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.
It’s January. The start of a new year, full of promise and hope. So where does this leave me? Mildly suicidal and horrendously depressed. It started yesterday and has just continued to get worse over time.
It occurred to me that, whilst I am perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life at the side of my best friend, he might well wish to spend the rest of his life at the side of an actual romantic partner. My head spun as I realised that things could change in a major way. My entire lifestyle could be smashed. It would be a good thing for my best friend, and I would never begrudge him of that. I would just miss being centre stage in his life as opposed to an understudy. I like us as us. Not a couple, but definitely a unit.
So I recognise that part of this is situational; my big realisation isn’t helping my low mood. I realise, as well, though, that this is a bipolar depression. The sun is dimmer. That’s a sure sign to me that I am falling in to an episode. The sun looks noticeably dimmer even high in the sky. In short, I am depressed.
Fortunately, I see my therapist later this week. We will talk through my realisation, talk through the suicidal feelings, and make a plan for coping with it all. She’s patient but firm, and I know I can hold on long enough to make this happen.
I have been angry on and off all year. It comes in waves. There’s a tiny flicker of anger just in the top of my mind, and then the wave comes crashing down. I am consumed by anger. Everything makes me angry. Even things that would otherwise be enjoyable are tinged with anger. It is everywhere. Suffocating.
I’ve also felt genuine hatred this year for this first time in my life. Even when discussing the people who hurt me, I’ve not felt hatred. I’ve felt sympathy and disgust. But this year I’ve felt hatred, mostly towards people I don’t even know. It burns, just like the angry.
I have no idea what’s causing these feelings. The therapist said she actually liked that I was feeling this way because it meant the last vestiges of numbness were fading away. I don’t like these feelings at all, though. They put negative energy in to the Universe, and none of us need that. Still, I can’t seem to block them or stop them when they happen. I just have to feel them, express what I can in a safe way, and hope they pass quickly. These feelings are so new to me, and I would definitely prefer for them to stop situating themselves quite so firmly in my mind.
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.
The passage of time can be something of a trigger for me. I am not a snowflake. I’ve had my share of trauma and am here to tell the tale, so to speak. But I do have triggers. Typically, I can work with or simply avoid them. Not so with the passage of time.
We’re headed in to a time of year that is difficult for me. The anniversary of my sister’s death looms ever-present as we near early December. This will be the 17th anniversary, but it still feels new on that day. Time has done nothing to touch that. I think of her still as a twelve-year-old girl, smart and witty beyond her years, touching the lives of everyone who knew her. My therapist asks me what I think she would be like now, but I have no answer. I’m stuck in the year of her death. She’s frozen there. I can’t take on the task of bringing her to this time of my life. I guess I fear she’ll simply leave again.
Every December, I mark another year that has passed on the calendar, but my mind stays in 2000. My sister took my heart with her on that rainy afternoon, and, in at least part of my mind, time has stopped there. It’s hard to move on when you’re clinging desperately to the past with a child’s false hope that maybe you can stop it happening if you just try hard enough to return there.
My thoughts have been going down that road all weekend, and it’s dangerous. I look back on certain situations in my past and wonder how they might have turned out if x had or hadn’t happened. This is futile at best and dangerous at worst. A decade ago, something happened in my life that lost me quite a few friends. It’s been an entire bloody decade, and the thought of it still floors me. I felt I had everything going for me. Then, one person and one event tore it all down. The logical part of me realises that means it simply wasn’t meant to be. The emotional part of me wants to stamp my feet and demand the chances back again.
This has left me quite depressed. I’m not suicidal, but I keep having these fleeting thoughts like ‘what would happen if I just slit my wrists.’ Maybe I just want a visible indication of how I feel whilst the smile sits on my face. I wish I could somehow communicate to someone exactly how miserable I feel, but trauma dictates that I keep smiling and avoid bothering people. Therapy this week. Hopefully, I’ll drop the facade there and actually process this stuff. In the meantime, I shall sit here typing away and trying to stay in the present. The past is just so hard to resist.
I’m going to try, at least for now, to update this blog more frequently. This is part of a grand effort to reconnect with myself. Yesterday, I felt like nothing. Not in the degraded sense. Just in the emotionless-floating-in-nowhere sense. I read some quite old posts from this blog and realised that I feel almost no connection to who I am now. This might be due, in part, to the integration, but it’s also due to my secluding myself.
Years ago, I had school and work outside of the home. Now, I have an in-home job and almost no social circle. I do not attend social functions, and even a trip to the shops can be overwhelming. My social anxiety feeds on the lack of need to leave my house, and it’s time to reconnect with the world, as well. It’s time to force myself out, kicking and screaming all the way.
So what are my grand plans? I have been looking for a job outside my house, but that will be debated with my therapist soon. In terms of socialisation, I’m thinking of attending a local support group for people with mental illnesses. What better place to start than somewhere where others are struggling, too? It isn’t much, but it’s a start.
In terms of the deeply personal, I do plan to start blogging again. I also plan to start journalling again, or at least writing fiction. Something to draw me out of my head. When I had alters, it was easier to escape my thoughts; I’d just let someone else get lost in theirs for a while. Now, it’s up to me to plan my own escape from my mind and in to the real world. Again, kicking and screaming all the way.
I just realised how long it’s been since I’ve posted on this blog. This year in general has been bad for writing. I’ve rarely journalled, even now that I have my own space again. It’s like my brain prefers not to remember right now, even though things aren’t particularly difficult.
The other aspect is therapy work. We’re in the midst of serious discussions about ritual abuse overall and cult structures, which is making me want to guard every ounce of information I’ve put on the Internet regarding the subject. I’m worried that my therapist will change her mind about my sanity and decide the whole bit has been nothing but a fantastical story. That’s a risk I’ll have to take in order to move forward with therapy, though. It’s such a precarious process.
Other than that, my mind has been reasonably quiet. Life and work and learning go on with the past as a shadow that is, for now, not winning. I’ll take that.
I came home unexpectedly today. A few nights ago, I woke up unexpectedly in hospital after having taken what I thought was a fatal overdose. The combination of a lengthy depressive episode and a bad living situation that I can’t escape got to be too much for me, and I attempted to end my life. Yet now I’m here, typing a blog post I never thought I’d write on a day I never thought I’d see.
Even though the attempt didn’t work, I hurt a great deal of people. Most of all, I hurt my FOC. These are the people who taught me family and who expect me to be there for them. I let them down, and I’ll have to live with that. How do you apologise enough? How do you win back the trust of those who never deserved to be put in this situation? How do you learn to live with the guilt? I’m wrestling with these questions now. Nothing I can do will make up for what I put people through, but I’ll do my best.
There’s also therapy– loads of it. I’m having daily sessions, at least by phone, and working hard at setting things right. It will take a while; I’m not completely happy to be here yet. I can, however, say that I’m not a danger to myself. My therapist told me to hold on to the feeling of pain brought on by putting my FOC through this, and that is a great motivator for staying alive. In the past, it’s always been enough to see me through. This time, however, my current situation won out. My FOC do *not* deserve this.
I’m not sure how to move forward from here. Slowly, of course, but the path is unclear. I’ve given my word to two of the most important people in my FOC for the first time, and I keep my word. Suicide is no longer an option. In a strange sense, that leaves me feeling helpless. What can I do if things get to be too much again? That question might well go unanswered for a bit. Much therapy yet to come.
So I’m here. And I’m working on it. For now, that’s all I can do.