‘Tis the season to be merry’ – not with CPTSD it isn’t.

Christmas, the season of goodwill amongst men. Not when I was growing up – it was the most traumatic time of year for me. Far too much alcohol around leading to domestic violence and alcohol fuelled arguments.

When I was little and I mean very small I loved Christmas. We didn’t have much money being a single parent family but I loved the build up especially at school, Carol singing, stirring the Christmas pudding in the school canteen and making your wish and the school Christmas party.

All that changed when my mum met her second husband, my abuser. He drank, a lot and that made her lewd and lairy and violent, very, very violent. Every Christmas I tried to join in with the pre Christmas build up. I used to love going into town alone with my mum, present shopping and listening to the brass band playing carols st the end of the high street.

All that changed one Christmas, THAT CHRISTMAS. I’ve already gone over what happened that Christmas in a previous blog post and as much as I spend every year reliving it with my PTSD, I won’t bore you with the details. It’s simply enough to say that Christmas brings up so many bad emotions for me, I have often contemplated cancelling it altogether. But if you have children you can’t, can you. You must soldier on for their sakes. I must say though part of me can’t wait for the day they are all old enough to make other arrangements. I will book myself a cave somewhere and hibernate I think.

I have really tried hard this year despite being disowned by my parents and ghosted by my ‘best’ friend. Who knew trying to get well would cost me so much, both financially and emotionally. This year like every year I have done all the present shopping. I have made my Christmas cake and one for my grandparents and pickled my onion marmalade. I am trying so hard for this Christmas to be better but the memories still come back. The Yuletide pit in my stomach is still there in spite of it all.

Struggling to cope

I haven’t blogged for nearly a month. To be honest I haven’t been in a good place both mentally and physically. I have been struggling to cope with everything that has happened this year. I expected that EMDR therapy was going to bring changes into my life but I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of loss I would experience.

I lost my so-called best friend. Well didn’t lose, she ghosted me, cut me off without word or reason. That upset me at the time but the fact I got over it so quickly leads me to believe that our relationship wasn’t all that anyhow or I would have cared more about it finishing. But then it was terribly one sided, on my part. She did all the taking, I did all the giving. I only wish I had figured it out prior to paying for her to go on holiday.

My biggest loss has been my mother and it is that I still cannot begin to understand. At the beginning of my EMDR journey I told her that I was doing it for me, that I loved her but it was something I had to do. Any mother would want their child to get well, but it was too much for her. In the end she told me I was disgusting and that cut me to the core. But the thing I cannot shake, the thing that I cannot rationalise is why she felt it necessary to tell me what my abuser, her second husband, had done to her during their marriage.

I witnessed a lot of it, even as a small child I nursed her wounds and consoled her after beatings. I saw it all. But was it really necessary for her passing blow to be her telling me what deprived sexual acts he had subjected her too. What kind of mother does that. It’s as if she wants to persuade me her abuse was worse. I can’t shake it from my head and it is destroying me.

I have gone into myself since then – bar my children no one can reach me. I see the pain in my husband’s eyes and I don’t know what to say to him. It’s as if I have nothing left. My bulimia is back with a vengeance. I vomit daily – sometimes I don’t even have to make myself – it just happens. I am empty now. I have nothing left to give. I am disgusting. She has won.

Music has always been of great comfort to me.

My song for today – “Let it Rain”, by Clare Bowen

https://youtu.be/146DT8ShGHY

Christmas Cheer – or is it?

You hear and read a lot about how, if you do the same action you will always get the same outcome, so this week I have started to try and change that. I have always started my Christmas preparations early. I start off with really good intentions, that this year will be different and I won’t get the pre-Christmas sadness that hits me every year.

As a small child I can remember loving Christmas. Granted we never had much money when my mum was a single parent, but I loved the buildup to it, all the sparkly lights on the tree, being in the Nativity at school and carols, how I love carols. But my memories seem to be marred by bad memories that trigger panic attack’s and emotions in me that I have never been able to overcome.

My worst memory of Christmas is when I was about six or seven. My mum was married to my abuser at the time. He loved a drink at the best of times and Christmas only made his alcohol consumption increase. This particular Christmas we had been woken to a stash of lovely presents left by Santa. Since my mum married him, our money situation had increased but only if he was in the mood to hand it over. It was only as an adult I found out how hard my mother had had to beg for money.

That particular year I had desperately wanted a swinging crib for my Tiny Tears doll and Santa had bought me one complete with drapes and matching bed linen. With the turkey in the oven, my mum and stepfather had gone over the pub leaving my brother and I behind playing with our Christmas presents. I don’t remember how long they were gone but I sure as hell remember them coming home. They were both intoxicated. He had gone on a bender and my mum had tried to match him drink for drink.

Then it started. First the shouting, then the sounds of smashing, crashing, bumps, screaming, it went on and on. My mum told us to go into the dining room for safety so we did as we were told and took refuge under the table. The shouting and smashing continued. Some time later she came in again and joined us in our hiding place.

The door opened and my stepfather appeared. Something was glinting in his hand, it was the carving knife. ‘I’m leaving’ he said, ‘ and if any of you try to stop me, I will f***ing kill you!’ As he walked out my mum ran after him begging him to stay. I can remember my brother and I screaming for her to come back, remembering what he had said would happen if we tried to stop him leaving. He left.

We were left surveying the damage. The house had been smashed to pieces. Every present broken. My beautiful swinging crib lay in pieces in the lounge. My mum realised we hadn’t eaten so went into the kitchen to make us something. Not content with wrecking the house he had taken the plug off every appliance in the kitchen. ‘Turkey and chips it is,’ she said.

A few hours later the door opened and he walked back in. ‘No trains today,’ he said, ‘I’ll go tomorrow.’ He never went. He obviously wheedled his way back into my mum’s good books because they were soon acting as if nothing had never happened.

The damage stayed with me though. It doesn’t take much to trip my mood at Christmas. I don’t mean I get angry. When my mood changes I go into the pits of despair and there I stay until after New Year and I cry, I cry a lot.

So this Christmas I have decided to try and change things. Even though my eldest has now moved out and he and his younger brother and sister are spending it with their dad this year, I am putting the same amount of effort into it as I used to when they were small. Like then, I have made my own Christmas cakes and pickles. I have spend ages designing how I will wrap everyone’s gifts and what we will eat. I have almost finished my gift shopping already and know exactly what theme my decorations will be.

This year Christmas will be different. My mother and her third husband are no longer in my life having disowned me; my closest ‘best’ friend may have ghosted me without telling me why, but I have MY family, my husband, my two sons, my daughter , my stepson and my two loyal Shih tzus. And as hard as it is, I am doing really well with my EMDR therapy. I know I have already banished some old demons. Maybe this year it will be a Merry Christmas after all.

Depressed and fed up

I’m in a foul mood and I don’t know why. The slightest thing makes me snap – I feel like a grenade waiting to go off. I couldn’t even face going to therapy yesterday. Admittedly I am in a lot of pain at the moment so that gave me the excuse I needed. I’ll have to pay for the session anyway, lack of notice but even that didn’t stop me. I just want to go to bed and wake up in about ten years, maybe even longer. I haven’t even got the energy to cry.

For example I took my daughter horse riding and cane back to find my husband painting the bedroom doors upstairs – we are currently mid decorate of the hall, landing and stairs. Now most women would love a husband that just gets on with the decorating but he didn’t think how daughter was doing to get in to have a shower. That put me in a crabby mood. Now I just feel pissed off and ungrateful.

It’s my 50th birthday in four days and as the day approaches I just feel more and more fed up. I mean what a year, I’ve managed simultaneously to lose my parents and my ‘best’ friend. Granted my mum disowned me because I started therapy and she can’t cope with it. As for my ‘best’ friend, I have absolutely no idea as she just stopped all contact with me without explanation. So it must be me right? I am the deciding factor in both cases so surely it’s my fault.

I had such high hopes for this year but it’s even more crappier than the last one. My husband has planned a special day for me but I really can’t be bothered. I don’t see any reason to celebrate being here.

I hate everything about me, my new hair cut, (should have left it the colour it was, appointment made to change it back); my weight, (bulimia in full on mode at the moment as it has been since my mum disowned me 12 weeks ago yesterday); my body, (fed up with being in constant pain all the time despite all the meds I take), basically I hate ME.

Self pitying moan over.

If only we could buy happiness

‘Happiness can’t be bought’.  That is what the Dalai Lama said.  ‘Mental peace cannot be injected by any doctor’.  I read that in ‘The Little Book of Wisdom’, by his holiness the Dalai Lama.  It would be wonderful though wouldn’t it if we could go into a shop and purchase happiness or place an online order for some.  But then again that would then make it only available for those who had monetary resources available to buy some.  The rest of society would be poor and miserable,

Happiness comes in many forms.  For me it is when my life is on an even keel, no short sharp shocks or nasty surprises.   Or when those closest to me are happy, that brings me pleasure.  Finding happiness is one of the many reasons I am slogging through EMDR therapy and it is a slog.  There are many days after my weekly session that I wonder what the hell I am doing, why I am putting myself through it.  After all I have lost so much with my decision to do it but I have gained so much for myself.

The changes in my personality might not be noticeable to others but I notice them.  It takes more to rattle me and I am calmer when rattled.   I used to bite when backed into a corner, fight or flight they call it.  But now I seem to be able to pause and take a breath, taking time to decide what to do or say.  And it does bug the ‘rattler’ because an argument is hard to carry on when it is one-sided.   Don’t get me wrong, I still get rattled but the number of times that a situation escalates is much lower than previously.

EMDR also makes you aware of situations that have deeply affected you that until that point you are completely oblivious to.  By processing this you clear space in you mind for the happy memories to come through, things that have been long forgotten.

Maybe when all this is over I will finally find the happiness and inner peace I have seeked for so long.

When someone ‘ghosts’ you

I’ve been ghosted. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when you text someone who you considered a friend and they don’t answer you, so you text again, wondering whether everything is okay. No answer, so you text again. Nothing. You have been ghosted, cut off, dumped, without explanation of why or what you have done.

This week my ‘best friend’ ghosted me. I have been dumped without any reasoning as to why. I don’t know what I did to warrant such action. I just know our friendship is over. Googling ‘ghosting’ on the internet brings up numerous articles. They all same the same thing, when someone ghosts you it is about them not you. I hope so.

What devastates me more is that it is ten years since I let a friend get that close to me. Ten years ago my best friend passed away suddenly at the age of 39. It took me ten years to reach a place where I was comfortable enough to let someone in. I though I had found someone I could trust but I was obviously wrong.

Having not heard from her for a few weeks I texted her. It has been the school holidays and I know she is always busy. I had texted her a couple of times over the vacation and she had said she would be in touch when the children were back at school.

The thing is in the past she has told me how she disposes of friends she has tired off. First she ignores texts leaving them ‘delivered’ but not read. Then she reads them so you know she has but doesn’t answer. My next step was to phone. She cut me off. Now I’m not talking dozens of texts here. I’m talking a couple. I have absolutely no idea what I did because she won’t tell me. I have racked my brains. You start to make excuses for people who ghost you, maybe they are having a hard time, going through their own stuff. But all it takes is a text saying ‘not up to contacting anyone at the moment’. What kind of a person does that to someone. Not a friend.

I’ve deleted her number. Not for her, for me. That way I won’t be tempted to contact her again. She said I was the best friend she had ever had. Obviously not.