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Topics - LilyITV

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Medication / Just started an antidepressant for the first time
« on: July 16, 2019, 04:02:42 PM »
I am on Day 6 of Zoloft.   I am to increase to 50mg on Thursday, but I am already starting to feel the positive effects.  My energy came back immediately.  Yesterday, I felt increased motivation.  Today, I am starting to feel good. 

Side effects have been quite tolerable--mild nausea, dizziness.  I haven't had headaches, but I feel like my brain is swelling.  I don't know what causes that sensation, but I like to think it is new brain cells being produced.

Now I realize, after 44 years, that I haven't really been living at all.  All this time, I've been depressed.  Life never had to be as hard as it has been.  I feel with the help of these drugs, I can kick this C-PTSD thing. 

I have been going to therapy a little over a year.  I've been making good progress in many areas.  However, I've had problems with asserting myself, particularly when it comes to issues in my blended family.  My 17 year old stepdaughter came to live with us full time 1.5 years ago.  I feel badly for her  since she's been here I've been her punching bag for all her negativity and my husband, like any parent would, always backs her.  Instead of speaking my truth, I tend to just grin and bear it just to keep peace, and it's taken a toll on me mentally.

The worst is that six weeks ago my 19 year old stepdaughter was killed in a random mass shooting while away at college right before she was to come home for the summer.  I really loved this girl and of course my husband is crushed.   Life will never be the same for us.  When she would come home, everything was right in my house and we all got along.  It sounds pathetic, but now I feel like I'm going to be at the mercy of my 17 year old stepdaughter.  She's gone to visit her sister for six weeks, and my therapist has encouraged me to talk openly and honestly about my feelings now while she's gone and there's no distractions, but I just don't have it in me.  Talking about this was difficult before, but now the degree of difficulty has ratcheting up times 1000.  I don't feel like I can bring up issues like this while my husband is in the throes of grief--and me too to some extent.  I told my therapist that I'd rather just enjoy this time right now with my husband even though I feel like disaster is right around the corner.   

My last session with my therapist, she told me that she thought I might be suffering with depression and might need some medicine to give me a little boost.  She noted that I had pretty much stopped doing all the self care type things I had been doing before and that I had been giving in to a negative way of thinking of the world.  She asked me how I felt at work that day and I said "neutral", which apparently was not a good answer.  :(  She asked me how I felt about taking medicine, and I said "indifferent," which pretty much confirmed her suspicion.  So I have an appointment set up for Thursday. 

I had already known that I fit the profile for dysthymia and already suspected that I had suffered from bouts of major depression from time  to time.  It does take a lot of will power for me to get going in the mornings and to do mundane tasks, but I do function and manage to meet my responsibilities.   But to hear it coming from someone else, I guess really brought the reality home.  I hope it works but at the same time, what if it doesn't work and I'm stuck like this forever?  At least before I didn't even realize there was something wrong.

Oh yeah, and my 79 year old MIL also had to be hospitalized for heart troubles and is having triple bypass surgery today.  My own mom is dead and so she is the only grandmother my two young children know.  When it rains it pours...It is really hard for me to understand why I'm not supposed to have a negative outlook on life when bad things keep happening out of the blue.  :(

Letters of Recovery / Letter to my Mother
« on: May 02, 2019, 03:39:59 PM »
This is the 10th anniversary of your death.   When I was young, you were my world, my everything.  For ten years, it was just you me and Dad.  Dad was overseas for the first two years of my life, and when he came back, I was terrified of him.  He was a harsh disciplinarian, critical and afraid to show me affection.  But I still had you. 

I remember when you were hospitalized for some sort of serious mental illness.  For whatever reason, you and Dad never felt the need to tell me what the heck was going on.  Did you all think I wasn't scared to death and worried?  I had no idea what was going on.  Why did you talk to me about it?  Why did you leave me to figure this all out by myself?  I am still wondering to this day what was happening.  Anyway, I remember you being in the hospital but what I remember most is when Dad took me to visit you.  I remember the doll you gave me, a simple ratty thing, but I loved it because you made it for me.   I knew you were ashamed for being ill, and I loved you anyway. 

We lived in California and my friends meant a lot to me.  You and Dad didn't have much time for me.  And then one day you and Dad told me we were moving to AL and my world was shattered.  You didn't notice how sad I was.  I cried for the whole 2 day car trip from CA to AL.    My teacher even noticed how sad I was, took me to the side, and hugged me.  You did nothing and you were my mom.  I needed you! 

Then you got pregnant with the son Dad desperately wanted.  You let Dad spend hours trying to play baseball with me,  trying to get me to throw a ball like a boy.  I had no interest in baseball whatsoever, and was never going to be able to throw that ball.  You saw this and you let him do this.

Then after my brother was born.  I was so happy to have a brother.  I wanted to be helpful to you.  I understood you didn't have time for me.  But then one day I guess you were stressed out caring for my baby brother.  When I went outside you couldn't find me and you freaked out.  You slapped me hard on the face.  I was in shock.  I put my hand up to my cheek, speechless for a moment.  I ran to my room.  You came and apologized, but what you don't know is that from that moment, I felt  you didn't love me.  I felt discarded and in your way.  I knew Dad wanted a boy and I was never going to be what he wanted.  I thought you loved me as I was, even though I was incredibly "awkward" looking as a child.  But in that moment after you slapped me in anger, I felt that you didn't love me and that there was something wrong with me.   

After you slapped me, I felt so unlovable, so I decided I needed to stay out of the way.  I went to my room, closed the door and stayed there after school.  When I first went there, I half hoped that you would come after me, find out what was wrong.  But no, you never did.  After a few weeks of my self-banishment in my room, I resigned myself to fact that no, you never did love me.

This went on for two to three years.  You still never showed me any attention.  I was fed and clothed, but you never said a word to me.  Never asked me how my day was.  Never asked me what was wrong.  I went from a girl playiing around you and wanting so much to be helpful to you, to someone who was in my room 24/7, and you didn't notice and didn't seem to care.  I would learn later that you felt like you let me down when I was younger, and was obsessed with making sure my brother's life was perfect.  I think you were trying to explain, but it just made me feel more crappy.  So you messed up with me and so you are going to discard me and start over????  You weren't perfect, but I still loved you.  How could you just leave me like that?

My brother grew older and you became less stressed.  I was now in adolescence.  Had started my period, and I didn't even tell you.  You found out when you found some underwear I had washed out.  I had no idea what was happening to me because you didn't think to explain any of this to me.  I had to figure it out on my own. 

So now you have time and then you ask me, "Kiki, why don't you talk to me?"  I said, "I don't know," but what I was really thinking was, we haven't talked for the last three years, and now, you're just noticing that we're not talking???  Even Dad noticed and tried to talk to me, so the man I was once so terrified of I grew very close to, even though he would often beat me when I committed some offense he felt warranted it. 

I think you realized what you had done, and you spent the rest of your life trying to make amends.  I wanted to reconnect with you.  I still loved you.  But for some reason, it never was how it once was.  I wanted to go back to that time when we were so close, but those feelings never came.  I didn't love you, I didn't hate you, I just felt nothing.  I wanted to love you, but I could never reconnect with those loving feelings.  When I was 16, you wanted to get close to me.  You shared with me that after your Dad died when you were three, you were severely molested from that time until you were about 9.  I said nothing.  I was sad for you, but I couldn't express anything.  Everything was just a void. 

I saw my friends who were so close to my mom and I wanted that.  I couldn't understand why we couldn't have that.  I could never explain to anyone why we didn't really talk even though you tried and tried and tried.

When I met my husband at 33, I felt that me marrying and eventually having children, it would bring us closer.  We would get a chance to work on our relationship with the birth of grandkids.  Instead, you were diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and died 9 months later.  You weren't there for me when I was married.  You never met any of your grandkids.  I have to sit back while my other mom kids have helps from their moms in raising their kids.  Me, again, I am alone in it, with only my husband to rely on. 

I am in therapy now and learning to rejoin the human race.  We talked a lot about Dad and his abuse of me, but when it came to you, I couldn't even get the words out at what happened.  I could see my therapist get concerned. 

What you did has affected me more than you know.  For so long, I have felt sad whenever I think of you.  Your life was so tragic.  But now, on the 10th anniversary of your death, I feel a different emotion--anger.  I loved you so much and you left me.  I can't believe you did that.  I have a daughter now too and can understand some that you were not perfect, but you made me feel like I was less than.  You made me feel like my needs don't matter.  Do you know what that feels like??  How could you?? Now you're conveniently dead and I can't even tell you now how angry I am that you left me when I most needed you. 

I still love you, but you hurt me so badly. 

Love, Kiki

Time passes.  I went through bad relationships.  You wanted grandchildren.  But I was 30 and still was attracting the wrong guy.  I desperately wanted children, so I doubled down and found my husband.  You met him and loved him.  Then I

Medication / CBD. Yea or Nay
« on: April 11, 2019, 04:01:20 PM »
I've been reading a bit about CBD.  From what I'm reading, it is not addictive, but I worry about whether by taking it I may slow down my progress in therapy.  The benefits of it sound amazing, but a little too amazing, so I'm wary.  Thoughts?

My dad is the biggest gossip on the planet.  He loves to gossip and tells me everything he knows about everyone he does not like and he is quite vicious.  He gossips about his other brothers and sisters to me and even people I don't know.  When I was younger, I was so concerned about not doing anything to cause my dad to talk about me to others.  I didn't want to be in the "out" group.  But slowly over time, I drifted apart from him.  Now that I'm in therapy, it's like I've made a complete break with him mentally. 

Now I'm noticing that he's gossiping about me to my brother.  It's not the "malicious", make stuff up  about somebody type gossip, but more of the "I don't like the way you're living and handling life so I'm going to talk about you and how unhappy you're going to be until you do what I want" type gossip. 

Over the holidays, my brother came to visit me.  I have never spanked my children and I try to use a positive parenting style(total opposite of how my father raised us).  My children are not obedient and well behaved like my father thinks they should be, but I care more about them being happy and well-adjusted.  My father has never been able to accept this and lets me know in passive aggressive ways that he thinks my kids are rotten, that they will grow up with all sorts of problems if I don't get them under control, and that my brother's kids are doing better than mine. 

Well, my youngest son is 4 and after being extremely shy for a good part of his life, is finally starting to come out of his shell. While my brother was visiting with his three kids, my son was *totally* out of his shell and letting out all of his wild little boy energy while he was enjoying playing with his cousins.  Apparently, my brother was talking about my little boy's behavior  with my father, because when I went to visit my dad over the holidays, he was treating my little boy like he should be juvenile detention or something.  My little boys was kind of spinning in a swivel chair, not even in a rough way but in a little boy way, and my dad was acting like he was out of control or something.  My dad said he had heard from my brother about how my little boy was acting, and he did not want him to tear up his house too.  Mind you, my dad hasn't visited me or my kids in over six months and I hadn't been by to visit him either, but controlling my boy took precedence over having a good time with my kids.  I half-jokingly told my dad if he didn't like the way my children were behaving, then I probably should just not visit him anymore and that we were guests and he was being rude to us. 

Another thing he's been gossipping about is my husband and teen stepdaughter.  Everyone knows how difficult it can be to navigate step relations, and my dad clearly does not approve of my blended family.  Teens are trying and stepdaughters are trying at times and sometimes my husband is overly indulgent out of guilt, but my dad has zero tolerance or tact whenever we're having a rough patch.  Recently my husband allowed my stepdaughter to get a big dog against my wishes.  I messed up and told my brother, he told my dad, and now dad is going ballistic about the situation.  I know it was my fault for bringing it up, but in the moment I was frustrated and I let a little bit of info slip.  Now dad is ballistic and probably going to be telling me to get a divorce because I'm not being respected, can't allow a big non-housetrained dog in the house, etc.  Stepfamily dynamics are already difficult enough, and I don't want my dad adding fuel to the fire. 

I'm trying to figure out whether I am being overly sensitive or if I should say something to my dad about his gossiping.  Or maybe I just need to not share any personal details about my life at all with my dad and brother??  I have not heard the gossiping but I have a very good idea of how he is talking about me from how he talks about others to me. 

I am still coming to terms with the fact that I suffer from C-PTSD.  I've been living with this for so many years and thought I was "normal."  I definitely minimize the abuse I've suffered and sometimes fear I'm just a weak person and have nothing else really wrong with me. 

But yesterday I came out of therapy feeling like I'm all messed up.  :(  The past couple of weeks have been really difficult for me and I've been feeling really depressed and hopeless.  My financial worries and difficulties with my blended family sent me into a negative spiral.  I've never been treated long term for depression before, but now it's dawning on me that I probably have been suffering from it most of my life.  The tools I've been learning in therapy for anxiety have been helping, but the way I was feeling the last couple of weeks was very frightening. 

When I walked in the door, my therapist could tell immediately I was down in the dumps.  We talked a bit about how I was managing my feelings and she noted some of the positive changes I've been able to make and I mentioned how proud and happy I was that I had made some changes.  She then noted that I although I was saying I was "happy", "happy" was not reflecting in my voice.  I recall in the past I had a couple of people note that I have a "flat affect".  I googled and of course Dr. Google now has me feeling like I'm a very, very ill person.

Then we started talking about how I often feel anxious about going home because a lot of times I will go home and the house will be all in chaos (husband and teenage mess).  My therapist didn't seem to get why that made me feel anxious and I told her I can't feel at peace when the house looks like a warzone and I feel like I have to clean it up right then.  She suggested I needed to take a few moments for myself to decompress before going into my nightly duties and I told her that no, I really need to make sure I start dinner for my kids and make sure the house is in order first. 

So what if it's messy for a while, she asks?  Because if I don't do it right then it's all going to pile up and be that much harder, I say.  Is getting the house in order more important than taking care of yourself first, she asks?  I think about it and yes, I feel that I can't relax until the house is in order, not even for the 5 minute time out she suggested I take upon going home. 

My therapist said she was very concerned about my need to make sure my house is orderly. (!).  I'm not even a clean freak I just need a certain level of order and certain things to be just so.  I was pretty surprised that she was so concerned about this and thought that this was reasonable. 

So now it sounds to me that I also have some OCD mixed in with the C-PTSD, depression and anxiety.  Even if it's all mild stuff, it just sounds like a lot to deal with. 

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Getting knocked down before I even get started. :(
« on: November 26, 2018, 09:58:09 PM »
I had posted about how proud I was about finally starting to tackle my financial problems.  I had finally got up the nerve to look at my budget and was happy that I was still, though barely, solvent.

Then today, I took my vehicle to the shop for what I thought would be a fairly minor repair and it ended up being $1150 (which will need to be charged to a credit card).  Also earlier in the day I had checked to seeing if I could get a lower rate on a personal loan I had and was immediately declined.   This happened right in the midst of me worrying about getting Christmas presents for my children.

I am trying hard not to let myself fall back into a negative spiral of shame and hopelessness, but it's hard when the second you start trying to make things better, more bad stuff rains down on you. 

I think I'm going to go home and curl up in bed and cry to my husband for a while and hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.  Then maybe I can feel proud that, even though it didn't work out I actually took steps to make things better instead of just burying my head in the sand.  Also, maybe I'll also feel like coordinating with my husband on Christmas presents.  I'm worried that the big fight there will be he won't want the presents to come from Santa since he doesn't really like the idea of him, but I realize I am way overthinking this thing. 

As I progress in my C-PTSD recovery, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that I have to accept the possibility that my marriage my not survive as I reunite with my authentic self.   It seems the only reason our marriage has lasted nearly 10 years is because I've been willing to put up with a lot of crap and have been deny and dissociating my way through life.   My true self can not take this much longer. 

My therapist has encouraged me to share my feelings, to show up and be vulnerable with my husband.  But when I do this, my husband does not seem to be a safe person.  There are certain things that trigger him and he flies in an explosive rage.  I am not afraid of him and he doesn't physically harm me, but I should not have to put up with it.  I do not deserve this.  He is sorry but I don't trust him.  He says he wants to do better, that he loves me, but is it real??  At some point, therapy will need to be in the cards, but who knows if he is ready and willing to put in the hard work.  He seems very dismissive and distrustful of the process.

In the past, I have not believed I had any options.  I have not thought myself strong enough.  I have been afraid of being humiliated, feeling alone and helpless.  I have been afraid of causing permanent damage to my young children.  Now I starting to see going our separate ways as an option. 

I have major problems with overspending.  I make a good income but no matter how good of a financial position I'm in, I typically find a way to get myself mired in debt.  It's a neverending cycle of  spending, finding a way to get rid of it, then building the debt  back up again.  Everything associated with budgeting is something I actively avoid.   

I also have huge problems with trust and asking for help when I need it.  My husband is a financial wizard and would have loved to have supported me....but it was very difficult to bring myself to ask him for help.  I hate how I feel when I get help. 

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and asked for help in budgeting.  He was very supportive.  He asked me to write down all my monthly bills.  It was a terrifying, shame-filled process for me, but with his help, I managed.  Turns out even though I have tons of debt, I still have enough to meet my needs if I am careful with my money.  What's better is that I expect that some big bills will be drop off when my youngest child is no longer in daycare and I also expect to get a large settlement in a year or so connected to a shoulder injury I suffered.  The best of all is that husband is here to support me and wants to stand by me and help where he can.  He hasn't criticized or belittled me.  He's been nothing but a pillar of support for me.

This should be a huge victory for me.  I should be feeling quite empowered and supported.  But instead I feel small, powerless and ashamed and the feelings are overwhelming.  Especially shame and powerlessness.  I felt so ashamed, I avoided my husband all weekend and he was very hurt by it.   I also feel incredibly powerless when I think of the holidays coming up and not having the money to do the things I want.

I was all set to come on here and post all of this in the Setbacks section but then I realized that I am probably in the throws of the mother of all emotional flashbacks.  I am fighting it and as part of that fight, I decided to post this in the Successes Forum instead. 

I am trying to learn from this flashback and trying to understand its origin.  I know that this comes from my father, who was harshly critical of me in my childhood and tended to punish even the smallest infractions with physical discipline.  I did not feel safe coming to him when I made a mistakes.  I didn't get encouragement in helping overcome a problem.  Instead, I learned to keep my problems to myself and handle them on my own.  The issues over money...I'm not sure but it seems like a form of dissociation??  Spending makes me feel good and in control.  Budgeting is something that reminds me of being controlled.  Of not having the power to speak up for what I want. 

The biggest thing I think I am fighting in this flashback is the feeling of being powerless to change my situation.  With the holidays coming up and my daughter's birthday coming up, I look at the budget and I feel like a failure and that I'm letting my children down.  But thinking it through, I'm trying to remind myself that 1) my husband is an equal partner in this and wants to help; 2) there are ways I can either save or work extra to earn the money for Christmas presents and a party for my daughter. 

Sorry if this post was a rambling mess!

Symptoms - Other / Overspending
« on: November 12, 2018, 04:53:38 PM »
It seems there is a link between overspending and trauma.  I have huge issues with overspending that I am just starting to tackle.   The whole issue of money and finances seems to bring on huge EFs. 

What is it with overspending?  Is it a form of dissociation?  Has anyone successfully overcome it? 

Physical Abuse / AAP issues stronger statement against corporal punishment
« on: November 05, 2018, 06:34:40 PM »
Today, the American Association of Pediatricians strengthened its warnings about corporal punishment and need for a ban of the practice.  I hope one day this ideal will take root in the larger American society.  It seems we are sooooo far it today.  How many times do we hear the old "I was spanked and turned out OK" line???  Maybe with pediatricians reinforcing it progress can be made. 

I touched on this in another thread.  My therapist is teaching me how to explain my condition to my husband.  She wants me to think about what I most want him to know.   It seems like there's so much I don't know where to begin.  Overall, I really wish I could help him to understand my "inner critic" and how this person controls just about every aspect of my life.  This person makes it difficult for me to do things that come naturally to others.  Sometimes I will tell my husband how afraid I am of certain things, and he'll say something like "that's ridiculous!"  And all I can say is, "well that's why I'm in therapy!!" 

I would love to get ideas from others on this. 

General Discussion / Codependency and being able to accept help
« on: October 23, 2018, 01:12:34 AM »
Codependency is apparently my first, middle and last name.  I am in a little bit of a financial bind with my credit cards and I have the option to either try and go it alone, or ask my husband for help.  This has been going on for some time and comes down to bad budgeting on my part.  He is the one who is the financially literate one in our relationship and he would be willing to help me.  We got married a little later in life and kept our own separate finances but shared expenses. 

But the thought of having to share with him the extent of the problem is more than I can bear.  I feel like such a loser and can't stand the thought of him pitching out to help me out of a hole I created.   I feel this way even though when he was the one building his business and came to me for help, I gladly helped him in any way I could. 

I know it is the right thing for me to do to share it with him regardless, but I am so ashamed and afraid and don't want to feel dependent and out of control.  The bigger it gets the more ashamed I am but I know I need to get help before it becomes something that is beyond help.

How do I even begin to broach this topic with him?

Things had been going along swimmingly for me, but now I've hit a bump.  It started at my last therapy session yesterday and things are still spiraling.  I feel like such a mess.  My therapist had suggested I bring my husband in as a way to show support and help him understand what I'm going through since I had mentioned that he really wanted to be supportive but wasn't sure how.  In the moment, I said I didn't want that.  In my mind, I thought it would turn into a session where they talked about everything wrong with me and my husband complaining about me and my emotional availability.  Overall at the session I felt I was being pushed a little beyond my limits and discouraged almost to the point of regretting I started therapy in the first place.  We talked about how I have no friends I can lean on for support other than my husband and even with him it is hard for me to be vulnerable.

After I had a chance to think about it and calm down, I decided to ask my husband whether he wanted to come to therapy with me as my therapist suggested.  To my horror, instead of feeling pleased that I was trying to include him in my recovery, he seemed very hurt.  He feels like he should be the one I run to when I need help and seemed to be hurt that I can talk about things in therapy but not with him.  He seems beyond frustrated that he can't be my knight in shining armor.  So already I'm feeling discouraged and feeling like crawling in my shell.

Then this morning, I try again to get close to him and get support.  He has a lot of things going on at work, so even though I could tell he was trying not to be impatient with me, he brusquely brushed me off and rushed on to work.

This brought on in me a full on ugly cry and this afternoon I am still crying over it.   The cliff notes version of my childhood is that my father was controlling , emotionally neglectful, used harsh physical discipline and was sometimes emotionally abusive.  My mom suffered from mental illness brought on from years of childhood sexual abuse and sometimes couldn't give me the emotional support I needed.  Still, I was very emotionally attached to her until 9 years old, when she completely abandoned me emotionally.  She tried to pick up the pieces and reconnect by the time I was about 12, but the damage was done. 

When my husband brushed me off,, I tried to recognize the feelings that were triggered and it brought me back to that time in my life when my mom abandoned me.  I have learned that when having an EF it helps to reach out for emotional support but I have no one to turn to at the moment and I don't know what to do?  I would really appreciate a kind word right now because I feel so overwhelmed with sadness.

I just started therapy a little over a month ago.  I have been diligent with the homework my therapist gives me and want to follow her treatment plan.  But I also have found so many self-help resources--this board, youtube videos,etc.  It feels so good to be educating myself about this condition, but sometimes I wonder whether it may be counterproductive and trying to move too fast??

Should I be sharing the fact that I am utilizing other resources with my therapist? I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I am afraid she will get mad at me if she finds out I've also been seeking help on the internet.

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