Change is usually preceded by chaos

Your life seems to have been sucked into the path of a tornado. You try to grabs at bits and pieces of your belongings as they fly through the air, all the while thinking, “I’m going to die.” Your mind races to put things in order. “What did they say on the news?  Get in the tub!” You watch momentos crash and memories crumble. You know nothing will be the same again. Will you even get out alive?

Life feels like that sometimes. Hopeless and chaotic. But often, things need to be broken down to be built up again. I always think of the line in a Steely Dan song “any minor world that breaks apart falls together again. When the demon is at your door, in the morning it won’t be there no more.” Try telling that to yourself in the milddle of a tornado!

Change is painful. They say that people who are able to embrace and enjoy change are the happiest, which makes sense since life is continually changing. This is where I am in my life. I try to look at it like a clean slate to paint a whole new future. But I am just too tired and the tornado is sucking me in.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Spiritual Self Transformation Blog – Please visit them!!

Suffering and writing

I have been using writing as an outlet since I was seven years old. I got my first poem about spring published in our school writer’s booklet. I felt so proud to see my words written under the title and best of all, my name. I felt proud! And it was OK.

As I got older and closer to puberty, I started writing for comfort; things that only I would see. I felt like I had been dropped off by aliens to a house that I did not fit into. Writing was my ally and comfort for many years, until I allowed someone to take it away from me about thirty years ago. They violated my privacy and in an effort to regain control, I tore up all my old diaries, ones with some precious memories of time spent in Brazil, that I wish I had today.

After that I started writing again when my son was born. But I was guarded. I wrote all about him and the delights of what he would accomplish or learn every day. I wrote because I wanted to sear this happy time with him into my brain, and also edit out the ugly sick parts that involved his father. So it was a tool for me in a different way.

Once the internet emerged, a new outlet for me, I started writing again, for newsletters and such, but nothing real. I never felt safe again until after my ex-husband was dead. Once he was, I started a blog, but still being a bit paranoid, it was hidden with all sorts of passwords. I wanted it to be read, but not by people I knew. I wanted to be connected with kindred spirits. And again, I was violated. The details are irrelevant, but a quote I found said it all. “A jealous woman does better research than the FBI.”

So basically, I allowed others to take away my greatest joy and purpose. Over the years I have become a very good researcher and really enjoy writing about self help topics and natural health, which are safe in my mind and won’t elicit a lot of judgement. I HATE being judged. When I got diagnosed with adult ADHD, and saw how many people struggle with this stigmatizing diagnosis, I created this blog and started writing again in earnest. I somehow found the nerve to go public. For a new blog it did very well, but then I became ill and could barely move let alone think or write. So sadly, the blog went to the waysides.

Trying to find help for my illnesses that were growing exponentially, I flew to Chicago to see a functional medicine doctor who had put her own Hashimoto’s disease into remission. I had three visits with her. I did not talk extensively about my life, yet on the third visit she told me, “you do not have ADHD, you have complex -PTSD, and sometimes there is an overlap of symptoms. The ADHD meds are burning out your adrenal glands and that is why you are getting worse.” Well wasn’t that a kick in the head. Not only did I painfully “come out” about this affliction – turns out I didn’t even have it! Symptoms of it that needed to be managed, but that was not my root issue. SO embarrassing, I couldn’t even talk about it for a while.

So NOW I had the shame of having to recant all that. What a hypocrite! I had been trying to transition this blog into something else, when suddenly, my life totally fell apart and I realized I needed to write; that the greatest writings of my life all came out of suffering. These are very sad days for me – but I come to the keyboard every day with ideas bursting forth quicker than I can type them. Suffering is something I never wanted to share, but I don’t care anymore. If my suffering can help YOU, then so be it. Let the judging and shaming begin!! But honestly, it doesn’t matter, cause the judgers and the shame find me in the end anyway so I might as well write.

 

The Myth of the Tortured Artist – and Why It’s Not a Myth  Huffington Post Article

 

 

 

 

and suddenly, my problems are tiny

My last post was really intense for me – I hadn’t written in so long. It was personal, and to be honest, I expected some sort of astounding response; like all the people suffering from c-ptsd and other assorted types of horrendous trauma would say “hey – I get that!!” But alas, each day I check, and there is no loud validation or camaraderie. I have neglected the blog too long, I lost my network.I was busy losing my mind.

And then today I saw that “fighting like hell” liked my post. So as I usually do, I sauntered over to take a look at her blog. I will tell you that I generally read the latest post or two of another writer and then I move on. Today, this was not the case. I was grabbed by the heart, almost a little violently, and emotions started flailing around inside. I felt a little panicky; I had to tell myself “it’s not you!”  Totally full of compassion yet powerless, her words penetrated my soul and I also felt ashamed.

Oh the rare occasion I confess to being diagnosed with PTSD it’s not unusual for me to feel ashamed. I think of the Vietnam Veterans of my youth, so tortured, tossed aside and misunderstood. THOSE men and women earned the right to say they had PTSD. All are soldiers who return from the Middle East – entitled. This writer, who I just stumbled upon, SHE has the right, good Lord does she have the right. But her words are stirring up my own demons and I keep thinking – I DON’T have the right!

So I keep reading her extremely talented and compelling memoir of sorts. The chick can write! She puts into words what I have never been able to express without sounding like a fool. She is my new idol. I want to hug her. I want to scream at the computer “YOU WERE SIX!! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!” (you really have to read her blog). My mind is unleashed now. “She needs a publisher,” I tell myself as I sit in the dark, in the middle of the night in silence except for the irritating ticking of a lone clock. There is no spot for comments on her blog. I am frustrated. “They shouldn’t make you relive it! NO NO NO!” “It’s nice that your husband was trying to protect you, but why did he have to be such a controlling asshole about it?” I secretly wished that he hugged you and promised you it would all be okay. Lunch and a manicure would have been nice! But somehow, people don’t know how to comfort us, without judgement or shame. It makes it worse.

I have very recently started going public with “our” Complex PTSD. It doesn’t matter. No one understands it anyway. The one who was the littlest at the time, I don’t know if I can save him. I don’t know if he will just live his life in this quiet torture.That is the worst of it for me. Almost unbearable. And it becomes a circle and we are triggers and trauma reminders for each other…while the rest of the family just says – “it’s over, I don’t want to hear about it anymore.” OK – and we just get worse. And we two who were victimized drift farther apart – and it’s so heartbreaking.

I try to tell my siblings – I think that if someone understood, it would be easier. “People go through so much worse things, ya know!” Fuck off, I want to say, but then I read this blog and yes, it was SO much worse. and I am so so very sorry. I don’t know you, but I love you. I love you because you are a human who has been cut off, adrift at sea due to other people’s actions, and then reactions, and ignorance. I am so sorry. It wasn’t your fault – none of it. Your last conversation- don’t think of that – you were warriors together – you had love in your heart for each other – he knew that.

I know you – I feel you – I will pray that you can find a life that gives you some kind of joy. You deserve it. Keep writing – you are incredible. You are worthy of all good things – And maybe all of us with this awful emotional WOUND can comfort each other and maybe feel a little less alone. Maybe the world can show some sort of compassion again – maybe the gray can go away. Just Breathe! You are wise.You are beautiful.

 

Update: Please follow Fighiting like hells blog.   https://justbreathe826.wordpress.com

 

Who is the enemy?

My mind has not been cooperating with me at all lately. It’s incredibly frustrating. I have been trying to put into words who or what is my imaginary enemy. When I came up with that new title,  it was because, although I believed my undiagnosed ADHD was my imaginary enemy, I knew it was so much more than that. I wanted to be able to widen the scope of this blog.

I needed to figure out exactly who this enemy was. So as I walked through each day, I had an “aha” moment. And each day, I could not put it into words. One day it was the autoimmune illnesses that have basically made me a punch line. “Oh you have Chronic Fatigue, I’m chronically fatigued too, hahaha.” Another day I believed it was childhood trauma. And yet another day, I thought it was the loneliness of being judged and misunderstood. On the final day, I decided it was ME.

I suppose in reality, it’s all of those things and none of them. I truly believe that having ADD made me lose faith in myself; so everytime someone judged or mistreated me, I somehow thought I deserved it. I knew in my heart that there was something “wrong” with me, but had no clue what it was. As a child, although I did well in school, it was made very clear to me at home, that I was at the core of me, “bad.” But I was smart too, so I decided to camouflage it with “crazy.” Fun, silly, irreverent, crazy. It was a pretty good plan, except it left me feeling very alone. No one knew the real me, because I didn’t believe the real me was lovable.

I want to share my story, not for a boo hoo, but so that others might feel less alone. Everyone is different. Some of us have brains that work in a quirky way. Many of us have illnesses that are mocked and dismissed. Others have history with well meaning parents who hurt us deeply and did not give us the coping skills to negotiate the complexities of life. In the end, for me, it’s all those things.

This week, someone unexpected looked me in the eyes, shared their story, and smiled. When I told him I had ADHD too, his eyes twinkled and he said “I knew there was a reason that I always felt a connection to you.” He touched my hand and that touched my heart. He is half my age but wise beyond his years. He did something for me that no one has ever done. He shared his truth and in doing so, made me see that the part of me that I thought was ugly is beautiful. This post is for you Shaun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Blog gets a New Name!

Hello everyone! If you have been following me you might know that I have been battling a flare in my autoimmune disease for the past 4+ months – I was so ill at one point, the most I could do was let the dogs out, and microwave soup a friend had thankfully made. I have had a nagging guilt of not writing here – but I am facing so many challenges – it’s hard to stay focused on the ADD – That is actually quite funny and ironic.

Today, after a totally disheartening visit to the Mayo clinic, who basically told me there is no treatment for autoimmune disease and you just have to not only live with it, but expect to develop more, I decided that I had to get to writing again and had to broaden my topic to include the other things that I am dealing with and believe are all related. (Such a run on sentence – my apologies).

So, never one to give up, I purchased the domain name myimaginaryenemy.com and started a small website. I am going to keep the address on this blog the same – because it will still deal a lot with ADHD – because really, that always adds into the mix of whatever I am dealing with. The new title will be My Imaginary Enemy – and that will give me lots of room to discuss topics that are important to me that I’ve struggled with or learned a lot about through my life.

Thank you to all of you who have been encouraging and supportive in my journey and of my writing. This has been a truly healing process, so I would really like to continue it. If you have ADHD let me suggest you look at seeinADHD.com  Jennie – an adhd coach in NY, has been an invaluable mentor and online friend. She writes amazing posts, has a book I plan on reviewing – and is a non – ADHD er trying to educate the world about the challenges of living with ADHD. She also has incredibly interesting and informative podcasts – Follow her on twitter @seeinADHD and join her FB support page She is really an incredible resource and person. The support group is full of really nice people.

Cheers to everyone!!!

 

 

Chronic Fatigue Gets A New Name

This eloquently and clearly depicts what it is like to have this illness – I could not have written anything that closely describes this roller coaster ride. So thankful that I found this blog. I thought I’d share it with my readers so they can understand the health crisis I am dealing with at the moment.

Tales from the Reading Room

So, The New York Times reports that the Institute of Medicine has suggested a new name for chronic fatigue syndrome. The proposal is that it should be called ‘systemic exertion intolerance disease’, which is quite a mouthful. But maybe an almost-unsayable name is appropriate for an almost-intolerable illness. Basically, the name is designed to reflect a significant symptom of the condition: ‘a sustained depletion of energy after minimal activity, called postexertional malaise.’

I used to describe the experience of the illness as akin to having a leaky car battery. You could charge and charge that battery, but as soon as you started doing anything you could feel the energy draining away. Quicker than seemed possible you’d be reaching the point of exhaustion. Sleep makes no difference. So during term at the university, I’d be struggling by about the second week in, watching my symptoms come earlier every day in the…

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