Times are Changing

Yesterday was one of the most intense days I’ve ever had. My entire afternoon was spent with a psychiatrist and my psychologist. I didn’t get out until after 5:30pm. They have started working on some trauma therapy with me recently because apparently the presence of Complex PTSD has become very clear during my counseling appointments.

Blanking out/dissociation, which I was not even aware of, plus several other things that have happened, has led them to switch the DBT to Trauma therapy. And I fell apart at the seams yesterday. Now, for safety, since things are surfacing and I’m having it freshly opened up every week, they have asked my husband to remove all medications so that they aren’t accessible to me. I am furious over this. I do not think its necessary that they have involved him. My husband and I have an incredibly close relationship and I want to be able to open up with him at my own pace. Mind you, nothing was disclosed to him but obviously he knows that something big has been going on for them to request this. He has been looking at me alot all evening and I think he’s waiting for me to tell him what’s going through my mind. But I’m in no place to talk out loud about anything else today.

So anyway before he went to work this morning he handed me my meds for the day. I had to bite my tongue because it’s not his fault. He’s just following a doctor’s order. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that it makes me feel so incompetent as a human being.

Moving on. After I got home yesterday I spent the evening wearing 2 shirts and wrapped up in 3 blankets because I felt stripped and vulnerable and it was one of the harshest things I’ve ever ever felt. My phone wasn’t touched until I took the blankets and hoodies off this morning and my phone rarely goes more than an hour without being picked up.

My friend was talking to me this morning about dealing with a lot of changes. I hear ya. I feel in some ways that the changes in my therapy lately has been changing everything else in my life. Right down to the clothes I wear.

But they are promising me that even though things might be even harder as we go further in depth, I will be so grateful later on because they feel that I have so much trauma that has never truly been processed, many of my actions, behaviors and thoughts have been tainted and that I am always in defense mode. Always suspicious, unable to trust, unable to rest, or relax, or even truly have fun with things that I like.

I’m punishing myself in ways I have not even been aware of. And even though I don’t be going around thinking about any aspects of the various traumatic events in my life, they told me that I have been shaped by it all. Dbt is not going to work for me.

Ive only been in counseling for the past 6 months and during that time she has seen things and learned about my ways of thinking and even just my behaviour in the sessions and has concluded that that following a DBT style of therapy will not be the best choice for me. (She’s obviously very good at reading people far beyond the words they speak, like body language, expression, and even the things I wear and how my choices in makeup change with my moods!)

So here I am today, still feeling that heavy, large sweaters are necessary because I feel so …. exposed.

Should I expect to feel like this every week, now that I’m going to be involved in trauma therapy?! I’m starting to have second thoughts ….

Too Many Feelings

You feel like you are just taking up space in the world but you dont understand … that this your story — your story — no matter how it started or the chapters that are already written is still rightfully yours to continue.

I see you staring at the ceiling as the tears slip down the sides of your face. I see you trying to be strong and keep it in when really you should cry it all out. Cry as long as you need. As long as it takes till the flood of tears leaves your body.

Why are you trying to be strong?

Why are you trying to be brave?

Why are you trying to pretend it doesn’t hurt?

That it doesn’t break you in places you thought were healed.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to feel horrible.

It’s okay to feel confused, scared, anxious.

It’s okay because you are human and you need to feel what you feel.

That’s how you’ll begin to heal

Don’t Suffer Alone

If you or someone you know is in distress or considering suicide, there are places to turn for support right here in our province, including your doctor or Newfoundland and Labrador’s Mental Health Crisis Centre at (709) 737-4668.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention website also has information about where to find help.

You NEVER have to struggle alone. Sometimes it’s easier to talk on the phone than it is face to face and that’s why these services are available. You can access them from all over the world, not just in Newfoundland. So if you are struggling, I urge you to take the biggest step of all and break your silence by confiding in someone.

I wish I had known about these services when I was in that dark place. But I’m glad I know now because I can share it with you guys. I hope you all have a safe night 💜

#SuicideHotline #SuicidePrevention #DontSufferAlone #SufferInSilenceNoMore #DepressionHurts #PickUpThePhone #SomeoneIsWaitingToTalkToYou

Please Accept My Apology

My dearest Body,

Oh, how I have treated you so unkind. Oh, how so unkindly others have treated you. Yet, you still remain intact, bearing the physical, emotional, and psychological scars of unpleasantry for so little to see. Body, you have carried my being for years. You are much younger than I am in here. For reasons not yet completely known to me, there have been times where I have pinched you until you bled, cut you until you bled, starved you, poisoned you, and exploited you. Through all of this, you still remain with me: A young, beautiful shell carrying an old, bitter being.

Depression has allowed me to do these things to you. I never meant to hurt you. Family history runs deep within the vile rivers of disparity and self-loathing. I greatly apologize for those times I lacked the emotional and psychological ability to stop forced hate upon you. I want to blame my family history for my own past.

Rightfully so, these thoughts and actions are learned at a young age and I do not believe I would have naturally turned out this way if it weren’t for everything I have witnessed since birth.

Anger, depression, addiction, lust, and selfishness: the list continues. I have always known anger. I have always seen physical anger. These learned actions and reactions have caused me to harm you in ways I would never harm another living being. I cannot even kill a cockroach without crying inside.

My dearest Body, you did not deserve any of those things. I have taught you to stay still while I transcended into deep meditation. I taught you to stretch and run. I nurtured you with medication to heal you even when my brain maliciously told me not to. You are so incredible. I don’t tell you this often enough, but I spend long moments just staring at you up close. I love the rivets in your skin and the olive hue it gives off under its paleness. I am learning to love your eye color and your toes. I am learning how to give you what you need when you need it instead of selfishly taking and keeping from you.

With all of that being said, there is nothing I would want to change about you. Your lips are beautiful. Do not listen when I tell you they’re too thin. Your nose is perfect. Do not listen when I tell you it’s too big. Your vagina is magnificent. Do not listen when I tell you it’s not. Your nails are exactly as they should be. Do not listen when I tell you they’re too brittle.

The only things I wish to change are of my spirit. I am bitter and angry, yet hopeful and happy. I’m sorry that my mind is a bit confused, Body. I’m so grateful for you! For you have not betrayed me once. It is I who has betrayed you.

Yet, you inspire me by continuing to carry me forward!

You give me so much hope!

Thank you, Body.

Submitted by Ashley Godwin

A Biographical Nightmare

The torment of abuse
Never dies
A Biographical Nightmare
Inside rib cages
Along scars
Around breaks
Disfigured lines
Clotted blood
Congealed forever
Inside wounds
Only pretending to heal
Burn marks
The bases
Where memories
Hit homeruns
Where bullies
Strike you out
Where the umpire
Has been
Bought and paid

What Do You See?

What an incredibly haunting photo. I couldn’t stop looking at it, thinking of what could possibly be going through this child’s mind. 

 I see a little girl stuck,not able to go forward or backward. She’s stuck. It hurts too much to look back but the idea of moving forward is even more terrifying. 

Her eyes are pleading for help but no one responds to her cry. I want to go to her and take her little, innocent hand and walk up the stairs with her. To a new life. To safety. To freedom. Every single child needs a helping hand and to be taught that they are worth something. 

Someone needs to love her. Hold her. Protect her. 

And give her a blanket. For warmth, because she looks so cold and vulnerable. But also to help her feel safe. I personally use blankets a lot. When I’m sad, when I have a lot of anxiety, and even when I’m really angry and don’t know what to do with myself, I’ll curl up on the couch with a blanket and just sit. This little girl really needs a blanket. 

Which is worse – the physical or the psychological suffering?

A root canal?!? No. I think not. 

I saw the dentist this morning and I was faced with the reality, the ugly reality, of what years of bulimia has done to my teeth. And in 2 days i will be getting the first of several treatments in an attempt to save my teeth. An extraction. The worst of my teeth will be removed. 

If only it was as simple as going to the dentist. If only I could go and get my teeth fixed up and that be all. 

If only lying there and having a man’s hands inside my mouth was not such a horrific, traumatic thing. If only I could face this with more psychological strength then what I have at this very moment. 

A Life Of Uncertainty

Kids are fun …. Right? Well I don’t think fostering will be. Here’s why.

Home inspections. Part of being licensed to be able to provide foster care is having a home study. This includes interviews, references, and a very thorough study of your home. They are going to open our closets and take pictures. They are fairly clean and tidy but just the thought of it makes me feel so exposed! We will have quarterly inspections with CYFS after that, and we could have a drop-in visit at ANY time, day or night, from the social worker. Its pretty intimidating. When I’m going around in my old worn out pyjamas and a stained up shirt with my hair sticking out all over the place … that would be just the time a social worker will show up here.

Then there’s the paperwork. Along with all of the paperwork that is required for us to complete during this licensing process, there is also an endless pile of papers that need to be filled out for every child, monthly papers that keep track of the goals and progress of each child that comes into our care, at least a page for every meeting and visitations with the parents, and I’m sure there is more that I don’t even know about yet. Keeping all of it organized and ready to be handed over to the social worker at any given time is going to be hard.

Mind you, this is all just the things I am starting to learn. I haven’t actually experienced any of it yet. If everything goes as planned then by Christmas, about 3 months away, it will all be official and my door will be opened to some very hurt children. As overwhelming as it all is, I am beyond excited to be experiencing this. But not only excited, I feel blessed beyond words to be given the opportunity to become a part of the lives of children who deserve to be safe and cared for properly.

But there is also going to be a lot of uncertainty. It will be hard not to know whether we will be caring for a child for a week or a year or maybe even forever. Schedules change depending on visitation with the parent(s), so planning anything will be pointless. Our lives will be extremely unpredictable. I think the hardest thing though will be not being able to answer our foster child when he/she asks what’s going to happen to them, because I honestly won’t know.

I’m setting myself up for a lot of heartbreak. Each story in foster care starts with trauma. The goal is to provide safety and time for these families to mend. When that happens, it will be a beautiful thing – but even the most experienced foster parents’ experience heartache when a child leaves. When these families can’t be mended, and even if there are great people waiting to adopt, there is going to be an outrageous loss. When there are no adoptive parents waiting, its going to hurt even more. Watching the foster children grow and knowing the pain of their past breaks my heart – and I haven’t even had our first child placement yet!. Knowing that there are so many birth families hurting actually hurts me. Foster care is as much about heartbreak as it is about anything else, for everyone involved.

Its going to be REALLY hard on us being foster parents. But …….

250,000 children enter foster care each year. Some for a little while, some for way too long.  And each one is a reason why foster care is going to be worth it. Every single child is in need of love and fun and a safe place to call home. But I keep thinking to myself that as hard as it will be for us as the foster parents, it will be nothing compared to what the kids will be going through. Removal is traumatic. No matter how good we will be as foster parents, being placed in a home with us strangers is scary. Living with the result of abuse or neglect is not fair. None of the work that we are putting in to become licensed as foster parents can even compare.

So as scared as I am about what David and I are getting ourselves into, I know that all of the work we invest in this is because there is a very scared child somewhere, waiting to come into our home so that they can be safe, fed, loved and most importantly, be given the chance to be a kid again.

Buzz Overdose

To be living in this world that is buzzing with talk about suicide is just too much right now. I have lived through attempts of my own as well as the horrific death of my roommate, who was closer than a sister to me, and still have not had so much buzzing taking place in my head as I do right now.

There are many people who have real, intimate understanding of this topic but there are also many people who are nothing short of cruel and abusive with their words and actions in relation to this.

It’s. Too. Much.