Stupid heat and self harm scars

Okay, so in itself it is trivial. Or should be. People come with all kinds of skin. Different colors. Freckled. Hairy. Smooth. Uneven. My arms are stripey. Self harm stripey. So what. It shouldn’t be a big deal. I mean it’s just skin. And who cares what people think anyway?

Now some people who have scars on their arms from self harming, they actually like being out in the public in short sleeves better than being around family because the people outside are just strangers who’ll be gone soon enough and whose judgment doesn’t matter. The family’s judgment you have to deal with every day. That makes sense to me. Obviously when family don’t understand, that’s real hard.

In my case I’m lucky it’s not an issue at home. Everyone knows about the scars. Nobody looks at me in disgust or disdain or some other ‘dis’-word because of it. Even when I sometimes accuse them of doing so, they aren’t. Not outside of my head. So that’s good. I wear pretty much anything I please at home.

But outside. I hate it. I hate the heat. I hate that long sleeves make me feel like an arctic explorer in a scorching desert. And I hate short sleeves as well. I feel like everyone notices and stares and I feel like I’m being observed by everyone all of the time. It’s unnerving and real stressful. I used to be cooler about it, but that was before I loved my folks. Back when noting mattered. Now it sucks.

I just wish the heat would go away. I like summer, but the heat . . . I’d happily do without it.

Rant over, I guess. Kinda angry at the moment, so I better not write any more but get busy excercising self control and shit. Whatever.

Advice for my younger self ~ on BPD, PTSD and life

I have been through a series of ups and down lately (which felt like more downs than ups to me, really) and did a lot of talking with Mom because of it. Now that’s no real news, because we always do a lot of talking . . . but then it kinda felt significant when Mom reminded me of how in the beginning we did nearly no talking of this kind because I’d just scream that she hated me and that I hated her and threaten to do silly things whenever things worth talking about came up. Reminded me that I have come a long way already.

So given my past disinclination to talk about stuff – or listen to people talk about stuff – maybe this post doesn’t make any sense at all, because I probably would have just ignored my older self or told her to fuck off. But even so, here are some things I would tell my younger self if I got the chance:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Hang in there. Life seems horrible right now and it will continue to feel that way longer than you deserve, but you are in for real good stuff later. You will meet real good people. Not the kind of ‘good’ you know, but a REAL kind of good. So hang in there and don’t give up hope. The good stuff is worth waiting for, even when it’s an excruciatingly long wait.

Do not take unhealthy pride in your diagnosis of BPD and do not feel like you are less than anyone else because of it either. It’s just a word. I know you feel like there’s nothing good about you, but even when you don’t know it yet, you are more than a single word or any label can ever convey and lots of who you are has nothing to do with messed up relationship patterns. Try to find the parts of you that are healthy and lovable and work on them.

Do not fuck that guy. Seriously. Just don’t do it. No matter who he is. No matter what reason you think you should do it for. Just don’t do it. It’s not going to accomplish a thing. But don’t hate yourself for doing it either. You have poor impulse control, so it’s not you being a failure if you do it anyway. Just try your best not to. That’s all. And when you fail, try again. You’ll manage, eventually.

Don’t go around hating everybody. I know there are lots of people in your life who don’t get what’s up with you, but they aren’t doing it because they’re malicious or indifferent or because they hate you. They don’t even know you. Not properly. And really, I don’t expect you to love or even just to like them. Just don’t go around hating them is all. The person your hatred is going to hurt the most is yourself. And really, you hurt enough as it is. Don’t add to it in this way. Just ignore them and focus on whatever good stuff here is instead, even when there is not much.

It was not about you. All the shit that went wrong while you grew up, it was NOT about you. It was never about you. You were born right into the middle of a fucked up mess, but that mess has nothing to do with you. Your parents were struggling with and failing at their own life and took it out on you because you were there and you couldn’t fight back. But that’s not your fault. Nothing you did made it happen. You could have been any other way and it would still have happened. It was never about you.

Try your best to see the middle. Whatever there is, things have a middle. I know you slide all the way to one side and all the way to the other side all the time like life were a playground seesaw, but that’s because you haven’t learned to hold your balance yet, not because there is no middle. Nearly nothing is as extreme as it looks and feels to you. You’re like a kid on roller skates on a seesaw, whose roller skates go whichever way the seesaw tips all at once and it will be a while until you learn how to put yourself sideways to avoid the instantaneous skidding, but take my word for it that the middle IS there. Always. Try your best to see it, even when you aren’t able to stay there yet.

People are not their actions. Others aren’t and you aren’t either. Yes, you have done awfully disgusting things, but you are not what you have done. It’s not you who IS disgusting. The disgust you feel belongs with the actions, not with you as a person. I wish there was a way to help you feel that.

Sing. You’re good at it.

When that family comes along who want you to live with them, don’t be so hard on them. That woman who you’ll start out calling Samantha, she is going to be your mom one day and she’ll be the best mom you could ever ask for. Cut the yelling a little when you can. And don’t throw those things at her. Just tell her you’re afraid. She’ll understand. She’ll help you make it better. Just don’t throw all those things. Or at least don’t throw the chair. It’s not going to drive her out of your room. All it will do is hit her and you’ll feel awful for years to come that you did that.

The good stuff is yet to come. Like I said in the beginning. Take my word for it. I promise. It will come with lots of hard work and it does also come with truly hard and painful moments, but it’s going to be worth it.

Persevere. Persevere. Persevere. Learn from your mistakes. Persevere. And don’t forget to laugh at the absurd stuff when it happens. You’ll be in for plenty. Laughing at the absurdities is often the best thing you can do. You’ll do better one of the next times around. Persevere.

With love,
the older Lola 

Day After

The night was a restless one. Woke up countless times with my heart beating like crazy, frightened, feeling like someone had touched me, actually feeling the warmth of the hand that was there only in my mind. Woke mom, snuggled up with her and cried until I fell asleep again, only for the whole crap to start over soon thereafter. After many repeats got up feeling tired. Mom, too.

Now I’m feeling on the verge of tears all the time. Arms still wrapped up in bandages. Put some on Little Lola, too.

LittleLolaDayAfter

I think my little me feels the way she looks a lot of the time.

 

On Being Adopted – Identity Issues

The other day I skyped with my sister. While we were talking, the topic of my being adopted came up and my sister asked if I ever felt weird about being adopted.

I have read a lot about issues adoptees usually struggle with, and in a way I can identify with those, but in another way their experience is different from mine. Not because of anything mental health related, just because of the fact that I was already (legally, not emotionally) an adult by the time I was adopted. So unlike people who were adopted when they were little, I had a choice about it. I wanted it, too.

What I can relate to, however, is the whole part that deals with loss, rejection, shame and identity. I only ever became an adoptee because I lost my family. Because my mother didn’t want me. Rejected me. As a person. As her daughter. Because she just didn’t care about me. That comes with an unspeakably overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and sense of being awfully undesirable.

Painful stuff, so I don’t want to go into much detail here and it’s not directly related to adoption for me either. Those feelings were there for a long time before I even met my family. But what has made an appearance after the adoption were identity issues.

Some are tricky.

I don’t share the same family history as everyone else. Everyone in my family knows each other for a long time already. They share memories and traditions and knowledge about a family history that goes at least three generations back and that they feel connected with, somehow. And it’s THEIR history, not mine, yet at the same time it is a little bit of mine, too, now. Feeling left out of something that ought to be mine, too, and having family memories that are different from theirs is difficult sometimes. It sometimes makes me feel like I’m not part of my own family. My first family didn’t want me and being with my real one, the one I have now, makes me feel left out.

Looks. I know it’s silly, but I find myself forever comparing how I look to how my family looks. I find myself being relieved that my oldest sister has blond hair, like I do, because it means that my mom and my dad can have blond children together. That’s important to me. My hair is blond. Everyone has blue eyes like I do, too. That’s another thing that’s reassuring. It means I don’t stand out as being obviously different. But they are all fairly tall and I’m short. I’m relieved that people mistakenly think it’s because I’m still a teenager and have yet to grow, but I figure they won’t keep on thinking that forever. I also have buck teeth (as you see in the picture I posted) and nobody else does. Those small things make me sad sometimes.

My name. I share my family’s last name. My mom gave me her middle name to be my middle name, too, because I didn’t have a middle name. My first name was chosen by my birth mother. I don’t miss the last name I grew up with, because it was the last name of my stepfather, who abused me. I wasn’t biologically related to him and I’m glad I don’t carry his name any longer. But even so I often feel like the same mix of things that my full name reflects. Complicated.

The contradiction that my adopted family feels like my real family and my birth family feels much less “real”, when the whole rest of the world thinks it might be the other way around. I’m always afraid that people will think that I am “only” adopted. That I’m not a REAL part of my family. When to me my family now feels like my real, true, actual family. I always feel like I need to make sure that everyone realized that I am REALLY my mom’s daughter. At the same time I’m afraid I might not be good enough to deserve to really be her daughter.

My social class identity. I’m from a working-class / underclass family. I grew up hearing that anyone who had a good job and money sucked, basically. That they were arrogant, self-righteous people, born with a silver spoon in their mouth, who have no idea of what life “really” is like and who look down on and don’t care about “people like us”. That’s what I believed for the longest time. And now my mom’s a shrink and my dad’s a lawyer, as white collar as it gets. They have a really neat house, can send all their kids to college, money is never an issue although my mom isn’t even working anymore, and I’m technically what my birth mother would have considered a “spoiled, arrogant rich kid”. Which adds so much guilt that I feel awful for even writing about it, much less identifying with it.

I suppose there are more issues, but those are the ones that came to my mind the easiest. So while I really, really like the fact that my family adopted me and that I belong with them properly and forever, it’s not always easy. It’s okay because my family knows and they help me and are understanding when I’m upset about stuff, but it can get complicated.

But even so, I’m very, very happy that I’ve been adopted and it is infinitely better than not belonging with anyone. I love my family more than I can say.  🙂

Dissociative Recoil

So I finally finished writing the post about Experiences and Gene Expresssion after mom took pity and helped me comprehend the matter. I looked forward to that, because I had prepared for the post for days now. I thought I’d feel good after I finished putting my thoughts into words and proud of myself and all that. And what happened instead?

Ever since hitting the submit button I dissociate like crazy. I can feel my attention drifting away literally ALL the time, as I detach from reality. I don’t hear it when I’m being spoken to. If I’m lucky I get a faint, vague echo in my head that tells me someone could have said anything, but it’s way after they are done speaking already, and of course I have no idea what has been said. I also stare off into space and just stay like that until I notice and make an effort to focus back on reality, but right after I did that, I feel the same pull towards staring again.

That sucks so bad. I mean okay, staying focused and writing that post was a bit exhausting, but goddamnit, can’t I do something exhausting and be OKAY??? That sucks so bad I feel like crying . 😦 I want to be in control of whether I dissociate or not, but no, I get this massive dissociative recoil and have no say in the matter. Either I’m gonna cry or I’m gonna scream, it’s so terribly frustrating!!!

Please read: a message from my Mom regarding comments

Hello, everyone. I (Lola, lol) have gotten comments that I noticed where a bit distressing to me. Mom noticed and we had a discussion about it and only during our talk, which consumed a large part of the night, I noticed that I wasn’t coping so well with those. The most recent comment was that of you, Kyle, which was:

_____________________________

I’ve a question… a bit more on the frank and callous side of questioning this time around, but…

– How does your Dad and brothers react to your sexual advances? Not even your brothers have given in to them? However, you stated in another post that one of your brother’s friends gave in, what happened after that? Did you inform your brother about it, and did those two stop being friends after, or was it all swept under the rug? Also, you speak a lot about your mom, but never your dad and brothers, are you guys particularly close?

– You used to dress lewdly around the house, most likely to give out more sexual advances, right? I’m still confused as to how this would be fair for the others who give in to their hormones to accept you and then be hated later for it. What if someone devised a test like that towards you? I understand you have been through a lot, but I’m just saying the tests are rather unfair.

– What is the difference between an ‘appropriate’ sexual partner and an ‘inappropriate’ one?

_____________________________

I had promised to answer it today, but I’m not going to. Instead my mom wanted to write something to everyone who comes to my blog regarding comments. Please take a minute to read it. Thank you. 🙂 Here’s what my mom wants to say:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear readers and followers of Lola’s blog,

as you may or may not have picked up from my daughter’s past blog posts, I – Lola’s Mom – am involved with her blog in the background. My job is to make sure Lola does not cross healthy boundaries on her blog, but just the same I am here to make sure that my daughter’s blog is a safe place for her. Therefore I am monitoring both Lola’s post and the nature of the comments she gets.

I am very pleased that most comments are of a very kind, respectful and supportive nature. That speaks highly of you. I appreciate that greatly. Thank you very much. You contribute a lot to making this a good and beneficial experience for Lola.

On the opposite side of those comments would be the obviously rude or offensive comments. Those will get deleted right away, but I am equally pleased that none of the comments so far have fallen into this category. This, again, speaks highly of you, the readers and commenters, and I thank you very much.

I am less pleased, however, with comments such as the above, that are not wrong in and off themselves, yet border on inappropriate for my daughter’s mental health blog insofar as they touch on the grey areas in between, and are, indeed, frank and callous.

My daughter is very brave to use this blog to share her thoughts, her perceptions of the world and her feelings especially regarding the issues she is struggling with. She is making herself vulnerable by sharing those things. She is not doing so to satisfy anyone’s curiosity or because she wants or needs scrutiny, but because she is trying to overcome the embarrassment and shame and the unhealthy tendency towards secrecy, that comes with struggling with mental health issues and from having been sexually abused. She uses this blog as a tool to aid her in her recovery.

As such, it is vital that she feels safe and in control here, on her own blog.

I want to put an emphasis on the fact that I am not singling you, Kyle, out to imply you meant harm. I assume in your favor that your questions are fueled by genuine curiosity and a desire to enhance your understanding. Nothing is wrong with that at all. Sometimes an innocent intention, however, does not suffice. It is not a simple matter of black or white here, we are treading very much on the finer lines in between. Things that happen on this grey ground are infinitely more difficult for my daughter, because among those fine lines she has great difficulty telling what is healthy for her apart from what is unhealthy for her.

Questions such as the above are unhealthy for Lola. The underlying tone of the questions, what gets conveyed beneath the words, is subtly invasive and offensive. I readily assume that it is inadvertent, but that does not cushion the effect.

Also saying ‘I understand I am being bold / my question might be callous / that you have been through a lot, BUT . . . ’ does not make the ‘but’ part of the question any more friendly or more appropriate. It just makes it harder for my daughter to call the question bold, callous or inappropriate. This kind of masking, even when unintentional, is not appreciated. If you are already aware that your question might be bold or callous, then please have the courtesy to draw the appropriate conclusion yourself and don’t ask it in this way.

So instead of looking at the question of appropriate vs. inappropriate sexual partners, I would very much like to look at the question of appropriate vs. inappropriate comments for my daughter’s blog.

Appropriate comments need to be respectful. In this case respectful means that you need to consider how what you say will impact the person you address. You are addressing my daughter Lola. Appropriate comments are considerate of her emotional situation. I am aware that this is a very subtle rule and that not everyone finds it easy to look at things from someone else’s point of view, especially if that ‘someone else’ is struggling with mental health issues. It is, however, the most important rule and it will be enforced, because this blog needs to be a safe place for Lola.

Inappropriate comments are those which fail to be respectful. Again, we are all human and making mistakes is human. Neither Lola nor I assume that it happens on purpose. We are both aware that it can be very hard to tell when a comment starts to be disrespectful and why. I apply sensitive standards to protect my daughter’s mental health. It may be a case of trial and error for you to find out what is okay and what is not. Nonetheless, if comments that fall into the ‘not appropriate’ category appear, I am going to delete them along with a link to this post to help you understand what has gone wrong.

And lastly, the fairness of decisions regarding what’s appropriate is relative. Kyle, you asked how it would be fair for the people who live at our house to have involuntary hormonal sexual responses triggered and then later be hated for it. The simple answer is that it is not fair. Just the same as it is not fair that Lola was sexually abused. Many of the behaviors she employs as a result of that are not ‘fair’. There is absolutely no need to make her feel embarrassed or guilty over it by asking how she would feel if people behaved that way towards her, however. Life is very rarely fair, and if someone knows this, then it is Lola.

‘Fair’ itself is a very artificial standard. What’s fair and what is not depends on a multitude of factors. Therefore my decisions regarding which comments are appropriate and which are not can seem ‘unfair’ to some of you, because I make my decision based on what is ‘fair’ towards Lola and her emotional capabilities. That is the way we judge ‘fair’ at our house. When something surpasses Lola’s abilities, then it is not ‘fair’ to put her in the way of it. When we are the ones capable of a more mature response than she is, then it is ‘fair’ that we carry more responsibility for how we handle the situation than she does. And that does not mean that Lola is excused from having to try to the best of her ability to be fair towards others as well, but just that we need to be sure that we know what the actual best of her ability is at a given time.

And to go back to the question of what constitutes an appropriate sexual partner, much the same thing is true. Appropriate sexual partners are respectful of how what they do will impact the person they do it to, which makes their behavior safe. Appropriate sexual partners may misstep, but they will stop when asked and will want to learn from it to make a better judgment the next time around. And appropriate sexual partners can tell that fairness is relative to the ability of the people who are involved and that in order to be fair they might have to contribute more than the less capable partner. Those basic principles of appropriateness can be applied to a multitude of situations.

I am glad that this opportunity to clarify what makes comments appropriate came up. It gave Lola and me a reason to discuss how we deal with them.

To summarize in a nutshell:

Comments that fail to be sufficiently considerate of my daughter’s emotional vulnerability will be deleted and provided with a link to this post. If your comment got deleted, it does not mean that you meant harm or made some grave mistake, but just that what you wrote was inappropriate to Lola’s abilities to deal with it. What exactly IS inappropriate is subject to change as Lola’s abilities improve or experience temporary setbacks. Please know that even if your comment got deleted, you are still very welcome to enjoy reading the blog and to comment again – just try to adjust your level of considerateness to the level of Lola’s abilities.

I want to thank you very much for your understanding regarding the necessity of this boundary.

With kind regards,
Lola’s Mom

In hiding

Hey there, y’all, and thank you for your comments. I just want to say that I’m not ignoring you, but rather I’m in hiding today. The last couple of days took a strain on me, more than I realized probably, and I’m unwell today, physically and emotionally. So I’m recovering from recovering or something. I don’t know. I hope tomorrow will be a better day.

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