Friday, February 3, 2012

Doctors, Doctors, Doctors

So, as you can probably guess from my post title, I've been seeing a lot of doctors lately. It has been crazy and I've paid a fortune in co pays alone. Besides my primary care physician I have five other doctors, all of which are specialists. I have a rheumatologist, a orthopedic physician, a gastroenterologist, a gynecologist, and a physical therapist. And guess what! I just found out last night that my old endocrinologist has moved from her old location, close to where I used to live, 100 miles from my current home, and has moved just down the road from me. Well yay, another doctor! lol I probably should schedule an appointment with her some time. She put me on Metformin, which caused me to lose like 10 pounds. However, around hectic finals time senior year of college I missed my follow up appointment with her and never saw her again because I graduated from college shortly after and had a crazy hectic PTSD and healing filled summer. I ran out of my prescription and my weight loss went with it lol. I gained the 10 pounds back too. Most of my current doctors are telling that if I'd lose weight it would help my symptoms, maybe not cure me, but it would definitely would help. Hmmmm, hard to do that when extreme weight gain and retention is one of my symptoms lol. But no doctor believes that.

I saw my physical therapist this morning. She said my strength and range of motion were pretty good. She gave me a series of knee exercises to help strength my knee muscles. Hopefully that will help my knee problems. I also learned that it's okay to exercise my knees. I freaked a little when my orthopedic physician told me I'm probably wearing away valuable cartilage in my knees. My logic followed that the more I exercised my knees, the more cartilage I would wear away. Now that I know that exercise is okay and an important part of treatment I'm not so afraid. I was having images in my head of me losing all my cartilage and having to have knee replacement surgery at a very young age. I definitely didn't want that.

Through all this medical stuff, I've learned something, and, even now, it sounds weird coming from me. I've learned that I'm strong. My friends have told me that I'm strong to have survived the abuse I went through most of my life. I've been told that I'm super strong and brave for facing my past and choosing to actively heal from it. I didn't believe them. All I did was survive. I thought that if I was strong I would have fought off my attackers, I would have had the courage to tell earlier, I wouldn't have PTSD. But now, I'm starting to see this strength they're telling me about. I've seen a lot of doctors lately and gone through a lot of tests and procedures. A lot of these crossed the boundary into triggering reactions from my PTSD because of my past. I've been poked and prodded and stuck with needles and much worse, invasive things. I can see now that going through all of this is very strong, given my past. I'm facing it though is scares me when any doctor touches me, even if its just on the shoulder. I've gone through procedures that were so terrifiyingly similar to what was done to me in my past that I've cried and lost sleep, but I still went through with it. I didn't hide from it. I showed up and faced what I had to go through to find answers to my health problems. That's both strong and brave. I've also started to stand up for myself. I am a sexual abuse survivor. We don't handle medical settings very well a lot of the time. There's such an imbalance of power between patient and doctor, sometimes clothes must be removed, sometimes you have to be exposed, sometimes invasive things must be done, and sometimes, doctors are callous and disrespectful. I've been disrespected and hurt by doctors in the past. I was afraid to stand up for myself. Now, I can see that they have no right to do that to me. I have the right to say no, to demand sensitive care, to be treated with respect and dignity. I've learned to be open about my past and proactive in securing what I need to feel safe for procedures and in informing doctors and nurses in what is okay and what is not okay when it comes to my care. Standing up for yourself is one of the most healing and self respectful things a survivor of sexual abuse can do. I directly contradicts the way we were treated when we were abused. In abuse, I didn't have any control over the situation and I was hurt. There was nothing I could do. Now, I can take charge and be in control of what is done to my body.

God is healing me in amazing ways. I wouldn't be where I am without Him. He's the one who has shown me my value in His eyes and He's the One who has made me strong. I can be brave because my bravery comes from Him. I am strong because He is my strength. One day, not long ago, I heard Him speak directly to me. I heard His voice, not with my ears, but with my heart. I was receiving communion at a friend's church. It happened suddenly and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it didn't come from my own mind or imagination. I heard God speaking to me and His voice sounded like He was smiling as He said it. He said: "You are Mine. I love you and I am sooooo proud of you." I was so shocked to hear this. Not only was I hearing the voice of the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, but I was hearing Him say that I was His, that He loves me, and craziest of all, that He's proud of me. There's this huge sense of awe that overwhelms you when God not only speaks to you so clearly, but He tells you that He's proud of you. I was so confused. I didn't understand what I had done to make God proud of me. But I've realized I don't have to do anything to make Him proud of me. Because of Jesus, in God's eyes I am perfectly sinless, innocent, and beautiful. I love God and I'm trying to follow His will for my life. That has led me down some painful paths and to some rough places but I haven't quit. I haven't quit because He is my strength and He leads me, but at the same time, He's proud of me for following Him. There is no one else on the face of the planet that is worthy of all the trust that we are called to trust God. But when we do trust Him, He is proud of us. Though He does all the hard stuff (making all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), He is proud of us when we walk by faith. We walk by faith, and don't get me wrong that is a super hard thing to do, but when we walk by faith, God is the solid ground we're walking on. I'm not downplaying how hard life is. To human beings, just living on earth is the hardest thing you can ever do. We don't have it easy, but God does things that only God can do. We can't help ourselves, we can't save ourselves. We don't have that strength or power. But God does and He saves us. It's just so amazing that God does so many awesome things that are beyond my ability and comprehension. But when I step out and trust in the Creator of the universe, the One who controls gravity itself, He is proud of me. That just blows my mind.

SimplyLifebyFaith

-J

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm Not in Control

It's a strange thing how what happens to someone you love can affect you so deeply. Yesterday one of my very best friends in the world got into a horrible car wreck which totaled both cars involved, but did not hurt her. That in itself is a miracle. I would wreck all the most expensive cars in the world and have to pay for them just to have her safe and uninjured from that wreck. God is so good to us. The interesting thing is that I've been affected by this more than I thought I would. Of course when I first heard I was terrified. Once I learned that she was okay and unhurt I went into a sort of shock. Things like this take us by surprise. Life is so fragile and most of us never really give that a lot of thought. However, I've lost two friends in my life due to unexpected events. One passed away during open heart surgery, the other in a car wreck on the interstate. I can see in my mind the wreck turning out differently and my friend not coming out unharmed and it terrifies me. We think that stuff like that will never happen to us or the people we love but I know from my life that it does happen and when we least expect it.

All yesterday I was restless. I couldn't go back to sleep after hearing what happened. I kept my phone with me at all times waiting for when my friend would call after school. I couldn't play the video game I've been playing lately: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. I didn't think I could handle it. There are way too many wrecks and sirens in that game. I wouldn't have been able to play without thinking of my friend every time I saw a wreck or wrecked my car or heard sirens. I paced a lot at work and worried. At the first opportunity I had I called my friend and didn't get off the phone with her until she went to bed. When I hung up I started crying. I was scared that I almost lost her; I was terrified. I felt so helpless in the face of uncertainty. I wanted to protect the people I love but at the same time I knew so deeply that there was nothing I could do. No amount of my protection can keep those I love from harm. I guess this is how parents feel with their children. I guess that's why they're so protective and have so many rules and worries. When I finally pulled myself together I got ready for bed myself, but when I was finally in bed I started talking to God and asking Him to keep my friend safe and thanking Him for protecting her during that wreck. I started crying again.

When I finally drifted off to sleep I had nightmares of my friends and me being in danger. I had dreams with fear and pain and danger and death. I had one dream that I had died many years ago at age 20 and my mother had cloned me and I came back into life as a baby all over again and way telling my friends about it, now at age 22. I know that sounds bizarre. In the same dream a friend and I were traveling somewhere by plane. So many scary things happened in that particular dream. I remember being seated in a seat that faced my friend at the back of the plane, but was several rows away. I remember the plane starting to go down the runway and noticing that my friend's face was behind glass. The plane had a back window for some reason, but my friend was behind the window, outside of the plane. I panicked and yelled out to her but she pulled up the window and somehow pulled a roof over her head, a lot like you would for a convertible car. In a matter of seconds she was safe and sound inside the plane, ready for take off. I was relieved but then the look on her face changed to fear and I noticed that our plane was lifting into the sky, but unsteadily. The cabin rocked and shook and the plane kept tipping backward. Apparently our pilot was trying to get through the unsteadiness by shooting the plane almost vertical into the sky. Shortly we were high in the sky. I had a window seat and outside the window was the ocean for as far as I could see. I started to relax. The plane had steadied, we were horizontal again and I started to think we were going to be okay. Then it happened. The engines suddenly died and the plane dropped out of the sky. Looking out my window I could see the ocean getting closer and closer and inside I was willing for the engines to restart, but they didn't. The ocean was speeding towards us. I was thinking desperately "we're going to be okay, the engines will turn back on before we hit, just like on tv." I was wrong. Just before we hit I passed out. When I came to, the plane was upside down and I could see water. I was still strapped in my seat, which had somehow turned around to face the front of the plane. I turned my head and looked for my friend in the back of the plane and I yelled for her. She was unharmed but scared. Everyone was scared and shaky but afraid to move. Then I heard sirens. I unhooked my seat belt and landed on what felt and looked like a giant air mattress. It was floating on water inside the plane and ran the entire length of the plane. Other people followed my example but when they tried to move on the air mattress thing water would splash everywhere, especially in the back where my friend was. I yelled for their attention and told them to stop moving, that it could do more harm than good and only a small amount of people should move at a time. I made my way to the back of the plane where my friend was but when I got there she was not in her seat, I looked down where the air mattress ended and I saw that she was underwater. I panicked and dived in after her. I pulled her up to safety. She was okay but shaken. I told her it was going to be okay. Then I passed out again. When I came to again rescue workers were pulling me and my friend out of a rescue truck and my mom was there smiling. I woke up soon after that.

This dream was insane. I had several crazy, scary dreams like this last night. I kept waking up and realizing I and my friends were safe and then falling back asleep to dream some new horrible catastrophe. I never have dreams like these. Usually when I have nightmares they're about abuse. I have dreams that I'm running away from my abuser or that he's caught me again and is hurting me. I never have dreams about plane crashes and people trying to hurt my friends. I guess this was my mind's way of trying to work through all my fears and feelings from yesterday.

I guess my conclusion is that we're usually under this crazy illusion that we're in control. That we can protect ourselves and the ones we love from all harm. However, when something unexpected and scary happens we're faced with the fact that we're not in control and bad things can happen at any time unannounced. I guess that's where faith comes in. Remember the old song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"? Well God does have the whole world in His hands, and we have to trust Him with the world, including the lives of the ones we love. We can't live in fear, but we can live in faith. And this is where I remember that I prayed for faith. Its crazy sometimes how God works. When we pray for faith He's very likely to put us in situations that require we exercise our faith. He gives us opportunities for our faith to grow. He doesn't just hand us a gift wrapped package of faith, though that would be nice lol. But hey, we're talking about the God and Master of the universe. He created the universe, how could we not trust Him with it? He created every last grain of sand and every last cell of our bodies. And He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. So what's keeping us from trusting Him? Its a deep question.

Simplylifebyfaith

-J

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back Again

Wow, so it's been a very long time since I posted. Pretty sure I said that last time I posted as well lol. I knew when I started this blog that I wouldn't be any sort of consistent with posting because that just seems to be against my personality and life. I really admire the people that can stick to a blog and post regularly over the months and years, I'm just not one of them lol.

Anyway, what's been going on in my life right now? Well, a lot and not a lot. I'm currently averaging only 8 hours of work a week at my job. That's kinda good and kinda bad. I need the hours because I need the money for rent and essentials. But, on the other hand, there's a lot of blaming and negativity and backstabbing and unfairness that goes on at work, so I'm more emotionally healthy when I'm not at work. I guess it's back to looking for employment *sign*

My health, well, it's taken another turn for the worse. This time its my knees that are affected. I'm seeing several doctors and having several tests done but the only concrete explanation I have right now is that my knee caps, for some unknown reason, have shifted slightly and are no longer in the right positions. That causes them to rub the cartilage the wrong way and wear away valuable cushioning. I'm glad the doctor found that early.

When it comes to my healing from abuse I've made huge strides. God has used several different people to show me His love and nurturing and protection. I've healed so much since my last several posts. I'm in a much healthier place and can now catch glimpses of how God sees me. Those glimpses are wonderful and so different from the lies I've believed my whole life. I don't see them all the time, but I hope someday soon I won't struggle to know the truth and accept it. Some of the things I glimpse during these times is that I'm loved. That God loves me and other people love me. That was such a hard concept to grasp before and it's still not easy for me to understand. I also see that I deserve protection. This one has been a tough one because I went through abuse believing it was my fault and therefore I deserved what I got. Its taken some hard work and convincing by friends that me deserving abuse is far far far from the truth. One of the best illustrations a friend gave me was asking me to think about my future children. Now, if someone hurt my children, would they deserve it. If their situation was exactly as mine had been, would they deserve it? NO! One huge lie that I've been fighting and losing against for many years is the lie that I'm dirty. I believed when I was little that since my abuser touched me in places he wasn't supposed to that it made me dirty. I thought I was contaminated and ruined. Now sometimes I can see what my friends keep telling me is true, that I'm clean. The abuse didn't make me dirty, it hurt me, but it didn't change who I am. Along with this truth I've come to catch glimpses of another truth, that I'm innocent. I've felt guilty for being abused for years. I know that statement may be hard to understand, but I felt wrong and bad about what my abuser was doing to me. I felt that it must be my fault that it was happening. There's a lot of psychology that goes into such a misattribution of guilt and fault. I was young and couldn't take care of myself. My abuser was sometimes my babysitter and, anyway, he was always around, a constant presence in my life. My mind couldn't take in that I couldn't escape the abuse. Can you imagine a child's mind absorbing the fact that nothing they can do can keep them from being molested and raped and hit? Therefore I came up with the belief that I was causing the abuse and must have somehow wanted it. I never wanted it. I was terrified when it was happening. I was confused and hurt. I didn't know what to do and there was nothing I could do. Even this explanation is helping me see the truth more clearly that I am innocent. My abuser did something wrong to me; I didn't do anything wrong. I was a victim, not a participant.

I'm opening up more now and trusting and believing the truth. It's that wonderful part of healing when, after you're about to give up hope that you'll ever be okay again, you suddenly see the light and a ton a progress comes so fast that it makes you dizzy. I can see so much more clearly now. I can go back and read messages and comments from years ago (changed to timeline profile on facebook lol) and they make so much more sense. I can read them and see that the person who wrote it really did care and wasn't just being nice. I could honestly see the love and concern where I was numb and couldn't see anything but a sense of obligation and doing the right thing before. This is truly awesome!!! There were people there for me when I didn't even realize anyone cared.

I don't how often I'll be posting, but I just wanted to start up again. I love keeping a blog, I'm just not very good at keeping it up to date when life gets hard and it feels like my PTSD takes over. Thanks for reading :)

Simply Life by Faith

-J

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lexington, Changes, and Grief

I know it's been a very long time since I posted. That was due to several factors. First of all, I didn't have my computer. I lent it to my college roommate because her computer stopped working. I didn't have internet at home and I visited her a lot at the dorm so it made the most sense. However, without my computer at home I stopped writing. All the times I felt like writing were times I was home away from my computer. Another reason was that my PTSD got really really bad after my last post and I kinda dropped off the face of blogging. I hurt so badly and I reexperienced my trauma so vividly over the rest of the summer that I was in no shape to keep up a blog. I was honestly doing good to get in one solid meal a day.

Now, I'm not sure that I'm doing much better. I've gone through some really stressful and emotional days lately. I just moved 100 miles away from home. I went from a tiny town to the big city, far away from what I'm used to. My college roommate moved with me and we're splitting the rent and expenses on a little apartment in the heart of the big city. I decided to take a year off school. I couldn't handle moving to the big city, finding a job, working, going to school in another town, and dealing with the level of PTSD that I was going through. It has taken a huge load off my shoulders and I thank those people who helped me make the best decision for me. I am still not fully unpacked. I'm living off my savings and the help of family. I'm looking for a job, I don't care if I have to scrub toilets. I'm satisfied as long as I can pay the rent, utilities, and keep food on the table.

The day after I moved in my great great uncle passed away. Now, he wasn't as old as that sounds. He was around the same age as my grandpa. He was one of the very best people I knew. Even with my past and having PTSD, I NEVER felt unsafe or in danger with him. I always trusted him 100%. I knew I never had to fear this man, though I feared every other man on the planet. He was truly one of the best people in the world. He was so kind and loving and strong. When I think of what a real man and real strength looks like I see him. He's one of the people who, through his example, taught me that not all men will hurt me, that in fact there are good men who will protect me instead of hurt me. I couldn't thank him enough. I didn't see my uncle a lot but God has been showing me how this amazing and wonderful man helped heal pieces of my heart that I thought would never be whole again. In the hospital I couldn't find the words to express to him how I felt and what he had done in my life. I was there with him and his immediate family up to an hour before he passed away. He was so aware of what was going on. He knew it was his time and he faced death bravely. Though he couldn't stand physically in that hospital, I believe he faced death standing. I will miss him so much. I can close my eyes and see his smile and hear his soft voice saying "Hey Hun!" That's how he always greeted me. I don't think he every really called me by my name, but I didn't mind. His soft "Hey Hun!" made me feel cherished and loved for who I was. He always made me feel safer and happier. He was one of those people who, when he walked into a room, everyone felt more at ease. I am honored to call him my uncle. I have been blessed so much having him in my life and I will miss him terribly now that he's gone. However, his courage inspires and strengthens me to face life bravely and meet the challenges I will face standing. So look out big city! Look out PTSD!

-Jerelle

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Exhausted

I cried the night of the 4th of July, I woke up yesterday and cried, I cried again that evening. Last night I cried for hours before falling to sleep. I got maybe three hours of sleep because I cried so much. Today I woke up early and drove to Lexington to sign the lease on my apartment and pay the deposit money. I hung out at Joseph Beth Bookstore and the Mall with a friend and my sister before driving home. On the way home I relived being raped, while driving. It hurt physically and emotionally. When the reliving died away I became so exhausted from crying and lack of sleep that I almost fell asleep at the wheel. My sister drove to our hometown, but then had to go to work. Now I'm crashing in another friend's room b/c I don't really trust myself to drive home. I hurt, my eyes are swollen from crying last night, I don't feel safe, and I'm EXHAUSTED. That's really all I have to say. It's not really something you can put on your status for facebook.

-Jerelle

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is it even worth it?.........................................................

Monday, June 27, 2011

PTSD Relapse

I haven't posted in a long time. To be quite honest I'm not okay. I'm in very very familiar territory, but I'm not okay. It's an everyday, every hour thing. . . . My PTSD is back. It's back and it's as strong and horrible as ever. I've held off writing about it because it just hurts so much that acting out, numbing, or distracting myself is easier, no, it makes life liveable. PTSD is a psychological disorder that causes you to relive your trauma. For me, that's obviously rape and molestation. Sorry to be blunt but that's my reality. I relive it every day. I feel it, I hurt, I cry, I try to get away from it and I can't. You can't run away from yourself. There's no real person to fight off of you. The panic attacks, extreme anxiety, flashbacks, hallucinations, disassociations, numbness, they've all come back in full force, maybe stronger than before. Every day I feel like I'm going crazy. I forget to eat all day. I don't sleep until 3 in the morning. I stay out late. I can't concentrate enough even to read Harry Potter (rereading before the last movie). I'm afraid of my own shadow, constantly looking behind me. I'm scared to death all day. My stomach feels like it's trapped in a speeding car after swallowing a ball of ice. I'm a wreck. I used to be really good at pretending and acting like I'm okay so nobody notices I'm crazy, but I can't make myself pretend anymore. I'm sick of pretending. I just hurt so much I can't find words to describe it. I feel so pathetic and alone. I'm silently screaming all day. I want help, but it's so hard to ask for help, to reach out. I can't see things clearly. I can't see that anyone could possibly care about me. Because of this I try my hardest to not make myself a burden to others. I just feel so broken. I know God is putting me back together but I can't feel him. I know he's there and I'll never doubt that he's here with me and has everything under control. I just hurt and it feels like there's no end to this hurt. Sometimes I just want to disappear, not die, just disappear. I just want to be okay again.

-Jerelle