Dear Trauma Mamas, I'm finished here. If you want to find me and my writings that will not be about my kids nor adoption, but will be more so about Trauma Recovery, gardening or what you all have generously referred to as my insights, email me firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook message me your email address and I will include you. I also welcome the many of you who are not in the adoption world, but have prayed so diligently over us for so many years. I'll add you too if you'd like, just let me know.
This is gonna be Part Two of MY Life.
Thank you all for your support for ten years and the 5,333 posts you've read.
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
If you're age 18 or older and you still live here, you may come and go as you please, paying your cell phone bill (usually), and, if you're not in college, then paying your car insurance as well. I don't charge rent, I pay the electricity and Internet bill, but start paying for some of your own personal expenses please.
So, that being said, I'd not seen a 19 year old son for nearly two weeks.
"I saw him yesterday," another 19 year old told me, "He was getting more clothes."
He came home the next day and within 10 minutes received two texts from two sisters stating, "Stop telling my business to Mom."
He'd barely said a word to me about anything, certainly nothing about a person, only his work schedule had been discussed between us. I'd just come inside from sweating outside in the gardens, and my blood pressure skyrocketed when he told me about these untrue texts.
Who in the heck thinks we sit around talking about them? To be more specific, I'd not even had time to drink water and sit down, much less do any yapping.
We got into my Verizon account and he simply changed his cell number. I can't tell you how tempted I was to do the same, but my number is listed on too many emergency contacts to even contemplate such a change. But the thought of a phone that never rings (which always scares the crap out of me because it's so often bad news) is infinitely appealing to me. This is why I don't get FB notifications even for FB messaging. I've shut off my email notification too, I check it when I get around to doing so.
I walk off very often, conveniently forgetting I left my phone behind in another room. Yet I love my phone for all the other reasons, such as checking weather apps.
Later in the week someone tried to tell me something and someone, and I responded with a mature and loud , "La la la" with my fingers plugging my ears.
I repeat, "I don't wanna know." Don't tell me anything about anyone, especially anything disappointing about folks, as I just don't wanna know. There's nothing I can do about it anyway, why raise my blood pressure?
I was more angry that he'd been accused of tattling, when not one word about another human being had been said.
"I have an even better idea," I responded angrily, "We just won't even utter their names for any reason so as not to be wrongly accused." This has happened way too often for me. I just can't take the stress.
I was thinking about ten years ago when I had so many kids at home, I was an automaton, getting the never ending chores done, tending to homework each afternoon, bathing kids, cooking 24-7, running several soccer teams at a time, and everything else that made the past 25 years an absolute blur to me. Looking back, I have no idea how I got it all done.
My life is physically so much easier nowadays, unbelievably so, and I'm loving it. I really didn't foresee the amount of outside drama that would still seep in unbidden, unexpected, and certainly unwanted. Leave me alone please.
I'm dealing with a repairable health issue, as it was discovered in time, but the procedures will continue through September. I don't want to add blood pressure problems on top of it.
Need another thing to get stressed out about? Your stress itself could be making you sick.
"Stress doesn't only make us feel awful emotionally," says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. "It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of."
An interesting article about 10 stress-related health problems, that didn't even list the one I'm dealing with this month, but Trauma Mamas, we gotta take care of ourselves.
I don't want to feel emotionally awful, that's why I'm taking hard line steps to prevent this crap.
I will not allow folks to mistreat me, especially after all I've done for them in childhood. That some are angry with me now for not financially helping out? When I have nothing left to give? When they are able-bodied, yet making bad choices? You've got to be kidding me.
This tired turnip has no more blood to squeeze out.
Friday, August 28, 2015
A couple of things here that interested me, after I received a call that Nando'd been injured at school. Hall jostling, nothing more, but when a group of rowdy 8th grade boys were monkeying around, he hit a door frame, school nurse suspected bruised rib, a doc-in-the-box confirmed it, no soccer practice for 3-5 days.
"Keep that boy in a padded room all season!!!" came the text from his coach, knowing Nando's the highest scorer, due to his willingness to risk it all.
Scotty's sinus infection isn't easing up, even with antibiotics, which concerns me, rather the sore throat part isn't improving, making me suspect a false negative on the strep test. "Stay away from Grandma," I always insist, at 85 she has a strong immune system, but still, let's not push it.
A friend tentatively suggested, or asked, if I'd considered my pride as an obstacle to antidepressants?
Ya think? Of course it is. But also, fortunately, I'm feeling good this week, that's not to say I won't get knocked upside my head again, figuratively speaking I hope. I'm not against medications, I just don't like them for me.
6 Surprising Foods Vegetarians Cannot Eat. Oh my. No kidding? Cue the sarcasm. Here's an example: Starburst
The ingredient that ruins everything: Gelatin
The fourth ingredient in Starburst, after sugar and more sugar (and... apple juice?), is gelatin. Gelatin is a less-gross way of saying a gelatinous substance made from an animal's skin and bones.
I'm not a candy eater, although dark chocolate is tempting. But, not really, fruits satisfy any craving.
The ingredient that ruins everything: Bone char
the idea of eating bone char -- which is usually made from cow bones --
The other four things were less gross, but as a vegan and a teetotaler, I'm not tempted anyway. So what do I eat? A ton of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains. Literally a ton.
I'd posted a pile of peas and peppers I'd picked on FB. If I eat 15 raw bell peppers a day, it occurred to me that I'm eating 105 a week, but hey, that'll end in about two more months when we get our first frost and then I'll crave them until next year.
And this year has been a bumper crop of Southern peas, probably have 30 quarts in the freezer plus I've eaten a ton fresh, my tomatoes have sucked.
And Rosie O'Donnell's daughter leaving home to live with her bio mom is getting a great deal of press. Yawn. Predictable. Understandable, a rite of passage. Leave the kid alone, let her find her way in this world.
Maybe, Trauma Mamas, our job was just those few tumultuous, violent, and fun years? I still feel certain I that I was called by God to specifically adopt these particular children. Now their lives are up to them, I did EVERYTHING I humanly could during the years they lived here at home, even as they fought me on everything.
Nowadays I spend my time with those who want me in their lives, not chasing after those who don't. I don't want to know about drunken bouts, nor less than stellar job performance, or chronic unemployment or couch surfing, or police intervention, etc. - my advice to 'Do The Right Thing' is usually met with contempt, ok, I don't wanna argue anymore, don't want to teach the unteachable - it just leads to resentment.
I pray they are safe, blessed and that they learn from experiences. I'm here if needed. However if that means disrespect or further lashing out, I'm unavailable. I'll fill my calendar with grandkid's events and ballgames, hanging out with my bonded older kids, and still busting my butt on the 10 or 11 kids who still live here. Why the uncertainty regarding 10-11? The coming and going of young adults, the faltering and missteps, or those that are so busy with college and jobs that I barely see them.
My more mundane concern is Hurricane Erika, which hopefully could lead to being a tropical storm over Georgia. More hopefully is that my roof would be repaired today, it's the flashing that wasn't properly attached in one area, but my gardens could use way more moisture.
I swear my body is hooked up to atmospheric conditions and barometric pressure systems. The very thought of this weather event energizes me on a cellular level. Go figure.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Sarah called it 'cummulative' regarding my stress load, my friend's phrase 'long tern severe traumatizing stress' is equally as accurate. I can't tell you how I've ruminated for day on that descriptive. Completely nailed it.
It is palpable, ever present, and quite annoying. I'm so bored with it, yet it's always in the forefront. I've turned into such a whiner.
Another very dear friend is in a group of parents who are parenting kids with schizophrenia and she is the only one in that group not on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications, and she has other very troubled kids as well. And she works full-time. Amazing.
My cell phone doesn't ring much, most folks know that the ringing sound immediately shatters my nerves, but heck there are times I need to talk to various family members. Vanessa called to let me know of a job opening, but surprisingly all are employed - or so I thought until later that evening.
My Jesse came by yesterday afternoon before his second shift job, I've gotten to spend more one on one time with him in the last year than in our entire 20 year history, me yesterday bugging him, "But what made you different? What made you stronger than others?" I know his history and it wasn't pretty, he was the oldest of his sib group, yet he made a ton of good choices, pushed himself and has succeeded beautifully.
What's the key? I don't know. Neither does he. Other than the choices he made, but my question is, "What made him make good choices?"
We've both been stressing out over someone else in our family. "I'm not stressing anymore," he told me, "I have to tend to my own family." Yes, I agree. His lovely family does come first. He's showing his son how to be a man.
I'm trying to shake off that specific stressor also, knowing that addicts make it your problem, rather than theirs.
I'd taken Scotty to the doctor's office, he's never sick, yet had a persistent sore throat and felt right bad. A sinus infection, he's missed two days of work, and is busting his butt to make it to school.
I had some FaceTime with Baby Ansley yesterday, she was cooing and squirming, "The baby that doesn't let anyone put her down," Daniel described. None of my four babies ever wanted to be put down either, but just like Daniel I didn't mind. Who doesn't want to show continuous love, nurturing, and support to a tiny baby? Babies just left the womb, they need to be comforted, to be shown that they are protected and loved.
Continuing knee rehab for Nando, great improvement already which is wonderful. I'm a huge fan of physical therapy, versus surgery or medications (unless needed, duh), and Nando should be fine, raring to go just in time for his first tournament of this season.
My kids think I hound them, but I often, or usually, hear stuff I didn't see coming, finding out via an innocent third party that one of my grown sons is not employed where I thought he still worked. I did then question another son about it later, but the verbal evasiveness is impressive. Oh well, I immediately disengaged emotionally, hoping this works out for you son.
My state retirement health insurance (BCBS) sucks. It's relatively inexpensive, but doesn't cover squat. I'd forked out some big bucks for CW's ingrown toenail and then for my own unexpected emergency procedure this week. Unbudgeted at a time when I've seriously been struggling to stay afloat, and in September I've got to some up with about four times that much cash to cover the next procedure.
In that doctor's office, she who often cuts my fees a bit knowing about my family, I was politely questioned by a nurse, "List all the medications you take each day."
Because I'm 61? Why do you assume I'm taking statins or whatever? I didn't say.
"None," I flatly stated. Should I explain the herbal supplements, or the amount of nuts and seeds I eat each day, I don't bother explaining that I'm vegan, that I don't drink alcohol or even a soda. 99% of the stuff I eat is a super food, maybe 100% on most days. I'm sugar free now for nearly a year. I fall short in the exercise department though, I'm active but not disciplined.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The Old Farmer's Almanac prediction, my county escaped the 'above normal' crapfall.
"Mom, you've changed, you're just not as happy as you used to be," a grown kid told me.
Well, no kidding Dude.
It was JoJo, now 18, and he told me he didn't believe in adoption anymore. He was glad I'd adopted him and his siblings, "But some of these other kids have been really bad," he solemnly informed me.
Yes, sweetheart, this I know. Some kids have been so emotionally and mentally challenged that nothing is ever gonna work for them. One of them now almost 27, in prison for the second time, will almost certainly end up with the three strikes law and will eventually be incarcerated forever. Although he has threatened me, he never laid a hand upon me, indeed he stood protectively between a knife wielding kid and me one time years ago.
I've been talking online with a mom who's happy with Cymblata, explaining to me, via a neuropsychiatrist, "Long term traumatizing severe stress literally changes the chemistry of the brain. It depletes it of serotonin The reason the correct medication does not alter your physical body is that nothing is being added. The medicine is balancing your brain chemistry, normalizing it. I still get mad, sad, happy, full range of emotions. Nothing is dulled. It's hard to explain. The best way I can describe it is say there is a literal nerve then the covering of the nerve, the protective shell erodes over time. Then you have a raw exposed nerve. It takes over your life. You can't feel normal because of this exposed nerve. The cymbalta allows the nerve to be cushioned again. It still does its work, you have your full range of emotions, but you are not worn out from that uncovered nerve. Over time your head will clear, the fog that shrouds you lifts. No big moment. You won't even notice till you realize you are looking back at how you used to feel."
I chewed on that all day, especially the phrase I bolded above 'long term traumatizing severe stress.'
I went to some web forums and read about people's experiences with Cymbalta and came away dismayed. Y'all know I'm very afraid of medications, knowing eventually what it does to the liver and other side effects, yet why should that matter to me when my brain is a mess? Cymbalta worked beautifully for some, terribly for others. My gut tells me no, not for me, even though many people have had superb results.
Talking it over later with Sarah, she advised Theanine Serene with Relora available from our local Vitamin Shoppe. I felt immediate relief. The placebo effect? Maybe, but who cares? Possibly that's all I needed.
Being my oldest daughter has not been easy for Sarah, what with the resentment so often dumped upon her by my other children. Often CW, Lily and Jack have been similarly mistreated, resented because they never had to have resided in foster care.
Ironically CW is now often called upon to help others out, the same others who once sneered at him.
I know that my serotonin is depleted, as are my adrenals, resulting in adrenal fatigue. I see other options. Long term traumatizing severe stress has resulted in several other physical issues as I found out yesterday at a doctor's office. However these are treatable issues, and by early October I should be completely shut of them.
"This is stress related," the doctor informed me, "You must reduce, or eliminate, stress."
Ya think? I didn't holler back at her.
"Yes ma'am," I instead responded, pondering the term 'eliminate.'
I have eliminated much of it by not reaching out to those who bite me, who lie to me, who lash out, lie about me, steal from me, or speak ugly of me. There'd be something wrong within me to continue participating in such negative relationships.
I know that nothing changes if nothing changes, and some of my kids will never change, will always fight with everyone - but it just won't be with me. I can't bear it anymore, I can no longer allow the emotional or verbal abuse. The negativity is unbearable.
"It's like they're killing you little by little," my son told me.
So I brighten up when I run into my grandson, Isaiah, on the soccer fields, or when I have Ray and Hazel over for the afternoon. I can confide in, and trust, Sarah, Yolie, Lena on a regular basis. I'm looking forward to Daniel, Ansley, and Megan's upcoming visit, I have plans to be with Alex, Polo, and Jayden soon. My Jesse is a rock. I have some really great grown kids and loving in-laws too.
I will pour out what's left of me into the lives of those who are upfront with me, who are honest and hard working, sweet and pleasant. I've spent much of the time lately when I've not been blogging researching stress and toxic behaviors of others.
We have all had toxic people dust us with their poison. Sometimes it’s more like a drenching.
Difficult people are drawn to the reasonable ones and all of us have likely had (or have) at least one person in our lives who have us bending around ourselves like barbed wire in endless attempts to please them – only to never really get there.
Their damage lies in their subtlety and the way they can engender that classic response, ‘It’s not them, it’s me.’ They can have you questioning your ‘over-reactiveness’, your ‘oversensitivity’, your ‘tendency to misinterpret’. If you’re the one who’s continually hurt, or the one who is constantly adjusting your own behaviour to avoid being hurt, then chances are that it’s not you and it’s very much them.
But they will never comprehend that. You are the one who must protect your own emotions.
"You're an amazing mom," JoJo reassured me, "don't let folks bring you down."
I'm trying, I'm dealing with it in therapy, I'm moving forward slowly.
Not a good photo below but the point is obvious. The farm got a new horse that Tabby got to ride yesterday. A massive horse that she was learning to ride without stirrups, her legs and feet controlling the horse, all an integrative aspect of horseback riding therapy, now finishing up her second year of this, benefiting greatly, loving it immensely. I'm grateful she has this opportunity.
Monday, August 24, 2015
This photo of Jesse and Isaiah makes me smile. Jesse's wife and son are his priority and nothing tempts him, nor sways him in any other way. That's called being a man, and I'm so very proud of him.
Sarah blogged an interesting concept, the opposite of me, in that I publish my morning brain dumps, but not always. There is an impressive list of unpublished posts here on my blog.
"I'm just kidding," a son told me, after he watched my face flush and my blood boil, not comprehending the crappy cortisol that flooded my entire being. What folks don't realize is that negative teasing - and I don't think negative and teasing should be in the same sentence - displays a subconscious level of hostility.
Women do it too sometimes, they'll say something biting to another woman, and then try and lift the mood with a forced laugh, as if they were just joking, but the damage was done.
Many of my kids have noticed this change in me, this complete withdrawal from the human race, but like whack-a-mole, anytime I venture tentatively out into humanity, then someone gets arrested, says something awful, or I hear something worse, like they're drunk in front of their kid(s) and I'm so appalled, humiliated, angry, upset that I scurry back into my imaginary reclusive bunker.
I don't wanna know what's going on, yet many of them feel compelled to call and tell me.
"LA LA LA!" I wanna yell, while plugging my ears.
Why tell me? There's nothing I can do, the culprit won't listen to me, they all react oppositionally to logical advice. So please, y'all, leave me out of it. I do not wanna know.
When I had 20 something kids at home I never watched TV, I just worked my butt off, and didn't feel nearly as overwhelmed as I do now. Now I am consumed with worry that the police are coming over to tell me something awful, that one of my kids that is fundamentally neurologically impaired is gonna do something awful, that they aren't taking care of kids properly, or whatever my PTSD saturated brain can conjure up.
I came downstairs yesterday morning to find two cigarette lighters on my kitchen table and I angrily threw them away. No lighters are allowed in my house yet this son thought, because he was allegedly grown, that it was OK.
NO, I still have kids at home, I often have grandchildren here. I repeat, "No lighters, no weapons, no cigarette, no drugs, nothing unsafe is allowed in my home."
You are allowed to move out if you disagree, you are over 18.
From The Mayo Clinic:
Negative changes in thinking and mood
Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:
Negative feelings about yourself or other people
Inability to experience positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Changes in emotional reactions
Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:
Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
Always being on guard for danger
Overwhelming guilt or shame
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
Being easily startled or frightened
The good news is that I am not aggressive, nor am I self-destructive. That's the good news, Cindy?
Even Grandma has suggested I look into medication, but I don't feel that a dose of lethargy would be very beneficial when I still have kids at home that expect me to function properly.
If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Get treatment as soon as possible to help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.
For more than a month? I busted out laughing. It's been stinking years of this. I am not suicidal, it'd mean they won, and that's kinda how I feel about medications - I'd prefer that positivity somehow prevails instead within me. I do see a therapist.
A grown kid started to tell me a long tattletale story about several grown kids but stopped saying, "Nah, I don't want you to blog it. Then they'll all get mad at me."
Dude, I don't even wanna HEAR it. LA LA LA.
My Give-A-Crap button is shattered, I can't fix it. I'm pretty emotionally broken down, I'm trying to work on that, so as to be there for the majority of my family that hasn't launched deadly missiles at me for years.
Daniel'd sent me the funniest text last night, I roared with laughter, dadgum that felt good. I was happy for a minute there.
I want to heal for him and his daughter, and for all the ones who want me and need me.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
It's Evelyn and Mateo's mom's birthday today, turning 25 already.
A lady reached out to me in the middle of the night, but with my notifications turned off, I see it when I see it. Reading it first thing this morning, I was initially just simply glad I'm not in her shoes anymore.
"I sit here trying to figure out what kind of different parenting path could I have taken that might have made a different outcome and there isn't one."
Perfectly stated. All of us foster and adoptive parents provide a home and a family, nurturing, stability, security, material things, an education, all that we have, and we face almost exactly identical scenarios of theft, deception, danger, violence, aggression and challenges.
Therefore the common denominator - the children's negative behaviors - is what's there even in the midst of 24-7 intensive parenting.
What do we do? Should the kids just have been left with their birth parents since they'll seemingly despise us for years and years for not being a birth parent? Yes and no. I do think CPS is too quick to remove children, yet children die and continue to be injured, neglected or abused in their birth homes.
This is why when the birth moms eventually show up, I'm not unhappy about it. Go with her if you need to, just stop emotionally abusing me. I'm talking about if the kids are over 18.
I have made absolutely no difference in the lives of some of my kids. I've made a world of difference in some of them though. I cling to those kids, I have stupendous fun with them, they've made it so worth it.
But some? I can't take the verbal abuse anymore, I'm just done. I forgive continuously, but scurry deeper in the invisible hole I find shelter in - seclusion. I weed, shell peas, fetch me some loads of wood chips, all because I find comfort in those activities. I sweat out my anger and resentment.
This mom was sweet enough to say that my blogging has helped her not feel alone regarding her lack of strength - how can any of us be strong enough to survive what we've endured? I told my own mom yesterday that I wished I could just go back to bed, it was barely noon, CW found me asleep sitting up in the easy chair before supper.
I am that exhausted. I am so tired, still swamped with inner stress that I need to deal with, to figure out how to get it out of my life before it kills me.
This mom also says she doesn't like who she has become. Me either. I don't like my bitterness, my anger and resentment, my fury, all the crap that was dumped on me that changed me so much.
I miss me.
So Elizabeth, Anthony and Jessie had Nando last night, Tabby was super tired, Jack was in his room, and I was about to fall asleep in my room at 9. A grown son texts me that he needs a ride RIGHT NOW to take a key to meet a tow truck guy to have his car towed. A car that has sat there for two months.
Shouldn't you have checked with me before calling a tow truck? Where are you gonna tow it to that late? No mechanic was waiting for it then.
There was a time I'd have jumped up to help, but that ship has sailed. I wasn't gonna drag Tabby out, this wasn't any emergency, and I said, "No, I'll do it tomorrow." Then I fell asleep.