I meant to write this yesterday but it didn’t happen. Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and it was a time of reflection for me. The majority of my life has been tainted by mental illness. Joey (my brother) struggled … Continue reading
We have been here at camp for 3 years (this past May). And in that time we have not consistently been to church. We went to a baptist church in Kerrville a few times, a Methodist church once, and a … Continue reading
Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading
I’m going to try really hard to make this a beautiful day! Today is my town day which brings anxiety (I’m not a huge fan of doing a lot in one day). I will be meeting with my sponsor (at IHOP), going to women’s AA, and going to counseling and doing EMDR. I’m so nervous about EMDR after last week. It affected me for days afterwards.
The plan today is to come home and go to sleep. Robert is off so he will be picking up the kids. He will also be making dinner. Everything is prepped for him. Tonight’s dinner is meat sauce, pasta, and steamed broccoli. Easy peasy!
I hope that by resting tonight I will make the rest of the week great!
So I guess it’s a happy Monday because I can take good care of myself!
Tomorrow through Thursday will be busy! Every one of those days I will be in Rocksprings for the afternoon/evening because of basketball and choir. Tomorrow night we have a baby shower here at camp. I need to get lots of rest today because of all of this!
I hope your Monday is happy and wonderful and beautiful! What are your plans for today? What will you do to take good care of yourself?
This has been a really rough week. I did EMDR on Monday and it has affected me since (I’m assuming that’s what it is based on what people have said about it). This is going to be a very tough process.
Tuesday and Wednesday I felt terrible. I felt a huge weight on me. I was anxious and feeling depressed. I couldn’t get enough sleep. I slept several hours each morning (after I got the kids off to school) and just felt like I had been hit by a truck.
Finally Wednesday I texted my counselor. Sure enough, she said that I must have triggered something when we did EMDR on Monday and we will need to tackle that next Monday. Also, I found out that being exhausted is just part of the process (which I had been told, but I guess I didn’t believe it until I experienced it). Also, my feelings will be raw afterwards because we’re digging deep and bringing that stuff out. Eventually things won’t phase me over time.
So the first thing she did was get to know my history from the beginning. We did that our first appointment.
Then, we spent some time just talking, for me to feel comfortable with her, and for her to see more into my heart and mind. We did this for the second appointment.
Then, we worked on creating a “safe space” in my mind for me to go to when I’m anxious. For me this is the mountains. Also, I can hear the Serenity Spa music in the background in my mind for my safe space (I listened to this a lot when I got out of the hospital the first time).
Finally, we started the EMDR process.
She uses these vibrating hand held devices. They take turns vibrating. The point of this (from what I understand) is to activate both parts of the brain (the logical side and the emotional side). It goes back and forth, back and forth.
She had me close my eyes and focus in on one specific incident. For me, this was an event in which I was physically abused by classmates when I was little.
She would have me focus in on it, then we would take a break. Focus in on it in a different way, then I would take a break. I could hear the sounds of the events, feel how it felt physically, and with-in my body. Eventually she led me to how it made me feel emotionally and how it affects me now.
According to EMDR.com, these involve the client identifying three things:
1. The vivid visual image related to the memory
2. A negative belief about self
3. Related emotions and body sensations.
We only addressed one specific incident, and we have many more to address. I have more situations in which I was physically abused by classmates, a few other things that I don’t feel like sharing, then we will eventually address my brother’s death (gruesome suicide that I feel out of touch with).
I’m also learning a lot about how feelings aren’t facts, they are fleeting, and to use my “safe space” in my mind when I’m struggling with anxiety. This is what my counselor talked me through when I was struggling on Wednesday.
One other tidbit of information from my counselor is that she thinks I have been struggling with bipolar since I was little (and anxiety). Some of my behaviors are indicative of bipolar in a child. So I thought that was interesting. With bipolar 2, it’s often difficult to tell if it’s an illness or just behavioral issues.
This process will take time, but I see it really benefitting me in the long run. A lot of my anxiety and depression are there because of these events and how they made/make me feel. A lot of things have been going on with me since I was little, and a lot was triggered after Joey died. So I know it affects me. I’ve been stuffing a lot for many years.
I’m so glad I’m not working or homeschooling right now. I really do need this time to focus 100% on my healing and self care.
129 days ago I hit my rock bottom. I was at my parents, and I planned on not drinking before I went, but that didn’t happen. That Monday I drank a six pack with-in an hour, then drove to the store to get more. Yes, I was already drunk and I drove to the store. I drank another 6 before I went to bed (I drank all of this with-in a few hours). My kids were with me and was I paying any attention to them? Absolutely not. I was paying attention to me, myself, and I. I was paying attention the wanting the next drink (a daily thing). The next day I drank a lot, too, and ended up vomiting in a large bowl next to my bed. You see, this wasn’t an uncommon thing. I knew to get a bowl before it happened, so luckily it didn’t land on my parents’ carpet. Being this drunk was an almost daily thing.
My mom tells me that I had a panic attack that night, but I barely remember it.
In the middle of the night (completely hungover), I was feeling shameful. I couldn’t believe that I had driven drunk and just kept drinking.
I decided I was tired of vomiting multiple times a week because I was drunk. I was tired of the room spinning as I went to bed every night. I was tired of having to sleep on the couch because I couldn’t make it to the bed. I was tired of passing out and not remembering what happened the night before. I was tired of having to check my Facebook in the middle of the night to make sure I didn’t post something I shouldn’t have (or checking conversations with friends). I was tired of not going to camp community events because I wanted to drink OR going to them drunk or buzzed. I was tired of obsessing about my next drink. I was tired of trying to quit drinking and not being able to, which brought on feelings of guilt and shame. I was tired of spending my whole day either hungover or drinking. I was tired of getting up at 10:00 each day (even though I was homeschooling) because I was hungover and dreaded the day ahead. I was tired of being irritable and/or allowing the kids to do anything to get them out of my hair. I was tired of putting them to bed every night hoping they didn’t notice the smell on my breath (um, they saw me drinking all day… I think they knew). I was tired of not being able to be the person I wanted to be because of alcohol. I was tired of being sneaky and hiding alcohol so Robert wouldn’t know that I was drinking.
I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I had been going to a Celebrate Recovery in Fredericksburg, but it wasn’t sufficient. I decided the morning of October 12th that it was time for me to go to treatment. I emailed the leader of the CR and she gave me the names of the local treatment centers. After a lot of work, I got the okay to come into La Hacienda to get checked in.
128 days ago (October 13th) I went into my appointment at La Ha. My life hasn’t been the same since.
It took me a while to finally say the words
It took a lot of learning and understanding what an alcoholic is. Now I can say these words with complete understanding.
Alcoholism is a mental illness. It’s in the mental illness diagnostic book. It’s called Alcohol Use Disorder.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says Alcohol Use Disorder signs are as follows:
- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
I had every single one of these signs.
So much has changed. My life looks completely different now.
A few days into my stay there, my case manager made it pretty clear that homeschooling wouldn’t be possible for a while because my whole goal in life would be to stay sober. I have since realized that it’s best for all involved that the kids are in school. It has definitely helped me to stay sober, and it has decreased my anxiety significantly! I was wanting to homeschool and had so much anxiety just thinking about it. That helped me to know that it’s not something I should consider for a long time. I have a lot of work to do still. The kids are thriving more than they ever have.
Since I’ve gotten out, my only goals are to stay sober and take good care of myself. This used to bother me so much, but I have found that I’m a much better mom, wife, friend, and daughter for it. I can’t believe the difference in my parenting since I stopped drinking. I’m a completely different mom! My love for them has grown and my desire to take good care of them/show them how much I love them has grown. And I’m much more attentive to my husband and desire to love him better. I am learning how to understand my emotions, and I’m learning that I need to take care of past trauma that I have been ignoring.
I desire to go to church every Sunday. I desire to spend time in the word every morning. I desire to read to the kids every night and spend quality time with them. I desire to talk to the kids about Christ most days and Ethan and Levi have accepted Him as their Savior!
I love waking up early and getting the day started. I plan my day and stick to it for the most part. The house stays clean and laundry stays caught up. I’m learning to delegate to the kids what they need to do because that’s healthy for them. Our family is just so healthy now!
On another note, I’ve also discovered:
This is intertwined in my self care. I am no longer focused on the next diet, and I’ve become more balanced with my eating than ever before. I am learning to love myself for who I am, even though I’m not at my thinnest. I’m learning to embrace my body for what it is. I’m learning that dieting doesn’t work and there’s no point. I am starting to wear more fun clothes, even if I wouldn’t wear them before because I thought they made me look fat. Just so much change in how I view myself and others.
Probably the biggest thing that I have learned is how to love. Myself and others. I have a new appreciation for the struggles of people and want to love them through those struggles. I pray for people more, I share God’s love, and I accept people for who they are. Many of my new friends from La Ha have dual diagnosis (like me) and need to have lots of self care to stay sober and out of treatment. I pray that through my loving these people that they would feel the love of Christ through me and they would come to know Him or grow closer to Him.
God is love. The end.
Until recently, I would not have said that I’ve been through trauma.
When I think of trauma, I think of war.
I think of domestic abuse.
I think of growing up with parents doing drugs.
I think of being raped.
I haven’t been through any that.
I recently started going to a new counselor, and after talking with her for 45 minutes, she listed 4 traumas that I have been through. Then I talked with a psychologist for social security disability, and she felt the same way.
So, now I’m trying to figure out what that means for me.
What trauma have I been through, you ask?
Well, it started at the age of 3 1/2. I was sexually abused by a 9/10 year old. I won’t go into the details here, but let’s say it was pretty bad :-(. What’s sad is that you know that 9/10 year old had to have been abused as well. I actually don’t remember this, but I’ve learned that it still affects me.
From the age of 6 through junior high, I was bullied. Not just made fun of. I was ostracized by most of my grade. I was punched in the face multiple times. Knocked off a swing and stepped on. Punched on the arm multiple times. Probably more that I can’t even remember. I would see a counselor at school often because of this. I practically hated myself. I felt like I was flawed in some way and that there must be a reason nobody liked me. I still struggle with this to this day. I overcompensate often and have a lot of social anxiety.
Then, when I was 19, we were at a dance hall celebrating someone’s anniversary. My Pawpaw and Meemaw (who I visited at least once a week) had just finished dancing, and he went to sit down next to me. As he was sitting down, he had a heart attack and died immediately. On his way down, he fell against me. Then, I watched them do CPR on him, knowing that he was already gone. I was in the room at the hospital with my Meemaw when they came in to tell her that he had died. I lived with her for a month or so after he died, and it was really hard on both of us. Honestly, this probably has the least affect on me of all four traumas that I have experienced.
Probably the hardest for me is my brother’s death. It was a very gruesome death. He was at my parents’ house, and he used my dad’s rifle to commit suicide. The top of his head was blown off by the rifle. My mom was home and saw him :-(, so I would say she has it worse than me. I was the first person she called, and she screamed, “Your brother blew his brains out!” When we pulled up, they were carrying him out in a body bag. My parents didn’t want to leave, so while we were planning his funeral, they had to put a sheet up to keep us from looking in the room. Serv Pro came out and they had to throw away everything in the room. It was so bad that they had to completely strip the room… ceiling, walls, carpet. I remember walking by the window outside and seeing a piece of his brain on the window. I don’t understand why they didn’t clean that off for so long!
I was 7 months pregnant with Levi. Being the only other child, I had to take care of everyone else. I didn’t have time to grieve. I’ve still only cried a few times over it. I’m sad that I don’t have emotion over it.
I went through terrible postpartum depression with Levi (probably because of Joey’s death). I couldn’t function. Robert has said that I was in a complete fog and barely took care of our kids. He had to do the laundry, make meals, clean the house, etc. He would come home from work and I would hand him Levi and leave.
I started drinking to feel “better” when Levi was about 8 months old. I can remember the first time I realized alcohol would help my depression and severe anxiety (well, technically it didn’t… it was short term).
I have learned recently that a lot of my severe anxiety is because of trauma! Who knew?
This is what EMDR will help. I will truly be able to process so I can move forward.
Interested in learning more? Click the contact page above and contact me!