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PTSD Episode 182, Season 34

I think the hardest part of having PTSD is telling other people. Many people have misconceptions about what it is, what it looks like, or who it affects. PTSD is not reserved for combat veterans. In my case, it’s from multiple and prolonged instances of sexual assault and abuse. Being open and honest about it […]

Lioness or Prey? Part 1

I had every intention of writing this on my trip back from LA, but after missed flights, 8 hour layovers, and a hospital stay, I didn’t get the chance. I’m also trying to figure out how to write this story without oversharing. I’m going to tell it anyway, because I want to, and I need […]

Back to LA

I was checking the website to see when I last posted, and I realize I lost my vision for the purpose of this blog. I think it’s important on my journey to document not only the lows, but also the highs. I want to look back someday and feel that I was truly authentic, and […]

PTSD Episode 182, Season 34

I think the hardest part of having PTSD is telling other people. Many people have misconceptions about what it is, what it looks like, or who it affects. PTSD is not reserved for combat veterans. In my case, it’s from multiple and prolonged instances of sexual assault and abuse. Being open and honest about it is the only path to healing for me, along with being brutally honest about it.

The biggest part of this illness for me, is that I felt ashamed of it for the longest time. I hid it from everyone, including romantic partners. I have no desire to hide anymore, because this is my story and my truth. I didn’t ask for the trauma. But healing from it is up to me. I had an episode yesterday when someone unknowingly triggered me, and I dissociated. Everything about the situation, the words, the location, even the person, caused a flashback and sent me into a dissociative state. The scary part about this is, I don’t know it’s happening when this happens. My brain and body shut down to protect me from the trauma. Dissociation is defined as : disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions, and identity. AKA: scary shit. I couldn’t communicate what was happening, so I removed myself from the situation entirely. I spent the day in bed recovering from the episode, which leaves me emotionally and physically exhausted. It’s not pretty, but it’s real, and it’s my life. I have stopped feeling sorry for myself, and started being honest with myself instead. The next step in the process is being honest with others. Starting…now.

Lioness or Prey? Part 1

I had every intention of writing this on my trip back from LA, but after missed flights, 8 hour layovers, and a hospital stay, I didn’t get the chance. I’m also trying to figure out how to write this story without oversharing.

I’m going to tell it anyway, because I want to, and I need to.

I moved to LA with hopes and dreams, knowing California was my home and where my heart belonged. I took whatever I could fit in my 5-series BMW, and $2000. I already had a roommate in an amazing penthouse in the heart of Hollywood; a hometown friend of mine who found success as a professional wrestler. My mother was in prison, my son was with his dad for the summer while I got settled, and I had nothing to lose. I was thrilled.

When I got to Hollywood, reality instantly slapped me in the face. No parking. I drove for blocks, and over an hour, with no luck. I asked the concierge at my new building for help. He shrugged his shoulders and told me to keep looking. I eventually found a spot.

A few weeks later, my car broke down, on one of the infamous hills of Hollywood, and I had to leave it parked where it was. I racked up 7 parking tickets within the next week. I had no money for a tow, or a mechanic. I went to check on the car the next day, and it was gone. I called the number on the “No Parking” sign. I eventually had to forfeit the car to the towing company because I couldn’t pay the bill to get it out. My friend helped me remove all my belongings from the car. I felt defeated.

I was now completely alone, without a car, in Hollywood. I’m not sure which spiraled out of control first, the drinking or the drugs, but I soon lost myself in the nightlife. On the list to every exclusive afterparty, bumping elbows and exchanging numbers with celebrities—it was fast, and it was dangerous. Sure-I was working-bartending, and a few modeling gigs here and there, but I was too hungover to even attempt to write music much less sing. I lost myself completely.

The problem with losing yourself is that someone else will find you. When you are weak, you become prey. And I was the perfect victim. Completely alone, inebriated, and void of self worth.

He found me at a nightclub in Hollywood called Le Jardin. Beautiful French club, exclusive, and reminiscent of a garden in a fairytale. He was also French, gorgeous, and wearing a leather jacket, surrounded by a table of women. But he approached ME. His accent was thick, and there was something mischievous about his smile. When I look back on it, it sends chills up my spine because now I know that it was just the look of pure evil.

Back to LA

I was checking the website to see when I last posted, and I realize I lost my vision for the purpose of this blog. I think it’s important on my journey to document not only the lows, but also the highs. I want to look back someday and feel that I was truly authentic, and be able to celebrate how far I’ve come on my road to thriving. Nothing about any of this is linear, and I truly believe that’s the case for anyone, no matter what stage of life they may be in. Even the wealthiest people have struggles and bad days, while the less fortunate have good days and sometimes a more positive outlook. Life is truly a relative experience. Our perspective is the only thing standing in the way of a good day or a bad one. I’m currently on a flight back to Los Angeles, and it’s been four years since I’ve visited. Mostly because of the horrific circumstances that forced me to leave.

I think I’m finally ready to talk about it. It’s ironic that I’m going back on this day, because it’s almost four years to the date I left. I’m going to enjoy my weekend with close friends, and write about this experience on the trip back home. Lots of love ❤️

Out of the Fog

I realized over the past two weeks that it’s hard to find inspiration to write about mental illness when things are going well. But then I realized, it’s equally important to celebrate your successes. Since receiving a diagnosis of PTSD 4 years ago in Los Angeles, I started a journey of self-healing. I hit rock bottom many times in the process, but it taught me more than success ever did. Coronavirus took my career, I almost lost my home, and my mental health took a nosedive. I enrolled in nursing school to try to get my life back on track. I didn’t know what I was signing up for. Stress is a HUGE trigger for PTSD. I started drinking heavily to combat the stress, and things spiraled from there. The engine blew up in my car and I found myself back in a deep CPTSD/depressed episode. I dissociated for weeks (a way that the CPTSD brain separates from the trauma by shutting down.) I don’t even have much recollection of the episode. I found a therapist and started going once a week. Little did I know, this would bring back intense flashbacks and nightmares, and I would get much worse before I got better.

Fast forward to now…a month into treatment and a month sober (with one minor slip-up) and I finished my first semester of nursing school with a 4.0. It turns out that the warranty wasn’t quite experience on my car, and my new ($8500) engine is covered. Therapy is going much better and I was finally taken off the waitlist at The Julie Valentine Center (a nonprofit organization that provides trauma therapy for victims of childhood sexual abuse) after a year of waiting. I start my next semester of nursing school in 2 weeks and I am genuinely happier than I have ever been in my life. I say all of this to say: no matter what you have been through, there is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to take the first step to healing. You have complete control of your life, even if it seems out of control. There are always solutions, even if you can’t see them. Trust the process and that the universe/God has a plan for you.

If you are struggling, I’m here. If you just want to chat, or share your story, go to the contact tab and send me an email, day or night. You’re not alone.

You Are Not Broken

Sometimes I have these random, pivotal light bulb moments that propel me into a different mindset. Yesterday, of all things, I happened to be watching a crime show, as usual, and Dr. Phil came on. For some reason, I didn’t change it. The woman was grieving the loss of one of her children and her mother, and was dealing with it poorly. She gave up and lost not only herself, but ruined the relationship with her other two living children in the midst of her grief. I expected Dr. Phil to be sympathetic, but he looked her dead in the eyes and said,

“Grief is not a disease. You are not broken. You don’t have the right to curl up in a ball and sit on the sidelines. You have a responsibility to put one foot in front of the other and behave and think your way through this.”

It was shocking. It punched me right in the gut. Because he was right. Losing a loved one is traumatic, sexual abuse is traumatic. But we have no control over these things. We don’t get to just lie down and give up. We owe it not only to ourselves, but for the other people in our lives, to begin the process of healing. It will never change the things that have happened. We cannot go back. But we can go forward. And we must.

DOGECOIN

The title of this particular blog should give you some metaphorical insight about the stability of my mental health AND what kept my mind preoccupied this week. I meant to post yesterday, but depression sucked all the creative life out of me. It’s ironic because I started minor investments early last year, originally in a friend’s business plan that I had to back out of at the last minute, and then the stock market, not knowing a damn thing about investing. This is about the same time that I began investing in my mental health as well. I treated my mental health like a pump & dump; put in max effort for a bit, reap the benefits and then you’re all set. UM NO BITCH. You have to be in these things for the long haul, and the biggest investment you will ever make is in yourself. Healing is not linear. Some days you will be thriving, and everything is going your way. Enjoy and have gratitude on these days. But the real work is in the hard shit. The days or weeks that just won’t let up, that’s where the lessons are. For instance—being a single mom, in nursing school, running a household, in trauma therapy, dumping most of my savings into my car, just to find out I also have to replace the engine. I spiraled out of control. The CPTSD brain handles stress the same way you would if you were being chased by a tiger. Fight or flight. Cortisol goes into overdrive and you can’t think straight. I drank too much, destroyed relationships, and spent an entire week in bed, in the throes of shame and depression. But today, I had to remind myself of who I am (with help from a few friends and family) and that I needed to get the fuck up and take some action. So here I am, taking accountability for my own healing, my health, and my sobriety. I have also been putting off a huge English essay that is due today so I’m going to push through and get that shit done. Thanks again everyone who keeps pushing me, and sharing their own struggles. I HEAR YOU and I’m here for you. We got this bbys, xoxo LB

Unpacking

How many instances of trauma do you think someone has to experience to be really, really fucked up? One? Three? My magic number was an entire childhood of neglect, four instances of sexual assault (henceforth referred to as SA, to avoid triggering anyone) before the age of sixteen and another four as an adult, then sprinkle in two unexpected visits from the SWAT team busting into the family home, AK’s and all, on two separate occasions to take two separate family members off to prison, and you’ve got yourself one fucked up individual. HI 🤗

“Revictimization” is a strange phenomenon that raises the chances that a sexual assault victim will be assaulted again. 35 times more likely, in fact. The same is true of victims of burglary. Why is this?? Regarding abuse, especially in childhood, it’s because we don’t understand healthy boundaries. We weren’t taught what love was supposed to feel like, but we were taught to fear our abusers. We became vulnerable, full of shame, and too afraid to speak up. Putting ourselves in danger felt comfortable, it’s all we’d ever known. Until recently, I didn’t know that it was abnormal to do drugs with your family at fourteen or have your (much older) boyfriend move in at fifteen. So here I am, at thirty-frickin-four, learning how to set boundaries and how to keep myself out of danger. For me that looks like sobriety, agoraphobia, trauma therapy and loneliness. But for now, I’m safe. And that is a first for me.

Under Construction

You know how they say a house has “good bones?” This one didn’t. This house didn’t even have a foundation. No parental figures, no family to guide me in the right direction. Imagine the horrors that can happen to a vulnerable girl left to her own devices. So now, at the age of 34, I’m in the demolition process. Not to destroy the home, but to rebuild. On the same land, with a new blueprint. That’s where I’m at right now. Trauma therapy is horrific, facing the abuse head on, this is the “bulldozing.” It’s going to look a lot worse before it gets better. But then, the most exciting part of construction begins: a new foundation.

Taking Off the Mask

I know that people judge me when they look at me. Makeup and hair done, designer clothes. High maintenance. Gold digger. Conceited. The funny thing, however, is that appearances are just that–the way we wish to appear. Have you ever visited a friend’s house and it was immaculate on the outside, but inside it was a fucking WRECK? Empty wine bottles on the counter, piles of clean clothes on every chair, no toilet paper on the rolls, and no one can find the damn TV remote? That house is me. I paint myself on the outside to look as pretty as possible to distract from the fact that the inside is a fucking warzone. The problem with this is that no one believes me when I tell them that I am sick. Sick people are pale, hair disheveled, wild-eyed, mumbling. Sick people look sick. The problem with this stereotype is that it’s wrong. Sometimes the sick people are the ones sitting next to you at the bar, in the Louboutins, who just ordered a glass of champagne, careful not to smudge her Tom Ford lipstick. Or it’s the guy next to you at the gym, with the perfect 6-pack, new Yeezy’s and 80k followers on the ‘gram. We can put on any mask we want, but what’s on the inside doesn’t change.