The Bad Days

The Bad Days

Like all survivors, I have good days and I have bad days.  Unlike popular opinion regarding emotions and moods, PTSD isn’t always something I can control with my thinking.  My inner parts believe they are living in the past and they are sharing those past emotions with me.  When that happens, I have a choice.  I can choose to validate my inner parts by acknowledging that I feel like crap.  Or I can ignore it, shove it back down, numb it out or any of the methods encouraged by society.  And while being happy at all costs makes the rest of the world comfortable, I am done making everyone else comfortable at my expense. So I have bad days.  I have days when I feel hopeless about the future.  I don’t feel this way because there is any significant problem with today.  I feel this way because I felt hopeless during my trauma.  And that feeling was completely justified.  It was truly hopeless. I have days when I feel so anxious and agitated I can barely stand the presence of another adult human being, let alone my children.  I don’t feel this way because my current life is agitating me.  I feel this way because I am still angry about the past.  I am angry with the perpetrators and I am still working through it.  I am angry with myself because I am still blaming myself for something.  And it doesn’t mean I haven’t worked with my anger yet.  It means I am not done. I have days when I feel undeserving of anything good.  I feel no matter...
The Real Recovery Process

The Real Recovery Process

I often write about trauma recovery as a process or steps.  I do this for many reasons.  First, I have always loved making a confusing thing more understandable.  I think this is a gift that I was supposed to bring to the world in one form or another.  Second, it is a defense mechanism.  Let’s face it.  Trauma recovery is messy.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense except in hindsight.  And I love to be in my brain.  It feels safe.  It feels controllable.  It feels less scary.  And even though I may be fooling myself, it helps a little.  Third, it appeals to your defense mechanisms.  I love that I can make you feel a little safe too.  And if we create a community of momentary relief from the trauma recovery process, we should do that. But today, I wanted to do something a little different.  Today I am going to get super-real.  I am going to discuss what the real process looks like because we all know it doesn’t come in 4, 5, 6 or even 7 steps.  It looks more like a child’s finger painting project with a dot at the end (or realistically there may be no dot at the end but we will hope).  It doesn’t make sense.  We can’t control it.  It never feels safe.  And we just want the whole thing to be over. So here is a realistic account of what trauma (and in my case, memory) recovery looks like: I have an energetic or physical release somewhere in my body. I get the sense that something isn’t quite right....
I’ll Just Wait

I’ll Just Wait

“Maybe if they die, I won’t feel so guilty for speaking up. Maybe they will apologize on their death bed.  Maybe they will finally say the right thing. Maybe I will find a way to make everyone stop fighting.  I’ll finally be the peacemaker I wanted to be. I don’t want to burn those bridges.  I might still need them. I always wanted a mother. I always wanted a father. Maybe they will treat my kids how I wanted to be treated. Maybe if I let them buy me enough stuff, it will fill the hole of emptiness from not having real parents. Maybe they will change. Maybe they will tell me they love me and mean it – just once. Maybe they will finally see me as a good person. Maybe they will tell me that. Maybe things will be different if I wait a little longer. Maybe I won’t have to feel the pain of rejection and abandonment from childhood. Maybe everything will be better without that. It shouldn’t have to be so hard. I’ll just wait for them to be better, to treat me better. It will happen, won’t it? I’ll just wait.” The Inner Child The Pain is Real There’s so much judgment out there for those of us who leave a family behind.  Survivors talk to me all the time about how they are invalidated and judged for their decision.  Outsiders seem to believe it is a flippant decision made to get the parents back for their minor infractions.  The abuse is often minimized.  The decision to leave is seen as irresponsible, disloyal and...
Repressed Memories Don’t Lie

Repressed Memories Don’t Lie

I make it clear that my recovery journey involves repressed memories.  And honestly, it hasn’t been an easy thing to explain.  Most people can’t fathom how our brain can dissociate to that extent.  Most people can’t understand how we can forget such incredibly traumatic events.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  It is because they are incredibly traumatic that we forget in the first place. My story is extreme.  I forgot the majority of my childhood.  Even before I started recovery, I used to ponder my lack of memories.  I even told my father I could not remember living in the same house with him.  He pretended not to understand why.  Most of my memories have been tied to my inner parts who would take over during traumatic times.  This recent discovery of Dissociative Identity Disorder has led to a much better understanding of my past and how I handled it. But I have heard from many survivors about their own stories of memory repression.  Sometimes, they remember most of their trauma, but not everything.  Sometimes, there are only a few events which are repressed.  Sometimes, they remember everything with no emotions tied to the memories at all. However it manifests, the biggest problem with memory repression is the doubts.  People love to tell us how repressed memories are somehow less reliable than other memories.  While I will be the first to admit human memory is fallible to some extent, repressed memories are certainly no less reliable.  But society has told us differently.  There have been entire foundations created to discredit the recovered memories of abuse victims.  So now,...