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#blacklivesmatter

We have been very quiet over here, for many reasons. We are watching the news unfold, watching communities around the country, the globe, unite against racism. We want to speak, scream, rage with you about the injustice, the hatred. How not okay this all is and has been. How the whole system is wrong. We want to discuss steps we can take to make things better and how we help get justice, if justice can be achieved.

We want to give you stories from black voices about black trauma and what it means to be black. But we don’t have any. Not one. And that is both okay and not. It is okay because no one owes us their story, no one owes us their pain.

It’s not okay because while we accept everyone and welcome everyone, the vast majority of people that interact with our site are not of color, at least that we know of (because we don’t ask, should we? <- actual question). Or they don’t come here for intersectionality* of mental health, physical health, and how that interacts with race (or gender). The reality is that we talk a lot about depression but we don’t talk about being depressed and black. We talk about domestic violence but don’t address racial aspects. There is so much to learn in regard to trauma, intersectionality, and mental health. So, we will continue to sit back and learn more. We have so so much to learn. If you are reading this, and you have a story to tell, we would love to hear it. We would love to share it. But mostly, we would love to support you and give another platform to your voice. There are so many good things already posted to the internet, we won’t link them. There are lists of media to be consumed, things white people can do to help, places to donate to various funds to help causes close to this. You don’t need our help finding them. <3

We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. #blacklivesmatter #sayhisname #sayhername

 

*intersectionality: the overlap of identities and how they work together to shape our life and world view. Example: a black transgendered woman.

You are here.

Technically, we all are here, but that’s not the point. You are here, you are on the struggle bus, you are in good company. Today’s post is literally just links to a bunch of our glorious resource pages. Feel free, encouraged even, to share this post far and wide. We’ll start with mental health:

Depression

Anxiety

Stress

PTSD

Self-harm

Next up, Feelings:

Stress

Anger

Loneliness

Fear

Guilt

Maybe you or someone you love is struggling:

Domestic violence

Addiction

Rape

Child neglect

Child abuse

Maybe you or someone you love is losing, or has lost, their battle:

Hospice

Grief

Suicide– If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide please call! 

Parent loss

Partner loss

Child loss

Pet loss

We love you. We are here for you. If what you need isn’t listed above, please let me know at stacey@bandbacktogether.com and I will do my level best to fix it! Stay safe, wash your hands, stop licking hand rails.

 

My List Of My Physical, Psychological, And Emotional Traumas – Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Abuse, and Pain

My therapist has asked me to write down a list of my emotional traumas.

A list of all the emotionally and physically traumatic experiences that have happened to me in my life, that have contributed to my Bipolar Disorder and PTSD.

Right now, my therapist doesn’t feel as though I’m ready for the therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). As far as I understand, I have to relive physical and emotional traumatic experiences, have the proper emotional response, get over it, then have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) so I can develop some sort of coping mechanism for the future.

But until my medications are adjusted and I’m in a better place, I have to wait.

So, here is my list:

Sexual abuse around age 3 by a family member. I repressed this memory until it slapped me in the face at age 12, causing an intense anxiety attack.

Constant arguing between my parents, thanks to my father’s alcoholism, gambling and pain issues due to needing a hip replacement. The pain issue turned into an anger issue; turned into a power tool being thrown at my mother, missing, and going through the window and landing at my feet; followed by an argument on a holiday with my father resulting in me taking a heavy duty power torch to the head.

As a “gifted child,” I was bullied a lot in primary school and high school. I still carry some of those emotional scars with me.

Funnily enough, my brain is currently trying to stop me from accessing more memories. Suck it, brain; stop being a whiny bitch and let me write this shit out.

When I was 16, my mother – being severely depressed – attempted suicide several times. The last time she tried, she had an argument with my father (now a better man, nothing like his days in my earlier life), and downed a ton of pills. I found her and her suicide note. I actively suppress the things written on that note thanks to the emotional trauma but I know how it began.

That sentence haunts me in my dreams. She is fine now, thankfully, but I refused to talk about it with anyone and pretended it never happened.

I was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder when I had a panic attack at high school so bad my heart rate was 180, and I had to be rushed to hospital for fear of doing damage to my heart.

Since that day, I regularly have heart palpitations.

I had a psychotic episode at 17, when voices told me to stab my mother. I became paralyzed in my own bed while lights shone down from the ceiling, and I was convinced aliens were coming for me, despite my logical brain telling me I was being stupid.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis and told I should probably have children before 25. I’m currently a week away from my 24th birthday. Talk about another emotional trauma.

I moved out of my family home to the capital of my state to attend university. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at this stage, and promiscuity, sleepless nights, shopping sprees, and severe irritability kicked in.

I dated a Muslim man for eight months. Toward the end of the relationship, I was emotionally abused, when he called me a dog. I went running into the arms of a male friend.

I decided I was the worst person in the world and went off screwing any guy who looked my way, drinking myself into oblivion, and eating pills like candy, just to numb the pain. I wanted to be used. I asked my male friend – now my fuck buddy – if he was using me for sex. He replied yes. I cried and said, “good.

” Turned out he wasn’t using me: he was in love with me; as a result of my promiscuity, and his inability to tell me how he felt, he quit university, broken-hearted.

I started dating my current partner, whom I have been with for five years now. We lived with his sister, her fiancé, and their daughter. His sister is a lazy bully who cannot look after herself, let alone children (currently a total of three). Her fiancé is a violent, alcoholic gambler. After being made a prisoner in my own bedroom, we got our own place.

My diagnosis of fibromyalgia explained my constant pain and tiredness. Yay for inheriting every single shitty illness my parents have.

Recently, I have started to have feelings for a close friend, who also has a partner. While drunk, we have made twice. I have feelings for him, but he is just attracted to me. I have immense guilt over betraying my partner, who is emotionally stunted. I think I’m just attracted to my friend because he has the social and emotional skills my partner lacks.

I was severely bullied at my last job until I began having daily panic attacks and getting into a screaming matches with a higher-up and former friend.

I decided to self-harm and contemplated suicide when the medication I was taking for five years stopped working. Unfortunately, while the medication stopped working, my now non-existant libido did not return.

Have also suffered dermatillomania (chronic skin-picking) for most of my life, particularly my feet. It is disgusting.

Currently, I am plagued by insomnia, headaches, anxiety, shame, severe depression, guilt, and every other horrible feeling imaginable. According to my therapist, I have feelings of low self-worth. According to my friends, I have a much lower opinion of myself than everyone else does of me.

I am both numb and emotionally unstable. I can’t cry, even though I really want to let it out. I think of myself as selfish and horrible, a terrible person who doesn’t deserve what I have. I theorize that I have some subconscious need to sabotage myself.  Every time something is going well, just to add some drama in my life. Why I do this, I don’t know. And as I have written this list in such a cold, emotionless manner, I find it odd that I can be so numb and feel so many negative emotions at the same time. I feel like a robot.

I don’t want sympathy. At least, I don’t think I do. I am just tired. Tired of struggling through every day with these issues. I want the problems to just magically disappear because I’m tired of fighting.

I know it’s a long road ahead to my recovery. And as much as I don’t want to relive the aforementioned memories, I am also excited for the first time in ages because maybe, finally, with proper therapy…

…maybe I’ll finally get some peace and closure.

Inky Depths: Katherine

A while back, we requested pictures of your tattoos and the stories that go with them. Tattoos have a long history, and can have a wealth of emotion and memories behind them. Today, we share Katherine’s ink story. If you have one you’d like to share, hit us up!

 

“This tattoo (or rather these tattoos, because I have a matching one on my other wrist) has two stories behind it.

Wing: When I was 17, I was in a pretty serious car accident. Fortunately I walked away with nothing but whiplash and a fractured shoulder blade, but if I had been going the slightest bit faster or the other driver the slightest bit slower, I would’ve been totalled along with my car. It was like I had a guardian angel. Shortly after I got out of the hospital, my grandma gave me the necklace with the first wing, which she had incidentally gotten from a fundraiser for that very hospital a few months before. She tracked down the other wing a year later, on the anniversary of the accident.

Ring: I purchased the ring during a pretty severe depressive episode a few years later. The knot allegedly means “strength,” and that spoke to me. I keep it as a reminder that I’m stronger than my depression.”

 

~Katherine

Ask The Band: I Don’t Know What I Am Going To Do

I live in fear.

Lots of different fears, but this is the one getting the most airtime right now.

You see, I present a lovely picture of control and happiness to the outside world. The truth, however, is that I struggle far more for control than I should, and happiness has made only brief genuine appearances in the past year or two.

Because of my lovely picture (which is in constant need of maintenance), I cannot talk to many people about the constant weight on my shoulders. This situation is not helped by the recent loss of the two closest friendships I have, which happened as these things do, with only small amounts of shared blame.

I’ve been limping along for a while now, managing occasionally to feel like life is worthwhile and these wonderful times of hope are mostly because of my wonderful husband, the one person in the world that I am not afraid to cry with, the one person I know will not think less of me, or dismiss my pain.

This wonderful husband just got a short-term contract (four months) in a city six hours from here. It is a wonderful opportunity for him, one which I happily encouraged him to take, but I cannot go with him for various reasons.

During the day this seems like something I can manage; after all, he’ll still be here on the weekends, and it’s only for a little while.

But at night, the darkness invades my heart, and I cling tightly to him, terrified by the thought of being apart from him for even one night. Because along with being my best friend and soul mate, he is frequently my salvation.

It is because of him that I have not dropped out of grad school under the overwhelming apathy that threatens to prevent me from finishing assignments.

It is because of him that I can sort through my often tangled feelings and come out the other end feeling like I might be okay.

It is with him, and only him, that I can say that haunting word “depression” and not feel like I have to have a treatment plan all mapped out for his perusal.

Five days a week without him is five mornings I have to get out of bed and go to class. It’s 80 waking hours that I cannot debrief in his arms. It’s five evenings of dread, knowing what’s coming when I get too tired to fight it off, and it’s five nights of hugging my pillow, praying sleep will come before the melancholy attacks.

glitter on woman eye mommy wants vodka

I don’t know what I am going to do.

Latest Victory

I’m not sure if I deserve a pat on the back or a really good nap, but either way I’m proud of me.

Since last Thursday, things seem to have just started to topple over completely within my family, and I’ve managed to keep it together and make sure that not only are those who need to be okay are okay, but that I am, too.

Yes, this is going to take a hot minute or months to take care of, but I didn’t lose it and I didn’t break!  I’m proud of that.

Now if I could only sleep.

*************************************

I wrote the above about 2.5 weeks ago after my youngest got another medical diagnosis and something major happened that I can’t talk about yet.  (Nothing to do with medical diagnosis.)

Then, once I got done what needed to be done, it seemed like the shit show appeared with spring break for the kids. I ended up in the ER for a severe migraine that met my IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, which is high blood pressure on your brain, with brain and spinal fluid).

If you’ve never had that happen, you don’t want it too.  It was scary as hell.

Basically, I was strong and got shit done, and then I fell apart.

I felt like such a failure for that.  Ugh.  I’m okay now.

Stress is such a bitch, I swear.

So, I walked into my therapist’s office sat down and said “welcome to the shit show.”

At least I own it, right?

Chrissy