Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wake me when October ends

Did anyone else have an October with about 3 extra weeks jammed in the middle?
I don't believe it was just me.

This month has been so much of a roller coaster, I'm still feeling motion sick. I've had some wonderful highs of multiple fire performance events and becoming a member of the board of directors for the Autism Society of Maine.

The lows....well...

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and let me tell you, I'm very aware of domestic violence. If you've read this blog before, you may be familiar with my stories of my father's abuse.

The idea that only unknown masked strangers can cause you harm is the "Stranger Danger" fairytale we were fed in middle school. Unfortunately, it is often those we let closest to us that do the most damage. It is these people we care about and depend on who can wound us the most.

If you are fortunate, you can get away from an abusive situation. However, that does not mean the effects of the abuse are done.

Sleepless nights.
Second guessing your own reality. The REAL reality.
Eating changes.
Lack of energy.
Disorganized thinking.
The list goes on and on....

Even if you do not have a medical label of PTSD, the effects of trauma on a person can be dramatic. I strongly recommend people reach out to others in these situations. Friends, family, and professionals can make the world of difference between replaying the same events in your mind or trying to enjoy your life. Trauma is serious issue and one that can continue to affect a person unless it is addressed.

The biggest thing I lost this month was perspective. It took me awhile to realize, but one of the worst things abusers do is take away your hope of the future. When I've been in abusive living conditions, there was the idea that things would always be this way.

October was needed to recharge in so many ways. For those who have seen me in person, it's almost become a mantra I've been repeating.

"It's going to be better. Soon."

Soon is November.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Do you REALLY see me?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is one phrase I hate receiving the most.

"You don't look disabled."

This week is Invisible Disabilities Week and the purpose is to raise education, awareness, as well as support. I know many people who live with invisible disabilities, including family members. It is a different way to live when people don't always realize there are struggles we deal with on a daily basis.

It's not just my medical issues, but other disabilities such as depression and anxiety that affect me. Some days are better, but after the rocky couple of months I've had there are some days where it takes a lot of energy just to function a little. There's also a compound issue of having people not understand invisible disabilities, but I can understand people sometimes are confused as to how to navigate through the invisible disability realm.

That's why my advice to EVERYONE is to treat others as if they are facing their own challenges. It takes just as much energy to respond with patience as it does to be sharp with someone. Positivity promotes positivity and there is no reason to be cruel to others. Everyone has their bad days, but the frequency of 'bad days' can increase when you have a myriad of other things biological going on in your own body. I also cannot underline how much of PTSD can have lingering affects on a person.

So this week, I'll issue you lovely readers a challenge.

If you are having an interaction with a person this week who is really pushing you to the limit, be it a driver in traffic or a coworker or a family member or a friend or a partner, take a breath before you react. Take a moment to understand they may be pushed to their limit and a misdirected negative comment could unintentionally break a person's spirit for the day (and possibly a few after). Take a second to understand the person may be in pain and not feel comfortable showing you their struggles.

As the great Bill and Ted once said, "Be excellent to each other!"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Us against the world

I don't remember what I was talking about to my psychologist when he asked my mother to come in at the end of our session. He sat us down and explained that he had 'concerns' about how we viewed the world. This was around the time my abusive father was getting booted out of the home, right before or after my amnesia inducing traumatic brain injury, while in highschool hell, and with all the awkward issues of puberty. His concern was that we had an "(us) against the world mentality."

My mother is so much like me that we were completely confused as to what his concern could be.


My family has been through hell. We survived abuse of many forms, poverty, life-threatening medical conditions, and still face the world with a kind heart. We laugh at ourselves because otherwise we'd miss the best jokes. My mother raised me to be nice to every creature and treat everyone with respect.

She is my rock and best friend.

So today is her birthday. I wish her many more years of making art, cuddling with cats, and our epic phone conversations which have a habit of beginning "I just need to rant for a second." For many of my friends, she is a surrogate mother offering advice or just a witty remark. She knows life is not always fair, but we can make the difficult choice to spread love and not dwell in the negative.


Yes, it has been us against the world for almost my entire life. The good thing is we have welcomed people into our close circle and the US has grown. So "US" against the world is not the worst thing in the world. The worst thing would be to think you are entirely alone against the world.

I have my mother; I'm never alone.

If you are interested in her Etsy page, check it out here!