It’s been a while

Hey everyone, I’m still here and still motivated to heal with you. I am a full time student of Therapeutic Recreation and my semester is almost done.

Each Monday I have a class which is triggering. I feel like a poster child of dysfunction when I’m in that class. It’s not easy. Today we spoke about eating disorders. I am incredibly pleased that my professor mentioned Binge Eating Disorder which is now included in the DSM V. Since my parents were divorced when I was 9 (now I’m 41), I have been a closet eater. It was always so difficult to express what the disorder is to people. There’s much more to it than closet eating but that’s for another day.

Anyways, after class today I thought I would go to Starbucks to treat myself to my favorite vanilla latte while studying. Isn’t it crazy how I immediately started doubting my choice? I felt I should go home, make dinner and clean up. I became unsure about studying while my kids took part in a homework program or getting my kids and going home. Such a seemingly simple decision was crippling. I was literally crying and I felt so unbelievably lonely. This led me to suicidal thoughts. All this to say that my experiences with abuse have brought me to a place where I cannot trust myself. I sometimes feel inadequate in making decisions and I feel that I need guidance from others because how can I possibly know what’s best??!! Again, it’s part and parcel of being raised with the message that I am stupid. The best part is that after about twenty minutes of torture, I was able to turn on quiet music and bring myself to Starbucks. It was the best latte ever!!!

It may be difficult to believe in ourselves, it may be difficult to trust ourselves no matter what we have experienced but you know yourself best. Trust yourself, its way easier than torture. Thanks for being here

Think Happy Thoughts

People have noticed that when I talk about summer camp or high school (I was in the high school band and played trumpet) that I light up in a way they have rarely seen. When going through life as a survivor it is so important for me to cherish these positive memories and I am so beyond grateful that I felt safe and valued in these places. It’s my reminder that I’m not worthless as I was taught by my mother. I was able to form deep friendships. Even if we have all changed after many years, I am thankful that we are in touch and that the memories of times together bring me back to those safe places and happy times no matter how long ago they took place. These positive memories remind me that I was connected to people, an important ingredient when dealing with mental health issues.

I think we all need our “happy place” to go to when we need to, whether literally or in our minds. For me, it’s a time when it’s healthy to think of the past as opposed to dwelling in the past and over thinking all my mistakes and failures (which comes way too easily).

I wish for you to find your happy place, your safe place, whether you are a survivor of abuse or not.

Am I a Loser?

Here I am on a family vacation, the type of vacation that you need a vacation to recover from and I’m wondering if I am the only person who’s vacations NEVER go smoothly. Sometimes I hate Facebook because of the pictures of friends on exotic vacations with smiles on everyone’s faces. I know that it is easy to put up a front that everything is great and that their lives are oh so much better than mine but realistically I know everybody has problems. I just feel like mine are constantly on show because when I told my kids to get together for a picture, they all complained, made faces and refused to listen. My kids were constantly complaining while standing in line to enter an attraction while ALL the other kids were just fine. I felt like Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride part 2”, the part of the film when him and wife find out they are pregnant. He sees all the negative parenting scenes while driving home and his wife sees all the positive ones. I feel like everybody can look at me and my family and say “yup, she messed up” but part of being gentle on myself is reminding myself that we all make mistakes and learning from them is the important part. It’s not easy to undo years of mistakes but I’m willing and trying. The mistakes I’m talking about are those where it was difficult to set limits and get my kids to help me. Again, if I was raised with the mantra that I’m useless, worthless, not smart, etc why would I get them to help me, that’s what smart people do. I thought I had to be supermom (and of course I still think so to an extent). I had this mindset so that those who hurt me can say “wow, you really are great, I’m sorry for putting you down all these years” but it’s so easy to put myself down too. I don’t need them to say it to me because I HAVE TO SAY IT TO MYSELF!!! As I’m reviewing this post I see it’s one big paragraph and already “I’m a loser” because I don’t see where I could possibly make a paragraph break!!

I would like to see myself as an optimist and positive person but in reality I see how often I am putting too much attention to the negative and of course it’s a matter of choice. So here I am proclaiming to the world that no, I AM NOT A LOSER!! My life is far from perfect and unfortunately so is everybody else’s. I’ve made mistakes but I’m moving on. I’m glad that we’re going home tomorrow and that I can make a conscious decision of leaving this awful disastrous vacation behind me. Part of the reason I’m not posting some of the disasters is so I’m not reminded of them. Plus, I’m grateful that we were able to go on vacation while others can not.

Please when you are down on yourself because you feel like you are not up to par, give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself that you are doing just fine.

Pride-It’s ok, embrace it!!

So, as a survivor of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse I was taught that I am worthless. I was demoralized constantly. It was a HUGE step for me to admit and realize that I am not all negative but that I am worthy of many things and I have a lot to offer. It is so hard though when people take advantage of my good nature.

I’d like to mention my accomplishments which make me proud:

  1. I applied at the Gap many times for two years before acing the interview and working there for over a year. I am proud of my persistence
  2. I decided at 27 years old to become observant of Judaism, completely by my own choice. I was born Jewish but was never practicing. There is so much to learn, so much to gain. It is GIGANTIC for me!! I finally felt part of something real and accepted for who I am. In a world lacking morals, I chose to be real to myself. I am proud of my growth.
  3. At 20 years old, I made the decision to stop talking to my mother. It was her boyfriend who raped me and she protected him. I am most proud of the fact that I realized she will never be mentally well and that there was no room in my life for her. I needed to grow into a positive person and with her in my life, it simply wasn’t possible. I am proud of putting myself first.
  4. At 40 years old, I decided to return to university to finish the degree I started 20 years prior. When I was originally pursuing my degree, let’s just say I wasn’t exactly the studious type (unless you count the study of parties) and I had a constant feeling of regret at not completing my studies. Oh yeah, my major? LEISURE STUDIES, I mean come on, how can I take that seriously??!! My GPA after so many failed classes was 0.75!!! That in itself is an accomplishment. So, yes, last year, I returned to complete my unfinished degree and have only A’s and B’s. I am proud of finishing what I started and proving to myself that I am absolutely not a failure!!! (update: I transferred into Therapeutic Recreation)

Is there something you are proud of that you can post?