September 15, 2006


Can't Wrap My Brain Around This

Warning: There will most likely be some swearing that follows along with some memory info that may be triggering to some.

Well, the depression is easing somewhat, but the overwhelm continues to mount and I feel quite pessimistic. The physical symptoms going along with this are the return of the beloved migraines and having my arms falling asleep during the night again.

What was it my therapist said? "Secondary trauma residual," that was it. Secondary? Residual? My ass! I feel like I've just discovered a whole new compartment of that dreaded Pandora's trauma box and I can't slam the lid closed on the damn thing.

When I first thought about launching the Survivors Can Thrive! project with a website, blog and upcoming book, I thought I pretty much had retrieved the entire scope of the childhood abuse memories. It had been a tough progression. I think I'd always been somewhat ready to remember what my father did. I knew he was extremely mentally ill. I had known for years that he molested girls at his school and his three step-daughters. I knew of his psychotic, raging violence. As I started retrieving memories of him abusing me, I braced myself for the most heinous acts. I told myself that nothing I would remember would surprise me.

I was not prepared for the fact that I would be told by my childhood pediatrician's office that my medical records had been lost. I'm convinced these medical "providers" knew of my abuse and covered it up. I was shocked by this, but I adjusted.

I was not prepared for the memories of my mother's facilitation and involvement in my CSA. I certainly was not prepared to retrieve the memory of my mother holding my arms down while my father raped me. The betrayal was excruciating, but, again, I adjusted.

Now, I believe there is another party (or possibly multiple perps) involved in more sexual assaults on me. You know how, no matter how much memory retrieval you've successfully accomplished, when you get into some new stuff you just feel like your brain can't be working correctly? You know that feeling of, "This couldn't have really happened. I must just be crazy?" I'm right back there again.

I'm even wondering if I could have been a victim of some kind of professional pedophile club. What if there were a group of young professionals who all had access to children? What if they all played tennis together? What if they shared stories of their perpetration on innocent children? What if they shared their victims?

This reminds me of what I was talking about in my last post: the stuff that's too terrible, so we don't want to believe it. Angela Shelton talks about this kind of stuff on her blog sometimes: The sicko psychos who actually swap stories and have a grand old time comparing notes. Does this shit really happen? I've lived long enough to know the sad truth that it does. But to me? No! It couldn't have happened! *Last-ditch-effort at a wish, a hope, a prayer.* I went through this same mind exercise with the doctor's office and my mother's participation in my rape.

I'm really not prepared for this. I don't know if I can adjust this time.

Damn! Remember that idea, that dream I have that we talked about some months back--the dream of opening an affordable retreat center where survivors can do trauma processing? Man, I need a place like that right now. I feel I'm in a bind, however, because my son really needs me right now and I don't feel comfortable going anywhere away from him.

But, what am I going to do to adjust? I thought I already had all the players in the story. I thought I had processed most of the major trauma. I don't know if I can handle this big of a missing piece. It's just too much.

It just seems like too much for one person to handle. I don't want to discount anything that a survivor with DID has to go through, but I think I can understand why having alters would be an adaptive measure. Some things are just too much for one identity alone.

I often think of the trauma puzzle as the proverbial Pandora's Box. My therapist likens it to a huge old house. Mine was definitely a haunted house; a house of horrors. Now, I feel like it's a haunted mansion and I've only discovered one small wing of the sprawling place. I have yet to bring light and air into most of the putrid-smelling rooms there.

Here's a poem I wrote almost three years back, during another time that I felt overwhelmed with the sheer volume of trauma I had ahead of me to process. It comes close to expressing my current feelings of doom and despair.

Closed Doors & Windows

They say God never closes a door
Without opening a window
But my whole life's been spent
Both doors and windows
Slamming in my face

Seems I was born
In a huge, dark haunted house
Spend my days running
Up and down dark hallways
Back stairways and secret passages

I jump when a door slams behind me
But find courage to press on
I go toward the open window
Hope in its light
I scramble up

I think, Thank God!
I've finally made it
But just when my fingers
Grasp tight the pane
The window crashes down

My fingers smashed
My hopes dashed
Why do I try?
There's no escaping
These vain attempts just seem insane.

Copyright 2004 by Marj McCabe ~ All Rights Reserved

Hi Marj,

I am so sorry that I don't have the right words for you. That I can't go back in time and save you. On the one hand, you are right, I can't wrap my brain around this. But on the other...

It never seems to end does it. Please know that I will help in any way I can, and that sometimes, words can heal.

Love Brian.

P.S. You don't have to post this comment if you don't want to, and you can vent in an e-mail anytime. :)
Dear Marj aka Thriver

I cried when I read your post, not because it made me sad, mad, disgusted, yes it made me feel all those things for you, but I cried for the beauty of your bravery. That no matter how awful this is for you you’re brave enough to share with us, many who are going through or contemplating doing what you are doing. Something that should be a very simple thing…remembering. This is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life, something that “normal” people do fondly, and something we never have the chance to do, to remember without fear of where it may lead. It is an exhausting and very difficult thing to do, please keep up the fight to reclaim your life and know that there are many, many, of us out here who will be there to cheer you on in whatever way you need or in what ever way we can by giving you our support. This is part of a poem I posted on my site recently, I hope you see yourself in it: Take care, Madd

Even if you can’t see us
Even if you can’t feel us
Even if you can’t hear us
We are here all of us within

We will no longer be the victims
We will no longer keep your secrets
We will no longer be invisible
We are the survivors

We are here, all of us within
hey (((Marj))

I totally can relate to this post.. I felt the same way when I recently remembered my uncles friend molesteding me.

I definitely understand feeling like your brain isnt working right. Like isnt this enough? Why am I still remembering all of this? I feel like I have come so far, and I know when I remember something new, the re-adjusting unfortunately does not always come easily. Its hard, it sucks. But you will get through it, little by little. You have amazing strength Marj. Keep your head up. Im here if you ever need to talk or anything. This too shall pass. This will ease. I promise.
Hi Marj, a couple of things, glad to see you got registered on our blog site, we are so happy because we feel you have a very similar feel for things as we do which brings up the 2nd thing, we know how you feel. What you speak about we went thorugh. It permeated our family, my father, my uncle, my mother, her mother all used me and my brothers for their warped games. when you say "could this be real"? we both know the answer sad to say. km=now that i care and understand, all too well.

peace, blessings and hugs

Brian, Madd, Cassandra and Keepers: I want you to know how much your support means to me. You lift me up and give me added strength to keep pushing through...even with a task that sometimes feels impossible to bear. I'm grateful that I don't have to bear it alone.
Madd: BTW: You cried for the beauty of my bravery? Wow. I had no idea. I often don't feel very brave. Thanks. And on top of all that, I really like your writing. Thanks for visiting & commenting here.

I am sorry you are suffering and that such a particularly vile memory is resurfacing. The onion is giving you bitter tears at the moment.

There is one thing I would like to say. You are right that your son needs you. But he needs the whole you more than anything. If that means you have to take some time away to get clear in your mind what you are remembering and deal with that, then that is what you need to do. Otherwise you are just going to give him half a you in the present and half a you living in fragmented remembering land. The latter of course, effecting your moods and making you so tired as you fight to remain all things to all people.

Because this memory is as disturbing as your mother's aiding and abetting, I really think you have to put yourself first here. Your son will manage without you, knowing when you come back you are whole for him again.

I really wish you well, Marj. I hope the path through it is well sign-posted. I am here trying my best to help in the small way I can...reading your thoughts and offering support.

You've won over some hard times. I believe you can win over it again. Believe in yourself and don't let the doubts take over.


I am sitting her with no words truth be told. There are such sick people in this world it floors me. I am sorry that you have had first hand experience with some of these sick individuals. My heart and prayers goes out to you.


Emily: You are right, I'm not really "all here." I'm not dissociating like I used to and I don't think I'm going to run away in another dissociative fugue, but I'm just really negative, down and distracted--and struggling with that "freak" stamp stigma somewhat. You guys really help there, thanks.

Mysti: There ARE a lot of sickos out there. I'm glad I've found some kind people like you. Thanks for the hugs.
I am at loss of words.
I am so sorry you are going through this.
As you knwo I have recently have some memories coming back myself, and Had a hard time with it. But what you are talkign about is so much srtonger...I identify most of the feelings though.

Be strong, I am sure you can get through this. We are all here for you.
I have convinced myself that if this memories are coming now is becasue regardless of what I think, feel, I am ready to procces them.
I mean if we inconsciously buried them before as means of survival why would we unlock them now?

Hang in there, you are moving forward.

I understand a lot of what you are saying. My shrink has often said that healing comes in waves.

we heal and we feel good, feel like we are getting some where and for a while we are riding the good feeling wave, then slowly another wave comes and suddenly we are in a rip caught up by the past being pulled down under by the events that are being remembered for the first time or being remembered with more clarity and as we work thorugh those we catch another wave.

I wish there was a way to put everything in a box and open it only when I wanted to but I guess like the waves at the beach, I can't stop them from coming.

anyway sorry long post but you are in my thoughts

Morning Marj,

I was just over at SD's blog with the Carnival and decided to write a poem as a comment. I also just posted it on my blog as a new post. I am still doing "Snowcones" tomorrow.:)

Have a great day.

Breeya: Thanks--your confidence in my strength helps me gain some confidence in my strength.

Sunnie: Yeah, it IS like being sucked under by a riptide. I'm hoping my T can throw me a life preserver!

Brian: I read your poem over at Carpe Noctem; it moved me.
I have cut and pasted the following comments because they contained e-mail addresses:

Jumping In Puddles said:
hi marj,

i read your blog with a sinking feeling, yes we have survived because of alters taking the hurt and burying it inside, but so much of what you said relates to what we went through. Can you email me at soemtime please
Madd said:

Marj, I didn't know how to reach you privately through email and I know you go through your comments so I was hoping you could send me an email address. I would enjoy sharing with you a more personal thought and a small note of thanks for something you did for me.
JIP: I have sent you an e-mail. As I said there, I hope my post wasn't too triggering for you. We can chat via e-mail anytime. *hugs*

Madd: I have also sent you an e-mail. And, as I said there, I am so thrilled that I was able to help you in some way. I really need stuff like that right now with this feeling of overwhelm and not being able to handle much at this time. Thanks! ;)
Recovery IS hard. It is a process that can be uplifting and then there are moments that suck the life out of you. I've been there personally and professionally. So I know it from both ends. Things will improve....time helps.

Thinking of you, my friend.
Deb: I see how busy you are; thanks for taking the time to be my friend. And, I appreciate the validation, too. :)

For now, maybe focus not on the details but the messages you took in about yourself because of what was happening. It's when we rewrite those that we are able to let go of the pain and thrive.

For me, what helped was to imagine holding the child I was and loving her and reassuring her that she didn't deserve any of what was happening. I helped her see that what happened came out of the shame and hurt and fear the adults felt. And then I imagined showing her how to laugh and play and be happy again.

There is no easy way to accept that adults we loved and who should have loved and protected us didn't. And maybe all we can do is love and accept ourselves NOW.

I know how hard it is, too, to have a special needs child and try to help him navigate a world that so often doesn't know how or want to accept or adapt to him.

Huge safe and gentle ((((((hugs)))))),
You are not a freak. You are not.

I don't know what to say other than, I'm listening, and I'm pulling for you.
April: Thanks for the understanding, ideas and hugs.
brewerburns: You don't really write about this kind of stuff on your blog, but I always feel like you really understand. Thank you for that.
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