Where is Happiness?

It seems I have lost it again

I’ve lost it so many times before

Maybe I’m just not meant to have it

It is easily given but easily forgotten

I found it as an Easter egg hidden under a bush

I saw it light up the sky after a ball game

It has licked my face and wagged its tail

I have felt it’s soft kiss and warm embrace

How could I lose it?

Where can I find it?

Instead, I always know where to find pain

It’s hidden in corners, cupboards, and boxes.

It puts on a mask and pretends to be your friend

I’ve heard it yell insults and threats and curses

I’ve held it’s hand on a date to the movies

I was raped by it in a cheap motel room

I drank it down to forget

Oh I know where to find darkness

Darkness is easy to find.

It sits in my brain waiting for its day

It makes my heart bleed out on to my arms

It speaks to me telling me I shouldn’t be

I have found darkness.

But, where is happiness?

Advertisements

Building My Staircase

I haven’t written in a long time. Writing has always been my escape. It gives me an outlet to process hard emotions. Lately, I haven’t had a need or reason to write. Life has been good. I am thankful for the amount of healing that has taken place. I’m living my best life with a great husband. I have my dream job. Life has been good.

With that said, I want to share an experience I had. I went to therapy last week and I completely froze. I was overcome with a heated fear. You may know that I love to talk, so when words were hard to find I knew it was serious. I sat there in silence as my therapist of many years pushed me to talk. I only said the things above. I told her life was good. I said how good I was doing. She then asked me if life was so good, then what was I hiding from her. I thought for a minute before bursting into tears and saying, “I don’t know.”

In this moment, pain surface. A really dark and deep pain that I felt crawling up my spine and infesting the corners of my mind. I was petrified and I couldn’t figure out why. My therapist got me a weighted blanket and helped me come back to reality. Whatever that was, scared me. She ended our time telling me I must be very afraid of whatever I’m hiding. She was right.

I left her office in a haze. I couldn’t figure out what just happened. Life is going well! What is this fear and where is it coming from? I have never been one to suppress my feelings, I’m often an open book. Whatever it was, I knew it was bad. I couldn’t let it destroy my life.

I haven’t told anyone about what happened last week– not even my husband. I pushed it back and called it a fluke. I pretended it wasn’t anything to be concerned about and went on with my life. I almost forgot about it until the other night. I felt the same fear and pain enter my body again. I recognized it as the same fear I felt at my psychologists office. This time, I also recognized the source.

That wasn’t the first time I had felt that fear and hurt. I have, in fact, felt it many times before. I usually would feel it and then push it down and move on. I suddenly realized why I felt so afraid with therapist. I am doing so well but I have been ignoring something for a long time. I have been ignoring something that needs to be addressed. Despite my best efforts to ignore the pain and fear, it will continue to surface until I work through it.

I suppose it’s time I actually mention what it is. That’s the fear trying to win. That is why I am writing again. I can’t let the pain win. The pain that is buried so deep inside is my past trauma, specifically sexual trauma and abuse.

If you know me or have followed my blog, you know my history with this subject. I’m not shy about it. I am however shy about how much the trauma has effected me. I have never been diagnosed with PTSD but I believe what I am experiencing is similar. The hurt and the fear I felt still haunts me. Not only does it haunt me, but it brings me so much fear and anxiety I shut down thinking about it.

So now I begin a new journey. I begin a journey of healing from abuse and trauma. I think I was afraid that letting this come to light would discredit all the progress I’ve made. That is a falsity. In fact, if it weren’t for my progress, I could never properly address this pain. I think of it like building a staircase. You can’t start at the top without having a good base. You build slowly up, one step and a time. This is my next step.

Please reach out with any resources that might help me in my journey. I know I’m not alone in this.

I Know I’m Not Crazy

So I am really into shows and movies about doctors, hospitals, and the like. In such shows, there is sometimes a patient that comes in with all these symptoms and the doctors will then try to say “Oh, those are the classic symptoms of insert mental illness here. Let me call in a psychiatrist.” The patient will panic and say the famous words, “No, please! I know I’m not crazy.” The doctor will then perform numerous tests and find some tumor or lesion and it will be removed and the patient will go on their merry way. When the doctors give the patient the news that it’s a tumor or some other tangible ailment, the patient is relieved because it is much easier to accept a tumor than it is to accept a mental illness.

I know I’m not crazy. I’m not. I have a condition in which my brain produces too much or too little of certain chemicals which cause my mind to not function as well as it should. Just like a tumor I have no control over this chemical reaction. I’m not crazy. Why does society treat those of us that suffer as such?

I understand why people would be upset when they hear that they might have a mental illness. I get it. It totally sucks. It sucks because mental illness is hard to diagnose and even harder to treat. It sucks because it takes a lot of hard work and patience to treat an illness. It sucks because you know you’ll be treated differently because of a chemical imbalance in your body. I get it. It sucks. Let me be perfectly clear, however, it does not suck because we are crazy! It doesn’t. We aren’t crazy.

We may feel crazy at times because our brain is trying kill our body. We may feel crazy when the world around us functions with such ease and our world fails to function at all. We may feel crazy when people treat mental illness like a mythical creature. We may feel crazy, but we aren’t.

Do you know how hard it is to get through life knowing you have nothing to live for? No? Well I do. I have gotten through and created a life worth living. My brain constantly try’s to take that away from me and my fist full of pills remind me I am one slip away from losing all hope. However, these things don’t make me crazy. They make me a fighter. I realize that I will be fighting the rest of my life and that is exhausting. I will not, however, let the world tell me my fight isn’t legitimate. It’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I hope one day there will be a Doctor show where the doctors suggest a mental illness and the patient is able to say, “That really sucks, but I’m happy there is treatment. Walk with me while I fight it.”

Climbing that Mountain

The strangest phenomenon is when I am doing great and all of a sudden my brain flips a switch. It’s strange being happy and knowing life is good but feeling this overwhelming sense of doom. It’s like being locked inside on a beautiful day. You know it’s a beautiful day but for whatever reason, you can’t go out and experience it.

I describe it as my brain wanting me dead. It sucks. I don’t want to die but my brain tricks me. It’s as if I’m looking through a dark lens. I can’t see life for what it is. Sometimes it comes gradually and sometimes it happens all at once.

I think throughout my healing journey I have found myself consumed by different things. More recently, I have been terrified by the past. Little things keep coming in and reminding me of awful things. Most people who know me have heard me talk about my rock bottom. If not, you are sure to read about it in a past blog post. My rock bottom was a state of mania. I did such awful disgusting things that I can’t even recognize myself. I keep being reminded and reminded again of all this things I did. I keep being reminded of all the pain and hurt I still carry from those days. It’s not just going to go away.

Therapy lately has been hard because life has been hard. This journey is truly and journey because I’m still climbing mountains. The most important thing is that I don’t lose site of myself and my goals. I have built a life worth living. Now, I must continue to live it.

Pointless curses.

Suck it Up, Buttercup.

It’s not there, if you can’t see it.

It’s not real, if not everyone can feel it.

You’re making excuses.

No one is going to believe it.

You really should grow up.

Why don’t you just give up.

Stop being so damn lazy.

We are going to have to write you up.

Maybe you should try praying more.

You shouldn’t take all those pills anymore.

You scared your peers with your outburst.

You should just try to be happy more.

You seem fine to me.

You look fine to me.

Suck it up, buttercup.

Your life doesn’t look hard to me.

You’re milking this for all it’s worth.

Maybe if you lose some weight it will help your self worth.

You’re just doing this for attention.

You’ll probably grow out of it, for what it’s worth.

It’s all in your head.

Yeah, you’ve got that right. It IS all in my head.

The Suicide Clause

Most life insurances nowadays have a Suicide clause in them. This means if you take your own life via suicide, the contract is void and they don’t have to pay out the claim. I understand why this exists as I can see how some may take advantage of the system. I also see how this might motivate some to take their own life if they are in a tough spot financially. On another hand, I see this clause as another way of ignoring the sickly existence of some very real, very hard, mental illnesses.

Sometimes, I feel like my life is just one big suicide clause. This meaning everything that happens to me is just another reason to ignore the grotesque illness my body is fighting every day. It means that if I die because of my illness someday, the “mentally ill contract” will be void and I will be to blame not the illness.

I shouldn’t feel guilty for being sick. I shouldn’t feel guilty for showing symptoms of my sickness. Hell, I shouldn’t feel guilty for occasionally contemplating suicide. However, because of this suicide clause that is society and their ignorance, I am left feeling devastated.

I am left feeling inadequate. It’s as if I am not really sick unless I am in the hospital. It’s the guilt of having to leave work after an anxiety attack and feeling like a failure because I have seen doing so good for so long. I am tired of having to defend myself when I show symptoms because the world doesn’t have the capability to understand the disability I am suffering.

Sometimes, I feel like a failure.. Sometimes…

But

This so called suicide clause can’t control me. Why? Because I am strong. I’m stronger than most people realize. I have learned to stand up for myself. I have learned what I need for self care and what is pushing me to my limits. I have will not let anyone bully me or tell me what I’m “supposed” to feel. I may be sick but I’m not dumb. I’m one of the smartest and hardest working women you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting and I will not let any illness or person stand in my way.

A Question of Faith

If I’m honest… and I mean extremely honest, I have so much internal conflict dealing with Faith in God. Part of me really wants to believe and hope in something. I want to be able to take my questions, my worries, my skepticism, and just throw it all away and just believe that the God of the Bible is real. It makes sense to believe at many times. Who wouldn’t want free eternal life? On the other hand, I really don’t want to believe.

Here comes that honesty. I have many reasons for not wanting to believe including questions of his goodness, actions from other Christians, and evidence that he even exists. The biggest part of my doubt comes from purely selfish reasons. I have lived life as a Christian and I have lived life as an agnostic and the truth is, I prefer life as an agnostic and here is why. As a Christian, I was always failing and falling short. No matter how free a gift of Salvation was supposed to be, it never felt free. It felt like guilt. It felt like trying to live a more perfect and holier life but failing and failing badly. It’s feeling shame and sadness. Why? Because that’s what God says about me. I hear conflicting things like it only takes the faith of a mustard seed and that once you are a Christian you should not want to sin because of your love for him. God killed people for far less than the sins I have committed. I don’t want to live my life striving to meet and unobtainable goal. It’s like when you get performance evaluations at work and you worked SO hard all year but you still get a “fair” score because “good” and “excellent” scores are never obtained. You work SO hard to keep the commandments yet you STILL break the commandments because your human and it’s impossible to keep the commandments. Then I’m told a perfect savior took everything from me so I don’t have to worry about breaking the commandments.. but wait, yes I do because if I don’t try to not break the commandments I don’t love him and I’m not a real Christian. It doesn’t make and sense and I don’t want any part of a religion that makes me feel so dirty.

Whew.. that was a lot more than what I was planning on saying but it’s just eating me alive. What do I want? What do I need? Can I be a Christian and not live in shame? Can I be an agnostic and not live in fear of hell? The answer unfortunately is no to both of those. I can’t, and I’m stuck in the religious limbo of not knowing what to do or what to believe. I already anticipate people reaching out in response to this saying “you don’t have to feel guilty because Jesus covers your sins”, and that poses so many other unanswered questions.

It’s too much. It’s more than I can bear. Shouldn’t this be easy?