Life

An Open Letter to my Abuser’s New Family

Dear new family of his,

I’ve been thinking of writing this for months. Words tumbled in my mind over what I could possibly say. What words could even begin to encompass the feelings and thoughts that I wish to convey. And, honestly, I’m still not entirely sure.

I had given up on the hope of writing this. At first, this was meant to be private, sent to only his new girlfriend. At first, this was meant to be a private plea for her to save her girls from his vicious warpath.

And then, I watched a two part autobiography on Elizabeth Smart. I’m sure that you’ve heard of her. But, if you haven’t, google her. Read about her strength, and about the hell she went through. She gave me the words needed, and the courage to not hide away.

I know that you have an inkling of what he’s truly like. Don’t pretend that you don’t. Don’t pretend that you haven’t felt the fear that he’d lash out at you. Don’t pretend that you havne’t felt that shiver of dread when you hear his voice. I’m sure that you’ve also seen the side that he shows most people. The side that makes it so you don’t think people would believe you. The side that makes him seem like a great guy, and so easy going.

He’s not.

And, I believe you.

I wish I could say I simply suffered underneath the fear, the depression, and more for just 17 years years. I wish that finally getting away from him ended it. That I moved on, and let it stay in my past. The truth is, that’s not how my life went.

My 29th birthday is 2 days from now, and I’m still suffering, all these years later. His actions, his lack of compassion, and his words will haunt me for the rest of my life. I will never escape the consequences of a lifetime of knowing him.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with PTSD, something that I’d been suffering with for years, it seems. I was also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, OCD tendencies, and severe anxiety. Fast forward, and I had a near break down. I was almost to the point of checking myself into a hospital. I went to group therapy, and had binge eating disorder added on to my ever growing list.

Every single one of them can be tied back to him. His voice echoes in my head to this day.

I had my potential stolen from me. I had my life taken. I had my dreams dashed before I even knew what I’d be missing. I wanted to go to Duke University. Instead, I dropped out of high school. I wanted to live a full, fun, outgoing life. Instead, I’m terrified of going out, I’ve never been to a club, I’ve never done things that most people my age have. I missed out on so much happiness because of him.

“You haven’t seen him in almost 12 years, move on.” Oh, I wish I could. I wish I could move on. You have no idea what that would mean to me. When you are raised around someone who devalues everything about you, who is controlling, vile, cruel, and is there all the time? That’s your inner voice.

There’s the nightmares.

There’s the medication to be able to function.

There’s the fear of crying in front of people.

There’s the anger that comes with the memories.

There’s the mourning for a life you never had the chance to live.

There’s the mourning for your dreams.

There’s the lost hope.

There’s the lost faith.

There’s the lack of trust.

You still have a chance, I hope. You still have the chance to get far, far away from him. There’s hope for the innocent lives that he touches. I barely survived to this point, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s responsible for someone’s death. Either by murder, or driving them to suicide.

He has shaped every aspect of my life, and some days I don’t know why I bother trying to reshape it. It’s so hard. It’s incredibly difficult, and painful to try to fight the memories, to try to make it through the day. When the main thing you feel is pain, you wonder what the point is.

My kids push me through.

Save yours from a fate that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Save them from years of pain. Save them from years of self-loathing, from possibly bad coping skills, from searching for the acceptance they’d crave.

Stand up to him, and show him he isn’t the all mighty lord he sees himself as.

Show him that people are willing to put a stop to his abuse.

I used to pray to a God I no longer believe in that a heart attack would kill him. Clearly, I never got my wish. So, give me this. Don’t let anyone else suffer because of him.

Don’t let Robert win.

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About Me, Uncategorized

Diagnosis Four: Severe Anxiety

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.National Institute of Mental Health

While some people think of anxiety as an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomach or the fear they feel when standing atop a high building, severe anxiety symptoms can be much worse and downright terrifying. Symptoms of severe anxiety can create the feeling of a heart attack or even make you feel like you’re dying.Healthy Place

While this is likely the one that I’m most familiar with, it’s also the one that is hardest to describe. It effects every part of my being, and has robbed me of many life experiences, and holds me back from so much.

The therapist that leads my group therapy says it’s clever how my husband and I have worked around it. To me, it’s not. It’s not clever to be forced to plan things based on how many people will be somewhere. It simply feeds into my OCD tendencies.

Thursdays are shopping days. We do the same thing every Thursday- leave the house about 8, get gas and snacks, hit Walmart, Winn Dixie, then home.

Last Thursday I had group. I was torn. I wanted, and needed, to go to therapy. However, I nearly had a panic attack. THURSDAYS ARE SHOPPING DAYS! Was how my mind was screaming at me. The thought of doing anything different made me want to throw up.

We wound up doing shopping as we didn’t have enough gas for me to go, so I avoided a possible breakdown. If something is done on a certain day for so long, doing anything but will hit me hard. I hate it.

School orientation? Nope. Too busy. Concerts? Ha. Fat chance. I have two kids. Both of them are out going, fun loving individuals. It kills me that I can’t do some things with them because I am stuck with this shit. It’s not fair to them. They’ve done nothing to deserve this.

I made it to his school orientation last year, and wanted to bolt the entire time. I just wanted to get the fuck out of dodge.

I miss when I was younger. I didn’t have this problem.

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About Me

Diagnosis Two: OCD tendencies

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.National Institute of Mental Health

As many, I thought you either had OCD, or you didn’t. I didn’t think there was an in between. My old therapist explained it that I needed something to control, and I latched on to that. She said that mine wasn’t exactly ‘detrimental’ or a hindrance to my daily life, so she wasn’t concerned.

OCD tendencies mean that you may be showing some of the symptoms of OCD but do not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder.

She asked when I started this, and I told her I was about 15 at the time. For the longest time I would get teased, as my actions seemed outrageous. To me, however, I can’t do it any other way.

  1. Our closet is divided into two areas- casual and work.
  2. ANY shirt or tank top with a decal of some kind on the front is hung up.
  3. Casual clothes go on black hangers only.
  4. Work clothes on white only.
  5. Both are sorted by color (white, grey, black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and tans/browns).
  6. Shirts and jeans are separated.
  7. Our DVDs/books/games have to be in alphabetical order (we once had over 100 and one was out of place. I had to redo the entire thing).
  8. Shirts have to be folded a certain way. I will refold the same shirt as many times as I have to- even if they wind up hung up.
  9. Two plates/bowls of the same color cannot be touching.
  10. I cannot have glasses and coffee mugs on the same shelf.
  11. My cupboards are done just so, and if one thing is off, I rage clean the entire thing.
  12. I refuse to use the hot air blowers in public restrooms.
  13. I avoid even using a public restroom at all costs.
  14. I have a shower schedule that I need to follow (what days, and what order I do things in).
  15. Certain foods cannot touch.
  16. Even numbers only when it comes to volume.
  17. No red soups.
  18. I have to have sugar in my sauce.
  19. Apps on my phone are sorted by what I use on one screen, what’s used less on another. Both in alphabetical.
  20. My make up has to be sorted just so- i.e. my lipstick cannot be touching/with my eyeshadows.

That’s what I could think of. But, so much is second nature to me that I may have missed some things.

While it may not seem like those are major things- they add up. I won’t let people do things because they’d do it wrong. I’d have to redo it for peace of mind. I avoid things like the plague because I know I’ll never get it perfect. Which leads to chaos, which triggers my anxiety, and then I rage clean. Rinse, repeat. It’s exhausting. Everything requires a thought process. And then I get annoyed when I’m nodding off in the middle of the day. My brain is tired, and yelling at me to rest.

“Have you ever just stopped doing *insert behavior here*?” I hate that. I have, and I gave myself a panic attack. It’s not that simple. I’m sure others who really have full blown OCD might scoff at such things, but to me, they are major. They take a great deal of work, making all housework take 10x as long.

I don’t want to have to do things a certain way. I don’t want to be so ‘picky’. I don’t want to watch someone like a hawk to make sure they’re doing things right. But, this has been life for so long that I can’t picture my life without these needs.

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About Me

Day One

Today is day one taking Vyvance, and I hope to chronicle my month on it. Some days I’ll forget, others I might write more than once. That’s just how it goes.

But, I should probably give a little introduction here, right?

I’m Brittiny, and I’m a 28 year old wife and mother. I’ve been with my husband for 9.5 years now, and he’s a big part of my recovery. In 2013 I was diagnosed with ptsd, borderline personality disorder, OCD tendencies, and severe anxiety. Then, just last week binge eating disorder was added to that.

I’ve been on numerous medications for my issues. Finally, about 2 months ago, they stopped working. I caved and brought it up to my doctor. I was in a bad place. I was suicidal, I was depressed, I was angry, so many emotions were bombarding me. Simply making it through the day was a struggle.

I was put into intensive outpatient therapy. By far one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life. Also, one of the best. I’ve been happier since I started going, and I don’t feel alone anymore.

We come from all different backgrounds, but can relate to one another because we all struggle. I’m getting help that I should have gotten years ago. I’ll never be cured from some of this. I’ll live with BPD my entire life. Does that mean I’ll always be out of control? No. It’s manageable, but incurable. I’ll have breakdowns. I’ll flip my shit. The war in my head will always be there, it’s just a matter of how bad it gets. I’ll always have an eating disorder. Even if I manage to get to a place where I eat normally, there’s always a chance of relapsing. I’ll always be an addict- whether it’s been days or years since I last cut.

I can’t ask for the life that I feel robbed of, the ship has sailed. All I can do is cross my fingers, and take the leap.

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