Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am going through a very difficult time. My pain links back to my being adopted more than it would seem at first glance. In all honesty, I have been plagued by suicidal ideation for about a year, and I unsuccessfully tried to take my life two and a half weeks ago. I am able to be darkly humorous about it now and acknowledge that my first mother's iron-clad liver saved me, despite everything. I am in intensive therapy and on more medication than I wish I were. A good friend doing genealogy for me discovered that a second cousin of mine committed suicide in 1970, a year after I was born. From what I know of my first family, it seems very likely that there is a pretty involved family history of depression.

There are emotional and behavioral triggers that push me over the edge, and have done so in the past. As I mentioned in my last post, being invalidated or ignored is a huge trigger. I become extremely anxious and pretty much lose my hard-won ability to stand up for myself. Case in point: last week I wanted to make an appointment to see my primary care physician about a headache I've had for three weeks. The call center scheduled me with a nurse practitioner who works with my MD. I called back, asking for an appointment with my physician because I feared giving all the backstory for my complicated illnesses in 15 minutes or less. I was told it was the NP or nothing. While I have the utmost respect for NPs, I was also concerned that she wouldn't have the time to review my case and see what factors might have contributed to my headache. I know that providers are busy, and she would probably only read the last note my MD had written, not the entire, knotted, complicated stack of information that has been gathered when mistake after mistake was made with my care. I worried that the NP wouldn't listen to me, and would fob me off with meds for a migraine. I got to my doctor's office, checked in, and was taken to the NP's exam room. I then proceeded to have a panic attack, with my blood pressure through the roof. The intake RN was rightly freaked out and told me to take deep breaths. My BP was so high she was concerned I was going to stroke out. I knew, though, it was transient panic. Thankfully, my MD switched patients with the NP and was able to see me. I felt enormous relief to be with a physician who knows me well, believes me, and who doesn't have to study up on my messy case. She and I came up with a plan for the future to avoid a repeat of what happened. In retrospect, I realized that I was petrified that I wouldn't be heard or believed. That is a HUGE trigger for me. She is concerned that I have a slow bleed in my brain from the Lovenox I am taking to avoid more clots. What a nightmare my blood is proving to be.

Then today, I had an interesting, raw session in therapy. My therapist is Dr. David Brodzinsky, who has done research, written, and specialized in adoption for his entire career. He was a powerful eminence at Rutgers, but thankfully retired to a town very close to where I live. While I don't like that he uses Positive Adoption Language, he really does get what adoptees go through and is patient and kind. I respect him, and I feel that respect is reciprocated. He has allowed me to be angry with him when I felt dismissed, and to redirect conversations when I felt he was off-track. In my short, unhappy life, I have seen a stable of really insecure therapists who, when I criticized them, oddly took it personally, rather than as part of a business relationship, and attacked back. David doesn't do that. It is a heartening revelation to know that there are therapists out there who do act like professionals.

Anyway, today I described how I am at a very low point and was talking about how I feel that I am, in my core, a good person. I care about others and give as much to relationships as I am able. And yet I am used as a whipping girl by many people for reasons that escape me. I wish that I could be strong like my friends Linda and Joy, and avoid letting other people's garbage poison me. I wish I could call people out on their nastiness; I am slowly improving at this, but it is a very slow work in progress. David suggested today that I am unable to value myself because I care so deeply about being rejected by C. He pointed out that my beloved cousin told me that it's really C, not me, and that she isn't warm and loving with ANYONE. But it still sucks to know that she hated me when I was in utero, that she starved herself and didn't care about taking care of me even prenatally, and that she could so easily shut the door and never look back. That she treated me as an unwelcome intruder without right to know who I was born to be, and that she doesn't care enough to help me find out medical history that could improve my quality of life. That she poisoned my brother against me. I just don't matter to her. I am a threat she cannot handle. And if another first mom makes excuses for C, I will be triggered again, and probably not very nice. There is no excuse for cruelty. None.

My parents love me. My family loves me. My friends love me. There are many people out there to whom I've made a difference. And yet I feel that people only value me for what I can do for them, not because I am a person worth loving. People give me what they're able, but I am generally abandoned or left behind. I don't matter enough. I don't want to stay alive to avoid hurting others. I don't want to stay alive because I feel I deserve it. I know that I do. I seem, however, to be doomed to suffer in this life. I can love myself until the cows come home, but it's not enough. I always end up getting the shaft. I live on an island that C put me on. I try to get off the island, but the boat sinks, or the help offered never comes. I guess I can accept that this island is my home for whatever life I have left, but it isn't all that positive to live feeling so alone.

My triggers are so close to the surface that I have pulled away from people because I can't risk hurting any more than I do right now. My resources are spare; I have nothing left to give to others or to myself.

Where I stand right now, I feel like cursing C. She avoided acknowledging her pregnancy with me because she couldn't deal with it. She told me that she wished she'd aborted me, but it appears she didn't have the courage. In a sick way, I want to write a suicide note that says, "Dear C, Do I have to do everything myself?"

David told me to write about my sadness and anger and to engage with the cognitive aspect of my knowledge that I am a person with value, despite my first mother wanting me dead. He claims the emotional acceptance will come later. I do see that I have value, despite all the horrendous people I have had the misfortune to cross paths with. I am smart and loving. But I have never been happy, despite my excellent acting skills. 41 years is a long time never to have been happy, settling for crumbs, being kicked around. I see things that I can change, but unfortunately the most comforting bits involve homicide. Just kidding. Sort of.

I can't imagine living another 40 years that are like the first 41. I just can't. I can't live in this cage, rejected over and over and over. Shakyamuni Buddha was right: Life is suffering.


Real Daughter said...

I love you, and I totally understand where you are right now, and I am glad we are in each others' lives. I also like what David had to say today. I know it seems like a lot of work right now, but you ARE worth it.

loric said...


LInda is right, you are so worth it. You are loved, you are valued, you are a survivor. Do not let anyone or what they've done define your worth. You are a beautiful person and you are here for a reason. Your family needs you, we need you, and who knows whose lives you have yet to impact, down the road. You have changed mine. I know it isn't always easy to share what you write here, but it's healing, I believe. Love you Kara. As per usual, I am again too wordy.

Julie Stromberg said...


You are such a beautiful person both inside and out. The feelings you have expressed here touch me deep in the core of my adoptee heart. Keep surviving. You are loved. And you are full of worth.

(((((LOVE AND PEACE)))))

Unknown said...

Kara, we only just became acquainted but i want to thank you for being so honest in your blog. What I have come to believe is one person's rejection does not trump many others' acceptance and love. C is the one with the emotional deficit. You were meant to be here and you are, despite C's hostile intentions. C does not deserve any more consideration than a fly on your window. C does not exist any more. C who?

Hugs to you.

Julia said...

Sending you huge support. You're in one of those places where the only way out is through, and it sucks.

I also wanted to offer that I have found EMDR to be enormously helpful in reducing the strength of triggers. I have no idea if it would be helpful to you or not, but I put it out there just in case. I'm happy to talk more about my own experiences if you want--just email me.

Bottom line is that getting triggered sucks. But do try to go easy on yourself--getting triggered isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of your mind/body doing its best to protect you but overgeneralizing. Not your fault and not something you can consciously control.


Mara said...


I totally get you, and I very much understand folding in on yourself because things are too close to the surface. I am in a similar mode as I try to come to terms with the disappointments in my "reunion" relationships and how profoundly they've affected me. Sometimes you just have to take a day at a time and put one foot in front of the other. You are smart and beautiful and loving, which is all the more reason why coming from someone like C is like cognitive dissonance. It's taken me over 5 years to start to embrace my own individuality and try to rise above it all. Notice I said "try". I love and value you.

Unknown said...

I love you Kara. I deal with a different kind of rejection from my mother but yeah it sits that way with me too. I mean she's my mother, the impact is profound.

Like you the rejection drove me to the brink of suicide. That was a long time ago now. I am just saying that because life can change.


Unknown said...


You have been going through a lot lately. You are a fighter. In your own way, you are making things happen. You have made huge strides! I love how you have confronted C. I think you are good for her. I think some wonderful things are right around the corner.

Change is hard work! It's painful and sometimes quite slow. But don't quit now!! Don't end the story yourself!

I don't know if you believe in God or not (and I don't mean to push anything on you or disrespect your beliefs in anyway), but every time I feel emotionally overwhelmed, I go to Him. I pour out my heart to Him and afterwards, I feel stronger. He holds me up and together we can make it through another day.

Kara, I don't know you personally, but I do care. You have opened yourself up to strangers here in the blog world. I'm glad you had the courage to do that.

I am carrying you in my heart and in my prayers. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here.