Stigma

The stigma and shame behind “labels” can create enormous havoc in an already broken and fragile state of mind. The struggle to cope and understand is greatly affected by once upbringing and the prevailing mindset of those around you.

I grew up in an environment where the mindset was that you fended for yourself and vigilantly hid any sign of weakness. Talking about “it” was a resounding NO…not an option. Going to the doctor was not an option, either, let alone a mental health specialist. Finances were slim to nothing. Any monies had would go to feeding the many mouths that begged for a piece of tortilla to appease their growling stomachs.

Any reference to a psychiatrist or psychologist was in disgust or disdain saying, “that person must be totally crazy to go to that! That’s not needed. They are good for nothing.”

There was an auntie who dared to venture into that forbidden territory. Oh, the things that were whispered about her. Those words cut to the heart. No one else dare venture out. They did not want to be part of those cutting conversations and side glances.

Do to extreme circumstances, another family member saw herself in need of venturing out. She did, however, in the strictest most hidden way. No one must know. Eventually, she stopped going. Maybe it was too difficult to keep up the front…we will never know. In her ultimate darkest moment, the “help” needed was denied and with no power to keep fighting, she ultimately succumbed to it all.

Many months have ensued, the memory of accepting my medical doctor’s advice comes to mind. The initial phone call. The first appointment. All the voices within and without. The fight to not get up from that chair. The fight to not flee that office…to run out. Each session, a struggle to accept.

I think I’m starting to accept…I think I’m starting to give my therapist a chance…I think this is NOT weakness, but strength…I think this is not shameful, but a necessity.

~ ~ ~ AND…it is…OK ~ ~ ~

PTSD Diagnosis

“PTSD: Symptoms may include nightmares or unwanted memories of the trauma, avoidance of situations that bring back memories of the trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood.
Behavioral: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation
Psychological: flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust
Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness
Sleep: insomnia or nightmares
Also common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts”
Information obtained from Mayo Clinic website
The holidays of 2017 were absolutely brutal. My daughter had been gone a little over 6 months. She loved, loved the holidays. Christmas was one of her favorites. I called her Elf (remember the movie?), she called me Scrooge (that tells you something). She loved decorating. I think our home would have been a winter-wonderland if we would have had the finances to allow her to do it. But she did great with what we had. Her last Christmas with us she sat and watched as I decorated. The joy in her eyes was all worth it. She was so happy.
Trying to honor her memory I was “trying” to do Christmas, but my body would not have it. Stuffing my feelings didn’t help. I ended up passing out, and later in the ER because my doctor thought I was having a heart attack. Given my family history (The Unexpected) he wanted to rule out any cardiovascular issues. Thankfully “all” was good with my heart. He recommended I go to counseling. This was a hard pill to swallow and accept, because I “always had it all together”.
Receiving the PTSD diagnosis was surreal. My initial thoughts were, “no, not me!” “isn’t this only for soldiers? I’m not a soldier. I haven’t been to combat.” “wait, what will people think?” “I can’t tell anyone, this doesn’t make sense” and on and on and on.
Watching the show “Madam Secretary”, the main actress was dealing with PTSD. I broke down uncontrollably saying, “that’s me!!!” It was surreal to “watch myself” on someone else.
Not sure what this all means. Not sure how to handle this. Not sure of anything. Just putting one foot in front of the other and at times simply curling up in a ball “until it passes”.
Scrambled Mind is something I deal with a lot. I learned about Six Word Story from a grief website as they were doing #griefinsixwords. Being a “wordy” person, it was difficult when my mind was so scrambled, to write anything down. Putting thoughts into six words helped. In fact, that’s how I started dabbling in poetry and finding quotes. Simple yet so inspiring. As Matt Haig puts it:
“…A short optimistic quote isn’t cheap. It can be forged in pain and have the strength of survival. It can reframe your whole perspective…”
Acceptance brings peace. Finding ways to cope is part of my present journey. AND so we continue on this life journey one step at a time…and if need be we sit and give ourselves permission to Just be…

Difficulty with Titles

As my life journey continues, I’m having to think, and rethink…and think some more some things that have been said to me, implied or I’ve said in the form of remarks, cliches, sayings. A couple of “titles” I’m chewing on, asking questions, digging deeper…simply meditating.

“Princess” – If a “princess” then I am entitled to royal treatment. My crown in place, not a hair out of place, face on, constant smile (cause who wants a sad or frowning princess, right?). Sitting primp and proper on her beautiful throne, high above anything and anyone. Expecting to be served, entitled to a happy full life. Every desire met. Her word is law! Reminds me of the Porcelain Doll

“Warrior” – the title alone commands awe and admiration. A picture of one with full body armor, stance ready to pounce, to win. Raging on, taking captives, winning against everything and everyone, cause “losing” is NOT an option. “Surrendering” would be a sign of weakness, a thought that shouldn’t even cross the mind of such a specimen. Superheros aren’t adulated for their humanity, right? They are “super natural beings” with “supernatural powers”. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Signs of weakness and thoughts of surrender are NOT an option! No tears, no sadness…not allowed to be human with ups and downs and all the emotions that come with them. “I am woman, hear me roar! I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…” “I got this!” “No pain, no gain!”…and on and on.

Depression, panic-attacks, anxiety, PTSD are deep dark secrets, full of guilt and shame, hiding in the shadows. Therapy is a four-letter word. Princesses and Warriors don’t need any “help”. Days that lay you out, cradling your body in a fetal position, rocking back and forth hoping it will silence the voices, the pain, the screams…shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, what will they think? Princesses and Warriors don’t go down, they are always standing, pushing through, reigning and conquering.

Can we be allowed to be simply human? Is that not enough???

Raw Thoughts

Today no rhyme nor reason…no poems or stories…just raw thoughts and pondering.

A heaviness. A feeling of being in a suffocating bubble. The thought that this bubble is protecting you, somehow shielding you, yet so suffocating…not having the strength to burst out of it, or really not even having the desire to come out.

The feeling that “life” is happening all around you. Like an out of body experience, I’m looking “in” thinking “everyone is so happy”…not feeling left out or wanting to engage…the desire to disappear…it would be better.

Hearing people make plans for the future, while your mind wants to turn off or just make it through this moment. Seeing people look at themselves as they work on that perfect body, while all you want is to get your heart rate up so your body can produce that proverbial natural “happy pill” (endorphins).

The feeling that you dampen everyone’s happy moments, like a wet rag flopping on everyone’s happiness. Dragging everyone down, why not disappear?

Sinking, sinking, yet knowing that you are already at the bottom of this bottomless pit.

Noises, people, laughter, life…can it all just SHUT IT!

The masquerade is sickening…I don’t want to play along…where’s the “shut-off button”, can someone, please, turn “it” off………………………….