On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, January 7, 2010


My therapist agrees, PTSD. And then she asked, "how are you spending your grief engergy?"

I don't know. I absolutely can not figure out how I'm processing my grief.

I'm not overly angry or short tempered. I don't cry. I'm not depressed. I'm not losing sleep. I don't do drugs, I don't abuse alcohol. I don't do road-rage. I had those two minor panic attacks but I talked myself through them without incident. She asked if I'm overeating, I said, "hey, it's the holidays, of course!" and then I thought that it might be a possiblity so I told her to ask me again in a few weeks after the holiday food-love is over. She asked me about how it might be showing up in a few other areas but my answers were still either no or it might be possible but there are so many other facts it's hard to delinate if it's grief or just my nature. (because it goes without saying, I'm not the average Joe and my therapist and I have been over that too.)

So I'm back to square one, leaving therapy with a big question mark over my head. "How am I spending my grief energy?" because clearly, if I'm not grieving through all the nonsense with Sissy, then I'm not working toward healing. Clearly, helping myself means I have more of me to help Sissy. One begets the other but how do I process this emotion if I don't know how to?

Digging deeper... again.

Seriously, do other people spend this much energy on trying to be a better person?


Mama Drama Times Two said...

Other people may, but after a day of ferrying my kids to all their appointments, I am way too tired to spend any energy on trying to be a better person...I just want to reclaim a little of my old life. Your post on sitting down to quilt captured that feeling very well. I found your blog through WITH LOVE FROM SUMY. She follows me. I like the questions you ask at the end of your posts. I've read a few of your 2009 posts - but seriously. I must get to sleep.

Diana said...

BTDT! I think most of us who are raising tough kids are so used to giving our all and then being too tired to do anything but either veg or crash at the end of the day. Or, we're afraid to start crying because there's a tidal wave of emotion behind those tears and if we start crying, we may well never stop. And so we stuff the pain back down and move to auto-pilot mode. We don't think, we don't feel, we just do. No matter what, we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And then we crash from sheer exhaustion at the end of the day and get up the next morning and do it all again. And before long, we're completely numb and nothing phases us anymore.

And in the process of blocking and stuffing, we expend a tremendous amount of energy just trying to stay afloat in life.

We were talking about this very subject yesterday and asking how and where to start. Our therapist gave an excellent suggestion. Next time you get triggered, or activitated, or whatever, and you feel your body starting to tense up, or stop breathing temporarily, or you clench your jaw or lash out with misdirected anger or whatever you find yourself doing in the heat of a stressful moment, Stop.

Stop whatever you are doing right then and there and pay attention to your body. Pay attention to where it hurts. Look at other parts of your body. Is there tension in your shoulders or back or forehead or jaw that you weren't aware of?

Once you tell all those parts to relax, then take a look at the situation you were just in. Answer the following quesitons...At what point did things start going south? At what point did I start to tense up? What is it about this immediate situation that bothers me so much and caused me to tense up? What happened that triggered me? Have I ever experienced something like this before?

As you are answering those questions, either in your head or on paper, just sit with it for a bit and let yourself feel whatever comes...anger, sadness, grief, frustration, etc, and then keep on going. Ask yourself if you've hit the real reason you're so bugged. Once you hit a reason you might be triggered, look at that situation. Look at why you were so triggered then and keep repeating the process by going back as far as you need to. Keep allowing yourself to feel. Believe me, you'll know when you hit the real core issue - and when you get there, just keep on feeling. Let the feelings come as they will.

Now here's the part that may or may not surprise you. I bet you'll discover that what is really eating at you and is hurting you over and over and over again has absolutley nothing to do directly with Sissy. She just knows how to push your hot buttons. She knows how to get you riled up and she does it to keep you in a constant state of chaos. That way she knows you won't be trying to get close to her. And then she feels "safe". You don't, but she thinks she does, even though deep down inside she really doesn't.

Hope some of that made sense. I really need to go to bed.

Anonymous said...


Hello, my name's Jane and I am happy to meet you. I just came over from Foster Abba's blog. My husband Lew and I live on Long Island, New York, and are adoptive parents of a sibling pair who were 7 and 4 when they came to us. Toots, 15, has been in residential care for 3 1/2 years, and is now in an RTF (she couldn't be maintained in 2 RTC's and needs a higher level of supervision). Noodles, 12, is doing well; aside from mild learning disabilities he does not have issues. Just reading a couple of your posts shows me that we might have a lot to talk about. I used to blog, but have not done so in a long time; maybe I will start again in 2010. I am going to bookmark your blog and come back to read more of your story as soon as I have another free moment (hollow laugh).

P.S. I am posting as Anonymous because the system is saying my credentials can't be verified. But I promise I am not a troll.

Diana said...

Like I said, I've SOOO BTDT (been there, done that!) You will never regret starting on this journey. But, it is hard work - and it's going to feel a whole lot worse before it feels better. Keep going anyway. It will be SOOOO worth it in the end. I promise you with everything in me that it will be the best gift you'll EVER give yourself and your family.

There's several more posts over on my blog that you might be interested in reading. My hubs and I went through counseling together a year or so ago and we blogged a LOT aobut our healing journey at the time. There's a link to one of my favorite posts in my sidebar - it's titled "Miranda's Funeral".

I really need to update my blog because there are several other good posts as well, some of which were written by my husband, that need to be added to the sidebar for easier access. Until I have time to do it, though, you can find them under the label of "healing". I think you'll find the ones that are most relevant to where you are in your healing journey are quite a ways back, so I'd recommend reading the oldest posts first.

As they say at any good amusement park, "Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened, keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop, hold on tight, and have fun!" Yes, you've now boarded an emotional roller coaster ride, so head that advice...and also remember that you're not alone. :-)