August 25, 2009


Beauty for the Dark Journey

As I said in my "August Angst" post below, my plans with my therapist were to deal with the back-to-school trauma memories head on. I've been successful at doing this and have been able to avoid any really big firefighter dissociative episodes, hospital stays or running away in dissociative fugues. But, it has been a dark, ugly journey into the painful abyss.

Some of my pampering and comforting rituals have not been working lately. I had to cancel a massage appointment last week because I just couldn't bare the thoughts of anybody touching me.

What has worked, however, is I've been clinging to beauty. Visits to the Denver Botanic Garden, growing things in my own garden, sitting in my backyard sanctuary and listening to a soothing CD called "Peaceful Garden" have all helped when the emotions that have surfaced from memory processing have left me ragged and raw.

I've also been quite productive over at Polyvore with art therapy collages. Here's the one that prompted this update post.

Beauty For The Dark Journey
Beauty For The Dark Journey by Marj aka Thriver on

When I couldn't muster up the courage to visit my massage therapist last week, I decided to go "inside" and see what the fear was about and who was upset. I made the "mistake" of saying, "If I don't know who you are and where you are, I can't come and rescue you and help you feel better..." something like that. I immediately heard this little voice in my head cry out, "But, I don't know where I am!" Oh, Lordy!

I was in a panic as to how I would do my little visualization rescue technique with my therapist the next day, if I didn't have a firm "place" to go and rescue this little inner child part of myself. It's been fairly easy up to now as I just visualize returning to the house I lived in for the first 10 years of my life. But, recently, I've been retrieving ghastly memories of abuse that took place away from the "home."

I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I calmed every body down as best as I could and tried to reason that my therapy session was just a day away and I could wait. In the meantime, art therapy at Polyvore came through for me again. I created this collage as a visual representation of my commitment to find this little lost part.

I Will Find You
I Will Find You by Marj aka Thriver on

As it turned out, the horrifying memory I'd been dreading was of abuse that took place at the school where my father taught for years. I was in the shower area of a locker room with no windows. It was very dark in there and that's why this part wasn't sure, at first, where she was.

I won't go into the gory details, but I believe there were some drugs involved in my abuse at this time. When I awoke in the dark, I was disoriented and thought for a moment that maybe I was dead. When I realized that I wasn't--I was very much alive--I was devastated. Maybe this was the first time in my life that I became suicidal, I don't know. But, what I do know is that my parents did, indeed, thoroughly break me. I hadn't been able to admit this to myself up to this point. I had thought I was stronger than that.

This realization is devastating for me. But, again, it opens up the channels of grief. And feeling the feelings is, as always, the key to my healing. So, I'm doing a lot of that. And, at the same time, I'm clinging to any comfort and beauty I can find. Right now, as a matter of fact, I'm listening to a track on my "Peaceful Garden" CD called "Tranquility." I have to have some beauty and tranquility to hold on to as I face my brokenness.

Hiding by Marj aka Thriver on

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August 14, 2009


Back-to-School Blog Carnival

Friday Update: Enola has done a great job; the carnival edition is up. Please visit the linked posts and leave supportive comments, won't you? Thanks for supporting our carnival.

Our dear friend, Enola has graciously agreed to host The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for the second time. Yay, Enola! She has decided on a back-to-school theme, as it seems I'm not the only one who struggles during this summer-into-fall transition time. Of course, you are not limited to the theme of this month's carnival. You can always submit under our regular categories of: Survivor Stories, Aftermath, Advocacy & Awareness, Healing & Therapy and Poetry. But, I like the way Enola explains this theme and also explains, in general, what a blog carnival is and what ours is about. That's outlined nicely in her announcement post here.

Submissions are due to Enola by midnight (that's in the US) Tuesday, August 18 (hey, that's the day my son goes back to school!) and we'll have the edition post on Friday, August 21. You can use this handy-dandy submission form. Join us, won't you?

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August 03, 2009


August Angst

Well, there it is: It is now August. The Scream
Just saying that to myself fills me with a sense of impending doom.
Last August was a dissociative nightmare. You can read about the "dissociative detour" in this old post here.

I used to think only the official Autumn season was routinely filled with trauma terror. But, the last couple of years I've been noticing that it often starts in August, around the time we start thinking of the kids getting back to school. I saw a "Back to School" promotional banner up the other day and I just got a sinking feeling of dread.

This year, I've got to do something different. My "firefighter" and "manager" parts have already tried all kinds of far-out avoidance tactics to no avail. Let's see, I went down to the Ross trauma program in Dallas coming on three years ago. I've run away to Arizona and the wilds of the national forest in dissociative fugues. I've tried the end-of-summer family vacation and Autumn solo getaways. And, of course, there were more suicidal stays in the hospital than I'd care to mention.

I don't want to repeat any of those this year, thank you very much. I've been talking to my therapist about it on and off for weeks already. I want to be more proactive about it this year.

What we decided at my T appointment last Thursday is that I may just have to face a real whopper of a memory head on. There's probably something about my father being a teacher and the end of the summer that prompted some really bad abuse and, therefore, the dreaded memory I've been trying to avoid seemingly at all costs.

But, something happened when I faced the ultimate betrayal of remembering that my mother knew (and did nothing) about my father almost killing me. I felt the excruciating pain of it...and I didn't die or go crazy.

Maybe I can do the same with this back-to-school memory. I'm sure (duh) that it's something really bad. But, maybe I can just realize that this terrible thing really did happen to me and the hurt of it really sucks. Maybe I can finally allow the little traumatized child inside me to feel the feelings of it. Maybe I can somehow cradle that inner child of mine in my arms and let her cry. Then, of course, I can continue to really take care of myself, comfort myself and pamper myself while I grieve. That's what I've been doing lately and it's been working very well for me.

And with my son back in school, I'll have even more private time for self-care. So, I'm telling myself this will work. I can do this. This may be one of the hardest things I've ever had to face. Send out some courage and strength vibes for me, won't you? Thanks!

One thing I'm not sure I'm going to do is the August edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. If there's anybody out there who is just itching to host an August edition, please let me know. If not, I may just let it slide for a month.

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