Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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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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Dating Ugh’s!!


One day in 1984 I wrote this:

FullSizeRender (8)Dear Mom and Dad,

I have a very important question to ask you.  I”m not saying that I was, but if a guy asked me out to the show or to the mall or something like that on a weekend, would you let me go?  What I’m trying to say is I think I am old enough for you to be able to trust me with a guy.  It’s not like I’ll stay out all night.  I just think I am old enough to go out to a show or a dance with a guy, and I know I would probably have to meet him there or something cause I know you wouldn’t let him drive me.  Plus I only want to go out with a guy in the 9th or 10th grade and they can’t drive.  Do you understand what I’m trying to say?  I hope so.  Please think about it ok?

(and now here the truth comes out)

You see there is the kid he is in 10th grade and he is 15.  Well, he likes me and I like him and he asked me if I’d go out with him sometime.  I told him I didn’t know.  (I knew I would have to talk to you about it first before I gave him an answer)  He is real nice and is good in school and he is in choir too.

Well, just do me a favor and PLEASE think about it.  PLEASE!!!!!!

Gotta Go Love,

Kim

OK, so the reason I am sharing this comical note is because I kind of wish I could do that again now!  However, at the age of 45 I think my parent’s would finally commit me.  On the other hand, my mom may actually enjoy it!  LOL

Kidding aside, if you have ventured out into the dating world following divorce, then you know just how hard it can be.  I was very blessed to be in a relationship for 6 months with a wonderful man.  One day I was told by a friend that  I was being hypocritical of my post that said I would never settle. (click here to read)

I found myself being very comfortable in the relationship and no matter what, during those months I was genuinely happy.  What I wasn’t seeing was that my happiness was based on the fact that I had someone in my life, not necessarily that he was right for me.

Do I have regrets? No way!! I made a new friend and at the same time I learned a lot about myself.  I learned what I will accept in a relationship and what I absolutely will not!  I really got to know myself while I was busy trying to get to know him.  It really surprised me how much I grew while I was dating him.  I also see now what I lost, things I stopped doing that I never should have and I am very excited to do those things again

The lesson I learned, is no matter who I am dating, I should NEVER let go of who I am.  I should CONTINUE to do the things that I want to do!!  Hopefully someday I’ll find someone who also shares in those same things.

So back to the note written to mom and dad.  What can I take from that now reading it 31 years later?  Well, if I”m being honest the qualities of the guy that I pointed out to my parents were what I thought they would approve of.  So the real question here is: What do I approve of?

Have you had similar experiences in dating following a divorce?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

8/30/15

Related topics/posts

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No man is an island, Tracie Louise Photography


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Waging War With Emotions


picking-yourself-upWhat happens when you are at war with your feelings, emotions and inner self?  Someone has to win and lately I feel like I am not in the driver’s seat when it comes to my feelings.   As a survivor of a huge loss, I know there will be periods of up and down and even some all around days, but this time I am growing angry because I have found myself in one of those moments.

I know I can’t speed my healing along, however there are times when I really don’t want to be feeling the way I am, this week has been one of those times.  Tomorrow marks an anniversary of a big step that my ex took in his new relationship and it is eating away at me from the inside out.  I have blogged about this topic before in a post I did two years ago on the actual day. ( Sometimes Broken Can Be Beautiful)  I talked about how I had survived a day that I thought was going to be extremely painful but circumstances of MY day led me in a different direction.  So why now?  Why this week a couple of years later am I feeling like it just happened?

I’ve been trying to analyze the circumstance to see why it is so upsetting to me, other than the obvious of course.  I haven’t been much help to myself in thinking about it so I’m trying to rationalize it but I’m not having luck there either.  If I look at the senses that contribute to memory I come up empty.   I do not have a visual memory nor did I actually hear what was going on in the moment; it’s not like I could touch or smell anything from that day either.  I’m still left with the big WHY?

How is this memory, that is not mine in the first place, able to be so haunting?  I have tried and tried to change my focus this week and it all comes back to that impending date.  If it was possible to erase a day from the calendar, out of all the painful days I have had I have to admit I would erase that anniversary.

Here is my logical explanation, however logical it may or may not be.  I spent 20 years married to my childhood sweetheart, my only true love, and on that one day, in possibly a brief hour, my heart was broken.  Yes it was damaged during the divorce and everything that led up to it and even in the days following, but this one event was the icing on the cake so to speak.

So now I am at this point where I can see why I am reacting this way, how do I stop it?  I’m sure someday this month and date will roll in and not be such a big storm for me, but in the meantime how do I embrace it so that it does not tear me up inside?   As I write this tonight,  I am sitting in my lovely pink office, (yes pink with glitter), candles are lit and I’m reminding myself to relax.  I look up and focus on the oil painted butterfly that hangs above my desk and I am reminded of why I love the butterfly.  STRENGTH, COURAGE, TRANSFORMATION and RE-BIRTH.

All of those qualities that I cling to with the butterfly are what I will have to use to get myself through.  I will need the strength to not let myself get so upset; the courage to stand up against my feelings and tell myself that I will be OK; transformation will happen with each year I am faced with this pending date; and re-birth will happen on that day that I no longer remember what it meant.calm

As far as the war goes, I’ve won because I’ve acknowledged that I still need to heal from this.  My inner-self is waving a white flag because it knows that as long as I am honest with myself, and continue the work on my healing, those feelings do not stand a chance.

Have you fought with your inner emotions?  Please comment

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

3/19/14

Free To Be Me, Francesca Battistelli

You Transform You, KFMUELLER

Little One, Where The Clouds Talk and The Trees Whisper

Broken;Welcomed, Just Me, No More Or Less


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Prepare for Change


photo (27) It’s official!  The butterflies are hung, I am home.  Change is good, when your prepared.  Life is amazing, unpredictable, chaotic, stressful, and full of surprises and it’s one of the reason’s I haven’t written in a while!  I never thought that something I was dreading, and nervous about could actually be a positive thing in my life.  As I write this tonight, I am sitting in a place where I never imagined I’d be, let alone be ok with it.  It’s funny how life works.  I have owned a home since 2002 and never set foot inside until two years ago, and just recently I moved in to make it MY home.

The past couple of months leading up to the move were filled with doubt and most of all fear.  I have learned to trust my intuition so it wasn’t the decision I was doubting, it was whether or not I was strong enough to handle living with it.  This change was the right one for me  financially and for my family.  We were quite cramped in my two bedroom condo, teenagers look like giants in that space!  I knew I was doing it for the right reasons, I just wasn’t so sure I could handle the emotional side of it.  The house brought back some very painful memories of my divorce and I had been anticipating a lot of tears once I moved in.

I had even planned to sit and write an award-winning blog post on that night.   I just knew the words would fall off my fingertips along with the tears down my cheek.  I kept telling myself… “for tonight, just cry”.  (I’d been listening to a lot of Mandisa, link below) Well to my surprise I did not shed any tears that first night or any night since!  In preparing for this move I made sure that every room had my touch, things that needed to be removed were removed, items that needed to be changed were changed, and the house is now all ME.

I have learned that no matter how scary change may be, preparation is the key.  I know things would have been a lot different that night if I had not made changes prior to moving in, but because I did I was able to do it without any emotional scars.  We all know that you can get through things a lot easier in life if we are prepared, it also holds true with our emotions.

I’ve become very close friends with my emotions over the past few years and I knew in my heart, mind and soul what I needed to get me through this, I just didn’t think it would actually work!  As I settle in I’m finding out that I am going to be ok here and I”m reminded so much of what the caterpillar must feel like once it enters the chrysalis and realizes it’s going to be there for a while.  I’m in mine right now, it is in this place where I will grow the strongest I have ever been.  I know this because it took all the courage I could muster up just to move in.  I faced it, I did it and I conquered.

I’m here now to learn more about who I am and to grow.  As I get to know the different rooms in the home I become changed, empowered and strong.  It may sound funny but I think the house and I needed each other.  In a sense I am healing the home one little improvement at a time, and in return it is healing my heart by showing me just how strong I really am and in a way it is loving me back.  Where the butterflies land….is home.photo (28)

Be a strong caterpillar, don’t fear change embrace it! Have you conquered change?  Comment below.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

5/4/13

Related Links/Blogs

Under the Tuscan Sun

Just Cry, Mandisa

The Winds of Change, Forever Poetic

When it Changes, Thoughts from Hazel