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PTSD is a long road

The incorrect diagnosis of our potential child, and the subsequent danger from her, has unpacked a lot of the PTSD from my ex that I thought was long ago packed away in foot lockers in the recesses of my brain, with just a few touches from it still evident in my personality. It’s rather amazing how much your mind can help hide when needed, but packs one helluva wallop when the shadows come to light.

For a long time I blocked that I knew where my ex was planning to dump my body after the attempted murder. Sadly I find myself in those fields, just off the highway going around Lawrence, in my nightmares at least once a week. I don’t know now which one of them is who triggers my brain to send me crashing through the thick weeds and brush, falling over my battered body. I can see the necklace of bruises along my pale throat, dark fingerprints contrasting sharply even in the limited light. I remember seeing them in the mirror all those years ago and trying to cover them up. Sometimes, after any of the nightmares, I can see the necklace again for a few minutes when I look in the mirror after splashing water on my face to wash away the tears. I’m thankful that the image fades quickly and the memory slides back away for a while, but honestly don’t know which is harder to cope with – my mind playing tricks during current time and seeing them in the mirror again or stumbling over my dead body in my dreams. At least in my nightmares a little part of me knows that this is the would-have-been version of me and didn’t happen.

Most of my other nightmares feature her in some way, usually ending with that predatory look in her eye and the inky black aura slipping along the floor toward me. I’m slowly learning to mourn the loss of the dream of adopting our preteen daughter and those hopes for that life, but the coping of how things turned out has been impossible so far, because that look and her suddenly violent aura always cling to each effort.

Pre-adoption is filled with so many secrets bound by the confidentiality statements signed, too, so few can even fathom how things went so very wrong so suddenly. It’s sad that after a lifetime of trying to be a good person, worthy of this happy family dreamed about, that others question our character and blame us for things not working out. In some ways I think that hurts more than all of the loss, and it brings back the shame of the PTSD caused by being a victim of abuse. In a very painful way it brings back the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret of domestic violence. It doesn’t have to make sense; it just is what it is and is there to deal with, all over again. Someone I trusted and loved deeply texted to me that we deserved for the adoption to fail, because of our poor character, when they didn’t even stop and try to learn the circumstances. For all this time I thought rape was the ultimate violation of my being, but I’m realizing that it’s actually the questioning of my character. Like proving it wasn’t my fault that he raped me or wanted to kill me. I’m now expected to prove that the adoption was stopped by us, for reasons so very far out of our control, and I’m finding it hard again to trust anyone beyond the select few that gave immediate, unwavering support without asking for that proof first. My practical side realizes this is being strongly swayed by my PTSD from before, but it’s almost impossible to step beyond that right now. And it scares me that now it’s snowballed into a much bigger issue that even with my Victim Advocacy and TIPS-MAPP training I am ill-prepared to handle.

I know that this is going to be a long and difficult journey, and that I have some incredible people to be there when I need a hand to hold along the way, but at least there’s one good part of the frequent mental attacks. I have finally realized that I am worthy of being treated right. I won’t be thankful for the scraps of love and attention from some, as I have been in the past. I am me and proved my character, and worth, a long time ago, and I can finally see that. L has tried to show me for so many years, but for some reason I could never see my worth or even why I’d be worthy of love. Thankfully he stayed around despite the baggage, despite the poor self esteem, and despite my belief in his ability to love me. No matter how these shadows from the abuse and the child change me, nothing will ever be able to take away my knew knowledge that I am worthy of true loving and kind behavior, and that I don’t have to be okay with being manipulated or strung along with tiny bits of attention in order to feel loved. And I know now, without a doubt, that I have good character that I have shown through my actions over the years, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone ever again. Although coping with the PTSD will be a long and hard road, at least I can close some old baggage and am growing stronger with each lesson this journey teaches me.

Bring on 2019

B and L 12 31 18_003Happy end of 2018 and to the hope of a better year to come!

If You Are Depressed

On what is considered the happiest holiday of the year, a lot of people struggle with depression and even suicidal ideation. Instead of the happy holidays posts you’re probably more used to seeing, I am attaching a link to a sermon about depression.

If you know me well, you know that I have Faith, but I don’t associate myself with a specific religion, and am really open-minded. The perfect words and message can come from any religion right when you need it, in my opinion. I got really lucky and one of my incredible friends shared this sermon with me, which I asked if I could share here, just in case anyone out there needs to hear this message right now, too.

Again, I am not affiliated with this religion and honestly don’t listen to sermons often, but the message about depression is so incredible that I hope it also helps someone out there in internet-land too. Apparently I seriously suck at embedding the video itself, so please click here to get directed to the sermon page with the video. *smile* And please do not hesitate to privately contact me if you need a depression/ideation “buddy”. Having them myself has literally saved my life.

Just in case you need it, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (US) and at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Before you act on your thoughts, please reach out. And please do not let this make you feel guilty or like you are a bad person for these feelings/thoughts. It tore me apart for a spell until my friend provided the link to the sermon. You are still a good person, no matter what your mind says right now.

— Georgia

Extra note:

Also, thank you to the incredible friends and family that have been so supportive through this rocky time. I forget to log in to different medias and am so bad at timely responses, but your support means the world to me and I am sincerely thankfully for you. Y’all make me as warm and fuzzy feeling as my plush onesies that I practically live in right now. *grin*

What Kiddo Left Behind

I have debated writing this for a long time, but decided that maybe I’m being called to write it so that those that need it can stumble across it. Maybe it can help someone not feel alone in the struggles or help someone understand the story underneath what they see or hear.

About a month ago, after everything had been transported and we were to be in the mourning stage of the failed adoption, we realized that there was a lot more going on for me than we were told to expect.

I began to have horrific nightmares and even ones where I relive some of the abusive situations with my ex that I was blessed to have blocked out for so long. I can’t sleep for long, especially when it’s quiet; we set a timer and stream a documentary or such until I can fall asleep, if I can. And I wake as soon as I hear rustling, with my adrenaline spiking in a fight or flight response, usually until I realize the kittens have woken up and are tearing through the house in playful abandonment. No one is creeping through the house or about to attack.

To top it off I’ve been sick with a couple of ailments this whole time that have really attacked my immune system. She had a comfort blanket that apparently carried ringworm spores and due to my immune system issues, it hit me hard. By the third round (after rounds of medications and complete household and pet decontamination, mind you), my immune system has been pretty well decimated, so I’ve fought virus after virus on top of my usual problems.

Then about a week ago we realized that extreme depression and PTSD were hitting pretty strong as well. We’ve had more meaningful conversations since the failed adoption than through our entire marriage, it seems, and finally got to the core of these emotional issues. I wasn’t mourning the child we took into our home. I was mourning what we could have had and what our future lives could have been like if she had been a different child. I stopped loving the girl who said “I love you Mom” the moment she looked at me the same way my ex did. That was a hard realization. Even harder was realizing that I was mourning the life that could have been, and the possibility that we will choose to not pursue parenthood again; that we will never share those milestone moments of a child’s life as a family. And it was exceptionally difficult to know we made the right choice for her and for us when we were told that parenthood is tough. It went so far beyond that. It’s been even harder to let go of the huge amount of guilt that is embedded in each part of our choices.

The worst that she left behind was the unexpected massive trigger of my PTSD. I handled the recovery from my actual abuse so much better that in some ways this is absolutely puzzling. Until we realized that I never actually allowed myself to mourn my ex causing the miscarriage or deal with all of the fear and pain of the abuse. I survived and did the best I could as independently as I could. These feelings are like trying to make my way through a swamp. It feels like I’m going to go under any moment, and so dirty, and so utterly terrifying.

Being so sick covered up some of the mental damage for a bit. We just realized that I am now scared that the next person I encounter, the person walking down the street or doing their shopping, could be Sociopath #3. I survived two of them…what are the odds that I can survive if another ever comes near me again? So I’m scared to step past our deck, even in this sleepy little town. I’d rather not eat if I’m too tired or sick to cook, than go out around people to eat. Thankfully there’s a little blessing in this, because L was the first person that I told about things, way back when, and was the rock that kept me steady, and we’re naturally much closer now, so he’s my safe harbor. When I have a decent day I can get out of the house as long as I know where he is or if he’s in sight. If I sit in the truck while he runs into a store real quick, the panic hits a little after a few, but it’s not as crippling as trying to walk through the store to the pharmacy by myself or such. I hate to sound like some needy girl, but I’m so very thankful that I have a tall, intimidating husband. I’ll admit that.

I know that this is irrational and we’re working hard for me to take my first step into immersion therapy this weekend, into the public without him, but with close family still. I absolutely hate that I have lost power over myself and my fears again; that I’ve given the power to the unknown instead, but I can’t add a pill to my daily regime to make this better. I have to live this and we have to just make it to the other side, this time facing a hell of a lot more than I did the first time.

And I’m absolutely pissed off that a system that’s supposed to help bring families together let a child like this slip through instead of making sure she had the environment that she needs to prevent becoming what she’s possible of. It’s still such a vital system and has such potential, but we need to make sure others aren’t going through such horrible journeys as we have, even without the terrible ending. This system needs an overhaul immediately and it shouldn’t be so hard to take these children in. There’s a good chance that a successful adoption just a few years before could have prevented Kiddo’s behavior according to my psychiatrist. I don’t even know how to handle my anger over such a failure to these children.

Meanwhile I’m trying to learn how to handle the pieces that were left behind. I’m trying not to see that look that they both had every time I close my eyes. I’m so exhausted that I long for normal sleep instead of a short burst filled with horror or a medication induced collapse. I know it’ll simply take time and work to stop thinking that #3 is just waiting for the right moment. It’ll take time to enjoy regular life again and be able to go to the grocery store without it feeling like a significant outing. And it’ll take a long time to stop being angry. Being angry with the system and the PTSD – at least I can do actual actions to begin to feel control. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to stop being angry at myself or to learn to trust my judgment of a person again. Just like the rest of the journey has gone for the past two years…I guess time will tell.

5 Days Left

In 5 days we were supposed to officially move our adoptive daughter in.  We would have just returned her a few days ago to her foster family after having her for an extended visit for the holiday.   Instead it’s been about 6 weeks since the adoption was cancelled.  We still have a lot of healing to do, but I’m thankful for the progress that has been made and that L has supported me from the very moment that I told him there was something wrong.  I don’t know that either of us are overly festive or really know heads from tails yet, but I’m very thankful to know without a doubt that he is by my side through the grief, the anger, the fear, and the loss.  No matter how irrationally angry or tearful I am, or how lost and apathetic I am, there is always comfort and security in his hug.  I think he’s the only reason I didn’t get admitted to the psych ward during this horrific process, especially when I fully realized that I had survived living around a sociopath for the second time in my life.

 

I wanted the process to work…I wanted us to finally have our own little family so very much after so much work and time, so…I ignored the signs.  My body finally wouldn’t let me cling to the emotions and hopes, and made me face that something was so very wrong.   My psychiatrist sadly guessed that the diagnoses in her medical forms listed as “rule out” weren’t actually diagnosed, because they don’t want to stigmatize a child with a potentially life altering diagnosis and there’s always the chance that the right family can help reverse the behaviors from the condition that was caused by the child’s life.  Unfortunately, we were the very opposite of being the right family in this situation, because someone with sociopathic behavior (or symptoms of antisocial personality disorder) will be drawn to someone like me for all of the worst reasons.  I survived attempted murder and although I’m a lot stronger now, it’s terrifyingly easy to fall back into the traps of sociopathic behavior.  Telling me “I love you” at just the right moment while tearing me down a little bit, wanting to cuddle and spend time together knowing that they are hiding something bad that they’ve done behind my back, the lack of remorse when confronted with inappropriate actions…all over again, except this time while being called “Mom” for the first time in my life.  The one name I longed to hear for most of my adult life.

 

After the last, surprisingly horrible visitation, and my body was in an uproar, I was utterly shattered.  I knew something wasn’t right when it was hard to hug her goodbye when her driver picked her up, but despite everything I was still wearing the rose-colored glasses of loving this child I didn’t know.  Sitting in my adopted sister’s car in my driveway, crying uncontrollably, I realized just how scared I was of this child.  Here I was an adult and I was terrified after remembering a look she gave me that was identical to one that my ex used to give me.  I’ll always be thankful that she told me that age didn’t matter if they’re able to trigger your PTSD – there’s something seriously dangerous and she told me that I needed to go in, wake L up despite him having to work that night, and tell him my feelings.  I hated waking him, but don’t think I’ll ever remember how fast his groggy voice became serious and comforting.  At first all I said was that I was scared of her and just like that he said then it would all be over.  Everything would stop immediately.  He didn’t even need to hear reasons or anything else.  Sitting here and writing out my secrets, crying yet again, I can’t help but be amazed that despite my extremely bad track record (considering previous attempted murder, abuse to cause multiple miscarriages, and other things that get shoved into the dark corners of the mind to hide away from), I had somehow married someone who trusted me that much and who would be the protector that handled things, so I could try to put myself back together again.

 

We sent a message to all of the involved workers that we were cancelling the adoption and halting all further action, and my doctor even got involved to tell them to cease contacting me until further notice due to worsening my symptoms, but I give them credit for still trying.  And I can’t give many more details involving any of this, however I pulled myself together enough to pack everything up – gifts bought for her, the Christmas decorations she had picked out that we had bought, all of the clothing and miscellaneous items, toys, left behind belongings, learning gadgets, you name it…and just before Halloween we took multiple huge boxes to the adoption agency and gave to our original case worker (who was the supervisor, so she took back over the case unfortunately and made it all even harder) all of the hopes and dreams we had for our adoptive daughter to be transported down to the girl’s personal case worker to give to her.

 

Thankfully L attended the emergency psych appointment with me following everything and, like I wrote before, is probably the only reason I didn’t get admitted.   While discussing that we need to grieve losing this child and maybe even the possibility of ever becoming parents, we needed to imprint over the goals and activities that became tarnished, for lack of finding a better word, by the whole situation.  One of the biggest was that there were plans to take her to Branson, MO, where we had our honeymoon and have attended several of their Olde Time Christmas events throughout our marriage.  I had included information in the scrapbook that I had made for the agency/kid and it was something very special for me to bond over.

 

L surprised me shortly thereafter with a luxury condo stay during the opening of the event and thankfully he made it so incredible that I don’t have to worry about avoiding such a special place or wonderful memories, and although it was bittersweet, it was one of the best trips I ever had.  When the night gets a little too long and my mind won’t quiet, I have a beautiful memory of being all bundled up from the cold, leaning against each other and drinking horrible hot chocolate while playing with Snapchat filters.  I even got to spend a while in the rustic chapel at Silver Dollar City, where I’ve always found the most peace out of all of the churches I’ve ever been to, and sitting in the rough pew with the soft light of a Christmas tree in the corner shining over the pulpit, I finally started to go into the stages of grief instead of just being blinded by it.   Although we aren’t doing much for the holidays this year, I was blessed to be given the gift I most needed help with by an incredible husband that is a good ole boy who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for helping everyone to the point that he suffers.

 

Although we still have a lot of grief to work through; back and forth through all of those stages, the worst is over.  I never have to fear again that I’ll either be emotionally torn apart and victimized again, or possibly even have another attack on my life, but this time by my own daughter.  It may be surprising, but I still think fostering and adopting the older kids needs to be considered a lot more and we need to be a lot more aware of their needs.  If we as a society had done a better job early on that young girl probably wouldn’t be on the bubble of being a sociopath when around others that can be victimized.  For us we can never go down the same path of adoption again; if we decide to try again, we will have to find a way to go through a private adoption.  We have a lot of healing to do before we can even decide if having a child to raise is what we still want or if we want to be one of those eccentric couples that takes trips to unusual places and fills scrapbooks with happy memories we make together or with our fur babies.  Not getting all caught up in the usual holiday festivities has actually given me a better perspective than I’ve ever had…we can still make beautiful memories with those we care about and find peace without the lights of a tree, cats batting at ribbons decorating carefully wrapped presents, or a big meal that becomes more of a chore than about a time of coming together to enjoy one another.  We can still celebrate our Faith without any tinsel or a big to-do.

 

So, despite a lot of pain and traveling a very difficult path, I’m very thankful for the incredible lessons I have learned in such a short amount of time.  I’m also very thankful that I have the support of others through this blog who have been a huge blessing throughout the whole adoption process and who gave me the courage to finally talk publicly about the new path our journey has taken.

Short Update

It’s been really hard to write even this short note, but I am finally doing it.

The adoption fell through and we are going through a tough time. I’m getting help for both my mind and body, as my body is having some reactions to everything, but we need a bit of time to work through everything and get back to a neutral state of mind again. I promise I’ll be back to the blog as soon as I am better. I sincerely appreciate all of the encouragement and care that has been given throughout our long journey, and look forward to a clear mind and creating again.

To end on a better note, I’m closing with a picture of our newly taken in stray kittens, Bella and Zane, being all adorably snuggly.

Clovers Anyone?

Yep, I totally went there for my Celtic Thunder post.  *cracking up*  I will not apologize for it either, since I absolutely love a well fitting kilt on a man, and we got to see several of them wearing them.  *happy sigh* Hey, I’d sigh over the big guy wearing one too, but that’ll never happen, so it’s my burden to sigh at Irishmen wearing them.  *smirk*  (Just a heads up, this will be a picture laden post, so loading may take a little extra time than usual.)

 

For an overnight trip, it feels like so much happened!  I was still on a high from having just met Kiddo in person at our meeting and from our nightly phone calls.  Plus, I got to dress up in my new leather jacket and booties, and I even put on a bit of makeup (although I think I shivered it all off by the time the pictures were taken *laugh*).  I tried, which actually means I put a lot of effort into dressing for the concert.  We got to go their concert in 2016, so I was determined to make this “as a new mom” with my mom time even better.

 

It started with an overnight stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, in Salina.  Absolutely gorgeous and very clean; I actually got to watch another room get cleaned and they strip the beds all the way down, etc., so it’s truly clean and that makes me a loyal customer.  Just check out the basic two queens room…

 

We went to this random chicken restaurant that looked like a small mom-and-pop-type and had the best comfort food ever!  Beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy open-faced sandwich, along with real baked beans on the side.  *sigh*

Comfort food

 

We got ready and arrived early, since last time it was so packed, but we underestimated how cold it would become and that they wouldn’t let us wait in the lobby even once it dipped below forty.  I tried to distract us for a while by talking about Kiddo’s meeting, calls, and Mom’s parenting advice, and then with Snapchat filters and pictures.

Cool Rider

 

Hot Mama

 

Mom and I Beary Happy

 

Once we finally got in, got souvenirs right off the bat, we found our seats just a few rows back from the stage.  I did an excellent job of fighting the downed server in the first minutes the early group was allowed to buy tickets last year!  Look how close we were to the stage!

These aren’t even zoomed in.   When Ryan from CT reached out his hand to the audience, it seemed like I could almost touch it.  Holy smokes!

 

The Theatre itself has amazing architecture and is a wonder to look at while waiting, too!

Stiefel Theatre

Stiefel Theatre

Balcony 1

Balcony 1

Balcony 2

Balcony 2

Stained Glass Light

Stained Glass Light

 

 

As expected their X tour concert was phenomenal, with a mix of Oldies, some of their original songs, and even covers of current songs, such as Galway Girl© by Ed Sheeran, covered by Damian McGinty (ah-maz-ing as they dramatically say).  Seasons in the Sun© and The Streets of London© both brought tears to our eyes, while Bye Bye Baby© and I’m a Believer© were so much fun to sing along with.  This time there were only four of the guys, but they did a fantastic job still, were just as good if not better than their DVD performance of the first concert for the tour, and were so engaging.  I sincerely hope they come back in 2020, so it can be three generations of us singing Ireland’s Call© as the concert closes.

 

You know what makes it even better?  My daughter wore hers to bed the first night and put it back on anytime she was in the house.  It was awesome to see her all sleepy eyed in her new shirt that she didn’t want to take off.  Between the new mom with established mom conversations, a spot of Christmas shopping, a phenomenal concert that included kilts, and then rushing home to go get my daughter, that was the best two-day concert trip I’ve ever had.  A sleepy eyed daughter wearing her Celtic Thunder tee was the whipped topping for my dessert of blessings.

 

By the way, if you’re interested or curious, you can check Celtic Thunder out on YouTube, their website, and Amazon (plus others probably, but these are the ones I can personally vouch for).  If you’re an Amazon Music Unlimited member, most of their work is available, too!

 

Kiddo’s going to help me make a special wall hanging from the concert once I get the pics all printed, to go with the concert book and such.  😀  I haven’t yet brought her over to the Celtic side, but she was pretty preoccupied with her new tablet to listen to my music, so I’m going to try a little I’m a Believer© on her when she comes back very soon while school is out.  Then I’ll get my own lucky charm to help me decide on which style tattoo I’m going to do to celebrate her completing our forever family.  🙂

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