Triggers

Keeping my eyes open to avoid the dreams. Saying random crap to myself to stop the thinking.

PTSD never goes away. I just learn to deal with it.

Advertisements

I Fell Off The Wagon

I’m not beating myself up, I swear. Well I’m trying not to. It’s awfully hard not to when my default mode is self loathing on an epic scale.

I fell off the wagon big time this year. I’ve been battling a hip injury since the end of last year which has really only recovered in recent weeks, so I’ve found every excuse under the sun to not go and do some other form of exercise such as the exercise bike or swimming. Instead, I fell into a spiral of self hatred and food. And wine. Oh my goodness the wine.

The thing about mental health is, that it’s fluid. It moves just like the tides. Some days the waves are quite manageable for a beginner and then other days the waves are so big and unpredictable, even a pro like Kelly Slater might think twice about putting himself out there.

So of course, in saying that, I feel generally good, however things aren’t one hundred percent and I’m trying to cope with the possibility that they may never ever be one hundred percent ever again. I’m constantly triggered. Constantly. I can’t escape it. I mean just yesterday birthing and babies came up in conversation, asking for my expertise (because remember I’m a registered nurse also, not only a mother) which of course I don’t mind helping out, honestly. It’s just the re opening of old wounds that I have to deal with afterward.

Last night it was dreams.

A few weeks ago I applied for a new job and I was successful! I start this coming Tuesday so here’s to hopefully starting afresh with even less chance of exposing myself to triggers at work. However in the last two weeks, it’s as though karma wanted to send me out with a bang.

I ended up on the resuscitation team in the operating theatres. Ordinarily I would have been okay and generally I was, but obviously it’s had an affect on my subconscious because even though at the time the only fear I had was that maybe the flashbacks would come back while I was in the theatre and I wouldn’t be able to perform my job effectively. It’s been after. Just about every night since I have had dreams about my operation. This morning it was so distressing it actually woke me up.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I feel as though I have exhausted my options with psych therapy. Medications were never an option for me. I’m not sick like I was two years ago but I’m not well either.

So I’m trying my luck at trying to fix the outside of me, so that maybe the inside of me will follow suit. I’ve gained weight this year and my clothes are too tight and I generally am reminded of how much of a failure I am every time I put pants on. It’s so ridiculous to measure my self worth on a number but I do and I know I’m worth an infinite measurement but I can’t shake the loathing.

So here’s to small goals and feeling better about myself.

Quarantine

This last week, all three of us have been at different levels of dying from Whine Flu.

Husband was sick last weekend and this weekend it’s me and the Little Lady who are quarantined.

A little public service announcement from me: when you’re sick, stay home. Don’t take medicine and go to work, you’re still spreading your germs about. Martyring yourself out doesn’t help anyone. Don’t sneeze or cough without covering your mouth.

You’d think it was pretty simple. However my three year old is now feverish and living on ice blocks because there are certain people in the world who think “it’s just a cold”.

The Beast and his Shadow

The sudden death of a celebrity always gets people talking. Particularly when that death is linked to suicide.

Robin Williams the actor, was loved by millions, myself included. He managed to brighten up my world with his incredible talent and brand of humour. From the early days of Mork and Mindy right up until the very recent and funny The Crazy Ones and all of his critically acclaimed work in between. His charity work helped thousands of people who may not have even known he was working for them. He’s also touched me personally, by giving me the courage to finally publish this blog post that I wrote early last year.

I was in the throes of severe anxiety and depression secondary to my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My psychologist recommended I write my story from the perspective of a narrative to try and see my story from the outside in. This was to enable me to read it as though it wasn’t my story and try to think of ways to help the person who’s story it was. It helped me immensely writing this, but I didn’t feel strong enough to share it until today.

Everyone is sharing their stories. They are talking about mental illness. Personal accounts, smashing stigmas that have survived years and years. Survivors coming out of the shadows to admit to a secret that we may not have been able to admit to previously, for fear of feeling outcasted by our families and friends.

Thank you for stopping by to read my story.

__________________

The Beast. By Clair

One day out of the blue, a Beast knocked on my door. He was very persuasive and scary; I tried my best to keep him out, but eventually I had no choice to let him in.

At first he was easy to ignore. He would lurk quietly in the dark, hiding behind the furniture and under the bed, waiting for me to forget that he was there, growing stronger and stronger day by day.

He would come everywhere with me, to work, to the shops, even on holidays. Sometimes he was quiet and other times he was very loud. He would hitch a ride wherever he would fit. Some days he was happy to just ride in the car, but other days, to be on my shoulders, pushing all of his weight down onto me.

However, he was not happy to lurk forever. He wanted me to be focussed on him all of the time. So at first, I tried to keep him happy. I let him do whatever he pleased, as I was scared to try to stop him. I figured that if I kept him happy, I could get on with my life too. He was very strong and powerful. He was also very greedy and wanted more.

Sleeping was my only break from him. Then one time, he decided to visit me at night, while I was asleep. I no longer had any break from him.

He would place his hands upon me, so I could feel him.

He would make noise so I could hear him.

He would wave his arms about so I could see him.

He eventually stood in front of me all day, so all I could do was see him and nothing else. He stood between me and the people I cared about. Even closing my eyes didn’t work anymore.

I tried to carry on, but little things would remind me and he would appear.

After a while, the Beast introduced me to his Shadow. His Shadow was a terrible creature; it switched lights off. It closed the blinds. It blocked out the sun. The Beast and his Shadow were a perfect team, they worked together so well.

The Beast and his Shadow would talk to me, taunting me. They made me believe that I needed them both to get through the day. The Beast was telling me to ignore everyone else. I had him.

I was losing my ability to feel love. I forgot what it was like to feel happiness. I had to stop work. I couldn’t function. I struggled with the simplest of life’s chores. The Beast was smothering me with his weight and I was powerless to resist.

Being in the Shadow’s darkness all of the time, was frustrating and scary. I felt trapped. It made me so sad. The Shadow made me feel all alone in the world. The Shadow kept everything dark for so long, I had forgotten what it was like to see the light of day.

This went on for months. I had days where The Beast and his Shadow would let me see a little of the outside world. They would tease me. I would see something I liked and would remember see a hint of sunshine, but then they would take it all away again, plunging me back into the darkness that was gradually consuming everything.

Then one day came, where I reached breaking point. The Beast and his Shadow were standing before me, and I could not see anything except them. I felt angry, I’d had enough. My world was shattered and I was broken. So I screamed at them. I wasn’t going to be living under their power anymore. The Beast and his Shadow thought they had won, but I saw my chance to escape.

For this, they punished me. They closed in on me. They made me stay in bed and not talk to anyone.

I was alone in the dark all over again.

A little while later, I saw another chance to escape. This time I was stronger. I had help.

The Beast is still here with his Shadow, however he’s back to lurking in the dark, he knows that I am stronger than he is. Though he’s very persistent and he sometimes manages to get back in.

Sometimes I’m scared he’ll come back, for good, but I know that I’m now growing stronger every day he’s not hanging around like he was. I keep him away by talking. Even though I’m scared of him, I use all the courage I can muster to find a way to keep him at bay.

________________

On my welcome page, I have a list of services available to Australian residents. Please reach out and ask for help. It does take courage and it is scary. However I am here today because I did.

IMG_4029.JPG
Source

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. The painful reminder of what happened. Birth stories happening. Fond memories of tiny newborns smelling so sweet with their scent. Children saying they love their mums. Families showing their affection for the woman at the centre of the family.

Meanwhile I’m over here anxious and sad. Wishing the memories would go away or change magically to something else. Make her first day the wonderful memory it should be, instead of the terrifying mess it was.

Also weighing on my mind is International Midwives Day. I’m irrationally so angry that any of them are celebrating when I was treated so badly. The posters on the wall at work showing smiling mums holding their fresh babies alongside their midwives make me want to vomit. I was left to languish in my room with a screaming baby. Lectured that I was breastfeeding wrong. Not to use baby wipes to clean the spew off her face. My hand smacked away when I went to put some corn flour powder on her bottom to prevent nappy rash. Terrible bloody experience.

PTSD is an arsehole.

PTSD is defining my life and I don’t want it to.

PTSD is ruining what should be the best day of my life.

Why can’t I change my thoughts? I try so hard, but instead I feel like I’m taking three steps backward with every two steps forward.

20140507-190803.jpg
(If you know the source please contact me)

Update

You may (or may not) have noticed I’ve removed many of my blog posts. I’m okay, it’s just time.

I’m going to keep blogging, but I wanted my story out of the public eye for now.

Maintain the Rage!

I’m still in the midst of an unprovoked writer’s strike. I had so many things to be indignant about and so many things to say, but no words to put them in. I am so despondent to the state of my nation right now, victim blaming, jobs insecurity, racism, inequality. It’s all happening and I feel absolutely powerless to fight. So in order to stop bottling up the angst (and also to give my gorgeous Twitter people a break from me) I’m writing.

Trigger warning for rape and violence. Language warning: NSFW.

A fourteen year old girl says she was gang raped in a suburban park on the weekend. She described her alleged attackers to the police who then released these descriptions in the hope someone in the community comes forward. Which then activates the victim blaming questions: Why was she out so late? What was she wearing? Why was she on her own? Even the media waters the severity down “An unprovoked sexual assault”. Really? Which rapes are provoked? Why is there such hesitation to use the word rape? Then of course the racism starts “Oh look at the men from that culture who brutalise women and gang rape” Blergh. Because no white guy has ever raped and certainly no group of white guys have ever gang raped *insert sarcasm emoticon here*.

What about “Why the hell are there six men gang raping a young girl”?” “How the fuck did these six men discover that they all enjoyed to pack rape?” “Why on earth do they think it’s okay?” Where are the men in our community coming forward to denounce these crimes?

This article is actually good: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/girl-14-severely-traumatised-after-gang-rape-attack-say-police-20140210-32b52.html

Another recent and still developing story is a 13 year old girl ‘married’ off in an illegal under Australian law, religious ceremony. Her ‘husband’ is 26 years old and was discovered when he tried to enroll her in high school.

What the actual fuck?

A Lebanese university student accused of marrying and having a sexual relationship with 13-year-old girl was formally refused bail by a Sydney court on Friday.

The man, 26, was living in Australia on a student visa when police arrested and charged him with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with an underage child.

 
No that’s rape. She is underage and uninformed. She is deemed too immature by Australian law to make a decision to engage in a sexual relationship with anyone. Yet here we are saying it’s ‘sexual intercourse’ like it’s okay because they were ‘married’.
 
I’m trying to maintain the rage, but I feel so bloody defeated. You know, I don’t go out after dark, even though I should be able to, because of the risk of attack. We know the statistics in this country means I am actually more likely to be attacked by someone I know, in my own home, yet the rape culture that exists means that I have to stay indoors unless I’m with someone else (my husband) after dark. It means that I can say “no” to a man when I’m in a social situation, but he keeps on pressuring me to talk to him and expecting me to go home with him (I don’t think I blogged about my work Christmas party experience, it wasn’t bad by any standards but it was unpleasant to eventually be pushed to say that my husband was at home with my two year old daughter and I have not been engaging in any conversation with you tonight besides “yeah the weather is a bit warm, isn’t it?”) Maybe it was the dress I was wearing. However there’s that culture shining through again. I should be able to wear whatever the fuck I want without sending some fucked up message to a guy that I’m an easy target. Who decides which outfits mean a lady is happy to sleep with you anyway?
 
 
Women such as Jill Meagher, Anita Cobby and Joan Ryther are the examples our community uses to highlight rape culture. These women were all doing what was their right to do. They were all ‘good’ members of society, a media employee, a registered nurse, a sales attendant in a fast food restaurant. They were all married. All ‘attractive’. Two were walking home and one was walking to work. All were after dark, all were ‘unprovoked’ (as the media so distastefully likes to report, because you know, I’m sure all of these women would have asked to be violently raped and murdered) and all were major cases in Australian history.
 
In recent times, two young men have died in very high profile circumstances as a result of being punched (again that word ‘unprovoked rears its ugly head) in the head by someone who was very drunk in the infamous Kings Cross area of Sydney. These two deaths were absolutely abhorrent, the community and the media rightfully stepped in to try and seek some justice for the two dead men and also to do what was possible to prevent it happening to anyone else’s son. I have a 22 year old brother, he likes to party in Kings Cross and I know I do not want to be going to the morgue to identify him. So yeah, anything to try and prevent this senseless (there’s another totally useless describing word which states the obvious) violence is okay by me.
 
Among the initiatives are mandatory eight-year prison terms for anyone who fatally punches someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
 
 
Hang on a second. “Eight-year minimum sentencing for alcohol or drug-fuelled assaults ending in death.” Does this mean that if the offender isn’t drunk, they don’t get punished? What if the offender bashes the person senselss, or kicks them in the head, is there room for movement legally? “CBD/Kings Cross venues to have 1:30am lockouts with drinks stopping at 3:00am”. Oh good, lets turf all of the drunk people out into the street to fend for themselves with no taxis (3am is change of shift) and reduced means of other public transport as the trains stop at 2am. 
 
 
So where does the community stand on violence against women?
 
Domestic violence may end in homicide. Through the National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP), the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) monitors trends and patterns in homicide across Australian jurisdictions. The NHMP data are the most comprehensive collection on homicide in Australia, providing details of victims, offenders and the circumstances of incidents. Of the 260 homicide incidents in 2007–08, the majority (52 per cent) were classified domestic homicides involving one or more victims who shared a family or domestic relationship with the offender. Thirty-one per cent were intimate partner homicides. Fifty-five per cent of female homicide victims were killed by an intimate partner compared with 11 per cent of male homicide victims. Indigenous people were overrepresented in intimate partner homicides; one in five (20 per cent) victims were Indigenous, as were nearly one in four offenders (24 per cent)
 
 
Where is the rage? Where is the mandatory minimum sentencing for the perpetrators of domestic violence homicides? Where are the public campaigns to change the mentality regarding domestic violence? Why do we as a society care more for young guys who die in violent attacks, over people who are killed by their partners in their home? Neither is more important than the other, both examples of life are of equal value. Yet while the front page of the tabloids are screaming in disgust over the deaths of two young men at the hands of drunken violence, stories of women who are killed at the hands of the men who are meant to love them, are left to languish on page 12 or not even make it print.
 
 
Of course not all women who die as a result of domestic violence are ignored by the media. In Sydney today, Simon Gittany was sentenced to a non-parole period of eighteen years, maximum twenty six years, for throwing his fiance Lisa Harnum off the fifteenth floor balcony of their apartment in the Sydney CBD, resulting in her death. The city has been captivated by the case where witnesses saw the lifeless body of Ms Harnum plummeting to the ground and the CCTV footage of Gittany smothering her face with his hand while he restrained her, in the elevator of their apartment block.
 
Although I accept that the intention to kill was formed suddenly and in a state of rage, it was facilitated by a sense of ownership and a lack of any true respect for the autonomy of the woman he claimed to love.
 
 
Changing culture doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over time and only when many people change their mindset. Teach your sons to respect women, teach your daughters that it is okay to be independent and get help if they fall victim. If you hear somebody say “Well what was she wearing?” challenge them by asking “What does it matter? He should not have raped her!” We as a community need to stand up and say that violence against women is not acceptable. That violence is unacceptable regardless of the person who is being victimised. Our sons should be able to go to a pub without fear of being punched and killed. Our daughters should be able to live in their homes without the fear that their partner will beat them to death. Our children should be able to walk home from their friends’ house without the fear of being attacked.
 
I would love to know your thoughts, please be aware that I have moderation for comments switched on.