My name is Tracy…And I’m an addict.

Those experiencing PTSD might develop an addiction to self-medicate feelings of fear, anxiety and stress. PTSD and addiction often co-occur in response to serious trauma. PTSD changes brain chemistry in much the same way substance abuse and addiction do. Often, these disorders form at the same time and feed off one another. The same trauma that caused PTSD can also trigger an addiction to any number of things.

Following a traumatic experience, the brain produces less endorphins, one of the chemicals that help us feel happy. People with PTSD may turn to some kind of high or rush, which increase endorphin levels. Over time, they may come to rely on their addiction to relieve all of their feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability. The relief, however short-lived will escalate as the person attempts to keep themselves in a euphoric state.

PTSD often causes people to feel disconnected from their friends and loved ones.

People with PTSD are more prone to violent outbursts and panic attacks, which can be difficult for family and friends to witness. Feelings of guilt over these outbursts can drive those with PTSD to self-medicate.

Hello, my name is Tracy and I’m an addict. I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything illegal.  I’m addicted to overindulgence. What does that mean? It means that I do almost everything in excess, I want to do everything and I can’t say no. I over extend myself physically, mentally and financially in order to obtain that small bit of happiness no matter how fleeting.  I’ve been this way as far back as I can remember. When I sign up for something, buy something, etc I don’t consciously think about what the consequences will be until it’s too late.  I’ve put myself into a state of denial so strong that I don’t even notice what’s happening until I’ve overbooked myself, spent too much, taken on too much work, made too many promises, etc.

I’m literally committed to no less than 3 jobs on any given week.I continue to take on as much extra work that they will give me at my day job. I volunteer, I help anyone I can, anytime I’m asked.  I have run up my credit cards to the point of embarrassment and my closet and craft area look like an episode of hoarders.  I say embarrassment because I did this and I was scared to tell anyone because I knew it was wrong and I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t tell anyone or ask for help because it felt like it was already too late. Much like a cheating spouse, once is more than enough to ruin a relationship. That’s what I’ve done.  I’ve ruined my one real chance at happiness and there is no going back.  Like they say, once you wrinkle the paper, you can’t ever get the creases out.

Maybe this sounds like an excuse, maybe not everything is a result of my disease but how will I ever know and how do I change a behavior that I’ve had my entire life?  I have to take steps to do this but I’m not sure what those steps are except to quit cold turkey.  Does this work?  How do you fix something that has completely ruined everything?  Here’s what I think, this is my responsibility and I will do whatever it takes to turn my life around. I don’t need anyone to do it for me, I will do it for myself so I can remember the struggle in the future when I am confronted with temptation.

The only thing I ask of anyone is that you give me the time I need to put myself back together.

 

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Why I can’t move on…

trauma-tears-300x234When I was 15 years old I was engaged in a heated argument with my family, this happened frequently at family gatherings but this time I had reached a level of despair so heavy that I blurted out the real reason for my anger. I screamed to all that could hear that my brother had raped me for several years, my brother and his wife immediately denied my allegations and my mother slapped me. I was called a liar, I was called insane, I was called a stupid crazy bitch and so on…

I fell into a deep depression that I could not see any way out of. I could not sleep, I was not able to think of anything else, I wanted to end my life. I found some pills in my mothers bathroom, turns out they were valium, I took a handful (about 20 or so) and went into my room with a glass of water. I stared at the pills for a long while, holding them in my hand, bringing them to my mouth several times but taking them back down to look at them over and over again. I was sobbing, I was telling myself that I don’t matter, that nobody loves me or cares what happens to me. I told myself to just take the pills, go to sleep and never wake up and maybe then they would all be sorry. I wanted to stop my pain but most of all I wanted to hurt them. I took the pills. I laid down in my bed but I did not fall asleep right away, I got up to get more water to take more pills, I felt weird. My other brother, the one that didn’t hurt me, could see that something was wrong with me, he knew what a high looked like. I felt very tired. I went back to bed.

I woke up in a hospital with something in my throat and someone yelling at me. I fell asleep. I woke up and was given some black stuff to drink, I threw up. I was admitted to a psychiatric facility for 30 days. After my time was up I went home convinced that I must never speak of this again, convinced that I am crazy.

Years go by and I am forced to accept my brother as my savior, my mother told me and everyone over and over that he was always there for me, that he took care of me when I was little and he loved me so much. I played along, what good would it do me to fight it.  I still had bouts of anger and temper tantrums at family functions and other times. I lashed out at anyone that threatened me or my personal space in any way so I became tough to a point of being “crazy.” I quickly learned that people that “love” you will hurt you and I had to live with that. Anytime someone called me crazy it set me off. I pushed people away, I can’t love or be loved because love hurts too much. I associated sex with love and pain was love. I developed issues with trust and insecurities about myself, why would anyone want to be with me. I believe myself to be disgusting.

My brother had children, I thought it was fine. I thought nobody would do that to their own children and his wife knew so she would not let anything happen to them. In my mind, I thought it was just me that he hurt and he would not hurt others except deep down I knew at the very least that he had hurt one other but I did not see it so maybe I could be wrong. The kids seemed ok. I let it go.

After many years and failed relationships with men, family, friends, etc. I met someone, someone that I really cared about and felt connected to in a way I had never felt before. I craved the love of this man because it felt like he was meant to be for me. I wanted to be a better person because he was worth it. I sought help for my anger, insecurities and anxiety. I finally told a therapist my story, I felt good but I had to tell my husband.  Something miraculous happened…he believed me and he offered his love and support.  I did not know what to think, this was not what I expected. I expected him to leave and tell me that he can’t even look at me least of all touch me ever again. This gave me strength, so much strength that I decided to say something to my mother again. We got into a volatile argument in which she lied to me and offered me nothing but denial and excuses.  So I let it go, AGAIN…but the denial and lack of acknowledgement of my feelings continued to plague me. I cut all ties to my brother finally.  I was able to reign in my anger for short periods of time but it would build up and I would blow at least once a year.

I started noticing signs of abuse in another family member, I saw in them the same anger, fear and insecurities and it was like looking in a mirror.  This was enough to bring the memories back to full blown Technicolor.  I called my mother, desperate for her help to stop this to check on them.  She agreed and promised she would do that.  When my mother called me to tell me that she confronted my brother about the abuse and she said he did not deny it I thought I had finally made progress.  She told me she made sure that he had not harmed anyone else and I was relieved that in fact it was just me.  I forgave my mother for her earlier denial and tried to repair our relationship.  She continued in her fantasy world of the perfect family, telling me stories of him, praising him in my presence and telling me about the kids he had living with him and what a great person he is for helping these people in need.  Telling anyone who would listen that “Tracy just doesn’t get along with her brother” not that Tracy does not want to spend time with or hear about the man that raped and tortured her for years.

All of her promises it turns out…were a LIE.  She never confronted anyone, she never checked on anyone and to top it off she was still in denial.  Of course he is helping people that need a place to stay, they have what he needs…more children.  She went so far as to invite another family with small children to vacation in his home.  She can NOT be this oblivious.  I felt sick!  So sick that my anxiety went into overdrive and I started having anger episodes again, pushing away anyone that I could.  It was time to make a choice and do something, I began therapy again and was diagnosed with PTSD.  What?  I thought that was a war vet sickness. Nope, turns out the key word is Trauma. I had to work on recovery and the first step is telling my story, getting it out, not hiding from it.  I completely cut my mother out of my life, she made her choice and she will now have to live with that. She chose a pedophile over me, she protected him and punished me.

I began to write this blog for my own healing, not sharing it just writing but it was not enough.  I had to tell others, I needed justice even if that only means he will be shamed. I began to hear from others he had molested and I started losing all capacity to heal, I became more angry and the guilt I felt overshadowed everything. It was my fault that he hurt so many others. I should have done something earlier, I should have made sure the others were protected myself.  My shame is that I left it up to others and I am so sorry for that. I can not live with that feeling and it plagues me every day.

He did not feel any shame, in fact he called it all lies and called all of them to get them on his side. I don’t want sides, I just want what’s right, I just want justice and not just for me. I can’t move on until I have justice of some kind. It’s ruining my life because I can’t get over this. I try so many different things to overcome my anxiety and depression but they are all just brief moments of happiness that fade quickly. I’ve tried every hobby I could, tried overworking myself to keep busy, buying news things for me and for others to hide in that moment and never allowing myself a moment of free thought.  I’m going to lose the rest of my family, my husband and my life because I can’t overcome this.  I want him to pay for what he’s done to my life and so many others. I want to start over, I want to have a happy marriage, a happy family and success for me and all of them.  Maybe that’s not going to happen for someone like me, maybe I’m unworthy.

 

The Deception

FB_IMG_1459883574804-110 years ago today I practiced deception of which I’ve regretted ever since. I deceived a man who loved me. 10 years ago today I married the man I love and he thought he was doing the same but he married someone else altogether. He thought he was marrying a fun, carefree and happy woman who promised to love with honesty for rest of her days. He did not get what he bargained for at all, instead he married a damaged little girl holding in a deep dark secret threatening to end her life at any moment. This little girl looked like the woman he loved but under that mask she was slowly dying of shame and fear.

It wasn’t a deliberate deception but a façade that had been worn for many years with only small cracks allowing the black poison to seep through just enough to seem like “normal” wear and tear. She believed true love could heal the deeper cracks beneath the surface that only showed to herself in her black tear streaked reflection. Hope and love had to be enough so she pushed the pain down farther and farther until it was even deeper still and the cracks appeared to fade.

He was a good man, hoping to have finally found the other half to his whole.  He didn’t know what was coming so he continued to fall further in love with the façade. Over time he began to see some cracks opening deeper, he thought it must be something he’d done and tried to fix what he thought he had broken.  Day after day the cracks grew deeper, wider and blacker until the mask was almost unrecognizable and he blamed himself.  He saw this happening and knew for sure that it must be something he had brought on.

She knew he did not cause the cracks, they had always been there.  Hidden.  It became harder and harder to hide them, he loved her too much.  Knowing he would not want this woman with gaping and painful fissures, she tried unsuccessfully to masquerade them but they were strong.  After some time he saw them clearly, they were deep, black, ugly  and sometimes glowed red with rage and pain.  He didn’t know what this was or how he could possibly understand how they came to be.  He believed she must be a monster pretending to be the woman he married.  He pushed and pushed until the façade shattered and all the evil and disgusting truths came flooding out.  He tried to understand but it seemed impossible, he saw the little girl.

The little girl, a small and frail little blonde haired girl with tears pooling in her eyes seemed to be hiding, not able to give him the answers he so desperately needed to help his wife.  What can he do, he needed to help her but how?  She wanted to reach out to him and beg him to save her but she was scared, too scared and too scarred to let anyone touch her soul even though she needed it so badly.  He wanted to protect her and to heal her but how can he protect her from her own thoughts?

He did everything he knew how and still he could see that she was broken, maybe beyond repair.  She was so afraid he would find her scars to be too ugly and would throw her away with all the other putrid waste.  Was she worth fighting for?  Nobody else seemed to think so and she felt it was impossible that he would think any differently.  She knew that you can’t fix these cracks no matter how much tape, glue, make up or veils you placed there.  Now he knew, so could she ever be what he wanted or needed?

She tried to do everything in her power to put the shattered pieces back together but shards kept falling out and he was growing weary of trying to pick up those pieces when he found them.  It’s too much for one man and maybe he can’t help her, maybe he needed to give up.  She wanted to be whole for him but she is not strong enough.

She is starting to give up, the pain is too great and she can’t keep holding on to the thin wire of hope.  She has lost so many battles that surrender seems inevitable.

 

With This Vow

With This Vow

I feel this exactly. So therapeutic to find others that are tormented in the same ways I am. I hate it for them because I understand fully.

Open Thought Vortex

you loved me
I thought
I stood by you
all those times
touch sky
I could
I thought
How cliche?!
love
I was blinded

touch my hand
you don’t
not sober
you made that vow
looking back
I meant
a vow
to stay with you
I made a vow

we were unstoppable
I once thought
I don’t see it either
the best in me
you don’t. . .
my life. . .
joy. . .

you brought
the most
the person I love

I am lonely
I am afraid
I panic
I can’t work
anymore.

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LIVING vs. EXISTING

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One day you wake up and you truly “wake up” for the first time in your entire life. Some would say it happens to everyone in “midlife” but I say that until then maybe it’s that you just don’t get it. Some people never wake up at all, I call these people blissfully ignorant. These people make every excuse for not living and then pretend that they enjoy the mundane.

Today the alarm went off at 5:30AM. I didn’t realize it was my alarm at first but finally hit snooze after a minute for the first time this morning. I would hit snooze 4 more times and then fall back asleep until 6:30AM when I awake to a whining puppy that’s ready to go out. The sun was trying to come through the gray and dismal clouds in the sky in our typical suburban Midwestern neighborhood, my eyes creaking open painfully but just enough to watch my puppy take a 90 second piss then try to come inside so he can shit in my front foyer (WTF). I’m not really awake but I push him back out to take a shit as I whisper “Go poop” over and over until he finally takes a sprint for the yard and squats to push out the turds that were already half creeping out of his asshole. I can only hope to go back to bed while wondering what our neighbors must think of my dialog with the dog at such an early hour. It’s late so I know I can’t sleep anymore, I get the dog safely back to bed with my sleeping husband and older dog.  I slip into the shower to wash the residue of at least 4 hours of sweat I produced the night before as I lay uncomfortable in my bed begging for sleep.

I don’t wash my hair every day but today I did so that I could just pull it back in a wet bun at the back of my head, brush my teeth, spray on some deodorant and slide back into bed for 10 minutes hoping I could lift some of the fog on my brain. At 7:05AM my husband wakes to get ready for work so I know I better get moving, throwing on the easiest outfit I can find (stretchy pants and belly/ass covering shirt) and since my hair was up, a pair of earrings I took both dogs out to make waste in the yard. I’m running late and know somehow that my co-worker will not make it in to work today so I need to get moving. I hastily toss a bit of chocolate and a breakfast drink into my purse and head out.

Barely out of my subdivision and my car dings loudly at me to indicate I am 18 miles to empty and as I’m running late I not so swiftly calculate in my head if I can make it to work without stopping. The answer eludes me so I just decide that I’ll be late and stop in for some gas. I can’t think enough to remember that I need to enter my card before selecting the grade and placing the nozzle in the tank opening so I must start over since the pump is dumber than me if you can believe that. When you are running late it always seems that the pump takes forever so in my mind I’m thinking the line must be dirty. Because apparently I have an extensive knowledge of the inner-workings of a gas pump all of a sudden. I can see that the 3 fella’s in the landscaping truck are watching me and I get angry because this to me is not flattering. Either they are making fun of me sleeping against the car or they are thinking they may have a chance with this less than desirable female with low standards.

Back in my car I see that there is no way for me to stop anywhere to get breakfast so I guess it’s day 135 of a buttered bagel and cup of hot tea. I’m not overly excited since I’m just now realizing that I forgot to bring anything to eat for lunch which means I will also be eating that for lunch. I put my make up on in the car while sitting in traffic.  Yes, fuck you…I have to, stop fucking judging me.  Shortly after arriving at work my psychic powers ring true and my co-worker has sent a note that she won’t be in. Of course this premonition is useless and I can in no way pick the winning lottery numbers out of my ass for the life of me.

In my windowless gray office, a breeding ground for depression, I slowly but surely start my work day and finding that I’m caught up with my work decide that I will check my Facebook updates. This is a huge mistake. I find that the post I’ve shared has comments that unintentionally point out the shortcomings in my “life” and I respond in my current state of “existence” to which my husband takes offense and responds with a nasty comment. This gets me thinking because that is what I do best, I think and then over think and then my life is suddenly in ruins because I start to mentally run through my morning as you see it here and then a typical day, then weeks, then months, then years and so on. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m missing out. Life is passing me by and I’m just existing. That morning routine happens every day of every week of every month…

BTW…I’m writing this at lunch and just realized the breakfast drink I brought is festering to room temperature in my purse.  FML.

I’m an accountant during the day in my dark and sunless office. I do typical accounting functions like running reports, updating or creating spreadsheets, balancing accounts, etc. In addition to that, I’m eating the food rations of an entire third world country causing my stomach to bloat in pain until I hate myself. I look at the clock on my computer about 3 times each hour and count down the time I have left until I can go home. Go home to what? After battling what has to be the US capital of shitty drivers I make it home to pull into my garage, grab the mail and greet the dogs. I take the dogs out where they piss and shit in the yard after a lot of prodding on my part then take them in to feed them. Depending on the time I either start dinner, update laundry and/or deal with the dishes. While cooking dinner I will continue these thankless tasks while listening to an audible book and rummaging through the mail removing our names from the junk mail and recycling the rest. My husband gets home we have the obligatory hug and/or kiss and then we eat dinner in front of the TV. After dinner I remove the dishes and sit back down in front of the TV and read or color. As soon as my husband walks in the door he greets the animals and after a few minutes they start to get on his nerves, he then eats dinner while checking his phone and then most nights he falls asleep until bedtime or makes calls to friends or family, occasionally we will watch a show or two together.

Before bed there is this dance where someone leaves the living room first and the other has to turn everything off and turn on the alarm. I have more shit to do so this is usually me. By the time I come out of the bathroom for bed he is already well on his way to sleep so I get in bed, listen to my book and color for several hours trying to fall asleep only to wake up 4-5 hours later to start the same meaningless day all over again.

I love my husband, the dogs bring joy to my life, at least one of my kids is doing well in life and my job is ok (it pays well) but there are things I want to do and I feel like my life is over about 40 years too early. I don’t want to be this person anymore, I want to enjoy life not merely exist. I want to wake up one morning and have something exciting happen even if it’s a small something.  Maybe I read too many books, or watch too many movies, or maybe it’s just social media that makes me think everyone else is living.

Is it a mid-life crisis? Or is it that I understand more than most about how short life really is and that I want to make the most of it? I know how quickly it can all be over, I could just not wake up tomorrow and what will they say at my funeral?

“Well she had the world’s shittiest childhood but thankfully she almost made it to slightly less than average in her adult life.”

or

“She had a lot of cool Pinterest Boards.”

 

I can’t let that happen. Here is what I’ve decided to do about it:

  • I read somewhere that simply planning a vacation, even if you don’t book it can be uplifting. I decided that I would start planning all of my solo trips around the world and then maybe sooner rather than later I will actually go somewhere. I will travel the world, whatever it takes.
  • I will block people from my social media that make me unhappy, starting today I’ve blocked one person and will continue to do so as needed. It’s SO simple!
  • I’m going to get rid of STUFF and maybe downsize my life a little so maybe I can do things more easily.
  • I won’t over extend myself trying to help everyone else. I’m going to do stuff for me.
  • I’m going to take more classes so I can do things I love.
  • Maybe just one side job. Also, to my jobs…YOU are NOT my first priority in life anymore. My nights and weekends are my own and I will work if I choose to.
  • Adventure, gonna try some.

Follow up…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I’ve been extremely overwhelmed with obligations as well as recovery from surgery that took some of my time.  I’ve promised so much to so many people and I can’t keep up with myself. In addition, I’ve been trying to be positive so finding it hard to write about my past right now.  This is always such a difficult time for me even though I like the summer.  It’s the anniversary of my father’s death 31 years ago so I’m especially raw and I’m pushing myself to keep from spiraling again.  I will just post this letter to my mother that I’m thinking about sending.

Dear Mom,

Telling me you love me is not enough, your actions tell a different story. I don’t believe your words because you choose to regard my rapist’s life and feelings above mine.  Most people can’t understand a mother that would ignore such a crime against their own child and for the life of me, I can’t explain it to them.  As a mother myself I just can’t imagine this and believe it’s some sort of mental illness that allows you to rationalize his behavior as well as your own.

I do miss having a mother and I wish we were close. I wish I didn’t get angry every time I think of how you abandoned me when it suited you.  Whether you believe it or not, it is abandonment. When I was young I told you what was wrong with me but you abandoned me then by ignoring my story and punishing me so I put the secret away again.  When I told you again as an adult you abandoned me once more by lying and protecting my rapist.

I can’t pretend that I’m ok with your relationship with him and your unwillingness to face the truth. I can’t turn a blind eye while you continue to put other children in danger by sending them to him.  I can’t turn a blind eye to you ignoring your granddaughter, also victimized by this monster that you continue to protect.  What does he have to do for you to treat him as you have us?  We were just little girls and yes it was too late to stop my torture but you did nothing to prevent him from harming others even after I asked you to.

I don’t believe you want a real relationship with me. It seems to me that you just want to continue some sort of fake family image you like to picture yourself in.  You have always tried to hide our real family from your friends and extended family.  I can’t be a part of your fantasy world any longer, I have to be honest to have real relationships.

It may seem like nothing but I wish you wouldn’t include me in your dishonesty. I was already hurting when I went to my uncle’s funeral but because you can’t tell the truth I had to navigate through all the questions about his absence and to top it off, you included my name next to his on the flowers and in your speech.  It’s not ok and you need to stop, he is not my family.  I should have just told them all the truth right then and there, next time I will.

Finally, I will just say that if you continue your relationship with him then you must stop trying to have a relationship with me. I will not waver on this decision.  I have felt so betrayed that it hurts to even think about a relationship with you.  He ruined my life and I have suffered for 38 years so I will do whatever it takes to finally heal from this.

Tracy