From Tracie: -2AM The Survivor Manual and Jade's Story

Sunday, May 16, 2010

-2AM The Survivor Manual and Jade's Story

I have always had difficulty telling my story and I hate to call it that. It’s a set of life experiences that have shaped who I am today.  It has always been very difficult for me to share the traumas in my life out of fear that I will be judged or they will be dismissed as no big deal.   I have to say that I only have recently been able to accept that trauma is trauma, which brings me to the post from the Survivor Manual that has most impacted me, There is No Comparison in Terms of Joy, by Joanna Doane.  

I let things from my childhood fester for so long that I became a self-injurer and a recreational drug user. I also isolated myself, became anxious, and developed gastrointestinal problems. It took a good therapist, Angela Shelton and The Army of Angels to help me.  Let me go back to what brought me here today.  In the past year, I have realized all of the isolated events that have shaped who I am today: a 28 year old with Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety and Depression. 

We moved to Texas when I was 5 years old because my dad got transferred.  Within about 6 months of moving here, my grandmother unexpectedly passed away.  This was the first real loss I think I experienced and I was so young to lose a grandparent that had previously been a caretaker. I have very few memories of before the age of about 10.  I do know this, my dad has always been very detached and both of my parents are very invalidating. I was always told to be quiet, that I didn’t need to be upset about something, etc.  My mother frequently ignored me when I was upset and chalked it up to just being an obnoxious child. 

When I was in 3rd grade, my mother decided it would be a fabulous idea to listen to the idiot pediatrician who told her to take me to a gynecologist.  I have no other word for this experience except horrible. I remember what I was wearing that day, a red and white stripped dress.  I remember his stature, I remember his hair and I remember what happened.  Why would a doctor manually examine a child there? My mom swears it didn’t happen like this but I remember screaming and being so scared. It’s interesting that this is one of the very few clear memories I have as a child.  I also very rarely will wear a skirt or dress. The thought has crossed my mind that something else happened and I’m blurring two memories together but I don’t really think this is the case.  

When I was in 4th grade, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I am sure that this created a huge fear in me (that I don’t remember) and my dad did not handle it well, as he usually doesn’t. He is emotionally cut off from everything and I am sure I was scared and not comforted.  My mom ended up recovering and is now almost 21 years cancer free.  

Fast forward several years.  I got my horse when I was 15. I truly believed he saved my life. I was headed down a very dangerous path and my parents realized that. However, this was about the time I began smoking Marijuana weekly. This went on for several years, until I decided that one day I might want to get into the FBI and I couldn’t be a pot head or have a criminal record.  

When I was 19, I had another terrible experience with a doctor. My mom tricked me into “that” appointment and the woman was extremely rough.  She was just a family doctor that I had never met before.   She was not very personable and had a horrible bedside manner. I mean, what parent does this without any explanation of what is about to happen?  I know that she wanted me to be healthy but I just don’t think she went about it the right way.  

Around this time, I ended up getting caught with drugs by my parents and I knew they meant business that I had to stop.  Without pot, I had no coping skills so I started to cut.  Episodes of cutting were increasing due to the chaos I felt inside my head.   I thought the answer to my inability to get along with people, including my family, was to move. I moved to California and it’s not a surprise that my problems did not go away. I continued to occasionally smoke Marijuana when I could get it, as a means of coping.  

At first, my life appeared to improve, but then I started dating this guy. He was a friend of a friend who, looking back, I don’t think she actually knew him very well.  He was Mr. Perfect. Within 2 months he began talking about getting married. My instincts were telling me something was wrong but I just ignored it or changed the subject. He was getting weirder and I believe that he was still taking steroids, even though he said he quit. He would do things like pin me to the bed “for fun.” He frequently would pressure me to have sex (we didn’t) but he would end up doing something else instead. I felt like I had to compromise with him out of fear (he was 6’6” and about 300 lbs) and because for some reason I thought I didn’t deserve any better. I remember only bits of this relationship. I remember leaving his house crying. I remember feeling panicked when he would hold my arms down and kiss me. Even though, at that time, he wasn’t actually raping me, I knew in the back of my mind it wasn’t a good sign. I started to feel like he was testing me to see what he could get away with. I am smarter than I give myself credit for and need to listen to my instincts.  I came to Texas after dating this guy for a few months and my mom’s friend who is a MFT, cautioned me that this guy could start hitting me. He displayed typical abuser characteristics.  So needless to say, her concern validated what I already thought and I dumped him over the internet that day because I was scared.  

About 2-3 months later I had a severe panic attack and almost attempted suicide.  I ended up moving back to Texas because family seemed like the best solution at this point.   When I moved back, I sunk into a deep depression and my life was not back to normal. Instead, I was dealing with different issues.  I ended up getting my current job and meeting a woman who has contributed to the change in me. She is my superior at work, but also a friend and encouraged me to keep trying to heal when I felt like I couldn’t. She is also the one who pointed out that my cutting was symptomatic of something. We both knew what she was talking about, but neither would talk about it.  I didn’t want to admit that what I thought were insignificant events had caused that.  I also never had been in intense therapy so I wasn’t able to piece everything together.  

In the last year and a half, I have switched therapists to someone who specializes in DBT. She diagnosed me as a Borderline and has helped me so much.  She explained to me that I was a sensitive child and by not having my emotions validated, it resulted in BPD.  She also said those doctor’s appointments were huge traumas in my life and my reactions are normal.  I don’t act out. More goes on in my head than anything and I call myself the Quiet Borderline.  Most people wouldn’t know I have it.  My cutting has almost completely gone away. I went over 6 months free and had one relapse.  I have medication to deal with my anxiety which I have to be careful with because I often want to use it to get high.  I want to stop cutting completely without replacing it with drug addiction, I want to say I am a recovered Borderline and I want to be well enough to stop anti-depressants. I am working hard at this and hope that one day I can achieve these goals.  I also need to learn how to have a healthy relationship with a guy and improve my low self esteem, but I think that will come when I say I am recovered from Borderline.  I say that I am an Angel and that makes me happy. It makes me happy to know there are people out there I can relate to when I feel like I don’t belong. I am a SURVIVOR!

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