Daily Archives: April 11, 2013

Child Abuse PTSD

Noga the Wonder Dog I really do intend to get through Child Abuse Awareness Month.  And I really do intend to impart what I hope will be useful information, along the way.  It’s just that talking (writing) about child abuse triggers my PTSD to the extent that I am schlepping myself around exhausted, not particularly eating, and not particularly interested in anything much.  And then there are the dreams.  Good thing I have little Noga to keep me entertained with her hijinks and motherly kisses.

I have flashbacks about the little 9 month old who had learned how to turn over and try to wiggle away from having his diaper changed, so his father grabbed him by both legs and gave him a few vigorous shakes, so that he broke both his legs.  That baby turned out to have multiple rib factures in various stages of healing, so it looked like nobody had much patience for him.

Or the little girl who came in from the Souther Tier, always a bad sign.  The Southern Tier is a set of mountains south of Rochester, NY, where things go on that make the movie Deliverance look like Mary Tyler Moore.  This girl kind of stumped us for a while, because of the polka-dot pattern of  three-inch-diameter burns over her whole body.  Her parents, who were filthy, with greasy locks, reeking of beer, were no help at all.  They only brought her in because several of the odd burns had become infected.  One of the professors in the ER that day solved the mystery:  he brought over a light-bulb, and voila! The end of the bulb fit the burns exactly.  The parents eventually admitted that they had been “disciplining” the girl by applying the end of a lit table lamp to her skin.  I’m happy to say the girl was whisked away into the hospital, where she was healed of her physical wounds, and got to do play therapy and art therapy and music therapy and even school, which she had not had the opportunity to attend while languishing in the Southern Tier. She was placed in a good foster home and eventually adopted.

It was not unusual to see intentional injuries that simply don’t compute, at least not to me.  A grandmother “disciplined” her grandbaby by pouring black pepper down the baby’s mouth.  The baby died, and on autopsy was found to have its windpipe completely packed with pepper.  Another grandmother gave her grandbaby an enema of boiling water.  That poor child lived, but had to have five feet of intestine removed, and multiple reconstructive surgeries to try to avoid the year-old baby having to grow up with an ileostomy (wearing a bag on its abdomen to collect stool).  An irate babysitter held a toddler under scalding water in the bathtub, resulting in third-degree burns over 100% of the child’s body.  He died.  And the list goes on and on.

Children chained to their beds, brought in with some incidental illness, and we see the raw and scarred ligature or handcuff marks.  A teenager who was raised in a crawlspace under the house, and was essentially feral, brought in because he had vomiting and diarrhea.  Otherwise, he would have spent his entire life in the crawlspace.

Why did they do these horrible things to their children?  They were bad children, said the caretakers (torturers I say).  Bad children, so they deserved to be burned, imprisoned, tortured, some tortured to death.

I am not crying now, and that is because I dissociate when I think about these things.  But I am making a lot more typing mistakes than I usually do, so that shows that it’s getting through somewhere.  I want to get hold of those parents, grandparents, babysitters, and do the same things to them that they did to their children.  Break their bones.  Burn them with hot light bulbs and lit cigarettes. Etc, etc, etc.  It’s amazing how creative these monsters can be at torturing their children.  We’re not talking getting carried away with a spanking here, we’re talking thinking up things to do to cause grievous physical harm.

The key to avoiding many of these atrocities, I think, starts at birth.  It’s a great time to screen for child abuse risk.  Have a good look at the mother and father.  Watch how they relate to each other.  Watch how the mother relates to her newborn.  Is she in love with her new baby, or does she only want to sleep, and when the nurse brings her the baby to feed, does the minimum required and sends the baby back to the nursery so she doesn’t have to be bothered with it?

Social workers can help immensely, especially if they can make home visits to at-risk families.  There’s nothing like going to someone’s home to get a sense of what really goes on there.  That’s one of the reasons it distresses me that physicians seldom make house calls anymore.  If you only see the baby when the mother (or other caretaker) brings them in for their shots, you really only have a snapshot of what the home environment is like; although let me tell you, some of the routine office visits I’ve had have been hair-raising: if this is how they treat their kids at the doctor’s office, what must it be like at home???

I’ve managed to give you some snippets of what’s causing my child abuse PTSD.  These are only a few of the things I have seen.  I am going to try to soldier on with this, and hopefully manage to navigate through some of the other types of child abuse that damage our children, who grow up to be damaged adults.


Hunger

Like most people on psych meds, I gained weight after taking them. I read recently that most people gain 7-14 lbs average. Once again, I have to disagree with these statistics based on my own observations. I would guesstimate that 30 – 50 lbs as the average. Unfortunately I went way beyond that. By the time my weight gain was done I peaked at 303 lbs. I had gotten so heavy that I could not walk to the supermarket across the street without stopping to catch my breath at least four times.

My doctor wanted me to get a gastro bypass surgery but I chose Weight Watchers instead and am damn glad I did.
My weight loss has gone great. I need to lose over a hundred pounds and lost 90 pounds, later I lost 90 lbs, later still I lost another 90 lbs. I’m stuck. I wish I could say I’ve plateaued, but that would be a lie. The problem has been my behavior. I’ve gone from one week of losing weight to one week of gaining weight. Back and forth, back and forth and back in forth.

Some examples are:

December 5: 213lbs
January 12: 217lbs
January 19: 213ibs
January 26: 218lbs
February 16: 212lbs
March 23: 218lbs
And finally last Saturdays weigh in I weighed 215lbs

Four months! I can’t believe this has taken four months! I just can’t seem to get passed the 90lbs drop. I’ve been so close to hitting the 100lbs loss but just can’t seem to get there. From the December 5 weigh in I should have a loss a total of 20lbs, which would put me comfortable at a total of 193lbs.

Is it self-sabotage? It could be. I don’t care what the problem is, I want to figure out the reason and stop and begin to move forward on my weight loss.

Despite my frustration with the Weight Watchers right now, I know it’s not their fault. I just need to go back to following the program like I did to lose what I have. I hope I finally learned my lesson, and will go back on track and reach that 100 pound mini goal.

Springing

Spring is definitely here, even with wildly variable weather. The birds are migrating, the days are longer, the sun comes …

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I am Loved-by anxiety

Yep. I will never be alone or unloved.

I have my constant companion anxiety. It has never abandoned me. Always there, like a stalker, wreaking havoc on every aspect of my life, making me often pray for death or at least removal of my central nervous system and misfiring brain.

This morning I woke at 5:45.  Only because I’d hit snooze six times. The seasonal affect is usually lifted by now as far as wanting to be awake, so the fact I am still having so much trouble getting up in the morning is a point of concern. Desire to sleep incessantly is a symptom of lingering depression. DOES NOT WANT. Must discuss with shrink. I have an appointment mid month but I honestly don’t remember when. Glad they do the reminder call thing.

I got my monthly curse today, yayyy. No wonder my anxiety and edginess have been so high. Hormones…can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Catch 22 built into the female design. On a related mini rant, every time I see something on Reddit or a t-shirt like “Never trust anything that bleeds for 7 days and doesn’t die” and “I am sick of women using their periods as an excuse to be a bitch.” First, no woman ever asked for a period. They are built in, we did not get a choice, so fuck off. And maybe we don’t die because we are tougher than whiny ass men who have to make such ignorant statements. Second, I don’t need an excuse to be a bitch,because I am a bitch. But when the hormones surge once a month, yes, you get grumpy and teary and anxious. I don’t understand how some men can be so sympathetic of pregnancy “The hormones make her this way” but when it;s an every month deal, well, that is somehow different. Hormonal surges are hormonal surges.

Okay, mini rant done.

I have to do that wifi set up out of town today, which puts Mr Anxiety and Mrs Panic in overdrive. I am so scared of screwing up. It’s a DSL set up and thus far, I have only dealt with cable networks and routers. I am trying to have the mindset of “I am going to go, do what I can, and if it works it does and if it doesn’t it doesn.t”

Insidious panic, much like honey badger, doesn’t care.

The Xanax takes the edge off but it doesn’t cure. None of the meds cure. Oh, which reminds me I saw a post on Reddit yesterday by someone who says they “used to” be bipolar but has been cured. The sheer ignorance, denial , and plain idiocy of people never ceases to boggle my mind. You are never cured. You may decide to quit meds, you may even have long periods of functionality, but you are never cured. It’s not an infection. And if it never emerges again, then you weren’t truly bipolar to be cured of.

My bitchiness is in hyperdrive, but the anxiety is so bad, I am gnashing my teeth, something I never do unless under too much strain. Well, the klonopin had me back to constant gnashing but that was soo last month. Ha ha ha, how funny is it to remember your months by which med failed that time. I’d be depressed about my sad existence, but I hang out with a guy every day who acts like the world is going to end when he has a few bad days of non cooperative electronics. It reminds me of a kid having a pouting fit over something asinine. Life sucks, bad days are often more plentiful than good ones. Cope with it. Oh, wait, he does. It’s called massive quantities of beer. But anyway, I am content, I have no expectations for things to work out right. I guess in that respect, I am more grounded than R. He grew up privileged though. I guess that gives you a bubble to live in and it would suck to be burst. This has always been my norm. I probably couldn’t cope with anything else.

The psychology of the human condition is awe inspiring.

Now…

Xanax time. Then hunt through six baskets of unfolded laundry to find clothes to wear. Then get the spawn to wake up so I can get us out of the house by 8.

My life is color by numbers. Check list of all that must be done. Deviation is bad. I flip out when things are out of the routine. It’s always made me wonder if I have some minor form of autism. I really get freaked out by things like being told I am having pork chops for supper and at the last minute it changes. I guess it’s related to anxiety and personality.

Cripes, if I could figure myself out, I wouldn’t need the damn “professionals”.

Off I go, my friend anxiety in tow. Another day, another mental roller coaster.

Cheesy joke.

“Past, present, and future walk into a bar. It was tense.”

Probably only funny to grammar nazis.


Opening the Door

door

Screw you bipolar, I’m going out.

First things first — I am an introvert. I have always needed me time away from people to be happy, and my socialization needs are very low. Besides making the rounds of the Internet (which is a great way for introverts to socialize without hemorrhaging spoons!), I only need to be around people two or three times a month to top up my socialization needs to a happy place. This number is easily increased if it’s bringing people into my home, but that is a sporadic thing at best (and yet, well organized. Long story, ha ha).

However, one of the bigger issues with bipolar, and depression at large, is the problem of social isolation. With Bipolar II, it is well known that the high frequency of depression has a significant negative impact on psychosocial functioning. And indeed, I’ve written recently about how isolated (Bipolar Island!) it makes me personally feel. So yes, while some of it is having driven off friends and enemies and having heard the lamentations of the women, some of that isolation is even more self-inflicted.

For example, last night was my Stitch ‘n Bitch group meeting. We meet every other week, and it is something I vastly enjoy. And yet, yesterday, my brain was trying to ramp up the depressive side of my mixed episode and convince me to stay in. I’ve missed exactly once, and that was because I was out of country — this seriously is something I love to go to for the fun of crafting, and for the enjoyment of good people to chatter with. Trying to convince myself to stay in is pure sabotage on the part of my brain, especially with the kidlette and husband being ill (seriously, we all still have colds, and have since last year — dafuq) and muppet flaily, staying in would have probably been significantly more detrimental.

So yes, even though my brain was spiking anxiety so severely that I thought I was going to wreck the car the entire few minute drive across town, that my skin about climbed off of my bones at someone trying to start crap over a parking spot, I made it out. And I feel the need to pat myself on the back for that, ’cause even applying all the logic and knowing to the situation, it didn’t stop the bipolar from trying to shut me down, hide me behind close doors, and otherwise shoot me in both feet. And you guys should always pat yourselves on the back too when you manage to pwn the bipolar or depression or whatever, however momentarily. Blah, that makes me sound a bit sunshine-spewing, doesn’t it? My apologies if it’s a touch too sunny a sentiment; it’s just what I need to do for myself to keep my head above water.

<3

The post Opening the Door appeared first on The Scarlet B.

I can’t think

My brain is not soaking up the new information that I have no prescription coverage and my antipsychotic will cost $370 per month!!! How in the hell is anyone supposed to afford that. I have 3 pills left then I am out. So I need to call my psychiatrist for a sample and then I need to call and set up for anything that can make my meds affordable.

I am not freaking out really but there is a sense of panic in me. In the back of my mind I fear being taken off Abilify, because it helps me so much.

No happy medium

If I get my bipolar leveled out and depression lifted, the anxiety and panic overflow.

If I get my nervous issues calmed down, then the mood swings and depression overflow.

There is no happy medium for me. What little of “happy medium” I have ever known has been limited to small bursts that last a day or two. Inevitably, one of my conditions is kicking my ass at any given time.

The bipolar seems in hand aside from some bumpy patches. I don’t like it, but I can deal.

The depression is lessening but it still lurks in the shadows, jabbing into me like a knife in the  back a few times a week. Again, I can deal.

But the anxiety has taken center stage now. Constant free flowing anxiety interspersed with episodes of panic. The Xanax is helping me keep it together but anyone who has dealt with panic attacks on a daily basis for years knows that it takes a toll, no matter how well you cope.

Tonight, I should be relaxed, enjoying the awesome thunderstorm going on.

Instead I am climbing the walls with anxiety for R volunteered me to go out of town in the morning and fix his cousin’s wifi network. Even though I did everything including tell him no to get out of it. His faith in me should bolster my confidence. It just adds to my anxiety. If I go over there and can’t fix what is wrong, then I will look inept, and I will spend a week beating myself up. Not helpful with anxiety and panic. I am stressing out.

Tomorrow night I will be stressing out because Friday I see the sunshine spewer and that’s always a bit like emotional russian roulette.

I am finding it difficult to breathe.

I have taken what bits of joy I can get tonight playing with my kid and the kittens. That makes me smile and laugh.

But life is not all funny little kids and cute playful kittens and it weighs on my mind in a way that threatens to send me spiraling down into the abyss of incoherent freak out panic. I am told not to freak out because I am psyching myself out. I don’t see how denying the way I feel is a better solution. I am nervous and I am freaking out.

The only plus is that I am going to the tiny armpit town where my dad and his clan live and stepmonster said she would buy me breakfast after I am done fixing the wifi. At least I am not going to be an entirely unfamiliar place and someone is going to feed me. Silver lining in  every cloud. Just hope it’s not liquid mercury.

I don’t think anyone in the mental health field I have seen in  22 years has ever quite grasped my situation better than that psychologist I had to see last year for my disability review. I went in expecting him to a be a typical “meds are evil, you just need cognitive therapy” asshole. Instead, he had great insight into my situation and pointed out, “You try very hard, but you have so many disorders going on simultaneously that it really is a case of the stars, sun, and moon having to align perfectly for things to work out right for you.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Now what are the odds of all that ever aligning perfectly….

I am definitely screwed.


A-Z Challenge; I is for Ignorance Mental Moment

I is for…Ignorance A while back I wrote a post called Stupid is Stupid but Ignorance is Bliss. It was in my early blogging days and while I stand by […]

National Child Abuse Awareness Month: Statistics

Child Abuse Can Be Prevented

Child Abuse Can Be Prevented

Having not quite recovered from the PTSD triggered by yesterday’s post, I’d like to offer you some sources on child abuse statistics.  They come from reliable sources, e.g. the Childhelp Foundation, which is a very user-friendly but slightly inaccurate source: for instance they estimate that fewer that 10% of children will be victims of sexual abuse, and the actual number is between 20-25%.  Maybe what they mean is that at any point in time 10% are being sexually abused.  I could buy that.  But it’s a good place to start, and gives a broad overview of the societal consequences of child abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Welfare Information Gateway swings to the other end of the pendulum: way, way too much information for the average bear, but if you are looking for statistics on anything and everything to do with child abuse you will find it here.

If you’re following along with this series, it would be good to take a look at these resources, just to familiarize yourself with the scope of the problem.  You’ll find some astonishing (in a bad way) historical trends over the past decade that make me wonder what kind of pressures are being put on society that causes people to lash out at our most precious possessions, our children.

But are our children really our possessions, or are they placed in our stewardship to raise the way we see fit?  That’s another discussion, isn’t it?  What do you think?