Panda's Journal

Started by Panda, April 20, 2020, 03:34:12 PM

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so this is my recovery journal. I've never had one of those, so please bear with me as I try to figure this out.

I am by the way fine with having people leave comments, I'd really apppreciate it actually. Sometimes I might post that I don't want comments on something in particular but I'll make it clear and obvious if that's happening. I hope that is alright.

I'm not quite sure how to start this to be honest. I've been on this journey for a long time, I'm 32 now, starting getting emotionally abused at 2 and the first time I had professional mental health help was at 13 (with a... not very good therapist). I've been in inpatient treatment 4 times and went to three different therapists before and after my inpatient stays.

My last time in therapy was from September 2018 to March 2019 and that was the first time I had a therapist I felt like I could open up to about all the things that have happened to me. Sadly, despite saying she was specialized in trauma she... wasn't really and seemed uncomfortable so we never really delved that deeply into the C-PTSD but she helped me a lot in giving me tools to improve my feeling of self worth and with managing anxiety symptoms.
She wasn't a perfect fit by any means but helped me keep it together when I felt close to losing it and I feel like after my past experiences with therapists and psychiatrists that was very helpful and made me more open to trying inpatient treatment again.

I'm still a bit scared, but I think it's only natural. The last times I was inpatient, I was still in the adolescent wards plus none of the places were specialized in trauma plus I didn't have the words to talk openly about my experiences yet, yet alone was fully aware of how wrong a lot of it was. 

In the meantime, I've read and re-read "The body keeps the score", which helped me make sense of so much of my symptoms, the way I act and what I can do to improve while I'm waiting for both the Coronavirus situation to calm down and for myself to have worked myself to the point where I feel ready for an inpatient program.
I'm also working through the Complex PTSD workbook by Arielle Schwartz slowly. It's helped me make more sense of where I'm at currently and where I'd like to go. It's hard not to get overeager and want to do all the things at once, though.

Okay, I feel like that was a lot of text for a first post but I hope that's okay. I'll stop here for today and hope you all have a decent day :)

Edit: Already made a change of name, I used to be Shaun but this name feels closer to my heart


hey, shaun, :heythere:

glad to see you here.  your journal is yours, to use as works best for you. 

i've had a similar experience w/ a therapist who said she was trauma-informed, but we didn't really get anywhere, either.  in fact, i fired her after 6 sessions.  so frustrating! 

thanks for sharing.  hopefully you'll get the support you need, possibly some tools to use, and a feeling of community here.  we really are all in this together.  sending love and a hug, if that's ok. :hug:


Thank you for being my first comment!

And thank you, I feel like I'll do it wrong but I guess there's no wrong way to talk about feelings, right?

I'm sorry to hear that you had a similar experience, I guess just because a therapist might be trauma-informed doesn't mean they're capable of handling clients with complex trauma. Too bad you couldn't gain anything from that therapist, but good on you to be aware of your own needs enough to know when to call it quits!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it. And than you for the hug  :hug:


Hi Panda, I read what you wrote and I can relate. Especially with therapy, as I haven't had a groundbreaking therapist even though I've been to many.
Hope you find comfort here and are able to explain or write your feelings in safety.
Sending you a hug :hug:


Hey Panda  :heythere: ... finding your way here, plus the readings, and having wandered into a bit of therapy's ups and downs -- these are all good indicators that maybe things are indeed beginning to change for you.

I've also been tossed around a bit with several therapists, although my present one has been a good fit for my needs. Took some mighty patience but now it seems worth it. None of this recovery trek ever seems to be perfect and especially not easy, but once we cut expecting perfection makes for a wise first step. Just having survived makes for an even better starting point, and now you seem ready for those next steps.

Welcome again.


Marta, thank you for your kind and supportive words and the hug!  :hug:

woodsgnome, thank you as well, I certainly hope I can forge a path that leads to meaningful change. I'm glad you found a therapist that works for you, that's great!


As for the actual journaling path of my journal...

I didn't do a great deal of mental health work the past two days, a bit of practicing visualing my internal safe space and disarming negative self talk.
But I'm holding on and I've got to learn to accept when that's all I can do.

On friday my wife is going back to work, she was on vacation for the last two weeks, and we're both struggling a bit with that. She's working as a nurse in a geriatric physical rehab ward (I think that's what it's called in English, please correct me if I'm wrong) so she's not directly at the frontlines but between the coronavirus situation still not under control and her being at risk due to her chronic health conditions, it's not easy.

I'm going to try to set up a schedule for myself for when she's at work so I have less "empty" time to overthink everything, but I don't have too much practice with that so we'll see how it goes. But I feel like that might be worth giving a try.
I'm not very good at taking care of my/our environment and since she works full time and I don't at all there's always some internal pressure on me to do all the things, making it really hard for me to prioratize because every single task feels super important.

Might just make a randomized task list on a website and do what it tells me.

Anyway, that's about what's going on with me at the moment, hope you are all doing okay!


hey, panda,

i think what you did do was great, and it sounds like just the right amount of work for you at the time.  we can only do what we can do, and it's always enough.

sounds like a plan, making a list in order to see exactly what needs to be done and then prioritize, i find that a sort of routine works best for me, even tho i don't always follow it to the letter.  just knowing it's there and i can stick to it if i want is often helpful for me.

seems like you're doing well.  sorry about your wife and the risk factor she faces.  i hope that all goes ok.   :hug:


Thank you, san!


So, journal. Well. Turns out with the anxiety of my wife going back to work and the fear of sickness and death that triggered in me, the last couple of days were... hard on my mental health.

I've had an anxiety/mental health gremlin induced migrane for... surprisingly the first time in my life, at least as far as I'm aware of. It was very different from my "normal" migraines, the normal ones come with light and sound sensitivity as well as dizzyness but this one was painful, gave me vision problems and made me feel extremely nauseous.
Not a pleasant experience and honestly I was hoping... well, not to develope new symptoms at 32 years old.

To no surprise I didn't do super well on my to do list of the day, but I've crossed off four things. And I have to remember that if someone had told me I'd be able to cross four things off my to do list on a pretty bad day even half a year ago, I'd have laughed in that persons face.

Plus I was able to cook which is great because I couldn't find the energy or much less motivation for the last two days and cooking as well as feeding loved ones with good home made food is really therapeutic for me.

As far as this forum goes... I feel a bit bad for not having ventured out much beyond this thread. I feel a bit overwhelmed and like I'll post in the wrong place (even if rationally I know it's such a small mistake to fix for moderators, if needed) or... well, the good old ?? imposter syndrom?? not sure what to call it. That thought that others had it worse so my trauma isn't "bad" enough. Lots of hard work to let that one go.

Three Roses

The fact that others may or may not have had it worse is irrelevant to your experience. Not only that but the indoctrination from our abusers to not talk, is hard to overcome.

You experienced trauma that was painful to you and that is enough for you to belong here. You have every freedom to join in any thread you want to - or, to keep to yourself here in your journal or wherever you feel safest. This forum is about supporting you where you are, now. You call the shots.

Not Alone

Quote from: Panda on April 24, 2020, 02:51:59 PM
As far as this forum goes... I feel a bit bad for not having ventured out much beyond this thread. I feel a bit overwhelmed and like I'll post in the wrong place (even if rationally I know it's such a small mistake to fix for moderators, if needed) or... well, the good old ?? imposter syndrom?? not sure what to call it. That thought that others had it worse so my trauma isn't "bad" enough. Lots of hard work to let that one go.

Take your time and read and post in the subjects and at the rate that is comfortable to you.

You are not the first person to think that "others had it worse." Your experiences are important and valid.

I think getting anything done while experiencing migraine is a big accomplishment. Just a reminder: your list is to serve you, you are not a servant to your list. In other words, if you start feeling guilty or telling yourself "I should," give yourself lots of grace and kindness.


Thank you to notalone and Three Roses for the kind words you offered, I'm sorry I couldn't get back at you folks earlier.


So. Journal.

I'm having a lot of feelings today. It's May 1st, which means it's the 19th anniversary of my mother's death, she passed when I was 13.

I've made five attempts at writing this and I still feel like I'm always going into way too much detail, so the super short version:

*** CN Emotional abuse mention, physical abuse mention TW mention of non-graphic suicidal thoughts ***

She was emotionally abusive towards me and my father until she died. She was physically abusive towards me until I was almost 6. Her behaviour is/was a very, very large source of trauma for me.
She was also not okay herself, had struggles with depression and anxiety as well as having Lupus that was only properly diagnosed a year before her death.

I've had 4 family members die before I lost her too. Dealing with grief was... not done with grace or care in my family which only makes it harder. I only learned how to process grief last year, when my father in law passed away, at 31.

Being the only child, I was golden child and scapegoat all in one, sometimes the shift just took a minute. Scapegoat meant that my needs got ignored, I got ignored until I barely talked, I'd get punishments that would be lifted the moment I was back at golden child then reinstated when I did something she didn't like.

And I know if she hadn't passed away, I would not have made it until I would have been old enough to get away.
And that's the thought I struggle the hardest with, knowing that it had to be her or me. And the fact that, being the selfish human being that I am, I am glad it was her. I mean, logically I understand, no one wants to die, but emotionally, that's a whole different ball game.

So, I struggle today. I struggle hard. I want to write down everything that happened but that'd be 13 years of stuff. Some of which I'd just rather not remember.
But today, I mourn. I mourn the mother I had and I mourn the mother I didn't have. I mourn the mother I would have deserved.

And I struggle because I find myself censoring my words even now, even here. I'll stop here now because I've got this feeling that if I don't, I'll either write the novel that is the entire story of my life with her or delete this post again.

*** End TW and CN ***

I'm exhausted from just the general state of the world and all of this is just... a lot at the moment. But I think I'll be okay. And I think I'd like to start sharing more of my story here soon, just letting that bit out felt... freeing. Not necessary good, but freeing.

Not Alone

Quote from: Panda on May 01, 2020, 05:33:24 PM
But today, I mourn. I mourn the mother I had and I mourn the mother I didn't have. I mourn the mother I would have deserved.

Panda, I read your post. I feel compassion for you.


Panda, you spoke well about the conflicting emotions left over from your troubled childhood and the grief you still carry. It's hard to go there, but sometimes it helps soothe a little of the hurt. I hope sharing a bit of that has helped.  :hug:

What you said towards the end seems important to reiterate. You wrote: "I think I'll be okay." Yes to that, as you've already shown well how you've survived, and better yet that you're finding some healing, hard as it is to accept sometimes.


notalone, thank you. I think that's the most helpful response I've ever gotten to telling someone about this specific kind of sadness.

woodsgnome, thank you too. It helped sharing, I'd like to do more of that. Just have to get used to being "allowed" to.


*** Content warning for Covid 19, Chronic Illnesses | Trigger warning for death anxiety, anxious rambling ***

So, I already mentioned this in the Coronavirus thread but one of my wife's coworkers might have it. The coworker got tested, but the results haven't come back yet.

And I'm freaking out. My mind's churning out worst case scenarios like crazy and I feel like I can't even rationalize them because... well, a nurse on a geriatric ward having Covid 19 could absolutely have a devastatingly terrible outcome.
I'm scared for the patients... and I'm scared for my wife.
She's at risk because of her asthma and some other stuff. At least I can somewhat keep the fear at bay because we don't know if her coworker actually has it, but there's a part of me that's already very terrified of her getting sick.

I feel so powerless. I did what I could, I left the house 4 times since a week before my country had us go into social distancing, I wore masks and washed my hands and disinfected...
But I can't control that. I can't control that nurses that should know better have meetings for pizza in the nurses room. I can't control that some of them didn't do social distancing right.

All I know is that two days ago, we went to see her risk patient cancer survivor mother for mother's day and what if we got her sick? What if my wife is going to lose both of her parents within slightly more than a year?
It's such a terrifying thought. I don't know how we'd deal with that... I know we could, somehow, because we're resiliant and made it through so many bad things but... I'd just rather not have anything happen.

Like, I'm slowly learning to deal with the anxiety and all the stuff left behind by my trauma but... that's over. That's something I can (somewhat) rationalize as being behind me.
But this? This is an ongoing mess and even if my city is doing really well despite everything, that doesn't matter if her coworker has it and got people sick before they caught on.

I also feel incredibly selfish. Others have actually lost people, other cities are dealing with so much... and my 360k city has had 17 deaths so far. But it just... hits different when the virus comes knocking at doors so close to home.

I'm going to do some anxiety fuelled cleaning now because I know that usually keeps me out of the worst thought spirals and helps when I feel powerless (because I'm still in control over my own surroundings) but this... this really wasn't what I needed right when I was slooooowly getting in control of my own mind.

And I feel so terrible for being so selfish. Just feel like going to bed and hiding under my blanket but I know that just makes me worse, so I'm not doing that at least. Small steps, right?