Tag Archives: Sexual Abuse

To Put Emotions On Pause

Oh to be able to let my emotions flow out of my finger tips.  The last few days I have been depressed and really anxious.   Medication, situation, all of the above?  Who knows.

Monday the fly on the wall, found me watching CNN.  A special about sexual predators working at Disney World, Sea World, Universal, and other theme parks.  The one I remember most lived life as a preacher.  Sounded like a familiar story.

Eventually sufficiently creeped out, I turned the television off.  Pondering the things I just learned, I picked up my Ipad and began a search.  Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

Shaking inside and out I called, simply to see what could be done to report someone who preyed on me over 35 years ago.  I am pretty sure I let out an audible gasp when she said she would take my report, and the information would be shared with the authorities.  I do not look for him to be punished for the things he did to me.  At least not in the here and now, but the thought of him continuing to prey on victims…My voice no longer silent.

For a couple of days his memory haunted me.  Fears.  More memories, smells, more memories…restless.

My medication has been tweeked too, and I think in the wrong direction.  So I know that this seems much more grandiose to me than it is.

Last but not least, I cannot deny my heart many many tears, as I prepare to say see you later to my sweet boy Enos.  He has degenerative back disease, past surgery on multiple disc.  He can no longer walk, or turn over when lying down.  We have to hold him up for him to do his “jobs”.  He is getting where he is in a good bit of pain.  My heart is broken for my baby.  He has slept with me since we rescued him seven years ago.  He is my smallest dog, and since I was never blessed with my own children, my dogs are my babies.  Enos lets me dress him and do what ever with him.  I love that little guy so much.

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Free Sowing

Free Sowing.  It’s a gardening term that my therapist taught me as she gifted me some parsley, basil, and chia seeds.  It means seeds that do not require much tending to grow.

The last year and a half, I have required so much tending and care, that I am happy to be at my free sown phase.  I have happy days.  I have real moments when the dark foggy abyss abates, and I feel the sunlight on my face.  Those moments are longer and longer.  Words cannot adequately give gratitude to how that feels.

The pivotal moment for me occurred when I saw my friend on the street and presented with the opportunity to tell him forgave him. I reiterated I knew his daddy caused him to do the things he did to me.  Something happened that day, he told me that he was wrong, relating also, his father often told him to do things he should not have done.  I was no longer the only one saying these things happened.  I  no longer doubted my memories.  A tender mercy that I prayed for, answered very directly.  My husband witnessed his confession as he sat silently in the car beside me.

Since our conversation, surprisingly, days passed without a thought of the abuse or my abusers.  The long-awaited mental reprieve granted.  Not to spread all sunshine and roses, some days are still hard, but many more happy days of light than before.

What of my alters?

They still remain vigilent.  I am learning to live with them and they me.

Gidget fulfills her job as protector, and gets quite upset if I do not let her do her job.  She speaks up in situations that I should speak up and don’t or won’t.   She also loves to laugh and play jokes.  A few weeks back my husband and I went on a date.  Gidget came out.  I had shrimp on my plate.  When she allowed me to come back there were green beans in a smiley face with one shrimp as a IMG_2272nose staring at me.  Apparently she had told Mother she was not going to let me eat all the food at the restaurant.  She really likes Ole Times, and shrimp.

Squirt, or Little Shanna, her feelings are so tender.  She has been happier.  She watched Curious George a couple of times.  Mother said she gave her a play- by-play of what George was doing.  She still has some of her fears, but she is feeling safer.

Adrian.  I do not know what to say about Adrian.  Mother can talk to her and get through to her.  She does not like me, AT ALL.  She is very angry.  Though relatively quiet the last few weeks, she still makes part our “family”.

I suppose the dream of being “normal” – alter free- when I started to feel better, isn’t going to happen.  They are my normal.  Learning to live with them and accepting this part of my life is key.

 

 

 

Why I Blog…A Gentle Reminder

I started blogging to help others, and myself become stronger.  The last several months, I did not have it in me to carry myself, much less have any bright days to share and lift others.  My internal protector, who now goes by Gidget, not “the mean one”, isn’t mean at all.  She does have a temper.  She can swear like a sailor when she gets angry, but her goal has been to protect me and “squirt” and to make me have a little more fun in life.

What now seems eons ago, but was only weeks ago, she told me angrily, “Not everyone deserves to be forgiven.”  That statement lead to pandora’s box being opened, and discovering and recalling that my “original” abuser, was a pawn and victim himself in his father and step-mother’s sadistic game.  Who knows how long it went on with him, but Little Shanna endured about a year and a half of sexual abuse.  Holding tightly to the secret, the sadness, and the guilt, standing beside her, a valiant protector Gidget.

She is remembering that she did fight now, she let me know, I fought and begged to go home.  There is only so much a 4 and 5 year old child can do.  Especially when you have two adults there, who are holding you.  Holding you in a way that you do not bruise though.  Hugging you.  Adults you once trusted.  Adults you should still be able to trust.  Hearing my dog barking outside because she heard my cries.  Gidget, that is where she got her name from.  My faithful protector back then.

She has introduced herself to most of my family and friends.  I am not really comfortable with that, but I suppose she is making it so that I do not have to worry about it.  Fear of rejection is so high.  She gave my closest friends what for the other day, for absolutely no reason.  Of course I had to apologize profusely after I returned.  She seems to forget my life, our life, is not all that everyone has to deal with.

She and I have become almost like sisters.  Boy howdy can she get mad at me.  If I try to smooth something over when it is clearly not my fault, or heaven forbid I blame her for something that happens, and I do not know if she had anything to do with it or not.  My husband says I need to learn to chose my words more carefully.  I told him, I am not used to someone knowing my intimate thoughts, and responding to them.  This is a new ball game for me.

She has quite the sense of humor.  I hope she does not mind me sharing this.  First off, she is country.  Very country.  Several people have mentioned that she has a serious twang to her voice.  After therapy yesterday, I told my parents that I wanted to try to actually eat out at my favorite place.  Ole Times Country Buffet. I set up ground rules.  My back would be to the wall, and I would be able to see my parents at all times, even at the buffet.  I was getting a little nervous.  Mother said Gidget came out and said, “I ain’t gonna let her eat all this good food by herself.”  Mother laughed as she said some of the things Gidget said and did.  First apparently she ate so fast, afraid I would come out soon.  Mother asked her if I had put any fried squash on the plate.  I had not, only because I did not have room.  Gidget sad SHE does not like that stuff. She joked, “When she comes back she ain’t gonna know where her food went.”  Gidget, must be a messy eater because my napkin was all nasty when I returned, and she was right.  I had Mac’N’Cheese (because” it did not taste like Ms. Edith’s (my grandmother) or hers (Mothers)”, according to Gidget, I agree.), and a piece of dry chicken.  Thing is my mouth was still hungry, though my belly bloated.  I dared her in my mind to come out when I got my deserts.  I got two just in case, I hid them behind butter beans and collards.

If you are new to this life.  My advice is, take it slow, but try to become friends.  I find when I am scared or afraid when they come out, it wipes me out physically.  If I let them come have their peace, and not fight them, I am not nearly as exhausted when I return.  I  do not understand it, but that is how my body and mind works.  My doctor seemed to recognize the exhaustion, so I must not be too crazy.  Yeah, not too crazy, says the woman with two altar personalities.

I am not going to write as often as I did before, but I will check in every once and a while.  A pulse check  to let you know that I am still alive and kicking.

Thank you so much for reading.  Thank you Mental Health Bloggers for the gentle reminder as to why I began blogging.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Hope, Gidget, Little Shanna

 

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Lillie’s Pain Analogy

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I love this girl. Though she is my parents pup, her little heart beats in unison with mine. I suppose there are several reasons. I was the one who found her on Craigslist. My Daddy and I picked her up on a really rotten day for me. When her little toothless piglet looking self was handed to me it was instant love. During her first vet appointment the vet was very concerned for her survival. Between the dishonest breeder pulling her away from her mom too soon, to the genetic issues that she has from inbreeding, TLC was what it would take to make the cutest girl from Lakeland, Georgia thrive.

Thriving she is. She has gain two pounds, weighing in at a whooping 2.6 lbs. Today she went to have her second set of Parvo and Distemper Shots. Poor poor angel girl.

About two hours after the shots she started hurting really bad. Crying out when she was put down. crying if my Daddy held her. Crying when Heidi licked her. I called my Mother to she how her appointment went and I could hear my girl crying. I wanted to cry. Mother was trying to cook lunch, but every move she made Lillie Pie would cry out. I could not stand it. I told Mother I come down and relieve her to so she could cook.

When I walked in Lillie saw me and immediately tried to get to me, crying loudly the whole time. broke my heart into a thousand pieces. She didn’t know why moving hurt. Wrapped in her pink blankie, she finally relaxed in my arms and went to sleep.

So where is the analogy?

PTSD and Depression is like what Lillie experienced today. She went through the traumatic experience, but the pain did not hit, really hit until hours later. Then every time she thought about it, even in her dreams she would scream out in pain. I am sure she is sore, do not get me wrong, but the screams coming from this baby were so horrible. Unbearable agony. She did not know why she was in pain, she did not associate it with the shot anymore. As a matter of fact, at one point I noticed that she shied away from her blanket. I think she thought that her blanket was her tormentor. Often with PTSD we see those that are trying to comfort us as tormentors because we do not understand what we are feeling and experiencing and on what side of reality we stand during the experience. Nor do those that are trying to help use, and in helping us they sometimes bring us pain.Another thing that I thought about, and I recently talked to a dear friend about this as I tried to help them validate their feelings of childhood sexual abuse. You sometimes have very intense emotions that you cannot put your finger on a reason, I have always told my husband that. I am mad, sad, upset, or whatever, but I do not know why. My way of describing this to my friend was amputee victims having fathom feelings itches or pains in the limb that is no longer there. Phantom emotions cause similar experiences. Being detached whether it be time or geographically from the abuse and abuser, yet still experiencing the phantom emotions. You have them without thinking about your abuse, the feelings are just there, and much like the amputee, learning how to deal with phantom emotions is a key to healing and it is a journey. They will never go away completely as we will learn coping skills, we can begin to feel whole again.

***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.

Daily Post: Strength, Love, Courage, Faith, and Hope

Today’s prompt was about artists. If you read my last post you saw a beautiful painting by Simon Dewey that offers me a great strength and hope.

The artwork I am about to share brings me great courage strength and hope also. I look at it often. It was created just for me when I was going through my trials being diagnosed uterine cancer. That amazing friend Bec you hear so much about created it for me and my support team.

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The words: Strength, Love, Courage, Faith, and Hope. Those words mean so much to me these days as I struggle more than ever with anxiety and depression. I truly thought cancer would be one of the most difficult things I faced. Cancer was a breeze to me. I was able to keep a pretty positive attitude through it. Bec, had no idea, how much I would lean on this art and the words the rest of my life. This is my most treasured piece of art.

The last picture I want to show is one from earlier today from my walk to Narnia. As I mentioned I could not find the wisteria, but I found these tiny flowers. They are so pretty. I think it was appropriate that I needed to look for them, it kept me engaged in the now.

I debated whether or not to post the image because I want to hide behind “Hope” but there are dual purposes for sharing. One to share the art that I love so much, and two to let “Little Shanna” have her day that I show our real name. I will continue to go by Hope on the blog. That is what I am comfortable with. But I am giving her a voice for a moment, to say our name is Shanna.

Flowers of Narnia 6-27

 

One Small Step for Man, A Giant Leap for Hope

Today I walked around taking pictures. I kept getting closer and closer to my parents backyard. Yesterday in therapy we taked about wisteria, and its beautiful purple blooms. I knew some were in the backyard, the entrance to my Narnia.

I would start that way, and then change my mind and go a different dirrection. Take pictures for a while in that location and venture back to the side yard. Each time, just a step or two closer. My Daddy is inside the house I told myself. The yard has changed completely since “that time.” So have I.

I looked at the camera in my hand, and felt the weight of it. I felt the sweat rolling down my back and on my face. The air is heavy with humidity. The sun is hot on my black plants and not quite as hot on my gray shirt. My nose all snuffy because I am outside and my allergies are giving me a fits. I am very thirsty, because I have been outside a while in the heat. I hear birds chirping, squirrels jumping from tree to tree, cars passing by on the highway, and hear Roscoe and Enos wanting to come walk with me.

Each of my senses are engaged in the now. One more step and another and another and another. I am there. Looking at Narnia. My fist begins to clinch, but I am still in contol. I look for things to take pictures of. The wisteria that Mother photographed the other day is no longer in bloom. I found a couple of other beauties. More than the images on film was the accomplishment of conquering the fear today.

Will it be back tomorrow? Who knows, but today I stood at the gates of my Narnia as a Warrior and Returning Queen.

I Once Loved Roller Coasters

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This morning is some better. I am still very anxious and depressed, but not teetering. I realize how many kind and good people read my blog, and they are going through a lot right now too. “Our community” helps one another when we are down. Kind words of encouragement, the reminder of the beautiful things in life and in me, virtual hugs, and a simple “like” they let me know someone is listening and cares.

I have my amazing family. I know the are weary. It is hard having someone you love with severe emotional problems. I could charter a club, I have been on the other side. Living daily, not knowing what to say or do, fear of triggering them. Fear of the backlash. Not knowing if the will be there in the morning physically or emotionally. Holding your tongue and swallowing your emotions, sacrificing your own mental health while they work on theirs. Crying more than laughing. I hate that I put anyone through this roller coaster.

Setting Boundaries, How Was I To Know?

Something I have yet to master with my new life, that I have never had the urgency nor felt the necessity to do before is setting boundaries.  I do not only mean physical boundaries.  Though that is an obvious given,  I have new physical boundaries set.   I had no clue there would emotional boundaries I need to set.  I think these are going to be the most difficult.

I have always been one who could sit and listen to all problems, past, present, and future that anyone had or thought they would have.  I did that gladly.  I still want to, but I realized today that in doing so, I am easily triggered.  Triggering turns a great day into an anxious, fear, nauseated, trembling day, requiring the need to regroup and begin anew at trying to silence “her” fears and my anxiety as well.  I hate what my life has become.  I was doing so well.  I was doing so well!

I am sitting at the computer working on editing the photos I took today.  Trying really hard to stay in the now.  I think some photos came out really well for day two, but admittedly I am having such a hard time focusing on it.  The pictures seemed to turn out much better than yesterday.

My illusive caterpillar even posed quite nicely out of the darkness.  I was surprised he was still on the same weed, but then again, the spider is creeping closer, so maybe I should not be.  I do not think I would move either.    I was also able to catch a couple of lizard friends sunbathing also.    There are a few shots of flowers in our yard that I will post too.

For now, I am going to go crawl in bed beside my husband and eat chocolate pudding and watch television.  I also need to cut out some things for the lesson I am teaching the children at Church tomorrow.

Hope you will enjoy the pictures.

Cherokee Rose 1 Magnolia 3 Bell Pepper-Getting Close to Ready Simple Beauty magnolia bud 2 Magnolia 1 Lizzard 1 Another Lizzard 2

Wasting Time Behind the Lens

I have been trying to figure out this camera.  Trying is the operative word.  I am the lady that usually cuts heads off in shots.  I seemed to have forgotten that small detail when I decided that I wanted to learn to take pictures as part of my therapy to stay in the now.  I think the images that I will create behind the lens will be more abstract or purely by accident.  Opposite of those that I am trying to capture, but that is okay to.  Seems like much of my life is that way any how.

I have been trying for about two hours to take a picture of this silly caterpillar.  I just cannot quite figure out how to focus on him.  So after about sixty shots I came out with a pretty interesting one.  You really cannot see him very well, but an interesting message is in there.

Hiding in the shadows, he thinks he is protected by the thorns. Totally unaware of the spider, weaving a web beneath him to catch him if he falls.

Then there is the next picture.  I tried my darnedest to capture the spider and the spider’s web.  All I succeed in doing is debunking orbs, and every ghost hunting show that uses them as proof of ghostly energy.  Or maybe not, that is Granny’s favorite camellia tree in the background, and this is her house. and I do often hear things going bump in the night. Dododododododo…. ( I do want to add a disclaimer.  I very much believe in the Spirit World. I know that they are very near to us, but I do not believe they perform on TV shows on cue.  I admit also that I watch those shows for entertainment, but entertainment only.)

See the orb in the middle left?  Don't call Ghost Hunters.  Call the Orkin Army.  It was a spider.  Really pretty (don't shiver Bec).  It had bright neon orange, and he was weaving away.
See the orb in the middle left? Don’t call Ghost Hunters. Call the Orkin Army. It was a spider. Really pretty (don’t shiver Bec). It had bright neon orange, and he was weaving away.