Via con Dios… 

“But I can’t let her get away with talking to me like that!  She needs to learn that people deserve respect!” first thoughts after rude comments from 12-year-old daughter

Where is the justice?  upon further thinking

Shouldn’t right be rewarded – like all the time!?? clearly

Shouldn’t mean people, jerks, sin, and bad decisions be punished?  Uh… emphatically YES! preach sister

And No.  Not always.

Sometimes the effort to parent is exhausting – crushing – suffocating –  both to the parent and child.

And sometimes wisdom is unearthed only by living on the planet and experiencing HARD – more than once.  Eventually our decisions change, or should, if we are able to see the value in the lessons life teaches.  At some point, people, mother’s especially, need to evaluate the circumstance and say:

VIA CON DIOS!

It is acknowledging (FINALLY) that I am not/ I ain’t gonna fix him.  Solo Dios.  Only God.  Therefore, the current situation necessitates the sweet Spanish well-wishing good-bye:

VIA CON DIOS!  

Realizing his character defects are beyond the scope of the moments and my mental health, I am learning to think: 

VIA CON DIOS!

[And this can be said with a little sass..]  When you see your adopted child with severe limitations to their emotional stability make another poor decision, you have options.  #1 Think up a well-worded correction and launch into a lecture.  #2 Loudly proclaim, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?  #3 just repeat and shake one’s head mumbling  “NO NO NO NO NO NO” ad nauseum.

But WISDOM from God rescues you from a near collision with crazy.  You see it a time or 2. or 3.  or 25.  In situations 1-24, you opened your mouth and said in the face of the committed bad behavior:

NO – DESERVEDLY NO!

But what was the eventual outcome?  Ahhh – it goes something like this:

      a little yelling, 

     a lot of frustration,

      a lot of stress and exasperation for the others in the vicinity,

BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT:  I MUST ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM HERE AS A MOM.  IT IS MY JOB.  MY DUTY.  I MUST TAKE A STAND FOR JUSTICE.

But I have a secret.  A parenting diamond for those of you mining:  You don’t have to address “it”,   – not every time, – not in every season.  You don’t have to confront injustice every time and in every season.  

It is time to step out of the way.  Over the land mine.  Avoid the crater of pain that will explode from collarbone to hip bone.  Picture a scene from a Vietnam war movie.  Not good.

So many times before, you had to address the child’s foolishness.

But you really don’t.

I can’t believe I am saying this.  It only took me being poisoned with bleach by my son, discovering paraphenalia for smoking weed in your baby boy’s room – who happens to now be 18, being hard-core judged by Christians who are more fake than real, being frightened so regularly by your adopted children’s violently insane behaviors that you develop PTSD, years of counseling, and a hubbie who suggested it for years:

LET IT GO!

But as a human woman given the high calling motherhood and nurturing five souls unto glory, let’s be honest, this is all about my journey. I – in good concscience- felt like I would be failing if I didn’t do  ____________________,  If I didn’t talk it to death with my perfectly clear analogies and scripture references and anecdotal stories,  I felt like it was going to be completely understood and listened to.  If I did _________ or if I said _________________.  

But alas, there are teenage and adult children walking around on the planet unsaved, even when parents faithfully poured the Word of God into their lives.  Salvation and spiritual maturity is a work only done is His timing and by His will.  We don’t add anything to salvation.  We don’t save our children.  

Huge Mind Altering Thought:  We don’t have to save our children.  We only HAVE to glorify God.  

Often Imagine a hostage negotiation going down and a bullhorn in hand as God declares:

  1.   STEP AWAY FROM THE FOOLISHNESS.
  2.   LET THE PROFESSIONALS ie. God HANDLE IT.
  3.   MA’AM…  MA’AM.  YES, YOU THERE.  DRONING ON AND ON.  SHUT       UP!  I  really wish God would say shut up to me sometimes.  It is such a very good idea every now and then.
  4.   SLOWLY WALK AWAY!
  5.   DO NOT LOOK BACK!  ABSOLUTELY NO LOOKING BACK!
  6.   AND LET THE CRAP GO MOMMA! 

Say: VIA CON DIOS! 

Let the sovereign ruler over all time and space work providentially and/or supernaturally.  Let the yuck of the life pass without launching a full scale assault on things like an eyeroll.  Sometimes let it go.  Now I am not saying always let stuff go.

But sometimes – Smile as wisdom whispers her brilliant counsel in your mind’s ear and say:

VIA CON DIOS!

3 Flat Tires in a Week – Perceived or Real Threats?

Coincidence or not?

I DON’T KNOW!

Seems highly suspicious but there are nails on the roadways, so theoretically you could get THREE FLAT TIRES from nail and screw punctures in a week.
Our 14 year old’s behavior – Threat or not?

I DON’T KNOW!

He does not seem to possess the skills to change his pattern of behavior.  His behaviors are worsening and have been terrifying.  He needs therapy.  We have tried therapy many times from home.  We have tried to find a placement outside of the home where he can work on his life.  We are running into dead ends.  And we are running out of time.

Yet God can do a miracle at any time in anyone’s life.

God can make dry bones arise and breathe.  He can make a donkey speak.

Does God often do these things?  No – God usually works providentially in the natural world of what we see and hear.  Like when God heals someone of cancer through chemo and radiation.  Providence.  The right doctor.  The right course of medicine decided by team of doctors.  The right place.

Sometimes God works supernaturally.  sometimes people are healed from heart issues without prescribed, planned, and executed medical intervention.

At 29, I had symptoms of a heart attack.   Fortunately, it was FARTS — haha — abdominal gas.  Who knew stomach gas  pressure could feel similar to a heart attack?  [Side note: Doctors know.   Haha!]  I was told to go to a cardiologist; just to be sure my heart was okay.  Well, it wasn’t.  And it isn’t.

At 30, my cardiologist recommended I go to the renowned Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida to have surgery to correct the severe MVP – mitral valve prolapse.  On a scale of 1 – 4, 4 being the worst, I have a level 4 MVP.  Go big or go home right?!  There is a significant amount of blood flowing backwards in my heart.  Not good.  This allows too much blood in one area, creating pressure and enlarging the heart.

That is what generally happens. The value in a heart needs to open and close properly to not allow backwards blood flow.  My valves, that should open and close like secure doorways, flap like the Grand Ol’ Flag on a breezy day.  I have seen the ultrasounds, the pictures, the videos.  There is clearly a problem.

At 30, I went to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL.  I was scrubbed in for surgery.  I was placed under anesthesia.  I was told I may be confused or forgetful coming out of anesthesia after surgery.

I was so confused after coming out from under the influence of anesthesia. My husband was there telling me I didn’t have the surgery.  I just looked at him thinking, “Oh, the anesthesia thing.  It sounds like he is saying ‘ya didn’t have surgery’ but that can’t be right!  My mother and sister are here from Tennessee caring for my 3 small children.  I have been planning this surgery for 7 months to be done in the summer when my teacher husband can be home to help in recovery.  I have traveled hundreds of miles to Shands Hospital.  I KNOW I WENT INTO SURGERY!!!!”

Again with the ‘ya did not have surgery thingy’.  ANESTHESIA IS WEIRD.  This is my first time being placed under it.  I don’t know what the heck is going on.

BUT APPARENTLY AT THE LAST MINUTE, DOCTORS DID A TEST AND THEN DID NOT PROCEED WITH THE OPEN HEART SURGERY REPAIR OF MY MVP. 

And now 16 years later,  same heart.  Not enlarging.  This is very atypical of level 4 SEVERE MVP.  Many women have a MVP. Lots.  Not so many women have surgeons tell them on their annual visits:

  1.   Yes, you have severe Mitral Valve Prolapse.
  2.   Yes, you can have surgery at any point  – cuz it is very severe.
  3.   We don’t have any idea why you heart has not enlarged .
  4.   Come look again at the monitor to see what I am talking about.  The blue color represents the backwards blood.  There should not be any.  You have a lot.

Maybe my heart is stretchy..

Oh, good segway back to healing.

My heart has been stretched “emotionally” and my mind has been stretched physically – to a breaking point – in which my brain developed PTSD.  My adopted daughter terrified me with her violent and explosive behavior.  She had to be held often to stop her from jumping out of the car.  She actually jumped out of the car while I was driving at 35 mph.  That is not good.  That signaled some serious problems.  She was kicking through wooden bedroom doors.  She threw mirrors.  The kicked out her window to run away.  She shoved berries into her mouth and asked if they would kill her.  She had an onset of Bipolar Disorder and has also been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, has low than average cognition, PTSD, and RAD – reactive attachment disorder.

I have a medical diagnosis of PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My war is my adoption journey.

I was diagnosed with PTSD in the summer of 2016.  On my first visit to my therapist, he now states, “I strongly considered taking you to the hospital immediately.  You could barely form a sentence.  You were a hot mess!”  He did not actually call me a hot mess.  I am paraphrasing.

Fast forward to this school year 2017-2018.  Our adopted son is now displaying terrifying behaviors.  He has written many disturbing things like – “I WISH SUZANNE WERE DEAD”  in his closet, in  notes, on his bed frame, on the back of a picture frame.  I am Suzanne.  He put bleach in my drink as he washed the dishes- not with bleach though.  Although, he did tell his 18-year-old brother that the bleach was for “cleaning.”

Turns out the bleach our oldest son had seen *******  with was intended for me!

As we headed out the door,  I said to *******, “Let me go grab my water!”

He watched as I went to the kitchen.

He lied when I screamed WHAT THE [HECK OR BLEEP] – [I could have said either.] IS IN MY DRINK?

I couldn’t fathom bleach was in my drink.  I have been asked, “Didn’t you smell it?”  No, I did not.  I drank a sip to try to determine what ****** had put in my cup.  I assumed it was something gross from the fridge  and I wanted to know what it was.

He stood there.  Passively.  Lying.  “Nothing.”   That was all he would say.

My older son started questioning.  My 16 yr-old  started questioning.

WHAT DID YOU PUT IN MOM’S DRINK?

The wheels started turning in my oldest’s head.  Give me you cup Mom.  [Smells]  He screams ,”How could you?  I know what it is!  Tell everyone what you did.  Tell everyone what you put in mom’s cup!”

Pinned to the floor for my safety, he continued to lie.

I wanted my oldest son to hit ******.

When our oldest finally forced him to admit what he had done.  my mind did not want to process the fact that my adopted son had just put a known deadly chemical in my drink.

My oldest never hit him.   Never hurt him.  Never has.  And frankly, I don’t know why.  We aren’t that kind of family.  We have never hit our kids.

But this was HIT – WORTHY  in my book.

Nope.

I called my husband, shaking.. “What do I do?  We can’t call the police because of our daughter.  I don’t want ****** to affect her chances of reunification after all her hard work in therapy.”  My husband agreed.  We would look for a placement outside of the home and not call the police.

We have looked for a placement.  For months now.

My husband is like a warden watching ****** every minute of the day.  We have locks, alarms, cameras,  … and I generally don’t stay at home anymore.

So is he a threat to our safety?  DEFINITELY A THREAT.

WILL HE DO SOMETHING AGAIN?  I DON’T KNOW.

I AM SCARED EVERYDAY.

I HAVE RAGING PTSD SYMPTOMS that had subsided after years of therapy and prescription meds.

  • I have high blood pressure often.
  • I cry often because I feel abandoned by everyone.
  • I fear everyone hates me – including me family who loves me.
  • I go into flight mode.  I sometimes just bolt out the door and run for miles.  I often get in my car and just drive … away.  Any where but home.
  • I lock myself in my room when I am home.
  • I only use one cup and have it with me at all times.
  • I don’t drink anything from the kitchen.
  • I have horrible intrusive thoughts.
  • I feel like  gun is pressed to the base of my skull.
  • I shake a lot.
  • I often can’t speak correctly.
  • I feel angry because I can’t speak.  I stutter and can’t come up with the words I want to say.
  • I feel angry that this is the mother my biological kids know.
  • I feel sad because our family is ripped apart again. 3 years ago from our daughter and now our son.
  • I don’t cook anymore. I am barely home and the kitchen triggers me.  I used to love  clean kitchen.  Now the clean counters are the trigger because he had cleaned the kitchen and left only my cup  WITH BLEACH IN IT on the counter.

Need help again support system.

We need help.

 

 

 

Drip, Drip, Drip: Water and Absorbing Materials

It was very early Sunday morning.  He was bleary-eyed and shaving with a sharp razor.

I held up an Always-brand Ultra Thin feminine pads eye-level and pronounced, “This is an answer to your prayers!”

He turned from the sink where he was rinsing his razor, his hand now dripping wet and stood frozen.  A lake of water formed on the bathroom at his feet.  (Like a whole bunch of water!)  He just stood silently, staring at the women’s hygienic product in my hand.

To back up, my bipolar, level 2 autistic daughter at our home on a weekend pass from her home – a therapeutic group home – waddled up to me a few moments prior.  Not being mean –  no – literally she waddled up to me.  It was early in morning and in an early- morning-and-easily-annoyed mood prior to taking my prescription meds for anxiety and depression , PTSD (brought on by violently extreme rages of our adopted kids) I said, “I can’t hear you and please stop waddling like a penguin.”  She approached me again with less waddle.  She whispered again, “I need a pad!”  I heard her the second time.  “We don’t have any here,” I responded, now understanding the awkward amble.  She had just gotten her period two other times.  Unchartered territory.  Then I added, “Have you brushed your teeth?”  She, “No.”  I said that it was not pleasant when she came so close to my nose!

She went to the hallway bathroom.  I went to my bathroom.  I fumbled around under my bathroom sink and ‘Lo and Behold’ — Always Ultra-Thin pads.

I stood up and held the pad eye-level and said to my hubbie, “This is the answer to your prayers!

Ah -hah!  The desired results I had hoped for enveloped his face: CONFUSION!

It may have helped to have filled him in on a few more details about my conversation with our daughter before telling him a pad was his gift from God.  He had yet to drink his morning coffee.  He does not function properly without it.  The drug in coffee has altered his executive functioning – I think.  So my strange and crazy way of making my husband scratch his head plus ginormous stress from the broken water heater forming a lake of water on the laundry room floor, and lack of regular sleep because of his own depression from watching his family be ripped apart from numerous adoption traumas, and me subsequently developing PTSD, my ears always attuned to the slightest noise in hypervigilence to catch any situation in its infancy before a full-blown implosion of bipolar rage sends me careening downhill might also be contributing factors to his confusion.   If you are keeping track, that is two lakes in 24 hours at our house.

I did later explain my comment, which made Kyle laugh (LIKE DEEP BELLY LAUGH) at the mission I accomplished in totally unbalancing an already  teetering pre-coffee man.  He just laughed as he communicated his thoughts or lack of them going through his head.  He frankly had no idea how what I said about Always made any sense.  Everything I said was true.  My purposeful delivery of the information was what confused him.

Since adopting our son and daughter, my husband has had to take on the roles of:

warden,

buffer,

protector,

bread-winner,

father,

public middle school teacher,

soccer training business owner,

judge,

parole officer,

psychologist / therapist/ counselor,

husband,…

and a plumber at times when lakes form in the house.

Prior to the adoption of our two loved kiddos and the ensuing trauma, his roles were largely amazing husband, best-ever daddy, and bread-winner.

It had all gone a little too well.  We began to believe the lie of Satan that we could control our lives while shaping and molding our children into godly, happy believers in the grace and salvation that we have found in Christ.  (… we can’t, He can!)

We have learned some awful and great lessons in seasons of sheer misery.  The monsters of trauma nearly devoured me.  Only by the sustaining word of God and faith in His goodness, I was not completely annihilated.  Behaviors of our kids became increasingly aggressive and destructive – and aimed primarily at me…MOM.  I have been hit, bit, spit upon, and poisoned.  I have seen rages so strong and intense, my very young children have jumped out of cars traveling close to 40 mph, kicked through wooden bedroom doors and glass window to escape their captivity, and broken furniture, mirrors and anything lying around within reach.  While doing life as a mom with my other biological children in that same environment,  I feared for the damage being done to their minds and hearts.  There has been incredible damage.  I have diagnosed PTSD.  My kids have hardened and closed off their hearts to a great deal.  Some have turned from God battling with the questions I also ask, “If there is a God, why would He do this to our family?”

Well, deep lessons have been learned.  And other lessons are being learned.  Sometimes I wish I could tell God – we GOT IT!  Please let the lessons stop.  I am tired of being in the school of HARD.

Here is some of the instructions we have received:

LESSON #1:  We aren’t in control of ANYTHING except our responses to stimuli.  We don’t control our own lives.  We certainly don’t control the lives of our offspring and adoptees.  They are entirely in the hand of a merciful and loving God.  He allows things in our lives for his glory and our good.  That is promised in His word – the Bible.  He also allows us to make our own decisions outside of His will.  He is loving, his is just, but He isn’t a people manipulator.

LESSON #2:  There is absolutely nothing I can d to save my kids or another human soul.  Salvation is a supernatural event caused by a supernatural being.  I am not that.  In fact, I am pretty natural.  I eat, sleep, fart.. very natural.  And if you Google search about holding your farts in – I did that yesterday on a car trip to Florida Youth Sheriff’s Ranch for Boys – you will discover, it may contribute to bad breath.  I am natural!  He is supernatural.  I can’t save them.  And the best news is that I don’t have to save them.  That is a terribly big job.

LESSON#3:  Hurt people hurt people – themselves included.  Ever wonder why people turn to alcohol? I totally understand.  I don’t drink – too expensive was always my motivation.  But others, they didn’t think that becoming a falling down idiot would solve their dilema.  They did think that escaping from their hurts was a stupendous idea.  Suicide victims also believe this, as well as drug addicts, and people choosing really unhealthy relationships.

Avoiding hurts is completely understandable to me now since adopting children who would unknowingly traumatize me.  Very deeply, they altered my brain – injured by brain.  I know why the mom with prescription pills in her hand takes all of them versus the prescribed amount.  I know why people get into drugs.  I know why people lock themselves in their room and don’t come out.  I know why people eat and eat and eat and eat

They are all trying to avoid being hurt or soothe the hurt.  Even if just for a moment.

They hurt that bad.

I have a long list of avoiding hurt.

After being sexually abused from age 7 – 10, I equated physical intimacy with being liked.  Dumb Dumb HURT teenager thoughts.  Guys in high school are mostly looking for easy.  So I decided to be easy.  That added to my hurts.  I was looking for love, validation, approval, friendships, encouragement, etc.  I found none of those in high school relationships.

So when someone does something incredibly stupid, risky, dangerous, or even life-threatening, wonder WHAT THE HECK HAVE THEY BEEN THROUGH TO GET TO THIS PLACE?  She has been really hurt.  He has been through something terribly painful to act out like that.

Now, I have compassion for the tortured souls trapped in addictions, terrible habits and hang-ups.  It’s LESSON #4-100.  Taught over and over again, love others in their yuck.

[But this does not mean to agree with, support, enable, encourage, excuse or allow those hurt people to hurt you or someone else.  Healthy boundaries are essential in living in this hurt world.]

And now to answer:  Why are the pads an answer to my husband’s prayers?  He was taking our daughter to a soccer game and then back to her current living circumstances because we have demanded healthy boundaries.  We deserve to be safe in our own home.

If we did not have the needed feminine pads, Mr. Amazing would have had to make an unwanted stop to gets pads for our aging 12-year-old.

FUN TIMES!

 

 

 

 

Carpal Tunnel and PTSD

What OTHER doctors appointments have you made since your diagnosis of PTSD?

It was surprising to me to find out that a link exists between my tingling fingers and my fears of drinking from a cup in my kitchen.  One medical condition is said to have developed from overuse of the wrist resulting in the narrowing of the carpal tunnel.  The nerves are compressed from stress up in the neck and shoulder radiating down the arm and into the hand resulting in CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME.  And my personal journey of stress and PTSD began when dealing with disturbing behaviors of our adopted children: breaking and exiting THROUGH her wooden hollow core bedroom door at age 10 WITHOUT unlocking and opening said door,  jumping out of mom’s car at 35 mph because she was told she could not be a Safety Patrol and run away every few days, poisoning mom’s cup of Diet Dr. Pepper with bleach because he began organizing the shed and therefore found so many of the things he had stolen, packing bags to run away and mom randomly finding them on a 2.5 mile walk to the grocery store – to relieve stress!

WOMEN’S MENSTRUAL ISSUES and PTSD?  I don’t have a regular menstrual cycle when under great stress.  So I haven’t had my period in months.  So weird huh?

I have been to the doctor for suspected MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, my muscles tensed so much of the time resulting in tremors in one leg…

I have been to the doctor for LOW IRON- IRON DEFICIENCY, my appetite suppressed from anxiety.  This resulted in 10 lbs. of weight loss and lots of compliments from well-wishers but I knew it was because I couldn’t swallow more than a few bites of food.  Side note:  I discovered 8 Andes Mints chocolate candies has 2 grams of protein and therefore constituted a “healthy” intake of needed muscle-building food.  Rationalizing.  I could stand in front of a pantry full of food and not be able to decide or eat anything.  I rationalized that people live eating next to nothing in 3rd world countries so a few raw almonds made for a decent sustainable dinner – This was MUCH  “healthier” than eating from a dump.  I had heard that many people live in and around garbage collecting dinners  across the globe in places where poverty drives people into survival mode.  We would all do it if we had no other alternative.

There is of course the trips to the doctor for ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION.

There is doctor visits for ARTHRITIS, AND OTHER INFIRMITIES WITH SWELLING.  The inflammation is a result from the way-too-often dumping of cortisol and other chemicals into the brain and system that can have damaging physical effects.

Fear and hyper-arousal and clenched muscles can result in many other issues.  MIGRAINES, STOMACH ISSUES, NECK AND BACK PAIN  are other common health issues that might land a person in a doctor’s lobby.  The fact is that the constant stress felt by the body is the brain’s reaction to triggers and flashbacks and memories and past trauma.

That sweet little brain of your is trying it’s best to protect you friend.  But it is like a T-Rex as your wingman in a fight.  The brain is super powerful and that super strong helper sometimes helps TOO much.  I wish I could think in a triggered situation.  I couldn’t calm down taking my daughter to the airport for a trip from FL to VA – a big soccer tournament.  I was sooooo amped up.  I was driving myself and my daughter crazy.  She said, “you are acting like I am a bad driver?”  That was not the case.  Stress had hijacked my brain and I was not under the control of the executive functioning of the frontal lobe.  I was reacting from the amygdala.  It was annoying.  It was irritating.  I wanted to tell me to CHILL.  I tried grounding coping skills and box-breathing.

EVERY DAY LIFE IN HAMPERED WHEN YOU HAVE PTSD.

COMMENT ON THE DOCTORS VISITS YOU HAVE HAD THAT YOU LATER FOUND OUT IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR PSYCHIATRIC  DISORDERS…

LAUGHTER OPTION:  PUT ON WRIST SPLINTS ON BOTH HANDS WHICH IMPROVES TINGLING ISSUES, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT.  THEN LAUGH AT YOURSELF.  LAUGH WHEN YOUR 16-YEAR-OLD SAYS YOU LOOK LIKE Toby or Daryl (not sure which one has two wrist splints in epidsode of ‘Occupational Hazards”)   FROM THE OFFICE tv show.  Ya look stupid just saying.

Our Therapist Called It … “Protective Factors”

What stops an adoptive mom who has lived,  no, – existed, year after year, day after day, and moment by moment in fear, exhaustion, depression, desperation…

  • from just pressing her foot to the floorboard firmly and driving off the nearest bridge,
  • from taking more – way more, perhaps all – of the prescription pills she takes for her PTSD… she developed loving on her adopted kids,
  • from just sitting alone in the car, hiding out from the nightmare that lies behind the closed-door to the house and the closed garage door to the unknowing world, escaping to the places the radio takes her with the car running…

Our therapist called them – those reasons that keep some hurting mommas from committing suicide – “PROTECTIVE FACTORS”.  I nodded and asked her again, “protective factors huh?  That term makes a lot of sense.”  Those two words rolled around the places in my head.

I thought my own recovery.  I thought about my personal PROTECTIVE FACTORS.  I have joked with my husband about how wonderful death seemed compared to the insanely tough adoption journey we are on.  We can joke about suicide because we each have a lot of protective factors.  I have dealt with depression.  I currently take prescription medication for this beast.  Year after year of tooting a horn on December 31st thinking, “this year can’t possibly be as horrific as this last year has been!”, and it being worse than horrific makes for one weary soul.  I specifically remember having this thought in 2015 going into 2016.  I thought the same way on Dec. 31, 2016.  On January 1st, 2018,  I had learned to NOT think in the same manner…  because my circumstances might not get better this year.  Hoping in a good year,  a good day etc.  has set me up for failure on many occasions.  Now I just roll with it and hope only in God.  If I have a good day or week.. BONUS.  But if I don’t have a good day… well, I have been camped out there for quite some time, so I know I am going to be okay.  Funny what repetitive CRAP will do for you!

So what are my personal protective factors?

#1  I have ZERO PROBLEMS ASKING FOR HELP AND SUPPORT.  The moment we took a hard left turn on BIPOLAR DRIVE, I called our adoption support specialist.  She put me in contact with a foster mom mentor.  And if my support system suggested something, I did it.  It certainly couldn’t hurt and might actually help.  As my symptoms related to mental illness worsened,  I went to a doctor for medication and a counselor for therapy.  My husband looked at me and said “You need to see a doctor!”  My response was, “Yeah,  I probably do.”

#2  I have MAINTAINED CONNECTIONS TO SUPPORT SYSTEMS.  I have gone to adoptive parenting classes to learn about how to handle my kids with RAD – Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I have stayed in contact with some of those friends on Facebook.  I have made amazing sisterhood relationships with moms of RAD kids.  That is a population of moms who understand each others bizarre life circumstances.  When you are attacked as a “nurturing enemy” because your child’s biological mom completely SUCKED at mommy-ing, you need to hear you aren’t crazy or alone.  RAD adoptive kids push away from really awesome adoptive moms because that kind of relationship had gone horribly wrong at birth.  No one answered their cries.  No one feed them.  The mom who was supposed to be there wasn’t.  So a child with RAD will fight like a Tasmanian devil before she ever lets you get emotionally close to her.  Sabotage,  manipulation, lying and deceit are hallmarks of a RAD kid.  [GET INTO A SUPPORT GROUP IN YOUR AREA OR FIND A GROUP ON FACEBOOK!  SUPPORT GROUPS ARE INVALUABLE.]

I also have support from my family, a few close friends, my church and God.  I know God well.  And He is my most important PROTECTIVE FACTOR.  He says I am loved, I am worthy,  I am special,  and I am safe in His arms.  Thank God! Literally!

My daughters, Kylee and Haylee, are helpful.  And by that, I mean that they are MEAN.  Like, if you don’t understand what happens to a developing young lady around the age of 15, fair warning folks, it gets ugly.  I have been told my chewing on a carrot makes my daughter want to die.  Also eating cereal is a justifiable reason for screaming death threats at me.  Don’t eat cereal in front of my  16-year-old daughter.  It is a bad idea.  My 19-year-old is at college and is quite blunt.  When she calls home,  she does NOT want to talk about how I am doing.  So when she asks, “So, how’s it going, Mom?”,  she doesn’t really care at the moment (because she isn’t here and can’t help –  she says) what my actual state of “how’s it going” is, she wants to exchange pleasantries and talk about her life.  But their meanness has been a protective factor.  They don’t let me fall to pieces and hold me.  Most of the time.  They tell me to suck it up.  Most of the time.  [Side note: You can not ‘suck up’ PTSD.  It is an injury that needs healing and often needs help.]  So their meanness pushes me to exercise great emotional fortitude and strength and use my coping skills.

My husband’s love, grace, acceptance, and time are the bandages to my brain injury.  Just like Jesus,  Kyle extends to me gifts that I don’t deserve.  He gives them freely and unconditionally.  Some “Christians” struggle to give what has been freely given to them.  Some Christians have loved me conditionally.  Some friends – who are Christians – have abandoned me when the crap hit the fan… (it is definitely shit that hits the fan but I don’t want to offend those judgmental ‘Christians’ previously mentioned.)  This has been true of my family members too.  Some people just can’t handle the messiness of my life.  And I totally get it.  Because I can not handle the messiness of my life.  But if you have a messy life,  I know how you hurt.  And I offer you love, grace, acceptance, time and my heart that I hope you can hear and feel as you read my blog.  Just like my hubbie.  He is awesome.

My 19-year-old son’s steadiness helps.  My son is like a golden retriever.  He is reliable.  He is protective.  He is available.  He is present.  He always has my back.  But this personality type isn’t without flaws.  He has extended himself as the strong, unbreakable man who is exhausted from always being the strong, I GOT THIS guy.  He struggles with stress but he doesn’t show that much.

Celebrate Recovery – a 12-step Christian support program – similar to AA but not just for addicts – has changed my life.  Celebrate Recovery is for anyone with hurts, habits, or hang-ups.  I got hurts.  So I am in like Flynn.  (Who’s Flynn?)  I do not have addictive behaviors.  Doesn’t make me better – just isn’t my struggle.  For me, alcohol costs a lot of fricking money.  So I don’t buy it.  Therefore, I have not developed an addition to alcohol.  But I 100% understand why people get addicted to drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, do risky things, etc.  THEY HURT.  IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE.  I have been hurt so deeply that I have come to identify with all sorts – the other hurting people, the crazy, the angry, the alcoholic, the anything to avoid this pain person.  When someone talks about the crazy lady at Wal-Mart walking around the store singing, my thoughts are:  “Hey don’t bash her.  That could SO EASILY BE ME!”

If you haven’t noticed the name of this blog – it is CRAZY IS MY COPING SKILL.  I use fun and finding humor to get through life.  I will wear a llama costume to my son’s soccer practice to make him laugh.  And others.  And me!  It is a win-win in my book.  So don’t be surprised if I rewire my riding lawn mower’s whole electrical system by watching a 14-year-old do it on YouTube (because rewiring a riding lawn mower will distract me from the stealing of everything my 13-year-old can get his hands on if not watched on a baby monitor).   And if I am going to rewire the whole thing,  I should pimp this metal ride out.  And paint the riding lawn mower camo green with bright pink polka dots.  And name her Patricia (AKA Patty – actually my 16-year-old looked at the mower and said HER name was Patricia).  Patricia the Polka Dotted Beast.  And to make the maiden voyage of Patricia the Polka Dotted Beast insanelier bizarre (and funnier in a twisted way),  she killed a rabbit.  I know INSANELIER is not a word but I am using it here.  The acre of grass around my home had grown while I rewired the mower.  And bunnies had been born.  The bunnies in my neighborhood,  known as Jupiter Farms,  are delivered in a tall clump of grass.  That described my whole yard when I started mowing.  I had actually already rescued another tiny bunny from the chicken wire under the shed that I tried to escape through.  As I gently tried to get him out of his predicament (he couldn’t get through the opening in the chicken wire),  he made a squeal like a pig.  Who knew a rabbit could squeal like that?  I feared a giant momma rabbit bounding up behind me and exercising motherly protection of her helpless babe by ferociously attacking me.  I am not making any of this story up.  This totally just happened.  Me and Patty were just cruising along when a small bunny exited the lawn mower’s blade deck stage right.  It wasn’t her fault.  She is a BEAST.  It wasn’t my fault.  I couldn’t see it and wouldn’t kill a bunny.  But life in the Farms has taught me the circle of life.  We have had chickens killed by predators and who knows whate else so often that the innocent death of said bunny did bother me enough to make some one else pick him up but also make me laugh at the irony of this convoluted story.  Yep  CRAZY IS MY COPING SKILL.  LAUGH OR DIE.  Also a protective factor because I choose to laugh.

I run or exercise really hard when I am triggered.  PROTECTIVE FACTOR.  It completes the cycle of the FIGHT – FLIGHT – OR FREEZE MODE.   The chemicals dumped into my brain during a triggered response are there to protect me.  The survival mode kicks in and involves cortisol and adrenaline.  Until the chemicals are exercised out and I feel safe again,  I will be stuck struggling with PTSD symptoms:

  • countless intrusive thoughts
  • blood pressure elevated
  • sweating or feeling hot and flushed
  • manic thinking and talking
  • escape plan making
  • desiring to hide, run, fight…
  • shaking feeling all over – esp. teeth and hands
  • feeling like a bomb is strapped to my lower back
  • or feeling like a gun is pressed to the back of the base of my head.

I listen to the Bible on an app that reads the word of God to me.  The app is called Daily Audio Bible and it is free.  Lord knows I can’t read His word when scared to death.  I listen to my Spotify called Encouragement in Sadmess.  That was totally an accident in typing and M instead of an N but I think sadmess fits better than sadness in my situation.

I write also.  I scribble more often in a journal or notebook than on this blog.  I write sloppy and furious to record the things my brain does these days.  It is partly humorous.  It is partly sad.  But I want to record what I am going through.  I think that if I can tell one person that they are not alone, it will be worth the effort.

We adopted hoping to help.  I now write hoping to help.  And as another side note:  We are doing everything we can to help our adopted and biological kids.  It has meant that some of our kids do not live at home sometimes.  We all deserve to feel safe.  When that safety is destroyed,  I have learned to put up HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.   Our adopted kids will always be a part of our family if they choose.  But we may choose to have them live elsewhere to protect our safety foremost – and sanity secondly.

-Which is a losing battle I fear.  [sarcasm mixed with truth]  Sanity straddles a fine line between crazy and coping.  I blur the line sometimes!

SO I LIVE BY GETTING HELP AND SUPPORT, STAYING CONNECTED TO SUPPORT, KEEPING AN AGENDA, TEACHING KIDS IN CHINA ONLINE, BEING SILLY AND COPING”

1 day at a time-

WITH  2 years in recovery from hurts-

and 3 years of ‘every-flippin’ day” HELL-

and 7 years of our adoption journey-

and 13 years of trouble-free parenthood-

and 25 years of marriage-

and 30 years of BELONGING to Him.. Committed our lives to Jesus-

and 46 years of HIS BEST in my life!

 

[and our family therapist Crystal’s guidance…court ordered when our daughter went into state custody so she could get the help she needs and we could be safe from her out of control behaviors. She has given us many very helpful tools like EVEN THOUGH… THINKING while TAPPING,  HULA HOOPING,  BOX BREATHING,  and GUIDED MEDITATION.  Thanks Crystal.  We weren’t excited to have court ordered counseling by a highly dysfunctional Department of Children and Families.  We do love you and your therapy!  Flow!]

SAFE…. WITH THE VERY, VERY BIG ANIMAL TRACKS…… and they think I am at the Rapids. Tee hee hee.

I can hear the crickets chirp, the bullfrogs croak, the mosquitos buzz quietly and larger bugs buzz louder. I hear the wind in the sawgrass palmettos and a few birds chirping nearby.

I see the green grass, the burnt tree stumps, the sandy trail, the hazy clouds covering the sun and the rocks around the fire pit.

I smell clean air. I breathe deeply trying to smell something, anything else- I face the breeze and breathe deeper. I smell earth. Nature. Wood.

Taste.. it’s the flavor of the Diet Dr. Pepper I bought on my way here. It tastes sweet. Then I taste my salty sweat. My warm bottled water.

I feel safe here.

I am a hundred plus miles from home…and my family thinks I am at the Rapids Waterpark in town…because I wanted to think that … to trick them. Because my husband said a comment that pushed me mentally over the edge right after my daughter had dragged me by my hair to that cliff’s edge. She didn’t actually touch me but spoke words that took me to that edge emotionally. I was not using my rational brain to function. I was running scared.

I ended up in a state park that I had never been to before because it isn’t that close to home. It is out of the way. And.. HAHAHAHAHAHA.. No one knew.. No one had any clue where I was. It seemed like such a brilliant idea to protect myself from any further hurt that day. I found a rarely used trail off the Sebastian State Park. This is when the Department of State Parks purposely yet under control, lights a certain area of the state park on fire to keep pests down, encourage new growth of indigenous plants and kill off non-native plants.

I MYSELF HAD RECENTLY GONE THROUGH A PRESCRIBED BURN. And that’s a whole other blog post… 1 1/2 years ago, I called 911 to report what seemed like a probable UNPRESCRIBED FOREST FIRE. I drove past a blazing fire on the side of the highway. I was most worried about a larger fire starting. But what I saw had nothing to do with any sane or helpful act of forestry.

IT WAS AN ACT OF HORRIFIC DEPRAVITY – 2 burning bodies in the side of the highway on the way home from church.

And because I was in the throes of PTSD… I could not no longer look at a log, a flame, a fire place, anything burning…

Or a white truck with an extended cab and extended mirror.. TRIGGERS.

Today- I was extremely triggered again. I am feeling emotionally abandoned from hurt and exhausted family members. Two weeks prior, I had been poisoned by my son… My adopted son if that makes it any better.

-WITH BLEACH,

-IN MY CUP OF ICE,

-LEFT ON THE COUNTER.

….and when I said “Let me go get my drink…”, he watched me drink the BLEACH he poured in my drink (yet another entry)…

So back to the state park… Many miles from humans…

THERE I FELT SAFE. Among the burnt trees, the tiny creek, the really big animal tracks. Completely alone. Beautiful. And PEOPLE couldn’t hurt me there. (I hoped.) I prayed no one was out there. [Especially when I had to pee and the burnt forest of just scrub brush now lower than the knee and tall pines higher than a 3 story building offered little hiding of the backside when emptying one’s bladder.]

An old friend said to me yesterday, “Oh, you are a runner. So am I.”

It all seems so painfully, perfectly logical when you are under attack…RUN AWAY!

My newest strategy (as I continue to cope with PTSD) is

  1. Use recommended therapy tools.
  2. Try to communicate calmly.
  3. After that tactic fails, try to communicate maniacally.
  4. Run for your life after evading those who may try to stop your forward progress.
  5. Keep going. It may not be far ENOUGH.
  6. Find alone.
  7. Breathe. You did it. You got away from danger. (Though not processing the fact that no one else in the 🌎 knows where you are and the good guys can’t help you now if needed.)

I acted crazy – looking back. I can see that now. But THAT day, when my 16 year old screamed “I hate being at home and I can’t stand you!” and my dear sweet hubbie tried to kindly explain, ” She meant.. We don’t like THIS!”- pointing at me who was trying to communicate, then confused, the triggered and finally manic.

“We don’t like this (meaning me)!”

That’s all he needed to say..

RUN MOMMA RUN.

I hear the crickets chirp….