‘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.

For she is a ‘Warrior’

I love music, I can always find a song that reflects my mood. Do you ever have moments when you know crying would help you but you just can’t. I can always find a song to set me off.

I have no one favourite song – there are songs for every part of my life, good and bad. I do tend to have an album of the moment and at the moment one of my go to albums is by an artist called Clare Bowden. For those of you that have heard of a program called ‘Nashville’, Clare played the part of Scarlett. She is now an artist in her own right and has released her first solo album.

One track on the album is called, ‘Warrior’. I think it sums us all up and is worth a listen.

Listen to it on YouTube by clicking the link:

https://g.co/kgs/iB9Wyu

Hope you like it as much as I do.

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

Moving on by letting go …

I woke up in extreme pain again today and didn’t relish the thought of going to my EMDR therapy session. It wasn’t just the session that was on my mind but the 45 mins drive there and back. But I had already cancelled last week and you have to pay whether you go or not so off I went at 10am. Halfway there my back went into such a big spasm that I had to pull over for a while so I could recover.

When I arrived my therapist as always asked how the time had been since my last session. I then explained that I had been dreading my birthday. On any birthday I reminisce about the precious year but this year I was 50, a milestone in anyone’s life.

I had started the year with such optimism, that this year was going to be different. Perhaps I had expected way too much but I didn’t expect the year to turn out the way it has. I had been told at the outset that people in my inner circle might not like how my therapy ‘changed’ me.

In my mother’s case I suppose I was hoping that she would acknowledge her role in how my past had shaped and affected me, both mentally and physically. I didn’t expect a grovelling apology, a simple sorry would have sufficed. The outpouring of insults and abuse I received instead came as a complete shock. This has been hard to bear, I see it as yet another betrayal, the ultimate one being when I was told that the sexual abuse I received at the hands of her second husband was somehow my doing, my fault. I was the victim, an innocent child, how could she see me as being to blame.

My husband says I should see my 50th as a new start, the start of a new life. Perhaps he is right. Maybe that is how I should approach the next chapter. It couldn’t really be any worse than the last one.

Photo from Christieinge.com

Happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday today. The day I’ve been dreading. I’m 50 years old today. I haven’t been dreading being 50, age is but a number. No, I’ve been dreading my birthday. Granted I have never been one for birthdays – I hate being the centre of attention despite what my step-father says.

When it’s your birthday you are suppose to revel in the spotlight, everyone expects you to behave in a certain way. You’re supposed to smile and be happy all day but I just don’t feel like it, I haven’t even got up yet. I will have to in a minute – I can stay in bed all day. But then I will have to put on my birthday face, be all excited about gifts and cards my nearest and dearest have bought for me. Except this year it’s different. This year there will be no birthday wish from my mother, not since she disowned me. My sin, wanting to be well.

It is now nearly thirteen weeks since I last heard from her and far more weeks since I saw her. The last text message she sent me was to say that all the disgusting abusive text messages my stepfather, her third husband, had sent were sent to me with her full knowledge and blessing. It was also to explain in graphic detail things my abuser, her second husband, had done to her. These things she could tell me, she said, because she was never going to see me again. I can only assume it was to make me feel that her life had been much worse than mine therefore justifying her renewed hatred of me and nullifying any pain I was feeling. After all, the abuse I had suffered was my fault – her words.

As I am writing this I have now reached the evening of my birthday. The day has been quite pleasant, more pleasant than I thought it would be. My husband, children and my stepson have made it their aim to make me feel special. The cards they purchased had lovely handwritten messages of love in them – cards have always meant far more to me than gifts. Words from the heart mean the world. To have them in my life I am blessed.

My pain has been terrible today though. Not even my strongest pain killers have worked. This normally happens when I am really stressed or depressed so taking into account the day, I don’t think that should come as a big surprise to me. It took me a good few hours and a very hot bath to make it down the stairs to see everyone.

I heard nothing from my mother today. I do find it amazing that despite all that my elder brother has put her through and trust me when I say it is a lot, his birthday has never been forgotten. My crime has been to try and get well and finally put my past behind me. She obviously meant it when she said she could no longer have me in her life.

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.