Change! It is so worth it (and some of my story).

Well I should be on my knees with stress right now, because my day did not get easier. My toddler has been challenging- well actually he has been a pain in the ass.

I am not on my knees though, not anywhere close. In fact I feel strong right now!

 

I want to share the reason. Earlier I posted about my fear of therapy this week, due to different feelings and views towards my abuser which would bring about change for me.

Change is a scary word. No matter how wanted or necessary the change is, I am afraid.

Well today, I noticed a huge change in the way I react/ think/ feel about some of my past. I dealt with this particular issue in therapy over 18 months ago. And I guess, without me realising, this change happened somewhere along the way.

I was at work when a song from the ’90s came on the radio. I have not heard it for years. It was always a highly triggering song for me. I was so glad when the nightclubs stopped playing it. I remember many nights at University hiding in the toilets at a nightclub, trying to figure what the hell was wrong with me as I struggled to keep a grip on reality. I know now I was dissociating. Back then I felt traumatised and afraid.

Avoiding that song became easier as time went on. I have not heard it for 8 years or so easily. So when this song was playing at work today, I mentally braced myself for the dissociation or the flashback. I automatically started to ground. I then left the room quickly. I went to the “Ladies” room and locked myself in a cubicle where I cried a little.

Oh how it hurt.

I felt like I had been pierced with a knife. It was and remains agony.

Just writing about it now is causing a few more tears. It hurts, but something has changed!

Today was different to the last time I heard that song. It used to take me back to that night, I would feel them and hear them hurting me again.

While today I remembered and I recalled some of the details easily, I did not feel traumatised. I was not in a flashback. I was aware of where I was, when and who. I felt safe and grounded.

 

I do not cry over my abuse much at all, in fact I have a huge aversion to crying over it. But the incident this song used to trigger was not by the abuser- it was separate.

Following three months of therapy discussing this awful incident. I found I could cry over it, though not in the presence of my T (mostly because I was too embarrassed at that point).

One day in particular, leaving my children at home with their dad, I took a walk through town and passed a Church with a sign outside, inviting people to stop by for some quiet time. I found myself drawn in. I sat alone in the quiet and the low light trying to hold it together. I was doing pretty well until a woman there asked me if I was OK. I could not speak to answer her. I was overcome with pain. Then something amazing happened. This complete stranger sat next to me and took my hand. And there she remained next to me while I cried- until there seemed to be no more tears left.

That day, crying in a Church with this perfect stranger, was so healing for me. Finally, I could feel what I needed to and someone I did not even know held that pain with me -enabling me to release it. How amazing is that?

That day remains with me, yet I did not consider that the triggers may have lessened- mostly because I have not come across them in the last two years. Today was not triggering- it proved to me how much things have changed and how worth those months of therapy were.

 

*Trigger Warning*

 

 

On that hideous night, a group of men forced me away from my friends. Cold, in the dark and with no escape, they took it in turns to rape me. For more than an hour, they violated me. They left me bleeding and with cuts and bruises and burns from their attack.

I was traumatised for years, reliving it over and over in my dreams at night and in flashbacks during the day. I was chained to them by fear. I remained their victim all that time, I guess.

Today, I see how that has changed. I see how much I have changed. Yes, it hurts. Oh believe me, it hurts- but now I can say something I never thought I would be able. With  confidence and certainty I can say that I am finally free from those bastards and what they did to me.

 

It does not matter what I have to do, what I have to feel or go through, I will embrace any change necessary, so I can know that freedom from my abuser too.

And though I may be soaking the keyboard right now, it is not just pain, but tears of relief too, because therapy is worth it. Change is worth it. I am sure of that now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stressed.

I want to post. I want to post about society and abuse. I want to post more about Max Clifford and justice in general. I want to post about consent. I want to post about abuse and rape. I want to raise awareness and make changes.

Today though, I have to come first. Frustrating as it is, I am not OK- OK enough at least, to post about those things.

I am incredibly stressed out. It’s been building for days. After very little sleep and a screaming toddler this morning, my stress levels are now causing me concern. There is lots going on, plenty of things causing this. My stress is valid. I wish it would go away though.

I can’t sleep much, my shoulders and jaw ache from tension. My stomach is knots, I cannot face food. This morning, I have noticed that I am losing short periods of time- just a few minutes here and there where the dissociation is kicking in.

It is not abnormal for me to dissociate during times of stress, in fact it often kicks in at the slightest stress, but when I start to lose time, I know I need to take some action.

I need to get this under control. It is likely that this will be an ongoing stressful period, with a house move, work issues, a potty training child and therapy. Therefore, it is necessary that I work out a way to handle it.

It’s incredibly frustrating, because this is not the time to be relaxing or taking a break of any kind. I have a lot to do for the house move, the toddler wants to potty train, I have to be active and involved. Work- well I took some action yesterday, but it’s likely that will not be resolved for some weeks.

And therapy. I would happily wait to deal with what is going on right now. I feel like I need to be ready, stressed and exhausted does not feel ready. I think this is going to be big. It is not about disclosure and the fear that goes with it. It’s about something different  in how I feel, in how I view my abuser- which is likely to change a lot for me. Change for the better for sure.

The process of change is difficult though. And as much as I want it to change, I do not want to go through it with the way I feel right now. Yet the way I feel right now will not go until I talk about what’s going on.

Ugh, I hate that.

Wish me luck.

The Media and Reporting of Rape.

*Trigger Warning*- please be careful.

 

In general I avoid the news, but one story landed in my inbox this afternoon:

Max Clifford found guilty of eight indecent assaults.

I just skim read to be honest, mostly because I am struggling a great deal with triggers.

After reading this part:

 

“He later forced her to perform oral sex on him”

 

I knew I had to post.

I hate the way media reports rape. Perhaps this is just me, but as a survivor of rape, this kind of reporting fills me with rage. If I had my way, the word “sexual” would be taken out completely – but that is another rant.

Forced penetration of the mouth by a penis is classed as rape in the UK. This became part of the Crown Prosecution Services’ Policy in May 2004. 

Unfortunately, because this particular case took place prior to May 2004, I believe Max Clifford was tried for Indecent assault(s) not for rape (again, I have not looked into this too much as yet, so I am speculating a little). While this is frustrating in itself, it is not what bothered me the most.

What really made my blood boil was the BBC- and I am sure others, refer to this horrific rape as Max Clifford forcing the young girl (around 15 years old, I believe) to perform oral sex on him.

It was not sex! It has nothing to do with sex at all.

A victim of oral rape (and it was rape whether it took place before 2004 or not), or any rape for that matter does not engage in sexual activity. She or he was not forced into an act of sex. As far as I am concerned rape and sex are in no way the same.

Rape is an act of violence. To make the issue about sex rather than violence it is to downplay the crime. Furthermore, to relate rape to sex in any way is very likely to place a whole heap of shame onto the innocent victim.

Shame on you BBC  and  all the many other sources of media who continue to report rape (and personally I consider all acts of sexual VIOLENCE as rape) as “forced sex”.

 

This has to change if we are going to end the silence surrounding rape.

This has to change if we are going to put a stop to the victim blaming.

This has to change if there is ever going to be an end to the shame with which those who were once victims are so often burdened.

 

 

Easter Hope

What does Easter mean for you? Is is about chocolate? (I am not judging, chocolate is awesome.) Is today about family? Are you a Christian, have you been to church to celebrate today? Or is it just another day for you?

For me, Easter has always meant very little. As a child and a teen, I went to Church every week. On Easter Sunday, I would attend an Easter service of celebration. Along with everyone around me I would exclaim “He is Risen”. We would shake hands- supposedly sharing joy and hope with each other. Except I did not and could not feel it. I gave very little thought to (and nor did I care) what those words could mean for me.

I was being sexually abused, how could I know hope or joy?  I did not see that Jesus had paid the ultimate price for me. In fact, it felt like an insult when I was told that Jesus had died to save me. How was I saved when I already felt like death had found me and condemned me to Hell?

How could I understand that Easter was to mean a time for renewed hope, when I could not remember ever having felt hope. The darkness of the abuse was like a thick black shadow over my life,- past, present and future. I could not remember the joy and hope in my childhood, I could not find any joy or hope in my present and my future did not seem to exist. 

I did not care that Jesus had died to save us all, I did not care that he rose again. It meant nothing to me at all.

At most Easter was about an Easter egg hunt, eating Easter chocolate and having a lovely roast dinner with family. In some ways today is no different, it has already or will include an Easter hunt and then eating that chocolate. There will be an awesome (if I do say so myself) roast dinner with my husband and my children. Those things are traditions, I do not want them to change. But this year is different for me. I am different.

I finally feel that hope others talk about at Easter. I have enormous, wonderful hope for the future. Hope for happiness, hope for healing and hope for peace. I am not sure what that means for my relationship with God, but I am certainly less resentful than I used to be- I have hope things will continue to change.

There is so much pain evident in the blog posts I am reading today. People feeling as I have and sometimes still feel. It makes my heart ache particularly today, for those people who have seen, lived and been touched by the agony of abuse. 

If you are one of those people, then I want you to know that even in the depths of despair, hope is there. I want you to know that when you cannot see past the darkness and you are feeling as if you are losing the battle, every breath you take is a win. 

If you have been or are in crisis, you have probably heard the same as I have- “one day at a time,” or even “one hour at a time”. An hour can feel like a life time when you are in the agony of flashbacks, or suffocated by shame. Forget one day or hour at a time and take it by each moment instead. Each moment is step on your journey, a step further away from the past and a step forwards on your path to healing.

Please do not give in, you deserve to heal and you deserve to find peace. There is always hope.

Hatred

*Trigger Warning -swearing*

I am lost in a vast red mist.

Seething with rage because worked sucked, body memories continue and PTSD symptoms are pissing me off. I can see what I am doing, that I am not helping myself. I know later there will be hindsight where I will find steps I should have taken to ground and to reduce stress today. But right now I am angry, I feel attacked and out of control. My children are clashing, one is grumpy and demanding.

I am tired of unwanted disclosures, of gossip and ill feeling at work. On days like today I feel stupid for ever believing that I am ready to be a part of the rest of the world. I resent work and the people there for how under attack I feel and equally hate myself for blaming them for my failings. It is my issue, not theirs.

I hate him too, for making life so difficult. I fucking hate him right now for the spike in hyper vigilance and for the sheer terror I felt when I returned home to an empty house and the back gate wide open. And I hate him, for making me hate myself for that fear too. I hate him for the grooming and control that did such a number on my self esteem that in these moments I cannot find anything but feelings of self loathing.

I want to be a better mother than I am being this afternoon. I want to laugh with them, play with them, cuddle with them; not grit my teeth as they hug me nor clench my fists as they yell and fight. I am not handling them very well right now. And I hate him for that and I hate me too.

I feel as if the new self I am discovering is lost today. I want her back. I want that strong, brave, loving, kind person to return to the fore and take control again.

PTSD sucks. I hate him for doing this to me.

“In spite of ho…

I am a survivor

“In spite of hopes to the contrary, pornography and mass culture are working to collapse sexuality with rape, reinforcing the patterns of male dominance and female submission so that many young people believe this is simply the way sex it. This means that many of the rapists of the future will believe they are behaving within socially accepted norms.”
― Susan G. Cole

 

 

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Body memory hell (and something new)

Ouch Ouch – I feel beaten up tonight. My pelvis hurts, it is as if there are bruises once more, on my hips and groin and elsewhere (any more would be way TMI). I ache, I feel sick.

I should be feeling awful and in a way I am- but there is something else there too that I have not noticed before. I feel in control, which may seem crazy because I cannot control these body memories. Strangely, I feel bigger somehow. Deep shame as usual and sick at the memories, yet different to normal.

I am finding it hard to explain. I hurt like hell, I hate the reminder, I feel the usual (and then some) shame trying to suffocate me, but I feel kind of removed too- though not emotionally detached as I have been in the past.

I actually woke with this inflated feeling- minus the body memories this morning (which isn’t entirely strange, after a conversation “bigging me up” yesterday). Now I feel as if the body memories are partly a resistance to that feeling. Does that sound crazy?

It is as if there is a fight within me. A part of me (enjoying) feeling bigger/ stronger versus the part that controls the negative/ shaming voice that has plagued me for so long.

I am positive that the main reason for the body memories is due to my need to talk about the recent “anniversary” (the physical pain I feel supports that). I cannot help but feel it is more than that though, the battle inside feels real, a resistance, a fight.

I wish I were seeing my T Friday so I could explore these feelings. I feel a slight thrill at the sense of control I have had among all these hideous body memories this evening. I am intrigued, I want to know what it is and if there is a way to  feel this way when triggered again.

And as much as I clearly need to talk about this “anniversary” again, I really want to too. I mean, really, really want to right now. I need and want to talk about it. I miss my T very much this evening.

 

Three weeks almost over, just over a week and therapy restarts. I hope I can find some peace from these body memories until then. Wish me luck.