As I continue to come to different realizations, they become more in-depth and detailed. I’m in the process of forcing myself to remember certain scenarios, along with how those scenarios made me feel. It’s brought up a lot of difficult emotions and becomes exhausting. Even though I’m fully aware that these realizations are a part of the healing process, it’s still one of the most challenging things I’ve had to work through. In regards to the recent flashbacks and realizations: they have all been centered around the idea of ‘neglect.’
Furthermore, as I’m getting older and continuing to mature, I’ve seen my childhood in a completely different light. In this perspective, I have come to realize how little my parents paid attention to me as a child and even more so now. I was taught for as long as I can remember that my feelings were invalid and I believed this to the point that I even began telling myself that my feelings were not real. Even as I work through difficult emotions with my therapist, they’ve had to stop me to tell me that I need to validate my own feelings because I’m still subconsciously invalidating them.
I remember growing up with health issues that were inhibiting me from reaching my fullest potential and I expressed this to my parents from a young age, but as I got older I learned not to say anything at all. Reason being, the invalidation from my parents, of what I was feeling. This goes along with physical health, as well as mental health. With that being said, my ability to notice these things from a young age has helped me mature and grow from the situation. However, it is still one of the most painful aspects about my childhood that I can recall so far.
Seeing as I’m still living in my house, it seems almost suffocating. I feel a significant difference in my house than I do in anyone else’s. It feels as though there is a weight on my chest and I’m unable to speak freely. Its difficult to be around family members constantly while also working through flashbacks of things that occured in this house. Although, I have made a lot of progress, I find it most challenging that I am treated the same way I’ve always been and I have absolutely no control over it. This concept of not being cared for in the way that a child needs is known as, neglect.
While being in Colorado during the month of February, I not only had the opportunity to experience beautiful exhibits of nature, but I had the privilege to try out a sensory deprivation tank. For anyone unfamiliar with this kind of therapy, a sensory deprivation tank is in the form of a pod/tube with water and an abundance of epsom salt. The epsom salt that is within the water, allows the body to float effortlessly, while also providing proper support and a sense of relaxation.
My first experience with a sensory deprivation tank, was a bit unsettling at first. I was placed in a room that provided a shower with shampoo/conditioner/body wash, a toilet, a couple towels, and the floatation tank. The tank was in the form of a tube and looked rather intimidating at first glance. However, after the process of removing clothes, putting in ear plugs, showering with shampoo/body wash, I climbed into the tank and prepared for one of the most relaxing experiences of my life.
This experience included a complete cutoff from any external stimuli and with the ability to float, the body is in an effortless mode of relaxation. As I had been practicing meditation for months leading up to this, I found it easy to ascend into a peaceful mindset. I focused only on my being in the isolation tank and found myself in a state of complete relaxation. With this being said, it did take a little bit to adjust and find the most comfortable position to float in. Another thing that was difficult, was the idea of being in a small space. But I was able to ease my mind by thinking only of the breath and the relief I would feel afterwards.
After a ninety minute session, stepping out of the isolation tank I had felt almost magical. I felt a sense of weight and pressure completely lifted from my chest. I could feel myself glowing and felt a sense of peace and contentment. After this session, I made it a priority to look into this kind of therapy in York, Pennsylvania. Seeing that I prefer natural remedies over any kind of medication, I found it best to invest in a monthly membership with an organization providing sensory deprivation tanks.
Furthermore, the benefits that the isolation tank had on my anxiety and C-PTSD, are unmatched compared to anything else I have tried. The sensory deprivation tank, after three total sessions, has improved the following: focus, insomnia, creativity, intuition, stress/anxiety/depression relief, and clarity. These are just examples of how it has improved my health, but it benefits people in many different ways. I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with anything similar to what I’ve struggled with. Seeing as medication is always a gamble, the sensory deprivation tank provides one with a sense of clarity in many aspects. But the most important being that medications are only crutches and true relief comes through natural remedies and realization.
The past several months, have consisted of a lot of self-growth and realization. For me, this brought up a lot of negative memories and emotions. But, it has also allowed me to notice the things that I may not have made connections for in the past. These thoughts and ideas that I experience on a daily basis, are ones that others typically do not understand. This is not to say that I am always misunderstood, however, it is to say that I have always felt that way.
In these realizations that I have been experiencing, is the idea that I am an empath. For those unfamiliar with this concept, an empath is one who has the ability to absorb energy from any setting and any person. The idea of empathy is experienced by many people, discluding narcissists and sociopaths. Empathizing is the act of putting oneself in another’s position, to better understand what they may be going through. However, an empath is able to involuntarily understand another’s emotions and state of mind, as they are literally absorbing that energy.
For as long as I can remember, my anxiety has consisted of the fact that I am unable to help people all the time. Through this, I have neglected to take care of myself and when I do, I often take my needs for granted and use them in trying to better someone else. What is difficult to understand about an empath is that they are not choosing to feel these things, it just happens. Because of this, empaths experience anxiety, depression, and helplessness on a completely different level.
Through learning more about myself, I have come to understand that whenever I would focus my energy on myself, I would be doing mentally well. However, this could all easily change once I was put in a negative space or confronted by a vampire (narcissist/sociopath). Empaths are known for the idea that they attract vampires because we are considered easy targets. Empaths strive to help others consistently and will always give people the benefit of the doubt. However, giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not always healthy in relationships. For example, the relationship with my narcissistic mother was incredibly unhealthy as she used all of my abilities in her own scheme to tear apart my self-esteem, just so she could build her own.
I have experienced anxiety on a level that is difficult for almost anyone to comprehend. While also dealing with C-PTSD, it has been incredibly difficult to only focus on myself. My siblings have always been my main concern and when they feel at a loss, so do I. When they feel to be in a better mood, so do I. This concept goes for anyone I care about and can include any kind of physical issue they may be dealing with. I am slowly learning how to take care of myself on a level that allows me to decipher my own emotions, from the emotions of others.
Although, I will never be able to have a choice in feeling the emotions of others, I do have the choice in how I identify and cope with them. In this knowledge, I am able to grow as a person and also show support towards those I care about. As I continue to learn how to identify what is healthiest for me going forward, I am also learning that I cannot control the emotions of others and how they cope with them. I have begun to accept the idea that every individual must fight their own battles whether it be mental or physical, and I can only be there as a guide.
When it comes to protecting myself, I have separated myself from larger social gatherings, as this is a trigger for my anxiety. Reason being, is the constant search for different energies whether I am fully aware of it or not. I can absorb any kind of vibe in a setting that is typically grown from the individual interaction in the room. It is also extremely necessary for me to spend time on myself and use tools, such as meditating, to work through difficult periods. I will never be exempt from feeling this much, but I can learn to use it to my own advantage, as well as an advantage for others. A constant cycle of self-loathing is not a way in which I will thrive.
This past week, I have been in Boulder, Colorado experiencing some of the most beautiful exhibits of nature. It’s an almost overwhelming feeling when surrounded by so much natural beauty. Being here, has confirmed my wanting in moving here eventually.
While also experiencing an endless beauty to nature, I have also had a lot of time to simply focus on my innermost thoughts. These have shown to be uncomfortable for the most part but I know it is a part of my healing process and journey towards peace. I have realized more and more in how little I’ve been appreciated by many people, this also including past/current treatment from my parents.
Although, I have always been aware of my introverted state of mind & kept a small circle of friends, I have noticed more in-depth in which the extent of these relationships reach to. I believe many people see me as one to understand, acknowledge, and empathize with them. This assumption is totally accurate, except for the idea that many people take advantage of this & pretend as though I’m oblivious to the already blatantly obvious.
As I have stated in past entries, I am incredibly observant and intuitive. I am fully aware when someone is taking advantage of my character or minimizing my emotions. There have been an array of excuses for those in which I have felt the need to speak up against, simply because I was not being treated the way I deserve and there was a refusal, from the opposing, to acknowledge the way it had affected me. Seeing as I grew up in a manipulative family setting, my emotions were frequently minimized and the realization of this has brought me to the self-awareness in knowing how to detect one whom is trying to taking advantage or undermine my intellect.
I consider myself to be an incredibly compassionate person, however, there is a certain extent in which it is no longer worth my own vulnerability, as it is not reciprocated nor appreciated on a level as it should. I am not hesitant in speaking up for what I believe. I know how I should be treated and unfortunately, there are many who look past this. My self-awareness has given me the confidence to see myself in a new perspective: one that does not settle for less than deserved.
Although, it is unsettling & uncomfortable to realize that many are not willing to reciprocate the amount of love you have for them, ones own being has enough to supply a lifetime of happiness. I am thankful to have gone through uncomfortable & challenging situations, as it is bringing me closer to peace and a totally conscious mindset. I am confident in the things I say and my emotions are not to be minimized. One with respect for themselves, has respect for others.
As a child, most of my thoughts consisted of constant worry. Whether it be about what I would wear to school the next day or dwelling on a past conversation that seemingly had no significant meaning, my mind was constantly searching for answers to questions that were never there to begin with.
It is easy to think of anxiety as simply the feeling of being overwhelmed by worry, however, I can say from personal experience that it is much more in-depth. Even from the outside looking in, it was rather obvious how worrisome I became, considering the distressed look on my face. I was often asked if I was okay or if I was sad, simply because I always looked concerned. This observation from an outside perspective, made it blatantly obvious to myself that I was ALWAYS worrying about something. As I became more conscious of it, I realized how observant I was but also dwelled too much into “what if” scenarios.
As I began high school, I noticed a significant raise in my anxiety. Reason being, there was so much emotional pressure on me due to the fact that my feelings were seen as invalid in my own home. I often came to school distressed and thoroughly unmotivated, due to the fact that I did not know how to channel my emotions. My emotions were constantly belittled at home, allowing them to show more clearly in a public area. This did not serve a benefit for myself, other than a self-realization.
I found myself worrying about how people looked at me, what I wore, and even how I talked in class when a teacher called on me. I felt incredibly uncomfortable in the classroom environment, because I was so obviously different than everyone else. My social skills were stunted due to the emotional abuse I continuously received from childhood to my teenage years. I normally kept to myself in class, I wouldn’t speak unless spoken to first. I found myself increasingly discouraged because I didn’t know how to socialize or feel comfortable at school.
At home, I experienced a completely different level of anxiety. Each day was like walking a tightrope; trying to find balance between a healthy lifestyle while living in a chaotic and abusive home. This is near impossible. I cried myself to sleep every night, simply because I thought there was something wrong with me and I just could not understand why. With my mom constantly belittling and blaming me and my siblings with each their own mental struggles, I found myself in a never ending anxiety-fueled spiral. I rarely even had the motivation to spend times with friends because I was utterly consumed in my thoughts.
In case anyone is curious as to what an anxiety/panic attack looks like, I will paint you a mental picture. At least for me, my anxiety attacks consisted of: hyperventilating, shaking, numbing/tingling in my arms, blacking out, and on a few occasions, actually losing complete consciousness. These attacks happened about every other day, if not everyday. They could be triggered by the smallest things because I had so much built up stress that I didn’t know how to cope with, so one small thing could set me off literally like an explosion. My thoughts took me to places I tried so intensely to get rid of. What made matters even worse was the fact that anytime my mom and I had a disagreement (which was often), it would end in her screaming at me and blaming me for whatever the topic of disagreement was. I would repeatedly beg her to give me space, as I am struggling to breath and crying to no extent. She showed no compassion, and emotionally tore my down until she was content enough with the result.
It wasn’t until this past year that I realized the intensity of my anxiety. I was diagnosed with a skin picking disorder. For anybody unfamiliar with this concept, I would basically pick the skin around my fingers until they bled. I still struggle with this and I have to wear bandages around my fingers to buffer myself from picking my skin when I feel so consumed with anxiety. Since my mom moved out, I have also struggled with flashbacks in which I will put myself into an anxiety attack when thought of too much. I am also incredibly sensitive to loud sounds and anything being thrown at me. I flinch incredibly easily, reason being my mother’s violent rages (smashing dishes, smashing pictures, throwing objects, etc). Along with this, I struggle being in public/crowded places and find myself incredibly apprehensive. This phenomenon is known as, complex post traumatic stress disorder.
In this past year, I have incorporated several new aspects into my life in order to find a peaceful mind. These aspects include: meditation, hydration through drinking tea, daily exercising, healthy eating habits, sufficient sleep, yoga, reading, and spending time outdoors. Through these habits, I have noticed incredible positive differences, however, they did not buffer my symptoms completely. My anxiety seems to have a mind of its own, in which it brings recurring, unpleasant thoughts. I began taking medication for this, and after a few months of being on the same antidepressant and being at the highest dosage, I was still struggling.
The thing with CPTSD is that it cannot be easily treated through medication, in fact, it worsens it in some cases. Although I have been seeing a therapist every other week, my physician urged me to schedule these appointments in a weekly pattern. Childhood trauma is not a concept to be taken lightly and needs constant attention. I feel at a loss occasionally, seeing as my anxiety still consumes my mind at times, but I am determined as ever. My anxiety does not define my being and though it is yet a long journey, I am steadfast towards my goal of having a peaceful mind.
For anyone that may be struggling with anxiety/depression or any other mental obstacle, it will become your greatest accomplishment one day. It will never disappear, but it has become a goal of mine to simply see my struggle as a reminder of my self-motivation. It is OKAY to ask for help. Thoughts are utterly consuming, and there is nothing more dreadful than feeling alone. You are not alone. You will be okay.