Share Your World #40

Share Your World #40

Why did you start blogging?
Why did I start blogging?  I really can’t remember how I even stumbled across WordPress. I have since taken two classes, Building Better Webpages I & II. It started out as a sounding board for my little pet peeves, like when someone who doesn’t need it, parks in a handicap zone, forcing my driver to spend a lot more time, looking for another place where we can park. But it evolved into a place where I could explore, express, and pass on my feelings about my childhood sexual/physical/emotional abuse.

A piece of clothing you still remember?  I remember a pair of overalls that my mother made for me. This was in the 70’s, mind you. The basic color was sort of beige, with vertical, red and orange stripes. My mother had us wear our school clothes, the first set, Mon-Wed, and the second set, Thurs&Fri. Since this item of clothing really stood out among other people, someone was always making fun of me about how many days in a row, that I wore those. I was already being picked on, and this just made my time at school even worse. It didn’t matter that I got real good grades.

Who are you trying to reach with your blog?  I write about child abuse, specifically my own. My writing has evolved into a great place where I can explore my own feelings, and hopefully reach others who have survived child abuse of any kind. I want to give them a place to vent their own feelings, and hopefully they can feel free to explore their own abuse, their feelings, PTSD, and other mental illnesses that can result from childhood abuse.

Is there a stuffed animal in your bedroom?  I used to have a lot of stuffed animals, especially large ones. I now have only one, a small stuffed bear, that was given to me by one of my aides for Valentines Day, and now sits proudly in my recliner with me. His name is Jasper.

The best birthday present ever?  Having to share birthdays with Halloween makes it a little difficult to remember birthday gifts, but I would have to go with my very first guitar, when I turned 21. It was an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, and I had never even played one before. My ability has become much more proficient and I bought myself a good acoustic guitar, with steel strings. That’s not as bad as having to share it with Christmas, but parties were always rushed, so that we could go trick-or-treating.

What would surprise me about you? I think what might surprise you, is that I spent two months in one of our state mental houses, and it was not by choice. The county I now live in, had me hospitalized, due to extreme, chronic depression, accompanied by three suicide attempts. Obviously, I survived and am here to tell you about it today. I have come a long way, from that dark period of my life. But I am a survivor, and while I still have mental health issues, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you met me, or came to know me. I am stable on the medications I take, and have not been hospitalized for that since 2006 or 2007.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful that I had the opportunity to fly to San Antonio, take part in adaptive sports for disabled veterans.  I did not win any medals – the MS is progressing and I have less stability with my hands and arms.  Also that despite complications, landing at O’Hare, and first having to wait for a gate to open up, and then waiting about an hour for them to get my chair to me.  They had trouble getting it off the plane, then the elevator they were going to use to bring it up was under construction, so they had to go the long way around.  I’m also grateful for the passengers and driver got me on/off the bus, and the shuttle van was waiting for me, despite the fact that I was almost 15 minutes.  The driver knew who I was and didn’t want to leave me stranded out there, in the rain, with no other means available to get me and my chair home. (It probably weighs close to 400 pounds)  There was no other way to get me and my chair home.  All other forms of public transport don’t come out as far as that bus stop.

I am looking forward to a quiet, relaxing, week, without all the stress I had before and during my trip to San Antonio.  I am also looking forward to doing a little shopping, if my budget allows it this month.  And I am also looking forward to going to church again this weekend.  I went last week.  That was probably the first time I went since Easter.

Cee’s Share Your World is a weekly feature and all are welcome to play along.

What’s going on in your world?

Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today

You finally had the last say

But still you plague me deep inside

Never really able to hide

Words so harsh they made me cry

Words so mean I wondered why

Why did no one know

A way long time ago

That mental illness can be passed

Even to the very last

I thank you Mom, for this gift

I hope it gave you a lift

Did It Really . . . ?

So many years have passed since I left home.  I moved out at 17, when I went away to college.  Even the memories from that time are vague.  I soon learned I could drown it all out with a bottle of vodka, missing classes due first to hangovers, then the fact that I was too drunk to go to class.  My fourth semester, I totally bombed out at school, which resulted in the loss of two scholarships.

It only took me about a month to decide I had to move away again.  I joined the Navy.  Boot Camp was difficult for me.  I was going through withdrawal from the alcohol, but I didn’t want them to know that.  I wanted to get through it as quickly as possible, so I could move on to a somewhat less strict environment.  When I was diagnosed with mono, I was afraid that would hold me back in my training, that I wouldn’t graduate with the rest of my class.  But I did, though I wasn’t actually at the ceremony, due to my illness.

This proved to be my downfall however, which eventually led to discharge from the military.  Their reasoning  – “Unsuitability due to alcohol abuse.  Not recommended for reenlistment.”  That took me all of nine months to accomplish.  I was drowning in alcohol uncontrollably, with no clear way out that I could see.

Those memories though, continued to haunt me.  Some were very distinct, while others were just vague memories that I couldn’t bring to the forefront, but still knew they were there.  I remember fear.  At night, my heart would pound from the fear,  causing me to think that I was hearing his footsteps coming down the hall to my room.  Sometimes they were, sometimes not.  But this was tearing up the insides of a young child, eventually a young adult, with no clear path that would lead me to safety.  I dreamed of running away to live in an abandoned cabin in the woods.  I had read a book when I was in Second grade, titled, “The Boxcar Children.”  It was a story about three young children, who ran away from their grandfather’s house.  They lived in an old boxcar that was still on the tracks, in the woods.

It has taken years upon years to reach the point where I am today.  I’m not sure I know exactly where that is, but I now have psychiatric diagnoses, which explain why my life is the way it is now.  It explains the odd symptoms, which in the past led me to attempted suicide, more than once.  Thankfully, i survived those attempts.  I have been in psycho-therapy for more years than I can even count.  But I have progressed greatly. 

My blog clearly describes my life with childhood sexual abuse.  When your abuser is your father, well . . .

Taboo Word Challenge for 9/22/16

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

 

 

The Queendom

Taboo Word  9/14/16

Once upon a time, there was an evil prince, and he found himself a princess.  Neither of them knew the other was sick, or just how sick they were.  They were together a year before they had a child.  The child was a girl, a princess, and now the woman was a queen.  She was a queen_mary_of_romania_3wicked queen.  They had another child.  The child was a boy, a prince, and now the man was a king.  He was wrong.  He thought he was still the king but the queen was a wicked, evil, queen and she ruled over the kingdom, and she ruled over the king as well.

So the queen and the king had another child.  The child was a boy, another prince, and the queen continued to rule of what was now the queendom.  The two princes both wanted to become the king some day, and they battled with each other, each attempting to be the better prince.  The queen continued ruling over the queendom, and the princess seemed to be pushed aside, forgotten.

So the king decided that his only resource was the princess.  He would take the princess around the queendom, showing her all the wonders that existed within the land.  There were trees and lakes, hills and valleys, and all that the princess saw overwhelmed her. 

But one cold night, the king crept into the bed of the princess, and he held her, touched her, told her how beautiful she was.  In the queendom, the princess was not well liked.  The two princes would fight with her all the times, and the other children in the land would pick fights with her as well.  This made the princess feel bad, and sometimes she would even cry.  She would cry at night when no one could hear her.  The king thought he was at least powerful to the princess, if not the queen, and that made him happy.

The king went to the princess many, many nights, and the princess became scared, especially at night.  The king started to hurt the child, because his sickness caused him to prey upon the little girls.  Having the princess right there in the palace made his visits very satisfying to him.  When he would leave her, the princess would become very angry any time the king came near her, and he did every time that every chance he got when the queen wasn’t around.

The queen was very evil and she treated the princess and the princes very badly.  She gave them very little to eat, and kept all the good things for herself.  She was angry with them and would treat them very roughly.

One by one, the souls of the princess and the princes became very dark.  They had learned from the queen and her lessons were very well absorbed by each of them.  None of them wanted to continue, and all wanted to flee the palace.  But there was nowhere to flee to.  One by one, as soon as they were old enough to make this a go on their own, they left the palace for good.

The king died from loneliness, and the queen ran off with another king.  The children of the king and queen, unfortunately became as evil as the queen, and took their anger out on every one in the kingdom, until one night, and group of princes crept upon them very quietly, and ended the misery they were causing, and the misery that lived within each of them.  Then once again there was a prince, and he waited, and waited to find a princess….

 

 

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

You Wouldn’t Like Me If You Knew Me

Taboo Word 9/9/16

Mental health is getting more attention today, than it has ever gotten before.  Why?  It affects something like 1 out of 3 Americans today.  More and more soldiers are coming back from war, forever damaged due to what they have seen and experienced during their service for their country.  It affects children, abused children, and these children, once they have grown are affected as well.

I was one of those children, and I was also in the military, and am now diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, MST or Military Sexual Trauma, anxiety, and depression.  Including medication for MS, I take like 22 different medications daily, and have been unable to work for two decades now.  

My symptoms, besides those due to the MS, depression and anxiety, include fear of abandonment, intense, unstable emotional responses like anger, anxiety, that are difficult to control, and often inappropriate to the situation, and chronic feelings of emptiness.  

I often have anger, anxiety and feelings of emptiness.  I went through many self-damaging acts such as unsafe sex, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior which includes self-harm, attempted suicides and even excessive spending.  I have caught myself more than once pouring through catalogs or across the Internet, looking for something to buy.  I went through an entire catalog yesterday, before I realized what I was doing and threw it away,

The image I look at in the mirror looks back at me with sallow skin and sunken cheeks.  Sometimes I go for several days, or even a week or two, eating maybe one or two meals a day, and not eating the foods I need to stay healthy.  

After running up several credit cards, hospital bills, and store card bills, I eventually declared bankruptcy in order to survive, financially.  Ten years later, and I was signing paperwork, agreeing to the conditions set forth by the debt-management agency that I turned to, cutting off all my cards and agreeing not to apply for any new ones.  Mounting vet bills led me to apply for a Care Credit card which is used for vet bills, etc, and even dentistry bills for myself.

Now, several years have passed and I have three, active credit cards, a store card and close to $5000 in debt again.  I sacrifice groceries, to pay more than minimum payments for these credit cards, trying to get the balances reduced and eliminate this newly acquired debt.

A service-provider calls in sick, the day of my appointment and I take it personally, which results in chronic fear of abandonment, and inappropriate anger, thinking that the appointment was cancelled because I felt it was because I had an appointment that particular day.  This has happened more than once within even just the last six months.

Relationships are something that are also affected, often very unstable and intense.  I have been through three such relationships, each lasting only five years, before I do something that ends the relationship.  This has happened every time, and I have spent more than 12 years by myself, avoiding another relationship that will inevitably lead to the same, sad end.

Today, we need to look into suspected cases of child abuse, and listen to our friends, partners, spouses and children, listening and looking for signs that all is not right.  I have managed to stay sober 17 years, and I quit smoking nearly nine years ago.  But that doesn’t mean that I am okay, because I am not okay.  

I experience irrational fears, go through sometimes lengthy periods of depression, and live in a constant state of anxiety.  I live alone, and can spend days, not leaving my apartment or seeing anyone.  No one comes to visit and I do not visit others.  I sit here with my laptop for the entire day, then spend all evening listening to the TV, still using the laptop.  It’s a wonder that I haven’t burnt the hard-drive, with all the constant use it gets throughout each day. 

Noises outside my apartment, I take personally, as though someone is deliberately trying to annoy me, and often do get very annoyed.  I get symptoms which suggest my MS is getting worse, that I have forgotten to take a dose of medication, or something has caused my blood pressure to shoot through the roof.  This often causes me to lie awake for hours at night, unable to sleep, with my mind racing a mile a minute.

If I had a choice, I would not choose to live this kind of life.  But I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it myself, so I suffer in silence, with only the words that come racing from the ends of my fingers and onto the keyboard.  This is my main outlet for these feelings I have to excess.  My search for others out there, who are living lives like mine, is something that starts my search through my email, looking for the emails about new posts, by those who are like-minded, and we share our experiences and help support each other through the trials we go through every day.  Yes, I am one of those who suffer from mental illness, and I no longer want to keep it hidden in the closet, the naked secrets I feel would be exposed if you really knew me.

You wouldn’t like me if you knew about all this stuff, and so I keep it hidden.

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

Mind Failure – Again

My brain

Has failed me

Again

It angers me to no end

I can’t get past

The forgotten things

They churn in my stomach

Roil in my chest

You know the rest

I want it now

The end of the agony

Of my failing mind

But there is none

Nothing to help

Everything fails 

All my attempts

To keep this in reign

Fail me again and again

Where is the end?

Wearing A Face Kept In A Jar By The Door

English: Child in Tiger face paint
English: Child in Tiger face paint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This so describes me totally.  When I’m at home, I don’t need that face, for there is no one to look at me, except for my cat Mittens.  All those feelings that are roiling around inside of me are there for no one to see.

When it is time to go out, I take the face out of the jar, and wear that one over my real one.  No one then can see the pain, anger, sadness, sometimes rage, and fear, that I feel but are not visible.

What if someone saw the real face?  Would they go running, scared?  I think I would.  When it’s in the jar, I only look in the mirror to brush my hair.  I don’t even want me to see that face.

It would make me very, very sad, but then, I’m already sad.

~ van ~

I Am A Winner!

Throughout the years of childhood abuse
They made me feel there was no use
Through all those years of constant strife
I could not live my very own life

A children’s view of this time
I never had a thing that was mine
Hand me downs from those of old
No longer did keep out the cold

The home itself was cold as well
Living there, I went through hell
They taught me when I moved a way
That others still had their say

In how my life to be controlled
Again I lived in that cold
Afraid to peek out of the hole
Burrowed deep within my soul

Now I live here on my own
My body now is fully grown
But carries all the scars I earned
That taught me I had never learned

But down the hole, did I fall?
Little by little I changed it all
Every night I sit for dinner
Another day  I am a winner

Anger!! Who’s Really To Blame?

I would like to tell you I had an emotional week.  I wanted to get mad at everyone, due to my forgetting to schedule wheelchair transportation for an appointment Wednesday morning.  I assumed they were picking me up at 10:15, for an 11:00 appointment.

At 10:00, I started questioning whether I had scheduled the transportation, and finally called to see if they had me on the schedule that day.  They did not.  First, I wanted to blow up at them (Really??).  Then, I called my therapist to cancel the appointment, why, and asked that she called me back.  I wanted to keep calling her, until she answered the phone and I could vent my anger and frustration (Why??).

Image result for Anger
Photo: Google Images

When she finally called me back, I explained what happened and she asked if I would like to reschedule (Ya think??).  We made another appointment, and then I wanted to vent at her again, because the appointment was not for another two weeks (??).

After hanging up the phone, I sat here and I realized that the person I was really angry at was myself.  I had screwed up, forgot to schedule transportation, and I missed my appointment.  Did I really expect her to rearrange her entire schedule, to get me in earlier?  No.

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Photo: Karen Van Benschoten

I have MS.  I have mild cognitive impairment and some memory loss.  I know this, and I know that if I don’t put extra reminders in place, I may very well forget something.

 I wanted to blame my aide, as every time she arrives, she usually takes out my planner, checks for any appointments that she hasn’t already written on the (very) large, dry erase calendar, that hangs on the wall above my wheelchair desk.  She asks if I have transportation.  I call and make arrangements.  Once I’ve done that, I put a check mark next to the appointment in my planner.  But not this week.  I don’t think I gave a single thought to that appointment, and usually I never forget that particular appointment.

But who should I be mad at about it?  No one.  Not even myself.  Everyone makes mistakes, and I can’t be mad  because I made a mistake.

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Photo: Google Images

So I played Sudoku and then watched more episodes of “The Fosters.”  Really like this show.  Whatever did I watch before Netflix??

 

BPD – What It Means For Me

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago, and have been taking pretty much the same medications over this time. I have BPD. I know I have it. I recognize the symptoms when they get worse. I wouldn’t dream of stopping them, for fear of the consequences.

It has long been thought that BPD was caused by abuse as a child, or some other horrendous trauma experienced when young. It has been brought to my attention that in order for someone to develop BPD, there has to be one or both parents who suffer from this disorder. This disorder is passed on genetically.

Without the genetics, BPD does not occur, despite popular belief, because of chronic abuse as a child, alone. The gene must also be present. I realized a couple years ago, that my mother must have had the same disorder. Based on the way that she treated me, along with the sexual abuse from my father, I developed BPD.

There has to be at least five symptoms a person must have to be diagnosed with this disorder.

  1. Unstable or poorly regulated emotional responses – anger, anxiety, depression
  2. Inappropriate intense anger that is difficult to control
  3. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  4. Self-damaging acts such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, binge eating, and
  5. Suicidal ideation, acts, threats, self-injurious behavior
  6. Persistent, unstable self-image
  7. Paranoid ideation or severe dissociative episodes
  8. behaviors from most people, impaired social reasoning under stress
  9. Frantic acts due to chronic fear of abandonment, very intense and unstable relationships

To be diagnosed with BPD, five of these nine symptoms must be present.  When I finally learned about Borderline Personality Disorder, it was sort of an ‘aha’ moment.  Now, things that I feel or do, I understand why.  I suffer from eight of these nine symptoms.

I understand why I will do almost anything to prevent what I perceive as abandonment.  I understand why all of my relationships were either inappropriate, extremely intense and unstable.  I understand why I have a great deal of new debt, that has occurred after the agreement with the debt management program,  that I would not apply for anymore credit cards, and this new debt is due to three  new credit cards.  I understand why I became a chronic alcoholic (Nearly 17 years sober now).  I understand the cuts on my arms, the overdoses, and all the threats of suicide, and all of the psychiatric hospitalizations.

I understand now, why I am me, and why I still do many of the things on that list.  Do you now understand me?