Struggling Again

Just when I think I’ve got this life under control, things slip just a bit & I feel myself falling into darkness.  I can’t seem to apply the brakes and I know it’s coming… the darkness.  It’s right there at the edges of the light and has begun to bleed into all the happy moments. 

And with the darkness comes the pain and the shame.  I’ve been months without falling back to the blade, but the pull now is Painfully strong. I can’t go to the store because I obsess about ‘that area’ and I just can’t tempt myself.  I do my best not to be alone for fear the  time alone will give me opportunities I can’t afford.  

So I lay in bed every night plotting ways to avoid what is coming… Because it just a matter of time.

Wasting time…

Today I had my weekly appt with Dr H.  I’ve had a rough day & don’t feel well, but I went anyway.  I just didn’t want to, but I did.  Unfortunately, I spend the whole time talking about my kids & work & basically avoided anything of substance.  It was weak & very unimportant.  As a result, I feel like I waste my time & hers today.  Now I feel irritated with myself & guilty for wasting time I could have used for real work.

Am I the only one in this boat?

–hope

Crazy

I’m feeling crazy.

I hate these meds, but I hate how I am without them. 

I hate knowing how much I need them.

I hate having to go to therapy to talk, but I always feel better in some ways after.

I hate that I need to go at all.

I hate how people tell me how wonderful my life is when I want to tell the how my life REALLY is.  My public, family life is so different from my internal life.

I hate that my ‘two life’s’ don’t meld in reality.

I hate that my anxiety always tears me up inside and that it takes so much from me to look & act ‘normal’.

I hate worrying about falling apart & looking flakey & crazy.

I hate wanting to be intimate with my husband but not being able to muster the strength without dissociating.

I hate thinking he deserves so much more & better.

I hate doubting myself & my worth.

I hate feeling crazy.  

My Guilt & Shame

(TW- incest, rape)

I feel guilty and full of shame.  

AFTER 11 years of sexual/incest, physical, emotional abuse and neglect at the hands of my mother’s father (4-15), I was finally able to escape and moved into my father’s home.  There, I felt as if I’d ruined their perfect family &  I was an embarrassment.  I was tolerated, but my father was very distant.  I was a reminder of things best forgotten–his divorce, his past life, perhaps his failure to protect me.  Did they even believe me?  I don’t think so.  It was all kept very secret. But, In my ‘home’, I was a “warning” for my sisters.  I had been “sexual”, was “a slut” and would “probably be pregnant before graduation”.   How could they not see how much I wanted anything BUT sex?  Sex was violent, painful, scary and never what I wanted. Me? I avoided anything related to sex.  I buried the old me & became a bit of a prude… Everyone knew I was untouchable.  I liked that.

But, Life was not easy. 

I was a sophomore in college  when I was raped (by someone other than my grandfather) the first time.  Many people in my building were involved in a multi apartment party.  I allowed myself to be in a situation that made it easy for my rapist to take what he wanted. I only knew he was a friend of a friend.  I saw him only once in a friend’s apartment.  I celebrated the weekend, drank too much & people were in and out of our apartment.  I eventually passed out in my own room.  Later, he came into my room,  woke me as he held me down, my face in a pillow,  and raped me.  I relived my childhood all over.  Like that 10 year old child, I didn’t cry out or fight or try to escape.  I froze & allowed him to tear my dignity away.  He never spoke a word to me. He smiled, dressed and he just left. I tried to go on as normal.  And I began drinking all the time.

Then, a year later, I was raped again–by a man I considered a friend.  We had friends at our house after a bar night. After more drinking, it was agreed he could sleep on our couch so he wouldn’t  drive drunk.  I went to bed and passed out.   That night, he, too, came into my room as I slept.  He climbed into my bed, held my wrists to the bed, and kept saying that he knew I wanted “it” and I should just relax so he could “do it”.  He continued to talk during the whole ordeal, but I don’t know what he said.  I never made a sound or cried.  I left myself as I so often did as a child.  After he hurt me, he rolled onto my bed and slept.  I laid there, motionless, trying not to breathe.  Before morning, he got up, ‘snuck’ out & was gone.  Seeing him again made me nauseous and shakey… But I saw him often.  He acted as if nothing happened.  Things were never the same.  I became withdrawn & depressed but pushed on as best I could.

These things shaped me.  I held it all in for  years.  No one ever knew about the rapes and  No one cared about the abuse, until I spoke out in therapy.   These events filled me with guilt & shame.
I still fight feeling guilty and shameful feelings for so many reasons….

  • for not crying out ‘NO’
  • for not screaming louder
  • for not fighting harder
  • for crying
  • for letting him know he hurt me
  • for submitting
  • for a body that betrayed me
  • for feeling anything
  • for not leaving sooner
  • for leaving
  • for believing it could be better
  • for trusting again
  • for forgetting
  • for not being careful
  • for not telling anyone
  • for allowing it all to go unspoken
  • for holding onto secrets
  • for remembering
  • for creating my own pain
  • for choosing the escape by blade
  • for letting it all control so much
  • for not being present in the present
  • for having to rely on others
  • for having to surrender my blades
  • for effecting others
  • for not being angry about the pain
  • for feeling like I’m the one who is most guilty when THEY were the givers of pain
  • for not being well

The pain is as fresh as if it just happen.  The guilt & shame are weights…

Someday, maybe I’ll be free.

Sleep?!

Sleep scares me but I need it.

Sleep is a fear-filled thing.  The nightmares and memories blend together and leave my mornings darker than my nights.  I lay anxiously waiting for the drowsiness to consume my wake and for the boogeyman of my childhood to return to this playground.  Here, in my dreams, I have no control… Here, in the shadows of my mind, the closets of my dreams I am afraid.

And yet, each night, in some strange dichotomy of fear and need, I lie in this bedroom praying that I’ll eventually give in to sleep–knowing what awaits.  I hope that eventually I’ll close my eyes and slip into some peace filled oblivion.  I beg for rest and for relief from the flashbacks, the crippling fatigue, the need of my flesh to escape pain by blade… 

Yet sleep dances at the edges of my conscience, teasing with what I cannot have and what I fear. I cannot rest.  And so I am left to ride on this constantly spinning carousel of pain, fear, desire and need until the ride ends. 

When will I just sleep?

Detached… 

I’m not sure how NOT to dissociate .  I’m not sure how to ‘stay’ while in a conversation that is hard or uncomfortable.  In fact, I’m not sure how to do it at any point.  Dr H brought it to my attention again today.  I know that there are times I struggle to focus on staying present because I close my eyes to pull back to the conversation with Dr H… Especially when my meds aren’t in my system as strong as necessary.  But I also dissociate in conversation when I don’t even mean to…and I don’t necessarily realize it.  Dr H agrees that I’m very good at it.  I make occasional eye contact, shake my head as needed and even repeat what was spoken, but I’m obviously not there, present.  

Here’s the issue.  I ALWAYS do it.  My mind is almost always in two places.  I’m here and ‘there’–wherever that may be at the time.  I don’t know, honestly, how to function any other way!!  And it’s not how I want to live.  When I work VERY hard at it, I can be 100% ‘here’.  It’s amazing how much I think I’m missing. 

So how, HOW, can I ‘fix’ it??  I’m not sure what will help.  Telling myself to ‘stay’ doesn’t work.  

Does anyone have any ideas?  I know it’s a defense, but I’d love to learn to ‘turn it off’ sometimes, too! 

They Won’t Ever…

(TW–abuse)

I am the mother of 3 daughters. All  3 are intelligent, well adjusted, trusting young women.  They are successful  in their education, devote themselves to hours of community services, give freely of their friendships, show their love of God in word and deed, and dream of futures filled with love, adventure, service and promise. They are 17, 14 and 10 and have lived lives with very little pain, stuggle or difficulty– just the way I planned and hoped.

Their lives thus far have been just like the life I laid awake dreaming  of having as a child. 

Never have they gone without food, power, water, warmth.  Never have they missed school to wait for boxes of government food.  Never have they lived in squaller hoping to avoid rats or hoping roaches wouldn’t creep from their backpacks at school.  Never have they had to sleep with siblings on cold winter nights to keep warm.  Never have they stolen water from the neighbor’s water hose to drink or cook. Never have they washed clothing in the sink in hopes they’d be dry by morning.  Never have they worn shoes far too small because they had no others to wear.  Never have they sat night after night with only candlelight to see in a dark, powerless home. 

And, thank God, they have never, NEVER lain in a dark room, hours before the world awoke, begging God that “that man” wouldn’t come after their mother left for work.  Never have they prayed not to hear his footsteps or the sound of that belt unbuckling.  Never have they wished just to die under the pressure of so much hate instead of breathing him in or hearing him in their ear.  Never have sat in absolute stillness next to their torturer at a Sunday meal at a table  of food and deafening silence. Never have they hurt with the weight of such betrayal, pain or heartbreak.  Never have they died only to live and die again.

In those pain filled years, I could not dream of a future.  I did not see myself living that long.  Each birthday I met with some level of amazement. In all those moments he demonstrated his power, I lost a piece of my ability to dream.  But the day I escaped from him, I “buried” the old me.  I promised myself to never return to that pain.  And I promised myself that, if I could ever have children, they would never know any of that pain… Ever. 

Now, I look back on my childhood and compare it to that of my children. I am amazed at the wonders I have created and know I’ve been blessed to see them grow with such amazing lives.  I am their mother.  And, unlike MY mother, I AM their protector.

Never will they know the pain or horror of my childhood.  I’d do anything to give them what my parents didn’t give me. I’d give the world to save them from my pain.  And, If my pain was, in some twisted way, payment for the lives they live now– then it was worth it. 

But I look at my children and find peace in understanding that they won’t ever know.

Sick of Spinning

I’ve been sick.  

It’s nothing new, really.  I’ve got Lupus and, because of meds, I’m immune compromised.  Because I teach (which doesn’t make my doctor too happy), I get sick fairly often.  Usually, I just push through until I get better.  This time, however, I just couldn’t push through the mess.  I’ve got a nasty upper respiratory infection.  To make things worse, I have this amazing inner ear infection that has me swimming in complete dizziness.

For 3 days now, anything other than laying down has me too dizzy to walk without looking drunk.  It’s very frustrating.  My doctor says that she thinks it has everything to do with my infection and not vertigo… Even though the symptoms are much the same.  

At first it was nice to have an excuse to sleep all day, but now this only serves to deepen my depression.  I can’t read or crochet without my eyes crossing, can’t shower because it involves standing and can’t do much else if it requires being upright.  The room constantly spins and I’m always nauseated. What I CAN do is think about all the things that cause me too much anxiety and pain.  This has to pass quickly because I’m honestly spiraling downward and fast. 

I can only suppress the blade for so long… And this illness is making life unbearable.

That Moment

That moment..  

Do you know moment when you feel your mind will explode if you can’t talk to someone–anyone– about the pain bubbling to the surface?  

That moment when you feel trapped within yourself drowning in your own emotions and begging for help/understanding from a friend?  

That moment when you say “I either have to reach out or turn in”? 

For people like me, that moment between reaching toward a friend for rescue or a razor to cut? 

That moment is so full of shame, guilt, pain and anxiety for me.  Too often, I simply turn inward or to the razor.  I so rarely speak to others about my past, my fear or my pain. 

But today, I chose to reach out. My flashbacks and memories have been so much bigger than I can contain lately.  The pain sits on me like lead.  I journaled and found myself bogged down even further in pain I couldn’t escape.  So, I contacted a friend in hopes that my (perhaps not direct enough) message would be enough to show I needed to talk…I needed help.  I hoped this person would reach back.

What I got was a very quick, polite one word answer for what should have been an opening for discussion.  What I got was a very precise, unspoken response that spoke louder than words ever could.  What I got was a blow-off and a clear message that there wasn’t time for ‘this’ or me. What I got felt like very definite rejection.

I forget my battles don’t belong to others. I forget this pain is my own. I forget that what I need is not the responsibility of others. I forget that others have their own lives to lead & sometimes my issues are just too much. I forget many things…

I want to understand.  This person is my friend, but perhaps I’ve misread our friendship or how far they are willing to travel with me.  Maybe I’ve placed too much into this relationship.  Perhaps this friend just had a long day. 

I hope someday I will forget how this stings. I hope that I won’t feel this way again for a long time because I don’t know that I can trust myself to try reaching out one more time.  

I’m glad for therapy with Dr H tomorrow. This feels like hell.