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?

 

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Triggered

The past feels like present tonight. Alhough I know the trigger now, it seemed to come out of the blue.

Things had improved a little, less triggers since October passed, a relief that it was over and though Friday brought up some deep issues, I felt better for sharing more secrets. It’s been a week of dissociation, but a definite improvement on last week.

Tonight though, it is closer than ever, it’s as if he is here. A ghostly presence or a shadow perhaps, standing over me. And echos of what was, are terrifying me.

The smell of fireworks and of bonfires triggered me tonight. And I didn’t even leave the house.. an open window I’d forgotten about and the smell brought me too my knees.

Back then, him, those nights and what waited for me.

 

I took a shower, tried to wash away his scent, then sorted through laundry, trying to ground myself. As I inhaled my clean laundry, all I could smell were his clothes. His, not mine. Do you know how distressing that is?

And now I am in my bed, where the sheets are soft and clean, the pillows plump and the blankets warm, reminding myself he isn’t here. It is my bed I know that, the one I share with my husband. Nothing bad has happened in this bed, nothing can hurt me here, he is not here. Then why do I feel so unsafe? Why does my breath catch in my throat? Why such a heavy weight of fear?

Grounding, grounding grounding. He isn’t here, I know that, I know it. I do.. I just wish I knew it all the way through.

 

Day 2 – feeling bad.

 

Day 2 of feeling pretty bad. Yesterday a flashback first thing and body memories afterwards. Then, understandably I suppose, I had a nightmare last night and another early this morning. I’m hyper vigilant and feeling sore, I don’t know if it’s from body memories or sore from being so tense while I slept, either way it’s not helping things.

I hate feeling like this. It’s been no walk in the park dealing with pain and hurt, but it makes me feel better in a way too. Today, there’s no room for that, I’m grounding and trying to soothe myself through the hyper vigilance. I am also battling with anger. I am angry that I feel this way again, two days in a row- that was so normal just a couple of months ago, but I thought I’d left that behind- at least for now, at least while we are not doing “trauma work”.

I know it’s probably normal and to be expected, I think somewhere in there this is probably a sign of progress, perhaps  a sign of things we’ve been dealing with lately beginning to click into place. I wish I was seeing my T this week, so he could help me find that progress, so I can see that the way I feel right now is actually worth it.

I feel like I’m relying on my T like I did when I first started therapy, while now I am more able to contain the trauma side of things, I’m new to this whole feeling what I feel thing, add in trauma/ symptoms on top and I feel like I need his guidance more than ever. Is that normal? In a way it feels as if I’m going backwards, I want to be less dependent on him, not more…

 

 

2013 – My Journey.

Wow, what a year! What a long and painful, roller coaster of a year. But, what an amazing year it has been in so many ways too.

There have been many changes in my life and in myself. I don’t think I am a different person, in fact I think I’m more me than I have ever been before. I’m glad about that. Somewhere under all the low self esteem, under all the self loathing that was groomed into me, I think I could start to like the person who is emerging.

 

I had a wonderful Christmas in many ways. Sure I was often tired, sometimes quite badly triggered, sometimes grieving Christmas memories past in more ways than one; but I also felt a sense of freedom and with that freedom came relief. It has been awesome to feel that way at some point every day for the last week or more, awesome!

 

This year has been the most challenging of my adult life so far (and ever I hope). I have made massive changes and major progress in the last year. I’ve really started to notice those changes in the last few months.

I have settled into therapy now, I trust my T more than I could have ever imagined. I have told him things that this time last year I was convinced I would never tell anyone. Therapy is changing my life and I can honestly say that over this last year, I have given it my all. I am so glad to have my T guiding me through.

Early this year, I did something else I thought I never would; I told people about my past. It was so incredibly hard. It was painful, so much more than I expected, but it has changed my life completely. Though I have had to face harsh truths and accept disappointment, I have been learning to allow others to support me. I am still learning and still struggling with trust, but while I can count on one hand the people I trust with my past, the trust within those relationships has deepened over the past year.

I am able to talk about this with one brother particularly, while I go through periods of saying very little about the details of the abuse, I know I can tell him whenever I need to. He checks up on me lots, he’s there with a understanding, but grounded and level headed response whenever I need it. I’m so glad he knew before everyone else, he’s been on my side every day since.

Besides my T and my brother there’s also my minister and he is fantastic. I know I’ve mentioned him in blog posts before, but I cannot say it enough, he is an awesome guy, he really is. It’s always very scary to tell someone new about the abuse, it’s hard to know how someone will react but in this instance, I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. And then last Christmas, after the carol service at the local Church I remember telling him that I planned to talk to my family (and then friends) about my past and my issues since and now. He immediately said, we should get together in the new year and chat about it properly. I was completely stunned (in a good way!) and have continued to be stunned and wowed by his consistent support since.

I do not trust easily, I don’t know how or if I can ever widen my “circle of trust” but the trust I have in those already part of it, has deepened tremendously over this last year. I am moved by the support and understanding I have from those people and I am so very glad to have them on this journey with me.

 

The last year has also seen an incredible improvement in my marriage. It was never bad, in fact it was good a lot of the time, but I had so many issues that I, nor my husband understood which caused us both problems

I’ve learned a lot about myself this last year, even in recent weeks. I usually know when I am triggered now and recently I’ve started to react early enough a lot of the time that I ground before it gets too bad. Not always and not when the trigger is particularly bad, but often enough to make a difference to my daily life. My husband has also learned to read the signs of hyper vigilance, triggers, dissociation etc. again, not always, but often enough to make a difference. I have told my husband about some of the abuse, I have told him a lot about the way I felt then and the way I feel now. He has supported, encouraged and sometimes simply just held me through it all. He makes me feel safe, he allows me to be needy as  necessary while also reminding me that I am a strong and capable woman.

Our sex life has improved dramatically, (family can look away now) I enjoy it now, but I didn’t used to. As with everything in my life, I faked and I pretended. With a lot of work and communication things are a lot better. My husband reads me, we have signals between us, he knows when I am triggered, often before I do. He knows when we need to stop without our word being said. It’s amazing and wonderful to have such a loving, attentive and affectionate partner.

My work in therapy and our work together at home has made us closer than ever before, we are now a team and I love him more every day.

 

 

My ability to ground has improved over the last year, I have found what works for me and use those techniques all the time, whether I am triggered or not. More recently, using some of those grounding techniques, I have been “reclaiming my bed”. It’s working. I actually enjoy being in bed most of the time now. I spent many years feeling unclean in bed, years of feeling incredibly grumpy every morning until I showered. I didn’t understand why. I do now and through therapy and taking steps to make my bed as grounding for me as possible, that has changed. My bed will probably never be my safe place when I’m triggered, but now I no longer feel dirty and unsafe every morning when I wake.

 

A few months ago, I was promoted at work. I thought that worth noting, because while it has been such an incredibly difficult year, I still managed to do well at work, so much so that I have been recognised for my achievements with a new job title and pay rise. I think that’s pretty incredible. Some days, many days in fact, I wonder how I will make it through work. I battle hyper vigilance and dissociation, at times I have battled flashbacks that have made me physically sick, all while managing to do my job (mostly) as efficiently as normal. It does affect me, holding it all in isn’t ideal, but I like my job, I want my job and I need it too in many ways. I’m proud of the way I have handled work this last year.

 

This last year has seen me face the lasting impacts of his grooming. I believe there are still aspects of his control in my life, but I know what they are and I am working or will be working through them. I now know that I do not love and have not loved him for a long time. I know the man I thought I loved never existed. I have and do feel a sense of loss, I hurt and I grieve, but he no longer controls me in that way. I have let go of a lot of guilt, I have realised that blaming myself was part of being groomed, some remains, I am in no doubt, but a lot of it is back on him, where it always belonged.

Besides accepting and facing that I was groomed and all the issues that has caused, I have also faced several of the incidents of abuse. I told (and not just my T) and now they are no longer deep, dark secrets. The triggers and flashbacks for them are not what they were and the nightmares for those, few and far between. While it was hideous to disclose those details, I am glad I did. It feels good to start the New Year with the knowledge that those things I once thought unspeakable, have now been given a voice and released.

 

There are some other achievements/ improvements I am aware of, but I won’t detail those right now, mostly because I cannot explain here but I do want to note how my attitude towards the future has changed. I always wanted a future, always wanted a husband and children, but I didn’t believe I’d have it. Even once I did, I couldn’t imagine any kind of future with them at all. A part of me always assumed “he” would come back into my life at some point. Now I am free to dream of my future, I am able to make plans with my husband and I am able to feel excited about those plans. That feels really great.

 

I know that the new year ahead will not be easy. I have more to disclose to my T and more issues to deal with. I won’t lie, I am afraid of what is to come, but I know that I will do it and I know I will come out the other side because I am strong, I am capable, I am determined and I am in control.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body Memories to ruin my day.

 

Handling body memories while dealing with real life and in my case children, is not easy is it? I had come on here to ask how others handle it. But I guess I already know, because I am handling it, whether it feels that way or not. My children have eaten, they are busy playing/ watching TV, they are safe and oblivious to what I’m going through (and for that, I am glad).

I’m not sure of the exact cause but anxiety, dissociation and then body memories started about an hour ago. I assume I was triggered, I remember an intrusive memory but not the specific trigger. I’ve done pretty well up until this point, the day went better than I had hoped, I got things done and also managed to have some time to play with my youngest child. But now, both boys are home and the responsibility I have for them suddenly feels huge. It’s dark outside, everywhere is quiet and I can feel myself dissociating through the body memories. I know I am triggered because it almost always causes a rage that I have to make an effort to control. I have that bubble of rage in my chest right now. I’m fighting to stay rational when my oldest child goes upstairs, I fight the urge to tell him to stay where I can see him. But I am winning and that should probably feel good. Perhaps it would if it wasn’t such an effort all the damn time.

And how do I feel good when my head is throbbing, my thoughts are foggy and there’s a big ball of fiery rage pressing on my lungs, restricting every breath? How do I take delight in my win, when my body aches, my inner thighs, my pelvis, my abdomen from something that was done to me long ago?  I hate this, I hate the body memories so much, they aren’t real pains, they don’t exist anymore, what was done is over now. But oh how hard it is to smile at my children, how difficult it is to sit on the floor putting together duplo towers when I am feeling 14 again, when I feel the pains as if I am being attacked right now. And it’s so hard to hug my beautiful children, because I am fighting that rigid, frozen feeling body memories bring.

I’m doing the right things, reminding myself to breathe properly, drinking water to help me ground, surrounding myself in light, pillows and blankets, trying desperately to keep the children happy so they don’t scream and fight. It doesn’t make this better though and it doesn’t make it right.

Why should I have to fight so hard all the time? Isn’t it bad enough that I had to live it the first time? Why do I have to feel as if he’s with me now, when he has long gone?

Sometimes it is just too hard and it gets me down so quickly. And I hate him for that. I hate “him” so very much right now. 😦

Ungrateful?

 

Another bad night, I don’t really remember much of the content of the dreams, but they were very violent and seem to be much the same each time.

I woke very shaky and hyper vigilant. My amazing husband has stayed close all morning, which has helped some. He’s been especially fantastic lately, I’m so glad to have him in my life.

I am frustrated by these dreams, in my experience (over the last year or so at least), I start to get specific nightmares, then flashbacks, that normally increase in intensity, until I am aware of what “incident”  is behind them. Then, I know I need to deal with it in therapy. I don’t want that at all right now, it’s not the right time, I’m not ready for more memories or more trauma work. I have things I need to talk about with my T after Christmas, between now and then I only have one more session. I do not have the time, nor do I want to get to the bottom of these dreams yet.

 

I am annoyed enough that I haven’t dealt with the issue of shame this side of Christmas, but had accepted and in some ways felt relieved, that I will not be dealing with it until the New year; now whatever this is seems to be screaming at me to get out. I don’t want it out right now. I will not ignore it, it will get a voice, just please, not yet.

 

In general things are improved, my irrational fears are gone, my other fears are calmer, my anxiety is much lower. I’m enjoying my children, my home, my life now. No trauma work = more grounded and  I want to hold on to that, I want to embrace that whenever I can. So, this hyper vigilance frustrates me, the dreams frustrate and frankly, scare me.

Am I being ungrateful? Perhaps I should be pleased with the improvements and accept what I can get instead of being frustrated and upset.

I just really need a break and that’s not possible with this and equally my own determination and need to always be on the go, drives me forward into each new challenge and I can’t just switch that off. I so badly want a break, some down time to enjoy that the irrational fears have gone, enjoy feeling grounded more, enjoy lack of symptoms- yet the hyper vigilance is bad, the nightmares bad and it seems to be full steam ahead in my mind, that I just can’t switch off.

 

I am looking forward to a quiet Christmas, time off work, making memories with my beautiful family, I do not want any of this past shit interfering. I am prepared for symptoms and the need to ground- but I am not ready for new memories or even old ones. I want it to be about here and now, not then, just for a short time. Am I expecting too much? Am I ungrateful? I just don’t know.