Grateful for my fellow supporters..

 

With so many severely disordered people in my life and as it seems in the world, I must say that I am extremely grateful for also crossing paths with so many lovely, caring, resilient and empathetic people. People that feel deeply and want to share their stories to help others are very special, unique individuals and I connect with them in such a meaningful way.

Growing up I never felt heard, accepted, validated and wasn’t really encouraged to be the person I needed to be. Now in my 30’s I have met many wonderful people, including those clients I have looked after in my care work, that have more empathy & understanding towards me & others, than my parents ever did..Sometimes complete strangers can feel more like family than your own blood..and that is ok because these people are important in the lives of children & adults who grew up in an abusive home.

This post is to cherish these loving individuals who have touched my life and helped me through some of my toughest times.

I also value every single one of ‘YOU’ in this ever surprising blogging world, who have followed my blog, have shown interest in my personal story and for your kind words. I am also very humbled if I have been able to help you even if just a little bit, by sharing some of my knowledge in areas that I am so familiar with.

Thank you so much ❤

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn – Pete Walker

4fDear friends,

I have been reading Pete Walker’s bookComplex PTSD- From surviving to thriving – as recommended by the lovely http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/

This book has helped me immensely identify how often I am triggered with emotional flashbacks. It also helped me identify the 2 F types I mostly use. I am primarily a Fawn type but also have moments of Freezing..Fawn types are people-pleasers, codependents. I am no longer as bad a Fawn type as I used to be, as I am now no longer trying to please everyone. If they hurt me, I tell them and I walk away. I try not too care too much anymore about ‘fixing’ others either. I am happy to be empathetic and offer help when I see the other person wants it. I no longer allow others to manipulate my insecurities to get what they want. Years of therapy has helped me look at my reactions and negative learned behaviours and change them to a more constructive way of coping.

Freezing probably happens in moments where I am having a flashback or when I am retraumatised. It also happens when I feel threatened in a situation where I can’t escape. This happened to me during a sexual assault.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone out there who had a difficult, traumatic childhood. Its helpful to people with PTSD or CPTSD. It has helped me put the pieces of the puzzle together as to why I react the way I do in certain triggering situations.

Love, hope & healing

circles1Even though I am away from home and been in New York for 3 weeks, I still managed to create some art last night which made me feel very happy ..I brought some marker pens with me, but obviously couldn’t bring too many of my art supplies as we already had 2 suitcases each. After exploring so much over the last 3 weeks I didn’t get round to doing any doodling..and that is a good thing I guess..I have been busy enough enjoying my new surroundings and not stuck at home for too many hours ruminating over things that are painful..New York has been a breath of fresh air and a new bonding experience for my husband and I..

On the other hand, it’s been 5 months since the traumatic suicide attempt of my father and nearly 4 months of no contact with him..I have been feeling much better about it all after having some distance..I grieved a lot after it happened and it would catch me by surprise sometimes when out in public…Since being here in NY I’ve only had one tearful moment thinking about him lying in that bed bruised & swollen in a coma. It was on our 1 year anniversary..He helped arrange our wedding last year and it meant the world to me that he was there, especially because he was already very depressed back then and I had a bad feeling that something would happen to him…but now things have changed..The bad thing happened and it will never be the same again…I lost my dad that day even if he is still alive..

This time in New York is so precious right now and such a great distraction for me..I am appreciating every moment of it as I know that when we return home, I will start processing all my traumas in therapy with EMDR which will be tough work and also my husband and I will be returning to Greece for 3 weeks holiday at Christmas/New year. It will be the first time I am going ‘home’ where I am not on talking terms with my father..It will be emotional for me and very difficult..My husband deserves a holiday though, as he hasn’t had a real one this year..Our February & May holiday in Greece was ruined by my Dad’s severe depression & suicide attempt and I can see my husband is desperate for a ‘real holiday’ as even NY is work for him. He said that if anything happens with my father, he will immediately return home and stay away..As much as that holiday will be a huge challenge for me, at least we have my husband’s sister to spend our time with at Christmas..

There is always hope & love somewhere in all the chaos and drama..I try to hold onto that to keep going and very grateful to have more of that in my life now, than I ever did before..

Thanks for reading x

New York City and so glad I pushed through my anxiety..

DSCN0505 DSCN0547 DSCN0549 DSCN0591Dear friends,

As you can see I made it to New York. I successfully got through my first 8 hour transatlantic flight in a huge airbus and I didn’t have a panic attack. I managed to control my anxiety & triggers by listening to music nearly the whole way through the flight. My noise cancelling headphones minimised all the sounds the plane makes during take off & landing, I remembered to breathe deeply and overall I feel incredibly grateful to have made it.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I did EMDR to help reduce my PTSD symptoms whilst flying. I guess it actually helped dumb down the extreme physical reactions my body goes through when being triggered by the loud sounds a plane can sometimes make and the turbulence which can sometimes make you feel sick.

I am happy and I am grateful that I arrived and even more so that I am spending my time here with my husband. We are also celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary on the 15th this month and so happy that we made it through a very tough and tumultuous year.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am starting to see it..

FontCandy (29)Today I had a successful therapy day, even though I had so much offloading to do and had so much anger & pain to express about my dysfunctional family..

I talked about how much control my abusers have had over me all my life and how much I have suffered because of it..I talked about how unfair it is that I can’t completely go no contact with my mother due to my brother and his disabilities/vulnerabilities..I also talked about how unfair it is that my ACE’S (adverse childhood experiences) score is so high and my resilience score is so low..

I had nobody stable growing up to draw strength from, to look to for validation, for acceptance, for comfort or for praise. No other family members, no teachers or other adults.. I had my art, my poetry, smoking cigarettes, escapism through tv shows and spending as much time away from home as possible (in my teens).

A lot of people go through horrific traumas in their childhood, however have a high resilience score and manage to lead relatively normal lives. They had at least one adult in their life to model ‘healthy behaviour’ and to provide comfort.

My first adult to provide this was my 1st counselor at the age of 16, when it was already too late..I was already suffering from depression & anxiety and begged my parents to let me speak to someone so I could understand what was so wrong with me. That was the first time I felt ‘heard’! It felt incredible..it felt like I wasn’t crazy after all..I learnt that my primary caregivers were the ‘sick’ ones..

Despite this first experience of feeling ‘heard’, I have battled on for 17 years through various therapists, situations and tragedies..

Little by little, progress was made..Small steps were made and each step, no matter how insignificant it seemed at the time, was the reason I survived..

I am definetely not cured.. As most of you other ‘survivors’ know there is NO quick fix to years of abuse..Society wants us to be fixed quickly..People can’t tolerate problems..My parents couldn’t tolerate the fact that I was human…This isn’t right however..

I was always impatient with myself and demanded that I had to feel better sooner……I was being as horrible and as mean to myself, as my abusers were to me..I kept hearing the words ‘pathetic’, ‘ too sensitive’, ‘needy child’, ‘bad girl’ , ‘dirty slut’ over and over again in my head, and treated myself in that way..Not anymore..

This nasty critic (my parent’s critical voices) is slowly diminishing..My therapist told me today that I need to be proud of myself for surviving as much as I did..She said I have done incredibly well and am stronger than my parents ever were..The more I remind myself of this, the better I feel..and my parents don’t matter anymore..They are disordered, abusive people..

A big stepping stone in my recovery was the fact that I had a dream 2 nights ago and this wasn’t just any dream..It was a new dream, a cathartic dream, it was my unconscious trying to tell me something important..

There was a fire or some major disaster in this dream and I had my husband and friends around me, a few rescue workers and I was hugging my brother in comfort, saying ‘it’s over now, everything will be ok from now on’. The reason I was saying this, was because I had just been told that both our parents were pronounced dead.. Usually this sort of dream, would be deeply upsetting but in this case I felt a sense of relief…YES, RELIEF that my parents were dead.. .My brother was crying in the dream,  just as he would be in reality, because he will never understand the complexity of my parents’ disorder…I however felt relieved that they could no longer hurt me, make me feel small, make me feel insignificant..

My therapist said that this dream signifies that I am coming near the end of my grieving, as I have finally accepted that my parents will never change..The relief was the fact that I no longer feel ‘enmeshed’, dependent or controlled by them..

This dream signified the ‘death of hope’ for them becoming the caring parents I so desperately wished I had..

The pain doesn’t ever go away, but  ‘grieving the parents I never had’ has been the most significant milestone in my recovery..

I felt good about this today..Through all the pain and sadness, I felt good that I have made such progress..