Thursday, March 29, 2012

Public Eye

I have a post I have been writing for many days now. It is a difficult post made more difficult by the melodrama that seems to intrude on my life at regular intervals these days. It seems the more I write about the past (which is the topic of the post I've been trying to write), the more difficult it becomes to deal with.  There is a reason for this. I live my life very much in the public eye, therefore my past and present are scrutinized by my blog readers more than some others. I have placed myself in this position for a reason. Any personal information I put out there for people to read is put out there to try to help others. I do not ask for money to support myself or my family. I am not looking for fame and fortune by doing what I do. I am simply trying to let others who have been through what I've been through know that they are not alone.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Daughter Gave It To Me Straight

Here is a link to my daughter's blog, specifically her most recent post "!!?". I want everyone who is reading this post to go there after just a few words from me.

These might sound like random thoughts from me, but they're not.

1. It takes two people to make a marriage and it takes two to break one. I have said this all along, as anyone of my friends can attest to. I have always stated that it is just much my fault as my ex's that we ended up getting divorced (except when I was at my angriest, then I would try to blame it all on him, but logic won out in the end every time.) I will always take blame that I am due. I will not take on more than my fair share. Please keep that in mind as you read this. I agree wholeheartedly with what my daughter has to say about the entire situation. Period.

2. I am correcting the mistakes of the past that I can as I am able. That isn't fast enough for me and it definitely isn't fast enough for the people I hurt, but I do what God gives me the strength and ability to do at this time. It is all in His time and His hands. No more, no less.

3. Forgiveness and repentance do not go hand in hand. A person can be very sorry for past deeds, words, and choices and not receive forgiveness. A person can forgive the actions of another person, whether that person is sorry or not. Repentance is between two people (the injured and the injurer) and God, for true contriteness cannot be attained without the prick of a conscience, which is born of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is between one person (the injured) and God, because He forgave us everything and only He can give us that power of true forgiveness, where we place the sins of another person as far as the east is from the west and do not throw it in their face whenever they offend us. He does this for us every moment of every day and we are commanded to love each other as He loves us. As I remember my actions, I admit and apologize to God and the person I have injured. I may not have apologized to their face, but will as soon as I am allowed. Not in front of a crowd, but to the person the injury was done to. Repentance is not a show of humiliation. It is one on one. As I stated, between two people and God. I do not ask for forgiveness, because that will only be granted when the injured party can place the situation in God's hands fully and let go.

4. My ex-husband is off limits as far as I and my children are concerned. My daughter has made a simple request, and that is that my ex and I put our differences aside. I have tried in the past to put out a hand of friendship, but was rebuffed because I hadn't apologized for past wrongs. I understand that now. At the time I didn't and I chose anger as the path to take. That was wrong of me, and for that I apologize. I do not apologize for telling the truth of myself or of him. The truth does not indicate blame or anger. I do not blame my ex for my bad decisions. Things happened that were a part of my justification for bad decisions at the time, therefore they are brought up in relation to my making bad decisions. That is all. Those things were not said to give other people room to blame him for anything or to lead people to believe that they or I have a right to remain angry. The past is the past. Letting go and forgetting are not the same thing, but I didn't intend to throw the past into his face. I have forgiven him and I stand by statement #3. His sins are as far as the east is from the west as far as I am concerned.

5. Be honest, in good ways and bad. I don't want people telling me all the time what a wonderful person I am. I like to hear the good things (don't completely stop telling me good things because of this post!), but too much of it an I may start to think I'm better than the average person. I am human and make human mistakes. When I am a horrible person, or have done stupid things, I want to know about those mistakes. Since I woke up in the hospital, I have wanted to know everything about my past, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm not saying I'll be great upon hearing horrible revelations about myself. I don't take things well, like some people think I do. I kick and scream and cry, in the privacy of my home, then I show a brave face to the world. I cope because I must, just as my kids do every day. They are strong, especially my daughter. I am proud of her for that, but ashamed of myself for forcing her to become what she is.  It's not "handling things", it's merely survival.

Now, if you haven't, please go read my daughter's post. Every horrible thing I've said about myself is true and it seems there are a lot of things I still need to remember. All of this has put me where I am today. I would never ask things to change, because only God can see the overall picture. Still, sometimes I wish I was in the passenger's seat, just so I could have an idea what the destination is for this particular leg of the journey we call life.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Realize Now This Needs To Be Defined

If you have amnesia, how do you remember so much, all of a sudden? ~ Mike (commented on "Everything Happens for a Reason")
If you have "amnesia", how long did it take you to recall all these details? ~ Mike (same post, same person)

Same person, same question. I think it was rephrased to not come across as rude or hurtful (if that was the case, thank you. Very kind. If that wasn't the case, well thank you anyway because that's the way I choose to interpret it. I'm happier that way.)

I guess, based on the fact that someone needed to ask this question that amnesia needs to be defined.  I am left with the definite impression, due to this (these?) questions and other comments people have made to me, that some people are left with the impression that if you have amnesia, you have it forever. Also, people tend to believe you only "have amnesia" until you start to remember things again. Then you no longer have amnesia, even if you still have gaps in your memory, no matter how big. Well, those are incorrect assumptions. This is going to be a rather boring post, just warning all those who care to know.

First, I'm going to give you the Webster's Dictionary definition of amnesia:

1 : loss of memory due usually to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness
2 : a gap in one's memory
3 : the selective overlooking or ignoring of events or acts that are not favorable or useful to one's purpose or position

I don't know if I agree with definition number three. That sounds more like denial than amnesia to me, but I'm not here to change the facts I find, just to honestly "report" them.

There are many types of amnesia, just as there are many types of cancer or diabetes. Just because you have amnesia doesn't mean you're going to fit into one category of "amnesiac". Also, definitions of amnesia are necessarily vague. It is a very personal illness. It effects everyone differently and recovery rates vary from case to case.  The two I was diagnosed with were the initial case of Dissociative Amnesia and Transient Global Amnesia.  

I think, when people think of amnesia, they think of something more episodic that you either "recover" from or you don't. There is really not much of an in between because you are missing a specific event. Once that event is remembered you have "gotten over" your amnesia.  This is usually directly related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This is not what I suffer from.

There are permanent types of amnesia. They aren't always permanent, but are the least likely to see recovery from the condition. These are Retrograde Amnesia (no recall of the past, occasionally reversible, caused by physical brain damage) and Anterograde Amnesia (poor short term memory, occasionally reversible, unable to form new long term memory or that ability severely damaged, also usually caused by physical brain damage.) Neither of these are something I suffer from.

The reason I give two distinct forms of amnesia is because this all started with the Dissociative Fugue. I dissociated from my personality and life and disappeared for several weeks. This type of amnesia is almost always a stress related episodic amnesia. The length of the fugue is a case by case issue. There is no set pattern to these incidents. Total amnesia after an episode like this is normal. The length of that lack of long term recall varies from patient to patient. Recovery is complete when the patient's personality reasserts itself.  I have "recovered" from this type of amnesia as of May of last year. The chances of an episode occurring again in a patient is no greater than it happening in an individual who has never had an episode, even less if the cause of the episode is identified and treated appropriately.

This leads directly into the second type of amnesia I was diagnosed with, Transient Global Amnesia. This is a total loss of long term memory, although other cognition (mental abilities and quite often personality) remains intact. Anterograde amnesia was initially present (those first few days in the hospital are way more than a little fuzzy), but that was a temporary side effect from the Dissociative Fugue. Confusion and anxiety often accompany the reversal of an episode like that in patients. TGA can last anywhere from a few hours to several years. "Recovery" can be sudden, gradual, or somewhere in between. Once recovered, re-occurance is very rare. Especially if it is caused by psychological factors that are identified and treated rather than physical factors that we as humans have no true control over.

In my case, my memories are coming back to me and have been coming back to me all year. However, they come in spurts. Many of them extremely overwhelming and difficult to process. It's like living several years of your life in a few days. Exhaustion is a natural extension of these recalls. I do feel that most of my memories have returned in the last five weeks. Still, I don't feel "recovered".

I put recovered in quotation marks because there is always more to recovery than memory recall. First, I always feel there is a lot I don't remember. I often wonder if I will always feel this way. Will I always wonder what I don't remember? Probably. Nobody remembers everything, and that's okay. In fact it's completely normal, but for me there is a fear of not remembering something due to continued amnesia rather than natural human tendencies. Recovery is not as simple as getting memories back anyway. Having had amnesia will always affect a person. People think, "Oh, she has her memory back. We're all good now. She needs to just move on with life as 'normal' and just not worry that this happened in the first place." That's okay. They need to move on with their lives. I, on the other hand, cannot walk away from the reality of what has happened to me anymore than someone who has "recovered" from cancer can just not worry about it ever again. You have to continue testing and treatments to be aware if issues start to arise again.

I hope this helps you all to understand. Just because I have amnesia doesn't mean that I don't remember anything. Just because I remember stuff doesn't mean I don't have amnesia. Recovery is gradual and painful, not quick and mostly painless, like pulling out a splinter to make the pressure go away. There is no black and white in this. There is no "Now she has amnesia" then "Memories starting to return, crisis over." It's ongoing and something I will never "no longer have" because I have to live with this for the rest of my life.

There. Defined.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Taking Things to the Extreme

I had a couple of friends reminding me after "Everything Happens For a Reason" that self-destructive behavior is normal under the circumstances of my past. However, I do have this way of taking things to extremes.  I always say that it makes me sick when people use their past as an excuse for their poor decisions and bad behavior. If I sat here and blamed what had happened to me for my choices, that would make me a hypocrite.

So, I need to clarify something to all of you. I blame only myself for my past. My decisions were mine. I could have risen above circumstances, but chose to let my circumstances rise above me.  I also refuse to look at the past and beat myself up for those bad decisions. I have to forgive myself in order to move on with my life. That is my choice now. I forgive all. I forgive myself and I forgive those around me who made poor choices that effected me. I cannot forget because I am human, and to forget the past is to doom yourself to repeat the mistakes of that past. I choose to no longer let that past and those past mistakes rule my future. I allowed that for too many years and I am done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Don't Expect Much

Sometimes, I just want to sit in a corner and kick my feet and scream my head off (kinda like that kid in the store when her mother refused to buy her the chocolate and then actually had the guts to discipline her when she slapped her mother. I just hope my mother doesn't drag me out of the "grocery store"(a.k.a. the living room) kicking and screaming when I don't behave. Applause to that mother by the way. Don't see that enough these days.) My tantrum would be for no other reason than that sometimes I feel like life is not fair. Nothing horrible has happened. In fact quite the opposite, good things have come my way lately. However, sometimes I want that piece of chocolate along with the quiet, little, good things that come my way. (Mmmmm chocolate!!! Giving up chocolate for Lent....tough when you're a chocoholic.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Everything Happens For a Reason

My mother sent me a forwarded e-mail that I want to print and hang in a place where I have to see it every day. I want to put it on my calendar that I have to read this every morning before I start my day and every evening before my head hits the pillow. I have to remind myself all the time that God has a reason for everything that happens, everything we consider bad happens for His good just as much as everything good happens because of His plans. We can spend our lives bitter and angry about the "bad" things that happened, or we can trust Him to take care of you in all things. Here's the e-mail:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Angry Comments...{Tsk} So Sad

"Did you ever think that you used to hide who you really were from your family? Amber, you are the pathalogical liar here. The only people who you have fooled about having ANY amnesia are your parents, sister, and brother. Even your own children are seeing who you really are without your ex-husband saying anything. YOUR actions speak VOLUMES alone! Wether you choose to see it or not... "  Anonymous

Above is a comment by a "reader" to a recent blog post of my "Carried Away".  I put reader in quotes because I'm pretty sure I know who left this comment or at the least who they associate with. There is a group of people out there who believe that everything I say is a lie and make it a point to try to convince me I'm a worthless piece of crap every chance they get. I want to take the opportunity to say....{cough, cough} YOU ARE PATHETIC!!!

I'm Screwy, but OK

Does anyone else find it as weird as I do that my fight or flight instinct is pretty skewed (made fairly obvious by my last post), but I still managed to make my way home. No I didn't do it the easy way, probably because I never do ANYTHING the easy way, but I still made my way home. As much as my subconscious wanted to get away, it didn't want to stay away. I'm not just talking about family. For Pete's sake, I was in Georgia and I still went back up to the freezing weather up north. Obviously, I missed it or something.

Well, I'm doing it again, only in a more conscious way. I am moving back up north. Going back to home sweet home. I realize it's been warm up there this week, but that's what we call a freak weather event. Winter is not over in Michigan despite signs to the contrary. Down here in Georgia however, it is spring. Albeit, temporarily with summer type weather, but spring in March! Me being the glutton for punishment that I am, I am voluntarily moving away from this beautiful weather. All because I love my kids.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

Sorry it's been so long between posts. I needed some time to reflect what has been coming back to me lately. I wanted to remember my life and why I reacted to things and certain people the way I do and I got my wish. Unfortunately, now that I remember I realize I shouldn't have wished for that. It's like being caught between a rock and a hard place. I know how horrifying it is to not know your past, and I know what it's like not to want to know.

My psychiatrist pointed out to me once that I chose to leave my life. Not consciously, but it was still a choice that my mind made. Whether I chose to leave due to a physical threat, a mental threat, or just something I perceived as a threat, my subconscious chose to leave the life I had because it couldn't handle something in it.  I think I know what that was now.  I left behind every plastered on smile, every heartache I had caused and received, every hat I was wearing that was weighing me down with a life full of lies. I hated myself and what I had allowed myself to become, and the more I pretended the opposite the harder it was to move away from the lies. I was so busy pretending I was happy that I was making myself miserable.

GROUP HUG!!!! Friends make everything better.

GROUP HUG!!!! Friends make everything better.