Dark Clouds and Shattered Sanity

Dark clouds, isolated

Lack of faith

Laughter faded, only tears

~~~

I hate my mind, I hate my brain

I hate my heart for it breaks every day

~~~

I will perish this way I know

I’ve run away from life

I don’t fit outside

I don’t fit inside

I drown in my disgrace

~~~

Black circles beneath my eyes

Hands grip my head

I’m all alone

My life isn’t cherished

Why should I pretend it to be?

I’m not living for me

I’m living for you

~~~

Shattered sanity

Worthless, pointless, hopeless

Tears flow from my eyes

Depression has taken over

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Originally posted on Niume.com

Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?

I have CPTSD (sexual and emotional abuse), and just hearing the word “fake” & “scam” was an enough to cause an actual trigger to my past, coupled with huge anxiety and intense anger.

Yesterday, while sitting in a coffee shop sipping tea and reading a book, two women around 30 – 40 years of age sitting behind me, actually had this conversation. True story. I’ll call them A & B.

A –Do you believe in all of this PTSD shit?

B –I don’t know what to think sometimes. I do know a co-worker who’s sister is going to therapy for it, I don’t know what exactly for, but she just said something that happened to her when she was young and has PTSD now.

A –Do you think it’s for real, or is she looking for attention? How old is her sister?

B –I think she’s in her 30’s, not sure. It’s something about molestation or something, I didn’t want to ask and be nosey.

A –Yeah right, like she can remember things that happened when she was a kid!

B –Well it’s her business

A –I’m just asking because I saw a show last night showing how some men in the military and some police are actually faking having this PTSD, just to collect disability. Some of them have collected $100,000.00, what a shame when people that have an actual disability need it.

And, their discussion continued……..

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. PTSD is a real illness that causes real suffering. (source: psychiatry.org/ptsd) Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?”

Do I want Group Therapy? Yikes!

funny

Most of my therapy has been individual, and I shied away from group therapy due to the fact that I was uncomfortable sharing my problems relating to depression and sexual abuse with a bunch of strangers.  To be honest, my biggest fear was losing it and looking like an idiot if I started bawling my eyes out!   However, I had no choice at the eating disorder program, it was 90% group and about 10% individual therapy.

I loathed it initially, others speaking out about themselves, revealing deep dark secrets that they had been holding onto, and slowly I became to trust them and I opened up.  In short, it was very helpful in my recovery, yet I have to say honestly, I still prefer one-on-one.  Give it a try though, it may suit you.

This article appeared in PsychCentral.com

Individual psychotherapy will always be the staple. It establishes the bond. It explores the ups and downs of that bond and probes the depths of the psychodynamic patterns of that bond and other bonds. It is the primary mode of understanding. It exists of and for itself and is not dependent on anything else. Group therapy is an adjunct to individual therapy.

Continue reading “Do I want Group Therapy? Yikes!”

What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.

OR

Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.

Continue reading “What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?”

I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

Continue reading “I was incarcerated because I panicked”

Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.  

#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis.  He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.

#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s. Continue reading “Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?”

The “Everything Happens for a Reason” statement is Crap

Opinion

I think about this statement often, and when someone utters these words, it pisses me to no end. 

What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it? Are they so narrow-minded, wrapped up in religion, or in another world?

Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a plane crash due to a mechanical issue, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, people diagnosed with an illness, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason? Please explain.

For me, it goes way back to my very ill years struggling with major depression and my mother once commenting the ever so “everything happens for a reason” words. Really, mom? You mean the sexual abuse, which led to therapy, which led to depression, which led to hospitals, a myriad of meds, which led to suicide attempts, countless ECTs, which led to losing my career, almost foreclosure on my house, hubby losing his job, losing friends etc. What exactly do you mean?

I don’t believe people recognize how much these words can sting, it’s almost a “whatever”. IMO, just support that person, show comfort and most of all keep your trap shut.

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2017

Triggering Triggers (PTSD)

Trigger Warning!!

Triggers can pop up just about anywhere.  Just when you think that you have tackled an issue, whether it is dealing with a traumatic experience or re-living memories in a disorder called (PTSD), post-traumatic stress disorder, triggers may resurface.

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.  PsychCental.com

For me, traveling the tough therapy road, confronting issues relating back to my horrid past of childhood sexual and emotional abuse (PTSD), I lived with flashbacks and frightening dreams.  Certain smells, certain surroundings…..hard to pinpoint, can trigger a recollection.  Luckily, I have moved on with my life and can swiftly shove these painful thoughts aside.  It took years though to be able to achieve this.

A couple of years ago, a tough test for me tackling triggers was put to the test.  Nine years of hospitalizations ended in 2002, and I had not visited the inside of any hospital ward since that time.  My psychiatrist’s office was in the hospital, and although I had to pass by the doors to the ward for each appointment with him, it never bothered me due to the fact that I was an outpatient now.

Continue reading “Triggering Triggers (PTSD)”

My chronic migraines ~ I’m cranky

I’ll admit I’ve been cranky with an awfully short fuse lately, however, I’ve also been bedridden with ice-packs stuck to my head, isolated, and living in dark spaces for months. Winters in Canada aren’t kind to me, the barometer changing from day to day and week to week promotes wicked chronic migraines. Weather changes are my triggers.

I’ve posted previously about my 40+ year struggle with these crappy recurring headaches doing anything to prevent a trip to the hospital emergency for an IV drip to end the agony. The waits are lengthy (8-12 hours), torturous and almost always have some nitwit beside me who wants to chit chat.  Leave me be, please!

Currently, in my city, though, migraine sufferers cannot be treated with narcotics relief at any hospitals only providing Toradol which is comparable to placing a band-aid on my forehead.  Best to remain at home and suffer in peace.

Continue reading “My chronic migraines ~ I’m cranky”

My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves

Have you ever had someone enter your life that really made a difference when you were a child, validated your feelings or listened with concern when you spoke?

Perhaps it was a mentor, coach, Girl Guide leader; you get the idea. Reflect for a minute who that person was. For me, it was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Fox.

Each day I was greeted with a brilliant smile from her, and the only teacher throughout my entire schooling that I connected with.

I was emotionally abused by my narcissistic mother, forever feeling depressed, apathetic, sullen, despondent and isolated. Her home economics course, for grades eleven and twelve, included both cooking and sewing/crafts (this was back in the early 70’s when it was assumed girls who graduated would ultimately become secretaries or housewives!).

Continue reading “My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves”

Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds. Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.

My life was filled with such overpowering blackness; the black, muddy life of depression. The massive hands took hold of me and wouldn’t set me free.

Days upon days were spent just existing in my house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway. Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist became a major production; organizing what to wear, bus route times, what to discuss. As the months and years progressed, I became a depressive recluse. Outings with my husband for dinner or lunch were a rarity, as well as, a trip to the mall. Life was just too dark.

I lost contact with friends, triggering further feelings of abandonment and isolation; that coupled with not having any energy, just hating life itself, propelled these horrid feelings of “who gives a shit”. I grew comfy in my house, and never a “sleepy” depressive, I forever arose fairly early, planted myself on the sofa and spent the better part of the day there.

Continue reading “Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?”

Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With Invisible Illnesses

“Living in Stigma” connects with everyone coping with chronic pain, mental illness, and all invisible illnesses.

My blog Living in Stigma was launched in 2007 and originally dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness.  I felt as if I was living in stigma with my own major depression.

Many forms of mental illness comprise of DepressionBipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and much more.

I struggle with both mental illness and chronic migraines, and with news articles, social media, research and valued readers sharing comments and opinions on my blog, it’s a reality that invisible illnesses such as fibromyalgia, lupus, headaches, recurring back and leg pain, and so many more are also a vast portion of invisible illness stigma.  Continue reading “Welcome – Connecting With Everyone Struggling With Invisible Illnesses”

Can you tell if I have Bipolar Disorder?

Face, Women, Look, Girl, Think, Eyes

Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder,  they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?”  What does mental illness look like then?

Which brings me to my question: Do I perchance look like I have Bipolar Disorder? I don’t think I do. Am I perhaps making something out of nothing? Self-confidence and self-esteem slid into the basement and remained there for too many years. Trudging through the mud, and finally locating a ladder to climb up, rung by rung, I achieved the surface.  An awfully scary surface.

To look at me, I hope you’d never guess I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggling with PTSD. There’s no sign around my neck, but if you worked with me, for example, you’d soon notice that I’m perhaps “different,” or a little “odd”. For one thing, I’m somewhat negative at times, having difficult moments following directions, have to write everything down or repeated. Sometimes I can’t keep focus, have mood changes and where other people find new work assignments challenging; I sit in self-doubt and bewilderment.

“My self-confidence feels in jeopardy each moment”.

I’m the one who takes their performance review to heart. If I only score nine rights on my monthly performance review and one is negative, I feel total devastation, berating myself repeatedly. A true perfectionist, at least, I try to be, however letting myself down is somewhat of a crucifixion. But, I am your dependable employee,  the one who shows up promptly for work, the gleeful one, the one who shows little anger, and the one touted as paramount in customer service. I must apply a mask for the most part.

Although I felt as if a hex was put upon me years ago, I feel slightly different now. I’m still bitter about the illness at times but realizing that THIS is ME.

Written & copyright by Deb

You Know You…..and invisible illnesses

YOU know you are strong inside despite what mental illness or a chronic illness has dealt you.

YOU know you are doing the best that you can, with what life has handed you.

YOU can pat yourself on the back right now, for a job well done. Mastering and surviving each day with an illness, in my eyes, is a full-time job.

Only YOU will know when it’s time to return to the working world; if that is your goal. It’s alright to be coached and nudged, but you are really the best judge.

Only YOU know the blackness felt during depression – how the pitch black mud swallows you up and is unforgiving.

Maybe YOU don’t know how very precious you are, and that you didn’t ask for this illness, and you didn’t choose to be ill, and that mental illness is not a character flaw.

YOU will find society’s thinking and attitudes on invisible illness stigma still remain, but with education, perhaps people will alter their opinions and/or judgment.   

But YOU know YOU, and that is all that is important.

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Imagine asking: Are you even trying to get better?

What kind of question is that? Who would ask someone that? Mental illness stigma at it’s best.

There are still so many comments made by society concerning mental illness, striking close to home with me and my struggles with depression.

Dusting off some old journals, back from my days in the hospital, I came across one stay where I “interviewed” informally some fellow patients enduring their experiences. While there were many more stories; I only selected these three:

These are samples of mental illness stigma and what society perceives.

~~~

*Denise in her early ‘20’s gave a rather heartrending account of an outing just that evening with her mother.

Denise’s mother picked her up from the hospital for dinner at a mid-priced restaurant. It was trivial talk mostly, due to the fact that she had just undergone an ECT the day prior and depression was relentless. After dinner, they both drove to the mall where they shopped for a new outfit, but it was on the drive home that anger and that feeling of failure set in.

Continue reading “Imagine asking: Are you even trying to get better?”

Depression continues…

I didn’t compose the words in this quote, and for the past few months, I’ve been struggling with depression several days per week.  Researchers state that there is a connection between migraines and depression, and living daily with excruciating migraine pain; who wouldn’t be depressed. I’m pretty much housebound. Depression seems a never-ending crawl through muck.

But, writing is my passion, keeping me sane, and distracting my mind off my thumping head.  I’m starting Somatic Experience Therapy next week, anyone ever heard of it? Does it help for trauma?

Deb

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STIGMA – IN THE WORKPLACE

STIGMA ~~

Considering so many people have such difficulty opening up to people close to them, it’s no wonder that there are real fears about being stigmatized in the workplace. The cost of mental illness in the workplace is enormous: 30 to 40 % of disability claims are for mental illness, and the losses amount to about $33 billion a year, not including treatment and health care—plus the unknowable costs in lost productivity by those people who suffer in silence.

Employees should think carefully about how much and to whom they are planning to disclose information. If an employee is performing a job well despite a mental illness, then there would be no obligation to disclose his/her condition. In fact, the benefits and risks of disclosing should be carefully weighed before any action is taken.

Sharing information with co-workers is a matter of personal choice. Trust is the issue, and although there is always talk among co-workers, be wise when or if you choose to disclose. This could be detrimental to your future with your company. Really ask yourself – am I going to be farther along by disclosing or just remain silent. Will it hurt or harm? And is it worth it?

*In my personal situation, I never uttered a word fearing possible job loss.  Trust was one reason but stigma was the main issue.

THE JOURNAL – Thoughts on Paper

THE JOURNAL

My first diary dates back to 1972. I was in high school and not enjoying life a great deal. The majority of my entries were depressing and distressing, and this seemed my only avenue to express feelings. I have been somewhat devoted to journaling throughout the years, and cherish them written throughout my darkest, blackest depression days.

Lengthy days spent in hospitals, which included charting extensive medications prescribed and daily feelings were recorded. Memory loss can be recaptured now due to these entries. Even though I am on my road to recovery, I still record daily, or weekly and it’s somewhat of a habit.

The journal itself doesn’t have to be an expensive, leather-bound book – mine is an inexpensive spiral ‘4 subject book’ purchased at a department store. Keep in mind this is YOUR journal.

Getting Started

Find a comfortable chair or seat yourself at the kitchen table. Clear your mind. Relax. Let your thoughts and emotions flow freely. It is important that you do not censor yourself as you write. Do not worry about grammar or punctuation errors. Put every thought onto the page.

Continue reading “THE JOURNAL – Thoughts on Paper”

“Lucy Shares Some Secrets” (children’s book)

lucy shares

Childhood Emotional Neglect and Narcissism

I’ve always been curious about writing children’s books and this is my first attempt.  My goal here was to create a book, that would have allowed me at age 8 to realize that my mother’s anger was there and how sad and lonely I felt.  The way she treated me was unfair, and I craved to tell someone who would believe me and validate my feelings.

However, I grew up in the 60’s and back then we didn’t have access to teachers, school guidance counsellors, neighbours or a therapist available for our chances to trust and come forward with sad or scared feelings.

Perhaps a young child now may read this and choose to trust a teacher, or friend or someone whom they can share what emotions they are holding inside.

Lucy is beginning to observe how terribly her mom has been treating her lately. She’s puzzled, she can’t understand why her mom continues to name her stupid and clumsy when she struggles so hard to please her mom. She just feels she’s never good enough.  She holds her emotions inside, never telling anyone how she is feeling.

Read this Free book ” Lucy Shares Some Secrets

I was able to use the tools and platform from StoryJumper.com.

My Interview: Views on Stigma, Depression & PTSD

image: niume.com

Nuime.com is a blogging platform which contains postings I selected from this blog, as well as, personal articles that I have written over the years with a mixture of other topics.

I was delighted when chosen “Niumer of the Week” and the opportunity to be interviewed.  Here’s how it went:

Depression and mental illness affect many people all over the world, but despite its prevalence, it is still met with stigma, silence and even scepticism. There is still a notion many hold, that people who claim to be depressed are ‘making it up’, ‘seeking attention’ or just ‘feel sad’ and will get over it in time.

But the question still remains, why do we shy away from this topic and what do people who suffer from mental illness go through on a day to day basis?

Niumer Of The Week, Deb from Living in Stigma, bravely gives us her thoughts and explains what we can do to understand this issue better.

1) How did you discover Niume and why did you decide to use it over other blogging platforms?

Niume approached me via Twitter, so I checked your site out and was impressed by the layout and features offered. I have ‘signed up’ with other blogging platforms but my posts were not acquiring much exposure and others didn’t have well-defined spheres to post in. It became frustrating and I soon left.

2) Which of the others spheres do you enjoy browsing through?

I browse through most of the spheres, however, my favourites are Literature, Interesting, Humour, Lifestyle, Photography, Music and Art.

3) What are some of the biggest misconceptions about depression and mental health?

One word – Stigma. Mental illness is not a choice; it’s an illness. Who would choose to have an illness, and be so embarrassed and ashamed of it? This leads to isolation, fear, fake smiles, feeling hopeless, and worthless.

Continue reading “My Interview: Views on Stigma, Depression & PTSD”

Why Was I A Disappointment?

Image source: differentdream.com

WHY WAS I A DISAPPOINTMENT?

why was I such a big disappointment
and what age did you start loathing me
your son wasn’t treated like that
and I tried everything in me to please

the sexual abuse wasn’t my fault
yet you made it and believed it to be
to save face in the neighborhood was so important
keeping the secret didn’t destroy you as it did me

Continue reading “Why Was I A Disappointment?”

Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

Continue reading “Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?”

Are you “Attached” to your Therapist?

image source: cromalens.com

I still have feelings of attachment for my present therapist of 6 years, it’s tough not to due to this stranger who has earned my trust, validated my feelings and permitted me to speak without interruption.  Not once did I ever see that expression of “whatever” or disbelief that I had become accustomed to when I was a child from my narcissistic mother. 

A psychotherapy blog I found that explains many topics is: Moments of Change where they have included an article on “Attachment in Therapy

The consulting room is an emotional candy store. It is a place where you are the only person in the world and it’s all about you.  The therapist has no other mission but to understand you just as you are and help you heal and grow.  It is as close as you can come in adult life to the one-way relationship of childhood where you receive but don’t have to give back. In the case of psychotherapy, you do give back, but in a different currency, that allows for all the feeling of being taken care of.  One therapist said, “you buy my time, but the rest is free!”

Continue reading “Are you “Attached” to your Therapist?”

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

Continue reading “Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?”

Blister Packs for Medications

As far as medication goes, remembering to take the required doses morning, noon or bedtime was causing chaos.  I would forget to take this med or that med, refilling prescriptions in time, and each med had it’s own pill bottle. Filling that 7-day plastic organizer every week was a pain in the neck.

My doctor suggested a Blister Pack – pure bliss!  My pharmacy fills them bi-weekly without a fee, and he calls the doctor for refills (saving me a trip to the doctor), I pick them up, all sorted, neat and tidy.  I still have to remember to take them!

Image source: google.ca
More on blister pack usage @
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_pack

I’m cranky and I have a migraine…

Existing with chronic migraines in February, March and April are normally unkind to me, lasting 24/7 at times.  No cures for migraines, but I am used to the pounding pain which is mostly caused by changes in the barometric pressure.

I was up during the night watching TV, my migraine unbearable, and up pops an infomercial for the “cure-all” for migraines and back problems.  My exhilaration quickly sunk when what appeared was……wires with small black pads, fastened to one’s forehead, then connecting to a “powerful” machine.  The woman “patient” was amazed at how her migraine just “disappeared” in no time.

Hmmmm, wouldn’t that be magnificent! NOT! I’m somehow skeptical.  I believe they were giving away 2 for the price of 1 for a limited time only.  Gotta go, phone right now, 4 payments of just $49.99 + S&H.

So, bottom line….I will be posting a bit slower for the next few days.

January was an Award Winning Month!

January, I struck gold in the Blogging Award department!

Wow, this has been a sweet month for me, a special month of bloggers presenting me with various awards. I am flattered and honored to receive these awards, but I haven’t been accepting them, as time is one issue, and I’m leery of impeding on other blogger’s “Award Free Blogs”.  I chose to accept these awards as my last.

Today’s award called “Champions Award” was from Living a Beautiful Life.
I’d like to thank Danica for an award I’m unfamiliar with, however, it is described as to why I was nominated.

“What is the Champions Award Health & Wellness Edition? My nominees blog is about diverse health and wellness topics and corresponding solutions. They seek to not only survive but thrive. They also share their knowledge and experiences in order to assist and encourage others”.

Continue reading “January was an Award Winning Month!”

SHE’S SUCH A NICE GIRL

I’ve never recognized why I developed a short fuse or experience sudden outbursts of anger while growing up, until I was in my therapy session last week.  My therapist and I are seldom at odds, yet one particular thing that she said ticked me off and I just snapped at her which turned into anger.

We talked it through, and resolved the issue, but I was shocked when she said “when angry, the PTSD kicks in just like that”.  I never connected anger, irritability or having a short fuse before with PTSD, but it makes sense.

Continue reading “SHE’S SUCH A NICE GIRL”

Are you faking PTSD for attention? Is this just a scam?

I have PTSD, and just hearing the word “fake & “scam” was an actual trigger to my past.

Yesterday, while sitting in a coffee shop sipping tea and reading a book, two women around 30 – 40 years of age sitting behind me, actually had this conversation. True story. I’ll call them A & B.

A –Do you believe in all of this PTSD shit?

B –I don’t know what to think sometimes.  I do know a co-worker who’s sister is going to therapy for it, I don’t know what exactly for, but she just said something that happened to her when she was young and has PTSD now.

A –Do you think it’s for real, or she looking for attention?  How old is her sister?

B –I think she’s in her 30’s, not sure. It’s something about molestation or something, I didn’t want to ask and be nosey.

A –Yeah right, like she can remember things that happened when she was a kid!

B –Well it’s her business

A –I’m just asking because I saw a show last night showing how some men in the military and some police are actually faking having this PTSD, just to collect disability.  Some of them have collected $100,000.00, what a shame when people that have an actual disability need it.

Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? Is this just a scam?”

Don’t Give Up ~~ For all of us with Mental Illness, as we struggle each day

One of my Twitter followerers, @Edelheizer_48 sent this to me, an inspiring song that touched my heart and I thought of all people who struggle with mental illness (including stigma), here’s to you….

If My Narcissistic Mother Came Crawling Back, Do I Owe Her Anything?

I really enjoyed reading this article today titled “The Debt” in which it asked just that, do we owe parents who have abused us during our lives anything when we are adults?

See article @  Slate.com written by Emily Yoffe “The Debt”  When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?

For me, I positively don’t owe my mother anything.  Here is the woman who spewed out vicious words, ignored me, displayed rare empathy, criticized, ranted, raved, and left me feeling worthless and undervalued.

My father passed away in 2012 and I (the scapegoat) only have one sibling (my brother, the golden child).

Our last conversation(s) were similar to this:

“Deb, since your dad died it’s been really lonely, I have no friends and have to do everything by myself.  You have a husband there all of the time to help you, I have no one.  It’s really depressing, all alone in the apartment with nothing to do but watch TV.  Your brother is always there if I need him, but you never seem to come over very often.  I know you don’t have the car much and I said I could drive you to appointments or to the mall, but you always say you take the bus.  We are family and we should do things for each other.”

She wants, and needs me now, yet she hasn’t changed her narcissistic personality at all, and most likely never will.  She can’t have me now, it’s too late mom you blew it.

9 Things People In Therapy Want You To Know

I found this article informative, for one I would never tell anyone I was attending therapy and two, it’s none of their business.  I would imagine they’d be picturing me laying on a couch while a male/female psychologist was taking notes saying “ah-hum” repeatedly.  

Written by: Lindsay Holmes Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post

Therapy can be a loaded word. Misunderstandings about mental health mean this treatment, which has helped millions of people, is sometimes judged and stigmatized — and that can stand in the way of healing.

So here’s a PSA to the entire world: Therapy is not a bad thing.

Seeing a mental health professional is no different than seeing a specialist for any other illness. Research shows therapy is one of the best ways to treat mental health disorders. Period. And for those without a mental illness, it’s a great way to simply work through pressing life issues that may be causing some stress.

Therapists can give a person the tools they need to successfully manage their condition. It’s perfectly reasonable to go to a clinician for a physical illness. Shouldn’t the same expectation apply to a clinician for a mental illness?

Continue reading “9 Things People In Therapy Want You To Know”

PTSD, Narcissism & TRIGGERS: Reliving the crap all over and over again

Just a quick glimpse at a man’s hands with dirty fingernails is my worst trigger, followed by a flashback.  Seems whacky, doesn’t it?

Bad memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time.  You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place.  You may feel like you’re going through the event again.  This is called a flashback. Sometimes there is a trigger: a sound or sight that causes you to relive the event.  Triggers might include:

  • Hearing a car backfire, which can bring back memories of gunfire and war for a combat veteran.
  • Seeing a car accident, which can remind a crash survivor of his or her own accident.
  • Seeing a news report of a sexual assault, which may bring back memories of assault for a woman who was raped.    Source:  WebMed.com

Continue reading “PTSD, Narcissism & TRIGGERS: Reliving the crap all over and over again”

PTSD & Narcissism ~ and that feeling of Emptiness

I experienced emptiness during my childhood as a daughter of a narcissistic mother who either ignored me most days or spewed vicious words of criticism and anger.  Which was worse, being ignored or the vicious words ~ either way I felt empty.

My previous postings on Validation & Childhood Emotional Neglect include examples of emptiness.

 The article below is from an article on PsychCentral.com

Emptiness. It’s not a disorder in and of itself, like anxiety or depression. Nor is it experienced by most people as a symptom that interferes with their lives. It’s more a generic feeling of discomfort, a lack of being filled up that may come and go. Some people feel it physically, as an ache or an empty space in their belly or chest. Others experience it more as an emotional numbness. You may have a general sense that you’re missing something that everybody else has, or that you’re on the outside looking in. Something just isn’t right, but it’s hard to name. It makes you feel somehow set apart, disconnected, as if you’re not enjoying life as you should.

People who don’t have it don’t understand. But people who feel it know:

In many ways, emptiness or numbness is worse than pain. Many people have told me that they would far prefer to feel anything to nothing. It’s very hard to acknowledge, make sense of, or put words to something that is absent. Emptiness seems like nothing to most people. And nothing is nothing, neither bad nor good, right?

But in the case of a human being’s internal experience, nothing is definitely something. “Empty” is actually a feeling in and of itself. And I have discovered that it is a feeling that can be very intense and powerful. In fact, it has the power to drive people to do extreme things to escape it.

Empty is the “unfeeling” feeling. It’s the painful sense that some vital ingredient is missing from inside. I often have talked about the root cause of empty feelings: Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). But the type and depth of emptiness you feel is determined by the type and depth of CEN that you grew up with, plus some other parenting factors. Continue reading “PTSD & Narcissism ~ and that feeling of Emptiness”

What about the Funeral? ~ When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies

Yes, what about the funeral.  Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and makes excuses for not attending?  It’s a crappy time for everyone.

My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled?  (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family?  What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US?  How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss, when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?

See the remainder of this article at:
http://www.luke173ministries.org/655609

(reposted with editing)

31 Honest Answers to ‘How Are You?’

I was hoping an article about this very subject would appear.  Whenever meeting someone for lunch, a colleague that I haven’t seen since 2011 or a gathering, I’m usually fumbling around for words.

This article appeared in The Mighty.com written by 

When someone asks, “How are you?” do you answer honestly?

This question is often thrown around as a casual greeting, so much so that we default to “I’m good!” or “I’m fine!” — even with our closest friends and family. And while we’re maybe less hesitant to open up about a stomach ache or that we’ve come down with the flu, our true emotional state can feel like a dirty secret — we don’t want to give it up.

So we asked our Mighty community — people who experience disability, disease, mental illness, parent children with special needs and more —  how they’re really doing. What we got was a collection of honest, inspiring and heartbreaking answers.

How are you? This lovely article continues @
http://themighty.com/2015/11/31-honest-answers-to-how-are-you/

MOM, WHY DID YOU HAVE ME?

Mom, why did you have me?

A question I often ask
making no sense at all
for a woman so resentful and hateful

Bringing children into this world
as her own emotional punching bag
used for criticism and anger
against the daughter, who only craved for
a mother to love her

Mom, were you unhappy as a little girl?

I’m sorry if you were
but for you as my mother
you’ve damaged two lives now
that wonderful opportunity at a relationship with me
and my fantasy mom that I forever aspired you to be

I fantasized that we would bake cakes and chocolate chip cookies together,
perhaps getting flour over each other and laughing
Sewing, cooking, reading stories and joking
trying on your clothes, lipstick and shoes
going shopping like two girls together and giggling
but you seldom had patience for me and
I just appeared an annoyance in your eyes

your cruel words brought tears, unable to ever do anything right
starved of empathy and hugs, and hearing only critical remarks
sitting in my bedroom closet where there was peace and no yelling
I tried telling myself, why do I always make her so angry?
I ask once again

Mom, why did you have me?

~~ Deb