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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Everyone Has Their Demons



The other day I went in for a med check. I use to go every month. But they have taken into account the fact that I don't like to go out often, that it causes more anxiety. Now they let me come in every three months. 

They try to schedule me at a time when there's the least chance for a crowded waiting room. Usually that means first thing in the morning or right after lunch. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays mean more patients because there are more doctors available. This is a university setting.

My turn comes and goes. Medication doesn't need changing. You come to realize that medication helps a lot, but is not a "fix." You have to finally accept that "it is what it is." 

That the fine tuning of medication takes you so far, but cannot undo a lifetime of events.


After making an appointment three months from now, I left and got on the elevator. A young man quickly entered just before the door closed.  

I am very much aware of my sensory problems. That noises are my undoing. I don't know why. I'll never know why. And at this point, I really don't want to know. 

Really, what would it matter? I have, year by by year, been living with it as best I can. It isn't going away. We all have our demons.

When I left Texas nearly two and a half years ago, I had high hopes.

I really thought once I got here among family, I would be fine. But life has a way of turning cartwheels on you. What I didn't count on was then dealing with what I'd just left. That it had worsened the symptoms, and I would have a hard time adjusting.

Add to that being in a large city where I knew virtually no one. I got lost easily. I broke down easily. My daughters became frustrated with me. 

I felt ashamed. The relationships I so badly wanted fell apart. 


What you truly don't take into consideration is that what you have escaped will always somehow stay with you.

So I had high hopes, yes. I wanted to be with my family. But the strain became too great. 

I don't blame them. They just want to lead normal lives. Take care of their families. I understand. It hurts, but I understand.

Now I've answered many of your questions as to what happened after I moved here. 

 
Back to the guy in the elevator. 

I sort of recognized him. I'd probably seen him in the waiting room at some point. I would say he was in his early twenties.

Before the elevator door closed, he raised his right leg and bent it at the knee and moved it behind his left knee. He did this in succession. Twice. Then he knelt down and touched the floor. 

The doors shut.

Down three floors. He stepped out of the elevator and again knelt down to briefly touch the floor. 

He obviously suffers from OCD. He has rituals. 

We all have our demons. Some are more evident than others.  


People email and ask me if I've tried therapy, so I'm answering that question too while I'm at it. Yes, at various times in my life. But talking about it all bring back the nightmares. And that is so debilitating that it is worse than the therapy. 

Then my avoidance becomes worse. My withdrawal from others intensify. An endless circle of anxiety continues its loop.

In order to keep from hearing a noise that will shut you down, and mostly because you don't have any idea what that noise will be, you stop going out much. 

The less you go out, the safer you begin to feel at home. The more you stay at home, the harder it is to leave. And thus your world becomes smaller and smaller.

Just like this young man knows intellectually that his leg movements and touching the floor is not going to keep something bad from happening. But he is compelled to do it.

"The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can't control these obsessions and compulsions. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them." (NIMH)

Of course these issues make it difficult to have relationships with loved ones. It is hard for others to understand why you simply cannot be "normal." 

They do not understand your inability to be in social situations without symptoms getting the best of you. Relationships become strained. The gap widens.

We all have our demons.


The brain is a complex organ. It is the most complex organ in our bodies.

"Genetics loads the gun. Environment pulls the trigger."

Which means that someone can be predisposed by genetics. But unless a series of traumatic events pulls the trigger, they may lead a normal life. But one cannot keep bad things from happening. Or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Seeing or hearing something at a very young age that is so frightening the brain takes over and removes them from the situation.  This is called dissociation. And sometimes it is what saves you.  

What is it?

"Dissociation can become a primary defense mechanism because children can easily get overwhelmed and check out—or dissociate—because they can't handle what's going on."

Usually associated with trauma in the recent or distant past, or with an intense internal conflict that forces the mind to separate incompatible or unacceptable knowledge, information, or feelings."

We all have our own personal demons. Try not to judge what you don't understand.

Do you have a friend or someone in your own family that "has their demons?"


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109 Comments
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109 comments:

  1. I really appreciate your candor.......and your very eloquent ways of broaching topics my friends & I rarely (if ever) talk about! I am sure I know people who suffer (or their children/spouses suffer) with demons as you do but choose not to talk about it. Please know that you really add to my awareness in a most kind and humane way!

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    1. There are all kinds of things in life we don't understand, because they happen to someone else. I open the book of my life so that others get a glimpse. And then maybe they will be more empathetic in their reactions to people who might act strangely. Or are merely "different."

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  2. God bless you, Brenda. I don't know if it helps but I do keep you in my prayers because I know that a happy life is a struggle for you. Your demons are right there with you- some of ours are hidden and only pop out occasionally-but you deal with them daily. That's a daunting task. I am so sorry that your family doesn't "get it". Thank God you have people like Judy and her hubby in your life. THEY are your family.

    My husband went through some intensive counseling years ago to deal with some life traumas. His therapist said- There are some things you don't need to dredge up. They happened to you but you can leave them in the past and move forward from today. Will it do you any good to remember exactly what happened? Maybe- but that slate has a cloud of eraser dust over it and while you can still see the evidence of the writing that was there it is a blurred part of your past. Let's write right over top of it on a clean slate.
    I think he was one of the smartest counselors I ever knew. It was life altering for my husband to be given "permission" to just let it go.
    Hang in there, Brenda. You are doing great! xo Diana.

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    1. I have never heard it put quite that way. But that is profound, what that counselor said to him. About 8 years ago, I told my then psychiatrist I wanted to find my mother. She said she didn't think that was a good idea. I asked her why. She said because she was fairly certain that my mother was either dead or in a mental institution. How could knowing that help her or you? she asked me. I said: "Well, maybe I could help with money or something." She looked me in the eye and said: "Leave it alone."

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  3. Hey Brenda! Last Monday when I arrived at work I was in tears. I couldn't think. I couldn't see. I asked to go home. I got in bed and opened the curtains to let the light in and cried for a couple hours. This was my first 'bad spell' in awhile. I kept asking myself what was making me sick. What was I not dealing with. That's how it works with me. I realized then how depressed I was over not being able to move to Nashville to be near my sister. I realized I had to let it go for now. I have too many things going on here that I have to finish out. I'm feeling better. But I said all that to say this... a friend sent me an email and asked how I was. I've known her for 13 years. I told her I had been depressed but was better. She didn't know I suffered from depression. I seem to have such a good life. I very seldom share about this part of me. People don't see the pain so they don't understand. I've trained myself over the years. How to put on a happy face and move on. 99 times out of 100 it works for me. Just every once in a great while it gets me down and all I can do is go to bed. Thanks so very much for sharing. It means a lot!

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    1. When I was younger, it was easier to hide. But the more years I'm on this earth, it is like the rubber band holding it in began to fray. Life events happen. They make you more vulnerable. Then one day you wake up and you are in a little circle you have drawn around yourself. And that is your world.

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  4. Everyone has their demons.. you're so right! I deal with my daughter's problems everyday. She is mentally ill and has delusions and paranoia. She hasn't found the right medication and is fearful of trying. I can't say I blame her because the side effects have been frightening. So I deal everyday with her fear of leaving the house, taking meds, ufos, aliens, an apocalypse, being murdered, being stalked, identity theft, being filmed and photographed, etc. I talk to her about her past relationships with movie stars and famous musicians. She has had diagnosis of schizophrenia, bi-polar, schizoaffective disorder--depends who you talk to. She spends her days watching tv, listening to music, singing and sleeping. Our mental health system is broken. She can't get help unless she is dangerous to herself or others or voluntarily goes to a hospital or physician. Even when I can get her forced into a hospital, the help is minimal and insurance companies want to send them out as soon as possible.She doesn't believe she is ill, just haunted by psychic visions and the dangers that other people want to bestow on her. The stigma of mental illness is so great.. there needs to be more open dialogue like yours!

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    1. It must be so hard to be the caretaker. Because that's really all you can be. And that is a great undertaking. I know many just can't handle the side effects. I hate that it makes you gain weight. But the other side of that is being skinny and not sleeping and after awhile the lack of sleep fires up the demons till they are aflame. Our mental health system is most definitely broken. Every time you go in, they have to ask you: Do you feel that you are a threat to yourself or others? That is how they cover themselves. They want to do more. There just are no funds given to them to do much else.

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  5. I agree with NanaDiana's comment .....it reminds me of wounds. Once we have a wound that heals over, we deal with the scar / we don't re-open the wound and pour salt in it!
    You do what you have to do / we all do. Depression, anxiety, etc...we've all had it to some degree or another. I am more prone to anxiety..when I was younger sometimes I'd have skipped heartbeats or palpitations due it it. One of my kids had a very scary panic / anxiety attack a few years back...I was in the med express with him thinking that he'd overdosed on some drug it was so crazy. And we carry our stress in places that all differ too. I always have a stiff neck ( from being a stubborn fool ? :) or back troubles while others develop ulcers...so one young man has to touch the ground and his problem is seen yet another might be all twisted up inside and it is unseen so one assumes that person is the sane one.

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    1. Yes, the young man who touches the ground carries his demons outwardly. But I think of the ones that outwardly look normal and are allowed to purchase a gun. And that's what scares me. That is literally a recipe for disaster.

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  6. Thank you for sharing. Your personal insights are always so meaningful and heartfelt.

    I, too, struggle everyday, with depression and social anxiety. You are so correct when you say medication helps but it isn't a complete remedy. It's a battle I fight hour by hour, minute by minute. And yet the battle continues.

    It takes an enormous amount of courage to write about personal agony. As I have said to you before in a different context, you are indeed my hero...

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    1. I write about it for the ones who don't have the words.

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  7. Somehow I have not been getting updates from your blog Brenda, and I came to check whether you have been updating the blog or not. To tell you the truth, all of us have our own demons and we have to deal with it. Your blog has been an inspiration for many I must add. Please feel better, click more bird pictures and share more about your garden and home. Go for small quite walks too. It helps, as does gardening as you know :-)

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    1. As soon as this weather lets up, that is where I will be!

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  8. Your post gripped me! and the following comments demonstrates you are not alone. We all have our battles and some are fighting harder than others to simply live life everyday. Thanks for the reminder and being candid. I hope I will always be supportive of those in the middle of the struggle because tomorrow, it might be me struggling.

    ~willa~

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    1. It is people like you, who realize it could just as easily have been you as them, who will be most supportive to those who suffer from it. Sage wisdom.

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  9. As a new reader I don't understand all of your demons -- but it doesn't matter. I am sending you a hug anyway. My daughter who just turned 40 has been dealing with severe panic attacks since she was 4 -- and I don't know why. Again, it doesn't matter it just hurts because as Mom I can't make it go away. I do think anxiety disorders are hereditary, her Dad had it, his Mom and sister did, too. It is a constant battle to try and find the right meds to make it all go away. Some days/weeks/months/years are better than others. Some things work for awhile but then seem to stop.... I wouldn't wish any of this on anyone. Good luck with your own journey.

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    1. I too believe it is hereditary, and that I come from a line of women who had some form of this. My demons are a personality disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and depression. Or at least that's what they tell me. And I've had them all my life.

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  10. I do not know much about the things you speak, I do not have a reason to judge anyone. I just want to offer a word of hope. Jesus can heal all hurts, praise His name, believe that all is possible and know that healing is possible. I pray you look forward to the future and leave those things in the past that you can not change! Dianntha

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    1. I do look forward. To spring when green shoots will emerge from the dirt. To birds building nests for their babies. Nature is my favorite medication.

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  11. I have a lot of depression and anxiety on my side of the family and so does my husband. As for myself, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression comes and goes. I think more people have demons than we realize...some people can hide it, other people can't.

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    1. I wish it wasn't so necessary to hide it. Then perhaps it would become more accepted. Like any other illness.

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  12. Brenda, thank you for your open and honest words. I have a brother who has many demons including depression and alcoholism. A very sweet cousin that suffers from debilitating depression. I was married to a man with so many demons that I began to fear for my life when he went off his meds. I do understand and I have great empathy for all forms of mental illness. I have bouts of depression but for the most part I am blessed that medication helps me deal with the pressures of my life. Bless you for being so honest and I hope you can find a place that you feel safe to live soon! Hugs!! Linda

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    1. I will never go off my meds. It's a domino affect for those who have done well with medication to suddenly stop them. Not to mention dangerous. For them and for those around them.

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  13. I think you handle it all well. You have nothing to be ashamed about with the family. The other side certainly has issues that aren't being addressed. You can only do so much and then have to take care of your own well being. As we have talked about, sometimes you have to make your family from supportive people in your life and let go of those that can't or won't be understanding. You are so right, we all have "something".

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    1. You know, I really don't know why shame is part of it. I guess you feel shame when you can't be what others want you to be.

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  14. Well said Brenda. I too have had a lifetime of demons. I am at a point in my life when you realize that you can defeat some of them, but you cannot defeat all of them. So you acknowledge those things that have happened in your life, live with those demons and start each day trying to ignore them. Like you said...it is what it is. Sometimes when the noise gets too loud, I go make a cup of tea! :) Big hug my friend. Diane

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    1. We may as well accept what we have found, over a lifetime, that we simply cannot change. I guess that is Stage 1. Acceptance. If only others would accept, it would make our lives so much easier.

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  15. Brenda, your commenter above hit the nail on the head. There is no peace apart from Jesus Christ. We all need Him, and the good news is He died for all people. Hope and life are available to anyone who accepts His free gift. Do you have a bible at home? Read John 10:10. It says, "The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." The "thief" is Satan, or " demons" to use your word. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy as many lives as he can! The "I" is Jesus. He wants us to come to Him and He will give us an abundant life! Some other passages to look up and read; John 3:16, John 16:33, Philippians 4:6-8, Romans 8:28. I am a living testimony of Christ's transforming power and I know He can do the same for you. I really like your blog. I've been reading for a while now but have never commented. I'm glad you are writing about the hard stuff. It does no good to keep these things bottled up!
    Take care,
    Courtney

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    1. I write about the hard stuff because I don't often see others do that. I decorate, yes, I garden, I make projects, and I suffer from mental illness. It is part of who I am. It does not mean I am not intelligent. Or less than. But others, the ones that have no tolerance, make it hard for those of us who sorely need them to tell us it's okay. We "just don't measure up to their expectations."

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    2. That reminds me of a book I just finished reading called "My Mother's Keeper". Written by a woman whose mother was Schizophrenic. Her mother was an absolutely beautiful and talented jazz singer in Houston in the late 40's. She was diagnosed in 1951 and her life unraveled from there. She became the "crazy" person everyone crossed the street to avoid. She reeked of urine from yards away. She would take her meds and get "better" and then stop taking them. She was not less than anyone else, or stupid, she had Schizophrenic. If someone has cancer, they are not considered weak or unintelligent. It is shameful that our society accepts virtually everything as normal, but continues to shame and shun those with mental illness.
      Such a profound post, thanks for writing it.

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    3. I meant she had Schizophrenia.

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  16. You have so honestly and beautifully shared your heart, your life and your truth. In reading the comments, it seems many of us, although not in the same way, have demons or as Paul describes 'thorns in our side'. Things that make us who we are, cause us to struggle and make us fully aware of our imperfections and need for Jesus! What would this world be if we were all the same and unblemished? I battle depression every day of my life. It is a moment by moment struggle that take lots of energy to fight. Yet and still, I trust in the Lord to help me be productive and to live out my days intentionally. You are brave for sharing and I'm glad I stopped by to read.

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    1. Well, it's nice to hear that some find me brave. Because most of the time, I find me the very opposite.

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  17. Christ can heal every wound to our emotions, bring healing to our physical bodies, and restore a sound mind to every person. I know from personal experience---when I came to the end of my own ability to help myself and when my hope in what others could do for me (doctors, psychologists, family members, etc.) was gone, I finally turned to God. To say I was in rough shape is an understatement. But when I finally did turn to God, arms down, head down, hopeless...He led me to Christ and I received Him as my Savior. Just some of the things He has delivered me from in the 6 years I've walked with Him: suicidal depression, anxiety, panic attacks, migraine headaches, and a myriad of physical ailments that had me hospitalized on an almost monthly basis. He is real, He is True, He can deliver you. He certainly doesn't love me more than He loves you.

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    1. I wish we could love one another without bias.

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    2. I be live this also! God is great!

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  18. Our mind controls every function in our body...only we control it...in my mind you are as close to perfect as you can be Brenda..you are kind..you are caring..and you are very intelligent...keep your mind focused on what you want and do NOT worry about what others think...we all think different about everything,,,just be happy! Carol...

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    1. What others think is not as important to me as what my family thinks. I guess that is normal. You hate to feel like a failure. Especially as a mother.

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  19. I always appreciate your honesty! I agree, that we all have our demons...maybe just in different degrees. I think you give people hope, that they're not alone.
    Susan

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    1. That is why I write about this. I don't want anyone to feel alone when so many suffer silently.

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  20. Brenda . . . I "been with you" for years now and I know that you have had some major inequities to accept and struggles to endure. I don't know why some of us are destined to spend our lives overcoming or accepting, BUT I do know it is the case for millions of us. I continue on with medication that helps and I've had some excellent therapy in my life, but I found this to be true . . . You can most certainly 'get better," but you will most likely "always walk with a limp". I, too, accept that I will live and die with my own personal demons, but that's o.k., 'cause God knows where I've been and IT IS RIGHT WITH MY SOUL. It's o.k. Marcia

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    1. What a metaphor. I will remember that. You will get better, but most likely always walk with a limp. Very well said.

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  21. Brenda...you're in my prayers. You're amazing that you can share with us so openly. I don't usually say much about my son but he has agoraphobia and panic attacks and is totally home bound. I'm so thankful for my daughter-in-law who takes such good care of him. It's a hard thing, doesn't make sense, it just is. Being his mother I want to fix him, but I can't. He takes meds and they help but they don't cure. I pray for him every minute of the day. Shelia ;)

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    1. Most of you I have privately already emailed. But Shelia, I'm so glad you brought agoraphobia into the discussion. Because that hasn't been mentioned, and so many suffer from it.

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  22. Yes you are exactly right! We all have our demons. I suffer from anxiety too and take medication for it. I understand how dibilitating it can be on your life and make you feel different from everyone else. Despite taking meds it still rears it's ugly head. It can take a long time to go away too. You don't have to make apologies to me about it. Mine is genetic. Life stresses brought it out though. I have good days and bad. I empathize with you struggling with your demons. It's no fun! I hope that therapy and meds are helping you.

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    1. Like I wrote: Genetics loads the gun. Environment and trauma pull the trigger. Not much anyone can do to change that.

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  23. Brenda, Why don't you try looking for your mother? She may be suffering too. At least give it a try. You'll never know if you don't try. You're in my prayers. Kathy

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    1. If she is alive, I feel like she doesn't want to be found. I wrote her once in my late twenties. Thought I'd get a dialogue going, and a relative had her then address. I asked her why she left me. All she wrote back was this: "It was your father's idea." That was it. She could have kept writing, but she didn't. This leads me to think she wants to be left alone.

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  24. I don't know if you ever watch a show called, "Iyanla Fix My Life." It's on the OWN channel and is fairly new. I've watched a few episodes; some of her methods I don't agree with, others, I do. I watched one recently where a young couple could no longer have intimacy because their past traumatic events kept surfacing. Both were molested as children. Iyanla was able to help them by encouraging them to make different choices whenever they thought about their past. Instead of thinking about it, she said they should "make another choice." She said it's easy for people who have such traumatic pasts to hold on to their trauma because after awhile it is the most familiar thing they have and it can even feel comfortable. But she said what they don't realize is that every time they allow themselves to think about their past trauma, they are building up another layer of debris that is hiding their heart and keeping others out. She said every time they make a different choice with their thinking, they are actually peeling away the layers and, eventually, they will be able to let other people into their hearts without fear of being hurt.

    I'm not sure that makes sense, how I attempted to describe it, and I'm certainly not sure how doable it would be, but my experience has been that we all have our own demons--some more than others. I'm grateful for the help that is available in the medical community, as well as the peace that can come from faith.

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    1. If I knew what my "trauma" was, I guess it would be easier to let go of. Somewhere in my brain knows, because of the dissociation. But apparently my brain does not think I can handle it. That's all I can figure. That, or it is must a mish-mash of things and not any one thing and therefore not anything I can pinpoint.

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  25. Brenda, I so love this about you that you are so candid with what is going on in your life. It's something that has been hidden and not dealt with for far too long in our society. I have a niece who at 50 they finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder! She would tell me that she felt like she was falling into a black hole for so many years. The family just used to think she was a little eccentric. My father took his own life when I was 19, alcohol and depression. So thank you for being willing to reveal what life is like for you, you are my hero and I think of you often and want only happiness for you.

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    1. Mental illness is not as easy for people to accept as merely being "eccentric" is. Sad, isn't it? We are not freaks of nature. We just came into adulthood with "a loaded gun of baggage."

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    1. Me too. And each time I hear it, I feel that I have failed. I can tell my family that I am doing the best I can. But I can tell my best is not good enough.

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  27. Dearest Brenda,

    Is it wrong of me to suggest that you should be considered something to the effect of 'Soulful Spokesperson' for fellow bloggers? For someone who is suffering from various demons, (who isn't?), you write with such emotional clarity on these cerebral critters that infest our thoughts and take a toll on our bodies. Personally, I don't know anyone on this planet who doesn't have some sort of demon that they deal with, either consciously or subconsciously, unless they, themselves, are UNCONSCIOUS!! Yes, some of us have fought against these demoralizing monsters, either through therapy, amazing support of family and friends or self-discussion, and have been victorious, while others are still in the battlefields, holding their predisposed rifle, trying to aim it as skillfully as they can towards their tyrannical target, hoping that this time, this or that treatment, advice, prayer or whisper will be the bulls eye of their relief.

    Thank you for being your always naturally honest and generous self. Demons and all.

    xoxo
    Poppy

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    1. I feel, metaphorically, that I have been hiding in the bushes with a gun all my life, waiting for the demon to show itself so I could kill it. But it is invisible. Your words are so symbolic and full of empathy and truth. I treasure that.

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  28. I am greatful for your honesty! I have some days of depression, but I know to go on and do my best.This past year I was saddened by selling my farm and moving to town. I have never lived in town....I hate it. My best friend listened to me complain day after day, and then told me to suck it up and move on......I just wanted a little comfort from a friend. They just don't get it, do they? Hang in there!!!!

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    1. And truly, that is the very worst thing anyone can say. I've heard it from my family so many times. I hate to say this, but she is really not much of a friend if she cannot see past her own bias and take your feelings into consideration. Maybe you could find a middle ground. Live on the edge of town? Life is too short to hate where you live. I know that for certain.

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    2. I am in the process, long process of trying.g to find a new job beforeI buy a house. I have picked out a house, just no job yet. It is now 8 months since I moved.....pray for me and I will continue to pray for you!!!!!

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  30. Brennda your post touched mmy heart and opened my eyes, we do all have demons..My daughter was diagnoised with anorexia 20 years ago,she is healthy today but still strugges with her demons.I discovered your blog a few months ago and follow it daily. Most mornings I enjoy your pictures and wongerfil post,but other times you so thoughtfully open my eyes and mind and change my way of thinking. You are not alone from your cozy home you reach out and touch so many of us God bless you Brenda!

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    1. It's good to know, that even though I don't go out much or do volunteer work anymore, that perhaps in my own way, from my computer, I maybe still do my part in helping the world be a better place. Thank you for your kind words. I don't want people to read blogs and think bloggers are perfect. I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten over the years asking that very question: Do bloggers lead perfect lives. Because it looks like it outwardly.

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  31. I'm really glad that I stumbled onto your blog this morning. My 21-yr-old son suffers from depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse. It's been a long five years for all of us, but most especially for him, I'm sure. He has also been given many diagnoses, which can be frightening in themselves. Thank you for giving us all a glimpse of what it is like from the "inside". It's hard to understand when we can't feel what you feel. I pray that someday soon there will be advances in psychiatric research and treatments. Until then, we just take it day by day. Blessings to you.

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    Replies
    1. So he was 16 at the onset? Adolescence is so hard. But now he is an adult, and it will be even harder. I empathize with your plight. I wish I had some words of wisdom. The alcohol is likely his way of coping, yet it is a depressant, and in the end will only make him feel worse. Also it's very hard to gain the full effects of the medications he probably takes for depression and anxiety, because alcohol should not be added to the mix. I feel for him. I won't drink a drop. I don't dare. But then I'm not a 21 year old boy.

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  32. I honestly don't know how you have dealt with all the things you have had to go through. Yes, we all have demons, but not to the depth that you have. You are amazing. You are able to accomplish so much . I think that's because you try so hard to overcome everything. I'm sorry that your family can't understand. Don't you think sometimes its the whole fear of what they can't change.
    My son has his med check today. He suffers from so much. He has gotten better over the years but he slips a lot. Sometimes it is so hard for him to let something little go and move forward. We help as much as we can. Just spending time with him will help. Some times though that doesn't help.
    We will be here for you. You are so brave sharing just to help others. (((((HUGS))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone always, always has it worse. You have been so loving and giving to your son. I hope he understands how lucky he is to have you as parents. With your love and support, he will at least feel that he has acceptance.

      Delete
  33. I am proud of you for putting this out there in an attempt to have others understand people who are battling demons. We all need to try and be compassionate toward others. I have a friend who has OCD to the point that she hoards. She is working on it bit by bit. I won't get into the details here, but things are piled to the ceiling. I also have several friends who have battled bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Alcoholism, too. I try to relate to them on their own levels and not expect them to measure up to some standard of behavior I set for them. I think sometimes people who can't handle these differences make it worse for the other person in an attempt to help, so i just try to let people be themselves and love them as they are. I hope, in turn, they would do the same for me.

    xo

    Sheila

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    Replies
    1. My ex had a real problem with alcohol, and I know I judged him. I knew it was something he couldn't seem to control. But the effects of it on me made me so angry in the end that I couldn't summon up much acceptance of it. It has been his undoing, both professionally and personally. And really, with his IQ, in many ways he is a brilliant doctor. Who just couldn't battle his demons.

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  34. Is it possible that your sensory problems are due to Sensory Integration Disorder?
    I have a young family member with this diagnosis. He was greatly helped with Occupational Therapy.
    It seems to be an inherited disorder. This young man has several relatives with the same diagnosis.

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    Replies
    1. You know, I have never even heard of this! I will do some research. I know once I walked into a psychiatrist's office in Texas, a first time visit. And one of the first things she said to me was: "I bet when you buy a shirt you immediately cut the tag out of the neck." I have to say I was stunned. I said: "How do you know that?" She said: "Because that's what people like you do." I have always had problems with sudden touch and even hugs, and can't wear some clothing because of the texture. I was very sensitive to sound as a child. My psychiatrist at the clinic the other day said that they see this often in children, and that they are treated with occupational therapy. Thank you for telling me this. If I hadn't written about this, I would never have had this nugget of information.

      Delete
  35. I have had panic attacks for over thirty years. It destroy my life many times. The first two years I could not go anywhere and than I found a Doctor who helped me. I was ok for about five years and than the stress brought it back. I have good years and bad years. I have been to several Doctors and been on meds. They don't help. I am trying to work on it again and I want to live and live a good life. I have hopes of traveling long distance soon and not give up like I have in the past. Thanks for the post.

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    Replies
    1. That is what is so hard. When we do better, those around us think we're "cured." What they don't know is that we'll never be cured. We will have spans of time when we are more functional. But then life will give us a kick and we will fall. It's hard to accept that. It isn't that we aren't trying. It's that it's just a bigger monster than we can beat down.

      Delete
    2. I'm replying here to Betty W. I too struggled with panic attacks and anxiety and had about a 2 year period in my life at age 34 when I cold hardly go anywhere. Then I got better (very slowly). One thing that kicked it all off was an allergy to wheat and gluten! After months of doctors, psychiatrists, etc., I finally went to a naturopath. He diagnosed the wheat allergy. Once I quit eating any form of wheat or gluten, I felt 100% better and slowly got better, lost the anxiety and agorophobia. Then 10 years later, I started eating wheat and gluten again and gradually it all reared it's ugly head again (the anxiety attacks), fears, etc. Eating the things I was sensitive to or allergic too caused so many problems! I will go into more detail on a post to Brenda, but I advise everyone with these same problems to seriously check out what your allergens are and avoid them like the plague! I have found two other wonderful helps that keep me more sane and in a much calmer and freer state of find which I'll address to Brenda in a post to her blog. I could probably write a book on my battles with anxiety and panic attacks and my search for a "cure" or an answer! But allergies play a huge part in how our body reacts to the stresses that trigger things that we aren't even aware of in our buried memories, genetics, or whatever causes these "demons" in our lives. I think the genetically altered foods of today are causing tons of problems and I also think one reason I have such a problem with certain foods is that that ARE genetically altered. Most wheat products ARE genetically altered in this day and age, so I buy only non-GMO foods. That is one little piece of the puzzle that has helped me immensely.

      Delete
  36. Well said, and yes, we all have our demons. So brave of you to speak out and share! (hugs)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we don't share, it stays locked up in a dark closet. There can be no acceptance if we don't share. Look how many comments have come from people who suffer this in some form.

      Delete
  37. Interesting post...timely...amazing how the Universe works. In my journal today there was a quote that said; " You can never predict what little things in the way somebody looks or talks or acts will set off peculiar emotional reactions in other people." Andy Warhol

    I totally get you. As I get older, home is my favorite place. My daughters are still close, but they work and are busy with their families. If I want to see them...I go to their place and I am so comfortable there. I am seeing traces of myself in them as they age. I tell them, I pray you will never have the depression that runs on my side of the family.

    I am glad you shared your feelings today.
    Love Sharon/Ks

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    Replies
    1. Sharon, I know that is what my daughters fear. One, the youngest, has already had a bad bout. I always worried that it would rear its ugly head in them. The other has problems with anger, and maybe this is just a symptom. Depression is often anger turned inward. The other is more explosive outwardly. I urged her to get help, and for awhile, she did. Last I talked to her was November, and she wants "only minimal contact." But she had at that point given up all the medication. So I have no idea how she's faring now.

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  38. I'm so happy to see that so many people responded, weighed in, gave advice and shared their personal stories. You did a great thing writing this post. Your quote about genetics and environment really gave me food for thought.

    As always, I'm hoping and praying and thinking about you. I truly know there are promising days ahead of you and I wish you all the strength in the world to keep believing that.

    XO,
    Jane

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    Replies
    1. Jane, I have to say that there has been many a time when you have written me and given me a feeling of hope and of acceptance. I want to thank you for that. You are truly a good soul.

      Delete
  39. Brenda, find your Mother and talk with her. Do not let the fact that your perents left you with your Grandmother ruin your life as it is doing. Find out her circumstances then and what was happening in her life when they did that; you may find out that you can sympathize with what happened. If not, let it be and throw away all your bad feelings for her. It will be past history and there will be no need to ever consider it again. If the address on her letter in which she answered you so many years ago, when you wrote her and asked why she had left you, is not a good address anymore, consider asking your many readers to help you in finding her and her phone number. It is pretty easy to find people online nowadays. Also, you can put her name with the word 'obituary' to see if she is deceased, and if she is, past history and don't ever think of it again. Please seriously consider this comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've already emailed you. I only think much about my mother during the month of January, her birthday. Because it's basically all I know about her.
      Brenda

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  40. Brenda,
    I have always enjoyed your blog, no matter the subject. I may not always agree, but it is always thought-provoking. I am a member of a family full of assorted mental health issues. Some of us have been able to deal with them, and some have been completely crippled. I am going to be praying for you to be given a season of peace and clarity so that you may rest and be restored to your proper health. God has blessed me with restoration from childhood incest and adulthood betrayal of a magnitude I am still amazed by. I know there is a level of healing for each of us and I am praying for it for you. Please do not give up writing; you have a God-given gift for it and your words enlighten and inspire us. I know there is a book you have to write and I am waiting to see it.
    May God bless you richly with His love and may His touch comfort you.
    Susan

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    Replies
    1. Well, if we all agreed the world would be kind of boring! I'm glad you are at peace with what happened. Sometimes it is amazing how cruel people can be. Always surprises me when I hear these things.
      Brenda

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  41. Brenda, you are so open about your private thoughts and feelings. I'm sure the connections you have made in the blogging world have helped you a great deal. We could solve many of the world's woes, if we would just face up to mental illness and make it a priority to treat those with the disease without a stigma attached to it. I've always believed that if more women were in positions of power in this country we would have a more caring and loving community that does not judge others with mental illness or addictions. Women communicate with each other and are open to ideas, not secretive as many of our male political leaders of today.

    I didn't mean to get on that subject because this is about you and I feel bad that your world is becoming smaller and smaller. I hope you can find a therapist that can help you find solutions to help resolve your fears without talking about your past. Some things are better left unsaid when dealing with our past, I thought for years I needed to discuss my inner thoughts regarding how I grew up, but I now know that will never resolve the problem because I keep thinking about it years later even after discussing it over and over, so I have found other ways to deal with it. You sound very isolated and I've read that you do yoga, so have you tried meditation? Perhaps biofeedback, I don't know what you have tried for treatment so I would not give up and accept that this is the way you are going to be. I hope you keep trying to find alternative methods of treatment. You deserve to have a supportive family that is understanding of your illness and I hope that situation improves for you. You've gotten some wonderful advice in your comments and I'm sure you have tried many things, but I hope you never give up looking for therapies that could give you a better quality of life. You have the gift of writing and there is so much to explore in this life that could be helpful to your well being. Wishing you the best.

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    1. I agree with you about your first paragraph. The saving grace about any of this for anyone is that there are good times along with the bad. It's that way with every individual. In every walk of life.

      Delete
  42. Brenda and others: thank you so much for sharing Brenda. I have followed your blog for probably a year now but did not realize the extent of your own demons. I only caught little bits and pieces here and there of feeling down or blue. I am sorry for what you and so many of us have to deal with in our lives. I responded above to Betty W. as I too have suffered with, dealt with, overcome (now and then) so many similar things, that being depression, anxiety, fears, agorophobia. I mainly wanted to reply here so you (and others who read your blog) can hear the two MAIN things that I've found that have really helped me live a calmer and easier life!

    I could write a book on what I've travelled through in this life since a younger age. My 20's seemed OK, although now that I look back, there was always an underlying sort or fear or anxiety in me. Age 34 brought on a huge panic attack where I ended up in the hospital - I thought I was going to die! I spent many years dealing with anxieties and fears and as I told Betty W., I found that my allergies to certain foods made things MUCH worse. As soon as I started eat wheat and gluten again 10 years later, it all came back.

    What I want to say is that through YEARS of research and going to different counselors, doctors, naturopaths, reading (before there was internet), and then searching the internet, I have found TWO wonderful helps for me.

    FIRST, I had believed strongly for years that I had an underactive thyroid. But... it always tested in the "normal" range! The more I read, the more I believed that all of my symptoms were from low thyroid. I had 1/2 removed when I was 40. No doctor ever prescribed a thyroid supplement. I don't have room here to go into the years I literally begged doctors to try my on a thyroid supplement! Bottom line is: I finally found a medical doctor in Vancouver, WA who was an ear, nose and throat doctor who FINALLY agreed to prescribe something for me. It was Armour Thyroid which is a "natural" thyroid supplement. A naturopath had told me about it but she couldn't prescribe it... a doctor had to. That had been years before. I finally found an M.D. who was very "into" alternative treatments! I was thrilled. That was 3 years ago and taking the Armour Thyroid has done absolute WONDERS for me in the areas of depression, extreme fatigue, anxiety, fears and having such a tight circle around me of where I felt comfortable. I knew how important this type of thyroid supp was when a current doctor (moved to a new area) refused to prescribe the Armour Thyroid because "it's an old medicine and we have newer things now". I pleaded with him to keep me on what "is not broke so don't try to fix it". But he wouldn't. He did say if I tried it for a few weeks and it didn't work, then he'd go back to the Armour Thyroid. Well... needless to say, after 3 weeks I was a wreck! All the old things came back.. the fears, the feeling of being tense and aggitated, the depression and the worst thing, the anxiety! He did put me back on it and I'm happy to say, I'm feeling as "normal" as possible for me!

    SECOND: (please go to my next post as this post was too long).....

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  43. SECOND: (my previous post is continued here): I found a wonderful therapy called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technology) introduced to us in the U.S. by Gary Crraig. I could write another book on how this method has been INVALUABLE to me in dealing with my anxieties that had caused me to go to hospital ER rooms more times than I care to count. His website is: emofree.com. It is wonderful. I have read extensively his website information, interviews, cases, etc. I found an EFT counselor (in Portland, OR) who I went to a few times and she helped me go through the process. It is VERY emotional. There ARE EFT counselors all over the U.S. I strongly urge anyone with so many of these mental issues to find one. Another wonderful website is for Nick Ortner at www.thetappingsolution.com. He is not a doctor or anything but has experience with EFT and is teaching it worldwide. He has a book (or several) called The Tapping Solution, plus a DVD that goes with it. I watched that DVD and read the book, and that, plus actually going to the EFT certified counselor, has changed my life! We can do the "tapping" or EFT on ourselves, any time we need help to get past an anxiety attack, or pain attack, or fear, or whatever it is. I've used it extensively for the last 5 years on myself. It is very easy and amazing how it works. I would be at work, have an anxiety attack, and go into the bathroom and sit on the toilet and do the tapping on myself.. and within minutes, be able to go back out and work, where before EFT, I would have to go home (or to the hospital!).

    These two things have been life changers for me, plus I'm working on forgiveness for the ones who have hurt me throughout the years (forgiveness definitely cleans our souls), and for the ones who hurt me that I don't even remember. I too have years of blocked memories where I've been told something very traumatic happened to me. I will accept that I don't remember but forgive.

    If anyone wants more info about the Armour Thyroid and the EFT, I would be happy to help. My email is on my blog.

    You are so strong Brenda and a huge inspiration to so many! I don't know why some of us are chosen to have to carry these burdens and demons, but it's probably because we are strong and we fight for our lives!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Physical problems should certainly be ruled out first, absolutely. And yes, you must forgive. Because you're only hurting yourself when you don't.
      Brenda

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  44. I don't know that containing oneself in a small world is necessarily such a bad thing. We are not all wired to be party animals, or even somewhere in between. I have suffered depression off and on at various periods of my life, but I have never accepted meds. I had therapy a few years, but honestly, I think a lot of mine was brought on by my family's obsession with religion as the answer to everything. It is not. In my opinion, it is basically just another crutch -- and that can be a good thing if that works for you. But when the teachings of a religion skew every decision you make, and the decisions are not always good ones, it can totally destroy your life. And I know all too well that feeling of being a disappointment to others, never measuring up.

    I agree with the therapist who told you to "leave it alone" when it comes to your birth mother. I also agree with that commenter who talked about leaving certain things in the past. You cannot undo it, so you just keep on doing the best you can. If the best you can means staying in a safe place most of the time, then so be it.



    ReplyDelete
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    1. Well, that certainly makes me feel better anyway! The doctor the other day told me that some people are just this way. They don't know why. Like you said, just how they're wired.

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  45. The world IS a better place because you are in it! And your are far, far far away from being a failure.

    janeintexas

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    Replies
    1. I guess it's because mothers are usually blamed for near everything. Or possibly it's the fact that we come from the womb. I think about my mother, but my father rarely is in the equation. I suppose we all feel that we've failed our children in some way.

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  46. Hi Brenda. I appreciate your willingness to share such details of your life. Yes, I and other members of my family battle with demons. Some realize it, some don't. It's a challenge. I have mild depression, and mild anxiety, but do not take medication. At times, I get too focused on bad experiences in the past, and I get very sad. For me, the best quick way to get out of a funk is to find something to laugh about -- really have a big belly laugh -- or to go outside for a walk or get some other quick simple exercise. Of course, sometimes I get pretty down before I remember to do this. One night, my husband and I played a silly form of the basketball game Horse, but we used some plastic coffee can lids and a cooler, and threw the lids like they were little Frisbees. We discovered it was much harder than we expected, and we laughed a lot at our mistakes. Yesterday, even though it was freezing, we went out for a walk. We bundled up, and discovered several other people out walking. I wondered if they just liked to walk, or were they feeling sad and needing a quick exercise fix too? You never know. I have gone to therapy maybe four different times over the years. The first two times, I was at points where I was too distraught over the current events in my life to really be able to listen to anything the therapists said, and to comprehend it. I just rattled about things going on. Since then, I have gone to some sessions on two different occasions to learn how to better cope with a challenging relationship with a relative. I was better able to listen, and really think about what the therapist said, and I think I've made some progress. There's an underlying sadness that probably isn't ever going to go away, but, the fact that I'm willing to try activities for temporary relief is a really big step for me, rather than me just sitting around brooding. I still do brood a lot, but I catch myself now and get out of it for longer periods of time.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have always told my daughters this: The one thing I know for sure I gave you is the gift of laughter. Laughter cures a lot. Their father didn't laugh much. I have always had much laughter in my life as an adult. There is always something one can find to laugh about. And research has proved that it is good for your health. That, and the yoga stretching grounds me. I start my day with it, and again in the evening to wind down and put away the day so I can focus on sleep. Don't think I could do without it after 17 years.

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  47. That's interesting about the tapping. In SID children are brushed to calm them, so it sort of makes sense that some forms of anxiety would be helped by tapping.

    Great discussion, Brenda. XOXO

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    Replies
    1. I think it is possibly a component with autism too, isn't it? Repetition?

      Delete
  48. Brenda, you know the questions. You do not need to know the answers. Think of the game show Jeopardy. You are in control since you know the questions. Your life is filled with lovely things. The answers could cause more pain. When you realize that you may be able to let go of the past and build an even healthier life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I've come to believe. I write about it so that it might help others who are suffering. My thought is that whatever one has, or has to deal with, should be used to educate. I am very big on education.

      Delete
  49. "est" ( Erhard Seminars Training not electroshock therapy) was the most transformational experience of my entire life. Psychologically brutal but
    ultimately freeing. After describing
    something horrific in childhood, the
    est trainer shouted "So?".
    I proceded to further explain and he
    moved closer and shouted "So? And
    I tried to explain again. He came
    closer to me shouting then screaming
    "So?". ......And then I had my
    breakthrough! It was like I had been
    under water and finally broke
    surface and took a breath of air.
    "So? " A life liberating concept,
    indeed. By giving "it" ( the childhood
    event) so much power to affect my
    life, i found that I was actually
    guarding, validating "it" for affecting me so deeply instead of trashing "it". At that moment, I let go of "it" and my life was forever altered,changed. On rare occasions I do look myself in the mirror and say "So?" but my life has remained changed, transformed for the better.
    However, whenever I try to tell people
    about my experience, they hear the
    word "est" and start rolling their
    eyes, humming the Twilight Zone
    theme or making "hippie" type
    comments. Oh yes, then there are
    the ones who ask about the nude hot
    tub which is Esalen Institute NOT
    "est". Apparently there is not only
    prejudice against people who suffer
    with psychological issues but
    prejudice concerning where they find
    their help.
    Oh, because an MD said it, why it
    must be so. Pah! Doctors frequently
    tell patients to " let it alone" because
    they think they, the patients, are to
    weak to handle things will come
    undone, think they're not making progress, switch doctors and there goes their billing hours.
    Remember there is an MD behind
    these peoples names and not a St.
    (Saint) in front of them. By taking
    control of "it", I did grow stronger
    aided by someone who had no MD
    behind his name. Everyone is
    different ; we each will find our own
    way. And that way should be
    respected.
    'If you don't have "it", "it" has you".
    ( old est saying)

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    1. I won't ever discount anything that helps someone. If it works, that's all that matters.

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  50. Rules of clearing out clutter. When you recognize some thing is not useful to you, it is trash and or garbage so you let it go. If some thing is broken and cannot be repaired, you let it go.

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  51. I see you have had lots of comments. Hopefully, they are all encouraging ones to you. I have dealt with similar issues with my daughter and other family members. It is in our family. I had never heard (or thought) of mental illness until we were so close to it. Now, I can "see" it in so many others. Little things that others might just pass off as "they are so eccentric", or " they are just trying to hurt me", etc.. My daughter has bipolar disorder. It affects everything she does. Do I love her? Yes. Does she always know I love her? No. Not because I don't tell and show her, but because she interprets the things I do differently than I or others might. Sometimes, she just doesn't hear or see what I say or do for her because of her mental state at the time. We are raising her children. We try to keep her in their lives for both she and them. I have seen the pain of children separated from their parents. As long as it is possible, I will strive to give them their mother's love (from her) and hopefully help them to know it is not their fault she is not with them all the time. It is not hers either. Their father also has many problems. I could count on my hands how many times he has visited them in the last two years. We don't talk bad about him. We just try to let them enjoy whatever time he gives them. They know though. You can see it in their faces. They hug us a little more. A friend of ours stopped by yesterday. The oldest grandchild told her, "You come to see us all the time because you love us!" A lot of wisdom from an almost 5 year old. The people who may push you away sometimes are the ones who need you the most. I have learned to ignore the pushing away of some people. I don't push back, I just slip on in behind them and try to hold them up. (Some ways to do this: cards, emails, send a special package, etc. to build up to : phone calls and brief visits. Show them you can be trusted and you will NOT share information about them with others unless they okay it.) I do appreciate your honesty and bravery in writing such personal posts. I can't wait for spring to see all your pictures of birds and flowers!

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    1. You are very wise and compassionate. You are doing the best thing for those children. Growing up, I was taught to hate a mother I didn't even know. It is good you do not put their father down. I have seen the harm a personal agenda does to children. They need to feel safe, and it is readily apparent you are doing that for them. They know something is wrong, they just don't understand what yet. That uncertainty wears on a child. Children are pretty transparent.

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  52. My brother is a 46 year old drug addict that cycles through ups and downs. I do not know what triggered a 30 year addiction, but assume something did.

    I work in a group home with individuals with Autism and one in particular is very ritualistic. Aside from my job and my brother, I have not known many people with mental illnesses. Growing up in an evangelical church, mental illness was taboo. I now believe that mental illness is real indeed. It is sad that so much of society still just thinks of the mentally ill as crazy.

    I hope in time you are able to get out more and that your relationships will be restored.

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    1. I grew up in church. It was loud and scary to me. It was something I feared. It is very harmful to declare that mental illness does not exist. What makes them think this? Because they can't see it? Just makes me so angry because that affects people who believe their tenets, which can bring a person to despair, with that kind of thinking. A lot of harm can be done in the name of "religion." How sad.

      Delete
    2. My own father(whom I love dearly) told me to "just get rid of that stuff" when I mentioned my doctor had prescribed medication for depression. About 10 years ago, around the time my father said this, I thought truly that I would end up hospitalized. I went to my pastor(whose own friend told him that his daughter had Down syndrome because he did not have enough faith) who looked at me and said "Theresa, I have to wear glasses because I have bad eye sight, does that mean I do not have enough faith?" I replied "of course not, how ridiculous!" He said "Exactly, and you have a mental illness that you need medication for." Period, end of discussion. I have never looked at mental illness the same since. My parents still are reluctant to say that mental illness is real, but they no longer glibly tell me to "just pray about it" as though I hadn't been doing exactly that. I believe talking to my pastor all those years ago was my answer to prayer.

      Delete
    3. Thank goodness for him. Thank goodness.

      Delete

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