Things I’ve done right in life include going to drama school and sticking with the arts, getting help, seeking answers and older lovers who helped guide me; right or wrong, I needed shaping and they helped me in many ways. I went backpacking at 18. I always worked, since I was 12. I sought out counselling for $10 sessions because that’s all I could afford as a student and then mental health plans and then when I was working therapy and more therapy and then I just kept going to therapy (7 years now with same woman). When my dissociation was very bad and I was suicidal daily and hearing voices I sought out prayer ministry and did that for four years. I set up a blog and wrote my deepest darkest thoughts and feelings. I went to AA, SIA, SLAA, ACA and CODA. I did the twelve steps three times. I sponsored women. I stopped drinking and drugging and smoking. I meditated, I did mindfulness, I started boxing, running, I set goals, I surrendered to my feelings of worthlessness and shame and that allowed me to somehow start to entertain different thoughts. I wrote to my parts, I connected with other survivors, I drew, I painted, I watched kids movies for the first time, I built a safe house for my parts, I tried to do fun things. I had sex sober. I practiced boundaries when I finally learnt about them at 38. I responded to a call to learn about God and faith and inclusivity and I ate well. I read about trauma all the time searching for answers and solidarity and meaning and identity. I did a post graduate in teaching. I took a job at a film school. I commenced a PhD. I listened to podcasts to inspire me, I still listen. I try and learn and be reflective. I try to pray before I speak so I say and do good things, right things. I’ve done many bad things. It’s nice but kind of embarrassing to write about the good things, the things I’ve done right, as though I don’t deserve it. But I know I do. We all deserve good things. The things I have done right have been because I’ve taken action, even if that has meant sometimes just riding the tough moments out and postponing giving up.
In the interest of trying to follow my therapists instruction I’ll write what’s in my head as starting to feel a little shaky and dissociative. The feeling of disgust is there again. When we are intimate, the gross feelings come over me soon after. I’m fat, I’m ugly, I shouldn’t have eaten as much as I did today or had that chocolate. I wish I didn’t have to see or feel my body.
Part/ you sound like you know it all when you talk on the phone but you don’t really know that much and you are only at the beginnings anyway.
Me/ that’s fair. I’m not wanting to come off like that, I just enjoy talking to people and sharing experiences. I have grown and learnt things.
Part/ you don’t know nothing.
Me/ I know you are hurting right now. I know that the pain can go away and how to treat it.
Part/ I cover the pain.
Me/ I can take it. You have done such a good job. You could help me locate the pain, bring it to the surface. For healing.
Part/ there is so much pain.
Me/ that’s okay. We will do it over time.
Part/ okay I will try.
And we make an agreement.
A fellow blogger / reader asked me whether I have experienced being so blocked from memories that I only see flicks or pieces but that the feelings lack completely. For them, this results in being able to function but unable to heal or process anything because everything feels / is blocked or parts are locked off. They wondered whether I felt the same?
- My memories are like a dark amnesic wall. It’s programming. The memories are deeply buried and unconscious. Fragments. Sensory implicit perceptions, unformed, detached – (from a part: “we were designed that way”).
- The feelings seep out in everyday life, mostly disguised or buried in depression, negative thinking, feelings of shame, disgust, paranoia, hyper vigilance and suicidal ideation. That’s why I like to keep busy. The feelings are mostly separate which is why I often don’t know how I feel. When I connect with my feelings I often feel great sadness, so deep I often don’t know where it is coming from. The experience of feeling has helped me connect with compassion and empathy, which has been incredible. In my 20s I lacked compassion, empathy and lived in a dissociated heightened state of fear and anxiety.
- The process of healing however happens in and around this. There are many ways to heal and process without experiencing full memory, although I long for it, as I feel empty otherwise. As though I will never have known my true self. Does that sound wanky? Do we even need to know our true selves? Or is this another deceptive lie I’ve bought into? I digress. Art therapy, writing, creative expression can all help with processing unconscious memories. Somatic work in therapy is effective and what I am working to do with my therapist currently. EMDR is good too.
- The point is I had a memory about two weeks ago with my therapist. And a part couldn’t breathe, they tried to drown her. Implicitly I’ve known/felt/ sensed this but there’s no narrative to it. My therapist (T) let the part speak (basically saying she was in a box (or container) filled with water and she couldn’t breathe, just a tiny bit of air. It was really scary. And my T just helped the part to get out, to open the box and come out and it took a lot of effort to “imagine” this new ending but we did it and then I cried and shook and it was over. I should have written about it a couple of weeks ago as now things are hazy. I find processing my memories in this way is what helps me heal. It contributes to the continuum of healing. I still lack the narrative. Like who put her in there? How long? Why? What happened? How did she get out? I know nothing. All I know is that through these unconscious “imaginings” and deep internal processing of memory fragments, I can function pretty well. Yeah you see (or read) the depressive side of me and the internal screwed up machinations of self laying it all out on this blog, bare, but I move through life in an okay fashion considering. And most people wouldn’t know what’s going on for me. I’m not conventional, as in married, two kids etc. but I’m in the arts and most people in the arts are unconventional, so I fit in. There’s a freedom within this that helps me. I enjoy embracing the diversity of the way people live. I am curious about people and who they came to be. I guess that’s because I am still searching for how I came to be too.
I’m not sure whether I answered this persons question. I have this expectation that memory should be a clear visual with a narrative and I should be re-living it. That’s rarely happened for me. Even when I have regressed, I don’t have pictures. Once I had a flicker of people in black and candles and a feeling of pure evil and terror overcame me. I remember the chill. I quickly dissociated and couldn’t access anything further. The dissociation is there for a reason I guess. I believe God gave us dissociation. It is a gift, a shield, a super power, yet like most things in this world, it is a complex and layered multiverse that includes multiple points of view around peoples concepts and experiences related to it.
It’s been a while since I’ve written. Partly because I’ve just gone internal, partly because I took some time off work to finish my next solid draft of the PhD (so close) and I tend to be tunnel visioned when doing this. Partly too because I am over COVID and have my own thoughts and feelings around it that I don’t particularly want to share. I will say I am deeply triggered by the mandatory push to wear face masks as of midnight tomorrow night and Melbournes championing of it. Of course there was a propagandistic push by the media, no surprises there, but people’s willingness to submit their freedom so quickly has left me gobsmacked. Encourage sure, just don’t mandate for those that are already isolating as a general rule of thumb. I’m frustrated by people’s social media fashion mask pictures as though we should be celebrating dehumanisation governmental strategies (guised in the name of “saving lives”) with such merry cheer. Get me a bucket quick. And then my birthday was Monday and it was a milestone one and birthdays are triggering on the best of occasions and just simply unpleasant. And because I am so used to dissociating on these days I think part of me felt like I was willing the dis-ease to happen. And there could be truth to that because of course it happened, albeit differently this time, maybe less severe, less intense, just unpleasant nonetheless. And my mother is contacting me, repeatedly and leaving messages. She sent me a birthday present- a $20 note, a box of yo-yo biscuits (homemade), a packet of glitter pens, a shoulder bag (dog picture fabric) to hold dog poop bags and a strange towel wrap you can tie your hair up when wet to help it dry (my hair is short). It was a hodge podge of presents, but I know my father gives her a basic allowance (he controls the money as a form of financial abuse and domination). So she picked up this medley of gifts from an op shop and the fact that each piece kind of made sense (besides the towel wrap) just weirds me out because i can contextualise the why, but it all just seems odd. And yet writing this I feel terribly rude and ungrateful. We haven’t spoken for years. I cut contact due to SRA and I have gotten on with my life. And she’s trying to reach me and i think it’s going to set me off. Perhaps not too much, I have good strategies in place, it’s just a difficult time to clearly assess the situation. I feel compelled to call her back. I should wait till I speak to my therapist on Thursday. But I want to say; “mum, why are you calling me? I need you to know I cut off contact because of memories to do with incest and abuse in our household. I am not willing to have a relationship with you unless you are able to address these things with me. I understand if you can’t do that, but if you can’t, then I need you to respect my boundaries. I forgive you, I let you loose, but I need to protect myself from denial, shame and the negativity that has ensued from these experiences. And that is me being very polite and respectful in terms of what I know and have been through as I have worked on my healing from the abuse.” And yes I am prepared for her denial or deflection or for it to go horribly wrong but I need to say my peace and then I will block her if necessary. I want to stick up for my parts and I have to trust that God has my back in this. Anyway I’ve switched tonight, not badly, but I can hear the little ones, they are scared and upset and angry. I want them to know I’ve got their back too. Amidst all this, the world is falling apart.
I once wrote an essay on resistance. I tried to persuade the reader it was a good thing. In my head I’ve linked resistance with the cult. As though not being resistant means being complicit, which means giving myself over to them. It’s played out in my life. Resistant to facing my fears, to being vulnerable, to feeling, to stopping and accepting myself at the cost of beating myself up and hating on me.
I’m tired of attacking myself. That’s a good thing huh? Getting weary of fighting me.
I believed I must resist self, life, love, full healing, self-acceptance, memories, people, Gods love, good things, clarity, power, faith, and joy because I am unworthy of these things. It’s the perfect double bind. Exactly what the cult want. They want me to believe I am unworthy, they want me to be resistant to life and all God desires for me.
Dear Lord, I repent on the lies I have believed that to be resistant is strong and safe and powerful. I repent on the lies that I have believed that I am unworthy. I choose to believe that patience, perseverance and action is strong, safe and powerful. I choose to believe that I am worthy. I cast off any demons that have attached themselves to me via these lies and any lies still hidden and not exposed. I expel these demons back on to their owners and put up a barricade of holy light so powerful it blinds anyone who tries to send these lies back to me. I expose these lies for what they are. In Yeshua’s name.
Hyper vigilance is a state of internal panic. It is automatic. Hyper drive. Gear pressed into action and a sudden state of terror locks in. Fixates. Shallow breathing. Panic. Not crazy movie panic – no screaming, maybe just wide eyed. It is a feeling that I am wrong. That it’s all over now. Finally. It’s caught up with me. I am leading the great imposter syndrome. I have written it’s manifesto. Hyper vigilance is keeping voices at bay that want to terrorise me and hurt me and call me names. Defeat me. It’s being ready to attack nothing. It’s knotted stomachs. It’s dry mouth. It’s needing coffee. It’s not swallowing. It’s being afraid to sleep. It’s hearing every noise in the room, the house, the street, Earth. It’s a meteorite exploding inside me whilst I’m strapped to a chair. I do try so hard to be good to stop it from going off. Yet hyper vigilance is hyper linked, there’s no off, no on, its a network of nodes inside my head connected to the worlds neurons.