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.

Can You See My Secret?

I had an interesting experience this weekend.

I am required to get a certain number of training hours outside of school each year to maintain my certificate. Most of them I get during the summer, but I normally don't knock them all out in the summer and have to take a Saturday to finish them all up. There wasn't a whole lot offered that really pertained to me, but I did see one that caught my eye titled "Addiction/Abuse". Of course it was to be centered on how to help students who are suffering or come from families who deal with that, but I thought it might be helpful.

Knowing that V has done trainings for my school district before, I figured she was leading this one too since it is right up her alley. I talked to her about it and sure enough, she was going to be the presenter for it. I asked her what she thought about me attending, and she said it would be totally fine. I did a little thinking about it before I signed up, but decided that since nothing else that was offered was really on target with what I needed professionally, that I could go see her presentation and learn things both professionally and personally.

We talked a little bit in my session Thursday about what to expect as far as how she would interact with me (basically she'd pretend she didn't know me, keep the eye contact at a minimum, etc) and an idea of what she'd be talking about to help prepare me for anything triggering. I left feeling a little nervous after hearing some of the things she was going to talk about, but knew it was because I heard it with my "therapy brain" and it would not be the same when I was hearing it with my "professional brain".

So Saturday I walked into the training and signed in, picked a spot to sit and immediately got so self conscious. I felt like I was hiding this huge secret and shouldn't be there. We went around and introduced ourselves and when she got to me, it was so strange knowing that we were both pretending not to know each other on purpose. She started her presentation and I was shocked to find that I was almost immediately withdrawing without even having anything triggering me. I struggled to focus on what she was talking about. I struggled even with looking up at the screen because it was too close to where she was standing.

I spent a lot of the presentation staring at the handouts, the ground, my table, my nails... anything to avoid making eye contact. I felt like I did for so long after I was abused. I couldn't look people in the eye for the longest time. It was like that simple act meant that everyone could see what had happened to me and what I thought. I haven't felt like that in a long time. Like I was hiding some secret that everyone could see on my face. And I was hiding a secret...

Not only that, but I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching V discuss all these things, many of which pertained to me and my life, with all these strangers. It felt like I was watching all these people learn about my deepest and darkest secrets thinking it was about random people, but I really knew it was about me. And hearing V speaking the words made it stir inside of me differently.

I never realized how much her voice is connected with feeling things for me. Any time I approach things that require me to feel anything, she's there supporting me, pushing me and talking to me. Her voice has become one of those things you don't even realize is so embedded in your brain. It's like how a smell triggers a certain memory, I found that her voice triggers certain feelings. It was all very overwhelming. I didn't really take much from the presentation because I had all of this swirling through my head.

V sent me an email today asking how I was after the presentation. She picked up on the fact that I was having a hard time and wanted to know if she could do anything to help. I basically told her what I wrote about here. I'll be interested to see what she says in response.

Weird weekend.


This might be the most amazing song I've ever heard. I hope it speaks to you the way it does to me.

8 Feet and 2 Tails of Joy

So as most of you know, I lost my sweet 20 year old cat this summer and it hit me hard. I never knew just how much I loved her until she was gone.

The silence was horrible. I hated walking into my empty house. I would lie in bed as long as I could because getting up would remind me that she wasn't going to be sitting by her food bowl waiting for breakfast. My heart ached for her companionship.

I gave myself a couple of weeks to mourn her and make sure that I wasn't rushing into the decision of adopting just because I wanted it to be like it was before, but rather for the right reasons.

I adopted two beautiful babies at the end of June and they have been a source of such joy in my life! They make me laugh on a daily basis and have nestled themselves permanently into my heart, all the while helping to heal the rawness of the hole left.

Mind Shift

Sorry for the absence! School is back in full swing and I have been very busy getting ready for it all!

My mind took a shift from "all about me" to "all about work" a couple of weeks ago and it has been hard for me to tap into my reflective side.

I'm still seeing V once a week, but right now school is the only thing on my mind. Once things settle in a little bit more, the "all about me" side will start to open itself back up.

I did have some rather disturbing dreams last night, though. Hoping those don't continue if I keep neglecting this other side of me.

What Went Right?

Part of my requirements every year as a teacher are to update my state required trainings, such as sexual harassment, CPR/first aid and reporting child abuse.

As I was completing these online, I started thinking about the video that was part of the child abuse training and my own experience.

My abuse took place over the summer between my 8th and 9th grade year, so any immediate changes in my behavior would have only been noticed by my parents and/or family. Since I started the school year with new teachers, they had no idea if my behavior was any different than my norm. I have distinct memories of struggling in school during my 9th grade year. I remember sleeping in class, not feeling motivated, even spending a lot of time in the nurse's office. Definitely not how I would normally act. But no one could know that. I remember writing about what happened that summer in English class, I think more about having to go the police station and court rather than specifics of the abuse, hoping that at least she would notice how much pain I was in... but nothing ever happened. She never said anything to me, the counselor never called me in. It was like disclosing and not being heard. It made me feel even worse than I already did. And I never forgot that.

But as I was watching this video, I was shocked by some of the statistics. Only one in ten children who are abused ever disclose to anyone. One in ten. Part of me understands why this number is so low because a lot of children are abused by their parents and they have that internal struggle of hating the abuse and wishing it would stop and loving their parents. To think of myself as that one person in a group of ten abused children who told someone is kind of crazy. Why was I able to tell when so many others can't? What in me is different?

I struggle with focusing on the things that went wrong and the things I can't/couldn't control in regards to my abuse. It causes me so much anxiety and hurt. In all honesty, I don't think I've ever taken a step back and thought to myself "What went right?" until I sat down an watched this video. Even though I experienced this trauma, there were things that kept it from being even more horrendous than it was. I've never given that any acknowledgement or weight in my mind... until today.

  • I was educated by my parents to know that what happened to me wasn't normal/OK.
  • I knew I needed to tell an adult, regardless of what I was told by him.
  • I had a mother I trusted enough to tell what he did to me (not all of it, but enough to make it stop).
  • My dad kicked him out of the house and made our home safe again.
  • I had parents who never doubted what I said or made me think I was wrong for disclosing.
  • I had parents who knew I needed more help than what they knew how to give me, so they put me in counseling. Unfortunately I couldn't talk about it and they thought this cleared them of any support required at home, so I never benefitted from it, but they tried.
  • The justice system worked and punished him for his actions.
  • My parents never treated me any different after they found out what happened. I was still who I was before.
  • It never happened again.
To think that had I not said anything, I could have lived the rest of my life under the same roof as him, shuddering every time the door opened or every time the shower turned on, it's hard to swallow. I have never given myself any recognition or support for doing the thing that so many kids don't ever do...




to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears.
to weep; shed tears, with or without sound.

This might as well be a 4-letter word in my world. I hate it. It's messy, it's noisy, it makes me feel so out of control. Thinking about how I look when crying makes me cringe.

I am much more partial to the way I think I look when I'm not crying. I'm put together. I'm in control. I'm not leaking from multiple orifices. To me, that emits an aura of strength.

Apparently I'm stuck in some sort of egocentric developmental stage because if you see it, it must be true right? Right.

I wish it were that simple. I have honed my craft of looking one way on the outside and feeling the complete opposite on the inside. I bet if you asked any one of my co-workers, family members (not immediate, like my mom), or even some friends they would describe me as someone who is confident, strong, and happy. Why wouldn't they think that? It's exactly what I put out there for people to see.

But even faking it all day doesn't change how I feel on the inside. Hurt. Angry. Resentful. Confused. Lonely. All the things that I hide within myself, that fuel my depression and anxiety, they are going to stay there regardless of what I make myself look like on the outside. So on the rare occasion that I allow myself to approach one of these topics in therapy, it's akin to walking up to a kennel full of Jack Russell terriers that have been locked up all day and trying to just let one out. I mean, one is all you can handle without losing control right? OK, maybe two, but you don't want all of them at once. So you walk up to the cage and they all start jumping all over each other, barging for the open space to get out. FREEDOM! I MUST ESCAPE! But all of a sudden you're now having to keep the door closed, you can't let them all escape at once, but you've got to wrangle the one or two you let out, keep them in check too.

This is how crying is for me. It's always a struggle. How much can you let out so that you're still in control, yet you're easing the load for what's left in? How can I maintain this incessant need to appear in control and strong, yet let my guard down enough to feel what I'm trying to let out? Or better yet, how can I get to a point where I don't care about what I look like when I'm crying and just let my body do what it needs to do to get the relief it so desperately wants?

Every single time I allow myself to cry that is not because of a death (my sweet kitty, my cousin, my grandparents, etc) it's always controlled. I'm always standing by the door, poised to slam it shut should anything appear to be approaching the "messy" stage. But all the while I'm (cleanly) crying and processing the reason for my tears, I always get this image in my head of what I really wish I could do. Scream, pound my fists, grasp my knees and rock back and forth, shake, curl up into a ball, cry so hard I'm gasping for air. The scenario varies but is always there.

I wish so bad that I could allow myself to feel what's inside of me, but something always holds me back. I don't want anyone to ever see me in that state. So broken and hurt. Because if I don't show it, it's not really there right? Right.

What Language Does Your Abuse Speak?

My session with V today has left me with a lot to ponder. I'm already an analytical person, but I've got so much going on in my head right now that I've written, erased and re-started this entry about 10 times already because I can't seem to organize my thoughts.

I am one really $*%)! complicated person. I mean I know no one is simple, but I swear with every passing day I find out things about myself that are contradictory or frustrating. Only I can manage to piss myself off without even trying.

Fear is keeping me from progressing in therapy right now. I'm so afraid that any topic I approach or old wound I open up is going to result in the same reactions I had the last time I tried. Crippling panic attacks, constant fear, cutting, no hope. I allowed myself to think about and confront things I had never even come close before, and I just about ended up in the hospital. It took me almost 3 months off of work to recover. But when I think back to those first three months with V, I feel like I accomplished something. Even though those months sucked and I would never want to feel like that again, I feel like it wasn't a waste of time or effort.

These last 4 months have felt so unproductive. I haven't pushed myself to really talk about or feel anything difficult, because this fear in the back of my mind is slamming that door closed every time I approach it. The logical side of me is screaming "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? DO YOU WANT TO FEEL THAT WAY AGAIN?!?!", yet I'm also battling with the undeniable fact that the only way I am going to be able to heal from and let go of these hurts I've been carrying around for so long is to talk about, process through and feel them.

I want to feel like I'm not wasting my time (and V's). I don't right now. I hate it.

I'm so frustrated with myself. I feel like I've lost faith in my entire existence. Like everything I do is futile. No matter how hard I work or how much I want something, I'm doomed. The world is going to spite me and give me the exact opposite.

I feel defeated.

And yet, to be even more contradictory, another part of me feels as though if I can eventually get to a place where I can let these walls down, that I will recover. It seems possible in every aspect of my life... except one.

Even though I sought out and have been going to therapy with the goal of recovering from my abuse, a big part of me doesn't believe it is possible. That no matter how hard I work or what I do, this will always be what defines me. I will never escape it. I will always be afraid. I will always be that 13 year old.

I mean, look at all I've been through over the past 9 months. I got to a point that I wanted to kill myself. I mean actually wanted to end my life. I had NO HOPE. And even going through all of that, I still feel like nothing has changed. I'm still just as afraid as I was then. Just as defined by my abuse as I was then. Why should I think it'll ever get better? I almost killed myself trying to make it better.

Then V said something to me that seemed so painfully simple and obvious, yet brought me almost immediate hope.

"Your abuse speaks a different language."

Don't worry, I'm going to clarify (as you are probably thinking the same thing I was: uhhh, what does that mean?). The little things I've been able to improve upon with V, like learning how to be in the moment, my relationship with my mom, coping with stressors in life without cutting, etc speak one language. Certain methods and approaches work very well in confronting those things, all the while challenging me, pushing me and allowing me to see success.

The "language" V used for those things was obviously not the right "language" for my abuse.

I left tonight feeling more hopeful than I have in a very long time. Maybe, just maybe, we can figure out what the right language is for my abuse. And maybe, just maybe, I can heal.

Who Are You On Vacation?

I've been reading a lot of posts lately about vacation and how people are finding an inner peace that seems almost impossible when at home, immersed in daily life and adult responsibilities.

V and I actually had this discussion a few weeks ago when I got back from DC. I don't remember how we got on the topic, but I mentioned that traveling brings out a side of me that isn't seen a lot at home. I feel in my element, confident and worthy. I speak up about things that normally would warrant a non-response or some sort of internal dialogue and shame. I walk in the front of the line, instead of always wanting to be at the back. I am spontaneous. I sleep soundly. I laugh. I play. I feel whole.

For whatever time frame that I am on vacation, I find that I immediately pick up these characteristics and feel so at peace within my own mind and body... something that feels at times impossible in my normal day to day surroundings.

What is it about traveling/vacation that flips that switch so easily for me?

It literally is an almost instant transformation. Sometimes it happens as soon as I arrive at the airport, other times it's as I step off the plane. I know that amazing experiences are ahead of me. I've planned for them. I've paid for them. It's like I get to have control over my life in a way that is not possible at home. I get to pick and choose what I want to do that I know will bring me joy, do it on my own time frame, with the people I want and it all falls into place (assuming I've planned ahead properly!). Vacation is like a glimpse of what life would be like if you could control everything. Maybe that's why we all like vacation so much! What's not to like about that?!

By the end of a good vacation, I'm ready to be home if for nothing more than to sleep in my own bed, but part of me wonders now if my eagerness to be back home is to try and put into practice these traits and characteristics that I possess on vacation. To try and blend this seemingly completely separate me into my "real" life.

Are you different on vacation?

A Hole In My Heart

So in my most recent updates, I haven't talked about what happened on June 8th.

I'll rewind a little.

It's the last week of school and I am already a little stressed because I'm scheduled to go out and see my dad that weekend. I hadn't seen him since he right after he was in the ICU, and I was nervous about having to come to terms with the new way life was going to be for a while. I noticed Monday that my cat, Spazzie, looked a little fatter around the midsection than normal. Made a little mental note to keep an eye on it and went on with the week. By Wednesday she had gotten bigger and it was apparent that she had quite a bit of fluid in her abdomen.

One x-ray and some bloodwork later and it was determined that she had a mass near, possibly in her liver. They couldn't tell without doing more extensive tests, none of which were going to give me anything that was treatable at her age... which was almost 20. They also couldn't tell me how long it would be. She was still eating, drinking and pottying at that point, which were all good signs, but liver cancer is notorious for being very quick to take down animals so I wasn't feeling very confident.

I was supposed to leave in 2 days to see my dad (was planned to be gone for over a week) and now I was thrown into the position of trying to decide to put my baby to sleep before I left so I could say goodbye on my own terms, or playing with chance and hoping she made it until I got back.

Not liking either of those options, I tried calling the airlines to see if I could change my flight, give me more time to make this horrible decision instead of feeling rushed into it. For $600 I could change my departure date. That was more than I paid for the entire roundtrip ticket. Next plan. Buy a one way ticket leaving later in the week, so I could stay here and have more than 48 hrs to decide what to do. Airline again is no help. If I miss my original departing flight, they cancel my whole reservation so I won't have the return flight back. Last plan. Leave on the original date and buy a one way ticket back early. I wasn't thrilled with this plan because by Friday, she wasn't moving as fast or nearly as interested in food as she normally was, but my stepmom had been giving me a hard time about not being there to help and I didn't feel like I could just cancel because my cat might die in the next few days.

I went ahead and took her to my mom's on Saturday, and left for California. I decided that Wednesday (June 8th) was when I needed to come back. It wasn't too long out there that I felt like I was pushing my luck, but long enough where I felt like my stepmom wouldn't give me a hard time.

I was miserable the whole time. Aside from the fact that my dad has gone from the smartest man I know to what I can only describe to you as someone with Alzheimer's was already hard to come to terms with, but it was torture being away, knowing deep in my soul I was going to have to prepare myself to say goodbye to my baby, either on her own time, or mine.

By Monday she wasn't really moving around a lot and barely eating, so I had my mom take her to the vet so they could take care of her until I got back. My flight back Wednesday was set to get in right around rush hour, and the vet was a good 90 minutes from the airport, not to mention my car was still at my mom's house.

I barely made it to the vet in time to pick her up. They brought her in and she looked so pitiful. Her fur was all dry, her tummy all swollen and she didn't have that sparkle in her eyes. The vet (who wasn't the normal guy, he's off on Wednesday's which of course is what day this was) updated me on what they had done for her, the medicines they put her on and the choices I had for making her comfortable while I decided what I wanted to do.

I left the vet in tears, just wanting to get home and sit with her. Hoping she just looked as pitiful as she did because she wasn't at home. When I walked in the door and set down the carrier, she took enough steps to get out then laid down right on the floor. I just sat down next to her and sobbed. She was telling me what I needed to do. I cried and I cried, the way I never have before. I literally could not breathe. I had her for 18 of her almost 20 years of life and I wasn't ready. I still wanted more time... but I knew. I knew keeping her alive would only be for me. That she was ready, that she held on for me to be there with her, the way she had been there for me so many other times in my life.

I couldn't bear having to wait until the next morning to do this. The thought of having her there another night, knowing what I had to do in the morning was just too much. I called my mom and (somehow) managed to stop crying long enough to explain what the vet said and that I couldn't wait until tomorrow. There was an after hours vet that I had taken her to before, that is the 2nd location of the place where I took her regularly. I called them and asked if they had the resources to do this after hours and how late they'd be open. My mom asked if I wanted her there. Normally, emotional situations I tend to fight on my own... but I knew this was too big, even for me.

Next I called my sister and updated her as well. I told her if she wanted to say her goodbyes, she needed to get to my place soon. Calls out of the way, I remained on the floor next to Spazzie just staring at her. I curled up next to her on the floor and just listened to her breathe. Listened to her purr. Like I would always do when I was stressed out because the sound made me feel so much better. I don't know what made me think of it, but I grabbed my phone and held it up to her, recording her purrs so I would have them forever. Time seemed to slow to a near stop as I just laid there with her, thinking of all the things that we had experienced together. She kept looking at me, as to say, I'm thinking of it too. Those last 30 minutes we shared alone I will never forget.

My mom and sister arrived not much later, and before long I found myself in the front seat of my mom's car, clutching Spazzie like a small child might. It seemed like everything from there on out was an auto-pilot response. We arrived at the other location, and the vet wanted to look her over to make sure that putting her to sleep was warranted. It didn't take long for her to see what was there, and she explained what would happen and asked if I wanted to stay in the room with her.

I wasn't about to walk out and leave her there alone. I positioned myself to have one hand on her head and my eyes looking directly to hers. I watched her sweet, sweet soul leave her body and the life go from her eyes. The doc stepped out to give me (and my mom) some time alone with her. I laid my head next to hers on the table, hugging her and crying into her fur, thanking her for being there for me, teaching me how to love and for loving me for who I was.

I never knew my heart could break the way it did at that very moment... and feel so broken and empty after.

June 8th. The day that will never be just another day for me.

I miss her so much. There will always be a hole in my heart where her presence once filled.

11/16/91 - 6/8/11

Venturing Out

I've been in DC for the last week with 3 of my friends. I had a BLAST!!

We got to do so much stuff, a lot of which most people don't get to do. My friend has a congressman in her family so we got to have a guided tour through the tunnels and other hidden places in the Capitol that you wouldn't see otherwise. We hung out in his office for a while and just chatted. He was also able to get us an internal tour of the White House and Pentagon, which were both amazing!! We did all the other "normal" stuff; monuments, statues, memorials, the National Cathedral, Arlington cemetery, etc. I don't think I've ever done so much walking in my entire life. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but my feet hurt so bad on the second day I was almost in tears once we got back to the hotel.

It's probably a good thing we walked like 100 miles because I ate nothing but junk food while we were there! I had more pizza and hamburgers in the past 6 days than I have in the past 6 months probably! Hopefully I didn't do too much damage. I've been doing Jenny Craig this summer and I don't want to have to re-lose the same weight.

I'm glad to be back home! I'm glad to have my own bed and bathroom, rather than having to share with 3 others. It was quite an experience. There were times that we laughed so hard we were crying, and rode back in silence because we were all a little crabby.

My goal while I was there was to be "in the moment". I didn't want to spend my vacation caught up in my head, worrying about things I can't control or things that aren't even occurring anytime soon. I wanted to be happy with what I was doing and try to stay positive, even when I was sleep deprived, hungry or both. I also wanted to be a more genuine me. A lot of times when I'm in a group, I tend to become a wallflower and let others guide the decisions, conversations, etc. Instead of always doing that, if I had something I wanted to say or suggest, I did. There were times that I still fell into old habits (confrontation avoiding, playing peacekeeper, etc) but since those weren't my specific goals I wasn't hard on myself for not challenging them.

All in all, it was an amazing trip! DC is now my absolute favorite American vacation! If you haven't been, go!!! :)

Learning To Be A New Me

It has been a long time since I have felt drawn to my blog. In fact, it wasn't long ago that I thought I'd never blog again.

Funny how life turns out the exact opposite as you expect it at times. Like all of 2011...

These past three months have been quite weird for me. I was in a vacuum. I was literally incapable of connecting with the "former me", the me I'd become so accustomed to over the past 14 years. The abused, broken, hopeless, forever-destined-to-live-life-in-pain me. But these past few months have offered me a quite different perspective of myself. By default I've learned how to live in the moment, react immediately to emotional situations, and enjoy the happy moments in life.

It's like I was reborn into this new person who had to learn what to do, because most of my former coping skills and mechanisms for life suddenly became unusable... and to tell you the truth, I hated it. I hated not feeling like myself. I hated feeling so out of place and uncomfortable. I hated not knowing how I was going to react to things since my normal "put on a happy face and stuff it, maybe deal with it later" routine was not accessible. When I hate things or disagree with things, I dig in my heels and fight against it with everything I have.

But over the past month or so, my heels let up a bit and I've started to feel more comfortable with this "new" me. This me that is really starting to believe that I deserve all the things I've been working towards, rather than just going through the motions. This me that for the first time since I was 13 years old, has hope for my life.


Geez, these last few months have been an absolute blur. I have been so busy with work and this new thing called "balance" in my life. Previous to my meltdown in January, I worked and stayed home. That was my life. Now that I have found stability with my depression and moods, and actually want to go out, I'm much more busy than I am used to!

Most days I make myself leave work no later than 5, work out 2 or 3 times a week, and have dinner with at least one friend during the week. On the weekends I am trying to make sure that I have one thing planned ahead of time to do for myself, whether it's going shopping for a new pair of shoes, movies with a friend or just an hour to lay out by the pool.

It's crazy. I never thought that I could be happy being so busy. I was always terrified of not having time to be at home, by myself, to sleep all day, or to cut. But I'm finding that as I'm making more of an effort to surround myself with people who I truly trust and WANT to be around, I am okay with giving up "my" time for "us" time.

It's a baby steps process though. I still give myself permission to hole up at least one night a week so I can have my alone time. I still feel the most comfortable when I am alone, but as I'm building stronger relationships that is slowly changing. Some weekends I still find myself wanting to sleep all day Saturday (because I can!) and not make the effort to connect with anyone. That is still a struggle. The little voice in my head keeps telling me I deserve my time, but it's a fine line I have to keep my eye on to make sure it doesn't turn back into socially withdrawing and feeding the depression.

I've felt very disconnected from the abused side of me since I left IOP a month ago and returned back to normal life. At first it was so frustrating to me because that has been my only side since 2008 and I felt like I didn't even know who I was. I hated it. I felt so uncomfortable without that weight inside of me that I have grown so accustomed to. After a while I found that I actually was able to enjoy things that I hadn't in such a long time. I felt light, clear-minded and happy. For the first time in YEARS, I did something for someone else. I actually thought of someone else first and wanted to do something for them... and not only that, I was excited to do that! Before I was so buried in my own pain I rarely even noticed what was going on with other people, let alone think about their pain and how it might be affecting them.

But in the back of my mind, I see this guillotine raised above me, just waiting for something to come swooping in, cut the rope and send the blade back down on my life. I don't ever want to be thrown back into the depths of darkness like I was when this first happened in 2008, and again this last January. I don't want to put myself in a position where I don't see it coming, or can't act in time to keep myself safe.

I went out on a date last night for the first time in almost 2 years... and I actually enjoyed myself. I wasn't in my head, freaking myself out about the what if's and trying to predict the future. I was just there, in the moment and it was great! I had such a blast and really liked hanging out with this guy.

The ride home, however, was not great. The smile on my face faded after about 5 minutes and my weight suddenly reappeared. I honestly don't remember driving home after that. I remember focusing on trying to keep the memories and old habits, thoughts, feelings from taking me over. I know I had a panic attack. But the 20 minute ride home is a black hole... and I got home and had to put just about every strategy I learned from IOP into play just to keep myself afloat. After about an hour I was able to pull myself out of it and calm down enough to go to bed.

I'm feeling better this morning, but am more afraid of life today. I feel the guillotine blade on the back of my neck and I'm afraid to move. But I'm not going to let this discourage me. My life is new now, and I've got to re-learn how to live with my scars.

Round Hole, Square Peg

Man, I had no idea it had been so long since I posted last.

Last week was my first one back to work since December 17th. It was extremely busy but all in all it was a pretty easy transition back. This week is Spring Break, so it was nice to be able to get my feet wet and then take a break. I left Saturday morning to fly out to California to see my dad. He is in a rehab hospital now and doing remarkably well considering everything he has been through (aneurysm and stroke) 45 days ago. His ability to process things is probably what has been affected the most, but he continues to make improvements every day. It's going to be a long road, but I know he will get better!

I got back late Tuesday night and have been in kind of a funk ever since. Normally leaving my dad is hard, because I only get to see him 2, maybe 3 times a year... but this time it was hard for a different reason. I so want to be there and be a part of my dad's recovery, but it just isn't feasible. That's very hard for me to come to terms with.

I had a session with V today, which I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with how it went or not. I've been so distracted by things lately that I have been trying too hard to push myself back to where I was (as far as awareness of how things were affecting me, what I wanted to talk about, etc) and it just isn't working. It's like trying to push a square peg into a circular hole. Push all you want, but it just won't work. That's how I feel.

I've been feeling very lonely lately. So many of my friends are pregnant, and if they aren't pregnant then they are getting married. It's really hard to see all of that (dang you Facebook depression!) knowing you want it, but still feeling too scared to pursue it and unsure if you're ready for it. I know there's no way I'm ever going to get what I want without allowing myself permission to take risks and try things that I might not "feel" ready for, but I'm just in that mindset that I believe it's never going to happen for me. That in 10 years I'm going to be in the same place I am now and have to resort to doing something like AI to get pregnant because I won't be married.

My desire for motherhood comes and goes in waves. Most of the time I just have it in the back of my mind as a life's goal, then other times it is ALL I can focus on. I want nothing more than to have a child. It's like withdrawal. I HAVE TO HAVE IT. I think there's a name for it, biological clock or what have you. The smallest things just set me off... and that's how it has been the past few weeks. I found out my oldest best friend (friends since birth, born a day apart and neighbors) is pregnant. She's not married or even in a serious relationship, but I was SO jealous when I found out. V texted me the other day saying she'd have to postpone our phone session because she couldn't get her little girl to sleep. Stab to the heart. Things that you wouldn't think would be a big deal have just been tearing me to pieces.

Today I found out that two of my co-workers are pregnant. It's like it's surrounding me. Showing me what I want and may never have. I know it's negative and unhealthy for me to be allowing myself to think this way, but I have no evidence that anything but this will be the case, and my logical side is being drowned by my over-emotional somewhat dramatic other side.

For The First Time In Months

I'm almost afraid to write this, lest I jinx myself.

For the first time in MONTHS I am feeling like myself. Not lost in the depths of depression or in the throes of anxiety, but dare I say, content.

For the first time since Christmas, I actually got together with my friends. I didn't cancel and stay locked in my apartment. I even had fun! I didn't feel scared to be out, or anxious to be surrounded by so many people. I didn't even want to leave like I so often do after about an hour. I am even going out to dinner tonight with another group of friends.

It's almost like the past 2 months didn't even happen and I'm just waking up from a bad dream. I am still very emotional about my dad and the situation regarding his health. He has been moved out of ICU and is out of the woods as far as death goes, but he is still having a hard time staying alert. He is only awake maybe 4 hours a day, and is often very withdrawn during that time. He recognizes people and has what the doctors call "automatic speech". Meaning he can talk to you easily using speech that is embedded in the brain from frequent usage; like hello, goodbye, please, thank you, etc. He has a harder time trying to construct longer sentences, but can if you don't overwhelm him.

I am so thankful that he is no longer in any danger of dying, but now I'm having to come to terms with all of this change. It may take years for him to fully return to where he was before all of this happened. He may be the same person, he may not. He may have deficits, he may not. Lots of unknowns. I started crying when I was driving the other day because I realized that when I flew out there in a few weeks that he wasn't going to pick me up at the airport like he always does. He wouldn't give me the huge hug and greet me with "Hi Punkin", like he always calls me. It's a lot to have to take in.

Given everything that's happened in the last couple of months, I am so grateful for where I am right now. It's nice to finally see the hard work I've been putting into my healing us finally paying off.

Ups and Downs

I feel like a broken record. My life is like one giant never-ending roller coaster. It goes up, up, up and lures me into a false sense of hope and security then speeds downhill at a rate that feels like it might kill me.

Last week was pretty stable. I went to IOP every day, talked about things that were on my mind, allowed myself to process the visit to California, and my continued fears regarding him and his health. All in all, I was feeling really well Friday when I left IOP. My mood improved even more when I found out my dad was taken off the ventilator and was awake for the first time in 3 weeks. I even got to talk to him on the phone for a few seconds. My aunt held the phone up to his ear while I told him I loved him. :)

Feeling so fueled by this great news, I had the energy to start doing things that I have been neglecting; namely cleaning. So I started cleaning my apartment all the while texting with my sister about getting together Saturday afternoon at the dog park. So I go into my bathroom to start scrubbing the tub and thought I heard my phone ringing, but with the water running I couldn't tell. When I turned the water off it was still ringing so I went to see who it was and it said "BLOCKED". Normally I don't pick up when I don't recognize the number, but I was worried it was my stepmom or aunt calling from the hospital so I went ahead and took the call. A guy was on the other end and this was the conversation:

Hey Lily.

Who is this?

What? You don't remember me? Come on Lily. I've seen you, you're looking good.

I hung up the phone and started freaking out. I had no idea who it could be or how he got my number. I saw that I had 5 missed calls, in the span of about 3 minutes and that he had left a message. I listened to it and then really started freaking out.

I saw you driving your black Lexus today. You're looking good. And you're in apartment 1509 right? Yeah, I can't wait for our little reunion. It'll be soon.

Oh. My. God. I was hysterical. I was shaking and crying. I ran to my front door and made sure the door was locked. I ran to my patio and locked that door too (which doesn't even make sense because I'm on the top floor and there's no way anyone can get in that way). I got my phone and called 911. I was expecting someone to beat down my door and chop me to little pieces. The switchboard took my information and said they'd be sending a cop my way. As soon as I hung up I started trying to call friends that lived near me because I knew I wasn't going to be staying at my apartment. After no luck getting ahold of the first couple, I tried calling my mom (which I knew would be futile because she let's her phone charge in the kitchen overnight). I knew I could just drive home (about 30 min away) without reaching her by phone but I needed someone to TALK to while I was waiting for the police to arrive. I finally got ahold of one of my friends who lives about 10 minutes away and asked her if I could stay at her apartment that night, to which she said yes, of course. I talked to her a bit but was still feeling very unsafe so I got off the phone with her and decided to call my sister to see if she and her boyfriend could come over so I wasn't alone. They live about 10 minutes away too and I had no idea how long it would take the cops to show up since it wasn't a time-sensitive emergency. I called her phone like 4 times, her boyfriends phone at least 2, and my cousin's phone (they hang out a lot together) but no one was picking up! I was a basket case! FINALLY she called me back a few minutes later and I explained to her what was going on and that I wanted her and her boyfriend to come over here so I wasn't alone.

She started laughing.

Lily, that was me! I thought you knew it was me. I mean, I used a voice changer but we were just texting each other so I thought you knew it was me. I can't believe you called the cops! We were just playing around. You never come over and hang out with us. We were just trying to include you.

OH. MY. GOD. I just lost it. I had finally gotten to a point that I wasn't shaking or crying and I just LOST IT. I have never wanted to kill anyone so much in my entire life. I yelled at her, which she probably couldn't understand because I was crying too but I just let her have it. Not 10 days ago did I confide in her that I hadn't been working because my PTSD was so bad that I had to seek intensive treatment and she goes and pulls this? I was just beside myself. I was so mad I could barely think. I hung up on her and just sat on my sofa and bawled. I was already full of fear, but to add anger, confusion, (relief that I wasn't in danger) among everything else... I felt like an idiot when the cops finally did show up and I had to explain to them that it was my psychotic sister who thought it would be funny to play a joke on me. Jesus. I was such a mess telling them this I'm sure they could tell how well she pulled off this "prank."

This whole situation completely affected my weekend. I am already having a tough time finding the energy to go out and do things. And an even harder time getting together with people. Aside from my family and doctors, I haven't seen anyone since New Years Eve. My desire to hide is overwhelming, but I was starting to feel more secure in leaving my "safe place" (home) to go see some good friends of mine that live about an hour away. But after Friday night, I didn't even leave my apartment for the entire weekend. In fact, I slept the majority of my weekend. I was so upset about what had happened that I allowed myself to shrink away even more.

I've continued to go to IOP, but the group has gotten so big (we had 9 people on Monday) that it is getting harder for me to have the opportunity to process what is weighing on me. We only have an hour that is designated for "open talk" and some of these women have no respect for other people's time. Today we were missing a few people, so the smaller group was easier to speak up in but I had to walk out at the end of our group. There are these two ladies that just have no idea how overbearing they are. They constantly interrupt each other and our IOP therapist when she is talking and it bugs me. Today, she focused on those two women and their issues, and it was a constant hour of listening to them talk on top her, not letting her finish her sentences, interrupting someone else, raising their voices so that they could be heard on top of someone else... it was just too much. My anxiety was through the roof listening to all of this that I was about to have a panic attack so I just walked out. They have no respect for other people and I refuse to be treated that way while I'm there.

I'm "graduating" IOP on Tuesday and I'm terrified. I'll be heading back to work full-time on Monday, March 7th and I just don't know how I'm going to fare. There are so many things at work that are huge triggers and I just don't know if I'm going to be able to shoulder it all and take care of myself. Only time will tell I guess...

It Can't Get Any Worse, Right?

So 2011 has pretty much sucked 100% since it started. It's one of those things that I silently think to myself "It can't get any worse" but then catch myself because I know that's not true. Every few weeks it seems I'm being dealt another situation to deal with in addition to the extreme burden I'm already carrying around. I am just now able to process the last two weeks enough to sit down and write about it.

My sister and I flew out to California on Saturday morning, as we couldn't get anything sooner because of the weather here. We arrived and took a cab to the hospital, greeted by my uncle. My dad had surgery late Friday night that lasted 10 hours, but was successful. It fixed his aneurysm and he was conscious and responding to commands once he woke up from anesthesia. We stopped in the cafeteria to eat when my aunt (who is a doctor) came running into the cafeteria and told us to come upstairs that my dad was no longer responding to commands or talking and she didn't like how things were looking. They were getting ready to rush him to CT and she wanted us to have the opportunity to see him, should anything happen.

It was horrible. He was restrained (because brain injuries often result in uncontrolled/involuntary aggression as a side effect to the trauma) and had tubes everywhere. As a result of the surgery, his whole head was bandaged and his right eye looked like someone had punched him. Apparently that is common because of how they had him situated when they did the surgery. Blood pools in that area and makes the patient look like they lost a street fight. My dad has never been sick aside from bronchitis every now and then, so this hit me like a ton of bricks. I grabbed his hand and asked him to open his eyes. He was only able to open one (as the other was swollen shut) but he looked right at me. I told him I loved him and that I wanted him to be strong.

That was the last time he was conscious. The result of the CT showed that he was having a common side effect of brain trauma and surgery, called vaso-spasming: a constriction of the blood vessels in the brain. If they constrict too much, they cause strokes and irreparable damage. Because of how quickly this came on and how much it caused him to decompensate, his doctors decided to put him in a medically induced coma and intubate him so his body would have time to heal without having to otherwise work so hard. I almost lost my father Saturday.

Sunday they were working on getting his blood pressure stable on the cocktail of medicines he was on while trying to treat the vaso-spasms. He had two procedures Sunday and was put on a ventilator. When I finally got to see him, I wanted to cry. They had to shave his beard in order to intubate him. I have NEVER seen my dad without a beard. He has had it since 1975, almost 10 years before I was born so I've seldom even seen pictures of him without it, unless he was a teenager. I know it was stupid, but I was so distraught.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty much the same. He was still unconscious and intubated, and my sister and I only got to see him for about 30 minutes each day. Our flight back was Tuesday and I was scared to leave. He hadn't really made any improvements since we got there and I was scared that he was going to get worse. When I went in there to say goodbye to him I just lost it. My aunt was in the room with me and just held me as I wept. The past 4 days had finally caught up with me and I couldn't hold it in any longer. She's got great bedside manner and knew exactly what to say to me to make me feel better. Knowing she was staying there with my stepmom for as long as necessary made me feel so much better as well.

My sister and I got back late Tuesday night, right in time for another ice storm. Everything was closed Wednesday so I couldn't return to IOP, but I did go Thursday. I can honestly say I was terrified to go because I didn't want to talk about the past week. I was about to fall apart and I knew it. But my IOP counselor prompted me to share with the group why I had been gone (I had been in contact with her so she already knew) and I just lost it. I cried and cried and felt like crap when I left. I was so drained and depressed that I couldn't get myself out of bed Friday to go to IOP, but a call from my aunt later that day raised my spirits.

They were slowly lifting my dad out of his coma to test his brain functions and he was moving his arms and legs and was able to show two fingers when the doctors asked him to. They kept him under extreme sedation for the rest of the weekend, but my aunt called me this morning saying that he's opening his eyes, responding to questions with nods (he still can't talk because he's still on a ventilator), moving arms and legs and following commands. They will probably take him off the ventilator tomorrow and if he keeps improving at this pace, they'll wean him off all the medications he's on and he could be out of the ICU by next Sunday!

He still has a long road ahead of him. They won't be able to tell how all of this affected his brain until he has some time to gain consciousness. He had a small stroke as a result of the vaso-spasming and the place it was located in his brain is responsible for mood and impulsiveness. Unfortunately those two are already affected with brain trauma, but adding a stroke in that area means that there is a good chance he may act different than he did before. It's likely that he will be able to walk without any problems (after some physical therapy to gain back the muscle mass he's lost/will lose after being bed-ridden for about a month) and talking might or might not be affected. It's all a waiting and patience game at this point, but it appears that he is no longer critical.

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, no doubt. I was glad to be back at home, even though I wanted to be there for my dad. I kept trying to tell myself that my dad would want me to be here, taking care of myself and trying to get better. That's the mantra I keep repeating to myself. I spent Friday to myself, resting and trying to work on my mood. I called a friend who lives a few hours away and asked him a favor. He used to be in the Army and when he was deployed overseas, I cared for his dog. The most sweet, lovable dog I have ever known. I asked him if I could come pick him up and have a little dog therapy time since these past few weeks have been so hard. I was delighted to hear that he would be glad to let me take him for a while! That helped lift my spirits, too. Finally things were going in the right direction and Friday night I was actually a little happy.

Cue catastrophe. My cat, who is pushing 20, came into the living room where I was watching TV, jumped on the sofa like she normally does, sat there for a second then started having a seizure. She has NEVER done that before and it was terrifying. She took a header off the couch onto the floor and started making these horrible noises while she was convulsing. It seemed to last forever, but after about 90 seconds she stopped. She laid there for a while then I tried to get her to stand up, which she did somewhat drunkily. After about 5 minutes she started walking and went straight to her food bowl and started eating. She was acting perfectly normal. Of course this was at like 11 at night, so there was nowhere I could take her to get her checked out. I woke up early Saturday and took her to my vet, who looked her over and took some blood. It should be back tomorrow. There's a possibility that this was caused from a thyroid problem, diabetes or liver issues. If all that comes back normal it may just be a fluke. Every time the vet sees her he comments how she is the healthiest cat he's ever seen at her age. Hopefully that will continue to be true. I don't know if I could handle losing her now.

Life is so overwhelming right now I almost can't even think about it all at once. That's why I waited so long to write here because I didn't want to trigger myself into having a panic attack. I'm doing my best to take it day by day, sometimes even hour by hour. Having my sweet little boy back definitely is helping. We went to the park today and enjoyed the fact that the sun was out for the first time in what feels like months. It was just what I needed. He's the best therapy I could ask for!

Seriously, God?!

If life wasn't enough to handle right now, God has thrown me another curve.

My dad is in the ICU from an aneurysm that caused bleeding in his brain. My sister and I are flying out there Saturday. I wish it could be sooner but the entire state is covered in ice (I've been stuck at home for 4 days, sometimes with power, sometimes not), temps in the single digits with wind chills bottoming out at -18 this morning and more headed our way tonight.

I have pretty much been in a constant panic attack all day today. Please pray for my dad. He's having surgery tomorrow morning to try and stop the bleeding.

An Update On Treatment

Sorry I've been MIA for so long. Being in treatment every day doesn't leave me much energy to come home and write.

V decided last week that she wanted me to fully commit to working the program at IOP and that she would not continue to meet with me while I was in treatment. I flipped out. I was so upset I literally cried for 3 hours, but I understood why she was making this decision. I wasn't pushing myself to participate in treatment because I knew I could wait and talk to her.

Now that it has been over a week, knowing that my only chance to process/talk is at IOP, I have really been able to commit to the process and feel like I'm finally making some progress.

It is still really hard to talk about some things and fully trust the group, but I at least feel like it is starting to do some good.

I miss seeing V, but she'll be there for me when I transition out and get back to work. Right now it looks like that won't be until February 22nd at the earliest. That is still a lot of time for me to continue healing!

Worst. Week. Ever.

The past 7 days have been probably the worst of my life. I have been to hell and back.

Last Thursday I started becoming extremely suicidal. Thankfully I had an appointment with my psychiatrist that day and she put me on a mood stabilizer right then. I wasn't honest with her about all the thoughts I was having because I did not want her to admit me to the hospital. It got worse Friday and Saturday. I really wanted to die. I started feeling better on Sunday, but was still extremely depressed. I didn't go to IOP on Monday because the roads were too icy to drive, but I did meet with V Monday night. She and my psychiatrist both thought it would be a good idea for me to voluntarily admit myself to the hospital. I really didn't want to do that, but allowed myself to be persuaded to try it. V went with me Tuesday to check into the hospital and once they walked us into the unit I freaked out. Like literally lost it. They had to put me in a room to calm down. V did her best to convince me to stay, but I couldn't. I was terrified of being "locked" up there. I felt really bad for wasting her time, she was there with me for almost 2 hours, but I just couldn't stay there.

V asked me to commit to doing PHP since I didn't agree to staying at the hospital and she wanted me to get more intensive help than what IOP could offer. I didn't want to do PHP originally because it was a coed group but I went Wednesday to this new group. I hated it. I was surrounded by detoxing men and felt so out of place. I left and called my IOP therapist to see if I could come back.

I had to be re-assessed and re-admitted since I had been MIA for 3 days. By the time I got done filling out the paperwork again, the clinician came in and told me that the women's group (the IOP program I had started) was being dissolved because there weren't enough people. I started freaking out again. I had no idea what I was going to do. I left the center to go to my session with V. By the time I got to her office they called and said they had another admission and that IOP was back on for Thursday.

I was so afraid of my session with V. I was so ashamed of how I reacted at the hospital and I was afraid she was mad at me. I definitely wasn't expecting the conversation that we had, but looking back at a more stable place I can't say I'm surprised that we had this conversation.

V told me that she allowed herself to get too emotionally involved with everything going on with me. She told me that over the last 2 weeks she was making decisions more as a mother or friend than as my therapist. She said the maternal side of her kicked in and she allowed her judgement to be affected by her emotions and feelings. She was so worried about me killing myself that she put me and my needs above her own. She was frustrated with herself because she didn't realize she was doing that until she left the hospital feeling emotionally and physically drained from watching and helping me through my freakout. Her decisions had enabled me to continue running to her any time things got hard (which I was doing... e-mailing, calling, texting, sessions 3 or 4x a week) and not allowing myself to reach out to anyone else for help. I literally got to a point over these last few weeks where I could barely function without talking to her. And like her, I didn't realize it in the moment. I felt bad that I had put such a strain on our professional relationship because of everything, but at the same time I felt so loved and supported in hearing her say just how much she cared for me and did all these things because she wanted to make sure that I stayed safe. I made sure to tell her how much I appreciated everything she did for me and that had she not been there to support me, I really felt as though I would have killed myself.

We talked a little bit about how things needed to change, as far as my treatment in IOP, how I needed to step back from relying on her so much and allow myself to be open to the group and therapist and what they can offer me. She told me there are things she is going to do differently as well, pertaining to how accessible she is to me. Part of the reason I became so dependent on her and unable to do anything on my own is because I could call, email or text her at anytime and she'd always respond. That is something that is not going to happen anymore. Obviously in emergencies this doesn't apply, but if she is always there to put out my fires, I'll never be able to figure out how to apply what we talk about in sessions.

I was scared when we were having this conversation because the insecure part of me thought this meant that she was no longer going to treat me, but I knew that I was overreacting. V has always wanted nothing more to help me heal, and this is just another step in the process.

So I went to IOP yesterday with a different outlook on how it was going to help me. I did my best to push myself to be present in the moment, be vulnerable and allow myself to trust that the group and therapist were not going to judge me. It was hard. Very hard. I started to talk about my abuse and abuser, but was still too afraid to talk specifically about what happened. I wish I could have done more, but this is a process. I can't do it all in one day. I had kind of a rough afternoon, having a panic attack at the grocery store and then another at home. It's not surprising since I am opening up about these secrets, but it still sucks.

I woke up today ready to go back to IOP and push myself more. Unfortunately the admission that was supposed to start today to make our group "big enough" didn't show up so they cancelled it. The group therapist offered to transfer us to the other program at the center, but it's lead by a male and focuses on chemical dependency. That is not going to help me. So now I am on standby for treatment. If someone else signs up over the weekend, we'll have IOP on Monday and Tuesday, if not we won't meet again until Wednesday when the next admission starts. I'm frustrated because I am ready to be working now, and I have to wait around. Right now I still have paid days to use, but those are going to run out next week. There is a chance I will qualify for the sick leave bank from work where they will give me donated paid days to use. That would be great, but I would hate to waste them sitting at home.

This weekend is going to be rough. No sessions with V, I can't allow myself to contact her, all my friends will be at our church retreat which I planned to go to, but when I was going to be hospitalized I had them refund my money since I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go. I hate feeling so alone. I hope my depression doesn't deepen because of this weekend.

I Hate My Life

This depression is sucking everything out of me... I wish I had happier news to report, but I just feel like slipping away. God willing, he'll either take me out of my misery or make this medicine work faster because I don't know how much more I can handle.

I'm Not Dead

Well, these past few days have been so incredibly difficult, unpredictable and spirit crushing, but I didn't kill myself... so I guess that's good. It's not for lack of wanting to though. I start treatment full time on Monday. Yee haw.