Sunday, June 30, 2013

It was rough but I think I've gotten through the worse of it.

I don't think I'm going to be busting out a book on it anytime soon though. Friday was a difficult day for me. There were a lot of emotions and try as I might to distract myself and practice all of the various tools I've been learning in my skills group, I still struggled. Anxiety attacks in the early afternoon led to a dose of my anti-anxiety meds (which I take rarely, only got a refill since it had been a year since I had filled the last one even though I still had close to half the prescription left over). By ten that night I was feeling sick to my stomach and very much alone. Fortunately the next day I had an appointment with my therapist and that helped immensely. He apologized profusely for not anticipating my struggle and that was something though I know too that I have a tendency of putting on a brave front and thinking I'm going to be fine. For all the talk I have gotten from people in the past about how I "play the victim", the fact is is that more often than not, I try to deal with my problems on my own and THAT has led to more problems but I've learned the hard way that oftentimes, you are pretty much on your own.

So, it was a good session though difficult and we didn't even talk about what happened. I don't think I have actually told the story of the event in detail since the trials. I'm not even sure I can. I mean yeah, I can say I was there, I saw my dad shoot my brother-in-law but details? No. I try not to think of them. And yeah, I was disappointed in myself that it still had this much of an effect on me but was told that that was to be expected considering everything else behind it including the increase sensitivity I have to begin with along with the lack of support I had after the event both right after and as time went on. At any rate, some of the burden was lifted and I was able to admit to a few of the feelings I had kept inside for a long time, like how upset I was to have sort have been the forgotten one in the whole thing. I always felt that was kind of selfish of me though because I didn't lose my husband or my brother or my son. But I was there, had what amounted to front row seats to something extremely horrific and tragic. I had to deal with survivor's guilt because they were at my place because of me because my parents had worked me over so much I was freaking out. I had to deal with finding a new place, had to get through all of this without someone there to support me. John was in South Korea. My parents were in jail for the crime, and everyone else was dealing with their own problems. I had to find a new place to live (and not being married so having my maiden name which was splashed all over the news, that wasn't exactly easy), then move. I had to rehome a dog. I missed a month of work. There were hearings and various things to deal with and it was an extremely difficult time and not everyone around me was the most supportive. Plus, I also ended up being the one to take care of my little sister who was now a widow and halfway through her pregnancy and I'm only about five years older than she is.

So there's definitely a lot of emotions there, emotions that were never resolved, emotions that had to be shoved back in a cobwebby part of my mind so that I could do what needed to be done. I needed to get back to working, I needed to plan a wedding (well, I didn't really but it was about the only way I got through it--think Cristina Yang after the hospital shooting on Grey's Anatomy), I needed to get my sister ready for her senior year of freaking high school and plan for the arrival of her baby as well! It was insane and I had murder trials to deal with as well and all of those feelings and between the two trials, I had to put my dog down and I had had her since I was 13. Then I went back to school, then I got pregnant, then I had my firstborn and I had to deal with all of the trauma from that. There never really was a time to deal with what happened because there was always something else more immediate to deal with. And so I have shoved it away only dealing with it when something reminds me or the anniversary rolls around.

That I'm not any crazier than I am (and for the most part I am a functioning adult and the mother of two children, one of whom I am homeschooling) should be what amazes me but I tend to be harder on myself than that. I think that's because in the back of my mind, I'm afraid that this is only a facade, that really, it's just a matter of time before I crack up completely. Then too, I think it's hard for me to really know what is acceptable for me to feel and what is not having grown up in the kind of household I did where many of my feelings were not considered valid and were often ignored and scoffed at (and later on, medicated).

There are a lot of feelings to untangle, not just from the murder but from all the years before that, my whole childhood really. It's not just unlearning a lifetime of unhealthy behaviors and feelings but also relearning just what is healthy, what is valid, and how to deal with it appropriately. I'm working on it but there's still a lot I need to learn, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time flies, even when you're not having fun...

It's always somewhere in the back of my mind. It may not be something I'm thinking about right at the very moment but it is and always will be one of those life-defining events. There's no doubt whatsoever that life as I knew it changed drastically and irrevocably due to that event and that other lives were drastically changed as well. There will always be life as I remember it "before the murder" and life as I know it and have known it now almost ten years.

And yet, in many ways, it doesn't feel like it's been ten years. There are so many emotions still there, still close enough to the surface that I can't recall the events that happened without becoming well, emotional about it all. Time has not passed on by enough that I can think back to that day without a great number of different feelings. It's why I haven't written a book and it's why I don't talk about it really unless something reminds me of it all. And it's also why I likely haven't filled out and sent in the visitor's form to go see my mom in prison knowing that this time it probably will be accepted.

Ten, where has the time gone?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'd like to think I've come a long way in the last year.

I will admit too that it's not something I have done entirely alone though I can't say it's been a higher power that has helped me. Two things I did in the beginning I think helped a lot. One, I left an online parenting forum that I felt was a negative influence in my life due to the constant competition among the parents in the forum. I did not find it to be a very supportive environment and it only got worse as time went on. I had been accused of playing the victim one time too many (far as I was concerned) and decided that enough was enough; I was done. So I left and it's been over a year since I last visited the site. I don't miss it at all. I had found some friends on there but found more people looking to stir up bad feelings and trouble and it just was not good for my mental health (and likely still is not which is why I haven't gone back). I instead returned to a forum I had gone back and forth with and picked and chose groups that fit me and I casually visit which makes it easier for me to keep an emotional distance. Later on, I was able to find some very good groups on Facebook and those are the ones I frequent most often.

Online groups are often not enough though. Local groups have been especially difficult for me to get into in the past but I finally found one that has been an excellent fit and better yet, one that stretches my intellectual muscles. I joined a local freethinker's group and that has been (tongue-in-cheek here) Spaghetti-Monster-sent. Through there, I have been introduced to such topics as evolution (something I'm trying to learn more about everyday because I find it SO fascinating), separation of church and state, religion, school vouchers, and much more. My world and horizons have been expanded and my thirst for knowledge increased many-fold. I have even attended a Unitarian Universal service. I find myself, really for the first time in a long time, not angry and negative about beliefs but positive about my quest to establish and confirm what I do believe. I may not believe in the god of the bible but that does not mean I have no beliefs at all. I'm constantly seeking to add to my personal belief and moral system and while that may differ from many who do believe in God, in many ways, they are the same. It's hard to explain.

I do not see myself as one of those "angry atheist" as many are stereotyped to be (not that they aren't out there but there are also some pretty angry Christians out there too). I am seeking and striving to figure out my place in the world and in the universe, trying to figure out what values are important to me. Not all of those values are taken from a book written almost 2000 years ago. Some may seem to fly in the face of what's in that book but then again, it is a book that has not evolved as much as human consciousness has.

It is interesting how finally figuring out that I didn't believe in God has lead to move positive changes in my life than trying to hold onto Christian beliefs has. But that has been MY experience and I don't expect it to be that way for everyone. One thing I seek to do is try and understand where others are coming from in their experiences and beliefs. There's a lot that comes into play when deciding our beliefs and it's a very personal thing indeed. I do grow frustrated with narrow-mindedness and the idea some have that EVERYONE has to believe what he/she believes because that is the ONLY belief there is. And I really hate it when religion gets involved in politics and affects education. Those, I will admit, are kind of my pet peeves. But beyond that, I know that for most people, religion is something that brings them comfort and would not want to take that away from them. I wish I could say it had done the same for me, but it never did, even when I was at my most fervent in my beliefs. But I am not without comfort. I merely find it in the tangible and in the wonders of our world and universe.