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Tigerswallowtail

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About Tigerswallowtail

  • Birthday January 14

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Illinois
  • Interests
    Piano, Harp, Crocheting, Hiking

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  • MembershipType
    Survivor

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  1. Struggles of a College Student

    This summer has been quite eventful for me. I completed my first college class (English 110/ Composition I) in the spring semester and got an "A". I then took English 111 (Composition II) this summer and just got my grades and found out that I passed with another "A". Both classes I doubted my abilities and constantly worried that I wasn't doing a good enough job. Others kept telling me that I was doing fine and that there was nothing to worry about. Every paper, every assignment was the same. I'd work hard on it, but never felt like it was good enough when I turned it in and then would wait anxiously for it to be graded. It was a big relief both times when I got my final grade for each class. Why can't I feel confident in my abilities? This is a problem in other areas too. I never feel like I am good enough, in my music playing, being a friend, or just day-to-day life. I have an exciting future ahead starting in August. I'll be moving into the student housing on campus, be a full-time student and even got a part-time job at the college. I'm thrilled about it all and can hardly wait for next month, but at the same time I've started having thoughts creep in, causing self-doubt and fear of failure to raise their ugly heads. It all seems to good to be true, almost unreal and I start to feel that it's not going to happen, or I'm going to fail at the new job and/or classes. I begin to doubt my ability to become a sign language interpreter. Who am I to think that I can actually interpret professionally?! I have this fear that my mind is just going to go blank and that I will forget everything. I fear that I won't be able to keep up in the classes or do the assignments. I'm scared that I won't be able to handle the job, helping students write their papers. I feel like I am reaching beyond my capabilities. That it is just a dream that will turn to ashes. I know these thoughts aren't the truth and are just there to discourage me from reaching for a better life. I have friends and family that are cheering me on and are confident that I will do well. My professors thought that I'd do well at the job and wrote letters of recommendation for me. So why do I struggle with these feelings/thoughts so much? On top of it all, I have still been struggling with depression, which then makes me feel guilty. With all of these good things happening, shouldn't I just be happy? I continue to see my counselor to help get grounded. I also have just started to see a doctor to see if I need more than just counseling to help with the depression. The doctor is also trying to figure out why I am in so much physical pain all of the time (that doesn't help with the depression!). I'm supposed to get some blood work done as she is checking to see if I have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia among other things. Just going to see the doctor in the first place was a huge step for me. And yet I can see that I have made progress in my healing from my past. A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with a fellow student at the campus. I was working on an assignment before time to go to my class and was in a student lounge area. I had tried to get a bag of chips from the vending machine, but they got stuck and wouldn't come down. A guy was standing behind me waiting to use the machine. In the past I would have started to panic with him standing there, but I did ok and even laughed with him at the chips hanging there. I finally gave up and got something else before going over to a table to set up my laptop and get working. He left, but then came back and started talking to me. I've been trying to be more sociable with guys as my counselor has been reminding me that while there are some out there that are bad, not ALL guys are bad. He wound up sitting at my table and we chatted some about our classes. I was doing ok, though since I was sitting in a corner I felt slightly trapped, but not too bad. Also, people would walk by, so it wasn't like we were totally isolated. Then he mentioned that he like my feet and started going on about how beautiful they were. THAT was starting to creep me out a little, but again, I wasn't panicking. Next thing I knew, he was saying that he'd like to get together sometime and he could give me a foot massage. I drew the line there and told him that would make me totally uncomfortable. I then said that I really need to finish my assignment and he took the hint and left. Not too long after some of my classmates started arriving and my thoughts were turned to our class. The fact that I didn't totally freak out and have a full-blown panic attack shows that I've made progress. I think the main thing that helped was that I knew there were people around that I could get help from if needed. When I discussed it with my counselor, she said that I handled it great, that I set a clear boundary. I'd worried that maybe I should talk to the school counselor about it, but she said that since he respected my boundary and left that I didn't need to. Now if he had stayed and still bothered me, then maybe I'd need to get someone else involved. Thankfully the guys in my summer class were great and I enjoyed interacting with them and had no struggles. I hope to continue to form healthy casual friendships with guys, especially as I'll be around a lot more of them while living in the student housing. Enough ramblings for tonight. Here's to a dawn of new future.
  2. New Social Life

    I have a lot of new beginnings this year, including starting college for the first time. So far I love it. I will be starting the Sign Language Interpreting program this fall, and was advised to join a group to help in learning ASL (American Sign Language) and to meet people in the deaf community. The group meets once a week at various restaurants. I've met a lot of people and am making new friends. The first time I went I was very nervous. I only had just met a few of the college students that are in the program and didn't know any of the deaf people. It took a lot of courage to enter that room! But I was glad I did and have been going ever since. I am getting better at signing and understanding sign and often find myself at a table with only deaf people. I am becoming good friends with two of the women that come - "K" is deaf and "L" is hearing. Sometimes we go to another place afterwards to have a more private chat. During one of those times I shared some of my background and admitted my difficulty in trusting men. There are a lot of men in the group, some married, some single. The ages vary too, from early 20's to in their 70's. So far I've handled being around them ok for the most part. It has been good for me to have this chance to interact with men socially in a safe environment. But there are times when I struggle. There are three different encounters that I'm going to focus on in this post. All three involved men with names starting with the letter "J", so I'll use numbers to help identify who I am writing about. All three are deaf and single. The first encounter was with "J-1". I had seen him in the group a few times, but never had to interact with him. This time he was sitting right next to me. I was a bit uneasy. My deaf friend "K" didn't like him and had some issues with him the week before. I'm not sure why he behaves the way he does. It could just be that he functions at a lower level and is just behaving immaturely. Either that, or he is just strange. It doesn't help that he is a BIG man, taller than me and very large. I could just be reacting to his sheer size as I had a past encounter with a huge guy that literally had me cornered. Thankfully a guy friend of mine saw what was happening and came to my rescue, but it left me a bit shaken. So back to "J-1". It could be that he is just socially awkward, but I think for now I will try to avoid sitting near him again. When I talked with my counselor about it, she encouraged me to listen to my gut feelings. The second encounter was with "J-2". "K" had introduced him to "L" and I the week before. She had known him from early childhood as they grew up together, going to the same school, etc. until they went to different colleges. "J-2" is around my age. Anyway I wound up sitting at a table with "J-2" and one other young man. I was a bit nervous as I didn't really know either one that well and it was just the three of us at our table. It didn't help that neither guy was ordering any food, they were just there to socialize. I had ordered something, but it felt really awkward to be eating in front of them. "J-2" was really talkative (in sign). Thankfully I understood maybe 80-90% of what he was saying and was able to carry on a conversation with him. He seemed to focus more on me, as the other guy is just learning sign and doesn't know very much yet. Despite being nervous, I enjoyed getting to know "J-2" better. At one point he asked me if I was nervous. I thought he was referring to me starting the Interpreting Program. After going home, I started thinking about the evening and then wondered if "J-2" was asking if I was nervous with him. The truth was yes, but then I'm nervous conversing with any guy that I don't know that well. For the next day or so I couldn't stop thinking about him, wondering what he thought of me, what all his motives were, etc. I was frustrated with myself. Why can't I just enjoy being around guys without constantly questioning everything. The third encounter was last week. When I arrived at the restaurant, "K" was already there and had her purse in the seat across from her. She was saving it for "L" who was going to be arriving later. There was an empty seat next to that one and I sat there. Once again I was sitting with mainly deaf people. I was pleased at my progress with signing and being able to understand them. We were having a very enjoyable time. There was a guy sitting at the table right behind me. He was "J-3". I'd seen him a few times, but again, didn't really know him. Others refer to him as the "Joker" as he likes to tease and joke around. Well, this night, he was giving "K" a hard time about saving the seat for "L". At one point he acted like he was going to pick up the purse. So I casually draped my arm over the back of the chair and rested my hand on the purse, "guarding" it. At one point "J-3" asked me what time it was and grabbed my arm as I had a watch on. Thankfully I didn't panic, but took it in stride. Later, as I was conversing with someone at my table, I felt my arm being grabbed. It was "J-3" checking the time again. That time startled me a bit, but again I didn't go into panic mode. I should say that I am very sensitive to men touching me in any way and often had panic attacks in the past, though never showed it on the outside. The evening went on and "L" still had not showed up. "J-3" started giving "K" a really hard time about it. The next thing I knew, he was trying to lift my arm off of the chair. Instead of panicking I got a bit competitive and refused to let him. He then started to try to pry my fingers off of the purse. I've had years of experience of nieces and nephew trying to pry my fingers off of things, plus I am a pianist and have a lot of strength in my hands. I was ignoring him, acting like nothing was going on, all while there was this power struggle happening. He caught me off guard when he gave up trying to pry off my fingers and started to tickle me instead. It was just one of those things that snowballed a bit. I didn't panic, but struggled a bit with it afterwards. It was all done in fun and we were right there in a group. The next day or so I was a bit obsessed with thinking about it and wondering if I should have done something different, or my thoughts would go to question his motives, etc. I definitely talked it over with my counselor the next time I saw her. She encouraged me to try to keep it in the context that it happened in. So I find myself facing different situations as I brave this new world of socializing in a mixed group. A lot of growth is happening and that is a good thing. It's just hard sometimes to know if what I am feeling is truly something I need to be cautious about, or if it is just an overreaction because of my past. In the meantime I plan to continue to make new friends and to learn to enjoy hanging out with these people.
  3. When I fall apart

    I had a meltdown a couple of weeks ago. The day had started out ok I thought. Well, except for the fact that I was getting over a bad migraine from the night before and wasn't feeling so good. I've had someone describe it as a "migraine hangover". I've never gotten drunk before, so not sure how it compares to that kind of hangover, but I know what I experience isn't pleasant. Anyway, back to my story. I was at college, which I am really enjoying, and was attending a workshop on test anxiety. I usually do ok when taking a test, but I do struggle with anxiety and thought it would be good to attend. It was a very small group with only 4 students attending, all females. The instructor was an older woman and seemed friendly. After the initial introduction to what we'd be learning, she handed out papers for us to fill out. The top half of the page we were to write down something negative that we would tend to tell ourselves whenever we'd make a mistake in everyday life. Then we were to write down three positive things we should say instead. I struggled some, but eventually came up with something. She then had us each read aloud what we'd written. Then we went on the rest of the page where we were to do the same exercise, only this time it was to be about when making a mistake in an academic setting: in class or taking a test, etc. I sat there and couldn't come up with anything and started to panic. My mind went blank and no matter how hard I tried, I could not come up with anything. My heart was starting to race and I could fell the anxiety rising quickly. The instructor kept trying to work with me to get me to write down something. Before I knew it, I was starting to cry. I was so frustrated. It was such a simple thing and I felt stupid and pathetic for having such a difficult time. I finally wrote something down and managed to calm down and made it through the rest of the workshop. I even did well on the short math test that she had us take to put into practice some of the things we had learned. I left feeling rather discouraged, afraid that I would have more of these kind of episodes in my regular class. I headed to the restroom, planning to go back to my favorite spot to spend some time studying. While in the stall, I started thinking again of what had just happened and then I really fell apart. I was crying so hard and was so upset that I figured I'd better go see the counselor, but wasn't sure if I could make it over to her office. Just the week or so before I had started meeting with a counselor there at the college, dealing with a couple of issues and establishing a relationship so that if I found myself in a situation where I needed help I could see someone that I knew. Somehow I pulled myself together enough to be able to leave the restroom and made my way over to the counseling center. But when I stood at the receptionist's desk and started to say that I needed to see the counselor, I lost it again and couldn't speak from crying so hard. The receptionist was an angel and figured out what I needed and then offered to let me wait in a private room with the door closed until the counselor could see me. I didn't have to sit in there long before my counselor came and took me to her office. After what felt like a long time, my sobbing slowed down enough that I was able to talk and tell her what had happened. After talking with her for a while I was calmed down enough to leave and go on about my day, though I was totally drained and felt fragile. I saw my regular counselor a few days later and told her what all had happened. She said that the instructor had not handled the situation well and the fact that I was just coming off of the migraine didn't help. But what was encouraging the most was that she said that I had handled it in a much healthier way than I would have even a few months ago. She said that it was good that I was able to let those emotions out instead of just trying to cram them back in and not deal with them. Also, the fact that I was able to take immediate steps to get the help I needed was a sign of growth. She felt confident that I probably wouldn't have issues like that during my classes or even during a test, but rather it was a one-time situation with multiple factors causing it, with the migraine being a major one. I did find out later that I wasn't the only one that started crying during the workshop. It happened to someone else the next day. Seems they need to change how they present this particular workshop. It was a relief to know that I wasn't the only one! The whole thing really shook me up, so it was reassuring to hear the opinion of my counselor that I seem to be in a much healthier place that I had been. At the time, it felt like I was having a major setback. I know that there may be another time when I will fall apart, but I don't need to be afraid of it. I know that I have people to help me and that I will get through it.
  4. I crawl into my shell

    I've started college for the first time. There are many things that I am enjoying and am excited about. I am starting to get to know some of my classmates and am hoping to form some new friendships. I love the class I am in, English Composition 110. This is the only class I am taking this semester. I was advised to do this to help ease into college life. I think it was a good choice. But then I tried eating in the cafeteria a couple of times. I felt like I did when I was a kid and moving around and having to change schools in the middle of the school year. That being the new girl with no friends, trying to find where she fit in. It's a large room full of people, none of whom I know. I look around trying to find a place to sit. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of empty seats, even whole tables where no one is sitting. That isn't the problem. It's that I don't have a friend to sit with, to talk over how the day is going, what classes we like, what teachers we like. I pick a seat and start to eat. And I find myself retreating into my shell. I literally start to hunch over a bit, keeping my eyes on my food, rarely looking up. It's like I erect a shield around me to hide. I don't like this feeling. I want to feel confident. I want to be a part of a group, not off by myself feeling like an intruder or worst, an outcast. I read a verse from Proverbs the other day about one that has friends must first be friendly. That means I need to sometimes be the initiator in making new friends. I feel I am doing ok with that everywhere else on the campus. There's just something about the cafeteria room that is intimidating to me. I have to believe that this is just a phase that will soon pass. That soon I will know enough people that I can sit with someone and have an enjoyable meal together. But for now if you are looking for me during lunch, I'll probably be hiding in my shell. It's safe in there.
  5. When the bottle explodes

    I had a session with my T a few days ago. I had been looking forward to it as I had a lot of good and exciting things to talk about. I was going to be starting my first class at the local college and felt like I was making forward progress in my life after feeling stuck for so long. Let's just say that I cried, no, bawled, through most of the session. Not what I was expecting at all. I guess I had a lot of bottled up emotion and it just exploded. Not pretty at all. One of those times where I left feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. So, what happened?? I had just completed a 4-day/3-night babysitting stint. My brother's kids were at our house (I live at home with my parents) during that time. We had 5-8 kids, depending on the day as the 3 oldest were helping their parents with an event during part of that time. Things went fairly well, but let's be honest - having that many kids can be stressful. The weather wasn't helping things either with snow and ice and extreme cold. The day of my therapy session it was snowy and very windy with some drifting. When I arrived, my T asked how the roads were. I replied that I really didn't noticed as I was fighting a war in the car. I had swapped vehicles with my parents as my van is leaking anti-freeze and my dad was concerned. It's a long drive to my T and I thought it might be better if I drove their car. I forgot that I hate to drive it and why. The seat is torture for me to sit in and I can't get it adjusted to fit me. The headrest tilts forward, putting my head at a bad angle causing neck strain. I have chronic neck/back pain and it was very painful. My hip was flaring up too. I was almost in tears as I was driving. I had to use a tapping technique to try to calm myself. I felt so guilty for being so upset. I felt like I should be grateful that I had a car to use, not all worked up because the seat didn't fit me. On top of the seat issues, my coat was driving me crazy. I had worn a cardigan sweater under my coat for extra warmth. Only problem was due to my large wrists the cuffs were too tight and were restricting my arm movements. I was feeling confined and starting to get a bit claustrophobic. By the time I got through telling my T all of this, I was crying in earnest. She told me it was ok to have both feelings of gratitude for the car and frustration at the real discomfort I was experiencing. As we continued to talk, the subject of my health problems came up and how I can't afford to go to a doctor. She strongly urged me to pursue getting public aid to help until I can get on my feet financially. I cried even harder. This was not how I had envisioned my life to be like by this point in time. Growing up I'd always assumed I'd get married and have a family. Instead, here I am struggling to get to the point where I can support myself and live on my own. To have to admit that I need help is not easy. I took that step when applying at the college as there is no way I can pay for it and I am getting help. But to take it further and get on public aid... My T was comforting and encouraging, reminding me that this would just be temporary and that my situation is what it's there for. She pointed out all the steps I'm taking to get to the point where I won't need aid and that I'm not just being lazy, looking for a hand-out. (Let me be clear, I know that there are many out there who really do need help and I don't think they are being lazy. I just struggle with feeling that is how others will view me.) I met with a close friend last night and shared about this with her. She also was encouraging me and reassuring me that it was ok and nothing to be ashamed of. I did manage to dry up my tears by the end of the session (which lasted 2 hrs by the way!) and handled driving home ok until I stopped to grab a bite to eat on the way home. The check oil light came on and was dinging loudly at me along with a message saying that the oil pressure was low and to turn off the engine. What??!!! Here I was driving this car because Dad was worried that mine would have problems and now I was having to deal with this! I pulled into a parking space and called home. Dad had me check the oil and we determined that it was just the crazy computer getting its sensors mixed up and that the oil was not a problem. I made it home without any more problems. So, yeah, it was a day when my bottle exploded. I guess I need to be more careful not to try to cram so many emotions into it, but to let them out as they come! When will I learn this lesson, I don't know. It has been my coping skill all my life, this cramming down my emotions. But that doesn't really work anymore.
  6. The Gift of a New Year

    Thank you @ContinuingMetanoia for your comments and for praying for me! I made it through the first two days of class (English Composition 110)! I love it! I'm enjoying my teacher, he is passionate about what he is teaching and his goal is to help us become the best writers that we can be. So far I've not had any issues or bad vibes. I'm starting to get to know some of my classmates and hope to make some new friends.
  7. The Gift of a New Year

    Thank you @Exdancer1986 for your encouraging words! I went today to the college and went thru the process of applying and getting registered. If everything works out with the financial aid, I should start my first class Jan. 16th!!! I'm so excited! It went well today, was nervous especially during the placement test (did bad on the algebra one). At least that part is over. My teacher will be a man. Hoping I do ok with that. Thanks again for writing! I have read some of your posts and hope things will all work out for you too.
  8. The Gift of a New Year

    I love New Year's Day. It always feels like a new beginning to me. A fresh start. A blank page waiting to be filled with the story of the coming days. This year the holidays have been rough for me physically. Spent a lot of time in bed with headaches or overall body aches so severe that it felt like I had a bad case of the flu. Despite it all, I was able to get together with family for the annual gatherings and I was able to play my harp for the special services at my church. I stayed up late New Year's Eve, thinking about this coming year and dreaming big dreams of what all I hope to accomplish in it. I am excited and feel like I have a purpose again. There for awhile I was feeling a bit lost. I had made some changes but wasn't sure what my next step should be. I had started taking some online courses that are free. One is for journalism. I wanted to improve my writing and have thought about maybe trying to get some freelance work that would use that skill. I'm not really interested in working for any news media. I also am taking a course on using computers - a basic IT course. What I know about computers is basically what I've just picked up on my own. Some of the jobs I've looked into require some computer knowledge, so thought this course would help with that. I am enjoying the courses, but I still didn't feel like I knew what I really wanted to do with my life. One day I was browsing a website of a local college and saw that they have a program to become a certified Sign Language Interpreter. I didn't think too much of it and went on looking at the other courses. The next morning when I woke up I had one of those lightbulb moments, where you all of a sudden see something that has been right in front of you all along. I knew at that moment what I wanted to become - a Sign Language Interpreter! This isn't something new for me. Back in 3rd or 4th grade they taught us the Sign Language alphabet and a few signs. I loved it and never forgot the alphabet. Then in my teen years I found a course on video with a book and spent that summer learning what I could from it. There was a deaf lady at a nursing home that I would visit regularly and I got to practice some with her. Then in my 20s I had two deaf friends that I spent a lot of time with and picked up a lot more signs from them. They starting coming the church I was attending at the time, and I would try to interpret the sermons and songs for them. I'm not sure that I did a very good job, but I think they were able to at least get an idea of what was being said. Life kept going and our ways parted and my signing days retreated to a thing of the past. At times I feel the urge to sign, especially when singing, but have forgotten a lot. I really want to take the course (it's a 2 year course) and get my Associate's Degree while I'm at it. I am confident that I will do well and am so excited! There are so many different areas that need interpreters. I also have been leaning towards becoming a counselor, but maybe will focus on being able to interpret for those who need counseling. I can hardly wait to see how it will all work out. I am going in a few days to the college to talk with someone there about applying and figuring out how to pay for it. At the moment I am almost literally broke and the only income coming in is from teaching piano which isn't enough to live off of. Along with the excitement and anticipation there are feelings of nervousness and some anxiety. I've never gone to college and was home schooled from 5th grade on up. I did get my GED this past summer and did well on it. I struggle with braving the unknown, going to a place I've never been before and talking with people that are strangers. I struggle with wondering what they will think of me as I am in my forties and still at home with my parents. I wonder how many men will be involved and how I will handle it if there are any. Will I have panic attacks? This is something I will be doing completely on my own. I won't have my sister or one of my parents with me. And yet I feel ready to take it all on and to face it with courage and determination. I know that I will make new friends as I get to know people and that eventually it will feel familiar. I am dreaming big and with God's help I plan to make those dreams come true!
  9. Why can't I relax?

    @ContinuingMetanoia First off, Welcome to AS! I've only been on here for a few months, but it has helped a lot to have a place where I can write what I am going through. It was nice to get your feedback. I am enjoying reading "Jesus Calling" and also "Jesus Always". It helps me to stop and reflect and make it personal.
  10. Living with pain

    This will have to be short as I don't have much time, but I need to write. Pain has been a daily companion for me, whether it is physical or emotional. I really can't remember what it's like to wake up without physical pain. How much of it is related to my past abuse and the emotions I struggle with because of it, I don't know. The last two weeks have been really bad, with headaches almost every day. Some to the point where I've had to cancel plans/work and go to bed. I have been doing better emotionally, but today not so good. I think the headaches are just getting to me. There are some good things happening. I think I finally am getting some direction for my life, this new me that I am discovering. It is hard though to not worry about if the headaches will keep me from being able to realize this dream, or keep me from being able to hold down a regular job. I'm trying to not let those thoughts discourage me from pursuing these changes in my life. But it is hard to not let my old habits of fear shut me down. This is a new day, and a new year is coming with new possibilities. I won't let the pain and fear hold me back.
  11. New Girl

    Hi FOUND, thank you for the welcome! Tigerswallowtail
  12. Another Day Slips By

    I woke up this morning eager to see how the day would turn out. I realized that after my morning counseling session I had the rest of the day free. I decided to take advantage of it and do something. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was decent. Thoughts tumbled around my head of what I possibly might do, but didn't get a decision made before going into my counseling session. My session today was an easier one. I went into it feeling bad because I'd not completed my assignments from the last one. The assignments were difficult ones, dealing with my past abuse and I'd had a rough week physically and just couldn't face trying to do them. My counselor assured me that it was ok and to just do it when I can. We then focused more on my struggles to feel like an "adult" with still living at home with my parents. I'm very grateful for a place to live until I can get things figured out and get a decent job. My goal is to get to the point to where I can support myself financially and live on my own. But in the meantime I have to figure out how to cope with living with my parents. So often I still feel like a kid/teenager despite being in my 40's. My parents are really good at trying to treat me like an adult, it's often just little things that are more of an issue on my part and my automatic inner responses to their opinions or suggestions. I left the session with things to think about, but for once didn't feel emotionally drained. I headed to my van trying to think what to do next. I wound up just watching a few episodes of a show on my kindle and then grabbed something to eat. Before I knew it, the afternoon was halfway over. I had hoped to maybe go for a hike, but wanted to go somewhere I'd not been before. I googled hiking trails near me and found a place that sounded interesting so I headed there. It wasn't hard to find and was close to where I was. I pulled into the parking area, only to see a sign that hunting was in progress. I decided that I didn't want to take a risk of getting shot at, so turned around and left. I ended up in a parking lot of a park in a small town. I just stayed in my van and finished reading a book, "It Wasn't Your Fault" by Beverly Engel. There were some good things in there about self-care and self-compassion. The sun was starting to go down and I headed home to grab a few things before going to my favorite coffee shop. I struggled with feeling like I'd wasted a really good day for doing something outside. I know the weather isn't going to be as warm with winter approaching and today was so nice. I felt guilty and then I was feeling frustrated that I felt guilty! There was nothing wrong with what I did, so why did I feel like I made poor choices and let the day slip through my fingers? I was feeling like crying. Not the way I wanted my day away to end. When will I get to the point where I'll stop criticizing myself so much and second guessing my decisions? Next time I think I'd better have a plan figured out ahead of time. Then maybe I won't feel like the day just slipped away from me.
  13. Why can't I relax?

    I am tense, all the time. I honestly can't remember what it is like to not have my muscles all in knots. Lately it's been worse. My jaw clenches so hard at night that when I wake up my teeth ache and when I go to eat breakfast I feel like it's a bit of a struggle to open it to take a bite. My neck and shoulder muscles are so tight and knotted and I can never get them to relax. I go to bed at night and feel myself tensing up. I lay there, trying to relax, trying to focus on the different muscle groups and trying to let the tension go. I take deep breaths. I feel it starting to ease up for a few seconds only to have everything tense up again just as bad or worse. My T reminded me that I've been under a tremendous amount of stress lately. I was talking to my chiropractor about it the other day. She agreed that the muscles in my neck and shoulders weren't just tight, but there are actual knots in them. She asked if I was still seeing my T. I told her that I was and she said that hopefully as I continue to work through things and gain emotional healing, that should help ease some of the tension. I told her that the only person who's ever been able to truly get me to relax is one of my young nieces. Somehow her small hands work magic and not only can she get the tension to go away, but she can actually put me to sleep! She would come up behind me while I was reading to her and her siblings and start massaging my neck and shoulders. It wouldn't take too long before I'd actually start slurring the words that I was reading. The kids all thought it was great fun. My chiropractor laughed along with me as I told her about it, but then she said something that really has me thinking. She said that I was able to relax with my niece because I fully trusted her. If that is so, what does that say about all the others who have tried to give me a neck massage, but I just couldn't truly relax with them? Does that mean that at some level I didn't have complete trust in them? I'm talking about people that are close to me, that I feel like trust shouldn't be an issue. I discussed this with my T this week. She said for one, my niece is just a child which causes me to not have any fear that she would hurt me, physically or emotionally. She asked what my relationship was like with her. I said she is very much like myself, a sensitive child and she also is a touchy-feely girl and always liked to cuddle. As for the others, she wants me to start thinking through all the "safe" people in my life and to try to re-program my brain that it is ok to trust them. Not exactly sure how to go about that. She probably told me more, but I've already forgot if she did. Definitely will need to discuss this further with her and ask for clearer direction in what I need to do. She also asked me where I felt totally safe. I don't really have a place like that. At least, not safe from tension. I don't mean that where I am at is tense all the time, but rather that I can't shake the feeling that something will happen to cause tension, a constant feeling of "waiting for the other shoe to drop". Some of this is a mindset, a habit that I just automatically revert to. A default that needs resetting. But I also long for a place to call my own, where I could truly relax and feel free of outside tension. I know that this world is full of strife and tension and that I would do well to find that inner peace that I can take with me wherever I am. In the Bible God promises His peace for those who seek Him and learn to abide in Him. If I am struggling this bad with tension, I'm afraid I've not done well at the abiding part. I started reading "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young as my T recommended it. It keeps reminding me how important it is to keep my focus on Him. Someday maybe I will truly learn this lesson and be free from the tense muscles and knotted stomach.
  14. I am loved

    As a child I learned the age old song "Yes, Jesus loves me!" I grew up knowing that I am loved, but recently realized that I haven't truly believed it in my heart. I was sharing with a an older friend who was my coach in a group I was a part of. As I told her my story and the struggles I've been going through, she gave me some things to think about. She challenged me to show myself the same grace and love and compassion that I would so readily show to someone else if they were to tell me their story of past abuse and pain. And then she reminded me that Jesus loved me. I began crying. Something similar happened during a session with my T. Why did the thought that Jesus loved ME trigger the tears? Perhaps it is because I struggle with loving myself. I never feel like I can measure up. Whenever someone compliments me on something I've done, my first thought is what mistakes I made. When someone says something kind about my character or say how they admire me in some area, I inwardly cringe thinking of all my flaws and the feeling that if they knew the "real" me they wouldn't regard me in the same way. I think the feelings of shame and guilt that I first felt when the abuse was happening have clung to me all these years. I know that it wasn't my fault, that I was just a little girl not physically strong enough to resist and too young to understand what was really happening, but those feelings don't go away. It colors how I view myself even now. How to break free from those feelings? How to really believe that it wasn't my fault and not just know it in my head? Lately I've been trying to focus more on truths than on the lies. Statements of affirmation, such as I am loved, I am a new creation and I am forgiven. To be honest, I don't feel worthy. I don't feel worthy of love. I don't feel worthy of praise or admiration. What makes me worthy? How is my worth determined? Perhaps there are many answers depending on who you ask. For me I know that I have worth enough to cause Someone to take abuse and die a cruel death because He loves me. Now to truly accept that love, deep in my heart. To really believe in my heart that I am precious in His sight. To know that when He looks at me He doesn't see my faults and imperfections, but rather the person of strength and beauty I am becoming through Him. To be able to say with confidence that yes, I am loved. To be able to say with feeling, "Yes, Jesus loves me!"
  15. When the tears fall

    This morning the tears were falling. It started during my quiet time (a time when I pray and read the Bible and some devotionals). I was trying to relax and had started to list all the things that I have fears about, trying to give them over to God. I would start each one with "I am afraid of/I am afraid that..." As I worked my way through my fears I could feel my muscles relaxing. And then I got to "I am afraid that know one will love me" (in a romantic, life's partner, soul mate sort of way) and I began to cry. For most of my adult life I've kept myself busy and just tried not to think about being single. I figured I would get married some day and was determined to make the most of the time I had until then. But I wasn't really being honest with myself. Instead of acknowledging my deep longings I just shoved them down. Now that I have been going to my T, I have been trying to let the emotions come and let myself feel them. I feel that my emotions are at odds with themselves. On one hand I struggle with trust issues with men. I am doing better, but still have a ways to go.On the other hand I have this desire to experience married life to the fullest. I want the companionship of a man that is in love with me and sees me for who I truly am. I want to do life with a partner. I wrestle with the "Why?" questions: Why isn't any guy interested in me? Why am I still single? There are other questions too, but more than any I struggle with "Why doesn't anyone love me?" I know that my family (parents, siblings, nieces & nephews, etc.) love me. I know that my friends care about me. But there is a hole waiting to be filled with the love of a spouse. So I found myself at breakfast sharing what had happened with my parents and the tears began to fall again. As I poured out my hurting heart, my parents moved to either side of me, comforting me and being there for me. They assured me that even though they don't understand why I'm still single, it's not because of my past. What happened to me as a little girl doesn't make me unlovable, or undesirable. I still don't have the answer and I know there will be more times of tears over this issue, but that is ok. I am facing my pain and my fears and some day I will be stronger. So, I let the tears fall.
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