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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Between You and Me


women_support-1I have come to a realization that the healing process is more complex than I ever thought it was.  Every speed bump that I encounter along my transformation is just a reminder how fragile we can be during this process.  Between you and me, sometimes life just seems like chapters of goodbyes.

An important part of my transformation process is an annulment.  My divorce has been final for two years but there is a part of me that needs to reconcile that part of my life with God.  I’ve known that the process can be very lengthy and somewhat challenging.  For me, completing the initial paper work was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, partly because I have already been writing my story through this blog.  Even though several months have passed since I mailed in the petition , I hadn’t forgotten about it, however it wasn’t constantly on my mind either.

This past week I received a letter stating the process had officially begun and I would be contacted if further information was needed.  When I saw the envelope I knew what was inside and at first I felt happiness.  I was eager to open it up and see what it said knowing that this would soon end another chapter of the pain I had gone through.  The emotion that I was waiting for never came, instead I was immediately thrown into tears.  Just like I discussed in my last two posts, I was reminded of an emotion that left a very big wound.  Opening that envelope and seeing his name on the paper with mine left my mind in a tail spin.  emotional-divorce-300x265

I felt anger, sadness, heart-break, and loss.  Then I was upset with myself because again I thought I was comfortable enough with my divorce that I could handle being reminded of the marriage in this way.  I reached out to a friend who has been through the annulment process and he quickly reminded me that divorce is actually the death of a marriage, and I will never forget.  These emotions will come back off and on and when least expected.    Between you and me, I’m not sure I”m ready for a lifetime of never forgetting.

Because this is something that is very important to me, I will face these emotions  head on and with as much strength as I can muster up.   I know that it is another step in the healing process. I am still mourning my marriage as I would any other death, I just didn’t realize it until now.  I think the hardest part for me will be having the courage to face the tears.  Ya, that’s crazy coming from courageous butterfly I know.  In the beginning it was easy for me to cry, not sure if that makes any sense, crying is crying.  But it is different now because I’ve gone through the death.  It is a closed case, so the tears now are pure emotions, not related to my present life or my future, they are strictly tears of the past.  Between you and me, tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it. –Albert Smith.

When mourning the death of a loved one you are constantly saying goodbye and this is no different.  Each time you view a photograph or have a memory you are reminded of the life you spent with that person, and will be forced to say goodbye over and over again.  I thought I had said my goodbyes in the courtroom two years ago, I had no idea that it would be a lifetime of goodbyes.  Though this is a major goodbye, it won’t be the last.  There will be many situations in life that force us to say goodbye. Whether it be a job, a friend, a lover, a pet, or family member.  Between you and me, Goodbye’s are not easy.

So what does all of this mean at this point in my journey?  As far as I can tell it means that I have to be prepared for emotions that I thought I had already processed.  I will encounter situations that may bring up some old emotional memories and remind me of my scars.  I have to continue to seek advice from other’s who have been on this journey before me, listen to their kind words and learn from their experiences.  Between you and me, this is why I’m sharing with you now.

I hope that the thoughts, feelings and experiences on my survival will encourage other’s going through a similar circumstance to learn to grow from each emotion, memory, feeling and tear.  I am still learning and have a lot more ahead of me.  Within my chrysalis I am growing stronger and when it is time I will emerge the butterfly I am meant to be.  Between you and me, I will embrace it.

Do you have a similar story, can you offer any advice on how to embrace the goodbye?  Respond in the comments.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

1/27/13

Related blogs/links

Here Comes Goodbye, Rascal Flatts

Saying Goodbye, Wonder Blogs

With Every Goodbye You Learn, Luna Starla’s Dreamy Stories

Marriage-Divorce-Annulment by Catholic Answers Live

 

 

 


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Embracing Loneliness


Grayson 1998-2012

 

When I first thought of writing on this topic I had originally titled it Accepting Loneliness.  When I went to sleep last night I was fearful for the coming morning.  It would be the first morning I woke up completely alone since my divorce.  The past 19 months my mornings, evenings and nights have all been spent with mans best friend and early Tuesday morning he went to heaven.

I woke up an hour before my alarm and realized my entire morning routine is now changed.  I was frozen and did not know how I was going to get up and start my day.  I thought about just spending the day in bed and as that thought was crossing my mind my body said differently, I jumped up with a leg cramp.  I was now forced out of bed!

Since the sun was shining I decided to take myself for a walk.  Sneakers went on, I pod ready to go, headphones in.  I set out at first feeling pretty sad but as I walked I realized that I had completed step one to creating a new morning routine.  I did something to get my day started and it was a positive thing.   It gave me time to clear my thoughts and focus on my schedule for the day, all while allowing myself time to listen to my favorite tunes.

Clarity was slowly seeping in and I realized that I have a choice to either accept the feelings of being alone or embrace them.  If I only accept them I”m really not making any positive changes for myself.  My world is now changed whether I like it or not.  The better thing to do would be to embrace it.

I’m content with the fact that today will be rough for me, but I got through the hardest part.  Over the next week or so I can set my routines how I want them.  I am in control of deciding what I will now do with my extra time and I am choosing to spend it being happy in my loneliness.  I figure I”ll play around with a few different changes and see what fits best into my schedule.  I really enjoyed the walk today and when winter hits I have access to an indoor center right across the way.  My morning routine is now set!  

I’m sure I will have waves of sadness, fear, and reluctance along the way, but those are all common feelings when a change is occurring.  Life is all about thriving through change sometimes they are happy changes, and sometimes they are filled with loss, pain and grief.  As I’ve said before in previous blogs, the latter are the ones that we grow through.  Just like the caterpillar  (yes I’m using the reference again!) who grows in her chrysalis, change makes us stronger!

Be all you can be in your loneliness, embrace who you are and live happy!  How have you embraced loneliness or change?  Reply in the comments.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

9/19/12


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X Marks The Spot


We’ve all heard the phrase “buyer’s remorse”.    It is described as a feeling one get’s shortly after a large purchase is made.  A feeling comes over you and you begin to second guess your decision.    I haven’t made a large purchase lately but I did make a big decision that gave me that same type of feeling.  I felt relieved, satisfied and  happy.  I had no regrets I knew I was doing what I needed to do for ME; which is something that I usually do not do.  Up until this point in my life  I’ve always considered other’s before considering what I need.  So for the first time in my life I made this decision based on what Kimberly needs.

When I divorced I moved from my family home into an adorable little condo.    I knew being in something smaller would be a perfect backdrop for getting used my new life.  It has proved to be true.  The surroundings are beautiful, the amenities are perfect for me and the location could not be better.   Recently it came time to decide where to “plant my feet”.  At this point  I don’t feel that I am ready to make a major life changing decision like that.  I am still growing into this newer version of myself as well as healing and I  do not know where it is going to lead me.  My mind and body need to take some time away from more stress and we all know how stressful moving can be.  So what’s the problem?  Well the only issue is the size of my cute little space.  This is where my decision got difficult and I had mixed emotions over choosing a bigger place for my family when they are with me, or making the decision based on only my needs.  My mom hormones were quickly out numbering Kimberly’s and for a while I was convinced I had to move.  If I were to describe how I was feeling when I realized that this decision needed to be made solely on what I needed  some of the words would be:  heartbroken, confused, nervous, sad, anxious.  It was painful for me to make a decision only for what I wanted, so I had to make the decision based on what I needed in order to continue healing, growing and making a positive transition in my life.

I know that if I am going to continue on a positive path  I cannot keep putting additional stress on top of what is already there.  I need to make sure that I am content, happy, and somewhat stress free in order to make a healthy progression in my healing.  Therefore  as hard as it was to do,  I made a decision for ME this time.

The weather was beautiful yesterday and I decided to take a walk around my complex and in doing so I was looking around and again second guessing my decision.  I was trying to put the negative thoughts about it out of my head when a song called Blue Sky came on my I pod.  Hearing those words immediately forced me to look up and to my surprise…in the big blue sky…. was an X!  I stopped in my tracks and just smiled and said “X marks the spot”.   This was my relief that I have made the right decision; and it was a wonderful sight to see.  I know that I am right where I am supposed to be in my journey and I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to remain in a place where I can be happy, confident and content.  I’m sure we will have a few adjustments to make but what is most important is that the surroundings and the situation make it possible for continued healing and positive transition for all of us.

Wherever you are in your journey do not second guess your decisions.  I am learning that the ones that are the hardest to make usually are the ones that will make a positive effect on your life.

here is a link to the song Blue Sky http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUUTDcIvC9o&feature=fvst

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

4/14/12


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MEMORIES ARE FOREVER (whether we like it or not!)


I’ve been focusing a lot lately on trying to create  NEW memories rather than stew over some old ones that are still too painful to look back on.  One of my most proudest NEW memories that I recently created was purchasing a new car all on my own.   I had been anticipating a very bad day when I awoke on what would’ve been my 21 st wedding anniversary.  I knew that in order to get through that day without being totally depressed I needed to create a substantial memory.  I had been window shopping for cars the few weeks prior and knew that it was time!  I headed to work, then to the dealership and just four short hours later I was the proud owner of a brand new car!  Now when that date rolls around again I will remember how proud I felt that day and that will be my new memory.

Just last week I was sitting at my desk at work and a co-worker came by and said “hello little one”.   I immediately looked at her with a blank stare, I was in shock for that was the pet name my ex had given me when we first started dating.  I had not been called that in a very long time and it caught me off guard.  She noticed the look on my face and was confused.  I took a moment to fill her in and I told her how strange it was to hear someone call me that again.  In that moment I knew I had a choice to make.  I could either feel sad and let it get to me or thank her for bringing that memory to light so that I could put it behind me.   We talked a little while longer and before I knew it we were laughing about it.

A little while later I started thinking about the fact that this was probably just the first of many more memories of my past relationship that were going to pop up unannounced and I had again made myself proud.  I had made the choice to savor that moment share the memory for a minute and let it go.  Making the right choice is huge!  Had I heard her call me that and focused on the sadness I would’ve been left at my desk crying.  Instead, I shared a laugh with her and proved to myself that I can look back for a moment and I will be ok.  It’s the same for any memory, not just the loss of a relationship.  If you have lost a loved one you will also be faced with these memories that will pop up unannounced.  I urge you to make the choice to take just a minute and look back at it, talk about it, laugh about it and you will be on your way to moving forward.

I am no longer afraid of the memories, I know they will always be there.  I will continue to focus on making NEW memories now and that will help to  move me forward in my NEW life!

Courageous Butterfly

3/25/12


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Talent Hidden Within


Today’s post is courtesy of none other than the famous Kermit The Frog!  I had the wonderful opportunity tonight to watch the new Muppet Movie with my teenage kids.  Out of nowhere during the movie I heard this profound line coming from Kermit.  He said ” Just because you haven’t found your talent doesn’t mean you don’t have one.  Look inside yourself and see what you can find”.  

I immediately thought “WOW”.  Through most of my adult life I have been trying to find what it is I’m supposed to be doing.  Outside of being a Mom, which is one thing I absolutely know I was meant to do, I also wore many other hats over the years trying to find my “talent”.  Some of the hat’s I wore were medical secretary, administrative assistant, personal trainer, Santa Claus letter writer, parrot breeder and cardio kickboxing instructor.  Out of all of those I have to say the craziest was the parrot breeder.  I actually spent two years of my adult life cleaning up bird poop, delivering chicks from eggs, hand feeding baby birds, weaning them and then cried my eyes out when it was time for them to move on to their new families.    I was obviously never really happy wearing these hats because I had failed most of them.  I never could really stick to something , I just kept moving from one thing to the next trying to find happiness.

When I heard the line from Kermit tonight I realized that a long time ago I did find happiness, because it’s come back full circle.   Some of those “hats” that I wore have returned.  To me that means that it is definitely something I am supposed to be doing and it is something that truly makes me happy.    After  all those years I am again an administrative assistant and a personal trainer, and though I”m not writing letters from Santa, I am however writing again.   These hats that I’m wearing are in a new territory and very different from before and they have brought me so much happiness and meaning to my life than they did the first time I tried them on.  I know now that when I wore those hat’s previously they just were not the right fit but now that they have taken on a new form in my life I can wear them proudly.

Do me a favor and don’t be afraid to look inside yourself and find your hidden talent, you may be surprised by what you find!  There’s a line in Kermit’s Rainbow Connection song that speaks to me ” I’ve heard it to many times to ignore it, there’s something that I’m supposed to be” and there is also something that you are supposed to be, don’t be afraid to find it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPAru7PLiOI&feature=related

Courageous Butterfly

3/6/12