invincible summers

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

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it June 5, 2009

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it…
lyrics from Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”
from one of my favorite songs and film, Magnolia.

my absence is not due simply to work (i’m finished and broke again) or negative attacks. it’s also simply (and i hope i don’t offend anyone but if I do, I apologize in advance….) I need to take of ME.

21 years ago around this time, i was raped. as my regular readers know, it was so brutal, i blocked it from my mind for nearly four years until something triggered it. then, at 19, i began traveling a road of escapism, addictive behaviors, etc. along the way I was diagnosed with just about every ‘mental illness’ out there…first depression, then double depression, then borderline personality disorder and lastly bipolar. I’ve been on numerous psychiatric medications all of my adult life.

and now, as I’m about to turn 36 next week, i have realized (with the help of some dear friends and readers…you know who you are and I am eternally grateful to you!!!) that it’s not what i thought when i first began it. for the majority of my life, i wanted to BELIEVE I had a mental illness. i took the pills. i spent tens of thousands in medical bills…saw the most expensive psychiatrists, therapists, etc….none of whom never understood me nor cared to. a waste of money and time to say the least, but a lesson learned and I grew from it. that’s what life is about….

I have been reading Peter Levine’s Healing Trauma and of course I have realized that the symptoms of many ‘mental illnesses’ are absolutely 100% identical to the symptoms of trauma. and I have a lot of trauma in my life, not just the brutal rape. The obvious cases of trauma being war, sexual abuse, physical or mental abuse, loss of a loved one, etc. But I was surprised by the lesser known cases of trauma and I encourage you to read his book if you haven’t already or one similar.

while working on a job recently, a girl turned me onto a beautiful center here in town. it’s a sexual assault center. my first appointment was earlier this week. i nervously walked in and was immediately overwhelmed by a beautiful, caring and loving energy unlike anything I have ever experienced at a place like this before. i will get more into it at another time, but let me just say, it is a wonderful place. and i received a grant so my first 8 sessions are free, after that, sliding scale. not sure how i’ll afford it then, but I will find a way. what matters here is: these people CARE. they do not medicate you. they HEAL you.

during my first session i did 90% of the talking (not uncommon during a first visit) but when my therapist was able to get a word in she brought up dissociation and a form of esp…something I will also get into at another time. (my intuition has grown much stronger over the years and she explained why) but as i sat in her office staring at the toys, the window covered with children’s artwork and drawings…i cried….tears of joy and sadness. through the window I could see children doing their ‘play therapy’ in the beautiful yard. i cried because i wish i had that experience earlier (but have also learned there are no regrets in life, at least that’s my belief) and i cried tears of sadness knowing what these children have been through.

i made it very clear to my therapist, i am anti-meds in my case. especially after 20 years of the meds making me sicker and masking the real issue: trauma. luckily, she is too. i told her the meds I’ve been on that I can remember: Seroquel, Abilify, Paxil, Prozac, Lamictal, Effexor, Celexa, etc. she told me i’d be surprised to know how many young children come in to see her who are on 6-8 meds and it saddens her. i told her i am fully aware of the child bipolar, etc. epidemic. i told her it angers and saddens me. HOWEVER, my dear how it was refreshing to see a place like this where children are loved and nurtured. they are not medicated. my therapist believes fully in creativity and I could see it everywhere. I didn’t see a diploma in her office but instead toys and books and games. even though i know she has a degree…that doesn’t matter. what matters is her heart and what this center is doing.

anyway, i don’t have much energy for more right now. (i haven’t had any energy lately and my mind has been numb) i will end by saying…i am so thankful for this opportunity and i KNOW it’s going to work. i also know it won’t be easy. and so, I haven’t been reading blogs, the news, etc…like I normally do because I’m focusing on me right now. I must do so in order to heal. I have also been escaping by playing games but I believe that is a result of 2 months of non-stop work and the nature of this therapy I’m receiving. That escapism will end as I get further along in therapy.

and in the end….i will hopefully be free of 21 long years of trauma and paralyzing pain.

my love to you all.

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the road to recovery April 18, 2009

This past week (via email) I was accused of being “ALWAYS UNHAPPY” with my life. Yes, the always unhappy was in caps and it came from a someone that has said things like this before who no longer wants to be mentioned in my blog. She feels I’m living in a “cyber world” and not the “real world”. I beg to differ on all accounts and I told her so. She also seemed to fear for her life by saying, “It’s scary to me, how do you know someone won’t come after us?” I did not respond to that-she said this after reading an article in Readers Digest on Myspace. This is a) not Myspace and b) the people who read my blog are not the types to “go after” this person or anyone for that matter. It’s completely beyond belief and yet I will say she did admit to being “computer illiterate” and so I must believe that she is simply misinformed and that is fine.

The simply truth is, yes, I get the majority of my support from the cyber world. And here’s the simple reason: the real world has failed me for more than twenty years. Psychiatrists, therapists, people who stigmatize, etc. When you spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills in the real world-the outcome for me was, well, I am pretty much back to square one except for severe memory loss, other problems from the many medications I have taken over the past 15 plus years and lastly, massive debt thanks to the lack of mental health parity. I’m trying to recall a specific doctor that has really helped me-there have been two or three out of more than thirty. The ones that did help-well, at the time, when I still chose the path of medication (the quick fix), I told them what I wanted to be on. I told them I was there for med management only. I cannot think of one therapist that helped me or gave me tools that actually worked in the real world. Scratch that-I had a sexual abuse therapist many years ago tell me, “my mind may never fully remember my entire rape-my mind will only allow me to remember what it can handle” or something to that effect. And she was right. I do believe that. I have not had one doctor suggest dealing with trauma from my past (my rape, etc) instead they’ve always labeled me, threw pills at me which made me sicker and certainly did not deal with the true issue at hand.

So, a few years ago I started this blog because I was feeling very alone and misunderstood in the “real” world and over the past three years I have met so many wonderful, amazing human beings in the cyber world-you all know who you are. But, hey, lets make you REAL just for fun: Gianna, Stephany,Duane, Van, Ana, Stan, Susan, Alex, Susan, Jon, Denise and so many others. Kidding aside-you are all real. You are all amazing, compassionate, strong and wise people that have helped me along my journey and I will never be able to properly thank you-because there are no words as to how much your support and your personal stories have meant to me. Now that I have opted to travel a different road to recovery, one without meds, I will need support more than ever. There are reasons some of us have at one point traveled the different road: the medication quick fix road. I won’t get into those reasons here because they are varied and some are very sad (ie. forced treatment, forced drugging, etc.) Some of us, well, me…I chose that road simply because it was the ONLY road I knew until I began my venture into the cyber alternative healing world. It reminds me of something recently posted at the great website/resource: Beyond Meds-Alternatives to psychiatry.

“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of psychiatric disability.” ~ Dr. William Anthony, Director, Center for Psych Rehab

and:

Dr. Lori Ashcroft suggests that we can experience “moments of recovery” by choosing new ways to respond and breaking old patterns.

– Developing a series of wellness tools
– Recognizing our triggers and learning how to best deal with trauma
– Learning our personal bill of rights
– Setting short and long-term goals and determining actions for change
– Finding our sense of purpose and ridding ourselves of negative self-talk

The above is exactly what I plan to do-it will be part of my new road to recovery. It is part of the reason behind this post. Another being the email I received and I felt I needed to write about it here. And lastly, I just read my sister-in-law’s blog and it reminded me of so many things. She has three children (my nieces) two of whom are in their teens and have cystic fibrosis. It would take forever to properly describe my sister-in-law: strong, loving, intelligent, spiritual, patient and giving. Those are just a few adjectives but there are many more. I will strive to be more like her-I want to attempt yoga, meditation and well, just live in the moment. That is not at all easy for someone like me and I commend those that are able to do so. But anything is possible and I hope to someday live in the moment and find true peace and a calmness in my heart. It will be a long, difficult road as so many of you know-but it will be worth it in the end.

Oh, I just realized the time-I have to end this. I must venture out into the real world, which is not easy for so many of us and only WE seem to know the reasons why, unfortunately due to stigma. I am going to pick up a 40s vintage jacket that a friend of mine altered for me yesterday after trying it on. (It was a twisted scene from Pretty Woman-imagine me trying on numerous outfits-many of which didn’t fit thanks to weight gain from psych meds and I didn’t have the unlimited credit card!) This jacket is part of what I’m wearing to tonight’s screening of a film I worked on and I will be, yes, amongst thousands of people in the real world. Not here on my laptop. I spent 6 weeks in the real world working on this film, giving my all for a story/film that I truly loved. The creative outlet is an important one for me. I personally believe it has saved my life. peace to you all.

 

anonymity April 12, 2009

Filed under: new beginnings — clementine @ 10:43 am
Tags: ,

To my regular readers and new readers: I will be using a different name on my posts. I picked Clementine because it’s a character from one of my favorite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I would greatly appreciate it if you address me in the comments section as Clementine or anything other than my real name which most of you know. Some of you know my nickname in the business I work in, please do not address me with that nickname. This is one of the reasons I’m switching to a pseudonym. Although my business is generally open and accepting, there have been a few occasions where this has been proven not be the case. And so, to protect my career that I’ve worked long and hard to achieve and remain in, I can no longer use my real name.

Unfortunately, I will have to go back and delete certain comments and posts. I am terribly sorry for this but I must protect myself and my career. Stigma is still widespread. I have also changed my email address in the contact section. If you are a regular reader or know me personally, by all means, please email me directly at my normal email address. If not, contact me via the new address.

I don’t know if this will solve anything or prevent anything. I am simply taking a precaution, especially after my latest trauma post.

 

a new year and new beginnings December 31, 2008

this is what i do know:

1) i am a simple girl and cannot write as eloquently or intelligently as so many of you out there. i am (kinda) okay with this.

2) i am 35 and for 15+ years of my life I have been on/off psychiatric medications. not one of them worked long-term. many (too many) of them had horrific side effects and long-term side effects that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life, possibly.

3) Big Pharma is not there to help the mentally ill, cure us, or even make us feel better. Big Pharma=Big Money in their pockets. Whether it be a Prozac Nation or an Atypical Antipsychotic Nation, they do not want a Healthy Nation. In simple terms, they would lose a tremendous amount of money since psychiatric medications are their best selling drugs.

4) Doctors are becoming more and more corrupt. The Joe Biederman’s and Charles B. Nemeroff’s of the world are proof of this. Doctors in the mental health field seem to both listen and care less. We are becoming numbers, not patients. I know this from experience. A therapist who dozed off during our session (a session I was paying good money for!) Numerous psychiatrists that write multiple prescriptions without even blinking or thinking. with no warning of the drug’s side effects or withdrawal symptoms. We see doctors prescribing multiple medications to children while their brains are still developing and they are not willing to figure out what’s really going on with these children. It’s all about the quick fix regardless of the severe and damaging consequences.

5) We need more science. period.

what i don’t know and the rest, after some soul-searching, i have decided to travel my own path. i will figure it out along the way. i will continue to do my own research. i will try new things like meditation, yoga and supplements. and revisit things that have worked for me in the past, acupuncture, keeping an open mind. all in hopes of finding a balance. my center. i will continue writing as it the best form of therapy for me right now. i will attempt to face a past traumatic experience and figure out how to let it go. its grasp is still there after so many years and can be crippling at times. i will attempt to stop seeking understanding from those that may never understand and instead, live my life. after all, it is my body, my mind and i don’t know how long i’ll be here on earth. i need to make the best of my life, no matter how difficult it may feel or get at times.

i will seek more love, forgiveness and peace in the new year.

and i’m wishing a happy new year to all of you!

 

a rainy but clear day December 15, 2008

Filed under: antidepressants,life,new beginnings — clementine @ 10:10 am
Tags: , ,

Although it’s nearly 50 degrees outside and raining, i have built a fire. it’s very calming. i have not been able to sleep lately, waking between 7 and 8 every single morning…after going to bed between 1am-4am. I am constantly exhausted and yet cannot sleep. Insomnia is one of Celexa’s side effects. I suppose that is the problem. I’m also having other Celexa side effects that I won’t get into here. So, what to do? Well, I will call my doctor. Sadly, I know the drill all too well.

What’s so interesting is, I’ve always been nocturnal. a night owl. I prefer rain to sun. dark to light. and yet, i’m finding waking early is very peaceful. as i sit here and drink coffee, my mind is clearer than it would be on a morning when I find myself awake before 11am. I believe there is a reason for everything. and today it is good i am awake because i am able to sit here, awake, and pray for my sister’s best friend’s 2-1/2 year old daughter who was diagnosed with a rare cancer, Retinoblastoma (there are approximately 350 new diagnosed cases per year in the United States) and they are removing her eye as I type. Chemo and radiation were not options because the tumor was very large. UPDATE: since I’ve been writing I just got word she made it through surgery and is doing well.
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president obama November 4, 2008

Filed under: 2008 election,change,new beginnings,peace,politics — clementine @ 11:56 pm
Tags: ,

there are no words to describe tonight. i will try.

i spent the past two days door-to-door canvassing and met some amazing people. i’ll never forget their faces, their kind words and even those that slammed the door in my face. as i walked the streets and passed boarded up homes and children with no shoes, i was hoping and praying for this moment.

not only did obama (and we the people) win, we won by a landslide. we can all sleep well tonight knowing we will not awake to find it was all a lie.

the negative ads and phrases like, “palling around with terrorists” did not work this time. they might have frightened my 86 year old grandmother but they did not frighten more than 50% of the American people.

tonight history was made. from this moment on…children of all colors can aspire to be President of the United States. and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

tonight i will pray for those who are too afraid to open their eyes to see what kind of man obama is. i will pray for those who are afraid to open their ears to hear what obama is saying. and i will pray for those who are afraid to open their minds…because if they did…they would know America just elected a man who will bring great change to our country and beyond. We elected a man who will UNITE us. fight for us. inspire and encourage us. There is nothing more patriotic than that.

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welcome June 28, 2008

Filed under: new beginnings — clementine @ 2:45 pm
Tags: ,

i decided not to renew my blog at invinciblesummers.com

and so here i am back at wordpress. i wasn’t able to transfer all of my older posts
(2 years of them!) i was a little sad that i couldn’t transfer the comments, so thanks to all of you who have left comments the past two years-your kinds words have been a great help. below, you will find the posts i was able to save.