Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

juice
Luckily, I have a much more efficient juicer than this one. Otherwise, I’d be building a LOT of muscles over this juice fast.

If you celebrate the holiday, I hope it’s happy and stress-free.

I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving in the traditional way this year. We recently visited our family in another state, and my daughter is overseas.

So instead, I decided to do a brief juice fast for the first time, to support my husband’s effort to jumpstart his diet. While I don’t need to lose weight, I thought I’d try it for a day or two. Doing it over Thanksgiving weekend makes it easier, since I don’t have to go into the office.

It also seemed an appropriate time to focus on the essentials: what I need for my mind, body and soul. Perhaps a day or two of fasting instead of overeating will bring me clearer understanding of what’s been causing me such difficulty recently. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Suffering right now

Lately, I’ve been suffering from a symptom of PTSD that I’ve never had before, not like this. For no reason that I’ve been able to discern, I’ve been having waves of panic at random times, day and night.

I’ve kept track of when they occur, and there doesn’t seem to be any connecting cause. They happen no matter where I am — at home, at work, on the subway, anywhere. I’m not thinking about anything in particular when the wave comes over me.

At first I thought maybe it was hormone related, which I suppose it could be. But my gut tells me it’s related to something emotional, but I haven’t yet been able to figure out what that is.

In any event, these “panic waves” — they’re not really “attacks,” because they don’t last very long and no one even knows I’m having them — are disrupting my life in a major way. I’m now trying self-hypnosis as a remedy for them, and I continue to pursue the cause. I know they won’t stop until I understand why they’re happening, in the first place.

 

An odd compliment

Yesterday, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in about three years. I actually met him four years ago when I interviewed for a job that I didn’t end up getting. It came down to a choice between me and one other person, and the director chose the other person.

This guy — I’ll call him Brian — told me he would keep me in mind for future job openings. I didn’t believe him. No one follows through on promises like that.

But Brian did. Yesterday he emailed me and told me about an opportunity in his division (we work at the same overall place), and I went and talked to him about it.

When I walked into his office, he said, “You look great! A lot better than you did when you interviewed here four years ago, actually.”

His comment echoed what my friends and family said when I visited them last month. My brother kept saying to me, “I can’t get over how good you look.” A lot of my friends said the same thing.

I can only imagine that this change in my appearance comes from my hard work in trauma therapy and afterward. It would be difficult to overstate how much effort I give to this. Basically, I work on it 24/7. Every day. All the time. I am obsessed with constructing my “self” and my life, for the first time ever.

It’s easy for me to feel sad that I’m only doing this now, at age 51. Believe me, I’ve grieved a lot for all the years I didn’t have the opportunity to shape my own life.

At the same time, I’ve also realized that even people who haven’t experienced trauma sometimes live their lives passively. And that makes me angry, because they don’t even KNOW the power they have over their own lives. They take it for granted, because they’ve always had it.

I don’t take it for granted. Perhaps it’s that determination that people are seeing in me, I don’t know. It’s been difficult for me to see myself the way outsiders do. Although I’ve looked through some photographs of myself from, say, 5 years ago and some recent ones, I haven’t been able to spot the change. Maybe it’s more of a “total package,” if you know what I mean: not something that can be readily seen in a photo.

It’s an odd compliment, but I’ll take it, thanks.

Every 15 seconds

A woman is abused by her domestic partner in the U.S. every 15 seconds. All stats are quoted from that linked document, which references its sources. My comments are in brackets.

More facts (all U.S. statistics):

  • One out of every five American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. [I was almost raped by a male friend of mine when I was in college. Then my ex-husband raped me on my wedding night and thereafter.]
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. [I could very well have been in this group.]
  • Almost two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger (48% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 17% were an intimate and 8% were another relative.) [I think our society still does not believe that a husband can rape his wife. What say you?]
  • In 2006, 78,000 children were sexually abused. Because most cases are not reported, it is estimated that the real number could be anywhere from 260,000-650,000 a year. [I reported it when my daughter was 2 years old. No one helped us. The abuse continued for another 9 years until she found the courage to tell me and was finally “old enough to be believed,” according to the courts.]

What do we need to do in this country to change these statistics?

You know what I’d like? I’d like an influential man — maybe the president? — to spend one day inside my head to see the long-term damage of violence perpetrated against women in this country. Then maybe something would change. I do appreciate the work of VP Biden. He’s done his part. Now, others have to step it up.