Africa

I have arrived in africa safe and sound. And i hope this venture encourages a blessing in my heart and soul, of which it already has.

It is difficult to explain the poverty, because no american has such an understanding not really, not unless you have gone and been in the camps of the homeless, and even then, my stint in homelessness is nothing compared to this.

It is exhausting to try and describe the extent of the layer upon layer of impoverishment. How a school is settled amongst the slums, trash everywhere, the stale meandering smell of feces, and the mixture of laughter, and education wrapped up in rough hewn surfaces of metal, concrete, stone and grass.

The earth is rich with iron, a purple red, and the children, some with shoes, and some without, wearing torn uniforms, tattered and kinked from attempts of less refined presentation.

I sat and watched these children, eager and hungry, dance, sing worship songs, speaking swahili, and other derivatives of the native language mixed with english. But the mood is excitement, despite what they have, Americans wouldn’t even fathom it. They grasped my hands and flooded my personal space, of which for them, i have none. Girls and boys hugging me, walking together arm around arm, community, but more so family and immediate integration into the environment. Such a welcome i can not explain, except to describe how when presented with a scarf, i tucked down to her 9 year old body, and squirmed my way into it, resulting in a laugh, my goal completed, and then she just stood next to me, arm at my hip, and we swayed to the singing of her peers.

Friendship. Unadulterated, simple, hand holding friendship.

A girl came up to me immediately and took me to see the different classrooms, dirt floors and corrugated steel walls, rough hewn table/desks, in a space the size of a master bedroom.

I sat there and felt the death of my previous relationships in that one moment, finite and time ended, the selfishness of those who put themselves before the needs of others, who treated me crazy for wanting to do something like this all my life. I don’t dare to be a missionary in the style of scripture, i dare to just be, and be love, as much as i can.

As the children flitted around and posed for pictures, the intimidation of the world and the streets just outside, right at the doorstep of the school, i see how tempting and how easy these kids could go back to their norm of desperation and unease, and yet, they stay, some orphaned, living in bunk beds and shared quarters, and i wonder, will i ever be able to enjoy my creature comforts again, without guilt or desire to share it with them.

In honor of my son i chose not to have, partially due to the selfishness of the partner i had, and my own at the time. I realize how happy i would have been, and its the only thing i regret in my life.

Maybe i am supposed to sponsor a child here, maybe i’m meant to teach, all i know i am amazed at the strength and courage of the people here, who traveled from iceland to start this school, people from africa, women castrated and ran here to find another non-traditional life.

This is just the beginning.

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6 months antidepressant free

It is official, I have been off antidepressants for 6 months.

It is AMAZING!

Well, that and not a whole lot of bad things are happening, but even the bad things, there is a different clarity, an old school clarity, my brain functioning like before, I have experienced since this new freedom from Zoloft.

Now I am not a medical professional, and most of my comments have come from processing the information of licensed professionals. However these have been the benefits since I am Zoloft free:

  1. No more feeling numb and not connected to myself.
  2. No more indigestion brought on by the medications.
  3. No more paranoia, obsessive worrying thoughts and panic are controllable.
  4. Better emotional understanding with other individuals and people.
  5. Still working on being less vulnerable to abusive types and setting boundaries.
  6. Intuition and inner voice has improved.
  7. Recognizing my thoughts are focused on positivity and not so fear based.
  8. Fear is not all encompassing anymore.
  9. I can cry again, actually really feel it, instead of it sitting behind my eyes.
  10. Suppressed feelings are processing, where as, numbing was necessary to create a safer distance between me and the trauma time line.
  11. I see god working in my life again, and my little themes of the days are back. What this means is that there will be a theme for the day, like seeing the color red all day, red balloons, red flowers, etc. etc. or motorcycle themes, or uhaul.
  12. My feelings of premonition are back, this is more related to instincts and understanding the full relation of my surroundings, and people. Not to be confused with psychic.
  13. I can feel people better, empathic abilities are improving.
  14. Self-esteem is improved, healthy risk taking has come back, vs unhealthy risk taking.
  15. Desperation is gone.
  16. Codependncy is improving, but that is because of regaining emotional and social support.
  17. Not so needy or compulsive, more inner strength, but that helps when you just focus on positive things and philosophies like Law of Attraction, Wabi Sabi, and information and resources.
  18. I have also began to be able to process self-defense again, verbal, learning more about physical, and know how to enact it when necessary (not eager to test this, I fucking hate violence).
  19. Fatigue is not as bad, I get fatigued easily regardless, with this auto-immune system there is not much I can do about that.
  20. Memory and motivation has improved.
  21. Not willing to ignore gut instincts.

Now this has been from some hard-work, and now thanks to lack of distractions from aggressors. And also changing some self-defeating beliefs that were created by the trauma. Like there is nothing I can do to protect myself from violent people. That is no longer true, I have a new found patience that I am so happy to have.

So I started a new job today and I am super excited, and looking forward to new things to meet my life goals. I am so grateful and looking to learn and grow, and help others learn and grow. Very close to my heart.

The thing is now, I am far pickier about people now, who I am willing to deal with and who I am not. It’s not personal, but If you show red flags, the problem isn’t me, it’s time to look at yourself. Drug addicts, even recovering addicts, or people with anger management problems, are not on my radar for a warm smile or close interaction.

Especially if you have a criminal record. You are in god’s hands, I can’t help you, you have to suffer the consequences of your behavior for you to learn, as I have dealing with these types of people. They are just not safe. Not meaning that they are not deserving of love, I just have love to give to those who are trying, and working, and proving with action rather than words. That I can handle, but if not, I can only wish you the best and hope you find help.

 

Life is short, and I have another chance at it, and I’m going to take it. Anyone in my way will be addressed within reason, as needed to the specific situation.

I’m still dealing with some shame and guilt about some things, of course, but mainly behaviors that were exhibited during the time of treatment. With PTSD there is anger issues, as to be expected, unfortunately, and that is my least favorite emotion, growing up for a thankfully short time in an abusive environment, it makes sense, the primal instincts and desires, but not necessarily reasonable. And that is something that caused me to get help, because I didn’t like how I was behaving. Thank god that is over, but I will always have to deal with it if it arises again. I noticed some of my triggers for it, and I am working on how to handle those triggers, I slipped a few months ago, allowing a drug addict to get under my skin playing games. Ironically their zodiac was similar to some other people, so now I know what that was about for myself.

However, the thing is that sometimes the problem isn’t you, even if people want to blame you, the problem is not you after all. Because these people can’t tell you who you are, you can, cause you are the only person who knows themselves enough. And If I had deeper mental health problems, I’d address them, because I care about myself and others. Regardless if they care about me, this is why I will keep a distance from certain people, due to protecting myself, also in turn, protects them. Some people just won’t ever get along. Such is life and living it.

I’ve been asked to submit to the Mighty mental health forum as a volunteer contributing writer. Now just how to get paid to write and travel. Now that would be a dream. I’m completing one dream and going to go to Kenya next month, working on lesson plans right now.  I know I will not want to leave once I get there. Also a little nervous because I don’t know too much Swahili, but what better place to learn, than in the midst of the people.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Month

“I may resent disappointments, rebel against a series of misfortunes which I regard as unmerited punishment. Yet in time I may come to understand that these can be considered gifts of enlightenment.”

-One Day At A Time

Since time has passed since the rape I have discovered that I am becoming grateful to have survived.

No, I am not grateful for the experience. I do not forgive the action, or even the person, I forgive myself for being a victim. I don’t believe in this forgiveness of a person who has no regret for what they did wrong. No one has asked me for my forgiveness. And I don’t expect anybody to ask for my forgiveness. Doesn’t mean it’s right. It just is.  I have asked others for their forgiveness, some of flat out told me to fuck off, and that is okay, because I sat down and looked at myself, my actions, and knew it was the right thing to do, even if I got their forgiveness or not, I at least honored their hurt, and learned from the experience. Because I needed to do what I could for me, and for them.

I am grateful I survived. I am grateful to see the darkness inside my soul, the hatred and anger from injustices, to see how I handle unrighteous experiences.

It is not fair to others, or myself to hold this “but I was raped when I turned 29,” to prevent me from moving forward, or hating others, or hating my lot in life. I am not being raped today, so why let it hold me back, that gives that man power over me, and I will not allow that for my life. It is my life on this earth. Mine, not his. I am not a toy.

My mind is not a toy. Sometimes I will remember at the most inopportune time of what I went through. Driving in a car, or as a passenger, or when I am just sitting in a parking lot about to go into work. Summer heat and weather always gets to me. The aftermath did more damage than the actual act at times.

Yes i have scars. A crooked nose now. When I model for others’ drawings, or paintings, or photos, it’s a problem for lighting, but that’s if somebody is trying to look for perfection in my face. And I tell them, “work with it, don’t hide it.”

I also drop things with my right hand. I hit the side of my finger where the blade sliced my skin and made me submit to further rebelliousness from my attacker and escape efforts. It tingles when it gets hit. The nerves scream across my hand, more intensely as the nerves heal, a 4 year old scar, still healing after all this time.  The scar on my neck from him choking me when I tried to jump out of the vehicle, that is almost gone now.

But that is the nature of healing, sometimes it takes a few months, and everything is back to normal. Sometimes it takes years. Like my mind, the memories, the PTSD.

I don’t trust doctor’s anymore with my life like I did before. I had to repair the damage of mis-diagnosis, and the effects of the wrong medications. When you take an antidepressant and you get worse instead of better, that means it is the wrong medication. It’s funny that Zoloft is the one that I spoke about how it made me feel better, and the previous doctors’ kept giving me the wrong medicines, changing it up quickly instead of gradually. Needless to say those doctors are no longer employed anymore. After I submitted my medical treatment for review to the state medical board. A lot of doctors try and treat rape like a “splinter” and look for another underlying issue, mainly just to put money in their pockets. Medicine is a business. My body is not a toy to play with, and I will go as far as to say some people tried to rape my mind with the wrong medications.

So I found a doctor who knew what they were doing, who listened, and stuck with them. Eventually my mind calmed down, eventually I regained trust, and eventually I got better.

I have had a horrible story turn into a better one. A lot of that I have had the help to realize, that when you are surrounded by people with diseases, like self-mutilation and depression. A partner that was suicidal. Family who has the disease of alcoholism making decisions for your life, without your help. You’re only issue was low self-esteem due to weight issues from untreated hypothyroidism and allergies, and an auto-immune disorder. And then there is you, no drinking history, straight A student, 3.8 GPA, graduated cum laude. A 6 figure job, that you left trusting peoples words that they would be there for you. And then you were suddenly scrambled in the head, suicidal and depressed from medications, and a choice you have never not regretted. Treating it like a simple procedure, a “removal of a parasite” that that family had said it meant, and yet it never felt right, as you convinced yourself over and over again. Doing something that was counter-intuition. It was a someone, not a parasite.

And then everything that defined you and was apart of your identity was quickly stripped away. And then your homeless and helpless after being drugged with mood altering anti-depressants. No food, no money, no job, helpless. Hearing hateful hurtful words from your best-friends and loved ones, who decided together, to kick you out, because you had changed forever. You weren’t performing to their standards, no longer useful, ta ta.

That would shatter you. Make you angry, make you depressed, make you irrational. Make you not you. All they did was help hurt you, instead of love you, and you tried as best you could at the time. And the reward you get for all that pain you’re going through, on top of it all, you get raped by a stranger, a third-level sex offender just out of prison. You are nameless. A disgrace, you are “where you belong” according to the “experts.”

Fuck that noise.

But that isn’t me anymore. I have re-defined who I am, and yet again I will again. Because the only constant in life is change.

I now know my dark side, It’s not pretty, nobodies dark side is. And after you have been beaten down so much, like a dog who gets beaten, or any animal on this planet you stop thinking, you start reacting, and you defend yourself. You fight back.

It’s called surviving.

And while people will sit there and judge you. They will fool themselves into thinking they are better than you, “I would never wind up homeless and raped at knife point. I am this…….. , or I am this…….. , and you are worthless. You are the monster, you are the crazy one.”

I am “crazy.” I have PTSD. I wasn’t “crazy” before, and I’m not really “crazy.” From trauma, from abuse, and people have tried to use my new mental illness to their advantage.

But the thing they don’t realize is that you can heal from PTSD, it’s a scar, on your brain,  the human body can heal itself. It is only temporary.

It is only temporary.

And even if I have it, and sometimes it sneaks up at times when I am at rest, or telling my story, I am better. I am healing. I am stronger. And I am grateful. I am grateful to know what other people go through. I am grateful to know that there is a light through the dark night of the soul.

I was raped. And I am alive today. He didn’t kill me. They didn’t kill me from their lack of love, from their abuse, from their stupidity of self-importance.

I am alive.

I have PTSD.

And I have people in my life who know the real me. The scarred, once broken, almost murdered, hated because of my gender me, hated for being a survivor, hated for not being that monster they want to believe I am, Looking for a way to explain and place blame on me for getting raped. “She must be a drug addict,” or “It must be some issue from her childhood,” or “It must be because she has a mental disorder,” or etc. etc. etc.

They also know the laughing me, the joyful me, the creative and compassionate me. I am called to help others when they need me. I am dependable, I am responsible, I am open-minded, I am passionate, I am adventurous, I am non-judgemental, I am supportive.

I am “crazy” and I have PTSD.

I’m happy to be me. And I am no different than anyone else.

Freedom

I did what the police told me to do. They have told me for the past five years to go to the prosecuting attorneys office in regards to the stalking and harassment. They told me to stop trying to resolve the issue, and to stop apologizing, and to accept the fact I can’t fix it. They directed me to the victim advocate, and she pointed out how I was being manipulated, how it was distracting me from my recovery, they pointed out the sadistic nature of the situation. With holding property was a manipulation tactic. How it was affecting me, keeping me stuck.

So I did what they told me to do. My family lawyer is prepared with a civil suit if they persist as well. The rest is up to those who choose to harass me. It’s not up to me anymore, It’s in the prosecuting attorney’s hands. They have the ip addresses, the e-mails, the text messages, all of them, everything I have collected over the years. I gave them everything.

I warned them.

I am going to occupy myself with living. This has turned into a part-time job, filling out stalking logs, making notes, making the timelines, consulting with lawyers, I quit. I am only interested in knowing about how to stay away from people like that. The first sign of trouble, I bounce now, I don’t even continue, or try to.

I tried to handle it as amicably as possible. I know my heart and where it resides. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone. I am too old for this shit. I have not enjoyed any minute of this. My support group has been very supportive.

I’m beginning to feel less and less of a victim, and more of a survivor. I feel stronger, I feel better, and I feel proud of myself. I had such a normal life before all of this, but it’s been nothing but drama, that’s putting it lightly, ever since I graduated college. And I am  I got so used to people being decent. And the exposure to the opposite has been mind-blowing. I didn’t realize how ill-equipped I was for this, I’ve always been more of a shy away from confrontation person when it involves me, but that has changed. And the realization of being in this situation and how easily I fell into the angry dispute in the beginning is ridiculous.

Stalking and harassment is a criminal offense. Defamation of Character and Slander is a civil offense. They know the names of all known parties involved. They are aware and prepared of the tag-team efforts.

I am going to be free.

Releasing trauma through spirituality

Some people may feel a little weird about this, It’s a different type of prayer. I do not endorse any specific religion or spiritual form. This is for you who may need this: http://elishasmantle.freeyellow.com/prayertrauma.pdf

There are a lot of prayers, rituals, or other things that people do for acts of healing from trauma. This is one that a friend of mine gave to me to pray.

Over time prayer has helped me, but meditation also helps me, getting focused in my body in the present, not allowing the past to affect me. When it’s too intense, I go out, hang out with friends, keep me distracted, so I don’t digress. When confronted with a triggering situation, I remove myself from the situation, to pause, take a breath, and see if I can go back to it.

There are a lot of prayers out there to help, belief.net, is a good one for christians. Last year I asked for the Medicine Buddha to help and aid me in my recovery during a guided meditation, I have even prayed to saints. Since then I have come to the conclusion I am an Omnitheist. Where no religion is right or wrong, they all represent God, every god is a representation of the same god.

Honestly, I know how angry it feels to have to turn to god. Where was god when you needed it? Why didn’t it protect you from your trauma, your violence?

That wasn’t god, that was man. That was a person’s motives and desires. It was not a lesson from god, it wasn’t punishment. It was the action of a separate entity, a human being, who chose to use you as an object for their abuse. That’s all, no other meaning than that, at least that is what I take in my case, you can take what you like from your experience.

At least that is my understanding of it, that I have to believe to get me through this, god had nothing to do with it, researching the science behind why these people do this, helps me understand, they are just that way, it’s a sickness in their mind. A violent mentality, that was expressed physically on me.

I need reason to understand things, I don’t just take people’s words for it, and I have to make sure things are backed up with scholarly articles, come from credible sources, before I will consider it as fact. So how do I believe in god?

There is energy right? What is god but energy? Not an idea, but a physical presence, it’s in me, it’s in the ground, it’s in the body of living things, energy. To me, god is the collective force that holds everything together, makes things move, grass doesn’t have a brain, but it’s living. If that man didn’t have a brain, he wouldn’t have made the decision to harm me. Otherwise, he would have just been like grass.

I hope that makes some semblance of sense. So much can be said without saying much. And when I pray, I take an action to be open to spirit, light, positivity, hope, and out of the dungeons of the trauma. It has helped me. I hope you find what helps you.

 

Assessing Dangerousness in Men Who Abuse Women

How to Heal From Controlling and Mentally Abusive Relationshi

Reposted from Livestrong.com

by ASHLEY MILLER  Last Updated: Jul 03, 2015
How to Heal From Controlling and Mentally Abusive Relationship

Mental abuse is a type of domestic violence. Being involved in a mentally abusive and controlling relationship can wreak havoc on many different parts of your life, including your self-esteem, relationships, career and overall psychological well-being. Give yourself credit for getting out of the relationship. Healing from a controlling, mentally abusive relationship takes time, effort, support and patience. If you’re thinking about ending an abusive relationship, but you’re not sure where to turn, you can get free, anonymous support and advice from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Step 1

Give yourself time to heal. Recovering from an abusive relationship doesn’t happen instantly. After you end the relationship, you’ll need time to put your life back together. You may have many things to think about, such as housing, employment, child care or other financial issues.

Step 2

Seek support from trusted friends, relatives or a licensed counselor. Your self-esteem and overall confidence level may be severely damaged by the abuse you endured. According to Help Guide, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. Reaching out for help can be difficult, but you’ll gain relief, validation and support by talking about your experience. You can also start work on rebuilding your self-esteem with proper counseling. Ask your primary care physician or a local mental health agency for a referral to a therapist specializing in domestic violence issues.

Step 3

Develop a creative outlet. Expressing your feelings in a journal or through an art form such as music, painting or poetry can be cathartic. Doing so can help you get in touch with the hurt. It’s important to release these feelings to heal.

Step 4

Resume a regular schedule when you feel ready. After ending a mentally abusive relationship, you feel like there’s no ground under your feet. Keeping a consistent daily routine will help you to re-establish a sense of normality. Don’t overeat or oversleep. Avoid escaping into an addiction such as alcohol or drug abuse.

Step 5

Consider joining a support group for survivors of abuse. According to psychologist Richard Ray Gayton in his book “The Forgiving Place: Choosing Peace After Violent Trauma,” support groups offer a safe place for you to discuss your feelings with others who have been through a similar experience. Hearing the stories of others who have been abused can make you feel less alone, and receiving empathy and validation will help you during the recovery process.