Ever struggle to find the words to describe how you feel?

Something big has shifted (which apparently is a major milestone) and now my memories are different. I have new ones, gaps have been filled in and I view them all in a new way.

It is as if the separate boxes of memories have been thrown together into a new bigger box. It is chaos in my head, like they are all clambering for my attention “Look at me, see how different I am” and “look, I am new, process me”. More to accept, more to face.

It’s shit. That is about the only word I can find to describe how I feel. It’s not even accurate, I just don’t think the word I need exists.

I should be sitting in the garden recovering from my therapy, avoiding my laptop, just journalling or relaxing, but I cannot.

I am very aware that in 24 hours I need to be OK, I have plans with University friends who I see so rarely, I don’t want to cancel. I need to be better, but right now I cannot switch off. I am restless and fidgety.

I didn’t want to leave my therapy session today. I guess I need some guidance and reassurance right now. Because this is so massive- massive and scary.

 

 

 

 

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Being selfish? Hoping for a better day.

 

I am hoping for a better day today. The sun is shining and I slept six hours straight, so that’s already better than yesterday morning. I could do without the tantrums my toddler has been throwing this morning though..

I have to work soon, I really don’t want to. Normally, I love my job, even on the days I struggle to be there, but just lately, I’m not liking it at all.

I was in the office yesterday, listening to my colleagues discuss some of their personal problems. I nodded and I smiled and I reassured as I best I could, yet selfishly, all I could think of was me. I was angry that while I was fighting through body memories, dissociation and feeling like my heart was shattering, I had to hold it in and pretend I was OK.

I hate how taboo all this stuff is, so few would want to hear it. It’s not something you discuss, it’s not an acceptable topic.. Yet I hurt, I ache and I struggle daily, but whether I want to or not, I cannot just share it, not without caution, not without thinking clearly.  While I am doing better at being me, I still feel like I have to pretend a lot, for others and for myself. Work seems to highlight that.

My employer knows about the PTSD and that I am in therapy, but he sees me as so together and level headed. He also forgets a lot. Yesterday, he asked me to do something, I had previously told him triggered my PTSD. So, I had to go through the stress and even embarrassment to remind him. I don’t expect him to remember everything I’ve said, but it’s so difficult having to remind people when they do forget.

I find myself not caring about my job; part of what I do is problem solving. I deal with the issues that crop up after each order is processed. It can be quite a pressured environment as my employer has high standards of customer service. Just lately, I couldn’t care less. I feel selfish, because all I think of is me. It’s just in the grand scheme of things, the problems at work seem so trivial, they seem like nothing. The reality of my past is hitting me daily and each time it’s a huge shock. So, I find myself thinking, “I don’t care that this order may be a day late, because, I was raped, RAPED” and then I pull myself together and get on with what I have to do. I guess this is about acceptance and probably part of the process. I don’t like it though. Not caring, isn’t me.

 

So, I hope today will be different, I hope work will help, I hope I can care again and think a little less of myself.

 

Therapy. Pain, Confusion

 

I find myself counting the hours, sometimes even the minutes; until I see my T again. Week two of this need to be with him and I don’t like it. I don’t like the neediness. I don’t like relying on him so much. Yet once I was there last week, I found myself ready to leave. The session was intense, we reached new depths of feelings, it was awesome in a way, freeing. But so horribly painful, I wanted to run away. I left exhausted and hurt.

The exhaustion may now be gone, but that hurt remains. And I don’t know what to do with it. Nothing, I guess? But it is not that simple and it is not that easy. I’m containing so much and yeah, I’m doing it well, but I can’t get my head around the reality we have faced. I cannot believe it, it doesn’t seem possible. It’s not me, not now and it was not me before, so how can this be? How was it real?

I need some reassurance right now and to know that it’s OK. Not just what I revealed, but what I feel is so unexpected, is it normal? Is it wrong?

I know what my T would say and I try to take comfort in that knowledge and to remind myself in my confusion, that whatever I feel is OK.

It’s serving its purpose, not just the opportunity to speak the truth at last, but it’s getting me where I need to be with the particular issue at hand. It’s helping me to let go of lies that I’ve held close and it’s changing the twisted perception I have, that was groomed into me. But by letting out this secret, it is as if I’ve been forced to turn around, to face the remaining lie that there was ever something good in “him”. And it’s like a punch in the stomach, winded beyond belief. I know it’s my way to more acceptance, but to an acceptance I thought I already had.

 

My boys.

Today, is difficult, I’m very sore, tired and grumpy. The rain during the school run, the young boy yammering on at me, the toddler screaming because he was wet (but refused the pushchair rain cover) all added to my stress. I have been hyper vigilant, so the crowds at school and the people walking behind me were quite difficult to handle. I was fighting dissociation at work and now I’m home I just feel exhausted. But my children are close by, the youngest singing and dancing “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes”, the oldest playing with his cars on the rug and I remember just how good I have it.

I don’t blog about my children much. But right now I want to write about them, I want the reminder of just how good my life is now.

Things have been improved in recent weeks and with that I’ve noticed a change in mood with my children. Normally, I’m quick to anger and I spend a lot of time and effort in keeping that from my boys. I manage that mostly-they are clueless -but all the emotional toll is on me. It leaves me exhausted.

Over the last few weeks, I struggle less often with that anger. I’m more patient with the children, I feel more natural with them and more relaxed too. It’s not always that way, today for example, I’m back to struggling once more. But in general, things have improved a lot. I’m thrilled with that, I have hated feeling so stressed out and so angry around my children. The effort to hide it from them and to be the level mother they need, has been so incredibly hard.

 

My Boys:

 

My oldest child is beautiful,  he has big eyes that draw you in. The first moment I saw him, I couldn’t believe his beauty. He was the smallest baby I had ever seen, he had to wear “tiny baby” clothes and “newborn” were way too big. I was so thrilled to be his mummy. He slept well from a young age, fed regularly and generally he was a dream. I struggled with depression and PTSD a lot after his birth. I admit, it took some time to bond with him, but I loved him from the start and somewhere along the way he suddenly felt like mine and now I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

He was quite an independent baby. He was happy to sleep alone, happy to sit and observe the world around him, happy to just be. Now he is a bit older, he is shy and quiet around new people and situations. In the last year or so (since starting school) he has needed a lot of comfort and a lot of reassurance, which isn’t a problem for me.

He was once a daddy’s boy, but now he is definitely all me. He is kind and he is sweet, on occasions he has even comforted me when I’ve been down. He is such a charmer, he tells me I look pretty, or that he likes my hair, he finds things in my favourite colour and present them to me. He has learned to tell me when he wants a hug (so he doesn’t just throw himself at me), he understands that we don’t jump out on people in our family, he knows we don’t scare on purpose. He takes it all in his stride. He is an amazing little boy and I am so proud to be his mum.

 

My youngest child, also a boy, I refer to as my baby. He’s not really a baby anymore I suppose, but for now he continues to be “baby”.  He too is beautiful, he is loving, affectionate and quite needy. He has been needy since he was born. He always needed to be held, always wanted to be attached to me. I used to carry him in a sling so he was always close. He was a chubby baby, he fed often and slept very little. He has definitely been more of a challenge than his brother!

From the moment he wakes, he wants to be with someone, he cries as soon as he opens his eyes until one of us is with him. He still needs someone to sit with him while he falls asleep. While it can be tiring, I wouldn’t change it, there’s something very special about soothing a child to sleep.

He is a little behind with his speech, but manages to communicate his needs to me (and his dad) quite well. Around other people, he is incredibly shy, he becomes mute with people he doesn’t know and even those he does know, his speech is selective. He too is a bit of a mummy’s boy. We hear all day, “mummy do it!”. He is a nervous child, yet strong willed. He has loud and long tantrums that can be difficult to handle, but I wouldn’t change him, not for a minute. I adore my needy baby.

I am so lucky to be the mother of two awesome little boys.

 

 

I have never considered myself to be a natural mother, I certainly couldn’t be at home all day with them. At times I’ve felt pushed to the edge by the demands of two small children while also dealing with PTSD. But, all things considered, I think I have shielded them well from it all and that is evident in recent months. I have changed, but they are consistent, they are no happier or less happy than a few months ago. They have remained unaffected by all of this. And that makes me want to weep with relief. I’ve been so afraid, so paranoid that my issues could affect them and I know now, that has not been the case. I am determined to continue to move forward, to let go of the fears that still hold me back, so one day I can look back and confidently say, that the boys have never been victims in this.

Trying to no avail

 

Yesterday, to try and reduce my stress, or at least to not add to the existing stress, I tried out a new after school routine,. It seemed to go well, my children certainly responded well and seemed happier for it. I had more energy and felt better for doing more with my children, I’ve missed them lately. Unfortunately, I suffered for it last night, it was a bad evening. I was exhausted and symptoms were heightened. It was if instead of the new routine relieving me of stress, it just delayed it. I actually felt worse in the end.

So now what? Perhaps there’s a middle ground somewhere? If not, well at least I was a better mother for my boys while they were awake. The feeling terrible is not ideal and not something I want, but I’m willing to go through it, if my time with my children and my parenting is improved by delaying the inevitable stress. I am probably getting ahead of myself, no two days are the same and I certainly will explore other avenues rather than merely accepting that I have to feel terrible.

I was discussing it with my husband earlier and he suggested perhaps I am trying too hard to make things better and I should accept that things are crappy right now. I’m not likely going to feel good and enjoy things while I’m in the midst of therapy. I see his point, I know I put way too much pressure on myself  and I also know realistically, I cannot just make this go by changing my attitude and my daily routine. But, I want to try to make it better for myself, I don’t want to give up and just embrace feeling terrible. I know I feel bad, I know I am in pain (and need to be in pain), but I need to do everything possible to make it easier for myself. I’m not sure I am doing that though? In trying to improve things I seem to be adding stress.

 

Today I had an unexpected day off work (childcare issues) and so it was just me and my youngest at home all day. I was grateful, I felt so terrible this morning, I really didn’t want to go to work anyway. We had a low key day, stomping in the leaves and generally spending some quality time together. I didn’t think I had done too much, but maybe I have because I feel horrible right now. Reflecting on the day, spending time with my boy, having time to ground and to have a clean and tidy (important to me) home, with a casserole cooking by 2pm, should have been a good day for me. It certainly would have made me feel happy 2 years ago. I don’t feel good or happy, I don’t feel like I’ve achieved, I just feel like a wreck.

I don’t want to be someone who complains all the time, or finds the negative in every situation, but I feel what I feel. I am trying so hard to make the best of this situation yet I feel like I’m going crazy. My chest is ready to explode and the symptoms are hitting me hard, one after another. I don’t know what else to do other than keep trying, if I stop trying then that feels like giving up. Giving up is a very dark road to go down. I’m afraid of stopping, I’m afraid what that may mean, but I’m a mess. I can’t keep this up. I don’t know what to do. I wish this was over, I can barely stand this.

 

Dark heart?

 

Have you ever seen the TV series “Once Upon a Time”? You should, it’s good 🙂

Throughout the series the “Evil Queen”, or the “Evil One”, rip out the hearts of others. The hearts are red and glowing. It’s not as gruesome as it sounds, it’s very fairy tale like, which I guess is what they are going for. The Evil Queen, Regina has her own heart ripped out on one episode and observes how blackened it is from all the evil she has bestowed on others.During another episode, Snow White has her heart pulled from her and is shocked to see that it too has started to blacken from an evil deed she did.

This  part of the show has really resonated with me, particularly right now with what I’ve been dealing with in therapy.  I have been carrying a massive amount of guilt and self hatred since I was 16 years old. I have blamed myself for what my friend went through, I’ve been deeply ashamed and battled with myself  since that day. I felt as if it were a huge dark secret that I had to keep to myself, the longer I kept it inside, the bigger it became. I hid myself away, I didn’t allow myself to ever get close to another friend like that again. I feared I was the cause of pain and destruction, I suppose I felt cursed. I fully believed that a part of me was dark, that in some sense my heart was “blackened” too and the longer I kept the secret, the more the darkness spread.

When I first began to confront those feelings, it felt as if that “blackness” had taken hold. As I told what went on that day, I hated myself, I felt like I had given myself over to evil. Dramatic, perhaps, but I was deeply upset and incredibly angry with myself and what I believed I had put my friend through.

In a small amount of time, that has changed and continues to change. I do not believe I am evil, I do not hate myself and though I still carry deep regret and guilt, I know on some level at least, that it was not my fault.

My heart is not dark and it never was. What I was consumed with, though poisonous, was never mine to begin with. I look forward to feeling well enough to knowing the relief of no longer feeling cursed, no longer feeling evil and no longer hating myself. I look forward to beginning to love myself and I look forward to truly feeling worthy of love from others too.

 

To the Owner of my Nightmare (another letter to him)

 

To the Owner of my Nightmare,

I’ve tortured myself with this for fourteen years. FOURTEEN years. I’ve dragged this around with me, I’ve blamed myself, I’ve hated myself, when I should have been blaming you and when I should have been hating you. You and him. Not me.

This has been a true nightmare, countless times I have woken shaking, and screaming, not because of what you did to me that day. Oh no, I couldn’t even allow myself to hurt over that. No, the guilt has been my worst nightmare.

You blamed me, they blamed me and I believed you and I believed them, so easily. So damn easily. And that’s your fault too, for grooming me to think I was nothing and for making me so accepting of that blame.  Your lies were toxic, they have been running through my veins, taking over my heart and soul and turning me against myself. I want that to end. And now I believe that this is the beginning of that end, finally.

I don’t know how you live with this, because I couldn’t. I haven’t been living really, not properly. I assumed everything that happened since that day was deserved. You must be drowning in secrets and shame, because I have been. I haven’t allowed myself any friendships as close as me and her, for fear of hurting them. So many opportunities wasted, so many beautiful people that I have held at arms length, all because of you. But you see that is changing now and I’m opening up, not just releasing my secrets, but letting people in and letting them love me. And I deserve that love. You, do not.

It’s been my worst and my most horrific nightmare; now it’s time you have it back. It’s not mine and it never was.

Not Yours

Learning to Love Myself.