I was just replying to a lovely comment left on another post when I realized something. You are all getting to know the Heather of today which is wonderful because I am getting to a better and better place as each month passes. I think it is time for me to share something else. Who I was 2 short years ago. Not just to spend time talking about myself but so that I can share why where I am today is such a different place. Maybe someone reading will see themselves in the girl that I was and realize there is hope no matter how low you go. I want you to know that I “get” it. I really do. In the end, that is the reason for this whole blog.
In November of 2012, I’d been in therapy for about 2 years and it was going no place. I couldn’t really open up and the therapist that I had truly didn’t care. I am not therapist bashing here. We just were not a good fit at all yet I didn’t think of myself as important enough to deserve better. I’d go, talk about daily crap, she’d tell me to think positive and I’d leave. She knew how suicidal I was yet never really inquired as to why. I felt so alone.
That same November, my husband asked me if I had any idea of what I would like for my birthday (we both have birthdays right around Christmas) and my answer that year was the most honest answer I’d ever given. I said “I want to be dead.” That was all I really wanted for my birthday. I just wanted to stop trying to live a life that was torturing me every second of every day.
I wasn’t sleeping and when I did I was awoken by horrible nightmares, flashbacks filled my days, depression hung over me like a hurricane rather than a black cloud. I was jumping from one addiction to another to try to cope with this flooding of emotional turmoil. Food was the big one at that time and my weight proved it. I was having so many anxiety attacks each day that they were preventing me from doing much of anything useful any longer. I had to quit my job. I’d never been without a full-time job in almost 30 years at that point and now I couldn’t even manage one that was only going to be 3-4 hours a day. I wanted to work but I wanted a lot of things that were never going to happen in the state that I was in. I was afraid to leave the house and so stressed out by anything social. I’d go when I had to, put on my happy face, get in and out as fast as possible then need 2 or 3 days to recover from it.
And the worst part of it all? I thought I was utterly insane. Truly 100% asylum worthy insane. Voices of many when I knew that I was alone. Smells from days gone by overwhelming me no matter where I went and triggering me back to days I wanted to forget. Hallucinations on a regular basis that just wore me out, body and soul. I had nothing left. No fight left in me at all.
My husband finally called my psychiatrist who’d been treating me for depression only for YEARS. This pill, that pill, these pills, those pills… He’d never once taken any of our 20 minutes per month (crazy right?) to even consider another possibility but depression or further treatment. My husband told him it was something far more than depression only and if he didn’t do something fast, my children wouldn’t have a mother because he was losing me and he knew it.
This was the conversation that led to my being assessed and quite quickly admitted (January 2nd, 2013) to an in-patient program for people with PTSD. Apparently I had “all the classic symptoms”. Why no one else ever saw this is a mystery to me now. Anyhoo… that is water under the bridge now.
The girl who went to that program was so different from who’ve I become today.
I was confused, scared, anxious at all times, depressed to a horrible level, as suicidal as one can get without actually doing it (although my foolproof plans had many other foolproof plans just in case one failed). I hated my life even though on the outside it appeared I had it all and was doing so well. A husband, children, nice home… all the trimmings. I felt so unworthy of all of it. The extent of my misery at that time is too big for words. It was like living in my owl personal hell and I’d been residing there for decades. I’d truly had enough.
I finally agreed that I would go to the hospital program on one condition…
If I went and did EVERYTHING they told me to do yet came home feeling the same as when I went in? My husband would accept that life for me was just too hard and too overwhelming. I would wait until our youngest was 18 and then he’d forgive me for leaving him and understand that I’d done my best.
My youngest child, my baby girl will be 18 in 4 short weeks.
Who I am today is such a different person… and not in the DID sort of way. 😉
I struggle and I fall but I know how to get back up.
I feel sad, occasionally overwhelmingly so but I know now that life can and will eventually change. So will my mood.
I’ve learned that my story is a horrific one and it is okay for me to feel whatever I need to feel at any given time. I essence, I stopped belittling what I’d been through.
I have finally realized that I am worthy of the same care and compassion that I offer to others and if someone does not reciprocate with kindness? It is their issue, not mine. This was a HARD one to understand but I get it now.
I am going to likely need therapeutic support of some kind for many years. I may never be able to work again. Nightmares, flashbacks and dissociations may always be there. I still have a lot of work to do. There are Helpers I have never met, memories that they may share with me that will crumble my life to its core again and again. It’s probably never going to be a really easy life.
The difference now is that I know what to do with it all. I know how to get back up out of that dark hole. I know how to start breaking down a memory into bite size pieces and feel okay about telling a Helper that I need more time before they share more.
I also know that I have Complex PTSD and DID. Just knowing what is “wrong” with me has helped me begin to learn what is right with me. What a journey!
Maybe this week you could take a look at just one thing you criticize yourself for on a regular basis and find a way to help it make you better or teach you about self compassion. Are you up for it?
Have a lovely week all!