The Words that Heal

Last time I visited my therapist she said to think up of an action plan of what to do when I feel overwhelmed. I have been drawing a blank these past couple weeks and I couldn’t figure out anything. I saw this post on Yahoo the other day that talked about an Anger Box for newlyweds.

You get a box, you and your husband write love letters to each other  whenever you want and however many times you want. Fill up the box and then shut it. Then whenever you feel like giving up/calling it quits or get so mad at each other -you will open up that box and read your love letter written to you by your spouse. It helps remind you what it is truly all about.

I do have a blessings box. That is when I write about blessings God has provided for me so I do not forget about him. I have kinda slacked off/not being noticing the blessings during my “haze”. And like my last entry (speaking in quotes) sometimes I just don’t want anything to do with God because of my abusive triggers.

My task today besides cleaning the house and going to therapy will be to get these boxes together and start writing some letters. I might write on the outside what it will help for. So for example I will write a letter that will explain how life is so beautiful and all my plans if I become suicidal. Also my husband’s letters will help remind me how much I mean to him and that will help.

Another one is if I feel so overwhelmed by sharing living space with others- I will write a letter about how much of a blessing they are. Or if I can’t stand to read a scripture because of a trigger- I will read a letter I wrote to God. I struggle with seeking attention to wanting to be covered like a nun. I also struggle with extreme anxiety, nightmares, fantasies, anger, depression, self-esteem, using food as my comfort, exercise abuse triggers, anti social behavior and more.

I haven’t developed anything else for that action plan but I know this will help. I am excited to start this journey of helping myself heal. I might even put a couple letters I write to myself on here to share. I have a lot of work to do. 🙂

 

Haze

It’s been two weeks since I have last blogged. I want to avoid certain topics. I can feel myself start to zone out. It is like a haze over a pond early in the sunrise. Gradual, silent and lingering. I just want to disappear. I have not been able to go to counseling for 3 weeks now. Not because of my choice but because she has been unavailable or sick.

Of course realistically I do not blame her, but in the hazey fog- it’s all her fault and I want to quit. Why do I depend so much on other people to make me feel better when they just let me down? The past couple weeks have been huge triggers, an episode of self harm, brutal nightmares, panic and anxiety attacks so bad I have to leave certain buildings, I am not only thinking about a world without me but how to commit suicide.

My life honestly in “real eyes” is not that bad at all. I actually have it fairly easy right now but on the inside I am screaming. My eyes lust for my own blood, my brain thinks any man will hurt me, my body shakes and cringes because I feel like I am about to pounced upon. My hands scratch and pull at my own disgusting fat body. I cry hot tears, my chest gets these sharp knife like stabbing pains ever so often that bring me to my knees and then I go numb.

I enter in the haze. It is not a daydream, it is not a sleep, it is not anything. It just is numb. I need her help and for 3 weeks I have been stuck in this haze longing to get out.

 

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Parent or Guardian

Laying in bed this morning after my therapy session yesterday I have a lot of anxiety. I am listening to peaceful music, praying and deep breathing- trying to get rid of all my anxiety. I have heard therapy is challenging. My therapist has even told me that it takes courage to heal. My 3rd visit was yesterday and I have met my first challenge.

She mentioned a few key elements that I have always wondered about. A question that is always on my mind is what would my m. be like if she wasn’t mentally sick. I remember her before it got bad and how fun she used to be. My therapist answered that long lost question of mine. My m. would be me. She told me that I am the best part of my m.

I have never heard that or thought of it that way. I have been told I am like her in negative ways but never in positive ways. She said that I am the best part of her and that’s part of the reason why my m. chooses to direct the abuse at me.

If you are wondering why I choose not to right mother or mom and only m. is because I do not call her mother. It is strange for me to hear it, say it, or write it. I normally call her by her first name (not to her obviously) and for the sake of privacy I do not put her real name. My counselor also addressed that yesterday asking how long I have not called her mom. I told her most of the time nowadays I call her by her first name.

When I hear the word mother or just type it- I get extremely sad or depressed. I sometimes think about my step momma who I do call mom sometimes but most of the time it just feels like an empty word. One of my goals in going to therapy is to be able to hear, write or talk about a mom, mother, mother’s day, and holidays without it being a lonely depressing trigger. For awhile I felt like I was mourning the loss of a mother. I felt motherless.

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I am trying my hardest now to not give my m. so much power over my emotions and my life. I took the first step in moving her email address into spam (which is huge for me). I did send her birthday greetings and she responded with requesting I call her sometime soon.

At first I had a rush of hope that she missed me. But being honest with myself I know this happens every few months when she chooses not to contact me. Even without hearing her voice just reading the typed words in the email I know it’s not sincere. I hope differently and try to lie to myself that “maybe this time it will be different”. I began to tell my therapist how I felt about this.

I told her that I feel like my m. just wants to know and she doesn’t really care how I am. My m. values information. My therapist smiled and nodded her head. She told me that that is exactly why my m. sent that response and that I should trust my gut. I knew I was right deep down inside but I have such hope that she’ll change- I blind myself.

Next subject that I talked to her about it when it comes to her birthday, mother’s day and holidays should I send her cards and gifts? My counselor looked at me as if she read my mind. I kinda was fearful to admit my true feelings. She sighed and told me how I have felt about it all these years. It was just like calling her mother or mom- it is awkward.

It is so awkward to feel obligated to acknowledge someone who isn’t there. I don’t want to come across mean or ungrateful. When I was growing up it was said to “honor your father and mother” to not be “ungrateful” to be “respectful of your elders”…  My mind is conditioned to believe if I don’t notice her I am a horrible person. She will become “so hurt” by it. Of course that brings me shame, guilt and makes me feel like a failure. I am almost in tears and I don’t exactly understand why.

scolding-child

I had a mild panic attack last night for awhile and I am starting to have one now. My anxiety is just overflowing again. My breath is short and my head is hung low. I don’t want to be an ungrateful child. My m. makes me out to seem like I am some rebellious, foul, shocking person and I believe it.

My counselor gave me a challenge to overcome and this triggers all my anxiety today as well. I need to give myself permission to not care. I need to give myself permission to let go. I need to give myself permission to have a thought of my own. Permission to not bow to her. Permission to have my own life without her control.

I do not know the woman. I never really have. I mean I know her pain and why she is the way she is but I do not have a relationship with her. I need to be honest with myself and give myself the permission to go on. As soon as I try to, I have a tremendous amount of shame and guilt.

My chest gets so tight. I am worried about what she will think. I have always been a people pleaser and it’s time to stop. I want to be truly happy and to have thoughts of my own. I even try to please my husband to get affection. For example, I will deny myself food for hours to just wait for him. I never really do anything for myself.

I heard this song the other day, Freckles by Natasha Bedingfield:

“I used to care so much about
What others think about
I almost didn’t have
A thought of my own

The slightest remark
Would make me embark
On a journey of self-doubt”

 That couldn’t be more true. I want to start having thoughts of my own and stop worrying so much about what others will think, if they will approve or accept me. I know this journey is going to be a long one. I am having such a hard time giving myself permission. Maybe I will make little slips out and write down everything I give myself permission to do. That might be a helpful activity and I will place them where I can see them everyday. Until next entry.

permissionslip

The Changed Dream

I nudged my husband as I woke up in an internal panic. I just had another rape dream. The fear feels so real- that scares me more than anything else. Here I am up at 4am- (the time is always wrong when my posts are published) blogging about it to hopefully “deal” with it effectively. I want to let myself experience it instead of blocking it out.

This dream was different from all the others. I have never had deception. When I do have dreams about rape they are very violent and already in the process of happening when my dreaming begins. I am forced to do things and endure things and the situation, people, setting and abuse always changes.

In this dream I was outside & behind of the building where I go for counseling. There was a TV on at the edge of the sidewalk, it was displaying some movie (kinda like Wal-Mart TVs in the Entertainment Department). When I started to watch it no one was around or parked near me. I remember smiling at the TV and enjoying myself. I can’t remember what was on that I liked so much. After a couple minutes of watching the TV, something had caught my eye.

The way the back of the building is setup in my dream is that a sidewalk wraps all the way around the building. There is also a wrap around parking lot that is fenced in by concrete on both sides. Behind the building and past the parking lot there is an exit road that will lead into a neighborhood. The building is in the middle of downtown. The only way cars can park is along each side of the building facing away from the sidewalk near the concrete walls. There wasn’t any car parked directly behind the building because it was an open lot leading to dumpsters, other houses and the exit road.

I noticed to my left that there was a maroon Chevy Silverado (1994 model) parked beside the side walk on the other side. It was the only car parked on that side of the building and in that manner. It was very odd. I walk along the sidewalk and notice a young man talking with a woman. She was now walking away from him and up towards the front of the building out of sight. I didn’t get to see her face or hear what they were talking about. I stopped at the corner of the sidewalk about 12-15 feet away from him when he noticed me.

He turned to look at me. His hair was thick, black and combed back. He was dressed well, blue jeans and a tan/brown jacket. His glasses were a bit bigger then his face. The young man’s demeanor was unconfident. He nervously fidgeted as soon as he looked at me. It was almost as if females noticing him made him uncomfortable. He behaved and spoke in a way that would be classified as “nerdy”.

I offered him some friendly advice and told him he couldn’t park his truck like that- along the sidewalk. His truck was dusty but I couldn’t see inside it. After I politely informed him of his parking, he started walking towards me. His voice was shaky, nervous and a bit “high” all in which did not seem threatening. He wasn’t that close to me when he told me why he was parked like that.

“You see,” he began to explain. “I like to come back here from time to time to make sure everything is okay. I was just helping my aunt out.” I nodded my head, believing his “Good Samaritan” behavior. His shoulders were slumped and his smile was awkward and gaudy. He stopped walking because I was now walking away from him towards the exit road. I smiled at him but regretted getting attention from this awkward guy. I don’t know exactly why at this point- I honestly thought in my dream he was that guy that wouldn’t get the picture that you weren’t “into him”. Kinda like Steve with Laura Winslow on the show Family Matters.

I continued walking slowly away from him when I heard him say one last thing. “You know there was been a lot of crime on women here.” I stopped and looked at him. My eyes met his and my chest got tight again. The pause seemed like minutes. He un-slumped his shoulders showing off his muscular build and his eyes went from harmless to predator. I looked him in the eyes and then my eyes went to his pants. I knew in that moment he wasn’t a “Good Samaritan”- he wanted to rape me and he was going to get me.

He knew that I knew that’s what he wanted. I nervously smiled at him and began to walk faster. He did as well. I tucked my hair behind my ears and started to jog. He jogged too. Then I knew I for sure he wanted me. His pace quickened again. It became an all out sprint as he came for me faster and faster. My heart raced, my legs moved, my mind panicked. He was going to force himself on me once he caught me. I could feel his hands already on me as I ran.

 

I woke up. When I woke up I had fear in my mind but intense pleasure vibrations in my body. That doesn’t make any sense to me to be mentally terrified but yet physically yearning? As a laid there half asleep- all different kinds of scenarios went rushing through my head. They were of him catching me, ripping my clothes off, stabbing me, beating me and forcing me. I remember his small tattoo on the inside of his groin. I imagined being left for dead.

The most interesting part was what happened next. All the abuse was in flashes, my awake mind was making up the possibilities. But in the midst of all the trauma it was all completely wiped from my mind. I was back into my dream. I was running away from him- where I had been left before the flashes started. I was running fast but he was closing the distance on me. I just needed to run to the exit road and down to the neighborhood.

I finally got there and instead of him grabbing me at the road- he was grabbed. He was rushed in by multiple police and hand cuffed. I have never ever been able to alter a dream but in this one  I did. I took the power back. I was in control. After he was cuffed the police thanked me for my work and that they had been working to catch this guy after multiple women came forward explaining who their rapist was and how he deceived them. I was happy to help and I smiled as I saw the guy get taken away in the cop car.

*                       *                        *

When I nudged my husband- I wanted to feel safe. He put his arms around me and that helped. The actual thought of physical abuse and violence didn’t bother me. What traumatized me was the deception. Even though it was all a dream/nightmare- I will never forget the eyes that went from harmless to predator in an instant. The deception is what paralyzes me.

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No Noise

I have been trying to catch you all up on the emotions and what I went through as a child so you understand where I am coming from and get the back story. There are obviously some topics I want to talk about but I just cannot bring myself to fully explain my sexual abuse as a child, my rape as a teenager, my physical abuse that was done to me through running, the bullying I faced at two different schools and some other things.

I don’t know why, even with a concealed identity I feel like I am really just opening myself up and overexposing myself. I have talked about it before, even publicly for a school class project but it was more so like word vomit. I wasn’t experiencing or had dealt with what I was saying. It felt like I was just saying facts about me. “Hi, I am 25 years old, I like the color pink, I was raped and I like movies.”

I have no idea why I would casually mention it. I can now understand why people were shocked, boys fled but to me I thought I was just being upfront and honest. Currently I do not mention it so openly because I am scared of scaring people away. I have had somethings happen to me that aren’t to be taken with just a “spoonful of sugar”.

I found Jesus in the mix of all of this which I will also write about, hopefully soon. It feels like I have so many stories to tell- it’s a bit overwhelming. This morning’s blog will be a little more exposed and personal. I had a rough night last night. I suffer from insomnia and have been for awhile. I forced myself to sleep last night and woke up in the hottest sweat yet. I can’t remember my dream- I am normally very good at remembering my dreams. But I can only remember fragments and it was yet another variation of my childhood sexual abuse.

I have nightmares sometimes so vivid and real- it puts me in a serious funk for a couple days and creates a fear of sleeping. When I think back on my sexual abuse and rape there is no noise- it’s quiet, numb and frozen, But in my dreams it’s loud, vicious, humiliating, painful and repeating- which that didn’t happen in my real life incidents.

So why dream that way? My dreams are more traumatic then the actual events I feel like. Maybe that is my subconscious letting myself feel the emotions I was too frozen to feel? I have no idea if that is true or not but it is downright frightening either way.

Thank goodness I didn’t have one of those dreams last night but I still had something. I just can’t remember all of it. And in that dream- it was quiet, not like the loudness of the others. What really shook me and took me back was what happened before I went to sleep.

I have had flashbacks of the rape before. It was right after it happened and they were horrible. Since then not too many flashbacks has happened. But last night it did. And not to give too much detail but it was when I was with my husband. It was beyond what words can explain. There was nothing similar in the situation so it wasn’t a trigger. My best guess is this- I was raped only about 2 weeks after I had my first time with a guy I was dating.  So the rape was my 2nd experience. From then on my sexual experiences have always been about power, lust, and anger. I have never “made love”.

I have been desperately trying with the man that I married, but there is a wall that just can’t be broken down. I just can’t be vulnerable. I am trying my hardest and last night I was trying to remain “there” with him but I could feel myself slipping away.

The romantic candlelight flashed into the cold dark moonlight. The bed flashed to the restraint he forced on me and I could see his hands unzip his jeans. The loving tender eyes of my husband flashed to the hungry eyes of my rapist. And the closer my husband got to me the more it kept flashing back and forth- husband, rapist, husband, rapist, husband, rapist. Until finally- I couldn’t take anymore. I broke down in a hard sob and a panic. That is the first time that has ever happened.

I can’t explain it. Sitting here in my bed, safe and sound, I feel so numb and indifferent. I want to try and sleep again. I want to sleep a peaceful sleep. My words have run out.What if that happens again? How can I overcome this? It’s starting to not just happen in my dreams but now my waking reality. I wish I could catch my breath.