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Archive for the ‘Self Harm’ Category

I know very little about Amy Winehouse but when I read of her death and reports that she had been a drinker, drug taker and self harmer, I wondered what was causing her so much pain.  So I took the time to take a look at what had been reported on her family of origin over the years.

Amy Winehouse with Daddy's Girl Horseshoe & Naked Lady Tatoo

When Amy was 2 years old,  her father Mitch Winehouse reportedly began having a ‘not so secret’ affair for eight years before leaving the family home to be with his secretary/mistress when Amy was 10.  The Winehouse kids used to call their father’s mistress “Daddy’s work wife”.  I can only imagine the emotional pressure Mitch was under trying to maintain a business and keep two women happy at the same time.

She reportedly took the news of the family separation ‘all in her stride’ and it ‘didn’t seem to affect her’ according to her father yet she suddenly became more independent.

I can only imagine the thoughts in her head would have gone something like this:

  • “Can’t trust anyone anymore, need to look after myself now”;
  • “I’m not good enough”;
  • “I am alone”;
  • “Nobody loves me”;
  • “I’ll be good and he will come back”; and
  • “I need to be strong, mum needs my help”.

Fear of abandonment runs very deep and when you have a father that is not emotionally available to you, you do what it takes to get people to notice and love you.

As an adult, it seems Amy went on to seek out emotionally unavailable men, trying to make right the wrongs of her past yet ended up repeating her childhood like so many of us do.

However I do applaud Mitch Winehouse for publicly admitting his wrongs.  He would not be the first parent to walk around with their head in the sand not realising exactly how their actions affect the lives of their children.

If we had more people in the public eye opening up about their parental errors, the world just might start listening.

Mitch Winehouse, the power is in your hands. Let’s not let Amy’s death be in vain.

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As an adult child of an alcoholic I often feel so alone in this world.  Nobody understands me, nobody gets me, nobody will feel the pain and sadness I feel inside.

Imagine a car stalled in the middle of a major highway and all the other cars whizzing by, not noticing it’s there.  It wants some help, so badly wants to get out of the way of the onslaught of others but it cannot do it alone and it’s driver is not strong enough to push it to safety.  Somehow that car needs to get a message to it’s driver to have courage, to take another step forward, to do things differently and to hold out her hand.

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A fellow Program member shared something with me that has been very valuable when I find myself unable to control dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

They said “A normal person wouldn’t put their finger in an electric pencil sharper because they know they will get hurt but people like us do it time and time again”. 

I think of this analogy a lot especially when self harm plays on my mind or when entertaining  the idea that the object/s of my desire will save me, make me their princess, look after me and meet my emotional needs by filling the hole in my soul.  It has stopped me many a time from running to someone who will only cause me heartache and pain, someone I think I can “fix” or physically and emotionally love enough that they will change.  I am guilty of being a heavy fixer of others for a long time.  Fixing takes the focus off “me” and puts it on the other person.  I don’t need to look at my issues and others see me as “a good person” when I am helping them.  Fixing esteems me but I must learn to esteem myself through practising self love.  Sticking my finger in an electric pencil sharpener is not self love and is a disastrous merry-go-round that I must remind myself of on a regular basis. 

My childhood experiences denied me the parental love, acceptance and validation I needed in order to blossom into a healthy adult and as a consequence I’m needing to fill the holes my parents left me with by seeking out relationships with people who are not emotionally available to me but who relate to me on an unconscious level due to their own dysfunctional upbringing.

The electric pencil sharpener analogy also gives me something to compare to and aspire towards.  I want to be like others, I want to be “normal”.   

Someone once told me that the only “normal” I’ll ever find is in my laundry on my washing machine but there are certain behaviors I need to fine tune or rid myself of so I can live a happy functional life – that’s the “normal” I’m aspiring to be.

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As an adult, I’ve held onto a dream that I wanted to have a career that was dog related.

If I could turn back time I’d probably study to become a veterinarian.

I’ve come to the age where I’m realising that I only have one life and I should get into doing the things I really want to do before I hit the casket!

I’ve started a pottery course and am creating some dog and cat bowls by hand and designing and painting various graphics on them etc. I’m into my second term of classes and I’ve come to realise that my work seems rather child like, especially the graphics.

After doing a bit of work in my 12 Step Program I have learnt a little about trying to get in touch with my inner child. Some activities that were suggested in order to accomplish this were doing child like things such as playing with play doh, running under a sprinkler etc etc.

Last week I had a look at the various forms of pottery that my classmates were creating then looked at my child like work and felt a bit embarrassed because I wasn’t making platters or vases (adult like items) but dog and cat bowls with puppy dogs and pussy cats and mice and cheese and painting them in wonderful bright colours that appeal to my eye.

When I was in my teens I used to write letters to my friends and draw and colour in cartoons on them and I thought I was really creative in the work that I did.

Somewhere in adulthood I lost my creativity so perhaps I am unconsciously connecting with my inner child and creating work at a child like level but then again I simply may not have any adult artistic abilities at all!

I’ve been told that a good book to learn about getting in touch with your inner child is John Bradshaw‘s Homecoming – Reclaiming & Championing Your Inner Child which you will be able to purchase from Amazon.

I attest I do revert back to child like behaviours at times, especially when under stress, such as isolating, fantasizing (now love addiction), self harm and my social skills can become less than desirable at times too. I am known to get very jealous of friends who have other friendships aside from me and  I often prefer to be the centre of attention and can end up sabotaging my friendships by being cold because I have formed a grudge against someone about one thing or another.

Through my 12 Step Programs I am learning to be more open and honest in my communication with others as well as looking at my unsavory weaknesses, where they originate from and how to correct them.

If I didn’t have my 12 Step Programs (online and face to face) and a sponsor I think my life would still be up the creek without a paddle!

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As I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and various OCD symptoms such as the need to have things orderly, clean and perfect, I was wondering whether love and sex addiction is classed a form of OCD.

Some experts believe that sexual addiction is literally an addiction, directly analogous to alcohol and drug addictions. Other experts believe that sexual addiction is actually a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and refer to it as sexual compulsivity.

The American Psychiatric Association has proposed that out-of-control sexual appetites be included as a diagnosis in the next edition of the psychiatrists’ bible, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” to be published in 2013.

I located a very helpful article outlining the difference between sexual thoughts and compulsions being an addiction or an obsessive compulsive disorder. It is of course only one person’s view on the subject.

Here’s an extract of the article which summarises the outcome:

It cannot be overemphasized that the sexual obsessions in OCD are the opposite of the usual sexual daydream or fantasy. Normal sexual fantasies are enjoyable and generally harmless. They may consist of wishes or memories of past sexual experiences. However, the sexual ideation in OCD is unpleasant and distressing. The individual with OCD does not want the thought to become real. The idea of acting out the obsession fills the OCD victim with dread. Sexual obsessions in OCD rarely produce sexual arousal because anxiety and arousal cannot occupy the same space. As a result, OCD usually decreases sex drive. OCD sexual obsessions result in guilt, shame, and interfere with ocial functioning or work. Source:

Love Addiction

While I am unable to speak for the sex addict, to my knowledge and experience, love addicts (who can also act out sexually) do not have decreased sexual desire when in the midst of their fantasy or addiction nor do their experiences feel unpleasant or distressing.

I am lead to believe that love addiction stems from unmet childhood needs.  For example, codependent mum is too busy with alcoholic dad to worry about children therefore children use fantasy as a way to meet their unmet needs and as escapism from a difficult family environment.

There are various types of love addicts, here’s a link to help you figure out which one you might be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_addiction

Healing from Sex/Love Addiction

Start by getting a good counsellor who is familiar with sex and love addiction and get involved in a 12 Step Program such as SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous), SAnon (for love addicts and partners of sex addicts) or SA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) – for the sex addict). You will find the links to these Programs on my home page.  All three Programs have online support forums if you are unable to attend a face to face meeting.

Try reading as much material as you can about your addiction/s. Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody is a book that is highly regarded in the industry as are books on sex and love addiction by Patrick Carnes. Literature by both authors can be purchased from Amazon.com.

I tried for years to figure out what my problem was and I even sought help from the psychiatric industry for my thoughts, only to be medicated with antipsychotics for them and diagnosed with bipolar disorder (I believe my experience is very common).

It took me until I was 38 to realise that my fantasies were not a normal part of life. They used to (and still can) cause me the deepest depression and despair to the point where I wanted to self harm.

Early this year I accompanied my partner to a face to face SLAA meeting where I heard members speak about their experiences with sex and love addiction. Their stories hit me hard but also gave me great relief. They were talking about my life, I was one of them!  Finally I had found an answer to my problem. I was not alone.  My recovery journey began.

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Glimpses – is a compilation of uncensored real life experiences with mental illness
 
Nicci continues to put together a manuscript of personal experiences with mental illness for free distribution to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and it would benefit greatly from your story. Most contributors indicate it was a very therapeutic exercise writing about their experiences with mental illness.
 
Glimpses is a free updated version and is distributed electronically quarterly (if new stories have been received). Several Universities use this manuscript as a course resource, it is posted on websites nationally and internationally. So only submit your story if you are happy for it to be distributed and forwarded freely.
 
Nicci  invites you to submit your Consumer or Carer story on your personal experiences with: – Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anorexia, Post Natal Depression, any other MI. She would especially like some stories from people in their late teens and early 20’s.
 
The average length of stories so far are 6 to 15 pages. However there are some that are 3-4 pages, minimum accepted (narrow margins, size 12 Arial font, single spacing).
 
People have told of the lead up to diagnosis, dealing with MH services, medication issues, identifying triggers, working towards recovery and coping strategies. What and how much you want to share is up to you. Use your whole name, first name or a pseudonym, the choice is yours; but please know that your story, however you present it, could make a difference in how the world sees us. See below for contact details.
 
Glimpses & Minds Unleashed are distributed free of charge and encouraged to be printed, forwarded, added to websites, used as a training resource, as long as excerpts and content of the stories are not changed. If you are not happy for this to happen, your submission cannot be included.
To go on the mailing list or submit your story email: forwalls@xi.com.au

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What’s the point of writing a Blog if I can’t talk about the “hard stuff”? Should I gloss my posts over so they don’t trigger people? Yes, maybe a little but there’s no point in hiding the truth from the world because the world won’t understand where it went wrong if people like me fudge the facts. That’s my theory anyway.

So, I’ve felt like garbage the last couple of days.

My PMS has been up the wall for the last three or so months. I’ve had an internal scan but as usual it showed nothing so I’m going to try some natural progesterone cream.

I’ve read a book called “Natural Progesterone, the World’s Best Kept Secret” by Jenny Birdsey and was absolutely gobsmacked at the list of symptoms a woman can go through that relate to a lack of progesterone.

I would never have thought that my mouth ulcers, itchy eyes, constipation, suicidal ideations, night sweats, confusion, memory loss, cold hands and feet and aching bones can be related to a lack of progesterone!

I’ve had bad memory since December 2008 when I was taken off antipsychotics due to a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. When my period decides to pay me a visit (which is every fortnight now) my memory gets even worse not to mention the other side effects that come with the lead up to it. I really only get a few normal days before the symptoms start all over again.

It’s been a ghastly experience to say the least but back to the blog topic “suicidal ideations”.

While I was taking various antipsychotics (not all at one time) between 2006 and 2008, I continued to have suicidal ideations but when I look back now, they were worse than ever. It is my belief that the ideations were worsened by the antipsychotic use but proving that is like finding a needle in a hay stack!

During my treatment was overdosing on high doses of valium, Panadol or antidepressants every fortnight and my moods were definitely not stable.

Once I came off the antipsychotics and mood stabilizers and was re-diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I never overdosed again. For the first six months after the re-diagnosis I never felt suicidal and only twice in 2009 did I have ideations.

This year I’ve had them maybe three times. Once earlier on in the year and one last week and one this weekend. The first two were not acted on, the third was.

Unbeknown to anyone, I took 70mg of benzos yesterday. 70mg is not much but before I took them I wanted to take whatever I could stuff down my throat to end the pain. Nothing could make me see sense, I was so depressed I wanted “out”. Everyone was better off without me.

As usual, when the time comes to swallow, a small voice inside me says “you don’t really want to do that, just take a few to knock you out and see how you feel in the morning” so that’s what I did. I woofed down my pills but it didn’t really have much of an effect because most likely my body is so used to previous valium overdoses that 70mg of benzos was not much competition for it.

I paid for it this morning though. I could not focus on my work, I could not retain a lot of information and I looked like sh*t!

The sooner I get this progesterone cream the better and I hope to God it bloody well works because I’m tired of depression being present in my life and I certainly don’t want suicidal ideations anymore.

I’m off to hunt down some chocolate 🙂

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