It Has Begun

Today I brought my therapist a trauma narrative showing ten years of ritualistic sexual violence.  I haven’t been able to speak the words to her in all the years we’ve worked together, so I just took a chance and wrote it out.  She read it in session and assured me that she saw no difference in me.  I am glad of that.

We’re going to work through the trauma paragraph-by-paragraph until it no longer has a hold on my life and mind.  It took five years to do this with my memory of physical trauma.  I have no idea how long this journey will take, but I am so lucky to have a wonderful therapist at my side.

I walk in to this a terrified person who feels ashamed of her body at all costs.  I hope to walk out of it with peace and pride.  It has begun.

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Fight!

That’s exactly what my therapist chanted at me as I left her office this afternoon.  The past few days have been terrible, with nightmares and gruesome flashbacks every day.  I’m exhausted, annoyed that it seems I have to choose between mental and physical health, and becoming paranoid.  It’s a lovely combination.

She told me that her goal for me this holiday season is to fight against my emotions.  That might seem odd, coming from a therapist, but I take her point.  My emotions aren’t always rational.  This sense of foreboding doom and paranoia comes out of a nightmare.  The thoughts of self harm that keep cropping up stem from the flashbacks.  None of these things are ‘normal’ events that spark ‘normal’ emotions.  These are the emotions I need to guard against.  My therapist says sometimes we have to lead our emotions rather than following them, and I know exactly what she means.

We’re coming upon the dates for my sister’s birth and death, trying to cope with the more recent loss of my best friend’s brother, and generally fighting to keep from spiralling out of control as the various emotions come up against each other.  But, I will fight.  I will fight to get through my sister’s death anniversary without shutting down.  I will fight to get through the holidays without bowing to grief.  And I will fight to be present.  To enjoy the holidays, even when what I want to do most is cover my head and forget to exist for a while.

PTSD

Since things have calmed down regarding the recent therapy debacle, I apparently decided to entertain myself by letting PTSD symptoms run rampant.  Today has been a running flashback.  I think I’ve spent more time in the past than the present.  The psychological symptoms are obvious, but the physical symptoms get in the way, too.  I get ‘tummy troubles’ as a dear friend calls them.  My muscles ache from being so tense.  I get migraines. My energy level flits about like leaves in the wind.  All of those lovely physical warnings that something is wrong.

A very simple thing the former therapist taught me is to ground myself by sitting straight in my chair and keeping both feet in constant contact with the ground.  When she first mentioned that, I thought she’d gone off her face.  It really does help, though.  The standard looking at a calendar to see the date can be helpful, but if it is near one of the SRA days, it can be tremendously harmful.  I’m careful with that one.

Above all, I’ve found that being outside helps.  I tend to avoid driving unless I’m sure I can keep my focus.  Still, feeling sun, rain, or wind on my skin makes me feel alive.  Again, SRA dictates the sort of places that help.  I can’t do open spaces like fields or car parks.  I need to be walking about in a residential area, surrounded by houses and people who are as alive as me.  It makes me feel a part of this world, so far away from the underground cult world.

I need to keep in my mind that the past is, in fact, over.  The memories and scars survive, but the events are over.  I also need to stop myself worrying about what’s to come.  It bothers me to think that the future could mirror the past in any way.  So here I sit on this August evening, trying to settle in to the present and remind myself of the wonderful people in my life who form the blanket of safety that now surrounds me.

Messiness

I got a text message from my best friend tonight.  This is not unusual, of course.  What *is* unusual, though, is my missing a text from him.  This did not go over well with Lily.  Or with me, really.  I guess it’s an abandonment/major losses thing– whenever I miss the small things that happen in mine and my best friend’s friendship, I panic.  It’s the small things that make a difference.  He and I have shared some absolutely amazing adventures.  We’ve travelled a bit, tried unusual foods (see: Bertie Bott’s vomit beans 🙂 ) and done some local touring that turned out really well.  We’ve also spent cold, rainy nights watching bad DVD’s, lazy afternoons just hanging about, and warm summer evenings walking beside the Riverfront.  Those little moments make all the difference.  So when I miss a tiny little text message that was just a small joke from a movie we watched last night, I panic.

Lily, who was supposed to be in bed, popped up to absolutely yell at me about not having the phone near so that her M Body Person could talk to her.  That woke Timmy who began to cry because Lily was crying.  And that attracted the attention of Mairead, who has taken over as internal caretaker of the children since the former internal caretaker became what Mairead refers to as a CAB– Crazy Ass B*tch.  Ah, love among the alters.  Just as things started to get absolutely maddening, my phone buzzed.  My best friend texted, completely unexpectedly since it’s a bit late, and all was calm.  Immediately.  With one text message, my best friend was able to calm the entire internal core group.

And I am terrified.

I’ve never trusted someone so deeply in my life, nor have I ever let anyone get this close.  Now we’re at the ultimate in trust– I recognise that my best friend could absolutely crush me in just a few words.  I’ve lost so many people, either to death or otherwise, and losing my best friend would be my complete downfall.  I couldn’t withstand that.  For someone as wonderful as him, though, it’s worth the risk.

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Our lives are made in these small hours

These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate

Time falls away but these small hours

These small hours still remain

— Rob Thomas, ‘Little Wonders’