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Posts tagged “psychology

I Think I Died Yesterday

Manchester, Ky. July 22, 2019Manchester Farmhouse

So the strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I died. Sort of. Or at least I think I might have almost tried to. (I’ll explain.)

So I was lying on the couch, fairly exhausted after returning from Manchester, Kentucky, to find Josh’s childhood home- and the apartment where his mother was murdered. I’ll touch on that later. So I had been watching my beloved Egyptian and Roman history documentaries, when I drifted off into blissful sleep. (The kind of which you don’t remember drifting off at all.)

Next think I knew, I had “come to” in a dark, circular room- like a circus tent. I couldn’t make out any edges. I sort of was just there. It was a bit creepy. And to make it even more creepy, I was completely lucid. I knew I was “dreaming”, or at least I thought it was a dream. (I used quotation marks because I know the difference between a dream and being out of one’s body. This sure seemed to be the latter of the two.)

It’s been a few years since I’ve dealt with floating out of my body. When I was a teenager, it began happening more and more and it got to a point where I could simply push with my mind while holding my hands up (like Superwoman) and I immediately was flying at what seemed like hundreds of miles per hour. It’s super fun at times, but more times than not, it’s scary as hell. One of the best times was when I was flying over a forest and could control my direction, and one of the worst times was when I was sitting in a movie theater, surrounded by occupants. Every now and then a person would look over at me. This became more frequent until most everyone in the place was looking at me, simultaneously. If you don’t think that’s creepy AF, I promise, it is.

I knew I needed to get the crap out of there so I stood up and when I turned toward the door, I began to fly- super fast- with my arms outstretched. I was flying down a hall, when I turned around to see all of the people (who were actually vampires, and I knew it then) were close behind me- flying after me. I saw a window at the end of the hall and flew right through it- despite it being closed. I escaped, thankfully. Anyway, these are just a few examples of my lucid “dreams”.

Lately, I’ve been slipping out of my body and into vacant, dimly-lit buildings. It’s so crazy! I’ll suddenly “come to” in my consciousness of being there, and I’ll recognize that I need to wake up. So, I try to find the exit door and can’t. I wander around here and there for what seems like 20 or 30 minutes. Lucid dream time is the same as real time. It’s not speeded up or slowed down, but exactly the same as if you were there IRL.

So after wandering around, meandering about, I start to get bored. Nothing’s happening and it still hasn’t dawned on me that I need to wake myself up- myself. As that realization comes to me (after a while), I know I need to “push” with my mind and concentrate and then I usually wake up after doing so.

Back to yesterday. So, not unlike most other times, I “came to” in this dark, circular room. I perceived that I was alone. Something was off though, and after trying to open my eyes completely, I realized that my right eye was stuck. This had never happened before. I moved my face around, trying to force open both eyes widely. Nada. I couldn’t figure out why my right eye wouldn’t open!

Suddenly. I became aware of a presence in the room with me. I saw a glowing form in the center of the room, but I was too scared to look at it. I told myself that if I looked away, it wouldn’t materialize. (It worked.) But shortly afterward, a male voice called out from the direction of the form and said, “Whatever…”, somewhat malevolently.

That did it for me! I knew that sometimes I needed to move around and shake myself in order to wake myself up, and so I jumped up and down 3 or 4 times. Weirdly though, my feet weren’t on the ground. I was floating and when I jumped, I was moving really fast, like super fast. It seemed that I was in spirit form. It didn’t work and I began to realize that I was stuck in this place- with a hyper-awareness of my consciousness and situation. It was extremely unsettling.

I began to think that maybe I was dead. Maybe I had died in my sleep. I remember having the overwhelming feeling that there was a whole lot more darkness in front of me, in that direction, and around me to the left and right. But I remember having the acknowledgement that “light”, and life itself, was behind me. As in, proximally. I needed to get back to the light! I couldn’t turn around (physically) and was just stuck there, with my right eye sealed, thinking I was dead, but wanting terribly to get back to my life. I had an overwhelming feeling of being alone; like I would never see my loved ones again. I tried jumping again, and focusing on trying to find a way back.

Not too much time had passed when I became aware that I was lying sideways, but I couldn’t see, and both eyes were shut now. I was lifted upward, as if I was floating, upward and then floated backwards and down, as if a wind had blown me up and back in and down again. I could literally feel my spirit going back into my body. Needless to say, it was not fun! I opened my eyes, so very thankful to be back again. Back to the land of the living! I thought about what had happened and realized that what had actually happened was that I had left my body- partially- only my left side had moved out and my right side (around my eye, in particular) was still very much in my body, which would explain why my right eye felt sealed shut. I’ll be happy to never experience that freaky situation again. It really is quite terrifying.

Basic Update: Josh and I are doing really well. I’ve been away from my blog here for so long, with only the periodic update several times per year. Things were really hard between Josh and I when I was still active here, and then I had some heartbreaking situations with one of my daughters that I couldn’t write about- I had to stay very quiet and low-key. Then my little brother died. I was slammed pretty hard, and it was relentless for a while. I’m finally in a good place again and Josh and I have grown so much closer over the past year.

I love that man with a love that is beyond this world. He’s my heart and my very life. Fourteen years is a long time to be in somebody’s life! We’ve grown up together, and love the life that we’ve built together. He’s grown his beard out all shaggy. He’s such a hippy. 🙂

My Baby- Headed to Manchester.
MyBABY


So we decided to take a trip over this past weekend. It was a spontaneous decision. We were thinking about going to a recording studio and checking out where we might begin recording our music together. He had mentioned going back to his childhood home, in Manchester, Kentucky, to seek out his childhood home, and the home that his mom was murdered in.

She had been in an abusive relationship with a guy named Abe. He was the manager at the apartment complex. They began dating, and he began physically abusing her.  Josh was only 7 when she decided to take her two kids and leave. Abe had other plans. He cut the phone lines to the entire apartment complex so she couldn’t call for help and then “accidentally shot and killed her when he was cleaning his gun”.

I can’t begin to list the many ways in which her death has affected Josh’s life. I never knew her, but as a woman, I feel that I owe it to her to give him the love and protection and goodness that he deserves. Every now and then she’ll cross my mind, and I’ll go and give Josh a hug- for her. (I usually don’t tell him that it’s for her. I’d want somebody to do that for my son if I were gone though.)

As for my schooling, despite my many obstacles lately, I’m still chugging away at this Master’s degree (Psychology and Addiction Counseling). It hasn’t been easy, but by golly, I carry on. I only have two more classes left after this one, which is Psychopharmacology for Counselors. Good stuff. 🙂

Until we meet again. XoXoxOxO

Manchester, Ky. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens
MyBabyinManchesterJuly2019
DoorAsylumManchester


Regression

This is what my screen looks like at 5:25 a.m.:

Regression

Yep. Good ole linear regression. It’s the fun stuff I get to do in between bivariate correlations and my final exam.

Josh had me on lockdown- snoring a heap of Zzzz’s into my face- as I lay there listening to the early morning birds, thinking about…you guessed it: multiple regression and p values. I’m so impressed with my professor, Dr. Kraha. She’s brilliant, to say the least. She breaks everything down into very easy-to-understand concepts. And I love her voice. She’s without a doubt the best professor I’ve ever had and truth be told, I’m going to miss her!

She’s helped bring my grade from a C in Statistics (coming in to her class), to a strong A. Even now, I still have an A in her class and really have 1 assignment and my final exam to go. If I do well in those areas, I’ll maintain my A.

I have a 30 slide Power Point presentation on Darwin (with voiceover) as well as a 15 page research paper on the levels of anger in prisoners and their causes + a 5 page paper in Psych. of Personality- all due 3 days from now.

Sigh. My life..

Back to the grind!


Are you Addicted to your Own Chaos?

Lying here in the muted candle light, the sound of Josh writing a song on our electric stage piano has a tranquil, sedating effect. I feel mildly euphoric, despite having a wicked migraine. It’s noteworthy to add that I haven’t had a migraine in many weeks. I became my own lab rat when I experimented with a variety of medicinal, herbal, natural pain modifiers and thankfully, discovered something that worked for me. It’s such an effective medicine, that it not only eliminated my 3 day migraines altogether, but doubled as natural Adderall; increasing my ability to focus and concentrate by more than 60%. As a result, my grades shot up and I became an honor roll student virtually overnight. And, as a result of the medicine, I’ve been able to eliminate my doctor visits 100%. No need for pharmaceutical pain medication, no need for nerve pills, no need for Ambien to help me sleep. It’s been my panacea and it works. (Unfortunately, I’ve been without that medicine for 3 weeks now.)

I realize finding a cure-all on this level is slim to none. Even doctors and therapists are unable to “fix” people for the most part. Why else do people continue seeing a therapist after 20 years and so on? You’d think that there’d be nothing left to discuss. Ahh…but what they don’t and won’t tell you, is that they will help you to perpetuate your own disorder; it’s called job security.

You would think that I, of all people– a psychologist-in-training– would be hesitant to talk openly about this seldom-disclosed medical deception, but I’m not. Because it’s disgusting how Big Pharma and (many) doctors and therapists are all in bed together, and they work incessantly to keep people sick- year after year- and benefit from it.

Disclaimer: there are people who genuinely need therapy and benefit from it, and absolutely should continue on with it and take the proper medications. I’m not talking about those people.

I’m talking more about people that really don’t need medication or therapy at all…like children who are excitable, and are simply being children. They wiggle in their seats with anticipation and raw energy. But do you know what the teachers are doing in most all schools now? They’re being conditioned and programmed–like militants–to report ANY children who exhibit signs of “excitability”, and they’re mandated to report these “excitable children” to school officials, CPS workers, CASA workers (who are merely average Joes and Janes who volunteer to work with children, despite their lack of any kind of training whatsoever- scary), and a plethora of other workers.

What happens next is nothing short of societal rape. They then tell the parents that their child needs to be medicated, because he or she is exhibiting signs of ADHD- which is a “catch-all disorder” for a child simply being a child! Big Pharma has created this disorder in the last 20 years or so, and has pimped it out to society at large, and the whole world has swallowed it up- tail and all- because they’re told it’s true.

This is scary crap. For real.

School teachers- who have absolutely no psychological training whatsoever, are reporting children to case workers, who then report those children to “other officials”- who in turn, report them to CPS- the baby snatchers and the family destroyers. Why? Why would they do such a thing?

I’ll tell you why. Because every child in the public school system who is put on some type of behavioral disorder medicine receives bonus money for that school. For every kid that’s diagnosed–by a freakin’ teacher–and reported- the school’s bankroll gets fatter. And now that school district has a sweet chunk o’ change rolling in, no matter where that kid goes (as long as he’s medicated and the “problem” persists- and oh believe me, it will) and that kid becomes a “lifer” most of the time. Meaning, that child will be told it needs medicine year after year, for many years, and sometimes it lasts for the rest of their lives. Because after 10- 20 years of pharmaceutical medications, a host of side effects and other disorders have now been created (and are real), because of that one prescribed medication during the child’s most formidable, impressionable years.

Look it up. Knowledge is power, they say. Kids are being altogether destroyed at an alarming rate in the U.S.  and parents are frightened into obeying, because they’e told that their child has “a disorder”. They’re threatened if they don’t take their kid to a therapist and worse, they’e threatened if they refuse to medicate their child.

This is a sick, twisted business. It’s absolutely horrific and yet it continues on, year after year.

I watched this documentary called The Drugging of Our Children and it blew my head off. Seriously. It scared the crap out of me. I could not believe that our system is that perverted. Well, yes I can, but don’t get me started on that.

Alas. I really didn’t want to rant on about all of that. This is just free association.

I really wanted to write about something else entirely. My migraine, and pain in general. I’ve noticed that when I’m in extreme pain, especially for 72 hours relentlessly, that any little comfort feels reeeeeeeeeally good. Way better than normal. Take for example, stretching my muscles. By nature, I really can’t stand to work out. It’s boring and repetitive and sort of pointless to me. I can think of many fun ways to get exercise, rather than spin around on a wheel like a sad hamster.

But a few moments ago, I noticed that when I stretched my leg muscle, it felt incredibly good. More so than if I didn’t have a migraine and it got me thinking: What’s the correlation between pain and good feelings? Is it possible that pain actually releases endorphins? 

And then I found this article that stated that not only pain releases feely-good endorphins, but so does stress. Hold on- let that sink in a minute.

Stress (chaos, worry, contention, strife, bad traffic, an ugly altercation, hard donuts, etc.) releases endorphins. A while back, I wrote a post about a theory that I posited, called The Chaos Theory.  There’s already a chaos theory in math, but not in psychology. Well, now there is. 🙂

My theory is this: In childhood and adolescence, some of us are thrown into derision and pain, or, chaos, and not unlike adaptation, we get used to crazy crap happening to us all of the time. (Sorry, I get tired of writing academic research sometimes and my rebellion is being able to dumb it down- teetering dangerously on the edge of slang.)  In short, if the chaos ceases for any length of time outside of what we’re familiar with, we’ll create our own chaos, because then, at least we know what to expect.

In this way, we condone and accept self-induced chaos more readily than foreign peace.

Heavy words, but not untrue. As with anything else, each person’s experience will vary, and this hypothetical scenario is individuated and subjective. In other words, it’s not the same for everybody.

In the article I pointed out up there, it states that our stress and pain activate our opioid receptors; very much like drugs do. However, it stated that we do not become addicted to pain and stress as we would with drugs.

I beg to differ.

And I bring your attention back to my Chaos Theory. I believe some of us seek out chaos, not because we like it, but because we’re trying to alter our brain chemistry. Stress produces endorphins! When we experience prolonged stress, our brain dispatches the EMT/ambulance  (little neurotransmitters- endorphins) to patch up the damage. This is likened to taking a hit off of an opium pipe. Not enough to knock you down, no, and maybe not enough to even notice- on a conscious level.

But what’s happening behind the scenes is that as the stress is increasing, and the sympathetic nervous system throws the body into “fight or flight” mode, our endorphins are being pumped out from the pituitary gland and are circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream, certain neural pathways in our brain are being rewarded with those feely-good hormones. It’s very much like biological classical conditioning.

This is bad though, because it teaches the person that “heightened stress” is rewarded.

[Another “let that sink in” moment.]

In this way, we absolutely can, and sometimes do become addicted to stress, and our own chaos- because it’s what we’ve learned to do in order to “fix ourselves”- not unlike a junkie.

I’d like to conduct a few research studies in the future in this area. But for now, I’m going to get my own fix; listening to Josh play and sing, as I lay here in the candle’s warm glow with the smell of pumpkin spice filling up the room sweetly.

Interestingly enough, my migraine has dissipated almost entirely.

 


Darwin, Depression, and Dark Days

It’s just past 11:00 a.m.  and already 82 degrees. Josh is getting ready for work (I seem to have kidnapped him again) and I’m up with the chickens (hey, 11:00 a.m. is early for me!) and have decided to reset my sleep cycle once again. For the past few months, I’ve been up all night an sleeping during the days. I love my nights! Night time is dark, cool, and it feels like all the world is dead and I’m on a little island to myself. I can come and go as I please- do my shopping (you’d be surprised how man people shop at Walmart at 3 a.m.) and just really connect with my nocturnal surroundings. I really can’t stand mornings or getting up early and I’m used to getting things done at night. So it’s a sacrifice for me, to say the least, to flip my script entirely and give up my nights. Even my dream environments are night time- I haven’t dreamed of daylight (or day time) in years, except for once or twice.

I’ve noticed, though, that I’ve becomes increasingly depressed over the past few weeks- and that’s just not normal for me. I lead a pretty fearless life. I don’t stress out about things- I’m literally never anxious- and I stay consistently level and upbeat, for the most part. But lately, I’ve felt a few complex fears pressing in and feelings that I might not succeed. (Again, highly unusual for me. I’m a serious go-getter.) I’ve learned to section off and compartmentalize my “layers of self” to discern just where my problematic sources might be. Are they economic? Spiritual? Emotional? Environmental? Nutritional? And so, after much seeking, I’ve realized that my depression has been a combination of artificial sleep (Ambien) + a lack of exercise and sunshine. I’ve decided to cut Ambien out of my life, because although it does help in getting a person to sleep, it does little to assist in REM sleep and allowing a person to have the full benefits of natural sleep. Last night, I slept naturally and woke up refreshed at 8:30 a.m. (or thereabouts). Today, I have 50 pages to absorb (Darwin in Chapter 1- Pavlov- Chapter 2), 3 quizzes (two psychology quizzes and one statistics quiz) and 40 or so Statistics problems to work out. This is not necessarily a heavy workload.

I’ve been missing my mother and my kids but keep telling myself that I’ll see them just as soon as I catch up. Life has a funny way of choking the living &^%$ out of you, doesn’t it?

My kitchen sink has been defunct for a month now, and I’m sure that has lent a hand in my acute depression. Thankfully, Josh is going to help me fix it today. I haven’t been able to update my blog regularly for some time now, but I haven’t been in a good head space lately. Studying psychology is sort of like being under a self-reflecting microscope 24/7. At first, it’s easy to see how psychological applications apply to everybody you know, but theories and perspectives about the mind can easily be compared to certain Scriptures in the Bible about and such. At first, you can see everyone else’s ailments and how best they might be helped, etc. but at some point, you really have to apply all of that stuff to yourself. So, in an interesting way, I’ve been my pwn therapist and patient for several years now.

I could use a good vacation from myself. :0/


It’s Pure Madness: And I Love It

So I’ve just gone over my syllabi for the semester: I’m cramming 4 months of classes into 6 weeks. That alone is madness.

My work for this week constitutes the following:

5 chapters in Forensic Anthropology
5 chapters in The Human Bone Manual
1 study guide that requires the memorization of the names and locations of 100+ bones in the human body
2 videos
5 Powerpoints/Lectures
Multiple discussion board postings + citations, etc.
2 quizzes

And that’s just one class.

Multiply that times 2 and then you know what I’m up against.

But I love it. 🙂

(See you when I come up for air!)

xo


Substance Use vs. Abuse

So I’m studying all of the psychoactive drug groups and their accompanying behavioral properties in my Behavioral Neuroscience class, and I came across a fallacy in my instructor’s PowerPoint Presentation. She had written this:

Substance abuse = a pattern in which a person relies on a drug chronically and excessively for the psychological and behavioral changes the drug produces.

I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that statement/definition. That defines substance use, not abuse. By that definition alone, that would mean that every person who counts on his or her daily antidepressant to make those necessary biochemical, physiological changes in both their brains and behaviors are “addicts”. This is so untrue.

Keeping in mind that I have my CPC in Substance Abuse (from Vincennes University), I’ve created my own definition of substance abuse, and it’s as follows:

Substance abuse= destructive behaviors that accompany the drug-user in which he and others are affected in negative ways.

Very simple.

Just because somebody takes a drug regularly- with hopes of behavioral and psychological changes (even chronically/daily or “excessively”)- does not make that person a substance abuser.  The word “excessively” is a tricky one because what is excessive to one person will not be to another. Some people take one Ibuprofin- some take 5. Every person’s body is different and each person’s drug use is both circumstantial and situational. I think we really need to be careful labeling a person as a drug abuser if he or she continues taking a drug for holistic/homeopathic, and or medicinal reasons.

Back to your scheduled program. 🙂

(Don’t worry peeps- it’s only toilet paper from a ‘toilet paper challenge” I hosted at a photo site once.) 
TokeUp


Work in Progress

I had a dream a few months ago.

I was in a factory. It was a large factory and I was in a control room with 12 executives who were sitting around an oblong table. It looked like a think tank and some of the workers had notebooks and pens and were taking notes. I too had a notebook and was jotting down some notes. One of the female employees looked up from the table and said, “I’m the boss.” I corrected her, saying, “I’m the boss.” My hair was long and sleek and parted on the side and I wore a periwinkle suit (and high heels). I was able to see the entire factory through a large window in the room and I was aware that I was in charge of the entire factory- including the 12 executives at the table. I was professional and serious in disposition.

When I awoke, I almost cried, because I knew that I wasn’t that girl in the dream. I was aware that i had a long way to go! I understand the dream. The factory represented me. The workers were different parts of me on a subconscious level: thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. I was struggling to ascertain my authority in that area.

I’ve been through an incredible amount of stress in the past few months, but what it’s really done is given me new feet. I tell my friends all the time that their trying circumstances are the very things that allow them to develop new feet and become “firewalkers”. And, I know by now that the diamonds are hidden among the rubble. Bad experiences are never just “bad experiences”. Every horrible experience is an instructor. Knowing this going in allows me to keep a positive attitude and embrace all aspects of the experience.

I was standing in the kitchen a few days ago, talking to God, when I realized that I have new feet/shoes! I’m still not that girl in my dream, and I still have a long way to go, but I do have the shoes. I’m learning to be patient; and some day, I’ll have that periwinkle suit. But for now, I’m alright with being a work in progress. After all, it’s not always about the destination, but the journey that gets us there, and makes us who are.

PerrinParkMJ copyTaken today. Perrin Park- Indiana. Super Tak SMC 28 MM/Canon Rebel XSI


The First Toy has Arrived

So after an insanely strong cup of espresso and 12 pages of morning note-taking on mentalism, dualism, and materialism (and many more behavioral isms), a most necessary distraction has arrived: my Lensbaby Composer! It’s only the most awesome lens in the world because it bends the sides of the frame outward- stretching it in a really trippy way. It makes for really wild images, but done subtlely, it can be aesthetically pleasing yet mild.

I’m off to go give it a spin.
Back later.


Changing Lanes: The Trilogy

Ole Betsy’s been dead since about last year. (Ole Betsy’s my car.) My sister gave it to me 5 years ago because she thought it would kick the bucket any day. I expected her to last a year or so. Certainly not 4 & 1/2! She overheats at the 2 mile marker, so when Josh and I risk taking her out for a spin, we have to turn it off at the stoplights- you know- just in case.

I’m still able to smile at the (semi-romantic) notion of driving such an eyesore around town when I think about how great it’s going to be one of these days. And one of these days is about 8 years from now. I’ve gone and changed my majors again.

See, I was going to be a probation officer and so thought about taking Criminal Justice + Psychology (double major). But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m forever bonded with CSI and forensics, given that my Dad shared his True Detective magazines with me and my brothers- sparing not the eye at all. Some of the images branded me for life: I suppose that’s why I feel such a connection with criminology and forensics, etc. You’re either cut out for that stuff or you’re not and I certainly am.

I know without a doubt that I’ll be in school for the next 6 years solid. It’s not likely that I’ll get a B.S./B. A. in anything at all and hop right to it. Nah. I’m going to jump in up to both eyeballs, as is my way. So, I’ll be double majoring in Biology and Psychology (which is actually Neuroscience/neuropsychology) which suits me just fine. Afterwards, I’m hoping to transfer to the University of Florida where I can work on a Master’s in Forensic Science.

If you think Forensic Science can be achieved with just “college algebra”- think again. You have to master Calculus (I and II) as well as Chemistry (I and II) and let’s not forget Physics. (I and II) Not for the faint of heart!

I shared my grand academic plan with Josh earlier. It only took his two-word reply to make me shudder, “Imaginary numbers,” he said.

Yep. That did the trick!

“What is I?” He went on.

I stared back stupidly.

“I is the square root of negative one. There is no square root of negative one which is why they call it an imaginary number,” he finished.

Right.

I certainly have my work cut out for me, but if I can actually pull this off, I’m fairly certain that I will have found my calling after all.

Back to Betsy. She’s been really good to me while I’ve had her but I’m afraid I’ll have to trade her in this fall. When I’m combining grocery trips with photo shoot (opportunities) because she’ll only go two miles- that’s pretty much my cue to get a new one.

Josh, leaning against a stranger’s car outside of the grocery store- taken today/Helios film 44-2

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Same car
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God Walks

These past few days have been nothing short of incredible. Some things have happened here at home that have caused both Josh and I to be soft-hearted, more so than usual. Take for example, his wallet, that was stolen from a department store. His birth certificate, ID, more than $100, my credit card too- and lots of other goodies were inside of it.

Interestingly enough, rather than being angry much, we’ve been teary-eyed and hyper-emotional. But that’s to be expected under the circumstances. As for me, I’ve been pondering my life (imagine that!) and contemplating my absolute direction in which I’ll go. I was in Business Administration five years ago when my Pastor suggested I switch majors to something that might better utilize my talents. I considered what she said and decided to go into Human Services/Behavioral Sciences. Generally, I wanted to work with homeless people and troubled juveniles, etc. From there, I considered Criminal Justice and probation/parole, and up until yesterday, I was alright with that.

But I’ve been praying and asking God to guide me to the place that He wants me to go. His answer: Psychology- specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/OCD behaviors- but most importantly- child sexual abuse and trauma. He’s really been digging around in my heart these past few months, stirring up some things I’d rather not acknowledge.

I was sexually abused by a relative when I was nine years old. Up until a year ago, I couldn’t even string those words together in the same sentence. I haven’t been in denial- but so very apprehensive to even look in that direction. It means pain. Heaps and heaps of pain. At some point, we sexual abuse survivors really do just get tired of this old monster that eats away at our heads and hearts. It’s emotionally and psychologically draining. Well, perhaps that is a form of denial. But as long as I don’t want to see it, it’s still buried. I couldn’t speak about this issue while my Dad was alive. This type of thing destroys lives- it’s like a locomotive with razor-sharp teeth- eating souls along the way. It devastates families. So for many years, I’ve stayed silent. I’ve taken my lashes privately to spare my siblings what would have been much ruin, both privately and publicly. Not surprisingly, my family has preferred that as well. Nobody ever talks about it. It “doesn’t exist” in their worlds.

I was told (when I was a child) that if I ever told anybody, my brothers and sister would be taken away and we would all be put in foster homes and that I would have been the cause. I was only 9! What a terrific and horrendous burden to place upon a child so young. So I kept my mouth shut. And suffered alone. And suffered. And suffered. And suffered.

My siblings got to keep each other and nobody went to a foster home. Hooray.

But I can’t stay silent any more. God has been walking through my heart. He’s telling me that I have a story to tell and it’s ok to tell it! I’ve suffered enough. I can hardly believe the number of women I’ve met online who are my age that have been sexually abused. A good many of them are taking multiple medications and cannot even leave their houses without another family member. That was me a handful of years ago too.

For four years now I’ve studied psychology and such in college. I used to slag on therapists, thinking they were goofy- spitting out “mumbo jumbo Freudian crap”. How ignorant! Naturally, I’ve come to understand just how hard psychology really is; all of the various sections of the brain and their functions that pertain to specific disorders and so on. And that’s just the physiological aspect- there’s the sociological aspect too; perspectives and theories and research methods. The field is so extensive, it really does command respect.

I’m 44 years old and I’ve never been treated for being molested as a child. The shame and pain that goes along with it keep women like me silent. And so we suffer silently. Year after year. But God has touched my heart today with His finger. It burns with a super fire! I’ve decided for the first time in my life to seek treatment for my childhood trauma. The silence must be broken if the remedy is to be successful. Besides, this is the area I want to study and specialize in in my studies. How can I possibly be of any help or use to other women who’ve suffered from this if I don’t become the client and receive professional help too?

And so I shall. I’ve called my local Behavioral Health facility and have scheduled an appointment for June. The first step really is the hardest. I know that the road won’t be particularly easy, but I know that I’m making a good emotional and psychological investment for my future. I’ve been so encouraged by the many (many many) brave women who have shared their similar stories through their blogs.

Some people think that such things shouldn’t be aired in public, but every one who has and continues to do so is my hero. We never know just who we’re going to touch in this world, or who may be reading our posts that have no idea what to do, where to go, who to talk to, etc.

I have a great, new outlook on life and I’m excited at the prospect of finally getting professional help for such an ugly disease: child sexual abuse.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She doesn’t know it yet but I’m going to give her my (college) diplomas as one of her gifts.  I’ve fought so hard to finish my degree- for myself, yes, but especially for her. And she’s so proud of me. :0)

Happy birthday, Mom. ♥

My Mom’s one and only sunflower

 SunflowerMJ


Love is Grand and other Great Things

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Mr. Bob Hedge, himself (AKA: my son) /Helios film 44-2/natural lighting

So Josh is in the living room belting out a rock-blues ballad that he’s making up as he’s going along. Today we’re rejoicing: he just got a new job and I’m changing majors from Sociology to Criminal Justice. Hoo ha! I’m pretty excited about it. I’m thinking, I need to knock back this school thing while I’m in school-mode. A few more years! Two and a half, in fact. I’ve been told that up to 90 of my credit hours could transfer over to my BS in Criminal Justice. I’m pretty happy about that. Sociology is great and all, and I’m most passionate about that, but at the end of it all I’m going to need a jobby job, as in, actual “career”. Sociology doesn’t ensure that but Criminal Justice does. My dream job would be as a criminal psychologist or a Profiler, but that requires no less than a Master’s degree. Hmmm…we’ll see. I’ve decided to move in the direction of a probation officer for starters.

My plan is never vague or blurry when I calculate one. I gather facts, research, strategize, formulate the plan clearly, and execute it precisely. So the new plan is this (which could change at any time, mind you, but for now, it’s a done deal):

Short Term Goals

  • Transfer 30-60 Behavioral Sciences credit hours over to SNHU and apply them to new BS in Criminal Justice
  • Receive BS in Criminal Justice
  • Build up community work with PBS/Peanut Butter Soup– my children’s book- volunteer, etc. or possible school readings (This is the area that needs most attention) Ulterior motive: bulk up resume + gain experience

Long Term Goals

  • Work as probation officer/secure job for $30,000 to $35,000 annually-starting pay- minimum
    (The starting pay for most probation officer jobs is $35,000-$40,000)
  • Continue with Master’s degree in down time/online- snails’ pace, obviously (never more than two courses at any time)
    (Studying Criminal Psychology)
  • Work to pay off student loans and other debt (which is minimal)

I never envisioned moving into the direction of law enforcement (gasp!) but as a probation officer, I would need to be a licensed gun carrier, and, carry a badge. Yep. A badge. I’m halfway through the semester and am miraculously holding on to my A’s (and a B), so I’ll transition over to my new University in June to begin work on my Bachelor’s. Exciting stuff!

It’s interesting to think that the same prospect only one month ago made me want to shake, shudder, and run for the hills. That’s what utter loneliness can do for the soul! Despondency and silence eat away at the core until everything looks so grey and near impossible to achieve. I had predicted that my heart would thaw out this spring: who knew? 🙂

But love indeed has taken its toll on me and I’m helplessly goofy and happy lately. Josh makes an incredibly strong impact on me. Isn’t it funny how different people will reflect different parts of us? He reflects genuine goodness and he brings that out in me. I mentioned this to him one day and his reply was this, “I only reflect back what I see.”

[Kumbaya]

The kitchen is a wreck and I’m still in my PJ’s at 3:11 in the afternoon, but the sound of the electric guitar in the living room tells me to relax- take a break- smile, and let the dishes marinate a while longer.

Love has its ole hook in me once again.


Just In: So I’m not a Control Freak After All!

Wow, am I relieved. 

So I just took the Myers-Brigg’s Personality Type test. I’ve discovered that I’m an LTPB:

Long-Term Persistent B**ch.

That’s a joke.
I did discover, however, that I am in the category of the rarest type: INFJ. Only 1-3% of people are in this category. Others who share this classification are:

Ghandi
Marilyn Manson
Adolf Hitler
Osama Bin Laden

And then there’s me!

I answered the 72 questions in under five minutes and went with my first reaction to each, and quickly so. I was irked that there wasn’t a timer though. Did I mention that I’m also Type A?
Just a little bit?

Apparently, we INFJ’s are outspoken, creative, caring, analytical “feelers” with our fingers on the pulses of humanity, but you don’t want to piss us off because we’re “formidable in battle”. Our thoughtfulness and reflective thought processes can be mistaken for being aloof oftentimes, which would explain why that psychotherapist called me that that one time (as I dissected, categorized and hyper-analyzed her).

For other INFJ’s, here’s an interesting write-up (that sums me up in a nutshell, and no doubt, you too):

Website can be found here: INFJ Personality Type

INFJs make up only 1% to 3% of the population, the rarest of the personality types. They tend to be perfectionists who fear they aren’t living up to their potential. INFJs can always list the things they’ve left undone but have a hard time counting their accomplishments.

INFJs hold strong convictions and are deeply affected by the suffering of others. However, because they are introverted, they prefer thinking about weighty issues to talking about them. Those who are activists—a role toward which they gravitate—take up causes for moral reasons, not for personal glory or political power.

The INFJ is often found at disaster scenes as a rescue worker. When a person of this type sees people or animals being treated cruelly, he or she may fantasize about getting revenge on the perpetrators. Although INFJs are gentle by nature, they are formidable in battle.

ImageThis photo I took last month depicts the mood of an INFJ much of the time, for those that need a visual. 🙂 [Notice the smiley face] Helios 44-2 film/Digital rebel/manual- evening shadows

For those who want to take the official Brigg’s-Meyers Personality Test, go here: TEST

I’d love to know the results, so hit me!


What does god say?

I noticed today that somebody stumbled upon my blog by searching for these keywords:

what does god say when u fallaid a test

Oh dearie me- let’s just leave that one alone. 

In other news, I’ve managed to knock out three of my five classes a month early. I still have 5 strong A’s at this point, but I’m approaching my finals- let’s hope that sticks. Things have been a big messy blur lately; it’s pretty standard stuff for rounding up another semester. High stress, deadlines, cramming 200+ pages and living as a virtual hermit for days on end, lost in my studies.To top things off, I’ve just discovered my internet may be shut off on the 20th. And wait- there’s more! Although I paid the rent this month on the 1st, as I always do, there was a notice on my door this morning. Something about having 5 days to pay the rent or having to vacate. (WTF?!) I’m going to chalk that one up to the fact that my landlord is pushing 90 or so. (I have an excellent rental history and have had for years.) [grumble]

On the bright side of things, I’ll be graduating on December 7th of this year. I really wish I didn’t have a chronic case of PMS PMDD so I could report that I’ll be graduating with lots of exclamation marks and enthusiasm, alas, that’s not the case. I’m wanting chocolate and tea and I think I need to cry or break something. I guess I’ve been semi-depressed since finding out yesterday that Micah died. He was Josh’s former roommate and a closet junkie. Josh had come home on numerous occasions to find Micah lying on the floor with his dope needle in his hand- blood and dope lying messily about. I had told Josh that he needed to get away from him before Micah took them both down. Josh was always being taken advantage of by his friends, giving them a place to stay and letting them slide on the rent, etc. One day, when Josh was hanging out at my old apartment, Micah called on the phone ten times or so and then he finally showed up at my door. I was highly annoyed. He continued exhibiting bizarre behavior over the months and finally, I told Josh that he needed to kick him to the curb. I could tell that he was going to drag Josh down into an ugly black hole eventually. Josh didn’t want to, but I kept pressuring him to throw him out. One evening, I walked down to Josh’s apartment with him and refused to leave until he literally threw him out. Josh had already had numerous items stolen- valuable jewelry that had been given to him, small sums of money- Micah was constantly stealing from Josh to support his habit. I was livid that Josh had been taking my son around Micah- sure he was a “nice guy” but a junkie is a junkie. So, Josh threw Micah out the night I was there. Josh had dropped out of school when Micah was living with him and I could see him losing direction. The changes were small at first, but more and more, I could see how Micah was influencing him negatively. We don’t know how Micah died and the obituary didn’t reveal it. I can’t help thinking it was a drug overdose. 

Josh has just finished up his semester; he did well. 
I can hardly believe I’m one week away from completing my degree in Behavioral Sciences and CPC in Substance Abuse. Finals are always so stressful! You can have a strong A in a class, consistently throughout, then fail a final, bringing your overall grade down to a C. All of that hard work for a C! That’s happened to me before so I have to avoid that like the plague. Study study study! My grades are very important to me and a C just isn’t going to cut it. 

I think it’s time for my Sleepytime Tea + Ambien. 

Happy trails.

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 Homeless man sleeps. Downtown Louisville, KY.


Changing Lanes

It’s 6:57 a.m.
I’m listening to Sonata 3 in C Major BWV1005 by Bach and crying over Sylvia Plath.
I’ve been on this Plath kick for almost a year now. I used to be so harsh and judgmental of her. (“Well that’s what she gets for sticking her head into an oven!”) I didn’t understand her, nor did I try to until I read Rough Magic- her biography by Paul Alexander. Sylvia and I share several things in common. We’re both writers (dare I make such a claim?), perfectionistic overachievers, we both lost our children, we both went mad, and we were both locked away in an institution many years ago- having suffered breakdowns halfway through our college majors (and before)- and then immediately dusted ourselves off and jumped right back into the academic ring- no small feat.

I have a new respect for her, and until I began comparing notes, I had no idea how similar our lives were/are. I think she’s one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. It’s not easy to have a colossal breakdown (pardon the pun) then pick yourself up again and carry on in the faces of all of the inquisitive eyes and naysayers…dream shatterers…

I’ve been reading her recently published (very private) journals, all night in fact. What a privilege to be able to wile away the hours reading her personal diary! I clearly have a fascination with her, but not only that- her poetry is by far, my favourite of anyone’s- Anne Sexton weighing in at close second. For me, nobody can touch these immensely talented and troubled women, who were both personal friends of each other (In fact, they shared a poetry workshop class and Plath admired Sexton greatly) who took their own lives at their own hands.

I read this in Sylvia’s journal earlier, and this is what made me cry:

Remember about the shadow of past knowledge. Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others experiences in thought and action– stretch to others even though it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back in the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance! Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always, as long as you have breath in your body, to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich, continually evolving entity! 

I’m listening, Sylvia. :0)

I received my audit from my University several days ago: my petition to graduate has been accepted and I’m expected to graduate this December on the 7th at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. It’s been a long four years! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off a Behavioral Sciences major- I had to face certain doom and unspeakable tragedy (sexual abuse as a child, institutionalization, the loss of my children, insanity, years of being battered relentlessly by an unforgiving system), but it’s been worth fighting for and I had to prove to myself that I am more than a “label” that has a fancy name of this disorder or that. I will not be defined by a clinical title or even the thought of another person, for I’ve chosen to maximize what I’ve learned in school and minimize the trauma I’ve lived through.

Still, I can’t help but to be heavily influenced by the likes of Plath- she stood up in the face of terror itself and fought as long as she could. But what an incredible talent! I’m going to heed the words in her journal and I’m not going to be ashamed of my past and what I’ve lived through. It’s a miracle just to be alive.

I’ve decided that after I graduate, I’ll transfer over to Southern New Hampshire University, which is a private coed and one of the best schools in New England to work on my BA- not for Criminal Justice- but for Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. Plath has inspired me, completely, and has reminded that I’m an artist and a writer, and have been my whole life. I have the skeleton already- which is the passion- but I need the BA in Creative Writing so I can flesh out the bones.

I’m already a starving artist, what will it matter?

Life has been a blur lately of exams, cramming, writing essays and reports: I have 5 weeks to go!
And, I have 5 A’s in all 5 classes still. Go me. :0)

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Josh stands in the golden hour sunlight down at the River.
Canon Digital Rebel/Super Takumar 135/3.5 film lens

And Heidi, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for your introduction to Plath at Olive Garden years ago.  If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be doing this whole school thing. xo