A dark week- life after abuse.

It has been almost a week of darkness now. I have been stuck in this terrifying, suffocating blackness. Trauma and fear and horror every single moment. It feels like the past is infringing on the present, like he is here, watching and waiting to pull me back into his control.

Whenever I leave the house he immediately appears, a ghost on my shoulder, a shadow chasing me. And even at home I can barely make it through an hour without having to fight his presence. Even where I am safest, he still finds his way in. I cannot explain just how frightening that is.

 

My T was incredibly understanding yesterday -as always. He told me I am traumatised following my flashback last weekend. He said that my mind believes it has just happened and believes that I am still trapped. He said it is shock and it will take time.

I feel better for having seen him and for the space to be completely open about my fears and pain. With a new and surprising raw honesty, I shared the impact this is having on me. It was a relief not to pretend and a release to let some of it out. His understanding and validation and the freedom to talk has helped a little of the darkness lift. He help me find my strength and renew my faith in my abilities to climb out of this black hole.

It wasn’t all good stuff, I also left feeling somewhat frustrated and even sad. We talked of the future, how to ensure that feelings of being trapped do not always trigger.. it is a conversation we have had many times, over other feelings- fear, abandonment, rejection etc. I know it has to be tackled, so it  doesn’t happen again- having a way out and a way forward normally appeals to my need to control, my determination and even my stubbornness. Yesterday though, it only served to upset me. Even during the session, as he encouraged me to face a trigger I was experiencing, not only could I not do it, I didn’t want to.

I don’t have the energy for it right now and just the idea that I will have to at some point, pushes me close to despair. More things to do, more challenges to face, more pain, more difficulties. Another battle to fight and to win. I want to get through, of course I do- and heck, I know myself well enough now to know I will do whatever it takes.. but it isn’t fair is it? I’ve already been through hell, a thousand times over. Sometimes I get so very tired of living a life tarred by the remnants of my past.

 

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Not OK

I fear it will always be this, ups and downs, highs and lows. Are my aims as impossible as a vision as they were a goal? I know I cannot get over this, I know it will always be with me, but what does that even mean? Will I always suffer so in the Autumn and Winter? Will I ever feel a freedom from those triggers that are all around me right now?

I have to work harder than in Spring and Summer, every day becomes a battle. An exhausting effort to stay grounded, constantly checking in with myself. I want to hide at home, where it is easier to ground, where I can find some sense of safety, where I can shut the darkness out.

Friday’s therapy session was big progress.. perhaps I should celebrate? How can I celebrate when the reality is so terrible? With one weight released, another replaced it instantly. I walked away from my session filled with so much pain and my recent feelings of defeat are now amplified. I feel used and powerless and deeply, deeply ashamed.

On Saturday I struggled with these feelings, with my desire to push them away. I comforted myself with the knowledge that I am doing the right thing. This isn’t fixable, I cannot simply be rescued, I have to feel what I should have back then. It helped a little, to reassure myself that this will be worth it.. it certainly got me through the day. Then Sunday came along, with a horrific flashback that has left me quite unwell.

On top of what I am already going through, I have feared this flashback might push me over the edge. Paranoia and fear and an overwhelming sense that he’s still here holding me against my will. I cannot tell you how terrifying it was and it is for me. I keep asking myself “am I really safe?” “is he here?” and I seriously wonder if I am safe and if he is here.. God, have I been stupid all this time? Are my fears really unfounded? What if? oh God, what if he finds me?

It was the worst flashback I have ever had.  I hate feeling this way.

 

Today, is a little better- better compared to yesterday at least. I am not OK, not even close to OK. And when I have to leave the house I am fighting constantly. Grounding from the constant triggers every second until I return home. Work is not helping, my oversharing colleague, my ignorant boss.. the needs and demands of the clients leave me wanting to crawl under my desk to hide.

This is too much, it is too hard. I would love to say “I can’t do this”.. wouldn’t it be good if there was another way, another choice, an easier way through? I can do this, because I have to do it. For me, for my family, and because I am sure as hell not letting him win. This defeated feeling makes me want to vomit, it is not a feeling I wish to hold onto for any longer than necessary.

Will it get better? Will I be OK? Am I really safe?

 

Trapped. Life after abuse.

Trigger warning.

 

Naked and silently sobbing, she was curled up tightly, pressing into the floor. Shrinking into to herself, in an attempt to be invisible, so perhaps he wouldn’t see, perhaps she could hide her distress, perhaps he wouldn’t know.

She was completely trapped, her fate dependent on him as always. No way out, no escape until he allowed.

Yesterday, I was back there, silently sobbing on the floor, unable to ground, stuck in that flashback, trapped in the memory, until 20 minutes later my husband pulled me out.

24 hours on and I still can’t shake that feeling of imprisonment. The overwhelming and very frightening feeling that I am still being held against my will. I feel trapped and today, I have to go out into the world with that feeling. Into a season that stifles me, into responsibility that feels too much to bear.

And that is just a taster of what life is like after abuse.

 

Ready?

Trigger Warning for swearing.

 

Thank you for the support yesterday. It was a rough afternoon. I wish I could say it passed. If anything it is worse this morning, but that may be because I am laden with guilt right now too.

My husband went out for a ride first thing this morning, I called him home shortly after he left. I needed him, I needed comfort, I needed his help with the children. But he needed that ride. He needed time out before looking after the boys for the weekend. It was so hard for me to ask for help, but I was falling hard and fast, I felt I did not have any choice.

I also called my friend, at first I was going to cancel our plans today, instead we pushed it back to later today and agreed to a quieter evening in at her place. We had planned a meal out and then onto the City to hit the bars. I am relieved. I was looking forward to those plans, but in this state a night in sounds better.

I feel guilty I changed her (and our other friends) plans. I want to cancel completely. I can’t stop shaking. I feel a wreck. My husband is encouraging me to go, he thinks it will be good for me, that it will ground me. I need that for sure. Maybe he is right.

I have body memories and I’m fighting off flashbacks left, right and centre though- maybe home is better. I am not sure.

 

I expressed my fears to my T yesterday and he said that a year ago, or 6 months ago I would not have been able to handle this. I would have been overwhelmed with anger, pain and triggers. He said I have this now, because I am ready but ready doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Well he’s right about that. And ready? Hell, I don’t even want to think about what this would have been like if I wasn’t ready. This is so fucking bad, so fucking hard.

 

Yesterday I faced something I’ve been waiting for. I knew it was coming, I’ve been working towards it for months and now it has happened. As expected it has changed everything. My T said- yes changed everything back then, but not now. Here and now is the same. I am hanging onto that right now.

This is what I need. It is what I want- to heal. But I never wanted it to come to this. I never wanted to be in this fucking position in the first place.

I did not want to be treated like a fucking object, used and abused then thrown away like I was some worthless broken toy. I should not have been left alone, forced to pick up the pieces and repair what was left of myself over and over again.

 

I know my T would encourage me to feel what I feel right now, he would reassure me that it’s ok that it hurts. He would tell me it’s OK to struggle, but to remember that I will come out the other side. I am holding onto those thoughts right now. Thank God for my T.

And thank God for my husband, picking me up each time I cannot find the strength this morning.

I am no longer alone am I? Sometimes I forget that.  I do not have to build barriers and compartmentalise any longer. My T is right. I am here facing this, because I am ready.

 

 

 

 

Loss

It was early hours of Christmas Day, dark, cold and damp out there with you. Your eyes pierced mine as your rough hands cupped my face gently. I remember the neighbours were awake and I knew they could see us. Part of me wondered if they would tell, but the thought was fleeting. In that moment, I didn’t care, I had no time for anyone or anything but you. I remember the warmth of your lips upon mine and I wanted to stay in that moment forever. I adored you.

When it was time for me to go, I stepped a few paces away before turning to watch you leave and I still remember the thrill of realising you hadn’t moved.  You were still there, watching me go. As my eyes once again met yours, you gripped your chest with one hand and  pointed to me with the other; a gesture of love that always weakened my knees.

Whenever I was disturbed by those other nights of terror, those moments were my cherished memories, my hope, my explanation, my escape, my safety net. And now they’ve gone I realise how much I needed them, how much they meant, how much hidden truth they contained. Now I remember before as well as after, now I know you didn’t love me and now I know my most treasured memories of you were never real and it hurts more than I could have imagined. 

Lately, I’ve been haunted by those many nights I met you while everyone else slept. I remember how damp, how cold and how windy it always seemed to be and oh how I remember your lips on mine and your arms around me. Right now, it seems, I cannot open the door without being blasted by such similar weather and those haunting memories of you. I don’t know whether to feel trauma or pain. I’m reminded of what you did but also of those many nights you walked me home.

I’m left feeling like I’ve lost the only good memories I had of you and I’m left feeling a loss I do not want to comprehend. I am used to feeling terror, I am used to feeling horror. I am getting used to battling the reality of what you did, but loss? Grief over you? Over what I thought we had, over what was never, ever true, or right, or even real? I am ashamed of that. I feel conflicted with hatred and hurt over you. I’m ashamed that I mourn you and who I thought you were.

I hurt for my teenage self, for all the broken promises, for the heart that swelled with love, that you shattered into pieces.

And I hate you for that, for hurting an innocent child, who did nothing but love you with everything she had, who was fiercely loyal to you no matter what you did. Everything you inflicted, every insult, every rape, every bit of pain that knocked her down, she always stood right back up and trusted that the end would come, that she could fix you, that the good in you would one day shine again. So innocent, so full of hope, so full of trust and so full of love.

I hate you for what you did to her, to me and to us. 

I am so full of anger, so full of hate and so very deeply ashamed of it all right now.

Let go (flashback).

 

An afternoon out with my beautiful family. A walk through the park,

the light departing, the wind rising, howling through the trees and it is all so similar,  far too familiar.

And just like that the sound has gone and I can’t rip my eyes from those trees looming, menacingly over me.

I can’t fight as I know what is coming, as I am drawn back to hell. Like a black hole, I can feel you pulling me through.

Beside me I feel your hand around mine, leading me away from safety. Always leading me away.

Your smell hits me hard and I am frozen in fear, somewhere inside I sink to my knees

because I remember this night and what is ahead for me.

And I am willing you to let go. Please, I beg you, let go of my hand, let me go back to them.

I can hear sobbing and I know it’s coming from within me, but it feels so far away,

it’s like being under water, desperately I am clawing my way to the surface.

And as quick as I left, I know I am back. The sound returns and the cold air hits.

I smile brightly at my children as I run my hands through my hair and stamp my feet to ground.

They are blissfully unaware of the sobs I am containing.They are oblivious to my haunting.

But not my husband, not him. He knows where I’ve been and he knows that you took me. He knows.

And as he takes my hand gently leading me away from you, I know he will never let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PTSD sucks

I am so angry right now. This morning, yesterday too, I felt ok, calm, grounded. As I drove to work this morning, I realised how good it felt to be in the “here and now” I was, I was present and it was so exciting for me to feel it and know that this will (and I’m determined) be my reality one day.

I went to work, which was fine, until the Emergency lighting was tested. The corridors were dark with this sort of yellow light. As I walked through from my office along a corridor to reception I was hit by a Flashback. The lighting was too familiar, the dark corners, the door ways, the quiet. I felt sick. I managed to ground before I hit the floor.

So now I’m angry, PTSD trying to ruin my day, PTSD sucks, this sucks. I hate you PTSD and I hate him, oh how I hate him.

Enough, ENOUGH. I want to live here, now, not then.

 

Ok, now that’s off my chest (and it helped for sure) I’m going to swim as I had planned and turn this day back around.

 

Thanks for reading.