Sadielady3's Diary

Sadielady3

Confident
There were a number of things I should have gotten done today. Grades are due at school by Sunday, paperwork for my special education responsibilities, and other professional responsibilities. I also found out that my schedule was changing starting next week. Work has been knocking on my door today but I didn't answer. I've been much calmer today and deeply contemplative.

I think it's possible that the phone call with my mom Wednesday night triggered a lot of negative feelings in me on Thursday. I've tried to set down boundaries with her but she ignores them or acts like a petulant child about them. L and I talked about that today and she asked me how many more years will I allow my mother to control me. It's a pretty valid question I think. After getting my graduate degree, I purposely took a teaching job two states away from her to get some physical distance. I'm nearly 40 years old and have been married for a few years now. I don't rely on my mother for anything anymore. In theory, she should have no control. While the phone call on Wednesday was pretty dramatic compared to normal, I think me screaming into a phone to get her attention was pretty telling. I think her constantly interrupting me and ignoring me completely was also pretty telling. But I think that even if she died tomorrow, she'd still be controlling me. I think I'll always hear all of the things she's said to me over the years echoing through my mind.

I thought about my dad and how I had a really good relationship with him. He genuinely loved me and always supported my decisions as I got older, even if he didn't agree with them. He respected me as having my own life to live (even said as much once). Although I always hope that if he was still around he'd like my husband or be proud of the career I have now, I don't feel like he necessarily influences my choices. I didn't stop to think if my dad would approve of my husband before I married him. I married him and hoped that if there is an afterlife and if he's watching, that he liked him. I've had a lot of boyfriends over the years but never really believed any of them would last. I knew early on that my husband was different. I was scared to introduce him to my mom, not because I thought he wouldn't measure up but because she'd be critical and make me feel bad about my choice. Turns out she likes him far more than me. Not sure which situation would have been more hurtful, if I'm being honest.

I mentioned to L also about the possibility that I might fail at therapy and that I may feel like I run out of livable options. She said that the thought had occurred to her too but as much as she'd really love for me to be around that she sees the tremendous amount of pain that I'm in. She said that she doesn't believe trying to go my own way will ultimately be any better. She said that with therapy at least I stand a chance. She feels that I have nothing to lose. I guess I'd always thought that I'd ruled out suicide as a viable option but maybe all of my passive suicidal tendancies were always going to catch up to me and I just couldn't see it as clearly as people around me could.

I, of course, also contemplated therapy. The transference stuff is horrible but good in a way. I've never had transference with a therapist before and from what I understand, it only happens to this degree when there's a real connection. From what I also understand, the brain does this in therapy when there's unresolved issues that need to be played out. Maybe playing out this scenario will give me the freedom from 80% of the control of my mother. Honestly, I'd probably be a lot happier if it was even 50%. I'm like a little bird standing in the open door of my cage but because I never learned to fly, I just can't seem to leave my prison. Maybe trying to fly will be fatal but is it worth spending my life in a prison when I could instead fly?

As for my T, well, none of my anguish is really about him but I already knew that. I'm looking for an excuse to get out of this. It's not that I don't want to get better and if anyone can help me get better, I think he is one of those select few people who can, but it's that pervasive fear that I can't get better. Too much has happened and too much time has passed. I feel so very old all of the time- like I've lived a thousand lifetimes. I feel so very tired. It's exhausting living life the way I have been for as long as I can remember, possibly my whole life. I'm tired of living my life based around the approval of someone who will never really love me because she is incapable. I don't have the tools to break the chains around my soul but maybe my T does. Maybe he can help me acquire a set of what I need to do this. I don't imagine I'll be soaring through the sky anytime soon but maybe I could at least make it to the windowsill. Maybe I could take a peak around at the world and see that it's not as bleak as I always thought it was from inside the cage. And maybe, with a whole lot of luck, I can feel good enough to actually feel like I deserve to take in the view.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
That was some powerful honesty Sadie!!! And it's true. You have nothing to lose by doing this.

It's a process. Sometimes a long process.

You haven't asked about me, but I'm going to share some things. At fourty, you are not old, even tho it feels that way. I am 70 and have been searching for my truth since I was in my early 20's. I've been on this forum for a number of years. I have friends here that we have grown and stuggled and laughed together.

I have been in 'maintence' for a while. But I had this place to come to when things went left and left me stranded with PTSDbrain.

My son commited suicide on Jan 12, this year. I STILL have PTSD. So it has been and still is a struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. But, had I not done the work to find out who I am really, what I stand for, set many boundaries with many people, went no contact with my whole insane family over the years because I DESERVE peace and a decent life. I would not have made it as long as I have.

But I would not have known that had I not taken the risks in therapy, off and on for many years. Different T's for different issues because there were no Trauma T's when I first started this journey. I was in my early 40's when I was diagnosed. What a relief. At last, I had a directtion to go.

So what I'm saying to you is, none of us WANT to face all those feelings. None of want to feel those feelings. And we all start with hating ourselves and have too many questions and not enough answers.

I truly hope you chose yourself over your fear. A lot of healing is done by 'unlearning' what we have been taught about ourselves. And rewiring our brains to accept new ways of dealing with upsets.

I wish you well in your life, regardless of what way you chose to go. We all deserve some happiness and peace of mind.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
@ladee , I actually did know some of your story but not as much as you shared. Thank you for sharing. I've peaked at your journal a few times but as yours is rather long at this point, I haven't been able to read the entire thing. I personally don't have children (never wanted them and actually can't have them) so I don't entirely understand your pain but I can imagine it's deep and beyond difficult. I didn't know what to say when I read that part of your story but my heart broke for you.

I don't know that my T specializes in trauma per se but he does do EMDR so he must have some training in trauma, I would think. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be for me if I couldn't find someone who understands trauma. You've persevered through all of that. I personally find you inspiring.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Many people here do EMDR. I personally did not have it available to me those many years ago. I don't know that I would have gone that route even had it been available. I had too much responsibility to be able to process that intensely. But I've only known one person it didn't work for and that was because she was a sociopath.

So, again, you do get to have a say in your treatment plan. If you need to go slower, then tell him that. Just own that you are reluctant and you can still take baby steps. The mode of healing is up to you.

I do 'feel' you being calmer about the possibility of moving forward. I've found that a lot of my anxiety was because I simply needed to make a decision. Do it or don't. Even in living matters that I approached with reluctance and anxiety.

None of us begin this healing journey thinking or believing we deserve to have a better emotional life. But you are sharing with your friend, sharing here, trying to give your options thought. That is a good thing.

The sad thing about our situation is that either way is painful. Dragging the past around and it affecting everything we do, say, think, and feel. Or the pain of healing. It's not fair. There is no balance there. But we do have to have hope. Or at least I do.

And suicide is always an option. For each of us. You don't have to let go of that option. Because we all know we need a way out if it gets too bad.

I really like the visual of being the bird in the cage. At least your door is open. And if it takes time to venture out, that's ok. But giving yourself that choice is healty and wise. To travel or not. I hope you hang on to that idea of the bird in the cage. It will really help you to gauge your own growth. I've seen growth in you just in our few interactions here.

Our journey of healing is about getting our power back from all those that have hurt us. It takes courage we didn't know we had. But you can do this Sadie, in your own way, in your own time.

Wishing you success what ever you choose.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
I had a long talk with my husband tonight about therapy and where I am at. Surprisingly, he took the "suicide as a way out if things get too bad" a lot better than I would have expected. He smiled sadly and said that he knows I don't enjoy life and that I'm not happy. He wishes he could change that but that he knows that there is nothing he can do to make me enjoy life.

We talked about the way that trauma changes the electrical currents of the brain, that my brain is just not normal. It might not be able to be rewired.

We talked about my dysfunction in my relationships with people and how I run away from potential friendships the minute I feel judged. We did clear up a misunderstanding about a former friend that I ended my friendship with and why I really was justified in ending that friendship (the friendship got abusive and I deserve to be treated with respect). But he had a point about other situations.

We talked about how I have not been wasting my time in therapy but instead been building the relationship I need. I had realized that I'm not being very forthcoming with my therapist and had been leaving important things out in conversations with him. My husband told me to be gentler with myself- I hadn't been lying to my therapist and it takes time to really be able to tell someone the big stuff. Also, it's because of the work I'd been doing with my T that this bigger stuff came to the surface. I wasn't consciously aware of the trauma that has been controlling my life until recently and there was no way I could have talked about it before I recognized it.

We talked about issues I have with not being able to email my T. I belong to an HMO and anything I send him via email can be seen by anyone with access to my medical file. I don't want to disclose the world to every person I work with there from my regular doctor to my gynecologist or even an appointment scheduler. He feels that it might be helpful to mention this to my T. Feeling like I don't have a good way to reach out between sessions if I'm in crisis to let my T know that is not a good situation. My husband thinks that I also need to get over my reluctance to use the Urgent Care T service if needed. I feel like I don't want to be *that* person but he feels like if I'm in crisis, I really need to have something as a safety net. These are good points I hadn't thought to bring up.

We talked about how long therapy will take me. We agreed that it's going to be a long journey and it's possible I'll always be in therapy. We also discussed the possibility that my current T is just the beginning of the journey and at some point it may be necessary to switch Ts for a different style or approach. Or perhaps just to build trust with a new person to get more experience with this skill. This is not an immediate concern- I think my current T is going to be able to help me for quite some time. But what does the end of therapy look like?

My husband recognizes that lately I've been on one hell of a rollercoaster ride. I told him that I felt like it has been a couple of years. He agreed but said that the last few weeks have been especially rough. I think that's saying a lot since I had to be pulled out of work last January due to a mental breakdown. Apparently I'm struggling more now. Maybe it's all of the therapy I'm doing that's keeping me afloat these days. Maybe that's why the strong reaction of everyone- friends, husband, psychiatrist- is happening.

I guess my biggest takeaway from this conversation was that, as much as I know I'm not really doing okay, other people can visibly see it right now. Usually I can hide my pain better underneath my mask. Maybe I have really reached that point where even the mask isn't enough anymore.

I committed to my husband that I will absolutely stick with the therapy. Especially when he acknowledged the suicide part without trying to convince me not to if things get too bad. It was helpful to me to know that he understands the stakes with this for me. I sincerely hope that I can find ways to heal. I would love to have a life that I enjoy at least sometimes. I am not giving up. But it's nice to know that if I really need to, it's a last resort option and I don't have to just slog through this pain endlessly if it can't get better.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
A very beautiful post Sadie!!! So happy to hear your husband is so understanding and supportive. That is a beautiful thing to read.

Reading your post just made me feel so good inside. Knowing that even if 'not right now' you don't know you are worth what this is going to take, you are still willing to try. And that is being half way there!!!

Just super proud of you for allowing him to know how things are. And thank you for sharing 'hope'. We all need that. Even in someone elses diary!!!

Very happy for you!!
 

Sadielady3

Confident
Resolving my dilemma with therapy has cleared my mind today. I've been getting work done in respectable amounts and plan to get more done in a bit (needed a break).

I've decided that I no longer care if my therapist likes me. Brave words to say when I haven't seen him in days. I relate it to my work with my students. I had a young lady last year that I worked with who was on the autism spectrum. Normally, my school gives me the autism kids because I relate well to them and genuinely like them. Not this one. I was her absolute favorite person that she came to see every day, multiple times a day. She would have happily stayed with me at all times. I just couldn't make myself like her. She was extremely emotional and clingy. She also had no sense of humor whatsoever (most students with autism do have a sense of humor, it's just different from other students). But I had the skills to work with her and genuinely loved her because I could see a kind and gentle soul in there. I just didn't like her. I was an effective teacher/case manager for her and she made good progress throughout the year. I also enjoyed working with her due to the success of the partnership- I found it rewarding.

So my T not liking me cannot be an excuse I try to go back to. It's irrelevant.

When I was being referred to the IOP program, there were two locations I could have gone to. Both were about the same distance from my house. My T, who had only met me once, insisted I go to location A because he knew people at location A and could keep track of me much easier there. He squeezed me into an appointment before I went back to work to make sure I was okay. He squeezed me into an appointment recently when I was in crisis. He always checks that I have another appointment before I leave at the end of a session. He's been paying attention to me and picks up on things that I'm not even seeing. He doesn't support me other times because I don't tell him the stuff going on. I need to trust him more with big stuff. He has been consistent. He may not like me but he has proven that he does care. Caring about my well-being is what actually matters.

I know my insecurities with self-worth are why I feel like I am a bother to him. This is literally his job and he could transfer me out if he didn't feel up to this. These are things I need to remember. And maybe the truth is that I just have to work my way through these feelings. Maybe it's part of the healing process. It's a gnawing feeling though. It makes me feel bad about going to therapy. But I'm going to go. Anything worth doing is hard.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
I worked really hard today and I fell short. I did not come anywhere near completing all of my grading before the midnight cut off. I feel bad about this. Luckily, I have graded many, many more assignments for my class than other teachers have so in truth, the missing assignments wouldn't have made a huge difference for most students anyway. Yet, I feel like I let my co-teacher down. Of course, he doesn't bother to make any real effort to grade anything in our classes and he gives the students these huge assignments that take forever to grade. Makes it really difficult to keep up.

I have an interesting relationship with him. I'll call him S. S is about ten years older than me but has been teaching for about 20 years longer than I have. When I first started working with him, he was really nice to me. He's still kind to me but he uses me at this point. Somewhere along the way he decided that I was competent enough to do his job. And then I burn out and resent him for it. This isn't just a distance learning issue. When we were still in the building last year he constantly called out sick or left early. Sometimes he didn't even communicate these things to me. He'd just leave me to figure it out. The day I returned to work from IOP after I'd been out for a month he called in sick. Said he deserved a day off. I missed a few days on top of the nineteen consecutive school days for IOP (thank you students with autism for keeping track for me) but he somehow missed more days of school last year than me. He bailed completely on all four of our classes in the spring during distance learning. He spent his time on vacation and mowing lawns for extra cash. He was getting paid that whole time but doing nothing.

I wish I could just stand up to him. Why is it that I'm so willing to be a pushover for people who show me the smallest scraps of kindnesses? I've even had students comment that he never comes to class. I would bet money that he isn't even taking the day off, just like he did last spring- getting paid for doing nothing. For whatever reason though, I'm afraid to cross him like he's my boss or something.

I really love the school I work at but I think I have to leave at the end of this year to get away from him. This relationship is toxic and mentally bad for me. Relationships like these are repeating cycles in my life. I think I choose the wrong people to let into my life. I choose to work with him. I have no idea why I can't leave him. My husband is truly amazing and treats me like a queen and I never think I deserve it. I wish I could stop with these toxic relationships and just believe that I deserve good people. Yet, I know tomorrow when S doesn't bother showing up for class again, I'll just simply teach the class and get on with the work. I honestly don't know who to be more angry with- him or myself.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
Well, I ended up getting into a fight with my co-teacher today. I knew it was coming. He was angry that I didn't manage to grade every last assignment and get it into the gradebook before the midnight deadline. I told him that those classes are too much for me to have to do alone. He stated he was too busy and I'd need to figure out how to get the work done by myself. Then he logged into our third period class and turned his camera and mic off. The kids kept trying to talk to him but he just clearly wasn't there.

I have pretty good boundaries with most people. At the very least, over the years I've learned how to say the word no. As a teacher, if you can't maintain boundaries with the students, you will find yourself overwhelmed or in a compromised position (or both) fairly quickly. In modern teaching, if you can't say no to requests from parents or the administration, you'll find yourself overburdened quickly. I know my limits with my friends and what I'm okay with helping with and what I'm not and can pretty reliably stick to those parameters. But with S and with my mom, I get trampled all over.

I think I might be playing out some past toxic relationship with S but it's not the same one I had with my mom. There's some reason I just can't rat him out or put my foot down. I have no idea what relationship it is though. But something seems so very familiar about it. I feel like I've been here before. I'm just not sure when or with who. My T had recommended I stop poking around all of the trauma for now so I'm not going to try to think too much about the past. I have the feeling I'll be remembering too much soon enough anyway.

I think the dynamics of my relationship with my co-teacher might be a good topic to work on with my T though. I think the dynamics of the relationship and exploring the feelings and reasons going into it might be insightful on some of my issues. I also think it's a topic I honestly don't know the answers to and therefore I'm opening up about something that is of a higher risk. I think I need to take more risks in therapy to build up more trust. Starting with really big things might be a bit too much but maybe starting with this medium type thing to see how he reacts to some of my dysfunction might be a decent place to start.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
My schedule change took effect today. Co-teaching with a different co-teacher is a little weird. I've been with S for so long. I basically did nothing during the class. I'm sure I can find my groove though.

I had my formal observation today. I think it went alright? I actually trust my observer to be on my side. Not saying he'll give me a good score because of our friendly relationship but I don't think he'll be overly critical. I feel really fortunate with distance learning that I got an observer that I feel like is not out to get me. I don't feel like the administration at my school is the type that looks to punish or criticize teachers unfairly. But I also feel like the students aren't as engaged with the lessons as they are in the physical classroom so I worry about how it looks a bit. I'm sure things will be fine.

Tonight is group with my T. I hate how nervous I get about going. Been worrying about it in the back of my mind all morning. I used to like going. I hate that in these dark days of isolation that one of the times during the week that I do get to interact with others is now something I dread. I used to look forward to group but now I just get scared. I think I might dye my hair after my next class. Maybe that will help me feel a bit better- having new hair to show off. My purpleness is a bit faded and Amazon just told me that my dye has arrived.
 

Sadielady3

Confident
So, I did the thing- I dyed my hair. It was my first time trying to blend. Despite being about 40, my hair is mostly gray. About a year and a half ago, I decided that instead of coloring it endlessly a soft shade of brown, why not take advantage of this blank canvas and splash some real color on. This makes me quite the famous teacher around the building as I am somehow the only teacher with purple hair. The blending did not go too well but I have learned from it and think I can do better next time. At any rate, it is far more vibrant and I am much happier with my hair than I was before doing it.

I also know that my purple hair is an act of rebellion. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted purple hair but my mother wouldn't allow it. Then I "grew up" and thought I was too old. Now, I finally have it. My mother still comments on it the same way some comment on the deeds of serial killers. It will apparently ruin my life. Also she hates that my hair is long. She used to have my head shaved all through middle school. She allowed me to wear it a little longer in high school but not even long enough for a ponytail. When my hair stylist wants to cut off my dead ends, I always make sure that I will still have enough for a ponytail. I was made fun of relentlessly for my hair throughout school, being called "Fro" by everyone. It's a small thing to have control issues with but I guess it's mine.

Went to group therapy with my T tonight. I had a really good time actually. All of my favorite people came, ones I'd been missing for awhile. We talked about boundaries which prompted me to bring up the stuff going on with S. Essentially, the group was in favor of bringing the administration into the situation. I keep trying to establish professional boundaries but he ignores them and knows there will be no consequences, like a spoiled child. There is nothing I can do to punish him in any way so I need to involve someone who can. I rather hate this but I also know that it's the only way to change things.
 

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Sadielady3

Confident
Today I had office hours. I don't teach on Wednesdays and instead I sit on Zoom for two hours waiting for the throngs of students who constantly tell me in class that they desperately need help to show up and ask their questions.

Three students showed up total. I teach 140 students total.

One was a brief question, one was anxious about asking questions, but the third was impactful for me. First, she loved my hair and we chatted for a few minutes about hair colors and how she really wants to color her hair a fashion color. She's saving up for it. Then I told her I wouldn't be in class tomorrow due to a meeting I had to go to. She got really sad. She was nervous about being left alone with S. I told her that things would be fine. She said that she knew she could get through it but that I'm her favorite teacher. I laughed and asked her how that was possible with distance learning to even have a favorite teacher. She said that it was because even with a screen between us, she could feel my love for her. She said that I'm kind, funny, and patient when people ask questions. She said that she knows she could come and get help from me if she ever needed it because I'm trustworthy, even though she's never met me. Had to fight back the tears on her answer- didn't see that one coming.

Last night in group when I was talking about the situation with S, my T commented that I can't stand up to him and have trouble ratting him out because of issues with my core beliefs. This may also be the reason that I have a hard time believing that I am anyone's favorite teacher, even though she's not even the first one to tell me that this year (although she was much more articulate about her reasons than the others). I usually don't believe kids when they tell me that- I just don't see why that would be the case.

Everything seems to always circle back to trauma. I always knew I had terrible self-esteem overall. I will never see myself the way my husband sees me. I don't think I even see myself the way my friends see me. I honestly don't know if I would want to be friends with me, let alone married to me.

I searched for the diagram that my T presented in group a few weeks ago so I could look at it again. I was there on a bad night and wanted to look at it again to see what I thought about it in a more calm state. I still think my deficits in my core beliefs are in defectiveness, unlovable, responsibility, helplessness (not as much this one but definitely a few of them ring true), and abandonment. The statements that I consistently hear in my mind are:

  • I am a failure (defectiveness)
  • There's something wrong with me (defectiveness)
  • I am unlovable (unlovable)
  • I don't matter (unlovable)
  • I am unwanted (unlovable)
  • I am unwelcome (unlovable)
  • I will be rejected (unlovable)
  • Everything is my fault (responsibility)
  • I have to make others happy (responsibility)
  • I can't ask for help (responsibility)
  • I am trapped (helplessness)
  • People I love will leave me (abandonment)
  • I'm not as good as others (abandonment)
That's a lot of things to hear on pretty much a daily basis. I knew I had a lot of negative self-talk but that feels like a lot when I list them out like that. And there definitely seems to be a lot of them centered around the concept of being unlovable. I feel like that core belief is the one that maybe anchors the rest of them. Maybe if I felt like I mattered and I have value that the others wouldn't be as strong or even go away altogether.

I know that this feeling of being unlovable comes from trauma. I'm pretty angry about it. I can rationally sit here and tell you that none of it is my fault this trauma of mine. I can tell you that I'd call CPS in a heartbeat if I had a student who had the home life I did. I can tell you that my mother is so broken from her childhood that it's not even really her fault- cycles of abuse. I can look at what I know about my grandmother's childhood and my great grandmother's childhood and know that this has been going on for a very long time and is something that goes so far beyond me. I can tell you that all day with a serious contemplative face and rationalize everything. But it doesn't change my experiences and it doesn't change who I became as a result.

I remember thinking once that I didn't want to have kids because then my mom would be a grandmother. It wasn't that I was worried that she'd do anything to them. I felt like she'd love my children and it would be hard for me to watch her love them when she couldn't love me. I had forgotten the thought process that led me to not wanting children but for some reason, I remembered today. And I've watched her with my brother's kids and how doting and loving she is. She told me when my oldest niece was born how deeply and truly she loved her new grand child. I remembering commenting that she never seemed that into being a mother. She responded that the love for grandchildren is different and much stronger than anyone could ever have for their children. She has the capacity to truly love someone, just not me.

Instead, I will always be the person who ruined her life. She has told me countless times how much better her life would have been if I hadn't been born. All of the missed opportunities she had to turn down and wasted years from being stuck taking care of me. I don't remember her ever once telling me she was proud of me or that she loved me.

I remember her getting really angry with me whenever I got sick. It was so bad that I think I had some issues with vertigo as a child that I hid (and eventually outgrew) because I was afraid to tell her. I remember not being able to see things clearly at times and this horrible twisty feeling in my stomach. I just sucked it up and got through it. I didn't want to make her angry.

I remember a phone call she had with one of my teachers at school (to this day she doesn't know I heard the call) where she explained to the teacher how much better I'd been lately. That I wasn't the uncooperative defiant child as much these days. She told the teacher I was almost likable, almost human. I had thought at the time that the teacher hated me and didn't want me in her classroom anymore. I was so crushed. I had the same teacher from third to fifth grade and I was heading into fifth grade at this point. I remember a few months into the school year that I got really angry with this teacher for something and yelled at her (no idea what I was so worked up about but, working with kids, I was probably really angry about this anyway). She pulled me into the hallway and talked to me. I told her what I had heard on the phone. She paused and said that I hadn't heard her side of the conversation and that she loved having me in her class. She told me I was creative, intelligent, and curious and what teacher wouldn't want to teach a student like that. I remember spending a few weeks being overly curious about everything in class as a result of this conversation because I was so relieved to be welcome there and somehow needed to show her how curious I could be. I have to wonder if she chuckled about this overt behavior (I know I do when I give a student a compliment and then I see them really try hard to be that positive thing I noticed in them).

I never had a single birthday party as a kid but my brother had one every year (this thought may be looming due to my birthday being next week). I remember telling friends in college that no one had ever thrown a birthday party for me so, for my 23rd birthday they took me to Chuck E Cheese. It was ridiculous and childish and wonderful. We did bring an actual kid with us and everyone gave the kid all of their tickets (as much as those cheap colorful erasers were tempting me) and this made her whole day. Some of my professors even came out and one even had a serious Ski-Ball competition with me. It was so much fun and it's honestly one of my happiest memories. Sometimes I think I avoid wanting to do anything for my birthday because I'm afraid nothing will ever top it. Other times, I worry that it will and somehow take away from this memory somehow.

There's a thousand different memories I have of being treated like an inconvenience, something unlovable, or like I didn't exist as a child. I've probably forgotten more instances than I can ever remember. A message that strong and consistent is invariably tied in with my core beliefs. My T can tell me all day long that I have a problem with my core beliefs. I agree with him. But how do I change the messages I learned by heart so many years ago? That voice that tells me I don't matter or that things are my fault when they go wrong is rather loud and unwavering. I don't see me reaching a point where I will look in the mirror and see a person of value. At the very least, I don't see it happening until I've made peace with the years of neglect and abuse I survived. It feels cruel that he brings this up to me but he doesn't know what memories it triggers. And deeper than that, if I tell him what I'm thinking or remembering, maybe he's going to realize that my mother was right about me all along.
 
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