September 20, 2006
More Trauma Processing--Yippeeee!
One blog commenter said that, if I take care of myself, I'll be in a better position to mother my son. I've decided that I agree.
I realize the trauma areas that I still have yet to process adequately are:
- My mother's participation in my rape
- My father's sadistic torture and "mind control" tactics
- Additional assaults by additional perp(s)
I'm going to be gone for the next couple of weeks while I'm in a trauma treatment program. Since I'm not suicidal or liable to run away in a dissociative fugue this time, I'm going to do an intensive outpatient program and stay at a nearby hotel. It's not the peaceful retreat I dream of, but it's the closest I can find. It's 12 hours away. I'll try to get online at least a couple of times while I'm gone. You'll all be in my thoughts. Healing vibes sent my way and cyber hugs are greatly appreciated!
September 15, 2006
Can't Wrap My Brain Around This
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
September 11, 2006
Working It Through
A neighbor of mine recently told me she had visited one of those conspiracy theory sites. I don't even know why people make such a big deal out of the term conspiracy. It was, of course, a conspiracy of some kind wasn't it? It was a secret plan to bring down those buildings. People conspired together to kill and traumatize all those people, right?
I don't know. I went to one of those sites and looked around a little bit. Some of what they were pointing out in the videos I just couldn't see. I just couldn't see it. But, some of the points were compelling. I just don't know.
What I do know is that people don't want to believe that anybody within our country could have had anything to do with it. That doesn't mean it's impossible.
It reminds me of one of the reasons why I feel so many people turn a blind eye when children are being abused. They just don't want to believe it. They don't want to believe that it's possible that they live in a world where people who are supposed to love and care for precious, innocent children, beat, mutilate, torture and rape them instead.
Well, when I feel like this, action of some kind always makes me feel somewhat better. So here is my act of advocacy action for today: A reminder about the 4th Edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.
The carnival is stopping by the Carpe Noctem blog on Sunday, September 17. Scarlett Demon tells me she's only received a few submissions so far. Get those submissions in! You can submit at Blog Carnival here. The deadline is Thursday, September 14 for the September 17 post. Your host, Scarlett Demon, says she especially wants to see some posts on self-injury (SI). I agree that this is a little-understood and little-talked-about aspect of the aftermath of child abuse. So, write something up and post it, or simply provide your permalink to a post you've already put up on your blog some time ago. Let's keep this important awareness-raising carnival going strong!
September 09, 2006
Meds and Moving Onward
First of all, I want to thank everyone who came by and gave me cyber hugs and hand holds. The support I've received during this dark time has definitely been the bright spot! :) It's so nice to know I don't have to be alone anymore, isolating and thinking I've got "FREAK" stamped on my forehead. I really lived like that for way too long.
So, what's happening is this: First, we put our son on Concerta. I resisted getting him on medication for such a long time. I'm hoping, however, that if he can stay focused and on task better, maybe he'll have some success and his self-esteem will improve...and we'll see a lovely, positive ripple effect.
As for me, I had a feeling I wasn't just experiencing one of my garden-variety depressions. I felt sure what I was going through was trauma related. My therapist agrees, so I'm going into another round of therapy and trauma processing. He says I'm experiencing "secondary trauma residual." He also says this is all part of the process and I'm NOT backsliding. That's a relief.
I'm still feeling pretty overwhelmed and exhausted, however. I hate that feeling that I've really only taken the therapy axe to the very tip top of the huge torture/trauma iceberg. Oh well. I guess all I can do is keep on hacking away at the blasted thing. Having you guys to lift me up really helps me stay motivated and strong for the task. I can't thank you all enough!
September 01, 2006
Biting Into A Bitter Onion Layer
It's 2am. I'm back to wanting to sleep all day but not being able to sleep at night. Yeah, the depression monster really snuck up on me this time and bit me hard in the ass. It's got ahold of my right butt cheek and it's not letting go.
Now that I'm thinking about it, there were some warning signs. The first sign I got was when I realized that the honeymoon phase was over from summer vacation and my son's trip to the special ed camp. He was on such a high when we picked him up, the beautiful little guy. And Mom and Dad felt great too, after our first real vacation sans child in almost nine years.
The transition into the new school year has been hell. My poor precious punkin' is already saying stuff like "I suck!" and "I don't want to learn to read and write; I'm not gonna get a job when I grow up."
Yeah, I watched in horror as the bloom fell off that rose and immediately turned to dust.
At first, I thought I was getting a virus--you know, one of those that circulates and gets brought home after all the kids are flung back together for the new school year. I was feeling so many aches and pains and the headaches were making me feel nauseated.
A neighbor friend who's a massage therapist found some huge knots in my shoulders and neck. It wasn't a virus, I was just really locked up. The next day I tried to get around to some blogs and I was deeply affected by some of the sharing posts. I went from slightly weepy to wracking bouts of sobbing.
I tried comforting myself with warm, herbal tea. I tried meditating in front of my peaceful fountain. I tried doing my grounding exercises when I found myself easily triggered.
Then, yesterday, I was almost completely incapacitated with depression. I could barely move.
If I don't get around to your blog for a while, please forgive me. Or, I may visit but not feel up to commenting. I want you all to know, tho, that I'm proud of us. We are doing our part to break the cycle by stopping the silence and silencing the shame. This is important to me and I certainly won't let it die.
I may just need to lay low for a while. I'll be working out some detail on medications, for myself and my son.
I will try my darndest to get over to the Silence The Shame site and post a couple of links to some brave ladies who are sharing about their rape experiences. Keep rising up, courageous ones! Oh yeah: And I'm really impressed with the support going on over there for sharers of secrets. I'll try my best to keep the comments posting at STS.
When I feel like this, I can't help feeling like a failure. Oh well. I know the recovery process is not a linear one. It's that damn onion thing our therapists always talk about. Guess I've just bit into a particularly bitter layer. As much as I feel like hiding and wishing people would just leave me alone, I must speak this truth: I don't want you to forget me while I'm off the radar screen.