Tag Archive: triggers


dearest little ss,

for so long now, i have avoided looking at you. your eyes, they are mine, the same steel blue. the same pain runs through them into my soul. your freckles, i have them too. those scars, look here. see, feel. they are there, we share the same heart and the same pain. the same memories run through our veins. we are one, you and i.

i am older; i grew up. i can protect you now. i’m sorry that i couldn’t then. i am with you. i can see you. i can feel you. i can hear you. i am listening. take my hand. hold onto me. i will help you out of the darkness. i will guide you, protect you, love you.

precious one, you are not undone. your life has only just begun. look to the stars, look to the sun. i am here, little one.

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logic meets a daggered end
experience begins
taking over mind and space
filling every empty place

despair convulses silently
hope reborn from tragedy
a brushstroke, art created
life penned, death suffocated

journey beyond the dark abyss
search out peace and happiness
leave behind old fruitless ways
breathe and gloat in life, today

I had a psychiatric evaluation in 2008 which diagnosed me with major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. Okay, I accepted the diagnosis, even if I didn’t feel it was all that severe.

Yesterday I met with a second psychiatrist as part of my follow up after being discharged. She confirmed the primary evaluation and prescribed me an antidepressant (Lexapro) to help with the depression and anxiety. I took my first pill yesterday and have felt nauseous since then. I do not know for sure if this is a side effect of the medication, or a delayed reaction to the tylenol pms I took Sunday night. I am hoping it is the Lexapro, and that it will work itself out in the next two weeks. I did put a call into the psychiatrist to make sure that this was anticipated and not something I needed to be seen for.

The official Lexapro website lists the side affects of the drug:

In clinical trials, the most common side effects associated with Lexapro treatment in adults were nausea, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculation delay), fatigue and drowsiness, increased sweating, decreased libido, and anorgasmia (difficulty achieving orgasm). Side effects in pediatric patients were generally similar to those seen in adults; however, the following additional side effects were commonly reported in pediatric patients: back pain, urinary tract infection, vomiting, and nasal congestion.

These are not all the possible side effects with Lexapro. Please see the Important Risk Information, including boxed warning at the bottom of this page, and the full Prescribing Information.

After meeting with the psychiatrist yesterday, I have better understanding of my mental health issues and feel confident that this new treatment plan will work much better. She made it  clear to me that I cannot work through therapy without being stable and to be stable I need medication. “It’s not an option for you” she said, “some of my patients can choose medication or choose not to take it, but you MUST take it.” So, I’m now officially “medicated” and hoping that this will be effective. I don’t want to be another one of those patients who has to try a dozen different drugs before finding one that works for me. I hate taking pills as it is and am hoping I can remember them.

Because my current counseling office does not provide psychiatric services at a reduced rate, I will be meeting with my therapist to have a closure session and process my transfer of services paperwork. Following that I will have intake processing at the new treatment facility and meet with my psychiatrist, who I met yesterday, for my first counseling session.

My new counselor, Dr. H., is a childhood psychiatrist who generally refers anyone over 18 to one of the male psychiatrists in her office, but because of my history of childhood trauma, she feels that she can help me. If at any point we come to an impasse on her ability to help me, then she will refer me to one of the male psychiatrists in the office who work with adult patients. For now, I feel confident that we are going in the right direction. This way, I can receive my medication and my counseling services at the same place and not have to worry about the demands of transferring charts and updating therapists and such. It will be easier to have all the communication done in the same office and the same agency.

So just wanted to provide an update for those who are following my blog. As always, best wishes on your journey to healing- ss.

I spent the better part of the afternoon in the psychiatric section of the trauma unit. Fun, huh? Not exactly!

It’s a long story and I don’t really feel able to share the details right now. But if you could, hold out some good thoughts for me. I have a meeting in the morning to follow up and hopefully get some medication to overcome this darkness.

I always tell myself that when I am hurting the most, that is when I need to reach out. So, with humility and hope for receiving compassion, I am going to share about the last few days.

The last few days I have been seriously struggling with my urges to self-injure. I have an interview for a job coming up mid-week, and I need my arms clear of marks. Since I could not resist the urge or compulsion to cut, I found a new spot, one less visible. The problem is that I cannot get the same relief from it. And I have to make a larger number of cuts to feel any relief at all. So for three days I have been injuring in this new place and last night I became really frustrated with myself.

In my desperation to make my world stop spinning, to feel grounded, to stop the pain in my heart that just wouldn’t quit, I took a large amount of pills and crawled into a bed. I woke up some hours later feeling dizzy and disoriented, but surprisingly not at all ill.

Saturday evening when I began feeling extremely low, I called my therapist and left her a voicemail. I knew that she would not receive it until today, but I reasoned with myself that at least I had attempted to do other things before I gave in to self-destructive behaviors.

I feel very groggy and everything seems to be moving in slow motion. The numbness is unreal. My whole body feels slightly tingly, but my emotions are almost completely absent today. I have a slight headache and am rather irritable.

I finally caved in and ate something. I was trying to avoid it in case I became nauseous, but that side affect is entirely absent from my system thus far. Remarkable really.

So here I am, with my mind barely here and my emotions nearly dead, writing this out. Some might call what I did a cry for help; others might call it a need for attention, but I don’t believe it was either. I believe I was trying to just make the world silent for a few minutes. It worked. I slept last night, almost an entire 6 hours. I’ve only been getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night this past week, so six straight undisturbed hours is a major accomplishment.

One of the things I am doing to help with my awareness of my mental state is to keep a mood chart. It tracks my highest and lowest moods, anxiety and irritability levels, medications, sleeping patterns, and level of functioning throughout the month. Since starting this chart on June 1, 2010, I have already noticed that my depressive state is much more dysfunctional than my heightened state. What I mean by this is that when I am in an elevated mood, I typically do not experience non-functioning days. I am able and zealous about taking care of my home, self, and family, almost to the point of being overbearing and over critical. I am certainly productive and even run myself ragged in those elevated moments.

In contrast, my depressive state leaves me functionless. I find it difficult to shower, take care of my house, tend to my children, and be a good wife to my spouse. I struggle with daily tasks that are seemingly insignificant on  good days but feel insurmountable on bad ones. For example, taking a shower becomes a dreaded chore, and playing with my children exhausts any energy I might have left over from the last time I was in an elevated state. It is as if any movement depletes me of vital life energy on those dark days. I struggle with feeling numb, and yet crying for no apparent reason. I stare at blank computer monitors and tv screens and see nothing but a blurred box. I become a shell, not a life. Depression looms over me like a thick grey cloud threatening rain.

So if the depression renders me useless, how do I find my way out of it? This is one of the things I want to discuss with my therapist at our next session. I know there are things I can do to help myself not feel so depressed, but they all seem to just be distractions and not a real “cure” for getting out of a depressive state. I journal; I write here. I force myself out of the house with my children. I call friends. I make myself do things that bring me joy most of the time in hopes they will stimulate less threatening emotions. I tickle my children because their laughter is contagious. I draw; I scream, I cut. I don’t know if any of this really helps. It does for the moment, but not for the long term.

Perhaps life is about the moment. Taking each moment and overcoming it, enjoying it. Perhaps if I can string together a dozen successful ways to overcome depression and do them all back to back I will steal an hour of joy from my sorrow. It’s just a thought. For this moment, it is all I have. Best wishes on your healing journey. ~ss

Well hello WP friends and viewers!

Been gone a while.First I didn’t have internet connection, then things in my world were a whirlwind. Now, I’m trying to get back in the groove. You can consider this an “all things shattering update.”

Therapy- It’s going about as well as can be expected. I’ve had two therapy sessions, and I’m feeling slightly more comfortable with my therapist. The bulk of our meetings thus far has been about my current situation in my marriage. It has been difficult to face the reality: I am in an abusive marriage. But, at the same time, realizing it means that I can a) bring it to my spouse’s attention so it can, hopefully, be handled and our marriage can be made stronger b) not hide inside myself and accept the abusive behaviors any longer.

Next week in therapy we are supposed to talk about medication and my psychiatric evaluation from two years ago. It will be nice to have a break from discussing my marriage, and give me a little down time in trying to deal with all of this. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. 😉

Self-Injury- I made it sixteen days without cutting. Then I fell. It was really bad. I don’t usually cut so deep. But I couldn’t seem to get the red to stop flowing. It took lots of constant pressure. It still is not healed, but is getting a little better.

I am battling this compulsion with everything I have. Last night I wanted to cut so badly, felt so triggered. I did just a small one, and then forced myself not to do it more than that. Instead I called a friend. It didn’t really help me not think about cutting, but it kept me occupied in some capacity, enough to not cut. I took some Tylenol pm and laid down on the living room floor. I fell asleep there.

Sleep & Nightmares- I’m not sleeping well at all. The last few nights, excluding last night, I have only managed 2-3 hours of sleep each night. Last night I passed out on the living room floor and slept 8 hours. That would have been great, except that even when I do fall asleep I’ve been waking screaming and crying from a bad dream.

The dreams are awful. Many of them are about the self-injury going too far. A few have been about my abuse as a child. It’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t. Most of the time the dream is scary or tragically sad. I wake up feeling on edge, my heart pounding in my chest. Often my spouse has woken up from the crying, screaming, etc.

Binging & Restricting- My eating is out of control. Last night I ate a whole jar of pickles- gag. If that wasn’t bad enough, I prefaced it with a bowl of ice cream. Just two hours earlier I had eaten chick-fil-a for dinner. Its so bad. I wanted to get so sick last night but just couldn’t do it. Too many people around. Restricting would be so much better.

Depression- I’m still really depressed and some days I cannot function. I struggle to get dressed and take care of myself. It’s so difficult. I’m trying every day to get up and shower and do at least one chore around the house. But still it’s not enough to pull me out of this funk. I try to take my children places and do things with them, and for those moments I am okay, but once we are home the cloud of darkness overshadows me again.

Well, I think I’ve written enough on all that’s going on with me. Just wanted to catch anyone up who might be reading and wondering. I wish you all well on your journey towards healing. ~ss

Another thought occurred to me this morning that I’d like to share in relation to this topic of “abuse” and “abusive” behavior. For many of us who have struggled with understanding these terms, one of the biggest “lies” we accept is that just because we do not have “many physical scars,” somehow that means we were not abused or our abuse wasn’t severe.

In conjunction with this, we also struggle because many adult survivors of child abuse do have happy memories of their families. We ask ourselves how can people who created such good memories in our childhoods also create such heartache and violence. There are no easy answers for the survivor.

We minimize the events of our childhoods, sometimes blocking them out all together in our effort to survive. We press our feelings down so far that the events become like pebbles in our mind. In reality, they are large, jagged boulders, but we have believed the lies so long that we cannot see the reality of our past. Often times, we are not ready to see it for what it was- tragic.

When we come to counseling and begin therapy, the process is painful. We are asked to bring in pictures of us as children, to confront and reassure our inner child, to dredge up the past bit by bit. The pain seems endless, robbing us of functionality for a time after each memory surfaces.

Therapists gently push us through this stage, for they understand what we cannot- to stay in this state of recovering memories would render us incapable of living. It is an ugly, heart wrenching process, and so to spare us additional pain, they prod us on week after week until we are empty of the memories, the purging complete. Only then can we begin to tackle each brick of our past and find healing. Only after we have acknowledged the horrors and owned them as our own, can we begin on the journey to wholeness.

Acknowledging the abuse happened to us, and not some detached version of our former selves hurts, because with this acknowledgement we feel, perhaps for the first time, the pain as our own. It didn’t happen to the child we were or the stranger from our past, it happened to us. Feeling this is both essential and cruel. The pain would be unbearable if it were not for the hope of recovery and healing. Admitting that we were abused and understanding the gravity of that abuse produces in the survivor both sadness and acceptance. From this place, we begin to move forward….

Stigma, lies, misinformation, misunderstanding. We deal with these ills every day. The person who suffers from schizophrenia, the man homeless and insane, the self-injurer, the rape victim. But how often do we stop and ask if they need help? How often do we reach out a loving hand or a strong arm to those who feel so alone, isolated? The truth we don’t like to face is that many of us don’t, ever. Sure, there are those in high serving professions like nursing, counseling, and other mental health related fields, but what about the rest of us?

I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I care to share about here. That’s not what this place is for, but I think something needs to be said somewhere. I couldn’t help them any more than I can help myself, but I tried anyway.

I never write anything here for sympathy, so please don’t tell me you’re sorry. Understand, that there are people in the world who need a friend but have no one to ask to fill such a role. Reach out to the hurting, the destitute, the socially unacceptable. Write love.. maybe not on their arms, but on their hearts.

 I write love every day. I write it over my own scars, over my own pain, on  the mirror I gaze into every morning. I’m still fighting this fight. I’m still struggling in this war against my own self-destructive tendencies, but I’m still here. For today, I will be thankful for that. For today, I will reach out to another struggling along side me. For today, I will count the scars on my wrist and remember all the times I didn’t die but could have. For today, existing is enough. Perhaps tomorrow I will find the courage to live.

Living can be painful. Isolation makes it worse. Being busy is a coping mechanism. Being stagnant is self-defeating. Healing requires effort. Pain requires darkness. Injuries require air and light to mend, and maybe a bit of neosporin. Hiding is exhausting. Blood is red. Depression is black, or “blue like jazz.” Happiness is yellow like a beaming ball of sunshine. My friend is yellow. I am black, well maybe midnight blue, but close enough to black. Knives cut. Glass shreds. Skin scars. Hearts ache. Eyes cry. Lips part. Voices possess the power of silence and sound. Music weaves light and dark, noise and quiet, rhythm and tone. Words hang in the air, thick like molasses, sticky too. Friends disappear and reappear like an illusion at a magic show. Blackness of night morphs to morning’s rosy skies. Scars toughen the soul. Life continues.