Category Archives: Flashback

Nature’s First Green Is Gold

“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight…”

The first and the last words of The Outsiders, a movie that quickly became one of my favorite a pre-teen. I do know not know what drew me into the story. It could have been the adorable and quite handsome young Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Cruise. It was more than bubbling hormones though. I not only loved the movie, I loved the book.

In the eighth grade when required to do a report on the book of our choice, I chose The Outsiders. Honestly, I think I related to them somehow. Ponyboy and Johnny the tightest of friendships, even to laying to Johnny laying down his life. Each of the boys in the story carried trait I could relate to.

Not understood. Angry. Funny. Desire to be loved. Together with friends, but still outsiders.

When I presented my oral report, I began by quoting Alfred R. Ferguson’s poem that Johnny loved so well.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

It is ironic to me now that I quoted the poem. Not really understanding what the words meant, though Johnny explained them to Pony in a letter.

The irony lies in the loss of my innocent childhood. It was gold to me. Beautiful, fun, exciting, perfect, innocent, but one event remembered has marred the golden beauty of my innocence. I do not know if my words capture the feeling and the meaning I am trying to convey and the relationship I feel to the poem. I just thought it interesting how it unknowingly personified my life.

I need to apologize for my lack of posts the last couple of days. I will sit down and start a post and something will distract me, and it is almost like “SQUIRREL” and I am mentally and/or physically gone! I am so easily distracted and completely lose the train and the track the train of thought was on. I hope to do better, but I cannot make promises. I know my brain, and it does not like to cooperate these days.

With that said, I am extremely sleepy. I think I might take a nap. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday. Thank you for reading my blog!

~Hope

P.S. This is a picture of a male red cardinal on a red bud tree outside my parents home yesterday. Isn’t he gorgeous?
Cardinal

Children Will Listen

How beautifully true the words are Children Will Listen, they kept playing over and over in my mind. Generally when we talk about children we speak of those that we touch in our physical world our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, students, friends, or just the child on the street.

As I sang this song with tears in my eyes recalling the words that Little Shanna has heard from me all these years. The words I have said about myself. The words she internalized and having no way to process or express, she attached these to her other negative secrets. (She asked that I use her real name.  I will not always, but today. I agreed, because it is important to her.)

Whereas my shield against the world, forged by my parents, family and friends has mostly been created with positive input, hers, due to my inner negative dialogue became a shield that was not much of a shield at all. Just awful awful scary untruths and half-truths. Words a five year-old should never hear.

It is no secret that since I was a teenager, I have had thoughts of suicide. I attempted it once, but the razor would not cut me. I do not take suicide thoughts, talk, or attempts lightly. I have had friends who have felt the darkness and stepped beyond trying to find relief. I will not judge them and I will jump to their defense if I hear anyone saying anything about someone who has attempted or committed suicide.

However, as I have said before, I have made a promise to my Mother that I will not kill myself as long as I have my faculties about me. I will reach out, call, do whatever I can do get out of that dark place where you physically, spiritually, and emotionally feel a pain that is black, completely absent of light, piercing every cell in your body. You just want the pain to stop.

Having said that, as she has watched from her corner of my mind, Little Shanna, has equated sadness with the need to die or to kill yourself. She does not remember the promise nor will she make the promise that I made with Mother. See has seen my misery and torment that words do not do justice, and heard my thoughts seen the pills in my hands, as I shook and yelled.  I just want to die.  She has heard it so many times.  I have to get her to trust me enough now to LISTEN and make the promise that we will keep each other safe.

Singing I looked over on my night stand and saw the monkey I bought her the first few weeks after she came out. He has been covered with junk since I came home from the weekend that I bought him. When she first let me know her secret, I felt sorry for her, broken-hearted. I considered it our secret. As the months passed I have pushed her farther and farther away. Angrily at times, blaming her for the mess my life is in. If she would have kept her secret to herself. If she would not act out. If she would…

Seeing her stuffed bear reminded me she is a child and reminded me of the feelings I felt for her when she first let me know what happened.  I began to be really penitent about pushing her away, even when she was being  a loud five-year old at inconvenient times. She is a child. Most children act out in the least convenient times.

How is she going to heal if the one who should love her most of all continues pushing her away with hateful words, wishing she were gone. How is she going to heal when her protector becomes her abuser?

If she cannot heal then we cannot heal, and if we cannot heal then I cannot heal.

I know that we both want to heal TOGETHER.

You Know What I Felt Most Of All?

Tonight we watched Standoff. Standoff is a series about FBI hostage negotiators. I love shows like this. This episode was about a victim of an adoption fraud who was holding someone hostage. We were not privy to why he was holding the hostage until most of the way through the episode or I would have decided to not watch this episode.

When I realized the reason, I started playing around on my Ipad, trying to drown out the show. I still heard though. The negotiators brought in another victim of the same adoption fraud. As she was talking on the phone to the hostage taker she said she understands what he feels. She went on to ask, “But do you know what I felt the most?”

In unison she and I said stupid.

I started shaking and crying, for so many reasons. It was like the adoption fraud just happened. Dealing with that is the whole reason I started going to therapy last year, when EMDR opened Pandora’s box, I have yet to really get to dealing with it.

My life.

Sharing A Brain

Last night Little Hope made herself known. Sharing a brain with her, and being trapped when she appears, is terrifying. Last night, I felt sorry for her. She was so scared.

My husband and I were talking about money issues. I became emotional. I could feel her trying to take over. I whispered under my breath, “No. Do not come.” Several times, but it was no use. She had pushed me back, and was now in a room with someone she did not recognize. She was terrified and very scared. Internally I tried to calm her and tell her who my husband was, she continued to push back against me. I was also mentally begging my husband to call my Mother. (Mother and I had talked about next time she came out that Mother would try to reach her and get her to make some of the same promises I have made.) In her fear and hysterics she pushed back at my so hard that I do not remember everything.

It is hard sharing a brain with someone that is a part of you but that you do not recognize and you do not control. Once I swictch back, I was so exhausted.

Though my life is no laughing matter, I do have to say my choice of movies last night did make me chuckle after I realized the plot. The Host I told Tracy that is often how I feel. Hopefully, she and I can become friends like Wanda and Melanie.

Thursdays Make Me Nervous

Ever since my wreck afew weeks ago, Thursdays make me nervous. When I am nervous and anxious I have to work extra hard to not switch, which makes me more nervous and anxious. Today I have an appointment that requires me to travel the road where I had my first flashback. I know many of you are thinking let it go, PTSD is not like that, you cannot. You live and relive, constantly. I am physically hurting and in emotional torment.

This afternoon I meet with my counselor. One of the things that I want to discuss with her is lately my emotions get so intense, but then if I want to express what is in my mind it is like someone takes a curtain and pulls it infront of my thoughts, and there is nothing there but the emotion.

I made my Mother a promise last week that I would not look up my symptoms on the internet, I have kept that promise. I just keep forgetting to ask my counselor about this. It has happened in therapy several times.

Gratefully, I just received the news that the first appointment was cancelled. I am already a nervous mess. I am going to turn on the TV and try to find something that I can get insterested in.

Correcting Misperceptions

Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions. – Unknown

I do not know if I blogged about it or not, but last week I wrote my Kindergarten teacher. Through therapy we have come to realize that many of my feelings of self worth were created as she practiced some very unethical teaching practices with me. As we have discussed it, I have come to terms with the abusive nature of her acts, and that her acts are not my fault.

I still have a hard time accepting or believing any compliment, and I feel like I am going to fail at anything given to me. Though my successes in life may outnumber my failures, my failures are magnified in my eyes and overtake any success I have.

So last week, I took courage and found out where my Kindergarten teacher was. I felt sickened to learn that she still teaching. I weighed the thoughts I had about writing her, the courage won. Initially I just emailed and asked if she taught Kindergarten in the early 80s. She emailed me back within the hour.

She stated that she had taught Kindergarten, and taught me. That year she had 31 students, stating she took off ten years after teaching us. She went on to tell me about her life. She ended her letter with “Good to hear from a former student.”

I felt sick. I was shaking.

How do you start a letter to an abuser? How to you start a letter to a teacher that seemed excited to her from you? It has been 34-5 years, I believe people can change. I also feel responsible for the child in me. I needed to do this. I needed to be her voice.

So I began just like that. Letting her know that I did not know how to start it. Then the rest of the letter I used the sandwhich method good-bad-good. As I write that I remember I did blog about it last week, so I do not need to go into more details about that here.

I still have not heard back from her. After much more thought, I decided to follow my gut. I am never going to be able to let go and move on if I did not let someone at the school know my story. I want her students to be protected. I do not want any other child to deal with the humiliation or the self loathing that she caused me. Children already deal with so much these days. They need to be protected. I emailed her principal and received a very kind and thoughtful response. I have no doubt that she will keep her eyes out.

I hope that by confonting this demon from my past, I will be able to forgive, not only her but myself. I want to erase all of the misperceptions and misconceptions formed so long ago and create a new and healthier way to view myself and the world.

I know have other demons to deal with too, but I must take it one step at a time.

It’s My Life

It is hard to say whether or not I should consider my last few weeks as eventful. Most of my days have been spent in my room with my blankets pulled up to my nose while I watch a Glee Marathon now I am on to Party of Five. I had brief breaks from the shows to watch movies, and a couple of days of doctor appointments, I vetured down to my parents a couple of times, and then I attempted to cook supper for my husband maybe three times. I also went to church on Sunday, but ended up coming home.

My life has become very sheltered. The last couple of days I have found words to describe how I feel. You see people in abusive relationships. They become imprisioned and cut off from their support system by their abuser. That is what I feel like “Little Hope” is trying to do to me. I do not know if she thinks that is her way of protecting me or manipulating me. I really feel like her wanting to kill me is her feeling like she has been the one that has protected us for all these years, and if I go away she will still be here strong, and I will not be hurting. Death through the eyes of a child is like it plays out on a cartoon, you come right back. I do not know if she realizes that we or she would not come right back. I do not know. I can only guess what she is thinking and feeling, and go by the memories and feelings that I have after she has manifested herself. Sometimes I am present with her as an imprisoned bystander and others I have very little memory to no memory that she took over.

Our minds are facinating and terrifying things. Though this Little One is me, because of her defiance, I do not feel any connection to her. When I think back to me as a child, that is not how I was.

Earlier this week my young cousin told her Mom that her teacher had gotten angry threw her folder, scattering papers everywhere, and then told the child that it was her fault to clean it up. When confronted the teacher lied infront of the Principal and then my little cousin was given a lecture about lying. Gratefully her peers came forward and backed her story and she has now been transferred out of that class.

My cousin’s courage gave me the courage to seek out my abusive teacher. It scares me that she is still a teacher, but I also know people can change. I first wrote her to verify that it was indeed her. It was and she remembered me. My anxiety shot through the roof when the last words she wrote were “Good to hear from a former student.”

She had no idea what I was about to write. Being the person I am and truly hoping she has changed, I wrote in the sandwhich method that I learned in management training years ago. Good BAD Good. Meaning good news and nice, bad news and harsh, good news and nice again.

I based the good news and nice on the few things she told me in her first email, and then I reminded her exactly who I was. I detailed the things she did to me and how they made me feel, then and now. I also let her know that I spoke to others in my class and without prompting they had the same memories. They also have their own stories to tell. I let her know that I was giving voice to the child that did not have one back then.

I let her know some of the good things that have happened in my life and that we share the love of working with those that have special needs. She changed from regular ed and is now a special needs teacher. I also commended her for getting out of teaching for a while to raise her boys. My Mother was a stay at home mom, and it was so important to me. I know not everyone can.

There were several things that I mentioned. I tried to express that I was not coming down on the person she is today, but in hopes of forgiving her I needed to let her know what it had done to me. I need to heal.

Sadly, I have not heard back from her. No apology, no excuses, no nothing. Now, it worries me that she still teaches. In my heart of hearts, I really thought as an mature adult, realizing what her actions had done, she would have apologized. I have now drafted a letter to her Principal, but have not hit send. I know her Principal well. I am waiting, in the hopes she is just processing the information. I know I should not expect and apology, I just hoped.

After writing the letter to her I spoke outloud, letting “Little Hope” know that I have taken care of it. She can become one with me and know that she will not be forgotten, but I will take care of us. I do not know if she heard me or not. She seems to listen in on my other conversations.

Yesterday when my husband and I where having lunch together, we were talking about teachers. I do not remember exactly what he said. I excused myself to to restroom. While in there she fought so hard to manifest, I knew I needed to get back out to my husband. I do not know what set her off. I do not know if she got full control or not, I was fighting so hard for her not to. I have not asked my husband, I remember seeing fear in his eyes. He kept saying we could go, but I remember telling him no that I needed him to get his dessert. I felt like she was trying to control that situation, she did not want him to be able to have his dessert, he has been waiting for that for a while. She knew I would feel awful if it was my fault that he did not have it. I do not remember him eating it or leaving.

Today is Saturday. I have family coming in. I am praying for a good day with no suprise guests.

The Calendar Says It Is A New Day

It is a new day. I know because my husband’s alarm went off and he busied himself and readied himself for work. As we hugged goodbye, he said to have a good day, I said, “I think I am going to stay right here (meaning our bed) it is the only place I do not get in trouble.”

When I think about it, that is probably pretty far from the truth, but I did not mean to lie. I only meant that I do not mess with the world from this corner of it. I actually get in alot of trouble here, because if I do not sleep, I think. If I think too much, I see my pink medicine bag beside my bed, and often want to reach for it. I have always reached for the phone instead.

Yesterday, I am very afraid that had I been alone, I was so far gone, I would not have reached the phone. I felt as if I was controlled by “her” and “her” fears and insecurities, “her” pains and frailties, her abuses and abusers yelling loudly that “she” was bad, usless, and “her” life, my life not worth living.

My angel of a Mother knelt in front of me cradled my face in her hands and talked to us. Expressing love and support, and telling us we are not bad. Daddy sat in his chair behind her, and echoed each of her words. My parents are the best parents, so supportive. I hate that they are having to deal with this.

This morning, I am still in fight or flight. My anxiety lessened yesterday a little, Heavenly Father sent our “Tender Mercy” the deer that seems to come when we are having a really bad day. Then when I got home I explained the events of the day to my husband, my anxiety came back.

I recognize in the world this is small, in my PTSD world it is crushing. My parents had generously let me drive their new van to pick up groceries for myself and a couple of friends, because of my memory problems and so I would not be alone on the trip the friend rode with me. After we unloaded her grocercies I was headed home, and my phone rang, it was her saying that they accidently took part of the other friends groceries. Something told me to let Mother pick them up when she goes to deliver them to that friend, but I was only a few blocks away so I went back. When I turned on her dirt road a car came up on my bumper really fast and rode it. My friend’s gate is very narrow, and when I turned, I thought I cleared it, and it scratched and dented the right side of my parents van. My parents are not upset at all, or at least not expressing it in front of me, but I could not handle it. Humiliated and devestated are the mildest terms I can come up with.

Last night as I laid in bed, thinking of the day, and regrets, so many flashbacks came. I could not stop them. Gratefully I finally went to sleep…

I awoke once throwing the pillow that rested on my arm off because I had a nightmare of “his” legs pinning my arms down. Frozen in fear, my heart raced, and I listened to make sure I could hear my husband breathing, I then reached over and touched his shoulder for comfort.

When I have spoken to people about having dealt with depression and anxiety all my life and just recently having remembered the abuses. They say atleast now you know and you can work with them and move on. I am not at that point of being grateful that I remembered. I think I would have been better off thinking it was my inherited chemical depression and anxiety, because this is not living. My family cannot live and when they do they live in fear of what I might do to myself, if I lose touch with reality. I feel like I am not being fair to them, but I am fighting so hard. I wish I could just snap out of this.

I used to always think I would die in my 30’s, I am 39. I realized this week I have died, the life I once lived no longer exists. Yes, I breathe and have a pulse, but I do not live. I pray, sincerely pray that I can ressurect and be the person God intends me to be, pure and whole.

Will The Tears EVER END

I really do not know where they come from. How can one person cry this many tears? Gallons upon gallons of salty drops pouring down my puffy face over the last few months. Will they ever stop?

Tonight did not go quite as planned, does it ever?

My hubs decided he did not want to go to see the missionary couple so he stayed home and worked around the house. It seems that everytime I leave the house alone, if I am upset, I see “him”. Today my emotions were raw. Seeing “him” today triggered me, though just a few weeks back I was able to stop and talk to him. I know part anxiety is because of therapy today and the work that we did, and part was reading about this awful molester in Savannah they finally caught today. I was grateful that they had caught that monster, but as I read the article I felt myself tensing up getting afraid, then flashbacks. Seeing “him” did not help. I could not stop shaking. I was nauseated. i wanted to turn around and go home, but I promised my Mother I would be there. I also needed to pick up my medications at CVS.

I floored it.

Once at CVS there had been a mix up, my meds were put on hold, because of that they did not have enough to fill it. I was my Pristique. Ummmm, I had to have it. They said they would fill a partial, but that I needed to come back.

I ran to the Church and rushed inside, just as they were taking the goodbye pictures. Still shaking and forcing back tears, I hid on the back row. I had completely forgotten I was supposed to help Mother, help someone file for unemployment online. Just as we reached the last of a million and one pages, the internet crashed. What in the world?! Mother has all the information to re-entered it at home, or that was the plan. I have not talked to her.

Me and my nightblind self rushed to CVS, almost running down three dark skinned ladies wearing dark clothes walking in the middle of the road. Idiots! Good thing I drive slow at dusk and night time because of my night blindness. I pull up to CVS, just received a text my husbands meds are ready also, they were not. I sat for about 15 minutes until another customer pulled up behind me, then I circled around. Our scripts finally ready, I am asked if I had ever taken Propranolol. I look puzzled and told her that was the med that was supposed to be on hold, waiting for my Internist to call. I ask how much it is. It was just over $4 so I said after today, I need it for my PTSD. The Pharmacist who knows my meds says that it works great for PTSD and that my dosage is so low I should not see any negative side effects. I told her to give it to me.

I have been home several hours now. Cried a bit more. Had a good heart to heart with my husband and now, I hope to call it a night. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Please?

***Trigger Warning*** When Did I Lose Myself

Imagining myself writing a post even remotely similar to the one about to come from my fingers seems to be like imagining living someone else’s life or at the very least talking about their life. I have debated within myself the last two days whether or not I should blog about this experience, simply because the intimate nature of it. Today in therapy we talked about my blog, about how sad I get when my numbers are down, but then I reminded myself of that the reason I began a blog was to help myself and to help others on their journey to healing from remembering repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse.

As I thought I recalled the story of a little boy walking along the sea-shore after a storm. Hundreds and hundreds of starfish had been washed ashore during the destructive storm. The little boy was going along throwing starfish back into the water when someone came along and made a comment trying to discourage him from throwing them back. The comment was something to the order of “You cannot save all of the them, I do not know why you are even trying.” The child picked up another starfish, showed his antagonist and said, “You are right, but I can save this one.”

The experience I am about to share might be read by one person who like me feels alone and completely messed up. It might help that one person realize that they are not alone in the way they are reacting.

That is one of my biggest challenges. This is all new territory and though my abuse happened 34 years ago, remembering and living it now, dealing with it now creates completely uncharted hazardous waters in my life. New emotions and suppressed emotions experienced daily.

***Trigger Warning***

Since we married 8 years ago, and until recently, my husband and I have been very intimate. I had some issues after my hysterectomy, but I when were together I enjoyed it. Passion has not been a real issue we faced. There were times as in all marriages that you are not in the mood, but passion and making love remained relatively consistent. I guess you would say we had a healthy sex-life.

I remembered my abuse on May 2 of this year. In remembering my rape, I lost my sexual self, instead became an afraid 5-year-old child anytime my husband touched me in a remotely intimate way. If he kissed me and I felt his tongue, I would cry, feeling betrayed. He patiently understood or atleast tried to.

We have tried different methods of touch to get me comfortable with us again. I tell myself, as my therapist recommended, “This is my husband and my lover. It is okay to be with him.”

I have reach over and tried to touch “him” and was paralyzed in fear and sobbed in his arms. My inner child screaming at me while I tried to touch him that I was not being fair to her. Her voice very cruel and distracting.

Most nights he holds me in his arms, protecting me as I go to sleep. He gently rubs my back comforting me until I sleep.

A few nights ago I dreamt about being with him as husband and wife. I was so happy when I woke up, sad that he had to go to work. When he came home I explained to him how things could be done. It would not be passionate, no touching and fondling except what I allowed and directed. Very contained very ruled, very PG for sex between husband and wife, especially in our life.

When his rhythm started I was so scared. I kept my eyes tightly closed. I wanted him to finish. He noticed my tears and stopped. I wanted him to be happy, but at the same time I wanted to run. I wanted to get away. “She” felt like I was letting him rape “her”. I could not look at him when it was over. I stayed in the bathroom for a while. I felt dirty like I had done something wrong. I was sick to my stomach and sobbing. When I finally composed myself I came back to bed and we talked. Some of these things I only verbalize to him as I read this before I post it, the shame that I felt like I could not tell him. Not because anything he did, because what I felt.

I was shaking inside and I know he heard it in my voice. He wished that I would have told him when it started to scare me. It is such a difficult thing when you love your spouse and want them to be fulfilled, but and the same time you are terrified.

He had not pressured me into anything, as a matter of fact he had asked if I was ready. I said I was ready to “try”.

I am so ready for my life back!! I am ready to find me.I talked to my therapist about it today and she said it is a journey and I do not need to try to rush it. I suppose in a healing journey you need baby steps not giant strides. I am making progress inch by inch.