Saturday, 22 July 2017

Punishment, anger, smacking.

I refuse to smack, slap or physically punish my children to deliberately cause pain, shame or other dark emotions. 

I can understand why some may feel that physical punishment is justifiable:
 'I was smacked, I'm ok', 
'I smacked my kids, they're fine', 
'I smack them because it's a way of deterring them from putting themselves in danger' (y'know. They run into the road, younpill them back and give them a clip round'ear'ole).

My replies:
I was smacked, but I was also hit. I am not ok because of it.
Smacking was a deterrent, but I was a bloody good child. 
I smacked my brothers and sisters. In anger. That was not acceptable and C, D, C and J, I am eternally sorry. I was a child myself and you were left in my care. I'm sorry that I smacked you. It was what I had seen, it was all i knew. I hated myself for it.

And that's the thing. I cannot trust myself when I'm angry. It's like electricity running all over my body. I need to lash out but I know if I do, I won't stop. If I smacked one of the boys, i would cross a line that I know would break me. 

I'm not here to preach either side of the smacking argument, though I am inclined to believe the research that smacking disrupts child development, trust, etc. 

I have anger issues, I hate my anger and it doesn't go away if I scream into a pillow. Rage begets more rage. I can punch my bed, slam doors. Nothing helps, except time. 

 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

trauma?

I didn't even begin to realise I had a traumatic childhood until I had counselling during the worst of my PND. 

I guess that's sort of part of the process, how the mind deals with hardships. It rationalises, acts like they didn't happen. 

I'm at a point where I'm not sure where my PTSD ends and I begin:

Intrusive memories - these have always been there but nowadays are triggered by moments in parenting the boys.

Avoiding thinking about things that happened to me. 

Issues with falling asleep.

Depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, low self esteem, low mood, self loathing. 

Feeling under attack. Always on high alert, running on adrenaline - and easily startled. 

I have reached a stage where I don't feel that I'm worthy. I feel like I should have been better able to cope. That people in war zones get ptsd, not the children of crap parents. 

I need to mourn for my lost childhood. The childhood lost to the mother who verbally abused me,
 neglected me emotionally, 
abandoned me for sometimes hours on end with between 3 and 5 children from the age of 10.
 She made me believe that I wasn't good enough, so absolutely that I still feel compelled to prove that I am. 

I don't know whether EMDR will help me. But I know that the prospect of spending more years endlessly feeling like I am scared is not worth thinking about. 

I'll keep my fingers crossed 

 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

looking back at the roads I've travelled

I've finished CBT for my anxiety today. 12 sessions and 'sha-zam!' I'm anxiety free... well, not quite. Far from it, but at this important point in my journey I feel that it's important to see how far I have come, on a day to day level.

I wrote about learning to see my anxiety and I do, even more so. I catch myself mid-worry and then see 

What the worry is
Is it real?
Is there any evidence for my thoughts?
Can I do anything about it now?
Can I send it away? 

This is my mental version of The Worry Tree. A diagram which is a bit lame to be honest. It's more of a flowchart that someone drew a tree around. 

I journal and make lists - I am aiming for almost daily 'worry 15' where I can let my worries run around and I can sort them out. 

I'm less afraid of things that are imaginary - like 'what's the worst that could happen?' Isn't always a helpful question, but an 'is it likely? Is it the end of the world?' Check is pretty helpful.

I can see my intolerance of uncertainty: I can't control people, life, animals, ANYTHING! However, I've always really clung to the idea that anxiety makes everything work better for me. 

It doesn't! Preparing for the worst and imagining all the worst things made me miserable for the last 17 years. 

So I am actually better, anxiety-wise, finishing therapy is hard, it's making me feel low and sad and rejected. Probably the EUPD part of my mind.

I see now that my anxiety stems from intolerance of uncertainty and I wrote it a letter early in 2016 . It sprang up when my entire life stopped making sense: my mum and stepdad were shit, my dad and stepmum were shit, my boyfriend had dumped me and my two best friends had to resit year 12/ lower sixth. 
I had no one at school, no one at home, with the love for my siblings and a lot of praying to survive. 

I'm amazing. I've lived with GAD for years, undiagnosed, unrecognised. I have a career, a family and a husband. And friends. 

I'm not in that place I was in, but I'm glad I can see why it all started. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

big boys don't cry... WTF?

Yesterday, whilst having his feet measured in Clarks, the kind assistant asked how N got such a large bump on his forehead. He said 'at the park'. She asked whether he cried, 'yes' he replied. 

'Oh, I thought you were a big boy' she said. Bloody hell! I quickly added 'it's ok to cry when you're hurting. It's ok for anyone to cry'.


For context, the injury is above, it was a massive bloody bump on his forehead. Anyone would cry!

Boys cry, girls cry, men and women cry. Please, if you deal with children in your work, don't enforce gender stereotypes upon small children. 
 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Father Christmas

I feel really uncomfortable with Father Christmas - it's the lying and deceiving bit that doesn't sit right with me.

For context, my mother lives in a dream world, creating her reality lie, upon lie.

'Oh, but the other parents won't thank you if your child tells the others that Santa doesn't exist'
2 responses: 'fuck off' which is fine, but also, 'I'm not saying I won't let Father Christmas exist, I'm saying that I don't want to deceive my children (too much)'.

I've decided that Father Christmas is given money by us parents and grown ups, to get presents for children. I mean, elves aren't going to knock up a Lego Ninjago set are they? E is 5, not stupid. It's also a good way of managing expectations, everything is based upon what we as a family can afford, because that's how family works. Father Christmas may be magical, but we work hard to get those presents so it's us who deserve the Thank You once the gift is unwrapped.

I've tried the 'he is watching' but why only in December and not the other 11 months? 

I stopped believing in Father Christmas at about 7. I also remember being lied to and thinking, 'he hasn't eaten that mince pie or drunk that sherry'.

I'm rambling, to get these thoughts out of my head. 

Do as you wish, and I'll not rock the boat. It's a clever illusion, and it is a bit magical. 




Sunday, 20 November 2016

noticing anxiety

I have struggled with anxiety for a VERY long time. I can sort of remember life before it took such a hold on me, but I'm so used to how anxiety feels that it's hard to imagine how I ever didn't have it. 

I admitted I had a problem that required therapy earlier this year

The other day, My CBT therapist showed me a diagram, it showed the physical manifestations of anxiety. She then compared it to how I had just described myself in many situations... yeah, it was a big deal for me. 

I was relieved...I was...normal (for a very anxious person). Then I also realised that must mean that people can go about their daily business without anxiety symptoms (whaaaaaat?). 

Since that lesson, I have been able to notice my anxiety in a different way. I can see that it is there, like a passenger. My brain, sensing 'danger' puts me into a seemingly automatic fight or flight state. Sometimes for HOURS. 

Imagine your heart pounding, your thoughts racing, your hands sweaty, your mouth dry, your mind racing at warp speed and your words slightly stumbled...as you try [most importantly] to appear NORMAL. Like a normal non-anxious person.

Therapist said I have GAD (generalised anxiety disorder). I've sort of diagnosed myself with it, but no health professional has ever had enough continuity, time, initiative to actually diagnose me. Which is sort of sad. However, I totally agree with it. 

I am anxious most of the time. I can totally see it. I am working on it because I am worthy of the effort, I deserve it. 

Anxiety, I really fucking hate you. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

One Does Not Just Simply Ignore Food Demons

I've made no secret of it over on my twitter that I developed an eating disorder as a result of my post natal mental health issues. 

TRIGGER WARNING please do not read if frank discussion of eating disorders might trigger you. 

It isn't graphic, but I want to tell my story but also keep you safe.

I'm loathe to label it 'bulimia' but I made myself sick after eating things when I felt guilty. Sometimes it was just once a week, sometimes, we'd order a pizza and  I'd feel 'the regret' once I'd eaten.

I had emetophobia before I got pregnant, I was afraid of vomiting. Actually afraid. Then, at about 6 weeks pregnant with E, my first baby i was sick on a daily basis, every day, multiple times. This cured my emetophobia very quickly, perhaps because I knew that it wasn't preventable. 

A similar thing happened with my second pregnancy, I remember heaving as I was driving along at 2 weeks after conception. It prompted me to go and buy a pregnancy test. 

I have some vague memories ormy bulimic   habits beginning to creep in during that pregnancy. Though even just lthinking about vomiting made me actually do it, so I think I need to stop being mean to myself about that. 

I don't know when it started properly, making myself sick when I felt guilty for eating something. I remember doing it purposefully in July 2013, when my PND was in full swing, I did it on a night out...on purpose...to make room for booze. Yeah, classy, huh?

So my bulimia became a habit, I didn't lose weight because of it, but that doesn't make it any less of an eating disorder. Remember John Prescott? 

I did keep it a secret, MrB didn't know until I told him over a year later. I summoned up the courage to admit it to my CBT therapist, and my homework that week was to tell MrB. I did. That didn't stop the secrecy, sadly. My PND got better with treatment but I couldn't ignore the guilt, the feelings that I needed to keep moving. 

Once I realised that it was part of my larger mental health diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, I realised that it was a form of self harm, and that, although it wasn't harming me in a noticeable way, it was grinding down my ability to be well. I haven't given in to the urges since march 2015. 

However, it has not been a case of simply 'not doing it', more a case of noticing when the guilty feelings come in to play. I found my triggers and dealt with them, choosing nak'd bars over pop tarts and chocolate bars, eating a LOT of fruit. I have to say that the smoothie craze of 2015 helped a lot with my post-ED rehab.

The best thing that I found was running. For me, I could focus on beating my ED with every step that I took when my body was saying 'oh hell, I only wanted a Kit Kat!'

Running doesn't help everyone with an ED, everyone's journey and experience is very different. I cannot imagine the strength of overcoming anorexia, which is the absence of eating. 

My bad thoughts have returned as I injured my ankle through running, so back to yoga and my exercise bike for a bit until it recovers!