Mad Like Alyce

A couple of months ago, I finished up my individual counseling sessions, and started going to group sessions. I had been doing so well, with my triggers and panic attacks generally being few and far between in the past couple of months. Even when they did present themselves, they would quickly be over. Whats more is that I am prepared for them. Sure, they can and do still sneak up on me, but I know what was happening. And often, I know why. Mostly, I know that I am safe and that the panic will be gone in just a few minutes. This is a skill I never knew I would have, and am so incredibly amazed every time I conquer another trigger.

But I knew that there would be times when life would get the best of me, as it always does. That happened today.

The Background

When I wrapped my counseling a few months ago, I had just briefly spoken to a small group of members at the United Way to share my story and how I would not have been able to be where I am if I had not received the help I had gotten through counseling. Essentially, showing a positive case study to them so they would continue to fund this service for the hundreds of women in South Dakota who could benefit from it. With that going so well, I was then asked me to share my story as the Keynote Speaker at the “Take Back the Night” event to increase awareness of domestic abuse this fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to do this with my whole heart. It is something that is so incredibly needed, and valuable. It is a cause I 100% support. But sharing my story makes me extremely nervous. I could do the old trick and imagine everyone in their underwear, but really, nothing I do is going to take away the feeling that by sharing my story I am exposing myself in a far deeper and more personal way than simply standing in front of a crowd undressed. Because I know that there are nightmares that are far worse than being nude in public, and these, unfortunately, are not always actual dreams but real life.

Plus… I survived. I escaped. Telling my story… what if it gets out? Even though I wouldn’t ever put faces or names to the evils within… what if they somehow find my story? Find me? Hear what I have shared? What if they realize I am talking about them? What if I wake a sleeping dragon? So many “what ifs”… it’s terrifying. I have finally started to heal, and pull my life together. To accomplish things I never thought I could do again. Like work full time. Be successful in my career. Be in a healthy relationship. Fall in love. Have the possibility of someday starting a family.

What Changed?

It was after hearing a another woman’s story in group that I realized that this is something I had to do. Because I heard stories that were just like mine. All this time, I had felt so alone. As if I was something wrong and defective, and that I wasn’t “normal”. But sharing in this safe space, I realized what I have experienced and how I reacted to these experiences is actually “normal”. And that there are too many women that have these stories. Stories that are locked up inside, tearing them apart. Women drowning in the loneliness and weight of these stories.

And by sharing, I recognized a common theme. We all felt like we were somehow weak because we had been affected by abuse that wasn’t the stereotypical movie assault. We weren’t kidnapped, or mugged in some back ally. We weren’t held down and violated behind a dumpster or in an empty parking lot. We didn’t have a knife or gun to our heads. Sometimes, this abuse didn’t even leave a visible mark. So we feel like it wasn’t “really” abuse. There are women who face this terrifying violence, and my heart goes out to them. But there are so many of us who experience the similar terror and mental scars, even when the aggressors don’t leave a physical mark.

This is when I realized that I needed to tell my story. Sexual and Domestic abuse is not just flying fists, or violent rape as depicted in the movies, and it is time we start to change this perspective. By telling our stories, we can help others realize the true face of abuse. And maybe, we can start to make a difference. So, regardless of how much I want to curl in a ball and hide, I am going to share my story. If this can help just one woman find solace, find strength, find peace, or find help… that will be enough for me.

There’s the shot!

I called and confirmed I would speak at the Take Back the Night event. Then proceeded to get hit with one of the biggest panic attacks I have had in months. At work. When there were emails demanding my attention. When all I wanted to do was crawl into the deepest, darkest hole. But this time, I knew what was up. All of the flight symptoms were there. Bile rising in my throat, hands as nervous as jello. The inability to focus on anything longer than a goldfish. But I know that it will pass. This trigger is a strong one, for sure. I might end up crashing out like a log as soon as I get off of work. But I will be just fine. Because I know that no matter what, this is what I want to do. I just posted how everything you want is on the other side of fear, and Good God, am I testing that theory today. But I know in my heart, amidst the terror and anxiety, that this is the right thing to do.

The Next Step

So, yes, I have escaped. I have accomplished amazing things. And I have also learned that even as terrified as I am of the unknown consequences of sharing my story, that there could be just as much good that comes from it as bad. I feel that I can be strong enough to weather any bad there may be.

This blog is intended to be a place where I share my journey in moving on. In living. And in healing. Sharing, I realized, is part of the healing process. I have decided to share my story, and speak at the event. Also, I have decided to share it with all of you. This may take awhile for me to get out, and it is probably going to reveal some old wounds and additional triggers in the process. But I can rip off these bandages, and finally, let these wounds heal. And hopefully, this reaches someone else that needs to know that they are not alone.

Hello!

Hi! I'm Alyce.
Welcome to my journey towards living a happier and healthier life while living with PTSD and chronic pain... and never letting it keep me from my passion for Halloween, cooking, and way too many DIY projects... all at the same time!

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  • How appropriate that I dressed up as Sally at the haunted house last night, because I was featured as Sally on @liquidcosplay in the same day... Halloween no less! I love love love this costume, and it’s the one that got me started in cosplay and makeup. #halloween #cosplay

#Repost @liquidcosplay with @get_repost
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If you've got it, haunt it. Here's @madlikealyce as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. 🎃 Visit her page for more great cosplay!
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#nightmarebeforechristmas #nightmarebeforechristmascosplay #sallyandjack #sallystitches #sallyragdoll #halloween #halloweencosplay #halloween2018 #happyhalloween #EverydayIsHalloween #CreepItReal #repost #cosplay #cosplays #cosplayer #cosplayers #cosplaying #cospositive #cosplaylife #cosplaygirl #cosplaygirls #girlswhocosplay #cosplaybabe #sexycosplay #cutecosplay #womenofcosplay #girlsofcosplay #curvycosplay
  • You would think that I would have done makeup on all of my family at this point, but sadly that is not the case, however, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do my brother's makeup after the haunt had opened Saturday night! He managed to pull together an incredible maroon clown outfit, and I am really pleased how the makeup looks! I personally like the messier clowns, and it worked well to have brighter pink-ish hues toned down by smudges of black and watering down the paint overall. 
#clown #clownmakeup #hauntlife #hauntedhouse #halloween
  • My first ever zombie for Halloween was a shotgun bride, and although it was a real bridal gown with real shotgun damage, I just used 3 or 4 latex bullet wounds. It was fun, and a great introduction to using prosthetics, but it wasn't really accurate to what I would have had for damage with an actual shotgun wound. So years later, I made up for it by re-creating a more realistic wound of where the shoulder and partial face would have been torn up by the blast. Personally, this is my favorite zombie creation to date! #zombie #zombiemakeup #zombiebride #shotgunbride #zombiecrawl #woundmakeup
  • Ready for my closeup!!! Getting ready for Sioux Falls Zombie Crawl tomorrow!!! #zombie #zombiemakeup #zombiecrawl
  • OK you guys, this is where I love the internet. I created this zombie 2 years ago and had (kind of) forgotten about it until just this week when someone re-created it... and she is on the other side of the globe! Seriously, it made my my entire day/week/month, and reminds me why I love doing this. <3 <3 <3
#zombie #zombiemakeup #zombiecrawl #halloween2018
  • Its GO TIME PEOPLE! T-Minus 7 days to HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEN. Im running on fumes and caffeine, but it is 100% worth it. I love working at the haunted house, and am beyond thrilled about this coming weekend. I still have 2 costumes to finish and 2 zombies to do, plus some donut deliveries (a great fundraiser... friends scared of clowns? Send them donuts a-la-clowns). One more look at this first clown because I was obsessed with this wig from Rockstar wigs... I WILL find a way to use it again in the near future. #hauntlife #hauntedhouse #clowns #halloween2018
  • I had a request to recreate a clown mask as a makeup so it wouldn’t be as hot to wear in the house (swipe to see said mask), and it was quite the learning experience. I made this about a month ago when I was still trying to use the cream paints that the haunt had, though I’ve since decided to buy more of my own water paint to use on my actors. The base here was the basic white clown grease paint, and while I loved the coverage, it felt awful to wear, and it was incredibly difficult to add fine details with cream paint or shadows. So my first and last grease paint clown! 🤡 I still think it’s important to share our failures as well as the successes... this is still far better than what I might have created even just a year ago! #clowns #hauntedhouse #halloween
  • Hey Guys! I've been quiet on Insta so far this October, but its because IM SO BUSY and i'm pretty much in Halloween Heaven. Between finishing my first commissioned costume (its super simple, but I completed foam armor for the first time!!!) and doing makeup at the haunted house, i've hardly had time for sleep... and I wouldn't have it any other way. 
This is one of my first clown practice runs. I tried doing 30 minutes or less, and initially I wasn't planning on posting. Having a few days of the crazed makeup chaos that is getting ready for house open under my belt, I have a new appreciation for what details you can and simply cannot complete in such a short time period, and kind of like the grunge this clown pulled off. Not everything you will create is perfect, but thats how we all learn! #clowns #hauntedhouse #halloweenmakeup #halloween2018
  • I think this barrel look could make a great clown character.... am I going over to the dark side and starting to like clowns?!?! Only time will tell, and there are still 20 days until Halloween! #nightmarebeforechristmas #halloweentown #lockshockandbarrel

@madlikealyce

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