Inside head

Lockdown is over in Melbourne as of tonight, sort of. We still have to wear masks and social distance and can’t travel past 25km radius. I feel like I am in 1984. My tolerance for the government is at an all time low. The system. It’s triggering me. The psychological games and warfare. It’s intense and I’m tired of having to give a shit about a hyped up cold. I’m sorry if I lose a few readers here, but I don’t believe in Covid and yes, I believe in a new world order and governmental control and the push to a technocratic society. It feels good to say it. I’m tired of being afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled a conspiracy theorist. I miss God and want to go back to church. I hope I get to go next Sunday. I feel called back. It’s been a while and I’ve tried to stand on my own two feet and of course came crashing down. Negativity, shame, paranoia, guilt, self loathing and suicidal ideation. All the fun stuff. I’ve lost hope and my self esteem is shot. I’ve lost perspective about the light being stronger than the darkness. I am silently praying to die every night – an old pattern. I am jaded by the University and my beliefs in it as something good are fading. People, places, things can let you down. God doesn’t I guess. I just let Him down. No, that’s false self talking.

I tried to reach out to a friend on Monday and at least made the phone call. I cried. I said it’s hard to know what’s real or not. When the voices inside my head tell me life isn’t worth living, that I am not good enough, I don’t deserve anything. It’s hard to know if they are right or if there is truth in what they are saying. The feelings are too intense and I want to suffocate them. S is sick and I had to get her cold and flu medicine and so I got myself some cold and flu with pseudo ephedrine and took four. It just gave me a small buzz, made me not hear the voices. I know it’s old behaviour but at least I’m writing about it. I guess I just feel as though I am climbing up a big brick wall and it’s relentless and exhausting and I don’t feel like I can do it or what’s the point but if I don’t cross over it then I’ll never know. Maybe that’s what keeps me going. The thought that surely there has to be something better on the other side.

Body work therapy

I’ve been feeling really irritable and angry the last few days. Over lockdown, over masks, over the “new normal”, “we’re in this together” bullshit. We are so not. Tonight was therapy. I grumbled a bit about how I was feeling and T talked about things I could do to hover above the feelings, to help ground me- or find some new meaning. I’ll go to the botanical gardens this weekend with S. Experience nature. Get out of the neighbourhood. It’s going to be cold but hey who cares. Things do feel insular and difficult.

We did a body scan check in and T was encouraging me to locate parts. And so I find myself in some wooded area and in my head I am there on this track and I am screaming, I am screaming so, so loud. “F*#K” over and over and over again. And some parts kind of pop out and look and that’s okay. And then T asks me what’s happening and I just ask her, “what’s the point of feeling?” And it is a part that is asking the question. T says feelings don’t change what happened in the past but they help make things better in the present. The part just said they don’t see the point in life. T asked me where the feeling or where this part is located and I’m like the chest. And so she says, breathe into it and so I do and she encourages me to give it a voice as loud as I can and so eventually I do and I say “help” and “I’m in pain” and then the judging starts and I’m like “look I’m making this up” and the part gets shut down and silenced and then another part comes out and she is a teen I guess and just so angry. Like black angry, what’s the point of life angry, I don’t need you angry. And T just listens and accepts. And the part says she doesn’t feel but T says she might not think that but feeling as though there is no point to life is a feeling. And T asked if I could give the part movement but I couldn’t. I couldn’t move. But I felt her anger and it was very intense. She likes to do boxing but doesn’t want anyone looking at her – it’s a hidden anger, she’s hidden. No wonder I was never able to win a boxing fight. And so there is this anger mixed in with a sense of utter futility. Like what is the freaking point of it all- who gives a shit? It’s the part of me that liked to get fully wasted, be self destructive and be alone. It’s the part that never got to express her anger but felt deep inner rage and yet equally had no strength/ so that’s the purposelessness. You know when you are in a lose lose environment? Well thats what happened to this part and they gave up. They accepted they were going to be eaten by a savage tiger and ended up just sitting around waiting for it to happen. She’s still waiting to be eaten alive, so it’s hard to muster up the “fight”, it’s hard to find purpose for this part, it’s hard to give meaning. It’s hard to even get this part to express their anger. I wish I could smash something with a baseball bat.

De constructing internalised stuff

I have a lot of internalised homophobia and a lot of confusion about my sexuality. Always have. Being a ritual abuse survivor doesn’t help as it just leaves me confused about whether I’m gay by choice or as result of the abuse. Being with a woman definitely feels a lot safer than being with a man. Although I haven’t felt in control of my attractions to women and they have always felt natural, the confusion has been that I have been attracted to both men and woman. Heck, I’ve been married to a man, which I never thought would happen. Then I fell in love with a woman – again. It’s all very weird and I feel haphazard and shameful. I’ve muddled through relationships, I’ve grown in and through relationships and I love being with a woman. I just hate the looks from people or the curiosity or the feeling of being other. I don’t feel like I fit in with the gay community, nor any community really, other than with other survivors. When one is split from themselves through trauma, one doesn’t find the need to rely on others so much. I create community when I want and drop in and out of things when I want. I like to be able to come and go, at the same time, community can keep one accountable. So I am a regular at places for sure.

My relationship with Christians has changed since being with a woman. I’m less trusting. I am self conscious. I think they think I’m gay because I am an abuse survivor. I de-legitimise myself through their eyes. I wonder what it would be like to be with one partner and to be “normal”. And when I was with M, it was normal in so many ways. No one looked at us funny. Or maybe they did. There was a 20 year age gap. But people are less judgey about hetero couples. You just blend in. It was nice to blend in – it was easy. But he and I had a past. It’s not like it was a romantic love story. Maybe I should just get over it. Stop trying to pine for this “good girl” life. Embrace the “richness” of my past. Accept that my trauma led me down a wilder path than some. Stop shaming myself with anti gay internalised messages. Like I don’t think anything ill of other gay or queer people I know, I just accept them. But is accepting enough? Or is this still passive? What would it mean for me to embrace? To own? To commit? Feels funny to write that.

Body sensitive trauma therapy 5

Last week was session 4 but nothing happened and it felt very anti climatic and I tried not to beat myself up for it. T said it was okay for the system to go easy. I expect things to happen every time. I feel I need it too, for proof that my memories exist.

Tonight, a part came out who was 5 and a 1/2 years old. First she asked if she was stupid. My T said no, not at all and maybe she asked her why. The part said things don’t make sense. T asked her gently how she felt and the little part said she felt bad. T asked if bad things happened and if it was hard to make sense of things and all those feelings and the part said yes. T acknowledged that it made sense the part couldn’t make sense of things because what was happening wasn’t right and the part should have been looked after and protected. T asked where the part lived and the little one said she lived inside a tree. In the base of it. Not underground. She’d disappeared inside the tree. My therapist said that makes sense and asked the part if it made sense to her and she said yeah; sort of. When bad things happen the little one wanted to escape and so imagined herself in the tree. Clever.

Later, T asked the part if she wanted to join the other little ones in the safe tree house and she could play or be creative. But firstly T said it was okay if the part shared anything they wanted to and that we were listening. It was okay not to share but they could if they wanted. And I just heard a voice and it was hard to say it out loud so I said in my normal voice, I’m just going to say what’s in my head, even though it’s hard to read. And I said, “they light people on fire” and T said, yes, they do that and validated the part. Soon the part got taken up to the tree house for looking after and T encouraged me to let it all wash over me- and to keep breathing. And many thoughts washed over me – it should have been me, I wish it was me, I need to be compliant, it could be me next. When I came back to the room, T asked me to gently explain what happened and I did, just as I am doing now and I felt sad and strange and in disbelief. I guess I just feel it is remarkable that I am alive and sane. Which makes me feel grateful.

Similarities

I sought some advice tonight from my sister about teaching. She helped me to think about my assessment design and afterwards I thanked her and she became disparaging about herself. She admitted she felt like what she was saying was really basic and everyone knows it and that she thinks she sounds like a layperson. This resonates with me so much. I battle with this negative self image too, feeling as though my thoughts and opinions are unoriginal, uninspiring, something that everyone should already know. Hearing my sister say it, who is 7 years older than me, made me freak out a bit. Maybe I felt less alone. Maybe I could see her skewed belief system which made me think perhaps I have a skewed belief system when I feel this way. I told her that by her saying those things about herself, it made me feel as though what I was asking was stupid. Is that how I make others feel? By not valuing myself am I not valuing others? I’m not meaning to. In fact I think they are better than me/ smarter than me etc but perhaps it is more complex than that. If I truly love and value people then I need to truly love and value myself. Just writing that makes my insides groan.

Disrupted

I couldn’t sleep last night. My body was filled with pain and terror. When I fell asleep I soon woke shaking, the trauma kicking through my body. In the middle of the night I woke from a bad dream and I cried and cried and cried, heavy tears, body shaking. I couldn’t wait for the morning. It eventually came and I just had to get on with the day. I had meetings with students all day and that helped ground me and I ended up being productive and distracted and went for an hour run.

Tonight S and I are sleeping on the couch. It feels a bit like we are camping out and we’ve been doing it a bit in lockdown. It’s not the most comfy but it just feels oddly adventurous. Gotta make the most of this isolation. Tonight we watched a beautiful doco series on Netflix called “love on the spectrum” about people living on the autism spectrum looking for love. It is a wonderfully produced show full of heart and shows the richness of our world when people living with a disability are represented on our screens.

I feel scared to go to sleep but trust that it will just consume me. I’ve always slept well so I have been lucky. I know that this will pass.