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 Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Summary:

This story is based around a dystopian world, in which women are used simply for their ability to give birth. Women are constricted to a home with several other women, all in the hopes that they may have a child. For in this society, having a child was considered to be the most respected position for a woman. The main character of this novel, is conflicted between betraying the society or completely leaving behind the slightest glimpse of freedom she has. This story projects the independence of a woman, as well as her ability to break societal norms with pure confidence.

My opinion:

I personally really enjoyed this novel, as it portrayed a restricted, dystopian world. Along with this aspect, the main character is placed in a position in which whatever decision she made, was publicly judged. With that being said, the main character breaks away from every societal normal to find what suits her desires most. However, breaking societal norms is seen as basically breaking the law. This leaves the main character with a scenario, in which, she prioritizes her own needs and desires before anyone else, this being the first and most dramatic way of doing so.

This novel, leaves the audience in suspense and anticipation, as it is an open-ended conclusion. It is written from a point of view that makes it nearly impossible to ignore. It is particularly compelling due to the fact that the author is able to make connections between modern day society and this dystopian-world stance on society. The readers are able to make connections and assumptions based off of how it made them feel. It is broken down in a way that is not seen as overly graphic or harsh, but is seen as a fierce break for freedom. Seeing as the chapters were shorter than typical novels, it encourages the reader to continue through the story.

Rating:

9/10

The Effect Nature Has on Mental Health

The past several months, have consisted of one cold day after another. Personally, I love winter for the idea of snow and wrapping myself in layers. However, I find myself feeling down because the colors in nature have faded and I am constricted to being indoors. My mental health becomes an obstacle course through winter months as I struggle to find the best source of release. Seeing as my source of relief is being outside, I become distressed over having no control upon the weather.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a great appreciation for nature and what it presents to us. It leaves me in awe, that our planet is capable of such beauty. I feel refreshed and free when I’m exposed to this environment. I am in my best state of mind and feel as if I could live in the trees forever. Along with these aspects, I am able to set myself apart from the daily distress of society.

As it is difficult to experience this feeling when enclosed during winter months, I expose myself to different sources of relief. Specifically, I enjoy going on car rides, as this brings me closer to the idea of being outdoors. I cannot begin to describe how it feels when the sun hits my skin. It feels as though I am being completely consumed with warmth and in that moment, there is nothing else to do other than smile and thank the universe for keeping you alive. To experience such moments as those, are an absolute privilege.

It is incredibly important to find a source of the nutrients that the sun supplies for us. Especially, on the days that we are unable to be physically, exposed to it. Our mental health depends on us to take care of it so we can grow as a person. When we take care of ourselves, it improves our state of mind and our self-esteem. Seeing the things our body and mind are capable of, make it all the more worth it to nurture it continuously.

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.

Sibling Dynamic with a Narcissistic Parent

When an individual is brought up in a family in which the parent is narcissistic, there tends to be an incredibly different relationship dynamic between siblings. It is inevitable in this kind of setting, that a child will experience mental and physical health issues later in their life due to this abnormal dynamic.

Whenever there is a narcissistic parent involved, there is always the scapegoat of the family and the golden child of the family. Although the scapegoat and the golden child experience a more intense level of abuse, the other siblings involved experience some extent of abuse as well as neglect. These roles between siblings may change throughout the rest of their time living in that house. However, in my house, the roles never changed until my older sister moved out.

For as long as I can remember, I have been the scapegoat of the family. The scapegoat is essentially what holds the family together. The idea is that the scapegoat is willing to defend themselves in unjust situations, even if this means they will get in trouble. I was always incredibly worried for my siblings and when a problem arose, I would not hesitate to defend them. As I continued to stand up for myself and my siblings, I received a higher level of abuse. My mother saw me as the “troubled” child and believed I was capable of nothing other than being a “bad influence.”

My mother began feeding information to my siblings and outside family members that there was a point in which, all of my siblings turned against me at some point or simply bullied me. I specifically remember turmoil becoming more intense between my mom and I when my younger sister, Ali, was hospitalized due to anorexia. My older sister, Nina, and I had both urged our parents months before that they needed to get Ali medical attention. It was not until she was near death that they brought her to the hospital.

At the time of this occurrence, I was in eighth grade and Ali was in sixth grade. It was the start of a couple years, in which, Ali was constantly in the hospital or a rehabilitation center. There was a cycle of coming in and out of programs. Her recovery was made immensely difficult as my parents did not give her the support she needed. Anorexia is a mental illness which they refused to grasp and it was a devastating few years as my siblings and I could not do much other than focusing on being there for her.

It was particularly difficult for me because Ali and I began to draw apart. I was struggling immensely with depression and anxiety at this time and it became difficult to grow a relationship between her and I as we both felt helpless in aiding our personal needs. It was two years later when I realized that my mother had neglected the needs of Nina when she was near the age, in which Ali was struggling the most.

My older sister shed light on the fact that my mother neglected to give her the help she needed when she struggled with bulimia. Nina even asked her for help and my mother refused to support her. When I discovered this, I felt the need to speak up to my mother and confront her for the way she had treated Nina but also how she was currently treating Ali. This act of defense ended with my mother screaming at me while on the phone with Nina. She continued to tell me I was wrong and that none of it happened. It was the first time I had a panic attack to the point I was hyperventilating.

After this extremely scarring event, I grew more and more anger towards my mother but also pain. I would get into screaming battles with her but ones that always ended in her telling me how disappointed she was that I was like this. My panic/anxiety attacks became even worse, in which I would shake uncontrollably, hyperventilate, cry, black out, and nearly my entire body would go numb- which was absolutely terrifying.

As for my other siblings, I began to notice a decrease in their energy level and mood. I knew they were struggling and would try to be there for them as much as possible but I didn’t even know how to help myself. There were times when they would get incredibly angry with me in my mother’s defense which made matters even more complicated.

As far as the golden child is concerned, for a while it was my older sister. This made sibling dynamic in our household very tense because all of us were experiencing a different level of abuse but we weren’t able to get closure about it because we simply didn’t understand it ourselves. However, as I begin to learn more about this toxic way of living, it becomes more and more obvious how dire it is to work through this trauma.

Recently, I have been struggling with C-PTSD and anxiety on a level that I have never experienced before. The realization of the treatment I experienced throughout my entire life, has brought back a ton of flashbacks and put me in a mindset that feels suffocating. I have made it a priority for myself to work through this trauma and know that I will find peace.

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.