Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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Purple Brave!


Purple, the color between red and blue.  Light purple or lavender is soothing both for the sense of sight and smell, where dark purple can be less appealing.  Purple can signify power, and embody wealth.  Purple can come in the form of a heart given to a hero; a soft flower; and a mean black eye or bruise.  Being a part of the color red, which is a hot color, and then the calming blue makes purple very important.  It is the place that can capture every bad and every good feeling, emotion, memory, fear, strength, defeat, and accomplishment.  Today, I am harnessing my PURPLE!

IMG_1587 (1)My purple came through when I had a “moment” while on the treadmill. It took all I had to fight back tears, there was no way I could have a breakdown in a gym.  I was not on an episode of the biggest loser!

Let’s rewind just a moment, prior to that workout I had stopped to purchase appropriate footwear.  After trying on several pairs I ended up with purple shoes.  Its been a very long time since I was into purple and I was a little worried they looked like kids shoes, but they fit so off to the gym I went.

I was set to push myself and see what I had in me. Armed with all the accessories I needed, water, ear buds, music, couch to 5K app, and my new shoes.  I felt determined and as the warm up began, I even gave myself a little pep-talk.

The workout was going great!  I was following the prompts on the app and I remained focused.  I could feel myself getting to a point when I was going to have to dig my heels in and push through.  I began to feel a little uneasy, it was harder to breathe and all of a sudden I felt transported back in time.  I saw myself standing in front of a mirror and not liking the reflection.  I had flashbacks of opening presents that contained fitness videos and meal replacement shakes. I was being asked to say “moo” rather than “cheese” while having my photo taken.  My self-assurance was being depleted with each step.  I wanted to slump off the machine and just call it a day.  I was in the midst of a PTSD flashback.

During this time I was brought back to the last time I was working this hard and it was just before my divorce.  I had participated in an infomercial. My goal was to get skinny for my husband, feel better for my family and improve my overall health.  I accomplished more in a 12 week span that I ever thought I would.  I ran, I hiked, I swam, I exercised through injuries and I succeeded.  I was at the top of my game! I was fit, I felt powerful, and for the first time in my life I had confidence.  Fast forward two weeks…my life is forever changed, my self-esteem tossed out the window, my confidence buried under a very heavy rock.

Mind you I’m re-living all of these memories and emotions in just a ten minute span. Alternating walking with running, trying not to cry and wondering where do I go from here?  At this point is when I looked down and saw my purple shoes in motion, I knew I had to change my focus and I thought to myself, why in the world did I buy purple shoes?

I pumped up the music and decided to finish what I had started.  Watching my purple shoes I felt excitement in knowing what I will feel like when I reach my end goal. I was reminded how I felt after I hiked the mountain.  I needed to channel the feelings I had in that moment standing at the top looking down at where I had come from and realizing what that accomplishment meant to me.  It’s a place I had been before, except this time I have a different motive, ME!  I can only imagine how I will feel  when I celebrate this triumph knowing that I am its end result.

infomercial

Wearing Purple 7 years ago….not a coincidence.  

During this process I will bring my red and blue together and I will delight in creating the purple within me.  I will allow myself to be encouraged, spiritually nourished, motivated and fully engulfed by my new signature color!  I will be PURPLE BRAVE!

Do you have a similar story of pushing yourself and wading through the mud on your journey?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

8/27/16

 

Related topics/blogs

Purple, The Meanings of Purple

Personality, Color Purple

Coping with Flash Backs

Safety and Grounding Techniques for PTSD

Flex Force, Infomercial

 

 

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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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We were down, but now we are LIMITLESS.


you wont breakI’ve mentioned my faith in a number of posts and there is no doubt in my mind that I am on a path that was designed by God.

Sometimes, though I get just a little irritated with the roadblocks he had set up for me.  He has built everyone differently.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, he knows them because he gave them to us and he knows how we will handle them.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will not give us more than what we can bear, but boy does he push it to the limit!

Every time something new and exciting happens in my life, the first thing I do is worry, and question everything.  I know that is common for most when something new is happening and it is normal, but sometimes it takes me to those places in my past that if I dwell on them, will do nothing but cause me grief.

I would hope after all these years that I am stronger than those past hurts, but in certain circumstances, there they are again.  I will do everything in my power not to let them have any factors on my future, and because I can see that they are happening I am confident that I will beat them.

Recently I was at an appointment with my mom, she was having her blood pressure checked and the nurse taking it said “you should check it first thing in the morning, because after that life happens”.  That was one of the most profound statements I had heard in a while it opened up my mind that on a daily basis we may not expect what transpires, we may not have ever dreamed certain things will happen, but one thing is for sure that “something” will happen during the course of our days.life happens

That “something” can be good, or it may be bad and learning how to adjust to it when it happens is what is key. I am not afraid to admit that I have not perfected this just yet.  God and a few close friends right now know that I am still learning.  I will not limit my future based on my past, and I hope that those reading this will do the same.

Have you had a “life happens” moment where you needed to stop, breathe, think and then react in order to go into your future?  Please comment.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 3/8/16

Related Topics/Posts

Limitless, Colton Dixon

Warrior, Demi Lovato

Healing Past Hurts

Letting God’s Love Overcome Your Past Hurt

6 Things That Keep You From Moving On After Divorce

 

 

 


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Creating a Blank Canvas On Valentine’s Day


Blank-Canvas-Outdoor“Valentine’s day ugh”, is uttered frequently by singles on February 14th, aside from those who choose to embrace their inner selves which I have been known to do.  I even took myself out on a date night.  I figured why not, nobody knows me better.  I have to say, I set the bar pretty high, and actually feel bad for future prospects who may feel the need to outdo my do!

So this year, I tried again.  Same type of date night, one that I was sure to enjoy and I truly did, but there was still something bothering me. It wasn’t that I didn’t have an actual date, or that I was spending it by myself it went deeper than that.

When I awoke this morning staring into the eyes of my poo-chon, I quietly wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day and that is when it hit me!  I closed my eyes and it was like I was watching an actual flash back in my mind.  The top right dresser drawer was slowly opening and inside was a white card decorated with red hearts, black lettering and the words “Happy Valentines’s Day”  After taking one of the biggest breath’s of my life, I opened the card.  

I quickly opened my eyes, I didn’t want to see what was written on the inside again.  I got out of bed hastily, I refused to let myself get upset.  The sun was shining, church was waiting and I was NOT about to succumb to a PTSD moment.  So I pushed the emotions away and continued on with my day.

It’s really scary sometimes how things can just pop into your mind when your not thinking about that particular circumstance.  For example, just a bit ago I was cleaning my 10 gallon fish tank, had been procrastinating it for a while so it was pretty dirty.  Elbow deep in fish muck I had a moment of clarity in this crazy brain of mine.  Valentine’s Day for most is a celebration of love.  Romantic love, family love, friendship love, and just love in general.  But for me it was forever changed the day I found that card.  Although hopeful I am wrong, there will probably never be anything that makes me feel better on that day just because of the circumstances surrounding that particular hurt.

blank cardSo what can I do about that?  Besides honoring those emotions and letting them move through me, there is one more important thing I can do…create a blank canvas on that memory.  I can’t erase it, can’t make it go away but I can try and alter it a little in my mind.  So the next time I close my eyes and that vision appears,  the card will be blank and at that time I will begin to insert new words, pictures, and phrases.  Continuing this until the day comes when I close my eyes and the Valentine is all mine. Filled with things that are important to me and signatures of those close to my heart.

Today my canvas holds a few lines from the song Just Be Held by Casting Crowns:

Hold it all together Everybody needs you strong
There’s freedom in surrender Lay it down and let it go
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
And not a tear is wasted In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes Your life is in My hands
In the storm is where you’ll find Me And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

This Valentine’s Day, if you are finding difficulty, I challenge you to make your troubled canvas blank and start creating one that is perfect for you.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly 2/14/16

Related Links/Blogs

Just Be Held, Casting Crowns

Valentines Day Divorce, The Huffington Post

Valentines Day After Divorce, Modern Mom

Valentine’s Day During A Divorce, ecgoldberg

Novena for Single Catholics, Catholic Herald

 


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Dumpster Diving


dumpster divingLeaving my marital home was difficult for me.  Having to say goodbye to the good memories that lived under the roof and moving forward to forget the bad.  In order to avoid awkwardness, I planned it so that I was the only one home when the movers arrived.  I like to think that I maintained  composure in front of the three strangers that stood before me.  But the way I was feeling inside was not composed at all.

It’s been 5 years so why am I looking back on that blip in time?  When I left that day I was sure that I was good with saying goodbye to the house, but recently I noticed a very large dumpster in the driveway, at that time it wasn’t really full but when I saw it something in my body changed.  I felt nervous, anxious, sad, and fearful.

As I drove away I decided just to let it go and I was good with that until the next week when I arrived again and the dumpster was overflowing with objects.  It was all I could do to sit in the car and not leap out to see if I had left anything behind that may be in that rusty, dirty box.  I found myself thinking…my  marriage is in that dumpster.

I know that may sound completely crazy because my marriage ended 5 years ago, and I was good about making sure I had all I wanted when I left.  So why then did this affect me so much?

Maybe it’s not about the items, I think it’s more than that.  I dove deep down into my thoughts, taking inventory of exactly how I was feeling.  I noted how my heart rate soared, my hands got clammy, and I needed to fight the urge to jump in.  Then it came to me, the trash I saw in the dumpster is just symbolism for the memories that were being held in that space, and to think that they have been removed is what is upsetting.

Are those moments gone forever?  Stains on carpets that tell a funny story or holes in the wall that will bring back a laugh.  I know the memories of those things will never leave me, even though the little story tellers are gone. I guess I assumed they would be housed there always.

I’m kind of glad that all of this affected me in the way that it has because it really makes one take stock of your surroundings.  Treasure what is important to you even if it is a strip of wallpaper that you save and frame because when you look at it you are reminded of happy times.

I’m creating newness in my current space and will remember to hang on to those little things that help hold those memories close to me.

Have you had a rough time leaving behind memories?  Please share.

Courageous Butterfly 1/31/16

Kimberly

Related Posts/Links

Does PTSD after divorce exist?

PTSD after divorce

PTSD after divorce

Whats it like to suffer PTSD from divorce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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


5 Comments

Dating After Divorce…….I know its been a while!


Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

I almost forgot the feeling of the keys under my fingertips.  It has been too long since I posted on this site and to my readers I apologize. My respite was due to trying to live in the moment without looking in my rear view mirror and so far so good!

What I want to talk about in this post is kind of scary, and I’ll admit it has had my blood pressure up just a little bit.  Dating after divorce!!!  Let me start by saying I highly recommend it, however it is not as easy as I thought it would be.

We have our scars and it doesn’t matter how deep they are, they can and will at some point bring up memories or feelings of past relationships.  After my divorce I was told not to date for at least five years and I thought that idea was completely crazy! Now I kind of agree.  It’s been four years since my divorce and I’m truly very happy in this new relationship, but I”m also dealing with some divorce demons.

Wondering and hoping that  the rug will not be pulled out from under me as I am in this happy state, I decided the best way to overcome this is to kick it’s ass!  I wake up every day and only focus on the day, not my past, not my future but to live in the moments as they happen, and so far it is working, and when it’s not I text my sister!

Sometimes I find myself caught in a PTSD moment and it is all I can do to bring myself out of it, but I do.  I think that the fact I survived a divorce means I will always have some sort of PTSD event pop up, but I also know I will get through it when it happens.

My goals right now are to continue to kick the rear end of divorce; step up to the new relationship plate, and knock one out of the park!

It feels so good to be back!

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/30/15

Related links/posts

Thinking Out Loud

Dating After Divorce