Tag Archives: csa

Strange “memories”?

Sometimes I get these… memories? They are weird. They come from the visual perspective of the adult, but the physical perspective of the kid… it’s very confusing and uncomfortable. 

Any emotional memory connected to it isn’t immediately apparent, though I might hazard a guess that there’s fear and anxiety that comes along with them. Most of that is muted though. It’s quickly overtaken by discomfort/disgust at the thought of ever having possibly perpetrated anything like that. 

It’s really weird to experience…

It’s mostly triggered by seeing infants or young kids just in diapers. I feel things in my body as if it were happening to me, but I see it from an outside perspective, as if I were the one doing it. None of the physical sensations go along with being the one doing things, but all the visuals are of that… 

Super disturbing.

Really want to talk to someone about it, but Dr C is still away till Monday. Gonna have to sit with it till then, unless I text her, but I don’t really want to interrupt her week away…

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Fictional parallels

So, the plotline of one of the characters on Blindspot continues to unfold. I had initially thought that they dropped the story line, but they moved forward with it the last several episodes. 

It originally stared last season when one of the agents ended up arresting his former coach/mentor on child sex abuse charges. The agent (Reade) initially thought that only his peers had been abused, but one of his old friends from that time clued him in to his own abuse. Reade had no memory of any of it. His only hint at proof came from a tape with his own name on it that he found in the coach’s apartment among the stash of tapes the coach made of the abuses.

They introduced some minor hints around it being accurate, but they didn’t focus much on it. Mostly, they showed Reade’s avoidance of it. Looking back, they did a pretty decent job of portraying the denial/overwhelm stage of remembering abuse. 

The most recent episode ended with Reade sitting down with Zapata to watch the tape he had stolen from the apartment. 

The whole story has my interest piqued. I can relate to so much of it: the total dissociation of any memories for decades, the sudden confrontation with an alternate “truth”, the anger, the denial, the pushing it away… I find myself holding my breath to see what happens next. I want to know that I’m not totally alone in how I’m experiencing things… and I want to have some sort of guidebook through all of this. I know Dr C says this isn’t abnormal, but it’s nice to see it presented that way more places than just her office. It’s kinda like feeling alone for so long, then finding someone else that sees things the same way you do. I know it’s just a TV show (and they can still take it in the direction of Reade never actually having been abused), but it’s relatable… it’s the same relief I find in going to the new group (though that is technically over as of Monday). 

I dunno… I forgot where I was going with this post. Maybe it was about finding something to relate to? I dunno… Blindspot is proving to be a decent show despite the frequent cheesey-ness. And unlike Nashville, it’s handling the child abuse ramifications more accurately. Nashville introduced ptsd basically in one episode, then “resolved” it in the next. Blindspot is taking a more accurate approach to the topic. I just hope they follow through on it rather than end it with the whole thing simply being a “scare” for the character…


Impossible things (a letter to no one) 

Sometimes I wish I could materialize you here in my living room, where I’m comfortable and engaged in art. It’s easier to talk sometimes when I’m distracted by the flow, but still connected to the inside. 

Sometimes it’s hard to fit all the talking into that hour. Sometimes it would be easier if we could just do art together and I could talk when things popped into my head; when they felt ready and comfortable to come up. 

It’s safe here alone with just the dogs and my art. Sometimes I wish I could start that way, but bring you in to talk to when I was able. Sometimes I wish you were here without me knowing, so I could get past that censor and shame, and maybe you could help me with the stuff that’s too raw to bring up out loud and in your presence. 

I could get lost in my art and music, and you could watch without me knowing. Then, you could blink in when I wanted to talk… it would be safe and non-threatening. I could communicate the things I’m too scared and ashamed to tell you about. 

And while we are on the topic of impossible powers, maybe it would be good if you could read my mind and tell me for sure if I’m making this all up. You could point out the lies and show me where I’m exaggerating. You could look at the stuff that’s all a jumble and help me understand it. You could take an outsider’s perspective without the emotion, and you could tell me I really am making it all up just because I need to feel worth your time and attention. I want attention… (and even as I think that, I can feel hands on my body and between my legs. It’s creepy. I don’t want attention. I don’t want to be special or pretty or paid attention to. I want to melt into the fibers of the carpet and hide away from everything. I want to disappear).  


Intrusive thoughts and insights

I find myself thinking about the past a lot, even when I’m trying to distract. It’s seeping through both my conscious and unconscious thoughts. I try to distract from it only to find it making an appearance unintentionally…

I think that was what triggered my sudden and “baseless” anger that later faded to resignation and defeat. I wasn’t really sure where it came from, or why it would quickly dissolve into sadness. I think I put it together finally; I had been absent-mindedly messing with watercolors this afternoon. I was trying to rekindle the relief I had found in session by painting “blood”, then later painting the feeling of comfort cutting would bring. Without meaning to, the pattern the watercolor took on resembled an image representative of the images/sensations I struggle with. I noted the resemblance, them moved on to another page to experiment with more watercolor. 

I guess the first image stirred stuff up because in less than 30 minutes, I was feeling rage bubble up. I snapped at L about something stupid, and wanted to isolate. The rage fizzled to resignation and depression shortly after… I wasn’t able to identify a potential trigger though till after returning home and contemplating the mess I made with the watercolors. I realized seeing the first piece that reminds me so much of trauma bubbled the anger again… and shame. I’m ashamed that the art I was trying to use to satisfy the desire to cut turned into a trigger. I’m ashamed at what I see in the splotches. I’m ashamed of the conflicting emotions it brings up.  I’m feeling a resigned sense of acceptance about these “memories” being accurate… and there’s grief there too: grief over losing the life I had thought I lived. I guess Dr C was right; this depression is at least in part fueled by grief. 


triggers…

I went with a friend to a retreat/yoga thing today. It was described as more buddhist/spiritual. That kind of stuff I can handle… Only it was in a catholic retreat center, complete with religious symbols all over the place. Luckily, my friend is atheist, so she was as uninterested in the religious aspect as I was (only, I was really triggered, not just uninterested).

I did my best to ground from all the flashbacks, but it was really difficult. My friend was frustrated that I refused to do the meditations. She was convinced it would help my head. I didn’t know how to tell her that being mindful and present in my body brings up intense flashbacks to csa. It was all I could do to distract from them before they came on full-force just by walking into the retreat center. She told me I should have at least tried the breathing… only she doesn’t know that focusing on my breath was something I did to get the abuse over with faster (he would wait till he thought I was asleep to start things).

Even the yoga was problematic. I’m used to doing more standing poses, but these almost all involved laying on the floor… I did maybe 3 of the poses because all the others sent me right into flashbacks.

I feel like such a loser. There are all these things that are supposed to help, but they only make things worse for me. Aside of all the csa stuff coming up, I got flashbacks to the times I was hospitalized… the stupid hallways looked so much like the hospitals…

I know Dr C is more understanding when I tell her things like this trigger me. I get that they make sense in terms of my history. It’s just so difficult to explain to everyone else. I’m not just being stubborn and resistant. It doesn’t feel safe, and it sends me into a tailspin… As is, all I want to do at the moment is self-harm and dissociate. I don’t like feeling the things in my body. I don’t like “remembering” this stuff that should never have happened… and I really don’t like being seen as difficult and resistant.

I should have excused myself and sat outside while my friend and her mom did all the meditations and talks. I could have avoided all this extra triggering. I didn’t want to disappoint my friend though.


About therapy last night (**trigger warning, talk of: abuse, self harm, past suicide attempts)

There was a moment of soul-crushing pain. It felt like my chest may cave inward. I could barely breathe through it… no. Just no. I spent the last hour (?) telling her things… they are impossible fictions. I’m not sure why I need to lie about this stuff, but I just do.
They’re not consistent stories. They’re not complete. Some I’m aware of as scripts (I didn’t actually remember them at the time, I’ve just read what I’ve written in the past enough times to be able to recite them. There’s no emotion. I just know what I should be saying)…

I can’t sleep again tonight.
I think we got home around 10:30. We didn’t come to bed till about 11:30. It’s 2 and I’ve already been awake for 20 minutes. I wish I could sleep. But I’m confused about the session last night. And the body memories are loud right now… right now, I can feel the scripts I was reading earlier. There’s a physical aspect to them. The emotional is just tired and spent (and maybe a bit scared).

I just want to sleep.

Please just let me sleep…

There was another point in session where she suggested an activity that involved tracing my body outline onto a large piece of paper. I nearly sunk into the chair and ran out of the room at the same time. In that moment, the thought of laying down on my back to be traced was utterly terrifying. Body memories flared up throughout every part of me. I could feel being held down. I could feel being touched. I could feel the panic… I wanted to curl into the tightest little ball ever. I wanted to hide. I wanted her to just stop describing the activity because no matter what words were flowing from her lips, I was sure it meant even she would hurt me.

I want to rip the skin off my entire body. I want to stab my legs. I want to open my arms up and let all the blood flow out. Part of what I felt and remembered last night must have been one of the hospitalizations. I felt tubes hooked to my arms, and a fuzzy, sleepy feeling. I didn’t want to wake up again. I really, really, really just wanted to fall asleep and not ever wake up… must have been from that time I OD’d for the first time… it would make sense for the emotions that came up on the way home once I was finally grounding… the emotions and the situation fit nicely into the OD attempt from 2007 (last night, L was out, I was supposed to meet her there after therapy. Therapy had been really unsettling and triggering. I thought about not going to meet L. The urge to self destruct in more ways than one screamed in my head. I thought it would actually work before she would be able to get home… I really just wanted to fall asleep and not wake up again). So instead I called her once I was home (I thought about calling her on the way home, but I was using really loud music to help ground. I needed to keep it loud till I got home). I got directions and managed to ask her to give me clear instructions on what I needed to do and where I needed to go. I got lost trying to get to her anyway – a place not 7 minutes from our house, but I messed up twice and ended up towards the other end of the road (near the hospital). I was still checked out at the time I arrived. I was supposed to help out, but it was getting late, and I was in no space to do anything that might require competence. I sat outside on the porch instead. I stayed there until I could finally feel the chill. I would have stayed there until it was time to go if L hadn’t come to chat and tell me to come inside even if I wasn’t going to volunteer…

I’m so exhausted, but I just can’t sleep. I feel like I need to keep talking about the things we opened up in session. Except when I go to talk or write about it, I freeze. I’m scared. It’s hugely triggering. It’s also something I shouldn’t indulge if it’s a story I’ve made up… yet there’s this really strong internal push to keep talking. I dunno…

I’m scared. I’m scared of continuing to address this, but also scared not to address it. I’m scared either will land me inpatient again. Both feel potentially hugely triggering, but one will trigger self-destruct out of fear of what’s being communicated, and the other will trigger self-destruct out of anger at ignoring things again…

Suddenly, I’m remembering Catherine. She was a case manager(?) At one of the hospitals I was at back in 2009. I only remember working with her one time, but apparently I was assigned to her more than one stay. I want to say maybe she was told more than I remember. I know she felt safe that second time (even though I thought I was meeting her for the first time)… she argued with the psychiatrist about the ect he was trying to force me into that time, and fought to get me into a trauma program out of state.

I wish the body sensations would stop. They don’t let me sleep (well, them and the chaos in my head). They are closing in on intolerable level… it’s nearly 3 am now. I can’t believe I’ve been babbling on for so long… it’s helping though. It’s helping stop the circles of thought. At least getting them down gives me a safe place to store them so maybe I can sleep at some point… Maybe I need to try to see the aprn at Dr C’s office and get something for the sleep… it’s been too many nights of poor sleep, and too many days of not being able to eat much of anything. Maybe I should try herbal tonight? Might be an improvement over the lack of sleep… I dunno. I really just want to be able to sleep.


(not so) brief update

I met with TM today. I had dragged myself out to an art journal class last night, so I was feeling a bit better when I met with her. We processed Thursday’s session a bit, and came up with a relatively solid plan for an ending. We will have 2 more sessions. I was able to express how much I really need a proper goodbye, then we commiserated on our mutual dislike of endings. We both have homework for next session: to write about/express what this ending means to us… That will be hard. I started mine, but it will be a process over the next few days.

We also chatted a bit more on a professional level about the therapy process and what’s been helpful or not. I asked her if my gut feeling around the gravity of Thursday’s appointment was accurate. She clarified that, while safety concerns were on her mind, she wasn’t having the conversation with the intention of forcing any action. We then had a short conversation around the added trauma caused by involuntary commitment. I joked that it also makes for a mountain of paperwork. I’m glad we are on the same page on the subject. We spoke about trust briefly…

She gently called me out on something that drives me nuts when it happens to me, and I was doing it to her (though that was not my intention). She was expressing concern over something, and I simply said “no” and shook my head. While I meant it in the sense of “you shouldn’t be wasting energy on me like that, I don’t deserve/warrant it”, she took it as a denial of the validity of her expression. She looked at me and said something along the lines of: “I’m telling you how I’m feeling. You don’t get to invalidate that”… and how right she is. It drives me nuts when I hear one of my parents say “no, you don’t feel that way; you feel this way.” Who are they to know how I feel?! Maybe they would not feel the same, or they don’t want me to feel like that, but the reality is that I do. Same with TM today. While I didn’t want her to be concerned, she was. I didn’t have either the knowledge or the right to tell her otherwise… I’m really gonna miss her. :/

Overall, a good session today. I’m really sad there’s only 2 left. There is still so much I want to tackle, but there isn’t time. She did ask how I wanted to work on the ending, and I reminded her I sucked at them, and had no real concrete ideas on the spot. I told her there were a few things I wanted to wrap up, but I wasn’t sure we could finish it. I definitely want to cover that one bit of homework I had given her several weeks ago, but we didn’t really address. I also want to wrap up some of the other csa stuff I had started to talk about but again couldn’t finish… There won’t be enough time though. It sucks.

The anxiety about the building being so reminiscent of a locked unit is slowly going down. More and more decor is showing up, and it’s looking friendlier. The obnoxious buzzer is still startling though.

I really clicked with TM. Yeah, I tried hard not to let myself get too attached, but that failed. Now I find myself missing her before we are finished. I laughingly told her that I would appreciate her making this termination easier by becoming a bitch so I could hate her… It won’t happen.

UGH! I hate endings. You would think after 18+ therapists in as many years I would have this figured out, but it’s still all a learning process. All I know is that proper endings are really important. I might go cry over this again now 😦