Saturday, 27 February 2016

Numbing Out

Back in September 2012 I had a break down and doctors wanted to commit me to a mental hospital to stabilize me and get me on some medication. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I refused and went home with a prescription. I had planned my suicide and thought about it often. 

I had accepted Jesus into my heart the that April and thus knew that I couldn't go through with it. But I also knew that I couldn't continue to live that way. So much to my delight, the medication numbed me out. They put me on a low dose anti-depressant and it kept me numbed for a few weeks then the feelings came back. Instead of actually facing and dealing with the issues, I went to the doctor and asked for an increase. She wrote the prescription and didn't care too much about my mental health. I would late find a different doctor, one who was comfortable with mental health issues and he was a huge help. 

After moving to the coast it seemed as though my marriage was improving I thought I was in the clear and ready to get off my medication. Before moving my doctor gave me the clear to ween myself of my medication if I felt ready. I weened myself off and managed to do pretty well mentally for a month or two. Then, I felt myself slipping back into depression I went back on a low dose and worked my way back up to my original dose.

This led up to reaching out to my pastoral staff for help. I let him know that I would be seeing a pastor for help. Somewhere between than and shortly there after I was convinced by him that it was all his idea. How the heck did that happen?! I only realized this recently. 

I'm still on my medication but I've accepted that I may have to take them for the rest of my life but my hope it to lower my dose. I can say that the dose that I'm on is not acting as a numbing agent anymore.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


I remember a few months after leaving I would feel angry and not know why. It would just come over me and everything around me irritated me. Today I finally figured it out. Whilst reading "The Emotionally Abused Woman" by Beverly Engel I came across a part where she is explaining how to express one's anger in healthy ways. 

I don't know about you but I learned at a very early age to watch my P's and Q's around an abuser which in turn made me watch my emotions in general. Being angry wasn't an acceptable emotion to express. I never learned to express my anger in healthy was so I would just stuff it down into the bottom of the emotions bucket hoping it would just go away. Thing is, it didn't. There they sat hiding in wait; wanting to come out and make itself known. I had spent years hiding my true self with alcohol and/or in a relationship with a man (or man-boy) who in my mind I wasn't good enough for but looking back they weren't good enough for me. 

My anger finally came out to play once I was in a situation to process it. I'm not hiding my pain in a bottle and I'm certainly not hiding it in a new relationship. I am in a stable living situation where I'm finally able to start dealing with it, though I didn't realize what was going on at the time. I have plenty of time alone safe in my apartment to really face these feelings.

I'm not convinced I'm completely out of my angry phase but I feel like I'm on the tail end. Now I need to learn how to express my anger in healthy ways. In addition I need to learn that its ok to say no. Currently I hate to say no to anything. I worry what people will think/say/do. Will they get angry and yell? Will that co-worker get me fired? Will that family member or friend stop loving me? All this questions tell me that I don't value myself enough and that my self-esteem is still pretty low. Then again, I've lived 4 years as a child and almost 5 years as an adult having someone abuse me and beat my self-esteem to establish control over me. I can't exactly expect it to return overnight. 

I know that God loves me and that he created me in his image so how bad can I actually be? In my head I know this to be true but my heart has some doubts. I certainly don't mean that my heart questions God's love but wonders why He would love someone like me. Why would He create someone like me? I feel like other people are smarter, thinner, prettier, better people than I am. Comparison is the number one way to kill your self-esteem not to mention stir up feeling of envy.

To combat feeling like others are smarter I've signed up for a word of the day email in an attempt to expand my vocabulary. I've also accepted that a lot the people around me, especially through my church, are university graduates and many have masters degrees and are smarter than me but that doesn't make me dumb. I've had some life experiences that they never will but what I've done shouldn't be the source of who I am. I need to really study my Bible and figure out who the heck I am when you strip away my experiences both good and bad.

I read some where that the best way to get over feelings of envy it to focus on gratitude. A grateful heart can't be sad. An attitude of gratitude means I recognize and acknowledge the blessings in my life. I have a body that works, I have family and friends that love me, a roof over my head, a job that provides for me and food in my fridge.  I live in a safe country where I don't worry about being raped on my walk to work, where I can express my opinions and religious beliefs without fear of being murdered. I have a lot more that millions of people in the world. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Random Dreams Last Night

Last night I had some vivid dreams. No, not one or two but four that I remembered when I woke up. Now I'm a firm believer that dreams are your subconscious working something out. For example, growing up and even sometimes today I have a reoccurring nightmare when I am falling down a flight of stairs. I sometimes wake with my arms and legs in the air. has alot to say about this dream including "when we fall in our dreams it really means we have lost control with some sort of situation in your life. Falling in your dream is a way your unconscious communicates with your conscious to let you know that something needs to be fixed right away." This dream was most frequent when I lived with my abusive step-father. 

The first was one about my dog. I woke one morning to find his legs had no fur on them and his skin was red and looked like they had chemical burns. I panicked and wanted to take him to the vet but I couldn't afford to, nor could I afford to pick up his food from the vet. I called my Mum and older sister to ask them to help me. My older sister said she would meet me at the vets office. When I arrived at I noticed the sky was this weird colour and realized that nuclear bombs had been set off that night. The strangest part of this was this dream was set in my hometown (city). I can't remember that last time I dreamt I lived there. 

The second was also set in my hometown. I was going downtown on transit but I realized after I got on the bus that it wasn't a transit but but a re-purposed school bus. Before going under the underpass to downtown the bus got stuck because it was too tall.

Third, I was still dating my first serious boyfriend. I was living with him but broke up with him and was trying to back all my belongings into boxes and somehow cart them onto transit.

Lastly and the most random grouping of people, I was dating a co-worker, who I actually didn't really like when I first met him and I'm certainly not attracted to. We were living together and one day I sat him down and broke up with him. Shortly after I was packing my belongings and for some reason the front door was open. A childhood friend lived in the apartment building saw me packing and poked her head into the apartment to inquire what I was doing. I said in passing I dumped my boyfriend and was moving out (ever so casually). She told me congrats. My boyfriend (co-worker) basically gave me the wtf look and asked why I was dumping him. I said it was because , among other things, I wanted kids and he had said previously he didn't. He tried to convince me that I wouldn't find someone else to have kids with before my biological clock ran out. I moved down the street (literally down my current street) into another building. My neighbour turned out to be a former co-worker from a city I had previously lived in. 

The last one I kind of get what my subconscious was trying to work out. I struggle with the fact I may not find Mr. Right before the clock runs out on having children of my own. But why the heck was I dating my co-worker? I mean, I get along with him now but I would NEVER date a guy like him. 

I also understand the first one because I worry about a not being prepared for an emergency or a post-apocalyptic world. I don't own a gun despite having the safety training course required to apply for my gun permit. I didn't get one because I didn't trust myself not to turn it on myself. I'm reconsidering this now considering I no longer have those thoughts. Also, I don't have enough dried foods or water. I really should put together a bug-out-bag and get myself organized.

Anyways, if you have any insights please feel free to leave me a comment!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Murder and Gaslighting

As I continued to read "The Emotionally Abused Woman" by Beverly Engel, I came upon a chapter I wish I had read before. But then again, if he found the book a blow out fight would have followed. The chapter talked how to decide whether to work it out or leave. She listed off some situations where it was best to leave and I was struck by a few.

#3 - You have begun to fantasize about harming or killing your abuse. I have never admitted this to anyone but as readers, I trust you (and it doesn't hurt that I'm hidden behind my laptop screen). I however did admit to a friend of mine years ago I wished he would "just kill me already". I am not a violent person; I feel bad when I kill a spider. I wish I could take it every stray animal I come across. It hurts my heart to say no to panhandlers downtown. I remember nights where I would be laying in bed (pretending to already be asleep to avoid continuing to argue or having to give into sex yet again) and thinking about slitting his throat. I know murder is wrong and I know I would be caught and imprisoned. I know that murder is a sin and that I could never life with myself. But I just wanted him to stop, to go away, to be out of my life so this pain would stop. 

#4 - You are seriously questioning your sanity. Oh. My. Gosh. Yes! At one point it was recommended that I be hospitalized at the mental hospital because I was struggling so much. I was so lost in my own mind because he convinced me I was crazy and that the way I saw the world was wrong. He used to ask me (but really he was telling me) "What other guy would put up with the way you treat me". That there wasn't a man out there that would put up with my "craziness" and the lack of sex. This was part of him gaslighting me. Make me feel so broken, so crazy, so horrible that I won't leave because I'm too weak. One perfect example is he had convinced me shortly after my wedding that my Mum never gave the "welcome to the family" speech. I tried to defend her and did for months but eventually he had convinced me she hadn't. Only after I had entered the time where I had serious thoughts of leaving did I ask my Mum for the truth.

I was reading an article a while back about the ways a narcissist make you think you're crazy and #3 was a dead ringer for him. He had convinced me over the years that I was overly sensitive. He also was so talented at getting people to believe him.

The article also nailed the fact my depression was worsened once married. He was also able to sell #5 to other people as well as myself. I have suffered from depression for many years but it was mild. I would be sad but never thought of self harm (except when we still lived with an abuser as a child). It got so bad a year into my marriage I had planned my suicide. I was going to hang myself off a bridge near by my house and was going to leave a note blaming it on him. Like that was my only way to get even and make him realize how bad it was.

Today, I still take medication for my depression and I have days where I'm too sad to do anything more than survive work and sit on my couch. Those days are fewer and far between. The lies were like being chained in a dungon and I've escaped to freedom. I'm free to chose my actions without having to consider how he'll react. I don't have to hide my true feelings.   

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Christian Counselling

I had my first meeting with my Christian counselor today. She told me a bit about herself and I was  surprised to hear she herself was divorced. The most surprising thing was she too was married to a man who was abusive. She asked me to tell her my story. Afterwards she told me that she supported my decision to divorce him. That was such an incredible feeling considering I went into the meeting fearing she too (like my pastor) would tell me to work it out. 

She seems like she'll be an advocate for me and help me navigate the system. She strongly recommended that I contact the domestic violence division of the police and make a statement. That it wasn't the same as filing a police report but more so a record. That if I call the police due to him that they would know the situation prior to arriving and be able to assist me better (that they did previously). 

She recommended I study the bible and learn that it says about abuse, specifically what Jesus did in the face of abuse. She suggested a blog by Leslie Vernick. I read one specific blog that talk about a wife asking if she has to have sex with her husband even when she doesn't want to and I've had that question too (see post Let's Talk About Sex Baby). Leslie mentioned a few bible versus:

  • Proverbs 6:16&18" There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him...a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to run into evil" 

  • Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing"

These spoke to me. He did scheme to hurt me, he did have a wicked heart towards me. His words pierced me and still hurt even though its been over six months since I've spoken to him. 

I've struggled to read my bible to find understanding and peace about what I endured. I need guidance to keep me committed to reading my bible. I want to become even more assured that my decision and my path is the right one. I want to let others judgement or suggestions to reconcile roll of me instead of piercing me heart and weighing me down. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Sunshine On My Pillow (Face Actually) Makes Me Happy

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day outside and considering we get so few of those on the coast during the winter I took full advantage and spent some time enjoy this gorgeous city. My dog and I walked around my neighbourhood for just over two hours. It was lovely, we I grabbed a chai tea latte and a gluten free butter tart and enjoyed both while sitting on the shore watching the little tug boat taxis. As I sat there enjoying the sunshine I felt like I was starting my new life, that this was my new self and the dark clouds were lifted. That I wasn't too far gone, too broken but well on the path to being healed. 

On my walk back home a noticed a police car behind a neighbouring building and saw a police officer carrying something out and handing it to a girl who then loaded into what I can only assume was her vehicle. It took less than a second to realize what was going on. She was fleeing a man and had police onsite for a short time for her to collect her things. I wanted to run up to the girl and hug her and tell her she would be ok; that not only would she survive this ordeal but find happiness again. I, of course, didn't because I'm sure she's stressed out enough that she doesn't need any distractions.

Today was another beautiful sunny day so while on my lunch break I took my dog for a slightly longer walk than usual. I felt the desire to walk by my old apartment so I did. I'm 99% certain he no longer lives there but I walked by not feeling panic or fear creeping in. Granted I'm not actively trying to run into him but rather remove the fear of running into him in my own neighbourhood. I want this fear to dissipate even more so I can run without worry. Running used to be very therapeutic but became a trigger for my panic attack so I stopped. Now I feel the desire to be physically healthy and strong again. I'm watching what I'm eating and starting to loose the 10 or so pounds I gained since I left him. 

It's been over six months since my escape and yesterday I thought about dating again. I've made a promise to myself that I won't actively (or inactively) seek to date until my divorce papers have been filed. This time frame also allows for healing time and time to work with a counselor. Speaking of counselling, I managed to get an appointment with a female counselor at my church! I start seeing her February 21st. Fingers crossed it's good fit! I don't want to be guilt-ed about divorce and pressured to reconcile. Which is something I felt from a girlfriend of mine in the past however yesterday I had her over for some tea and she never mentioned reconciling or even hinted at it. She seems to have realized that it would be insane and incredibly dangerous to get back together. She asked about a few things and I told her about the abuse my dog had to suffer and I could see a difference in her eyes, one of sadness instead of one of one of an ulterior motive. 

It's coming together people!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Running (Away From Victimhood)

I got to thinking today... I've been wanting to get back into running (and back into shape considering I've been emotionally eating for months now) but I keep putting it off. Now I have been known to procrastinate but this is something more. It hit me on my walk home from my weekly church community group, I retires me to be strong to get strong again. I was almost compulsive about exercising when I was with him but have been less than consistent since. 

I exercised to help deal with the stress he inflicted on my life. I exercised to be strong enough to fight back physically when needed. Insert a flash back to a few days before I left and I was on the phone with my Mum at 11 pm (1 am her time) crying, sitting against the bedroom door so he couldn't get in. Maybe sitting is too light of a word, clenching ever leg muscle to keep the door closed might be a better description. I needed those muscles that I had spent the last year developing. As I fell asleep later than night I worried about how sore I would be the following day but I wasn't physically sore. Mentally, I was exhausted. Those last few days still stand out in my mind, weekly. 

God put it deep in my heart that I should exercise, regularly. He was preparing me for battle. And now, I don't have any physical battles but I have mental ones I'm still working through. The thing is, exercising it great for mental stress. So why can't I get my mind into a place where I crave running like I once did? Is it because I don't need to be ready for battle anymore? Perhaps. 

The reason that seems to float to the top of the reason pile is, I can't be victim and be strong. I can be a survivor and strong. This means I need to shift from the feelings of brokenness and helplessness to a place of strength. Then again, God has strengthened me, daily. The straightening has changed since leaving. He's always strengthened me spiritually but it's just different now. 

One of me 4 goals of this year is to run a half marathon and I haven't ran consistently since last year around this time. This means I'm basically starting from scratch though this time won't be as hard because of muscle memory as well as my asthmatic lungs seem to be better that. I wanted to start after I left him but my anxiety was too high to leave the house. I considered buying a treadmill but never did (even though the one I wanted was only $150). I also need to buy new runners but I refuse to spend the cash until I've consistently ran for a month. 

Pray for me will ya?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The 6 Month Mark

Two days ago I had a notification on Facebook that two years ago on that day I had moved to the coast. This triggered the fact that yesterday was his 37th birthday. This ago made me realize that today is the 6 month marker. I've been free for 6 months which also means that I have 6 more months before I can file the paperwork to begin the process of divorce.

It feels like a lifetime ago but it also feels like yesterday; it's as though time is moving both too quickly and too slowly at the same time. I'm excited about the months to come but I also feel like I wanted to be farther along in my recovery at this point than I am. I had hoped to be seeing a counselor regularly months ago but still aren't.

This got me thinking about what had changed not only in the last 6 months but in the last few years. One thing that came to mind is when I used to pinch myself while he would initiate sex. I pinched myself and put on a brave face. I would let him "enjoy" himself. He caught me once and though I was having an allergic reaction. I did it so I wouldn't allow myself to be aroused because I didn't want any intimacy with him. I disliked him immensely but I made a vow to love and I knew God's (and certain friends) opinions of divorce. I had to endure him.

I started cutting (scratching actually) around the time I began pinching myself. I hated myself, my life and my circumstances. I was trapped, I felt trapped. My friends around me kept telling me that I had to "nail the back door shut". They kept telling me that divorce wasn't an option. Thing is, they didn't know what was going on behind closed doors, not entirely at least. 

I still think to myself, how does one tell someone else they are being abused when that abuse has become normal? How could I articulate to my pastor what the abuse was when I didn't know what was normal? I don't even think I've realized 50% of the abuse I endured over the 4 years of marriage.