Let's discount the following: a.) I'm in the middle of my second divorce, and it's nastier than the first one I had. b.) I'm having issues at work, i.e., I'm not actually working, which presents a whole host of other freaking issues it's not even funny. c.) I'm finally moving out of my parents' house and back out on my own again. Gotta cut those apron strings back a bit more.....
But like I said let's skip all of that. This year, Mother's Day holds a whole new feeling for me, numbness. See, last month, about a week before her 15th birthday, my kid and I had a major row about seeing each other this summer. It got to the point where she proceeded to call me names. The kind, which, had *I* used them when I was her age, I would have been beaten within an inch of my life. But I digress.
I guess it doesn't really bother me that she used such foul language against me; it's the fact that her father and her step-mother armed her with information she had no previous knowledge of so she could use it in her tirade against me.
I'm not gonna lie, folks, it hurt like hell. And it still does. Quite a lot actually. It's pretty traumatizing when the kid you helped raise starts in on you like a spoiled brat, a bully, if you will.
I went through a ton of symptoms of trauma at first, shock, disbelief, denial, BAWLING, panic, feeling helpless...and man that one hurts a lot more than I ever thought it would....because I was helpless. Things had changed. She had changed. I couldn't do much either, but to sit and listen to her treat me like shit, or to hang up on her and not talk to her.
She even went so far as to send me an email laced with a ton of obscenities telling me just what she thought of me. And to say that I was left stunned is an understatement. Crushed, devastated, overwhelmed.....those would be better words to use. Some of you may have even seen said email. I debated on whether or not to share it publicly, but I will spare her the embarrassment of public ridicule........for now. I may change my mind later. I know I said I'd be open & honest with this journal, but....for now....I'm trying to give you all information on how to cope with trauma, not air my dirty laundry. Journaling is one of the ways experts suggest to help cope with a traumatic event.
"It is well documented that writing your thoughts and feelings during times of trauma and distress is a healing, nurturing, effective means of release." Kathleen Adams, LPC, RPT. http://www.journaltherapy.com/articles/cjtsec08_l.htm
Now, "David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages", http://www.trauma-pages.com/s/t-facts.php, gives some fine examples of what someone can go through during and after a traumatic event. One of which, I've already listed above. What some people won't or don't remember to tell you, is that trauma isn't just emotional, it's physical too. So when someone says, "You've scared the shit outta me," it can and does actually happen.
And even our true founding fathers, the Brits, have found that relaxation coupled with doing some small, simple acts, like exercise, eating right and forcing yourself to go out and be with other people and having fun, will not only help improve your mood, but it can help with facing the trauma head-on, so to speak, and thus get you on the road to recovery. http://www.cic-learning.co.uk/alertnet-trauma/study/page/show/169/coping-strategies/practical-self-care
You should already know by now that since there's a list of positive things you should do to cope with trauma, there's gonna be a list of things you don't do. (It's common sense, here, guys. Like duh.)
Let's get some of them out on the table here:
- Keep your ass sober. Don't go hitting the bottle, or partaking in herb just to help numb the sting of the feelings you're going through. It's not going to help for very long, and the headaches and that whole physical thing with puking....or the munchies making you gain those extra pounds.......dude........you just don't wanna go there.
- Don't isolate yourself socially. This is actually counter-productive. You may think that you're helping others by not exposing them to your feelings of anger, hate, desperation, etc. But self-isolation only fuels these feelings more. And if you don't have anyone around to talk to in order to get your feelings out.........it could lead to other nasty consequences.
- Don't avoid thinking about the trauma, or avoid seeking help. You're never gonna cope or get better, or (and this is my absolute favorite NOT!) "get over it" any faster if you keep avoiding the issue altogether.
- Don't OVER-think about the trauma. I purposely put this one here. There's such a thing as a healthy dose of thinking about what happened to you. But I've found, being bi-polar, if I tend to over-think a trauma I've experienced, that it just re-fuels my emotions and I feel like I've taken one step forward just to go two steps back.
- Don't revert to workaholism. (Yes, it's a word. Look it up. Also known as "Pulling An Oritz." http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=workaholism)
Some people think by going to work and diving feet first into what they
do all day and not coming up for air, will help them get on track to
coping with their trauma. This doesn't always work. Besides,
sometimes, it's the very thing that caused the traumatic event in the
As far as my own little "drama" concerning my kid? She's effectively 'disowned' me. And I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt. But it is her loss. We've (my biological family and I) taken steps to move on. And at such a time as when my kid feels as though she'd like to get in touch with me, I'll be here. But things have changed.
Change is always scary.
The other day, I was at a local eatery, and across the dining area from me were 4 teenagers carrying on a conversation. During the course of my meal, I noticed that the voices were steadily rising from the table the girls shared and two were embroiled in a heated debate, which caused two of them to become overwhelmed with emotion.
After I finished eating, I approached them. Curiosity struck me (I'm a fucking nosy bitch, ya'll....I admit it. Wholeheartedly.), and I was concerned since the girls were crying. They were both dressed very much in the Goth style (I was actually kinda jealous of one because of her plaid dress.....damn it......), and there was runny mascara & eye-liner everywhere. I couldn't abide by it....if you're gonna be Goth, be Goth, not emo. There's a difference. And I'll explain it another time, but again, I digress.
This set of four young ladies were concerned about....of all things.....finals, graduation, college, and whether or not they'd be able to stick together as the clique they were in high school. At least that's what they readily told me. I kinda figured there was an issue with "a boy" or two in there......but.....I didn't approach that part of it. There was enough drama on the table to sort through already.
They all introduced themselves by their preferred nicknames, and after a brief conversation with them letting them know that lyfe's too short to be exposing their issues in public in the middle of a fast food dining room, they calmed down. I explained about the formation of this here little journal, and after which, I found, strangely, *I* felt so much better. I only hope that my few words of comedy and frivolity helped curb the tension that had been building between them and gave them a new twist on what may lie ahead for them after lyfe in the dreaded "high school."
And just in case it didn't, here's something ya'll should check out and actually read. Yeah, yeah, yeah...finals. I get it. But there IS a lyfe beyond finals.....remember???
"Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Lyfe goes on after trauma. We can choose to let trauma conquer us, or to rise above the clamor, dust ourselves off and take over the wheel and drive down our own highway of lyfe at our own speed.