Day one recovery plan and I am over it already lol. I’m lucky enough at moment to be driving a nice convertible car and I left the roof off, went to library and it started pouring heavily. I bolted back to car but it was too late, water everywhere!!! Hours later, got home, sputtering car and wet like a drowned rat. Missed recovery meeting, but I got through it, with only a few depressive slumps…. though I was warding off more. Anyway, I’m safe, it’s a first world problem and I have to grow up and be an adult I guess. I genuinely do not know how people do life, family and the like. In bed with my furry kids and grateful for small mercies. I did get through most of the things on my list today so that is good. I said I would be kind to myself. I said I was willing to change. I said I was going to learn to love myself. One day at a time.
Back to work today. Was chock full of anxiety and fear. Those damn feelings of disgust started to permeate through my body, making me want to shiver and shake and hide in a corner all day. Once I got busy, it all dissipated, maybe I switched, but I got back into the groove quickly and I forgot that I felt awkward and the capable side of me came out and I remembered how much I love my job and how thankful I am to be working at an arts institution.
I went for an hour run and listened to Dr Carol the Sex Coach, who talked about recovery plans. I thought I would map mine out in case anyone else finds useful. I find I need examples to stimulate my thinking.
Daily recovery plan:
- Morning prayer
- Read bible
- Read recovery literature
- Listen to Robert Clancy prophetic daily word
- Exercise for at least 20 mins
- When I have negative thoughts or feelings, I Rebuke “you are a spirit of a lie. You come from Satan. I bind you in Yeshua’s name and I loose the trust, hope and faith in God and encouragement in God upon me that I will endure it. Because I will reap in God’s will and I don’t want to faint. I believe in God’s purpose for me. He has given me a spirit of love and sound mind'”.
- Outreach call to someone in recovery to check in (discuss what’s triggered me or anything that’s come up… eg negative thinking or feelings)
- Journal or blog
- Review day (in writing or head).
Then at least three times a week:
- Recovery meetings / plus church
- Connect with fellowship
- Write to my inner children based on Penny Parks, “Rescuing the Inner Child Book”.
- Dr Carol said I need to list 25 positive personality attributes as homework. Here goes..I am.. thoughtful, caring, kind, strong, pragmatic, playful, imaginative, encouraging, helpful, reliable, brave, articulate, curious, decisive, efficient, energetic, focused, insightful, forgiving, perceptive, reflective, understanding, independent, responsible and resourceful.
That was hard and fun and embarrassing. I had to go online and get ideas. I feel shame coming up as though I am big noting myself but it’s important I start to practice balancing out all the negative with positive. I am tired of beating myself up. I’m tired of the shame. I want God to heal me. I want to change.
Yesterday’s session at therapy saw me do some bodywork and today I am experiencing massive repercussions. In the past i have struggled to do body work with any great success. I have fallen asleep, dissociated or just blanked out. I think the spiritual work I have done with P has helped clear some stuff out and I felt ready to try again. I lay on a mattress in my T’s office and she asked me to scan my body and tell her what was coming to my attention, what feelings I was having. I responded with disgust. I felt disgusting. She asked me where it was located. I said between my legs. She asked me to stay with it and let it talk. It said, “I’m disgusting”, “I hate myself”, “I feel yuk”. I started to dissociate, she grounded me. Then fear started to come up and I had the most intense experience. I saw the fear as though it was this heavy invisible shield around me. T told me to push through it, see myself pushing through it and so I just moved my hands outwards (it was very difficult to do this) and that helped break its spell, but then I started to dissociate real bad… or spinning happened. I felt like I was on a ride at the show, going up and down, as though I was on an imaginary rollercoaster. I kept asking T, “are you sure I’m not moving?” I just felt so weird. It was kind of fun at first but then made me feel a bit nauseous. She told me to tell it to stop and I had to shout it out and say it forcefully twice and then I think T encouraged me to move, and I turned over and then started shivering and shaking and crying and the little ones came out. It hurt so much. The feelings, the memory, whatever they were. I didn’t get pictures I just felt like I was gonna get hurt and killed. T said We did real good and she was really proud of us. We didn’t really understand why we did good but it made everyone happy she thought so.
I felt pretty good afterwards and spent the night with S and it was very blissful and I felt loving and vulnerable. We went to boxing this morning and had a really lovely day together just hanging out. But from lunchtime I just started to feel as though I didn’t deserve to be happy and that I was ugly and disgusting and that I was going to stuff everything up. Then I received our student feedback from teaching and a couple of comments were really negative and that threw me off. I had felt really good about last semester and now I am second guessing what I am teaching and doing in class. I feel like it affirms my low self worth and that I am just a fraud. And I am now beating up on myself for feeling low. The horrible side of emotional Anorexia- starving myself from any nourishment, siding with the programmers, abusing myself like I was taught too and stuck in the vicious cycle of self hate and loathing. I went to a SLAA anorexia meeting and cried. I came home and journaled with my little parts, which is pretty big for me. Things haven’t really shifted that much. I still feel so disgusting, and it feels so hard to walk. The only safe thing for me to do is stay in bed and write this. If I can limit movement as much as I can that feels okay. Having a body is hard. I am thankful I am mobile don’t get me wrong, I just find it difficult to be present in my body as the feelings of disgust permeate my being. It is sad but I do wish I was dead and didn’t have to continue with this life. There’s just a heavy heavy cloud of blackness over me tonight. 😦
I am identifying more deeply with the SLAA term “anorexic”. From an emotional, mental and relational perspective I guess it can be defined as the compulsive avoidance of giving nourishment to oneself. I stuffed up yesterday on a project I am working on and my mistake set me off so bad. It triggered the worst feelings of shame and worthlessness, i just felt so down. I wrote myself off as a person and as producer of the project/ it was further evidence as to why I had never made it in that career (“successfully”), and I just beat up hard on myself. There was no nourishment, I starved myself of any compassion or goodwill. I was in a funk all day, but managed to get through by being as avoidant as possible. Later I spoke to the director and it is being sorted out and he wasn’t angry at me, like I thought he would be. I just feel as though he thinks I am incompetent and useless and bad at my job. I don’t feel like I have any worth. It’s sad.
This kind of sums it up;
“Our sense of self was sometimes non-existent, and often very negative.
As anorexics, moreover, we ignored our own needs and instead blindly followed what other people thought and said. We lacked an awareness of our habitual need to either please others or rebel against them. All we knew was that our reactions were detrimental to our well being; we didn’t know why or how to change them. “ (SLAA Anorexia recovery tools guide – draft version).
I keep myself so disconnected from me that I don’t stop and think through things properly. I am either a very fast decision maker, which I think is because I don’t want to sit and reflect on things, or I shut down and don’t respond until things become stressful and panicked. Perhaps because I don’t have to sit with things either. I don’t know… I just move through tasks so quickly that I sometimes forget what i have done. I think it’s part being multiple, the disconnection from self, probably fragments of me operating in the world. It’s me but it’s not me. I forget who I am. I seem to have forgotten now.
Maybe I am just so unaware of my own needs and self, and I have rejected my self so much that I don’t even think I am worth acknowledging? I don’t matter, I deserve to be overlooked. Sick beliefs huh? The idea of sitting with myself and looking inwards for the answers seems foreign to me. I feel very scared of this, I find it so difficult to be still and stay present long enough.
“So now we asked, how can we stay connected with that inner knowing? First, we realised that we must look inside for inner truth, rather than outside of ourselves. We are finding that knowledge of the heart, intuition, and faith all comes from within.”
As a Christian, is this true? I don’t know. I believe the Holy Spirit lives inside us so I guess that could be the inner knowing. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to connect inwards and with self (selves).
The good news is that even though I beat up on myself all day, I was cognisant of what was going on and I even had flashes of thinking about handing it over to God. I wasn’t able to really do that but usually those thoughts are not even present in me, only darkness. So I am thankful for that. I know it will get better over time, it is just a hard spot I am in.
Got super triggered at this mixed SLAA meeting tonight. I wasn’t sure if this was the right one for me and tonight kinda proved it. Way too many men (young and old), plus weird dynamics all round. It was really hard listening to men talk about their porn and lustful addictions and objectifying women. I know it’s a safe space and people are coming there to get better, but I found myself starting to feel really sad and angry. When it came my turn to share I was brutally honest about how I felt. I said it was hard for me to listen to men and I understood many had been abused, but it just made me feel so angry and shameful and scared, because I was abused by multiple perpetrators. I was finding it really hard to not cry and also to stay present. Afterwards, I left straight away and I rode home on my scooter. It’s 125cc so can ride pretty fast on freeway and I pretended I was Lisbeth Salander from Girl with a Dragon Tattoo (the one played by Noomie Rapace) and that made me feel tough. I screamed out loud when I was riding fast and swore heavy profundity at the perpetrators. It made me feel a bit better, although I did wonder if I would really care that much if I had an accident and catapulted in the air to my death. It was fleeting, as I thought God has kept me alive for this long, I might as well keep on going to see what he has in store for me. That’s progress I guess. I have just sat in the suicidal ideation in the past, so it definitely is shifting. Now, I just feel sad and empty. I just want to be held and I am glad I sleep with toys and dogs.
Touching the deep wound of shame is hard. I can only do it a little bit at a time but I am sure it will all add up. Sometimes I am angry I have to heal and recover, but I guess I don’t really know what else I would be doing. The real world doesn’t really interest me, at least most of it doesn’t. Mmh… I think I just got stuck in my head because it feels safe in here. That’s my protective mechanism. I can feel myself get sucked into my self like a vortex and it feels like an opiate. It’s a place where nobody can get me and I feel so good about that. This is dissociation. My safe drug. It’s a place where nobody gets hurt because nothing happens.
Today I had two women sign up for the boxing writing workshop for survivors of child sexual abuse. One woman identified herself as SRA (satanic ritual abuse) and I said, “I am too!!” And then I cried! I’ve never done that before but I just felt blessed by God that someone like me was attending the workshop. She’s dissociative too and has parts. So far I think five women are doing the workshop. Everyone seems to come from very diverse backgrounds, which I think will really give the group flavour.
Last night at the SLAA meeting, this young girl shared about her abusive upbringing. It was such a sad story. She was told she was completely worthless and was molested at various points in her life, abandoned by her family at 14, homeless and being on the streets, was subjected to more and more abuse. My heart just went out to her and I said to her after the meeting, “I am so sorry that these things happened to you”. I felt tears welling up. I guess through others stories I am connecting with my pain, i just felt so sad that she has been treated so badly since she was a little girl. People can be so cruel. Darkness is so extreme. I wish more people understood and believed us. She looked like a deer caught in headlights. Victims faces are just so scared. Growing up in a state of terror and hyper vigilance, it is not surprising.
I have become secretary of Wednesday night SLAA meeting. It just kind of happened but I feel really drawn to this group. It is women’s only and personal stories. There is something very healing for me to connect with women in a safe environment and talk about the abuse, my confused sexual identity, the acting out and maladaptive behaviour. I feel like I am in some feminist movement from the 70s and I am really liking it.
Tonight was a very beautiful meeting at CoDA. There was something about being in a room full of 30 people, sitting in a funny circle, sharing their truth. Bearing witness to people’s vulnerability felt special and safe. People were grappling with their sense of selves, who they knew they were meant to be, but couldn’t seem to connect with. Buried underneath dysfunctional characteristics and traits.
Tonight the topic was on self worth. I shared that I felt I had to do some grieving here around this. I grew up with a shame based identity and never felt worthy. I never even felt a sense of self. I was dissociated and I rejected myself. I hated me. I have often wished I had never been born. I have minimised, denied or altered how I have felt for so long that I didn’t even know I felt this way. Yeah, parts of me did, but I couldn’t emotionally connect with the feelings. I felt sad tonight to reveal how unworthy I have felt. How my unworthiness has driven me- in almost all my decisions and behaviours.
God has really protected me and I am so thankful. Even though I lived out a shame based identity, I know I have “acted in” much of this- through isolating, withdrawing and shutting down. I’m not saying that’s admirable by any means, i guess it might manifest in other ways for some/ like crime or sex work or getting into abusive relationships. I’ve been saved from these things, although could have gone close.
I am working to build self worth at the moment. I am making the general acts that I do more intentional/ like running or going to the gym. These are acts of self care and I want to acknowledge them. I do these things because God wants me to be healthy and because He believes I am worthy. And if He thinks this, then I must be. I know it will take time to fully accept this, especially as there are many parts still to be integrated, but as the functioning host, I can practice self worth.
A woman talked tonight about how self worth must come from within. We cannot get it from anything else or anyone else. I believe as God renews my heart that I will be able to access the Holy Spirit, Yeshua within me and that He will pour out His spirit onto others through me. I can’t wait for that to happen, but I know I still have so much more work to do.
This year is about practicing radical vulnerability and radical self acceptance. I think the addict part of me thrives in the idea of “radical” . Because of my extreme abuse, I have often had to experience things in “extreme” ways to get a reaction from within. I am reframing this, so rather than it always being about learning through pain, it can be about learning through self care and love. I know being vulnerable comes at a cost for me- it brings up fear, self loathing, shame and triggers dissociation/ but on the flip side it gives me an opportunity to practice the radical self acceptance. I have the willingness and desire to trust that God will take care of the rest.
Tonight I just feel full of sadness and fear. I went into work mode and was able to switch off by “doing”. It was work that needed to be done and if not I would have felt otherwise guilty. I recognise I am in control. I am not trusting God. It feels scary. I’ve withdrawn again. The intensity of the feelings too much to tolerate, yet I know that’s what I must do. The negative thinking consumes me. “I’m disgusting, ugly, no good, a loser, a failure, self pitying, worthless, can’t be trusted…” on and on it goes. Better I am alone, can’t handle my own company. I long for death. I know tomorrow is a new day.
Did some prayer work with P on Friday and it felt good. I was so tired on Saturday. I saw S, I felt vulnerable with her. Deeply intimate and loving. She has her guard up and I am so sensitive to it. Too sensitive. It makes me withdraw. No one likes to get hurt. What does it matter? I’ve been hurt enough, so has she. It feels like she’s doing the push / pull dance with me now. It’s just so instinctual for the abuse survivor. I know there’s a way out, it just takes intense recovery work. I am doing it, it’s just going to take time and practice. I just have to focus on the program of recovery and learning how to trust God bit by bit with this stuff. Let go of the outcome. I know He understands. I just feel like it’s two steps forward, five steps back. I guess I am just afraid. I am deeply and utterly afraid to let go.
Today I woke feelings so tired and full of fear. I realise how fearful I am and how this drives my thinking, behaviour and actions. It is hard to sit with these feelings as they start to morph into sensations of disgust and shame and embarrassment. In these moments, I feel embarrassed to have a body and I would prefer to curl up into a ball under my bed covers. But alas, my ‘keep busy’, ‘workaholism’ programming means that I have two significant appointments to be accountable for, plus numerous other tasks to attend to. In some ways that is good because it keeps me distracted, but in other ways, it just prolongs the experience. It keeps me avoiding the feelings, the memories. I guess that is why some people have breakdown’s hey?
I am speaking out a lot more about my abuse and I think it is starting to play havoc with me. Today I have an interview with the local paper about a writing and boxing workshop I am running. The idea is to give female survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma a writing prompt as stimulus, then to spend the first hour doing generative writing in response. After about 20 minutes, we stop and come together and share (if willing), then maybe write a bit more, then we spend the last hour boxing. The aim of that is to physicalize the writing, if possible, inviting the stored repressed trauma to unleash itself in a safe space. I am excited about being interviewed, but it also means “exposing” myself – as a survivor. I am unsure what repercussions there will be, if any. I guess I just have to be mindful that I have been silenced for so long and all my parts were threatened with death and torture if they ever talked, so it is normal for there to be a response from within about me speaking out.
I am also speaking out at 12 step groups more, identifying myself as a survivor of sexual abuse and ritualistic trauma. I feel really passionate about speaking this as a truth – to let people in the room know that I think most, if not all, behaviours come from abuse and we mustn’t silence victims and our parts anymore. I don’t have a disease, I have maladaptive behaviours that arose because my nervous system never regulated properly, I formed insecure attachments, I dissociated and never learnt to connect with others properly, nor myself. I have done what I can to survive life, to literally survive. Every day. I have found it difficult to absorb information and therefore to truly change. I have gotten myself into deep emotional crises as I am used to responding in situations of extreme pain. I have not learnt to regulate emotions properly and to sit with feelings is a foreign concept and brings up all the repressed terror and fear. It is important I keep acknowledging this and also reminding myself I am safe now and God is with me and together we can process the feelings and emotions. Apparently the feeling of an emotion (or the affect) only lasts for 90 seconds. If we can allow that to move through us, the experience is processed.
Sometimes it’s hard being little when there is no one to talk too or play with and stuff. Like I guess we have the safe space and stuff but we want to come out and say hi and do things, but it’s hard because everyone is always busy and tired and stuff. We come out when we are scared or if we see things like dogs or funny cars or people on the street.
Most of the time we are sad and lonely but things have gotten a bit better since we woke up. Tonight our head hurts and the room keeps feeling funny, spinning and sometimes we feel a bit upside down. The host says that’s dissociation. It makes us feel a bit sick.
We try and tell the truth but it’s hard because no one believes us when we say we see demons and stuff, but we really do!!! It’s hard to be in this world even though we know we are only a small part of it and only little. Things always seem so big around us and hard to reach.
Good night. From the little ones.