Chinami has been talking little by little, and loves to count things. She can count up to 10 perfectly in English and almost as well in Japanese. She knows the alphabet, and is getting better at hiragana. When we walk outside, she loves to "read" random license plates to me. Also, Chinami can swim. I put her in a swimsuit with the padding around it so she can float, and she swims around and around. When she turned 1, I had thought about enrolling in swim classes with her to teach her to swim, I am glad I didn't waste the money! All I needed to spend was $5 at the thrift store on her swimsuit and now she is a natural swimmer! She also loves to jump into the pool, and she doesn't even have to hold her nose like her Mommy (In my case, toddler swimming lessons definitely would have helped!!).
I turned 28 at the beginning of the month. Since we were strapped for cash, it was a low-key birthday, we had some nice dinner and wine from Costco the night before, and then on the following Saturday we used a meal coupon I had been holding on to since Christmas to have a fancy lunch at the Surf Lanai in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
28.....it's almost 30 which is a bit scary. I've always been the youngest one among my peers, and recently, I am not. However, there is still so much in my life that is brand new and so much to look forward to. I have my beautiful daughter to teach and learn from, I own a home, and with my husband's new job, I can look forward to spending time together as a family once or even twice a week, and we may even be able to have family vacations once a year!
Also, for the first time in my life, I am starting to get the help I have desperately needed for the past 15 years. I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD and will start therapy as soon as I can find a babysitter for Chinami. Getting the diagnosis in itself was a relief. All these years wrestling with the symptoms, being screamed at by my mother that I had "psychological and emotional problems" and was a "nut", when I started to show signs of depression as a teen, then going to college and forming relationships with healthy, non-abusive people but still engaging in lots of risk behaviors in an attempt to fill the void and gain acceptance from someone, and then from there the depression, suicidal thoughts, emotional flashbacks, and panic attacks got progressively worse.
I understand now that I usually start a stress response or a panic attack in reaction to very specific emotional triggers, namely, being shouted at, threatened, or if someone uses a statement towards me like "you are a moron" "nut" "crazy" "why can't you do anything right" "you are a horrible person", basically the same kind of verbal abuse I grew up with.
Some days are better than others. Some days I am up at 2am, work, cook, clean, go out, have fun, and other days it is an effort to drag myself around, and the times I am not at work I find it hard to muster up the effort to do anything. Sometimes if I am tired, and have a stress response, panic attack, I will actually black out. This past week I had one where I became dizzy and could not look at bright lights for the rest of the night. I know I have to take this one day at a time, and I also know that this will never be fully cured, for the rest of my life. I eat mostly fruits, vegetables and lean protein, don't smoke, rarely drink, I do moderate exercise for 30 minutes 3x/week and ride my bike to work 15 minutes one way 2x/day 5x/week. I drink lots of water and green tea and eat dark chocolate as a treat. I have been eating a large variety and quantity of fresh local vegetables as a main part of my diet since I lived in Japan (and discovered that there was more to food than meat, potatoes, and salad.) and since I came back to Hawaii I added superfoods, smoothies, and exercise. Plus with breastfeeding, I am now down to 110lbs, almost 20 lbs lighter than I was before I got pregnant. I do yoga, meditation, my spirituality is and has always (since I was about 13) been nature-based.
But in the end, these things are not a cure for C-PTSD, or any other mental health issue that is caused or intensified by childhood trauma. I try to "follow" these "healthy living" feeds on Twitter and I'm tired of seeing the same "inspirational" bullshit that if you "just think positive, you'll be happy" or advice to let painful things go and leave the past in the past, tomorrow is a beautiful day, etc. Even "depression/anxiety" feeds posting to "think positive" and "every choice you make is yours" etc. Guess what: I would LOVE to be happy and rainbows and sunshine every day, and to just shrug off my panic attacks and bouts of depression. I would LOVE not having emotional flashbacks and painful traumatic memories, and I would LOVE to be able to cure all of it by just eating some kale, doing some yoga, and going "well I'm just going to think happy thoughts today!" but that's not going to happen. I was raised by someone who hates me and is absolutely fine with the idea of me being dead. That doesn't go away too easily. But hopefully with therapy, I will finally be able to overcome the effects, so I can put even more energy into NEVER becoming the same type of non-parent to my own child(ren).