Tag Archives: self injury

Been a while

Sorry for being mia. Time gets away from me easily.

This past week or two (not totally sure on the duration) have been a struggle. I’m triggered on so many fronts, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they are… I know some is related to the anniversary of my last major self-harming incident 8 years ago; Some is related to G being in the state; some is probably related to my monthly hormone cycle.

I’ve refrained from taking pain meds this past week in an effort to ground into my current body. If I’m feeling and noticing the immediate pain in my arms & legs, I’m not lost in the flashbacks… At least, that’s the theory I’m going by. It’s not really panning out that way, but whatever. I’m not cutting, so, progress maintained.

The flashbacks are a mix of that time frame when I was cutting uncontrollably, and the more distant past of abuse. There’s other stuff I know I talked to Dr C about, but I can’t remember what that was just now.

I’m super dissociative, stirred-up, and generally lost. I finally was able to be a hair more open with L about it (she asked if i was ok because I’ve been listening to a lot of music these last few days; if my phone’s not playing out loud, i have headphones in. I generally only do this when struggling). I was able to acknowledge it when she asked, but I’m having trouble qualifying it… It’s a bit easier when I write, but even that’s a struggle. My head has been very foggy and fragmented lately. I forget what I’m doing a few seconds into starting it. Art has been somewhat helpful for concentration. Been making little things to sell at an upcoming holiday craft fair. We have a 2.5 month lead-time, so hopefully inventory will be good for it.

Anyway… Yeah. Trigger-y & flashback-y of late. Trying to find balance. Struggling to express stuff, even in therapy. Lots of brain farts…

Super exhausted all of a sudden, so gonna sign off and nap for a bit before L comes home on her break. Gotta remember to wish the peanut happy birthday today while L is home… Someone remind me about that?

K, nap time.


Musings on emotions

It feels like this huge, crushing weight (grief does).

It seems like I’m feeling it too intensely sometimes… 

For some reason, it struck me today that some people have “sensory processing disorders” around emotions rather than sights, sounds, or textures… 

The same way loud noises  (or lots of sources of noise) can be overwhelming to someone on the autism spectrum, “loud” emotions can be overwhelming to some people… 

What if that emotional overwhelm they try to always pigeonhole as “borderline” is really just an autistic glitch around emotions as opposed to one of the other senses? 

What if introducing trauma/abuse/neglect into the mix early-on intensifies the inability of a person to deal with this emotional sensory processing disorder? 

We’ve all heard the theories that borderline is better explained by c-ptsd (which I totally agree with). What if we took it one step further and explored the possibility that “borderline”was actually in part an autism-like disorder? 

If you consider that one “symptom” of borderline is “feeling too intensley”, and you understand that even trained clinicians minimize the difficulty of dealing with extremely intense emotions (as they’ve been trained to do; “know that emotions come & go, like waves”), it’s easy to see the disconnect in effective strategies for clients. It’s something along the lines of comparing a stubbed toe to a shattered foot. Sure, you can probably take over-the-counter Tylenol for the stubbed toe & it will likely help, but doing the same for the shattered foot probably won’t make a noticeable impact. For such an intense injury, you need prescription-strength stuff. We should have something more than “Tylenol” to offer people. 

What if we understand that pushing someone to sit with intense pain (physical or emotional)  will likely lead to various ways of procuring relief… so you take a kid who can’t handle loud noises, and you tell them they need to sit through a rock concert. You’re going to get a tantrum and various, inventive ways to deal with the pain from the noise (think stereotypical autistic behaviors like flapping, screaming, hitting self, or attacking others). Now take a kid who feels emotions incredibly intensely, and ask them to tolerate those emotions. You pretty much get the same acting out in search of relief: self injury, tantrums, physical and verbal outbursts…

I’m a huge proponent for dropping the borderline diagnosis from the dsm. It’s an antiquated and “cop-out” diagnosis with way too much stigma attached. While there’s a push to remove the stigma, it’s still very much taught to young clinicians. Professors and supervisors alike instill fear and disgust around the diagnosis. Myths are perpetuated. Doctors do the same. It’s quick to be diagnosed (often inaccurately), and it’s near impossible to step away from even if it’s found to be inaccurate. It follows you and colors every other interaction with every other professional that sees the dreaded diagnosis anywhere in the file…

What if, instead of just working to destigmatize the diagnosis, we came up with more accurate understandings, and got rid of it completely. It was, after all, just a catch-all category for people who didn’t quite fit any of the other categories… 

What are your thoughts on this? Does it kinda make sense? Am I way out in left field? 


Echos

It’s been a while again, hasn’t it?

I ended up being able to ask for some more of what I needed, though it was incredibly difficult. I did it with Dr C’s help, but didn’t stop shaking for about 3 hours afterwards.

Visited my mom, and that was difficult. She’s in a tight spot but I don’t know what I can do to help. I worry about her a lot. I wish I could do more.

Pretty much been working or helping people out since my return from the trip. I’m exhausted…

This morning I woke to echos of the past. They’re different though. It’s not the flashbacks and memories of my childhood. Instead, it’s memories and feelings of the times I was in and out of hospitals. It’s a feeling of… I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a “hospital hangover” without having been there? It’s a weird, floaty, disconnected, being-in-two-places-at-once feeling… and my chest is heavy and breathless… and my head feels foggy. It’s an intense memory that’s just out of reach. I can feel things on/in my body, I vaguely hear the bustle of an emergency room (complete with monitor sounds and medical personnel), but it’s out there, like I’m hearing it from a semi-conscious state. Maybe it’s remembering the time I OD’d, or one of the times I was severely dissociative and hospitalized? I dunno…

It’s weird and it’s throwing me off.

I feel like I should be elsewhere…

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I had text Dr C earlier mentioning some of this. I hadn’t meant to worry her, but I did ūüė¶ she called a bit ago. I didn’t know how to describe what’s going on. I managed to get a bit of it out, and she suggested I call her if it gets worse, or if I want/need to talk. I hate worrying people. That wasn’t my intent with the text, I was just trying to reach out ūüė¶ kinda glad she called though. Glad I could kinda come up with some words around what’s going on… I wish I wasn’t so disconnected. I feel like I’m on the verge of autopilot. Can’t afford that right now. Need to stay here and grounded. Work later today should help…


Art instead of other things

As much as I didn’t want to be in therapy on Monday, I was really looking forward to group on Thursday… only group got cancelled ūüė¶

So, in an effort to keep on the right track with my coping skills, I did art all day…

I’m not sure if I posted about my experiment making my own canvas journal, but I worked on that and some ATC’s that will be going out on a swap (if I can ever decide which ones to actually send. I like them all for various reasons. Some have deeper meanings than they may appear to just by looking at them).

Anyway, here are pics of it all. Some are WIP pics, others of completed pages/cards… I used Inka Gold on the canvas. It doesn’t work well. The paint is cracking and chipping already. I need to come up with something as a hard cover for the journal to help protect it better. It works fine on solid objects, but it’s not meant to be pliable once dried.

I’m glad I had the distraction today. Between pms, the passing of one of L’s family members (and what it’s bringing up for me), increased body sensations, stress around one of the dogs having eaten a spoon a week ago and still not passed it, and the thought of a crazy day at work tomorrow, my thoughts have been hovering over the more negative coping skills. Similar to what I mentioned to Dr C on Monday, I just wanted to be drunk, high, and bleeding. Instead I played art and listened to the Ellie Goulding station on Pandora… yay for picking the more socially acceptable coping skills.


What is your fantasy, idealized treatment?

If you could design your own “treatment center”, with no regard to limits on finances or what seems “impossible”, what would find most helpful to you?

I am not sure how this topic came up this morning, but I ended up having a long discussion with my mom about what my ideal treatment would look like. It does not exist at this time, but it is based on¬†my experiences both professionally and personally. A lot of it sounds impossible with today’s treatment models and financial limitations, but I think, at least for me, it would be hugely beneficial.

I have found I need a certain level of intensity to safely and effectively get through my issues, so I would want something that is residential, however I would want to keep my freedoms (access to my music, animals, nature, ability to leave if I need a change of scenery even if it means going with someone, access to my positive coping skills, access to my social supports and the community). I would want access to supportive and trained people at all hours of the day and night (because let’s be honest, most crises don’t keep themselves to a schedule, so if one arises, I want to be able to deal with it appropriately in the moment); a holistic treatment team (medical, psych, yoga, animal therapy, arts and expressive therapies, CAM) that takes my input into account and helps me implement my ideas (as appropriate and available); a safe environment where added supervision is available, but personal choice is also a key component; staff that maintains a level of compassion even if I get super annoying and needy; availability for staff to decompress and engage in self-care as needed; down-time for myself to regroup from dealing with something very heavy without the threat of having all the support taken away just because I seem better in the moment; people who are open to challenging me on my trouble points but also understanding of places I may be stuck; flexibility in treatment plans; openness to new ideas and new ways of doing things; limited judgements on how I present and a willingness to look at what may be underlying my symptoms/presentation; freedom from stigma around any particular symptom, behavior, or mood-state; people who listen to and hear what I have to say; people with patience around helping me figure stuff out; people to help me build a vocabulary and a method of expression for things I cannot adequately express; people who are willing to sit with me through challenging times, and gently insist that I get through the triggered symptom to find out what’s “on the other side” of it (not simply implement grounding at the first sign of distress, because I have recently found that there’s important stuff on the other side of a dissociative episode or a flashback); catering my treatment to me as an individual, and respecting me as an individual with certain likes and dislikes; going at treatment with “kid gloves” knowing that sometimes things will get way worse and way more challenging before they get better; having a treatment team that is ok taking over when my judgement goes south, but still open and receptive to what I am trying to communicate… Also an openness to “thinking outside the box” and coming up with new treatment ideas if the current ones do not work. Also I would include a transparency in all treatment methods, with access to everything by the client, and ultimate veto powers by the client.

Therapy sessions would be daily, and for maybe 90+ minutes to be able to tackle the harder stuff, then have the therapist available later in the day as needed to address what comes up. Arts/expressive therapies would be daily, animal therapy daily, visitors allowed daily with housing for family either on-site or nearby as needed, assessments to figure out what is helpful, and what might be helpful, organic treatment plan that evolves with new developments. “Family” therapy available (with whomever is involved in the person’s life), ability to return to treatment as needed, creation of “safe spaces” to help with processing things, personal choice around negative coping skills until the person is in a place to change them, but with the stipulation that they must be reported immediately and checked out as necessary, and taken on an individual basis, with constant monitoring and revaluation. I understand this is a huge liability and highly controversial, but it’s something I feel strongly that an element of personal freedom makes a huge difference in getting over it in the long run. Teaching accountability and responsibility around choices would be a huge component. I know I can walk away from something much easier if I have a choice around it than it I am simply told I cannot have it or cannot engage in it. It’s like the concept of thinking about a yellow school bus when someone tells you not to think about it; you will think about it more, and likely obsess over it. If negative coping can happen in a safe environment with buffers to ensure overall safety, I think it would go a long way to helping a person turn away from those negative coping skills in the long run.

It would also be standard of care to always look at every symptom, no matter how un-related it seems, and not discount any “medical” issues that may arise simply because I am there to work on psych issues.

I would prefer this to be with easy access to secluded nature and the beach, because that just makes me happy, but I guess anywhere with access to nature and water would be good…

It would be incredibly expensive, and incredibly intensive, but I think it would work for me. A girl can dream, right?

So, if you could design your ideal treatment based on what has and has not worked for you in the past, or what you have seen work or not work for others, what would it be?


weird space

I’m in a strange head-space. ¬†I’m not quite sure how to describe it… maybe floaty, disconnected, like my head was a balloon bobbing around. I’m not so much disconnected from my body as disconnected from everything around me. ¬†So maybe the whole of me feels like a balloon bopping around… and like there’s a thin barrier between me and everything around me; a gossamer curtain or something equally wispy and blowy.

I’m tired but I’m not. I should probably go to bed, but I don’t want to. ¬†It’s the beginnings of the “before bed panic” I sometimes get. I’m also not feeling the dark at the moment. Earlier mom was giving me a hard time about all the lights being on, but I really don’t want to be in the dark at the moment.

I was trying to be creative again today, but nothing happened. ¬†I had a ton of half-formed ideas, but nothing panned out. I just sat there staring at everything. I kept taking out stuff to start a project, look at it for several minutes, then put it away again. I couldn’t bring myself to start anything or to get a better idea of what direction I wanted to go in with anything. I wanted a beer, but there’s none in the house I would drink (and it would be shitty of me to waste the last of mom’s beer, as I would likely open it, take three sips, deem it gross, and dump it)… I’m not in the mood for anything harder, so I have not had anything to drink tonight. I just really want a beer; something darker and sweet and malty… no such luck.

There’s other stuff I want to do too, but I have to be good. I really want Friday to roll around. I had told L that I was frustrated it was only Tuesday today. I want to get to the art journal workshop on Thursday, but I also really want to get to therapy on Friday. ¬†I’m not quite sure why other than there’s a list of questions/thoughts I want to bring up to TL. It’s stuff I want her to know, or stuff I want to gauge her reaction towards. I should have told her that the social stuff was not what I was looking for, that I needed the therapeutic aspect also. But there are no groups around that I fit into. The agency no longer has either it’s drop-in women’s group, or the women’s therapy group. There are no appropriate groups I have found online for myself elsewhere either. I really needed her to help me get connected to something I can’t easily find myself online… The social stuff is taken care of. I have MeetUp, I have a (very) few friends to hang with… I have the social thing mostly covered. I need the therapy thing too. I don’t know how to tell her this. I feel like an ass for not being able to tell her when she asked last week. It’s one of the things on my list, but I am not sure I will be able to read it to her; too much of feeling like an idiot… There’s some other stuff I really need to talk to her about too, but I have to figure out how she will take it. I need to know she won’t freak out about it, or run away from me for it. I really need her to be a safe go-to person for now… gotta love that urgency and neediness. o_O

 


Balance

So, my mood had been super cranky these last two days in part due to my monthly friend. Today was filled with negativity and anger boiling under the surface. I had every intention of expressing that in my art, but the piece took on a life of its own (as they often do).

I started out with intentions of depicting struggles with self-destruction. I painted a basic black background and added a razor blade and some red designs. Some of my paint tubes had dried paint around the openings. When I pulled it off the tubes, I thought they looked either like little volcanoes or like bullet holes. I decided to add those to the piece also. I had tried some stamping with some liquid silver, but it didn’t work out well. I washed the whole thing over again with black… then I ended up covering that in the purple paint. I covered in the holes with more black, but still had no real idea what to do next.¬† I thought of making it like a cave and later drawing in a small figure in one of the dips.¬† I liked the idea of the interference paint, so I added that to the little “bullet holes”. Then I wanted to play with the liquid silver to see if I could “line” the black blobs. For some reason, after the first blob was outlined, I just wanted to do my swirls. I started putting them randomly around the black blobs. I still wasn’t sold on how “cute” the swirls looked, so I added some silver “line” to the bottom of the biggest blob on the left. I stepped back for a moment and was totally lost on the direction to take the painting.

wpid-img_20140804_182552.jpgAs I looked at it,¬† the blob with the two ends painted with the red interference looked like a cute bean or little baby. I decided to add eyes to it. Then I added eyes to the round blob, then the one leaning over…¬† Suddenly the little goddesses appeared out of each black blob. They needed little lips then, and they became kisses. After the kisses came the hearts, and it ended up feeling very happy and safe.

And that’s how this originally dark, angry painting morphed into a love-filled one… sometimes we need to just let the art take over and fill the need we don’t know is there…

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I had gone to a social group at the Pride Center after finishing the goddesses (on Friday TL had suggested I take down the info for several groups and consider attending one or more this week). I hadn’t intended to go back to the women’s group because it had been an uncomfortable experience when I had gone with L last year, but the goddesses had me feeling more positive and balanced. ¬†It was a wholly different group of women for the most part, but there ended up being a really militant, aggressive woman in the group yet again (though this was her first time at this meeting). She and the group succeeded in making me uncomfortable yet again. I took off as soon as the group broke, and I again have no intention of ever returning.

wpid-20140804_232235.jpgAnyway, upon returning home, I was still pretty on-edge, so I sat to do more art. ¬†I did a collage this time, and it was back to the usual darkness. What can I say, it’s where I am most comfortable these days…

 


Art, tweaked

I had started this on the 25th, then re-did in color on Wednesday (30th)… Tonight was rough. I couldn’t sleep (stupid losses). I heard a song on my playlist that fit the piece, so added the lyrics to the background… the song is “Let you down” by Three Days Grace… (I’ll post a video and the lyrics from my computer later). Anyway, here’s the piece from its third working:

FB_IMG_1406872582859_zpsapeeiily

I managed about an hour and 40 minutes sleep tonight, so thought I’d try to add the lyrics and video link via my phone (need distractions at the moment)

“Let You Down” by Three Days Grace

Trust me/There‚Äôs no need to fear/Everyone‚Äôs here/Waiting for you to finally be one of us/Come down…/You may be full of fear/But you‚Äôll be safe here/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/I will let you down/I‚Äôll let you down, I‚Äôll/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/Trust me/I‚Äôll be there when you need me/You‚Äôll be safe here/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/I will let you down/I‚Äôll let you down, I‚Äôll/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/I will let you down/I‚Äôll let you down, I‚Äôll/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/Never want to come down/Never want to come down/Never want to come down/(Down, let you down)/I will let you down/I‚Äôll let you down, I‚Äôll/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me/I will let you down/I‚Äôll let you down, I‚Äôll/When you finally trust me/Finally believe in me


nothing

I feel like I have nothing useful or “interesting” to say lately. ¬†I keep going back to the thought of really not liking TL and not sure I can work with her. ¬†I’ll give tomorrow’s session a go, and see where we stand from there, but I still get the impression that I am a nuisance to her. ¬†I don’t want to disclose anything else to her. ¬†I don’t want to talk about anything meaningful. ¬†My walls have gone up hard and fast in reference to her. ¬†I’m not sure why…

Actually, I think the walls around my inner self have gone up hard and fast. ¬†I’m blocking it out because it doesn’t feel like I have meaningful support right now. ¬†Without that, I’ll fall apart easily. ¬†It’s scary inside right now, but I can’t access it, so I can’t describe it or know what to do to change it… I really miss De right now….


Grumble grumble grumble

TL called out sick today and rescheduled for Saturday.¬† It was so difficult getting to today. Now I have to get to Saturday.¬† Ugh. Going to try working on some art. Need some sort of release…

In the mean time, I’m tired but can’t sleep, so going the benadryl route again.¬† No ativan left because was using that to tame the body memories (didn’t have all that much left, barely 8 doses).¬† Now just going to utilize the benadryl. Hope it works…


Learning is tough

I hate myself right now. I had the opportunity to ask for help, and I stumbled. She asked what I needed, and all I could say was to know if she had earlier time this week. I couldn’t admit to struggling. I couldn’t admit to floundering with everything. I couldn’t form the words needed to be able to ask for extra support, even if it would not be something she could provide…

I can’t do this. Daily I fight the urge to down all my pills, or slice my body to shreds. I talk myself out of careless driving, and other destructive actions. I was too scared that she would suggest the er. I was too scared that I’d wind up hospitalized… I don’t want to wind up hospitalized. I don’t need physical containment, but I know that’s what it would sound like. I need support in figuring out how to turn the overwhelming into something I can handle. Except I don’t know how to say that. I know how to say I’m falling apart; not how to say I’m totally overwhelmed and need help with emotional containment… I still have learning to do. And learning sucks.


Healing is not easy

There are a lot of bumps on the road to recovery. There are lots of slips and slides. Most of the bumps and slips are my own doing. Even with the best of intentions, healing is not easy…

I find myself gaining insight, but unable (or unwilling?) to make changes based on that insight. I see the destructive path some behaviors are taking, but I continue because it’s easier than fighting to make new behaviors work. Fear immobilizes me. I’m afraid of the outcome of trying something new. What if it’s not as effective? What if I can’t figure out how to make it work and the agony is prolonged? What if I keep screwing up my words and I’m continually misunderstood until I can’t make any more efforts to try? What if I keep fucking up? …because I keep fucking up even at things I should be proficient in, forget trying to succeed at something new.

I’m floundering. I’m struggling to figure out how to get needs met that I can’t even reliably identify. All I know is I need support. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know how to get it. I tried asking TL for more support, but like I often do with words, I must have screwed it up. I got a week and a half between sessions instead of extra time in the week. I’m just now figuring out that I’m being extra hard on myself because of this. It wasn’t conscious, but I’m “punishing” myself for my lack of competence… My self-talk is harsher than I normally engage in. My temper is hair-trigger. I’m eating and drinking things I wouldn’t normally allow myself all in the same day. It’s making me physically sick. I’ve even considered eating meat again (first time in 2 decades) because I know it would make me sick. I’m all about punishing myself because “I should know better” and be able to pull myself out of this by myself. I shouldn’t need to rely on strangers to hold my hand through the pain. I shouldn’t need to be this dependant on others. I shouldn’t need

Back to needs… I saw a post today on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
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According to him, there are basic needs all humans must have met in order to move through life. I have a few of those going: food, shelter… but I have to stop short of safety. Physically, I’m generally safe (except from myself). Emotionally however, I’m finding very little safety either within myself or from others. It’s something I struggle with daily. It’s something I started to have with De, but that got pulled. I would love to say I have it with my family, but triggers are rampant. I’ve traumatized too many people, and been too traumatized by people. I constantly see hurt and threat around every bend, even if it’s created by me…


The hunt for med records (fun times)

I decided to try to track down my complete medical records for my own information. I’m tired of having incomplete answers for new providers when they ask what had worked or not worked and why. The problem is, when you have a mental health diagnosis of any kind,¬† it’s arbitrarily up to whomever holds the records whether or not you are able to even see said records, forget get a copy of them. The excuse is that it “may negatively impact [my] mental health” to see some of the information.¬† I understand concerns around information, but I would prefer that determination to be made by myself when I am trying to coordinate my own care. So I’m sitting here in the social security office hoping that the manager decides I’m ok to get a copy of my full records.¬† I know why I applied for disability. I know my list of diagnoses over the years, I just want to be able to advocate for effective treatment… and hopefully I can get to a place where I can reliably work again.¬† But in order to do that, I need to get some more intensive and specific treatment going. :sigh: such a process.

I think regardless of one’s diagnosis, a person should always have the right to see their full medical record… but I guess that’s just my opinion. Going on hour 2 waiting at the local social security office… (Trying to also figure out what in my record allowed them to so quickly approve me for ssdi, as most people I have spoken to were denied the first few times around. I’m certainly happy they did it, but what in my paperwork made it so glaringly obvious that I can’t work at this time, other than my millions of hospitalizations and spotty recent work history)…

UPDATE: so after 2.5 hours of waiting, I was able to get the paperwork going for them to make a disc of all my records used in my determination, plus anything they may have gotten afterwards. ¬†They did not seem to give me a hassle around the request, and the information should be ready for pick up by Monday or so. ¬†I hope it will be the complete records as they have them, and hope that it will help me some in figuring out next steps for treatment. ¬†I’m really tired of this emotional roller-coaster. ¬†I want to find something that works, and throw myself head-long into it so that I can move past all this and get back to living… because this limbo is exhausting.


Spent

5 days of relentless flashbacks that get progressively worse, these last two days I caved and took ativan to help the intensity. They are still here, but in the background somewhat. Did things I never do: called a crisis line (not just the chats) more than once. Admitted the flashbacks to mom. Sent texts to a resource I never seek out… I have gone through my gamut of healthy coping skills. I have tried them again and again. The memories that are coming up need to be voiced to someone trained to hear them, to know what to do with them, to help me set them aside.

These need to end soon.¬† I’m so spent. Someone on an online support forum suggested contacting TL and asking for an earlier appointment. Aside of the fact that she pretty much made it clear she won’t see me before my time on Tuesday, I’m not sure what she could do to help. I don’t think she has experience in this. and if she asks me what I think would help, I am not sure I could tell her anything other than to hear them, and help put them away. she better not ask me how to help put them away because I have no idea…

I hate when memories have their own time-table. This stuff was supposed to be saved for a time when I have longer with a therapist, and for someone who knows what to do with it all. For when I have more accesses to supports… but flashbacks and memories have a life of their own. Fuck.

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well, that was… triggering.

Went to meet with new therapist, L (not to be confused with wife L, but since I don’t know L’s last name, I can’t think of any way to differentiate her… maybe TL for “therapist L”?). Anyway, met with her last night. ¬†It was pretty uncomfortable in terms of room set-up (gotta love the ironically closet-like therapy rooms at the LGBTQI services center… and the awkward chair placement in that particular room: face to face and only about 2 feet apart). Aside of feeling like my personal space was being invaded, I felt like we were all over the place in terms of what we talked about. ¬†I spilled a lot more than I had intended, and about things I hadn’t really wanted to focus on, but I was unable to lead the conversation (too anxious) so we went where she took it. ¬†I’m not sure how much of the info from De’s conversation with the Clinical Supervisor got passed to TL, but she didn’t really seem to know much. ¬†I know the intake I had done was very bare-bones in terms of info, so even if she had that to read, she didn’t get much from it.

It wasn’t a very chronological or organized first session. ¬†I think I would have liked it better if it were, more like a second intake where I could have gone over more of the basics before getting lost in all the other stuff. ¬†I wish I would have said more about the termination with De, and all the loss that is wrapped up in it, but we got side-tracked on my mention of the huge multiple-anniversary date that had been the previous day (Monday). ¬†We talked a bit about the self harm stuff, and the suicidal thinking. I tried to explain that it’s a reflex reaction for me, that there are almost always thoughts and a plan, but rarely ever intent. ¬†She asked about previous attempts: how many, when, methods… all the basics they always ask around that stuff.

We got a bit off onto the topic of previous hospitalizations and how they were experienced. ¬†It all started to stir more negative feelings in me, but it was still manageable. ¬†Then she brought up safety contracts. ¬†I’m not 100% sure why I react really badly to the signed paper contracts, but I think it has to do with previous experiences of them leading to involuntary hospitalizations (or maybe that they were only really ever done around the times I had to go inpatient, and I don’t feel like this is one of those times). I tried to explain my anxiety. ¬†I tried to explain that I would be fine talking about safety planning; that the paper version really hikes my anxiety, but I was my usual, verbally inarticulate self. ¬†It felt as if everything I said was coming out wrong. ¬†I felt like I was speaking a different language. ¬†I knew why she was likely going to push the topic (being an intern, there’s lots of paperwork that must be done, and stuff that needs to happen because of liability issues), but I couldn’t get out of my own way to get past the anxiety around it. ¬†She had asked if I cared if she left the room to go get the paper, or if I had wanted to write one up there. ¬†I thought nothing of her leaving the room to get it, so I said it didn’t matter to me. ¬†I made sure to tell her that when I say “it doesn’t matter”, I truly have no preference in the moment. ¬†She asked again before she stepped out. ¬†I should have taken that as the universe giving me a chance to bypass a hugely anxiety-inducing experience, but my awareness wasn’t there at the time. Live and learn I guess…

She returned shortly, and we began to fill out the paperwork. ¬†I was having difficulty concentrating on what she was trying to ask me. Had I been more in-tune with myself, I would have been able to notice I was starting to get really triggered. ¬†I should have said something to her, but I didn’t realize the beginnings of the emotional flashback that was about to hit hard. ¬†I just knew I was uncomfortable with the paper form of the safety contract, and we had already talked about that. ¬†Anyway, there was a piece of information she needed for the paper, but we were unable to find it on my phone. She stepped out a second time. ¬†This time it was longer… My panic started going up again. ¬†She popped her head back in and said it would be a moment longer, but she was coming back (at this point, I thought I was just anxious about how long I was keeping her over our hour scheduled time. ¬†We were running into 35 minutes over, and we still had most of the paper to fill in). ¬†Again, I wish I had seen it earlier and simply asked her to return to the room at that time. ¬†If I had, I may have been able to give voice to the real anxiety behind everything that was going on. ¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t figure it out for several hours after I left. ¬†In the end, we filled out the paperwork and she reviewed it with me verbally. ¬†She (unknowingly) mentioned a community resource that I have had really crummy experiences with, and I think that tipped me into full-on panic. ¬†I wanted to bolt from the building and never return. ¬†I held my impulse to run in check though, because I was afraid she would call the police if I left before I was given permission to do so (again, emotional flashback to past situations, but I didn’t realize it at the time). ¬†I made another appointment for next Tuesday for¬†the same time. ¬†I hurried myself out of the building (just about running down the stairs after I was sure she couldn’t see me anymore). ¬†I got to the car shaking and wanting out of there fast. ¬†I drove home in a panic. ¬†It took everything in me not to want to call and cancel immediately after I left. ¬†We had been there 2 hours, and it ended with me in full-on “flight” mode.

Prior to leaving, the really broken part of me apologized to her. ¬†She seemed to think it was for going over by so much time (which she didn’t seem to mind and kept saying the first session often times goes over). I didn’t know how to tell her I was apologizing for not only taking so much of her time, but for presenting how I did; for simply existing… I wanted to ask her not to hate me, not to think badly of me. ¬†The angry, defensive teenager in me was briefly replaced by the scared little 5-year-old… ¬†but then the teenager came back and stayed for a while.

In talking to L, I was able to realize that most of my reaction to the session was emotional garbage from the past.  The memories were not immediately apparent, but the emotions were very much present and coursing.

Later on that night, I left a message on the agency’s general voice mail asking if TL could call me back. I had the intention of telling her my reaction and my fears about going back for next week, but I am not sure I want to have that conversation at this time. ¬†I go back and forth between letting her in on my experience of yesterday, and asking for either additional support from her if she has the availability, or a referral out to some other type of additional support. ¬†I don’t really want to lose the option of an individual therapist at this point, but I think I need more than once-a-week sessions. ¬†All these transitions are very difficult. I’m having trouble even getting out of bed in the mornings. ¬†I didn’t “get up” until almost 2pm today, and I am already tempted to return to the comfort of my little nest a mere hour and a half later. ¬†I’m exhausted. I’m emotionally tired, and it’s making physically doing anything equally tiring. ¬†I don’t even really want to talk to anyone at this point. ¬†I have no energy to find words to communicate with others. ¬†I’m stalled on any art. I’m actually surprised I was able to write this blog entry (though I have to admit I was interrupted a number of times while writing it). ¬†I’m cooked. ¬†And I am not sure I actually want this lady to call back, or if I’d rather just slink away from therapy (right, coz that would be a good idea after admitting I would benefit from more support, not less.. brilliant SJ, brilliant…). I think I’m afraid I left a bad first impression. ¬†I’m afraid she is currently asking her supervisor to transfer me to someone else. ¬†I’m afraid she thinks of me with the same judgement I think of myself… She gave me no indication of it in session (in fact she challenged some of the judgements I voiced about myself, but I wasn’t really in a place to take that in when she did)…

So that’s where I am with that. ¬†Part of me really wants her to call back, part of me hopes she doesn’t so I can use that as an excuse not to have to open up to trusting someone else; an excuse to run away… ::sigh:: I’m a pain in my own ass so much of the time. :/


time passing

7 years. 20 years. 5 days… time passing incredibly slow, and incredibly fast. ¬†20 years with a loss of a safety net. ¬†7 years to the loss of all hope. ¬†5 days… :/ ¬†none of this was supposed to happen. it’s all borrowed time.

20 years feels like 2 minutes. 5 days feels like 5 lifetimes. ¬†the 7 years just marks the passage of borrowed time. it all just marks the passage of time. ¬†none of it matters, yet it matters so much…


“Surviving” (post link)

…why is it that we are shamed not only by those perpetrating the abuse, but also those that don’t want to bear witness to it? ¬†“Surviving” is so well-written in its brutal honesty… what happens to those of us who survive whatever degree of abuse we endure? ¬†We are labeled “impossible” and “worthless” by the system and by society that has made a choice to ignore the conditions of survival.

I really struggle with not being able to speak about what I endured. ¬†There is so much to the foundations of my shame. ¬†One phrase that always echos in my head is one my dad said often: “what happens in the family stays in the family” ¬†It screamed in my head as I was telling De about some things yesterday. ¬†His voice thundered in my memory as I was suddenly hiding under the bed again, terrified that he was coming into my room… The memory drowned out De’s voice. ¬†The memories to follow sent shudders through me, and yet I couldn’t tell De how loud my head was in the moment. ¬†I couldn’t give voice to the full-on virtual reality playing behind my eyes. I couldn’t even tell her I was lost in the memory. I noticed my mouth moving and speaking to her, but I was hiding under my bed again. G had just had a huge blow-out with mom, and I had run to hide. ¬†I tried to take the dog with me, but she stayed with mom… I don;t know how long I was hiding, but I do remember my brother coming into my room looking for me because the house was so quiet. ¬†I screamed and jumped when I saw his feet from under the bed, I thought he was G… I scared my poor brother. ¬†He had been at a friend’s house while hell broke out that night. ¬†He was spared. ¬†Mom got most of it… and the dog, she got a lot of it… G would kick her just because he could, because he was mad and needed to hurt the thing that everyone loved more than they loved him… and she just took it… :(…

Why is it that society underscores what our abusers tell us?

(With the way some of this stuff slams me, I do not know how my mom survived… I just watched my dad, but she was on the receiving end of so much more… I don’t know how it hasn’t crushed her. ¬†She has some incredible strength…)


that black hole that is depression

It feels like depression has been swallowing me lately. ¬†I wasn’t really up to talking yesterday, and L picked up on that.¬†I felt bad. ¬†I had nothing to say. ¬†I couldn’t formulate words around anything. ¬†Everyone I spoke with yesterday noticed it. ¬†Today is a bit better… Between last night and today, the lovely people at the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center have sat on chat and the phone with me for over 3 1/2 hours. ¬†I totally appreciate their patience as they struggled to get me to communicate. ¬†They are one of the few centers that answer the chat and don’t rush you off right away. ¬†They are ok speaking even when I’m just overwhelmed and needing someone to “sit with” over the chat or phone. ¬†Most chat operators shoo me off if I am not in immediate crisis. ¬†These people are so nice… and they are one of the few places that will also offer a follow-up call if you agree to it. ¬†Apparently I agreed to it last night because I got a call this morning…

Anyway, yeah. ¬†Struggling and trying to keep my head above water (figuratively). ¬†I know something’s got to give. I’m trying to hold on to the hope others have for me, as I don’t have much of my own. Taking things one day at a time, one moment at a time. ¬†And making agreements to stay safe, because there is no other choice. I had left a message for De about that. I hoped she would call, but I guess I didn’t specifically ask for it, or my message was unintelligible. ¬†I have not heard back from her. ¬†I guess she is just busy and counting on me being able to ask for a call-back if I really need one.


Yesterday was ok

I had a distraction. It made things a bit easier to get through. But insomnia and no distractions right now are making the morning very difficult. I had fallen asleep by 8 pm last night, which had me awake by 2 am (hey look,¬† 6 hours. That’s the most I’ve gotten recently), and I can’t fall back asleep. I tried for over an hour before I gave in and started my music back up. Damien Rice’s “9 Crimes” is on incessant repeat right now (has been for the last 2 days). I’m trying to figure out what about it is speaking to me at the moment,¬† and I think I’ve settled on the way his voice (and Lisa Hannigan’s) sounds. There’s something about the way they sing it together that hits right. The lyrics partially fit, though I hadn’t really been paying attention to them, more just the emotion in the voices and the notes they hit. It just works… Hell, it wasn’t until about 30 minutes ago that I actually listened to the first stanza enough to realize I could relate to it completely (Leave me out with the waste/This is not what I do/It’s the wrong kind of place/To be thinking of you//It’s the wrong time/For somebody new/It’s a small crime/And I got no excuse). Before that, I was lost in trying to figure out what he means by the chorus of “And is that alright? Yeah/Give my gun away when it’s loaded/That alright? Yeah/If you don’t shoot it how am I supposed to hold it?” I’m still not sure I understand it,¬† but it plays through my head…

I feel a bit like a cockroach being stepped on after being sprayed with everything under the sun, and smacked with a rolled up newspaper before that. I feel like no one (in mental health) wants anything to do with me because of their prejudices towards my symptoms. For the most part, they don’t want to see beyond the surface to talk about what’s underneath that. If there are a few brave people who don’t automatically squish me, they eventually get grossed out and want nothing to do with me in the long run. I’m too much. I grate on their nerves. I’m too stupid. I never learn. I simply keep falling back to old patterns when things get overwhelming. They get frustrated and burnt out, and I’m left figuring things out on my own again. I feel like the spider who gets killed because she’s a spider, doing spider things. They forget that I’m just doing what I know to get through the day. They want to heard me into a jar so I can’t bite them or touch them, but I never wanted to do that in the first place. I just got scared and was trying to ward off the scariness… I get overwhelmed because the emotions and the memories are overwhelming. I try my best to do “acceptable” and “healthy” things to gain balance, but when that doesn’t work, the “unhealthy” peeks through. I get super needy and stupid and helpless. I revert to little kid (admittedly, a stubborn little kid) because it’s the path of least resistance in my head.¬† Eventually I run out of energy trying to change things, so I rely on someone else to hold my hand through it. Only that’s when they want to squish me, because I’m now annoying and draining and ever-so-frustrating… so I’m moved on, and everyone sees this tantruming little kid who resides in adult body, and they say “No”. They say I’m hopeless and I’ll never amount to anything.¬† And I’m beginning to think they are right.¬† I think this change crap is too hard.¬† I think I’m out of energy for trying… I think they are right…

I’m so overwhelmed with everything right now. I have moments of being ok, but… I put on a happy face because I need to make people feel better about me.¬† I need them to not keep confirming that everything I think about myself is true. I need to try to hope that everything I believe about myself is, in fact, not true (as a few have said).¬† But then stress happens, and suddenly everything is true. Completely and shatteringly true…

I like the dark.¬† It’s comfortable. I don’t want sunrise to come, because it’s harder to hide in the daylight. The dark is soft and comfortable and home. I’m ok in the dark…


Loss in any form is difficult, especially when you have not dealt with the past ones yet.

So I’ve had a few hours to sit with the concept of De leaving the agency. ¬†I had cried about it (yup, actual tears spilling down my face. Not just tearing up, but real crying complete with gross boogers). ¬†I was somewhat able to “talk” to L about it. ¬†I have thought about it, and processed it, and moved past the anger (it was fleeting). ¬†I’m in a weird flat place right now. If I think too hard or too long about it, I will cry again (have I mentioned I hate crying?). ¬†So I’m concentrating on little things. ¬†I’m concentrating on typing my words correctly (I’m sure there will be many mistakes, and I suck at proof-reading, always have). ¬†I’m concentrating on keeping the dogs from going nuts because they are tired and want to get to bed. ¬†I am taking breaks to take them outside one by one so I can finally put the boys to sleep. ¬†I was concentrating on listening to my mom as she talked about how we may go about fixing the fridge. ¬†I’m concentrating on the decision-making process of whether or not to start into Game of Thrones again tonight, or go with something easier, like Orange is the New Black, or Grey’s Anatomy or Dexter. ¬†I’m concentrating on wanting to find a way to express myself either through art or writing, but certainly no more crying.

I’ve been able to formulate and articulate to L that this overwhelming loss I feel at the termination with De is really the compilation of losses that I have yet to deal with. ¬†It goes back decades. ¬†It’s disproportionate to the relationship because it is so much more than just this one relationship. It’s the loss of friends and family and memories and innocence. ¬†It’s the loss of supports and home-bases. ¬†It’s the loss of a sense of security. ¬†And it’s the premature loss of someone I had expected to lose, but managed to trust anyway. ¬†I am not good with loss. ¬†I never have been. ¬†Sure I can smile through changes, but the tears always glisten in my eyes. ¬†This time they broke free. ¬†I don’t know if was because of how worn-down I feel lately, the creeping depression, or the fact that De was the first (only) person to hear some really heavy stuff. I was prepared to walk away from this relationship at the time of my move. ¬†I was expecting it to help keep me balanced as my stress rose. ¬†Just last week I had asked her for more support. ¬†This week it’s all going away much faster than I had thought. ¬†It’s pointless to try to find another therapist for those last 6 weeks, so I guess I will have to just figure it out on my own (though I am toying with the idea of trying to get a referral to someone for those 6 weeks)… I know it will be ok, because it always is in the end, but right now it feels really shitty.

When she first told me, I couldn’t exactly speak. I was too busy trying to hold back the tears and the sobbing because I knew it was disproportionate to the situation. ¬†My tears didn’t listen to my insistence. ¬†They spilled down my cheeks anyway. ¬†When she asked me to articulate what was going through my head at the moment, all I could muster was a half-whispered “whatever” through clenched teeth. ¬†I was afraid that if I opened my mouth more than that to speak, I would either sob uncontrollably and loudly, or I would speak out of my fear-driven (and old) anger. ¬†She challenged my “whatever” by saying that she knew this was hard for me, and she knew it wasn’t “whatever”. ¬†All I could do was shake my head as more tears streamed down my face. ¬†I couldn’t look at her, so I looked everywhere else in the office and just repeated “whatever” one more time. ¬†We sat in silence for a bit longer as I looked everywhere but where she was sitting. ¬†More rogue tears. ¬†She asked if I could tell her what I was thinking, if self-harm urges came up. ¬†I realised then that my head was frantically backpedaling in an attempt to halt all thought (much like pedaling backward on a BMX bike to brake). ¬†There was a forced-stillness in my head. ¬†Conscious thoughts had stopped. ¬†All efforts were being diverted¬†to stave off any melt-down beyond what had happened. ¬†It struck me as odd that there were no self-harm thoughts or suicidal thoughts. ¬†There just were no thoughts. ¬†She eased into a verbal safety contract, and was able to joke around it, which helped pull me back into the room and back to functioning. When I stumbled over concepts as I tried to agree to what she was asking, she helped out by saying “Whatever you need to agree to to get back here in one piece next week is what we are going to agree to”. ¬†In the past, she had always wanted specifics, but I don’t think I could have given those to her in the moment. ¬†I think I recognized a bit of freedom in that change (and I think I just now recognized how the weight was off her this session. ¬†It was familiar in that I had felt it after I had given notice at the group home, but still had to deal with the kids for 2 more weeks. I no longer cared about the strict rules of etiquette because I was leaving soon. I was able to be more genuine, and the girls had picked up on it with me. ¬†I¬†think that’s what I felt from De today. ¬†It was a¬†freedom from the pressure to be “perfect” in the role… It’s funny how some guidelines are in place to help us do our jobs better, but in the end we are burdened with the pressure to stay within the boundaries – we lose our genuineness…) but I digress. ¬†We chatted about other things for the remainder of the session. She had asked something about letting “us” know if I ever figured out a way to apply my knowledge-base in psych to myself. ¬†I think she was going to go somewhere else with that, but she stopped herself. ¬†I talked about my complete inability to have access to both my emotional and intellectual sides at the same moment. ¬†We talked about this blog, and how it had been born of the idea of being able to look at all of it over time (the more professional side of me when I am in a more emotional space, and the more emotional side of me when I am locked in professional mode). ¬†I told her about an early entry on the concept of ¬†“attention-seeking” and how it is not always as sinister-ly manipulative as the field makes it out to be… ¬†I kept a close eye on the clock because I had brought my Wreck This Journal with me to show her. ¬†With about 5 minutes left, I changed the topic to that. ¬†She always seems genuinely interested in what I bring in, but this time there was something else again. ¬†I showed her the piece with the prompt to “make a paper chain“. ¬†She seemed excited about it. ¬†It was weird because the excitement was different… I’m not sure how to describe it. ¬†She said something along the lines of wishing she could show it to other people because it conveyed so much more than just words could. The way she said it made me feel like she was trying to make a point to someone. ¬†I had wanted to tell her she could (I may have imagined it, but it looked like she was ready to get up and walk out of her office with the book. She scootched forward in her chair as she had said that about showing it to others), but I was caught off guard. ¬†The words “you could” spun around in circles in my brain, but never made it to my tongue… We moved on to scheduling after she looked a bit more at my book. ¬†She pondered the best way to fit in the second appointment. ¬†I put my vote in for Tuesday & Friday citing my “OCD-ish tendencies” for wanting to space out the days a bit more. She actually laughed and said she prefered that for the same reason (more genuine-ness). ¬†So I will be seeing her twice a week for the next few weeks until she leaves. ¬†We will be figuring out the content of our sessions as we go. ¬†She checked-in about the possibility of doing more Duckboy work on Tuesday, and would I be ok if she sprung it on me that day. ¬†I told her I was open to whatever, but that I needed her to lead if it was the Duckboy stuff because I feel totally lost on what to do with it. ¬†I think she was still deciding on how to approach Tuesday. ¬†There are a lot of days between now and Tuesday, so my opinion may change, but for now I’m ok with pushing the assault topics. ¬†I guess it depends on how far I get with this internal processing of her leaving instead of me leaving. ¬†I may decide by Tuesday tha I really need to talk to her about some of this stuff and whatever else it will bring up.


Vivid dreams

I hate those dreams so real that when I wake it takes me several minutes to realize they were only dreams. One of the dogs woke me to go out. It took me coming back to bed to realize that what I was thinking was part of the dream. I’m glad I woke from it, because it was becoming very anxiety provoking. Now I’m afraid to go back to sleep in case it is also one of those dreams that picks up where it left off when we were “so rudely interrupted”. Please don’t be one of those dreams…


[insert appropriate parent here]-less

I had just had several conversations with several people about this concept, and I’m happy to find it in print. I did not read the whole thing, because it is long and my Benadryl is kicking in (it is also a bit detailed on some of the “milder” abuse). ¬†Anyway, here’s the link¬†to the blog on being “motherless” by choice.

I think it’s important to understand that everyone has their reasons for cutting someone out off their lives; often, it’s a damn good reason. ¬†It’s a difficult decision made more so by others’ reactions to the choice. ¬†Aside of my therapist, my wife, and recently my mother, no one gets the concept of why I would ever cut my father out of my life (least of all him). ¬†I feel the need to defend my choices when I am told “but he is your father!” ¬†or “family is the most important thing in life” when in reality, it’s being able to live safely and happily (or some measure of happiness and safety, even if you are not necessarily safe from yourself, but that’s a whole other topic). ¬†We need to stop judging people. Without knowing anyone’s full story, we cannot make informed decisions about what they choose to do with their lives (and the people in it), and we will never be fully able to understand another’s plight as long as we are busy forming opinions and judgements about everything…


today is a new day

I ended up at the beach last night. ¬†It was nice. ¬†I will really miss the beach after the move (it’s a mere 20 minutes from here, but will be about an hour from where we will be living… and there will be no palm trees or wading in the winter months). ¬†I really needed the time away. ¬†I needed to think and drown in my music.

I can’t remember which blog turned me on to Angel Haze, but I am in love. ¬†She’s inspirational, positive, and kicks ass. ¬†I can’t pick a favorite song because I like almost all of them. ¬†Dirty Gold is my current obsession, but there’s also Battle Cry (ft. Sia), Angels and Airwaves, A Tribe Called Red, Same Love (remake)… and ok, just about all of them…

I have been fighting strong self-harm urges since the TSA line back up north. ¬†I guess it’s a good thing they no longer allow sharps in the airport because I would have shredded my arm and leg in the airport bathroom before boarding, they were that intense (and I had that little resolve at the moment). ¬†Music has been my centering tool. ¬†I have not picked my art up again yet, but the iPod is glued to my side, with earbuds wedged into at least one ear. ¬†If I don’t have my iPod on, I am playing music through the computer or my phone. ¬†I am sure I will run through the gamut of coping skills in my repertoire before De returns from vacation. ¬†This weekend is a long weekend and most people already have plans. ¬†M and I will be spending more quality time together. It’s not a bad thing, but we have forgotten how to interact. We don’t have simple casual conversations, it’s only ever stuff that lights one of us on fire (if not both). ¬†I wish I remembered how to talk to her. ¬†I wish I knew how to rekindle that close relationship we had back in the day (or at least I think we had). ¬†We are both lost in our own drama. ¬†When we meet, we tend to collide because the spinning arms of the drama hit before we meet causing sparks to fly and fires to light.

I volunteered for a research project on reporting sexual violence. ¬†I’m not 100% sure what they are looking into, but I believe De had said they are looking into how to improve the reporting experience, and what causes barriers to reporting. ¬†I was supposed to meet the lady tomorrow at De’s office, but they will be closing early for the long weekend. ¬†The lady will be coming here later on this afternoon. ¬†I hope the dogs don’t maul her while trying to get her attention (they LOVE people SO MUCH they are not quite sure how to contain themselves. I also suck at keeping up with their training, and they don’t get out as much down here. They do better when they have seen other humans recently). ¬†The questionnaire should take no longer than 15 minutes she says, so it shouldn’t be too painful. ¬†I don’t think it will be too triggering either, so it should be well worth the money I get from it… I miss research opportunities. ¬†While I was never a fan of writing the papers, I did enjoy coming up with the ideas for the papers. ¬†I love expanding the knowledge base on things that we don’t quite know too much about. ¬†I love education, and helping people understand things. ¬†I wish someone would do more research on the after-effects of sexual violence. ¬†There’s so much anecdotal stuff out there, but so little “official” understanding of a lot of it. ¬†I recently found a blog entry on a topic I have never really seen discussed in print. ¬†I know I have been told that it is not uncommon for assault/abuse survivors, but I had not seen anything even remotely close to educational about it anywhere before. ¬†It is also one of the few places to write about it as a function of coping with the abuse vs a pathology simply deemed psychotic. ¬†I wish medical professionals had access to that information. ¬†I think I may have gotten some more effective treatment earlier on had the doctors seen it as something that makes sense in the context of my trauma. ¬†I’m fighting with the thought of posting a link to it here because I don’t think it’s something I’m ready to admit to anyone outside of a few select people. ¬†I know it would have helped me immensely seeing it before now. It helps ease some of the shame to know (other than just hear one or two professionals tell me it is not uncommon and it makes sense) that others struggle with it. ¬†I was surprised to see the number of comments on that post (well over 200?!) from people all struggling with it in one form or another. I’m just not ready to go public with that aspect of my struggle. I guess I could post a link to the blog itself, and let you wade through the posts to find the one I’m talking about… I just… I can’t say it right now. Not yet. ¬†It’s still something I’m working on with De (and eventually with whomever I see up north)… Anyway, the blog is called Blooming Lotus. She has not written recently, but there’s a ton of good stuff on there (at least stuff that can help you feel less alone). ¬†I hope, if you struggle with anything she speaks about, you will find some peace in knowing that it really is something others struggle with… and that’s coming from people who know it first-hand, not just through trainings or clients…

On a totally random note (random because I’m not 100% sure what train of thought led to this) but how can you hold two completely opposite and contradictory ideas as true at one time? ¬†I know DBT covers some of this, but I am allergic to DBT, so I don’t really remember the concept behind the “dialectics”. ¬†I’m talking about such opposing ideas that they should not be able to be held as true at the same time because they virtually cancel each other out. ¬†If I tweak one idea, it’s a little easier to understand how I can hold them both true and correct at the same time, but they are not tweaked, nor do I wish to tweak them. ¬†One is the concept of ¬†“never, ever give up.” The other is the right to “bow out” as each individual sees fit. ¬†Suicide is seen as giving up, so how can I hold that sentiment with the belief that everyone has a right to give up if they choose to do so? How can I advocate for life at any cost in one breath, and the freedom of choice to end your own life in the next? ¬†I am not currently suicidal, though the freedom to have that “escape route” is calming to me. ¬†I hold at once the obligation to fight any and all demons, and the option to give in to the desire for peace and an ending. ¬†How is that even possible? ¬†Maybe it’s that I understand the pain on both sides. ¬†I have felt the desperate need for relief, and I have felt the devastating black hole born of the death of someone I care for deeply. ¬†I grew up with the women in my family (and possibly even the men, but I don’t remember that as explicitly) lamenting about death being around the corner. ¬†My grandmother said that she would die soon (should die soon, needed to die soon) since before I was born. ¬†My mom would always say she wanted the right to kill herself should she ever be incapacitated (she wanted to make sure we all understood and agreed with her right to choose to end her life if she could no longer live it the way she was used to living, be it physical or mental). ¬†I think I recall my father saying similar things. ¬†No one ever expected to “get old”, yet the only person who did not speak regularly of death died at a young age. ¬†My grandmother was 94. ¬†Both my parents are still alive (despite saying neither of them wished to reach the age they are currently). ¬†Bitch is still alive in her late 70’s (all of us wish she wasn’t). ¬†But K is gone, and has been for 20 years this year. ¬†She was 52 when she died, but she was the only one who wanted to grow old… I was indoctrinated to believe that every human has the right to decide to end their own lives. ¬†But I’ve also felt the loss, and had the training that ingrained in me the instinct to preserve the life of others (and maybe even my own)… so I hold those opposing truths at once. Sometimes it’s a mind-fuck.

pass almost 2 hours: The lady for the research study came and it took me an hour and a half to complete the survey. ¬†Her computer was slow, but I also think I kinda spaced on some of it. ¬†it was only supposed to take 15-30 minutes. ¬†Clearly, I did not fit that time frame. ¬†It was ok. ¬†I thought it would ask more about any history, but most of the questions revolved around the last 12 months. ¬†I remembered an incident I had not thought anything of because of where it happened and the circumstances surrounding it. ¬†It was during a hospitalization last year. It happened on a locked unit, by another patient, and in front of staff. ¬†It wasn’t anything major, he was having a psychotic episode (or so they said) and tried to grope me after another patient mentioned that I was a lesbian. ¬†I pulled away. I was able to re-direct him in no uncertain terms, and staff told him to stay away from me (and really everyone). ¬†Despite the fact that I was in there due to my PTSD reactions over past assaults, I was never spoken to about the incident, no one asked if I was ok. ¬†I simply stayed out of the common areas for a while, and later had some really bad body memories that ended in an uncomfortable verbal incident with another staff member. ¬†The thing is, you lose all rights when you are hospitalized for psych issues. ¬†You lose your personhood. You become a thing without feelings, needs, or any control over anything. ¬†They treat you like prisoners (though I tend to think prisoners may be better off in some respects). ¬†If you don’t do what you are told, you are lectured and called “defiant”. ¬†Things slide that would never slide outside those locked doors. People (other patients as well as staff) can treat you like crap, violate all sorts of boundaries, order you to do things, and you just have to accept it. ¬†You have no rights, you have no decision-making capabilities, and anything you say is clearly an exaggeration due to your mental instability. ¬†I was expected to have no real reaction to this man invading my space and trying to invade my body because he was a patient and so was I. ¬†It’s counter-intuitive that a patient’s reactions and feelings are not taken into account on a psych unit, but it’s true way too often. ¬†The minute you step foot onto that floor, you are no longer a functioning, reasonable human being who is simply having a difficult time, you are a crazy person that needs containment (even if you are there for depression or anxiety). With or without a psychotic diagnosis, you are treated as if you are actively psychotic. ¬†At least, that is how the hospitals in this state are. ¬†Up north, I felt a bit more human, a bit more sane.

Anyway, I digress… the survey took longer than I had expected, but I did get paid, so that’s good.


Every demon has it’s reasons **triggering**

This post has been hanging out in its infancy stages in my draft folder since April… I keep meaning to add to it, to flesh it out, but I have trouble articulating. ¬†I think I am just going to hit post and hope for the best. I know I didn’t say everything I wanted to, but maybe this can be an ongoing thought process. ¬† TRIGGER WARNING for talk of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence…

Recently I’ve been seeing that a county in Florida is posting “public service announcement” signs declaring the residence of sexual predators as such. I’m filled with mixed emotions in this. The survivor in me is happy that others will know, but the clinician in me cringes.

As someone effected by sexual violence, I want others to know that it’s not ok if it’s being done to them. It’s not ok to ever be hurt like that. It’s not ok to live with that fear. I want to be able to spot a “predator” from miles away and warn anyone that may come into contact with them. I don’t ever want anyone to go through anything like that again.¬† I want all failsafes in place to forever prevent situations like that. I want that as a professional also. I hate to see clients hurt like that. I want to stop the cycle of abuse and victimization. I want to be out of a job (or the prospect of a job, since I don’t currently work). I understand all too intimately the struggles of victims. I know the emotional torture these situations can bring about. ¬†I know the lasting effects af assault and abuse. ¬†I have taught classes on the effects of trauma. ¬†I have interjected my personal experiences to these theoretical classes. ¬†I can speak with some authority on it, but I wish I couldn’t. So totally I understand the need to point out dangerous people and situations.

The other side of me however, balks at the idea of signs proclaiming the presence of a “sex offender” plastered outside their homes. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly do not ever want to see anyone else harmed like that, but I also know (from training and experience) that most sex offenders have some sort of trauma history. ¬†Most offenders did not get to the point of harming someone else without first being harmed themselves. ¬†Take the story of Aileen Wuornos¬†(made into a movie, Monster, in 2003). She was one of a handful of female serial killers who murdered men in Florida. ¬†She was tried, found guilty, and executed in 2002. ¬†On the surface, she was a horrifically scary woman who seemed to kill her “johns” for no reason. ¬†But if you dig into her story, you find a scared, damaged little girl who responded to the world in the only way that made sense to her at the time. ¬†No, not all (or any? I can’t remember the full story at the moment) of the men she killed harmed her, but several others did.

I think there’s a very fine line that keeps some victims from becoming perpetrators themselves. ¬†Many of us don’t ever cross that line, but some teeter on the edge, and some do cross it. ¬†And not everyone that crosses that line is dangerous. ¬†I worked in a clinic once where a “sexual predator” was receiving services. ¬†To most people, he was a sick bastard who like to get off under women’s windows, or in the backyard by the kids toys. ¬†He was arrested several times for exposing himself and “voyeurism”. ¬†When he came to the clinic, he was quiet and shy. ¬†He looked and acted more like a wounded animal than anything else. ¬†Once he opened up to his clinician, we quickly figured out why he was doing the things he did. ¬†Initially, all but one of the clinicians that had been asked to work with him had refused to do so. ¬†Because of so many being reluctant to engage the client due to prejudices, his case was used in on-going training everyone at the office was required to attend. ¬†The first training had almost all staff leaving either in tears or in a slight fog. ¬†We were floored by the horrific abuse this man endured as a child. ¬†One of his many punishments was being stripped naked and tied outside by his penis for hours at a time in all sorts of weather, and for seemingly innocuous “transgressions” (eating outside of a meal time, taking more food than allowed, not returning home at the appropriate time, simply existing). ¬†He lived this his entire life. ¬†No one made a move to take the child out of the abusive situation. No one helped him when he was “bad”. In turn, he learned that exposure and sexual discomfort were appropriate punishments for being “bad”, and that being bad could be as simple as thinking the wrong thing, or being early/late by a few minutes. ¬†He learned to punish himself. After he grew up, he would stand outside a family’s home and expose himself. ¬†He would stand there until someone called the police, or until he felt he had been sufficiently punished (sometimes hours in the snow). He replayed the same abuse he grew up with, only we didn’t see that part of his story. ¬†All we saw was “some creep” being inappropriate around families, and it scared us… I still cry thinking of his story.

There’s a huge disparity in the treatment provided to victims vs offenders. ¬†This is evident not only in the way we treat sex offenders, but in the way we treat perpetrators of domestic violence, or anyone in the criminal justice system. ¬†We tend to forget that traumas wound deeply. Sustained traumas or early traumas tend to wound more deeply than later ones, but all of them have long-lasting effects on the people who experience them. ¬†I think a good recent attempt at illustrating this is the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. ¬†While it centers on one woman’s journey through the prison system, it does a good job of telling the stories of others also. ¬†The characters we are introduced to as vile and unsavory turn out to be some really endearing and struggling women. ¬†I don’t like every character on the show, and I don’t agree with all their life choices, but I can understand them. ¬†And the show reminds me to take a breath before judging someone. ¬†I try to let the anger wash over me, but then wash away. ¬†I try to remember this for myself also when I get too down on my actions and behaviors. ¬†I could easily have been one of those perpetrators with a sign in front of my house, but I’m not. ¬†I had the presence of mind (and the support of others) to realize that certain actions are not ok. ¬†I wasn’t pushed as far as some others have been, but that does not mean that if I had been in their exact situation I would have behaved differently. ¬†I still very much struggle with the concept of some of the thoughts I used to have as a child. ¬†It’s something I had only started admitting to De very recently, and only in the most vague sense (there is SO MUCH shame around it). ¬†But I think it’s very important to realize every action or inaction has a reason. The more I learn about trauma and abuse, the more I deal with in my own personal life, the more I begin to think that the “nature” side of the debate is less and less pivotal than the “nurture” side of things. ¬†Yes, there are very much differences in the way people are wired. There are different levels of sensitivity and resilience that have no known root in nurture, but nurture goes a long way in dictating the rest of our lives. ¬†Had I not had the conversations with my mom and aunt that I did as a kid, had I not overheard their conversations, or seen the way they and others reacted to some horrific stuff, I doubt I would have set out on this “different” path than some others who became perpetrators. ¬†I could have easily become the violent and out-of-control “monster” my father was (and still can be). I could have easily been in jail by now, but I’m not. ¬†And I’m thankful for that every day…

I don’t want anyone to think that this blog is meant to advocate no punishment, or no consequences for actions, because that is certainly NOT my intent. ¬†I just want to get wheels turning and people thinking. ¬†I want to advocate compassion in everyday life, and an awareness that sometimes acting out is just the tip of the iceberg. ¬†There are certainly people who are beyond scary. There are people who will likely not benefit from treatment or leniency, but there are also a lot of hurting people out there in the world. ¬†I think we need more compassion for that…

I’m suddenly reminded of a TED talk that I first heard about last year or the year before. ¬†It’s a different way to look at mental illness, and it speaks about “psychosis” with similar insight. It’s definitely worth a listen (or re-listen). Abuse and trauma has long-lasting effects, and maybe as a society, we need to start being more trauma-informed when dealing with perpetrators of abuses and crimes. We certainly need an over-haul to the mental health system in this country.


Paper Crane Invasion

It was suggested that I keep my hands busy when the self-harm urges get stronger, to take care of myself instead of destroy myself. So I made a paper crane,¬† and 100 of his closest friends. Some ended up looking like dragons to me… (and then I rewarded my hard work with ice cream). ¬†I could probably fold these in my sleep now.

 


Friday

I’m not quite sure what happened in session with De on Friday. She talked a lot. I colored a drawing I had done in my Wreck This Journal. I know she recognized something was up because at the end of session she asked what kind of space I was in. She wanted to know if I was more or less triggered than the beginning. I really didn’t figure out I was spacing until she asked about it. She wanted to see what I was coloring, and I didn’t want to show her at that moment. I rarely have issues showing her what I’m doing, but I guess I didn’t want to let her in right then. It was too raw, too close to the moment, too vulnerable. It was the only time she has ever leaned in without permission and I recoiled when she did that. She sat back and changed the topic. I changed what I was coloring. She then asked if she could see it later on, but I wasn’t sure.¬† After session, I wish she had asked to see it again. I would have shown her (I was removed enough from it by that time). I don’t really remember what else we talked about though (she talked about, I colored quietly for the most part I think. I don’t remember talking much). I think she validated my statement that I was in a weird space all week.¬† I think she was trying to have me be ok with it. I kinda wish she had asked more and talked less. I think I might have gotten someplace with stuff if she did that. I think she asked if I had made space to cry, but when I said no, she just launched into it being an important release and that I should try to make space for it. She acknowledged that it was difficult to do at home, blah, blah, blah… if she had left silence and space in session, I probably would have gotten around to it there, but it didn’t happen.
She talked more. I know there were points where I slowed in my coloring, and I just started doing very small lines of color, very controlled, but I don’t remember what she was talking at me about at that moment. I just made mental note that my coloring style changed. I don’t think she paused, though she might have asked me questions then, I really don’t remember. I guess I was pretty checked-out. I think this is the first time I regretted coloring during session. It was easier to check out, and she didn’t figure out what it was that I needed to talk about (I certainly have no memory of it now). I know there were a few points where I just couldn’t say anything because the only words that made it remotely close to my mouth were nowhere near the meaning I was looking for, so I didn’t say them. I wanted to, but the words were all wrong for my meaning. I think we had been talking about being kind to myself and my body. I wanted to tell her that my concept and her concept of being kind are very different, but I didn’t know how to explain that. I couldn’t bring voice to the idea that hurt is kindness in my messed up little brain. Cutting is kindness. Being put into uncomfortable situations is kindness. Being forced into things is kindness. Pain is kindness. I didn’t know how to explain that, in that very moment, as much as I should know better, I couldn’t see beyond that line of thinking. I didn’t think I could handle her challenges to it at the time, so I stayed quiet. I tried to voice it a few times, but silence prevailed and all I could repeat was mumbled, half-uttered “I don’t know.” She continued talking on at me for most of the session. I know she had asked something about small steps towards something or other, but again, I’m not really sure what she was talking about. I knew at the time in that I understood her words, but I didn’t retain it past nodding at what she had said. There was also something about not necessarily getting to everything in the time we have left working together, but that we could at least get to something. Again, I didn’t retain what that something was.

It’s so frustrating not to remember. It happens more often then not again. It frustrates everyone around me, not only myself…

I think she also tried to point out the progress I had made, but I disagreed with her assessment. She said I’m better at communicating a lot more to her through writing. She said we got through a bunch of stuff, and she said my coping is much better than it had been when I first started seeing her. I know I was in a really bad space at the time, but I don’t see my progress in such leaps and bounds. I think it’s because I know I’ve pulled back into myself a lot including with her. My walls are up for everything and everyone. The thinking hasn’t really changed, but my presentation has. A huge fear of external consequences coupled with a lack of available help has me stuffing a lot. I guess I use art a ton more lately, so I guess that’s progress. But it doesn’t feel that big inside. It feels like I’m holding my breath with everything because I have to. Care down here sucks. Networking help sucks. There’s no additional support, so my survival instinct has kicked in. Falling apart is not an option unless I’m ok with falling completely to pieces and losing all hope of freedom or any right to have a say in my treatment. Fear and having no choice but to do stuff on my own forces that old thinking to kick in again. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I guess that’s a good thing…

I really want to do some more graphic art, but I’m afraid it would be a trigger rather than a release at this time. So I’m sticking to tame subjects. And I’m just sitting here staring at the page with no results. Maybe tomorrow I can collage or something to get some of this out. It’s there under the surface. It has been for a few weeks, but I have not been able to safely look at it and get it onto paper.

I really wish we would have talked about that drawing this week. I know she is not a mind reader, but at the same time I didn’t know how to ask her to talk about it. I didn’t know how to start, or what to say, or even how to ask her to ask about it and push the subject. Sometimes it sucks when therapists take the safe road and avoid pushing the things we try to avoid (at least outwardly). I get the concept of meeting clients where they are at, and letting them direct how much they reveal or what they talk about, but sometimes I need a push because I’ll tiptoe around things to keep from making others uncomfortable, or out of embarrassment and trepidation… I wish I didn’t have to wait again until Friday. It’s so damn far away. And the weeks are creeping by.


it’s all in my head

it is. ¬†it’s ALL in my head, I just don’t always know how to access it.

There was a weird instance last week or the week before. ¬†I refered to myself as “we”… not sure I’ve ever done that, because I don’t really remember clearly whether I have or have not in any real sense. ¬†I was attempting to talk myself out of a negative thought pattern, and it just slipped “out” (all internal dialogue, so there really is no “out” in terms of it being voiced, but thoughts in my head). ¬†I argued that “we [couldn’t] keep doing this to ourself.” ¬†It was weird and it caught me off guard. ¬†I back-tracked and shook it off. ¬†I corrected my language to reflect the singular. ¬†There is no real plural, just aspects that I don’t always connect to at any given time. ¬†It’s all me though…

I know one time Dr C had wondered if SJ was someone else, but concluded that it was just easier for me to care about someone other than myself so I separate out that inner child. ¬†Before SJ, there was no inner child, so I guess that’s progress right? ¬†I still panic at the thought of a little “me”. ¬†I don’t know why that is so uncomfortable. ¬†If I try to see SJ as myself, I want to cry and shake and scream in terror. ¬†There is no little me, just SJ. ¬†And she is whomever she is. ¬†I’m trying not to look too deep into any of that… She holds things I only have ideas about, and *we* are ok with that. ¬†If I were to take all that on myself, I think I would crumble. ¬†She is a container of all that I can’t look at, like a trunk, only in the form of a walking (talking?) child… It sounds weird, but it works…


Updated “no words” and adding #53 Turmoil

I worked some more on the painting.  I think this is a bit closer to what I want the feel of the painting to be:

image

And then I did this several days ago. It’s also a work in progress, but I have not figured out what else I want to do with it. It started as just an eye doodle, and grew from there… (2014 100 Theme Challenge #53: Turmoil).

image


when we are taught that “no” means “yes” but “yes” also means “yes”… (TRIGGER WARNING)

…and there is no real “no.”

A friend posted this blog link on facebook tonight. ¬†I had wanted to see Divergent anyway, but now I want to read the book before seeing the movie (I tend to find they skimp on messages in movies). ¬†It got me thinking; not only are movies and tv glorifying sexual violence, but we are trained that being “hard to get” is a turn on, and no never actually means no. ¬†This is more pronounced with people who grow up in chaotic and abusive situations. ¬†

When I was discussing the concept of rape with a co-worker many years ago (she was working towards licensure as a therapist and in the process of completing her PsyD), she defined rape and assault as needing a decisive “no” with physical resistance. ¬†At the time, I had not mentioned my experiences with Duckboy to anyone except my own therapist, but even to her only in the most vague terms. ¬†I was taken aback by this friend’s rigid and adamant definition. ¬†I tried to gently give “other” scenarios (my own experiences without divulging that it was myself I was speaking about, but hypothetical subtleties in situations), but she refuted it all. ¬†She said if the woman was truly not wanting any contact, she would fight back and scream “no” until her voice was hoarse if she had to… “what if she says no, but he doesn’t pay attention? …what if she was trained to refuse once, but if he pushed the idea, she had to go along with it? …what if he laughed her “no” off and continued what he was aiming for? … what if he said she was leading him on, so had to do it? what if she was scared because he was so much bigger and stronger? what if he could hold both of her hands in his one and pin them above her head? what if the “no” caught in her throat as she was trying to say it but all that escaped was tears and shaking her head? What if…” To all this, her reply was that it did not meet the definition of rape, and was barely teetering towards assault. ¬†That conversation was had early in my acceptance of what had happened (there’s something about being in a situation that makes it feel normal, especially when you have always been taught to go along with whatever the stronger/louder/older person says without argument). ¬†Prior to this conversation, I had started talking to JF about what had happened with Duckboy, but this conversation had me ashamed for feeling that any of it was something that should not have happened. ¬†I started telling JF that it wasn’t anything wrong; that Duckboy had just been “a little forceful about the sexual stuff, but it was ok…” ¬†I think she had tried to get to the truth of it all, but I was too ashamed. ¬†It was not only not ok to fight back, but it was not ok to be disturbed by any of it if I hadn’t fought tooth and nail to get away. ¬†If he had no scars or bruises, I was consenting… I think it’s at about this time that the cutting had moved to my legs. ¬†I don’t really remember doing it, but I do remember having the gyn ask what the words on my legs were (and later JF asking about them because I had flat-out denied the existence of the cuts that were most certainly visible to the gyn). ¬†The gyn thought she read “slut” and “whore”, but she wasn’t sure about it so JF wanted to talk about it. ¬†I told her I wasn’t sure what they said, and that I didn’t remember writing them (I honestly did not remember it. I think that was one of the many times I had “checked-out” and cut myself only to wake in the morning to new cuts)… I remember telling JF that I didn’t really know why that would even cross my mind. ¬†When she asked if it related to Duckboy, I reiterated that he never did anything wrong; he was just a little forceful… I stopped talking about it shortly after that. ¬†Words appeared in blood on my legs, but I refused to talk about it. ¬†I was lost in the shame of feeling wronged when I “obviously” wasn’t. I started OD’ing on pills to help drown out my head (though only once was I “caught” and sent to the ER. One other time I was sent to the ER because the nurse thought I meant I had taken that many pills only 2 hours ago, not 14 hours ago), and to help ease the dissonance between what I felt, and what “society” (or at least a handful of “friends”) said was right or wrong. ¬†Mind you, my therapist, the nurse I trusted, and the gyn all colluded on the idea that what they understood had happened was indeed “wrong”, but for some reason I didn’t listen to their opinions… I didn’t address any of the assault or abuse stuff again for almost 15 years, but it crept back to my awareness regularly in the form of body memories and flashbacks. ¬†I remember the times I would close my eyes and “just get it over with” when a friend asked for “benefits” even though that was all purely consensual. ¬†He attributed it all to my coming out later that year. ¬†I never told him about Duckboy. ¬†For years, I was adamant that what went on with Duckboy was all in my head in terms of “appropriateness.” ¬†Even when the flashbacks interfered with my relationships (apparently I went pale and stopped breathing for a few seconds the first time my ex pulled out a realistic dildo. She had offered to stop, but I recovered my bearings and did my best to ignore the flashbacks taking over enough to convince her there was nothing wrong), I refused to acknowledge the damage done by Duckboy. ¬†It was only after the millionth recommendation from the millionth hospital social worker that I sought sexual assault counseling this past summer. ¬†Even when the body memories caused me to cut severely in an effort to rid myself of them, I refused to acknowledge a history of assault. ¬†When asked about it, I attributed it to the body memories, but refused to give details or call it anything other than him being forceful. ¬†There were the body memories that came before Duckboy, but I had no actual memories to pair them with, so they “didn’t count.” ¬†You can’t really work on something you don’t remember except on a physical and emotional level… at least, I have no idea how to do it, and I thought it was all in my head (ok, so it is, but in a different way). ¬†I know the basics of the situation from second-hand stories of what went on, but at the same time, my involvement is constantly denied after the first admission of occurrence. ¬†I was too young to really remember, so I only have the stories they told me about it. ¬†I know the guy served time for it. ¬†I know he assaulted more than one kid at the parties. I know I was told I stopped going to bed when the other kids went because I would throw a tantrum at the parties. ¬†It was before my brother was born, so I can assume I was younger than one and a half. ¬†The only reason I even know anything happened was that I was told to alert my parents if the guy ever tried to contact me (after he was released… I might have been 12 or 14). ¬†But all I have of that time are distorted nightmares and vague body memories. The stuff with Duckboy isn’t too concrete, but I remember more than I do of the earlier stuff. ¬†I have explicit memories of what he did, and fears connected to specific events. ¬†I react strongly and violently when touched without expecting it, especially by someone I don’t know and trust. ¬†I have scared family friends with my reactions when they were only trying to be genuinely, harmlessly playful (things that are harmless to someone who has never been violated turn into assaults for someone with a history). ¬†Triggers are rampant in medical settings because of the nature of medical exams. ¬†Even when I trust my doctor, dissociation is almost inevitable. ¬†I have yet to figure out if it’s more helpful to be alone with her, or have my wife there. ¬†It gets confusing and full of flashbacks either way. ¬†Speaking of doctors, I’m surprised more gyn’s are not more sensitive to assault histories. ¬†I think they are almost as uncomfortable addressing the possibility of abuse (past or present) as we are divulging it. ¬†It took me years to find Dr. F. ¬†Before her, no one asked about any specifics beyond the existence of an assault history. ¬†Dr. F actually sat down and talked before having me strip for the first time. ¬†She checks in regularly and is always asking what helps to make it all easier. ¬†I have not yet made any effort to find a gyn here because it’s so difficult to find someone that’s willing to take time and space to make things feel safe… Even at the hospital, when the doctors knew there was a history and those triggers had led me to the hospital, simply labeled me as “resistant” and “defiant” when I insisted on a female doctor for any exams. ¬†There was more than one occasion when I was not given a choice to refuse the exam or ask for a female doctor. There were several “unwarranted” exams that I was not able to refuse. ¬†Then they wondered why I “left” during the exam. They deemed me a danger to myself for dissociating in a very uncomfortable, vulnerable, and triggering situation… They replayed the old scenarios in new ways. ¬†You would think that with a greater push for awareness and understanding of assault situations (and trauma in general) that they would work harder to keep from triggering people and re-victimizing them. ¬†There’s still a lot of growth that needs to happen in that field…

Anyway, what was my original point? ¬†Oh, the thoughts on the rape scene in Divergent… well, I guess I addressed it. ¬†I’m glad that our kids are now being taught more often that “no” means no, and not a veiled “yes”. ¬†I’m glad that we are educating everyone on the concept of respecting boundaries. ¬†I’m glad that society is changing, albeit slowly. ¬†It gives me hope that one day my future kids will know that they don’t have to do anything that feels so wrong. I will never tell kids not to fight for their right to refuse to do anything. ¬†I will make sure they know they can always look to my wife and I for support around anything… and I will forever be vigilant for signs of abuse with the people I care about. No one deserves to be hurt.


going. going. going.

just keep going. ¬†if I don’t stop, I don’t think about the chaos that will likely happen in a few weeks. ¬†Setting up a garage sale, sorting through 20+ years of household junk… just keep going and forget the impossibility of the coming move across country with zero money, the lack of living space to land at, the need to re-home so many animals… just keep going and don’t fall apart into a blubbering mess. ¬†yeah… just go. ¬†and maybe medicate for sleep. ¬†but not too much because I have to be at the shop for the tint guy to remove the films from the 4 doors on the car so it will be legal in the new state. ¬†Going to take some cash so I can at least tip the guy for the free work he will be doing…

then there’s couple’s therapy tomorrow. ¬†I’m pretty sure I will cry then because there is no choice about sitting down to talk there… and I may be a tad pissed at her because she is safe to be pissed at right now. ¬†if I were to get pissed at myself for my lack of planning, well, I don’t have the best emergency coping skills on the planet (or anywhere)…