The Lost Wanderer (Part 1)

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She was lost in her own hell.

Barely holding on.

She thought she knew better than to sleep with the devil.

His lies kissed her lips and she was gone.

His masked disguise left her blind.

Her strength and courage was sucked right out of her.

She was a dead woman walking.

Scared to cry out for help.

Scared to run away.

She held back her tears and carried on each day.

Not knowing how much more she could take.

Not knowing if tomorrow she would awake.

Walking on eggshells.

Plotting every move.

Who could she tell?

Life was what she had to lose.

She was lost in her own hell.

Not some fictional fairytale.

This was real life.

Every day was a new fight.

Fighting for another breath.

Fighting until there was nothing left.

He beat her down with his words.

His tongue was like a double-edged sword.

Her self-confidence.

Her self-love

Her self-control

All of it stripped from her.

She no longer had her identity.

She saw herself through the eyes and the lies of the man she once loved.

Her self identity became his insecurities.

Her pureness in his eyes were now impurities.

Until one day.

She woke up.

Woke up determined to break free.

She had had enough.

No longer blind

She mustered up enough strength to fly.

She was determined to survive.

Her soul revived.

Her heart strived.

She was born again, she had had come back to life.

She made a plan of escape.

Taking every precaution.

She was going to leave no matter the fate.

She was willing to claw her way out if she must.

The day had come.

Last night was the final straw.

He had choked her until she passed out.

She couldn’t take anymore.

Her life in his hands.

She knew his final plan.

She made arrangements early the next morning.

As she started gathering her belongings.

Scared for her life

She was ready to fight.

He was sound asleep

As she started packing her things.

Just as she was about to leave

He opened up his eyes.

He saw all her things and said

“You’re leaving me?”

In an instant flashbacks of past threats flooded her mind.

But she had already decided

Not this time.

Her inner warrior had awoken.

She finally stuck up for herself.

She told him she was leaving and that was that.

He slowly got up.

Her eyes followed his every move.

Her ears in tune with every step.

What was he going to do?

Out of all the things he had threatened.

What was going to be his first move?

He showered and dressed.

Not saying a word.

No sound was made.

No sound was heard.

He grabbed his keys and as he turned to leave.

He turned back around and said

“Good bye (Name)”

Goodbye? That’s it? She thought to herself.

As she heard him open and shut the door.

Something must be up.

She phoned her ride and explained that he had left.

A few minutes later she was finally gone.

Out of hell she escaped.

Without nothing, not even a scrape.

The butterfly had found an opening in the window.

And started to fly towards a better tomorrow…..

(To Be Continued…)

Thinking Out Loud

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So as you all know I started writing my book about my experience with domestic violence, the chapter I am currently working on so far is one of the most difficult chapters. It has taken me a long time to write what I have written so far. It has opened up a wound I thought was healed. I have realized that there has not really been full closure on this aspect of my life. Many tears have been shed while writing previous chapters, so many unanswered questions. So many “Why’s?” and I know those will never be answered, and even if there was a chance for those “why’s” to be answered I know that they would not be truthful answers anyways.

This book is not only about my experience with domestic violence, this book touches on so many sensitive subjects in my life. It is graphic and detailed. I want the readers to feel what I have felt. I believe that that is the best way a writer can write. To bring the reader back in time and travel with me through my life as if they were right there with me.

At the same time I am struggling right now, I am facing things from my past that I never fully dealt with. Emotions about things that have happened and am wondering why I have these feelings. I try to continue typing through this chapter, I get one or two sentences out and I shut it down.

You know, I go through life looking at where I am now and where I came from. Amazed at how I got this far. I get through day by day with a smile on face just loving and enjoying every moment. I look at my dreams and see myself achieving them and see doors of opportunities starting to open. I’ve connected with amazing people all over the world through this blog and other social media. Yet I feel stuck. I usually write blogs to inspire and encourage others but right now I could really use some inspiration and encouragement.

I guess this blog is just a venting blog.

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Domestic Violence & Mental Health

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It has been in my head for a while to blog about domestic violence and mental health. I know I have touched on P.T.S.D. in a previous blog (P.T.S.D. and its triggers) , but what about depression, suicidal ideations and substance abuse? Those of us who have experienced the aftermath of the psychological effects of domestic violence know all too well about how the trauma affects us on a daily basis. Depending on the severity and duration of the abuse, some may “bounce back” faster than others. Which leads to the reason why I always say to take your time with your healing process and do not rush it. We all heal and deal differently. It is a fragile process that takes a lot of time and effort. If you are in need of resources please click on this link.

Mental health illnesses are not something to be taken lightly. They are also something that has really been recognized when it comes to domestic violence survivors. Before recent years, P.T.S.D. was most commonly known to be linked to war veterans. Over the years the diagnoses of P.T.S.D. has been revised. The most recent revision I have come across was in 2013. (National Center for PTSD)

When looking at depression, at least one researcher refers to domestic violence as the “hidden epidemic” of mental health conditions. (Domestic Violence and Depression – Breaking the Cycle). From my own perspective, depression is inevitable. It is fair to say that as a survivor of domestic violence I wholeheartedly agree that when a victim, it’s your self-worth, your integrity, your self-esteem, and more importantly your identity that is constantly under attack.

After a constant beaten on one’s mental and emotional being, it should not be shocking that a victim of abuse becomes depressed. With all the negativity that has been drowning the victim, the only thoughts they can conjure up are negative thoughts. In extreme cases of depression one can also experience suicidal ideations or suicidal thoughts. Domestic violence is not just about physical abuse, it is not just about the black eyes, bruises and scars that one can see with the naked eye. It goes so much deeper than those wounds.

Emotional abuse is any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1 Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.” (See my blog on Verbal/Emotional Abuse)

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The flashbacks, the nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts and anxiety is what we as survivors are left with when we first escape the abuse. We are trying to recover ourselves, recover our identity; recover who we once were. It is a process, and an exhausting one at that. Coping with the effects of domestic violence can be extremely overwhelming; many times since the survivors control over the situation has been ripped away from them by the abuser, the survivor can turn to self-medicating. No longer wanting to deal with the pain head on, no longer wanting to remember those events that have taken place and no longer wanting to deal with those flashbacks and nightmares. They may also engage in self-harming behaviors which is another way to feel like a sense of control and also as a way to release their pain.

 

Domestic violence can also take away one’s sense of safety and security. Making it difficult for the survivor to trust others. Remember, the survivor had trusted this person with his or her whole being, their trust was taken for granted. Survivors may feel like giving up, they may feel unmotivated and empty. They may not want to reach out for help because they feel like there is no point in doing so.

One thing we as survivors must remind ourselves and other survivors is that we are broken but not damaged. We can and we will overcome the effects that the abuse has left us. With each other we can make it. With the right resources we will overcome it. Keep pushing, you deserve to have A Life Worth Living For.

 

Domestic Violence Summit 2014

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I was looking for a video to post while I finish writing a blog I am working on and came upon these videos. The domestic Violence Summit 2014 hosted on the Dr. Phil Show.

It is a seven-part series and I just had to share them with you. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s connect. Let’s Inspire and Let’s Come Together!

As My Thoughts Escape My Mind…

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As you all know from my previous blog, I have started writing my book. It’s really hard, remembering details from my childhood as well as details from my relationship. I must admit I’ve already shed some tears and this is just the beginning of the book. Remembering things I worked so hard to erase or cover up. To bring them back to the forefront has been difficult at times. Some things I actually did completely block out of my mind and couldn’t really write in complete detail about. Even with some of those details that I cannot remember, it brought me to tears. To me, I felt like those details were not erased by me and should not have to be something that I should forget.

It has been challenging but also therapeutic at the same time. This book needs to be written, and I hope that you all can relate to it. I thank you all for being a part in this journey. Thank you for your support with this blog page. If it wasn’t for you this book may not be written. It was with this blog page that I had hoped to share and connect with others and make a difference in someone’s life. The connections I have made shown me that I really do need to put this book out there. You all inspire me more than you could ever know.

Continue to pursue your goals. Continue healing. Continue striving. You are on this earth for a reason. Do not allow your past to make you think or feel any different. You have a voice and deserve to be heard. Break the silence. Let’s raise awareness and let it be known that enough is enough!

butterfly is proof

 

 

Triggers and Flashbacks are not Setbacks

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Hey everyone, first let me just apologize for being absent as far as blogging, I know I have some very supportive readers and followers who look forward to my blogs. After reading this particular post I believe it is safe to say that you will all understand why I have been absent. It was difficult for me to start writing this, and took me a couple weeks to even begin writing gain.

Triggers and flashbacks.

I hate them.

I mean i really HATE them!I had a trigger on Sunday June 20th 2016. I was on the train headed home from work and it happened. The train stopped at the station behind the apartment building where I used to live with my ex, our bedroom window faced the station. I had looked up from my phone and out the window, when my eyes locked dead on to one of the windows of the apartment where I used to live at. I was overwhelmed with emotion, after all these years. I got chills looking at these windows. I literally got goosebumps all over, and I could feel myself starting to panic. When I looked at the windows there was this dark eerie look to them, yet the sun was still shining bright.

It was like every single emotion I had ever felt in that place came rushing at me. Flashbacks of him clenching his teeth. Flashbacks of him choking me. Flashbacks of him pushing me on to the bed and straddling over me, punching the bed close to my head telling me if I move the wrong way and he hits me it is my fault. I could hear him. I could hear all the disgusting names he used to call me. All the things he used to accuse me of. It had all flooded my mind in an instant. For a time I was angry at myself for even allowing it to effect me the way that it had.

The one thing about triggers is that they can honestly happen at any given moment. Certain things may always be something we know as a trigger (scent,smell,sound) while others may not be so common but can abruptly cause a trigger; especially when someone is under a huge amount of stress, and believe me these last few weeks at work have been mighty stressful.

But this trigger was different, and maybe even one of my worst ones yet to date. It felt like the air had been knocked out of me. I was practically choking on my tears fighting them from falling down my face until I got off at my stop. My throat felt like it was closing up and my heart was beating at an incredible rate. My hands were shaky and sweaty. As soon as I stepped off the train at my stop the tears began to fall. I could no longer control it. Getting into my mothers car she asked me if I was okay. I told her “I will be okay.” One thing I love about her, she will never badger me for information; if I say “I am okay”, even if she knows I am not she knows that eventually I will come and talk to her.

Trigger definition

(from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

The senses identified as being the most common to trigger someone are sight and sound, followed by touch and smell, and taste close behind. A combination of the senses is identified as well, especially in situations that strongly resemble the original trauma. Although triggers are varied and diverse, there are often common themes.

Types of triggers:

(also from the website http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

Sound

  • Anything that sounds like anger (ie. raised voices, arguments, bangs and thumps, something breaking).
  • Anything that sounds like pain or fear (ie. crying, whispering, screaming).
  • Anything that might have been in the place or situation prior to, during, or after the abuse or reminds her/him of the abuse (ie. sirens, foghorns, music, cricket, chirping, car door closing).
  • Anything that resembles sounds that the abuser made (ie. whistling, footsteps, pop of can opening, tone of voice).
  • Words of abuse (ie. cursing, labels, put-downs, specific words used).

Smell

  • Anything that resembles the smell of the abuser (ie. tobacco, alcohol, drugs, after shave, perfume).
  • Any smells that resemble the place or situation where the abuse occurred (ie. food cooking ,wood, odors, alcohol).

Touch

  • Anything that resembles the abuse or things that occurred prior to or after the abuse (ie. certain physical touch, someone standing too close, petting an animal, the way someone approaches you).

Taste

  • Anything that is related to the abuse, prior to the abuse or after the abuse (ie. certain foods, alcohol, tobacco).

I share this because I want people to know that they are not alone. That even years after leaving I still have triggers. Yes it is possible. I know it is something that we do not want nor like dealing with, but it is something we have to live with due to the trauma(s) we have experienced. What we can do is learn how to deal and cope when we do experience triggers and flashbacks.

The thing that comforted me; was when I spoke to someone about this trigger event and she shared with me that she too deals with triggers. She said “90% of the time I am fine, I am okay. But then there is 10% where I am not.” That is exactly how I feel, 90% of the time I am good, but there is and always will be that 10% where I will have bad days, I will have to deal with triggers but I will pull myself together and come through it and you also will pull yourself together and get through it. Always remember that triggers and flashbacks are not setbacks. They are a part of us, but they do not define us.

 

Ever Wonder Why?

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Why didn’t you leave sooner?

Why did you let him get away with it?

Why did you stay?

Why didn’t you fight back?

Why Why Why Why Why.

 

As survivors, we get asked the WHY’s far too much! We know it isn’t necessarily intentional, but sometimes all those why’s make us feel worse than we may already feel. When we do get away from the abuse, we are already asking ourselves the same why’s and sometimes we ourselves do not yet know the answers. It isn’t just the question, but it is the delivery of the question that gets us. To be honest, we’d rather you not ask the why’s. In time you may get your answers, but if you are too impatient, you can continue reading to get some of your answers.

 

Why didn’t you leave sooner?

When the relationship first starts it isn’t started with the abuse, the abuser woo’s you, they sweep you off of your feet. They make you feel like a king or queen. After they “got you” they start slowly tearing you down (emotional abuse). They’ll call you names and make it seem as though he or she is just joking with you; but then it isn’t a joke anymore. You hear these things repeated over and over again. You start to believe that these things are who you actually are. You take on a false identity of yourself because you feel like this is what you deserve. You believe him or her when they say that no one will love you, no one would want you, you’re no good for anyone (verbal abuse). He or she isolates you from family and friends, making themselves the only one in your life.They may say that you do not need to work, they will take care of you. If you do work, they have a joint account with you, or they time you the time it takes you to get home and oh please do not be a minute later (environmental and financial abuse). Therefore, you feel as though you have nowhere to go or no one to call to help you. Or they make you think that no one would come for you because they do not love you.

Be aware the information I am now giving you is from someone who has experienced domestic violence in ALL of it’s forms. I am speaking about what happens, but don’t get it twisted. While all this is actually happening the victim is not aware of it. They are blind to it, they are so wrapped up in this individual that they do not see any of this as it is going on. I want to make it clear that domestic violence is NOT just physical abuse. But it involves far more than what is perceived. There are many men and women who were with an abusive partner and did not experience physical abuse.

So for me, when the physical abuse starts I was already too far in (if that makes sense) I had already been brainwashed into thinking that this was where I was supposed to be, that this was what my life was supposed to be. I felt like I deserved it. I mean my sisters and I were verbally, emotionally and physically abused by our father. During my parents divorce my father stopped seeing us, he abandoned us. For some you may think that would be a good thing. But for a child who still loved her father and still wanted him in her life it was another punch in the stomach, another stab to her heart. I had lost my step-father to cancer. It was as if this was just another part of the life of Shauna. As if, I was not deserving for love, whether it be in the form of a father, or partner.

Why did you stay?

I stayed out of fear. Being told if I left I either wouldn’t make it out alive or if I did both my legs would be broken. I stayed out of fear that he may do something to my family. I stayed hoping that he would change. Hoping that he got help. Hoping that the man I fell in love with in the beginning would come back. I stayed because I so desperately wanted to be back to the way things once were. I thought that if I continued loving him and showing him that I loved him that he would see that and want to do better and be better.

Why didn’t you fight back?

Why didn’t I fight back? For one, I did my best to make sure the confrontations didn’t occur in the first place. Do you know what it feels like to basically walk on eggshells in your own home? To have to watch every little thing you say or do to keep this person “happy”? Fighting back would only make things worse. The night he choked me, the night before I left, the thing that set him off, was me saying: ‘How was work baby’, I saw him clench his teeth, so I decided it would be best to walk out the room and give him his space, I misjudged that though. He in turn grabbed me and tossed me on the bed, he began punching the bed so close to my head that if I moved the wrong way at the wrong time he surely would have punch my face. He punched me all over my back, and that is when he choked me.

Why did you let him get away with it?

This one gets me. This is one that is at top of my list of questions that I hate and it enrages me. It was my decision to not press any charges. It was my decision because I did not want to have to deal with him any more. It was my decision because I just didn’t want to make things worse than what they already were for myself and my family. It is my decision and I do not regret it. As I have learned and grown, he didn’t get away with it. One thing I know for sure is that God is the ultimate judge, there is nothing greater then when God takes care of things for you. See, I believe in Karma. What goes around comes around. It doesn’t mean that what he did to me will necessarily happen to him. But one thing is for sure, he’ll reap what he has sown. Besides, what greater victory is there then for him to see and know that he can no longer control me? Not only that, but through this I am using it to reach and help others who have gone through it and for those who are going through it now. My greatest revenge is my comeback and my comeup.

Before you go asking why, I urge you to do some research on domestic violence and abuse. Get familiar with the forms of abuse, read some other blogs from other survivors about their experiences. Each individual handles things differently. Our experiences are different even though they are similar. Our healing process is very different. We are all at different stages in our healing. Take the time and educate yourself before you ask the why’s. Like I wrote in the beginning, some of us do not yet have the answers to those why’s. Be patient, try to have understanding and most importantly show compassion.