Just the basics in life


When I was well enough I had entered in to the Victor Mager job re-entry program as mentioned before, we were given another assignment to do this was self-actualization needs which I would like to share with you here there were questions that I am going to highlight here that we had to answer and the ones not highlighted are my answers past and present.

My physical needs

Do you have enough to drink and eat

Back in 2008 when I was homeless I was beside myself not knowing where my next meal was coming from, luckily enough I was able to find many good resources. I had eaten in the same soup kitchen everyday having dinner for close to a month we had dinner at four pm and the people who I dined with at the table surprised me. Most of them either had a stroke of bad luck, gambled their money away even their house without their spouse or family knowing! and even people who had master degrees some of these people were actually quite smart and how they ended up homeless only god knows.Some other people had a mental Illness which is understandable and turning to drugs and alcohol as this is their only way of coping and because I have been homeless I understand why some, if not most have turned to that very thing. I am proud to say that it is something I have never done and don’t have any plans on doing so either.

Have you got adequate shelter? Are you comfortable enough in that environment?

Again in 2008 when I was homeless I saw many things that were a shock to my system literally I saw another side of life called homelessness. When I saw this for the first time I literally sat there and cried I wanted to end it all right then and there I was almost  ready to put myself in the psychiatric ward. I was able to have some help with a cheap motel room but still had no fixed address it was adequate and better than nothing I was grateful but was always concerned about what I was going to do the following month.

Do you have enough clothing

When I got to the west coast being Victoria BC where I became homeless all I came with was the clothes on my back with two totes in tow along with my sanity, at that point I wondered if I would ever get myself back on my feet again.

How many hours do you sleep at night on average?

Well, now I can honestly say that I am getting lots of rest and sleep however, because I am now sleeping almost ten hours per day I have to wonder if the sleep that I was lacking when I was homeless has finally caught up to me with sleeping so much. I was in my early forties when I became homeless my body has gone through many changes since that time and now I am not so sure if I were homeless again I could deal with it anymore, honestly at this point if that were to ever happen to me again I would more than likely put myself in the psychiatric ward and give myself a mental break from all the stress.

Do you engage in physical activity and what type?

When I was much younger I was always physically active roller skating, biking, swimming my friends could never find me reflecting back now those were some of the best years of my life. After I got married I no longer did any of the things that I had wanted to do always thinking the perfect housewife, anything I wanted to do was always put on the back burner. It has been almost thirty years, been divorced for twenty-seven of them, as much as I try to get into physical activity these days I just lack the motivation.

My safety and security needs

Do you have any concerns about your safety at home or at work within your environment and community?

I feel pretty safe where I am now in shelter  my two kids being the cats Keenie and Weston they give me unconditional love and bring much joy to my life, Colin, unfortunately at this point sadly I have to say from my point of view there is no hope for him as far as I am concerned he is on a suicide mission smoking himself to death and doing nothing about his current weight not to mention living in a very unhealthy environment which for me thank god I am now out of  and no longer have the burden of cleaning up the apartment, My Avon business has suffered now because of it and unfortunately have now lost most, if not all my clients.

As for safety issue at work the environment I work in is fine however, when I get off after eight pm a woman walking alone two blocks to the nearest bus stop in an industrial area no-one around and no- one other than truckers driving down the road I think this speaks for itself not to safe if you ask me.

Do you live in fear from harm and crime?

I feel pretty safe in shelter in this quiet residential neighborhood, the only time when I am in fear from harm and crime is when I must leave work by myself  and walk two blocks to the nearest bus stop.

My love and belonging needs

Do you feel adequately loved and wanted?

When I was living at home with my parents I felt very loved and very wanted I could not have asked for better parents my mother was especially protective of me I never really knew why until my mother and I started to get together on Sundays after my father passed away that was our day together and them my mom told me the story about my brother who would have been fifty-two my mother had a miscarriage long story but I will tell you about that at a later date my father Don loved me just as much.

Do I have enough people in my circle that I love?

Well, yes actually and although I have no family left to speak of, dont care for intimate relationships with the opposite sex anymore I’m only looking for companionship where I am able to share most things with  just a friendship and nothing more than that, Claudette my friend in Manitoba she will be 74 next year and Alan will be 64 in October next year also living in Manitoba and Rose  as well I call her my big sis I miss her so much and  I have learned many things from Rose, Claudette and Alan guidance which I can never thank them enough for.

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In a women’s shelter again!


I never thought I would see the day when I end up in a women’s shelter again but, here I am again on the receiving end. The room-mate who was a good friend of mine for twenty-six years well at this point there is no friendship I think to salvage any longer.

Unfortunately I have had to resort to being separated from my little boys (my cats) Keenie and Weston for a few weeks until I leave shelter, I had to call work today and cancel my shift and it looks like I will have to again tomorrow and one only knows what the future is going to hold for me now.

To tell you the story about what transpired over the Christmas holidays and even over the last few months I have asked Colin repeatedly to clean up after himself, not leave chicken bones on the floor and be careful with his pills yet again have ended up on the kitchen floor, I have also tried to help him with the grief of his mother he will not take any responsibility for his actions instead I find myself on the receiving end of the blame when I have not done anything and only tried to help him there is much more but why go on I’m sure you get the point that I’m trying to make here.

Christmas Eve I have no idea what triggered off  his anger at me but he turned around and yelled, screamed and was shouting at me not to mention threatened to kick me out of the house and up until yesterday when I had a police escort and Carolyn and Derek showed up to help me get the cats out of the apartment only when they showed up did all of this end and of course I had to look like the bad person and Colin in the good books typical abusive scenario.

My babies the kids Keenie and Weston are now in a pet resort on a vacation I love my kids so very much and miss them terribly but at least I know they are in a safe place now and me being in shelter at least there will be no more emotional/psychological abuse to deal with.

 

Another trip to the hospital


Hi Everyone:

It has been a while since I did my last post, it has been a very stressful week with many things happening here. As of Monday night yet again Colin, my room-mate is back in hospital only this time it is not an infection but rather blood clots in his lungs. Most of this week I have been beyond stressed out been cleaning this apartment from top to bottom rearranging many things like the apartment as well as packing up my boxes so as soon as there is a one bedroom apartment available I will be taking it, I am looking forward to moving out on my own again with my children (cats Kennie and Weston) and the stress of living here will hopefully be gone.

I am so worried about Colin,I have known him for twenty-six years and I have had a few times this week where I have cried endlessly not knowing if he will be returning home not knowing what his prognosis will be, not knowing what the future holds for Colin. He really has no clue how much people care about him. When we spoke briefly on Wednesday night after me coming home from work I was so upset because he told me that he does not think that anyone cares about him no matter how many times I have told him differently Colin still refuses to believe it so I guess what I say makes no difference I have tried everything to help Colin the end result for me always seems to be banging my head against a wall unfortunately for him he has now pushed me away which makes me very sad because it did not have to happen that way.

I called the Foothills hospital this evening and spoke with his nurse she gave me some updates he is now on oxygen with blood thinners  apparently very depressed because no-one has been visiting him which for me is frustrating I work during the week and do not get home until late, this weekend I was going to go up and visit with him but think I am starting to show signs of burn out with having to clean this entire apartment  do my laundry, try to catch up on my sleep with doing what seems to be endless amounts of dishes not to mention I have deliveries to make for my Avon clients and get my Avon campaign books out for delivery I have about three hundred of them to deliver.

Tomorrow being Sunday I plan to get much rest and do as little as possible except sleep, tonight I just finished doing my laundry and the third load of dirty dishes meaning all of Colin`s tupperware that has been stuffed away for I have no idea how long have to tell you it was disgusting I also need to get some groceries in the house so that I can do some cooking for my work week.

Trauma and how it has affected my life


I came across an article today about trauma and although it might be obvious to some people what trauma is, for others maybe not so obvious. Other people, like myself, years ago may second guess themselves as to what trauma really is and just plain think like I did and say to themself “oh I’m just over-reacting” it also did not help that people said the same thing to me, I guess if you hear it enough from others you begin to believe it too.

I am taking this article about trauma and writing about it here and to tell my story as well.

One in ten Canadians are living with the impacts of trauma I am one of them.These events cause terror, intense fear, horror, helplessness and physical stress reactions I continue to experience physical stress reactors to this day and when I get upset and stressed out I actually feel very sick.The impact of these events does not simply go away when they are over.Instead traumatic events are profound experiences that change the way children, adolescents and adults see themselves, the traumatic events that I have experienced in my life some of them still haunt me to this very day. I will talk of those at a later date.

A traumatic event involves a single experience, or enduring or repeated events,that completely overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved in that experience, traumatic events are beyond a persons control. It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone but the persons experience of the event.

Events that cause trauma

Homelessness, which I have experienced, when you have experienced this I can assure you it will change the way you look at a homeless person you will not treat them the same.

Sexual abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse and lastly psychological abuse which unfortunately I have also been on the receiving end this one is really hard to deal with.

Rape from a person I did not know and honestly I thought my life was over.

Neglect,In my case I was on the receiving end of this when I became pregnant twenty-six years ago from my now former husband It was like I was just a maid he never cared about me looking back in retrospect.Long story, this subject will be on a different blog.

These are just some events that cause trauma with lingering effects that I, myself, have experienced.

Many people, like myself, have survived these types of events and still feel the impact and sometimes compromising my way of life. Because the traumatic experience was so terrible, it is normal for people to block experiences from memory I have done this, or try to avoid any reminders of the trauma like I have done with my father’s death,and to this day I still do not remember what happened after the church service and with my first newborn baby, to this very day if I hear one cry I get very upset and have to leave the room as this is a reminder of one of the children that I did have but died. Consequences of these survival mechanisms are a lack of integration of the traumatic experience, such that it becomes the experience in a person’s life. The lack of processing of the trauma means that it is ever-present for the survivor, and they feel as if the trauma happened yesterday when it could have been months or many years later in my case twenty-six.

The impact of traumatic events

The impact of traumatic events is felt physically, emotionally, behavioral, cognitively and spiritually I am living proof of that. Tthis is normal, and is the body’s way of coping with very difficult emotions. Talking about traumatic experiences is very hard and takes courage to speak up about.It has taken me years to open up and talk about what has happened to me I am now finally able to open up about things to hopefully help others who may have or are in the same situation remember this:

  • It is not your fault
  • You have survived I am living proof
  • Healing is possible look for resources in your neighborhood talk to friends and family that you can trust go to a counsellor/psychiatrist anything, the help is there to overcome these issues please use them as I have

Experiencing trauma changes people it did me, you may worry that you will never feel normal again that’s what I thought.Healing is the road to feeling normal and grounded. This journey is different for everyone,but the result is still the same being able to feel whole again.

Here are some myths and truths about Trauma which you may have already heard

Myth one

It happened a long time ago, time heals all wounds, you need to get over it.

The truth is I have had this said to me so many times and quite honestly so sick and tired of hearing it. It’s not that easy to do and I never exaggerate. The fact is trauma survivors rarely exaggerate their feelings and experiences. Just finding the courage to talk  about it can take years like it has taken me.I was afraid of being disbelieved and blamed  for the terrible experiences that we are powerless to prevent like I have.

Myth two 

You are exaggerating how bad it was to get attention and blame other people for your problems.

The truth is I don’t exaggerate and blame others for my problems many times people told me “you bring it on yourself” that is garbage plain and simple I have since realized that people I have before reached out to that said that well I no longer associate with any of them to me they are “toxic people” to my mental health. The fact is the impacts of traumatic events are often delayed  because people banish the memories from their consciousness like I have as this is a way to survive. By the time  people actually feel the full impact it could be many years since the trauma occurred which happened here in my case.

Myth three

You will never really be normal again.

The truth is If you hear  that very thing you may start to belive it I was starting to wonder what normal really was I could not see the forest for the trees meaning when you are in the moment  you don’t see things from an outsiders point of view. The fact is  trauma survivors may become stronger  and more resilient as a result of surviving and healing from their experiences. For me, this is the case, many years ago I never thought I would be writing like this not to mention trying to get through a day I am now so glad that I am able to write about these issues, not cry anymore and be able to reach out to others who might be going through this type of thing now or have before perhaps even saving ones life.

 Myth four

Once you get on the right medication you will be fine.

The truth is at least in my case, medication was not the only thing that I needed. I needed the counselling which is what I received when I finally arrived at Alpha House in Winnipeg four days a week intense counselling for almost an entire year along with medication to help me sleep at night which I still have to take to this very day otherwise I will not sleep and not be able to work the next day. The fact is medication is only one option for people in healing from the impacts of trauma. Healing is the process that involves time, and happens in partnership with supportive and understanding friends, family, community and helping professionals which luckily after years of searching and moving to a different province I was able to find through Alpha House and Nova House in Selkirk Manitoba. I will be forever grateful to them.

There are options available to begin the healing process please use them

  • Your nearest mental health association they can give you many resources
  • Talk about it like I have here, Trauma must be talked about  and brought out into the open. This is one of the most important steps  on the road to healing. It is also one of the hardest things to do belive me I know. Talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with is a way to let some of the difficult  feelings out. Talking to someone who has experienced trauma  is a great way to get support and will give you a safe place to learn that you are not alone like I was. Other people are living with the same difficulties and its normal.
  • Get counselling find yourself a good counsellor check online for reviews. Counsellors are there to give you a safe place to begin or continue  your healing process. You deserve a space where you will be heard, not judged and accepted for who you are  despite what you’ve been through. Counselling is a place  where you can start to work on issues that are keeping you stuck.

How to recognize self-sabotage are you doing it?


Sabotage is:

Conscious or unconscious damage done to self by self.

Self-defeating behaviors.

Hampering ones own progress or recovery.

Refusing to grow and change.

I am glad that when I was in Alpha House I was given this article it made me think.

  • “Yes, but” using one excuse after another about why others suggestions won’t work for you.
  • “I’m different” seeing yourself as different, worse, or more complicated than others and because of that, strategies that work for others just wont work for you.
  • “Making the rounds” going from one person, helper or treatment to another, discounting what each says, looking for the answer you want to hear.
  • “Stacking the evidence” Only looking for evidence of how a treatment or suggestion may not work, while ignoring any evidence of how it does help.
  • “Negative comparisons” Comparing yourself to others in a negative way.
  • “No way” Refusing to consider new evidence, try new ideas or take any risks.

So ask yourself these questions

  • In which ways do I sabotage?
  • Why do I sabotage?
  • If you sabotage  then how will I go about making the following changes?

When you feel like giving up read this


I have had so many times where I felt like giving up and then like this saying says why have I held on so long? My answer, I’v come this far why give up now and that god will never dish you out anything that you are not able to handle so hang in there.

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Words of wisdom


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Things that I used to do to cope and survive


There are many ways that people deal with stress, and cope everyday, for me back in Sept 2009 after leaving my last relationship because my partner changed and at the end getting a hold of my throat and trying to choke me I ended up homeless living on the street trying to keep myself sane, it was so hard to the point I dread waking up.

There were many ways I dealt with my stress here are some of them:

My eating was a real problem, I had no appetite the sight of food used to make me just gag even the smell of it believe me when I tell you I lived off nothing but junk food and most days I would eat nothing at all it’s amazing I’m still here to tell the story.

Alcohol and drugs, I have never done either of these but came very close to doing so as a way of coping and now because I have been homeless I now have a deeper appreciation for the people who are and have a greater understanding about why homeless people turn to alcohol and drugs.

Self-neglect, You know I was at such a low point in my life I just did not care about anything whatsoever, in fact I was living in Victoria BC when I took a transit bus to the beach and started to walk into the ocean and to this very day I still do not remember what happened after that all that I remember was I had suffered from post traumatic syndrome for some time sad state of affairs.

Criticize myself, looking back, I really was my own worst enemy I did not feel like I was worth anything, thought of myself as a useless piece of trash should have, could have, would have kind of attitude on the path of self-destruction.

Keeping busy, when I was suffering from depression and still do to this very day, I keep busy to the point where people have to call me on my cell phone because they are unable to find me and I even drive my room-mate crazy because when I start cleaning and doing other things I will not stop even though my room-mate tells me to stop and take a breath I still keep going like a Duracell battery no joke.

Self-conscious, I have always been the type that is very self-conscious when people look at me I think whats wrong is my make-up on wrong, not color coördinated among other things, I guess I’m so used to being insulted that honestly I do not know any different.

Isolate myself, after all the things I had been through being in many shelters, homeless and then finally settling into Alpha House in Winnipeg, Manitoba I began to isolate myself from people sleeping most days away watching television at night the only time people saw me in Alpha House was when we had to go to counselling sessions the women’s group being the hardest.

Nail biting, although this is yet another way of how some people cope, for me, I have always had this nervous habit since I was young and still do to this very day.

Overeat, when I finally made it to Alpha House I was able to settle down for the most part keeping a regular sleep routine and doing a-lot of reading and overeating whatever was in sight I ate.

Call in sick to work, when I was finally able to start working a part-time job in Winnipeg it took everything I had to even walk out the door. I  did not feel like going to work and  still dealing with depression my job didn’t last long as I found myself calling into work most days and finally gave up.

Cleaning everything , this is something that I still do to this very day when ever I am upset.

People pleaser, I was one of these kind of people doing things people wanted me to do all the time ,  just to get acceptance I took a good hard look at myself  and found all I ever did was get walked on thankfully Alpha House changed all that as my outlook is much different now it’s not my problem if people don’t like me it’s their loss.

Cry,  when I left my partner in Sept 2009 from that point on I had many times where I would cry myself to sleep, feeling depressed, feeling so alone wishing the days would be over.

Counselling,  when I was going through all this trauma I went to counsellors hopefully to try to help me get through this and one counsellor told me “get over it” well after that comment  I never talked to another counsellor until I got to Alpha House.

Bottle everything up, this is exactly what I did for many years and now that I am much older I am paying dearly for it as I have many health problems now so learn from me do not bottle things up because it will only give you health problems in the end talk to a good close friend.

Completely shut down, this was me I became very numb did not care about anything pretty much,  lost everything I ever had and to the point where I wished I had not awaken the next day not to mention loosing my sanity in the process.

Break out into a rash, this was a constant thing for me and because I kept everything bottled up I paid for it by loosing some of my hair and breaking into rashes .

The Self-Esteem Checklist


Hi Everyone:

I came across something very interesting today, when I was in the one of many women’s shelters the last one having been Alpha House in Winnipeg, Manitoba every Monday we would have what they called women’s group.

During our three hours every Monday we were to do an assignment for the following week here is one of them about self-esteem, after doing this assignment I took a hard look at myself and have to tell you was my self-esteem ever low.

(A) Rate how much you believe each statement  from 0-10

0 means you completely disbelieve it  and 10 means you think it is completely true

(1) I am a worthwhile person

(2) I am as valuable as a person as anyone else.

(3) I have the qualities I need to live well.

(4)When I look into my eyes in the mirror I have a pleasant feeling.

(5) I don’t feel like a failure overall.

(6) I can laugh at myself.

(7) I am happy to be me.

(8) I like myself, even when others reject me.

(9) I love and support myself, regardless of what happens.

(10) I am generally satisfied with the way I am developing as a person.

(11) I respect myself.

(12) I’d rather be me than someone else.

  • Then go ahead and total them

(B) Rate your self-esteem on a percentage scale between zero to one hundred percent where 0 is total lack of self-esteem and 100 means total fullness of self-esteem

  • Your response

(C) How often do you feel restricted  in your daily activities because of difficulties with self-esteem

1 always

2 often

3 sometimes

4 rarely

5 never

  • Your response

(D) How serious is your problem with self-esteem

1 no problem

2 mild

3 moderate

4 severe

5 extremely severely

6 incapacitating

  • Your response

I hope for all of you who did take the self-esteem checklist found it interesting as I did and gave you some insight as to where your self-esteem lies.

Happiness comes from within ourselves


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