Child Abuse, Family, Mental Health, My story, Nightmares, PTSD, Therapy

Pink Pajamas

I’ve tried to write this out many times in the past.  In fact this is the seventh time the post was titled “Pink Pajamas”.  Today is Therapy Thursday and the topic took up a solid half hour.  Me just sitting there trying to get the words out.  Working hard to keep my head in the present.  Posting this is hard even though I just talked about it.  Here goes nothing.

I was 7 or 8 years old.  It was Christmas Eve.  We read the Bible and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We hung up our stockings.  It’s a Christmas tradition to get new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Mine were those one piece pajamas with the feet.  Mine were pink.

It was time to go to bed.  But I was warned that bad little girls got nothing in their stockings.  And I sure that I was a bad little girl.

Later that night, my dad came in and undressed me.  I remembered how cold it was.  He whispered in my ear that he knew how to make me a good girl.  Then he had his way with me.  He didn’t dress me though.  I slept all night naked.

In the morning, my mom came in to wake me up.  She asked why I didn’t have my pajamas on.  I told her I got hot.  I put them on and followed her to the living room.  I guess I was a good girl because my stocking was full and there were presents under the tree.

Dr. D pointed out that things came with strings attached.  And they really did.  That’s the topic for Monday.  I thought in light of everything going on, I should probably see her twice a week for a little while.

Anxiety, Child Abuse, Emotions, Mental Health, Positive things, PTSD

Out of Left Field

I love ER.  I have since the first day it aired.  Now I found in syndication and it cheers me up; at least for an hour it does.

Tonight was not one of those nights.  The plot and the characters weren’t important.  But seeing them examine a 6 year old to confirm sexual abuse was out of left field.  I guess I should start reading the blurbs that DirecTV has.

It wasn’t the exam part.  I never went through that.  It was the thought of the little girl being violated that got to me.  I got pretty close to that flashback spiral.  It didn’t hit me so hard that I couldn’t control it.  I went out to the kitchen immediately and took my PRN anxiety med.  That helped.  I got out of my room so I didn’t have to deal with the bedroom stuff.  That helped.  I turned to a mystery novel to get my head in another place.  It helped.

I have a feeling that Dr. D would be proud of me.  I did the right things to keep my head in the present.  And that’s been hard for me all along.  I can only take one day at a time.  I made it through 19/20 radiation sessions with that attitude.  I know this is a long trek for me and I will have bad times.  Right now the bad seems to outweigh the good.  But I’ve got friends who support me.  I have a fluffy white kitty on my lap right now and another mutt hanging out under the blankets on my bed.

Baby steps.  Just remember baby steps.

Child Abuse, Depression, Emotions, Mental Health, Relationships, Therapy

Walls

I tend to put up walls between myself and others.  That’s definitely no secret.  It’s how I survived the years of endless abuse.  Don’t let people inside, don’t get hurt.  Period.

It took me a long time to dismantle the wall between my therapist (Dr. D) and me.  We’re talking about 18 months.  It took a lot of hard work on both our parts to find trust.

I had been doing well trusting her.  But…

A lot has happened since I last wrote.  I had bariatric surgery and lost 140 pounds.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy.  I had a couple of hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts (getting quite close to an attempt).  Now I’m undergoing radiation for the cancer.  I’m in the middle of psychotic symptoms, specifically voices.

I guess the wall wasn’t completely down.  I was scared to tell Dr. D and Dr. W (my psychiatrist) that the voices were back and I was having severe depression symptoms.  I’m working now with Dr. W to get my Haldol dosage correct.  I refuse to take the new antipsychotics because of the potential for weight gain.  I don’t need that.

Back to Dr. D.  Last week, I was telling her about the voices and the depression.  We discussed how it could be situational.  I think it started that way, but evolved into something biological.  I know, not the best description, but it’s all I got.  Then she said something that shocked me.  She said it seemed like an overreaction to the situation.  The worst started shortly after I had the lumpectomy.

That shook me.  My reaction wasn’t immediate.  I was already feeling bad so I just sat there.  I didn’t question.  Over the last week, I’ve been stewing over it.  Today when I saw Dr. D, the wall was up and thicker than ever.  Before I gave honest answers.  Today all I gave was “fine”.  I could tell she didn’t believe me.  She sat for a minute and asked if I just wanted to get past the question.  “Pretty much” was my answer.  I didn’t say much today.  A lot of yeses and nos in response to questions.  I don’t think I looked at her the whole time.  I stared at the rug.  I stared at the picture on the wall.  I stared at the fish tank.  My trust was shattered in one statement.  I didn’t ask her about what she said.  I don’t know if the reasons are important.  What’s important is how it made me feel.  And I didn’t tell her.  I didn’t want to tell her.  I was scared to tell her.  I didn’t feel comfortable telling her.  I don’t know if I ever will.  I’m not even sure what I would say.

I didn’t want to go back.  I really didn’t.  But I thought that I would give it a try.  That maybe somehow I would feel different when I saw her.  I didn’t feel any different, though.  I still don’t know if I will go back again.  I have a good excuse to take off the next few weeks.  The radiation makes me really tired.  And going one less place on Thursday would be nice.

I’m not sure what she could do to re-earn my trust.  To start the process I would have to tell her about the effect of her words.  But in order to do that, I’d have to tear down my wall a little bit.  I’d have to go on faith alone.  It almost feels like a catch-22.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I don’t want to start again with another therapist.  She specializes in trauma, and is one of the few psychologists that take my insurance.

I guess I have a lot of thinking to do.

Child Abuse, Emotions, Family, My story, Relationships

Abandonment

First let me say I was not physically abandoned by my family.  This is true despite it being threatened with being taken to an orphanage and left there.  But developmentally, psychologically…  I was abandoned at an early age.

It was often threatened to be driven to the orphanage when I was young.  On more than one occasion, I was put in the car and was driven around.  All the while, I was being belittled and told that nobody would want me.  I lived in fear of those car rides.

But more than that, I was abandoned when my mother looked the other way.  She knew what my father was doing.  She did nothing to stop it.  She looked the other way.  I had no one to protect me.  My grandmother looked the other way too.  In some ways it didn’t seem as sinister as my mother.  I think she had almost no power when it came to my grandfather.

My parents were simultaneously over-involved and under-involved in school.  On the one hand, bad grades were severely punished and usually involved a message to the teacher asking what happened.  But good grades (what I usually brought home) were ignored.

Abandonment is a tough issue for me.  I’ve learned to rely only on myself.  Not having someone who cared enough to stop blatant abuse scarred me for life.  And trust…  Well that’s a tricky one too.  It all goes down to not having someone who cared and left me to my own devices.

Child Abuse, Emotions, Mental Health, PTSD

Scars

Child abuse leaves scars.  Both seen and unseen.  Both large and small.  Both chronic and acute.  Yet they are all scars.

I think that everyone carries some scars.  Nobody has a perfect life.  But the scars that abuse survivors carry are more extreme.  They impact daily living for so many survivors.

I try to hide the scars I have.  I was “lucky” that my parents tried to minimize leaving marks.  My mom was a guidance counselor and knew the things that CPS looked for.  I was a cutter for many years, and thankfully, I didn’t scar a lot.  Those are the seen scars.  The unseen ones are still there, though.

There are times when those scars get ripped open again.  Flashbacks, physical memories, panic attacks.  All are our mind’s way of reminding us of what happened.

My scars make me who I am.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  I can’t get rid of my scars.  As physical scars are permanent, so are psychological ones.

Child Abuse, Family, PTSD

Punishment

It feels like I could never go a week without getting punished for something.  Those rare times when I brought a bad grade home (spelling assignments, I’m looking at you), it seemed the punishment was more severe.  And I wonder where my extreme perfectionism comes from…

Bringing home a bad grade was my worst nightmare.  It was usually followed by the wooden spoon, no dinner and no books.  The dinner and the books, although crappy, weren’t probably abusive.  I can’t say the same about the wooden spoon.

The hitting was almost always done with my shirt on.  She couldn’t risk leaving any marks.  Sometimes it was the spoon base.  But more often than not, it was the handle end.  In some ways, I preferred the spoon end.  It didn’t sting as bad.  And, in my (probably) distorted view, she seemed to tired out more quickly.

It came to the point, I no longer cried.  I laid there, dejected.  Resigned to my fate.  There was no fighting back.  If anything, tears made it all worse.

Thankfully (I guess) I did well in school except for spelling.  I still can’t spell to save my life.  I’m thankful for the invention of spell check, even if I do still stump it.  So school related wooden spoon contact was rare.  Not that there weren’t numerous other things I was punished for.

Child Abuse, Emotions, My story, Randomness

Hiding

I spent a lot of my childhood hiding, both mentally and physically.  I clearly remember hiding, although I don’t remember a lot about other things.

I used to try hiding from my mom when she was drunk.  I didn’t want to be hit or berated.  I just wanted to be left alone to do homework or read.  Hiding didn’t always work.  I think me trying to hide made her angrier.

Many a night, I tried hiding in my closet.  I sat there hoping that my dad wouldn’t come that night.  But eventually I had to come out and go to bed.  I could only hope at that point I would escape whatever was coming that night.

I spent a lot of time hiding my depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety from my teachers at school.  I trusted no one.  I guess I thought it would be more of the same pain.

Child Abuse

First Memories

My earliest memories date back to living in the city of L.  I can so clearly see the red carpet in my room and the flowered wallpaper.  The color of the carpet places my age at about 3-4.  We moved to MH when I was four.

The thing I remember the most is my father undressing me.  And as he was doing it, rubbing my chest and vaginal area.  I felt so scared.  It didn’t feel good.  It didn’t feel right.  I remember crying.  He would try to get me to stop crying by offering me candy.  And it worked.  I was a kid and bribery obviously worked on me.  I remember being cold and shivering.  It was an old house and my room was drafty.

It was a nightly thing.  I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it right now.