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. 😦

Healing and stress

Wow, what an amazingly painful but healing afternoon I had today. I talked on Facebook with some old school friends, just reminiscing really. We were all very close for a lot of years, so it was really nice to talk about old times.

Given that I was abused during my teen years, I find it hard to look at photos and hard to talk about those times at all, but today as well as painful, I found it helpful.  It felt good to remember the fun we had, it was good to be reminded of the nice memories that have seemed so lost among the memories of abuse.

Sometimes it feels as if my teen years (and even before that) are just sort of gone, lost, like a dream that I can scarcely remember. I don’t normally like reminders of any of it, because I don’t know what will trigger, so I avoid, avoid avoid. While I quickly hid the photos posted today, the conversation brought me to tears of joy, of relief and of pain. I feel like I’ve reconnected a little with the good times that I still managed to have during those very dark years.

One of the friends I talked to today is the one I’ve referred to in recent posts. I can’t and won’t go into why and what I found helpful in our chat today, but it’s been beneficial, I feel somewhat lighter for it.

It’s strange to feel lighter while also feeling so heavy with stress. I am so incredibly stressed out, I could barely hide it at work today, which isn’t something I normally struggle with. I have been unable to deal with my children at all this evening. The stress is causing dissociation and hyper vigilance and I’m finding myself quite ill with the PTSD. I am hearing noises, I have such brain fog that I am seeing things. I can’t sit still at all (which is part of the hyper vigilance) and my husband is having to help me regulate my breathing at regular periods. It’s horrible. I am hoping this is it reaching its peak. I will be taking action to de stress this evening once my children are in bed. I will also be talking to my employer tomorrow to see if we can reduce work stress too.

This afternoon was positive for sure and I’m holding on tightly to that this evening. I am very much looking forward to feeling up to processing today properly.

The Positives.

The PTSD symptoms haven’t been too bad lately, it feels so good to realise that. I am sure it’s because we haven’t done any trauma work in therapy for a while which means it isn’t all as close to the surface as it has been. There are plenty of triggers around, dissociation comes and goes and I’ve had some hyper vigilance.. particularly last Monday (which was horrendous). In general though, I’ve noticed the symptoms have been quieter (yay!).

I’ve been able to leave the house more easily, I’ve been able to do the school run twice a day, with little problem. We saw friends yesterday, which was a little difficult at first, but I did it. Up until recently, I’d been barely leaving the house. It has shown me that things have been so hard because I’ve been doing trauma work. Going over that stuff, brings so much to the surface, which makes the PTSD worse.

This gives me hope that once therapy is done, I can lead a “normal” life. I know we will be back to trauma work soon and I know I’ll probably struggle again, but you know what? That’s ok, if it’s short term, if there’s an end. The symptoms having been noticeably quieter since moving away from trauma work, it gives me hope that it will be better long term once therapy is over.

 I had a terrible day last Monday. I was in a flashback for hours, my body was responding to a fear that I didn’t actually have. It’s not something I’m going into much right now, but after bringing it up with my T on Friday, we talked about what was behind the fear (the set of memories it took me back to) and I realised that while it is horrible and painful, it is no longer traumatic. The response Monday was because of a trigger and I couldn’t do anything to prevent that. It wasn’t a flashback of an unprocessed memory (as I often get out of nowhere) it was simply a body response to a trigger that I couldn’t avoid. I was angry at that, angry that it affected my husband, angry that I may have those sort of triggers forever, angry that even though I’ve processed that memory, I may still have flashbacks. That’s kind of another post, but I’ve been thinking today how it’s actually a positive too. I have processed these set of memories, I realised Friday that I didn’t need to go back into the details of it, I realised that I could recall it easily and put it away again. It wasn’t buried. Don’t get me wrong, last Monday was horrible and the memories have been way too near and the anger over it remains an issue, but it’s an improvement!

My T would say how I feel right now is all positive, all progress. I see his point, but even with the positives, it’s not even anywhere close to plain sailing. The PTSD symptoms are improved for sure, but there’s still lots going on. I’m aware I’ve been suppressing anger, I’m aware that I’m trying not to think about the pain and the devastation I feel at this stage. I’m journalling very little and I’m extremely busy all the time, frankly, I’m trying to avoid it when I can. I am aware I am still not through the other side of accepting what this really was. I’m continually shocked by the idea of grooming. I’m questioning lots of things, I’m struggling with my relationship (do I even have one?) with God. I’m looking at so many memories differently, the facts haven’t changed, but the way I view them has.

It’s so painful, it’s so hard. I am not having an easy time at all. But again, there’s hope. These feelings need to be felt, they won’t last forever. One day therapy will be done, the PTSD should improve vastly when trauma work is completed. One day the pain and grief will subside. I think I really am going to be OK!

Do you know how good it feels to say (type) that?

Ok, dissociation has kicked in after touching on the subject of grooming I guess, so I think it’s time for a break. 

Reading.

Third post today, after two weeks of barely posting, I feel the need but I’m not feeling well, the PTSD is bad. I want to write but cannot write about my feelings or address what I know or at least think I know is going on for me. So I’ve been reading lots (as I mentioned in my post on Grooming, The Impact of Grooming) on grooming, abuse, acceptance and healing.  All stuff I’ve read up on before, but it’s somehow different for me now.

I feel like I’m desperate to read anything I can get my hands on, all the details and facts are spinning around my mind as I try and make sense of it and how it applies to me. It’s not about torturing myself with other people’s stories at all, been there, done that years ago. I’m finding it helpful not torturous, though it is not pain free. I keep being hit by.. “really?” “how can this be?” moments. I think my T was right (he usually is!) I am in the process but not out the other side of accepting what I went through.

I found an article on Pandys (a site I’ve turned to many times over the last ten years or so) that has been really stuck a cord with me, it’s something I have bookmarked and I know I will return to it again and again. It upset me but also has filled me with hope at the same time. Here:

“Accepting Our Broken Bits”

“But if to be “over it” means never feeling any more pain attached to it, this is not possible for me and this I accept. I will feel the pain”

Refreshing to hear but painful too. I don’t even want to delve into that and what that stirs up for me right now. It stood out for me, so I will come back to it, possibly with my T this week.

“owning, accepting and moving through your pain whenever it pops its head up IS moving on.”

Wow! My T talks a lot about owning my feelings and letting them sit. He has told me over and over about the importance of feeling what ever I feel and not to fall in the trap of denying and suppressing my emotions.

I have come across many reports and articles, some very painful, some empowering, mostly a mix of both. Some things apply, some do not, but its helpful to read up on it, particularly the experiences of others. I don’t know that I feel better for it, it just feels necessary for me right now. In some ways I feel like my world has crumbled again, that what I knew has been taken away, that I don’t know who I am or who I was. I feel like my whole identity has changed, I’m questioning so much. It isn’t the first time, but it feels very big right now. I know it’s a massive step, my T keeps reminding me that this is supposed to be painful, it’s supposed to be hard and that acceptance is always the hardest part. Arming myself with as much information as possible seems to be my only way through this right now.

Taking Control

 

Following my post this morning (“Hyper Vigilance and a general whine”), I could feel myself deteriorating very quickly. When I get this way, one of two things happen, I can follow the path downwards (though it isn’t quite that simple, it’s more like I’m pulled down that path and have nothing in me left to resist) or I can take control (again not as simple as it sounds).

 

The children were pushing me over the edge, they were fighting, being loud and jumpy and it was becoming too much. If I was feeling ok, firstly it wouldn’t bother me so much, secondly I’d recognise the signs of them either needing a snack, attention or for the baby, a nap. I was unable to recognise any of that this morning.

I could feel myself spiralling downwards, I was feeling angry and attacked because of the hyper vigilance and I was feeling negative that my very looked forward to night out, caused this. I had a chat with my “besty” online, where we discussed the children mostly and how I was handling them, he encouraged me to separate them (sounds so simple, but I was struggling to even think straight). With his support and encouragement I decided enough was enough and I needed to take control of my morning and my hyper vigilance (as much as is actually possible).

I separated the boys, the big one sent to his room to play and I lay the baby down for nap. Then I got changed into comfort clothes (sounds silly but jeans, long sleeves and/ or hoody help a lot). I made tea and a snack and then spent a little time outside before coming in to be comforted by my sofa, cushions and blankets (soft items really help). I can’t take away the hyper vigilance, I can’t make my symptoms go, but I can help myself. I wasn’t doing that this morning, the children were a trigger, they were feeding the symptoms and I was feeling so negative I was feeding it too. I wasn’t taking the steps I needed to do everything possible to help me feel better. I was making it worse for myself, which now I’m calmer seems ludicrous, why wouldn’t I help myself when I feel bad? In the moment though, it’s like a negative spiral and once on it, it is very hard to get off.

 

So, I am feeling calmer, the children are quiet and I feel a sense of achievement for taking control of the situation. It could have easily gone another way and does sometimes, where my husband would need to intervene, I’d beat myself up for not achieving and the symptoms would worsen and the effect would be prolonged.

I also feel better about last night and my day yesterday. A fellow blogger (her blog “Echoes of Yesterday”) reminded me that even though I feel bad today, I still had a good day yesterday. The way I feel now does not detract from yesterday. The come down was inevitable, the aforementioned blogger reminded me of this – feeling ok and holding onto that feeling takes a lot of effort and energy. Beating myself up for having this come down is not going to get me anywhere.

I feel a sense of achievement for yesterday as well as this morning, I had a good day at work and I was excited to go out last night. I enjoyed being with my husband, I managed to be out of my comfort zone and I grounded quickly when triggered. I think I did pretty well.

 

I am trying to hold on to the sense of achievement and take comfort in my surroundings right now, hopefully the hyper vigilance will pass soon so I can enjoy some of my time off work.

I am not broken, I am finding myself

 

Please stop trying to fix me, I am not broken.

Sure, sometimes I feel lost, but I am on a journey.

Though the path ahead isn’t always clear, I know I am moving forwards.

 

I can count my blessings thank you. I am well aware.

I know just what I have and I know it could be worse.

I know there are positives and yes, there are achievements.

But that does not make this go.

It is merely one step of many, that I will have to take.

I don’t ask you to understand, but you are minimising my pain

As if focusing on the good things can make this go away.

Ignoring is destructive,  believe me I have done that for years.

 

Perhaps to you it seems, as if I am ruining my life

But reality is, I didn’t feel before. My life was utterly fake.

I have lived in turmoil, with competing sides of me.

I have repressed anger for years and years and years.

So no therapy isn’t ruining my life, it’s connecting me with me.

 

I know it’s hard to hear but the me you knew was not real.

There’s a me inside this pain and one day I will reveal.

I live the truth now, it’s no longer hidden from me

And though that brings great pain, there’s also huge relief.

There is freedom in reality, even if I feel like hell.

 

So please stop trying to fix me, though I know you mean well

I am not broken, I am just finding myself.

 

Self indulgent moan.

Well, I am supposed to be processing my therapy session I had last week. My boys are busy playing with their Aunt, but I’m struggling to relax enough. I managed to get started this morning in Church, but my time there was cut short by a screaming toddler who only wanted his Mummy.

The start is always the hardest part, but now I find myself procrastinating. The fact is I don’t want to process it at all.  My therapy session was hell, I left with feelings of insecurity, to the point that I had to contact my T for some reassurance that what I shared with him,  hadn’t driven him away. I shared some horrible things, awful, make my skin crawl, sickening, vile details. I hate it. I hate this, I hate having to disclose in such detail. But, there’s so many feelings stuck in the details. In previous experience bringing out what I went through, in the safety of my therapy sessions, helps me to feel those things and work through the many issues involved. I just hate it, feeling so vulnerable and exposed, having to say things out loud that I am deeply ashamed of. Yuck.

We are dealing with some of that shame right now, the details remain in the way of getting past those feelings. Improvements were made on Friday, I know something changed/ clicked/ felt different. We work with a lot of imagery in our sessions, I find it very useful, I describe in detail what I see and we observe how this changes along the way. The imagery on Friday changed, but right at the end of the session, so it’s not something I worked through with him. I think it could wait until our next session, but as that’s almost two weeks away, I’d like to do some myself. I’m aware that there’s been a change and I want to explore how I feel, yet when I sit down to try to do just that, I find my mind wandering and I find myself looking for something to distract me. I’ve started, but right now cannot continue. I’m afraid to go back there, I suppose. I can hear my T telling me to contain the details and deal with the feelings. What if I cannot do that? I don’t want to be back in those details, not alone.

Ugh, in general I feel like hell, we have more guests arriving today (one arrived last week), I have a week off work, the boys are at home, it’s all stuff that isn’t normal, it’s not part of routine and I’m finding it difficult. Even the weather is bothering me, we don’t get a whole lot of hot, sunny weather, but right now we are having a mini heatwave- even that change seems too much for me right now. I feel stressed out, I am fighting to stay in control, I keep dissociating, I’ve been shaky all morning and it won’t go away. I miss my husband, I don’t seem to have seen a whole lot of him the last few days, yet he’s been around lots. It’s strange how there have been so many people around me, yet I have felt kinda alone.

Grumpy, sad, afraid, I can almost hear the violins playing..