Keeping on being happy

New Year Fireworks, Athens

New Year Fireworks, Athens (Photo credit: RobW_)

I am basically happy. I used to be:

  • sad
  • unmotivated
  • stressed out
  • desperate
  • impatient
  • worried

Those feelings used to own me. It is not like that anymore. I don’t go around all day with a big smile or anything, well, maybe some days. 🙂 And I feel good and calm. What used to cause real anxiety, worry, and upset me, doesn’t make me drill down into chaos anymore. I am more like “oh well, how do I solve this?”

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you’d know I was quite intense and energetic. I posted almost every day, and I had a lot to say. I never really planned it, but writing turned out to be my breakthrough. Writing about all those bad things, made the symptoms disappear. It was probably not the only thing happening. I am not sure. At one point I felt finished. My deep dive into bad emotions and even worse memories was done.

I have been ok since then. Almost all the time.

I am very grateful that this happened.

I started thinking about next year today. What hopes I have, what I wish for to happen. I think I will put together some new years resolutions, not like the usual ones, but some thoughts on how to grow. How to reach my goals. How to continue having control and be at peace.

Thanks for reading everyone! 🙂




Dreaming (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I have had so many strange dreams lately, which is quite unusual for me. I hope it means that my sleeping pattern is changing, after cutting back on sleeping meds. I don’t really believe that dreams are all that important, or that there is a meaning to all of these strange things that gets into my head while I am sleeping. That would make life VERY complicated. 🙂
My dreams tend to be quite chaotic, and sometimes I wake up, just knowing that I dreamt something upsetting, without remembering what it was. I haven’t had any flashbacks or flashback-“dreams” for weeks and the last ones hasn’t been all that disturbing.

I think my sub-conscience is trying to figure out something. It’s been about a car accident that happened when I was a child. I don’t know exactly where it was. I just remember the car going off the road, and downhill very fast. There is a wood, many trees, and it is quite bumpy. This was long before there were seat belts, and I am on the floor between the front and back seat. My mother is driving. My brother is also in the car. I’m afraid, of course. That’s all that I remember. I tried once to ask my brother what had happened, but he won’t talk about it. Even if I asked him quite late, after he had a few beers… He said that we spent the night in a house next to where it happened. I don’t remember any of that. I don’t know if anyone got hurt, maybe I remember some pain in my head. But I’m not sure. Other than this, my flashbacks seem to have taken a break, it seems. I hope they are gone for good 🙂

But just this other night, I dreamt, we were running a petrol station, some of my friends, my youngest daughter, one work colleague and me. It was really very busy, and everything that could go wrong did. We ran out of diesel, people stole chocolate from the store, many were mad because they couldn’t fill up their cars, the queue of angry customers went all the way through the front door. We didn’t handle the situation very well. It was like when you have four people in the kitchen trying to do the same thing at the same time. When it finally calmed down, we went to sleep on the floor. It was like NOW I am going to sleep for SO long! I was just so tired, after working for days. And as I came to that conclusion and kind of felt the sleep coming, the alarm on my iPhone set off. I woke up angry…
Didn’t last for long though.


Sunshine Coast

More of this please?? (Photo credit: semuthutan)

Today I have answered e-mails like if I was something extra-terrestrial… Though, I did get to work an hour and a half late.

I can’t seem to get into the habit of getting up at six, like I used to.  However, that means that I am sleeping well!

How long will it take to get into the habit of work again? I read, last year I think, that if you’ve been away for four weeks, it will take just as long (four weeks) to get into the routines again. That’s quite long… But maybe true!

This is my second week back, and I must admit, last week I had so many things to check online before I could get any of my items in my to-do done. I thought like this: If I answer this e-mail, than she will answer me back and maybe have another question for me, so I will have to write yet another e-mail…

Seriously, I really like my job. I just miss 32 degrees, sunshine and lazy days.

Yesterday I saw my therapist again. This time of year is usually very difficult for me, and I am happy she will see me every week for a while, at least. I think things have changed since last year though. But maybe as some things improve, others appear. To sum up, it goes like this:

I sleep better, and haven’t had any flashbacks since I came home.
Although struggling, I have done some workout; the kayak is my best friend for the time being.
I have a feeling of coping, instead of chaos. (Crossing fingers that it lasts).
I managed to talk about my husband yesterday; he’s been acting like he’s having PMS or something lately, a real bitch… and I am not sure what it is, or what to do, so it worries me.
I find it difficult to think “mindful” and meditate, both work and family are a bit overwhelming just now.
I need time for myself. Not sure why that is such a big thing right now, but I really do.
The pain in my neck is really really BAD. I saw my physiotherapist yesterday, it is his fault. He worked at all the muscles in my neck, head and face, which surely has made the back of my head black and blue, my neck feels twice the ordinary size and I have a terrible headache. I hope what he’s at will help, the reason for this is of course my bicycle crash last year.

Today, I am spending some time with the girls, again. Tired.

Dwelling in depression

Sad News

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know whom to blame, but there must be someone! Everywhere I turn, somebody is depressed. I talk to the girls, about their friends or acquaintances, they are depressed, their friends, that is. I think I must know at least ten people telling me they take anti-depressives; I imagine I have twice that number of friends who are too ashamed to tell me about anti-depressives.

Depression inflation…

I have all respect in the world for the despair and hopelessness that comes with this illness.

But I have nothing but disrespect for all the GPs who use this as the best excuse ever not to get to the bottom of things. So easy to just hand out a prescription and “see you next month” when someone comes in to complain about lack of sleep, lousy feelings or lack of drive.

Since when are all those feelings not part of life?

Since when, has the cure for all, been a pill?

I know many people have serious depressions, and I don’t mean to offend anyone. I have so much respect for those who fight this disease, and have the courage to seek professional help. It is those who sit at the other side of the table, I am aiming at.

So many people starting on anti-depressives use them for years and years.

So many don’t get ANY other help.

If reading about side effects were obligatory, would so many use these pills?

If your GP told you, that this drug might help, but we won’t really know before at least six months, would you use them?

This creates patients, who stay patients for many more years than necessary. If listened to, if treated with more care and less pills, the situation would be so much different.

I can’t help thinking that depression is a “fashion” thing. And feel so sorry for those who suffer with severe depressions, though more awareness of this illness can help!

I can’t help thinking; nobody has mouse arms anymore. After serious research into neck injuries, it became clear that those large whiplash neck supports worsens the condition, whiplash also went out of fashion. (Though I have it, a real whiplash!)

I hope depression gets out of fashion too. Someone makes loads of money because people are wrongly treated with expensive pills.

Sorry about the rather cross language and strong meanings in this post. I was angry.

There is probably a pill for that too!

Trying to explain a flashback

The mind is a strange thing. I’ve been a journalist at war for two short periods in the Balkans. I saw demonstrations, shootings, crazy elections. Once I was smuggled into a hospital where shot victims were held. I’ve signed papers leaving the UN without any responsibility for my life, for the reason of getting from one part of the Bosnia to another. I’ve travelled incognito, crossing every border there are on buses. The soldiers came collecting passports and valuables at gunpoint, I was lucky they never found my camera. I walked in the mountains in Montenegro, over borders, carrying thousands of Deutsch mark (only going value) glued to my thighs and body. Friends of mine died. I wanted to help.

It was an insane thing to do. Risky, crazy, stupid… I had children at home…

Those are things that people normally get PTSD from. Post traumatic stress disorder was long a diagnoses closely connected with war trauma and only that. The reason I mention my Balkan experiences. is that those experiences  haven’t led to these reactions for me. So there doesn’t have to be any obvious connections. Still, I live with PTSD or Complex PTSD.

When I wake up at night, (not from a bad dream), I re-live experiences from my childhood. I was sexually abused, neglected, and to some extent grew up alone. Some of this I remember. but many details are just blurry. I already told about some of the things I do remember. The ones I don’t are the ones that bothers me most. Those happenings are the ones that still gives me flashbacks. The others are stories from my childhood.

Together with my psychologist, I’ve sort of come to terms with the facts that these things really happened. I was abused. No one looked after me. I did spend too much time alone. I did (do) drugs to get out of it all and to get some sleep when it’s too hard.

I am not sure where I go from here, but that again is another thing.

I can never tell the story, when I have a flashback. Like a chronological;  first this happened, then this, and that, and after that he went away. I usually remember pain. Something over my throat, sometime I think it is a hand, or maybe a knee. I have a feeling I can’t breathe, (but I never died so obviously…)  I remember smells, tobacco, sweat. It is always dark. I hear him breathing. My body turns numb, every time. I can’t move. It is like the pain IS me, it’s the only feeling existing in the universe, and if I should move only my little finger, the pain would be 100 times worse. I know I am being raped. Because of the pain. But also from what is not inside the flashback, the blood, the intense scrubbing and washing, the vomiting, running away, after. Things I did that I clearly remember (but hate to talk about).

When the flashback doesn’t involve all that pain, it starts with fear, and pain comes after. I don’t know, maybe that is because I grew older, and these are memories from later in my childhood. I have a feeling I learnt to handle the numbness and the pain, and that the way of not feeling, sort of turning off pain, helped me.

The first time I had sex, I wasn’t “in” it at all. Besides the fear that wasn’t there, there was nothing.

It happens at night, usually. Some years ago I had flashbacks even during the day. I had specific triggers, I ever I saw hand sown leather shoes, with a special pattern, I’d just loose track of everything. I would get out from where I was, and not remember doing it. I recall once I was shopping, in a big shopping centre. Next thing I remember is that I was sitting outside, under the emergency stairway, shaking and crying. I’d left my groceries. I couldn’t remember why I had come there, and I looked for half an hour to find my car.

It’s been some years since that happened.

I don’t know what to do with these bad night-time flashbacks. These bundles of pain, that happened so long ago, and happens far too often now. Writing it down makes me sick.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Thought I could somehow keep a distance while explaining. Didn’t work…

Mindfullness and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Writing all this terrible stuff makes me feel a bit sick. It’s like I get into a mood where the thoughts get to play on the keyboard, and I  close my eyes and just let it happen. It is certainly easier then talking! And when I am done, that’s it. I just feel tired and a sometimes a bit sad too.

Be Happy

Be Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that’s ok! I can put that into my day, as long as it doesn’t stay there the whole day! (Or night!)

I managed to meditate both yesterday and this morning. For the first time since my last terrible flashback-experience I set the timer on 45 minutes and it felt good. It is really a special experience to do mindful meditation. To see what happens when you choose concentrate on breathing, letting thoughts and stuff that enters the mind just pass again. To be able to decide what I am thinking (or rather not-thinking). To feel that the shoulders are dropping, the mind settles and the body is relaxed.

I am thinking a lot about how Mindfulness can help heal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. I think I’ve got some triggers that can help me find the flashbacks, or some flashbacks, at least. However I am not quite sure what the triggers are. And my flashbacks are so scary that I’m not sure it is a very good idea to explore it. So I haven’t been able to act upon my flashbacks in a mindful way. Quite curious about it though. It would be so good, to keep the calmness of the body and mind, and stay in the flashback until it passes away. Seeing it in an un-judgmental way and being aware of what is happening. Making it less dangerous and also putting more verbal content into it, being able to write it down. I believe it’s possible.

My flashbacks mostly happens during the night. It’s been panic attacks, dissociative behaviour, doing things I don’t remember afterwards. Getting out of my bed, bedroom, some years ago I had to get out of the house, and I couldn’t remember doing it. So I still have a way to go! 🙂

For now; I am very happy that I know how to meditate, that I know how to find that good and relaxed state, and to know that this helps me coping better, every day.

If you never heard of Mindfulness, this must sound a bit weird. Look it up, (for instance “Full Cathastrophe Living”) and tell me what you think!