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

More Beautiful You

No man is an island, Tracie Louise Photography


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Control-Alt-Delete


controlaltdeleteThe function of the key combination differs depending on the context but it generally interrupts or facilitates interrupting a function.   Huh…how different would our lives be if we could perform a “soft reboot” when we felt it absolutely necessary?  We do it to our computers without even batting an eye lash.  How many times have you been working on a project on the computer and it freezes…just stops working,  the first thing we think to do is hit those three tiny keys.  We know that the number one risk is that what we have just spent hours working on may be lost, yet we do it anyway, why?  Is it impatience, lack of computer knowledge, or just the fact that we know we are in control?

The little finger is gently placed on the control key…. with just a bit more pressure the index finger presses down on the alt button….and with every force in your being you slam the opposite index finger on the delete key!  You know you’ve done it.  Now think back to how it felt, the instant gratification that came with hitting that delete key so hard that the tip of your finger is now throbbing.  You are the queen/king of your computer.. you have beat it, all you have to do now is turn it back on, let that baby warm up and you are on your way.

I have been a total  scatter brain lately, the things running through my head are all jumbled up like letters from a boggle game and the sand in the timer is almost out.    I have had several moments where I wished I had those three buttons so that I can take a few moments when I am rebooting to just breathe.  Of course we have all thought about having a pause button and there are several occasions that I could think of where freezing time would come in handy, but for some reason these seem like they would prove to be more useful.  ctrlaltdelt

PC Encyclopedia gives this definition for the process:  The key combination in Windows that enables a user to terminate an unresponsive application. When all three keys are pressed at the same time, the Task Manager utility is launched, which displays all open applications. It also enables the user to reboot the computer.  Ok, now do me a favor and think of a time where you could apply that to your life…..I have like a million how about you?

We may be willing to take the risk and lose our monthly budget report by performing that reboot, but would we be willing to lose life moment’s if we came equipped with a similar utility.  As appealing as it may seem to slam on that delete button during painful moments of our lives, it is within those moments that we are really being rebooted.   The hard part is waiting before placing our fingers on those keys, wait to see if your frozen moment can be undone in its own time, not by you trying to control it.

Since my divorce I have been feverishly trying to put my life back together, making every detail perfect.  The perfect job, home, friends, and even romance.  I’ve been on a speed train just pushing ahead to the next thing, not taking any time to just breathe, look around and let life happen to me, instead of my trying to make life happen.   I feel like I’ve in a way been doing my own soft reboot by just skipping ahead and searching for anything that would resemble putting my life back on track.  When what I should be doing is living in the frozen moments,  figuring out why they are frozen and what it is going to take make my life move again.

So how will I do it? I can apply those keys in a different way.  First by taking control of how I handle things when life starts swinging, then using that alt key to find alternatives when something is not going how it should in order to move me ahead in a positive way, finally deleting anything that is detrimental to my progression or is not allowing me to just be me.

Have you felt the need for those three magic keys? Ever tried to use them?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

11/12/13

Related links/blogs

I Can Just Be Me, Laura Story

Jumbled Thoughts, Liezl’s Poetry

The Face In The Photo, Of Ink And Coffee

Without Answers, My Orange Heart


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Surrender…And Seek The Blessings


UPDATE:  Two days after writing this post I was lucky enough to attend a Laura Story Concert.  I was a little apprehensive about going because after all it was Valentines Day!  But I sucked it up and went anyway.  I’d like to share the video I took of Laura performing the song Blessings, which I referenced in this blog post. (click link below)  Close your eyes, listen to the words then pay close attention around the 4:47 minute mark…..The song ends yet she still has a little more to say.  Listen to her words and then look at the title of this post again!  It’s truly AMAZING!  That was a very big God moment for me, it was in that moment that I knew he is aware of what is going on in my life!  Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/v7K3K97XEcM

 

“The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transformed into peace. Anything you accept fully will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.” – Eckhart Tolle

When I read that quote I could picture the caterpillar in the cocoon at her weakest moment, afraid, unsure and unaware of her potential if she would just take a deep breath and surrender.  Sounds easy right?  How many times have we told ourselves to stop and take a deep breath, then move forward.  Probably too many to count.  This week I had the chance to wave my flag and surrender.

flowers_surrender_124110I’ve noticed that while we see the beautiful butterfly, the product of all the hard work, we rarely see the caterpillar.  I visited a butterfly garden this summer and the focus was on the butterflies flying around the exhibit, but I was entranced with the caterpillars in their cocoons.  The time spent in the chrysalis is the toughest part of the transformation.  I would guess that there would be confusion, pain,  worry and fear.  Sounding familiar?  They are too me.  Those are exactly the feelings I dealt with while surviving my divorce, or as I like to think of it, the beginning of my time spent in the chrysalis.

I was forced to make many tough and painful decisions during that time and one of them is still with me today.  It is one that I had been regretting for the last year, that has caused not only emotional pain but some financial hardship as well.  I knew that I could not continue to beat myself up about it and I had resolved that it was the right thing to do at the time.  I had become satisfied with the fact that it was now in my past.  I was living with it and thought that I was at peace.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances in my near future,   I have come to a part on my journey where I need to make yet another important decision that will create change.  Initially all I could feel was anxiety, so much of my life the last few years has all been about unwelcome change. That terrified me and I know I did not take the time I should have to come to the decision I had, even though I know it is the right one.  I had been praying for guidance and for a specific resolution that did not come.   I questioned the reasons why I was still facing the outcome of my decision.  I often felt myself wanting to question my faith, unsure of the possible lesson God was trying to teach me.  Then with the help of a song that had gotten me through  many sleepless nights, I was reminded that my blessings may come from raindrops, my healing from tears, and if I stay strong, this too I will conquer, for this trial may be my mercy in disguise.  Laura Story, Blessings.   Listening to that song, and really thinking about its meaning, helped to ease my anxiety. It also gave me the chance to take a deep breath and surrender the situation to God.  I realized I could no longer control any outcome whether it be the one I wanted or not and lucky for me I was about to get many unplanned hours to really think about it.  Just like the caterpillar…

Just a few days after announcing my decision, I was struck down with the “nursing home flu”, which meant a 7 day quarantine.  The first few days I really didn’t spend much time in deep thought but as I began to feel better and wander around my place I had the opportunity to take some inventory.  I had found several files on my laptop that were left over from my divorce, notes I had written in times of sadness, and items from my marriage that I really didn’t  need to be holding onto.  I started to realize that I should use the downtime to fully surrender to the changes I had gone through, purge them and let myself go, in hopes that someday I can become the butterfly I am destined to be.

I spent many hours hitting the delete button, wiping the tears as I went along, feeling relief as the files were disappearing from my sight.  When I got too emotional and wanting to give up,  I tried to imagine myself as the caterpillar shedding a little bit of her fuzz as she transformed inside the chrysalis.   After a while I felt exhilarated.   I chose that moment to really sit and think about the decision I had made earlier in the week, making sure that it was truly something I could handle.  I came to the conclusion that YES I can handle it.  It may not be something that I hoped would happen or something that I planned for, in fact it’s quite the opposite.  Was my divorce something I planned or hoped for? No, but I have come out of it changed, transformed, re-born and strong!  This decision was no different and it will give me the same opportunities for growth.  I can see the progress I have made and I know I am stronger, because this change,  this place I will be going to, is the same spot where just a few years ago I became the strongest version of myself I had ever been.  you-are-free-to-fly_thumb

Today, after being locked up and alone for nearly a week I can say that I am strong enough to handle this new change and I can see good in it.  The positives far outweigh the negatives and with a little elbow grease, perseverance  love and determination, I will come out on top in the end.  Perhaps what is most important, is that with this surrender I no longer have the worry about making the initial decision in the first  place.  In surrendering, I have found peace.

If the caterpillar never surrendered and if there was no change, there would never be a butterfly.  Take the opportunity when it is thrown at you to wave your white flag, surrender to your feelings, doubts, fears and move forward on your journey with faith, hope and love.

Have you had your chance to surrender? Leave a comment.  (link is left of the post title)

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 2/11/13

Related Links/Blogs

I’ve Stood On The Edge Long Enough

Being Bel, The Art Of Surrender

Goddess In The Belly, Surrender