invincible summers

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

beauty in tragedy June 27, 2009

i must admit. i really miss writing. but life has been hectic lately, to say the least.

i am in the middle of therapy at a local sexual assault center. it’s a wonderful place and i’m finally getting the ‘right’ treatment. trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. so, 21 years this summer since I was brutally raped. the mask is off. the walls are coming down. and i am healing. finally. no more doctors pushing the dangerous medications…just a loving environment focusing on the trauma in my life. and there is a lot of it.

my therapist asked me last week if there was anything in her office that made me feel unsafe. the simple fact that there are no pharma reps pimping their latest drugs is good enough for me. i didn’t say that but she knows how i feel about them.

i have found beauty in tragedy there. i see children playing (they are big on play therapy) outside the window of my therapist’s office in the yard or in the sand box. i see paintings and drawings from children ages 2-14 covering the walls in the hallways and my therapist’s office. and i cry. i cry tears of joy and pain. but mostly joy. i know why these young girls are there. i stared at a girl around age 7 in the waiting room one day and my heart was heavy knowing why she was there. (this center only sees victims of sexual abuse) and yet i also felt joy knowing this girl (and others there) are getting the proper help now versus 21 years later like me. something tells me their life will be less painful and a little easier. and i cry…thankful for places like this.

i sometimes sit there and stare at the children and think….if only i had found the right treatment earlier. and then i remind myself i blocked out my rape for nearly 4 years and then spent years of escaping…listening to the wrong doctors and therapists, allowing them to label me with every ‘mental illness’ in the book. allowing them to medicate me, believing it was the only solution. and yet, i do not live with regret. it took 21 years to come to this place for a reason. i don’t know why but there is a reason and someday i will know. i think i probably already do and just can’t express it right now because there is so much going on. i have not been reading blogs or the news…still. i miss my friends and readers here. but….my husband’s father is dying. quickly. cancer in his liver. stomach. colon (which they removed) and lymph nodes. we have been out of town. my husband is making peace with the man (his father) whom he had not seen in 14 years for a very good reason. and now, we wait. well, he waits for the phone call. it may come today. it may come in 4 months. but it will come and it saddens me. i wish i were in a better place to comfort him during this time. it’s something i am working on.

i don’t want to get too much into the details…it is not my story to tell. but sometimes when one is on their deathbed there is often much regret for the horrible things they have done to loved ones. i do not want to have that regret someday. and so i will continue on my path of love, compassion and honesty.

in regards to my family, they are waiting for me to call them and ‘mend’ things….and although it hurts….i will do it, eventually. sooner rather than later. because, again, i do not want to be on my deathbed someday with regret.

i will continue to seek the beauty in tragedy. it is all i know to do.
peace to you all.

Advertisements
 

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.

 

pregnancy and antidepressants April 25, 2009

Thanks to Gianna at Beyond Meds for this. And I agree with Gianna, Vogue is definitely a mainstream magazine so maybe a few lives will be saved. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Back in 2005 GlaxoSmithKline sent a warning letter to doctors, advising that the antidepressant Paxil may be linked to a slightly higher risk of birth defects in babies exposed to the drug during the first trimester of pregnancy.

From the FDA Public Health Advisory:

* In a study using Swedish national registry data, women who received paroxetine in early pregnancy had an approximately 2-fold increased risk for having an infant with a cardiac defect compared to the entire national registry population (the risk of a cardiac defect was about 2% in paroxetine-exposed infants vs. 1% among all registry infants).
* In a separate study using a United States insurance claims database, infants of women who received paroxetine in the first trimester had a 1.5-fold increased risk for cardiac malformations and a 1.8-fold increased risk for congenital malformations overall compared to infants of women who received other antidepressants in the first trimester. The risk of a cardiac defect was about 1.5% in paroxetine-exposed infants vs. 1% among infants exposed to other antidepressants.
* Most of the cardiac defects observed in these studies were atrial or ventricular septal defects, conditions in which the wall between the right and left sides of the heart is not completely developed. In general, septal defects are one of the most common type of congenital malformations. They range from those that are symptomatic and may require surgery to those that are asymptomatic and may resolve on their own. It is of note that the data in these studies was limited to first trimester exposures only, and there are not currently data to address whether this or any other risk extends to later periods of pregnancy.

The Vogue interview can be viewed here.

 

now is the time to act April 5, 2009

Now is the time. It was a phrase President Obama used frequently that inspired me, gave me hope.

If you google “Obama now is the time” you will find:

Obama: Now Is The Time For Iraq Withdrawal

Now is the time to protect our planet: Obama

Obama: “Now Is The Time For Congress To Act”

and this speech truly inspired me:

Today I must wonder-was it just a speech? Smoke and mirrors? I am beginning to question the man I voted for. A man who I believed wanted to unite Americans, end the war, fix the economy, create a transparent government and on and on. Now, believe me, I know that our current President has one hell of a mess to clean up. I wouldn’t want his job in a million years but…

Right now this is what I’m seeing: questionable cabinet appointments like Tim Geithner. Focusing on a war in Afghanistan when we need to focus on our country and get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is a man who once said, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” Well, during these incredibly tough economic times I do not see how moving troops (slowly) out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan is smart. I personally feel it is dumb. Our troops are exhausted. They need to come home. We are not going to end the “war on terrorism” by moving into another country-those that do hate our country and want to attack us will just move somewhere else. We can’t hunt them down in this manner. It is absolutely absurd. No wonder we are hated by so many countries-we keep attacking them! The fact of the matter is: war is a money-making business and it seems our President is going back on his word. sad. And then there was the 62% federal cigarette tax increase effective on, of all days, April Fool’s Day. This is what his administration had to say: (more…)

 

away for awhile March 23, 2009

I’ll be away for a short time. I finally have a job. I’m helping a director friend of mine cast his next feature film which is set in Portland but shooting mostly here, a city that is the polar opposite of Portland. (in film lingo, difficult to cast) The problem is, I haven’t been in the casting world since 2004, so, I’m a little rusty. No, wrong, more than a little. But I am very thankful for the short-term work. I haven’t had a decent job since last August, basically living off unemployment. I thought I worked in a recession-proof industry but nobody is safe anymore. Well, a few are but I won’t go there. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I went shopping and bought something for myself or my swain. A friend of mine bought cupcakes for my swain’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, that’s how bad things have been. I can’t even afford to drive 3 hours away to see my sister, parents and meet my niece who was born in October! Or visit my swain’s parents and sister and our newborn niece on that side of the family. Sad. However, I know that it could be so much worse. My dad’s company just cut his salary, my mom is in fear of losing her job-there have been many layoffs at her company. And I’m alive, fairly healthy and not living on the streets. Sooo….before I leave for a bit, a few rambling thoughts. (more…)

 

Bill Maher on Big Pharma March 11, 2009

an oldie but goodie:

“there’s no money in healthy people….”

“someone has to stand up and say that the answer isn’t another pill…the answer is spinach”

 

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.