Anger, Abuse, and Autumn

Discovering Autumn, Invincibility

Before I begin with this blog post, I would like to mention that if you are sensitive to material concerning abuse, proceed with caution.

I don’t really know where to start this story, so here goes nothing.

I don’t usually like to talk about my childhood, I have a habit of cherry picking the good things and trying my hardest to sugarcoat the memories that are far from cheery. From the outside, I doubt many people could see that my dad was abusive. The physical abuse was worse when I was younger. Once, when my sister and I got into a can of pie filling, my dad took the flame of a lighter and held it to our sticky hands (to this day, I am terrified of anything pertaining to fire, and have difficulty lighting my own candles). On another occasion, our dog crawled underneath our bed and pooped multiple times, and my sister and I didn’t immediately clean it out. My dad’s response? Slapping us across the face and hitting us with a belt on our legs and butts. But, those are just a few instances.

As I got older, the physical abuse was less often. However, in it’s place came verbal and emotional abuse. One of my dad’s favorite things to tell me was that I was fat. He would regularly tell me that my thighs were bigger than my but, how I had so much cellulite that I looked like an old woman, how no one would ever like me because of how fat I was. I could go on and on. In middle school, my dad would force my sister, my brother, and I to run around our backyard until he deemed appropriate. I would cry and beg, pleading that I couldn’t breathe and I felt an asthma attack coming on. He would always add time. We were made to do ridiculous exercises all while being called fat, stupid, a bitch, so many horrible names. The verbal abuse got worse and worse as I got older. Anytime that I was sick, my dad would claim that I was faking. I was rarely ever allowed to go to the doctor’s because he claimed that all my health problems were mental. After suffering severe chest pains for close to two years, my mom finally took me to the ER after I passed out. However, my brother, was immediately taken to the doctor when he had a stomach ache. 

Instead of coming home to a drunk, abusive, pathetic excuse for a man, I would pour my time into school and extracurricular activities. I would do anything to stay out of my house and out of my job, which was working for him. From a young age my dad would take me to work. While I do understand that this could teach me good work ethic, I hated going to work for him. He would only pay me a fraction of what he was supposed to, and keep the rest of the money for himself. While, I would somewhat understand if he was paying for everything of mine, he wasn’t. I paid for my gas, most of my school clothes and shoes, my hair upkeep, my school supplies, my school lunch, and a bunch of other things. Not only did he not pay me, he got such a thrill at seeing my get upset in front of other people. He would embarrass me when I made mistakes in front of customers and his workers. Not one of them ever stood up for me. A few would comfort me once they were out of his sights, but they respected him and wanted to keep their jobs, which I understand.

As I neared my senior year of high school, I began to realize that I had a voice. Anytime I would try to stand up for myself, my siblings, or my mom, he would become even angrier. Didn’t I realize that women were supposed to be meek and just take whatever men deal at them? Silly, silly Autumn.

The arguing between my father and I escalated a few times to where I was told to leave my house. I would stay with two friends, both of which didn’t really know what was going on. My mother would always beg me to come back at about 11 at night, which I would usually end up doing as long as he wouldn’t be waiting up.

The night of my graduation, my father was a complete and total asshole. He tried to cause all sorts of trouble with my aunt and uncle, and with my brothers and sisters. On my special day, the day that marked a huge milestone in my life, the day that I was to make a speech to the entire graduating class and the attendees, and here my father was trying to ruin it. The next day, my mother, my siblings, and I packed a bag or two and left while my dad was at work. My mom began filling for divorce and reaching out for help as we stayed with my aunt. During this time, my father would routinely call and harass us. He would tell me that I wasn’t welcome in his house, and that he never wanted to see me again. During that emotional summer, my dad killed one of our beloved family dogs as revenge for us leaving.

Right before I was to go off to college, my mother decided she was going back to my dad. After finally tasting freedom, I didn’t want to return. I cried and cried, begging my mom not to go back. She told me that I needed to trust her, so I shut my mouth and I did.

The day that we went back, my dad told me that I was too fat to wear my hair short and wear dresses. Nice homecoming, right?

Two nights later, he wrapped a belt around my mom’s throat and strangled her until she passed out. When she didn’t die like he hoped, he told us to pack our bags and leave. When he took my mom and I to the airport so that we could head to Denver, he told me that I needed to find a new mom because my mom wasn’t going to be able to “baby” me anymore. He then go into an argument with my uncle, who had come to say goodbye to me. Another milestone for me, and it was ruined yet again.

After leaving for college, I didn’t speak to my dad except to tell him happy birthday. When it came time for me to come home for winter break, I asked to stay with my aunt. My mom agreed because my dad had already told my mom that he would have me arrested if I tried to come to the house. During my first few months away from home, I didn’t really get to talk to my mom. Every time I would call, something else more pressing would come up, or my father would start saying stuff about me and my mom didn’t want to put up with it. During this time, I became closer to my aunt. She became that mother figure for me, so in  a way, I did find a new mom. I was experiencing a lot of gastrointestinal issues, along with my depression and anxiety worsening. My aunt was there for me when I needed her, even after I went in for a blood test and had a psychiatrist talk to me because they were worried about my mental well-being.

Right before I was to return home, my brother’s counselor reported my dad to Child Protective Services, and he was made to leave the house. I couldn’t have been more relieved.

However, going back caused many horrible memories and anxieties to resurface. I would check the doors over and over again because my dad had found his way into the house multiple times, despite my family having a protection order against him. I would wake up throughout the night from nightmares where my dad was standing over me or yelling at me, or hurting my mother. It was unbearable.

Right before I went home, my doctors were trying to figure out the right combo of drugs to help combat my anxiety and depression, and I became very emotional. I found it harder than ever to deal with all these emotions, and didn’t really feel as if anyone could help.

Recently, I began to focus on meditation and yoga to work on my anxiety and panic attacks. Once I began to feel as if I had control over my anxiety, anger reared its ugly head. I began to realize that I wasn’t this disgusting, horrible, person that my dad had always made me to believe. I began to realize that I was a loving, caring individual, and I deserved better. In stead of feeling scared, I got angry.

Out of this anger, came my voice. Anytime my mother, brother, or one of my father’s friends would say that things weren’t that bad, or try to discount my experiences, I began to speak up. While it wasn’t always easy, and I couldn’t always get the words out, I tried.

During the short time that I have been home for summer break, my dad has drunkenly called my mother multiple times, threatened her over the phone, and has tried to contact my siblings and I. As per the domestic violence injunction, he was prohibited from contacting us outside of visitation, including electronic contact. I told my mom that I wanted to see about having a restraining order placed against my father, and she agreed to take me to the police station. I ended up pressing charges since my dad had broken the domestic violence injunction multiple times. I was worried that once he found out, that I was done for, that all those threats would come to fruition. I shared my concerns with the police officers and they explained to me that he would instantly be taken into custody once all the paperwork was filed. It took a few days for them to arrest him, but that same day he was released on a $30,000 (what we were told) bond. I panicked. I refused to stay at my house, and all my siblings and I stayed in my mom’s room. During the day when my mom was gone, my sister and I would find ways to stay out of the house to avoid him coming there. We were terrified.

Fast-forward to this weekend, when my siblings went to visit with my dad for visitation. I stayed at home with my mom. About an hour into the visit, my sister called us crying, saying that my dad had already started in with the name calling and being horrible to her. I became infuriated. After she called, she stopped responding to texts, and my mother and I freaked out. We called her multiple times, and each time the calls went unanswered. I finally decided that I was going to call the cops. My mother was able to go pick them up with a police escort and she brought them back home.

During this time, I became really emotional. I have always been protective of my siblings, especially my sister that is two years my junior. She has gone through multiple brain surgeries and has a hard time dealing with stress and being berated. I was so angry. I wished over and over that I could be the one receiving the abuse in her place. I just wanted to protect her, and it ate me up inside because I couldn’t protect her from that.

During this stressful time, I expressed to my mom that my sister was braver than I was. I explained to her that I believed this because she was able to face him, even though she knew what he was capable of, even though she was scared of him. My sister had started finding her voice way before I did, and it always amazed me. My mom responded that she believed I had it in me to tell him how I really felt.

I decided that maybe I did have it in me.

I will have to put this to the test when I have to go to his bond hearing and tell the judge why I believe his bond shouldn’t be revoked.

Wish me strength and courage, as I am scared shitless by the idea of facing him again. But, I am also ready because I believe that this will be healing for me if I am able to explain to someone and know that he will finally get punished for all the horrible things he put my family through.

Always yours,

Autumn

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This is important, trust me.

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration, Invincibility, Soundtrack to my life

To everyone who has suffered from depression, eating disorder, any other mental disorders. To everyone that has ever self-harmed, purged, or hated their bodies. This is for us.

Mary Lambert is an amazing songstress. I wanted to share one of her songs with you today because it was something I needed to hear today. It makes me cry and it hurts, but it makes me realize a lot of things.

Please listen to this.

It will be hard, trust me.

I don’t want to go into too many details about myself, but this song hits home within the first few lines. I ugly cry every time I play this song.

If you ever need anyone to talk to, I promise you that I am here. I understand. It may not always seem like it, but I have been through a lot, and I am still here to tell the sad, sad, tale.

Please, shoot me an email if you need someone to be there for you. I want you to know, that even though I don’t know you, you deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel loved and to feel amazing in your skin.

All my love,

Autumn

Mindful Mondays- 07/28/14

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration, Mindful Mondays

I had a difficult time today. I definitely struggled with being optimistic, mindful, and I don’t even think I had a moment of happiness. I missed my morning yoga routine along with my meditation due to some other circumstances, I didn’t eat a proper meal; basically the beginning of my day didn’t start the way it usually does. I kept thinking to myself, how can I write about mindfulness if I can’t even find the time to meditate? How can I spread the gospel of mindfulness if I ended up having a bit of a cry fest today?

That’s when I realized, sometimes you just have to cry. Sometimes a good crying sesh will help clear you mind, and help you get out all that tension. If done correctly, it can be almost as restorative as a short meditative session.

But, you can’t just cry. You have to realize WHY you are crying. Note what caused it. For me, it was the feeling that I was losing control. I didn’t finish an important assignment (in a class I’m not doing so well in), didn’t get any of my other work done, my morning routine became screwed up royally; things seemed to just keep going wrong.

That’s when my stress and anxiety levels rose so high, that demon of depression to rear its hideous heads. I shut down and went numb, not even being able to make myself do my work. I couldn’t even hold in my crying.

After that crying, I regained myself. I decided I couldn’t keep letting these things get to me, I couldn’t keep letting these bad days completely throw me off track. That’s where my mindfulness came in on this horrible, terrible, no-good Monday.

So, I ask, how do you lovely people deal with “off” days?

Hope you had a Mindful Monday, and Namaste Y’all,

Autumn

Beauty Challenge

Discovering Autumn, Inspiration

As I am sure most of you have seen on your Facebook wall, is the challenge to share 5 photos where you feel truly beautiful. I was challenged today by an old friend, and while doing this, I realized how hard it truly was. Every picture I came across had something wrong with it. “I can’t bring that back to the attention of my friends! Look at my pudge!”, “My outfit looks horrendous!”, and similar thoughts ran through my head as I searched through my Facebook albums. Even the pictures I ended up choosing I believed had a few issues.

Due to the fact that I am suffering from severe clinical depression and anxiety; happiness doesn’t come very often. So, I came to the conclusion that when I am truly happy, I am truly beautiful. Therefore, these pictures of me are when I am truly happy. I am not dwelling on the abuse I suffered throughout my life, or the “impending doom” of my future. I am focusing on myself, and trying my hardest to live in the moment.

Now I have to ask, what makes you lovely people feel beautiful?

Sending happiness your way,

Autumn

p.s. you should definitely check out the post I reblogged about Meghan Trainor from HyperReality about body positivity!

My best friends, Darbi and Andrea, at Halloween this year.

My best friends, Darbi and Andrea, at Halloween this year.

My Big and I at a sorority convention

My Big and I at a sorority convention

My sister and I at the Senior Formal photo booth

My sister and I at the Senior Formal photo booth

My sisters and I before our blind date formal

My sisters and I before our blind date formal

My date and I for my sorority's senior formal

My date and I for my sorority’s senior formal

 

Study Tips and Apps for Students

Uncategorized

So, I know a lot of people do these lists, but I honestly feel as if I have valuable input when it comes to this subject. While not all of these tips will work for everyone, I really hope that you can either adapt them to fit your individual needs, or that you will at least attempt them. Thanks for checking this out, and I really hope it helps

!

  • After every lecture, take time to review and clarify your notes that you take. This is a great way to utilize time in between classes (rather than napping, like I sometimes do).
  • Now a word on notes… Consider handwriting your notes. While this tip may not apply to all classes or to every student, there is scientific research that claims that handwriting notes will help you remember them better. (http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=177291)
  • Colour code everything! I have a system, while it may seem a tad bit OCD, I highly recommend it. At the beginning of the quarter, I assign each class a colour. When I hand write notes, I use that specific pen; when I do homework, I use coloured mechanical pencils (that don’t write in colour). Basically, everything having to do with that class involves that colour. For example, if I write in my agenda, I just write the assignment in that classes colour.
  • Always keep an agenda! Even if it is just on your phone. However, I highly recommend having an agenda that you can write stuff down in. Since cheap agendas don’t last me that long, and I love being able to customize my things, I usually splurge and buy from May Books. I even have a workout/diet journal from them that I love. (http://www.maydesigns.com/)
  • Going back to notes, if you do type notes, consider the app “Evernote”. It keeps everything updated between multiple devices, and organize notes into notebooks. It is awesome! (http://evernote.com/)
  • Make To-Do Lists! If you are anything like me, you break down projects into smaller, more manageable steps. I love the website and app “Todoist”. I also utilize the Mac app for my laptop. I love how you can organize everything into projects, or subjects, colour-code these projects, and you get karma points for checking things off your to-do list! (https://todoist.com/)
  • If you are a visual person, this should work for you! Before each exam I like to make what I call cheat sheets. These are visual pages that utilize the “mind-mapping” techniques for note-taking. It’s a great visual “fact sheet” of all the things you need to remember for an exam. This mayHow-to-create-a-mind-map-mindmap

    not work for everyone, but I find that if I colour-code my cheat sheet, even the most overwhelming of subjects seems easier.

Now on to my favorite ap

ps!

  • Evernote, which I have mentioned above. (http://evernote.com/)
  • Todoist, which I have mentioned above. ((https://todoist.com/)
  • Figure 1, which is like an instagram for those in medical professions. If you do choose to download this app, make sure you read the FAQ’s and don’t violate any rights of the people posting, or of the patients they are posting for. (https://figure1.com/)
  • StudyBlue, a flashcard app that I love. You can make your own flashcards, and you can also look at others who have had your same class, and you can even narrow it down to the same professor. (http://www.studyblue.com/)
  • Songza, I love the type of playlists you can find on Songza, and how you can find the perfect playlist based on your mood, or activities. Because, sometimes I get tired of listening to my iTunes library, and I like some new music to shake things up a bit. (http://songza.com/)
  • Timetable is an awesome app that lets you put in your class schedule, including the room number, professor, time, and you can even colour-code it. This allows me to have a visual reminder of how logn each class is, and rather than carrying a schedule around my college campus the first week of classes, I can just look at my phone to find out where my classes are. I also like how you can put reminders for assignments and exams for each subject. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gabrielittner.timetable)
  • TED, do I really have to go into a detailed explanation? This app is what I like to call “productive procrastination”. If you want to watch videos, watch them on a subject you are interested in (I love the medical and psychology TED talks), or maybe even look up talks on subject material you are learning. So while you may not be studying, you actually are learning. (https://www.ted.com/)
  • Dropbox is an app, so that you can keep documents in the cloud. I love this because one time after my laptop crashed, the only way I had access to assignments and papers was because I had saved copies of them on my dropbox, which I could access from any other computer, and my phone! This app saved my life. (https://www.dropbox.com/)
  • Groupon is an awesome coupon like app. It’s hard to explain, but the basis is that you can find cheap deals on basically everything; fitness classes, clothes, accessories, programs, restaurants, the list goes on and on. Check it out, and love it as much as I do! (http://www.groupon.com/app)

Thanks again for checking out this post! I plan on doing a post about my favorite school supplies soon, so stay tuned for that! If you have any questions, comments, suggestion, just let me know! I love positive feedback, and I love to learn more about what works for other people. Best of luck!