invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

Dr. John Breeding on trauma March 17, 2009

I found this video at the lovely and very helpful beyond meds at ning website. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick the past several months and haven’t been able to spend as much time there as I would like. Anyway, this video left me feeling confused and intrigued:

I am interested because today I was reminded of my rape. It’s not an unusual occurrence-it’s a past traumatic experience that is almost always there lingering and sometimes taunting me or shutting me down, etc. Today, some of the many memories came up again. the gravel driveway. my head banging against a tire. the sound of my underwear being ripped off of me. the rest, mostly a blank. a bathtub. my friend holding my hand. blood. wearing nothing but a t-shirt. I was fifteen and then suppressed the events of this evening for nearly four years.

Three key things Dr. John Breeding mentions in this video in regards to healing past trauma(s) are:

take care of yourself
go slow
allow expression

Well, the first two, I don’t know how to do. The third, not a problem. Although I was raised in a home where I felt loved but misunderstood. But, and most importantly, there were rarely any expressions or emotions allowed-we didn’t talk about anything of substance. Pretty much everything was swept under the rug. If you’ve seen the beautiful film “Ordinary People” you’ll have a better picture. I don’t blame my parents for this-I have forgiven them-they were raised this way. My parents also tried to find a quick fix which is what led to my first psychiatrist visit at the age of 13 after I showed signs of depression and voiced suicidal thoughts. Again, I don’t blame them. I imagine they were doing the only thing they knew to do in that situation. That first visit led to over twenty years of psychiatric medications to include: Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Abilify, Seroquel, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Xanax and Lamictal. These are the ones I can remember. And, not one of them worked for more than 2 years. Actually, Lamictal was the only one that seemingly worked that long. I saw many psychiatrists and therapists over the years following my first visit at thirteen. I even checked myself into a mental hospital. NOTHING WORKED. But during all of the above visits, I was always labeled with something-depression, double depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar-and given meds and ridiculous tools from therapists that never worked.

Here’s where I’m going with this. So, I was raped at 15. But, what happened BEFORE that? Is there a trauma that I’m still blocking/suppressing after all of these years? I’m nearly 36 now. I know why my parents brought me to see that psychiatrist at 13-I repeatedly told them I wanted to die! But, why?!?!? I have absolutely no clue and this concerns me. How does one face and heal from a trauma that does not exist in their mind? My maternal grandmother was deemed mentally ill and spent a lot of time in mental hospitals, she had shock treatments, she was medicated most of her adult life. She died fairly young, due to complications of diabetes, during a very difficult time in my life. I was heavily medicated and we had never once had a discussion about her illness or her life. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I always assumed that I had inherited her “mental illness” but is that what she had? Is that what I have? My grandmother, for example, I know after much digging around and asking my aunts lots of questions, I know that her father burned to his death when she was around five. I’m don’t know anything about her mother, my great-grandmother, I don’t recall ever meeting her. But I do know my grandmother lived in orphanages and foster homes. I’m pretty certain she was sexually abused. So, for some reason, after my great-grandfather died in that fire, my grandmother did not stay at home. I remember my grandmother’s mysterious sister showing up at her funeral and everything was hush hush. Now that I think about it, I believe my grandmother also had a brother and he was not at her funeral.

My grandmother’s life, what I know of it, reeks of trauma. Which is exactly why this video caught my attention. I must blame some really bad doctors and therapists for not addressing and treating the trauma but instead labeling me with whatever they felt suitable, medicating me and moving on to their next patient.

Regardless, I’ll be heading to the library to check out some books while I can’t afford therapy or acupuncture and facing the trauma I know about. First on the list I suppose will be Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline.

Advertisements
 

a new word March 16, 2009

from my swain’s tumblr site. Thought I would share here.

a new word

there have beeen a lot of words thrown around lately regarding our current economic depression – socialism is one of the big ones. stimulus, spending, sub-prime mortgages, economic meltdown, etc. here’s a word most of us haven’t heard (along with it’s definition):

plutocracy |ploōˈtäkrəsē|
noun ( pl. -cies)
government by the wealthy.
• a country or society governed in this way.
• an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.

ask yourself this question: do we really live in a democracy? or does it just look that way on the surface. still not sure? then ask yourself this question: who would our government be more likely to listen to? an average citizen or a multi-national corporation worth billions?

 

3 year anniversary March 8, 2009

march 8, 2006-my first blog entry at my old website.
so much has happened since then.
is my life better?
absolutely.
am i still on the path to recovery?
yes, and i always will be.

I would like to think I have helped some people along the way. maybe they don’t feel so alone. but i will be honest-this is an outlet as well. after my last therapist dozed off during our pricey session, i quit therapy for good. this website allows me to voice my concerns, my fears, my anxieties and I would like to thank all of you who have been there for me over the years. I cannot tell you how much it means to me. I have met some wonderful, beautiful, strong and compassionate people like Gianna, Stephany, John, Ana and so many others.

Over the last three years I’ve had many ups and downs, if you will. I lost my beloved cat of 16 years and I still miss her so. We adopted a beautiful, funny boy from a shelter a few months later. He had a rough past. Beaten, bloodied and lost most of his teeth when he was brought to the shelter but he, like so many of us, is strong and survived. His purrs soothe my soul. I was diagnosed with Adenomyosis and had several ovarian cysts. Shortly after, I had an injury at work and was diagnosed with sciatica. There has been much physical pain the past three years, and I’ve had a hard time dealing with it. My entire life I have been battling the mental pain and was extremely healthy otherwise. I lost my health insurance, a frightening reality I never thought I would have to face. My work has slowed down tremendously due to the economy and strikes but I also reached a goal in my line of work that will soon provide health insurance and a pension. Lastly and most importantly, I got married and it was a beautiful day. The man I married knows me, he gets me and he is not afraid. He loves me unconditionally and has helped me break down some old walls. I know it’s not easy for him. He has no idea what it must have been like to be raped at 15 but he is always there, listening and comforting. I feel very lucky.

Over the past three years it has been bittersweet to see Big Pharma more and more in the news. As much as I hate the Rebecca Riley stories, these stories need to be heard. Thanks to Furious Seasons the Zyprexa and Seroquel documents were made available to the people who have earned the right to read them. Speaking of which, we have seen the descent of journalism. Newspapers are closing their doors. Great journalists are hard to find and we need them now more than ever. So, please head over the Furious Seasons and donate if you can. And over the past few years the Joe Biederman’s of the world are being called out. It has been a long time coming.

I have also began to question my mental illness. I have been labeled with so many, it’s hard to keep track of. I have been on antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. None of them have worked-although a few worked temporarily but that is not good enough. I deserve better. We all deserve better. And on the mark of my 3rd anniversary, I can say that I am happy to say goodbye to psychiatric medications. I have had a long love/hate relationship with them beginning many, many years ago. I’ve suffered through horrific side effects and withdrawals. I may never be the same because of them. However, I have learned there are other paths out there. Safer paths and I am choosing the safer one. It might be a more difficult path but it will be worth it in the end.

And lastly, I feel I have grown quite a bit the past three years. I have learned a lot. I cut off ties with my family around the historic election last year and have since began to mend things. We might not see eye-to-eye politically or even socially but I still love them. I have learned you can’t open everyone’s eyes and that is okay. What is important is….love. And enjoying life and your loved ones while we are here on this planet.

peace to you all.

 

you might be oblivious but sometimes you insult and hurt me December 28, 2008

Thanks to finding optimism for this:

There are many ways to insult someone with depression, without even trying very hard. The best way is to give them some unsolicited advice. Something that you think is simple, yet profound, and potentially life changing. But said in ignorance. Nothing cuts deeper to someone with depression, than when their illness, which is serious, is trivialized by another who doesn’t understand it.

Here are the some of the terrible things that people say:
“This is what life is like. Get used to it.”
“Life isn’t meant to be easy.”
“Just snap out of it!”
“Pull yourself together.”
“Who said that life is fair?”
“You just have to get on with things.”
“At least it’s not that bad.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
“You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about?”
“You just need to cheer up.”
“Quit trying to be a martyr.”
“Stop taking all those medicines.”
“I know how you feel. I’ve been depressed for whole days at a time.”
“You don’t like feeling that way? So change it!”
(more…)

 

ordinary people December 23, 2008

Today I was reminded of one of my favorite films, Ordinary People. It won 4 Oscars back in 1980. Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Redford), Best Supporting Actor (Timothy Hutton) and Best Screenplay. And yet it’s one of those films many people have not seen. I used to wonder why. and today I understand. It’s simple really and I’m surprised I never thought of it before. I grew up surrounded by many who put on the Cleaver family front. It was safe. comfortable. And this film is anything but. This film is raw and painful. beautiful and sad. honest and real. If you are someone who chooses to live behind the Cleaver fence or normal facade…this is a movie that forces you to remove walls and think. feel. empathize. go to “unsafe” places.

First, watch the trailer: (more…)

 

fall…winter…life November 25, 2008

Filed under: family,life,love,pain — clementine @ 1:03 am
Tags: , , ,

i have always loved fall. there is something about the crisp, colorful leaves that brings me much joy. i have fond memories of raking big piles of leaves as a child (or my father would rake them) and my sister and i would jump in them. there is a picture on my refrigerator and i’m guessing i was about seven, my father is standing there with a rake next to a pile of those crisp, colorful leaves and i’m just sitting in the middle of the pile. i was happy and innocent then. maybe that’s why i love fall so much.

it’s cold here and we’ve been building fires, they are very comforting. another reminder of the past i suppose. as i type i see our cat has left his blanket near the fire and is lying on the marble, as close as he can get to the fire. we, of course, keep a good eye on him…but he too, loves the comfort and warmth of a nice fire.

our first fire of the year…
first-fire-2008

and now winter is approaching…the holidays…and there is a feeling of emptiness inside. my heart is still breaking. at this moment, i’m thinking of my mother’s stuffing and her jingling sweaters. thursday i will make her corn casserole and think of her. but i will make it for my husband, who loves corn. soon we’ll put up the christmas tree. a tree which we will decorate with ornaments that all bring back so many beautiful memories of the past. i’ve been told i shouldn’t live in the past (and i don’t think i do) however, the past should live within us all, the good and bad. i don’t want to erase the past. i don’t want to forget those memories. i want to forever remember them. all of them. and so, as i hang the ornaments this year, i will remember the good times.

and i will smile while fighting back the inevitable tears.

 

a dose of reality December 23, 2007

Filed under: acupuncture,depression,family — clementine @ 1:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

i have been empty. avoiding blogging (i hate that word) at all costs.
i have been sad. avoiding finding a normal (i hate that word, too) routine.
i have been scared. and fighting my fears.

i hit a plateau. the lamictal is not working. one could say it’s because i cut my dose from 200 to 100 to 50. but i disagree. it stopped working at 100mg. i am now taking 50mg along with a multi vitamin from whole foods and 1000mg of flax oil. i quit the cokes and coffee and replaced with a variety of hot teas. i’m hoping for the best. i have been quietly debating quitting the lamictal altogether. that road terrifies me. and yet i feel i might need to travel it. and do things differently. like, find some sort of routine. walk more often. reduce the amount of news i watch and read. schedule acupuncture when i can afford it. go outside more often. smile more. laugh more. love more.

and thanks to one special man, i am no longer alone on this road.

we just finished shopping for the angel tree families. it’s something i’ve been doing for a few years now and truly enjoy. we shopped for approximately 30 people over the last couple of weeks. this year the organizer, a friend of mine, asked us to go to the christmas party and deliver the gifts. i couldn’t bring myself to do it (luckily, i had to work…) i’d rather it be a mystery. i’d rather not see their faces as i already have a picture of them in my mind. and to be honest, without the help of our families this year…we would be in their shoes and it’s not a reality i’m having an easy time facing.

there is an ongoing strike in my business and work is very slow. so slow that for the first time in my life i had to produce a “9 to 5″resume. not an easy task when my experience has been basically, um, taking care of actors for the last ten years. i don’t know how to put into words my qualifications outside of “i’m a multi-tasker, type 65wpm, pc/mac proficient and know a variety of programs including word, excel, etc…” needless to say, i’ve had no responses. and since i love to clean and organize, a few friends hired me to clean their homes. i placed an ad at craigslist (cleaning to meet your needs…) with one hit to date. recently i told a friend…”it was not easy cleaning someone else’s toilet…”and she said, “well, you used gloves, yes?” i said..”of course, but it was more like…wow, i’m cleaning a stranger’s toilet.” the irony is, on my last film an actor that has made enough money to last several lifetimes called me and told me how wonderful i am at my job. how i made the film lighter and more enjoyable for him. he called simply to thank me and tell me “you rock!” it’s not the first time i’ve heard this and i know it’s why i’m hired to do the job i do, and yet…we cannot afford another move to los angeles…i cannot afford to join my union…we are stuck in an area where there is little work. if the actor only knew i was cleaning toilets to pay the bills one month later…

since there are few gifts to give this year, i’ve been baking christmas cookies for family and friends. snowmen, snowflakes, chocolate chip with green and red swirls, an andes mint variety and double chocolate brownies. my parents were in town over the weekend. my mom brought all the tools necessary to decorate cookies, one of her favorite christmas memories with my sister and i. as we decorated with sprinkles and sugars, she hugged me and told me these were the important things in life…spending time with family. i agreed and even while feeling nostalgic, warm, happy and peaceful…

i still felt a bit empty, sad and scared.