The Person Living In My Head

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked for aspects of myself that I should hate. These aspects are including physical and internal/emotional aspects. However, because I have been conditioned by my parents to criticize every detail about myself, I am just now learning how to validate these emotions.

Almost everyday of my life, I have changed my outfit multiple times a day. This was mostly because I had so much anxiety about what was appropriate to wear for certain occasions and what people would think of me. I have always found something about myself to be dissatisfying, in regards to the way I physically appear. This was an aspect my own mother made fun of me for. She knew the difficulties I had with my self-esteem and used it as a means to make me feel even worse about myself. She intentionally encouraged me to wear more revealing clothing. Along with this, she continuously tried to discourage me over the idea that I didn’t have a boyfriend. This recurring toxic shame caused a feeling of being unworthy of anyone’s attention, including my parents.

Furthermore, I also very clearly remember holding a smile back that showed my teeth when I was younger. My teeth were extremely crooked and I had always been self-conscious of it until I got braces in 5th grade. My piano teacher, at the time, had even asked me to smile for recital pictures. He also asked my mom about why I wouldn’t smile and in response, she would essentially tease me over it. I was self-conscious because of her.

As I continue to validate my feelings, I realize more and more about my self-critic. This critic in my head is always the voice of my mother. Until I recently removed her from my life, she deliberately tried to make me unhappy. For example, every year for Christmas/my birthday, she would give me something she knew I would hate. One time, she had gone to the beach and had come back with gifts for everyone. My gift from her was a razor with shaving cream because, at the time, I was in 5th grade and had expressed that I wanted to start shaving my legs. All of my other siblings received an actual gift and I received a necessity as a “gift.”

Recently, I’ve found it even more difficult to fall asleep. I’ve always had issues sleeping because of insomnia, but recently it’s because I am genuinely afraid of falling asleep. Typically, when I do fall asleep, I will have a nightmare with someone from my past who happens to make me uncomfortable. Most of the time this person being my mother. Although, she has been in my nightmares for years, my past few nightmares have included eye contact with her.

Due to the fact that I am still living at home and I am surrounded by past/current negative energy, it is particularly difficult to receive any kind of mental recovery. The past couple of weeks have revealed to me how serious depression is. I used to invalidate those feelings of emptiness and hopelessness. I’m finally learning to validate the feelings of my inner critic and my inner child. As a way to help cope with this, I like to place myself back into the mind of my younger self. I give myself feedback like, “You weren’t safe before, but now I will keep you safe,” or “you’re not alone.” Although, it has been particularly difficult recently, I know I can learn to protect and love myself more than what my parents have ever been capable of.

The Benefits Of A Sensory Deprivation Tank

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.

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.

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.

Healthy Relationships

Throughout my entire experience being in public school, I became friends with several different kinds of people. I can say honestly and proudly, that the majority of these people are no longer in my life. As I strived to fit into the public school environment while also struggling with anxiety and depression, I became friends with people who were seemingly good for my self-growth. However, that was not at all the case when I became more educated about my self-worth.

The majority of my relationships, consisted in them telling me absolutely anything and everything about themselves. Throughout my life, people have always been extremely vulnerable towards opening up with me, seeing as I was encouraging and positively willing to listen to any of what they may be going through. Because of this, I began to notice a change in the attitude of my friends towards me. It became blatantly obvious that they were totally consumed with themselves and overall, they were not helping my self-growth.

I specifically recall a time period in tenth grade in which I became friends with an array of people and we had our own “friend group.” This was the first, only, and most toxic friend group I have ever been a part of. I have always been an introvert so being introduced to this kind of relationship dynamic showed me how valuable my own being was and that I was obviously taken for granted. Most of these individuals were so consumed with themselves that they simply neglected to understand the kind of person I was. All of these people, other than one, were extremely immature and uneducated.

In the following years of my high school career, I began slowly removing people from my life that were obviously toxic. I became much more independent and self-motivated as I began to realize, I am the only one to fully understand the extent of my mental battles as well as my self-worth. I started using social media as a means to express myself, rather than a means to impress other people. I began to love myself.

Although, I had few friends, I have made long lasting and nurturing relationships with people whom I am incredibly grateful for. My siblings, for example, are my best friends and I have so much love that should not be taken for granted and I was able to spread my love with them. Along with this, my best friend Sara, has been my best friend since we were about five years old. I cannot express enough how thankful I am for this girl, she is the most encouraging and wonderful human being I know.

As I also began to start working, my career at Wyndridge Farm was one in which I was incredibly undermined and taken for granted. However, during this time, I built a relationship with someone I truly cherish. Ellen Manning had consistently built me up and encouraged me, even though I was constantly undermined by the immature owners of this business. She was my manager and also one of the major influences in my life. I had never seen so much strength in one person until meeting her. She truly changed my perspective of myself and my potential. She showed me compassion and love through an extremely toxic environment. She was also incredibly undermined in her position as manager, making our relationship grow even stronger. I have an endless amount of thankfulness and love for this relationship.

As far as dating was concerned, I have never been one to dwell on the idea of being single. In fact, I took advantage of it and began to see myself through the eyes of love. Seeing as I have so much love, it is very rarely reciprocated back in the same manner and I am fully aware of what I deserve so I am absolutely not willing to accept less than my worth. I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life and though, I do wish to be in a relationship at times, I know I do not need one. I only need myself and my confidence goes far beyond the treatment I have been given in past relationships. I am dedicated and loyal. This quality has been used beyond compare, making my attitude incredibly steadfast towards the idea of finding someone who appreciates me for all that I am.

All in all, I have so much love and compassion that is utterly unmatched. This will always be taken for granted by some individuals, but this does not have the strength to deteriorate my self-respect and self-love.

Featuring my beautiful sister, Autumn