Monday, July 11, 2016

Trauma: Why I Delete Posts or It's Been a Bit of a Day

I often use social media as a means of gaining support when going through difficult times. I do not have many "face to face" friends (this is mostly due to difference in location), and so when I am going through a particularly difficult situation I find comfort in the comment section of my statuses. Being the black and white person I am, I'll either want to talk to everyone (which will show an influx in posts) or no one (which will manifest in me shutting down). Many people judge me for posting my personal stuff online, and I try my best to only do it when I desperately need support; because here's what I'm not, I'm not a phone person. I am very picky about who I have conversations on the phone with. If you call me, I will gladly pick up and talk to you, but as far as me initiating a call with you; that is only reserved for a few and in the most desperate of times.

Usually, after a particular hurricane has passed, I will go back and delete all my posts having to do with the issue/incident. I do this as an act of cleansing, and to symbolize that I have moved (or mostly moved) passed what ever hardship I had been enduring.  I recently got done doing this after a particularly traumatizing 24 hours. Before, I go further I want to talk about Trauma.

When the average person thinks of a traumatic experience, they think of big examples; war, child abuse, living through a tornado, surviving a car wreck. However, trauma is defined as, "a deeply distressing or disturbing experience." Professionals in the psychiatric field will tell you that trauma effects different people in different ways. I recently read a book where the author described an incident with a man who groped her on the train to be more traumatic than being raped by a boyfriend. The psychology of the brain is confusing, and thus it is not the job of anyone to invalidate what a person feels is traumatic. Even if it may not seem traumatic to you, it could be to someone else. Trauma can be transient, long standing, come with flashbacks, or other reactions. Point is, chances are you're not a professional so, let it be.

It's been a bit of a day, or I should say 24 hours. I went to D's house for the weekend, and before I left had Molly shut in my room. I had done this before with no problem. Even among all the issues with my roommates, they seemed to keep the mindset that she was just an innocent animal. When I came home Sunday morning, someone had clearly gone into my room and gone through my stuff; Molly was also missing. While in the kitchen, I heard meowing coming from Joe's (the landlord) room. D and my other friend both confirmed they heard it as well. We looked around the source of the sound, just to make sure it wasn't coming from elsewhere, but it was pretty clear where it was coming from. D knocked on Joe's door and asked if the cat was in there. Obviously he denied it, but also sounded very defensive. Unsure of what to do, and wanting to get me out of there, we finished packing up and moved me to Malden. After we unpacked, I told D that everyone was advising me to call the police; so I did. The police told me to go back, wait in the car, and call 9-1-1. When the police arrived, they said they were unable to go inside without Joe's permission. They went to talk to him, and came back out telling me that I could go in and look around. Between the time I left, came back, and the police arrived, I'm guessing Joe got spooked and hid her or let her out, because she was not there. The police advised me to fill out a police report and call the animal shelter. Earlier, Glenn (the Jamaican guy) gave D his number (after refusing to give it to me) and said he would call if Molly showed up.

Today I was on my way to the police station to fill out the police report. By coincidence, Glenn called me while I was on the train to tell me that Molly was at the house. Glenn is very difficult to understand, and he wasn't being clear about where she was, whether he was keeping her safe, and kept telling me she was there and then not there; it was very confusing. Since I was already in the area I didn't want to go all the way back to Malden to get my carrier, so I contacted my friend G who met me and let me borrow hers. I let Glenn know I was on my way to the house, and he didn't say anything about anyone being home. On my way there I ran into my friend Michele, who by complete happenstance was near my house with a cat carrier searching for Molly (she had not even seen my post about her being found). Michele walked with me to the house, and while standing on the porch I could very clearly hear Andrew's voice inside (the one who assaulted me).

*rewind**rewind*. Last week while I was still living in the house, Andrew violated his restraining order by entering the apartment, and knocking on my bedroom door. The police came, but he had fled. They informed me to contact them if he came back. Also, the order was good until 7/13 and says for him to stay away from that address. Maybe I watch too many movies, but I assumed if someone violated a restraining order, the police would be looking for him. I was not actually informed of how anything works.

When Michele and I were at the house, Glenn came out and said that Joe did not want me to come inside, so Michele went in for me. While inside, I called 9-1-1 to let them know Andrew was there. The woman on the phone kept interrupting me, and then questioning everything I said before I had a chance to finish. She seemed to be twisting my words around, not understanding what I was telling her. For example, she didn't seem to grasp that I knew he was there because I was standing outside the door and heard his voice. She even mocked me when I told her I was tipping them off regarding Andrew's whereabouts. The whole phone call caused me a lot of anxiety. While I was on the phone, Glenn came outside and told me Molly was under his bed. Glenn has a separate entrance into his room, so he said I could come in through there. I got Molly, but not without comments from Glenn ("you're an ugly person").

After getting Molly, I continued my conversation with 9-1-1, and was told the police were on their way. When they arrived, it was the same story. Very bullying behavior; interrupting me, not allowing me to clarify things, making assumptions. I was told that I was supposed to have a police escort to go get my cat, I tried to tell them that I was never informed of this, but they wouldn't listen. I also tried to tell them, that me getting my cat as separate from me calling them cause I knew where Andrew was. I tried to explain that I didn't know how it worked, and I assumed they were looking for him. Eventually they explained that there wasn't a warrant and he would have a trial. They said even though I have an active restraining order, if I needed to go back to get anything I needed an escort. Okay, fine, but let me explain my piece and don't try and trip me up or confuse me or bully me. Especially as someone who has an anxiety disorder. After leaving and thanking Michele, I went to police headquarters and got a copy of the police report from the restraining order violation. I read it, and it was filled out wrong. I called and spoke to a supervisor, and he advised me to fill out a supplement to it.

Aside from the roller coaster ride with moving and molly, I also dealt with other minor and not so minor things over the past 24 hours. The two most notable being; 1. I went to Suffolk Downs with D and saw my family there. They all but ignored me, and were pretty passive towards me most of the time. Eventually they did talk to me, but it was frustrating. I was used to it, but D was so upset by it that he actually started tearing up. 2. I had a court date this morning that I was extremely anxious about. Not only was I there for two hours, but there was a guy in the court room who had clearly been drinking and was making me feel very unsafe. The other party never showed up, and I thought this was a good thing, but they got a hold of him and he said he never received the notice; so it's been rescheduled for next week. I'm pretty upset about it because I wanted it done and over with.

Think all this is enough? At the track, D locked his keys in his truck. Obviously this didn't directly effect me, but it made me upset to see him distraught. On my way to and from the court I had to pass by Green Lantern's house. Not gonna lie, it was pretty difficult. Finally, to top it all off,  I missed my therapy appointment (though I was able to reschedule).

D says I've been handling everything incredibly well. I think I have. I haven't had any suicidal thoughts, urges to hurt myself. I was having pretty bad anxiety/anxiety attacks yesterday and broke down a couple times over Molly, but as far as reactions go they've been pretty under control. The thing is, stuff like this usually makes me more resilient, and while it's draining and difficult; it's usually not what triggers my melt downs and self harm. Usually that happens when the incident involves an FP or significant other.

Some good did come out of the past 24 hours, though; Obviously getting Molly back is the big one, I went to as service at my church and it really helped center me; I've been doing a lot of journaling lately, and was able to write out my feelings about something. That cleared my mind a lot.  I had a wonderful time at quiz, I got most of my stuff unpacked, I got to see my nephew, and I am in a much safer and quieter place.

It's been a bit of a day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Life has been throwing me a lot of curve balls in the past month. I found out my contract at my job was not being renewed, two of my closest friends ended and our friendships on hold, I've been having issues with my family, I was physically assaulted by my roommate, the person who physically assaulted my last year decided to get a restraining order against me under false pretenses, and I have been living in an apartment that is unsafe and unsanitary.

Despite all this I am, as always, resilient. I don't have much of a support system. Sure, I have friends who offer encouragement here and there, but I don't have people reach out and ask to make plans with me. If you don't count people I see at quiz (i.e.-Quizmasters), the number of friends I have hung out with in person (all initiated by me) in the past few months is three. As usual, I've had to depend on myself to get through hard times. I admit, it can be discouraging at times. When I see other people post of hardships they get dozens upon dozens of comments of support and offers of help, and my posts mostly go ignored; perhaps a few comments here and there by the same handful of people (who I am very grateful to). Am I that bad of a person? Am I so horrible that people do not want to help me? Do they think I am just some drama queen desperate for attention. Am I just the, "girl who cried wolf" to people? I decided that I wasn't going to depend on other people. Here is what I have been doing to better my life, my progress, and increase my self care.

  • I started a women's program. It's a partial hospitalization program that runs M-F from 10-3:15, but they approved me to go part time. I attend Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 11-2:15. The groups I go to are; Monday: Weekend Process, DBT, Art Therapy. Tuesday: DBT, Relationships, Creative Writing. Thursday: DBT, CBT & Healthy Thinking, Healing & Recovery. I am super excited about all the extra DBT.
  • DBT group on Wednesdays.
  • Individual therapy.
  • I joined a Unitarian Universalist church. It's an amazing community of people that is accepting of all religions and schools of thought. I identify as Pandeist Pagan, and worship nature. My time in nature is sacred and I do it alone. However, I wanted to find a place where I could also be around other spiritual people, but didn't like the idea of having to subscribe to the same ideals as everyone else. UU church is perfect for me. During the summer they do chalice circles, deep listening and discussion on various topics. I haven't been able to make one yet, but the first one I do will be on mental health!
  • Coloring group.
  • I started a free yoga class on the Common that runs until Sept, 1st.
  • I bought a notebook for program, but also use it to write down my thoughts. I often feel like I don't have anyone to talk to about what's going on in my head. People either don't know what to say or they say something that makes me feel defensive. It's good to get back to writing again.
  • I'm moving this weekend. I hate that I am moving again, but fuck it, this place is extremely unsafe. I met my new roommate through Queer Exchange Boston, so I know she is similar to me.
One thought pattern that I have been struggling with, and I brought it up with my therapist, is self victim blaming. This is the third roommate that I have been abused by. Two of them were friends. I keep thinking of the saying, "if you keep having issues with people, maybe the problem isn't them; maybe its you." It's hard not to get into the mind set that I bring this upon myself, that no one else has multiple abusers. Because I don't, and I'm not alone. No one deserves this. I know people with mental illness are more likely to be abused because we are more vulnerable. This is not my fault.