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Around The Bend

Thread starter #193
Images like these began to speak to me long before the I started having flashbacks of the traumatic near-drowning in the river with my little sister. I never understood what saved us. Was it an angel? Was it me?

It may also seem corny but to someone who's lived through it, the scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in which Harry saves himself but thinks that the spirit of his father saved him, also speaks to the confusion of trauma. Who saved me? Was it me?

I'm not sure why saving oneself is paradoxical, but it is to a child. I'm glad J.K. Rowling wrote about this paradoxical feeling. It's also a classical theme in American Literature, "Be your own father." Independence.
Thread starter #194
I just read that early menopause is caused by having shingles. This might explain why I have hot and cold flashes and got heavy periods and other menopause symptoms young (mid 30s).

I should have my estrogen levels tested.
Thread starter #195
Although apparently, I'm becoming increasingly phobic of all medical professionals, as both my abusers are that. I mostly got off all drugs because I do not want to go to medical appointments.

I have no desire to go for any reason.
Thread starter #196
Lately, what seems to be happening is that I feel inadequate as a mother, a wife, and as a teacher.

I am feeling very tired now that I'm working. Typically, I come home hungry and exhausted. My husband has made food. We all eat and watch a TV program. I spend the evening doing very little, other than dishes or helping with homework, or just being a couch potato.

I'm not sleeping well. I wake at 3 or 4 and can't always fall back to sleep. I wake up having child-like nightmares, so that is trauma-based to my history.

For the last year, I have been more stable because I have nothing to do with my family of origin.

My grandmother, mother, sister, and niece (all women except me) have Bipolar with psychotic features.

It seems that the violence has escalated due to my sadistic father's influence.
My mother did much harm and tried to kill us more than once. My sister has randomly attacked people since she was pre-verbal.

I'm learning about Bipolar, which is helping me to process what has contributed to my PTSD due to lack of basic care at home after traumas, and traumas at home and church at the same time.

Some things that now make sense watching my sister growing up:

1. forgetfulness; brain fogs; forgetting very important personal items everywhere.
2. random attacks on others
3. delusions. My sister assuming I have the same delusions or that her delusions are the truth and the reality everyone else has is wrong.
4. anger that builds in mother or sister over about three days until they are raging and throwing things, verbally abusive, and physically assaulting.
5. high mania in which mother or sister thinks she is single-handedly saving the world with no qualifications
6. people sensed, like I did, that there was something "wrong" about my sister, and bullying or excluding her
7. My mom and grandma must have recognized their disorder in my sister, because they rejected her in favor of me (also a narcissism trait of having favorites & scapegoats)
8. sudden spending sprees or stealing sprees or sex addiction
9. anorexia, and other eating disorders
10. they knew they were disordered, even way back prior to Bipolar as a diagnosis, and they became dependent on the wrong sort of men.

I guess I could make this list longer but it all hurts so much.

Today, it occurred to me that they don't want to have Bipolar and to feel empathy for the fact they have this. However, from my end, they are or appear far happier than the people they continue hurting. The damage in my life is so bad that they very thought of them is painful.
Thread starter #197
Savior stress...

I want to express this notion that I have carried around. A colleague with PTSD told me that for abused children, now adults, with PTSD or trauma issues, the order of the day is to dispense with the idea that "one is special." That living through the traumas makes us special. We are people who lived through traumas. Only the ego thinks we are special for it. It's not really true.

After I used my right hand to wield a smooth river stone as a weapon to defend my sister's life, and my life, when being drowned by our mother, my right hand shook.

I dissociated at the point that it became clear we were being driven home and her fit of rage had passed. We were safe for now, but for how long?

I can now feel the fatigue in the muscles of my right arm as I type this as if I just finished hitting her, over and over, as hard as I could.

My poor right arm had to do that. Something I was ashamed it had to do to save us. It shook because, How could I hit my own mother? How could I not care in that instant if I killed her?! My mom?

My mom's bipolar meant that she could be a wonderful, charming person one day and a raging banshee the next. It was frightening living with her neglect and changing moods.

In many flashbacks, I think I travel to the part I dissociated, and connecting now to that feeling, I sense the feeling of doom, of When will I have to defend us again. Next time, and next time, and next time.

I also think this explains a lot of my "caregiver fatigue" that isn't really justified by my current lifestyle. Sure being a working mom is exhausting, but I have a lot of support. I sometimes think PTSD is the only reason for my fatigue. But I know deep down that I have the emotional set point of carrying around the burden of having to think and act like a first-responder for my younger siblings for 18 years. I still feel this way.

I still feel like everyone will die if I don't remain vigilant.

I catch the hypervigilance, and I try to shut it off with laziness. Truly, I do CBT type of reframing and examining the core beliefs.

I say, that isn't real. It felt real then, but it wasn't fully real when I was feeling it then. I had PTSD at age 5, so I was hypervig then, too. I didn't have to feel that way to survive, and it was the PTSD talking.

Still is mostly now. There have been times my PTSD brain has saved lives, but it's costing mine.
Thread starter #198
There was a time in my 20s when I did daily Yoga for an hour with a meditation at the end. I was vegan, too. I felt light and clear.

I began to experience energy and thoughts differently. I would see things more often that I couldn't explain to others, and later read in a mystic's biography that I was seeing the spinning 8th chakras above people's crowns, the highest chakra that connects them to the archetypal realm that Plato and others talk about, the realm of "Forms."

There was growth but like all purely spiritual growth, it was abstract and meaningless to me and others. So what if I saw auras and chakras? I learned nothing from those experiences other than that people on a certain path see the same things without intending to. I don't know why that matters.

Meanwhile, I do believe that it is necessary to remember one's childhoods fully and to explore our history intimately, even though for most people, that is a heart-wrenching and physically exhausting and painful rending of the emotional body. It is a journey that takes us into our personal hell.

Years before the 2015 flashback in which I recalled being electrocuted, tortured, I had a dream. I was to cross a bridge alone at night. No vehicle could take me across the dangerous river. I walked across the dark bridge. A storm and wind came and lashed at me. I was almost blown off the bridge into the water. I fell onto the bridge and gripped it with my arms and legs to hold on for dear life. The bridge became electrified and I was being electrocuted by it. I felt that I would now die and never see my husband or children again. I felt an acceptance that death was now coming for me.

Suddenly, I heard a shout and looked up above the water and the night's darkness to see a ladder descending, with three men in overalls and dark beards coming towards me. They were workmen, thin, a father and two sons. They lifted me up and saved me from the pain of my nightmare.

Years later, I would have flashbacks tell me that my mother tried to drown my sister and I in a river in a storm by a bridge in my hometown, in the Snoqualmie River. Before that trauma, however, I was electrocuted to the point that I thought I was being killed and began to black out and have a near death experience.

These traumas combine often. They are the two hotspots in which I felt "I am going to die now" and never see my loved ones here again.

The three carpenters might symbolize my two grandfathers and my husband. They were all woodworkers by hobby. They all love to work with their hands. They all have saved me in some way, emotionally.
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Thread starter #199
There was another hotspot trauma that I've had a flashback to, the one when my father came into our room at night and cocked his shotgun. I thought then that he was going to kill us dead with one of his many guns.

He ended up raping my sister, but I went stiff as a board and fell to the floor and was paralyzed with fear yet with my senses alarmingly acute, so that I had to feel the bed shake and hear the sounds with no mercy. :(


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I am so horrified and appalled at what you and your sister suffered and endured for so many years. I sure wish I had a magic want to zap all of the painful,, horrific flashbacks that you are getting. I think you are very brave to do the work of recovery.

The simple fact that you are as functional as you are in spite of this ongoing hell is a praise of your inner strength.

I admire and believe you to have such a beautiful spirit within you. That must have taken so much out of you to write this down.:hug::cry::cry::cry:
Thread starter #201
Thank you, Gizmo.

I keep writing it down. I feel like a broken record, but I know that Anthony and others are correct that each time, all else being equal, it does get just a bit easier. I get triggered, but I expect to, and it passes faster.

This was described as transferring the memory from physical to narrative memory or something like that.

You know, it's enough to handle the memories I now have gathered together to know what my childhood was like. I really don't want any more. I have enough to deal with from the knowledge I have so far. Since it's all so upsetting, I really hope that means I got the worst of it by now.

Everything says that they peel in order of trauma, from least to worst. That has been true for me. The last ones were worst so far, most physically painful and most "death" oriented. So hopefully, that means that was it. Much of my problems or physical anxiety problems have had less of a hold over me.

What I notice more of with PTSD now is the ingrained core beliefs of negativity about life and myself and the inability to feel lighthearted or calm. I also have the wound up feeling all the time, still. Very tightly wound.

Thank you for reading. That is just a lot of support right there. I appreciate how you are supportive and have a light touch. I could work on that. I want to be a kind person. I work on it, but I focus on the negative too much, too self-critical and just plain old serious. :rolleyes:
Thread starter #202
When I wonder how my mother could have tried to kill her daughters so close to the road--our car could have been noticed by anyone passing--and risk being caught, or when I wonder what she planned to do after she killed us, I draw blanks.

But now that I realize that the entire female line in my family is bipolar and having read this from a bipolar online: "During my mania, I have this attitude that nothing matters. There will be no consequences for any actions I do. At the time, I believe there will be no one I have to answer to either" I now see that none of that "sane" stuff mattered to her then.
Thread starter #204
Thank you, Gizmo.

I'm the only female in my family line who did not use drugs or get diagnosed Bipolar, but I have been in therapy and definitely have PTSD.

My post above was coming to grips with how my mom could do that. I guess Bipolar with my mom and sister and grandma has demonstrated to me the above statement by a stranger, that there is no thought of the consequences to behavior when manic.

I never knew what was wrong with my relatives or why they acted so violent, angry, or extremely over-confident, like they could single-handed save the world, (and they have said things like that often) at times.

Knowing that Bipolar plays a large role helps me, I guess, understand more. Not forgive, but understand.
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