Fighting for hope.

It’s like a Thursday ritual.. therapy procrastination equals a blog post.

 

I am desperate to see my T for reassurance and guidance tomorrow. I’ve been hanging on all week… I am afraid of what I feel. I am afraid of what may happen. I am deeply afraid that I am going to be left alone..

It’s been a tough week, horrible, horrible thoughts. Dissociation and flashbacks. Fear and loneliness.

 

I am not suicidal, I do not want to die. But there are fleeting moments of  “what if?” “Is this impossible” “What if I cannot?” My children and their dependence on me quickly eradicate those thoughts. I have to always look for hope, especially in my darkest moments. He cannot win. I will not allow that.

 

I do not want to self harm. But there are times this week when it has crossed my mind.. When I am in the shower, with the razor close to hand…it feels like it is almost calling to me. Like a long lost friend. And I have to take a stand and be firm with myself. I remind myself that I have been hurt enough. My body is scarred enough. I must not and cannot do that to myself. I do not need to bleed for him any longer.

While the moments pass and the thoughts fade, it is only a matter of time before they return again. And then I must battle to find myself….The 30 something year old woman, who can handle things without hurting herself. I am not that teen anymore, those thoughts do not have a place here any longer.

I know this is probably to be expected, I am struggling with my own identity because I am battling shame. Shame has to be the worst thing I have felt. It is like a burning inside me and I guess it has always been there, smouldering deep within me. Now it is at the surface and I know the only way to extinguish it is to let it out.

And then, what if? What if I cannot do it? What if I am not really the me I so desperately want to be? What if I am her? What if I am still those things.

So many questions with answers that can only come from myself.

 

 

It is snowing here right now (I hope it doesn’t last), it’s beautiful out there and it’s beautiful inside my house. My children laughing, there is warmth and there is light. When the dark thoughts take hold it is this I hold onto. It is the present that is my anchor. What I want, I already have. There lies my hope.

 

 

Too big?

I am comforted by the warmth from the nearby radiator, the smell of my new flowers and the presence of my youngest son cuddled next to me. I do not want to move. I do not want this moment to pass. I do not want to leave my home and make my way to work. I do not want to fight through another shift filled with dissociation.

I have seriously been considering a career break. Time at home, while I go through what seems to be the hardest part of my journey. Time to rest, time to heal. Then the burden of earning money for my family reminds me that it would be unwise right now. We are not broke, we could, just about, manage on one wage, but what if? And what about my own career long term? And I fear loneliness and isolation. The few friends I have either work full time or are too far away to visit regularly.

I am trying to keep in mind that this will pass too. The dissociation will improve again and I won’t come across quite the idiot that I am doing so right now at work. Last week, I swear, I was away with the fairies, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t speak coherently. That was until I met with my T and it all flowed out almost easily. It’s like there is just too much in my head and so much of those things, are so bad, so, very bad, that I am doing everything I can not to think of them. But there’s no room left for “normal” thoughts.. am I even making sense? It all feels crowded.. I feel claustrophobic in my own head.

I told my T something massive on Friday, or more I admitted to myself, while in his presence.. because I don’t think I could have done it on my own. It was and is so, very big. Big enough for my T to have some concerns about my ability to contain it between sessions.. which isn’t something he normally worries about.

It is the ultimate question, it is the very core of all my issues.

And it is so much bigger than me.

 

Today, I will go to work, I will fight through the dissociation and try to sound coherent. I will collect my child from school, I will cook and I will clean, because that is something I know I can do.. I know how to get through.

 

 

 

Positive effects of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Seriously?

Great post.

Trauma and Dissociation

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a ‘challenging’ (difficult) diagnosis to live with, and hard work to heal from. The symptoms seem ‘irrational’ and you may feel like you are ‘going crazy’ at first. One thing which is known to help reduce PTSD symptoms is finding positives which resulted from the PTSD. Many people speak openly about finding meaning after trauma, or experiencing Post-traumatic Growth.

Certain types of traumatic experience may make finding meaning from trauma seem almost impossible, for instance if the trauma included the deaths of others. Witnessing such an experience leaves many people with survivor guilt: the belief that others should have survived instead of them.

An alternative approach to seeking positives is to consider if some of your current, disruptive symptoms may have a few unexpected benefits. Here are some of mine:

Hypervigilance – alert to changes in environment which may indicate possible danger. If the temperature in…

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Who am I (again)?

Each week I seem to face the biggest therapy session to date. Bigger and scarier and deeper. What I unearthed today is worse than anything I’ve talked about and quite frankly, worse than anything I’ve been through. And that is quite a statement to make. Not a trauma, but a feeling, or set of feelings.

My T spent the last 10 mins of the session today trying to help me contain enough to be able to cope over the next week. I think it worked, I am coping already. I collected my child from school and while he was out this evening, I played with my youngest child and did the usual mummy stuff.

Perhaps I should be a sobbing, broken mess after our session today? Instead I feel sort of haunted and afraid. Haunted by how it used to be and afraid of myself.

I cannot face this. It is far bigger than me. I fear I cannot handle this, I fear I haven’t really handled anything as well as I make out. I do not let people see me, I do not even dare look for myself and now it seems I should, or more that I must.

 

I fear I am failing those who believe in me. I fear their scolding and their judgement that I feel this way. Or even worse that they will see right through me and learn who I really am.

It’s like it used to be (which is so fucking triggering), living with the knowledge and fear that it’s just a matter of time before I will be caught out. Then they will all see the truth and then I will have to face it too.

Am I lying to myself?

How do other people cope with intense fear and pain? How do others live with such shame? I swear, I feel like I am dying here. I want to run away, but how do you run from yourself?

Thank God for my children and my husband, they are my only reason right now.

 

 

 

 

Who am I?

Today well and truly blows.  I am tired and I am in pain and I feel all these horrible things I shouldn’t feel and don’t want to feel, but feel any way.

Nights are long and full of hideous dreams, mornings are about grounding, then I have to force myself out the door to work, when I’d give my right arm to stay at home.

I keep reminding myself that I am here, now, in 2015. It is is not 1997, I am not vulnerable, alone and being abused. I am no longer walking around with the burden of a thousand secrets. I wish it would work.

For some time now I have been able to separate my teen self from my self now, knowing what are feelings from during the abuse and what my feelings are now. Lately, it seems the line between them that was one so clear, is sort of muddied a little. I carry feelings I felt back then, and it isn’t just about releasing old feelings. If I am completely honest with myself, I know that I feel those things still. I’m embarrassed about that. I know what abuse is and what it does to people. I know that he was to blame, not me. I know that he should be ashamed and not me. Yet knowing does not change my feelings.

And this road we are headed on in therapy, is not where I want to go. I do not want to address it. I do not want to admit those truths. I do not want to accept my feelings, of who I feel I am. I am ashamed after all I’ve faced and all I now know, that I could ever feel this way.

What’s wrong with me? Why do these feelings fit so well? They shouldn’t.

When I woke this morning, I felt tortured by just that. I found myself asking my husband if he thought it possible that the me now is the lie and instead, what so many saw in me back then is the truth.

That feeling/ perception of myself is not something I can even bring myself to type here. That which for so long now, has me tripping over my words and forgetting what I am saying. That which has me lowering my eyes when I speak. That which so often prevents me from forming new relationships for fear of what they may see in me….

 

Have I simply become an expert at hiding what was once common knowledge about me? Moving away, starting again where I do not have to encounter the person I was back then. Am I fooling everyone so well that I have managed to fool myself too?

I cannot rely on others to tell me one way or another, it has to be what I believe for myself, doesn’t it? Except today that is much more difficult than normal. This new identity I have pursued so hard and began to embrace  over the last year or so, now, all of a sudden feels so unfamiliar. I find myself feeling uncomfortable within my own skin. Right now, I feel like a stranger in my own life.

There is such conflict within me right now.

Who am I?

True Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4

While I have known this verse for what seems like forever, I have not understood or really believed these words.

Instead I thought that different types of love existed and firmly believed that not all love is good.

Lately, I have been disclosing more of my abuse to my T and today following my therapy session, I found myself reminded of that Bible verse and what it can mean for me. More specifically what it can mean for the deep shame that I carry. 

I see now how the misuse of the word “love” was used to abuse me further. To tear a child down, to humiliate and degrade her in the most abhorrent ways cannot suddenly be made OK by covering her hurt with words of love. 

True love would not carry out these actions. True love would not cause such pain. True love would not blame and shame. 

Putting a label of love on top of wicked actions, does not make those actions good, nor does it suddenly make them forgivable. Love cannot dress evil. Love and evil cannot exist together in that way. 

I had no choice. It wasn’t done for love, on either my or his part. I had no choice, right?

That was not love. Love cannot be the reason or the cause. It cannot explain what was done.

Something to explore further I think?

Disclosure at new depths (TW).

 

Thursday afternoon procrastination is something I know well. It is a time for therapy preparation and that is not something that I usually look forward to. I have a little less time today, due to working a longer shift. However there is certainly adequate time, should I set my mind to it. Except, that I am doing everything but.. I have cleaned a little, re arranged my flowers, taken care of my boys, made a drink, had a snack, put laundry away etc. etc. And now I am here, in the hopes that blogging about my thoughts will be enough.

I am having body memories, ongoing on and off since my last therapy session. Partly connected to my last session and some that seem disconnected right now, however it’s likely once I face it, I will find myself saying “Oh yeah, now I get why I was feeling that”.

I am back and forth between cramps- as if I were having a period and more recently, jaw/ mouth pain. The jaw and mouth pain isn’t something I usually like to admit to, mostly, because I’ve always been embarrassed and ashamed. As someone who has been a victim of rape, to talk about a body memory that includes jaw pain, it is pretty obvious what caused it. And that has always caused me much embarrassment and shame. Now I feel I can be frank. I am in pain because my body is remembering the brutal oral rapes I suffered. 

That I can be open and honest- here and with the right people- shows progress, I think? It shows that the shame has shifted somewhat, doesn’t it? I am able to admit something that previously would have me muted by such embarrassment. That has to be progress. Understandable, of course, it seems to be the way with sexual abuse particularly, but staying silent only serves to further my own discomfort and suffering. 

Body memories and flashbacks, nightmares and triggers, usually mean I need to talk about a memory with my T. Often a first disclosure, or at least re examining a previously disclosed memory, normally at a new depth. What is going on for me is both, I suppose. It’s not like others however.. these are unclear, intertwining memories.

It isn’t like I haven’t talked about oral rape with my T before, because I have, but as I blogged the other day, there are more details that need out. It’s not limited to oral rape, the stuff that is getting to me is the “day to day” stuff he did. It isn’t the big memories that sort of stand alone in my head, but the mass of memories that I haven’t been able to unpick. They are all so messy, in terms of what I remember.. things that happened all the time, over and over.

 

*Trigger warning. Survivors, please be careful.. I haven’t been overly detailed, but it does refer to my sexual abuse. *

*Friends and family, please be warned. If you don’t want to know about my abuse, please do not read any further.*

 

This stuff is close to the aspects of abuse where the control was at it’s peak. Hence my apprehension.

It was as if I was owned by him. Where I had to seek his permission for the most basic of things and do sick and horrible things  in the hopes that the permission would be granted- which it often wasn’t. This was abuse that I suffered most days/ nights when I was 14. My body was a mess from his continued rapes/ sexual assaults and the only way of coping with the pain was to create a world of my own to escape in.

These things require a new level of disclosure. Things my T is aware of from previous discussions but not at the level I need him to be. These memories need out, but in order to purge myself of the trauma that remains, I know that I have to be detailed, more so than I have ever been before.

How do I do that? It is hard enough to describe the way in which I was abused- to use the horrible words necessary to describe rape… but more details, of humiliation, of pain, of the disgusting things I remember..God, how do I tell him?

I have to find a way, because what was previously enough, simply isn’t any longer. Because I feel, more than I ever have and I guess it makes sense that what worked before is no longer sufficient. I am finding that I need to tell differently, slower than before and at a new and deeper level. 

It’s kinda funny (weird, not ha ha), how I spent years hiding this, with an absolutely desperate need to keep it all inside and now it’s quite the opposite.. the need to tell goes so deep, I feel like I have little control over it. Strangely, it kinda reminds me of childbirth.. where it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, no amount of fighting will stop that baby coming out. Your body takes over and does what it needs to do.. this is so similar in that way. My body and my mind have always known what to do to protect me, they have saved me a thousand times over. The urge to get all this out is taking over, my body is hurting and my heart is aching. I trust myself and so I will follow this instinct, which tells me, that it doesn’t matter if I refuse and it doesn’t matter how much I fight it, this stuff will come out one way or another.