it’s so hard to care . . .

Tonight I am writing this blog and giving thanks to my therapist Andy who has truly given me the vision and encouragement to write about something that is so hard to write.

I was reminded that  “The truth will set you free”  no matter how hard or how bad it feels inside.

This entry is actually one of the hardest, and I am thankful that I was given the strength to help write it.

I have started this entry, I have deleted it, started over, I have edited, and I have stopped and I have cried. I have shut the computer, I have walked away, came back to it, had more tears, deleted more, added more! and here I am.

This quote speaks truth to my writing tonight and that is – “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

This photo above reminds me of my mom. It reminds me of the one time that my mom was a mom. It painfully reminds me of what could have been, and what is not; what I wish for, but will never be.

This photo above reminds me of the walks we took in the woods on the way to downtown Lowell to go shopping at Macy’s and have tea at the corner tea shop. It reminds me that at one time, I had a mom.

My mom is back in the hospital, it seems she has done a lot of damage to her organs when she tried to take her life two and a half months ago before Christmas.

She took 30 of her pain meds (oxycotins) to try and end her life. She was tired of living and fighting in pain.

My mom has been in bed most of my life. It’s the way it’s always been. There was a short period of time when it wasn’t like this, but this is the life I had. My time with my mom consisted of going into her bedroom, and sitting on the side of her bed. That is what a visit looked like, that is what time with mom looked like.

I was neglected when I was a child. My mom would put me in my room, throw food in, and lock the door while she slept all day. When she was working I was in the hands of the abusers. My dad worked the opposite shift as my mom. When my mom wasn’t working, she was sleeping. On the weekend she would always be taking a “nap”. I lived in a house full of fear and loneliness.

Going to family functions consisted of embarrassing lies to people who would ask “where’s your mom?” Danielle and I would take turns as to who would break it to the family that my mom was not going to be there yet again. Truly embarrassing to be at family functions where everyone else’s mom was there, but not ours. NOT MY MOM!

School functions when I was a kid were much like the same. Excuse after excuse. Seeing other kids moms being there, but my mom was home sleeping. When she did show up to any kind of event, there would be chuckles from other kids laughing at her weight. Kids would say “your mom is fat”! My heart broke into a million pieces because I loved my mom. I would run to the school bathroom and CRY that someone called my mom fat.

It got to the point that I started to become embarrassed. I loved her, but deep inside I was starting to become embarrassed of the mom I had, vs. the mom everyone else had. I hated making the excuses, I hated not having a mom to cuddle me and be there for me like everyone else’s mom was.

Time with my mom out shopping consisted of her having to sit every 10 minutes because her legs would give out, or she was too tired to last too long. She would want to go back home and go back to bed. Fun times out only lasted a little while until it was back home where she got into her nightgown and went to bed.

As time passed by, it got worse. My mom started to gain even more weight, she started to retreat and not take care of herself, and she pretty much gave up. Today, here we are, she has been house bound for 17 years, and bed bound the last 3 years. She has become so consumed to her space that she developed agoraphobia (afraid of the outside).

The doctors always said that she never took care of herself.. and she didn’t, she never did take care of herself. She just consumed within herself, and I have tried to help her many times to no avail. Alot of people have tried to help, she just made excuses after excuses.

It’s hard to have compassion and care for someone who has never been there for me like she should have. My mom was abusive as well. She did things to me that I never thought I could forgive her for doing – but I still loved her, because a daughter needs a mom, and that was a huge void that was in my heart. I was willing to take whatever mom she was, just to say I had a mom.

One of the most painful memories of my mom and her neglect towards me was when I was sick at the age of 8 throwing up. Instead of her being there for me and comforting me, she handed me a towel to clean up my own mess. I sat there on the wooden floor, throwing up, while cleaning up my own vomit!

Today I suffer a fear of vomiting because of that. I suffer from anxiety when I am sick because I never had anyone to take care of me, I took care of myself, I had ME and that is all I had. I took care of myself, and that is all I knew.

2 months ago, when I went up to NH to face my past, and to see my mom in the hospital after her attempt to end her life – I walked into her hospital room, and I walked over to her bed, and I cried into her shoulder and neck. I cried not because she was in the hospital or tried to end her life, I cried because I was grieving the mom I don’t have, and the mom I wish I had.

The 2 words that changed everything for me in that moment was when she said “Don’t cry”. When she said those words, I lifted my head and looked at her, and that is when everything changed inside. It was that moment that I realized I was going to come back to Georgia and turn my healing away from them, and onto me.

Those 2 words made me see the lies I have lived my life behind. Those 2 words made me see the very reason why I couldn’t cry at my Nana’s funeral when she died. Those 2 words made me see that I needed to walk away, and heal for ME.

In that moment I realized that nothing is ever going to change. My mom is still going to be the mom in bed; the mom who puts herself first, and the mom who will never allow me to feel how I need to feel.

When that happened I texted my therapist right away and said “things are going to change when I get home”. He was a little excited by the text, didn’t know what it meant until I got home.

I sit here today, 2 and a half months into changing my healing towards ME, and I get the phone call that my mom is back in the hospital. What hurt the most? I almost didn’t care. When I realized I didn’t care, that is when I broke down! I realized that I really am on my path towards me, I am not running towards my mother or my family like I used to.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am the most caring and compassionate person out there. I will do anything for anyone. I care so much about other people and their feelings, but when I was given the phone number to my mom’s hospital room a few days ago, I just couldn’t bring myself to call. It hurt, and I cried about it. I cried in session saying “Why don’t I care? Why am I not calling her?”

Deep inside I know why. I just cannot do it anymore! I cannot put myself 2nd; I cannot have any more hopes given to me that my mom is going to get better. I cannot continue to hope for something that is not there, it hurts too much.

When I came home from NH after seeing her, I shifted my healing towards me, and I swore I would never look back. I have suffered; I have cared for far too long. I have cared more than I should have given the life of neglect I was given.

When I was asked to call her, I prayed about it. I talked to my support about it, I left the paper on my desk for days!

When I prayed about it, God kept saying to me “do the right thing”. I called my mom yesterday. I upped my voice, I put a smile on my face, I put on the optimism, I opened my heart and I said “Hi Mom, How are you? Are you doing OK? What do they plan to do? Are you comfortable? I want you to know that I am going to say a prayer, and I love you. I want you to know that I am having the church pray for you too. I hope that they will be able to do the surgery and get you well again, I love you mom“.

I hung up, and I cried! I did the right thing. I am a child of God, and I opened my heart to do the right thing for my mom. But when I hung up, I knew no matter what the DR’s fix, no matter how well they get her, no matter how many operations they plan to get her to where she can be healthy again, it will never change who she is.

My mom is not the mom she should have been, she will never be the mom I need her to be, and sadly enough, she will never be able to fix it. My heart is broke

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room for more goodness…

Yesterday in session we talked a little about this weekend and what connection looked like.

We talked about what it would look like to write about something that wasn’t work, but yet very uplifting and healing in a “resting” kind of way.

This morning, I woke up to an email from my therapist, with connecting thoughts, reflecting words about the great hard work this past week has been about. Words with some goodness and some thoughts about our work and going forward, and also wanting to know how my Saturday morning was.

It was very uplifting – but then, sitting at my desk, I looked out the window for a moment, and I just CRIED! I cried, and I had no idea where in the world the tears came from!

It was as if this email I got this morning hit the “release valve button” and out came feelings I didn’t even realize I had this morning – almost like what happened this past Tuesday.

I woke up, feeling strong! I got 12 hours of sleep last night, fell asleep once the storms calmed down, with laptop in my lap (working on a blog writing that I never ended up finishing) – I felt like I had more energy to go forward and do something great this morning! I had no idea what was about to come.

The words this morning was almost as if I was given the OK to say what I need to say, but not trying to be so strong. Feel how I feel and not trying to be so strong.

As I sat here and cried, I thought about my writing. I have never sat with my blog and talked about the feelings I am having “IN” the moment.

I may write about something I did and what the outcome was. I may write about my strength and how every piece of work I do gives me a foothold. I may write about good thoughts I have, or I will write about what I see coming for me, and how I am truly walking the path towards me – strong strong strong!

– But rarely have I sat here and written “this is how I feel right now” – true and raw.

This morning I think was a release of the hard week I had. I am constantly on the go, working hard in my healing, volunteering my time at the church, trying to make time for church mass during the week, running here and there for people, being with hard wounds in my blog writing, working for an organization for trauma victims, being a mom, a wife, not having much time for me, not sleeping well all week (breathe).

This morning, reading that email of support telling me “it’s OK to open up about what is there even in your blog”.. it just turned that valve and out came all that I felt inside from this past week, and it gave me the OK to write about it in this very moment.

The girl behind the blog had tears. She’s not feeling as strong as she thought this morning, but it’s OK. I am learning more and more that when I honor my emotions like I did this past Tuesday in session, that is gives me room for goodness – just as it did this morning.

Right now, I feel a little more room, and maybe I can take that room and go do something for myself. I can take that room and fill it with stuff that makes me happy (spending time with my boys, going out with a friend to get a pedicure, maybe go the mall and buy a cute shirt, or maybe go to the park, and sit and enjoy the beautiful weather, maybe go to dinner with Tim tonight) – maybe I can do ALL of those things.

It makes room for me to be connected, it makes room for me to be whatever it is I want to be. I think that email served a purpose, a good purpose! I am surrounded by wonderful people, and although I cried and feel sad, it’s OK because it’s truth!

I cried this morning, for me.. and it was OK

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the fear of emotions

Before leaving my session today, my therapist said to me, “either you are going to write the best blog you have ever written because of today, or you won’t be able to find the words”. It was that big!

He was right about both. I at first couldn’t find the words, and now, as I sit with today, it’s all coming to me in a way that I have never been more present than I am now.

Today I felt emotions so big; that eventually it slowly melted away the fear I have had towards emotions for a very long time. I didn’t just cry and have tears behind a wall or that wall of fear, I truly had emotions and felt every single drop of a tear.

It was the kind of tears that left me with splotchy cheeks, puffy eyes, a red nose, and a feeling of complete exhaustion!

Today I cried and  felt true emotions, and also came relief that I never expected.

Today was my longer session that I have on Tuesdays. On my way in, I knew right away that something was going on inside. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I knew something wasn’t right inside. I wasn’t my usual strong and optimistic self.

When I got there, I was trying hard to blame it on the “bad energy” in the room; when in fact it was me knowing within that I was holding a lot, but wanted to stay strong.

I have been on this constant push for 2 months now since I came home from my visit to NH. I haven’t stopped running forward since. I have been writing, connecting, being with, talking my work out, doing the timeline, and finding new ways to push through this path I have been on since coming home.

I have had this constant Adrenalin rush of finally having power over my healing and my past; that I haven’t wanted to stop. To be honest? I haven’t stopped at all since, and I found myself to be growing very tired over the past couple of days!

Today in session, my therapist said to me “it’s time to slow down and honor what’s inside. You are holding hard hard emotions from the past 2 months. It’s time to slow down, and check in with yourself to see what needs to be said”. He said “Strength can also be found in honoring the emotions of what is going on inside”.

Just hearing those words, my heart was racing and pounding. I felt like this huge wave of darkness came over me. I felt sick and ill, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

I don’t like emotions. In fact I hate them! emotions scare me. I can feel emotions to a point, but then it stops at a brick wall and wont let me to go any further ahead. The emotions I do have, I have to be alone with them because I hate people seeing me have emotions! I will find myself crying sometimes and not truly allow myself to feel it or understand it; but I know it’s there and I just go through the motions.

Tears were like acid to me, I was fearful of crying my whole life. All these years of therapy and every single time I felt emotions coming on, I would stand up and pace the room back and forth, with him pacing with me until I forced them out. With that I went into this anxiety ridden circle of suffering during the emotions until they finally came out.

Old messages always showed up when emotions were at the surface. I couldn’t even hear or say the word “crying”  just a year ago – but that did not happen today – I felt, understood and honored it with no fear today.

Today while fighting it and fighting it, I was asked, “whats there? talk to me”. Something happned inside, I felt fear, I felt the need to run and leave – but I finally gave in! I crawled up into a ball, and just put my face into the back of the couch and just CRIED! I let go! Support sitting right next to me – offering a hug and a hand, but I didn’t want it at that moment. I wanted to feel and be with what was going on inside. I didn’t want comfort or words to cover what I was feeling. I felt I needed to be in that moment that held onto me for all these years – it was me letting go!

For the first time in years working with my emotions, I didn’t care that I was being seen sobbing into the couch! I cried for over an hour, and this feeling came over me that I have never felt before. The fear of emotions were leaving me, the old messages were finally packing up and leaving me since the age of 5 – I was no longer scared in the emotions that I was having. For the first time I didn’t want to get up and run for the door, or stand up and pace in circles!

I cried out my feelings with words (or trying to get words out). I was thinking about all the things that hurt inside that I was holding onto since coming home from NH. I allowed myself to be seen in my mess of soaking tears; finally allowing support to comfort me, but then going back to my face in the couch, and pillow.

I stayed with it knowing exactly what I was going through. I honored it, and for once I had no fear of the one thing that has held me back for almost 40 years – EMOTIONS!

I was finally able to look up and face the room and my therapist sitting next to me; knowing that I allowed myself to be so vulnerable! I allowed myself the comfort and support sitting there in realization. It’s almost as if all the lies and old messages up and finally left me. I not only released emotions, but I released the lies that held me captive – the fear was melting away.

I don’t know all the things I said while crying, but I knew that I felt every bit of it (all the stuff I held since facing my past up in NH 2 months ago). I think I lost 50 pounds in emotional fat today!

In the moments of emotions, I really understood the depth of what I went through, and how much it hurt inside. I felt bad for myself this time, not for them. I felt bad for myself this time, not “her” the 9 year old, or the 5 year old, or the 13 year old – I felt bad for ME and all that I went through. I kept saying over and over “I didn’t ask for this, I am a good person, this was not my fault”.

Another wound open, another wound closing to heal with truth, but this time, I felt everything!

I think I made a joke at one point in the end and said “there you go, I felt the emotions, can I go back to being strong now please?” (In my Karen sarcasm that I pull out of my pocket once in a while) which was then followed by complete laughter after a hard 2 hours.

My therapist being the goof he can be sometimes, he actually stood up and did his own little dance in celebration, because I actually came out and said “I’m not afraid of the emotions in this moment”. It only took 5 years to get to this point. I needed that laugh.

Another wound open – another wound to healed with truth.

I didn’t work on my timeline today, but then again, I Did. This moment that God gave me allowed me to gain yet another foothold going forward.

“Finding Strength in Weakness”

I am blessed by the support, and like Andy said today and always has said, “God is always here with us in these hard moments”. I believe that today more than anything.

In this moment I am experiencing an “emotional hang over”. I am relieved yet feeling how hard this truly was today. I know in time over the next couple of days, I will gain strength from this, and it will help me to open another wound, and close another wound with truth.

As I am writing this, tears are finding my eyes again, I finally let GO of the fear behind the emotions! I let go today and chose me over them!

Tomorrow is another day. I show up again, and I now come back with more strength – moving forward into another part of my healing; another part of my story.

I sit here and breathe, knowing that I am supported, loved and cared for by everyone, and that finally it’s MY TURN to heal!

I’m truly relieved in letting some go –  to make room for more goodness.

 

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