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PTSD with Anxiety SUCKS- Don’t Panic

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PTSD with Anxiety-Don't Panic

PTSD with anxiety is what I’m dealing with now. It has happened before and I’m sure it will many times as I cycle through the phases of healing. I really wish with all my heart that this process was faster. It takes as long as it takes. In the meantime, my heart races several times a day in the form of anxiety attacks. I’m doing my best to cope in healthy ways.

I haven’t written on this blog for awhile. I think I needed some alone time. Some quiet. It’s been a really rough year. Certain stages of healing make me mourn for my denial bubble. Knowledge is power, sure, but some of it hurts like hell. Sometimes it pisses me off. PTSD with anxiety is really painful emotionally and physically. I feel exhausted constantly.

Lots of things can help with anxiety: music, breathing, changing your immediate environment, ect. As recommended in the book, Courage to Heal, I am working on a list to refer to when I get desperate. Anxiety makes it difficult to think straight or remember things. Desperate feelings are one of the least pleasant things about it. I’m also resistant to things that are actually helpful and tend to rebel against them. Go figure! The right thing to do for myself is not always the easiest or 1st thing I think about.

Here’s my list below. Feel free to swipe it for yourself and add too it, make your own list. Print it out or write a copy, I’m printing mine out to tape up and see in a couple rooms. May we all find peace.

Help with Anxiety list

Help For Anxiety:

1. Breath
2. Wiggle your toes. Feel the ground under your feet. Feel the temperature of the room
3. Chew some gum.
4. Listen to some uplifting music
5. Let yourself cry
6. Find something to laugh at. Be silly but don’t criticize yourself
7. Play with my dog
8. Work on an art project
9. Dance to some funky beats
10. Yell into a pillow
11. Hit the pillow
12. Throw that fucker! (safely, lol, I’m laughing already)
13. Tell someone how much you appreciate them
14. Write a diary entry about what I’m grateful for
15. Remind myself that it is ok if I’m still anxious even after trying 14 things. Practice compassion.
16. Write a letter to my child self
17. Talk to myself in sign language in front of the mirror
18. Write in my journal
19. Call a family member
20. Help someone else
21. Listen to the soothing audio and video files from this program or other soothing guided relaxation
22. Record my own guided relaxation audio
23. Go for a walk or exercise/yoga/stretching
24. Verbalize out loud how I’m feeling

There are probably a lot more things to do that could help someone else. I haven’t included those due to my own personal triggers. It is also not in order. I skip around a lot. That is how my brain works though. Do what works for you! Some of them are: take a bath/shower, Wrapping yourself in a blanket and hugging yourself, meditate, ect. There are tons more that you can use to care for yourself when you are experiencing anxiety.

Thank you for reading my blog. It has really helped me to have a place to write and share. It feels so amazing to not have to carry this secret anymore. It released so much shame to just come out and tell people. Secrets perpetuate abuse so fuck that. I would promise to write more but I just don’t know if I will be able too. I’m living day to day, hour to hour, sometimes even minute to minute. PTSD with anxiety or whatever shitty symptom pops up to haunt me can fuck off. I’m living through this. I don’t mean to ruin the ending for you but SPOILER ALERT: PTSD doesn’t kill me.

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Big Decision

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I’ve decided to downsize and move to a smaller place. Part of me feels like it may be holding me back to have all this extra space and stuff and possibilities of things that I no longer really want in my life. This place reminds me a bad times in my life. I don’t think there is any amount of work I could do on this place and not feel slightly disgusted with it. The positive thing about moving from this place is that it is a life-changing opportunity. It really scares the crap out of me to make this big change, but I think it’s can be for the better. I can look forward to a quieter place to work, less to clean, less upkeep, and no triggers from the new space. The new place will be in a new part of town , so there will be even less reminders. I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can go while living in the space that I was abused in. Right now, every room has some sort of memory that hits me as soon as I walk in. When I’m away from the house I noticed that I am happier and my mood is lighter. When I’m home, I tend to want to curl up in a little ball or my demeanor changes more like cranky and angry sort of tone. I don’t want to live my life like that anymore and I don’t feel like I’m running away from this place. It’s just time to move on and get on with my life and live for myself.

Here are the pros about moving to smaller space and downsizing because I’m terrified and I need reassurance that this is the right choice:

closer to family/my support system
more money to expand current business ventures
lower monthly bills
24-7 gym and pool access without having to drive
less clutter
more natural light and windows to look out of
no more sticker plants in my feet or the dog feet
no more triggers when I walk into a certain room
much quieter neighborhood so I can concentrate on work or enjoy a quiet evening
Move forward with the next stage of my healing in my life
Able to donate more and contribute to someone in need through downsizing
The new place is more private
No more home repairs or upkeep
Don’t mention that it’s quieter?

Here are the Cons of moving and downsizing, these are the things that are stressing me:

I will have to deal with a lot of people in order to downsize
I have pride issues with having a smaller, cheaper space
I will be giving up spaces that I would use for work and art projects
I would be giving up having my own space for possible shoots
If I do want to shoot with other people I will need to rent a space
Packing, moving, and deciding what to keep is frustrating

Now that I’m looking at the list of Pros versus the list of Cons, the cons seem a bit silly to me. They’re all centered around self-doubt and shitty feelings that would only be temporary with the gain far outweighing the losses. I look to what’s really inside me and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can tell that the Cons list is just me trying to hang on to an old life that I don’t want anymore. Change is scary, but it is necessary to move forward in order to heal myself and feel better. All of these temporary inconveniences scary moments are just shit I will have to deal with to move and downsize are nothing compared to continuing to live in a place that is holding me back. It’s too comfortable and too easy to stay here and live in my old patterns and remember the abuse that occurred here. I have been reading about breaking out of comfort zones and that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. I’m really good under pressure and I know deep down I will be thankful for this decision down the road.

So this stage of my healing and journey through life begins…

Abuse Survivors Overcoming Sexual Abuse

A Message to Survivor of Abuse

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I filmed a video a couple weeks ago that I was going to post next week. The more I thought about it, the more I moved it up.  I posted it today because survivors like myself don’t need to hear these words tomorrow or next week. Some of us need these words right now. It is so powerful to hear that someone believes you, believes in you, and that the abuse was not in any way their fault. I was inspired to post the video now instead of later by this video of a beautiful and inspiring acceptance speech by Maria Cahill. I watched her bravery with tears in my eyes as she spoke about needing to hear those words, “I believe you”,  and her resolve to not be silent about what had happened to her.

When I started therapy, I was looking to fix myself. I was looking for all the things that I was doing wrong in order to try to get my life back together after falling into a deep depression with thoughts of suicide.  It turns out that I wasn’t “doing it wrong” and after some time I really started to believe the truth. It wasn’t my fault.  I didn’t need to be so hard one myself because I was not the one at fault, I was just trying to cope and survive.

A big part of the reason that I am still here and I didn’t succumb to my depression and PTSD is that people believed me and believed in me.  The words I say in the video are words that I needed to hear. Hearing the, writing them, and saying them have helped me to heal. I want you to hear them. I want you to know that I believe them and I believe in you. I think society doesn’t want to admit that things have gone so wrong so it looks to lay blame not on the abuser but on the victim. When those of us need support and compassion the most, many are treated with disrespect and scrutinized when it is not the victim that needs examined. Its alarming to me and ridiculous. Victim blaming is a huge part of why people do not come forward or seek help after abuse.

I recently released a few very difficult videos and in true form of our society, I was told that I was asking for it. I was 3. At that age we ask for love, food, water, maybe our favorite toy but not to be hurt. I mean, REALLY? Do they really believe a child is asking to be injured/raped/molested? This makes me very angry. Seeing the horrible comments like this does not make me want to be quiet. It does not have the desired effect of shutting me up(hardly anything does anymore, HA!). It only made me want to talk more, share more, to put more of my truth out there so that others may find the strength that I have and the courage to begin to heal.

I tell ya, it does not feel strong to share those private moments and my past abuse. Its scary. It feels like I might die, that someone will want to silence me but I do it anyway. I was told that if I tell my family would be killed and I would be killed. I do it for myself and I do it for others that are also suffering in silence.

Here is my message to my fellow survivors:

I believe you.  It was not your fault.

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Be Yourself

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo

What if I told you that you are not broken…that you don’t have something wrong with you, you don’t need to be fixed. You were hurt. Someone hurt you. They need to be fixed. You are injured and will heal if you let yourself. Like a tree that’s faced the harsh winds, you will grow stronger and more resilient. You do not have to be happy all the time. It is ok that you feel the way you do. It is ok if you are not happy in this moment. You aren’t doing life wrong because you don’t have a smile on your face 24-7 and dancing with bliss the whole time. You are a human being with such a beautiful wide range of emotions and feelings. Life is not good and bad, black and white, on or off, for then we would never see the sunsets.

My sadness is now beautiful in a way. It is so powerful of an emotion and one that I have avoided for years. I didn’t want to change or grow because I thought I was coping just fine the way I was going. I didn’t want to feel those other feelings. It was when I started to allow myself to really fully feel these emotions like sadness that I started to grow as a person. By feeling as though I would be punished for not having the proper emotion I was told to have, it made happiness all the more challenging. Happiness culture is bullshit. Happiness is great but so are the other emotions. Life would be boring without them.

I feel sad today. My heart hurts today. I feel it in the core of myself as my chest tightens. I was angry earlier, angry at people, angry at the world and what we’ve let things become. I’m angry for every abused person that is not getting the love and support they need to heal. I’m angry that people aren’t taught how to treat those who are abused but instead call them liars and are taught to not trust them. I’m angry because our society is abusive and abuses those who go through horrific experiences as children and as adults. I’m angry because its not about teaching someone to be empathetic, I’m angry because this is not cultivated as children and on into adulthood. We all know what is right. We all know how to love, nurture and be there for others. Bullshit that people get to play dumb or say its not their problem or get over it. We would if you would let us and many abuse people, if left untreated, not cared about, or loved, can become more injured and commit violence themselves.

Instead of trying to fix people or give advice, let them be themselves. It can be the greatest thing in the world to just be your self with another person and they not act like the world is over.

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Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse Vlog Jan 22, 2015

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New abuse survivor video diary for Jan. 22, 2015. The day started out rough again but then there was a great thing that happened. The memories lifted and my day became brighter. I felt stronger and happier. Although processing these memories from my past childhood sexual abuse and my 1st marriage are difficult, its not something  I allowed myself to do. That mode of thinking I wasn’t supposed to cry and I was just supposed to be silent about my pain was very unhealthy for me.  It hurt me more to try to do what society said I was supposed to do. I listen to myself more now and its really paying off.

I’ve learned that even if I am having a hard time that it will pass. My days aren’t all bad memories and when it happens I need to just sit with them and feel them. Let them integrate themselves and love myself in the process. I love myself by cooking myself great meals, listening to piano music, and not being hard on myself. These things that happened to me did happen. I have the time and opportunity now to heal myself, be kind to myself, and spend time with the people who love me for me…even the parts that I don’t like, they love them too.

It has not been easy but I’m learning what a valuable tool crying can be to help to cleanse myself and process those memories that have haunted me for years.  They are starting to integrate now.

Healing is not what I thought it was. So much misinformation about what healing and forgiveness actually is or what it looks like. Kinda pisses me off really, societies lies and all the shame being thrown around when its really not needed. I am not ashamed of what happened to be and my life will continue to get better, even if some days are rough.

The mental pain caused from the abuse seems worse than the actual abuse now. The lingering effects are challenging but really, I rarely back down from any challenge.  I feel things changing like my perspective and that’s the best thing out of all of this. Life is much better than it was, bad days or not, are better than bad weeks or months.

There is starting to be some backlash now(I expected it much earlier) for coming out with my experience but that’s ok. Our culture promotes suffering in silence. Feels a bit rebellious now that the negative comments are starting. I’m sure like before, they will continue and are just part of the internet experience.  I invited them to go for it in a comment on my last video diary.

Fear keeps people for standing up for themselves, for what’s right, and from sharing their pain with others.  I have been through and survived way worse treatment than a few abuse words on a computer screen. The important people in my life are  drowning out and hateful talk that many times, doesn’t make any sense. Anger tend to not make sense but the source of it is pain.

Because I know that anger is a result of fear or pain, I feel a sense of compassion for the people who are now up in arms about my vids. Its ok, it doesn’t want to make me stop helping myself with my video diaries. In fact, it strengthens my resolve to continue.

I’m not surprised that things were twisted. They concentrated on deflecting from the fact that I am an abuse survivor going through a rough time to focus on the fact that I have a wishlist. Yes, I’ve had it for years and I have a lot of fun with it as well as my viewers since I open the gifts on cam. I put the links on all the videos but they want to focus on that as if it somehow discredits me.  It doesn’t.

I’ve encountered negativity to most everything I have every done or talked about doing. Since I am in the adult industry, I have received tons of hateful comments and hatemail. Its nothing new and its like a repeat of the things said when I was in my mid twenties and more into the mainstream adult videos I was being hired to do.

The survivors and others struggling with similar circumstances with me have been so uplifting. I have received tons of emails and messages thanking me for sharing this with others and they’ve said its helping them. I didn’t expect that and it is really driving me to continue on and share even more. Those are the important people. They helped me not feel alone with my pain and in sharing it, there is healing there. Its amazing and my heart soars with those emotions that are overshadowing any attempt to get me upset or shame me.

Thank you for the compliments, emails, and messages sharing your experiences with me and your words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me and I hope I can offer that back in some way.

 

 

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Survivors of Child Abuse Video Diary Jan 21st, 2015

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This is a video diary for January 21st, 2015. It wasn’t posted until now because I was having such a hard time that I couldn’t re-watch the video diaries for editing and writing descriptions until today.I am still recording lots of videos as well as video diaries every day. I am feeling better but the next few vlog posts will definitely be hard to watch. I’m working through some really awful memories. They are so awful that I’m having a hard time voicing them. I’m still not sure if I want to share them.

A big part of my wants to protect others from my pain, from the inconvenience of it, and this feeling goes back to my early childhood of enduring repeated horrific abuse to “protect” and “save” my family. This is extended now “need to protect” and “fear of losing people” has extended toward my friends and even strangers. This is something used by many abusers to keep their victims quiet. I’m afraid if I talk about the abuse I will lose people in my life. I’m afraid that if they are not happy with me and I am not happy, they will disappear. This way of thinking was really drilled home from a few abusive relationships in my adulthood.

I feel like I need to warn others about me because its not all fucking glitter and rainbows so maybe I won’t be punished later for disappointing them if maybe they know in advance. Maybe I can lower their expectations enough to accept me. The act of talking about my abuse actually feels rebellious and like I may in some way have to pay for it later with some sort of abuse. These are not rational thoughts but they do make sense as to why I feel these things. how else would I feel given my history. I am really trying to relearn in order to find some more peace in my life. I don’t know if other survivors of child abuse feel this way but the mix of fear and relief at the same time is pretty confusing

Finding more peace in my life means to cut down on stress, no rat race, and to allow new people in my life at my own pace. I am trying to accept myself as my family has accepted me and told me a lot over the past few months. They have totally stepped up and are right there for me. They always do this but I need to just ask for some help, or an ear to listen. I am not a religious person but there is no other way to describe the feeling when I think of them other than I am blessed.

I am also blessed by your kindness and support. Please know that I see everything you send to me, your compliments, comments, and suggestions. I am trying to catch up on emails and comments on social media but sometimes social media such an unhappy place that I tend to avoid it. The more I have been not online and involved in social media, the happier I am. Less input at this stage of my healing is best for me. I’m not ignoring you at all. I see you, and your kindness. Thank you for showing me this side of yourself after I showed you my side of myself that is in pain. It means so much to me and I have happy tears in my eyes as I’m typing this.

Some days are still really difficult and the emotions you are seeing are raw. I tend to express myself with language that may be scary or perceived as intent. I am just talking, processing through emotions, and expressing myself. I felt like I wanted to end my life in August but that is not what I want now. If I get those thoughts and they stick around, I will definitely be calling a friend, family member, or my therapist. Sometimes, it may seem like the best thing to do is try and swoop in and help but you are all already doing that. You are doing the best thing. You are listening, you are supportive. I couldn’t ask for more. 🙂

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Abuse Survivor Blog Video Diary Jan 19th, 2015 Breath

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Breathing helps me a lot with my PTSD due to childhood sexual abuse and partner rape. I feel more grounded and the increased oxygen seems to help too. I’m having a really rough time in the video diary. I was doing great but today I feel nervous and anxious. Flashbacks are really getting to me and you can even see this happen in the video. I stop breathing, close my eyes or look off into no where(they call it the thousand yard stare, sometimes). This video is being filmed at the height of my anxiety and the worst part of my day.

After I filmed this video I did feel better and was exhausted. I still had a rough time but it was less because I voiced what was going on. I found that it helped me to further ground myself and stay in the present. Other things that can help me to ground myself are a hot back, walking outside, putting my feet on the ground, and of course, giving Buster a hug.

I hope with letting myself feel more, allowing myself to cry, and more therapy I can make it through these days feeling better and have more and more good days instead of the heartbreaking days like today. I joined Pandys.org today and I’m just waiting for approval of my account. I think being in touch with more survivors like myself will be a great help to me.

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Abuse Survivor Blog Video Diary Jan 18th, 2015

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Video blog from me, Sarah, an abuse survivor and its another great day today! You also get to see more of my furry family including some playtime with Buster. He has really been helpful to me when I’m having bad days. As many adult survivors of child abuse know, having a dog can be a great source of love and comfort. Check out Buster in the video above.