Mad Like Alyce

On Change and Challenges

A good friend has often referred to how we go through seasons in our life, and has even mentions it in an episode on her podcast, the Write Now Podcast (Check it out, Sarah is amazing!). But I’ve got to be honest… I’m in this weird season of my life. See, I work in advertising and unfortunately, I often feel like it can be a really fake industry. There are some people who are wonderful and authentic… but so many more that are more concerned about how to get ahead and making sure you are aware of your status compared to them. It’s this insane rooster dance at events of talking to people without ever saying something of substance and it can be really disheartening overtime. I’ve grown used to not talking about anything too personal to people in my industry and even within my work circle, but lately, I realized this wall had been up on my blog as well.

Being Afraid

When I started this blog… I wanted to talk about my struggle with chronic pain and PTSD, but I was terrified of exposing myself. Of those who had hurt me being able to find this blog and track me behind the safety of their browsers or worse, be able to find me. And I was terrified of being judged by people who didn’t understand. It is hard enough that my family still struggles to accept my PTSD, and I know that by putting myself out there that I also open myself up to the scrutiny of my readers. I know that a lot of people just don’t understand… how I could have “let myself be a victim” of both rape and domestic abuse. That they wont understand how that could result in my condition. Over time, I have been able to shake a lot of this fear and have opened up about a lot of my journey in trying to take back control over my life.

Some things never change

While I have been pretty open about my recent weight loss goals, I have been keeping a few things under wraps. Its an old habit from before… when I was too ashamed to talk to my family about what was happening to me. Its easy(er) to discuss stressful/bad/difficult situations once they have resolved. I know this isn’t a trait specific to just domestic abuse and rape victims, but it’s just how I dealt with things. I always felt I could tough things out. That there were people who had it worse than me, so I shouldn’t be a wimp. That is half of the reason I didn’t accept what had happened to me for the longest time. So when I lost my job… I didn’t talk about it.

For me, there are so many emotions wrapped up in this. Frankly, even though I know getting laid off is not my fault, it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about it. Straight up, losing your job is depressing… and job hunting even more so. Its like being broken up with after a long relationship and having to start over. Blaming yourself. Doubting your worth. I sleep in because I can, then I’m depressed with myself all day for feeling lazy. Agonize over the limited number of available positions in Sioux Falls. Stress out that my interview suits from 3 years ago don’t fit. Be frustrated that it’s Ramadan and I agreed to abstain from alcohol with Damir until July 5th… oh the timing…

It’s getting a little lonely up in here

Waiting for a storm to pass can be really lonely, especially when you have no way of knowing when the storm will end. I know I shut myself off when I’m struggling. I hide.. its just easier to deal that way. But I also think its unhealthy. I don’t make friends easily, and a good number of my friends are work related, which means they are at the place of employment that I just left. I want to be able to talk about things with these friends but it’s difficult for me to speak openly… I don’t want them to feel bad for me and more than anything I don’t want to be the bearer of doom and gloom. Though this whole journey, I have always tried as hard as possible to never be the person always complaining about my situation. Optimism is much more my style.

Beyond the sympathy, talking about these situations makes people uncomfortable. Its like unemployment is a contagious disease that they don’t want to catch through association. Or simply empathy… they are in a position where the idea of becoming unemployed terrifies them and I am a blatant reminder that this could happen to anyone.

But discomfort is the catalyst of change

I also was terrified of the idea of not having a job. When I was in my abusive relationship, he would use the fact that I was on disability and only working part time as a way to make me feel less. He would tell me how he would take care of me, but use it as a tool to erode me into nothing. Right before I left, he told me I didn’t have to work after graduation… that he would make enough for both of us. Although I couldn’t tell you why, this terrified me. It was years later when I learned that money control and taking measures to prevent a spouse from working is a classic control tactic of abusers.

When I left, and after I graduated, I cannot tell you how proud I was to take care of myself. It was a struggle at times… but I was on my own and doing well. I was taking care of myself and finally living my life. Moving in with Damir was a challenge for me, and having any discussion about finances would trigger a full scale panic attack. I’ve worked hard in the past year to work on keeping control of that trigger and know that its simply a conversation, not a warning flag. Still, when I suddenly found myself in a position that I would need to rely on him financially… I have had to work hard to keep that trigger at bay.

The Season of Change

Considering the fact that a discussion on how to split groceries could give me heart palpitations just six months ago (and to a degree still does at times),  I cannot tell you how proud I am for keeping it together, much less actually doing relatively well in this position. Sometimes I think that we will never know how much progress we have made until it is tested, and this certainly was a test.

Its strange to think that even 6 months ago, losing my job could have sent me into a tailspin. This isn’t to say that I’m not struggling. But it does show me that I can handle this. I’m working hard to find my next job, and taking steps to move forward. In the meantime, I’ve decided to stop hiding this. At least, here, on the blog.

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my journey to help others struggling with the same fears. If I can share my fears, hopefully it gives others the strength to know they are not alone. PTSD, and life in general, can be lonely… but it doesn’t have to be. Even though I am uncomfortable, I know it is ultimately the catalyst that has helped me see just how far I have come, and to see that I can indeed grow in this season of change.


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!

Costume & Makeup Tutorials


  • My first attempt at a stone makeup! Used Mehron water activated grey base, black to like the creases on my had (so many!) and black and white stipple fir more dimension. Turned out pretty cool, I'm hoping to do a full face application soon!
  • Today was a lesson in moderation. I have too much on my plate, and sometime you just have to accept that it is ok to accept defeat and just relax. This burned hand makeup was inspired as half of a poem(see previous post). Since the inspiration required two hands, I actually did all on this with my non-dominant hand! Gelatin for the burn scars, and my Ben Nye  bruise wheel for color.
  • i have loved
with hands closed
and hands open
both are accompanied
by their own type of pain

by @andrewcoonswriting 
This was truly an example of art inspiring art. If you haven't read @andrewcoonswriting poetry, you need to follow him asap! Having both suffered heartbreak and chronic pain myself, this poem spoke to my heart, and I knew I wanted to use it for my next makeup look. 
The two types of pain display an open hand of stone, and a curled hand of burns. A love present but immovable, and love that burns hot and fast, leaving us scarred for life. 
Check out more of his work and keep an eye out for his new book of poetry, "Living with it," coming out in September!
  • So. Thirsty. Glycerin makes a great base for cracked and peeling lips. And you actually can't drink wearing it... at least, not without a straw. Now back to my morning caffeine infusion. I used my Ben Nye bruise wheel for the minimal colors, and my usual foundation to color the glycerin "skin."
  • Bloody knuckles! Today calls for a quick makeup and an early bedtime, as my sciatic nerve pain is approaching 11... I wanted a wound down to the bone, so I built up the torn skin with gelatin and rimmed the inside of the wound with black, leaving bare skin in the middle to take the appearance of bone when the look is done. I toned the gelatin with red water activated paint, and filled in with a rust and stippled purple to simulate the start of bruises. Finally, I coated it all down in blood. Not bad for a quick and dirty makeup!
  • "EAT SLUGS MALFOY!" Not a fun spell, and not one to attempt with a faulty wand. This "bonus" Chamber of Secrets was born literally from the thought that my ice cube tray looked like slugs! I had to pair my vom with some extra eye bags from a day of puking slugs. "Better out than in."
  • As promised... part two for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Basilisk after being blinded by Fawkes the Phoenix. This was a faster approach but I still think it turned out quite nice. The edges of the punctured eyes was made with glycerin, and I tried out my new Ben Nye scan blood! A great way to take a typical snake makeup to a different level.
  • Back to my Harry Potter series... nothing is more essential to the plot of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets than the Basilisk! I actually Iove the hell out of this one, done with mehron water activation paints and fishnet stockings. Aannndddd, since I was not on top of my game last week, I'm bringing you a two for one! Check back soon for part two of this look.
  • This look was a not so successful attempt at a major broken dose... think car accident minus other scrapes. Things I liked: I feel like the beginning of the bruise settling into the cheek was great. Not so much: I wanted to replicate swelling and added glycerin to build up the ridge on the nose. I think I needed to blend it out a little bit more, as it looks too abrupt. I also feel like this look has far too much red and purple in it. I think I could've accomplished a much better makeup with far less color, another one to try again soon!


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