I’m alive.

Some big news, I just need to share……

I am a real, live, feeling person. Did you know?

I am not so sure I did before now.

All this time, there was someone real underneath all this show, pretense and trauma. Someone with thoughts, wants, needs and desires. And passion. So, much passion for life. Oh my word, I feel so alive.

I find myself wondering if other people see and feel what I do. Is this how everyone feels? If so, why aren’t you weeping all the time- whether with joy or pain? How on earth do you stay so calm and controlled? I feel like a toddler, discovering the world.

Everything is so much clearer. Beauty. And pain. All of it seems so much more vibrant than ever before.

Do you see it? The life? The peace? The freedom?

It’s so damn close, I can taste it and damn, is it so sweet… even the grief, even the pain. All of it.

* Trigger Warning*

 

In some ways, I’m in hell. The memories I am containing right now- hell. The body memories causing surging pain through my jaw right now- hell. I’m containing, suppressing. But it seems, even those things now make me feel alive.

My eyes are opening.. I see what is all around me as clearly as I am beginning to see what was back then. You see, I’m disclosing the worst bits to my T now. Yes the worst. The intimate details.. where I have to tell him the specific ways in which I was hurt, how it felt, what I smelt, how my body reacted, the things I had to do, the things I had to say.. things I have patchy memories of due to the level of trauma. In order to do this, I have to step back into the room in which I was hurt so many times. It began last week and so far, I’ve had to dissociate to disclose, but I’m getting closer, closer to feeling it too and God, that is where the freedom lies. The beginning at least. I’m sure of that.

Because that’s the key.. the very secrets I was certain I’d take to my grave…are my way out from under him, where if I’m honest, despite all my efforts, a part of me has remained.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking torture, yet I have to do it, because I know it is the only way to face who I used to be. And it is the only place I can face him. Only in that room, only by freeing myself from these secrets, can I truly see him for who he is and what  he did to me. This is beyond what he took from my body, instead it is what he tried to take from my heart and soul. It is where I find me.. and I know because it’s already happening. I am already doing it. This is where I take back control.

He told me no one would believe me, he told me my only worth was my body, he told me I was just a set of holes to be used. He told me it was all my fault. He told me I was dirty, over and over and over again.

He called me sexy, and he called me ugly. He called me slut. He called me slag and filthy whore. And worst of all, he called me his…which is why I’ve got to keep doing this, it is why I have to tell every sickening detail. I am not his, I will not be his, we will not share these secrets together. This is the only way I can be free. I am not those things and one day soon, I’m going to know that within my heart too. I’m going to win.. did you know? I am not sure I did.

I’m going to win, I’m going to be in control and I’m going to be free!

 

 

 

The Anniversary of my biggest loss

Today I woke into safety, I woke into warmth and  I woke into love.

What amazing feelings!

I am holding onto those feeling as I face an anniversary. I am keeping them with me as I struggle with the aftermath of a difficult afternoon and night yesterday and with the body memories that began this morning.

I have been moving around my home, rearranging my beautiful flowers, taking in the scent of the clean laundry hanging in the utility room. I have been looking out the windows at my lovely garden, the birds, the squirrels, the amazing trees that surround us. I have been moving between my rocking chairs and my window seat. Grounding, grounding. Reminding myself that I am safe. I am warm and I am loved.

 

But I cannot shake that night and I cannot shake that morning. I cannot get past that while he was celebrating yesterday he could have remembered me. It’s my memory, my pain, my trauma, yet he shares it too. And worse still, if he chose to remember yesterday, he would have done so differently to me. With pleasure perhaps, with power. With a smile on his face. Of course I do not know for sure, I am not in his head.. and that is where I am finding such distress. I do not know and even if I did, I cannot control his thoughts.

This week, my T suggested that while I cannot control his attachment to me, I can control my attachment, to his attachment. He is right,  I am still attached. Preoccupied, disturbed and distressed that he can choose to remember too. I do not want to share this with him.

I often think that he haunts me, but if I’m honest, sometimes I am sure it is me that is the ghost, still following him. That, at least, is something I can change.. in fact I am doing so already.

 

 

That night was hell and that morning after especially so. It was Friday 3rd, and he spent the night violating me. He broke me, yet it is the trauma of the following morning that is hurting me.

That morning, I think a part of me died, or perhaps more, a part of me got stuck there with him, trapped in time. I am certain, when I finally got away that morning, that something of myself was left behind. And he still has it. It’s still with him. And I don’t know that I can get it back.. and even if I did, how could I ever bring it back to life? Can your soul die? In part, at least? He destroyed something and though it may be in pieces, he still has it. It’s real, it’s gone and I know because I feel the loss – the gap, that I have never been able to fill.

I knew it that morning, I knew it was wrong and I’d never be the same. I knew it as I woke beside my monster, I knew it as I lay frozen in a terror. I knew it as I wondered if it were possible to be fucked to death. I knew as I wondered, if I was already dead. And I knew it when the door was wide open, and I still could not leave. My will broken, my choices gone, my identity – my very self, obliterated.

You cannot go through something like that and not lose something of yourself.  You just can’t.

 

That part is gone, I am sure of that. It is no longer mine and perhaps, I will always have this gaping hole..but I am safe now and I am warm and I am loved. And it is within those things, that I am healing and it is within those things, I am finding new life.

 

 

Loss

Is it possible to grieve through PTSD symptoms? Because I hurt. I physically ache, just as I did back then. Yet I am not traumatised, not like before at least. It will always be horrific, but I am sure it is not trauma, not anymore.

Then the physical pain has to be a manifestation of the emotional pain that I just cannot release, right?

The only release is to cry, and therefore that means, right now I have no choice but to try to keep it inside. I have been fighting the tears all day long. And fight it I must because to shed tears, is to plunge myself into darkness. Into a black hole, that is so deep and so dark that I am terrified I won’t ever find my way out. Until I find a way around that, the pain can only be released by my agony. Hideous, awful, physical pain.

Mother’s day was just too much, it reminded me of that day. And now I cannot shake the feelings of loss. And I cannot shake him either. What he did and what he caused.

*Big Trigger warning here. If you are likely to be triggered, or if you would rather not know some details of my abuse, please don’t read on*

 

******************************************************************************************

 

As I lay underneath my husband last night, I felt my abuser. Where I was safe and loved, he disturbed us. He interrupted something beautiful and intruded on what is ours.  And I was there, back there. It was no longer night and I was no longer safe. Trapped, afraid and in a great deal of pain.

That day he pushed me to floor, like so many times before, and he took. And he took. Despite my pleas, despite the blood, it would not end.

Then he abandoned me, leaving  me completely alone, with a burden I did not know how to bear.

And out there, in the cold and surrounded by death, we lost all that we had left.

 

 

I lost so much and it hurts. I hurt.

I wish someone could take this from me.

 

Beauty and light.

I found this very emotional to write, but also helpful, I feel as if I have released a lot within this post. 

*There are some potential triggers further down (another warning is posted) please be careful.*

 

I cannot escape the past, it is hitting all at once. My body aches from memories of what I once endured. My legs and thighs are screaming at me, every single time I move. The abdominal cramps hit in waves, taking my breath away. 

So I fill my home with flowers, because I don’t know what else to do. 

I admit I am utterly miserable. I am quiet today and a little withdrawn. With little energy to do much else, I am remembering as if it were yesterday, the first time, the group rape and many others.

So I have filled my home with flowers in an attempt to comfort and distract.

This month is so triggering, there is nowhere for me to hide. My body remembers even where my mind will not. I am trapped. Trapped by time, trapped by this season. Trapped. 

So like so many days before, my home is filled with flowers. Today yellows and reds are dressing each window sill. 

My home is beautiful, my home is clean and comforting, the beauty I create is not only important on days like today for my own sanity but is crucial for my healing.

 

*Trigger warning*

I remember the first few times in vivid detail, the dust, the dirt, the smell, the chaos and the dark. There was this sense of foreboding that seemed to sort of ooze from the walls. I remain disturbed by the memories of that environment.

It was like another world, one no one should ever have to experience. There were screams and shouts from the other flats around us and within that chaos we were alone in the dark and there on a mattress of filth upon filth, there on blood stains of past abuse…my innocence was so brutally taken. 

And it was there where the stains were soon mine, it was there that I swear, a part of me died and it was there I grew to fear the dark and loathe the dirt. It is there, my mind so often takes me to, it is there I have to fight to return from… every. single. day. 

So I fill my home with flowers and bask in their beauty. I light candles, I am soothed by the gentle flicker and comforted by their scent. I surround myself in light, in blankets and in cushions and in textures and in patterns, in quiet and in peace.

I cannot help but fear that a part of me still resides back there. Therefore all the beauty I surround myself with is to chase away the darkness that I fear will imprison the rest of me. In the light, he can no longer harm me. 

 

Quotation-Elsie-De-Wolfe-life-Meetville-Quotes-87371

 

 

I strive to create beauty, I strive to create light. Right now it is for me, but I hope one day for many others too. And that, I pray, will be my life. 

 

 

Stuck in the past

 

This has been a hellish few days. I wish it were over, but the PTSD symptoms remain..

I don’t want this- back to struggling so much through each day. I don’t want to fight through symptoms again.

 

Yesterday was pretty bad, until my husband stepped in and reminded me of those things I need to do to get through. Those things that can be so simple, yet get forgotten in the midst of symptoms. Routine, eating well, staying hydrated, exercise, low level constant noise, low light etc. etc.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided on some changes to our routine, to makes things easier particularly during the harder times. Just by working on something positive in order to improve things was enough to lift my mood and halt the symptoms for a couple of hours.

Today, is shitty again though and I don’t have the energy to focus on anything positive. Sometimes I get so sick of trying to find the positive in such an awful situation.

I am an emotional wreck inside and desperately trying to keep a lid on that to the outside world. I had a flashback at work earlier and I reacted by being social and chatty… wtf?

 

*Trigger warning*

It happened while I was on the phone, I was just finishing the call, when I was hit by an overpowering smell. His smell. Then I felt his fingers in my mouth, I could taste him.

I thought I was going to vomit right there and then at my desk.

Several hours later and I am home, still feeling sick. Still able to taste him. Thankfully that smell has gone- something at least.

I am dissociating a lot and the body memories started a short while ago. My mouth aches.

 

Flashbacks and nightmares have been plaguing me for the last week. I know to work on grounding, I know to distract. They aren’t improving though. I want to talk about those memories, I just don’t know that I should right now. It has to be controlled, it has to be while I am grounded. I am not in control or grounded right now. My head is in the past.

I suppose it’s understandable, the recent news stuff stirred up a great deal, not just reminders of the abuse, but the way I was treated. I feel violated again, because I’m feeling what I did back then. It makes sense that I would be remembering those violations right now.

I wish this would end, I feel overwhelmed with the memories and this feeling of being violated again, especially because that comes with the shame and feeling dirty and used. If you have been raped, you will know how horrible that is. The wanting to scrub away your own skin..It feels like it just happened yesterday.

How do I make it stop? The grounding isn’t working. I feel like my insides are burning. I can’t do this.

I don’t know what to do. What do I do? Friday seems so far away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therapy worries. Rejection, Abandonment.

I have just had three good days in a row, three! Saturday morning’s writing really helped.

I had an amazing afternoon with my cousin and her family and then a peaceful day Sunday. Yesterday, I had a challenge of handling the children alone until late evening and not only did I manage it, but I felt perfectly calm and natural while doing so- YAY for me!

 

Today is not so good, painful body memories, flashbacks and some fears/worries surrounding therapy and my T again. I really need them to go away, I cannot address them, nor can my T reassure me until next Friday.

One memory in particular continues to bother me. I really hoped it was among the processed memories and I would not need to go there again. Unfortunately, it seems I do. It keeps coming back and no amount of telling it to “do one” works. It just comes back. I can understand why, while we have discussed it before, it was not faced properly, or as necessary, instead it was talked about in order to reach other goals. Therefore, it makes sense that I need to raise it again at some point, but it seems I have some worries about doing so.

The thing that has surprised me, is that the worry is not about having to go through talking it over again, it is not fear or even frustration so much, instead it is more about how my T may react.

What the heck is up with that?? I have no reason to question him, he has never given me reason to.. But:

I am worried about going over old ground and causing him to feel impatient or annoyed with me. I deeply fear his (or anyone’s) rejection and abandonment. And that pisses me off. I thought those feelings had at least faded a little.

My last session with my T is probably why this is getting to me right now. He said a few things that were badly timed- things I will bring up in my next session.

The things he said were actually really encouraging when considered in the right mindset, but I guess I am not there, because I am struggling to see them as such right now.

Lots of fear and worrying. I have thoughts such as:

“Two years of therapy now, is he becoming frustrated with me?”

“Is he sick and tired of hearing about my stuff”

“Does he think I am exaggerating?”

“Does he believe I should be over it?”

Or the worst “Does he think I am over it and I am just attention seeking now?

 

Deep down I know the answers. He is a Person Centered Therapist, it is my agenda, my therapy, it goes on as long as I need and want. I have not stood still, I have made huge leaps of progress- so why the fear? Why the worry?

I have to get past it before I can talk to him about this memory again. It was a particularly nasty incident, probably one of the worst. It was emotionally and physically traumatic, incredibly so. It is also a memory that is (once again) surrounded in shame. As such, I need to feel completely sure he is there for me, with no frustration or impatience directed towards me.

I feel ridiculous for the fear, he is amazing, he has been amazing all the way through this. I should not need to question him.

It’s hard enough to have to get through the body memories and the flashbacks without the fear and worry. Every time I am hit by an intrusive memory I think of my last session when my T picked up on my use of the word “intrusive” and we talked of how it is OK, to tell a memory where to go. Why does that bother me? When or day or so ago that knowledge was a source of liberation for me? I feel so conflicted. I cannot tell this memory where to go yet and I know that is OK. I know my T would encourage me to explore it again. So why the worry?

I am tying myself in knots here. I hate feeling this way, the insecurity, the neediness.

The relationship with a therapist is a strange one isn’t it? You tell this person deep thoughts and feelings, you probably won’t tell another person, yet they aren’t a friend or a family member, or someone that will remain in your life after therapy.

While the boundaries are so very important to me, sometimes it’s hard not to feel needy. He knows my deepest, darkest thoughts. He knows vile and sick details I can never imagine repeating to anyone else. I have told him things I do not think my loved ones will ever know. I cannot handle the idea of his rejection. I cannot bear to imagine that he will abandon me with this.

 

I could beat myself up couldn’t I? I could be frustrated and angry at the way I feel, but what good would that do? I feel this, I cannot help what I feel. And I am not to blame. I did not cause these feelings. I feel this way because I was abandoned, because I was abused, because I was rejected. So, I am doing what I can to help myself feel better this evening. It is back to basics of grounding and comforting through these awful body memories and these troublesome, conflicting fears.

I hate this, what he did, what he caused and how it still lingers in my life now. I want to be free of it.

I hope this passes soon. 😦

 

 

The end of body memories?

*Trigger warnings – I have been very honest and open about my body memories, so please take care*

 

Body memories are hell, absolute hell. They have to be one of the scariest symptoms of PTSD- for me at least.

To physically feel something that took place years before, in itself is frightening. To feel as if your trauma is happening or has just happened all over again is terrifying.

It is hard to explain body memories to someone who has never had them and even then my experience of them is likely to be different to that of another survivor. I often describe body memories as sort of echos, but if I am honest, that only covers some of the body memories I have experienced. 

Some body memories feel like just that to me, an echo of a pain that once was. However, as I have progressed in therapy, the body memories have intensified to the point where sometimes I struggle to tell whether it is a body memory or a new pain. For example when I experience abdominal pains, I wonder if it is hormonal or a body memory, yet so often when the memories subside a little, so does the pain. 

 

 

I belong to an internet forum called “Pandora’s Project” and it was there that I first learned that I was not alone-in my experiences.

I read how others experienced body memories and nodded with relief as I read explanations that used the words “body vibrations” and “echos”. They really seemed to fit with what I was going through. 

About 18 months ago, as I was going through a period of disclosing details of my abuse to my T, the body memories intensified. It was then that I turned back to “Pandy’s” for some reassurance. I had begun to experience new levels of body memories that were so utterly disturbing I feared I was going crazy.

*Extra Trigger warning here.*

The pains were so real. My thighs would feel bruised, my hips and lower abdomen ached, my throat would be raw and my jaw tight. My back was painful, and my knee would often give way as I walked. I would suffer recurring Cystitis, worrying mid cycle bleeding and distressing rectal bleeding. These were all so much worse around anniversaries or in the lead up to (and just after) disclosure to my T. It was (and sometimes still is) horrific. 

On “Pandys'” and elsewhere on the internet, I sought answers in the stories of others. While they were difficult to read, they brought me hope and comfort. I was not crazy as I feared, nor dying of cancer (as confirmed by numerous hospital appointments) instead I was deeply wounded by my past. 

I was unable to share any of this with my T, or anyone for that matter, for over a year. I talked of body memories but not the depth to which I suffered. I finally feel more able to share (as this posts shows!) and my T has certainly been aware for some months of the types of body memories that accompany the cycle of disclosure. However, while it was a relief to tell my T, it did not make the body memories go. More recently though, things seem to have changed.

 

The cycle I normally go through when I am bothered by a particular memory or a set of memories, starts off as intrusive thoughts and then turns into nightmares and flashbacks. These gradually intensify and then the body memories begin, which then get considerably worse until I finally allow the memory out. Those body memories become almost unbearable in the days following a disclosure in therapy, and then they gradually fade away. 

More recently that cycle has changed. Despite more disclosures over the last two weeks, I have not experienced the body memories following therapy. I do not dare say that it has changed for good, things are forever changing- but for now at least, I am not suffering in the same way following therapy (see “Spent”). Perhaps that is a risky thing to “say” given that I have therapy tomorrow and it is likely there will be more disclosures?!

 

I think the reason it has changed is because finally, I am able to connect with my memories as I talk about them. In fact I am connected with them constantly now. I have known for a while now that my memories are real, but knowing and feeling are different.

I am now in the process of accepting the reality of my past. I believe my memories are true and real. And now I have nowhere to hide from them (which is scary), when I am talking to my T about the things that were done to me, I am not only telling, I am beginning to feel it too. The last 2 weeks I have told more details of my past and I have felt instant relief. I have come home absolutely exhausted, but not carrying the trauma of my disclosure. 

 

My T has often explained that the body memories appear to be from where I did not feel in the past, where I was subjected to emotional and physical agony, but remained numb and switched off. He has told me that the pain has to escape somewhere.

There have been so many sessions I have told my T what my abuser did to me and I felt traumatised and upset at the memory, but not actually felt how I did (or at least should have felt ) as it was done to me. Instead I would come home to suffer terribly with body memories. 

I feel as if I am finally in touch with my feelings as a teen, I remember how it felt, or should have felt. I see what he did to me- not to someone else- but to me. It is not like watching someone else’s life in my memories anymore, it is mine, I am connected to it. My experiences, my memories and my pain. So as I tell my T the horrible things he did, I am beginning to feel it too.

It is all very scary and very painful. I do not want to talk and feel, I dread my T sessions right now- but wow- is it not worth it when this really could lead to the end of body memories?!

I so hope it is true, I hope this is real. I hope one day soon I will longer have to experience the horror of body memories.