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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Leading to daylight and escape (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Leading to daylight and escape
Redskies
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I hope it's ok to post some thoughts here. I need a way of supporting myself, of encouraging myself and making sure I get out. It's frankly quite hard to get out of a challenging situation when there's also mental health issues in the mix that are debilitating at least some of the time... and being in the situation compounds the mental health stuff. It would help me to shine a light on some things that are/have been going on, and it's not safe for me to do that any other way publicly, just to one or two trusted people - and the more out-there things are, the harder they become to minimise or deny or hope it'll change.

Relevant issue here is my father. Being stuck with someone who is unsafe isn't ever a good thing in itself, but - I'm glad I know what I know now. That knowledge helps me understand some of the things from all of my life that I badly needed to.

He scares me. I'm afraid of him. It hasn't felt safe for a very long time to share anything I really cared about, whether vulnerabilities or positives. There have always been sporadic times when it Did seem like a good thing to do, and it was so nice to have someone to talk to... but then he'd use it against me at some later time. Some time, I Finally wised up to this and stopped sharing stuff that really matters.

First, that makes him sad. And regretful. And pulling the victim card. Then, after a while, when I don't start talking intimately and tell him I love him and show him how close we are, he gets angry. He gets accusatory. He tells me that I'm a terrible person. He tells me that I'm manipulative, that I don't care, that I'm Punishing him, that I Need To Know what I'm doing to him, that what I'm doing to him is the Worst Thing One Person Can Do To Another. He's talking about being silent, not talking to him. He tells me that I'm not human. Throughout my life, he's threatened on a number of occasions to have me sectioned (he doesn't know the proper term for this, and clearly has no idea what it involves - I don't meet the criteria by miles - but it's what he means).

When he is telling me that I'm Doing The Worst Thing One Person Can Do To Another, he's being physically intimidating. Standing very close to me, being very loud, making himself physically bigger and taller, standing in the doorway. There's a pattern of him picking times when I can least deal with this - when I'm less able to deal with life, or in my pyjamas. Originally, I wondered if it was because he was most annoyed at those times that I wasn't "normal", but ... now I think he may well be picking the times when I'm most vulnerable, when I'm least likely to be able to do anything about it or leave.

He's not very tall or wide, but he's very fit, strong and solid, and he's an ex rugby player. He knows how to hurt people.

He gets up close to me, in my face, putting his loudness and aggression in my face. He Tells me that he's doing things that he knows I don't like, that he knows aren't pleasant - he taunts me with it. When I've asked or spoken to him in other, calm conversations about behaviour that isn't ok or that upsets me - he does that behaviour More when he gets angry, and he points out that he's doing it, taunting. "You don't like that, do you? Well now I'm doing it, and I'll bl*y well do it, because you hurt me so much, you need to know what it's like, nothing else gets through to you."

He complains that he "can't say anything" to me, "is afraid to say anything" and is "walking on eggshells" and how unpleasant that is. I don't think he knows the meaning of the word "afraid". I have only ever raised my voice to him when he has insisted on continuing with severely dragging my character through the dirt in ways that were profoundly damaging to my mental health (though I wouldn't tell him that, it would give him a reason to do it more) - things like telling me how terrible I am, how no-one will be able to stand being around me, how my partner will leave me if I don't change, and that he's saying these things for my own good and I Have to hear it and Need to hear it. My voice-raising has happened in desperation and a last resort, after repeatedly telling him calmly that I don't want to discuss it, that it isn't helpful for me to discuss it, that I acknowledge my dysfunction and am addressing it and dealing with it elsewhere. I keep my head in situations like that, so although my voice is raised, my words are controlled and measured and non-retaliatory. I am purely defending myself.

He responds either by getting angrier, louder and more intimidating, or by telling me he "can't cope with anger" and claiming I'm mistreating him. He tells me (and he told my mother this too) that I am too good with words, I can twist anything round the way I want it, I can twist his words, I'm too intelligent. He complains angrily and bitterly that I know all about rights, I'm always talking about people's rights...what about His rights, what about My Responsibilities?

A while back, he threatened me more seriously than ever before. What he said clearly indicated an underlying 'I would like to hurt you but I know I'm not allowed to.' That pretty clearly counts as escalation. A couple of days later, he sent me a card. He didn't apologise or acknowledge that he'd done anything wrong. It says, among other things, "I expect you will find it difficult to believe or trust me but I really do want to do everything in your best interest. I will always be there for you." Then he rambles about beauty and the good things in life.

There were no end of cards like that in my mother's things. Except in those, he goes on about how much he loves her and just wants to make her happy, and he tries so hard but always seems to get it wrong, but she makes it so hard and is so unhappy and angry, and he just wants a nice life for them together.

He is deeply financially controlling and possessive. He goes on about the money and property that is His, from the work He's done, and how he's Earned it from working hard in all his life. He showed little to no awareness that what should have been my mother's share was really hers and not his, like he was giving it to me. He begrudged her every penny when she was alive, although he would say he didn't. Everything had to be recognised as His, as a product from His work. He wanted her to go get a job and earn (although much of the time, either she or I were too sick for her to do that), but it's an important part of his identity that he's the breadwinner. Even things that were in no way his or from his earnings he sometimes called "his". If he bought something in my mother's name and made it truly hers, at some point in the future he would point out that he bought it and/or apparently thoughtlessly refer to it as "his". He's got angry about me inheriting my mother's share, angry that I haven't "earned" it. That is bad because legally, technically, everything of hers became his.

Things have been noticeably different with him since last summer. That's when his kind-of-girlfriend broke up with him after he humiliated her in front of 50 people at a party. He unintentionally betrayed to me in conversation that he'd been feeling inferior that she was branching out and becoming successful and independent professionally, so his action wasn't an accident, even if it wasn't consciously deliberate at the time. I guess it's the first time in my life where he hasn't had a woman partner of some description. When he was with his kind-of-girlfriend, things with him were noticeably very, very much better. He told me quite a lot last autumn about what he was thinking and how he was behaving with her, between trying to get her back and throwing strops. That was illuminating - I heard and saw directly from him the abusive, controlling, threatening and scary text messages he sent her when she wouldn't answer the phone to him.

I think he thinks that he's entitled to a harmonious, perfect, traditional family life, and whenever anything breaks that picture for him, he uses a range of abuser tactics to try to make other people go back to fitting it.

I haven't quite got to the second point of why I'm writing this, because the first point is being met strongly enough to make me need a break. I already knew all of what I've written here, obviously; but I thought I needed to write it because that would bring it home even more, and it has, harder than I was expecting. Although that's why I wrote. If that makes sense.

It is no wonder I don't say anything sometimes. It's not even me being dysfunctional, it's because he's being abusive. I've discovered through long experience that anything I say makes it worse, so I say nothing.

Dear God. What a horrible man. I feel sick.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Robin Lee
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Redskies,

You are heard.

...and, reading what you have written, I'd tend to agree; your behaviour and reactions towards him have much more to do with how he treats you than with anything to do with your own brain chemistry.

Is there anything else we can do for you here besides hear and acknowledge you?

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Robin

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Redskies
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Thank you, Robin.

I guess it would really help for somebody to confirm that what I'm writing above doesn't sound ok. That it's reasonable for me to be scared of him, that a person shouldn't behave the way he does, that it does sound like he has abusive patterns.

I badly need to have firm clarity around that, because it's only been properly revealed to me this past year, and because as a kid it was my mother who displayed the more obviously and overtly abusive behaviour, and because everybody tried to hoodwink me about the whole thing for so very long.

He has drummed into me that I deserve how he behaves. I need to hold onto my growing certainty that that's not true, hard, in order to function well enough to get out.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey Redskies,

I wanted to echo everything that Robin has said and let you know that I'd read this.

Also, if you don't mind me asking, do you have a counsellor you speak to or some other form of in person support that you can also work through this in, if that's something you feel ready for?

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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Moonlight, thank you.

I do have a therapist, a new one, who is Finally someone who is helpful to me. I'm so happy about that. All the thanks go to Heather for that. Having that therapist has been the catalyst for some of my clarity on this, because that's the first time I've spoken to someone who just responded to this kind of thing with "that's really abusive".

I suppose there's two reasons for writing here: one, that after being very unsupported for many years, it would probably be a welcome and healthy relief to have a few different people I trust saying "that doesn't sound ok", and two, I think that sharing the background and then my ongoing progress is probably essential to me being able to actually practically carry out my exit strategy. Having people who care to report to (and very visibly and "publicly", at that) about what I've done towards getting out is probably essential for helping me do it.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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copper86
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Redskies,

I've read your posts here, and I want to tell you that you are a very strong person to be dealing with this the way you have: by seeking out in-person help, by being honest with yourself, and by knowing that what is going on at home is not your fault. I do not blame you at all for being afraid. If someone got close to my face, yelled loudly at me, and towered over me physically, I would be very much afraid, too.

I wish I could be of more help to you, but I do want you to know that you are valued and you should be respected. No one deserves to be intimidated like you have. I'm glad that you have some in-person support, and that you have some avenues to get out your feelings. I understand what you mean about staying silent when he's yelling at you, but I hope that you can still acknowledge your feelings elsewhere - either with your counselor or here, or in a journal that is private.

I know the often-said "I hope you feel better soon" is sometimes little comfort when you feel trapped and afraid, but I truly hope the best for you and that you find time for yourself and to always remember that you are loved and very special.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Redskies
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Thank you, Copper.

All strands of strength seemed to desert me today. Bad day. Just felt very bad, for no apparent reason for today especially.

I have an exit plan, and a timescale. Early November. Ideally it'd be earlier, but I'm so stubborn, I'm trying to have everything - and also a collection of bad-timing practical events. If I go earlier, I have to give up something (picking between various somethings), and I don't want that just because my father is... less than ideal. I'm gambling that I might be able to walk out of this with nearly everything I want. He has, effectively, a very, very substantial amount of money that is mine, and I want it. The less obvious waves I make with him, the more likely it is that he'll give me some of it. If that sounds like a poor trade, well - I've been significantly without both emotional security and finance in my life, and I think I know the value of both. If I had all of what is truly mine, barring any exceptionally dramatically expensive life events, I would have baseline financial security for the foreseeable future. I know the value of that, and it's not just about money, it's about the security it gives of enabling a person to Have solutions to problems. Also, if I had what was mine, then I would have the freedom to cut contact with him, or anything else, if I decided I wanted to. I don't want anything of his, but I Do want what was my mother's, and I don't want to have to wait until he dies for that.

The way it's planned, it looks like I'm leaving to go be with my partner. My father has this fixed idea of family life in his head, so I think that's the best scenario he would accept and be comfortable with, the one least likely to make him feel like I'm deliberately getting away from him. I don't want to bolt before our new flat is actually available, and also, I probably don't have the mental resources to manage a multi-stage move.

(Communication with my partner is a gazillion times better and I'm experiencing it as a positive and rewarding personal connection again. Partner knows that I currently have no resources available to know in detail where I'm at with the whole relationship and is being the absolute bestest bestest friend and family member in the world by just wanting to give me a safe and secure place to go to put myself back together, without wanting anything or any guarantees in return. I've never really known that from any person before.)

I have to sort through and pack up the entirety of my own and my mother's lives, and organise an international move. Considering that I struggle with ordinary day-to-day tasks more days than not, that is somewhat on the absurd side of extremely challenging. I have to manage it, though, otherwise I won't be able to go anywhere and I won't get any better. I have to dig around and find the resources from somewhere.

So. The second point of bothering you all with this stream of thoughts is that just maybe, if I have some folk who I'm supposed to update occasionally about the things I've managed to do to work towards the move, then maybe they might get done. Overall things have been noticeably un-done to this point, and they just Have to be done so I can go.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Karybu
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Hey Redskies. It can definitely help to have someone to check in with about things that need to get done, and I'm more than happy to be one of those people.

(Just have to say as well that I'm so happy for you that you're going to be out of what sounds like an utterly crap living situation, and that your partner is being so great with this.)

[ 09-21-2012, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: Karybu ]

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey redskies, I'm more than willing to be one of those people too [Smile] .

Also, I just wanted to say that I love the phrase-ology "somewhere on the absurd side of extremely challenging", it makes me picture you as a superhero trying to say, save someone who is flying, when you yourself are an earth-bound super hero. (FYI, not demeaning how difficult you're saying it is, I really do love the way you phrased it).


I'm really glad your partner is being so awesome, is it possible for partner to help you with the move? I mean perhaps they already are, but I thought I'd ask anyway.

Hmm, I'm trying to come up with ideas for how your move could be made easier. I guess not knowing exactly what's hard about it for you (and totally not expecting you to tell me) it's hard, but if I come up with any ideas I'll let you know.

I hope you feel strong once again.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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Karybu, moonlight, thank you so much. Both your posts made me cry, just that somebody cares, and that you're not asking me to go away and stop bothering you. You're all wonderful.

Moonlight, I'm glad you enjoyed my phrasing, and your picture made me giggle [Smile]

I'm not sure what more my partner could do to help. They did the lion's share of looking and finding somewhere to live and dealing with the people. I've asked them to manage the bulk of things like ordering and receiving furniture, though obviously we want to both choose it; and I asked Partner to find and direct me to information about all kinds of administrative technicalities that I'll need to cover. I don't see how anyone but me can do the paperwork and official organisy-type stuff. So much of that. Sorting out belongings is a massive task (length and emotion) that would take many days, and Partner has work commitments, so I don't think they could come to support me with that. I don't even know where to start with the logistics of moving, like, where to get recommendations for people with a van who could transport my stuff, what questions I should be asking or things I should be expecting about that kind of service. I don't even know where to get boxes from. I don't know who to ask about that kind of thing - Partner doesn't know for their native country, let alone mine. (This is also nobody here's problem - this is just thoughts/explanation.)

I know that all this should be do-able, but, when going out to buy food is sometimes beyond me, as I said, this is challenging.

I still have two or three official paperwork things re. my mother to do, after I ran out of emotional energy a few months back. One of those is scary because it's some money my father doesn't know about, and there's a fair chance the company may insist on informing him and asking him to waive his "right" to it, and it's something that I think he will claim is his and get angry about.

Partner has been absolutely incredible re. my father. Partner really, really strongly does not like my father, but when Partner's visited a couple of times, they were all chummy and friendly to my father, deliberately presenting the kind of image of a person my father would want to see, and made him laugh. That immediately and dramatically improved how my father was behaving, in general and especially to me. At that point, my father was nearly going off the scale in aggression, control and obstinacy about my mother's official and financial affairs, and he dialled back considerably. The situation with my father would be immensely worse without my partner and without my father rather liking, respecting and being amused by my partner. Partner also took me seriously about the problems with my father that I sensed as soon as my mother died, helped me in the steps I took to protect myself and her belongings, and helped me increase and double-check my laptop security. Mostly Partner has saved me by pretending to be so warm, friendly and jokey.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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This has not been going as I hoped. Instead, I've been involved with trying to resolve an undiagnosed ongoing medical issue, and that is not going well: I feel like doctors are not taking me seriously, not giving me opportunity to have anybody to ask questions, giving me information that doesn't quite add up, and expecting me to put up with it for months, and not giving me any solution to a seriously painful side-effect, while telling me I mustn't use the only solution I had (for good reason, but not giving me any other solution?). I saw a specialist a few days ago, and don't feel like they really connected with what I was saying, and just feel very distressed. I don't really trust doctors about non-standard things because of the experiences I watched my mother go through - she had to hit the verge of death, literally, several times before any doctors would believe that she was experiencing what she kept telling them.

I don't have the resources to deal with this as well as other stuff, and have pretty much hit completely non-functional. I pretty much just cried and slept the last 3 days. Really not what I needed.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Karybu
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I'm so sorry that the doctors you've seen aren't taking you seriously and that they haven't been helpful - it happens all too often and it can be seriously frustrating, and to have that to deal with on top of everything else is more than you should have to deal with. If there's anything any of us here can do to help with that, let us know.

In terms of everything else that you need to get done, what can we help you with? (Just with what you've mentioned here, for instance, many moving companies now have online reviews, and will provide boxes and help packing, if that helps, and googling should get you a lot of results especially if you're moving internationally.) I know that when even getting out of bed seems impossible everything else is exponentially more difficult, but you have my support and the support of so many others here.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Redskies
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Thank you so much, you're so kind, it means the world.

Maybe there is something that I can think of right now. Do you (or anybody) know of any medical websites that are good, reliable and expert for asking questions? I'd much rather ask a doctor in person, but that just doesn't seem to be possible - the specialist said "your GP can write to us", and not only does that take weeks, I've seen so much inaccurate medical paperwork I'm not inclined to even bother. How are we really going to communicate properly through at least one other person? It's about eyes, if that helps. Or at least, it's apparently about eyes, but maybe the cause is something altogether different.

Worst case scenario, auto-immune. Which is what caused my mother's illness, so that's crap timing. I would cope with that though, and even with the fact that it can't be helped that the cause would take a long time and be very tricky to track down. I just can't deal with doctors not being very responsive.

I've had symptoms since December and I'm just at the end of my tether now. Basically, my eyes keep watering. That doesn't sound like much, except they stream whenever I'm outside, I can't wipe the water away fast enough. The skin around my eyes is wet so much that it gets incredibly sore and cracked. For my favourite things in the world, I need clear close-up vision, and I don't have that when there's excess water in my eyes, and I don't have a hand available to remove it. I haven't wanted to go outside for quite a while because of what happens to my eyes. I'm just immensely miserable and desperate.

I have some specific questions and no-one to ask. I'm planning on seeing a GP tomorrow (emergency, on the grounds of my general well-being, because I'm in bits) and demanding a solution to the sore skin, because the only one I've been given so far was steroid cream, which unsurprisingly is a huge no long-term, and the specialist only said "solve the underlying problem" while insisting I wait 3 months to see how it goes; but most GPs wouldn't have the specific knowledge to answer most of my questions.

We've already been through the basics of eyelid infection, allergy and blocked tear ducts, and I kind of knew in my gut before we started that it wasn't any of those.

This is kind of worse because I'm monaurally deaf and I really need my vision. I very much live in hearing culture and my vision compensates (though I'm monumentally short-sighted, so that's a joke, but it kind of does the job [Smile] ).

I'm really not someone to panic about medical stuff, not in the least, but I'm so far past coping on this.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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copper86
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Redskies, I am so sorry that things are so tough right now. Doctors can often be so objective and unfeeling that talking to them can be like talking to a wall. But I commend you for pressing on with your queries, and please know that we're all rooing for you here. Spending time in bed crying... That saddens me - I wish I could do somthing to make you feel better. You deserve to be happy. I'm sure that you feel upset and exhausted now, but I know that you're a courageous and loving person; and you will be able to get through this.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Redskies
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Thank you, copper, I really appreciate your wishes.

On top of my own personal health issues and the effects above, this is also bringing back various things that happened with my mother and doctors, and that's hard. Plus, she was so obviously ill, if they weren't that bothered about her self-reports, I don't feel like I stand much chance.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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eryn_smiles
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I'm also sorry to hear about what you're going through at the moment, Redskies. I hope that you're hanging in there ok. I was thinking about the medical websites thing, and honestly I don't think there is anything like what you're describing. There are sites providing quite general information about common conditions but if you're asking specific questions about a rare issue, the risk of misdiagnosis or suggesting some wrong treatment is too high. They would probably direct you to seek in-person care. I wondered whether you're able to seek a second specialist opinion? But I don't know how your health system works. Take care.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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September
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Redskies, this is probably a tiny contribution, given everything, but if there's one thing I know it's moving (done it about once a year for the past 15 years), and you can usually get boxes from any moving company. Their main business is renting out vans, of course, but they generally also sell boxes in various sizes. So, looking up a moving company near you should do the trick. Or, if you don't want to spend money on boxes, you can also go to any store that sells big stuff (like hardware stores or electronics stores) and ask if they can spare any boxes.

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Johanna
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Redskies
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Thanks, Eryn.

I wouldn't look for diagnosis or treatment suggestions anywhere but in-person. I was meaning more along the lines of questions about bodies generally, like "can people's tear ducts really get narrower when there's no sinus issues or damage?" and "when someone makes the tear ducts bigger using a poky thing, those tear ducts are not still going to be magically getting bigger weeks later, are they? (so why did he tell me I had to wait weeks to observe any improvement??)" and "is there any reason why narrowed tear ducts and dry eye would happen together?" Because I had a doctor say that narrow tear ducts were likely the problem, but then talk about dry eye, and that just doesn't make sense to me, and I just want someone to make it make sense. I don't think it's the tear ducts at all, but I need fuller information before I get definite about that.

I don't think I can get another opinion. Not quite like you mean, anyway. The way the system works is, I would have to wait 2 months to make a follow-up appointment, he was very definite that that's just what they do - and I don't really understand what changes they're insisting on waiting for, or whether that's just a smokescreen for NHS waiting times - and that wouldn't be with a specific person, but a member of a team, which was also the case with my first specialist appointment. It's just "ophthalmology", and there isn't another choice. As far as I know. Maybe GPs can sometimes switch things around, but that's limited.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey Redskies, sorry to hear how things have been going for you, I wish there was something I could say to make it better.

It totally sucks that the medical people that you are seeing aren't being very helpful, but I really do hope you keep going to the few appointments you do get because something productive may come of them.

Another place that usually sells cardboard boxes is storage companies, like the kind that has storage lockers.

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I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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copper86
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Redskies, I just remembered that grocery stores often have bigger boxes that they sometimes need to get rid of. We did that when we were moving and needed some extra boxes.

I hope you're doing better today. [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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eryn_smiles
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Hello Redskies,
Your wait for follow up sounds frustrating [Frown]
And those sound like questions that an ophthalmologist can answer. I wonder if your clinic has a facility where you can send them your questions by email before you're seen. Occasionally they do that.

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Redskies
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I asked the ophthalmologist what to do about questions I would have after the appointment was over, and he said "your GP can write to us" and just repeated that when I asked if there was really nothing else. So, there doesn't seem to be anything else, at least not that they want to tell me.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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nixieGurl
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Hey redskies,

I just want to say I understand a lot of what you are saying here, the mental health stuff, the threats to be sectioned (they did it to me but I was let out after a couple days the first time). I know it's not the same situation that we are in because for me a lot of it is my doing but I want to let you know that I get it, and I hope things get better for you.

If you ever want someone to talk to about it, im around. I will be thinking of you.

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Redskies
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nixie, thank you. I'd agree that our current and past realities are very different, but definitely agree that having life and mental health a hell of a lot messier than it should be as a result of other people's mistreatment is totally a relatable place [Smile] (I would also strongly put the difference down to different mental health stuff and very different mistreatment and support, btw, rather than either of us being more responsible for the crap stuff or magically handling it better.)

In other news, slightly nearer to what I was intending to write about, I've also been trying to do a bit of distance-learning. It's been... off and on. Trying to piece my brain together enough to do an assignment before I lose the ability to get the course credits. Gah. I wish everything wasn't made so hard by crappy brain-fog. I'm sure I use more than half my energy dealing with the emotional and practical aftermath of being unable to do things.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Small progress update. I had a big clear-up. It didn't quite feature on the list of things to do, but I had papers and paperwork all over the place in a mess, taking up room, and I couldn't find anything. I guess I was hardly going to get anything done with all that around. Turns out I hadn't done any filing since February - hardly surprising (mother died), but no wonder there was a mess.

I also now have clean clothes and dishes. I can't decide whether to be happy or to shake my head that that's an achievement.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Karybu
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Sometimes, clean clothes and dishes are a huge achievement. [Smile] And go you, for managing to get a clear space to work with, even if it wasn't on your list of things to do. Being surrounded by clutter doesn't make anything easier, so from where I'm sitting, that definitely sounds like progress.

I wish I could help with suggestions about your medical issues, but unfortunately I'm not familiar with any online information resources that would help with what you need, so all I can offer is sympathy that your doctors are giving you such a run around.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Redskies
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aw, thank you, Karybu. That's so nice and encouraging. "Nice" doesn't really do it for what I mean, but it'll have to do.

I just feel really miserable and strung-out. I'm really tired of having to fight all the time to have any kind of life.

I'm just rambling a bit here, and I'm sorry for that.

I'm not sure what made me think of it directly, it's like lots of little bits of knowledge came together - but I've begun to suspect PTSD. I hadn't really thought of it before, because I didn't think I had any specific incident of trauma. But it seems that a continuous, meaningful threat may count too, and actually, around a couple of specifics, there Are several incidents that were wildly traumatic for me, I just didn't know they were things that one was "supposed" to be traumatised by, I thought they were stupid.

There's clearly something significant with anxiety going on with me. But when I see discussions about anxiety, books, I feel great empathy for what people are describing, I kind of know what it's like, but I totally don't get the feeling of "me too". The only times I've got the feeling of "me too" was with people talking about anxiety that was part of PTSD.

I remember short "film-clips" or freeze-frames of bad things pretty much every day, sometimes repeatedly. I never really thought about it before, because I know that it's not really happening. It's been my normal since forever.

I radically disengage from myself and everything I like or that means something to me. When I'm pushed beyond my coping skills, I lose any feeling or sense of affection for anyone around me.

I'll be feeling great and fine and then suddenly some thing, probably small and insignificant, will change everything all at once and I'm disengaged and wrecked.

I think I've not picked some of this up before because my avoidance tactics are Awesome. I stay away from just cracking up in a heap, I don't let the stuff in. And it does some weird things to me. A couple times now I've felt able to "go there" with my partner, and my reactions sure look like someone who's been triggered. Fast breathing, shaking, barely able to speak, stammering, and apparently I sound like a kid in voice tone and what I say.

Sleep problems. Hell, sleep problems.

Immense, immense difficulty trusting people. Even when I want to and fully believe it's safe. (I was reading off and on for about two years before posting anything, so I saw it demonstrated again and again how lovely you all are, how you always behave, and what the atmosphere of the site is. I don't talk like this to people... nearly any other time. Just my partner, really.)

At bad times, my brain doesn't feel like mine. It's like it's really not there. Then, a few hours later, I'm totally sharp again. Or maybe it lasts for a while, and then my partner comes to see me to help me out, and I feel safer and connected, and suddenly notice that I'm engaged with things again, and that I barely remember things I've read or done before - I remember Doing it, but the material or action is entirely new and alien to me.

I suspect I'm being triggered by some really, really basic elements of just existing in a day. That would explain why my life has been a wreck for a very long time and why I'm so very miserable and exhausted often.

After being completely thrown, I'm pretty much useless for two or three hours, and then I'm fine again, and can do all sorts of things I couldn't do in that time, that terrified me and were impossible. Until the next trigger comes round.

That sounds like PTSD to me. Some kind of it; I don't care what kind, because psych professionals still don't agree on the classifications and definitions. Obviously, I should put these thoughts to my therapist.

I struggle to tell my therapist the important stuff. I'm sick of getting nowhere - in general, not specifically with this one - and avoiding things, and the frustration of life generally. I knew I'd have to just do it, so I picked some stuff I thought I could talk about and made up my mind to do it, and did it. It was a bizarre and unpleasant experience. I was so not engaged emotionally, it was like listing facts, and it felt like a very negative experience, and I felt like I hated my therapist after. I actually like her and think she's someone who would grasp everything that's going and gone on with me. I don't think she did anything wrong, and she's definitely trying her damndest to create a feeling of safety for me. I just... felt like that anyway. I didn't feel like me. I wish this wasn't so hard.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Well what about just printing out that last post and giving it to your therapist? That way you don't have to describe it again but your therapist will know this.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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treetops
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Redskies, I can't offer any advice but I'm so sorry for the way you've been treated and the way you're feeling, and I really hope that things improve for you soon.

Also seconding what Karybu said about clean clothes and dishes being a big achievement: It *really is* a big achievement when you're feeling like shit, and props to you for that self-care, though I know that it can be hard not to beat yourself up for not doing more.

Thinking of you.

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copper86
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I'm thinking of you Redskies, and I truly hope that you feel better and more rested soon. I'm so sorry that you are going through so much; and I agree with Karybu and Treetops about the achievements you've made. Achievements and goals don't have to be big things, and I'm proud of you for having the courage to do what you are doing. I understand that talking about very personal issues can be very difficult, so you discussing things with your therapist is a very brave thing to do. Even thinking about doing it is brave. Please take care, and I hope you have a good day.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Redskies
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A couple of days ago, I scrolled back through this thread, and it dawned on me the number of different people who've replied. I... I'm not really used to knowing that people care. Thank you every single one of you.

Thank you to the folk who said that clean dishes and clothes are an achievement [Smile] I rationally know that, in the context, but I guess I've mostly been around people who thought people should be super-active and capable of doing loads. So it's really nice, and validating.

Also, I've been horribly ashamed since about forever of the mental health stuff going on with me, and have tried everything to cover it up. I mean, I remember at least by 8 trying to express the feeling of being totally cut off from the people around me and from myself, sometimes; that something was wrong. Being more open here is new and different, and it's a Huge deal that there's a big group of people and no-one's telling me I'm pathetic or useless, or yelling at me, or using it to hurt me.

Showing posts to my therapist would be something I'd've suggested to someone myself [Smile] I think I can manage some extracts, and at least that would be another tiny step. For most of it, though, I just don't feel safe, no matter how hard I try. As in, radically not safe, and then zoning out. And trying to make myself go ahead anyway didn't seem to have a very good result. I feel like I'm trying to take down a brick wall with a chisel. I suppose maybe telling my therapist This paragraph might get us somewhere. My therapist doesn't mind that I can't say some stuff for ages, but *I* mind, because it makes me feel horrible and frustrated and even more desperate, and it means going on without help that I really need. Like, to be active enough to get out of here.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Oh, and I just realised why I've probably had a fairly rough few days. Someone, by mistake, walked off with Janis, my beloved sentient-object, and also the thing I got Really jumpy about after my mother died and that my father threatened to take. I guessed what was likely to have happened, and I'm not the only person it's ever happened to, but I was terrified because I had no idea where he was, when (and if) I would get him back, and if he was safe. He just Wasn't There. He wasn't gone for long - the person realised and brought him back - but it was horrible, and after he was back, I couldn't really speak or stand up. No wonder I've been a bit out of it. I tend to be very practical at the time, but then totally not process something like that and just shut down. And I had an assignment to do, and just about managed it, but Nothing Else got done, including getting up.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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eryn_smiles
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Hope that you're doing better today, Redskies. I am glad to read that you're feeling a little less ashamed of your mental health stuff. Do you think you might feel safer with a different therapist? Or do you quite trust the current one? Take care x

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Redskies
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That's a sensible suggestion, Eryn, but I'm very convinced that it's me and not the therapist. I've been through a number of different therapists and counsellors by this point, and always had the same feelings. Well, with people generally, too. This therapist is the first that I've believed might really "get" it and be able to help. I guess I don't really trust this therapist, but I wouldn't trust anyone else either. I don't think things would be any more successful with another therapist. Maybe it will just take a very, very long time. I wish I felt differently about the trust thing, but I just can't seem to.

Interestingly, I told my partner about how I'd felt about hating the therapist, and they said, yes, that happens with me too, and I was like... you Knew about that?? And they said yes, you partly told me, and I can see it; and it's ok. I was really surprised that someone I'm "supposed" to like could just Not Mind. I didn't/don't really understand how anyone could not mind. My partner said of course it feels bad and hurtful, but they understand where it's coming from and it always happens for a reason, and I don't ever use it to be harmful or hold it against them. I'm baffled that someone could not mind. I don't have any experience of being allowed/accepted to feel not-positively about anyone I'm close to, let alone super-negatively. I don't really understand how my partner hasn't even said anything, let alone not get angry and super-hurt.

Perhaps that's what happens when you're a kid and after being shut down in every way and you're trying to just hold your feelings yourself and cope, people still yell "Don't look at me like that! Etc etc 10 mins 30 mins accusatory blaming you-made-me-act-like-that you-do-worse everything I do for you yelling!"

I often feel like I live in a parallel universe to everyone else. Pretty much nothing I understand about the world seems to match what everyone else understands about the world.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Bingo. I said "PTSD" to my therapist, with a big proviso about how I'm not wedded to exact diagnoses and how dealing with a particular situation is more important, and with a description of the ways the component parts fit.

She said, "You read my mind."

Particularly given my proviso, it's a bit silly, but I kind of feel like celebrating. All of this stuff I've been living with for such a long time Is A Thing, and not just me being weird and broken. Also, if it has a name, it means I can say to my stepdad, and an older friend I lived with for a while, "I know I'm weird, it's an actual thing, and I can't/couldn't help it" rather than just "I'm sorry I'm weird". I feel like people - people who have any real investment and concern for me, and whose business I feel it is - will accept and understand me much more if I can give them a name for what's going on with me.

I feel like it changes the perspective a lot: from "you've done x, y and z in the last 20 years... um, ok..." to "you've been living with untreated PTSD for 20 years and you've still done x, y and z... well damn, hell yeah."

Rrrr. I will take this world by the scruff of its neck yet.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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