Flashbacks: Remembering the Pain and Overcoming It

I am creating this post for two reasons, one being the idea that I am able to create a detailed image of what exactly happened during my childhood. The second reasoning, being the idea that I am still working through these memories and it is important that I understand how certain situations made me feel. The more I think about my childhood, the more dramatic & insane it looks to me. I want to make it clear that I am not creating this as a bashing against any family members, but simply as an outlet for myself.

As I continue working through C-PTSD and the flashbacks that come with it, there is a specific memory that keeps sticking out to me. It is certainly not the most violent and dramatic, but, this memory is one that includes my mom following me around the house while yelling hostile and hurtful words. This specific conflict arose over summer, when I began defending myself and siblings more often and confidently. My mother and I were already having several issues and I had communicated with her that I wasn’t going to stay silent about them but that I also needed space. Seeing as she is incapable of civil, intellectual conversation, she never understood these needs. What I write below is every detail that I have been able to pick out from the situation fully from my perception…

I remember earlier in the day I had communicated with my mother about something in regards to the well-being of my siblings, & she used this as a means to verbally abuse me. I went to work shortly after our argument and my mother texted me a long message, expressing how I needed to start being a better influence and that my negativity was affecting everyone in the house. At the time, I was working at Wyndridge Farm and when I received this text, I had to drop what I was doing then go to the bathroom so I could pull myself together. I cannot begin to explain how suffocating it is to have the urge to cry because of your own mother, while also being at work.

During the shift, I texted my best friend Sara and told her that I would be staying with her that night. I drove home from work in tears and I was only focused on going to my house, packing a few days worth of clothes and then leaving. However, this is not what happened. When I got home, my mom immediately followed me up the stairs and badgered me with questions, as to why I was so ‘unhappy,’ why I was so ‘cruel,’ why I wasn’t a better ‘influence,’ why I wasn’t more ‘put together,’ and why I wasn’t being more ‘helpful.’ Keep in mind, I was already practically parenting her kids at this point. As I continued moving to my room, I told my mom that I just needed space and that I wasn’t ready to talk.

Furthermore, it was at this point in the scenario in which she followed me into my room and continued to scream at me for starting so much drama and being so unhappy living there. I began hyperventilating and in between breaths, telling her to give me space. She stayed in front of me continuing to yell at me. I collapsed and my entire body was numb/tingling, while I kept my face in my hands. She told me I needed to get myself together and then left my room. I finished gathering my clothes and went over to Sara’s in a very distressed state of mind.

This situation is only an example of the kind of treatment I endured from my mother. There were many cases in which she was physically violent. Looking into her unremorseful face is what made this so damaging. My mother is the reason for the majority of my mental issues today and though I feel I have moved through a lot of it, I still have much more to work through. There are memories still to go through that cause me distress to think of. However, I find relief in sharing my experience and validating it. For the longest times, my emotions and personality type were seen as irrelevant and invalid.

When these flashbacks occur, I cannot predict how it will make me feel or for how long but it is typically unpleasant. It is mentally exhausting at times, seeing as I have no control over when it happens but I know that this is the single most important part of my healing process: remembering the pain & overcoming it.

Finding Contentment through Mental Recovery

Over the course of the past two weeks, I have made it a goal of mine to specifically focus on my own well-being. As I have expressed thoroughly on this page, the source of most of my anxiety is having constant concerns about my siblings and whether or not they’re okay. To an extent, it is okay to worry about others, but what I failed to realize for a while, was the idea that one must also focus on themselves.

At the beginning of February, I was experiencing a level of anxiety in which I had never experienced before. Each day, I found myself realizing more, and with this, it brought many unpleasant flashbacks and memories. Seeing that I struggle with C-PTSD, these flashbacks caused anxiety attacks and a suffocating feeling of not being able to stop myself from crying. I did not understand why I was experiencing these things so frequently, and did everything to remove them from my thoughts. I had made so many positive changes to my life, including; meditating, eating healthier, therapy, exercising daily, hydrating, yoga, proper sleep schedule, spending time outdoors, and spending time alone. I was at a point, in which, I thought this feeling would simply never end.

During the time in which I was experiencing this level of anxiety, I found it best fit to remove myself from the environment I was in. That environment, being my own home. This was rather confusing for many individuals to understand, considering I had already made many other positive changes in my life, however, it was a necessary change to make. This change in environments, was truly necessary because I obviously did not see the toxic pattern in which I failed to differentiate my own needs, from the needs of others. However, I was able to differentiate the emotions between either. I felt so overwhelmed with the idea of not being able to help all of my siblings, that I forgot to love myself in the way I needed it most.

As I began planning for this change in environments, I considered admitting myself to a mental health facility. This is something that I would never have even considered, until I had reached the point that I did. I felt so at a loss and such a need to be completely alone, that I contemplated isolating myself completely from society. Overall, the idea sounded appealing to me because though I had never experienced being in a mental health facility, I needed more than anything, to be alone. I mentally and physically could not handle the pressure I was experiencing. It was at this point, I decided to confide in one of my closest friends; Cat Zeranski.

I discussed with Cat the point I was at in my life, and the love that both, her and her family showed me, is too great for words. They showed me an endless amount of support and love, as they knew my situation and realized the importance it was for me to get mentally back on track. I truly cannot explain the amount of appreciation I have for this family, because during the time I was there, I learned what it truly meant to take care of myself. Certainly, I was doing many things to physically rejuvenate myself but my mental state was deteriorating every other asset in my life. I returned all of my belongings home yesterday, and though the environment is not as comforting as the one of Cats family, I reached a point in which I have found pure bliss and contentment.

After the week and a half, in which I was away from home, I was able to focus solely on my mental recovery. Though I still have mental obstacles to work through, I am finding more and more each day that I am beyond capable of this. I am truly content & seeing as I am still living at home, this feeling will only grow once I move out of my house. A specific goal I have at the moment, is moving out. As much discouragement that I have gotten, I am so excited & determined. There is a true misunderstanding between my level of capability and the credibility that I receive from family members, teachers, and coworkers. But thats okay, because I am happy and doing well, which is something I have never been able to say, up until this point, completely truthfully.

The Mind of an Empath

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.

Future Endeavors

Recently, I had my eighteenth birthday and though I did not want to celebrate the idea, it was a huge stepping stone in my life. This marked the day in which I was legally able to remove my mother from my life. Many would say this is an exaggerated & dramatic thing to do, however it has been a part of my healing process and I have felt significantly lighter since removing her. I had been waiting for that day for a while and it was incredibly liberating to have the confidence to do so.

Since turning eighteen, I have turned all of my energy towards the idea of moving out. As I continue to feel a sense of confinement in my own home, I find console in my optimistic view towards my future. I do not plan on going to college and because of this, I have received harsh criticism and discouragement. Though I do not have the support of many family members, I am beyond excited to start my life outside of my home, without the pressure of being in school. I am certainly open to the idea of going to college, but I know that as of right now, my main focus is simply being myself.

While I plan on not going to college, I also plan on eventually becoming self-employed. I cannot predict what kind of format this may be in but I have put much positive energy towards my future to the point that I am not concerned about what may happen. Many would say it is better to have a plan but my personality thrives off of change and the unknowing. Also, seeing as my house has been a place of chaos and belittlement on my behalf, being out of it will be the most influential and positive thing I could possibly do for my mental health.

Though I do not have a set plan, I am working towards my goal of moving out and thriving in every aspect of my life. I am so proud of the person I am and am eager to share this with as many people as possible. My self-esteem has grown immensely through all of the pain my mental health has been through and because of this, I will do just fine on my own. Despite discouraging comments, I know how much I am capable of. I know I am capable of making an impact. I am ready to move on from a suffocating environment to a mental space, in which, I can continue to thrive more openly.

An Entry for Release

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.

A Glimpse Inside My Anxiety

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.