PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

Before I get to my journal entries, I wanted to tell you that I have been pushing the envelope of darkness, so to speak.  I am still (mostly) afraid of the dark, and going out into it to walk, unless I am walking with someone, is not possible.  Or is it?  Lately, as it gets lighter earlier, I have been going out before it is actually light.  Okay, only by a couple of minutes and only because I know the sun is coming up and it will only get lighter and lighter.  And when I walked at 4:30a the other day with my friend Mike, I was able to meet him part way down my block.  Of course, I watch out the window and can see him turn up my street.  Still, it feels like progress.  I also remind myself of my friend Erin, who was raped 30 years ago in an attack that was similar to mine, in that she passed him, spoke to him and then he grabbed her from behind, and she walks in the dark, sometimes alone, almost every day.  And then there are the odds.  I mean, really, what are the odds of it happening again?  As they say, lightening doesn’t (usually) strike twice in the same place.  I am still very cautious, though.  I expect that at some point I may be able to walk in the dark again.  But maybe not.  And maybe I’ll just continue to push it a little more each day, but never too much.

 

Back to the past and my journal entries:

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Feeling rather crappy today and I’m not sure why.  There is no rhyme or reason to the ups and downs of my emotions.  I walked 6 miles and still feel bad.  I feel okay as I am actually walking and then when I stop, all the crap comes back full-force.  I just want the pain and awful feelings to stop.  Why are they being so difficult to release?

10:25a  Had my shower and cried the entire time.  I can’t believe how bad I am feeling.  I’m back in bed, hoping I can sleep and wake up feeling better.  The thoughts that keep running through my mind are disturbing, to say the least.  It’s like I am in a battle with a part of myself that is determined to make me give into it.  I feel like I cannot not tell anyone this, even Susie, but Monday when I was coming home from therapy, feeling really, really, really low, as I was coming across the bridge, I actually considered stopping, hell, I almost stopped and, well, at the very least would have caused the bridge to be shutdown.  As it turned out, Mike was 2 cars behind me, which I didn’t know until he came up right behind me at the light at Orange.  As far as I can remember, I’ve never come so close to doing something that I don’t think I really want to do.  I continue to fight that annoying part of me that just wants to leave, to check out.  I am trying so very hard not to give in.

11:20a And now I just feel like I’ve been beat.  The feeling of complete hopelessness goes away to be replaced by a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion.   All I can do is sleep.

 

Monday, 23 April 2012

“8:15a  It’s another marine-layery day.  How delightful.  Oh ,that’s right, not so much.  Like I need depressing weather when I am already in a depressed state of mind.

And the big question is – Am I being completely honest with Susie about how I am really feeling?  Not all of the time, but more than I think I should be.”                                               [ Note- I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote this.  And I wrote this prior to seeing Susie on this day.  At this point I had not told her what happened on the bridge.  I had not told anyone, including Bill.  And as a matter of fact, I did not tell him until some weeks later.  I was always afraid that if I was completely honest with Susie, she would have me committed to a mental hospital.  I did not write that afternoon when I got home from therapy.]

 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

“5:30a  Had another very fast walk with Mike.  13 1/2 minute miles, which is pretty dang quick.  I’m planning on the 7:30a yoga class, so I am resting until it’s time to leave.

I am very hopeful that, once all of the stuff (SAMe, St. John’s Wort, and whatever that other pill I’ve been taking) is out of my system, Wellbutrin won’t be necessary.  I guess it’s a good thing that I told Susie what’s really going on with me since, it appears, the pills I was taking, at least the St. John’s Wort, was making me worse instead of better.  I just want to not feel like I do”.

 

So, the St. John’s Wort was making me suicidal.  I should clarify that.  It was making me even more suicidal.  Although I am not bipolar as my brother and my uncle are, it turns out I am in the bipolar spectrum and what that means is, just as there are certain drugs and/or supplements a person with bipolar disorder should never be given, someone who is in the bipolar spectrum has to be treated in the same way.   Had I not told my therapist what happened, there is no telling what I might have done.  As I said, I do not remember ever coming so close to doing something about my desire to leave this world.  It’s not like I ever had a plan or have ever thought much past the idea of not being here anymore.  This incident really scared me, and even though I did not tell Susie right away, I did tell her the next week.  She immediately knew it was what I was taking; something that was supposed to make me feel better, was making me so much worse.  I couldn’t just stop taking it, either.  I had to taper off of it.  Eventually, all of what I was taking got out of my system.  At that point, I was afraid to take anything.  My body has such weird reactions to medications and after this horrible episode, I didn’t trust anything.  In the end, I decided to go without any kind of medication.  Should I have tried a ‘real’ antidepressant?  Maybe, but I chose not to.  As I said in an earlier post, I thought that  I was not clinically depressed, but situationally depressed.  It was what I was going through and I felt like once I got through the therapy, I would be okay.  I was, however, open to it if Susie really thought I needed it.  I was lucky that I was being monitored and that I was finally honest with Susie.

ANOTHER PART OF THE (VERY LONG) PROCESS

After coming out of shock, the fun was just beginning.  Believe me, I use the term ‘fun’ very sarcastically here.  As you will read in the next several entries from my journal, my initial conversation with the D.A. that precipitated my coming out of shock only served to confuse me further when I met with her the day before a scheduled hearing to see what was what and where everything stood at that point.  Really, I was a complete mess at this point in the process.

 

17 January 2012

I may have moved from shock to anger, but now I’m feeling a lot more depressed.  I am meeting with the D.A. today.  She needs to know who I am and that I am expecting her to do her absolute best to make sure cockroach boy pays for his crimes.  Oh, I definitely have mixed feelings about it all.  On the one hand, he violently attacked me and I KNOW he’ll do it again if he is not in jail.  I also know that in jail/prison he will just learn to be a better criminal and may do even worse things when he gets out.  So what’s the answer?  That I do NOT know.  And it turns out that cockroach boy apparently has bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.  Oh well, doesn’t excuse his actions one little bit.

 

18 January 2012

Off to the fitness hearing.  Oh, joy.

 

20 January 2012

And more joy — the trial/case/whatever you want to call it is postponed/continued for another 8-10 weeks.  I don’t know the exact dates yet since the D.A. didn’t bother to call and let me know.

 

21 January 2012

6AM  Feeling very overwhelmed and depressed, like something very heavy is sitting on me. Mother’s suggestion – just don’t feel it.  Ah, okay.  If only it were that easy.  I’m feeling like I did when I was still in shock and had no control over what my body was doing.  All I could do was go along for the ride.  This is so much like when I came back from Spain and no one knew the true extent (hell, they didn’t have a clue) of how I was feeling.  No way am I telling Bill.  I feel like I have to ‘put on my happy face’ around him.  It’s not that he wouldn’t be supportive, but I’m not sure he’d understand, not really.  No one can.  I feel all alone.

 

23 January 2012

I actually feel like I am not going to make it, like this is all too much, that the ‘injury’ my brain has suffered is just one thing too many in a life full of one thing after the other, that it truly won’t get better in time, that all the EMDR is doing is stirring up all the old crap and nothing good will ever come from that.

We didn’t even get to the EMDR today.  Suzie gave me the brain assessment test again.  Turns out I’m depressed and I have excessive anxiety and I’m a little something else, which I forget.  Probably has something to do with memory.  I even saved getting my Sprinkles cupcake until this morning when I was leaving La Jolla to go to therapy.  Of course, I couldn’t eat it when I got it because I had an empty stomach and a cupcake on an empty stomach isn’t such a good idea.  So I waited until I got home and ate lunch.  Then I finally ate it.  It didn’t taste so good to me.  Maybe I’ve reached my cupcake limit.

I can feel my heart beating ad I can tell my breathing is not right.  Also, I think Emily is pretty close to dying.  I held her when I got home.  She did purr for me but she won’t eat.  I told her it’s okay if she leaves.  I also asked God to let her go to sleep and not wake up.  It’s not that I want her to die, it’s just that I cannot take her to the vet and have her put to sleep.  I don’t think she would want that.  I just need for her not to wake up.  I can just add that to my PTSD list.  Her death, I mean.

 

24 January 2012

6:30AM  I can feel myself sinking further and further into the hole.  It’s just like when I was feeling that my brain wasn’t working properly and there was nothing I could do about it.  It’s a terrible feeling.

 

25 January 2012

I knew Emily would not be alive this morning.

 

27 January 2012

Still keep looking out the window to see Emily in her chair and when I slept until 7:30 this morning, I thought, gotta get up to feed Emily.  Can’t believe she’s really gone.

 

28 January 2012

It is so weird to NOT have to get up to feed Emily.  She is my first thought each morning.

Today is my 5th day of taking SAMe.  Do I feel better?  No idea.  It’s probably too soon to have kicked in, anyway.  It is sunny today, which does help, and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees.  That really helps.

 

So as you can see, I had a lot going on.  Dealing with my 20-year-old cat dying was just another added thing I clearly did not need.  And even though it has been a year now since she died, every time I come through my back gate, I turn to look at her chair, expecting, I guess, to see her waiting there.  I did bury her in my backyard, so I can ‘visit’ her whenever I feel like it.  It’s not the same as having her here.  Not even close.

Another strange thing is happening to me.  The other day I was talking with a friend I had not seen in something like 7 or 8 months and she was asking about the sentencing and all that had transpired since we last sat down and really talked.  I had trouble remembering the details, which, of course, at the time I thought I’d never forget.  I said to her that I hoped I had written about that experience.  Turns out I didn’t.  It is funny how our minds work, whether it is to protect us or to keep us safe in some way.  That’s why I think the retelling of what happened to me and how I felt at the time is so important.  What is also nice to know, is that I was able to completely heal from this.  I think I may have mentioned before that when I read or tell my story now, it seems like I am talking about someone else.  I feel a sense of sadness and empathy, but it doesn’t feel like it’s me.  I guess that’s good.  And my EMDR really worked the way it is meant to work.  (Thanks, Susie!)

20 NOVEMBER, 10 DECEMBER 2011

It was brought to my attention that my posts are unclear, so before I get to my journal entries, I just want to make clear exactly what it is I am posting.  When the title of my post is a date from 2011 (and 2012 after this post), that means it is an entry from my journal, from that time, of what I was feeling, going through and dealing with.  I also want to be clear that I am through my therapy and my PTSD is completely gone.  I am no longer depressed (or at least not to the extent I was immediately following the attack and for most of the healing process) and am not in any danger of ‘checking out’ early from this life of mine.  I am attempting to tell my story chronologically so that anyone following it can understand what I was thinking and feeling then.  My feelings now are different and once the entire story is written, I will be getting into my the continued process and journey.  I realize that some of what I write is hard to read, and it does get far worse before it gets better.  The whole reason for doing this, though, is to hopefully help others who are in a similar situation and feeling as if they are going stark-raving mad.  That certainly is how I felt a lot of the time.

Just a couple of short entries today…

20 November 2011

My horoscope today is worthy of recording in here:  ‘A rush of optimism and enthusiasm could propel you into a more positive frame of mind, and you could accomplish wonders.  Your circumstances may be turned upside down [understatement of the year, my words.] A move is possible, as is a change in your work.  Don’t cling to the shore – flow with the current.  Success and good fortune are on the way as long as you let them happen.’  Oh, yes, I like the sound of this.  It’s kind of what I’ve been thinking and feeling for a while now. Just need to allow it in.

10 December 2011

Last night Bill asked me if I was planning on walking this morning.  I told him I didn’t know, that I’d see if I could.  He then pointed out the probable reason that I seem to have so much trouble walking on Saturday mornings now: the attack happened on a Saturday morning.  Oh my gosh, how did I not realize this before?  That makes so much sense.

Well, we officially start the EMDR on Monday.  Another day that is very difficult for me.

14 NOVEMBER, 19 NOVEMBER 2011

14 November

Therapy was tough today.  I almost cried.  The tears just wouldn’t come out.  It was when I was talking about Andy.  Also, Susie said she thinks my talking is my tears.  For now.  That’s probably why I am talking so much about the attack.  To everyone I see.

I think that when I was growing up, I never felt that I mattered, that I was not important.  I think I still feel that way a lot of the time.  I mean, and I know I’ve said this before at various other times in my life, I’m 51 years old and I have nothing to show for it  —  no husband, no kids, no house, no money.  Oh sure, I have a talent for making beautiful things, and a portfolio full of pictures of those beautiful things, but what does that really mean?  I think I’m trying to make myself feel relevant.  I know there are quite a lot of people who would miss me if I were gone, but what does it take for me to feel that I matter while I’m here?  I think writing my autobiography is a step in the right direction.  Also, writing about what I’m going through now.  I cannot be the only one who is experiencing it, though why no one else has come forward or no one I know has ever been attacked, I can’t figure out.  No one talks about it.  And I can’t seem to shut up.  And then there’s the annoying little voice that keeps saying, ‘Why do you think what you have to say is important?’ and ‘Why do you think anyone will even be interested or listen or care?’ and ‘Maybe I am the only one who this matters to.’  

And seriously, what’s the worst thing that can happen to me for writing it all down on my blog?  No one reads it?  I only help myself get through it?  Well, so what?  The whole point is to get me through it and if I happen to help someone else along the way, great.  If not, well, I will have still helped me.  It’s not like anyone is really reading my blog these days anyway.  I do need to figure out a way to increase my readership AND have people leave comments.  I want, no, I NEED to know that I’m not just wasting my time.  (Note- The blog I am referring to here is http://www.alittleofthisthatandtheother.blogspot.com and even before the attack I was having a bit of trouble posting on a regular basis.  After, I tried to go on as if nothing had happened, occasionally making a veiled reference to something, but never coming totally clean.  After I launched this site, I foolishly thought I could do posts on both.  That has not happened.)

19 November 2011

Slowly, but ever so slowly, I am realizing I have a very deep sense that I simply do not matter.  I, of course, l know this is ridiculous, and yet, the feeling is still there.  This was pointed out to me last Monday in therapy.  When I was talking about how mean my brothers were and how I got no relief from Mother until I took the drastic measure of running away from home, Susie asked me if I felt that I didn’t matter?  I said, yes, and I’ve thought about it a lot this past week.  I’m not sure why I feel this way.  Oh, I can understand why I would have felt it before, but not after Hoffman and all the subsequent work I’ve done to deal with my past.  Apparently, though, it is still there.  Rats!

The Hoffman gathering today was pretty powerful for me.  The topic was Gratitude.  My first thought was, ‘of course I am grateful for everything.’  And then I thought more about that and realized it was the perfect topic for me because, although I am definitely grateful for a lot of things, I am not nearly in the frame of mind I was pre-attack.  I can’t even thank God for my island anymore.  That has got to shift for me.  I am working on it, but maybe I really do need to ‘fake it ’til I feel it again.’  Kind of like the releasing resentment prayer that Mike sent me.  I’ve been doing it and I’m pretty sure I’ve done it for more than 14 consecutive days and I’ve yet to feel any less mad or resentful towards cockroach boy.   Still, I’ll keep doing it.  It certainly cannot hurt anything and may be helping me in ways I am not even aware of.  (Another note – the releasing resentment prayer I mentioned here is an amalgamation from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and says the following: “God, please help me show ____ the same tolerance, compassion and patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  This is a sick person God.  Save me from being angry and resentful.  Thy will be done.  I ask for everything that I want for myself to be given to him.  I ask for his health, his prosperity and his happiness.”   Say it for 14 consecutive days and see if it doesn’t help you release your resentment.  Remember that this is for your peace of mind and serenity, not his.)

SO LONG 2012 AND WELCOME 2013

DSCN1255

 

We were on our way home from  Los Angeles on Christmas Day and stopped off in San Clemente to watch the sunset.  It was spectacular!

In the weeks since my last post, things have been pretty hectic.  I am STILL dealing with my back and though it is soooo much better, it is not all the way better and working is quite challenging at times.  The pain can be so intense that all I can really do is retreat to my bed, take lots of ibuprofen and lie on the heating pad.  I was doing my best to get several jobs finished before the holidays and between that and my back, I simply had no time to post here.  That will all change after the first of the year.  I promise!

2012 was an incredible year of healing for me, and I did a lot of ‘planting’ of new ideas and dreams.  2013 will be a year of those ideas and dreams blooming!  And I am so excited about that.  There is still so much more to tell about my journey through my sexual assault and, in time, the other parts of my life, mostly the past, that contributed to all I went through in my EMDR experience and healing from the attack.  It is fascinating and you won’t be disappointed.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!  And like we always said in school, See You Next Year!

EMDR

I keep referring to EMDR and haven’t yet really explained what that means.  The following information regarding Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is quoted from literature entitled “What is EMDR” published by the EMDR International Association in 2004:

HOW WAS EMDR DEVELOPED?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions.  Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma.  Since then, EMDR has developed and evolved through the contributions of therapists and researchers all over the world.  Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches.

HOW DOES EMDR WORK?

No one knows how any form of psychotherapy work neurobiologically or in the brain.  However, we do know that when a person is very upset, their brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily.  One moment becomes ‘frozen in time’ and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells and feelings haven’t changed.  Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way they relate to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the day the brain processes information.  Normal information processing is resumed, so following a successful EMDR session, a person no longer relives the images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind.  You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.  Many types of therapy have similar goals.  However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.  Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

BUT DOES EMDR REALLY WORK?

Approximately 20 controlled studies have investigated the effects of EMDR.  These studies have consistently found that EMDR effectively decreased/eliminates the symptoms of PTSD for the majority of clients.  Clients often report improvement in other associated symptoms such as anxiety.  The current treatment guidelines of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress, as have the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, the United Kingdom Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, and many other international health and government agencies.  Research has shown that EMDR can be an efficient and rapid treatment.  For further references, a bibliography of research may be found through EMDR International Association’s web site, www.emdria.org.

WHAT IS THE ACTUAL EMDR SESSION LIKE?

During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session.  The client calls to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, felt, heard, thought, etc., and what thoughts an beliefs are currently held about that event.  The therapist facilitates the directional movement of the eyes or other bilateral stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control direction or content.  Each person will process information uniquely, based on personal experiences and values.  Sets of eye movement are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing, and is associated with positive thoughts and beliefs about one’s self; for example, “I did the best I could.”  During EMDR, the client may experience intense emotions, but by the end of the session, most people report a great reduction in the level of disturbance.

HOW LONG DOES EMDR TAKE? 

One or more sessions are required for the therapist to understand the nature of the problem and to decide whether EMDR is an appropriate treatment.  The therapist will also discuss  EMDR more fully and provide the opportunity to answer questions about the method.  Once therapist and client have agreed that EMDR is appropriate for a specific problem, the actual EMDR therapy may begin.

 

WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS CAN EMDR TREAT?

Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress disorder.  However, clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

Panic attacks, Complicated grief, Dissociative disorders, Disturbing memories, Phobias, Pain disorders, Eating disorders, Performance anxiety, Stress reduction, Addictions, Sexual and/or physical abuse, Body dysmorphic disorders, Personality disorders”

 

As you can see, EMDR can be used for all kinds of ‘disorders,’ not just PTSD.  Most of what I’ve just shared with you here is fairly dry and clinical.  It is an overview more than anything else.  Even having been through EMDR treatment, I still have a hard time explaining it.  All I know is it WORKED.  In my next post I will go through each of the main points brought out and tell you what MY experience was.  All I’ll say right now is it was the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever had to do AND had I not done it, well, at the very least, I would not be sharing this with you.  I never felt that I had a choice in getting treatment for the PTSD I suffered as a result of my attack.  Okay, I did have a choice, but I felt like I didn’t. I KNEW I had to do it, however much I disliked it and no matter how hard it was and no matter what else it brought up.  The good thing, though, is that it cleared out ALL of the crap that I was still carrying around since childhood.

 

 

12 NOVEMBER 2011

I realize that some of these journal entries are kind of hard to read, and, unfortunately, they get worse before, finally, getting better.  The good news is they were written a year ago and I am MUCH better.  I’ve been through 14 months of EMDR and dealt with all those really negative thoughts and beliefs.  A large part of WHY I am sharing all of this is to let you know that healing IS possible and even the darkest days will eventually become light-filled again.

 

12 November 2011

“Woke up at 4a, got up to go to the bathroom and it was just beginning to sprinkle.  It rained steadily, and sometimes heavily, for the last 4 hours.  That’s good as we always need rain. Sure wish Bill was here (instead of Hawaii) so we could lazily wile away the morning cuddled in bed.  Alas, he’s not here and I would love to accomplish something today.  Perhaps a movie this morning?  Not exactly an accomplishment and certainly won’t do anything to further my work.  I guess I am listening to my brain/body, though.  At least that’s what I am telling myself.  I so want to finish the bumper and crib skirt and move on to my next waiting job.  I only make it harder on myself my NOT working.  Like I told Bill last night, I know I am capable of working even when I am clinically depressed because I did it before and I’m not even depressed now.  I do understand there is more going on right now in my head and I truly cannot control how I am feeling.  Even with the best of intentions, I can’t seem to overcome what’s happening and that is the most frustrating of all.

9:20a  Feeling really weird, like I could walk off into the ‘sunset,’ never to be seen again.  When I feel like this, should I stay at home where I think I am safe or should I try to get myself out of this feeling by leaving the house and going to a very public place like Fashion Valley and the movie theatre?  It’s so weird and for no reason the bad feelings crash over me like waves on a stormy beach.  Wave after wave of really shitty feelings.  No one can possibly understand unless they’ve been through it.  I think that’s the hardest and worst part, feeling like I am alone in this.  I’m thinking I should get out, that staying here will only intensify the negative feelings.  I think I’ll go see a comedy because anything else will most likely have a detrimental effect on me.  Sure don’t need that.

11:13p  It is getting harder and harder to go to sleep for me. I keep seeing things I don’t want to see when I shut my eyes.  I usually can override those images with the ho’oponopono releasing technique, but it doesn’t always work lately.  I’m getting afraid to go to sleep, afraid of the dreams I may have.  And what’s with dreaming about Andy* so much?  It’s too bad I can’t work instead of sleeping.  That would be ideal.  Perhaps one of these days I’ll start doing that, substituting sleep with work.  My clients sure would appreciate it.

Talking to Bill on the phone, especially when he’s out-of-town, is just not as satisfying as talking to him in person.  I think some of the closeness I feel when we are together gets lost in translation, over the wires, if you will.  3 more days until he comes home.  Can’t wait and I hope he doesn’t have any more trips planned that don’t include me.”

 

*A note — Andy was my youngest brother.  He died suddenly, and very unexpectedly, on 14 June 2011.  And at this point I had yet to really grieve for him.  Not sure if I really have even now.

10 NOVEMBER 2011

From my journal…

“I feel like I am a ticking time-bomb and I am not sure when I’ll explode.  Mostly, I feel okay, and, at times, I can even ‘forget’ about what’s really going on.  What makes this so hard is not knowing when things will happen.  I put this quote on my Facebook this morning:

“There is sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousands tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love.”  ~Washington Irving

If this is true, that tears are not a sign of weakness, but one of power, then I must be the weakest person on the planet.  I certainly do not feel like I have any power at all.  I have understood for a long time that I have no control over anything but my reaction to things.  In this case, I can’t even control my reaction because my brain chemistry is all messed up.  I feel more out of control than ever.  And I look fine to the outside world.  When I look in the mirror I still don’t see the real me.  I’m not sure where she is.  Perhaps locked away until it is safe to reemerge?

Kim recommended I watch some YouTube videos about sexual assault in the military.  The one thing I took away from “Angie’s Story’ was her saying that PTSD does NOT go away on its own, that without help, you will always suffer.  Also, that it took a year (oh, crap) for her symptoms to fully manifest.  So then I think, okay, fine, I’ll just go about my life until that happens, except that isn’t how it’s working.  It’s like I am half in, half out. I can’t move forward, I can’t pretend or will myself past this, so I sit, stuck in the now.  The fact that I get out of bed every day is quite an accomplishment because all I really want to do is stay there.  Right now, the symptoms I do have are manifesting themselves as depression, though I am not depressed.  Going on an anti-depressant doesn’t seem the way to go because it will be masking the very feelings I need to feel in order to move through the trauma.  Talk about a catch-22.

And then I go back to the fact that I wasn’t actually raped, that, really, I wasn’t hurt very badly at all, that physically I’m healed, so why aren’t I healed emotionally and mentally?

I am so close to starting to write about this on my A Little of This That and the Other blog.  I feel like I am alone and I know that’s crazy.  I am feeling an overwhelming urge to talk and write about this on a much larger scale than I have already.  I think the biggest ‘issue’ I am having is reconciling what is going on with what I believe.  If I believe everything happens for a reason, that there are no mistakes, no accidents or no coincidences, then what happened, happened for a reason.  That I can accept.  And I’m pretty sure the reason is to move me to the next chapter in my life.  I get that, and can even be grateful.  What I am NOT getting  is why I cannot override the negative with the positive?  Why, even as I’m saying the words, the opposite feelings are what keep showing up?  Why I am unable to ‘will’ what it is I want?  Why, if our thoughts create our future, that what I think today, creates my tomorrow, what thoughts did I think to bring this violence into my life?  I KNOW I never thought these thoughts.  And, really, how much trauma can I possibly endure without checking out completely?  Yes, I am determined to stick around AND I can’t help but think I have already passed my breaking point, and so far, have been stronger than that very small part of me that doesn’t want to stay, that doesn’t want to be here.   When does it get better?  When does the pain stop?  All I can think right now is the pain is so unbearably acute  that I can’t feel it at all, that that’s the reason I’m not crying, the reason I can’t allow myself to feel anything.  For now, I guess that going through the motions is as much an accomplishment as anything.  I am doing the best I can and I feel like I’m not doing much of anything.  Round and round I go.

9:45a  What if I really don’t deserve to be happy?  What if only certain people are destined to have all they want and the vast majority are meant to lead lives of mediocrity? To be forever searching, but never finding?  To always be mostly unhappy?  This is a world that I do NOT want to live in and a reality that I cannot, no WILL NOT, accept.  With God, all things are possible.  It doesn’t say, with God, some things are possible or a few things or even most things.  It says ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  I have to believe this.  I cannot, and will not, let one incident in my entire life determine or dictate who I am and how I’ll live the rest of my life.  No way, not how.  And still, I wonder…

12 noon – Well, I did it.  I made it official.  I posted on my blog, came out to the world, so to speak.  I declared my intention to write, although I mentioned photography first, and then writing.  No matter, it’s out.”

 

It’s funny, in an interesting, ironic way, that I ‘came out’ about my desire and intention to write, but made no mention of the impetus behind it.  And going through my journal of that time last year is actually a lot more difficult that I thought it would be.  At the time, I both knew and didn’t have a clue as to what I was really going through.  I so wanted to be healed and finished with the entire process, never realizing that length of time it would ultimately take.  Looking back, I think I thought if I didn’t ‘hurry up and get better’ that that meant I was weak or that there was something far worse wrong with me than ‘just’ having been sexually assaulted.  Remember, this was only 5 weeks or so after the attack.  And one of the things that did come out in therapy was my tendency to be incredibly hard on myself.  I cut myself no slack.  I thought if I wasn’t perfect, no one would stick around.  It took me a while to, first of all, even understand it, and secondly, to start being more gentle and loving to myself.  Something far worse came out, as well, and that was the hatred (yes, a real hatred) of myself that I wasn’t even aware of.  I would have laughed if you had told me I actually hated myself.  Turns out, I did.  There are reasons why that manifested and I will get into them at a later date.  For now, suffice it to say that this made my healing from the attack that much more difficult.  In the end, though, I did what I had to and worked through it and was able to put that piece behind me.  I’m telling you that EMDR is the most amazing thing.  Without it, I certainly would not be where I am today.  That is also a subject for another day.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

One day in early October I was on Pinterest and came upon a quote I liked.  I clicked on it and there was a link at the bottom of it to a web site.  Of course, I had to check it out.  What I clicked on was womenforone.

“Women For One is a global community of women encouraging authenticity and inspiration. We empower women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to exchange authentic dialogue through telling their stories, sharing life lessons and supporting others on their journey for growth.”

 I thought, ‘cool!’  Once on the site I saw a button that said, ‘BE BRAVE- SUBMIT YOUR STORY!,’ which I did.  I got an immediate response from Kelly McNelis Senegor, the founder and woman behind the site. We emailed back and forth, and after a few revisions on my part, Kelly informed me that they would be featuring my story, probably the beginning of November.  Well, that day came and went and I wondered what happened.  Then I threw my back out and most everything else went straight out of my head.  While lounging (oh, I wish) in bed, I received another email from Kelly telling me they would be featuring my story on 10 November.  So, this post about that is only 11 or 12 days overdue.  I did put a link on my Facebook pages, but here it is again.

Do yourself a favor and go check out the web site.  There are so many inspiring stories to read.  Mine is just one of many.

Update on my back – still in some pain, though much, much better than 2 weeks ago.  My work with Eileen Troberman and the Alexander Technique has done wonders.  I am able to move around pretty well.  Sitting is still a challenge, which is why it took me so long to do this post.  Walking is good for me, though I am really slow.  It took me an hour to walk 3 miles.  I realize this is kind of a normal pace for most people, but my ‘normal’ pace is more like 4 1/2 miles and hour, if not faster.  Anyway, part of my therapy is taking frequent walks.  I am still working up to being able to sit and sew.  Slowly, but slowly, but surely I’m getting there.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I will be back to posting regularly after the holiday.  Cheers!

SLOWLY, BUT SLOWLY, BUT SURELY

I thought I’d give a quick update on the state of my back. I am now going on my fifth day of being stuck in bed. The good news is I got up yesterday for the first time in 96 hours. My boyfriend brought me lunch and my favorite cupcake (salted caramel from Sprinkles) and then helped me out of bed. My back is still really sore, as much, I think, from lying on it as from the spasms. It does seem to be out of danger of spasming now, though I will be extra careful in moving for the foreseeable future. If I NEVER have this happen again, it will be too soon.

Back to yesterday’s adventure – Bill helped me to a sitting position at the edge of my bed. (And thank goodness my bed is higher than average and at the perfect height to get in and out of without having to lower myself down or raise myself up in any way). So I sat there for a few moments, trying to get my bearings and letting the dizziness pass. I finally stood and we made our way, slowly, to the bathroom. I was SO looking forward to using the toilet, as opposed to peeing in bed, which as I said before, is just so strange. After finishing, I (foolishly) thought I should do a lap around the house. Again, I (we) were moving extremely slowly. As we got back to the kitchen, I remembered that I had forgotten to brush my teeth, so headed back to the bathroom. You have got to understand that the lap might have been 25′ and from the where I was standing at the edge of the kitchen to the bathroom is, maybe 5′. I’m not talking any great distance. BUT having been prone for 4 days, it proved to be too much exercise at one time. I nearly passed out brushing my teeth and had to sit down on the toilet to finish. Of course, we still had to get me the seemingly insurmountable 30′ back into my bed. I was definitely light-headed and though not exactly seeing stars, I was in real danger of passing out. When I was again lying down, I couldn’t hear anything. It felt as if I was under water. I think I came as close to passing out as you can without actually passing out. It took several minutes for me to feel normal again. I definitely over did it. Bad Tamerie!

I did it, though! And before the night was over, I got up 3 more times. Once when Laura was here to bring me dinner, and twice all by myself. Those times, though, I went straight to the bathroom and straight back to bed. No extra laps for me until I am feeling a bit stronger.

And the best news is I slept through the night. I’ve been up once so far this morning and am thinking I’ll get up every hour or so, just to get used to it.

Last time I went through this, I discovered the Alexander Technique (www.alexandertechnique.com) and locally went to Eileen Troberman (www.alexandertechniquesandiego.com) for help and relief. I am thinking I may need to visit her again.

Thank you for all the emails and well wishes I have received. As my therapist said when I told her of my predicament, “I know you will overcome all of this!” And my response was, “This, although incredibly painful, is NOTHING compared to the last 13 months! And this will be better in the next few days.”
Okay, maybe it will take more than just a few days, but I can deal with that.