The 12 Freedoms of Grief

  Freedom #1

You have the freedom to realize your grief is unique. Others may grieve in different ways than you because your experience will be influenced by a variety of factors. These include the relationship you had with the person who died, circumstances of death-whether it was sudden or expected, your support system, and your cultural and religious background. It is important not to compare oneself with others who are grieving, and to consider the “one-D-at-A-time” approach to allow yourself to proceed at your own pace.

  
 Freedom #2

You have the freedom to talk about your grade. By expressing grief openly, healing occurs and you are likely to feel better. Ignoring it will not make your grief go away. It is more important to seek out caring friends and relatives who will listen without judging.

Freedom #3

You have the right to expect to feel a multitude of emotions. Your head, heart, and spirit will be affected when you are experiencing loss. As a result, you may experience feelings of confusion, disorganization, fear, guilt, relief, or other emotions. Sometimes they may come so I’m you continuously or follow each other within a short period of time. It is important to know that these emotions are normal responses to the death of a loved one, even though you may be feeling overwhelmed at the time.

   

Freedom #4

You have the freedom to allow for numbness. Part of the great experience includes feeling numb or disoriented when I loved one dies. It allows your emotions to “catch up” with what you know intellectually and allows you to be insulated from the reality of the death into you can tolerate what you don’t want to believe.

Freedom #5

You have the freedom to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. You may feel tired as a result of your feelings of loss and sadness. Your low-energy level may impair your ability to think clearly and to make decisions. It is important to nurture yourself by getting daily rest, eating balanced meals, and lowering your expectations of yourself.

  

Freedom #6

You have the freedom to experience grief attacks or memory embraces. You may experience “searches of grief” or flashbacks (“memory embraces”), which can be frightening and leave you feeling overwhelmed. These feelings are normal. Try to find someone who understands how you’re feeling and is willing to listen.

Freedom #7

You have the freedom to develop a support system. Although reaching out to others and excepting their help maybe difficult, finding people who will provide understanding you need and who will let you be yourself maybe the best action you can take on your own behalf.

 

Freedom #8

You have the freedom to make use of ritual. The funeral retro serves the dual purpose of acknowledging the death of a loved one and allowing you to express great. It also provides you with the support of caring people who are also greeting.

Freedom #9

You have the freedom to embrace your spirituality. Express your faith in whatever ways that seem appropriate to you. Try to have people around you to support your religious beliefs. You may feel hurt and abandoned and may feel angry at God because of the death of someone you love, but it is important to realize that this feeling is a normal part of grief. Try to find someone who won’t be judgmental about your feelings and who will allow you to explore your thoughts and feelings.

 

Freedom #10

You have the freedom to allow a search for meaning. You may find yourself asking, “why did he/she die?” Or, “why now?” This search for meaning is often another normal part of the healing process. Some questions have answers; some do not. Actually, healing occurs in the opportunity to pose the questions, not necessarily in answering them. Find a supportive friend who will listen responsively as you search for meaning. 

Freedom #11

You have the freedom to cherish her memories. Treasure the memories of your loved one who has died. Share them with your family and friends. Recognize that your memories may make you laugh or cry. In either case, they are a lasting part of your friendship that you had with a very special person in your life.

Freedom #12

 You have the freedom to move through your grief and heal. The capacity to love requires the necessity to grieve openly when someone you love dies. You cannot heal unless you openly express your grief. Denying your grief will only make it become more confusing and overwhelming. Embrace your grieve and heal. Reckon ceiling grieve will not happen quickly. Remember grief is a process not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself. Never forget that the death of someone you loved changes your life forever. It’s not that you will never be happy again, it’s simply that you will never be exactly the same as you were before death.
 

Grieving Events

Death of a spouse

Divorce

Marital separation

Imprisonment

Death of a close family member

Personal injury or illness

Marriage

Dismissal from work

Marital reconciliation

Retirement

Change in health of family member

Pregnancy

Sexual difficulties

Gain a new family member

Business readjustment

Change in financial state

Death of a close friend

Change to different line of work

Change in frequency of arguments

Major mortgage

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

Change in responsibilities at work

Child leaving home

Trouble with in-laws

Outstanding personal achievement

Spouse starts or stops work

Begin or end school

Change in living conditions

Revision of personal habits

Trouble with boss

Change in working hours or conditions

Change in residence

Change in schools

Change in recreation

Change in church activities

Change in social activities

Minor mortgage or loan

Change in sleeping habits

Change in number of family reunions

Change in eating habits

Vacation

Christmas

Minor violation of law

Loss of Trust

Loss of Approval

Loss of Safety 

Loss of Control of ones body

PTSD: The Feminist Perspective

I am a feminist. If you asked me to describe myself, the first thing I would say is, “I’m a woman.” Many people are ignorant to exactly what feminism purports. . .especially those who fear it.


The Feminist Movement advocated for women’s rights and women’s sufferage: voting, equal pay, domestic violence and sexual harassment. The movement infers we must work to actively correct gender imbalances and abolish the exploitation of women.

by Instructor Kimberly Moffitt

Look at the world through a woman’s eyes and you will see what we deal with on a regular basis. The feminist perspective is to see things from a woman’s point-of-view in a society governed by men; also to be conscious, mindful and critical of men dominating women at home, work and out in the world.

My own Post Traumatic Stress has been compounded by acts perpetrated against me by men in my home (violent ex-husband), at work (sexual harassment), while running errands (humans without boundaries) and so forth. All aspects of my world, from childhood to current, were effected by the decisions and behavior of men. The first time I was five years old  [My First Kiss] and the last time was July 20th of this year. 

In college, I examined the history and psychology of women, and thus, am grateful to the women who endured before me; who suffered much of the same and worse at the hands of our male counterparts. Way back when, women who reacted to trauma were considered nothing more than hysterical. Today, society has so graciously begun to recognize that violence is a routine part of many women’s sexual, domestic and everyday lives.

Shortly before I was born, in the early 70s, post traumatic disorders were finally recognized more in women. I say “finally” because previously, our experiences as women were tenebrous; under the guise of “private life.”  The privacy society supposedly valued placed a barrier between HER and the rest of the world; rendering HER reality invisible, and HER voice silent. 

In my previous marriage, I was unable to speak up about my own life riddled by sexual and domestic violence. When I tried (a few times): his mother asked, “What did you do to make him hit you?” A friend said they did not want to get involved. A male marriage counselor said to me “Why don’t you give the guy a break?” A psychiatrist told me I was a Paranoid Schizophrenic. The psychiatrist asked if I had someone to watch my children because he wanted to hospitalize me for four to six months. He said it would take that long to see which medication(s) were right for me. This happened twenty years ago. At the time I didn’t know what a Paranoid Schizophrenic person looked like. I only knew two things: I was not mentally ill and the psychiatrist was yet another man who was trying to take or reduce my power. From early on I learned that speaking up about what was happening to me only served to invite further humiliation, and standing up for myself would not be permitted.

As a therapist, my goal is to design a confidential, validating, safe environment for one to speak their truth(s). I suppose I sought the career of a healer because no one offered me the space to overcome without re-victimization and further shame. I was rendered silent and could not point my finger at those who harmed me. I understand what it feels like to be prohibited from speaking about injuries.

A few years ago I had to go before my peers and state which theory/perspective I preferred to use in my work. My favorites are the psychodynamic and feminist theories. I chose to present the feminist perspective. That may seem odd, as my employ is within a male prison. Some presumed I did not know what I spoke of, but look at it this way: a feminist understanding empowers the marginalized to breach their barriers, to support one another, to take action and raise consciousness. My approach is to encourage the silenced; to give them a voice. 

I work with many traumatized people; individuals who have been physically, emotionally and/or sexually abused as children. The initial work on domestic violence and sexual abuse grew out of the feminist movement:when services for victims were organized outside of the traditional mental health system often with the assistance of professional women like Lenore Walker who inspired the movement [Lenore Walker].

Psychologist, Lenore Walker, began describing the psychological trauma of women who fled to shelters as “Battered Woman Syndrome.” In the early 1980’s when abused women and incest survivors spoke about their injuries, they were describing posttraumatic stress disorder; yet it was not clear that what was being observed in these survivors is essentially the same as what was seen in survivors of war.


The symptoms of shell-shock were due to psychological trauma and the emotional stress of prolonged exposure to violence and death. The symptoms produced in traumatized soldiers were like those seen in women who were exposed to continued physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

Who and how a person becomes  traumatized is irrelevant. A trauma is a trauma. . .is a trauma. If you want to be there for him or her do not shame them when they begin to speak their truths.  Treat them with dignity and respect. Do not silence them, rather encourage them to write and talk freely about their terrors. Invite them to feel safe. Do not question their overwhelming fears. Understand, they are haunted by unwanted memories. These things might protect your friends and loved ones against an acute breakdown; which can lead to rapid decompensation.

The focus from a feminist perspective would be to empower: I will not allow my truths to be forgotten. I refuse to be stigmatized. I do not need to convince others that my distress is righteous or justified. I will not be stripped of my dignity. Look at the world through my traumatized eyes when I am angry, crying, short-tempered, or lack affect and recognize that psychological trauma is a lasting legacy.

HOMELESSNESS

 

Freelance journalist Armani Lopez

 
 

I once met a man who said his greatest fear was being homeless. Rather, the notion of not being homeless and then through a series of circumstances involving poor luck and bad decisions, ending up homeless. 

During our discussion, being homeless was not the answer I gave when prompted for my greatest fear but after hearing his answer how could one not agree that the fear of becoming homeless is indeed a respectable thing to decide to be afraid of and to avoid? In fact, I had never even really considered many ramifications of living on the streets prior to this.

Homelessness has been a popular political issue for some time now, if you consider New York mayor’s infamous crackdown on certain sectors of the homeless population. This generally painted a negative picture of homeless people, usually depicting them as violent, mentally disturbed people, implying that for reasons concerning their inherent character were unable to respect an acceptable merit of work ethic and have thus been removed to the fringes of society, not to be casually associated with for fear of bad habits being transferred. 

  
Meddling in their affairs is typically a job for the social worker, individuals trained in all manners of maintaining the welfare of his or her fellow citizens. Since there are many aspects to this; the discipline can be depicted in various forms of work. The most popular kinds of services in this category are probably food banks, such as Loves & Fishes in Sacramento, California and other similar organizations, in which people are encouraged to donate his or her time via a volunteer program. 

It helps to look at the volunteer service as a give-take opportunity, as the people donate their time for a positive cause and can usually log in a decent amount of hours for their volunteer experience. Other passionate individuals may even take it a step further and actually work for said organizations, rather than just volunteering during off hours. Could full fledged careers really be carved through a niche that relies on a population of hobos?

  
Arguably, more people than one might think are homeless, have been homeless before, or are in situations that could render them homeless for a temporary or undetermined amount of time. It might not even really be age dependent, meaning, (excluding a few key demographics), if you interact with a few people over the course of a few days to a week, you may find at least one or a few have been in the previously mentioned domestically threatening scenarios. After realizing you would have never guessed these people were in those situations, you may note how initially kind or well mannered they seemed. It is analogous to the stereotypical orphan child, growing up without parents and learning how to fend for his or herself, usually going on to building a reputable life for their spouse and children, not wanting anyone they know or love to have to endure the same childhood experiences. 

There is an ever increasing drive to remain stable and avoid the purgatory known as homelessness. In fact, that is probably the most common reason for wanting what is known as “success”, in order to “keep up with the Jones’s”, or to not be homeless: to be comfortable and known for being a valuable contributing member of society, to be admired by peers for the noticeable work he has accomplished, the lives he has touched, the differences in the world he has made, and the rewards he has received as a testament to all this expected employment of man hours; a duty required by every man so that the people’s nation can remain strong and intact.

However, that being said, it has been recognized that a traditional homebound life is not for everyone. From couch surfing to extensive traveling, a few years without particular adult responsibilities has been suggested as a necessary and/or rewarding time of one’s life, in which invaluable lessons concerning respect and empathy can be learned through exposure to a variety of people and cultures. In most cases these people probably aren’t actually homeless as the lifestyle is voluntary.

I would then make a claim that a positive connotation for the term ‘homeless’ is ‘vagabond’. Of course, there are probably some criteria to be called a vagabond and to be differentiated from the average homeless population. Vagabonds typically travel for work and may have an extensive network of contacts (not unlike your average homeless person). They usually exert a cool aura and are knowledgeable about what is going on in the scene of their choice. As has been said before, some people just aren’t good at following through with that “typical American” lifestyle. Perhaps it bores them or their line of work calls for slightly more unusual circumstances. Most people would not assume that there is something seriously wrong with their mental capabilities.

  
On the other hand local hobo populations have been an irreplaceable source of entertainment for roughly fifteen-twenty years now, and the internet has made tuning in to the antics of homeless people even more accessible. Simply put, some people probably couldn’t just help it; whether that be inadvertently getting addicted to drugs through a boyfriend (leading to homelessness) or inherent mental instability that activated at the wrong time, some people are aware of his or her potential shortcomings but simply can’t help it, even when interacting with others. They seem mostly content, or understanding of their dilemma. There’s probably just as much violence and conflict with them as there is in family, civil, or domestic disputes. They may be well aware of some particular aspect regarding basic needs. Some of them are actually better off than one may initially presume.

In my life so far I have met a variety of poor people, some of them homeless. A lot of them don’t have access to contemporary resources and only are concerned with what they know or have been taught growing up. Religion and Christianity is a popular source to turn to to help get through the day. A man who seemed fairly interested in my well being once asked what I was studying in college. I said ‘journalism’. He said he studied that too and was a journalist some thirty or forty years ago, and to look at him now, after enjoying a career in journalism. He was dressed fairly casual but was apparently homeless. I’m guessing he was trying to teach me something about life. He asked if I was into music, and I said yes. I produced a few tracks here and there for some people I know. He said he was a music producer back in the day as well. He asked if I heard of one of his groups, which was a trio of Spanish males in what appeared a precursor to popular boy bands. I told him no. He said he produced a few hits for them back in the 70’s. I wasn’t sure what to say. Pretty soon, some other guy joined the conversation and started talking to him, at which point I kind of eased my way out. The guy seemed tired and confused but I am sure he meant well.

People typically try to foster the homeless with spare change, food, or clothing. Somewhat sensibly, some people refuse to give them money because they might use it to support an alcohol or drug habit. I am not sure if anyone knows what to do about all the homelessness. It is as if the goal is to take care of the entire population. You can offer them food or goods as a quick short term solution of good doing but the rest is seemingly up to them to change their life for the better. What happens after all homeless people are given homes to stay in or sustainable jobs to work? There will always be a new generation of people living on the streets, for one reason or another. Then, is it always up to some person or the other to provide appropriate dictation on how best to improve living conditions and the right thing to work towards?

If one is lucky enough, I suppose, they can get out of it early and maybe learn a skill or two on one way of dealing with people in the real world. These people are probably living with different views from people in other conditions and it takes a little bit of time to learn and understand where each person is coming from, regardless of if there’s a more respectable way of obtaining money. People generally seek the easiest, ultimately least stressful way of life for them to support his or herself. Besides taking an “easy way out” not everyone manages to find that work which suits them best. People will generally attempt to do so in order to be the most attractive in some way; to truly be rich and minimize chances of being considered poor, unsafe, or alone.

PTSD: UNSPEAKABLE

    

*repost

Last week I attended the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) conference in San Francisco. I took two courses; 36 hours of training about how to assist individuals and groups in crises. We learned debriefing and crisis communication techniques and were reminded of common psychological reactions to trauma; including important differences between things like distress versus dysfunction. 

On the last day we were formed into groups of eight for the purpose of completing a role play exercise (one of my least favorite things). My group scenario was about a janitor who came to work wielding a knife. Our task was to decide how to role play it. We agreed on a script: we were at a meeting for supervisors when the irate janitor came at us with a knife. One group member offered ideas to aid the script. He looked at me and said,” and you were really affected by this because it happened to you before at a former work place and it was really bad.” 

My heart raced. A memory intruded. I’m at my old job, Advance America, and there is a gun against my head. Something is changing. The air is different. How many times have I been triggered? 100? 500? It’s irrelevant, I decided after realizing there are more to come. There will always be more. In the interim I am hurting and I’m wearing this pain completely; like an invisible blanket no one can see. PTSD is like an insurgent. It compels my senses to go rogue against my body; like a traitor. I retreat into darkness. I’ve been betrayed. I cannot fight against the way the memories seduce me. I’m triggered. I tried not to let it divide me. I don’t like the way it conquers me. I hate it. I gather strength and will the images to shut down. . .one by one. The robbery happened more than a decade ago, yet, I still feel poisoned by it. I’m triggered. It always knows where to find me. It arrives bestowing unwanted memories so that I can’t even remember NOW. I’m relying on someone to remember the way I am invaded from time to time so that they may bring me back safely, but alas, no one notices. They are blind to the way I lose time, and lose sleep, and when I sleep, I wake up heavier, burdened, and haunted for in my dreams I was being hunted. No one notices the patterns of my aches or the way the pain thumps inside my head after I’ve been frightened. No one sees this unseen part; like the times I snap out of it and it takes me a minute to realize where I am and who they are. No one notices the way I synthesize details of my surroundings so that I may recall the present. I remember: tomorrow is Monday and then I attempt to get up to exit the conference room except I can’t move my legs. Someone is speaking to me and I nod my head, but I don’t know what they’re saying. I want to speak and I can’t because the words were displaced before they reached my lips and no one knows I’m triggered. I feel myself tumbling forward and breaking free. There is a roar of laughter and I’m jerked back into the present, but the fear lingers and I feel weakened. Meanwhile, I wonder about the man who put his gun to my head. What is he doing in the present? I’m back in the present and no one even noticed I was gone.  

 My group members suggestion triggered me. I wanted to leave the conference room, but before the role play began, the instructor told us he didn’t want anyone running out of the room in an effort to appear distraught as part of the role play. I wanted to leave, but I did not want to draw attention to myself, nor did I want to explain myself. I sat there in my group with seven other individuals and thought ‘wow this still fucks with me.’ I thought I was over being triggered about the robbery because I am finally able to speak aloud about the incident without feeling as if I am choking, panicking and on the verge of tears. 

Since the robbery, I have become acquainted with PTSD and have learned how to soothe myself using self-talk. I tell myself I am okay and remind myself that I’m not crazy because a motherfucker chose to put a gun to my head and I believed he was going to rape and murder me.    

The business I worked for more than a decade ago was robbed. I was robbed. I was alone when it happened. So much time has passed and sometimes my  responds as if it just happened. Some of you may be able to banish awful things from your memory. Certain things are too horrible to recall. One thought is, people don’t want to talk about terrible things. Another piece is, terrible things are difficult to listen to. Many times people with PTSD are re-victimized and re-traumatized when they attempt to speak their truth. Due to this phenomena we may hesitate to open up because we might become triggered in the process of telling our story and to make matters worse, while triggered, sometimes what we say becomes detached from what we mean to say. This amounts to being misunderstood; especially to the untrained listener. 

  
 
 

I can hear myself when I’m triggered. I’m embarrassed at how dramatic and bizarre I must sound. I understand how difficult this may be for the person on the receiving end. I often play the role of listener for patients, friends, strangers, and family. When I am speaking with a human who is upset, in crisis or traumatized; my duty is to remain clearheaded so that I can piece together fragments of their story. I must be multilingual in a sense; in order to understand the fractured language the traumatized person uses to illustrate how they became riven. 

I tell you about me so that you can see what we have in common. We are connected by atrocity. We are survivors of combat, prison, abuse, assault, disasters, accidents… We survived wars, predators and husbands. We survived one trauma, many overwhelming events, and/or prolonged psychological abuse. Because of our commonalities I want you to know I understand what many don’t: the impact of traumatic experiences and the strength and resilience required to adapt and recover from those unspeakable things.  

Friday

Ice Breakers

Rive

Car Accidents and PTSD

Stalked:The Conclusion, Chapter 18

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Dale was found guilty of, Attempted Murder and Spousal Battery. He was sentenced to serve a term of 15 years to Life. “To Life” means he could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison. His prison term: Life With The Possibility of Parole deems him eligible for a “Lifer Hearing” where he would go before the Parole Board. The Prison Parole Board would determine if Dale was suitable for release back into society.
Dale went before the Parole Board recently (August, 2014) and was denied parole. He will be eligible to go before the parole board again in five years when he is 63 years old.

Dale has been incarcerated since 2001. The last time I heard from him was in, 2010.

I shared all the letters I received from Dale. Letters he continued to write after he was ordered to cease and desist all contact with me.
He continued to write after receiving a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). He wrote after he was served the Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO).
I turned over all evidence and reported every infraction; yet, when Dale went before the Parole Board, none of the violations involving me, were in his file.
The DVRO expired after three years. I didn’t bother renewing it. I suppose my reasoning was similar to that of many victims who file restraining orders: they don’t help.

Shortly after receiving his last letter, a woman called my cell phone on Dale’s behalf.
A stranger contacting me must of been what Dale meant when he wrote about finding a way to secretly get letters to me without being caught.

From what I gleaned: Dale used his superficial charm to befriend a fellow inmate. I don’t know whether favors were exchanged or if the new friend did Dale’s bidding out of kindness.

Dale wrote a two paged letter to me and gave it to his new inmate friend; who mailed the letter to his girlfriend. When she received the letter, she called me and said,”I have a letter for you to read from, Dale.”
She relayed Dale’s instructions: I was to read the letter and return it to the woman. She said, “I know where you live. I can come to your house, but I don’t want to be rude and just show up. So you can meet me here at the Chevron gas station on Bradshaw and Micron. You can meet me here, read the letter and return it to me or I can come to your home.”

The woman was affiliated with an incarcerated man. She took risks carrying out Dale’s bidding at the request of her boyfriend.
I met her at the Chevron gas station with the goal of keeping her away from my home and my children. I didn’t know what she was capable of.

She was a short, plump, Caucasian woman who appeared to be in her late twenties. She handed me the letter from Dale; which I read with great difficulty. I was distracted by circumstances. The woman stared at me while I read. She watched me the entire time as if she thought I’d attempt to get away with the letter.

The letter was filled with much of the same; attempts to intimidate and professions of love.
When I reported the incident to the DA investigator I had to recall as much of the letter possible as well as provide a description of the woman and her vehicle.
Silly me, I did not think to take down her license plate number. I did, however, have the number she called me from. I don’t know if Dale and his friends received consequences for (a) violating the restraining order (b) witness tampering (c) attempting to dissuade a witness.
I doubt it.

I believe the first prison Dale served time at was, California State Prison (CSP) Solano. While at Solano State Prison he came to possess a cell phone.
It is a misdemeanor to posses a cell phone in prison.
Dale made use of his cell phone by calling my former job, Advance America. He called numerous locations and when he found I no longer worked for the company he set out to find the woman who was formerly my assistant, SH.

SH was familiar with Dale who spent a lot of his time either at my office or calling my office; when she and I worked together.
SH contacted me and told me about her interaction with the incarcerated Dale.
When speaking to SH, Dale introduced himself as “Dale’s brother.”
SH said,”I knew it was Dale. I recognized his voice. I kept asking questions to get as much information as possible. I knew he was supposed to be in jail so I gave him my cell phone number and told him to call me later because I was at work; and that way when he called my cell phone, I’d have the number he was calling from.” While pretending to be his brother, Dale told SH he needed to speak with me urgently because the FBI was looking for me since I lied during my testimony. Furthermore, he wanted to speak with me and warn me because he didn’t want me to get in trouble.
SH said,”I knew something was wrong. All the stuff he was saying didn’t even make sense. Why would the FBI be looking for you, for lying? And they’re the FBI. You’re not hiding so if they wanted you, they would of found you. I told him, you and I had a falling out and that we don’t speak anymore. I told him if I did see you, I’d beat your ass. I wanted him to believe I couldn’t stand you; so he wouldn’t think I’d contact you.” This was very smart of her and I was thankful.

Once again the information was passed on to the DA investigator. A lieutenant at Dale’s prison was informed of his contact made with the outside world via cell phone.
Dale’s cell was searched and a cell phone was found.
The cell phone incident did not come up during his Parole Board Hearing. I’ve concluded, he wasn’t penalized. However, he was transferred to a different institution.
Avenal State Prison

At Avenal, Dale was in close proximity to his parents who visited him often. Dale was also in contact with church going people who believed he was innocent of something; rather than guilty of something.
One of those individuals, a pastor, contacted me. The pastor called my home one fall afternoon and introduced himself. He told me Dale was filing an appeal and urged me to visit him. He said, “Dale knows that you’re married and he’s okay with that.”
I asked,”How did you get my phone number?”
The man paused; then attempted to avoid answering. I repeated my question and he finally answered,”From the white pages.” The man’s goal appeared to be, convincing me that visiting Dale was in my best interest.
I told him I would think about it. I’m not sure why I told him I would think about it when I knew, I wasn’t going to visit Dale. Ever.
It’s that same behavior I tend to exhibit when in the crosshairs of a predator: I don’t say,”No,” and I feel if I say,”No”my life will be in danger. It’s the way my trauma brain functions.

I turned over the pastors contact information to the DA investigator, who let the pastor know the potential consequences of contacting me again.
According to the investigator,”He [the pastor] didn’t know. He had no idea what Dale was in prison for and just believed everything Dale told him. You shouldn’t hear from him again. He said he was sorry.”

Dale is currently an inmate at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI).

In conclusion:
I am privy to many other details because of who I know. The additional information I am privy to is not public information; nor is it my personal experience and for those reasons I’m unable to make those details public.

I never understood Dale’s personality. I thought he was dangerous, controlling and violent.
He wouldn’t allow me to go to college. As soon as I was free of him I enrolled and completed six years of college, earning a BA in psychology and MA in social work. Ironically, college is where I learned about humans of his ilk.

I am glad Dale wasn’t granted a release from prison.
After receiving a call from the pastor I got rid of my land line. Dale knows my address and my relationship status.
How? I’m pretty sure the pastor looked up information for Dale and provided it to him. A crime for which he did not face consequences. He put me and my family in danger. Supposedly, unbeknownst to him. He thought he was helping his wrongly convicted brethren.
One person said, she didn’t believe I had anything to worry about if Dale were to be released.
She’s incorrect. She’s never been stalked; never had a personality disordered person obsessed with her… she doesn’t know.
When Dale went to prison people told me “It’s over now.” I knew better.
They considered me paranoid when I said,”I could feel him thinking about me.” Then I found out he called nearly all the Advance America’s in my city, looking for me.
A few years pass and I find out he’s been conniving people to search for me and contact me.
He even had someone reach out to my son on MySpace.
He isn’t finished.

STALKED: chapter 17

His Letters:

#1 Now regarding us-since the day we were together at I’ve wanted you and no other-you said same. I need you to know you have been like home to me. A place of safety, security, warmth, honesty and belonging. Every time I saw you or spoke to you those feelings came alive. This is all confusing. Didn’t you know that wasn’t it obvious with all the contact we made… That I couldn’t live without you? I thought you felt the same. How did you fool me? I believed you too! I couldn’t be wrong. Only explanation is you got mad and thought that I was playing you. I only kept some things away to keep you. Look at who played who-you drop me at Jail with a promise to stick with me-look betrayal.
You put two and two together and came up with 46. Wrong! I wouldn’t tell you about one truck ( $350,000 top-secret load from Canada big-time money). I couldn’t tell you about Hawaii (pick up seeds and bring back 100 pounds- we go back in December for 200 pounds and $750,000 that’s a lot of money). We would be set for life. Oh, I would have to work funeral gig for a while- anyway it was perfect but I can tell you with the $350,000 I would get from one of the trucks and trailers would buy xxxxx(ex wife) a house and out house. With the crop money we could be set for life. I knew if I got her money and quick divorce out-of-state it would be like I was served divorce papers, but I was trying to keep her from being volatile and it was working. I felt trapped like I couldn’t tell you but I was working for us the whole time. I really don’t know what happened that morning but I really think if something happened that would delay us getting together. Oh no I couldn’t handle that. I need you. Needed you where the hell are you?
I was so afraid to have you work with me because of your wrists. I thought if they got worse you would blame me so that’s why I wouldn’t have you come in.
I wanted you well I was thinking how do you I pay for your operation and take care of my baby? Were you already stepping out on me? Is that what you meant when you said you was going to tell me later during one of our phone calls?
Think! My ass is on the line.
Listen to this, you must believe that I only want you – I worked all the time to keep you and make the transition smooth. If I can get out soon I can still make that money but you must retract some statements. They will threaten you -but listen I’ll have a lawyer speak to you. Talk to him to help me and I promise to help you. At least help me out and stop the psychobabble shit about I will kill you when I get out.
I have never threatened you. You have me now you’re making good you said “I’ll destroy you.”
Stop your hate. I love you. We are perfect for each other without the distortions or the charade I would be free to finally be 100% myself with you and never worry about who what where and how. You must believe and trust. I forgive and I love you regardless though.
Dale

#2
My dearest,
I know this is a lot-but we both talked about this and now nothing for me-no friends-work-this place sucks big-time trust me-please don’t breathe a word of this communication- I met a new lawyer today it was good. I don’t know if you got other letter so the restraining order just blindsided me-I have not will not ever threaten you or hurt you. What’s with you? Remember the second to last time your sons grades and lies? You chased the poor kid around his room for at least five minutes screaming hitting him with whatever, with buckle-belt beat him silly-you joined the rest of us in the living room and cussed”Goddamnit I’ll put him in the hospital.” You got mad and went and back and did it more for 3 to 5 minutes. It seemed like forever. Are you a good mother? I think so. But can you imagine your son telling or writing that out to the authorities?
You’d be in jail! Any incidents we got into was at your insistence! You are proven to be violent. That last night you were arguing, demanding and screaming that I come right now and get my stuff or I’ll be sorry and that I will be sorry it’s going out on the lawn now! You told me you would destroy me, over what? That you’re jealous? Yep I came close to you -to hold you and you swung at me then I tried to grab your hand and you kept on. I flipped you over to protect myself then you used your legs and feet kicking the hell out of me. I weighted your legs and swatted your ass for 30 seconds. I said you deserved that. I held you to stop. We slept and I apologized in the morning. He looked at me and said my holding my hand.”I’m sorry I don’t ever want you to cheat on me.” I said I’m sorry I won’t and don’t want to cheat either now I get a restraining order.
Look the only threat I made and I’ll keep-I said if you ever cheat on me I’ll leave so fast and you’ll never see me again and I said that you would pay me for everything. You said if I leave I would have a new girlfriend right away. I said bullshit that you would because you have never been without a man. You said you don’t know me very well I won’t look I plan on being single if we broke up.
So who was telling the truth? Who’s looking-who went out-oh my God! It just hit me you were stepping out on me before all this- is that how you hooked up so fast? You went alone to store and Dr. all dressed up a couple times and I asked-you give me vague answers were you? Answer me please! If so, this is easy I’m vapor. I’m gone and not another word from me because you’re not worth the lead in the pencil or paper. Tell me were you? Did you meet, have numbers, keep a foot in the door, were you a snake looking, keeping options open, meeting people and holding out? I don’t think so -let me know okay?
You going out dressed up by yourself- kids in the house -you said shopping at grocery store but you never would get dressed up just for that did you meet someone?
While I was planning for your faithfulness? Ironic don’t you think? I don’t now? Funny thought-oh man that changes everything! If so? Truth please. I told you if you cheated I’m disappearing my only threat-oh I know you cheated on me here in jail but that’s forgivable -stress, scared, threatening, confused. I can kind of understand. You never said it’s over or bye or anything.
I feel like if we could hold each other once more-your defenses would drop and you would be reasonable and get off this-I’m determined, high horse attitude, fuck this shit.
Holding each other always worked-when you got angry you were impossible sometimes irrational and rage oriented. But when you settle and open your soul oh my what a soul. I so love and miss how you could make me feel like I just came home when you grabbed my hand looked at me and said, “I love you.” Then squeezed a part of me.
Anyway enough enough except about cheating on me-what was that you said on the phone, “I was going to tell you about it later”-oh well I choose to love, bless you and the kids like always. No matter what you say I was and am better for you than you realize-
I was not only good for the kids-that’s cheap! That you said that bullshit-
The art is practice for me-it would be destroyed in my cell-keep it safe please. I love you please know that you’ll always be safe.
praying for your reply.
Love Dale

#3
My dearest,
hello again- sorry to bother you but I’m in jail and things are unclear and confusing- surely if you were in my shoes you’d have questions, especially if you had no answers, Huh?
I’m really having a hard time understanding some things-so can we please review?
Please I don’t know what has happened. Okay so after my arrest I was full-time with you. You and me still in love with the same goal-life forever right? Right unless I don’t know something. Two, I’m trying to settle business -You said “I’m with Three, we are intimate you are a little withdrawn but you said still you were committed so let’s review that. We have spent this time up to this point working on one goal-being together. Okay, okay, we had a detour but we are right there you! you wanted 1 my divorce, 2. us together, 3. new life for me. I want the same so what were we doing-but with the delays we waited two years on truck -that turned out to be a scam. I wanted to wait for my son to graduate -what you did not know is that I wanted one last trip with the kids. First a trip in car across 6 states to see long-lost family. Kids want all of us to go to Hawaii- okay.
I can do that but truck deal falls through so I’m scrambling. Could you notice my tension and preoccupation? So I make possible business down Central Valley. I couldn’t tell you -remember me three trips to Madera area Modesto and Merced before the arrest? Okay that business included a contact to be made in Hawaii. I couldn’t tell. I’m thinking okay all this is cool I’ll go come back and file for divorce by August 25-move in my house with you. Xxxxx (ex wife) takes house on Bradshaw and my son goes to college. Girls stay in same house with their mom-continuity. Less stress on them.
I was also expecting a couple of checks -remember that’s why the joint account.
Okay review, you want me, I want you, same goals. Planning etc. I blow it. I don’t know what happened. I’m sorry, I still don’t know. You take me to court you want me-I want you -we have said we found the one- I’m committed- you’re committed-my last contact with you is good. Next you come visit -act weird -I’m trying to say little to be protective because we are still secret, right?
The next day you won’t answer phone-we have limited contact-you start going out and talking men on the phone. You never say it’s over or goodbye- just nothing. Now this, what happens from here? If you come visit under another name no one would know but me. Change your hand writing when you sign in- please visit with another persons ID and say anything to me-even if it’s goodbye. I need help in closure.
Please I won’t be long have even the guard told me that and I get to be out of this shit.
Love Dale
oh I must tell you that I know I must help people still after our journey in making this money, I’m going to do the car custom shop stuff on the side and work towards buying old hotel to house people and families, teach trade – like a habitat for humanity kind of thing. But just renovating peoples homes in ghetto neighborhoods-I know I must help people that’s what life’s all about. As God has my strength i’ll do it and wish you would too. I have been helping the inmates in here when they ask me to pray for them and a couple of them have wives that seem like they could be good employees for you-I gave them your number and numbers where they could get free food and clothes to help them out so if you get calls just know it’s me trying to help others from here and I know you can always direct them if you have a need-
I checked them out without question. I don’t just tell anybody. I wouldn’t do that. Love those kids-baby.
The man you said was the one, Dale.

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PTSD AND NIGHTMARES

 

It’s November 21st at 3:44 PM. I’m having kind of a bad PTSD day. 

It’s been a while (although not long enough)since my sleep has been burdened by hours upon hours of nightmares. 

Last night I slept six solid hours. The entire time I was trapped in agony. I woke at 4:00 AM and clung to my husband whilst attempting to make sense of my world. Sometimes I awaken-and it feels like I’m still in a nightmare. Intellectually, (because I know a lot about trauma brain) I understand I’m awake, but that understanding is battling the part of my brain that is telling me I’m in danger. I ground myself by grabbing my husband or my dog. It’s like I’m literally clinging to the present because my brain is telling me to run for my life or fight…but I’m touching my dog and she’s  reinforcing reality by orienting me. 



I always think of people who are battling PTSD without any education about it. I have hundreds of hours of research and education about it; yet there are times I want to blow my brains out. When people tell me “I hate it! I just want it to stop!” I say “I know.” But they probably don’t understand that I KNOW!
 

In paying close attention to myself, I’ve learned something new: If I have nightmares all night-> I’m going to be triggered upon wakening + primed for panic throughout the day. That means I’ll be easily activated.

3prime

: to make (someone) ready to do something

: to make (something) ready for use

: to cover (a surface) with special paint in order to prepare it for the final layer of paint

Full Definition

transitive verb

1 : fill, load

2 a : to prepare for firing by supplying with priming 

I woke from the first nightmare, grabbed my cell phone and played scrabble, scrolled Instagram and Facebook and online window shopped until I found sleep again…when I did, more nightmares came. Nightmares upon nightmares.

 

One dream was about domestic violence: Every time I left the house I’d see a man come out of no where and attack this woman. I don’t know if they were married, but clearly her goal was to escape him. He’d do the same thing every time-Storm toward her,grab her,dig his right hand into her skull so that his four fingers went beneath the skin..then he’d drag her off like a bowling ball while she screamed in agony. Observers on the street were yelling “Someone help her!”  I took flight. The last time he grabbed her, he didn’t drag her off right away. I knew he was going to kill her. I ran while trying to call 911 on my cell phone. He was killing her and I knew I would be next as well as others in the vicinity. I yelled my husbands name really loud and that woke me. I actually yelled for him in my dream and in real life.


What was that dream about? I was in a violent relationship in the past, but I don’t think that’s key. I need to look at my world to see if there is something happening  giving me the emotions I experienced in my dream. Fear.

The other night I dreamt I was in a horrible car wreck and dying. I’ve been in multiple vehicle accidents. I even thought I was dead once after being rear ended. But again, I don’t think the dream was about reliving an accident. Rather, it was about the associated emotion. Fear. 
 

Following a nightmare-I try to soothe myself until I cannot keep my eyes open any longer. I’m avoiding sleep at the moment. Sometimes I think the dream will continue or another nightmare will start if I return to sleep. Other times I cannot sleep because I’m amped from thee burst of adrenaline.

I have a drawer full of Xanax that I can use, but I don’t like taking them. I know they’re there if I cannot regulate my heartbeat. Sometimes the emotions from my dreams linger all day. When that happens, I stay on my property.  


I ground myself by (1) petting my dog after she wakes me up. (2) go on Facebook and Instagram. I usually find funny things on Facebook. I post things and banter. Things on Instagram make me laugh pretty hard and looking at animal pictures make me smile. (3) I work on my blog of (4) I get up and do things with my animals or garden.