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Topics - Bermuda

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Symptoms - Other / Extreme self-doubt
« on: February 26, 2023, 08:19:52 PM »
I don’t know where to put this, or even what “this” is. I have mentioned it briefly before, so I guess I am looking to put a name to it, so I can address it properly.

How do I know if something is real? How do I know if I am feeling physical pain? How do I know if someone is making me feel sad in the present or if it’s just me, like a ghost feeling? Can people make me feel sad, or not because no one is responsible for my feelings but me? I would never be able to answer the question, “What is your pain on a level from 1-10?” I mean, it would always be a one. I have a great imagination.

When I feel sad I go through these thoughts where I question if I am really sad because someone is mistreating me and question if I should be sad, or if I am relating that feeling to something I’ve felt before. Like a mild trigger. I don’t want to be taken advantage of, but maybe it’s me and there is no actual problem. If there is no problem than I should not mention my feelings, because they’re not real.

I never hear about people who haven’t experienced trauma talking about having such a severe level of “self doubt”. Although, in my opinion it goes so much further than mere self doubt.

I am also very impressionable. There have been times I was very very ill, but a doctor said I was fine, so I dropped it. I just stopped talking about it as if it would go away, until the problem resolved and I realised it had indeed been a problem. This sort of thing has happened more times than once. If someone tells me I am remembering something wrong, I am inclined to believe them, even if I was pretty sure they were lying. I’m probably wrong.

I cannot answer the question “How are you?” honestly. If I am sitting in a room with people who all say they are hot than I am probably not actually cold, etc.

Anyway, is there a name to this symptom?

General Discussion / First manifestation of trauma
« on: December 18, 2022, 06:55:45 PM »
I am just curious. When you look back on your very first trauma disorder symptoms, outwardly noticeable, what were they? Did you know at the time that it was trauma related?

For me it was extreme social anxiety and obsessiveness. It probably really got bad at about 12. I secretly set strict boundaries for myself, and did things in distinct sequence, and stuck to intense schedule. No one seemed to notice.

My social anxiety led me to tears publicly. The thought of conversation would make me physically sick. I had an extreme fear of talking to anyone.

Also, pulling hair, picking at nails. I was undeniably anxious all the time.

I had no idea that it was trauma related.

Letters of Recovery / To who made me.
« on: December 16, 2022, 12:36:00 PM »
To the person who brought me into this world and hung that over my head as they hung me by my ankles.

I don't know you anymore. It's been about 18 years now. The truth is, if by some misfortune we happened to cross paths I wouldn't honour your emotions with an explanation. It would be degrading and open myself up for rebuttals that I heard far too frequently as a child. Most poignantly, it would lack irony.

One of my earlier memories, when I was 3 years old, my cousin lived in our basement with my aunt while she was escaping an abusive relationship. I remember you and my aunt fighting regularly about my cousin's behaviour. My aunt, as sheepish as she was, staunchly opposed your use of punishment on my cousin. I remember her being quite upset about you punishing my cousin for "talking back". My aunt said that my cousin, not so much older than myself, had every right to voice her opinion. At the time, I truly believed you were right and that my cousin was very naughty for explaining herself.

See, you instilled in me the very things that you came to despise me for. As a child I was obedient, except when I was silently and stealthfully disobedient. I accepted my punishment without hesitation, believing that life isn't fair. I silently moved out of your way when I knew you were looking for someone to punish. I shrank down so that you could tower over me, I knew that you needed that.

I lived in a home where my life was in danger, but I didn't complain. I remember several years later, that same aunt came to live with us again. My cousin had already left home, and my aunt had two small children again. She was escaping another terribly violent relationship. One day my aunt walked into the family room to discover me on the floor while my brother was pinning me down and choking me. She fought my older brother off of me. I stood up and said nothing, took a deep breath and walked away. My aunt was horrified and in shock and wanted to call the police. She went to you and you dismissed the whole thing, laughed it off. You disregarded me. I made myself easy to forget. I was 15 years old, he was 17. I was never taught that this was wrong.

You spent a lot of time singling me out "teaching me a lesson", and when the day came that I was warned about my whole life, you lashed out at me. You criticised me for the very behaviours you forced onto me. You told me that I was silent and deceptive. You told me that I never talked to you and that you didn't even know me. As you clarified so frequently, you are my mother and not my friend, and I would never undermind that with conversation. It wouldn't of been met with friendliness.

So, that same day when you told me to leave and that you never wanted to see me again it shouldn't have come as a shock to you that I obeyed you without trepidation or hesitation. I did as I was told. To me it wasn't a choice, it was an order. Now, 18 years later and the single reply you have gotten to your unlawful attempts to get to me have been a cease and desist. But it's not spite. It's not hate. It's principle.

The explanation that you don't deserve is that when you told me life isn't fair, I knew inside that you made it unfair. It was a choice. You mocked my sense of justice as you stripped me of my dignity. I won't strip myself of my dignity to honour you with closure. When you mocked my emotions, humiliated me, ridiculed me and intentionally hurt me I didn't dare talk back and you will die with that burden. That is the irony.

One thing I realise now that I hadn't back then is that it was never my duty to be who you needed me to be, ever withstanding. I owe you nothing, but you owe me 18 years.

Poetry & Creative Writing / Shhh
« on: October 28, 2022, 05:52:03 PM »
This isn't the real me. I remember when she died.

I was a spirited child, and now I am just the spirit of the child who was broken by a rod of my own choosing.

I made my bed. I tidied my toys. I did the washing, and I hung myself out on the line. I did everything I could do only to disappoint them. I cried until I sighed and wasted my tears until they wasted away and left with the rest of --me.

1st year was a respite from enclusure I kept myself in from Them. No one could hurt her there. -There was nursery rhyme and dance and she chatted away quite carelessly, both seen and heard and regrettably so until the voice was taken from her mouth by force. The short safe-haven of self-expression shattered along with self. Not even a whisper of her lives anymore within this unwavering adherence to quiet time.

I spy glimpses of her face in those of strangers in passing, but she passed a while ago now and left this temple in ruin.

Poetry & Creative Writing / SMATTCWOMDAS
« on: October 22, 2022, 08:24:12 AM »
-Social Media and Trauma: Two Cents Worth of my Dissertation; A Soliloquy-
SMATTCWOMDAS, for short.

I was recently on social media, and someone shared a post from someone else saying that social media is all lies and that the happier someone seems the sadder they really are. This person I follow disagreed and wrote about their experience with social media, and also about how always assuming bad in people is unhealthy and unhelpful. Very true. It made me think about how I use social media.

I am an honest person, some may argue to a fault. I was very late to join Myspace when it was created. In the early stages it was a lot of people bashing other people, the father of their children, that one waitress who can't count, people who live differently. That coupled with females trying to promote themselves in ways that made me uncomfortable... It was a dark and sad place. Darksadspace just isn't as catchy as Myspace, and I didn't want more darkness in my actual space.

I was still in the thick of it with my own life, I definitely couldn't cope with that.

Jumping backward in text, I replied to this repost about social media. Social media is helpful to me. I said something that I realised mid-sentence may not be relateable to everyone. I go back on posts from 15 years ago when I am feeling like my life isn't real. When things are just a story or a feeling and then I can put a picture to it. I can add a caption to my ghost feelings. In only a couple words I feel all of the feelings that connect me to that moment, and it makes me feel real again. I was there. Life has happened and is still happening.

I am not sentimental, actually if I knew an antonym for sentimental it would likely better suit me. My mother (That which we call a thorn, by any other name would pierce so deep.) used to scrapbook. She actively created memories. She collected, modified, and decorated them, added a narrative that would otherwise be lacking heart. She tried to turn her bed of thorns into roses, and she made me help her. She created stories to pass on, not real information.

I am honest. I don't need to share every thought. I can say I am sad without being cruel. I can be happy without being relateable. I don't have a large following. My accounts are privated and secured with aliases, padlocks, and rings of fire... But I am me, and when I am having momentary lapses in personalization and realization it's easy to reference the internet of me. Social media in all of its darkness can also be profoundly meaningful and mundane.

I took a picture of a mushroom, of a tree, and brambles, a path that an animal carved before me. I added a caption. It was not for anyone else. It was for me. It was me. I remember that I like secret passsages, escape routes. I remember the smell. I was there with the mushrooms and got a hole in my shoe, the squishing mud between my toes. I exist. I am valid.

Hashtags for irony. #youregrounded #selfvalidation #adreamwithinadream #derealizationdoesntexist

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Being independent
« on: March 23, 2022, 10:37:58 AM »
I am just going to come out and say it... I don't like my marriage.

I read this Wiki page on how to be a strong independent woman, and it was quite upsetting. They make it sound so simple, as if you just wake up each morning and make a choice to stand up for yourself and be empowered.

1. Practice assertiveness
2. Don't compare yourself to other women
3. Set clear boundaries
4. Stand up for yourself
5. Believe in yourself
6. Let people know when they have hurt your feelings
7. Address disrespectful and offensive comments
8. Learn to recognise codependency

Is it just me or is this list actually a list of how to spot a relational trauma survivor? I'm simply not an equal.

I feel like an alien. It's something I know a lot of us feel. There are lots of feelings I have that I can associate with my trauma, and most of them at this point I can see a place for. I can understand and have compassion for myself knowing why I behave and think the way I do. That does really comfort me. I find comfort in understanding myself and it helps me heal from some of my destructive behaviours. Everything I do has thought behind it, often too much thought. It led me in the worst of times to self-medicate, and in the best of times just to feel isolated.

I was just having a conversation with someone online. My side was based on logic and reason, and the other person got quite emotional and seemed to disregard the actual meaning behind what I had typed. I repeated myself several times trying to explain why my point was rational and based only in cited fact, and as I did this I had that thought. The same one I always have. At first I thought it was a reading comprehension issue, or they had simply misread something. Then I thought, "Why are people like this? I don't understand how their brains work. What kind of life does this person have if they cannot even attempt to indulge an idea that goes against their emotional response? How can they make any decisons??"

As far back as I can remember I have been hypercritical of others. Often I focus on, "Why am I an alien? What is wrong with me?" But I just had an epiphony. What separates me from others is my perception of others and my complete inability to understand how people choose to live. It's me. I separate myself from others. I am well-meaning, kind, and completely hypercritical.

I have a memory in Bible camp where I extinguished another child's "light of God" (campfire). This person hadn't followed instructions on how to build their fire properly, and had been quite mean to me all week. They were blowing on their tiny embers and had just gotten a tiny flame. I just remember them saying, "See it just needed oxygen!" I walked up, smirked, blew out their fire and said, "You don't exhale oxygen." and walked away. At the time, being 11 years old, I felt really proud of myself.

I look back now and see something really cruel and hypercritical. I understand why I was cruel. I only knew cruel.

But why am I so critical?

Christmas & New Years / The holiday.
« on: December 08, 2021, 10:58:01 AM »
How my trauma effects everything I do and every decision I make: Holiday Edition.

This season was a very hard one growing up. My mother hated it, and it brought out her worst. There were two years where the holiday was cancelled because we woke up too early and went into our parents' room excited to wish them happy holiday.

I can't even say the name of the holiday, we don't call it that in our house. I have tried my best not to hate this holiday, because it doesn't seem rational and I don't want to be like her. ...But this holiday makes me feel very uncomfortable which is a huge step forward from how it made me feel for many years.

There are so many things we do differently as a family. We call it winter holiday. We don't lie at all, not even the magical lies. I am constantly battling with myself over how to make things special, but also how to be a good person. We don't decorate with anything remotely religious. We have an indoor potted cypress tree that I light up, but there is no star atop the tree, no gold, no angels, no deceit. I have trouble doing anything that feels remotely ritualistic, and I just try to focus on celebrating the long winter. We decorate with reindeer, moose, snowflakes, cookie cutters, and cinnamon sticks. We had our son put his boots outside for Nikolaustag, we told him only that in the morning there may be gifts inside because it's a special day. We didn't threaten him with coal, or tell him anything about a saint who gives gifts. I try so hard to balance merriment with building an honest relationship. Sometimes I feel that I am selling my son short, that he is missing out somehow. When his school asks what we will be doing for the holiday, my heart sinks. I replied with, "Well, we don't really celebrate that."

We do the same for spring holiday. We give spring themed gifts, enjoy nature, and celebrate life and rebirth in that way. In autumn we celebrate the dormancy and the coming darkness. In summer... well... we're probably at the beach.

I feel so much guilt this time of year. All of my son's gifts will be unwrapped, and simply placed into a burlap sack that's tied up with a cord, as it always is. I can't be wasteful or frivolous. We will tell them they're from Mama and Papa. We'll make spiced Swedish cookies together, as I struggle to find a winter playlist that I don't find triggering, we'll probably stick to jazz music to play it safe, and we'll all sip warm alcohol free drinks. We will completely ignore some traditions, advents, feasts, etc, as I'm constantly arguing inside myself about how to do the right thing.

I know many of us struggle this time of year. If you're struggling too, my heart goes out to you. The time before I created this family were extremely difficult for me in a very different way. I feel bad for complaining about these struggles knowing how hard it can be. ...But I guess I just want to know that I am not alone in my perfectionism, and my absolute distain for anything ritualistic, religious, or dishonest, and that I am not the only person who is constantly in a battle with themself weighing morals against each other.

RE - Re-experiencing the Past (eg Flashbacks, Triggers) / Delayed reactions
« on: November 03, 2021, 01:12:41 PM »
Most of my trauma didn't feel traumatic when it happened. It just was, and it was accepted.

Sometimes I am triggered and it doesn't seem very triggering, until later... sometimes much later.

Today it was a simple question, which I answered plainly.

And five hours later, I suddenly burst into tears in the shower over something that I now realise is very traumatic.

...It's almost as if I have to be so far removed from the event that it is only a story for me to be able to realise that it is a very sad story. There have been times where I've felt like everything is a story that I didn't connect to at all. It just was. It just is. It's not me.

I don't know why I am writing this, but somehow it feels like a significant puzzle piece. Derealisation → delayed response → C-PTSD response. Maybe someone has insight.

Today as I sat in the waiting room at the clinic, I saw this woman holding her young son. She stood directly outside the entrance in the stairwell with a look of terror. The reception on this floor was in direct eye shot, merely seven metres across the threshold of the open doorway. She stood there with eyes darting around for several minutes gripping tightly onto her son. I thought about approaching her and asking if I could give her direction, but I didn’t. I didn’t know if we spoke a language in common, and I didn’t want to risk addressing her in a language she may take as an insult, and I don’t typically approach people. Eventually a nurse gave her guidance.

Seeing her standing there with this familiar look of fear and dread felt so real to me. It reminded me of the progress I’ve made. So many of my social anxieties were only a syndrome, a greater symptom of the internalised behaviour I was forced to use.

As I observed her there I had the realisation that I would have left rather than risking discovery. The gazing eyes from onlookers coupled with the threat of being exposed as someone who doesn't know, of someone who is lost and vulnerable, would have been too much. I have turned around and left so many times. I’ve left opportunities behind, friends behind, doctors behind, phone calls, and jobs too; I left life behind.

I write this from a better place, from inside the waiting room. It's something I still deal with. I didn't approach her after all. ...But observing her, and seeing myself as a trauma survivor and seeing that in her is a huge step for me. There are many things that I still find very difficult to do but I do understand why I behave the way I do. It is rational. To ask directions is to make yourself vulnerable. To answer an unexpected phone call is to open yourself up to seemingly endless possibilities for danger. To admit that you don't know is to open yourself up to be taken advantage of.

Today I am able to write from inside the room. I crossed the threshhold, sat next to a stranger, spoke to a nurse, and bicycled home. I saw myself in somebody else. I did all of these things without deliberation or resignation. When we talk about healing from CPTSD, we often talk as if it goes away, and it doesn't. It changes. Today I am able to see myself as someone who has endured major trauma that is a huge part of how I was shaped, but I am also able to carry out the most basic tasks that others take for granted.

I don't know if anyone will find this helpful or if it will just come across as self-indulgent or self-congratulatory.

It is self-congratulatory, and I deserve that. I've climbed mountains.

Poetry & Creative Writing / Im-practical
« on: August 30, 2021, 04:27:09 PM »
I'm a dreamer.
but I'm flexible, I bend and I bend.
I accomodate those around me,
I dare them to dream.
I sacrifice myself through my unending compromise.
I compromised once, but my dream was unrealistic.
I compromised again, to satisfy the non-dreamer.
I envisioned new ideas. I created new dreams.
I brainstormed hopes and ambitions.
I shed hope like I shed tears, but it's hopeless.
Today I realised that to inspire aspirations
in someone who doesn't chase fulfillment to slowly suffocate myself.
Today he said he would compromise, and I suddenly realised...
Those hopes, those dreams, they were so far removed from me,
they were never mine.
They weren't my dreams.
Today I remembered who I am.
Here and now I dare to dream. I dare to dream MY dream,
however hopeless, far-fetched, and impractical it may be.
It is mine, and it belongs to me.
I deserve to dream.

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.

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