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“Split”

This is a poem that I wrote a while back; it involves my experiences with both Dissociative Identity Disorder, hallucinations, and severe depression, and the feeling of isolation and confusion that comes with it.  It touches on some really deep and painful subjects, but my goal in sharing this is not just to dwell in sadness, but to show others that they are not alone. And while we all have our moments of pain, there is always a way to strive past, survive, and thrive, despite the pain.

~Ashton

“The essence living in my soul—the voices in my head—
I try to banish them but they grow strong and worse instead.
You ask me how I feel and yet I promise you you’d start
To back away if you could see the depths of hell I see.
I laugh at you; you think you know. You think you’re oh so smart.
And yet you fail to notice what is always clear to me.
I know you cannot hear their voice; you cannot see their face.
I promise you you’ll see them soon; but just not how you think.
Their voice will speak through mine, and soon their eyes, through mine, will see.
Their thirst for pain, their hate for love, will manifest through me.
Don’t be afraid; they cannot hurt you. Never will, in fact.
My mind and brain won’t let me hurt a fly; you’ll stay intact.
And when this happens, I will say “I told you so” and laugh.
You brought this on yourself by your own ignorance of that.
These things you cannot understand are elementary.
The language of these demons speak and minister to me.
I make my friends with them; I know them well; I know their names.
They are not one, but many, as I am; I always change.
Your eyes see one of many that exist inside my soul.
I laugh that you’re so gullible; you see as you are told.
You see exactly what I want; you’ll never see the rest.
You’ll never see the witch, the bitch, the recluse, demoness.
The demoness who laughs at your demise, and scoffs your pain.
Where were you when she bled to death? Your death shall be the same.
The recluse who wants nothing more than silence, solitude.
Who yearns for death and wants to see her blood to prove it’s true.
The bitch who takes all she can get, who never loved or gave.
but memories she has of hell go with her to her grave.
The witch who talks to demons and who takes her joy from them
The woman with no conscience and no fear of punishment.
Who are these that exist within? Your eyes shall never see.
They’re safely locked away; their sanctuary lies in me.
And if they are exposed, they’ll die. They cannot be revealed.
So to my death, they hide their faces, forever concealed.
You see the good; and only that. It’s all you want to see.
My hell shall be your hell if you get anywhere near me.
So what has caused all this, you ask—those brave enough to try.
And what has caused you so much pain, and makes you want to die?
I smile at you, you’re really stupid; why you have to ask?
If you had cared at all, you’d be the one to answer that.
The memories, the suffering; I swallowed all the pain.
And in my soul they festered there and birthed another name.
Another spirit, soul who took a face, identity.
And now this spirit, soul, claims whole possession over me.
Why don’t you see it? How can it be so hidden from your sight?
This spirit hides behind my eyes, if you’d just see it right.
Beware the person she transforms me into when she breaks…
She breaks, too strong for me to fight, and takes possession of my soul.
Her mind and heart know nothing of the world but pain and hate—
Emotions I can’t feel caused by events I can’t control.
It’s difficult to be not one, but many, in one flesh.
My heart is ripped apart; my brain? A split chaotic mess.
And yet you say I’m fine, and I will be all right at last.
I want you to remember this when several months have passed,
When who “I” was to you is nothing but a memory,
Consumed by who I never was, but who I’ll always be.”

I Did Something Brave Today

So I did something really brave today–something people like myself just don’t do. I usually spend my day hiding inside my house, afraid to go outside, trapped in my own thoughts and taking each moment as it comes to survie the day. But today, I changed that, and in what I feel is a pretty huge way.
I went to my doctor and let her know I was ready to do what she’d been encouraging me to do for months: I was ready to start taking medication.
Now if you’re anything like me, the very idea of this is immediately repulsive. I felt like a failure. Like I’d given up. I felt that I was no longer a functioning person in society, and that by taking medication, I was setting the stage for a cycle of dysfunction by admitting I had a serious problem. I don’t like to get help. Period. To add insult to injury, this admittance automatically elicits a judgemental glance, a scoff, a roll of they eyes from family, acquaintances, and sometimes even friends–a lot of things, and usually pretty negative. If you’re really lucky, you may even get a couple of these gems: “What? You want to be a zombie?” “You know that stuff’s addicting, right?” “Yeah but you’re not REALLY sick.” “That stuff messes with your head.” So why do we get these reactions from people ? Why don’t people who have broken their leg or who have diabetes or cancer get responses like this? It’s all medicine, right? I guess because there’s still such an incredibly sad stigma about taking prescription medicines for mental illnesses. I think people have a really difficult time understanding what they’ve never experienced; and for a lot of people, crippling mental illness is not an everyday norm for them, like it is for me. Like it is for us.
It took a lot to get me to this place of vulnerability, I’ll admit. A hell of a lot. I pride myself on being able to function without a single soul knowing my suffering. I thrive on functioning and appearing normal; its kind of like a safety net. Why? I don’t really know. Maybe because sometimes, it’s all I feel I have to really respect about myself. Maybe it’s because I know that even if I can’t feel normal, I can at least relish the appearance of it, however fake. But today, I allowed myself to be human. I admitted to my stubborn self that the ways I’ve been coping with the neverending PTSD, depression, and anxiety just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I don’t think I can overestimate how big of a deal this was for me. I’m Ashton. I don’t need any help from anyone, or anything, and certainly not medication. When sometimes the only thing you like about yourself is this misplaced and illogical need to feel proud of never needing help, your ego really takes a blow. And it did.
So why then did I finally chose to do it, you may ask? Very simply, my family. I was doing a good job (we perfectionists always do) keeping up appearances, doing all the right things. The house was kept clean, the baby was happy and learning, the hubby got his roast beef sandwiches made at 3:00 every day, you know the drill; but way too often I’d find myself exploding like a firecracker at even the most minor stimuli, or breaking down into tears and falling into an unfathomable sinkhole of depression for no reason that I could even really identify. The vivid hallucinations, nightmares, and memories of everything horrible/embarrassing I’d ever done in my life, just kept playing over and over in my head like a broken record. I started to see my hubby noticing these changes, and mentioning them. He started saying I was on edge. I started hearing the edge in my own voice; we started having a lot more fights. And I couldn’t bear the thought of my instability being noticeable to the sensitive intuition of my one year old baby girl, or of ever causing her to feel stressed or worried. Kids are pretty smart, and she always had a way of picking up on a negative emotion.
And that right there is what changed it for me. So I decided to put aside my ego and fear of others’ judgements, and get that prescription.
Not being ashamed of taking medication when you feel it’s best for you is something I’ve always advocated from my comfortable position of not taking any; but it’s true. I hope that this small article encourages you to always put yourself first, and remember that you know yourself and your mental health needs better than anyone. Don’t be shamed or embarassed into not getting the help you need. Taking medication is not weakness or failure; it’s a method that you cand choose to take control of the areas in your life that you feel it may help.
If you don’t take medication for your mental health issues, I applaud you! If you do take medication for your mental health issues, I applaud you! We’re all facing the same battles here. We’re all at war in our minds. As long as what you’re doing is helping you live a more fulfilled life, whether with or without medication, you’re doing awesome.
Take care of yourselves and never be ashamed of doing what is best for you. You’re worth it.
~Ashton

“Mirror or a Glass”

This is a poem I wrote a while back, when I was feeling particularly isolated from the world due to having several mental illnesses, all of which were in full force at the time. The isolation, the stigma, and the general misunderstanding of people can sometimes be overwhelming, and writing poetry is a way I found to vent and let go of those painful feelings. My hope is that the emotions expressed in this poem can both resonate with and encourage those who have felt or are feeling the same way.

~Ashton

“I guess it doesn’t really matter
I guess I shouldn’t feel this way.
But sometimes “shouldnt’s” aren’t enough
To make the pain just go away.

Just can’t take it; just can’t do it.
Can’t you see me dying here?
I can’t fake it; just can’t prove it.
And I refuse to be that strong.

What’s so bad about being real
What so bad about letting me feel?
Why is it so hard to understand
What you have never even allowed to be real?

So when the pain is all I’m feeling
And when you just don’t understand
Do I suck it up, or let you know?
Do I let you see, or give you a show?
Are you seeing you, or seeing me?
Am I a mirror or a glass?

Or does it even really matter when either way I’m gonna crack?

I know I maybe “should” get over it
I know I maybe “should” let go
After all, you get along just fine.
What you don’t know,

Is that you’ve lost your will to what the world wills you to be.
But everyone has given up their wills to others’ wills.
You’re putting on a show when you’re the only audience.
So why attempt to fool the ones already fooling you?

When what is strong for you is but a mockery of me
You see the sheer hysteria of your hypocrisy?
You walk around, your head held high, feet firmly on the ground,
And never take a break to let your eyes just look around.

Your phone is ringing, car is running, people taking orders, money, laughing, yelling, making plans…
Do you ever stop to breathe?

If you did you might just see the pain that wails into our ears.
But no, to see our pain would be to see the pain in you.
Everyone has been the same ever since time first began.
Don’t think you can disguise yourself with blueprints made by man.

It’s falling apart, do you see it?
It’s screaming at me, can you hear it?
It’s tearing me up, can you feel it?
Or am I forever lost in your obscurity?

The walls are caving in? Where are you?
The ground is shaking. Why aren’t you helping?
The wind is screaming. How can you not hear it?
Where the hell is humanity here?

You’re human. Face it. Ask yourself
The questions. Laugh! Or say you’re angry.
Tell them that you love them.
Cry your eyes out; just break down!

Let yourself be dead sometimes; it might just help you live.
And when it’s over, walk away, but always try again.

But you can’t just do that. Why? Well then you’d actually be real.
And what we see, and feel and hear? you have to see it too.
You’d have to let yourself be human, let yourself be true.
And-oh the worst- your depth of soul would genuinely feel.

I’m not suggesting that we live in gloom and misery.
At least just choose the pain which heals: the pain of being free.
For after tears there’s laughter and then after pain there’s hope.
The only thing you’re losing is the mask you made yourself.”

Stressful and tough 

Stress is a pretty awful thing to deal with. Agreed? What would you think if I told you that even though stress may cause negative effects on the body that in small doses it can actually work as a positive in your life? Yes, I said stress can work as a positive. Although too much stress can cause a number of negative effects not only in your life but on your body as well, stress in small does can actually help you out if you know how to take a step back and look at things a from a different perspective. This may seem hard to do especially when under a lot of stress but once you get the hang of it, you can start to use your stress to your advantage.

For instance, if you are taking classes and find out you have test that doesn’t reflect too much on your grade etc. you may not feel much pressure or “stress” to do very well on it causing you to maybe sluff off your study time or not take the test as seriously as you would if it were a mid term or final exam, lets say. However come mid term/final exam time, you will more than likely feel the effects of stress starting to play and feeling this way may cause you to want to spend extra time studying or focusing more intently on the seriousness of the exam.

 

Another great example of how stress can be of assistance is that its a good indicator that you are not where you need to be in life or that something needs to change. If you are constantly feeling stressed at work or in life, maybe you need to take a step back and refocus on what you want and what makes you happy. At times it may be that nothing around you really needs to change but your actions might need to be redirected or maybe you need to add something back into your life. Either way that stress has made you uncomfortable enough in life to make you DO something about it and we all know that action is what makes us move forward in life.

 

Stress is one of our bodies reactions and with it comes energy and stength, so what we do with that excess energy is pretty important. You can help manage your stress with excersise, sports or even dance. Physical activities are really great tools to help reduce and manage your stress levels along with more soothing activies such as reading, writing, painting, singing, listening to calming music and of course meditation. Next time you’re feeling stressed try taking a couple deep breaths, practice one of your anti stress methods that works best for you and listen to what your body is telling you.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse – the Worst thing Your Child Can Go Through
OrProtect your Child against Sexual Abuse

When an offender or perpetrator harms a child or minor physically, sexually or
psychologically, it is known as sexual abuse. Though the child is not in a
position to consent to any such sexual activity, it is thus considered a crime that
has a lasting impact on the victim.

If a child is sexually abused all bonds of trust seem to break. This is a violation
against a person’s own physical intimacy. Such acts of physical exploitation
will be seen as spiritual violence that has disastrous effects not only on the body
but the mind as well. To recover from such an incident it might takeyears or
even a lifetime as sexually abused victims can never emotionally get over it.
It is difficult to get precise statistics on the number of sexually abused survivors
in the world as many survivors never reveal the truth. The whole tragedy is that
since the survivors never tell anyone, they are not in a position to seek
professional help to deal with the situation. Moreover the nature, duration and
circumstances of the abuse and the child’s relation with the abuser all have a
very adverse effect which does not enable his or her ability to move ahead in
life. Furthermore it is seen that more than half of the victims are below 12 years
of age mostly in the age group of four to six years. It is often seen that the
offender is usually an adult member in the family or a teacher or coach or
someone generally known to the child whom the child trusts. Childhood sexual
abuse mostly occurs at home where the child can be easily accessed by the
offender where he will not be suspected or caught. Abusers manipulate the
victim to never reveal about the abuse by using various tactics, threat being the
most common.

Considering the gravity of the problem of sexual abuse we can understand the
need to converse with children explaining to them about body safety and at the
same time keeping them safe ensuring a safe environment where they can
without hesitation express themselves. The two main issues here are firstly to
protect the child from sexual abuse and secondly to talk to your child if you
suspect sexual abuse.