Body Positivity, Jesus, Mental Health, self care, self love, Vulnerability

Learning to Love Me

love-yourself

Yesterday I wrote this post:

I am Your Anchor in the Wind and the Waves

Then last night I read this:

“I’m working on my abandonment issues, and I am also working on not saying ‘sorry to bother you.’ I’m not a bother, a nuisance or a burden; I’m a human being who deserves to be understood, loved and valued. I won’t let anxiety tell me anything otherwise, no matter how hard it tries.”

What It’s Like When Anxiety Tells You Everyone is Going to Leave You

It’s so spot on.  In every way.  I’m thankful that there are other people who understand what this is like!  It makes me feel less alone.

I have decided that it’s time to tackle this “self love” thing.  I am learning that I may not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” but I want to be happy with being me.

“What people think of me is none of my business.”  This was repeated in rehab often, and I need to repeat this daily.

All that matters is that my Savior loves me unconditionally, and He has grace for me every day.  I mean, He made me!  He made me on purpose, for a purpose.  That purpose is to share my struggles and how I overcome every day so that people have hope!

I decided to write a list of things that I like about myself (learning to love).

  • My eyes are pretty.
  • My freckles make me look unique.
  • My body is pretty great.  It shows that I’ve had 3 kids and that I’m no longer yo-yo dieting.  My husband loves it just as it is.  I’m taking good care of it by eating nutritious foods much of the time, but also nourishing it by eating foods I enjoy.  I’m allowing it to settle where it will.
  • I’m strong.  I have overcome a lot through the power of Jesus.  He makes me strong.
  • I’m a Christ follower.
  • I share my faith most days.
  • I’m vulnerable about my mental health and addiction.  Maybe this makes me brave and courageous?
  • I’m quirky.
  • I’m passionate about important stuff.
  • I am fighting hard to have a close relationship with my family (after lots of distance because of my illnesses and drinking).
  • I help other people going through mental illness and/or addiction.
  • I love people when others may not.  I love deeply.

What do you like about yourself (learning to love)?  You should make a list as well!

Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Counseling, EMDR, Mental Health, self love, Trauma

Trauma. This Word Can Mean a Lot of Things.

trauma1

Until recently, I would not have said that I’ve been through trauma.

When I think of trauma, I think of war.

I think of domestic abuse.

I think of growing up with parents doing drugs.

I think of being raped.

I haven’t been through any that.

I recently started going to a new counselor, and after talking with her for 45 minutes, she listed 4 traumas that I have been through.  Then I talked with a psychologist for social security disability, and she felt the same way.

So, now I’m trying to figure out what that means for me.

What trauma have I been through, you ask?

childhoodtrauma

Well, it started at the age of 3 1/2.  I was sexually abused by a 9/10 year old.  I won’t go into the details here, but let’s say it was pretty bad :-(.  What’s sad is that you know that 9/10 year old had to have been abused as well.  I actually don’t remember this, but I’ve learned that it still affects me.

From the age of 6 through junior high, I was bullied.  Not just made fun of.  I was ostracized by most of my grade.  I was punched in the face multiple times.  Knocked off a swing and stepped on.  Punched on the arm multiple times.  Probably more that I can’t even remember.  I would see a counselor at school often because of this.  I practically hated myself.  I felt like I was flawed in some way and that there must be a reason nobody liked me.  I still struggle with this to this day.  I overcompensate often and have a lot of social anxiety.

Then, when I was 19, we were at a dance hall celebrating someone’s anniversary.  My Pawpaw and Meemaw (who I visited at least once a week) had just finished dancing, and he went to sit down next to me.  As he was sitting down, he had a heart attack and died immediately.  On his way down, he fell against me.  Then, I watched them do CPR on him, knowing that he was already gone.  I was in the room at the hospital with my Meemaw when they came in to tell her that he had died.  I lived with her for a month or so after he died, and it was really hard on both of us.  Honestly, this probably has the least affect on me of all four traumas that I have experienced.

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Probably the hardest for me is my brother’s death.  It was a very gruesome death.  He was at my parents’ house, and he used my dad’s rifle to commit suicide.  The top of his head was blown off by the rifle.  My mom was home and saw him :-(, so I would say she has it worse than me.  I was the first person she called, and she screamed, “Your brother blew his brains out!”  When we pulled up, they were carrying him out in a body bag.  My parents didn’t want to leave, so while we were planning his funeral, they had to put a sheet up to keep us from looking in the room.  Serv Pro came out and they had to throw away everything in the room.  It was so bad that they had to completely strip the room… ceiling, walls, carpet.  I remember walking by the window outside and seeing a piece of his brain on the window.  I don’t understand why they didn’t clean that off for so long!

I was 7 months pregnant with Levi.  Being the only other child, I had to take care of everyone else.  I didn’t have time to grieve.  I’ve still only cried a few times over it.  I’m sad that I don’t have emotion over it.

I went through terrible postpartum depression with Levi (probably because of Joey’s death).  I couldn’t function.  Robert has said that I was in a complete fog and barely took care of our kids.  He had to do the laundry, make meals, clean the house, etc.  He would come home from work and I would hand him Levi and leave.

I started drinking to feel “better” when Levi was about 8 months old.  I can remember the first time I realized alcohol would help my depression and severe anxiety (well, technically it didn’t… it was short term).

I have learned recently that a lot of my severe anxiety is because of trauma!  Who knew?

This is what EMDR will help.  I will truly be able to process so I can move forward.

Interested in learning more?  Click the contact page above and contact me!

Addiction, Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar 2, Counseling, Depression, Disability, EMDR, Hypomania, Mental Health, Mental Illness

Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability

Conceptual representation of the bipolar disorder

Yesterday was a big day.

I was in town all day.

First, I met with a psychologist that works for Social Security for her to determine that I have the illnesses that I say I have.  I was there for about an hour.  She was great.  I felt safe with her (unlike the last time I had to do this).  She told me that she has no idea how the process works, she just does her job and sends the report to them.  Social Security is the one who makes the final decision.  So that was helpful.

We talked about my abuse.  We talked about the extreme bullying that took place (physical and emotional/mental).  We talked about the counseling that I went through as a kid.  We talked about my Pawpaw’s death (he died in front of me, falling on me as he fell to the ground).  We talked about my brother’s gruesome suicide.  I went into the details of this.  This is always easy for me to talk about, but impossible for me to have emotions about it.  It’s so weird.

bipolar2

We talked about my bipolar 2 symptoms (she seemed to agree with this).  We talked mostly about my extreme/severe anxiety and how that is something I deal with every single day and it turns to panic attacks when I work.  We talked about my hospitalizations.

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We talked about my alcoholism and how much of the reason I drank was to quiet the anxiety that I deal with on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis.  We talked about my obsessiveness within my anxiety and how I obsess to handle it.  To feel control over it.  I was super anxious when I was there and I think she could tell.  At the end she asked me some simple questions, then she gave me 4 words to remember at the end of the questions and I couldn’t remember all of them (I remembered 2).  She told me that when someone is anxious they have a hard time remembering things.  It doesn’t mean I have a bad memory… it just shows my anxiety.

I love that she didn’t tell me at the end that I don’t have bipolar, just depression.  The last time this happened the doctor told me immediately after our conversation that I didn’t have bipolar.  She seemed to agree that I do.  And she definitely told me that I have extreme anxiety.  She thinks the anxiety is caused by the trauma I experienced.

We’ll see what happens.  They told me it should be about 30 days until they have made a decision, so now I just wait.  I’ve been at this for a few years now, so I can handle 30 days!

I’m thankful for possibility to receive disability, and I am now okay with whatever decision they make.  I have to be okay with it.  I really can’t do anything else beyond this.  I have done it on my own, through a company that deals with disability, and now with a lawyer.  I am spent.  No more options.  I’m okay with that!  It’s time to move on with my life either way!

After I met with her, I went to Chick Fil A and ate (for the first time in a long time).  It was so nice to have something other than what I’ve been eating every day for a long time!  Then I went to Walmart and bought things for Levi’s birthday (wrapping paper, icing for the cookie cake, sugar, flour, etc).  That made me happy!

At 1:30, I met with my new counselor.

She is absolutely everything I need in a counselor.  She’s warm and inviting, she really cares about me, reminds me about God’s grace, and she has been a counselor for 30 years.  She definitely knows what she’s doing.  She also said that my anxiety is from the trauma that I experienced.  We talked a lot about each trauma, and she wants to work on the bullying first.  She thinks that’s why I have so much social anxiety.  It should help the obsessive/compulsive part of my anxiety as well.

We will be doing EMDR therapy to work through the bullying that I went through.

emdr-1-header

She will use these “tappers” to do it.

emdr-tappers

They vibrate one at a time and works on one side of the brain at a time.  The point is going to try to get me to have emotions about the trauma that I went through so that I can really process it.  We’ll see how it goes!