Hello c-ptsd. Who the hell are YOU?

When I was three years old, the day after the last happy Christmas I ever remember, the world went black. It was bright and brisk and my father stood in his gray tweed winter coat, off to get groceries. I was the outcasted baby. “Daddy, they won’t let me play with the track set!!” His eyes twinkled. “Aw come on guys, let the little one play!” He gave me a snuggle and off he went to do my mother’s bidding. That was the last time I would ever see my father upright.

My older brother and sister continued playing with an incredibly cool racing car set; cutting edge for 1964. Why were there only 2 cars??? I went up to my parents room. My mother was not such an ally. Concentrating on her paperwork as I lamented the injustices that an almost four year old, youngest child must face, she basically ignored me. Suddenly, my brother, ashen faced, came running up the stairs and my mother was down the steps in a sprint. If words were exchanged, they eluded me, but even a three year old can understand urgency.

Downstairs, in our foyer, on a mustard plaid tufted couch, that I would kill to find on craigslist today, lay my sweet, crumpled father. I stood in the doorway with my sister as we watched my mother kneeling beside him, not quite sure what she was doing. I could hear my terrified 12 year old brother as he fumbled with a rotary phone, desperately trying to reach the operator to get an ambulance. I felt bad for my car hogging brother. “Is he going to die?” I whispered to my sister. The words left my lips, even though I had no idea what they meant.

My father’s relatives came; stoic stern figures, nothing like my always jolly, playful, daddy. My mother was whisked away in a white ambulance. Dusk had turned to night. It was as if my father took the glow of day with him, forever, and I was left with these odd, cold, people who had apparently hosted us 24 hours previously. Us three kids were in our rooms, sent to bed. In my crib, I heard hushed tones in the hall outside my room. It was dark, it was bad. I fell into a fitful sleep and never slept a dreamless peaceful night again.

Five months later, it was spring. I heard the mail slot clink and ran to pick up a pile of letters.. I brought them excitedly to my mother. I am not sure what was in that pile, perhaps a hospital bill, or a Social Security check, maybe nothing, but something made me ask “when is Daddy coming home?” My mother was shocked. I supposed she had told me already, that he died that night, the day after the best Christmas ever. If she did, I didn’t remember. Somehow, in some sort of brain glitch, for many years my mind believed that in that pile of papers lay the horrible truth that my father was gone forever.

It’s funny what kids think when they don’t know the truth about anything; trying to piece the world together from snippets of random information. Years later I found out we weren’t told till after the funeral that my father had had a stroke; not particularly fair for my 12 year old brother, and not particularly enlightened for my Dr. Spock reading mother.The word “closure” was not not in use yet, but I am reasonably certain that we didn’t get any. And so, that is basically how my life began.

Twenty years of therapy unearthed the notion that maybe, just maybe, this is when my horrific sleeping problems started. I can pretty safely say that in the middle of the 1960’s when I lost my dear sweet father so suddenly, who I would never truly know, my complex – ptsd began. But no such thing existed back then. If a mental “wound” develops before we know what it is – is it sort of like when a tree falls in the woods?

Hello C-ptsd – I wish I never met you.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Atlantic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Counseling

 

Flummoxed! But I am back!!

I have been simultaneously longing to write again and dreading getting started. I was on such a roll with my blog and my life in general, when a series of events merged to make the perfect storm. Over the past two months, my health, along with my quality of life, dropped to a depth  I never thought I’d see again.

A little over a year ago, I FINALLY accepted my diagnosis of Adult Add and began taking meds and learning about an illness I felt completely removed from. It was liberating, embarrassing, and confusing, all at the same time. Within a month, however, everything started changing. Finally, after so many years of dealing with other “imaginary illnesses” I could think clearly enough to take measures towards improving my health. and my life. I started loving myself more and judging myself less. It has been a little surreal, being part of and also just watching the metamorphosis that was taking place in my brain.

With my new found clarity, I started setting goals and making plans. I had an out of town wedding in 10 months and I wanted to look and feel good for it. I started planning in my head. The first step, and it was a hard one, was giving up gluten. That deserves a post all it’s own, but suffice it to say, that too was life altering. I lost 10% of my weight and began to physically feel so much better; better than I had felt in years. A remarkable ” side effect” of my new meds was that they sidelined the unrelenting Chronic Fatigue that had waxed and waned across my life like a storm for the past two decade.s.

Next I went to a psychiatrist specializing in ADHD. She looked at the constellation of illnesses I had struggled with throughout my life and said these magical words; “This is a fairly typical scenario – I believe you have one or more MHTFR gene mutations. Your physical symptoms are causing your psychological ones.” For anyone who has suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (no longer called by such a trivializing name), and/ or Fibromyalgia, – hearing those words was like the sky opened and an angels choir began to sing.

Now it’s 2 months away from the wedding. Dealing with the MTHFR, just learning about and weeding through all my genetic information, would be a lengthy process, but I felt more hopeful than ever that I would regain a less tenuous footing on my health. Things were finally shifting!. And then it happened. I accidentally ingested gluten at a house warming party. I, to this day, have no idea how this happened because I was so careful, but that is when the backslide began, in spite of all my efforts to counteract it. One month passed and I still felt “off.” .

To make a long story short, I made it to the wedding, felt OK and looked pretty good, if I do say so myself:) The next day however, true to form, I woke up with a sore throat and felt like hell. I knew this was not good. I do not get a cold – I get 4 weeks of asthmatic bronchitis. But not this time! This time it was pneumonia. The wedding was in early November, and as preparations were being made for New Years Eve,  I thought it was just about gone. It is close to the end of January – and I can not believe how far I felt so fast. I had to put the blog on the back burner, which broke me heart because it was off to a fabulous start. Weak and worn out, with an immune system that seems to be on vacation, tending to my health has had to be my number one priority.

I started this post when it was still 2015.and have not had the energy or mental fortitude to finish it. I just want to let my followers know, I have not given up – I have lots to say and share. I am coming back!! This is an important journey for me, and I intend to stick with it! I am still struggling, so please be patient – but when I can, you can believe I’ll be right here writing. Stay tuned!

 

How 2 Make Peace with Your Invisible Diseases (Letting Go of Toxic Shame)

For this post – I will start at the end, sort of – Releasing toxic shame. I could not move forward in my life, nor see myself clearly till I managed to release my toxic shame. I had read about it, initially, over fifteen years ago. John Bradshaw’s groundbreaking book, Healing the Shame That Binds You taught me about shame. I recognized myself as being “shame boumd.” I learned more about it, talked about it in therapy, and yet – it was still with me; dogging me. I talked the talked, but my walk was impaired by the burdenous pile of dung I dragged around with me. It took many many years for me to let it go, and until I did I would never see myself or my situation clearly. It is a process that I am still working on. Continue reading “How 2 Make Peace with Your Invisible Diseases (Letting Go of Toxic Shame)”

How 2 Jump Start a Diet (psyche yourself out!)

I was always very thin growing up. When I was in college, I had to go to the “pre-teen” section, something that has not existed since we made the leap to VCR’s. Clothes did not come in size zero, or two. What exactly is a size zero – that’s just wrong. Who wants to proudly say “I’m a zero!”  When I was young, it was not so fashionable to be thin, rather, more of an annoyance because it was hard to find “cool clothes.”  Now, there is such a pressure to be stick figure thin, I feel bad for all the people in the public eye who have to live up to such ridiculous scrutiny. Having said that, as we get older, it is easier to put on weight, especially for women. I did. Between, trauma, menopause, and turning fifty, I felt like I started aging in dog years, as well as blowing up like a balloon. I also had untreaeted thyroid disease.  Continue reading “How 2 Jump Start a Diet (psyche yourself out!)”

How 2 Get Healthier, Made Simple

Here are some easy to implement tips for a healtier you

  • Up your fruit and veggie intake (mostly vegetable and the green kind, not the startchy kind like potatoes and carrots)
  • Up you activity level – start with small things – park farther away in the parking lot so you take extra steps – work up to 15 minutes a day of some sort of activity – walking – stretching – yoga
  • Up your water – at least 8  8oz glasses a day will keep your body nice and hydrated, as well as help to flush toxins out of the body – most people do not drink enough water – personally the only time i lose weight is when I am drinking that much water a day
  • Get 10 minutes of sun on your face a day – no shades on – let it shine on your face – this gives you vitamin D – which since the incrased usage of sunblocks and other factors, many people are short on – it also is a MUST if you struggle with anxiety.
  • Make sure to brush and floss daily and get at least one cleaning per year. Studies are linking good dental hygiene to increased health
  • Learn about supplements – research and see if there is something that might be useful to you –

These are just suggestions – if you have special health concerns, always consult with your doctor.

How 2 Detach with Love

I am trying to catch up on my writing, so I am not quite sure why I picked this difficult subjuect matter. I can’t really give a quick tutorial on how to detach with love; there are so many variables. I can tell you, that in my life, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

We all encounter toxic people in our lives, unfortunately sometimes they are our bosses, our teachers, or even our parents. Sometimes they are friends we picked when we were young, with different priorities and ideas. They can be emotional vampires, manipilators, guilt mongers or shit stirrers, and as we grow up, we start to recognize them for what they truly are. The catch 22 is that by that time, we’ve grown to love them or, in the case of family, we’d never consider the option of detaching. We can love these peoplle, but sometimes, conitinuing an unhealthy relationship to keep the peace, is not at all peaceful. It’s a hard decision to make. Continue reading “How 2 Detach with Love”

How 2 Use Meditation for Sleep

I have been literally tortured by difficulty failing asleep since I was a little girl. A born worrier, with a chatty mind, sleep has eluded me for over half a century. I have tried natural sleeping aids, acupuncture, homeopathy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and alcohol. You name it, I’ve tried it. It is frustrating beyong words. If you are one of those souls who glide easily into slumber, I genuinely envy you. I don’t generally feel envy – but in this case – I might even hate you! Continue reading “How 2 Use Meditation for Sleep”