Sabotage

catastropheI don’t know if I can accept unconditional love.

Growing up, my mother didn’t know how to communicate a love without expectations. Even to this day, when I mentioned to her that I made a good grade on a recent MSW assignment, my mother replied with “Looks like you’re going to be my ‘A’ student again!” In short, anything lower than an A is just not quite as good. I remember actually getting disciplined with a belt because I made an F on an assignment in the 4th grade. The hyper-critical nature of my mother implanted a subconscious notion in myself that if I can’t do things perfect, it’s just not quite as good. Along the way, I accepted I wasn’t perfect, but I never wholly abandoned that gnawing, perfectionist voice.

I’ve noticed a pattern since Carlie died and my marriage fell apart. I am terrified at the thought of losing someone I love again. This terror leads me to many bouts of self-sabotage. The moment there’s friction in my relationship, I give up. Even if I’m in the wrong. Because it’s just too damn hard to put your all into a person without the guarantee that they will stick around forever. Sometimes I wonder if my ex got the best parts of me. Perhaps I’m a used up, cynical shrew who will never find happiness in a man again.

It makes me angry to know that my ex fed this insecure monster inside of me. That a man like Kyle, who loves me, is patient with me, and intuitively understands what I need, is still viewed as a threat. If he expresses any form of anger, disappointment, or frustration… I freeze. That voice inside of me pulls me into the darkness I create. I start to have flashes in my head of my ex giving up. Smashed glasses and computer screens. Hidden Facebook conversations he had with other females. The many times he called me crazy. The time he grabbed the video camera and filmed me as I was falling apart. Making me feel insane for so many years, only for me to find out later that he was the one with a mental sickness; indeed, sometimes I wonder if he brought on my own mental health issues. My ex gave up, while I gave him the best four years I could physically, emotionally, and spiritually muster. I tried to do everything right. I played the crazy role so that he could pull me back into sanity, because that is the role he put me in. And it still failed. He still abandoned me. And I cannot handle the possibility of another abandonment.

So, when I’m hurt from an argument and curled up inside, the easiest path to take is running from the pain. But it doesn’t happen before I spout out all levels of verbal vomit, like a wounded animal afraid for anyone to get close to tend to the wound. And he can only take so much. He becomes upset at my ability to give up so easily, and I become upset with the same fact. However, sometimes eliminating the source of pain is the easiest way to numb it. Many times I think he’d be much better without me. I look at the bags underneath his eyes after I’ve fell apart for a millionth time, and I know it is wearing on him. And I don’t know if I can allow myself to damage him any further. If I’m miserable, I should be miserable alone. I shouldn’t drag anyone down with me. That is selfish to the fullest degree. But I also don’t know if I can do this without him. Which is also selfish.

Sometimes, truly, living is just too damn difficult.

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Post Traumatic Divorce Disorder

I think this should be a new clinical term for those who suffer painful divorces.

Finding out your ex is a sex addict who can’t keep his eyes off of other women, who prefers fantasies to reality, was a devastating revelation.

I tried so hard to help him with his “purity” — I bought him Every Young Man’s Battle, which he mostly only read if I highlighted some notes and pointed it out to him. His untreated ADD and sociopathic tendencies made it almost impossible for any real change to stick to him. I mothered when I should have been girlfriending, and further mothered as a wife. It was exhausting, honestly. While visiting my sister, she made the statement “I just wish you guys could’ve worked it out.”

“I don’t,” I replied confidently. She seemed surprised.

I concealed a lot of the dysfunction in my marriage. There are still some things I will only reveal if asked or if I feel the person doesn’t truly understand why I’m happier now.

In my newfound belief system, I’ve discovered and confirmed that things go smoothly if you are vibrationally compatible. What this truth means is that, when we have seasons where certain relationships are challenging or friendships have gone silent, it is usually due to incompatibility of personal vibration. So, rather than viewing the things my ex did while we were dating as divine intervention, I’m realizing now that the universe was TRYING desperately to pull me away from someone who would inevitably hurt me tragically in the long run. If a man will cheat on you once, you can guarantee he will do it again. It wasn’t my job to tell him how much God loved him and how he had better for him. It wasn’t my job to be the ear to listen as he described why he had commitment fears. At that moment, I should’ve walked away. I should’ve noticed and realized my worth. But I didn’t. Instead, I allowed someone else to personify my worth, and I lost Ashley in the process. In the process of raising the vibration of someone else, I forgot that I was putting my future in the hands of someone who didn’t match my vibration. Someone I constantly doubted. A relationship which provided a constant companion of suspicion, insecurity, and trust issues. How on earth could I think this was a good idea?

Because my ex presented to be every mother’s dream for her daughter’s companion. He was an expert at wearing masks, and he falls into the Christian mask very easily. People praised him for his talents, the way he cared for me, and how he would sometimes talk sense into me. You know. Because I was the one who was obviously wrong all the time. And even as my ears rang from a blow to my ear after a fight in which he lost control, his family came home mere minutes later, and I had to assume the role of happy girlfriend. I am not trying to demonize him. I am simply explaining my PTDD.

He had subconsciously convinced me I was crazy. I sat in my therapist’s office my second day of inpatient after suicidal thoughts placed me there. She looked at me, very confidently, and stated “You are NOT crazy. You never were crazy. You are having an expected reaction to a bad situation.” Was that true? It seemed everyone else couldn’t understand why I had to separate from my ex. To this day, his family still thinks it’s my fault the divorce happened. Even as their baby boy, the child who can’t seem to do any wrong, had multiple friends with benefits during our separation. I wasn’t innocent, not at all. I ran to the comfort of other men when I knew he was doing the same with women. But I also never put on a mask that communicated that I was innocent. I was ashamed of my behavior — my desperate need to build up my confidence again after it had been ripped to shreds. But I never gave up. Up until the day he had me sign the papers, I still had some naive hope he would come to his senses instead of just deciding to start over with another woman. But he had gave me the ultimatum that I must let him move back in or he would divorce me. We separated domestically because there were some things that he personally needed to work on. He did none of them, yet still managed to have plenty of time to sell a car to his future third wife and develop a friendship turned romantic relationship with her. In my heart, I think he refused to believe that he was in the majority of the wrong. And his pride prevented him from seeking the help he (we) needed.

I was driven to insanity the last months of the relationship. Finding out he was having sex with other women, finding porn on his tablet, watching him slowly lose interest in me, watching in real time on Facebook while he chatted and made arrangements to “make out” with a girl the same day we celebrated our five year anniversary. Slowly, the suspicions I had became truth. I think the first time I truly realized he had a serious problem was about two or three weeks after we laid Carlie to rest. He initiated sex, and I tearfully rejected him. I couldn’t at the moment — my body wasn’t completely healed, and any sensation in that region reminded me of her feet that were constantly felt on my pelvis in the days before her death. I tried to explain to him, but he became angry, and then cried. I struggled to understand him — knowing that he felt intimacy through sex, being a male — but I slowly realized that his tendencies were not normal.

As a child, I always pinched at the fat on my stomach. I remember first trying diets at age 10. I have always had a horrible body image. This experience wrecked what little confidence I was grasping to. With each stolen glance I’d catch him in while we were in public, for each time I knew he wasn’t eager for sex because he’d been busy looking at pornography and/or relieving himself to the pictures/video/mental images of other women in his mind. For the times I felt like nothing more than a way to relieve sexual frustration… I broke a little more. I am now conditioned to immediately fight a panic attack if I am in the same room with a man I care about and a half-dressed or naked woman is on the screen. It’s like clockwork. I gauge the man’s eyes — are they looking at her? Does he think she’s sexier than me? If he looks, what does that mean? Does it mean he will go off one day and cheat on me? Am I not good enough? Alluring enough? Enough, enough? The whole process is maddening, and yet sometimes I feel I cannot control the tidal wave of insecurity before it pummels me. What man could put up with such nonsense? I’m also aware of the fact that what you fear most is what can end up happening if you give enough power to it. So I also have to fight to not make it my reality by not allowing my thoughts to run rampant about what COULD be going on.

There’s times I still feel insane. I hold tight to the affirmations of my therapist — I’m not crazy, and I was simply a suffering woman flailing in a drowning sea of grief and rejection, who reached for the first thing to try and pull her up. I hold onto the truths she’s given me, such as telling me earlier this year that she wouldn’t be surprised if my ex was engaged and married before the end of the year. I told her “Surely not. Not that soon.” But she was right. And I had to experience an entire new cathartic release as I saw how easily he could replace me. At the same time, it was poetic justice. All of my suspicions were suddenly confirmed. What a relief, but what a heart break.

The universe understood I needed someone who can read my thoughts as well, if not better, than myself. It took care in matching my vibration with Kyle. Even thought it was over a year in the making, the universe still found a way to lead us back to each other — even as I found myself caught up in a rebound relationship, and Kyle refusing to talk to me for awhile because he knew I deserved better.

I had an insecurity attack yesterday. I was already feeling vulnerable due to the holidays and the absence of my Carlie Wren. We were watching a music video which happened to have a half-dressed woman in it. Never seeing the video before, Kyle didn’t know what was in it. We watched for a little over a minute before my eyes shifted away from the video and to a random fixation in the room. I couldn’t let this monster grab hold of me again. I had to figure out a way to be secure in myself, to trust Kyle, and to understand that not everyone has ill intentions if they love you. Before I could let the logical take hold, the insecurity had already taken over. He looked just a second too long at the video, and my whole world felt like it fell apart. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. In a lot of ways, I feel I need trauma therapy for my separation and eventual divorce. I hate handing this baggage to someone and expecting them to understand. I know it’s illogical. I know it’s silly. But sometimes, I simply cannot control what route my mind is going to take – or my emotions. I try. I try very hard. But one vulnerability in any other area of my life (for example, I was feeling sickly yesterday) and the carefully constructed coping skills I’ve learned seem to dissipate out of my mind and actions.

I left the room. I gathered myself, used crystal healing with my favorite therapy crystal (Rose Quartz) and tried to calm myself down. When I feel that way, it’s like a trigger to remember all of the hurt and pain I went through when I felt that particular way. Insecurity attacks actually cause flash-backs for me, and I’m back in the hospital with Carlie, or I’m reading my ex’s words to another female, or I’m thinking about all the things I should have done that could’ve prevented Carlie’s death. The feeling in itself is a trigger.

I say all this to explain… vibrational compatibility is essential.

I returned to Kyle’s room with puffy eyes, trying to hold it together. There were so many things making me sad, I couldn’t seem to get a strong breath. I tried to hide the tears, but Kyle was pulling my head into his lap and stroking my hair before I could explain. But I didn’t need to explain. He understood.

“I know what’s going on with you. You shouldn’t feel that way. That’s silly. You’re hot as a furnace. Besides, you’re only a point of light. We’re all a point of light.” I don’t think he even understood the impact those words would have on me, or he might’ve said it more eloquently. But in that moment, it was exactly what I needed to hear. He understood me, my soul, and my essence.

I have spent my whole life trying to explain myself. What a relief to finally find someone that doesn’t need my explanations. He knows me — the good, the bad, the ugly — and he understands my essence verses when my emotions are trying to take control of me. He helps me work through those ridiculous thoughts. When I’m able to gather the strength to let him know the thoughts, he immediately counters my worries, fears, insecurities, etc. with logical arguments that make much more sense than the delusional thoughts my brain tries to invent.

I have met my vibrational match, after thinking I could never fully trust love, men, or relationships again.

“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Chemical Dependence

ZOLOFT® (sertraline HCl) is approved by the FDA to treat the following conditions in adults:

  • –Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • –Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • –Panic Disorder
  • –Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • –Social Anxiety Disorder
  • –Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

-taken from official Zoloft website

I’ve always been prone to Depression. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I feel so deeply, in full-blown colors and chaotic senses, but I remember first struggling with suicidal thoughts at age 13. Self-mutilation was my only therapy. I began a relationship with Christ at age 16. I remember the moment I truly gave my heart to the Lord, years of pain and anguish seemed to release from my pores and tear ducts. From then on, it got better. Though my immediate family members were on antidepressants and it was considered an inherited mental illness, I thought I had conquered it by putting my faith in Christ. Ashamedly, I carried a certain pride inside of me that I was simply relying on the Lord, and didn’t need modern medicine to cure my blues. I could pray, and everything was better, right?

Then came college, Freshman year. I felt inadequate and misplaced. The depression returned. I didn’t tell anyone, really. I vented thoughts on Xanga (the most popular blogosphere at the time) but outside of that, I felt admitting my sadness would only condemn me further. I was at a Christian college, where everyone was supposed to possess the joy of the Lord. I did, for the most part.

But I’m realizing more and more the only thing that prevented me from previous crippling depression were my life circumstances.

College included some of best years of my life. Stressful, yes. Terrifying? Sometimes. But epic memories replaced the negative. First came a degree, then came a professional job, then came marriage to the love of my life, then came a baby in a baby carriage…. or not. Struggling with infertility for five years wasn’t fun. It did a huge number on my self-esteem and identity as a woman. My body couldn’t do the one thing it was created to do. I had always felt my one true calling was to be a mother, and I couldn’t even manage to do that!  I threw myself into work, and then we spent five months overseas doing missions. We came back, intertwined ourselves into church, and I was happy. Then came the slow decay of the naive world I had built around me. The shatter of trust in a marriage, the resuming of self-mutilation, the deafening thoughts that told me I was better off dead. I was diagnosed with Depressive Disorder soon after. I took one pill of my antidepressant prescribed to me before I found out I was pregnant. I never took another, until after she was gone.

I’ve been on Zoloft, Xanax, and Ambien for a year and a half. The craziness of this month had me forgetting to get a refill on my Zoloft, then looking at the bottle and realizing I didn’t have a refill. Then remembering I missed my appointment with my psychiatrist last month. I spent a week without my medicine, and I cannot tell you how crazy I went. Crying all through the night, irritable beyond belief, panic attacks, paranoia… and I loathe that I am now dependent upon this artificial serotonin to make me semi-sane. I never wanted to be. I’m wondering if my lack of warm and fuzzies and my flat affect is partly to do with this as well. I don’t feel joy much anymore. It’s like a flicker of emotion, then it’s gone. Without taking my medication regularly, it’s an explosion of a million different emotions, as if I’m Bipolar. There is no in between. Numbness, or despair. These are what I teeter between.

I would love to one day wean myself from taking medication. I’m terrified that day may never come.