Wednesday- Rough Day

My therapist hasn’t been able to see me as frequently and it’s taking a toll emotionally and mentally. She called out sick today which I can’t be mad at her for but I haven’t seen her in two weeks and the receptionist could only get me in two weeks from now. So that’s a month between much needed therapy appointments. I’m wondering if I’m not going to have to do yet another search for a female therapist in the area who deals with trauma and isn’t particularly religious. I can’t do a male therapist. It would be much too triggering and I’d be worried they wouldn’t really understand.

I’m having trouble with my memory.. The details of trauma memories that came to light as an adult of some of the trauma in childhood are starting to go fuzzy and so are the adult trauma memories. I don’t know why. I feel like my brain is having trouble not just blanking everything out again. I’m still having  regular panic attacks. I’m still having nightmares and having trouble sleeping at night. I still panic and cry at times when it’s time to go to bed and the light goes off. I’m having to do more invasive medical exams and procedures multiple times a week. I had a really bad panic attack the first procedure because it was really painful and triggering. It lasted over half an hour and I’m going back and forth between ok and emotionally numb. I keep dissociating. I’m not sure who I am anymore. Even my emotional state is out of whack in other areas. It’s hard to feel much of anything unless it’s negative. I worry that maybe this is just how it’s going to be. I’m exhausted. And I feel helpless.

Advertisements

End of the weekend

I’m having one of those nights again. The kind where you’re just on edge and frightened even though you know “they” aren’t there. The usual distractions aren’t really doing it for me so I figured it would be good to get my feelings off of my chest. German Guy was going to bed and took off his belt to hang over a chair and of course that set me off. I didn’t tell him but of course it made me remember how afraid I am of belts and being hit with one. I know he would never hurt me and this is my safe space but seeing him holding it momentarily brought me back to a couple times in my past where I’ve been beaten with a belt. Neither of them have good connotations. It brings up feelings of guilt, shame, and pain. It makes my skin crawl and I feel really jumpy. I can literally feel my bum stinging and there’s nothing there. The adrenaline and fear and feeling powerless. The bruises after. The tears. It’s just a lot. Feeling like it was my fault, even though I know it isn’t.

My abusers were both manipulative and out for their own personal pleasure. Not mine. Never mine. I was looking for a thrill but always playful. Not something demoralizing nor damaging. Yes, I’ve experimented with pain as pleasure before but it always was supposed to be on my terms. The first instance of physical abuse was from my first boyfriend. He was a selfish asshole out to take advantage of my naiveté with both relationships and sex. He wanted to try hitting me with a belt. I wasn’t really sure about the idea but wanted to please him. Wanted to be liked, to be cared for, to make him happy. Didn’t want to lose the first man to show any interest in me. So I let him hit me. He didn’t hit my lightly like I was expecting. He went full throttle and left me crying after. Rubbed a little lotion on and acted as if I was making a bigger deal out of the bruising on my tailbone than was necessary. He was also the one who asked if I was interested in trying asphyxiation play. He wanted to put a bag on my head. I declined. He asked, “What about hands?”. I said I might be ok with trying that if I could tap him if it was too much. He had me lay on the ground and he bit me a few times before putting his hands around my throat. He started squeezing and it wasn’t long before I tapped him because I needed air. He started laughing and kept squeezing. I tried to pry his hands off my throat while he continued laughing and my vision started to go fuzzy and dark. His reaction like this was so funny for him that I was clawing at him trying to breathe made me reconsider why I was dating this man. I had the thought, “He could really kill me if he wanted to.” but was too starved for attention to leave him just yet. I remember being really angry and upset and him trying to brush it off like we were just playing. I should have walked out the door and never come back. Maybe even filed a police report. But I didn’t. It took more emotional abuse for me to see him as the cruel individual he was.

.The second incident with a belt was with the last man I was involved with during that horrible time that I don’t speak about often. He hit me through my pants so it wasn’t as bad but it also didn’t seem like he was going to stop unless I really urged him to and it was more an issue that the bruising lasted and that my then boyfriend shamed me for letting someone other than him mark me. Mark me…Like I was his. His property. Not that it was unwise to do so but that I had no right to. Not human. Not my own person. Oh, how I wished the marks would disappear quickly and that I would be forgiven for doing something that my boyfriend didn’t like. By this point I’d gotten a taste of the high that can come from heavily controlled spanking, etc. It helped me forget the pain growing up, forget my first boyfriend, forget all the bad. I wanted more.

My boyfriend stopped “scening” with me as it is called amongst those into that type of kink. He said I shouldn’t need it. That I should seek psychiatric help instead. But this was the only coping mechanism I knew. Thusfar I hadn’t found anything that worked from counselors or doctors. I was so devastated. He began scening with someone else.He was emotionally abusive, controlling, and a narcissist.  He always talked about wanting my “firsts” because I was so sexually inexperienced, especially with kink. That was all he ever really wanted from me. I would try to do nice things for him like clean his house and help him with the laundry. Cook for him on occasion. He was a workaholic and eventually grew tired of sex with me, especially after a few bad scenes where my body went into shock because he went too hard too fast (before he’d cut scenes off entirely). I was triggered once during regular sex with him because memories from my childhood began coming to the surface. I was too much for him. Too many problems. Problems he didn’t want to be bothered with. He wanted someone easier to deal with who would do whatever he said and let him do whatever he wanted. My longing for someone that cared for me and would help me in the ways I wanted and needed led me to some really dark and dangerous places. I was raped twice. Once by a sexual predator I met through a dating website and once by the man who had earlier hit me with his belt through my pants. My boyfriend couldn’t look at me the same way. Wouldn’t kiss me or try to be intimate. I sunk into a deep depression. He broke things off via text.

He didn’t care. I was just a toy for him. For all of them. Something exciting and new that they could play with til they got tired of or broke and easily replaceable. The second rape was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I ended up hospitalized on suicide watch. Said boyfriend didn’t call. Didn’t visit. Didn’t care. I ended up moving back in with my emotionally abusive parents. It was such a dark time for me. And even though I’m in a much better place now, all those things in addition to the childhood trauma haunt me.

People have always found it convenient to dismiss my feelings and order me about. Having controlling parents made me afraid to be my own person or make any kind of move without their express permission. I don’t know who I am. Is this version of me really me? Or is it yet another mask? I’m afraid. So afraid. I’ve never been accepted for who I am and I marvel at this man who loves me flaws and all. Who likes everything about me. Am I being my true self? I hope I am. I’ve spent so much of my life pretending and trying to be something and someone I’m not.

Writing is cathartic. It’s one of the places where I feel free. Free to share my thoughts and feelings without judgment. That’s been so rare in my life. Not to be judged. To be able to write anything here and know that I can open up and be free. I can let go and float steadily downward in the soft breeze, close my eyes in the void and know that this is my safe space. My happy place. Nothing can hurt me here and words are welcome. Whatever they may be. I can yell and scream and cry and beat my fists on the page and come away feeling uplifted and more at peace in my own mind. I can write poetry if I want. Song lyrics. Post doodles. Share pictures of cute cats. Whatever strikes my fancy. When I’m here, this is home.

Thursday- another rough day

Last night I just couldn’t get to sleep. Between my brain not wanting to calm down and stop whirring and my pelvic and back pain, it was a rough night. I finally fell asleep some time after 5am. Woke up around 1pm so at least I slept some. Much better than waking constantly. In general I’ve been sleeping through the night more lately when I do actually fall asleep, which I guess is good. Still having dreams where I’m telling someone, usually male, “No.” and they’re forcing themselves on me anyway. Sometimes I fight back and can get away, sometimes not. Sometimes I’m a child but most of the time I’m an adult. It’s hardly ever someone I know in real life.

I had my IUD placed on Monday and it was really physically painful and the procedure triggered my rape memories. Cue hyperventilating, crying, and shaking. The doctor and nurse were nice but that’s not their area of expertise. I’ve not been back to normal since mentally though mostly my pelvis and vagina have stopped cramping. I need to make an appointment for pelvic floor therapy but it just seems like one more exhausting thing to do that’s likely to trigger me too. I just… it’s really hard for me to have someone that I don’t know well and trust touching me in that area. Sex is a little different in that for one thing, I’m aroused and secondly, it’s with someone I trust that I can stop at any time if I become uncomfortable. Examinations and procedures usually don’t work that way from my experience. Doctors and nurses don’t always listen when I need them to stop. I’ve had people tell me that such and such couldn’t possibly hurt or imply that I’m being a big baby. I’d like to see them deal with PTSD from sexual abuse and chronic pain issues and get back with me on that.

Everything is just extra overwhelming lately. Physically things are difficult, I’m hitting a mental block on getting anything productive done because of bad memories, and it’s going to take a very long time to complete disability paperwork. Everything is just too much. Honestly I’m struggling not to dissociate today simply because I’ve had some recent reminders of abuse. It’s so incredibly hard to function. I did manage a bath, daily meds, and ate food and I’m trying to remind myself to drink if nothing else. I feel defeated and exhausted and emotionally empty. And I’ve been struggling with the desire to self harm for a couple weeks. I never actually do anything and never have actively cut myself but I’ve certainly had times where the thought sounded appealing. I feel out of control as far as my therapist is concerned too. She’s going to have a baby and so she’s taking medical leave for a while. In the meantime, who’s going to help me deal with all this? We had barely covered any of my abuse and it had become all about my physical health lately and my relationship with Mr. German Man. I really need to talk about what happened to me and why everything is just so painful now.

Hump Day

What does that even mean? All I can think of is that blasted camel commercial. My first thought involves not so subtle sexual images but I’m sure the meaning is much more tame and something along the lines of Sunday through Saturday with Wednesday being the midpoint of the week. Thus, if the week was shown as a curve, Wednesday would be the hump. I’ll have to look it up later to relieve my curiosity and annoyance.

So. Life. How goes it? Well, I had a panic attack today. That was lovely…. (note the sarcasm). I’ve decided it’s way too peopley outside. Much better to stay in. The thing is, I know no one is trying to bother me or cause any harm, it’s just I so dislike having to interact when my mental capacity for interaction has already been reached the night before with visitors. So I was rather loathe to leave the apartment today, even with German Guy. I did because blood work needed to be done and I succeeded in making it through my session even though I probably looked like a grumpy mute.

Personally, I’d rather choose my own social interactions. Your average person is just so.. well, boring. Plus then I have to pretend I’m interested in them and go through all the rote pleasantries about how they are, the weather, whatever chitchat that has no value unless there’s something remarkable about said weather and affects us in some way. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I genuinely want to know how a person’s day is going. But the fact that it’s considered polite and required to ask when you really have no interest and then are required to fain said interest is exhausting if nothing else. And of course answer the “How are you?” question dishonestly. A cheery “Good!” is my go to, along with “fine” or “hanging in there” if I’m not having the best day. I’m sure most of these people don’t give a damn anyway. I can never tell. Reading strangers is hard. It’d be so much easier if I could say, “not all that well and/or I’d rather not talk about it”. Would be significantly easier. But then you’re considered rude.

I’m trying to drop the facade while I’m at home mostly because I’m tired of pretending I’m normal when I know I’m not. It’s relieving to let the mask fall. Reading about Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly Asperger’s Syndrome was a separate diagnosis but is now included in ASD) has really opened my eyes to a lot of my childhood behavior and the issues I still have in social settings. After taking several online tests, I highly suspect that I’m a highly functioning person with Aspergers. It would explain so so much. I’ve learned to mask my symptoms over the years but how my brain works is still completely different than other people’s based on what I’ve been reading. There were quite a few brick to the face kind of moments. It’s both relieving and cathartic to know that I can get tested for this and if that is indeed what’s going on, have some resources available to me to help cope with job stuff as well as social situations, school, and the like.

Today I’m just going to take it easy and focus on something that interests me and try not to worry about living up to society’s expectations of a late 20 something. I’m sorry if I feel perpetually 12-14 years old.  I can’t help it. It’s rather funny because as a child, I felt older and as an adult, I feel younger. This could explain why adulting is just so difficult for me to wrap my brain around and succeed at. And that there are services out there to help people like me. My future is looking brighter again.

Childhood struggles

I’ve always attributed my struggles through childhood and into adulthood to some of the trauma and dysfunctionality going on in my homelife but when I sat down and thought about it, there was more to it than that. I’ve always felt out of place and like I just didn’t fit in and now I think I have an idea why. There were a few clues that brought my attention to Asperger Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder as that term now includes those who were previously diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. I’m sensitive to textures, light, sounds, etc. I always have been.

Stiff fabric was awful, the seams in socks that no one else seemed to care about, tags on clothes, etc. I remember specifically when I was about 7 or 8, I preferred to wear the same blue cotton dress with stitching on the pocket of a heart with flowers day in and day out if at all possible. One, it was easy to put on, two, it didn’t drive me batshit crazy like tighter clothing. I’m pretty sure I’d also removed the fabric lining around the stitching because I always hated that on clothes anyway. That and tags. Tags were my enemy. There was the good eyelet lace on fancy socks and then the itchy scratchy awful kind. I lived in cotton primarily.

I excelled at academics, however, struggled with language arts/english. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the stories but I disliked questions that required me to give more than a yes or no answer or that didn’t have a quantifiable response. Usually the anwers to questions about english had to do with being able to see what the author was trying to convey or what they meant the reader to understand through their work. I, being the logical person I was, didn’t understand hidden meanings well. I had a hard time understanding what was wanted and took things literally. Communicating was already a challenge, I didn’t need extra things bogging up how to communicate effectively.

Teasing, even by family could be extremely frustrating for me. For example, I’d finally ask if my dad could make me a sandwich (as I struggled to do so myself many times being an uncoordinated child). What I meant to convey was “could you help me make a sandwich” not “Make me a sandwich” as it sometimes came out. He would smile and go, “POOF. You’re a sandwich.” This would surprise and confuse me and inevitably make me frustrated and angry. If he continued the joking, many times I would end up lashing out and hitting because I just couldn’t seem to 1. understand what was funny, 2. understand why he would react in such a way, and 3. I still needed help and couldn’t seem to convey that. This would inevitably end up with me getting in trouble, being called sensitive, strong-willed, etc. Eventually I caught on that it was supposed to be funny and would laugh with others and even use the phrase myself from time to time but it took a while for it to click in my brain what was funny about it. I became an expert at mimicry.

 

 

Some self realization

One thing I want to write about is a small milestone I’ve crossed. Last night, for whatever reason, I finally gave myself permission to heal mentally and emotionally. I don’t pretend that magically everything will go *poof* and suddenly I’ll be perfectly fine, but it’s like my brain finally said, “Yes, those times were really really bad. It’s okay. It’s over. The worst is over.” And it was like this relief washed over me that all the really bad stuff that had happened to me, none of that was in my future anymore. Or my present. Things will still be brought to the surface from my past but my today and my tomorrow, they aren’t fearful and full of bad people and situations out to hurt me. Does that mean I’m cured of my PTSD? No. Absolutely not. But it means the trauma is over. The sun is coming up and it’s warm and inviting. I can start growing and healing. The night and the darkness are over and done with.

When I was a kid, I had several compulsive behaviors I would do to help myself dissociate from a situation. I would repeatedly wash my hands, I was terrified of germs and getting sick. I would tap out repetitive rhythms with my hands or feet. They had to be tapped a certain number of times. Both sides of my body had to be even. I would bite my nails, pick at and eat scabs, and pull hairs from my head or my legs. Some of these carried over into adulthood. When those didn’t work and things got really bad, I’d just blank out a situation. Sometimes now, I remember what the situation was. Not always though.

Lately I’ve been having this recurring image of me wearing some kind of red and yellow outfit and being 2-4 years old. Flowered shorts and/or top. I’m unsure. I just remember red and yellow. I think I’m running around the house holding a balloon. Then I run into my mother’s room and she’s crying and there’s blood on the bathroom floor. I don’t know if it’s a real memory or if it’s not. However, I know my mother admitted to self harm behavior when I was a teenager. She said she tried to use a razor blade to slit her wrists. So perhaps what I saw was accurate and a repeated thing she used to do. I wouldn’t be surprised considering her background and my parents’ marriage. I guess my main question is why. Why would she feel so so bad about herself that she’d resort to hurting herself instead of seeking help?

I’ve not self harmed in those ways. Of course I used to dig my fingernails into my skin and scratch myself and pinch myself when life just got to be too much to handle. Reading now about psychology and trauma and different disorders, it all starts to click a bit why I did and still do certain things. I usually need to know the why’s for things. I’m learning. Slowly.

Wednesday -April 12

My goodness. Where to start. Suffice it to say things have gotten both worse and temporarily better. Over the past month it’s been much of the same pain and achiness in various extremities of my body. I spent a night in the hospital because I almost fell in the kitchen after getting dizzy. Nothing conclusive was found but eventually they released me. We ordered me a walker because walking any distance is painful and results in limping and leg weakness. Doing any everyday task is challenging. Dishes have to be done in small increments while mostly sitting on my walker seat. My ptsd has flaired up the past three days as well. It’s just a shit storm. I spend more time trying to alleviate pain than getting anything constructive done. It’s slow. My days are relatively slow. I’ll have a good but not great day or so, maybe two and then be back to just yuck. Today is a tolerable yuck day.

For an example, I woke up late in the morning, hobbled out with my walker to make a cup of coffee, drank it, hobbled back to make an easy breakfast, and took my meds. By the time all that was done it was 1pm. I watched some YouTube videos, took an Epsom salt bath and felt more relaxed in my muscles but still absolutely exhausted. And so frustrated that I wanted to scream. All I’d done was clean up and put on clothes.  Rested in the chair, reheated pasta for lunch and had salad. It’s 3:30. I’m beat. So I go catch up on information on service animals on my laptop in bed. Eventually I get up because German Guy is home early. I make us both tea and try to nap in the recliner. I’m unsuccessful. Eventually make my way to both bedrooms to sort laundry. Again with the walker as much as possible. I finish but my back is aching now and I want to cry. So heating pad it is. And this is a typical day for me. Which sucks.