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#466468 - 06/11/14 02:16 AM Missing Teeth
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
Today should be a happy day. I have found a great apartment at a steal of a price, have all but eliminated my commute to work and finally have the privacy and autonomy that I have been striving to obtain in the year and a half since I got out of the army. Its been a tough transition and there has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and a little luck) that brought me to this milestone. So much effort and disappointment that finally culminated into finally reaping the fruits of my labors. I signed the lease today and I should be ecstatic.

I was,too. For a few hours. As it has been for as long as I can remember, the sunshine of good fortune and success was blocked by the dark cloud that always finds me. My mood is all over the place these days, but depression and anxiety have been my siamese twins since elementary school.

It seems we all carry the unfair burden of blaming ourselves, and so to counter that I have taken to focusing on the fact that I was missing teeth during my abuse. After all, what adult has missing teeth yet to grow in? It helps me reinforce the fact that I was a kid and cannot hold myself to adult standards for my actions, perceptions, and decisions made over that terrible time. It works for a little bit, but not the way I had hoped. The self blame merely transforms into a sense of sorrow and a feeling of hopelessness. I can't hold my abuser accountable yet emotionally (figure that one out), but when I remember those missing teeth, the mark of childhood, its like I got punched in the gut. The sorrow and revulsion slithers down my arms and I want to get the f*** out of my skin- it feels so horrible. I want to find the darkest hole to curl up in and die.

This lasts only a few seconds before my brain kicks in and says that is just not something we are going to think about today and the intense emotion and realization goes away, but I am left with the slime of revulsion, a deep sorrow, helplessness, abandonment, and a few other emotions I can't define. Emptiness fills where my stomach should be. They stay as long as they want to, but it seems as soon as that feeling passes it comes back. Ultimately, I would rather just blame myself- it is way less painful.

But wouldn't it be nice if I could just ride the wave on a hard-fought win? I failed so many times but I stayed tenacious. I did a lot of research, a lot of networking, and forced myself to be disciplined in my selection to really set myself up for success. I finally won- it took nearly two years an I had my face in the dirt for most of it, but I finally won, dammit!

Why do I feel the same in victory as defeat? It's not fair.

Can't I just have ONE day? Just one? I have my grown-up teeth now.
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

#466484 - 06/11/14 04:58 PM Re: Missing Teeth [Re: sadclown]
NoSimpleMachine Offline

Registered: 06/05/14
Posts: 223
Loc: SF Bay Area
"Ultimately, I would rather just blame myself- it is way less painful." that whole paragraph puts me in mind of something I was going through recently...where I was stuck in a big mental loop about things and going in circles and feeling anxious and sad and triggered...and stopping and telling myself "well, I guess I am kind of a prick sometimes" was my escape from that loop. When you're stuck and have a barrier in front of you that's too big to knock over, you pace endlessly behind it, going in circles trying to understand it, until being down on yourself becomes a relief, or a rest stop.

But just because you need a break, and just because blaming yourself gives you that break, doesn't mean that blaming yourself is right. It means it's a comfortable habit. And as you go on in life and your understanding grows, it's going to be a less and less effective crutch. You are old enough now to know that blaming yourself doesn't fix your anxieties, but for the moment you lack a better option.

To me it seems like you're in a positive transition period, but it hasn't started paying dividends for you yet. If your old view of your childhood self no longer gives you relief, it's because your understanding is growing. I think and hope that this means you're making progress on a significant change in understanding that will lower your overall anxiety and give you much better context on yourself.

Trust the process. Peace and understanding comes in its due time. You have your grown-up teeth now, and you didn't back then, and there is a continuous thread that connects those two people.
If I know only one thing it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing Helplessness Blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

#466501 - 06/12/14 12:16 AM Re: Missing Teeth [Re: sadclown]
kcinohio Online   content

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 512
Loc: Ohio
For a while I found when I became better situated, the hard parts of the memories and feelings with my own CSA would come forth much more readily. In hindsight, believe this was because I was finally in a position to go through them. In the moment, that feels crappy, but was a helaing part of the process to get to the other side of the hardest stuff.

#466518 - 06/12/14 03:38 AM Re: Missing Teeth [Re: sadclown]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: sadclown
I finally won- it took nearly two years an I had my face in the dirt for most of it, but I finally won, dammit!

Why do I feel the same in victory as defeat? It's not fair.

Can't I just have ONE day? Just one? I have my grown-up teeth now.


My suggestion won't be a popular one, but it has worked for me.

Lower your expectations. "Just one day" may be too much to expect right now. Having unatainable expectations only sets us up for disappointment and a sense of failure.

The 12 step concept of living "one day at a time" means you focus on the moment, not the past failures, or the future unknowns. If one day at a time is not feasable, break down your day into quarters, even hours if need be. Shoot for just getting thru the morning without sinking into the dispair. If you don't succeed, let the morning go and shoot for just getting through the afternoon. Then the evening. Then overnight.

In my earliest stages of healing, just being able to say "I had a good morning" was huge for me. I would try to let go of the previous night's nightmares, and not worry about the coming afternoon's struggles. I would just revel in the morning's feeling of being "okay", and let that be enough.

As I've done the work of recovery, I've been more able to put together strings of "okay" hours, even days, at a time. Tomorrow I may return to dispair, or not, but for right now, I feel "okay", so I've acheived my goal.

I view recovery as a lifelong process, without an endpoint. I make progress if I do the work, and keep my expectations to a minimum. In 12 step programs there's a saying (yeah, there are lots of sayings) "My serenity is inversely proportionate to my expectations". Thats something I try to remember daily.

Be well,

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan


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