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Recovery Journals / Bermuda's Memories - Overflow Journal 1
« on: May 21, 2021, 12:08:29 PM »
I was no longer receiving feedback on my last three journal posts. I suppose I must have reached the limit. So, I've started this journal as a continuation. I think this journal will probably end up with a lot more drivel and less intrusive memories, because that's where I am at right now on my journey.

I talk about about how the seemingly nuanced events have effected me very deeply compared to things that others would classify as deeply traumatic. I mentioned how it's because when you only know trauma, your brain cannot comprehend things as traumatic. At least that's how it feels for me. There's no normal to compare to.

So, here's a story that is one of those things that has been on my mind lately: We were sitting in the back of the car, I was maybe 10 years old. My mother had the radio on and I was staring at my feet mouthing along to the song, or at least I thought. One of my brothers started harassing me about me singing, and then the whole family pitched in and started making fun of me, and my voice, even though I hadn't even realised I had been making a sound. I rarely made sounds.

As an adult I have had so much trouble speaking up for myself, and people have joked about my voice in passing. Nothing serious, but it really hurts me deeply. I have traveled a lot and have mixed unplaceable accent and people say my voice is too squeaky and quiet. When you seem unconfident people think you're lying. My voice on the outside doesn't represent me well. I am in my midthirties, and I have this silly goal that someday I want to go on stage and sing a karaoke song. Not because I want to sing well, but because I want to sing aloud. I envy people with confidence to speak, to be looked at. People who have a style of their own. I am considering getting a voice coach just to learn to be confident. I just want to overcome this very big little trauma.

I do love mice, but I am not a mouse.

General Discussion / Normal or not?
« on: March 23, 2021, 09:25:33 AM »
I hold people up to a very very high moral standard in most aspects. I find it extremely difficult to understand why anyone could do the wrong thing once they realise it's the wrong thing. I don't understand how people can be willfully ignorant, or even just mean to other people. I don't understand how people "can't be bothered". I've never understood this. Maybe it's because of my cPTSD, and my coping mechanism (which worked) was to be better and do better because I am not like *them*.

Now, with all that, how do you actually know when someone is doing something bad? Since bad is subjective and seems normal. How do you know if someone if mistreating you, being mean to you on purpose or out of spite, manipulating you, or taking advantage of you? How do you measure what is a tolerable level of unkindness and lack of sympathy? Is there such a thing?

When is the level of tolerance and understanding overstepping or detrimental to your own worth/progress?

I've had a lot of trouble recognising when someone is harming me or using me in my life. I always thought that people were all using each other for social reasons, emotional reasons, etc. I have always thought that was normal. How do you recognise if the balance of skewed? When do you stop being kind and compassionate?  ???

Other / Feeling strange
« on: March 03, 2021, 10:40:39 AM »
I haven't been posting lately because I've been feeling very strange. I find that question "How are you?" baffling. I feel so removed from everything. I do feel sad, passively, but it's not depression. It's just meh. I don't feel expressive, but I don't know what I would express. I don't feel interested in things. I feel very withdrawn in a sense that I am not engaging with others, which is honestly not too abnormal for me, but I'm not engaging with myself either.

I feel really aloof the past couple weeks. A couple weeks ago, I went out with some students. The conversation was very serious, and went in a direction of things that are very traumatic for me. In person I did a really good job of "keeping it cool" on the outside, but inside I was quite hurt. It was one of these social topics (like most) that are not hypothetical to me.

I will be vague intentionally here, but sometimes I have thoughts that aren't connected directly to a memory. For example it's easy for me to absolutely say me too, but that sentiment is not tied to one specific incident. This conversation went in the direction of social norms and pulled up a specific incident in my mind, which would not have been appropriate conversation. This incident that was in the pits of my mind is now stored somewhere directly behind my eyeballs. I have no idea if this metaphor makes sense to others, but that is the best way I can describe it.

I don't know if this is what has triggered my weird aloof detached feeling or not. I just feel really uninterested and ghostlike. Maybe it's some sort of traumatic avoidance, or maybe it's completely unrelated, but if anyone has any ideas... I'd feel mediocre hearing them, which is the best I've got right now.

Letters of Recovery / The social worker
« on: February 09, 2021, 08:24:54 PM »
I know you won't remember me, but I remember you.
I am 5 years old. My brother said something very bad at school today for show and tell, and you had to come to my house.
You looked around, and told my M that I can't sleep in the bedroom anymore. From now on I will sleep on the floor. My M will hide away the bad things for a while.

I've been brought into the kitchen. You're sitting in the chair across from me. You're so big, and so scary. I don't know you, but no one has ever been nice to me. You tell me to trust you, but I don't want to be in trouble. I am always in trouble. You are asking me questions. I don't know if I am in trouble, like my brother is in trouble. He said something very bad, I know it's very bad, but I don't really know what it means. I think it's my fault. You don't see my M standing being you, but I do. Her arms are crossed, and she is looking very angry at me. I don't want to get her in trouble. I don't want M to be mad it me. I don't want to be in trouble. My M is telling me what to say. You know she is there, why can't you look up? Why can't you help me? You say you are here to help me, why can't you help me? Why is everyone always so angry at me? What did I do wrong to make you look at me like that.

My M and my brothers are going to hurt me.
I am so scared, every day. I want to run away but I am too little. No one will help me.

I don't know if this is the correct place to put this.

I have a question. I am studying some foreign languages. I have an assignment I have to do in one of my university courses. It requires be to read a novel in this language and essentially write a book report. Since it's in a difficult language it's highly engaged reading involving lots of translation and such. The problem is the book that has been selected for me includes themes that I find very difficult. It's a suspense/mystery novel.

What do I do? Do I read that book and deal with the consequences? Do I avoid reminders and don't read the book? Do I message the professor and explain why I'm prefer not to do the assignment? Then I have to face her every day looking at me and may possibly be asked to provide "proof".

What do I do?  :'(

General Discussion / Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« on: January 25, 2021, 11:59:47 AM »
Often I'm reminded of things I was told growing up, and things that I unknowingly accepted as true, and things that I always knew were most certainly not true.

Abusers often say things to justify or minimize their abusive role. What were you told?

Here are a couple examples of things I was told repeatedly:
My personal fave:" You think it's not fair, well life is not fair!" (I remember from a very young age wanting to point out the fallacy in this argument, but I most certainly kept my mouth shut.)
If I had been permitted to speak I would have had lots of pointers. "I grew up in a horrible home, and no one ever taught me how to be a parent. I'm doing my best!"
And this, which I believed. "If you don't give anyone a reason to want to beat you, then you wouldn't be beaten. Sticks and stones..."

What phrases come to mind? What stuck in your mind? What follows you around in adult life?

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Tangent time: Bad advice
« on: January 09, 2021, 02:38:46 PM »
Is posting a tangent OK? I just kind of want to rant about bad advice from therapists, from social media icons, celebrities, or your well-meaning neighbour.

I just finished watching a deeply upsetting video from a trauma therapist online about changing your mentality from victimized to just being a victim.
Her advice was this very hip rhetoric that started with "You didn't deserve what happened" and ended with "but you can change how you feel and control your future!" I feel like most of us have heard this in some form before, so I won't elaborate on the idea.

This notion of simply controling your thoughts, visualising your future, trying harder, taking accountability, and just materialising your goals is SO terribly triggering for me. It plays perfectly into the CPTSD brain. If I could smile to make myself happy, than there wouldn't have ever been a problem to begin with. That would also mean that I AM responsible for what happened to me, because obviously I didn't WANT or BELIEVE hard enough.

The rhetoric: Work harder, do more, accept your problems, stop thinking about it, retrain your brain, positive intentions, visualise your goals, (make a vision board!), and move on. Yep, that one.

No, just no. That is EXACTLY what CPTSD tells me every day. It feeds into my hypervigilence, my not-good-enough, competitive, self-loathing(ness?), it frames my CPTSD as a weakness instead of as a natural self-preservation reflex. This rhetoric reinstills the NEED for CPTSD responses, which obviously is not beneficial in a non-victim setting.

So, just in case you are scrolling through social media, and someone goes on about how they achieved success and how you can too, just know that you ARE successful. That you are not LAZY. That you ARE worthy. You can be a victim and FEEL victimized. That's OK. That you CAN achieve most of your goals, but you CANNOT control everything. The future, just like the past, is wildly unpredictable. We are all vulnerable.

BTW, Wherever you are on your recovery journey, or even if you're not on a recovery journey, you're worthy. You're worthy when you're a sobbing ball of human mass, You're worthy when you don't meet your goals. Your worthiness is immeasureable. Victims cannot "play the victim". They simply ARE.

I feel like I opened the vent, let out all the air, fulfilled this tangent, and I'm pretty sure that it wasn't too much this time.

*Sorry if the occasional caps were too much though. I take full responsibility, positive intent, smiling rainbows, and lots of believing.

(*)Denotes use of sarcasm.  ;)

Kidnapping/Entrapment/Stalking / Cyber-stalking and phishing
« on: December 10, 2020, 03:07:21 PM »
I don't know what to do.

Trigger warning with a very short version of a 15 year long back story. I grew up in an abusive home. I was kicked out of home as a teenager. My mother's words were that she never wanted to see my face again. After this point I was homeless, during my time sleeping rough I got a very immediate more realistic picture of the world, and learned just how bad things were before. Homelessness was a really positive thing for me. Since then, I have been stalked by my very dangerous family, both online and in person. My mother has started multiple phishing campaigns asking for my personal information, saying that I am in danger, that I am a child runaway. I was even posted on multiple websites as a missing person. She has even shown up where I live and work, but I managed to hide. This has severally effected my adult life. I have contacted lawyers, cease and desist letters have been sent, I have contacted these missing persons sites, as well as local police every time I move (which is a lot).... Unfortunately, because of the country my mother was living in, nothing could be done. I have even gone so far as to study international human rights law myself.

Anyway, moving on without any details, it's brewing again. There is another campaign, and they have found me. I don't know what to do. I am a mother now, and I have to protect my son. I don't want them to win though, I don't want to change all of my social media and disappear again. I just want to have a normal life.

I am thinking of legally changing my name again. I don't know how I will explain this to my son when he is older....

I have a lot of feelings right now, and I don't know what to do. i'm in a very safe country and during the pandemic no one is coming to hurt me. I know this, but I am still so scared.

I feel like my past manifests more often than not in present situations in a very subtle way these days. The big things simply don't feel as big, but these little things are immense. There has been a lot of time and distance between myself, and the things that shaped me.

That being said, I'm having so much difficulty. I'm attending university, as an older student, and I cannot speak. It's not a fear of public speaking. I used to LOVE public speaking, I am an activist, and I have a lot to say.

But in certain situations I literally cannot speak. I have this issue that happens in other social situations that I feel I've discribed before, where if someone asks me a simple question on the street, that the shock of someone approaching and speaking to me shuts down my ability to think or answer a basic question. In university, I do so well when we do group work, I often lead the group activities, but when my professor addresses me, my mind turns off, and my mouth will not move.

I have managed to get the words out of my mouth that 'I can't speak'. It makes me feel like bursting into tears, I can hear my blood rushing through my ears. How embarassing, and the reaction of my professor. Unimpressed. This of course, makes my professor think I do not KNOW the answer, that I am unprepared, or that I am shy or avoidant. This is not shyness. I am not shy.

Does anyone have any useful ways of coping with this? Is this something I should speak to the university support about? What would you do?
I just want to add that this is not the sort of thing that exposure helps.

Looking for strategies and to know that I am not alone. Thanks.

A couple of hours ago I had an strange reaction... I tend to over explain, sorry.

I'm with my husband's family because tomorrow is my son's first birthday, and we have been decorating for his party.

A balloon popped. I dropped to the floor covering my ears, shaking uncontrollably, teary eyed and gagging.

(They asked if I was fine, I said I am fine, walked to the kitchen, my mother in law told my sister in law to follow me) ... That's a topic for another day. Ugh.

In the kitchen, I reclarified that I am fine that it was my PTSD, and vomitted, put water on my face, and was really fine. I just needed a minute. Even after everyone knew it was a PTSD thing, they still asked as if there was some logical thing that upset me.  :doh: Was never upset.

I don't know why I have this reaction, it has happened before, on a ferry when my husband leaned over the railing for a moment. Same thing, dropped, convulsed, and covered my ears, etc.

I have no memories tied to these body reactions.

Very weird. This isn't like my flashbacks, or my panic attacks. For me, my panic attacks can be LONG, involve a bit of hyperventilating, and usually stop by me holding a fistful of ice, and always involve thoughts whereas my flashbacks usually involve one of my senses...

Does anyone else have this happen? Is there a term for what I'm trying to explain? Is this a repressed memory thing?  :Idunno:

Recovery Journals / TW: Bermuda's journal of memories.
« on: June 13, 2020, 08:18:12 PM »
Words, I struggle with words. My coping mechanism was invisibility. As a child I was a master of invisibility. My siblings hated me for it. I had it easy. I was invisible.

I want to speak up, but can't. I was not permitted to speak unless spoken to, and so much as a crack in my voice could have been taken as insubordination. I'm 33 years old, and still cannot voice my opinion, not even that, often I don't even REALISE I have an opinion until hours later.

I want to journal my memories as they come to me. I think the urge comes from a deep feeling of wanting to believe myself, my own brain. It was real.

Today I was flooded with a memory. (TW)

My brother, a year older than I. He had many problems, he had asperger's syndrome (I may as well). My mother bullied him relentlessly, called him terrible names, and one day he snapped.
He ran away, and my parents called the police. They hunted for him with dogs into the night, and found him hiding in a field.

I was hiding in my bedroom peering through the crack in the door (we were not permitted to close doors, not even bathroom doors) when there was a knock at the front door. I peered from down the hall.

My father opened the door, the police officer had my brother by the sleeve. The officer asked if my brother shouldspend a night in a jail cell to teach him a lesson, to which my father grabbed my brother, threw him down and began kicking him in the stomach. The officer said to my father, well, I see you have it from here. My father said yes, and closed the door.

I hid, I didn't sob as not to make a noise.
After that my brother was locked in a room for two years.

I realise I am getting less articulate.

I don't know why the amnesia wore off now, today, but I know this event impacted me deeply. It taught me that no one would save me, that what was happening was normal, that I was a sissy, and simply overreacting. It taught me not to trust people, especially not police.

I'd like to think I have mostly healed from those thoughts, because I have had more trusting interactions. Maybe that's why I am remembering this now. ...But today I feel dizzy, and sick to my stomach, and can't tell my husband why.

Poetry & Creative Writing / TW: A story of a flashback
« on: June 13, 2020, 12:33:34 PM »
A peaceful day, my restful baby dreams in my arms. He fell asleep so quickly this time. I smile at his still face and kiss his forehead before stealing away for a moment alone.

A shower, I think to myself, a nice hot shower, that's what I need. (Showers are a luxury that I don't take for granted since becoming a mother.) I turn the water on and soak my sleepless body for just long enough to feel refreshed.

He still sleeps. I pat myself dry, and redress into the same pajamas I wore before. These things don't bother me anymore. I smile, and open the bathroom door. Tea, I think to myself, that is a true luxury.

Then, it happens. The squeezing. The warmth and pressure building around my neck. I can't breathe. I can feel the muscles in my throat protruding, pushing against the invisible force caving in around me. I can hear the swooshing of blood in my ear. Air, breathe, air. It's all I can think. The pressure in my eyes swells.

My husband looks up from his computer, 'Is everything alright?' He asks. I begin to cry, and retreat back to bathroom to collect myself in peace. Everything is fine, I tell myself. How strange, I've never been... No sooner as the words were uttered to myself, did I recall.

I was choked. When I was six years old, I stole money to buy food. I was caught. My legs dangled as I was held against the wall. I went to school the next day with purple blotches all over my face and was too ashamed to tell people they were there because I am a thief ...And when I was 14, my brother, I would have died had my aunt not come in.

The day must go on, I shake it off. My son is awake, and I must greet him before he cries. I am ALWAYS there for him.

Carrying on, with a pain in my neck, an aching in my throat, and other real life reminders that life isn't all smiles and tea.

General Discussion / The world outside my head.
« on: June 10, 2020, 05:37:48 PM »
It's difficult lately. My panic attacks and flashbacks are different than they have been in the past.

The world seems troublesome right now with all the current issues. I'm bombarded constantly. I avoid social media, and media in general. I feel that I am supposed to have an opinion, and that there is only one appropriate opinion to have.

Meanwhile, I'm having flashbacks that are not associated with any specific memory, and night terrors... It leaves my brain searching for the answer, and coming to several possible conclusions. This week has all been a fog to me. I find myself constantly staring off into the dark tunnel that is my dissociation.

I can't remember where I am going, literally and figuratively. I know I'm waffling a bit, but it's my current state, and I have no idea how to climb out.

Introductory Post / Hello, I am new.
« on: June 10, 2020, 12:12:11 PM »

I’m a 33 year old wife a mama to a toddler, and I’ve never felt a deep connection to any other person. For me, this is the most painful ever-present reminder of my C-PTSD. I look at my child, and I feel love for him, but I love differently than anyone I’ve known. To me, it is a rational kind of love, but also a guilty kind. I am a great mama, but just not the swooning kind.

With C-PTSD it’s an understatement to say that navigating the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships is a challenge. Everything is a trigger, and every honest response a burden to others. So, no one knows who I am. Even the most basic questions can come at me like a ton of bricks. How are you? What kind of accent is that? Can you please sign here? Are you flying home for the holidays? Have you seen that new Netflix series? Are you following the news? Do you have any siblings? What did you study?

One of those questions is routinely followed with a ‘but they’re your family!’, to which I respond that ‘That wouldn’t be an appropriate response to someone in an abusive relationship with a spouse, and that it’s equally as inappropriate in this instance.’ Which effectively ends the conversation. ...It’s still better than ruining someone’s day with a story, or even worse, the disbelief.

You see, it’s not easy. If I did have a friend, who truly knew me, what would we do? Certainly not the cinema, or grab a drink, the risk of suddenly feeling the warm squeezing hand of an invisible perpetrator while on public transport is a frightening and embarrassing thought. Even a walk in the park, isn’t a walk in the park when the pain caused by autoimmune disease creeps up suddenly. And what am I to say? I cannot go, because I am sick? I am always sick, except last week, when I was FINE. It’s unbelievable, *I* am unbelievable.

I am writing this post, because to me C-PTSD is isolation, loneliness, and exclusion. It’s a whisper, a secret self, that I want so badly to relate. ...But I can’t relate.

So, hi. You can call me Bermuda.

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