Saturday, June 28, 2008

Missing Christian

This summer my oldest son, Christian, is staying with his grandpa and uncle in Florida. I sure do miss him! He will be working his first job and bonding with men, while my mom comes here to help me paint and organize my house. Since I started working full time five years ago, keeping up with four boys and also keeping up with house maintenance has been difficult. Of course, I also have to mention that therapy and blogging take up a large portion of my time! Anyway, thought I would share a poem that I wrote this morning. Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Take care:)


Missing Christian

I’ve come to know
that nervous yawn
When my eyes
gaze into yours
and stay too long

Am I the critic
blue black hair
Cringing inside
at the clothes
you choose to wear

Are you still
the boy
whose questions
never cease
Eyebrows furrowed
Cursing the darkness
Refusing to sleep

Where is the girl
feeling every frantic kick
Afraid to take you home
Leaving gentle kisses
along the back
of your neck

Now your bed
is empty
The noise you call
gone away

Am I the mother
every son
must leave behind
Each moment
of his lifetime
forever in my mind

Negative Self-Talk

sad girl

"I'm stupid."

How many billions of times throughout my life have I said those two words to myself? This poor self-concept began in the first grade, when my teacher would say those very words, and then she would put my desk in the hall, where I would remain for the rest of the day. During a parent-teacher conference, she told my mother that I was retarded, and would need to be placed in a school for the mentally handicapped. What was it about me that made her think this, I'll never know. I do know that I heard that story repeated more times than I care to remember. My mother was outraged, and enrolled me in the Catholic school where we also attended church. Later, when I was really struggling with math, she took me to a children's hospital for extensive testing, and it was then that I was diagnosed with dyscalculia, and proprioceptive dysfunction. In my mind, this was the actual proof that I really was stupid, and I'm still trying to break myself of this negative self-talk. It is a bad habit, and something that is so detrimental to recovering from an eating disorder. Fat, ugly, disgusting, greedy...I could go on and on about the horrible things that I say to myself. It takes practice to replace a negative thought with a more positive one, but I'm trying. I would never hurt anyone else with these cutting words, so I'm trying to treat myself as kindly as I treat others.

Here are some other great ideas for coping with negative self-talk:

Catch yourself in the act! Be aware of any situation that might trigger anxious thoughts or irrational worrying. Be aware of anticipating catastrophe or imagining scenes that will never happen.

2. Interrupt the negative thought
Say “stop” to yourself. Interrupt that negative thought. Ask yourself: “What am I telling myself that makes me feel this way?” or “Do I really want to do this to myself?” or “Do I really have all the facts?” or “Is this really likely to happen?” or “Do I really want to stay upset?” If the answer to the last one is no then proceed to next step. If the answer to the last question is yes then give yourself the opportunity to acknowledge and express your feelings. If there is no suitable person available to discuss them with then write them down. When you are ready to relax and have calmed down continue with next steps. If you are still too upset or angry it may be that you haven’t allowed yourself to fully express these strong feelings or that you perceive a strong desire to “keep everything under control” (sometimes overestimating or imagining disaster keeps you tense and vigilant enough to give you a sense of control.)

Disrupt your train of negative thoughts by using your favorite methods of relaxation (breathing, visualise, yoga, meditate, listen to music).

4. Write it down
Write down the negative self talk that led to you feeling anxious. First, you will have to separate the negative talk from feelings (feelings statements usually contain words expressing emotions whereas thought statements do not e.g. “I feel stupid” is a feeling; “I’m stupid” is the thought. Keep a daily record of dysfunctional thought so that you are aware of exactly the games your brain is playing!

5. Identify the type of negative talk
Is it the worrier, critic, victim, or perfectionist?

The Worrier: Promotes anxiety by imagining the “worst case scenario”; uses “what if” and “if only” phrases a lot.
The Critic: Promotes low self-esteem by constantly judging and evaluating their behaviour.
The Victim: Promotes depression by feeling helpless, hopeless and believes that nothing will ever change.
The Perfectionist: Promotes chronic stress burnout by pushing themselves internally that their self worth depends on externals such as acceptance by others.

6. Answer your negative self talk with positive rational statements
Challenge your negative self talk by writing an opposing positive statement. These statements should avoid negatives, be written in the present tense and in the first person. They should be believable and feel good to you.

Author:Karen Belshaw, BSc (hons) psychology, Certificate in teaching stress skills

Friday, June 27, 2008

Telling Secrets

My husband wonders why I do this. He doesn't understand why I would want to share so much personal information, especially with strangers. In the beginning, the writing was a way to sort through all of the thoughts and feelings that began to surface after I told my husband and therapist that I had been raped as a child. I was so protective of all of my secrets, and I think it was a way of keeping something for myself when everything else had been taken. Eating disorders thrive in silence, and hiding behind the secrets made me feel safe. Through writing, I began to slowly let go of the shame that I had carried around for so long, and it felt good. What felt even better though was the response I received from people that I didn't even know. I would hear how my story or a poem that I had written touched someone else, or had helped them to feel less alone, and for once in my life, I felt like maybe I could make a difference. I was finally being heard, and now I feel that I can no longer be silent. If I can help other people along with myself throughout this journey, then sharing my struggles along with my triumphs is worth it.

I'm afraid
all of the time
I wonder
what you hide

No one is
who they say
they are
Who are you?
Who am I?
Who can I trust
with all that I am?

For so long
you have seen
what I want
you to see
or so I thought

I don't want
to be alone
To be me...

So I give
all of my secrets
To hold
like a wish
in your hands
A deep breath...
and then gone...

Angela Minard 2008©

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Child Rapists Cannot Be Executed

I'm so angry and sickened beyond belief over the Supreme Court's ruling that child rapists cannot be executed. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion, "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child." WHAT THE HELL!!! That statement is just so unbelievable. No, it is not proportional. Child rapists should be tortured first, and if not put to death, at least put away for life. Instead, most often, they are given a slap on the wrist and set free to rape again. It is so sad that the rights of a criminal come before the rights of a victim, and especially children, who are unable to protect themselves. Being raped as a child took away so much of my life that can never be replaced. Thirty years later, I'm still trying to work my way through the pain. I'm tortured daily by the horrific memories of being raped by two young men who forced me to say that I liked it before they would stop. It never really ends though, does it? We continue to silence the voice of a child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Out Is Through


"The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately"

Alanis Morissette

I'm not sure why I thought that I could just stop taking my medication, but three weeks ago, that is what I did. I was having some side effects from my dosage being increased, and it's also very expensive, so I just stopped. My therapist was not happy with this decision, but I really thought that I would be okay. I was wrong. The panic attacks and jumpiness returned, along with sleepless nights and flashbacks. What ultimately sent me back to the pharmacy though, was the draining loss of all hope. I'm tired of disappointing myself and others by continuing to sabotage every effort that I make to get well. I'm not sure what it is that I'm so afraid of, but I do know that I have to push past the fear instead of becoming paralyzed by the unknown. There is a comfort in slipping back to nothingness, but with each slip, I'm also finding a darkness that defies feeling empty and numb. My fear of what lies beyond the darkness is what will hopefully push me all the way through to the other side.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Breathing Room


Breathing Room

I dare not
too deeply
of what is buried
the dark branches
below the cage
that holds my heart
in the hollow cave
of my throat
to swallow
me whole

Angela Minard©

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Self Defense Course?

Self defense Class
I didn't want to go to therapy or see my nutritionist on Wednesday, but I forced myself to go, and I'm glad that I did. My therapist reminded me that this is my therapy, and that we can go at whatever pace feels comfortable to me. That made me feel better about wanting to slow down our trauma work for awhile. The issue that I'm having right now is safety, or rather, my perception of what makes me feel safe. I'm not feeling safe in my body because of recent comments that have been made, and that is very frightening to me. It has definitely fueled the eating disorder, and I know that I need to challenge these misperceptions. The truth is that at a low body weight, I am less able to protect myself. Starvation leads to less awareness of everything, including my surroundings, giving me a false sense of security. I am just now realizing that I have used starvation as a way to feel powerful and in control of my safety. My nutritionist has suggested that I take a women's self defense course, and my husband also thinks that it would be a really good idea, so I'm going to start looking into it. The idea of taking a class like this actually scares me, but maybe I need something more active and concrete to give me a sense of empowerment? If you have thoughts on this subject, I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Therapy, Therapy, And More Therapy

Dave and I had a couples session with my therapist last Wednesday, and I have felt shut down both mentally and emotionally ever since. The session was good, but it was also intense and exhausting to discuss topics and feelings that I have always avoided in the past. Silence can be a hard habit to break, but I'm learning to speak up when something upsets me.
Dave made a comment to me last week that brought to the surface so many different emotions. I was walking away from him, and as I did, he said, "Can I have some fries with that shake?" It triggered the eating disordered voice, saying that I have excess baggage, and it also triggered those feelings of my body being looked at in a sexual way. I immediately let him know that I was upset and we were able to talk about it. I know he wishes that he could take back those words, and he would never say something like that if he knew it would hurt me. He just thought that he was paying me a compliment!
I have a therapy and nutritionist appointment tomorrow, but I really don't want to go to either of them. What is there to say? I feel so juvenile and stubborn at the moment. I'm hanging on to all of my irrational thoughts and fears because for some reason, I'm not ready to let go of them. Until I am ready, what is the point? Maybe I just need to take a break before I can go any further.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Hummingbird Dream


The hummingbird holds a special meaning for my husband and I, so in honor of him, and also, because it is Father's Day, I thought that I would share this story.

Twelve years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor called an astrocytoma. Although benign, the tumor is touching his brainstem, making total removal, as of yet, unsuccessful. He has had two craniotomies to remove what they can, and surgeons have said that they will be unable to perform a third. Radiation treatment is the next treatment option. Fortunately this type of tumor is slow growing.

When Dave was in the hospital, after his second surgery, drugged up on morphine and in horrible pain, he awoke from a restless sleep, calling out for me. He asked me if I had seen the hummingbird that had been flying around the room. I told him no, that I had been asleep. Excitedly, he described his vision of a hummingbird, filling the room with beautiful colors. The brightest most brilliant colors he had ever seen. He seemed so disappointed that I had not been awake to see it, and was certain that it had not been a dream.He was trying so hard not to cry as he told me that he knew now that it was not time for him to die. The hummingbird had sent him a message filled with hope and life.

A Hummingbird Dream

The hummingbird's
of mosaic colors
bounce along
the hospital walls.

drug induced mumbling...
The hopeful beauty
of living.

I feel your dream,
but no,
my eyes,
they do not see.

The hummingbird's
whirring wings,
they sing...
of many days
left to share.

I do not hear,
but I believe.
Oh yes!
I do believe.
You're coming home
with me!

Angela Minard©

Friday, June 13, 2008

Self-Destructive Logic

It has been over a week since the incident with the men in the truck, and it has definitely had what I feel is a negative impact on my recovery. My therapist reassures me that this is only a temporary setback, which she says is understandable, considering the amount of trauma work that we have been doing. I want to believe this, but I'm also finding it difficult to see around the logic that I am less likely to attract attract male attention, and therefore, less endangered, when I am underweight. I find this to be very reasonable. So reasonable, that all I can think about is how much I want to lose weight. I realize that perceptions are made out of experience, and we all make inferences out of them that influence our decisions, so this is the origin of my struggle.
During therapy this week, we talked about the rape, and how it coincided with the beginnings of puberty and my changing body. It makes sense that gaining a more womanly figure would make me feel less safe, and the comment made by those men has me feeling more vulnerable than ever. How do I challenge such a long held perception?
I'm mentally worn out by all of this, and feel unable to find my way to the place where I think that I should be. I restrict what I eat, telling myself that I can stop myself at a certain point because I have more knowledge...knowing very well that this is what the eating disorder wants me to believe. I beat myself up for listening, and for all of my ambiguous thoughts and feelings, but overpowering all else, is the fear that I will be unable to find my way back.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Last night, we took the boys and my mother and father-in-law to a Royals game. It was a beautiful evening, and even though we lost, we had a really great time. With incredible persistance, our youngest son scored a practice ball, and then later in the game, a foul ball. The look of surprise and delight on his face was definitely the best part of the evening!





Monday, June 9, 2008

A Student Blog

I'm working with a student this summer who has a dual diagnosis of both autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. I have been trying to come up with ways to tie his academic goals and strengths in with some of his current obsessions. Here are some of his latest obsessions, to name a few... National Geographic, typing lists, watching movie clips on the computer, collecting animal facts, and listening to the Davy Crockett theme song over and over again. This weekend I was thinking about how I could incorporate some of what he loves in with his curriculum, and it popped into my head that he could learn how to blog. He has excellent computer and keyboarding skills, and he can follow both visual and written instructions, so I knew that he was capable. The next question was content, and it didn't take me long to come up with a subject in which Sam has the most knowledge, so today is the introduction of Sam's Animal Facts blog, hosted by Blogger. Today Sam learned how to fill out his profile, find a picture on Photobucket, copy and paste the code, and create a blog post. After he was finished, he asked if he could print his post, and better still, he wanted to know if he could blog again tomorrow! He has already decided which animal will be featured next. If you get a chance, stop by Sam's blog and ask him an animal question or just say hello.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Girl In A Ditch

Girl In A Ditch

She parked her car
on the side of the road
and sits in a ditch all alone
Cross legged, on a blanket,
with a book in her hands
Appearing to be unaware
of the critical, curious stares

We exit and wait at the tracks
for the bothersome coal train to pass
Wondering aloud
"What the hell," with a laugh
secretly hoping that you'll have an answer
but all that you say with pessimism is,
"We will be waiting forever"

Looking behind, behind she will stay
In the back of my mind, recalling the day
We drove right past the girl in a ditch
Angela Minard 2008

Beyond The Back Door


Beyond The Back Door

There is a weighted effort
to keep the soles
of my feet
attached to the floor
of this house that is
the distance between
A place that must be
in a mind
that tries to tell lies
to the film of filth
that covers my flesh
and hides in the distance
of back doors and swings
Within the placid silence
of night
I fear they are waiting
for me

Angela Minard 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Journal 2800 Continued...

"The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers. Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues." For more information about the book or documentary, go to

I started a journal for survivors of sexual abuse to share their story, poetry, and artwork. Here is the cover and scanned pages from
Jessieh Speaks, a seventeen year old sexual abuse survivor who is wise and gifted beyond her years.
~The cover of Journal 2800~

Jessieh's journal pages

George's Hotdog Stand

This is a recent picture of my husband's grandma, Marie, getting ready to enjoy a fully loaded hotdog at George's Hotdog Stand in North Boston, New York. Isn't she beautiful!

Gloom Cupboard

I recently discovered a wonderful poetry site Gloom Cupboard that spotlights new writers. They were accepting submissions, so I sent in some of my work. One of my poems is now being featured, so go check it out!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer School

The first week of summer school has ended, and I'm feeling quite drained at this point. There are four students in the class, and three have autism. Transitioning to a new school and classroom with unfamiliar staff can be challenging for these students, but all in all, it has been a very successful week. There is one student in particular, who really keeps me on my toes! His favorite question to ask me is, "What's the Plan?" He needs to know the activities for the entire day. Writing his shedule out for him so that he can check off each activity and see for himself what comes next, really helps to ease his anxiety. We use picture schedules for our non-reading students so that they too can see what their day is going to look like.

I also started doing occasional respite care after school for the most adorable sixteen year old boy with autism . He loves video games and eating, so he fits right in here with my house full of pre-teen and teenage boys. He came home with me after school today and ate five pieces of pizza for lunch and then went off to play Mario Party with my twelve year old!

My weekend plans are looking good, and after the rain and storms of this week, the weather is absolutely beautiful now, and promises to stay that way. Tomorrow, my youngest son has an afternoon baseball game, and then my husband and I are going to meet some friends for Festival Italiana in the evening. I've been wanting to go for years, so I'm really looking forward to it.

I need to be busy and not so lost inside of my own mind, so working, socializing, and staying engaged with my family are very important to my recovery. My first reaction is to isolate myself, and I'm making a concentrated effort not to do that, so I suppose that is a step in the right direction!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Curves Of A Woman

I want to recover from this eating disorder, but with recovery also comes the body of a woman, the curves of a woman, and that terrifies me. The other day I was walking out of Target when a pickup truck with a few men drove by. "Nice ass," one of them hollered out the window as I pushed my cart through the crosswalk. There is a certain safety that I feel when I'm invisible feeling that somehow comforts me, and I don't have that anymore. Now I feel like the target of depraved men in trucks. This vulnerability is leading me to choose restriction rather than food more often than not, and I can see no way around my own ambivalence. I was no safer in the body of a child, so why do I do this to myself?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Perpetual Struggle

This is how I'm feeling when it comes to my eating disorder at the moment.
perpetual hand
Never will it end
Reiterative persuasion
Condemnation, suffocation
Compare, weigh, measure
Decidedly undeserving
Consistently returning
to the scene of the crime
Never will it end

Monday, June 2, 2008

Wendy Portillo Should Be Fired!

I am just sickened and saddened beyond words after reading this story that Rachael atDNA Diaries posted.

It is beyond my comprehension as to why Wendy Portillo is still being allowed to "educate" children, even after admitting that she had emotionally abused a five year old child who she knew was in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. My heart just aches for this little boy.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Fascinating Seven

1. I'm a huge Barbra Streisand fan.
2. I was studying voice and musical theatre until my life was changed by a new little person that we named Christian. Singing was one of my greatest passions, and now it is strange that I no longer feel that way... although I still love to sing in the car! All that I used to dream about was being a big broadway star. Now I just dream of being a published writer. I dream big!
3. I'm afraid of being buried alive, probably due to the horrible asthma that I had as a child.
4. I'm addicted to lipgloss. My favorite is called Sexymotherpucker by Soap and Glory.
5. When I was seven years old, I fell off of my grandparents clothesline and broke my arm because I thought I could perform my own high wire act.
6. I love a good tornado warning, so I'm lucky that I live in Kansas!
7. I have a tattoo on my lower back/aka a tramp stamp. It was an anniversary present that I gave my husband last year.