Since my last post, I have actually recovered a memory.  I guess writing about that particular anxiety sparked some introspection into why I have that specific anxiety.

Shortly before my father abandoned me, we lived in Alabama.  My dad was stationed at Fort Rucker, and we lived in Ozark.  I was 8 years old.  I remember my father forcing my sister and I to stay outside for hours at a time.  We weren’t allowed to come in the house.  The backyard was nice.  Fenced in, and it had honeysuckle plants that I remember sucking on.  They were very sweet, I remember.

I also remember being so terrified of my father that I didn’t dare ask him if I could come in the house to use the restroom.  I vividly remember wearing a pair of light blue shorts and darker blue tank top.  I ended up urinating because I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.  I remember being in agony for a long time, just trying to hold it in.  I remember feeling really ashamed after it happened.  I also remember my father beating me severely because of it.

I’ve been thinking about this memory a lot, and it makes sense that I still have a fear that I’m going to lose bladder control.  I was beaten for it once, and that’s all it takes to create a mental disturbance.  My father beat me all the time, over little things, things that weren’t even my fault, or just because.  I’m actually glad that I recovered this memory.  I’m not overly upset by it, and it’s put some puzzle pieces together for me.

Now that I know where this specific anxiety comes from, I may be able to change it or even remove it completely.

The Mind Knows Best

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all it’s contents”

–H.P. Lovecraft (The Call of Cthulhu)

This is my favorite quote.  Ever since I read The Call of Cthulhu, it’s stuck with me.  I interpret his meaning to be, that if we recalled everything that we’ve ever seen, done or know…we’d lose our minds.  Madness was such a focal point of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.

A recurring theme in his stories focuses on a world that stays just outside human perception, and those unlucky fools who glimpse this world in any way, become insane.  The Other Gods and their role in the world are too alien and horrible for the human mind to fathom.  They are the very essence of insanity and horror.  Some things we just shouldn’t know about, if for no other reason than to save our sanity.

As a survivor going through the healing process, I feel like this sometimes.  Whenever I have a flashback, or finally remember in detail a specific memory that I have suppressed.  Sometimes I wish those memories would go right back to the corner of my brain where they came from.  Sometimes uncovering things is too intense to have any benefit whatsoever.  Sometimes I really wonder why in the hell I want to recall the terrible things that happened to me.  I know I can’t stop the memories from coming, but when I dig into my head to actively try to recall certain things, I always wish I hadn’t.  It takes days to recover from sometimes.

It may not be the healthiest thing in the world to not want to remember everything, but it saves my sanity not to.

What am I not remembering?  I have holes in my memory banks, and there’s still a lot of memories that are only partially there.  My husband can tell me story upon story about his childhood.  Books and books of memories.  I have a handful at the most.  I think there’s more abuse there that I don’t remember.

I’ve recalled enough trauma to last me a lifetime already, and I have no idea what the hell else is in there.  I don’t want to remember anything else.  That’s my mind saving my sanity.  That’s my mind having mercy on me.

Here We Go Again…

As high as I’ve been for the past month is as low as I am today.  I should have prepared myself for the inevitability of my depression spike, but I was happy.  I was happy and blissful until the new year.

Once the new year hit, my state of mind plummeted at an alarming rate.  Now I am fighting back tears, and really hating my existence.

The holiday season is over.  My football team is done for the season.  The 25th anniversary of my mother’s death is tomorrow.  So many bummers all at once.  I was actually angry yesterday as I was taking down the Christmas decorations, and had to stop myself from being snappy with my daughter.  Luckily, I’ve learned to hold onto my mood for her sake.

I am finding myself irritable and angry.  Every little thing that doesn’t go my way has the potential to set me off.  I have been doing well to stay in check, and I hope it continues.  I took some St. John’s Wort to elevate my mood, but I’ve felt no difference yet.  It’s probably one of those things that you have to take consistently for awhile before it helps at all.

I got a Kindle for Christmas (an e-book reader), and have found that all I want to do is read.  This normally is a great thing, but I think I’m reading in excess, to try and forget about the circumstances that lead me to this bout of depression.  I’ve read 4 books in a matter of days.

I’ve been evaluating and focusing on all the things I hate about myself…a normal activity when I’m depressed, but it sure isn’t helping me feel any better.  Focusing on your failures will plummet you even further down the rabbit hole.  There are so many changes I want to make, but my current state of mind won’t let me.  I’ve been telling myself that there is no point.  That’s my self-destructive tendencies sneaking up on me again.

I don’t know how long this will last, but I pray it’s not too long.  I will do my damnedest to turn this around.  Feeling like this is one of the worst things in the world, and I don’t like it.

It’s Good

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted.  I’m in a good place in my life right now, for the most part.

I’m still struggling with sleep.  I take a sleeping pill every evening, but lately my body has decided that I need to be awake at 4:30 am every morning.  I can’t figure out why.  I’m still going to sleep at the same time, but yet I wake up early.  Hopefully this is short-lived, and I won’t have to deal with it much longer.

I am still working on Beth Moore’s bible study, Breaking Free.  I’m on week 9 now, with only one more after this.  It’s really helping me deal with a lot of the baggage that I still carry from my trauma, and I feel closer to God with every study.  I don’t feel so alone anymore.  There’s still a lot to tackle, and I will always be on this journey, but I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.

I can handle anything, I just have to have patience.  I also have to be gentle with myself.  That was one of the hardest obstacles to overcome.  I would get so frustrated when I reacted badly to a situation or I wasn’t as far along in my healing as I wanted to be.  I was way too hard on myself.  I’ve gotten past that, and can now take every victory for what it is.  I can let every set-back go without mentally tearing myself apart.

The fact that I have survived this long and continue to get healthier and healthier is amazing and something to be celebrated.

There are some things that I will be working on in the very near future, and it will be a struggle for me.

I have to work on my intimacy issues, and will be contacting a therapist soon for help in this area.  After struggling with it for some time, I have conceded that I can’t fix this one by myself.  No amount of research and studying about it seems to change anything.  Some Cognitive Behavior Therapy may be in order.

I am on a mission to completely change my diet.  I had my gall bladder removed more than 8 years ago, and constantly suffer from abdominal pain, bloating and other symptoms that I don’t care to disgust you with.  I’ve been doing some research, and have found that a minimal fat diet might help me.  I’m going to make this change to hopefully curtail some of these symptoms.  I’m tired of my bowels being my enemy.

I’ll keep my progress in all areas updated here.  This is my space to record becoming a happier, healthier person, and I find it’s very important.


October Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse

I just wanted to make a quick post about this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse hosted by From Tracie.  I submitted a post that I wrote some time ago, but was very important to my recovery.  It is called Cycles of Abuse.

I encourage anyone who has been touched by child abuse in any way to check it out.


The Daunting Climb

I am going to make the necessary calls to find a therapist this afternoon.  I have the afternoon off work for a dreaded medical appointment, so I will have time to make some phone calls.  It’s hard in my little town to find a therapist who will work with my schedule, but I have to try.

I can no longer continue on this recovery process on my own.  I will obviously continue to do my self-work, but I need some outside guidance.  There’s so much here, and it’s crushing.  I am proud of myself that I was able to finally get to the core of my issues.  After all, that’s what this process has been about so far.  Rewiring my brain and overcoming these maladaptive personality traits has been my overall focus.  I have a name for what is wrong with me, and it seems to make it that much more daunting.

Thanks to my friend Faith over at Blooming Lotus (Thanks Faith!), I have been working on a bible study by Beth Moore called Breaking Free.  I have been working on it a few weeks now, and it’s really eye-opening just how hindered I am by my past traumas.  I really am a slave to them, and have been for so long.  All of these issues that I have stemming from my abuse hold me captive from having a fulfilling life.  Sure, I am able to function well enough, and I’m happy most times, but I’m in turmoil all the time.

My journey is still young.  I have to keep telling myself that instead of being disheartened or depressed, I should be ecstatic that I’m breaking through the barriers that I’ve had for so long.  I know that I am becoming a healthier person everyday.  I break little terrible patterns all the time.  I think what is most daunting is the scope of what I still need to work on.  There’s just so much there.  It’s like looking up at Mt. Everest from the base and getting dizzy at the thought of the climb.

My freedom is waiting for me at the top.  I just have to have the strength to get there.

Bad Things Happen in Threes

I feel the steam coming out of my ears.  Yes, I have hit a recovery roadblock.  I have three huge problems that I need to fix, and instead of figuring out where to start, I’m just staring at all of them blankly.

Lack of Self-Confidence

Fear of Intimacy


Not having any self-confidence is like having this little beast on your shoulder at all times.  It whispers in your ear every time you think you might be able to do something, and tells you that you can’t.  You immediately believe the little beast because you knew you wouldn’t be able to do it anyway, and frankly, how dare you even try.

This is the reason why I can’t ever make decisions beyond what I have been doing on a daily basis anyway.  This is the reason why I can’t pick up the damn phone to find a therapist.  This is the reason why I can’t follow through on any diet or exercise plan.  This is the reason that I can’t ever stand up for myself.  This is the reason why I’m not recovering.

I can’t do it.

That is what has been ingrained in me since I was young.  I was “a worthless little pea-brain” to my father, and even at that tender age, I knew what it meant.  Logically, I know that it’s not true, but I still feel that way most times.  It feels safer to stay stagnant because I know that I can do what I’ve already done.

Continuing to live my life the way I have been is not an option anymore.  I am increasingly unhappy with myself.  Every second of every day, I berate myself for not making the changes that I want to make.  I set myself up for failure before I even make the right decision.

If I decide that today I am going to eat healthy, I will sabotage myself by eating something unhealthy for lunch after eating a good breakfast.  If I decide that I am going to call the gym today to set up an appointment for a tour and program assignment, I’ll tell myself that I don’t have time, and don’t follow through.

If I am put on the spot to make a decision, I will actually freeze.  It’s too much for me.  Even something simple like what to make for dinner is an agonizing decision for me.  What if my family doesn’t want that for dinner?  Then it’s the wrong decision, and that’s a paralyzing thought.  I am so terrified that I will make the wrong decision, and someone will think that I really am that “worthless little pea-brain” that I’ve been called before.

There are so many circular conditions that are traced back to my abuse, and it all makes my head hurt.  I know I need a therapist to help me sort through it all, and put me on the right path to healing.

God, please grant me the strength to pick up that phone.


It’s amazing what you learn when you do a bit of research.  I always thought codependency was when two people in a relationship were so dependent on each other that they were willing to put up with just about any unhealthy behavior, simply for the sake of being together.

Apparently, this is not the case, and apparently, I have problems with this.

From the Codependency Wiki:

“Codependency or codependence is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one’s needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.  Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including in families, at work, in friendships, and also in romantic, peer or community relationships.  Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns.”

Denial patterns:

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

Low self-esteem patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never “good enough.”
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.

Compliance patterns:

  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger.
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
  • I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
  • I accept sex when I want love.

Control patterns:

  • I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • I attempt to convince others of what they “should” think and how they “truly” feel.
  • I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
  • I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
  • I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
  • I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
  • I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.

I exhibit about 95% of these behaviors.

Mine stems from my abuse, just like everything else, it seems.  It’s really frustrating to go through this recovery process, and find out how much my abusers really messed me up.  How people can have such little regard for the long-term effects of their abusive behavior is beyond me.  But then again, if they were any kind of decent human beings, they wouldn’t be abusive in the first place.

I guess I’ll just keep adding to my list of things I need to fix.  I think I need to find a good therapist.

Toxic Shame

I had a revelation this weekend that both nauseated and invigorated me at the same time.  I found out what lies at the core of all my issues.  I found out the reason that I am at a standstill in my recovery.  I found out what I need to work on before I have even the slightest hope of overcoming this.

I have this nice little thing called Toxic Shame, and I have my childhood abuse to thank for it.

Shame can be a good thing.  It can make you look at a mistake that you have made and not repeat it.  It can make you change your behavior so that you become a better person.  The key word here being:  behavior.

Toxic shame is when you think that your being, the very essence of you, is bad.  You feel unlovable, shameful and defective.  When you are abused as a child, your beliefs about yourself become molded by your abuser(s).  More often than not, your abuser is also the person in charge of your care-giving.  Your abuser shows you through action or flat out tells you that you are worthless, useless, unlovable, undeserving and faulty.  As a child, you accept this as fact about yourself.  After all, children are supposed to listen to adults, right?

I never had a name for what was inherently wrong with me.  Obviously, I know that I have a lot of issues and bad patterns associated with my abuse, but I always thought that if I worked on them one by one, I would eventually heal.  This could never happen.  If you don’t even acknowledge the core issue, it’s a hopeless cause.

It’s just like alcoholism…if you don’t fix the issues that made you want to drink in the first place, you can’t hope to stay sober.

I stumbled upon this when I started researching fear of intimacy.  This doesn’t include just sexual intimacy, but intimacy in general.  Not letting anybody get close to me, and not being able to show affection to anyone.  I was reading some articles, and after a bit, my heart started racing and I felt my breath catch in my throat.  It was like a beacon of light was shining on this piece of paper in front of me.

There it was.  The core of my suffering.  The reason I am stuck.

Fear of intimacy is a direct result of toxic shame.  When you have such a low opinion of your being in general, you tend to close yourself off, so people can’t look at the real you.  You feel like they will judge you because you are so worthless.  If you keep everyone at arms length, you will have some semblance of control over how you are viewed by everyone else.

It’s virtually impossible for someone with a toxic shame complex to separate their behavior from their being.  If they do something shameful it’s because they are a bad person.  A “normal” person would just learn from the mistake and move on.  Someone like this will feel even more ashamed, and most definitely learn from it, but it will add to their shame.

“Of course I did something bad, I’m a bad person.”

So, I guess, before I can hope to recover from anything else, this core issue needs to be resolved.  I don’t want to feel this way anymore.  I want to feel lovable, worthwhile and redeemable.  Logically, I know this is true, but damn if I can make myself believe it.

Elephants and Anxiety

“You can eat an elephant – one bite at a time.” -Unknown

The sleeplessness continues, but I’m on day 18 of sobriety.  I am very happy about that.  I’m still not craving the alcohol,  and I’m keeping myself very occupied.

I did a lot of research on alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and it does appear that insomnia is one of them.   Since it’s the only one I have thus far, I think I’m doing fairly well.  I am getting another prescription for Ambien, and hopefully I will start sleeping soon.

I am having a lot of anxiety lately.  I was doing really well with it for quite awhile, but I’ve been having a lot of things come at me at once, and I’m having a hard time putting it all into perspective.

My daughter starts school next week, so there is the worries about supplies, clothes, and getting everything in order.  She’s going to a new school this year, and riding the bus for the first time.  This means I have to get her into her orientation and make sure everything is set up with the bus driver.  She’s also moving up to a new group in her youth group, which requires a new uniform t-shirt and dues.

My husband is standing up in a wedding this weekend, so there’s lots to prepare for that way.  I’m obviously going to the wedding too, so there’s preparations for myself as well.  I have nothing to wear, and I have to get the gift.

My uncle who passed away would have been 44 yesterday.  His birthday has opened up wounds that had just begun to heal.  I had been doing really well with his passing, and moving on, but now it all feels fresh again.

I’m a neat freak, and due to my insomnia, I have not been able to keep the house in tip-top shape like I normally do.  My husband is working lots of overtime, so is not able to either.  This has been driving me crazy.  I take pride in a clean house, but I need to let it go, at least for now.  The world won’t end if the house isn’t spotless.

So, yes, I will eat the elephant one bite at a time.  I find that making lists and crossing off what I have done helps a lot.  I try to do a couple things a day so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Some “me” time for a few minutes a day is my sanity right now.

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