Back in Therapy

This all started when I had to get a new doctor because mine was no longer doing teledoc or Telehealth or whatever it’s called. I finally found one, and he got me in to see a new therapist. I was dreading the first appointment – you know, going through everything that happened and why you’re there and whatnot. It’s exhausting. I came home ate dinner and fell asleep on the couch.

The thing is, despite it being exhausting, I felt like it actually went really good. As far as I can remember, the first appointment – you don’t actually get anything out of it, just giving the therapist all your background information. This first appointment, however, went quite the opposite. I feel like not only did we go through the background information (the difficult parts and the boring parts), but I really felt like I got something out of it, you know? She helped me some. She gave me a name of someone to look up who had interesting and helpful views for me in my situation.

I feel like we really clicked. Normally, or at least in my experience, the therapist doesn’t talk about themselves at all – which I completely understand. But she gave me some information about herself (only as in how it pertained to me in the context of what we were discussing). It made her seem like a real person and made me feel like how I “experience the world” (for lack of a better phrase) isn’t so alien at all. It’s one thing to know that everyone goes through something, and there’s someone who’s gone through the same thing I went through, but it’s something else to have that proverbial “someone” be a real person that you actually interact with. It was a really nice feeling. It helped me to think that I may not be as horrible a person as I think I am.

Stop Telling Me What I Want!

One day when you meet the right man, you will.

You say that now, but later on you’ll change your mind.

Your biological clock is ticking.

…all when someone hears that I don’t want to have children.

It’s not that I don’t like kids. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of most of them, but I love my nephews to death. But seeing my siblings raising them, seeing the issues that they have to deal with, it all just reassures me that I am not meant to have children.

I’m not patient enough. I’m not selfless enough. I’m just not enough to raise a child full time. I mean, I can babysit, but long-term, I think it would be a real struggle for me. Not to mention that I don’t particularly want to pass on my genes or my mental issues. Having PTSD, I just know that my paranoia would mess with a kid’s brain – being constantly on edge, hovering over them, watching their every move to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to them.

Also, things like tantrums and potty-training. Not my thing. Changing diapers for years? No, thank you. My mom did the math; between the three of us kids, she was changing diapers for seven years. SEVEN YEARS?!? No way. That’s too much poo for me.

So, thanks, but no thanks. If I ever feel like I want kids, I’ll adopt or do foster care or something. But I doubt I’ll ever even do that because I really don’t feel that urge to want to become a mother. And I never want to be told I’m making a mistake, I haven’t met the right man… blah, blah, blah.

It’s almost as if my identity as a woman is tied to whether or not I have children or that my worth/value is whether or not I have children. But it’s not! So stop asking people why they don’t have children! It’s a personal choice and oftentimes it’s for a personal reason that just because you asked, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an answer. Deal with it.

Honey and Hiking

The other day I went hiking with just my dad through the state park that’s near our house. It’s usually a nice hike (if you have bug spray), but this time we didn’t have bug spray. It also happened to be the worst time of the year for these biting flies. It was horrible.

There’s my snuggle-buddy Cammie looking out over Beaver Pond.

Despite the bugs attacking constantly, it was a nice hike. It was very hot and very sunny. But a little easier to bear in the shade of the trees.

My dad was working (from home because of COVID) and he was getting work calls and I know he had a lot of work to do. I didn’t realize this until we had already left the house and entered the park. He really didn’t have the time to go on a morning hike with me. But he’s been trying to encourage me to go out more and I’ve been trying to get out more. Thanks to my PTSD and anxiety of various causes, I’ve developed agoraphobia – which is enabled by the pandemic and avoiding going out for health reasons. So the whole reason he went was because I asked the night before, not knowing how much was actually on his plate. I have really great parents. I know I’m lucky. I also know that I don’t deserve them and I don’t appreciate them as much as I should.

On the way out, we bought some local honey that the park sells. And that honey, by the way, is delicious. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever had honey that tastes so good and fresh. If you can buy local honey, you really should. It might be more expensive than the honey in the grocery store, but it’s better tasting, supports your local community, and helps support the local bees (which, as we know, are dying out). So buying local is best! Buy local! Buy small! And go on a hike!

It’s Finals Week!

This week is finals week for me for this semester. I also have a research paper due. It’s a little stressful to say the least. And when I get stressed out, I try not to think about whatever it is that’s stressing me out. Which means I procrastinate and just make things worse for myself. I know this, and yet I can’t seem to change it. It is what it is.

The class I’m taking is called “Family Violence.” It’s actually really depressing sort of. All the statistics on child abuse and the international abuse of women. It’s disturbing and makes me really question this world that we live in. I know that it’s a “fallen” world, but I mean seriously… So much is wrong with it. It makes it hard for me to think about, like my nephews growing up in this world. What will it be like for them? Not to mention the climate issues and all the trash in the ocean and all those other things! It makes me think I don’t want to bring a child into this world. But then, at the same time, like, the world can only get better with better people in it, right? So raise your kid up right and eventually things get better. I don’t know. I’m rambling, but that’s what I think about.

This class also makes me wonder about people I knew growing up and people I know now. How many of them have been exposed to some kind of violence in the home? It makes me wonder about those people who drive right on your tail and honk the horn or are consistently rude, cut you off while you’re driving… Is there something happening in their life? Is there an emergency? This class just makes me wonder about the people I see around and what their life is like.

But anyway, hopefully I will pass the final. Hopefully I’ll do well on my research paper that I’m procrastinating on. Eventually I’ll get it done. I was ahead of schedule and now I’m right on time, no more room for waiting. Yet, as I write this, I’m procrastinating again. Tomorrow morning, someone is coming bright and early to check our air conditioner or something. Which means that they have to get into the attic. Which is through my closet. Which means that I’ll have to be up bright and early too. Also, there’s the termite inspection tomorrow, when they go through your entire house and look at every nook and cranny. It’s… anxiety producing to say the least. But maybe tomorrow I’ll just try and focus on my paper and that will keep the anxiety down if I’m focused on my work. That sounds like a good plan to me. Now, hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to it. But the way I’ve been sleeping lately, I seriously doubt that. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been sleeping later and later. Thank you PTSD and flashbacks in the middle of the night that wake me up and keep me awake. And even when I sleep I’m too tense to let myself fully relax. It’s exhausting to say the least.

But enough of my complaining…

tl;dr: It’s finals week and I am stressed and procrastinating and not sleeping well, PTSD.

APA Paper – Veterans and PTSD

I’m in an Orientation class and they’re teaching us how to write an APA style paper. Coming from an English major to Psychology major means switching from my well-known MLA style to the foreign APA style. Anyway, so I’m learning that. We get to choose our own topic. I chose veterans’ suicide rates and PTSD.

I’ve done lots of research and reading statistics and government produced documents. The point is… the state of the government and public’s relationship with veterans is pretty bad. The suicide rates and extremely high and getting higher. The ages of those committing suicide are getting younger and younger. And it seems like there’s a lot of talk and everyone agrees that something should be done and veterans should be taken care of, and yet nothing is actually being done. Not enough anyway.

It’s time for the public to stand up and demand better treatment for our vets, better facilities for them, and better education and training of the people working in these facilities. They need a bigger budget to accommodate this.

I’m ranting, but something should be done. Vets should be a much higher priority than they are now. They shouldn’t be homeless. They shouldn’t have trouble finding jobs. They should be able to get help from educated people dedicated towards their mental health. There should also be some kind of education, training, preparation for families of vets coming home with PTSD or any other mental illness.

Okay, I’m done now. But come on… America, the greatest country in the world but if you look at the state of veterans, we’re pretty low. Not enough people are speaking out about it. Certainly, not enough people are doing anything about it.

Done now. For real. But seriously… like if you agree.

Busy Busy Busy Bee

For the past few weeks, my life has been crazy busy. I’ve been gone from home more than being at home. I stayed with my sister and her baby and fell in love with him completely. (not posting pictures for privacy) I may be biased but I think he’s the cutest newborn baby I’ve ever seen. He was absolutely perfect.

While I was there, my school term started! In a matter of days I went from not being a student to applying, being accepted, registering for a class and then it started! I mean, it was less than a week – the whole process. I was amazed. Promo note: If you’re ever looking for an online university that’s a legit university – Troy University is the best. They work with a lot of military so they’ve been doing online for years as well as having an actual brick and mortar university and different campuses. I’m just starting week 3 of my course and I can say that so far the professor an advisors have made my transitioning so easy. They answer questions quickly and thoroughly. It’s just a great university.

Anyway. I’m doing my class, I’m waiting for a specific job opening that would be perfect for me, and currently I’m cleaning out all my stuff, going through everything. So it’s been a busy time, hence the absence on here!

But I love being able to say, “Yes, I’m a student.”

I want to prove my high school teachers who all told me I’d never graduate college wrong, and I want to get my degree. I want to prove that little voice in my head wrong, the one that says I’m worthless and can’t do anything right. I want to show that even people with mental illnesses and PTSD can be successful!

I’m doing it and you can too!

Official Student and Baby Watch

I’m officially going back to school to finish my degree in psychology!

Due to my PTSD, anxiety, and depression along with my many other mental health issues, I was forced to take a hiatus from school. That short term break turned into 6 years.

But I’m going back now! It’s totally online, 100%, which I love. It’s perfect for someone like me.

Baby Watch.

My sister is pregnant and is due to be induced later this week because she’s so far past her due date that she just can’t stand it anymore.

They haven’t told us the name, but we do know that it’s a boy. So I’m going to be an aunt. I’m going to have a nephew to spoil rotten and even though I can’t emote that publicly and show how excited I really am (mental health issues), I am truly very excited. And nervous. I’ve never really been around babies much, but this is one I get to spoil and send home to their parents on a sugar high!

So that’s my fun news of the week! I’m going back to school, and I’m going to be an aunt!

Anyone else with exciting news? Or boring news? News of any nature really…

Get Rid of the Stigma

My world has recently been shaken by some upsetting news. Someone I know, or rather knew, killed himself. He had been struggling for years,  but thought that he didn’t need any help because he was a man. Being in the south means that there’s an expectation to live up to, being the man of the house, being the bread winner, be the stable rock for everyone else.

I can’t explain why he did what he did. I can’t explain his reasons because I don’t know. There was no note that we’re aware of yet. He didn’t get the help he needed because it’s so stigmatized and seen as such a negative thing, a man needing help emotionally. I still don’t know how to process it, but that’s what’s been happening.

About a year ago, the man who lived across the street sent his wife out to the grocery store so that when she was gone, he committed suicide. I can’t imagine it. Well, I can. I’ve been suicidal in the past. I’ve literally held a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. Because I knew how it would affect people I loved, I used the phone and reached out for help. There’s still a stigma, even with women, but I think it’s worse for a man.

If you’re reading this and you feel like ending your life is your only solution, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know what I went through and am still going through. I know that it’s hard and some days you don’t want to get out of bed or even open your eyes because that moment between dreaming and waking when the world is nothing but black is better than real life. I know what that’s like. You might think that no one cares about you or will miss you, but there is someone out there who does and who will. Even if that doesn’t convince you, reach out for help anyway because it can’t really get worse, can it?

Call the national suicide hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255

If you can’t actually talk about it, try texting CONNECT to 741741 to talk to someone for free.

Just try it. It won’t hurt. Before you do anything, talk to someone, anyone, because this world needs YOU. You just don’t know how yet. Seeking out help doesn’t make you less of a man, less of a woman, or less of a person. Seeking help is that first little brick of inner strength. We all have it if you dig down deep enough. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Talk to someone. You never know how it’ll help.

I can’t help but think that if there was less stigma around suicide and mental health, that the two people I mentioned (not including my own family members) would still be here today and would be able to reach out and help others by sharing their story. So share yours. Talk to someone.

Why I don’t like therapy

I’m not at all saying, “Don’t go your therapist anymore.” If you have one and it helps that’s awesome. I’m real happy for you. But I’ve had a different experience. Isn’t therapy a place where you go to be heard? I felt like my psychologist wasn’t hearing me. That made me feel like I just spent $240 to whine to someone. Which I’m pretty sure isn’t how therapy is supposed to work.

So maybe this is my therapy – writing to you, both of us anonymous. Doesn’t that make things easier? Isn’t it easier to be yourself because whoever is judging you still doesn’t know who you are. Sure, it makes it easier to bully and troll people too, but that’s easily taken care of by deleting and blocking users. We’re both anonymous. We can’t see each other. We might even pass each other in the street or driving on the road, but we’ll never know. That’s what I like about this. Anonymity. The good and the bad.

My therapist wanted me to use my writing to re-write the event over and over until it was easier. But some things can never be made easier and she wasn’t listening to me when I told her how uncomfortable that was – not just because it was emotionally difficult to do, but because it wasn’t going to help me. It really wasn’t. I knew it before the exercise and knew it afterwards. That’s what made me stop going. She was having me re-live this trauma again and again without getting any kind of result other than re-traumatizing me.

I guess my point is traditional therapy isn’t for everyone. I tried equine therapy that focused on my PTSD and it helped me more than anything I’d ever done. It helps that I like animals already, even though I’d never been around a horse in my life. If therapy isn’t working for you, don’t give up on it entirely. Try to find someone somewhere who does something different. I’d never been around horses but I was willing to try and it helped me so much. Don’t be scared to try something different if you can! It may surprise you.

tl;dr I’m Back, Crappy and all!

It’s been a while. Why? Life. Life just gets in the way of these kinds of things doesn’t it? We get so busy, so wrapped up in appointments and other obligations that the things we enjoy doing fade away.

Two members of my family are currently on a trip to France, so I’m house-sitting/pet-sitting for them. This basically means that I get a vacation. Now, I had planned on being able to lay out by the pool, swim when it got too hot. Unfortunately, the weather has other plans. It’s stormy and not ideal by the pool weather. So I’m vacationing inside. I didn’t bring a lot to do inside and I’ve run out of other things. Then, I remembered I had this blog!

There’s something freeing about having this blog, remaining anonymous. It’s like the masks on Mardi Gras. You can be whoever you want, or you can be the real you and take off the other mask you wear every day (like me). Having a blog means you need to be able to write. Well. Not sure I’ve got that bit down, but I’m trying and I’ve heard that the more you do it the better you get at it. Fingers crossed for me and for you, if you’re still reading this far (thanks). Another thing is that you have to have something to write about. That either forces you to go out and have a life, or be thoughtful and write something deep and meaningful after thinking about something for a long time and actually have something worth sharing, anonymous or not.

I guess it’s possible to just have a really crappy blog (like mine, currently). I’ve got to get better at using the computer (this site specifically), writing, and having a life. My anxiety or my PTSD or both make it very difficult to go out and do things. That means saying no to your friends until they just stop asking. I don’t mean to whine because this isn’t a blog about me whining. It’s going to mean something…eventually. Actually, it’ll probably just be like my brain whose focus bounces around like a wild ping-pong ball.

I apologize in advance if you’ve read this far. I also thank you. Next post will be me actually saying something, not just typing words about typing words.