acceptance without affect

This is the first paragraph… but I’ve written it last. Weird, right?
It’s taken me a week to put this together – not because there is anything in here that is amazingly informative or stunningly interesting. It’s because it has been hard to put into words. I never thought I would find it so difficult to ‘speak my mind’. But here I am.

There may be triggers in here… so please tread carefully if you are a sufferer. I’ve tried to do this ‘clinically’.. without too much extra. That’s difficult in itself for someone like me who is an empath and tends to be rather emotional. Here goes the explanation of absence… although I am determined to do better…. to at least try…. and there’s a lot to be said for that.

PTSD. C-PTSD. CFS.

A lovely bunch of acronyms. Not. I’ll break them down for you…..

PTSD : POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
A disorder characterised by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
The condition may last months or years, with triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.Symptoms may include nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety or depressed mood.

C-PTSD : COMPLEX POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD, sometimes abbreviated to c-PTSD or CPTSD) is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as:
difficulty controlling your emotions
feeling very hostile or distrustful towards the world
constant feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
feeling as if you are permanently damaged or worthless
feeling as if you are completely different to other people
feeling like nobody can understand what happened to you
avoiding friendships and relationships, or finding them very difficult
often experiencing dissociative symptoms such as depersonalisation or derealisation
regular suicidal feelings.

CFS : CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months and that can’t be fully explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest.
Other characteristic symptoms include:
Sleep that isn’t refreshing
Difficulties with memory, focus and concentration
Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting to standing

In the past month, I have had my fair share of medical professionals : Vet, Dentist, Doctor, Psychologist. And I even bumped into the Pfizer rep that I knew from my days of working for a doctor, so there was her too 😉

I knew I had PTSD – related to trauma from 2012. What no one told me is that it can last years… and that when you think you’re ‘over it’, it can come back. The focus was on the 2012 trauma – I have recently discovered that the situation and numerous occasions of abuse when I was married had me already living with PTSD, just not knowing.

This past month, after two years of undergoing blood tests and x-rays, the conclusion that has been drawn is that I have all three of the above. Wait, what? (The only thing missing has been an MRI – so the conclusion is based on evidence and investigation sans that.) This is all just ‘diagnosis’ though. I accept that they’re all educated and know better than me. I accept their diagnosis. This doesn’t mean that I won’t question though… or fight against it… or try and determine otherwise. Stubbornness has it’s advantages 😉 and so does being so focused on hope! 😉

I have never fully understood when people have said to me, ”I just can’t explain it.” I do now.

But we are all different. And respond differently. And as I have researched and read up, and begun ‘unpacking my mind/debriefing’, I have been made even more aware of how different we all are, and how differently we respond.

I can’t walk you through it all… I am only just starting this journey, as such, and am still walking through childhood. Sigh.

And it’s hard. And I am so tired.
(Although the psychologist says I need to stop saying the word tired. Tired can be solved through sleep and rest. Fatigue cannot.)

What I can say for now is this : I am an empathetic and compassionate individual. But this has taken me into a whole new level of understanding and compassion. I hurt for people who are suffering from these things and are doing it alone because people don’t know or comprehend what it is and how much damage it actually does. I hurt for people who have been, and are being judged, because of what is seemingly their actions, and supposed bad choices.
I hurt because I am one of those people. And I wish my arms were wide enough and big enough to stretch over the entire world of those people, so that I could just hold them. Because I know that there is a part of me that just wishes to be held for a while.

I will also say this : my response to all of this has been a little strange. There is an acceptance without affect. My brain is saying,
”Okay fine. They say you have this. It sure explains a lot, and you need to now stop being so hard on yourself. It’s happened. ”Stuff” has happened. You can’t change it, and you can’t change the people who inflicted the hurt and put their issues on you. You can’t take back the reactions and choices you made as a result. So let’s do what we need to, even when it hurts and when it’s hard…. but let’s also figure out how NOT to let it affect every part of your life in a negative way.”

I think it’s that ‘prisoner of hope’ attitude of mine that I now think was developed many years ago to protect my peace in some way. I’m not entirely sure. But I feel like it might have been. And as much as I want to wake up in the morning, and pull the blankets back over my head and just stay like that all day, until the next day… I can’t. And that in itself causes me confusion.

Something else that has me confused….
I can understand why people who suffer feel the way they do. 😦 I am confused as to why I don’t feel the same way.
According to the psychologist, and almost every support group forum I have visited, a vast majority express the ‘suicidal feelings’ symptom. Not always in the way that they would actually DO something… but in a way where they say : ”I just want to die. I pray for God to take me. I just want it to be over.”
Yes, I want the ‘bad feelings’ and the days I struggle to be over and gone. I don’t want to wake up after a good nights rest ‘tired’. BUT I don’t want to die. My strongest desire is to still LIVE, despite this. To find ways for life to go on, and have meaning, and be fruitful, even when I am fatigued and struggling. See? That prisoner of hope thing again, I guess.

I am not medicated. I have opted instead for vitamins, and a herbal supplement aimed at anxiety and stress. This is NOT to say that the variety of medications to treat these acronyms are useless. In fact there is a strong possibility that some form of ‘chemical help’ would benefit me. But this is part of MY issue – a mental block of sorts when it comes to ‘medication’. A part of the past from childhood that is being unpacked.

I share all of the above for two reasons.
The first is to create an awareness of sorts. Because I know this from personal experience : sometimes when something doesn’t directly affect me, I don’t really take the time to learn about it. For example : MS (multiple sclerosis) is not something that has affected anyone I know personally. And so although I know what it is, I have never really delved into it. So I am aware of what it is, but clueless as to the way it impacts someone’s life… and the lives of those around them.
The second reason is this : I value each and every one of my regular readers and followers. (And even those who just pop by for a specific post have meaning to me.) By having my personal blog – and making it so very personal because of the way I am – I have invited and allowed each of you to become ‘part of my world’. And although many of you don’t require an explanation, I needed to tell you – for me. I love connecting with people (another symptom I seem to defy) and part of that connection is honesty and baring a part of my soul, I guess.

So there’s my mind, and soul… slowly unpacking. Apologies for the lengthy post. If you’ve read it all, thank you. ❤

I Need A Man

So now that I have your attention *ahem* it’s not what you think 😛

  1. There is a plug that needs changing in my house
  2. I am not a useless woman

While I am great at dangling precariously from ladders to change light bulbs in my ridiculously high ceilings (it doesn’t help that I am quite short), and while I have managed to fix my drainpipe with some ‘super tape’ and loads of instructions from the guy at the hardware store; I have never learnt to change a plug.

Google is great, and I know I could learn. But I don’t want to.

You see, I don’t mind being a woman. Or actually even being considered ”useless”, to a point. While I agree that feminists have it right in some aspects, I’m not a great advocate for feminism as such. I actually like the fact that there are some things that men ‘are supposed to’ do.

Society is very different these days. As are the general opinions. And we’re all raised different ways. I was raised that the man is the head of the home, so long as he submits himself to God. (Yip, Christian upbringing – which came with its own trials and tribulations) I was raised in such a way that the man was the provider, and the protector. That it was his responsibility to carry the burdens of the household. And in a lot of ways, I view that as correct, and possibly incorrect. But…

My own experience may have warped that thinking all together.

When my son was eight and a half, and my daughter was just twenty months, I became a single mom in every sense of the word. I initiated it because there were no longer any other options available to me – unless I was ready to welcome death. Full on parenthood of both sexes was NOT on my agenda, however. Long story short, after failing at every other option he thought was available to him, he settled on, ”If you divorce me, I will never see the children again and you will suffer for it.” And no amount of counselling or help changed his mind. So at those young ages, that was the last time my children heard from and saw their father.

And suddenly everything was my responsibility. There were no weekends off, and co-parenting was non-existent. At that stage in my life, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things because I had always been a girly-girl. I had to learn about home maintenance in a hurry, and how to be a good mom, and dad. Discipline became that much more difficult, as did dealing with all the emotions of both genders of children. I was now the sole breadwinner, provider and protector in every sense of the word (I never got maintenance out of him – long story, big battle). He passed away last year and there was nothing for either of the children. In fact, I heard of his passing purely by accident. Such is life.

It took four years to get back in the dating game. It was a disaster. I don’t blame the men entirely – I had done divorce recovery courses, but I wasn’t healed…not that I knew that at the time. I made a lot of mistakes in those dating years, and I paid dearly with the last one, because I had never fully healed. 

I had to pay a huge price for it, but finally full healing began. That intense pain and traumatic experience was the catalyst for mind blowing change, and a form of rebirth. Proof that even the most negative experiences can have very positive outcomes!

Anyway… when my daughter was 10, I was asked on a date by an attractive man I had got to know through friends. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself actually considering it. My son was non-committal when it came to his opinion on this – he didn’t mind either way, apparently. My daughter was rather vocal.

“But you don’t need to date anyone, we’re perfect like we are. We don’t need anyone else.”

The full impact of her words never hit me till later, even though for years my children had been giving me Mothers AND Fathers Day cards filled with appreciation.
I actually wasn’t failing them the way I thought I was – I wasn’t a struggling single mom. They were happy and secure despite the fact that they only had me.

I rejoined the dating world anyway, and BOY, HAD IT CHANGED! I made it through first dates just fine, and always got a second one. But there was never a third. Completely my own fault. And yes, here it comes….
some brutal honesty regarding a taboo subject : S E X. 
There seems to be this trend that when you’re a mature adult, you’re considered a consenting adult, and none of the normal rules of dating apply. Thus the expectation of an exchange of bodily fluids by date number three. UGH! What?!?!?!

(While I have no issue with the exchange itself and have always found it rather enjoyable, I am very much a relationship kind of girl and stuff like that needs to wait. Sorry fellas!)

(side note : not all men are like this – I just haven’t found the ones I have come into physical contact with to be different.)

When discussing this with a close girl friend, who has been in a committed relationship for over four years now after going through her own divorce and jumping back on the bandwagon a little faster than me, she suggested to me that possibly I was meeting the wrong type of men. It was a subtle hint from her to focus only on good Christian men.

Now, let me very clear. THE GOOD GUYS ARE OUT THERE! Do not, for one moment, in your never ending frustrations at not being able to find a mate, doubt that THERE ARE STILL GREAT MEN in this world!

Imagine how disheartened my friend was (as was I at the time) when I shared with her that one of those ‘no third date’ guys was the attractive man that I had spent ages getting to know and called a friend – excited for the possibilities – who happened to be a man who was studying to be a pastor. Sigh.

So I came up with a new motto at that time, about three years ago :

FB_IMG_1566756944448

And what a journey that was! The sudden acceptance of the fact that I was single taught me more things than any romantic relationship ever could. Acceptance brought about a change in my attitude. And it provided me with the time to explore my emotions, my mind, my heart. That exploration was not always pretty – there were some very ugly truths that I needed to accept about myself, and dealing with them – learning about them and changing them – was HARD! My childhood and past left me with this ‘lonely’ feeling much of the time – but I discovered that being alone didn’t mean I had to be lonely. 

And I discovered that in order to be able to give of myself to anyone, I needed to actually KNOW myself, and love me for what I knew.

(I still fall short with typical female rants of, ”I’m too fat”; “I’m not pretty enough” etc. But not to the degree where I dislike myself like I used to – it’s more of a laughable, ”I’m such a woman” thing 😛 )

AND THEN…

The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, and came across a friend of mine who had played one of those OMG games. Apparently Santa is bringing her ‘the perfect man’ for Christmas. Her caption was, of course, ”Yes please”!

LIGHT BULB MOMENT! (must be the one I changed in the bathroom last week 😛 )

Now we all know that NO ONE is perfect. But I think when people speak of a perfect situation, or the perfect partner for them etc. it’s basically their own personal perception of perfect. And so I don’t criticise my friends when they tell me they have found ‘the perfect man’, because in their perception that may very well be exactly what they have found, for them.

And that got me thinking about MY ‘perfect’ man. And something popped (broken light bulb that needs fixing) in to my head :

My perception of perfection may be what I WANT, but it may not be what I NEED!

In getting to know myself I have learnt that there are a lot of things that I want for life, and from life, but they’re not always the things/tools/equipment that I actually NEED for life. I am continuously given moments where I learn that annoying fact. It’s annoying because I don’t like to be wrong. I like things to be clear and concise.

And this suddenly became an epiphany for me on romance.

I can have my list of all the things that I want in a man. I can seek him out, or check items off the list when he somehow finds me. But at the end of the day, those are things I want and because I am continuously growing and learning, they may not actually be things I need. (And here’s where my Christianity comes into play) God knows what I NEED and in His time, he’ll provide it. And He’ll provide me with discernment with regards to that – I just need to keep asking!

When I shared this with a friend yesterday, she was discouraged by my views. I thought I was being quite positive. I shared the above with her, and ended with, “So if it means I spend the rest of my life single, I’m actually really okay with that.” And I really am. I can’t explain it. I just am.

I am not closing myself off to the potential of a future romantic relationship. I am not in  state of lonely depression. I am not shutting myself off and withdrawing to an unlit room – I know how to change a lightbulb 😛

But I am also not going to chase after what I want, because even in my successes with regards to getting to know myself, what I want may not actually be what I need. So I’m leaving it up to Him.

dating-affirmations

For now it might have to just be my dog – but if you knew my dog, you’d understand that he’s worth it 😛

It might always just be the air – but for the chance to wake up each morning to a new day, and have the love of my life only being the breath that I take – well, that’s pretty much worth it too 🙂

Goodness, this really was a post of ‘relationship randomness’. Here’s hoping someone got something out of it…even if only just a good giggle somewhere along the way 😉

Wound repair in every aspect

My friend was closely inspecting me with a strange stare and I became uncomfortable – naturally.
No one likes being stared at.
The words that followed made me smile,
“My word, you have so many scars on your face. They’re small and not really noticeable, but when I really look I can see them.”
My scars are as a result of being a passenger in a motor vehicle accident when I was eighteen – glass shattered in my face and in some places embedded itself inside the skin. My scars should be worse. I was blessed. They’re barely noticeable.
I smiled because….

Continue reading