Partly Cloudy With a Patch of Fog

partly sunny with a patch of fog

Just a typical Saturday morning. So I thought. It was sunny outside, blistering cold I’m sure, but it was nice to have the sun shine through my bedroom window. Yet, I just didn’t feel right. Something was off. I didn’t feel like myself at all. My forecast for the day, partly sunny with a patch of fog. That’s the life of someone who has PTSD. sometimes we have days where we just feel out of it. Sometimes we know the triggers, other days we can’t seem to grasp what caused us to feel this way. That was what this episode was for me. I couldn’t pinpoint it. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling the way I was feeling and because I didn’t know I actually became angry at myself.

I didn’t share my feelings right away. How could I get guidance with something I couldn’t yet describe? I was in a funk the whole weekend. I felt weird, I felt out of place. I knew that this wasn’t me. I was super sensitive to anything and just about everything someone said to me. I was an emotional wreck. At one point Sunday evening I just couldn’t take the feelings anymore. I began crying.

It wasn’t until Sunday evening where I was able to break it down. Thankfully I have an amazing support system to walk me through it. We were able to talk about what I was feeling and even understand that there will possibly be other days like this. I remember at one point during our talk, I got really mad at myself. I felt like because I was having an episode, that I had given my ex another victory over me. Like as if I was still his prisoner in my own mind. I was mad at the fact that I would have to always deal with having PTSD while he is probably living life Scott free.

During this talk, I was told that that was not necessarily the case. Although my PTSD is a result of the abuse I suffered from my ex, my episodes don’t give him anything. Definitely not a victory.

I had to come to terms with the fact that this is something that comes along with my PTSD. It was reassuring knowing that this person still sticks by my side even during my ugliest moments. Knowing that they don’t completely understand it yet they do their best and are willing to be there for me meant more to me than I could ever possibly begin to describe. Now if these foggy episodes were to happen more frequently, then that is where professional counseling would come in. Maybe even more so now before it were to ever get to that point. It is good to be able to have someone to talk to, sometimes we do not want to share every little thing we go through or are feeling with those who are close to us.

I am a work in progress. I am learning new triggers and new ways to cope and get through them. I am learning even more about PTSD on a more personal level. I used to be ashamed and a little embarrassed to admit having PTSD. I cannot be ashamed of something that is a part of me. In the end, if people find out I do have it there is only two things they can do. 1) Love me through it. Or 2) keep it moving! There is nothing to be ashamed of, especially your past! Your past is a testament of your strength. Your scars are your story of victory! It is okay to have a day that is partly cloudy with a patch of fog. As long as we don’t allow the fog to thicken and consume us!

The Phoenix Never Dies

It’s a rough road. For those who are going through or have gone through any form of abuse. The task of surviving day to day. As the one enduring the abuse. The unknown of whether or not we will make it out alive. The unknown if we can ever escape. The unknown of what will happen to us if and when we do escape. What will he or she do if they find out? What will happen to me? For those who have children; it ups the ante 100 folds. Why don’t people leave right away? It’s easier said than done, there are so many factors and reasons. Some may call it excuses, but as a survivor I tell you, it isn’t that we are making up excuses. It is due to the immense amount of fear we have towards this individual.

Then one day. It happens. Literally. Maybe it doesn’t just happen overnight, but because we are so brainwashed and have no self-control we don’t quite recognize it until it is practically boiling over. This fire burns inside of us. An unstoppable strength, After being beat and torn down for so long we don’t quite understand how we got this strength or where it came from. It is as if something inside of you just wakes up all your senses.

For me, it happened after my ex choked me and I passed out. Now, for the critics out there, you must understand that before physical abuse occurs usually mental, verbal and/or emotional abuse have already been set in motion for quite some time. No I didn’t leave after the first time he physically or sexually abused me. Why? Because he had already gained control of my mind. I was a prisoner in my own body. The daily verbal beat downs. Being told that no one loves me, or that I am not pretty enough. Being told that I get what I deserve.. The threats of what he would do if I try to leave, threats he made to me about hurting my family. No one wants me. No one loves me. I am nothing and will be nothing without him. Being reminded of how my biological father abandoned me by saying things like “Your own father doesn’t even want you”. The list goes on and on.

So on this one particular evening, we had not been on speaking terms for a couple days at this point which was pretty much the norm for him. I had the day off so I had spent the day doing laundry, running errands etc. I was sitting on our bed, watching t.v. when he had come home from work and entered the room. I didn’t like when we were not on speaking terms, I knew I had to be the bigger person and start some sort of conversation with him. I simply asked, “How was work baby?” He slams the wardrobe door shut, I look up at him and see his teeth clenched. I knew exactly what was about to happen next so I got up from the bed, thinking I would just walk out the room to avoid any more confrontations. It didn’t work out that way. He grabbed me by my arm and pulled to where I fell on to the bed. Like any other time, he pinned me down and punched the bed on either side of the bed. Like so many times before he said. “If you move and I hit you it’s your fault not mine.”

I thought I had memorized the whole scene. Every move he made I knew by heart. Then the scene changed. He got behind me and put me into a choke hold that I could not get out of. I passed out. For how long? I do not know and will never know. When I came too, I woke up with my head in his lap. You want to know what he was doing? Playing video games. As if nothing had just happened. It was as if I had fallen asleep there. When he had realized that I had woken up he began laughing and petting my head as if I were some sort of lap dog. It was in that moment that I finally realized I had to go. It was in that moment that I had realized that things were never going to change but that they were only going to get a whole lot worse. If I didn’t escape hell that night or the very next day, I would become a statistic. I had to fight and subconsciously I knew that I had to fight for others who were/are in a similar situation.

When it was time for bed, he told me to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed (as if I were the one that did something wrong). My rage boiled over. The phoenix within me was starting to wake up. I looked at him and said “I ain’t your dog, and I will NOT sleep at the foot of your bed, either you can sleep at the foot of the bed or you can sleep out on the couch, but me? I ain’t moving. Good night!” I had found my voice again. He was the one who slept with his head at the foot of the bed.  In something so small and simple as having the good spot in the bed, I felt victorious. My power had returned to me. That there was the first time I realized the strength I had within me. I stayed awake for a while until I knew that he for sure was sleeping.

The next morning I woke up pretty much just as the sun was rising. I had probably slept for only a few hours. I quietly and softly got up out of the bed, grabbed my towel and my cell phone and headed to the bathroom. When I got into the bathroom I looked at myself in the mirror and could still see my ex’s fingerprints on my neck. I ran the bath water and sobbed as I dialed my sisters phone number. It must have been around six o’clock so I knew she would be up. If she wasn’t heading into work, she was at least getting ready. When she answered the phone she had just entered her work place. I told her I needed to talk to her that it was very important and then began to explain what had taken place the previous night. She told me she would be right on her way and to begin packing everything that I possibly could. After we got off the phone I stayed in the bathtub a little longer. I had so many emotions raging through me. I was scared. I was hurt. I was nervous. I was angry.  I began crying again. I was doing my best to not cry loud enough that someone in the house would here me and come to the door.

I got out the bath, got dressed and walked back towards the bedroom. While walking down the hallway I was praying that he was still sleeping. While opening the door to the bedroom I literally held my breath. As I entered U looked over to find him still asleep. Thank God! I went to the kitchen for some trash bags and began emptying out the closet, stuffing my clothes in the bag. When one bag was full, I tied it and put it in front of the apartment door.

My sister kept me up-to-date with her location. I think that was her way of making sure I wasn’t in any type of danger. Whenever I heard him move or breathe different I would freeze. All I could think was what will he do if he wakes up?

I had almost finished getting all of my things when he woke up. I must’ve looked like a deer in headlights. He turned his head and looked at me saying “Shauna, are you leaving me?” It felt like my throat was closing up. I mustered up the courage to tell him yes. I told him my sister was already on her way and should be here any minute. He got up, and I prepared myself for what I thought would happen. I was expecting him to either hit me, punch me or even drag me around the room. I was expecting him to do all the things he had threatened to do to me. All the times he said I wouldn’t make it out the front door unless my legs were broken. Telling me I was lucky if that was all that happened to me. Every time I would look at him, I would have flashbacks from the night before. Flashbacks of when he clenched his teeth together and then lunged at me. Flashbacks of him putting me into a choke hold and then of myself waking up with my head in his lap. He had grabbed his towel and gone to the bathroom. While he was in there I started grabbing everything of mine that I could and continued placing the bags by the front door. I called my sister to see how far away she was and told her that he is awake and in the shower. She said she was just a few minutes away.

When he came back to the room he finished getting dressed, grabbed his keys and with his back turned towards me he said “Goodbye Shauna”,  and walked out of the apartment. I stood there for a minute kind of dumbfounded. Maybe even in a bit of shock, I didn’t expect it to happen that way. I didn’t expect him to react in that way. All the thoughts I had of how everything might play out when this day comes, all the fears of this day that kept me from leaving sooner. It crazy to me. In the back of my mind I still wondered what he may really be up to. Would he be outside the door waiting for me to leave? Would he be sitting in his car to follow us and see where I was going to be staying?

My sister called me to tell me that she was outside of the apartment building. I let her into the building so we could grab everything in as little trips as necessary. We gathered all my belongings, put them in the back of her truck and we were gone. My sister called my mother to tell her that I am safe and with her and even told my mother how I had marks on my neck still. I looked out the window as we drove off. I was free I thought to myself. Little did I know that the real battles were just around the corner.

Physically I was free. Mentally and emotionally I was still a prisoner. It has taken me years just to be able to talk about this, let alone start to heal from it. It is a long road. It isn’t a lonely road because I have learned from first starting my blog page that I am not alone and that there are many people who are there for me when I need them. I do not have to feel ashamed when I experience something for the first time. I know there is someone who has experienced it or something similar to it and they will help me thru it.

When I feel weak, when I feel defeated. Those are the times that the phoenix inside me burns brightest. The Phoenix never dies. It is apart of us, it is one with us. The phoenix is our inner most deepest strength and courage. It may seem like it escapes us but it never leaves us. It waits for its moment to shine in our lives. It waits to be called upon in our most desperate of times.

Like a Phoenix, she will rise from the ashes of despair and soar.”

Angel

 

My Broken Pieces

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When your biological father doesn’t love you, it cuts you deep.

It leaves you vulnerable and weak.

Leaving you open to predators

Who seek to do nothing but devour you.

When your father doesn’t love you

It leaves you searching for it in the wrong places.

It leaves you craving it.

No matter how it is that you taste it.

Love is all that you want.

Love is all that you long for.

To be loved.

It is all you dream about.

You fall for all the lies.

No matter how big or small.

You will go through it all.

You stick with the bad and go through hell.

You let him continuously keep you under his spell.

Because nothing else matters when you are being given what you so desire.

Whether it is real, or all a fantasy.

It satisfies your craving.

Even if it is only temporarily.

 

My broken pieces I’m left alone to pick up off the floor.

On my own to make myself whole.

No one but me.

Me. Myself. And I.

 

When the first man you ever loved.

Shows his true form.

Things you said you would never allow,

Now have taken your freedom.

He uses his tongue to cut you deep.

You lay in the dark afraid to sleep.

He wraps his hands around your neck until you pass out.

He has no fear in killing you, have no doubt.

 

My broken pieces I’m left alone to pick up off the floor.

On my own to make myself whole.

No one but me.

Me. Myself. And I.

 

 

 

 

Continuing Thru The Obstacles

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I am a survivor. I come with a lot of baggage, I will be first to admit that. Things that don’t bother or set you off, can send me into a whirlwind of emotions for days. PTSD. One of those things I had to learn to live and deal with. It is a part of me. It is not something that just goes away.

My past has made me very alert to a lot of things. It is a good thing but also a bad thing. Sometimes I tend to get defensive when there is no need for it. It is as if at times I feel like I always have to fight for myself. Like a bad habit. I had to fight to survive for so long that is almost as if I am programmed to always be ready to fight.

I have experienced new triggers, learned how to get through them instead of just avoiding whatever the trigger is. IS…not WAS! I believe that the triggers don’t simply just disappear over time but they become less frequent as we become more aware of what those triggers are and also as we learn to cope with our day to day activities.

Over the years I have learned a lot about myself, even more so thru writing my blogs. I didn’t like everything that I learned, but I learned to accept it and to change what I was able to change. I have learned to love and accept all aspects of me. How can I expect others to do so if I am unable to? How would I be able to know what I deserve if I do not even know what I am worth?

I am a survivor. I come with a lot of baggage. No, I don’t want to unpack my stuff with just anybody; that goes for both friendships and relationships. If I decide to unpack it is because that person has earned my trust. Which is hard to gain in the first place. If I decide to unpack, please be patient with me. Let me take my time carefully unpacking, carefully exposing my scars.

Continuing thru the obstacles, climbing over the walls, jumping over the hurdles and running this race called life. One day at a time. One obstacle at a time. Realizing that I may not make it through that obstacle the first time around but always getting stronger and better for the next time.

The Lost Wanderer (Part 2)

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A few minutes later she was finally gone.

Out of hell she escaped.

Without nothing, not even a scrape.

The butterfly had found an opening in the window.

And started to fly towards a better tomorrow…..

On to brighter days she thought to herself,

Not knowing that there would be new obstacles.

These obstacles would be different though.

The obstacles of the mind.

She wanted all memories erased.

Unfortunately she realized this would not be the case.

It took a long time for her to be able to function properly.

Years of torment, years of abusing herself.

Years of hating herself.

Seeking for love by any means necessary.

The lost wanderer, searching for her place.

Trying to figure out life on her own.

Through trials and tribulations she endured.

She survived.

For so long she hated the word survivor.

It wasn’t until years later she wore it like a badge of honor.

The butterfly now soars sunrise to sunset.

Freely to higher heights.

She found her path and destiny.

Each day comes with its own set of challenges.

Each day she continues to grow and strengthen her wings.

No longer lost, she now wanders with love, hope and courage.

Searching for those who are in the same space she once was.

Searching to empower, searching to encourage and searching to inspire.

Reflection Over Troubled Waters

I’ve always been drawn to water. I love the oceans, lakes, and ponds. It is as if it is my own little piece of heaven. The place where I can let all my thoughts run wild and yet at the same time I can still feel at peace. I can scream out all my pains without fear. I can cry my deepest cry without judgment. Then, as soon as I have pulled myself together I am literally face to face with myself. Looking at my reflection on the water. Sometimes the body of water may be peaceful, with my reflection gently resting on the surface. Other times the water may be rough, chopping my reflection up.

During these times where I would see my reflection over troubled waters it was like another reminder to myself. Reminding me, that no matter how rough life gets I will never be overtaken by its circumstances. No matter how large the waves they will not drag me away from my destiny. The current at times might slow me down, but it will never stop me from reaching my destination.

Life has tossed me around like an ocean during a storm trying to drown me in sorrow and depression. Just when I thought I would be lost at sea and soon forgotten about, the waves started to slowly calm down. When I felt weak and thought I could no longer keep my head above the waves a deeper strength from within carried me through.

The storm had passed but the choppy waters still remained. I had managed to escape trauma, but the recovery process was just the beginning. Through the waves of life I managed to rise back to the surface after each crashing wave had ferociously crushed over my fragile body.

I am a survivor of many forms of abuse. I made it through the darkest of times. I learned to love my reflection even if it was over troubled waters, not just when I look at it on the gently pond. I have learned to embrace myself even when I am being tossed around in the raging sea.

My reflection over troubled waters, is a reflection of my strength. A reflection of my perseverance and a reflection of my hope. My reflection over troubled waters is a storm all of her own. Never to be broken. Never to dissipate.

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The Lost Wanderer (Part 1)

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She was lost in her own hell.

Barely holding on.

She thought she knew better than to sleep with the devil.

His lies kissed her lips and she was gone.

His masked disguise left her blind.

Her strength and courage was sucked right out of her.

She was a dead woman walking.

Scared to cry out for help.

Scared to run away.

She held back her tears and carried on each day.

Not knowing how much more she could take.

Not knowing if tomorrow she would awake.

Walking on eggshells.

Plotting every move.

Who could she tell?

Life was what she had to lose.

She was lost in her own hell.

Not some fictional fairytale.

This was real life.

Every day was a new fight.

Fighting for another breath.

Fighting until there was nothing left.

He beat her down with his words.

His tongue was like a double-edged sword.

Her self-confidence.

Her self-love

Her self-control

All of it stripped from her.

She no longer had her identity.

She saw herself through the eyes and the lies of the man she once loved.

Her self identity became his insecurities.

Her pureness in his eyes were now impurities.

Until one day.

She woke up.

Woke up determined to break free.

She had had enough.

No longer blind

She mustered up enough strength to fly.

She was determined to survive.

Her soul revived.

Her heart strived.

She was born again, she had had come back to life.

She made a plan of escape.

Taking every precaution.

She was going to leave no matter the fate.

She was willing to claw her way out if she must.

The day had come.

Last night was the final straw.

He had choked her until she passed out.

She couldn’t take anymore.

Her life in his hands.

She knew his final plan.

She made arrangements early the next morning.

As she started gathering her belongings.

Scared for her life

She was ready to fight.

He was sound asleep

As she started packing her things.

Just as she was about to leave

He opened up his eyes.

He saw all her things and said

“You’re leaving me?”

In an instant flashbacks of past threats flooded her mind.

But she had already decided

Not this time.

Her inner warrior had awoken.

She finally stuck up for herself.

She told him she was leaving and that was that.

He slowly got up.

Her eyes followed his every move.

Her ears in tune with every step.

What was he going to do?

Out of all the things he had threatened.

What was going to be his first move?

He showered and dressed.

Not saying a word.

No sound was made.

No sound was heard.

He grabbed his keys and as he turned to leave.

He turned back around and said

“Good bye (Name)”

Goodbye? That’s it? She thought to herself.

As she heard him open and shut the door.

Something must be up.

She phoned her ride and explained that he had left.

A few minutes later she was finally gone.

Out of hell she escaped.

Without nothing, not even a scrape.

The butterfly had found an opening in the window.

And started to fly towards a better tomorrow…..

(To Be Continued…)

Have You Ever Wondered?

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Have you ever wondered why?

Why he or she covers up the lies?

Why he or she doesn’t just leave?

Why he or she cannot see what you see?

Have you ever tried to understand?

Walk in his or her shoes if you can?

Ever think of the dangers that are at hand?

Do you realize the mental control that is in place?

Do you know the things that he or she must face?

Do you know what is possibly at stake?

How much careful planning it all takes?

Before judging and assuming, before victim bashing.

Be aware. Aware of the things that are most likely happening.

For a victim of abuse they may not be aware of the choices they have.

They may feel like no one cares.

Take into consideration of the brainwashing.

Being told that no one loves them.

Being told that it is their fault and that they deserve it.

Abuse goes so much deeper than a physical wound you may happen to see.

The mental, verbal and emotional abuse is not seen by the naked eye.

The invisible scars that lie deep beneath and hold so much control.

Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever really just wondered?

Why he or she is so closed off from the world?

Why he or she does not trust a single soul?

How hard it is for them to gain back their own self control?

Do you know what it is like to be a prisoner in your own mind?

To feel trapped even after you have already escaped?

Triggers: A scent, a sound, a touch, a day, a time, an event, a number of things that could send a person spiraling backwards in their healing.

The panic and anxiety attacks

The not wanting to leave from under the covers of your bed.

Never feeling safe.

Always feeling alone.

And you wonder why he or she goes back?

The sweet lies that drip from the tip of the abusers tongue.

The lies that have the victim turn back and run.

Run back to the arms of the one who causes the most pain.

Blinded by the disguise.

Not seeing their own demise.

All in order to feel “loved”

Have you ever wondered?

How he or she got there?

What has them stuck there?

Have you ever taken the time to fully understand?

What it is like to be controlled by another persons hand?

How someone once so strong could be so fragile?

How someone with so much confidence now insecure?

How someone who once was so full of life can now be so passionless?

Have you ever wondered?

What can you say?

What can you do?

To possibly get them to see the truth?

Truth is..

You can tell them until your face turns blue.

It isn’t that they don’t hear you or want to hear you.

They need to see the truth

For themselves.

They have to see their way out.

They have to see that they will be safe.

They have to get to that point.

The point where they have had enough.

Their eyes will be open

Where they will soon realize.

Everything that was said

Was nothing but lies.

It was all a disguise

To try and paralyze

A caterpillar from transforming into a butterfly.

Have you ever wondered?

When She Awoke

One morning she woke up different.

Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her or walking down the middle because they didn’t have the guts to pick a side.

She was done with anything that didn’t bring her peace.

She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen.

Validation was for parking.

Loyalty wasn’t a word but a lifestyle.

It was this day that her life had changed.

Not because of a man.

Or a job.

But because, she had finally realized that life is way too short to leave the key of her happiness in someone else’s pocket.

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Thinking Out Loud

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So as you all know I started writing my book about my experience with domestic violence, the chapter I am currently working on so far is one of the most difficult chapters. It has taken me a long time to write what I have written so far. It has opened up a wound I thought was healed. I have realized that there has not really been full closure on this aspect of my life. Many tears have been shed while writing previous chapters, so many unanswered questions. So many “Why’s?” and I know those will never be answered, and even if there was a chance for those “why’s” to be answered I know that they would not be truthful answers anyways.

This book is not only about my experience with domestic violence, this book touches on so many sensitive subjects in my life. It is graphic and detailed. I want the readers to feel what I have felt. I believe that that is the best way a writer can write. To bring the reader back in time and travel with me through my life as if they were right there with me.

At the same time I am struggling right now, I am facing things from my past that I never fully dealt with. Emotions about things that have happened and am wondering why I have these feelings. I try to continue typing through this chapter, I get one or two sentences out and I shut it down.

You know, I go through life looking at where I am now and where I came from. Amazed at how I got this far. I get through day by day with a smile on face just loving and enjoying every moment. I look at my dreams and see myself achieving them and see doors of opportunities starting to open. I’ve connected with amazing people all over the world through this blog and other social media. Yet I feel stuck. I usually write blogs to inspire and encourage others but right now I could really use some inspiration and encouragement.

I guess this blog is just a venting blog.

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Domestic Violence Summit 2014

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I was looking for a video to post while I finish writing a blog I am working on and came upon these videos. The domestic Violence Summit 2014 hosted on the Dr. Phil Show.

It is a seven-part series and I just had to share them with you. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s connect. Let’s Inspire and Let’s Come Together!

As My Thoughts Escape My Mind…

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As you all know from my previous blog, I have started writing my book. It’s really hard, remembering details from my childhood as well as details from my relationship. I must admit I’ve already shed some tears and this is just the beginning of the book. Remembering things I worked so hard to erase or cover up. To bring them back to the forefront has been difficult at times. Some things I actually did completely block out of my mind and couldn’t really write in complete detail about. Even with some of those details that I cannot remember, it brought me to tears. To me, I felt like those details were not erased by me and should not have to be something that I should forget.

It has been challenging but also therapeutic at the same time. This book needs to be written, and I hope that you all can relate to it. I thank you all for being a part in this journey. Thank you for your support with this blog page. If it wasn’t for you this book may not be written. It was with this blog page that I had hoped to share and connect with others and make a difference in someone’s life. The connections I have made shown me that I really do need to put this book out there. You all inspire me more than you could ever know.

Continue to pursue your goals. Continue healing. Continue striving. You are on this earth for a reason. Do not allow your past to make you think or feel any different. You have a voice and deserve to be heard. Break the silence. Let’s raise awareness and let it be known that enough is enough!

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Triggers and Flashbacks are not Setbacks

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Hey everyone, first let me just apologize for being absent as far as blogging, I know I have some very supportive readers and followers who look forward to my blogs. After reading this particular post I believe it is safe to say that you will all understand why I have been absent. It was difficult for me to start writing this, and took me a couple weeks to even begin writing gain.

Triggers and flashbacks.

I hate them.

I mean i really HATE them!I had a trigger on Sunday June 20th 2016. I was on the train headed home from work and it happened. The train stopped at the station behind the apartment building where I used to live with my ex, our bedroom window faced the station. I had looked up from my phone and out the window, when my eyes locked dead on to one of the windows of the apartment where I used to live at. I was overwhelmed with emotion, after all these years. I got chills looking at these windows. I literally got goosebumps all over, and I could feel myself starting to panic. When I looked at the windows there was this dark eerie look to them, yet the sun was still shining bright.

It was like every single emotion I had ever felt in that place came rushing at me. Flashbacks of him clenching his teeth. Flashbacks of him choking me. Flashbacks of him pushing me on to the bed and straddling over me, punching the bed close to my head telling me if I move the wrong way and he hits me it is my fault. I could hear him. I could hear all the disgusting names he used to call me. All the things he used to accuse me of. It had all flooded my mind in an instant. For a time I was angry at myself for even allowing it to effect me the way that it had.

The one thing about triggers is that they can honestly happen at any given moment. Certain things may always be something we know as a trigger (scent,smell,sound) while others may not be so common but can abruptly cause a trigger; especially when someone is under a huge amount of stress, and believe me these last few weeks at work have been mighty stressful.

But this trigger was different, and maybe even one of my worst ones yet to date. It felt like the air had been knocked out of me. I was practically choking on my tears fighting them from falling down my face until I got off at my stop. My throat felt like it was closing up and my heart was beating at an incredible rate. My hands were shaky and sweaty. As soon as I stepped off the train at my stop the tears began to fall. I could no longer control it. Getting into my mothers car she asked me if I was okay. I told her “I will be okay.” One thing I love about her, she will never badger me for information; if I say “I am okay”, even if she knows I am not she knows that eventually I will come and talk to her.

Trigger definition

(from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

The senses identified as being the most common to trigger someone are sight and sound, followed by touch and smell, and taste close behind. A combination of the senses is identified as well, especially in situations that strongly resemble the original trauma. Although triggers are varied and diverse, there are often common themes.

Types of triggers:

(also from the website http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

Sound

  • Anything that sounds like anger (ie. raised voices, arguments, bangs and thumps, something breaking).
  • Anything that sounds like pain or fear (ie. crying, whispering, screaming).
  • Anything that might have been in the place or situation prior to, during, or after the abuse or reminds her/him of the abuse (ie. sirens, foghorns, music, cricket, chirping, car door closing).
  • Anything that resembles sounds that the abuser made (ie. whistling, footsteps, pop of can opening, tone of voice).
  • Words of abuse (ie. cursing, labels, put-downs, specific words used).

Smell

  • Anything that resembles the smell of the abuser (ie. tobacco, alcohol, drugs, after shave, perfume).
  • Any smells that resemble the place or situation where the abuse occurred (ie. food cooking ,wood, odors, alcohol).

Touch

  • Anything that resembles the abuse or things that occurred prior to or after the abuse (ie. certain physical touch, someone standing too close, petting an animal, the way someone approaches you).

Taste

  • Anything that is related to the abuse, prior to the abuse or after the abuse (ie. certain foods, alcohol, tobacco).

I share this because I want people to know that they are not alone. That even years after leaving I still have triggers. Yes it is possible. I know it is something that we do not want nor like dealing with, but it is something we have to live with due to the trauma(s) we have experienced. What we can do is learn how to deal and cope when we do experience triggers and flashbacks.

The thing that comforted me; was when I spoke to someone about this trigger event and she shared with me that she too deals with triggers. She said “90% of the time I am fine, I am okay. But then there is 10% where I am not.” That is exactly how I feel, 90% of the time I am good, but there is and always will be that 10% where I will have bad days, I will have to deal with triggers but I will pull myself together and come through it and you also will pull yourself together and get through it. Always remember that triggers and flashbacks are not setbacks. They are a part of us, but they do not define us.

 

Mother’s Day Memoir

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Happy Mother’s Day to this beautiful woman my Momma, my super-woman, my Queen!! Without her, I don’t even know where I would be! Thank you for your love, your support, your strength. Thank you for your encouraging words and kicks to my behind when needed. Thank you for always being supportive of all my decisions no matter how hard it may have been for you. Because of you I am the woman I am today, and because of you, I know I will become that much better. There will never be enough words to describe how much love I have for you. Not enough words to describe how grateful I am, not enough words to describe how blessed I am to have you as my mother. All the obstacles you conquered throughout the years, nothing could stop you! Not even cancer could stop you!!! I can only hope and pray that one day I will be as good of a mother as you have been to us! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY  MOMMA!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

This woman is my rock! She is the one I have always looked up to! She is my source of strength when i feel weak. She makes me laugh at times I just want to scream or cry. She lends her ears when I just want/need to vent. Some people say their mothers are their best friend but my mother supersedes that! I’ve gone through hell and back and she never turned her back on me. At times, she would have had every right too, but she didn’t. She has always supported me through EVERYTHING! Good or bad! She lends her advice and says it is up to me to make the decision. Whether I heed to her advice or not, in the end, she is still there. Even if it is me going back to her to say “You were right ma.” She never throws it in my face.

I have seen her go through some extremely difficult times. With each one, she got through them with leaps and bounds. I admire her for her strength. She has no idea how much she has inspired me. How much she empowers me. How much she encourages me. I could not be any more thankful to have her as a mother. I am truly blessed.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU MOTHERS OUT THERE!! ENJOY YOUR DAY!

Love Afterwards

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Love, a word that I always say is an action word. Not just a word that is said, but a word that is shown, love is something that you do. By definition, love is an intense feeling of affection.

I often find other survivors asking “How will I ever love again?” To be honest, you will never be able to truly love another person until you first love yourself. When you were in an abusive relationship you were not loved or cared for properly which may have led to you feeling like you are unlovable. Learn to give yourself the love you deserve and did not receive from your abuser. You are loveable, and you are worth loving. You do deserve to love and to be loved.

Take time in getting to re-learn yourself. It is a process. There are no time limits, you take however long you want. Remember, you are a new person now, not exactly the same person that you once used to be. For however long you were in the abusive relationship you were not your true self, and you were led to believe that you were the negative things that this individual bombarded your mind with. You have to retrain yourself from the negative things you were once told and remind yourself of the positive things that you know you are. Continuously repeating these positive words until you wholeheartedly believe them.

Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, pay attention, and then replace it with something positive. For example, if a negative thought like “I’m not good enough.” Comes to mind, instantly stop, and say: “I am good enough.” or “I am more than enough.” If you get the thoughts of “I can’t…” change them to “I can.” and “I will.” Remind yourself of your worth. Remind yourself of how beautiful or handsome that you are.

Do little things for yourself, take long walks on the beach or a park. Buy yourself some flowers. Have a spa day. Maybe even take a short trip(or a long one 🙂 ). Treat yourself to something nice. Do anything that will make you feel good about yourself.

Set small goals that you know you will achieve, and once achieved celebrate! Congratulate yourself, treat yourself. Then set another goal, or maybe a few goals and achieve those as well.

Setting goals and accomplishing them gives you a well-needed self-esteem boost. It makes you feel better about yourself.

Learning to love yourself is an amazing journey. It is quite interesting. When you take the time to self-evaluate, you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself. There may be things that you do not like about yourself and that is fine, this is the time that you can work on them and improve yourself.

For now, focus on loving yourself rather than focusing on finding love. When you are ready, love will find you. You will recognize when a healthy and loving relationship comes and you will be ready for it. But for now, take this time as YOUR time! Focus on getting to know the new and improved you. The stronger, wiser and better YOU! There is love afterwards. There is love after an abusive relationship. The love of loving yourself comes first. It is time for you to put yourself first for once. It is time to enjoy YOU!

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Sidenote: For those who enjoy reading, I created a short list of several books on loving yourself below:

1. Loving Yourself: Finding Happiness by Falling in Love With Yourself First

2. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

3. Learning To Love Yourself

4. Learning to Love Yourself: Finding Your Self-Worth