Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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Normal, except for:


test resultsResults are good, everything checks out except for the following:  There are trivial amounts of an abnormality and the source is unknown. You may go about your normal daily activities.

Would you find this helpful on your healing journey or do you see it as a way to hide an underlying reason for what you are suffering with?

When I was in the midst of my divorce I tried very hard to make sure my life looked normal.  I did a lot of pretending, some saw through it but other’s did not.  As I look back now, I think if I had just let things ride out naturally without hiding my actual feelings I may have made my healing process a lot easier.

Instead I chose to make it look like my life was normal knowing inside that there was an “except for” clause attached to it.  Unfortunately, I let that feeling of normalcy be a guide to making some poor decisions.  I was living as if the results were 100% what I wanted them to be, when in reality that was far from the truth.

So, am I behind in my healing journey because of that,  or am I that much further ahead for recognizing it?  When I think back to what I can apply it to I am reminded of a series of questions and answers.

Q:  How are you holding up?        A:  I’m great, thank you for being concerned.

Q:  You look like your handling things very well are you ok?  A:  Ya, it get’s better every day.

Q:  Your so strong, how do you do it?         A:  I have God at my side.

I could go on but will stop at those that were asked the most.  The important thing is what all of these have in common.  Every question resulted in a normal answer, one that seemed like everything was in control.  However, each answer neglected to give the details about the “except for” that I felt with every part of my being.  Same questions but honest answers: results

A:  I’m great except that I feel like my life is a mess, and I’m not sure how I will come out of all of this.

A:  Every day is a constant struggle I need all the help I can get to make it through my day.

A:  I need the prayers of everyone I know to make sure I survive this.

The first set of answers were all warm and fuzzy right?  Sugar coating makes us feel better and we appear to be strong to those who are watching us survive our tragedy.  But are we just hampering our healing and the ability to move on if we are not being honest with how we are actually feeling?  Healing from anything can be a very long process and we all do it in our own time.  Nothing is cut and dry especially when it comes to getting “normal” results.

My advice to you is, if you want a 100% normal result, put in the effort to achieve it. Be honest not only with yourself but with those around you and let them carry you on whatever part of your journey they are meant to be on.  It will be worth it.

If you can relate to acting normal but living with the “except for’s” please share your stories.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 6/13/16

 

 

 

 

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Fly with Grace, Peace and Hope


flygirlI was all set to call it a night, I leaned over to turn off the light and my body paused.  I looked at the lamp and was reminded that I still carry pieces of my past with me.  As I embark on yet another move, I am determined to let go of these items that have lingered in places where they really didn’t need to be.

Take for instance the lamp…which I made from a wine bottle…that was given to me by my ex.  I have moved three times since my divorce and apparently this lamp has made the trip.  Why is it still at my bedside?

I sat down at my vanity earlier today to begin to clean out the drawers and found an old wallet.  I pulled out old business cards and in the middle I found a photo probably 15 years old or more of the two of us on a New Year’s Eve…why is this photo still in this wallet?

I shopped at the grocery store today and gave the cashier my phone number for my rewards card…she repeated the name and it is still registered under my married name, why?

I received mail this week that was addressed to Mr. and Mrs…. why?  The company who sent it clearly knows that I am divorced.

I am in a place in my life where I am making positive changes, and for the first time I feel like they are changes that God wants me to make.  Things are moving smoothly and in a positive direction.  So then why am I getting all of these little reminders of my marriage?

It’s been five years and yet every time I make a literal move I find more mementos of our life together. I thought for sure I had done a formal cleanse but items still seem to surface.  This move has to be it…I no longer want to find these items that carry so much weight.  I like to think that I am at peace with my circumstance.   Truthfully I am, until that moment that I’m not.

fly freeYou can’t forget life and you can’t undo what’s been done.  What you can do is learn, grow and survive.  I know in the coming weeks as I continue to pack I will most likely stumble across more things that I thought I had let go of.  I will put on my wings and FINALLY set the items free.  Lightening the load will make it much easier for me to move both physically and emotionally.

Soon, I will return to the area where I grew up,  without the restraints of where I have been. Fueled with the power given to me by my children, friendships, experiences, and all of my scars, I will be at peace.  I will be ready for yet another transformation to become the best butterfly I can be! Fly with grace, confidence and hope.

Have you flown? Have you let it all go? Are you at peace?   Please share in the comments.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

5/12/16

Related posts/topics

Tell Your Hear To Beat Again, Danny Goke

 

 

 

 

 


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My Empty Suitcase


suitcase1September 5, 2013 may have been a normal day for most, for me it was life changing.  It was a typical day after work, I came home checked the blog and was ready to respond to the comments, never expecting what I was seeing on the screen.

Someone was hurting and  reaching out.  I wanted to jump through the computer and find her, hold her, cry with her and help her. For a brief moment I was paralyzed and did not know what to do, but my emotions took over and I was on the case!

Sometimes sharing feelings or reaching out for help can be looked at in a negative way.  Unfortunately there are people out there who don’t want to hear it or think that we are just complaining to get attention.  But what about those of us who are deeply hurting, on their wit’s end and just needing a place to share their feelings.  When I read her comment I could’ve just moved on to the next one and let it go, heck it was a click on my page. But that would have defeated my purpose of this blog, to help and embrace those going through the pain of loss.  So I did the most logical thing and called the police!  The poor “old” man who answered the phone replied to me with “what’s a blog?” . At that moment I knew that this was all going to be up to me.

Once I was able to make contact, and make sure she was OK and had a friend on the way to be with her I sat silently and just shivered.  I was proud of myself for sticking with it and making sure that this stranger was going to be alright, but at the same time wondering if anyone would have done the same for me, and that is what keeps this blog going.

Compassion, is one of the most important virtues one can possess.  Listening, sharing, looking into the eyes of someone who is hurting can mean the world to them.

suitcaseSo, at this point your wondering why my suitcase is empty….well in just a couple of days I will finally be meeting this woman who has changed me.  She has given me purpose with my blog. She has given me the confidence to continue writing in hopes that I am helping anyone else out there who may be reading.

We have shared a lot of the same hurts over the past few years as our circumstances were similar.  But I want to arrive with my suitcase empty and ready for her to not only share her world, her friendship and love, but to fill my bag with her strength, courage and hope so that I can return home and thrive on the bond that was grown out of sharing our stories and our openness to be there for each other, even though we had not met.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

4/5/16

 


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Sometimes You Just Need A Little Outside Help


friends

I’m in control; I’ve got this; This is my problem; I will handle this on my own; It’s no body’s business; No one will understand; I can’t ask for help…

In a perfect world we can handle our lives on our own.  We can be in control and ready to face what lies ahead, but in reality we can all use an extra hand.  Can we ask for it? Can we admit when we need it and can we take it when it is given to us?

Lately, I’ve witnessed others in my life who need the help, but don’t necessarily want to ask for it, even being frustrated that they need it.  My feeling is, take it when it is given to you.  It may be hard and you may at times feel helpless but that is when you should let those who love you swoop in and take over.

Those three stages I mentioned, I’ve been in and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.  I asked for it, I’ve admitted when I needed help and I’ve taken it when it was graciously given to me.  Sometimes it was easy, other times extremely hard but knowing that someone out there is waiting an willing to offer you the hand I find very comforting.

In my trial (divorce) that comfort wasn’t always in the form I needed. My friends and family were very helpful but biased, I searched for an outlet where no one knew me nor I them and I couldn’t find it.  I needed an escape a safe place to share my feelings.  That is when this blog was born.

I wanted to connect with others who were feeling exactly what I was.  To share my grief and listen to those going through similar circumstances, all in the hope that we could support each other.

Today I am not only proud but extremely thankful to have shared with, talked with, and cried with those of you who have followed my posts.  And I am elated that in less than two weeks I will finally be meeting my girl!

The day I saw her comment I felt so many emotions, I knew I needed to do something, I needed to find her, talk to her, and do what I could to let her know I felt exactly as she did.  No one is ever alone, there is someone out there going through what you are and feeling the same.  God never meant for any of us to walk this world alone he has gently placed each of us in others lives.

I’m so thankful and blessed for the life he has given me even with the bumps and valleys I had to walk through.  I know I am who he meant me to be and I wouldn’t be here without all the people in my life.  Without you…I would be nothing.  Thank You!

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

3/27/16

Related topics

Without You, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio

 

 


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A look back at the PTSD post.


In casual conversation today, I referred to the post on PTSD and divorce, which made me take a look back and read through the comments from that day.  Ironically it has been two years since that post was published and today it continues to be the most clicked on this site!

So I thought we should take another look at what started that historical ( in my blog life) day long conversation.  Click to view the original post.  Then take some time to read through the comment thread.  Comments are posted most recent on top so you will have to scroll down to start at the beginning.

On October 24, 2013 at 12:15 am (Eastern Standard Time) Rebecca left the comment that would spark an all day conversation.  I am always very excited to wake up and see a new comment, when I read it though, I wasn’t so happy.  I felt like it was the beginning of an attack on what my purpose of the blog was.  I reptsd1responded quickly at first but then as the day went on and the comments were pouring in from my readers, I decided just to sit back and read what was happening, then process it all later that night.  At which point I would do my research and formulate a brilliant reply, and I think I did just that.

On October 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm (Eastern Standard Time) I politely and gratefully responded to Rebecca and having had done my homework, I felt empowered, smart, witty, and most of all determined to stand up for what I believed was something worth fighting for.

I would love to get another conversation going, as this topic is one that is very close to my heart and I know there are many others out there who could use our help.  Feel free to post comments on this post or the original and know that sharing even just a piece of your story, may help even just one person.  I look forward to the conversation.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

10/27/15

Below you will find Rebecca’s first comment and my last.  Take a peak and take time to read the comments in-between on the Does PTSD after divorce exist page.

The reason more doctors and therapists don’t diagnose divorced folks with PTSD is simple… get a DSM and read the diagnostic criteria. Unless there was physical violence and events involving threatened or actual death, or physical injury, what you all are describing does not meet the criteria. In my 20+ years of practice I can fortunately say I can recall just two women who did meet the criteria due to abuse in the marriage.

Should we psychologists just throw our diagnoses without cause? Would you want your dermatologist to diagnose you with skin cancer when what you have is a 2nd degree burn? There are ethical guidelines to diagnosing conditions.

What you all are describing would certainly meet the criteria for Adjustment Disorder, and surely, I have seen patients who have a depressive disorder or anxiety disorder concurrent. Rarely, I can justify using the diagnosis Acute Stress Disorder, and perhaps you would meet the criteria for this. Please have respect for those who do suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because reading your post and comments here, honestly, it’s insulting, and it’s as as if you would choose to claim you had skin cancer when what you have is a 2nd degree burn. Trust me, ladies, I agree that you have suffered, but I would not wish PTSD upon anyone.

BTW, Rebuilding is an excellent book/workbook!

Hi Rebecca, no worries I am not one who deletes unless it is true spam! My soul purpose for my blog is to put information out there for who ever may be needing it and for any reason. I am grateful for your comments on this post because you have sited several valuable resources that can help my readers and anyone else that happens along the site.

I will not argue that you are correct in the new criteria on the DSM 5, it is clearly stated that in order for one to be diagnosed with PTSD they must meet the specific criteria. I did a little research today and it looks like that change was very recent, possibly this year. I would like to site some references myself that I found, one is from the National Institute of Mental Health.

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.

Under the “Who is at risk?” section of the article it states “Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event.”

What does this mean to me? Well I do not hold a license in counseling or in divorce but what stood out to me is, “abuse” it does not specify physical or emotional it’s just abuse; as well as the part that reads many other serious events, again not specific to physical abuse or the fear of death. I’m not an expert and I don’t argue that if a health professional needs to code PTSD, it must follow the criteria you mentioned. However, I do believe that someone can exhibit all the signs and symptoms of PTSD, no matter how traumatic their event.

You mentioned the ladies in your group and how they were sad for me, and the other survivors that have posted on my site. You stated that one said “If they want PTSD so bad, they can trade lives with me in a heart beat.” I’m going to get very honest with you and tell you that my blog posts are just a snippet into my story, and I’m going to guess that those that have commented on my posts may not be sharing every detail of their experience either. In which case they would not need to trade lives with your group, because they are living their own version.

I only know what is being shared. It is quite possible that one if not all of these people commenting did have a gun pointed to their head, or were beaten or sexually assaulted, and if that is true then they would be medically diagnosed with PTSD. I was surprised that you would leave your comment when you don’t know all the facts. If you could just reflect on the fact that people usually don’t share everything on an online forum, or they can’t. I for instance, leave out certain details in order to protect loved ones. Wagering a guess other’s have done the same. So, maybe the people on this blog and all the many other blogs in the world are the same as the people in your DV group, and should not be made to feel like they are any less than anybody else.

When I originally wrote this post it was not to drown myself in my sorrows or tell the world that I am a victim of PTSD, it was the sole purpose of reaching out to even just one person who was feeling the same thing I was and to let them know that they are not alone, they are not going crazy, and that the symptoms they are experiencing may be true symptoms of PTSD.

NIMH lists signs and symptoms of PTSD and I have experienced every single one because of what I went through. The level of my abuse may not even compare to what other’s have suffered but the point of my blog is not to say “Hey I have it worse than you”, it is to say “hey you are not alone”.

I will brag and say that I have been able to help several people who have found my blog and in turn Several have helped me!! That means I have accomplished my goal, which was the reason for my blog. Rebecca, you have added to that with your resources and again I thank you. I also thank you for the work you are doing in helping survivors move on.

Many Many Blessings to you,

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly


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Calm, Cool, and Almost Collected


calmSince my last post dealt with realizing the amount of physical pain that can come along with stress,  I had better follow-up with talking about the stillness that can come following acceptance.

It was not easy for me to grab onto the diagnosis of stress induced nerve damage, it’s not something that is frequently talked about and I had never really heard of it before.  I figured I had two options, shut up and deal with it or argue.  Since I have been searching for three years for the cause of my symptoms I decided I will just shut up and deal, starting with some positive life changes.

I sat down to make a list of things that I thought would help to alleviate some of the stress, but these had to be things that I could actually control.  Of course I would love to say, erase all debt and make me pain free…There! done! stress gone.   That list is the pretend list cause those things are out of my control.  Yes I can work on my lowering my debt but erasing it all is a complete fantasy.  I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with a long list of things to start with so I wrote just a couple and within a weeks time I have been able to make those changes.  The first was to get extra rest.  I decided to make a cut off time every night where I would sit down, decompress and relax.  I would do this with enough time before I actually went up to bed so that once I was ready to sleep, the thoughts of my day would be done and my mind would be able to rest.  I ended up sleeping 12 hours two nights in a row!  I changed my schedule only slightly, doing some of my weekend morning things in the evening, so that if my body wanted to sleep in I would not be missing anything I needed to do.

The second item was to work on changing my thoughts when they drifted to a place that would cause me anxiety.  This meant any anxious thought that popped into my head at any time.  I knew this would be more difficult than the first item would be and would take more effort on my part.  With comments from my counselor we agreed that when these moments came I needed to first take a deep breath to settle myself, then figure out what caused the thoughts.  What was I doing in that moment that prompted it?  Once I have that information, decide is this something I need to be doing, if not then it would be the last time, but if it is then what do I need to do in order to complete that task without raising my stress level?   So far so good that part is going to take some training but I am confident that I learn to master it.rest

All in all I would say I had a productive week and completed my first step to learning how to alleviate stress that is in my life and/or caused by life.  We will never be totally free of stress and I can attest to the fact that traumatic events will cause stress to linger a lot longer than we ever thought possible.  Learning how to cope so that it does not get to the point of causing us physical harm is vital to our wellbeing.

Do you have any suggestions on being calm, cool and collected when surviving stress?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/23/14

Related blogs/links

Oceans, Hillsong United

Anxiety, A Life Less Physical

Stress Management (AKA the silent Killer), Real Living

Limits And Stress, QuirkyJuice


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The Power of Stress


stressI’m back!!!  It feels like forever since I did my last post.  I’m sorry I was gone for so long but life was weighing me down a bit and I needed to focus, well I tried to focus anyway.

In a couple of past posts I mentioned my health was not that great and I’ve also talked about how stress can make you sick.  Well, I’ve been finding out lately that I totally underestimated the power stress has over the human body.  Unfortunately it looks like it has taken me three years, five neurologists, and roughly $25,ooo.oo to be told that my divorce has possibly made me sick.

This isn’t a topic I’m thrilled about and I’m even embarrassed to speak about it, but I feel it is extremely important that reader’s know how crucial it is to seek help even if you don’t think you are suffering from emotional stress.  Anyone who has been through a trauma, be it physical, emotional, or mental is at some point going to suffer some ill effects.

I don’t want to whine or bore you with the details so I’ll just give you the short version.  The last three years I’ve been dealing with constant pain, and I’ve been tested for everything including MS.  The good news (I like to pick out the positive) that we found some  minor things that I will need to follow with easy remedies like taking a baby aspirin every day.  I’ve sampled a buffet of meds along the way and we finally found one that took the pain level from a 7 down to a 4, which is awesome! but I was still looking for a concrete answer.  My final and next step was to seek out information on a chronic pain treatment program.  I was pretty upset knowing that we would never find the cause of the pain but if we could somehow treat it or eliminate it that would be the answer to my prayers. So off to the consult I went.

After telling my life story AGAIN in an exam room the doc very gently scooted his stool over and said “I’m gonna tell you some things you don’t want to hear”.   First, he said the amount of wine I was relaxing with every night is excessive for women, (why is it different for women than men??) and that it can make the nerve pain worse.  Ok, so step one ditch the red wine.  (Done!) Ok, so then he asked me if I thought he could give me an answer for the pain, I told him all I was after at this point was treatment but if he could shed some light to go right ahead.  That’s when he said that he thinks its stress and anxiety induced nerve pain, or nerve damage caused from STRESS!!

All I heard in my head was that I was causing my own pain…oh I was so mad at myself, but I needed to remain calm so I didn’t cause myself any more pain, that would be counterproductive.  I tried to think back to other times when I had stress in my life, to see if I remembered feeling any physical pain.  I couldn’t come up with an instance but I did remember feeling tired and sick.

Think about it, people who are grieving or upset generally end up feeling sick.  Some people have stress induced headaches, others stomach ulcers, some have panic attacks.  When our bodies cannot handle the anxiety it doesn’t know what to do, so it comes out in other ways.  For me it attacked my nerves.  Not feeling well, produced stress; medical bills produced more; no answers and fear of scary disorders produced even more.  I thought I had taken care of myself by seeking counseling after the divorce, and I was getting regular check ups, one of which showed high blood pressure for the first time.  If I look back now that is most likely how my body first started responding to the anxiety and stress of my situation.

Ladies, and gents I ask you to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don’t ignore signs and symptoms of emotional stress especially if you are feeling physical symptoms.  It can be anything from a headache, stomach ache, feeling anxious, fatigue, etc.  Google emotional stress symptoms and a long list will pop up.

I am hopeful that the chronic pain program will be beneficial to my pain. We are also looking into vitamin levels and I’ve already had to begin supplementing two of them.  Between that and staying away from the red wine I am sure to be on the road to recovery, however long it may be.  I’ve begun to implement ways to decompress and teaching myself how to relax.  Things like yoga videos, and walking the dog on a nice day have been beneficial so far.  Lighting aroma therapy candles, and relaxing with chamomile tea at night have also been helpful.  There are many ideas for relaxation online, next on my list is guided imagery a few nights a week just to learn how to breathe without being stressed! relaxed frog

Ok, now that I got all that off my chest, It feels good to be back at the laptop sharing my words in the hopes to inspire or just let other’s know that you are not alone!  We are all in this together! 🙂

Has stress had a long-term effect on your health?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/16/14

Related Links/Blogs:

Emotional Stress Causing What Health Problems

The Effects Of Stress Overload

How Stress Effects Your Health

Sick with Worry: How thoughts affect your health