Yesterday, I received a phone call from someone I barely know. His name is John and he’s from the same hometown I’m from and we share some mutual friends. I’ve interacted with him a couple of times over a span of about 5 years, maybe more. It started with a direct message on my Instagram account. It read:
After reading this message, my first thoughts were, ‘Why me?’ ‘Since when do I give good advice?’ ‘Why does he think I’m so intelligent?’ ‘What if he’s in trouble?’. I didn’t mind at all that he reached out to me but honestly, I was a little hesitant. The deciding thought came over me, that it doesn’t hurt to at least hear him out and offer some advice, if I had any at all. So I gave him my number. Not even 5 seconds later my phone starts ringing and I do the whole deep breath and smile thing before I hit the green button to initiate the conversation. He had a lot to say, and was going through some issues at like 50 mph. Some issues that I think were pretty common, I felt like I could help him. I told him to breathe and stayed on the phone with him. Before we really got into his issues, he thanked me for even giving him the opportunity to vent. He went on to say things like “I see the things you post on Facebook and Instagram & you just seem so well put together and it seems like you have a good head on your shoulders.”
This is the part of the blog where I cut John out of the story… because my mind started racing at 50 mph when he said this.
The keyword here is “seem”. Maybe I do “seem” so well put together and maybe I do “seem” like I have a good head on my shoulders. Maybe not to everyone, but to most. But we all know that not everything that’s posted online is the truth, now is it? Not so long ago, I had a really “bad habit” of posting whatever the hell I wanted on Facebook. That means every mean, sarcastic, insulting thought that ran through my mind somehow managed to go straight to my thumbs and onto social media. I would post status after status about how I don’t understand people and share my anger on my friend’s news-feeds. I would constantly be getting messages from my family about their disagreements with my posts and we would butt heads about it. It was a cycle I quickly grew bored of.
My anger hasn’t always been an issue, but it’s an issue, nonetheless. Lashing out online was just another act of my impulsive mental disorder. Yup, I said it, Mental. Disorder. Where my mentally effed up people at?? Represent! (sarcasm, people). Anyway, two years ago, I discovered that sometime in my early childhood, I developed complex PTSD, served with a dose of borderline personality disorder & topped with a hint of depression. I have had this confirmed by multiple doctors, as I wanted to be sure of my diagnosis. I am by no means claiming to be a mental health professional, but here is what I know now that I’ve been receiving help for the past two years. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Complex PTSD “results from repetitive, prolonged trauma involving harm or abandonment by a caregiver” (thanks, Wikipedia). It was planted into my childhood and grew like a wild weed through intermediate school, high school & college.
My PTSD is the main reason I started this blog and the thing I am most passionate about. It is something I am constantly aware of to keep myself from lashing out and preventing flashbacks to my childhood. Have you ever had one thing on your mind, constantly? It can become exhausting to think about the same thing every waking hour of every day. Now try having that one thing on your mind all day, but also trying to manage working a full-time job and raising a family. It’s doable, but it is not without difficulty. It is difficult for me to hold conversations with people because I’m constantly worried that they can detect my anger. It’s difficult for me to concentrate because I worry that If I get too into my work I will forget to manage my anger. Maybe I’m clenching onto this a little too tight? The list of my anxiety goes on.
My daughter is 5 years old, and will be 6 in October. Which means that her first 3 years of her life I was living with my untreated mental issues. One of my personal problems with PTSD is that I am sometimes unable to just stick to one emotion, most of the time it was paired with anger. For example, I could not simply stick with disappointment, or sadness or rejection. These feelings were often accompanied with anger sometimes even rage. Here and there I recognized negative reenactments that happened to me as a child, in the things I would say or do around my daughter. Reenactments that contributed to the PTSD I live with today. Only this time, it was happening to my little girl. A cute little human who doesn’t know any better and did not deserve to be treated the way I was treating her. It didn’t happen often, but it happened, which was enough to convince myself to get some help. I had to stop it, thank goodness I recognized it. I became committed to ending this cycle of emotional abuse. My daughter was not going to live the same life I did.
Maybe my blog is another “mom” blog. But this mom is coming from a different perspective. I’m not saying I had the worst life, or that there aren’t other people out there who are battling themselves to be a better parent. In fact, I’m really trying to say the exact opposite. I truly believe with my entire being that there are parents out there JUST like me. Who struggle like me, constantly asking themselves ‘Why am I like this?’ ‘Why am I so mean?’, just like I do. Hence Deep Sea Parenting! My journey to find other parents just like me in hopes to support their efforts to create better lives for their children.
There are a number of ways I’ve learned to cope with my mental health issues, to conquer this quest on becoming this better parent & person. Which brings me back to John. One of my followers/online friends who think I am this great person, solely based off of what I post. I am a constant work in progress, nowhere near perfect and still dealing with my anger issues. But thank you, John, for the kind words and for actually reaching out to me and saying those things. Too often do people hold their comments on others. We may not know what people are really dealing with because a lot of times people hide behind their screens and portray different lives online. *raises hand high in the air* I have been told over and over to watch what I post online. But I feel like I have reached that point in my life where I can get a point across without becoming angry.
In my next post, you will be witnessing my very first VLOG. Where I talk about the “5 ways I deal with my PTSD” hope you get the chance to watch it. Go easy on me, please.