This blog is part of my recovery, and I would like it to remain a safe place for me to share parts of myself and my life that people close to me may or may not know. As a result, while I'm not going crazy with privacy settings, I do ask that if you find this on your own and suspect you may know me, please respect my privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Sanguine Saturday Post On Sunday

I do apologise - I'm a long way behind on everyone's blogs. I'll do my best to catch up over the next week.

It's not that I've not cared: I had my regular appointment last Friday at the hospital with the outpatient burns clinic and they wanted to do another graft. This time I've not been so honest with my family -- after their response last time, I felt it was better for my mental health if I told a few little fibs, so I organised to stay over with a friend the night before, and told my family that's where I was spending my week.

So, of course, I have spent my week without the internet, stuck in the hospital! Not a lot of opportunities for my skill uses, but let's see what we can get.

Success Stories:
I Faced Fear by going to my appointment with Erica, my support worker (it was only the second time I'd met her, so you can imagine I was a little anxious).

I Faced Fear while doing PLEASE Master in actually *going* to the hospital to get the new graft done.

I used my DEAR MAN skills when I went to McDonalds tonight, to get sauce, then extra sauce, then to get a cup tray.

Gratitudes List/Things that make me happy:
TWO unexpected packages! One that was sent directly to me in hospital; the other was waiting on my chair when I got home.
My wonderful friends.
Lovely nurses.
Good movies.
Star Trek.
Being creative and crafty.

Cheer-leading statements:
I'm doing the best I can with what I have.
Every day is a new day.
Whatever happens, happens. I'll cope with it.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Sanguine Saturday

It feels like I'm not moving forward. It feels like I'm still just treading water, that that's all I am ever doing. Am I really still not achieving anything?

Success Stories:
I Faced my Fear by going to my Karakan appointment and meeting my new Karakan support worker on Monday.

I made the choice NOT to get drunk or self harm that night and instead I took some extra medications so that I could go to sleep earlier (all within prescribed limits and, admittedly, helped by my still being unwell).

I made the choice to Face my Fear and go to my appointment on Wednesday to get my eyes tested. I also made the choice to reward myself afterwards with some good food and good friends, but when I started feeling (mentally) unwell after, I used my skills to make the choice to go home instead of staying so that I didn't upset my friends.

On Thursday I may not have managed to avoid self harm or alcohol, but I did manage to delay both for quite some time from when the urge first hit.

Although I haven't been using PLEASE skills as much as I maybe 'should' have done this week, I did do some things for my physical health needs that I would otherwise not have done.

Gratitudes List/Things that make me happy:
Packages in the mail.
Taking photographs.
Hot chocolate.

Cheer-leading statements:
Yeah, I'm not perfect. So what? Nor is anyone else.
I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with.
Every day will end, even the harder ones, and with the new day will come a new start, a new chance.
I have the 'toolkit' to cope with anything that comes along.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Life Isn't A Fairytale

Eight years ago, I donned my fairytale dress. I stood in front of my family and my friends and I promised to share my life with him, and only him, for as long as we both should live. We promised each other forever.

A lot has changed. Two years ago, we finalised our divorce: signed all the papers, made it official that things between us were over. I still hate that word, divorce. I hate the finality, the way I feel like a failure when I apply it to us.

Today he has a new relationship, a new family. I'm supposed to have moved on as well, and sometimes I think I have. And sometimes... sometimes I'm still so sad for all that we had that is gone. It's hard to move on without accepting it, but it's hard to accept it without moving on. I'm not even sure I want to accept it, sometimes. I know that might sound a bit silly, but accepting it means giving up even the ghost of a hope that it might be different some day. I suppose it probably sounds even sillier to those who know a bit more about our relationship. Still... I'm afraid to give up that hope.

It's like I live a fairytale, in my head. Like I think if I just hold on long enough, things will work out in the end, just like in a romantic comedy. I really need to challenge those thoughts. Life isn't a story, it's not going to work like the movies. It doesn't matter how long I hold onto him in my mind - I'm still not going to get him back. And the truth is, I don't really want him back. What I want is for my life to have gone the direction it was headed in five years ago. I want to be 22, again, with the world at my feet. And I can't have that, so it's time to let it go. It's time to learn how to want to be 27, 28, 29, 30. It's time to learn how to want to be something I can actually achieve. It's time to make new goals, time to make a new life for myself.

Tonight I'm going to let myself feel the sadness, the loss. Tonight I'll let myself cry for the woman who promised forever to someone who didn't keep it; for the hopes and the dreams and everything that we shared that never came to fruition. But tomorrow?

Tomorrow I'm going to remember that this isn't an ending, this is just another new beginning. And it's my choice what I do with that.

Cheer-leading Statements:
What we had is over. It's okay to feel sad about that.
Life doesn't work like the movies.
Sometimes it's more important to let go.
I can survive this. I can tolerate this, and anything else that comes my way.
Being divorced doesn't make me a complete failure as a person.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sanguine Saturday

I'm just going to jump straight to it, today. I have some other posts that are rumbling around in my head that I wanted to write as well.

Success Stories:
I used my DEAR MAN skills to reschedule some appointments that were conflicting (and I need to call and do that again this week, too).

I've been using PLEASE Master to take some time out this week as I've been sick since Monday, but I still went to my appointments instead of just using it as an excuse to hide away and isolate for the entire week.

I am using both GIVE and DEAR MAN to organise a holiday for myself, for the end of July.

Gratitudes List/Things that make me happy:
Orange juice.
Star Trek.
I have good friends.

Cheer-leading statements:
I am not a bad person.
It's okay to feel however I feel: good, bad, indifferent... all of it is acceptable.
So what if my mother says I disgust her. That's her opinion. I don't have to take that on.
I'm not responsible for anyone else's thoughts or emotions. I'm only responsible for me.
The past does not dictate the future.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Here in Australia, we celebrated Mother's Day today. I organised with my brothers to take our mother out to breakfast, at the end of which they brought out the mints. Two little cards with a chocolate heart on each. I reached for one and my brother said to me, "that's not for you. You aren't a mother."

Right up until that moment, we'd done okay; I'd put aside my anger, put aside all the things that hurt about the day and pretended we were like other families out celebrating mothers day, but my brother saying that pulled everything apart at the seams. I'm not a mother...

My brother is wrong. I have two children. I never had the chance to hold them, either of them, in my arms, but I will forever hold them in my heart. My family may not want to acknowledge them, for whatever reason, but their lack of acknowledgement doesn't change the facts. I am a mother.

So, call me crazy if you like, but instead of heading home after my day, I walked to the park. Maybe it was a nutty idea, but I thought if I could just pretend for a moment that I still had the family I fought for, if I could just fake it, I'd find solace there.

So I took myself to the park and I played their song (thank you, Gerrit Hofsink, for the most beautiful song I've ever heard). I knew she wasn't there, but I pretended I was watching her climb up on the swing and fumble with the seatbelt. I reached forward and I hooked the seatbelt up, and then I pushed the swing. Gently at first, and then higher. It wasn't long before my imagination took over. Soon, I had gone from pretending I could see her to actually 'seeing' and 'hearing' her. And yet... I knew it wasn't real.

Call me crazy, but I stood pushing that swing with tears pouring down my face for at least half an hour. I sang to the music, I imagined my daughter laughing and begging for me to push her higher, and I imagined my son on the swing beside us. I saw him as I imagine he would be today; 14 and all adolescent awkwardness and "mum, can we go home yet"s. I saw her as I have always imagined she'd be by now; almost four years old, blue eyes and blonde hair, all innocence and bossiness and "mummy, I want to touch the sky"s.

I wish I could say that doing it had brought me peace. I wish I could say that I took solace in this imagining, this pretence... but the truth is, it still hurts just as much as it did before. My son and daughter still aren't here with me, and I'm not sure anything will ever take that pain away.

Elyssami Faith and Mykelti Noah, this one's for you. Wherever you are, I miss you. I love you. I think of you every day.

Being a mother is more than having a child you can hold in your arms. Being a mother is one heart, two arms and all the love in the world, all for that little person in your life. So, to all of the mothers out there, whether or not you had the chance to hold your child in your arms, happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sanguine Saturday

I'm a bit tearful at the moment. Things aren't going well between my mother and I (or, actually, between my brothers and I) and this is a month filled with very significant anniversaries for me... And what better time to look at the good things than when things seem to be leaking out the gutter?

Success Stories:
Last week, when I had to get a dressing done by the GP rather than the nurse, he allowed another doctor and her patient to enter the room. I was extremely uncomfortable with this (particularly as I, at the time, did not have pants on!) and although I didn't initially do anything, when my nurse asked on Tuesday how it had gone, I was honest with her and admitted that I'd been very uncomfortable when it happened. It may not have been a major win for DEAR MAN, but it was certainly a start.

I have been angry with my mother for several days! I know that this may not sound like much of a success, but given how much difficulty I've had in the past with experiencing anger, especially anger directed at someone I care about, it's huge.

While waiting for a friend to have her eyes tested, I decided to be brave and get mine done as well. Not only did I go to the first one, but I went along to the follow up they requested as well!

I went to my ATODS appointment! True, I was absolutely terrified, I took BlackJack (the stuffed giraffe who goes pretty much *everywhere* with me) and Kendall (the bear who usually goes along mainly for photograph outings or if I'm particularly anxious), and I babbled like you wouldn't believe, but I went.

I got my Next Generation DVDs without my docket! Mum had taken the call yesterday while I was out, and I'd meant to grab the receipt on my way out in the morning since I was going to the shopping centre where they were holding the DVDs. While I was there, I thought I would just stick my head in and ask at JB if I would be able to pick the DVDs up without the docket... and they let me! I had to use a bit of DEAR MAN, and I fumbled a lot, but I did it and I got my DVDs!

Gratitudes List/Things that make me happy:
Crafty supplies.
Star Trek!

Cheer-leading statements:
I am not a bad person.
It's okay to feel however I feel.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Butterfly Does Not Make The Caterpillar A Lie

Today I made a discovery. In all my years in and out of therapy, in all my time spent working on "this, that or the other" issue, something went unseen, unrecognised and uncorrected. Let me back up a few steps with a story that is fairly vivid in my mind. It's not an especially distressing memory, nor is it particularly unusual for my life, but for some reason, it's something that has remained quite clear.

I am thirteen years old, it's just after school and I've missed my bus. I know my stepmother's going to be angry with me, but I haven't any other choice, so I walk to the office and I call her. That conversation is lost to the 27 year old I am now, but I do remember knowing she wasn't happy she'd have to fetch me. She doesn't ask why I have missed the bus and I don't volunteer. By the time we are home and she wants to know, I cannot for the life of me remember. This is nothing unusual as I often forget things or share things that don't "tally" with what someone else thinks has happened. I am used to it, as is my stepmother. Unfortunately, as much as she is used to it, she despises it. She fires questions at me, shoots accusations that are baseless and unlikely: I didn't forget, I had a detention and didn't want to admit to it. I was down the back kissing a boy. I was in a fist fight. I was redoing an exam. I was caught breaking school rules and having a chat to the principal. In the midst of these accusations, I suddenly remember what I had been doing, why I had missed the bus. A friend who had been having a hard time had asked me for support in doing something. We'd both expected I had plenty of time, but over or under estimated somewhere. Why I couldn't remember this earlier, I don't know. But I did remember it now, and as my stepmother threw her ideas of where I'd been at me, I tell her it wasn't any of those things. Her lip twists into a sneer and she tells me I wouldn't know, since I can't remember, and I tell her, "I do remember, now" and she doesn't believe me. She tells me that I can't 'not remember' before and remember now.

I learn that if the situation changes, the past is a lie.

That is not the first time I received that message, and it wasn't the last, and in 27 years, nobody's ever thought to tell me any different. I didn't challenge it because I didn't see it as anything but simple fact... until today.

Just as the butterfly who emerges from her cocoon does not make the caterpillar a lie in fact, nor does it do so in metaphor. If who I am changes, if I adjust my coping mechanisms; if I move beyond my past, that does not make the past a lie. Future change does not make now-me a lie or a liar!

I can use this on so many levels.

Today's cheer-leading statements:
I don't have to take on my family's judgements about me.
I am not a bad person.
Change does not make the past a lie!
Avoidance doesn't make the problem go away.
I have the tools and the strength to handle anything that comes my way.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Better Late Than Never (Sanguine Saturday on Monday)

I got distracted, somehow, and completely forgot that Saturday was there, and then that it was gone. Days and times are muddling together in my brain at the moment. Despite my last post, this has not been a week of successes.

Success Stories:
I had a very stressful situation come up and I was able to handle myself quite well. Instead of burying my head in the sand and avoiding it all, I did what I felt needed to be done and I did so quite calmly.

I stood up to my mother instead of caving under the guilt trip she placed on my shoulders. (And okay, yes, truthfully, I would have caved had the other matter not been more important, but that isn't the point.)

Gratitudes List/Things that make me happy:
Crafty things.
Being able to type up lyrics to songs (quite soothing, actually).
The Big Bang Theory (the show, not the theory itself, to which I have no particular emotion attached).
Music and finding new artists/bands/songs that I like.

Cheer-leading statements:
I'm not responsible for anyone but myself. Choices made by others aren't my fault.
Where I am is where I am. Getting angry at myself for it won't change it.
My value as a person is not reflected in whether or not I am a disappointment in the eyes of my family.
Ruminating won't help me find the solutions I'm looking for and nor will it help me find peace with a situation.
Giving up isn't the only answer to imperfection.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.