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 

 

 

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 

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 ~

Run.Rabbit.Run.Ptsd award

I have been nominated for this award by a wonderful blogger and mental health advocate,   mychildwithin at  https://mychildwithin.wordpress.com/ , and I thank you so much for recognizing me.

run-rabbit-award

 

Previously Known As The Blogger Recognition Award.


The rules:

Thank the blog who nominated you, share the link and award on your blog.

Write a brief story on how you started blogging and

any advice you would give to a new blogger.

Select nominees (max 15)

Advise nominees.

How I started writing this blog:  When I started this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, and there were some odd little posts where I did a little ranting and raving, about some of the rudeness of people, such as those who use handicap parking spaces, when they have no handicap at all, to the rudeness of a hotel I stayed and the staff were so rude, to the WalMart shoppers who have no clue that there are those of us who motivate around in wheelchairs.

I gradually fell into a pattern of looking at the child abuse I went through, in the form of poetry, which I had no idea I could write (the poetry I mean).  I eventually reached the stage of recognizing my blog for what it was.  It allows me to look at the abuse, how I felt about it then and how I feel about it now, and how it has affected me throughout my life.  My hope is for other survivors of abuse to read,  and look at themselves and speak out.  This is a subject that often no one wants to speak about, but everyone needs to write, read others blogs, identify with me, and that I can reach out to them and help them in some way.

I would advise the newcomer to become comfortable enough with themselves, and write about what it is you feel, or want to say, in some way that you and others will enjoy, identify with or just laugh at some humor.

I would like to nominate the following for the Run.Rabbit.Run. Ptsd award:

https://mandysmithsthoughts.com/                  

https://survivorroad.wordpress.com/

https://confessions92.wordpress.com/

https://noimnotok.wordpress.com/

https://patriciajgrace.wordpress.com/

All of these blogs have helped me to see what others have gone through, are going through now, or with advice and writings which moved me, or inspired me to look at my issues, and shown me other ways to look at what I’ve been going through since childhood.

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

Pain And Determination

I have been here in Salt Lake City, Utah, since Sunday afternoon.  When you are in the sun during the day, it is like sitting in an oven (not that I’ve ever actually sat in an oven).  But yesterday morning was cloudy, and there was a little breeze.  I wasn’t doing anything until 1pm, so I went sight-seeing (and looking for a drug store).  It was really nice and I took a lot of pictures.  You can check some of them out on my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/vanbenschotenk.  Here is a good sample of what I’ve seen and done since Monday morning.

 

During the past four days, I have pushed myself to compete in four events during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games here.  I have bowled Silver medal), ran the motorized slalom (an obstacle course for power chairs – gold medal), played 9-ball with two other women, both of whom I already knew (bronze medal), and played Boccia Ball (no medals, just had fun… I was winning until the last round, when my opponent pulled ahead with a final score of 4-3).

But it’s not about those medals!  It’s about grit and determination, friends and fun, and great competition.  Having MS, I suffer from fatigue most of the time and it’s with a lot of effort that I go out and compete like this.  And I don’t only do it here.  I also take part in the Valor Games (for veterans with all disabilities), in Chicago and San Antonio, where I push myself a lot more to succeed.

Now I am looking at participating in new events through other types of games all over the country.  I also have set a goal to go back to the gym on a regular basis, participate in adaptive sporting clinics, and get myself out of that recliner, where I normally spend most of my time.

I want to get stronger, and more active, pushing through the pain and fatigue and succeeding in doing the most I can do and not give in to this disease (MS).

That will take pushing myself to do more, all that I can do, with determination and grit.  I will not give up!

Misery

Misery comes in different ways,
It can last for weeks, or just for days,
My misery started long ago,
Silent so no one would know.

When I was only just a child
When the misery would run wild,
Some causes came in dark of night,
Other causes during daylight.

But as I aged, learned how to shout,
I became able to let some out,
But there’s some that stays within,
It seems this war, I’ll never win.

At night he haunts me in my dreams,
During the light she always wins,
Now I’m trapped within these walls,
They know I’m here, but no one calls.

A test, they say, will let us see,
What is happening inside of me,
This misery I have had for days,
Bothers my life, in many ways.

But when all is said and done,
I pray I’ll once more see the sun,
That will be my very own way,
I’m going to live another day.

– van –

PTSD

PTSD, oh how hard it can be.
See things over and over again,
Some things, not remembering them,
Some things I’ll never do again.

PTSD, makes me scared of life,
Growing up, filled with strife,
Used to get the great big knife,
But something keeps me clinging to life.

I see things over and over again,
They hide deep inside my head,
I won’t do this, I won’t do that,
But other things, keep doing this or that.

Programmed deep within my soul,
What will it take to make me whole?
Memories keep rushing to the top,
I don’t know how to make it stop.

~ van ~

Mother And Mother’s Day

A holiday is drawing near,
For most it means there’s someone dear,
I try to forget the entire day,
But I need to find another way.

Scan_20150131 (32)

I have things I could have said

But I kept my silence instead

Now it’s been over three years

But I’ve not shed many tears

PTSD is what they say

Controls me even to this day

Any love I felt for you

Like a bird, away it flew

Now the day is drawing near

Honor one who caused me fear

I need to get you from my head

Because now you’ve been quite dead

But words and actions came my way

I lived in fear, most every day

The only thing that I will try

Is to say to you, goodbye.

~ van ~