When Nobody’s There

When the only person left to talk to is the Crisis Hotline and they’re basically a robot…

The last few months have been hard. Really hard. I don’t want to attribute it to anything in particular because quite honestly, I think it’s been a slew of things that just keep building. Work. Past memories coming back ten-fold. Lack of people to talk to. Not having a set schedule while having an excess of work, not feeling like I have a purpose, Etc. The list just seems to grow…but also seems so juvenile.

People ask why I don’t reach out to my support system…and if you read my last post, it’s not as existent as it used to be. Only one of the 3 are now available emotionally for me. I have reached out and she know’s I’m struggling. She is doing the best she can on her own to help me…but she’s exhausted too. And quite frankly I would never expect her to hold all of this when she doesn’t have the space. She’s been honest with me about where she is and has expressed her desire to know and help…but is limited right now. And that’s ok.

All of that to say that I’m so far past empty that I just can’t. I don’t have the $ or insurance for a therapist (which is why I do rely on her for emotional support, since the other two haven’t had the space) so I decided to reach out to the Crisis Hotline.

I’ve texted them before, in the past, and had the same experience but hoped this one would be different. I texted because I’ve been in a space where all I’ve wanted to do is stop breathing. Stop moving. But I also know that I am not ready to die. I do love my people here and my dog and DO have things to live for…but I just need everything around me to stop for a minute. Someone to talk to. To get it out. To stop feeling so dead.

So, I texted them and right away got an automated response letting me know that yes, it’s a real service and asking what’s on my mind. So I engaged in hopes of finally talking. They said they were going to get a crisis counselor…and they did. I tried, I really did. I explained what was happening and why I just wanted to stop. I opened up.But each response was calculated and almost automated…and the time between text and response was forever, so I gave up. Just like I did last time…I lied and said I wasn’t suicidal anymore and just shoved it all back in, took some ibuprofen and had a drink. And now, I sleep…and tomorrow will be another day.

Quick Hello

It’s been a while. Though I’ve continuously written at a personal level, for my own sake, I’ve greatly neglected this blog. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing here, it just feels like who and where I was when I started this chronicle is so different than who I am today, even though so many of the struggles still exist. I don’t know what to write about anymore…I don’t know who my target audience is. And, also, life. So, it’s not that I’ve not been writing, I have, I just haven’t shared. SO if I even have followers still, hello and I’m sorry! I thank you greatly for sticking around.

As for an update… I’d like to say that since the last 2 times I’ve posted life has taken off and everything is grand and green. It has, and it is…but it is also overwhelming and black more often than I’d like to admit… especially right now as the reunion of my being removed from my bio family. And taxes. And work. I finally graduated and have since applied to easily over 100 jobs with each response being that I’m not qualified or I’m too qualified, I’m too fresh out of school, someone else will do it cheaper… SO as it stands I work a lot of freelance. It keeps me busy as at the moment I have 4 clients.. however, busy doesn’t always = money. So that’s a big issue I’ve run into lately. And it’s not that I wont work at job outside of my field it’s that I’ve tried to avoid it as long as possible while maintaining my bills and necessities. That said, I’m now seeking full time employment outside of my degreed career because being -$400 in the hole is not really feasible.

This is my life right now… working over 40 hours a week between 4 jobs/clients and unable to pay even the necessities in bills. BUT aside from that life really is actually good. My support system has shrunk…but over the past year I’ve learned to really understand the importance of connection, love, and understanding. I’ve had 2 of my support people essentially drop off the radar and only re-appear when it’s convenient for them…usually with the excuse: LIFE. I’ve learned that my emotional health and ability to stay regulated is more important than a strenuous relationship. I HAVE NOT learned how to tell these people this to their faces and that is hard. I occasionally feel the need to discuss with them the descent of our relationship and how hard it’s been… but most of the time i lean on the people that’ve really stuck by me and soak in their love.

Life IS good. It’s hard and messy and sometimes I still feel like it’s too much, but slowly, it’s becoming manageable, comfortable and full of love!

Because I Fear

It’s three AM and I’m startled awake. I start to cry, unsure of my surroundings and the chaos around me. My moms got a gun in her hand and she’s screaming. Her words are jumbled but frightened and angry and I panic. I scramble to find the light and gather my sisters to safety…only there is no safety.

It’s three AM, he’s outside. Ravenous. Screaming and crying he’s tearing things apart. Sitting in the truck we watch as he lifts the trampoline and throws it. Storming to the pool he shoots. No one is there. No one is ever there.

It’s three AM in the back seat of a truck. Sleeping, she stirs. Awoken by the click of a gun, she cries. My mom, fierce with anger, puts the gun to her head. We cry, my sisters and I, because she’s not afraid to pull the trigger.

More often than not, I wake to find myself safe and warm with my dog by my side. Body trembling and tears flowing I sit up, look around, and remind myself that I don’t live there anymore. I hug my dog and lay back down but I don’t go back to sleep.

Of all the issues I’ve chosen to work on, these are the ones that I keep hidden. They are the ones I fear the most. Attachment is hard, it’s terrifying. So is relationships and emotional regulation. Those things I thought would kill me have slowly become easier. Besides 2 of the people in which I hold a relationship essentially hating each other right now and me feeling like I constantly have to choose between the 2 and not allow the 3rd to make them feel even more distanced, I’ve learned to live in and maintain a connected relationship. But again, those issues are now manageable. I fear the day I move forward to working through the depths of abuse that was inflicted on my siblings and I. Things were ugly and I fear doing it alone. I fear that it will trigger some of the relationship/attachment issues I’ve worked so hard to overcome. I fear that parts of me will be reminded of the pleasure my abusers took from hurting us and want to hurt others. I fear that I will unleash a deep, dark pit that engulfs me and I’ll drown. So, for now, I lay that fear to rest and remind myself most nights that I am safe, I am loved, and I am well.

Living Up to Society

Sometimes, I feel like the hardest part of healing is adapting to more socially acceptable behaviors and changing your mindset to reflect the new behaviors.

Being born into and growing up in filth and chaos you learn that hygiene isn’t really important and it doesn’t take the most fancy clothes or food to keep you happy. It teaches you that violence is the answer, anger is key, and if you don’t feel ok numb it out. It teaches you that what other people think of you matters but you can’t let it show.

Despite my moms drug addiction she had a major issue with germs and dirt, which now when I think about it it is kind of an oxymoron. She was constantly cleaning our house or tending to her rose bushes. We knew how to make our beds and clean our rooms by the time we were in toddler beds and were required to do so every morning. We showered daily and wore nice, unstained clothes and shoes that were without holes. Our hair was done and we went to school like any other kid.

Even though these things seem normal and good, she intensified them. She took them to the extreme. Our house wasn’t really spotless, in fact it wasn’t even clean. She was cleaning a lot, but only the pathway from the front to the basement, where company came through. Our beds were made and the counters wiped, so the appearance of cleanliness was there but I can’t tell you the number of times I saw a mouse or a rat jump out of the cupboard. What little food we did have was 1/2 eaten by those rodents.  Our daily showers were because she refused to touch us if we were filthy and were administered by her; often times resulting in raw skin, especially around the feet, ears, and hands. This lasted until I was 6 or so, and then we really didn’t shower unless we were going somewhere important. Or our laundry room, where the piles grew and grew but were never washed had a small trail to the washer and dryer where those unstained clothes were washed and we only wore those to school. Everything else we wore was taken from those big piles. Everything my mom wore was taken from those piles…and never washed. So many times my brothers and I would  scour for food in unclean places. When my mom did cook, it made us really sick. Our life wasn’t clean but she made sure that the outside world thought it was.

Healing means that I have to take my moms external appearance, the thing that society wants, and put it into action. But it’s not comfortable. 10 years ago I was taken out of that mess and still today it feels more comfortable to wear clothes that haven’t been washed in weeks. I hate to shower so take them as little as possible. When I’m dysregulated or not feeling well, I still prefer the dirty floor to my bed. My immediate reaction to pretty much anything, including good things, is still anger and more time than not my thoughts are still really dark. I still feel like hurting things and people, especially when I’m angry. And most of the time, I’d prefer leftovers or fast food over home cooked food.

So much of my internal world remains the same as it did 10 years ago but externally I’m able to function as society wishes. The things I do now don’t come naturally and I’m constantly having to remind myself to do them. They are becoming easier as I immerse myself into a cleaner/healthier environment with more healthy people, and as I practice them my heart begins to open. I’ve learned what it feels like to have a healthy relationship and my heart has opened enough to allow a select few people in. So even though learning to function like society is the hardest thing I’ve done, it’s also the best because it has opened me up to greater people and things and has allowed me to discover the good parts of myself. I’m not ideal, but I’m getting there.

Becoming Real

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

As a child I read the Velveteen Rabbit over and over and continuously got hung up on this quote. I longed to be real, to be loved. I thought that I could will the love through hope and through constantly repeating it. And so, for years I hung on to it. I told myself every time I was moved that love would come and that when it did, I would finally be loved enough to be real. As adoptions started failing I told myself that just like toys it takes time to fall in love.

And then I moved. I came to a new state and fell into the hearts of the only people I knew here. I took off my rose colored glasses and instead of hoping love would come, I tried forcing it. I didn’t want to wait anymore. I wanted so badly to be real because I felt so broken and so damaged.

And then something strange happened. Instead of kicking me out or telling me that I wasn’t worth the effort, the people here pulled me closer. They told me that despite me knowing it I was already loved. Instead of asking me to stop being me, they encouraged me to let every bit of who I am out.

And then something even stranger happened. I started to be real. My Velveteen dream started coming true and I started feeling loved, truly loved. And bit by bit I can feel myself becoming real. It’s forced me to sometimes forget that I come from trauma and that for years I lived in fear of what was to come. Instead, the fear and constant reminders have slowly been replaced with a little bit of authentic laughter.  I started longing for connection and became more afraid of people leaving then people coming. I sometimes forget that statistics say I’m supposed to be miserable and I live.

It doesn’t always last, infact often times it’s just mere moments. But there are moments and each moment grows in lenght and authenticity and that gives me hope that one day I will be real.

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

 

 

Reversal P.2

POW·ER /pou(ə)r/: the ability to do something or
act in a particular way

When one is in complete and full control of their mind and their body, they become invincible. Personal power is one of the greatest tools we as human beings have been gifted with. However, it is also one of the easiest things we own to give away and happens much too often.

I have been asked so many times why I am choosing to dissolve my adoption and remove my adoptive families name from my birth certificate. I have been scorned for not being thankful enough to them for taking me in when I was about to age out and asked what they did for me to hate them so much. I have been told that though some thought I was healing this is a clear sign that I’m not, that RAD is still a prevelant and life controling diagnosis in my life. And so to sum it all up and set it all straight, me doing this is about my personal power.

My entire life I’ve lived under people who have taken my power and replaced it with fear. I’ve allowed others to tell me who I should/shouldn’t like. I’ve let others tell me that I’m worthless and that I need to be a specific person who does specific things and acts a specific way. Up until the last few years, I didn’t even know I could have my own power. I thought that life was meant to be controlled by someone else. I was sure that if I didn’t find someone to make those decisions for me, I wouldn’t be ok.

Present day, I am working on claiming my power. I am learning to become who I want to be and who more perfectly aligns with my soul. As I work towards full personal power, I realize that my bio family wasn’t ok. Every person in that family thrived on other peoples failure and pain. I realize that with the personal power that I’m obtaining, I can release the desire to feed on others pain and despiration. And as I move forward, I realize that when I chose to be adopted I was seeking someone to continue taking my power. I found that. I found a family that wanted me to be a part of their family and to be a someone. They thrived on that too. They continue to thrive on that as they try to make decisions for me and belittle me. Until I asked them for a reversal, they were still discouraging me from persuing a life outside of the church…something I’d done 7 years ago. I sought someone to control me and they did just that. I gave them my power, and they kept it.

So, I’m choosing reversal because I have the power to finally decide for myself what is or isn’t good for me. I get to choose whether or not those who fail to empower me, in a positive way, stay in my life. It is unfortunate for them as they were doing the best they knew how. But they weren’t able to empower me. They chose to continue to thrive on my failures. It doesn’t take away from the good things they did for me and the love that they did show me. It doesn’t mean that I’m ungrateful for them and for the step forward they gave me in life. It simply means that I am no longer giving my power away to those who thrive off of it. It means that I choose to let go of the anger that they couldn’t empower me, and that we aren’t each otehrs people. I get to learn to empower myself. I’m starting fresh. I’m learning to create myself.

Adoptee Rights: Personal Power

I never imagined I’d start a series on adoptee rights, but alas, here I am writing part one.

As an older adoptee, what I knew of adoptee rights, mine never seemed relevant. I know who my birth parents are, though my birth certificate was altered and I was angry about it I still have a copy of my original, I know my mental and medical history, and I’ve always had the choice to have contact with my birth family. In the way of rights, I was lucky. Well, really, in the way of adoption I was lucky because most kids are deemed unadoptable once they hit their teen years. In any case, the most commonly debated of my rights, I already had.

As I enter into the end stage of this adoption my eyes are being opened to how few rights we as adoptees actually have. Though in a perfect world it would make sense that adoptees not have the right to reverse an adoption, in the world we live in, it doesn’t. In a perfect world, adoptees would blend into their new family and the family, as a whole, would accept the child and treat them as their own and vice versa. There would be no separation in support offered. In a perfect world, parents and adoptees would continue to receive support after adoption to ensure that the adoption is continuously running within the “normal family” range. Well, in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t actually be necessary. But we live in a not so perfect world and unfortunately there are adoptions that fail every single day. Often times, it’s pinned on the child for not being able to adapt into family life. Sometimes for not enough support or services. Sometimes because the parents aren’t actually suited to be a parent and the children are taken. However, sometimes they fail and no one knows. Sometimes they fail and it’s kept a secret from the rest of the extended family and world. The relationship remains a toxic mess where neither the child nor the parent is happy or healthy.

Queue my and many other adoptees issue: reversing the adoption. As adoptees, we don’t have the right to do that. I have contacted lawyers and adoption agencies and the only answers I have been given are that either another family has to adopt me or my adoptive parents have to reverse it. It doesn’t matter that I am an adult, or that I was only a part of their family for a little over a year before I was sent out to live on my own, with no support. It doesn’t matter that things weren’t good for the majority of the time I was there, due to issues on both my end and theirs. All that matters is that when I was 17.5 the state changed my records to reflect that I was born to people who didn’t know I existed until I was 16. And as I wait for their response to my request for reversal, I know that if they say no then I have one other option, and it’s not an option. And when I fight it, from those who’ve never been adopted I get, “well a biological child doesn’t have the right to just divorce their parents. “ And they are right…but a biological child never had the issue of being adopted thrust upon them. They didn’t live not knowing.

As I move forward, I hope to connect with more adoptees searching to do the same thing as I. Not out of hate or anger, but out of necessity. I hope to connect with other adoptees who not only want access to their befores, but access to their afters without this huge barrier hanging over their heads. I want adoptees to feel like they aren’t less than or like they have no power. I want to empower other adoptees that are afraid to take their personal power and their life back.

Reversal P.1

Life’s busy. I am currently seeking an attorney or an adoption agency to help me complete an adoption reversal. There are so many factors that have gone into this decision and many long nights working through the “but what if’s” and “is it worth it’s?” I’ve written many pro-con lists and benefit-risk lists and it’s all come down to this decision, 100%.

Let me explain. My adoptive family is not a bad family. They are not bad people. They are good people with a good, strong family unit. Nearly 7 years ago, they brought me into that family by standing in front of a judge, despite the many warnings not to, and swore to be my family forever. 6 years ago, they sent me to school and 4 ½ years ago they asked me to never return home with the threat that I’d be institutionalized if I did.

While in their home, I did not connect with them but instead did what I knew how to and shut down. I shut them out because living in a family that I didn’t understand was just too big. To them my shut down looked like a lack of trying, disrespectful, and me not wanting to be a part of the family. That was hard for them and they shut down too. Things got bad and we all said some really hurtful things to which I was no longer allowed to talk to anyone in the family, for weeks. I shut down more, until I left for school and they were contemplating dissolving the adoption.

Fast forward a year and I’d moved to the other side of the country to work a job I was not fit for. Multiple times I reached out to them to ask them for help and to explain that I couldn’t do this job for fear of the people involved. I reached out because I knew that if I didn’t leave, I would become violent and I was unwilling to do that. Eventually I stopped reaching out for their help and quit the job and an hour later received the call to never return home or I’d be institutionalized. That they would not have someone in their family who has thoughts of hurting anyone and that I needed serious help; they were done.

Fast forward 4 ½ years later and here I am, sitting in my own apartment, 3 years into school with 2 jobs and doing really well. I’ve advocated for myself and for my healing for the past 7 years without their help. As a minor I looked for months for a residential that would take me and help me learn to manage what trauma still remained only to be turned away and told it was too late. I’ve moved to a new state where I’ve managed to find 5 people to help me walk through the trauma and hard times. I’ve worked everyday for 4 years to get rid of the demons that are inside of me and have learned in that time how to work within a family. I’ve done all of this without the help of my adoptive family. The little help I have asked for has been denied with the answer, “we did it, so can you.” All the while they continue to support their other adult child through his medical/mental health and schooling. When I succeed, their response is surprise. In the past 4 years, I have visited them twice on my own accord while they’ve yet to even offer a trip. All the while, they travel the same 14 hours to watch their other son play his sports. They don’t call, text or email and neither do I.

The one thing that has stuck out most from all of my adoptive mom and my conversations is her telling me that it’s not her job to help me through my darkness, that is what I have a therapist for. That she adopted a daughter to have a friend, a daughter, not this. As I left my hometown last month, I realized that statement has never rung truer, that now that I’ve worked through some of my biggest darkness’s she wants to jump back into a relationship. Now that the hard work is done, she’s ready to be in my life. But I can’t. I didn’t get adopted to have a friend. I got adopted because I needed a family that would stick with me through everything. Who would support me through my life and be there when I needed people to celebrate my accomplishments or grieve my failures. I got adopted because I needed a mom to teach me how to become a woman and a father to teach me the value of work and caring. Together, teaching me compassion, love, sorrow, and responsibility. I’ve learned those things in the last 4 years, but it wasn’t from them. They are good people, but they are not my people, and because of that, I’m reversing my adoption.

Solitude

I used to think that I’d get over shutting down, eventually. When I moved here, I hoped that this would be the place that would make me feel so alive that I didn’t need to shut down. It isn’t. The truth is, I don’t know that one single place has the power to do that. When I struggle, I shut down. When I’m tired, I shut down. When I start to feel emotions, I shut down. When I’m bored, I shut down. It’s my go to thing to feeling safe. I get to disappear into a world so deep inside of me that no one can find me and find solitude and quiet. For a little bit, the world gets to be quiet and though people continue to talk to me and I to them, I don’t hear it. Though I continue to move through my routine and do the things I need to do, I don’t see it. For the time, I get to choose where I am and who is with me and what I want to do. When I first moved here Bailey was good at recognizing when I’d gone versus when I switched, same with Grace. As they started questioning it, I started hiding it more and more until they stopped asking. It became easy enough for me to disappear and still function at a level that seemed stable. But then I started going to school and it all fell apart. At school, I can shut down and it bothers no one. I don’t live with people I must connect with there, so I know it’s safe for me to completely shut down, and it scares me because it’s coming to the point of when I first arrived. Then when summer comes I’m tossed back into a home where I am needed to connect. I choose to be here, and I choose to work to connect, but I realize how much harder it is to be in relationship than out. I have this need, when I am in connection, to be in constant connection. It’s hard for me when I’m not because my brain forgets people who I’m not connecting with, even if it’s for the day. Lately, all the “grown up’s” have been especially busy so their ability to connect has been far less; to the point I struggle daily to remember them. So, without realizing it, I slipped back into major shut down mode. It wasn’t until recently when Grace brought it to my attention that I knew, and then made the conscious decision to stay gone. Healing is hard and by expecting these people to be available all the time is unrealistic and hurtful to them. But I don’t know how to be okay with that either. So shutting down makes it bareable. It makes knowing that if they leave, I don’t have the emotional tie to them. I have been getting much closer to Grace as of late and my heart tugs in directions that I can’t allow it. It wants her to be my mom; it wants her to love me like my mom was supposed to. And she can’t. She has a life and I’m an adult. She and her partner have opened their hearts to me but just as most of the adults can only open it so far. And so I shut down. I don’t know what else to do. I need a cure for this, but the quiet, the solitude; the lack of pain feels so good.

Forgetting

One of the hardest things to do is to have a conversation with someone you don’t know, or more specifically don’t remember. What’s even harder is that just days prior you spent the weekend with this person and talk to them daily. It feels like what I can only imagine amnesia to feel. It’s awkward to be conversing and working to remember this person all at once. This happens a lot for me. I forget people. Unless I am thinking of them or talk with them multiple times a day, I forget who they are, what role they play(ed) in my life, what they like to do, etc. I forget everything. And when they strike a conversation and act like we’ve known each other for years, it’s hard. It’s confusing. After a while I’m able to remember them again, but it takes some time. Forgetting the people I forget seems impossible. The people I forget are those that have made and continue to make an impact on my life. They are people like my mom, Bailey, Becca, Grace. They are the people who are so close to me, that losing them is too much. I have forgotten my mom on multiple occasions and have struggled to reclaim what memories I do have of her. I continuously forget Bailey during the school year when she is busy with work and I am busy with school. I have forgotten Becca throughout most of this year and struggle to pull back memories when we do converse. I have forgotten Grace over and over since this semester has begun. It takes so much of what little I do have to sit down and remember these people every day, which seems impossible, as these are the people who pour their heart into me. It seems selfish to say I don’t have enough in me to even sit and remember them. It’s frustrating. I can’t imagine if they knew it’d feel okay to them. But it’s how I cope. Its how my brain and body trained itself as a child to not be hurt every time my mom left. It’s how I live day to day without melting down or freaking out. It’s how I manage. I opened my heart enough to allow them in and the idea of them leaving or me losing them seems too big. Just like when I was a child, I’ve learned to subconsciously shut the people who are there for me out of my mind when they are gone so that I don’t get hurt. It doesn’t hurt until I hear from them or we have a conversation. It doesn’t feel bad until I realize that I’ve forgotten them. My heart moves on and my life continues. Perhaps this is one of my biggest hurtles that I must overcome in order to truly connect with people. Maybe I keep making excuses to not work on this because I worry my heart will inevitably be broken, again. I don’t know…because it seems impossible to just forget the people you know love you. It seems impossible to talk to them one day and then completely forget them the next, and yet I do. Sometimes coping skills are beautiful, sometimes they are hurtful, some times they are both…