I’ve had a couple of therapists validate me when I’ve related what happened. One dismissed my experience, out of hand, damaging me such that I didn’t discuss it in a therapeutic environment again for more than two years, until a few weeks ago. I like my new therapist best precisely because she has encouraged me to work on holistic healing and mindfulness and she acknowledged that situations such as mine are not that uncommon.
I’ve written enough for now. More on this later, I’m sure, since this heart of mine has lots of healing to do.
As usual, I don’t have much of an attention span when it comes to themes. Now I’m back to sporting Genesis, though this is a beta version of the framework and the sample theme. I like the previous theme I had, but it conflicts with my current WordPress beta version. :(
Today will be all about getting ready for the week ahead. Planning meals, planning outings, doing laundry and dishes…the boring stuff of life. I’d like for all Sundays to be a day of rest, but reality is that if I don’t want to be caught in a lurch at some point next week, I’ve got to start planning now.
We took the boys swimming at Mother and Daddy’s yesterday and it was lots of fun! I forgot how good of a therapy the water really is. We will try to do lots more swimming this summer. Liam really surprised me; he didn’t want to get in the water at all, at first. And then, all of a sudden, we got him in and he was a little fish!
It looks like rain today, but I really hope not. I love the days when we can walk together as a family.
I’ve tried hard to give up coffee. This morning, though, I decided to try it again. When I switched to taking the Abilify in the morning, I found that I sleep better. I sleep better, as in I actually sleep through the night or only wake up once very, very briefly. That’s a night-and-day difference from before when I would wake up 5-6 times at night feeling scared. The effect was immediate the day I chose to take it in the morning instead of taking it at night. So, taking Abilify at night had to be the culprit. However, it leaves me feeling horribly disconnected and foggy. Tonight’s sleep will be the test as to whether I can tolerate coffee in the morning. I sure hope so!
Aside from the fogginess, I’m feeling much better this week. I’ve got more energy and I’m sleeping much, much better. The boys and I have done some exercise every day this past week. Since I started the whole food vitamins, there’s even a tiny, almost imperceptible difference in my skin, for the better. Yay for good nutrition and good exercise!
My mother actually welcomed Abby at her house and played with her. That proves without a doubt that Abby has her heart. :) (I’m glad you like Abby, Mama!)
Speaking of Abby, she’s grown a little bit since we got her. Our training with each other is going well and while she’s a high energy dog, she’s not obnoxious. She loves to sit in your lap. Jared plays with her most by far, but she’s partial to me and Porter most. And, of course, she loves my mom too. It’s so good to have a great dog in the house.
Yesterday was the 5-year anniversary of Tinkerbell’s death. I’m glad it was a happy day and that, even though it took 5 years, another dog has found her way into our hearts. It’s a good way of honoring Tink’s memory.
I miss you, Tinker-B. You were a good first baby.