My suicidal fish

As a little girl we had a small fish tank with numerous gold fish swimming around colorful rocks.  My brother and I would take turns sprinkling dry flakes of food to the top of the water and watch the fish open their mouths wide and suck in the nourishment.  These fish had a comfortable fish life.  Food provided regularly, miniature structures to rest behind, and no predators.  But, for some reason, these fish did not like living in our home.  No matter how many were replaced, each fish would flail it’s golden flesh high out of the tank, clearing the sides to plummet five feet to the dirty worn carpet and lay without air, their mouths pumping and gasping.

Did the secrets of our house electrify their water?  Did the dark fears of our family make their hearts beat uncontrollably?

Did they taste the spilt blood in their dry flakes?  Did my pain crackle through their water and paralyze their thin fins? 

Did the heavy weight of shame slither into their souls?  Did the hate slash their flesh? Did the water slowly warm when daddy’s blistering anger flew around the room? 

Did my battle to survive muddy their under-water home?  Did my silent screams fracture their window to the world?

Whatever the reason, they did what I could only dream of.  They escaped.

short update

The friend I sent my long email to responded with a long loving email telling me she is here to be with me, not judge me, but to love me in as healthy way as possible.  The lady from my church that didn’t call me also sent a long email explaining what was happening in her life between her two trips (12 hour flight delay, unexpected visitors at home).  She said she wanted to explain but in no way was it justification or an excuse.  It also was a very loving letter.

Thank you fellow bloggers for caring for me and making me feel like my feelings were valid.  I am sorry this is going to be so short, I am feeling myself dip into depression tonight and am headed to numbness.

a tiny disappointment, huge emotional backlash

I met with a woman who is part of a group of experienced “caregivers” for church members that are struggling and want to meet on a regular basis to talk.  They are to be an additional support.  It took me two years to call to inquire about the program, another year before I was ready to meet with someone.

The first meeting went so well.  I felt like we connected, she seemed genuine and I was touched by her compassion.  She was getting ready to go on two scheduled vacations so we wouldn’t get to meet again for 2 1/2 weeks  but, she said she would call me in between the two trips and we could meet before she left for the second one. I was really looking forward to meeting with her because it was going to happen on a week that my counselor was going to be out of town.  I waited all day the day she was supposed to call.  Then I waited all day the next day.  No call.  No text.  No emails.  I knew she probably wouldn’t be able to meet but I did expect her to call to tell me that.

I didn’t feel too much at the time.  Yesterday we met and for the first time in my life I told someone that I was sad when they didn’t follow through with what they said they would do.  She responded in a most wonderful, caring, and understanding way.  She was truly sorry, she asked if this had hurt our trust.  I responded that it did hurt.  We continued the meeting but I felt like I was just going through the motions.  I made another appointment because that is what “I am supposed to do”…again, going through the motions.

Last night I slipped into the dark well of depression.

 I know what happened is such a small thing…… but after my previous counselor and support group were found to be untrustworthy this just feels like it is too large to get over.  My counselor asked (through email) what I was protecting myself from?  I am protecting myself from betrayal, abandonment, rejection, and the hurt that comes from thinking someone cares about me when really they do not.  He also pointed out that this woman’s response was VERY different than that of my previous counselor and all my other friends.

How can I trust that she won’t hurt me again?  That she really cares?  Why am I feeling so wounded when I just met her?

I know the answer to the last question.  When we met the first time she teared up when I answered her question about who I had in my life for support.  I have my husband and counselor.  She asked about family and friends.  Uhhh, no to both of those.  When she teared up, I believed her.  I trusted that she cared about me.  I actually thought I had someone else I could lean on for support.  But then I was wrong.

There’s been so many times in my life when I have trusted at the onset that someone was truly in my corner only to find out I am easily forgotten, easily abused, easily rejected.

 

 

 

 

Chicken Psychology & Self-Harm

In a recent post on (in)courage.me.com  someone commented that one of their backyard chickens was acting strangely.  When feed was thrown on the ground rather than leisurely peck as the other birds did, this smaller bird would start running around frantically pecking at the ground.  The owner became concerned when she noticed this particular bird was also missing many feathers.  When taken to the vet, it was explained that in a flock there is a hierarchy, actually a pecking order.  Everyone wants to be over someone, everyone wants to be in control of another.  The vet showed where the other chickens had been attacking this bird at the base of the neck and pulling the feathers out.  She weighed only three pounds because the bird came to believe what the others were telling her…..she wasn’t worthy to be a part of the flock.  She wasn’t deserving enough to eat.  So, this poor chicken turned on herself and began to pull out her own feathers.  She no longer had to be bullied because she took that job on herself.

How many of us have taken on the job of continuing to abuse ourselves long after our abusers are out of our lives?  How many of us withhold food, overeat, cut our skin, give our bodies for sex, over medicate, drink to escape, sleep to escape, withdraw from life all because we believe what our abuser told us?  We believed their lies that we are unworthy, unloveable, and undeserving of life itself.

The vet told this owner to remove the chicken from the flock so that it could experience peace and be strengthened.  Once it has attained confidence in itself the chicken could then be successfully reintroduced back into the flock.  For the last three years this is what God has done for me.  He removed me from my flock of friends and family so that I could find peace and begin the healing process.  I have been strengthened enough to start to venture out into life again and face relationships with others.

I am strengthened but I still struggle with self-harm.   

 My self- harm is hidden from view so only my counselor and husband know and they know only because I have told them.  Well, my husband knew because my feet are in so much pain sometimes he notices that I am walking awkwardly.   Plus he has to buy the gauze and bandages.   About 10 years ago I started to peel layers of skin off the bottom of my feet.  I tell myself that the pain I feel the next day with each step I take is punishment for what I have done to myself.   Whenever I am stressed, anxious, or condemning, I self- harm.  I have successfully diverted my attention elsewhere from time to time but mostly I fail.  I am learning, though, how to be kind to myself.  How to forgive myself, how to offer myself peace.  I am also learning where to appropriately place my anger.  Healing is a process and because I am evidently and sadly not through with the flashbacks and triggers, suicidal thinking and dissociation, I need to be okay with where I am right now.  I am one that struggles with self-harm and shame.  But maybe, just maybe, this is a small step in alleviating some of the shame associated with it.

 

 

Dear Friend,

I’ve been a bad friend to you and I’m sorry.  I have no excuses or explanations.  What I am going to share with you (and the purpose of this letter) is not an excuse.  I know you truly care and for that reason I want to open my heart.

I am petrified of being found unworthy of your friendship, abandoned, or rejected.  And that causes me to be silent with you.  The struggle I’m in right now sometimes overwhelms me and often confuses me and I feel out of control.  When I’m not in “control” of my emotions I can’t find my voice.  This leaves me feeling all alone (which is a dangerous place for me.)

I know my fears are directly related to being abandoned by my family and my previous counselor and her support group that I was a part of.  I thought I had worked through that pain and in huge ways I have but evidently this fear has carried through.

Opening up to you in the midst of the pain is difficult and scary because sometimes I am on the edge of a cliff with no words.  Other times my thoughts and subsequently my words are so raw and full of pain.  I guess if I broke down the fear it would be a fear of someone telling me my words don’t fit in their definition of a relationship with Christ or giving me an easy fix solution: “pray this prayer” or “say this verse over and over”,  when I know that what I need and what God wants is for all this pain to come out, be expressed and be felt for the first time.

This fear I have is magnified by the fact of our geography.  I’m not able to see you daily or weekly or even monthly.  Phone conversations are difficult because I can’t see a person’s face to judge what they’re thinking or feeling at any given moment.  Judging thoughts and emotions in others was a matter of survival when I was a child but now it really works against me doesn’t it?  Our friendship is faltering because of it.  And I am sorry.

I have been experiencing disturbing flashbacks from my childhood.  The most recent of being tied up.

That feels like a conversation ender.  What would a friend do with that?  I don’t want to burden you.  Is this something I should share with you?  I have no idea…and that keeps me silent.  Is there part of the pain that is acceptable to share but another part that would be considered too much and would then be declared a burden?  I have no idea what’s appropriate.  What’s healthy sharing and what crosses the line?  Can the line be determined ahead of time or is only determined after it’s crossed?

All these questions keep me silent.  All these questions at a time when I desperately need a friend.  Someone to love me, listen, and not be afraid of the pain.  Someone who knows I have an excellent counselor who is supportive and there for me in emergencies.  I want that kind of friend I can share with but in order to receive that love I have to share the load I carry around with me.  I have to find my voice.  I have to put voice to the pain.  And then I’m back to the fear of abandonment and rejection.  It’s like a revolving door that leaves me silent, alone, and in pain.  It keeps me from deep relationships which I very much want with you.

I have a serious mental illness.  Does that scare you?  To be honest it scares me.  A mental illness that was formed during all the evil perpetrated on me as a child.  It kept me alive when I had no way of escape from the non-ending abuse.  But now, it is a struggle to do normal things sometimes.  My laundry is more often than not piled up along with the dishes.  My husband has temporarily taken over the cooking.  Things that I used to do without a thought now require more concentration than I have sometimes.

I have times of being suicidal.  Does that make you back away from me?  The days and nights turn black dark and last for years it seems.  The pain at these times is alive and active and devouring.  My time is sometimes spent second by second white knuckling it, trying to make good choices but often failing.

I have questioned my God, my sanity, and life itself.  I have been (and still am) angry at God, life, my abusers and family.  I am in the middle of counting all the losses this abuse has cost me.  I don’t often smile during working through this mess.  To put it bluntly, I’m not a fun sunshiny person right now.  Does that make you want to look elsewhere for a friend?

I am used to  being rejected.  Mom, Dad, Aunts, Uncles, grandparents, a counselor and most recently , my mother-in-law (because I chose to voice an opinion of how she treated one of my kids.)  I completely understand if where I am overwhelms you.  It overwhelms me.  I understand if the timing of this friendship doesn’t work for you.  I want this deeper friendship with you, but I really understand if you choose otherwise.

If all this doesn’t send you running, I don’t know where to go from here…except for me to keep trying to being honest with you.  I promise to keep trying to be a better friend.  I want you to know that your friendship is very important to me.  Very important.

Much love,

Is my therapist my enemy or co-warrior?

I admitted in our session that I, adult me, was the one that was hell bent on being suicidal.  This was a very difficult admission because up to now I could easily blame the 14 yr old in me as the one being suicidal.  But it became clear last week that I was the one making the plans.  Before our session that week I commanded everyone on the inside that they were not to utter anything about the hidden pills.  But the 14 year old eventually emailed my counselor and told him how I had stopped taking one of my meds in order to accumulate a large enough amount to be dangerous.

I dreaded going to my session yesterday because of that email.  I knew he would bring it up.  I had already decided that he and my husband were my enemies.  If they knew about the pills they would make me hand them over……

forcing me……
making me feel tied up…..
a feeling worth dying for.

But instead of making me get rid of them immediately my T invited me to explore why I felt a need to escape the pain and why I was holding on to suicide as a choice.  I teared up realizing that he was joining me on this journey to helping me figure this out instead of being against me in this battle.

So, today, I am feeling raw, exposed, sad, and in pain.  But, not alone.  I still have the pills hidden, but I have another appointment tomorrow.  And, I am ready to let my T battle for me.

Being scared to death (literally)

I met with my T yesterday and told him there was something I wasn’t ready to share but that it involved being suicidal.  We talked about my being in a crisis already and then my son’s visit to my dad is pushing me to the edge of the cliff.  There’s a lot of stress on me right now with none that I can alleviate.  I realized that I am scared to death (literally) to depend on my T and husband during times of great pain.  And there is something about them caring for me that is making me what to push away to take care of my pain on my own terms.  I want them to prove to me they are not dependable so I can legitimately escape this pain.  I am scared to trust. Scared to trust that they will catch me when I fall.  Scared to trust they will be there when the pain comes to an end.  Scared I will be left alone so why not go ahead and put myself on an island now?

This didn’t come out during our session so I will be emailing him the above.  It’s my attempt to keep taking the next step, even if small.