Really working to acknowledge my feelings lately. So often my first instinct is to bury them because the actual feeling of them is so uncomfortable but it's becoming more apparent to me that therein lies a lot of my inability to understand the weight I'm carrying around right now as a result of the accidents.

So at this very moment I am feeling very lonely. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it is strong. I'm to a point now where almost all of my friends are married with kids and the ones that aren't are more surface friends than actual let's go out and do things together friends. I loooooove my best and closest friends and their families so much. I am SO happy when I am around them. I have uncountable and priceless memories with each and every one. But it's hard to be the third/fifth/seventh wheel. I sometimes think to myself "This is so pathetic... find your own life and family. Stop encroaching on theirs!" I know that's the insecure part of me but it is still hard to dismiss all of it when it seems like there is so much truth to my random placement within their lives.

It's also hard when you are alone because your best and closest friends are families. They have their own lives that are so complex with jobs, schedules, kids activities and family responsibilities. Those take up a vast majority of their time. I am lucky enough to share it often but there are times where the busyness of their lives all overlap and it leaves me alone; sometimes for weeks at a time. I'm in one of those stretches right now and it's so defeating to feel like you aren't needed or wanted. I obviously know that's not true but when everyone is off doing their own thing and you are sitting back watching it all unfold on Facebook and Instagram, it hurts. Like the kind of pain felt in 3rd grade when your best friend goes and plays with someone else and leaves you out.

These stretches always make me question how I'm living my life. Am I living it the way that's going to make me happy 5 years from now? 10 years from now? What am I going to do if these friends move away? Would I be OK with being alone more than I am now?

These stretches always make me reconsider dating. How awesome would it be to be married to your best friend? You'd never be alone! Not like never be physically alone because, OH MY GOD I WOULD GO INSANE, but figuratively never alone. What solace can be gained by knowing you have someone who chooses to be with you. I can't say I've ever had that so the thought of it is so appealing during these times.

But as much as my heart thinks it needs that to fill this hole that opens up every now and then, my brain thinks otherwise. There is no man that exists that can deal with my fears and baggage, especially now that I'm 31. I had the chance when I was 23 with B, but I blew it. I had no clue what I was doing and just flat out ruined our relationship. I was so waist deep in my own mess of a life that I couldn't have possibly done anything different and that kills me because I think about the what-ifs all the time. So my brain has just accepted that my window has closed. And to be honest, I am OK with that.

Most of the time.

But these stretches of time that leave me questioning my choices in life make me crazy. They make me hope for something that is never going to happen. They make me yearn for something I can't have. And that makes the loneliness so much greater.


I've been frustrated lately with my {perception of the lack of} progress with this most recent traumatic event. I can feel the weight of the experience inside me and even in spite of the physical recovery I've had since the accident, I feel like there has been no emotional recovery. I haven't allowed myself to process that day in its entirety because it just feels like too much to handle on my own. Even tonight when V asked about my internal reaction when she says "car crash", it elicits such an involuntary physical response that everything gets shut down before I have the chance to sit in it and understand my own feelings.

I do however understand that with the return of my rebellious and somewhat apathetic inner voice that my ego is taking the reins and preventing me from doing some of the work necessary to get the progress I want. It's such a battle between my normally in charge logical side and this damn ego. My ego is cocky and loud and persistent. It projects this feeling of safety behind the strength while preventing me from moving forward. Case in point:

Logic: I am having a hard time dealing with the fear and trauma from this car accident. It was frightening and it's no wonder I am having a hard time coping.

Ego: Your brother-in-law was in the car with you and he wasn't hurt and doesn't have any issues getting in a car to drive. Clearly you are being way too dramatic and need to calm the eff down. Drama queen.

Hard to process much when you can't even give yourself permission to own your own feelings. So in our work tonight, I pleaded for a way to carve a path for progress for myself. Emotional progress. Something that will allow me to throw the ego aside and learn/understand the true emotions that are swimming inside me right now.

Careful what you ask for.

I have this list of words I can't stand. They make me shudder and cause me to shut down a little when I hear them.

I also have this list of words that make my eyes roll. By list of words I mean just one. This one.


That was V's answer for me.

What combats your ego and justifies your own feelings? Gratitude. What allows you to find joy in things that could easily be dismissed? Gratitude. What can help balance all the out of control feelings you can't quite understand? Gratitude.

Well hell. I suck at positive stuff. I suck at feeling positive stuff. I can identify it. I can acknowledge it. I hate to feel it. It seems conceited and showy and just plain wrong to flaunt something that is great in my life. Hey guys! Guess what! I have amazing friends and an amazing family and I am so grateful that they are in my life.


But I know she's right. You don't remove darkness with more darkness. You remove it with light. I just have to figure out how to "do" light... Can't be that hard right?


Had to look back at the last time I blogged here and was actually surprised to see that it was just 6 months ago. It's amazing how slow life goes when you are miserable and how quickly life passes when you are actually enjoying it.

A month ago I was in a really bad car accident. He was going 50 mph, I was essentially stopped. He ran right into me. Didn't even brake. The impact threw my car out into the middle of the highway. The fact I didn't get hit again is a miracle. I walked away with a pretty bad concussion and a sprained wrist along with a totaled car.

Fast forward to a week later and I got a settlement check from the insurance company and went to buy a new car. Got it home and then had to convince myself to go out and drive it (was anxious after the accident) and not a mile from my home I was hit head on by a teenager in a truck that cut a corner too short and turned into my lane.

To say I lost it is a bit of an understatement.

I was terrified to get into a car. If I had to get into a car, then I freaked any time anyone got near me on the road. I started having panic attacks again. I got really depressed; in part from the concussion (apparently it's normal) and in part from being so isolated. I had no stamina to participate in social activities nor did I have the courage to get into a car to attend any.

I started cutting again. My anxiety got so bad and I felt so out of control about the entire situation that I just lost my grip on the coping mechanisms I had worked so hard to integrate. They honestly were not working and that just scared me more and turned me faster back to the release I knew would work. It bums me out a little to admit it didn't work as well as I remembered. I attribute that to the fact that I have lost my nerve a bit. Not a bad thing, but in the moment when I was waiting desperately for that relief and it wasn't coming the way I remembered it was very frustrating.

I have had to go crawling back to V. I literally felt like I could not cope with life without her support. I was falling apart and I needed her to save me; or rather to help me save myself. First session back was mainly to gauge my level of depression and help me get a handle on that. Only these last two have started to focus more on the trauma of this last month.

Trauma... *&@! that word...

That leads me to why I'm writing tonight. In the last two sessions I have had two diagnoses/labels thrown out in our conversations: PTSD and trauma.

Hang on while I grab a pin for my scarlet letter(s).

I never quite understood why in meetings at school, parents were so dead set against accepting the help their child so desperately needed because it would label their child as dyslexic or learning disabled or autistic.

I completely get it now. Labels take away humanity. They force you to see one thing and divert your attention from the millions of other things that are true about yourself/your child/whomever.

So to label myself with PTSD means I am that. To say I am traumatized again means that is my whole existence. You may be able to see the millions of other things, but I see only that. The shame that came with those things last time shrouds everything else in darkness.

I broke down in tears at this discussion today because I hate connecting this situation to my past. To me they have nothing in common and to connect them only further solidifies my feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. But as V was quick to point out, my prior experiences with PTSD and trauma were riddled with feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. I dealt with them the best way I knew how (aka shoved them so far down they rarely ever surfaced) and suffered the consequences of their unwelcome eruption 4 years ago. But as she also pointed out, I am so much healthier now and in a position of power in my own life to be able to process those feelings in a different environment and with a better understanding of my own self to possibly further my healing in a way I wasn't ready for before.

And you know what? I like the sound of that.

It gets better, but never really goes away...

For many reasons, winter is a hard time for me. I do believe I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder to some degree plus all my prior breakdowns have happened during the winter months so that makes me absolutely dread this time of year.

I've added a new trauma to contribute to my stressors during this time as well: the dentist.

After a very traumatizing appointment this summer that resulted in a 20 minute episode of hyperventilation followed by my body finally shutting down and passing out, I have had some issues these last few weeks with nightmares and flashbacks as my upcoming cleaning approaches. 

Already being at a greater disadvantage this time of year plus dealing with a new issue has made it extremely challenging to stay on top of my moods. I had a couple days last week where, for the first time in years, I thought about suicide. Not as a means to an end but more as a means to let everyone know how done I am with this struggle. 

It's so frustrating because even as good as things are, it appears as though these issues are never going to go away. It's like cancer. Sure I'll go into remission, but it's only a matter of time before it comes back right? 

I haven't needed to meet with V much at all over the last 18 months. I see her maybe every 2 months unless something pops up that needs to be dealt with. I met with her last week after a series of nightmares that left me reeling. I was barely keeping it together at school and was a mess thinking about my upcoming appointment. As always she keeps me grounded in reality and helped me come up with a plan for next week but no matter what I do, there are always side effects of situations like this.

My anxiety was triggered to the point that I was staving off panic attacks for a series of 4 days. Aside from the dentist experience, I haven't had a panic attack in almost 18 months. When I get this upset, my past always slithers back in. Right on cue, I've been fighting some triggers and feeling the weight of shame return. 

It's so defeating to feel these things again. It's a lonely, horrible place to be stuck in your mind. Stuck in the past. Remembering why you are different than most of your friends. Why you can't be in relationships. Why you can't trust men. Then it makes you view life differently. Suddenly all you see are the people around you in love, the babies being born, the lives being lived. The flip side to that is then all you see is references and triggers to rape, abuse and fear. It's an awful way to live day to day. 

I toggle back and forth between keeping up the fight against letting this consume me (it's exhausting to constantly battle) and giving into the demons. So far they haven't won. We'll see if it stays that way. 

Good Luck With That

I know myself well enough to know when my body is telling me to pay attention to something my mind is ignoring. I get tense. I get anxious.

My body is screaming at me. I logged on tonight in search of relief but I feel as though the opposite is about to happen. I'm holding my breath. That only happens when I'm reaching the brink of a panic attack. It's like I'm afraid to move, lest breathing throw me over the edge.

I'm not good enough. I'm just not. Why did I ever think I would be good enough? Like if I worked hard enough it would erase who I had become? Yeah right. I'm always going to be just as messed up in the future as I was/am... pick your tense. Past? Present? FOREVER.

I laugh at myself. Silly, stupid girl. You think you can do this? You are but a child yourself. You still view yourself as a 13 year old. You still seek approval in the most pathetic of ways. You still carry the black mark of abuse. You struggle with depression. You struggle with intrusive thoughts. You struggle with self-harm.

And you want to be someone's mother?

Yeah. Good luck with that.

What Now?

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

I spent my first Christmas in my new house with my mom, sister and soon to be brother-in-law. I spent all morning cooking up a yummy Christmas lunch and then we spent the afternoon playing games and decorating gingerbread cookies! It was the perfect day :)

The last 6 months have been so wonderful. I decided last summer that I wanted to buy a house so my path since June has been focused on learning everything I could about the home buying process, researching loans, realtors, cities, etc. As October and November rolled around I started touring houses in my area and fell in love with a house not 5 minutes from where I work. 2 weeks after my 30th birthday I closed on my house! Over the past month my focus shifted from house buying to moving to unpacking to decorating/preparing for Christmas.

As I closed the door last night and walked into my living room alone, I was overwhelmed with this feeling of "What now?!" With no more packing, moving, decorating or hosting to distract me, I suddenly realized I had no clue what to do. Buying a house was a huge step in the right direction for me. The whole process brought me such comfort and strength because it was a goal on my life's list that was going to be/is crossed off.

But now what? Where do I go from here?

It has been very unsettling to feel this sense of confusion again. I feel very lost and when I am lost, I tend to revert back to what I know will always be there: my past and my trauma. Last night I spent an hour or so reading through my posts from when I first transferred to V to the present day. Time had dulled my memory of a lot of interactions early on with V, but not the experience of hitting rock bottom. Re-reading all my words and emotions were compounded by the fact that it is almost 3 years to the day that I walked into V's office, disclosed the true depths of my depression and was escorted to the hospital. Even now, it's hard to think about. There is a strong sense of shame there still. But as hard as it is to think about, in a twisted way it brings me some comfort because it gives me direction. I know no matter what, that path of my past is always there, lying in the shadows waiting to pull me under again.

Compelled To Write

It has been a while since I've felt compelled to write.

I have been living a "normal" life for the past couple years. I have actually enjoyed waking up every day. My job, my friends, my family, my entire life. College was the last time I've felt this weightless feeling and even that wasn't true freedom. It was just freedom shrouded by denial. This is probably the first time in the last 15 years that I have had moments of real happiness. It has been amazing. Something I thought just a few short years ago wouldn't be possible. 

Writing here (or anywhere really) has always been a really healthy way for me to organize my thoughts and regain control in situations where I felt little to none. It has been a long time since I've felt the need to do this, but it's calling me tonight.

In my path to "normalcy" over the past few years, I've mimicked what I think to be normal behavior; namely dating. While much of it has been faking it til I make it, there has been one guy that seems different.

We met last year and went out a few times but fell into more of a friendship. We started things back up this last winter but things fizzled out again. I was really disappointed when he kept cancelling our plans then made no effort to reschedule them so I just assumed that meant he wasn't interested. We still talked quite a bit but I struggled with accepting what I thought to be the truth... that he just wanted to be friends. But I never asked him. Why? Part of me thought I knew the answer and part of me didn't want to hear what I thought he'd say. So we just kept doing what we were doing, casually talking via text and Facebook as friends. 

Imagine my surprise when he sends me flowers this week and asks when he can see me.

Ummm, I'm sorry, what? 

I was completely thrown off guard and to be honest, I was pissed.

SERIOUSLY? NOW? I have been off of work for 3 months (summer break) with absolutely all the time in the world and you pick now, the busiest and most stressful time to spring this on me? 

Dating is not an easy thing for me. It takes a LOT of energy out of me and requires a lot of mental preparation. It is not something I can just up and do on a whim. ESPECIALLY when I have no clue it's coming. I spent most of my summer coming to terms with the fact that I was going to need to move on from him and eventually try again. 

And then he blindsides me like this? WTF man?!

He's probably thinking he's doing this sweet thing by sending me flowers at work, but to be honest it sent me into a tailspin. I felt all this pressure I had never felt before, even when we were going out. Then it was still me trying to figure out if/how much he was interested. This obviously meant he was and that scared the shit out of me.

I suck at communication period, but it also wasn't the time to unload this baggage on him so I was my normal sweet self and thanked him for the flowers and we decided on this morning to meet for brunch. 

I was TERRIFIED. Which in my bouts of lucidity and normalcy I found utterly ridiculous because had I been the one to pursue setting up plans with him and him agreeing to them I would have been excited. But instead, the tables were turned and I was not prepared. Me not being prepared = terror every single time. Especially with dating. 

We had brunch this morning and I tried my damnedest to enjoy it. If I was not in this terror/pissed mindset I would have 100% enjoyed it. He's so easy to talk to, has a great personality, makes me laugh and is pretty much 100% my type. I tried to push out any negative feelings and just be in the present moment. Most of the time I was able to do that pretty well, but I could feel myself getting annoyed a bit (hopefully it didn't show) and just wanting to get out of there. Not because I wasn't interested in spending time with him, but because I had met my threshold for being out of my comfort zone and I needed to decompress and have some time with my thoughts.

What do I want? How much am I ready for? How much and/or what do I tell him right now to get to a point where I can take a leap of faith? 

I have all this swirling around in my head and I don't have any answers. My inner voice is telling me I need to let him know that I was completely blind sided by this because I thought he wasn't interested and that I'm just trying to understand where he's coming from. Why now? What changed? I feel like he also needs to know more about me and my fear of relationships but that is such a huge door to open and the poor guy does not need to be avalanched with all my baggage. I need to figure out the right way to let him know to tread lightly. That I need to be handled with kid gloves... but I suck at speaking up for myself so I'm stalling. I'm great at that. 

Time to Update

To be honest, I kind of completely forgot about blogging.

Things have been going really well. Life has not been one struggle after another, but more of what I think it should be like. More fun moments than sad, more laughs than tears, more hope than despair.

I still have quite a bit to work out in therapy with V, but for once it actually feels as though this will eventually have an end rather than just feeling so overwhelmed by my issues that I couldn't find a beginning or end.

The biggest change in my life is that I've started fostering cats through the humane society. I started volunteering there this summer when I had to put my sweet 20 year old kitty to sleep and have gone up the ranks pretty quickly. I am loving it!

I got my first foster kitty by accident. She and her 4 sisters were abandoned because of some really bad circumstances with the lady who owned them. They were able to find homes and placements for all but Precious, who I ended up taking in somewhat of an emergency situation. She was about 8 years old and I had great luck in finding her a wonderful family in less than 6 weeks, which is almost unheard of given her age and her coloring.

My most recent foster kitty I got after Christmas break when her owners gave her back because they were going through a divorce (I don't get why that means you abandon your pet, but whatever). Caroline was very afraid (I'm thinking there was a lot of yelling in her old home) but warmed up to me and my kittens quickly. Caroline got adopted on Tuesday this week, which again was extremely fast! My supervisors keep asking me if I'm some sort of magician! ;)

Our adoption coordinator is setting me up with a new placement tomorrow. She often goes to the shelter and rescues the pregnant ones or others that are in danger of not being adopted and put to sleep. I'm getting a 5 month old black male and I'm so excited! Black cats are the absolute hardest to adopt out (which is crazy because they are just like any other cat) but I'm hoping that since I've had such luck that I'll find this little guy a home quickly!

My kitties just turned 9 months old this week. They are getting so big! I LOVE them. They both have such great personalities and are so laid back. They haven't had an issue with the foster cats coming in and out, they just go with the flow!

Women, Food and God

About 6 weeks ago V and I had a discussion about therapy and how I thought it was going. I absolutely love V and really feel as though she was the answer to my prayers, even though it took me a long time to find her! In session she really challenges me to get out of my comfort zone, but is also really good about picking up on when it is becoming too much for me. There have been times where I have ignored my own signals and pushed myself too far, just to suffer the consequences later when I leave the safety of V's office. We discussed all these things, but the main thing we focused on is what I'm doing outside of sessions. I always felt I needed to push myself so hard and fast because I only had an hour a week with her. That hour goes by quickly and I hated feeling so unproductive outside of sessions (even though she argued that most of the work I have been doing has been outside of her office, not actually in it!). I asked if there was a way she could provide me with things to do in between sessions, mainly articles or books to read, but also things like journal topics or homework. That way I felt like I had a hand in my own therapy while I was outside her office and didn't feel like I was just sitting around waiting for the next hour.

It has proven to be a really good thing for me. It has given me a path and purpose every week rather than just counting down the days, hours and minutes until my next session. Most of my work so far has been in the writing form, which is something I have really come to enjoy over the past few years. I find it such an easy way for me to get out what is inside.

Two weeks ago V recommended the first book as something she thought would be helpful for me. It's called Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. She was in the process of reading it and said that there were so many times she would read a passage and think to herself "This would be great for Lily to hear" or "This reminds me of Lily". I was a little hesitant when I heard the title because I have had such a huge wall up with my spirituality lately. I'm not sure what it is, but I know I don't want to talk about it. She still encouraged me to read it because there were many things in there that she thought would be helpful.

As I ventured out to return a book at the library I already had (The Red Pyramid, recommended by my kids and definitely not a therapy book! Haha!), I ventured in the non-fiction section to see if they had it. Sure enough, it was on the shelf staring right back at me. I grabbed it and went to the readers section to read a little bit of it to see what I thought. Before I knew it, I had read almost 75 pages and found myself chuckling and nodding at the things that she was writing about.

I don't have an ED, but I do have my struggles with food. After I was abused I used food to self-soothe. I went from 140 lbs my freshman year to 26o lbs when I graduated high school. Food was my escape. Fat was my safety. In November 2004, when I was a junior in college, something in me switched. I literally woke up on the day of November 29th and decided I was done being fat. By the time I graduated in May 2006 I had lost almost 100 lbs. I gained back what we teachers refer to as "The first year 15" but have comfortably stayed in the 173-185 range for 5+ years. That seems to be my body's comfort zone. I know if I worked out and didn't eat as much processed food I could get down to maybe 155, but right now I'm happy staying within this range.

That being said, you don't have to have an ED to connect to this book. You have to have had a bad day and gone to the pantry instead of feeling the stress or the pain. You have to have had times where you are bored and choose to eat because it's easy. I don't know of a single person who would not be able to connect to this book. It talks a little about trauma and how food is used as a means to avoid feelings, but it also talks about how you can learn to not let food control you which is something I struggle with. When I'm on the higher end of my aforementioned range, I restrict like crazy. No, you can't eat this. You are going to gain one more pound and be too fat. When I'm on the lower end, I overeat. You've got some wiggle room, go and eat that hamburger you want! Order that pizza! Don't workout!

She uses a type of no nonsense humor and her own struggles with weight as fuel for her thoughts in this book. I'm really enjoying it. I have my journal with me as I'm reading and am often stopping to write down tidbits that I find very profound or helpful. I've gone back to re-read the first few chapters again (it doesn't flow really well in my opinion, so it's harder for me to read and therefore commit to memory) but have already filled up a couple of pages just in those chapters alone.

I wanted to share this book with you all because I really do feel like it has a message that everyone can connect to. It's not preachy and really is more of a spiritual book rather than a "God" book. I'm looking forward to getting further into it and learning more about myself through what I eat!

What's The Worst That Could Happen?

I'm not sure if it is a personality trait of mine or whether it is a result of my trauma at an early age, but I tend to have an overactive, extremely imaginative "catastrophe brain". I always expect these horrible, extremely detrimental outcomes to things that almost never come to fruition. I know a lot of it has to do with my obsessive need for control and desire for preparedness, but I'm starting to wonder what purpose it is really serving me.

I had a very intense session with V on Thursday, which left me literally hurt. I could barely walk up the stairs to my apartment and every turn in bed racked my body. My normal outlet for my panic and anxiety have always been panic attacks. I can feel them building up inside me and when they erupt, it is not pretty. But lately my body has been venturing away from the "oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-die" panic attacks and routing that energy into my body. I have had horrible stomach pains the last few weeks during sessions, and Thursday that got completely bypassed and sent straight to my muscles. It felt like I had the flu x1000. I have never felt that much pain in my body before. I remember lying in bed thinking, "I wonder if this is what it feels like to have cancer." Even being still hurt. My whole body ached.

Thankfully I woke up Friday morning back to my pain-free self, but was left with the burden of trying to sort through all that was discussed with V. Part of it is still in the denial side of my brain. I talked about things that I have NEVER talked about with anyone. I can't believe I did it. So much so that my brain just isn't ready to call that reality yet. A few other things we discussed I don't think I can even write about here. Embarrassing... for me at least.

But one thing that we did discuss was how my overactive and imaginative brain is keeping me from having the things I want. It keeps me "in my head" too much. And when I'm in my head, I convince myself that everything is scary. That everything is going to hurt me. That I can only be safe if I'm alone. It keeps me stuck in my fear.

V said something to me during this conversation that provided me with an "a-ha moment"; something pretty rare with me.

She told me that the idea of something, whether it's an experience (having sex, being in a relationship) or a feeling (pain, fear) is almost always worse than the actual thing.

And especially with me and this dear sweet imaginative brain of mine, it's probably blown so out of proportion that it's not any wonder why I'm so afraid. I've had almost 15 years of convincing myself that these things are so huge and insurmountable that the idea itself has become it's own Mt. Everest.

So she asked me: "What's the worst that could happen?" and I laughed because I have all these horrible, improbable possibilities mapped out (and have had them for quite some time, I might add) for each of the things that have kept me frozen in fear for so long. I think she knew that I already had a response to her question, but we both knew it wasn't the answer she was looking for.

I was a little embarrassed to admit that I never really thought LOGICALLY about this. My mind has been stuck on irrational overdrive for so long (even though I am by nature, a very rational and logical person) that I never have really sat down to think about how reality is going to be completely different than what is in my mind. Can all these horrible things that I've conjured up in my mind still happen? Sure. But will they? Probably not.

I'm not a kid anymore. I know how to protect myself. I know how to listen to my instincts and trust their guidance. They've never really been wrong before (at least when it's counted). I have so much more power as an adult than I did when I was abused. I'm not going to ever be in that same situation again.

The fact that I can take all of that in and not fight against it tooth and nail is amazing to me. Not long ago I would have argued that because there was even a chance that something bad could happen meant that everything else didn't matter. But I'm taking it in. I'm pushing myself to be logical and really open my mind to the fact that even though I may still feel the things I did when I was a kid, that I'm not actually one anymore.