Bad memory

Several years back I remember my brother Mark and I talking about something from our childhood with our Aunt Jan. My aunt replied to my brother that she thought he had a bad memory of his childhood. I laughed and responded to my aunt that he didn’t have a bad memory just bad memories. Sometimes you just have to laugh.

All joking aside, I have been thinking about childhood memories a lot lately. The new couples therapist my husband and I are going to has her office in a clinic with multiple providers of different types of wellness services. One of those services is hypnotherapy. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of being hypnotized since my friend and I tried to hypnotize each other in middle school. I really never had the opportunity therapeutically and didn’t think about it much until I saw it listed as an option last week.

I’m sure there are a lot of things I don’t remember. Maybe I don’t want to remember? The most troubling question to me is what would I do with the information. Would remembering offer solace and closure to the naggings of my mind? Or would I be opening another can of worms? Would I view other people differently if I remembered how they hurt me and may be hurting others?

Should I keep the door locked or should I peer at the fiery demons contained inside? Part of me thinks that I don’t remember for my own protection. The other part of me wants to tear down the walls to see what is inside. Will it help? Will it hurt? Only one way to find out I guess.

24 days

In 24 days my daughter is getting married. Until now, the date seemed so far away. July was the bachelorette party with friends at the cabin up north. August was the bridal shower. Our 25th anniversary trip in between those events, still the wedding seemed far away. The calendar on my wall flipped once again and now it is less than a month away.

Time keeps marching on although I wanted it to slow down a little. Maybe we could go back to when Angel was still young and holding my hand. I find myself wishing for things that have already passed. I haven’t experienced a lot of longing for the past in my life up until now. The other day I had a dream she was leaving me. The feelings seem silly because she will always be our daughter even though she will no longer carry our name.

I have been busying myself getting everyone else ready for the wedding. I made the appointment for Paul to get his tux fitted. Yesterday I took Arabella shopping. I want my other children to have something nice to wear to their sister’s wedding. I don’t know why I thought I could just waltz into a store and find something. I haven’t seriously shopped for a nice dress for my daughter since before COVID. Remember when department stores had racks and racks of homecoming and party dresses? It’s not like that anymore. The only dresses I found a lot of looked like nightgowns, pajama dresses.

It’s even more difficult to find something nice in the plus sizes. The only acceptable dresses that didn’t look like nightgowns were dresses my grandmother would be too young to wear, never mind a teenage girl. I ended up ordering a dress on Facebook marketplace and I’m praying it is going to work because my daughter is extremely busty. Thankfully she does have one nice dress she could wear if it doesn’t work.

I had a heck of a time finding shoes. My daughter wants me to wear nude dress shoes since I am standing up in the wedding. I do not own a nice pair of nude colored dress shoes. I started that search several weeks ago and came up empty handed until last night. I don’t wear dress shoes anymore. (Plus I hate the color). The only thing I could find looked either like ballet shoes or were two inch stilettos. No way! I did find a cute pair that looked promising only to try them on to experience excruciating pain with my arthritis and bunion. There was no way I could stand to have them on my feet much less stand up with them for the wedding. Last night I found an ugly pair of dress sandals on clearance that don’t make me feel like someone is sawing off my foot. Done.

Yesterday I started a new diet. Okay, I will tell you right now I am an incredibly vain woman. A couple months back when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I also got diagnosed with being overweight. The doctor said I should exercise more. Funny thing was before I started being in pain all the time I was at the gym 3 times a week and was running marathons. I was in a strength training class. I prided myself on maintaining a youthful figure. I thought it would always be that way until my own body humbled me. Now I’m all squishy. Not that anyone expects me to look like I’m 25 besides me when I’m almost twice that.

Yesterday I started the diet of no alcohol, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’ve done it before after the bad bout of colitis I had. I did feel a lot better, but it is hard to maintain. I am hoping to lose some weight, but mainly to just feel better. I am not going to be super anal about it. But I would like to get back to being healthier again.

I thought I would write about getting ready for the wedding as that is what is happening in my life right now. I feel like I dropped the ball a little with everything being a super organized planner and all. In some ways I don’t think I’ve had to do a lot of worrying because my daughter is also a super organized worrier at planning her own wedding and I don’t want to step on her feet. I really didn’t think about it all that much and here we are at 24 days already.

Gratitude week 96

  1. Clean sheets
  2. Cool autumn evenings sitting by the fire in our fireplace.
  3. We took our dog to the vet this week because he was still having a hard time getting around. The vet said our dog was having muscle spasms and back pain from arthritis. Thankfully we were able to put him on an anti-inflammatory medicine with pain reliever and he is doing a lot better. I’m so glad we didn’t have to put him down.
  4. I’ve come to the point of accepting where my daughter is at and am ready to get on with my own life. It’s not the life I want for her but at least she is safe right now. I’m sure there will be ups and a lot of downs on the road ahead, but as for now I am okay. I need to focus on what I can control which is getting myself healthier and stronger.
  5. Paul and I were talking this morning about our future and we decided that I would run our seasonal business. He would still have a big part in it but if I ran this business he could work year round for the other company he works for which will provide a better income for our family.
  6. Last weekend we were able to reconnect with some friends at the Halloween party. They invited us to go on vacation with them at the party. I didn’t think all that much about it until they reached out to us about it again. We decided what the hell let’s go. So for a week in January when the weather is icy cold at home we will be on the beach in Puerto Rico.
  7. I also signed Paul and I up for a couple’s retreat at a Bible camp we went to when the kids were little. Our marriage took some big blows the last couple years. It’s time to build it up again.
  8. This past week I went out for lunch with my good friend Jen.
  9. Tonight we are having a game night with my best friend and her family.
  10. Paul is on the same detox diet I was on two years ago. He is doing really well so far. He’s already lost 13 lbs. in less than a week. It really isn’t about weight loss as much as it is about getting healthy. It is a coffee, alcohol, and sugar free diet. Right now he is mainly eating vegetables. He has been making a lot of soups. He is a great cook and can make just about anything taste great so that helps. He can’t eat any meat right now but next week can add fish. I’m grateful for a husband who is always working on improving his health.
  11. I’m grateful they caught the man who attacked the woman with the baby on the trail I mentioned a couple weeks back.
  12. Angel and I went for a run this morning and the tree colors are still quite beautiful.

Gratitude week 61

  1. It’s the last day of February and it feels like spring is coming.
  2. I enjoyed a spa day with my mom. Her COVID anxiety dropped drastically after the second dose of the shot.
  3. My daughter’s name finally came up on the waiting list for residential care.
  4. Arabella finished all of her high school coursework online and will be graduating on time! I’m grateful she has completed school before residential. I honestly didn’t think she would be able to pull it off, but she did. Yeah!!
  5. My daughter Angel achieved great success with her hobby business and her work will be displayed online with a popular brand.
  6. I’m grateful for a coffee date with my best friend.
  7. I’m grateful I was asked to give my testimonial for the wellness clinic. I thought maybe they just wanted me to write a little something. But they want to do a video of my success story. I think it’s pretty cool to have the opportunity to share my story.
  8. I’m grateful that my hard work paid off so I could have a success story to share.
  9. I’m grateful that my daughter Angel spent a couple days visiting at home. We watched some old movies while I worked on my puzzle.
  10. I’m grateful that my husband and son are on their way home after spending a couple days on their annual fishing trip with the guys.

Gratitude week 60

  1. I’m grateful that the arctic blast (two weeks of subzero temps) is now over!!!!
  2. With all the snow on the ground and the departure of the bitterly cold weather, I am able to exercise outside. I went snowshoeing this morning and am planning on going cross country skiing later this week. This is the first time I have been out this season.
  3. I’m grateful that my daughter’s frogs should be able to eat crickets now that it is warmer out. With the snowstorms and cold weather, the shipments for crickets has been severely delayed or the crickets arrive dead. After my daughter’s pets went a whole week without eating because we couldn’t find crickets anywhere, my husband bought some fishing worms for them so they didn’t starve. Yeah again for warmer weather!!
  4. My appointment with the wellness nurse went very well this past week. I graduated!! Yeah, I only need to go in once a year now. I went from having acid reflux, colitis, multiple parasites, SIBO, and over 20 food allergies to being back to a state of good health. Today the clinic called and asked if I would be willing to give a testimonial. I told them absolutely!
  5. I had lunch with my friend Jen this past week. I was kind of embarrassed though because I always order the same thing and the waitress joked with me that she didn’t even need to bring a menu because that’s what I always order. So much for being a wallflower!
  6. Paul and I went to our sailing club cruise planning meeting. Nothing feels better than getting out my calendar and scheduling the summer. We have some fun trips planned and are planning on crossing Lake Michigan for the first time in our sailboat.
  7. My daughter Angel and I spent the day together on Saturday. We went out to eat and had pizza at a restaurant that offers gluten and dairy free options. The pizza I chose was absolutely amazing. Afterwards we had vegan ice cream, again it was amazing. Then we spent the rest of the day thrift shopping. My big find was a murder mystery game that I haven’t played before. Once things settle down I’ll have to host a murder. I’ll also have to find a tape player as some of the clues are on cassette tape.
  8. My mom got her second COVID shot this past week. We have plans to visit the spa in a couple days. It will be nice to be able to visit with her again. Hopefully a lot of her fears will be put to rest.
  9. I just finished a wonderful book call The Daughter. I’m grateful to find a new author that I like. There is a quote from the book that I want to post later this week that I thought was profound.
  10. I am grateful for the opportunity to document my life mainly through writing but also through photography. I’m excited about starting the series regarding having a teenager with mental health struggles. Talking about my dad and now my daughter has been very challenging for me. But I know how beneficial writing has been in my healing journey and I am hoping that by doing so I can reach others who are also struggling with similar circumstances.

Self-diagnosis

24 Dec 2019

If you are reading this, it is over. I have nothing left to live for. My whole life has been a joke. Hell couldn’t be any worse than living at this point.

Why? Why did it have to end this way? There isn’t a day in my life that I feel joy or peace. It’s just un-relentless pain. Why would I want to continue down this path of suffering? I just want it to end. Every day its the same struggle to place one foot in front of the other. Every day I fight against this meaningless existence. I don’t want to do this anymore. I feel like I have nothing left here for me.

It took months to get over the initial blow. It was months and months of insomnia and nightmares like the one I described the last time I posted. I was having flashbacks of the abuse I suffered and oddly enough images of things I didn’t remember, fragments of dreams you could say. These flashbacks were incredibly painful and the urge to destroy myself in the process was overwhelmingly powerful. In some ways I was already gone, stuck in my own head. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but hopefully it will be the last.

I decided to write my way through the process. I was only functioning on one cylinder, but I was functioning. How could I tell anyone that I wanted to kill myself because my daughter found child porn on my dad’s computer? It wasn’t logical or rational anyway. Why destroy myself over a crime I didn’t commit? I was sticking to the cover story of my parents getting a divorce if people noticed something was wrong. They could find out the full story later when my dad is in prison.

I couldn’t live this way. I started researching PTSD when I found out about Complex PTSD. I found my home there. Everything I was going through started making sense. What happened with my dad was very triggering for me. I had to fight through this to get to the other side, healing.

How was I going to get through? I already was embracing a holistic approach to healing. I started seeing a therapist to start working through the trauma. I was working with a wellness nurse to heal the trauma that ravaged my physical body. I was seeking solace in spirituality. I was writing my way through the experience. I was doing what I was supposed to do to heal, but this was a huge crater in the road. I couldn’t trust anyone or any God. I never could and honestly don’t know if I ever will be able to fully. I’m even afraid to share with you because I don’t trust you either. I’m not even sure what compels me to share this in full honesty.

I diagnosed myself with Complex PTSD. Part of me is in denial of this. Maybe I didn’t have it that bad. You see, my dad never sexually abused me. The few people I’ve told about his crime assume this though because they have outright asked me. Instead my dad treated me like I didn’t exist. He didn’t hug or hold me. He didn’t protect me from the teen boys when they came knocking. He didn’t tell me I was special or that he was proud of me. He didn’t protect me from my psychotic brother’s physical attacks. Nothing. That is how his addiction robbed me. He mainly made lewd comments to me and my children.

I tried to act like he was a good man. I didn’t tell my children much about my childhood. I tried to protect them from that. Maybe I was wrong. Angel found out the hard way by finding porn on his computer. I can’t imagine the images she saw or how damaging that was for her. I couldn’t even help her. She was a senior in college 4 hours away. She found this right before finals. She was struggling and I couldn’t help her. Thanks a lot dad.

I’m thankful I made it through and am ready to share my experience with you no matter how difficult it is.

Gratitude week 46

  1. I’m grateful that I am halfway through my detox diet. It is getting harder now. I’m not feeling as good as I did before. I lost 7 lbs. in the last 2 weeks. Perhaps after this I will never eat vegetables again.
  2. I’m grateful I was able to find a new car. As the kids are getting older, my cars are getting smaller. I bought a compact car, a Kia Forte. It is a couple years old with very low mileage in my price range. It has some nice features like heated and cooled seats. I really like it.
  3. Clean sheets.
  4. Quality time with the family swimming and playing games.
  5. Having pajama day on a lazy Saturday since my plans were cancelled due to COVID.
  6. I’m grateful this week for our veterans and the sacrifices they made to serve our country.
  7. I’m grateful to the service people who came out this week. It helped us put the finishing steps on getting ready for winter. Today it is very breezy and cool with no sunlight in sight. We finished winterizing just in time.
  8. I’m grateful to be able to learn new things by reading books and watching intelligent shows.
  9. I’m grateful for the stories I wrote and the ones I will write. It’s also wonderful to read about other people’s lives just by reaching for my phone in my own house.
  10. I’m grateful for friends who stepped up and supported us through these trying times.

Gratitude week 44

  1. It’s been a stressful week. My daughter Arabella is currently in the hospital for depression. I’m grateful that as of right now, she is safe. I’m grateful that the doctor listened to the concerns I have and is willing to do extra testing.
  2. I’m grateful for a warm fire in the fireplace on a blustery November day. BTW, how did it get to be November already???
  3. I’m grateful that we have two more days left until election day. I am literally going insane with all the texts and phone calls from both parties. If anything, I am so annoyed I don’t even want to vote. I’m sick of the ads. I’m sick of fights and people unfriending other people because of politics. Enough already! I think most of us will be grateful when this is over.
  4. My daughter Angel’s boyfriend Dan is learning to be an electrician. I’m grateful that he was able to fix the doorbell that has been broken since we moved in a couple years back.
  5. I met with my therapist this week. She jokingly said on the way out that my life certainly wasn’t boring. I’m not sure if I should be grateful for that or not, but I am.
  6. I decided to start the 30 day detox diet today as planned. My wellness nurse wanted me to start it when I am not under a lot of stress. The way things are going that probably won’t happen until I’m 6 feet under. I’ve been waiting to start this diet since January. So far I’m grateful I feel just fine. The hardest part is drinking half my weight in ounces of water. If it weren’t for all the damn pills I take I’d be totally dehydrated as it is on a normal day. I also gave up coffee and switched to green tea. I hope I continue to feel good.
  7. I decided to stay home and have a pajama day today. The pastor is having a sermon series on a blessed family. It was painful for my husband and I to go to church last weekend. Our kids are grown up now and have no interest in going to church with us anymore. Plus with all the struggles we are having with Arabella I felt upset. We tried to do the right things yet why is this happening? Honestly, I also thought I’d be feeling worse with the diet than I actually do.
  8. I’m grateful we bought a self-cleaning vacuum for our pool for both the bottom and the sides. It will save us a lot of time and work. It’s kind of cool to watch like when they came out with washers and dryers you could see work.
  9. Last night Paul and I finally were able to get together with our friends for supper. They are kind of mentors to us. It’s hard to find healthy older couples out there. I’m grateful for them and the other people who stepped into our lives and in return others we have helped.
  10. Today I finally opened my own YouTube account. Yeah, I know, I’m old. I’m grateful that I found another avenue to explore.

Gratitude week 39

  1. I’m grateful for the warm sunny weather we had this past week.
  2. I’m glad because of the good weather we were able to have a wonderful sailing afternoon.
  3. We moved our daughter back home yesterday!!
  4. Paul had a wonderful birthday. We went out to eat at a nice sushi restaurant and rode around town with the top down on our daughter’s Jeep. We stayed overnight at a nice hotel and helped our daughter move back home.
  5. I’m grateful that I have known my husband for 25 years. Not a lot of people are given enough time.
  6. I’m grateful that my dentist appointment went well. I was really nervous that maybe I would back slide since I missed my last appointment due to COVID. Everything remained pretty stable.
  7. I had an excellent appointment with my wellness nurse this week as well. My latest test came back with wonderful results. My body is healing itself. My diet is not as strict anymore.
  8. Yesterday I ate regular pizza for the first time in over a year and I felt fine.
  9. My son’s friend, who came over this past week, ended up testing negative for COVID after he was around someone who tested positive a few days before they got sick.
  10. I’m grateful that my dedication paid off and has brought about healing. I’m grateful for good news!

scratch this

My husband woke up with scratch marks on his neck yesterday morning. Five red raised welts caused by what looks like a left hand based on the markings. He didn’t wake up. He only knew because it burned while he was taking a shower in the morning.

I didn’t wake up either. We both slept deeply that night. That was the day we woke up very early to take Clara to the airport. We were both very exhausted. I knew I slept deep. I had that awareness. Did I have a nightmare and not wake up this time? Did I attack him? It had to have been me. He would have had a hard time scratching himself at that angle with his left hand. Plus I am left handed. Could’ve I attacked him without either one of us realizing it?

I have been keeping busy since Clara left. After she left I cleaned the house. The day after I met with my therapist. Afterwards I went grocery shopping for my mom. She completely quarantined herself since the coronavirus. She is freaking out. She will not leave the house even to go to the store.

The first couple weeks friends and family dropped off food at her house. This time I told her I would go. It felt like my obligation as her daughter. Plus with the special diet, I felt like I was probably the one person who could get her the items she wanted. She sent me a picture of two full handwritten pages. It took me 2 and a half hours. I got her 11 bags of groceries so they should be set for awhile.

Paul didn’t want me to go grocery shopping at first. He was angry and wanted my mom just to eat the food everybody else does. He was worried that I would get the coronavirus and have a weakened immune system because I am taking antibiotics. At his prompting, I called the pharmacy who told me it wasn’t a concern.

I haven’t been feeling the greatest. I have been feeling very tired, nauseous, dizzy, and have a headache from time to time. These are all common side effects of the medication. Also if I mix the medication with ANY alcohol (even with aftershave the label says) I could have a very serious reaction. So I stopped taking the elixirs from the wellness clinic because they have alcohol in them.

This also means I stopped taking Ashwagandha which helps maintain proper cortisol balance. The last time I went off this my PTSD symptoms went haywire. I asked to be put on it again after I figured out what changed. This time I feel fine off it or so I thought. Now I noticed that I am startling easy to noises. The anxiety and hyper-vigilance is starting to kick back in.

But even more troubling, I feel paranoid. Maybe Clara left because she wanted to get away from me. My therapist is angry at me. My best friend is out to get me. She is going to blab everything I’ve ever told her out to the world. My husband doesn’t love me, he doesn’t care. Yesterday when I called my brother Luke for his birthday I felt like he didn’t want to talk to me. At times I am afraid to talk to you.

Wait! It isn’t logical that everyone started hating me simultaneously. The problem isn’t them, it’s me. I’m being paranoid but it feels so real. I see it clearly now. I have another week to go to heal my body before I can go back to healing my mind. I hope I don’t totally lose my mind before then. At least I have awareness which I suppose is some consolation. It was more than I had yesterday.

Now if I could only figure out how my husband got scratched while we were both sleeping at night. I just hope I am not up all night worrying about it.