Tag Archives: pain

Zero tolerance taken too far.

Zero tolerance taken too far

 

Many schools and places of business have zero tolerance policies on things like weapons, drug and alcohol use and sexual harassment. Most of the time these policies are great and protect people from getting hurt. Have you ever wondered if any of these zero tolerance policies had any drawbacks or flaws? I admit I haven’t really thought about that until now. Just last week a friend of mine’s daughter was put in a very scary situation, but she remained strong, loving and brave. Another student, a friend of hers who is battling against self-harm had brought a razor to school and was using it on himself. Adrionna talked with him, urging him that this was not the way to cope and she took the razor from him. Immediately after she disposed of the razor in the trash. The next day at school Adrionna went to her guidance counselor and told the story of what happened with her friend. She was worried that if she didn’t come forward her friend may harm himself again or worse.

 

What do you think happened after this brave girl took an extra step to protect her friend? I thought that she would have been congratulated and that her friend would receive immediate help, but that is exactly opposite of what the school did. Adrionna was suspended from school and a hearing was held today March 20th, 2014 to determine if she would be expelled from Bayside Middle school. After the hearing today Adrionna’s mother was told that her suspension would end. Despite Adrionna being reinstated at school the school board told her she was wrong in her actions and would barely let her speak. I am more than appalled at her school’s policy and their actions towards a hero. It takes guts to speak up for what is right and even more to help someone in a scary situation. So often in our society the “standerby effect” takes place, where someone witnesses something bad happening but does nothing to help because they think: this isn’t my problem, someone else will help. This is a illogical and negligent way to think and because of it many people are assaulted, robbed and even killed because everyone around failed to act. Adrionna is nothing short of a hero and this world needs more people like her.

 

If you would like to help Adrionna and would like to show the Virginia Beach school system they need to change their flawed policies please write to: mike.mcgee@vbschools.com and tell her school how you feel about all of this. It doesn’t matter if you live in Virginia or not, I am certain her school is not the only school with flawed policies. Please protect Adrionna and all other students! If you would like to read more on her story you can read it many places now!!! Here are just a few links:

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2014/03/20/us-girl-says-she-was-suspended-for-stopping-cutter

 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/20/va-middle-schooler-suspended-confiscating-razor-se/#.Uysgpz9E2cg.facebook

 

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2014/03/20/Virginia-girl-suspended-for-taking-self-harming-classmates-razor/3851395334419/?spt=su

 

http://wavy.com/2014/03/19/student-suspended-for-taking-razor-from-self-harming-classmate/

 

If Adrionna’s story is not enough to convince you that this is a national problem please check this link out: http://famous101.com/famous-cases-of-zero-tolerance-in-schools-failing-miserably

 

I love Adrionna and her family very much, they have been there for me in some of the darkest times of my life and I hope that we can all be there for her and her family now! Please let Adrionna be an example of what to do in a situation like this. If you ever see or hear of someone who is in this much pain that they are struggling with self-harm please don’t look away. Please help them immediately! I hope and pray that the boy Adrionna helped is now receiving the care and help he needs to overcome this horrible assailant called self-harm, and if you are reading-you can do this! You are not alone, you are strong and wonderful and you deserve good things. There are many people who can relate to you and who will help you through the healing journey. Here are some resources to help anyone who is battling self-harm:

 

http://twloha.com/

http://www.fortrefuge.com/

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/#.Uyua6_ldWSo

http://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Facts—Information/Self-harm/Self-harm

http://www.selfinjury.com/

http://www.stepchat.com/

 

The last link, stepchat is a wonderful site where you can attend many different 12 step meetings online. One of my favorites is SMA, this is a 12 step program that helps people who self-harm.

 

Stay strong warriors and warrioresses! I love each and every one of you and we will heal a little more everyday as long as we never give up the fight.

Three years.

So the results from the poll had a post on Dissociative identity disorder, addiction and coping mechanisms all tied with two votes each. I decided, since I completely forgot in October to write a little about the milestone I have reached! October 2013 was my three years clean from drugs! I can’t believe that it has been three years and two months now. Looking back over these years it’s truly hard to wrap my mind around everything I have been through and all I have learned. I have done more healing in these last three years (especially the last year and a half) than I have in my entire 26 years of life.

 

I’ve experienced, suffered through, and at times enjoyed so much through my 26 years that it’s really difficult for me to feel I’ve only been here 26 years. Sometimes when I’m tired and/or stressed my alters and I truly wonder if we have really been here much longer. It feels as if I have lived ten full lives already. It’s hard to explain, at least I think, but I’m sure a lot of you can relate.

 

I come from a family of drug addicts, alcoholics, wife-beaters, narcissists, child-abusers, and all sorts of weird dysfunctional stuff. I would say “awww dysfunction can’t be spelled without fun” but that is not the case with my biological family, nor has it ever. My blood family (the ones I have met) are mostly screwed up, sick individuals. I’m sorry if any of you ever track this blog down and read it…this is the truth and you no longer scare me enough to keep my mouth shut. If you have a problem with me opening my mouth to speak the truth, you should have thought about that before you beat, harassed, manipulated, isolated, abused, neglected and molested me. You know who you are. I’m not afraid of you. Anyway….

 

Sadly, addiction does run in the blood. I wish I could say this is some silly fantasy that us addicts make up to put the blame on something, but it is true. I did a little reading into the factors that play a role in a person having addiction problems (no matter what the addiction is to) and it’s a lot more complex than I used to believe. Yes genes play a role (but usually it is up to a combination of genes being passed down and a whole bunch more of science mojo that I don’t completely grasp just yet) but also obviously, how we were raised, what kinds of people were around us, all sorts of nature vs. nurture stuff plays a part. If you would like to read one of the websites I did it’s right here: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/genetics/  

 

I’ve never had my blood tested or DNA examined to see if I have all the genes necessary to make me more susceptible to addiction, but it’s pretty safe to say I do. Just off-hand I can think of ten-plus people in my biological family who suffer from an addiction to one or multiple substances and other things. One of my alters told me today that in high school we used to brag that we would never get involved in drugs and we would probably never drink because we knew the risks and we knew that addiction ran in the family. I realize now how deadly our stupid belief that we were untouchable was. When you start believing that you are above addiction and she will never get her seductive hands on you…you are a dead man.

 

At the end of high school I had already had my first drink…and second, and third, and fourth…It scared me that I didn’t seem to have the tolerance of a “beginner”. A few drinks didn’t seem to phase me the way it should have. But I was young, I was naive, I was being controlled by really sick people. I had no idea back then what I was getting myself into. After I was raped in the Marines my inner system that makes up my DID (Dissociative identity disorder) nearly completely de-railed. I couldn’t take what happened to the body and I withdrew into the deepest part of our system (which is what we call: The Abyss). I got all the way down there and found myself safe there. And so I stayed. I stayed and I stayed and I stayed until I realized that I couldn’t find my way back. I vaguely remember lying in the hospital bed in West Florida Hospital’s “The Pavillion” (their psychiatric unit) realizing that I couldn’t move my limbs, I could move my head. I could not even speak. It was because I could see, but I wasn’t in control. I was forced to remain down there for about a month and every now and then would get a quick glimpse of what the body had been up to. (which was mainly lying in the bed and getting lots and lots of pills).

 

Finally one day I met an internal protector alter named “The Warden”. Back then I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, so I was led to believe that this alter was simply a hallucination, but now I know who he really is. His job was and is to stay inside and keep the system from crashing again. He stays in the Abyss and the level directly above The Abyss to make sure that whoever is that deeply disturbed can receive help. This in turn keeps all of the alters from getting so far disconnected from reality that we were to do something horrible to ourselves. He came about to help us protect us from the inside. I love him for that 🙂 The Warden helped me find my way back up to the higher levels and take control of our body back.

 

After many stays at the Pavillion and at Baptist hospitals’ psychiatric units I was medically retired from the USMC and sent back to Michigan. This is when my addiction truly began. I found that several of my psych meds made me feel very good. I firmly believe that these drugs are needed for a lot of people who suffer from PTSD and C-PTSD (as I do) however, I wish it had been explained to me that I needed to only take them when my coping mechanisms had all fallen through and a panic attack was inevitable. I also should have been educated on the high possibility that if I didn’t use them as a last resort, I ran a good risk of becoming addicted. Long story short, I became hopelessly addicted fast. I took them every day, I took them more than three times a day, I took way more than I was supposed to at a time. I took them via oral route and via routes I should not have. Did I realize at the time I was addicted and that what I was doing was horribly destructive? Hell no. I could barely tell you my fucking name back then. I was so jacked up.

 

The addiction to the anxiety pills spread to other perscription meds, then to cocaine. Did you see what I just wrote? I went from perscription pills to freaking cocaine! Addiction is a seductive, murderous bitch. She doesn’t give a flying you-know-what when it comes to “oh, I have a family” or, “I have a great career”. She DOES-NOT-CARE. She will rope you in and kill you. Oh, but before she kills you…she will make sure that you hurt as many of your loved ones as she can. She will make you lie, cheat and steal. She will turn you into this monster that no one wants to be around. I know…because the monster still lives within my body. I just have the tools and the knowledge I need to keep the monster restrained and locked down deep deep deep inside me. The monster is guarded daily and every time it tries to escape we fight it. We fight it with meetings, with reading literature, with journalling and with talking with loved ones who know what it is like to suffer with addiction.

 

This fight to not let addiction rule your life is one of the hardest things I can think of for a human being to go up against. But it is possible! And better yet, it is possible to get clean and sober and stay that way, all while living a very full and happy life. I have a long way to go on my journey out of the abyss and through recovery. But I have learned to love it and my life only gets better every day I chose to pick up my sword and shield instead of lay down and give up.

 

One thing I did before I learned how to love myself was hold onto thoughts of Alice Cooper. Go ahead…laugh. Then….go educate yourself on him. Alice suffered from a deep addiction for several years, he even spent time in psychiatric units. Alice knew my pain. He got himself clean and sober and lives an amazing life now. He is a great man, and I figured. If Alice can do it, I can do it…and I really admire him. I imagined myself getting through the crap and getting to him on the other side of active addiction. I held onto things and people that made me happy. Once I got there I learned how to start loving me. Now that I have started loving myself, it feels good to live for me. It’s not selfish. It’s the right thing to do.

 

You can do this! Whether it’s you or a loved one, please know you are NOT alone. There are millions of others out there who can relate and will not allow you to go through this process alone. You are strong and you are worthy. Don’t listen to the monster, all it wants is for you to die. I love you, keep fighting!

The night I ended my life.

Please know that all of my blog posts are potentially triggering, and please know that this post is highly triggering before you continue on. I want to talk to you about my numerous suicide attempts, and more importantly, the night that I was successful.

I was still active duty in the Marine Corps at the time, living in Pensacola, Florida. I had been raped by a Sergeant in my class and was having a very hard time picking up the pieces and moving on. Every day it was a battle to eat, get out of bed, do what was expected of me and even breathe. I hated myself, felt dirty and unworthy of living and was fearful. I was afraid to talk to anyone about what had happened to me. I feared no one would believe me or would think I was a disgusting whore. I did my best to act like nothing was wrong with me, but after a while I didn’t even have the energy for that. My addiction to self-harm was strong, I had quickly moved from scissors to straight razors and felt the need to cut myself even when we were “sleeves up”. Sleeves up meant that every Marine was ordered to roll their sleeves up, which obviously meant everyone could see what I had been doing to myself. Cutting because a nervous compulsion, a drug, a necessity to keep living. A lot of people started finding out that I was a “cutter” really fast. I’m sure some people thought I was doing it for attention because we were sleeves up, but the truth was I felt I needed to do it to keep going so intensely that I didn’t give a fuck anyone who knew.

I felt as if I was in this perpetual time warp of Hell. I wasn’t being given any tasks to do that made me feel like a Marine anymore and yet I wasn’t being discharged. It was limbo, which only made my feelings of fear and worthlessness grow and fester like a deep, open wound. The details of this suicide attempt in particular are pretty muddy in some areas because now it is apparent to me that one of my alters, Kristina had been the one to try to take our life. Some time before this suicide attempt I had been hospitalized at West Florida hospital’s Pavillion which was a psychiatric ward. During that particular stay my psychiatrist had tried me on an atypical antipsychotic drug to diminish the voices in my head. Needless to say the drug did me no good and had my blood pressure down to 60/30. If anyone reading this doesn’t know, a blood pressure that low is extremely dangerous. I was very ill and was confined to my bed until the doctor decided to take me off of the drug. I was furious that it took the doctors more than an hour to decide to discontinue the medication, in my mind they should have been in some sort of trouble for that.

At some point during the later part of the day I had switched and become Kristina. I did not know that I had Dissociative identity disorder back then, all I knew what that I heard voices and occasionally saw things that other people claimed to not be able to see. This was dangerous only because I had an alter (Kristina) who did not want the body/host (me) to be alive anymore. Because I was not aware of her, I was unable to stop her attempts at ending our life. None of my alters or myself are stupid, and contrary to what our abusers tried to beat into our head over the years. Kristina knew that this medication was deadly to us and she had found we still had a completely full bottle of it in our barracks room. During the time Kristina was in control, she downed the entire bottle. Sometime after this occurred I came to in the emergency room at the naval hospital. All I remember is that my heart was racing faster than I had ever felt it before, I was extremely dizzy, disoriented, sick to my stomach and absolutely terrified. I remember suddenly feeling it was becoming very difficult to breathe, and when I did breathe I could feel air wasn’t doing me much good.

My vision became more and more blurry and dim. This is when I realized that I was dying. I kept thinking to myself, My God, I did it…I’m going to die and I won’t be able to say goodbye to my Mom. I realized that I wanted to call my mom to tell her I was sorry, I loved her and goodbye but I couldn’t find the strength to ask anyone to call her for me. Then I remember not breathing and everything going black.

I’m still not sure how much time had passed after that, but when I came to I was in the ICU and a nurse had been sitting beside my bed holding my hand. The first thing I felt when I woke up was the warmth of her skin on mine. I clung to it as if I was terrified letting go of her would allow me to slip back into the darkness. She was so happy when I woke up and took care of me. Yet again, I am not sure how long I stayed in the ICU, I have very little memory of it other than the nurse and being hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor, blood pressure and pulse oximetry. I don’t remember what else. After my time in the ICU I spent anywhere from a week to a week and a half (still not entirely sure) in the hospital. The entire time I was not allowed to get out of bed because every time I stood up my heart rate would skyrocket. They had special socks on my legs that would inflate every fifteen minutes to prevent blood clots from forming and that damn heart monitor stayed on the me the whole time. After a good chunk of my time there a nurse would periodically help me to walk around the unit to get me used to walking again.

The repercussions of my overdose were immediately apparent to me. I still don’t know exactly what I did because my medical records are still not with me, but I did damage to my heart. To this day I still have issues with my heart rate and heart rhythm. I’ve always had frequent PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions) of my heart, but now they are worse, more frequent and a few times they have caused me to faint. I wish that I could have stopped Kristina from the overdose, but it’s in the past now.

I am telling this for two reasons. One, it’s part of my journey and therefore must be told in order for me to heal, but two, it’s important that people hurting have some insight to a suicide attempt that actually worked. I am very lucky to be alive…I shouldn’t be here, but I am. I may have been very deeply depressed back then and yes, there were many days where all I could think about was how much I wanted to die. But the moment that I realized I was dying I was scared absolutely shitless. The feeling of the life seeping out of my body with each sad attempted to draw air into my lungs was terrifying and painful. I am very thankful that the medical staff there saved my life and that I am alive today.

Please, if you are hurting (or know someone who is) don’t ignore that pain, and don’t believe the lies your pain tells you. You do deserve to be here, your loved ones will NOT be better off without you (they will actually suffer intensely for the rest of their lives over your death), and yes your pain may stop…but you’ll be dead, so what the fuck is the point? And for those of you who say suicide is selfish and condemn people who sadly do it…please realize that people who commit suicide are not able to think logically, their pain has them in such a sad, delusional state they truly believe they are being selfless…not selfish. The definition of selfish is as follows: A person, action or motive lacking the consideration of others. Like I mentioned before, most people who commit suicide truly and honestly believe that their loved ones are hurt over them being alive and killing themselves will remove a burden from their loved ones. It’s very sad that this happens, but it does.

Like I always say, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others (especially those who are hurting). If you’re contemplating suicide, please…I beseech you to read this and to trust me. It is estimated that 1 out of 25 people who attempt suicide actually succeed, and most of the survivors will tell you that they were sure they wanted to die until they realized they were about to succeed. I can say that I am one of those people. Please live, please fight, I promise you, if you want your life back (happiness, no more pain, etc) you CAN have it! It will be hard at times, it will hurt at times, but it will pass and you will be free.

Please

Please

Please

Live.

Know that you are loved. And if you believe no one else does, know that I do. I love you.

Dandi

Corporal punishment.

 Today’s post is going to be a bit different from posts in the past. I am going to talk about something that I am very passionate about and as of late have been verbally chewed-out for and debated with. I want to talk about using corporal punishment when someone, especially a child does something that you don’t like. I understand that this is a very heated subject as well as a controversial one, but I must express how I feel about this and give everyone an insider’s view. As a child, my father spanked me, slapped my hands and screamed at me when I would do something wrong. My mother, just to be clear, never did. She was spanked growing up and very often it went too far. When my parents divorced, the way my father punished my siblings and I was no longer seen by my mother…of course until we came home. I can’t speak for my siblings, but every time I came home terrified, ashamed of myself and hurting physically, emotionally and mentally. His spankings were very harsh and over the years they quickly evolved to hitting in the face, squeezing of the arms and violently shaking. The things he yelled at me and accused me of because I touched something that was off limits or cried when I was hurting was insane.

 

A lot of people don’t realize that it is next to impossible to spank/hit/slap your children without anger, and anger can get out of hand very fast. Many people usually say, “oh, that isn’t me, I am very much in control”. My response to that is simply, “why do you feel you must lay your hands on a child to correct or punish”? There are other ways that work much more effectively and do not cause psychological damage, as spanking has shown to do. In a recent study showcased in Pediatrics, which is the journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics has shown a strong positive correlation between childhood physical punishment such as spanking and the incidence of Mood disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Abuse/dependence of substances as well as Personality Disorders. The study can be read here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/2/184.abstract .

 

Besides the psychological damage physical punishment causes there are other ramifications. Some children learn that lashing out physically is an acceptable way to handle problems in the future. I have seen this in my own family. I made a promise to myself as a child that I wasn’t going to repeat what I was being exposed to, but unfortunately others in my family did just the opposite. It saddens me to see a specific family member who was a very sweet and loving child grow into a very bitter and physical individual especially when someone does not agree with them or do what they want. Frankly, it is extremely frightening to me as well. Children who grow up not repeating the physically hurtful behavior often do grow up afraid to express themselves, especially when they are hurting. I am living breathing proof of this. I was taught by my father’s beatings and berating that to express myself would result in pain and fear.

 

My question to parents is simple, “if there is an effective way to correct a child that does not require physical harm, would you use it instead”? Then my following statement would be, “there is, so why do you continue to lay hands on a child in a hurtful way”? If a child is screaming, instead of slapping him or her, ask them what’s wrong. Follow it up with asking them if they have suggestions for how you can help them fix what is wrong. You may be surprised, but every time I have approached an upset child in this way, they have matched my calmness and answered me. People, including children have a tendency to match your tone, your attitude and how you approach them. You scream and hit, they scream, hit and get angry. You appear calm, open and caring, they relax, open up and are more willing to solve a problem. Another method I have used in situations when a child has done something that is dangerous like run for the street, I do use a raised, firm voice to call their name and tell them to stop. Which almost every time has worked. I take their hand and crouch down at their level and again, remain calm, open and caring. I ask them why they ran for the road. After they answer I ask them if they know why I got upset. After that answer I then explain to the child on their level why it upset me and it should not happen again. Again, in my experience, this has been very effective.

 

Children are humans, just like adults. They get sad, angry, confused, hungry, bored, hurt and don’t feel well. We don’t spank an adult and yell at them because they are whining about being hungry, so why would you hit a child for crying because they are hungry? It’s much more effective and caring to talk to the child, just as you would an adult (but using words and terms that they can grasp) to ask what is wrong and what you can do to help them feel better. I’m speaking as an adult who has cared for children (other people’s and my own) since I was in middle school and as a person who underwent poor parenting and punishment from my father. I never trusted that my father would meet my needs nor that he cared, only that if I spoke up or acted out on something that was hurting or bothering me, I would get a beating. Do you want your child expecting to be hurt to express themselves, or do you want you child to expect you to care and help them manage their feelings and solve their problem? There truly is no need for corporal punishment, especially in children.

 

In toddlers who can’t always tell you how they are feeling, what’s bothering them and give you suggestions on how to fix the issue, I also have experience. I have a sweet little boy who is just about to turn two and with him (and toddlers I have babysat) I have found a few great techniques that are effective and loving. When a toddler starts to throw a fit, start with the basics. Look for something that may be hurting them physically like something they stepped on, a bug bite or teething pain. If nothing, then check the diaper, see if they’re hungry, thirsty or tired. If none of those are the culprit, hold them, kiss them and speak sweetly to them. Sometimes wanting you to hold them isn’t it either. Yes, this can get a bit frustrating if you are busy, but they need your help managing their emotions, not you screaming at them and slapping them. Sometimes all my son needs if nothing above worked is for me to say, “Honey, I’m sorry your upset.” and I will break eye contact and not pay attention to the tantrum. Every time my son has stopped after two minutes maximum, but usually under thirty seconds. When he is throwing a tantrum like this, I strongly believe that he is doing it to see how I react. In me not lashing out at him, but calmly refusing to put energy into fueling his tantrum, he trusts me and then stops.

 

Another technique I have been using with my toddler is helping him learn different methods of self-soothing. Self-soothing is using your senses to help put yourself at ease. I use self-soothing techniques for myself every day when I start to feel anxious. I have taught my son to run his fingers across his soft hair when he’s upset or tired by doing it to him when he’s fussing. Very frequently now I see him “petting” his own hair, or even mine when he’s upset. If none of the techniques above are working, and your toddler continues to cry and scream, there may be something going on that you can’t see like being ill. Calling your Pediatrician may be a good idea at this point, especially if they seem to be in pain. In my experiences as a parent and a babysitter, using one or a combination of these techniques has been enough to soothe a toddler and stop the unwanted behavior.

 

We are blessed with our babies to love and nurture, protect and teach and to enjoy life with them, not to instill fear and pain into them. There are many alternatives to physical punishment and I hope that this blog entry has opened your mind up to just a few of these alternatives as well as the dangers that lurk in using corporal punishment.