chronic illness, domestic violence, mental health, Self-Esteem

Letting go and endurance

 

Merry Yule, Happy Winter Solstice today.

Just a warning that this blog post tonight has some graphic content in about domestic violence.

I haven’t gotten to write in a few days. I had migraines two days in a row. But today was better. I went to some friends’ house to have conversation, tea, and reiki exchanged. They seemed so happy to see me, and I, them. We got to share alot for a few hours. They live about 40 miles away, which isn’t too big of a deal. Except when I’m low on gas. Not working really can mean not visiting and being able to get to volunteering places. Also, lack of staples towards the end of the month…like veggie burgers, produce, and vegan coffee creamer. My phone will be out of service December 24th. When I went to get my money for my medical insurance, in a bank envelope, out of my pocket, almost 3 weeks ago, it was gone. I must have lost it between the mechanic’s paying for getting my car inspected and at the pharmacy, when I pulled my new prescription sheet out. Unfortunately, this was for my secondary insurance, which covers the 20% my primary insurance doesn’t pay for. Except chiropractor, some dental, some vision, and a few other things that, apparently, aren’t “necessary” to having an “as healthy as possible” body. Luckily, I had put some money in my savings at the beginning of the month and that went for the money order for it…again. Unfortunately, it means, no phone until I get some money together. Things have been really tight this year.

I tried to start to repair my credit by taking a personal loan out. The payments weren’t bad, but it really confined me in the 6 months to pay it back. Fortunately, I never defaulted because they made the payment come out of my checking account automatically for the day I get paid. Then I got a credit card. That was totally the wrong thing to do. I was always a great saver, my parents taught me what they could and I did great….until I met my ex-husband. Everything was, “put it on the card.” I got in such bad spending habits. Plus add in that he was not a very nice person behind doors, or even in a crowd of his friends…..that led to late night shopping for hours. Just wandering around a grocery store with multiples of everything, just because I was afraid to go home.

We ended up in bankruptcy after a consumer counciling center didn’t work out. By the time the next year rolled around, he was starting to drink a bit more and was hanging out with unsavory females….and going home with them. Much to my denial that “He wouldn’t do that to me, he vowed to love me forever.”  So then the single bankruptcy went into two separate bankruptcies because he left me. Which was devastating at the time. I wanted him back so bad, even though he was emotionally abusive and sometimes physically abusive. He abused my animals. (I stopped saying “our” a long time ago. He hated them. Even though when he met me I had a dog, my parents dogs, and cats, and birds and other small animals. I was enrolled in marine biology, and then found out I should change to veterinary medicine. I had wanted to do rehabilitation and physical therapy and release on marine wildlife. Another story for another day.)

We weren’t even married a year, and had just signed for our house. We were only in there about a week, or so. He came through the front door, angry at me for something. My female dog (17 lbs Lhasa Apso/Jack Russell Terrier) jumped in front of me to protect me from him. My male dog (13 lb shih-tzu) jumped in front of both of us to protect us. My ex-husband came stomping towards us cowering on the floor and the male dog jumped up to try and ward him off. My ex-husband reached down grabbed the dog by the neck and shook and strangled him and then threw him aside like a dirty tee-shirt. I screamed and ran over and there was no pulse. I did CPR and got him back. I grabbed my dogs, some clothes, and hoped the cats and the small animals and birds would be safe until I figured something out. I drove down to my parents and explained what happened. I went to work at the department store I had been working full time for during the week and weekends. (The weekends I was also devoted to working at an animal emergency hospital from midnight to 7am.)  He came to the store…..with his best friend….and apologized to me. I went back. And stayed.

Why? It all seems so long ago. There were more incidents and daily put-downs and guilt trips, along with gas lighting by him and his friends. In which I didn’t really realize what was going on. I thought I was the one who was off. It wasn’t until I read an article in Elephant Journal (www.elephantjournal.com) LAST YEAR, that I realized what had happened to me. For over 20 years, I have been thinking I was the problem. “That I must have done something to make him that way.” After all, he did tell me that, “You’re not doing your wifely duties.” I guess that’s why if he wanted something, he’d just take it from me. Either with a guilt trip of the above, plus, “You don’t love me.” “Come on, just a little.” “You hate me.” Plus other things that still reel in my head. And haunt me many times during the week in my nightmares.

The truth is, as I’ve come to theorize it….I didn’t love myself enough to stand up and leave. I thought he was the only one that would ever love me and that was my only chance to ever be loved. Ever hear Better Man from Pearl Jam?  (YouTube Better Man) Take a listen. It felt like my theme song from 1994-2001. This is what bullying does to someone. I was bullied for most of my life. By males and females. Something I can go into in another blog. But when you are told you are fat and ugly after years and years, you start to believe it.  Even if you are only 5’4″ and 110-115lbs.

I went down that path for a reason. I’m not sure what that is, just yet. Maybe it was to learn self-appreciation and self-care. Although I really didn’t learn that until the past 5 years. Maybe it was to learn better saving skills. If that’s the case, ug, 20 years, and I’m still hurting from the bankruptcy and then the foreclosure on the house that I made a down payment on from working like 60 hours a week. I became a work-a-holic. An I-don’t-want-to-go-home-a-holic. I used to pick up whatever extra time and shifts I could, just so I wouldn’t be home. It was horrible. (Not the job, mind you, I LOVE veterinary medicine.)

I’m not even sure why I’m telling this one incident or how I even got to this point. But I really need to let this shit go. I was just put on propanolol last week to help not only with the tachycardia (fast heart rate), but it helps deter the body from going into a full blown fight or flight response. It’s also supposed to help with the memories that get you to that panic point. The problem is, that I’ve had so many assaults, there are a shit-ton of memories. Even though the sexual assaults as a little girl are older, it’s the ex-husband and his friends that haunt me, sometimes nightly. My therapist/psychologist has changed my diagnosis on his forms from PTSD to C-PTSD, or Complex PTSD. This stems from the multiple traumas, not just one incident, say, like a car accident that can give a person PTSD.

Going through this, at the time can made me think of myself as such a weakling. Having such physical and mental diagnoses can also make me feel so weak. Like, “I didn’t try hard enough,” or “I’m a failure,” or “I’ve just grown lazy.” But I’m not any of those. I am much stronger than I give myself credit for most days. Sometimes, I really don’t know how I made it this far. I’ve had some really great friends along the way for support. Today, I know that I have a very large support “staff.” I just hope I can remember that on my bad days and reach out for support instead of having a pity party.

Take Care, Be As Well As Possible, and Until Next Time…

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2 thoughts on “Letting go and endurance”

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