Category Archives: Emotions

The Day After

Standard

So I saw Dr. D yesterday.  It was tough, complete with a panic attack.  She encouraged me to call Dr. W.  Since I seen her earlier this week, I didn’t think it was a good idea.  But Dr. D gently explained that Dr. W would be concerned that I let myself continue to suffer needlessly.  So I called.  I got a call back that evening, which surprised me because she’s on vacation.  She asked what was going on and I told her everything.  Well almost everything.  I didn’t tell her how long things have been going on.  She gave me hydroxyzine, which she has given me before.  Dr. W said she’s hesitant to prescribe a benzo at this point.  Not because she’s worried about addiction.  But rather given the amount of medication I’m on.  I understand her point of view, and I respect it.  What it says to me is that she’s being conservative, but is willing to go with something more powerful if I need it.

Dr. D wants me to come back on Monday.  I don’t really know how I feel about that.  I do have somethings I want to talk about related to the physical abuse.  But I’m not completely confident that I can get through it without losing myself in the flashback loop.  It makes me scared just thinking about it.  I’m going to copy/paste it in here so I can just read it if need be.

It was my grandfather. The summer after kindergarten, my parents made me stay there while they took my grandmother out of town. I don’t remember what I did that was so bad, but I got punished but good. He took off all of my clothes and made me lie on the bed. He put my arms over my head with my hands together and told me to stay that way. If I moved or cried, he hit me with a leather belt.

I don’t know how long I stayed in that position. It was so cold in there. He had the air conditioner on as cold as it would go. It felt like it was forever. I had almost fallen asleep when he came back into the room. I laid there while he felt my whole body, from top to bottom. He was on the bed with me. Then he left and told me not to move or I’d get it with the belt again.

I tried not to cry, but I did. As soon as he heard me, he came back and punished me for disturbing his baseball game. He told me that I better not move again. So I didn’t. I laid there and counted the cracks in the ceiling, over and over, and over again. But I couldn’t help but listen for him. I was terrified he would come into the room again.

After what seemed like forever, he came back into the room. And he got on the bed again. I was so afraid he’d get the belt out again. He wasn’t touching me anymore. He was on top of me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. He was so big and heavy. The penetration was extremely painful. I wanted to scream and yell, but I couldn’t. It hurt too bad.

All of a sudden, he jumped off of me and the bed. I put my arms down. He started to scream at me. He told me that he had said not to move. He told me I was an evil child filled with the devil. He was right. He got the belt again and told me to put my hands back up or he’d punish me again. I begged him not to, but that made him really angry. He took me by my shoulders and shook me. He kept yelling how little girls should obey their elders. He put my hands back over my head and made me stay like that.

I laid on that bed for hours. It was so cold in that room. I really had to go to the bathroom, but he told me not to move or say anything. I had to go so bad, I ended up wetting the bed. When he found out I had wet the bed, he beat me again. And then he was on top of me again. It must have gone on like that for hours. I remember watching it go from day to night.

I hurt right now just thinking about it.  I think I’m going to sign off, take some hydroxyzine, and eat.  Toast for breakfast and not eating anything else doesn’t cut it anymore.

Therapy Thursday

Standard

What a rough time today.  Going two days in a row is rough.  But I didn’t expect it to be this rough.  I pretty much picked up where I left off.  I know Dr. D is concerned.  It’s hard for me to understand why.  The same goes for Dr. W.  On Dr. D’s urging, I left a message for Dr. W.  The panic attacks.  The flashbacks.  They have gotten worse lately.  I think I didn’t share this with Dr. W for fear of ending up in the hospital.  I bet that isn’t a rational thought.  They don’t throw you butt in the hospital unless you’re a danger to yourself or others.  What I know, however, isn’t working to calm down what I feel.

For the first time in however many years I’ve been going, I admitted to Dr. D about the cutting.  People sometimes get the wrong idea.  For me, it was to externalize the pain I was feeling.  I talked about how long it’s been since I last cut.  I talked about the urges and how they’re getting stronger and stronger.  Dr. D took it in stride.  I had expected some sort of belittling.  I don’t know.  Scolding maybe.  But all she showed was compassion.  She asked the usual questions.  When did I start?  What made me stop?  Did I feel in danger?

Today was another day.  I couldn’t cry.  I thought I was going to.  I pinched my leg to try and keep it under control.  I hate tears.  I hear my mom’s voice.  “If you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about!”  It usually ended up with the belt.

She asked about how structure of childhood kept me functioning (although not in those words).  I was trying to respond that it was some sort of normality in life.  All of a sudden I was hit with flashbacks harder than ever.  I’m pretty sure I was having a panic attack too.  I vaguely remember hearing my name.  But I couldn’t snap out of it.  It was like I was in a film on a repetitive loop.  As I calmed down, I could only stare at the fish.  I couldn’t look Dr. D in the eyes.  We talked some about what I went through in those last 5 minutes.  It was all so overwhelming.  I went back to the thought of routine and only could say there was nothing normal about it.  But it was sort of a loose routine.  I went to bed.  He came in.  He molested me.  He left.  I went to sleep.  Every single night.

I tried to hide.  I don’t know why I bothered.  He always got me out.  Sometimes it was with extraordinary anger.  He almost ripped the closet door off once or twice.  I finally gave up on hiding.  There was no point.  There was no stopping the abuse.

All of this came out today.  Dr. D asked if there were any new memories.  Nope.  The same old ones.  The ones that still hurt so much.  I need to let her know I need her to be more aggressive in trying to get me out of that loop.  Like I said, I kind of heard her calling my name.  But it wasn’t enough.  It didn’t break though the images, sounds, feelings or panic.  The one thing she did try to get me to do after I calmed down was to keep my eyes open.  I totally understand that.  In my history of therapy, that was something I definitely learned.  It hard sometimes.  I really want to block out everything.  But by blocking out everything external, I get caught up in my head.

Dr. D asked me to come back on Monday morning so we can keep on top of everything.  What was I going to say?  I suppose I could have said no.  But that didn’t seem wise.  I know I need to keep working, especially through the radiation.  Speaking of which, I’m almost half way done.  Yay for me.  So, I’ll go back on Monday.  If I make it through the weekend that is.  Dr. D gave me her cell phone number so I can always call or shoot her a text if need be.

Walls

Standard

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.

Abandonment

Standard

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.

Scars

Standard

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.

Mask

Standard

I live my life behind a mask. My mask is happy.  My mask is confident.  I’m good at wearing this.  Despite how I feel inside, I don’t reveal my honest feelings and fears.

I don’t really let people see the “true me”.  Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the “true me” is.  I’ve hidden behind a mask for so long that maybe that is the “true me”.

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character has a bunch of laws to live by.  Her law number one was “You always have to rely on yourself”.  I totally agree with that.  But my law zero is “Trust no one”.  If you can’t trust, it’s hard to show your “true self”.  It’s hard to take off that mask.

I’m slowly learning to trust Dr. D and Dr. W.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me.  Last week, I tried to cancel my appointment with Dr. D and quit therapy all together.  I made a deal to come that one time.  Ordinarily, I would have hidden how bad things were and just tiptoed around the issues.  But I didn’t.  I sat there and talked through the flashbacks.  Making myself that vulnerable was extremely scary.  And although nothing bad happened, I still want to put that mask on.

Maybe this is a turning point for me.  Maybe it’s okay to drop the mask and let safe people see what’s underneath.

Hiding

Standard

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.

Showers and Stuff

Standard

One of my biggest challenges has been taking showers.  There were countless times where my father fondled me while washing my hair.  I came to hate showers and associated them with pain and anxiety.  And the fear and anxiety led to what I call the 3 minute shower.  In and out just as fast as you can.

I’ve been struggling with shower issues for years.  I finally buckled down and got my fears under control.  It took a lot of time.  I started by just standing in the shower, fully clothed, for increasing amounts of time.  Once I felt comfortable there, I moved to standing in the showers with no clothes on.  That was really hard.  But with time, I was able to be in the shower for increasing amounts of time.

Then it came time for actual showers.  This brought back the panic full force.  I just had to power through it.  Now, I was doing all this in the daylight.  Nighttime was nearly impossible.  So once I finally got comfortable with showers longer than three minutes I started back at the beginning, but after dark.

It feels like the entire process took f0rever.  Now it’s to the point where there isn’t any anxiety surrounding the shower.