2 years | 730 days | freedom

This, in so many many ways.


Back appointment, bad dreams, difficult things and dissociation.

Trigger warning- first part is pretty safe, a few medical doctors dotted here and there. Second part involves a bad dream with my ex, a triggering ultrasound scan, and more sex stuff. Please stay safe and only read what you feel able to.

Yesterday I travelled two hours away to the nearest place that would offer me specialist back care for the injury I’ve had no treatment for since last March- the 11th to be exact. I knew that I would be frightened about going on the train again- I had to pass those triangular boards in the station where I saw my ex standing, larger than life, waiting for his train. I knew I would have to overcome the nerves I now feel when I’m in any sort of medical situation, as a direct result of the other doctor who dismissed me so callously last March with an obvious dig at my mental health.

What I didn’t know was how well I managed to handle most of it.

Although I was nervous and frightened, I took my panic and I looked at it. I remembered that I was feeling anxiety and that I have managed to overcome anxiety before. I did crosswords and wordsearches, and I breathed deeply. The appointment itself actually went well- a woman consultant, a woman physiotherapist and a woman clinic worker, all very nice and all very professional. Apparently my initial injury was healed, according to physical tests they had done on me, but I now had something new to contend with which was sacro-iliac and pelvis related. That felt good to hear because it meant that Dr Pratface was wrong and that I was right, and that I was still in pain and I was NOT making it up. I see them again in April, so I have to do that journey again, but I don’t care, it was worth it. The examination took an hour, they asked me specific questions about my pain, and they listened and asked me what I thought. I finally felt respected and understood.

OK, TRIGGER WARNING here, stay safe. My dream got graphic. 😦

That morning though, I’d woken up with another bad dream behind me. I had been dreaming that I was at my ex’s house, and he’d invited me round when I was walking the dog. He then managed to get me in bed with him, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to but I let it happen. As it happened, he didn’t even want to get inside me- he finished on my stomach and jeans, and where it touched them the jeans stained bright yellow immediately. I got up and got Juno, who had been curled on the bed watching me with a disparaging look… almost as if she knew we weren’t supposed to be there…

The atmosphere was like the early days of our relationship, where I was slowly being manipulated into things I was not comfortable with. I knew I was supposed to love him and I was supposed to care about him, but I just felt desperate and guilty and denied my own release. I told my ex I was supposed to be leaving, and he kept trying to persuade me to stay. When I told him I really had to get back because of the dog, he wished me his snidest, ‘good luck, you’re going to need it,’ clearly referencing my mum and how angry she would be that I went to see him.

The awful shocker was that suddenly, I realised I was supposed to be with Josh all along and I jerked awake, feeling all kinds of sick and guilty and ashamed.

I hate these nightmares so much. I hate them. I hate that I keep dreaming about him when he has no place in my life any more. I wanted to scrub the dirt out of my skin and hide in bed all day, but I had the appointment to get to and a class to teach. My friends supported me after I posted a status about it, dropping me public and private messages of support. I really appreciated that. As the messages flooded in, my spirits lifted.

On Saturday, though, I had another scare.

I had been sent to the local clinic for an ultrasound (non-obstetric adult ultrasound, the letter read), and I assumed that the scan was for my back. After all, when I’d asked my surgery’s receptionist about the letter when it had first arrived, she had assumed that the doctor had wanted to cover all bases as regards my back injury and its treatment.

As I’ve explained before, I get nervous about medical things, and I was really hoping that they wouldn’t need me to take off too many clothes. I didn’t want to be exposed to strangers without good cause.

The nurse was lovely and chatty, and the doctor was calm and friendly. I didn’t mind the cold of the gel on my stomach and continued to breathe, ignoring my full bladder that they’d requested for the scan.

The problem was, I was in pain again. Period pain type stuff but with no bleeding, which is something I get a lot, and as the scanner glided over my upper stomach and my kidneys, I tried to concentrate on the cold gel and the nice nurse, who was asking me questions to try and put me at ease.

Then the doctor started to scan my uterus and I started to panic, because this took a longer time and they started to take a lot of notes. The scanner pressed into something on the inside of my left hip and it hurt, and I lay there trying not to panic and wondering what I was really here for.

I hope it’s just paranoia, and like my friend R explained, they could be scanning my L5/S1 area and that’s opposite my uterus, so it would make sense that they would scan there. What I’m actually wondering is what if I was referred to the clinic because of the abuse, and they’re checking to see if everything is ok because I was raped? I told the doctor I saw to get referred for my back what had happened with my ex. She asked about it because Dr Pratface, my original back doctor, had been so obnoxious about it and kept asking unwarranted questions about it.

Maybe it is paranoia, I don’t know. I will get my results this week at some point, I hope. I have to ring my GP surgery to find out.

Today has been a weird day again. I’m not feeling too bad but I am feeling very tired, and very dissociative. I have started my fifty hours of practical massage work, which is good, but I’m still worrying about the scan and my dream.

What has been pretty good has been the response to the therapy work I’ve been doing with Dr K. I wanted to tell J how I felt about sex properly, but I felt like I couldn’t tell him… but instead of telling him, I decided to send him the last post I wrote about it. He’s read it and he understands it! He’s also recommended me to email the post to a friend of his who is a social worker, so she understands this sort of conflicted stuff. I think I will- I’ve met this friend of his and she is lovely, and I trust her even though we haven’t known each other long. She deals with this sort of stuff day in, day out. I hope she doesn’t mind me emailing her.

Also, I’ve been being very brave and trying to reconnect with myself. I wrote before that I get so upset sometimes over masturbation, and it’s still really hard to write about it or talk about it. I know it is healing for you to finally be in your own body and give yourself pleasure, but the nineteen-year old inside who is still scared doesn’t understand that it’s not a big deal, that lots of women do it and take pride in it. I’m nurturing that split-off fragment of my past self, telling her that what we are doing is ok, that we need it to heal, that we deserve fun and pleasure. J would probably agree with me there- one of his little mottos is ‘If it feels good, do it!’ His one proviso is that whatever you do has to not impact negatively on other people, but that certainly wouldn’t apply where self-pleasure is concerned.

All in all, I think I have a lot to talk about and a lot to ask Dr K. Maybe the pains in that scan were body memories? Maybe it’s my poor beleaguered body’s way of telling me it was hurt too, and it needs some sympathy?

I’m going to try and stay positive over it, as much as I can, and just wait to see what the scan results are. Dr K will help quell some of my anxiety.

Ten things not to say to a suicidal person

This deserves a reblog because I’m sure I’ve heard nearly all of these things and they all don’t help, for reasons said here. Brilliant post.


In July 2011 I wrote a post entitled, “Ten things not to say to a depressed person.” It was the first piece on this blog to attract a large audience and I own much of my blogging success to that post and its companion piece, “Ten supportive things I’m glad somebody said to me.”

I’ve decided the time is right for a similar piece on dealing with suicidal people (although I’m definitely not expecting the same number of readers for this post!). Suicidal thoughts have been a problem for me since around Christmas and the wide variety of responses I’ve received to my blogs and tweets, along with training to be a Mental Health Instructor, have given me cause to think about how people respond to individuals they know to be suicidal. A common response is feeling that they must throw some logic at the problem. What people don’t…

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Really difficult stuff to talk about.

TRIGGER WARNING- I’ve managed in this post to talk frankly and openly about sex and how screwed up I am over it. Please stay safe, everyone. Some of this is quite graphic, although not all of it is the usual sad stuff I post. Be careful.

So, I have been recently discussing some really difficult shit with Dr K, and of course, it’s haunting me a little. I feel like the fragmented parts of me (the nineteen-year-old in particular) are really freaked out about sex and not sure what is normal any more. In fact, I know that at nineteen, I had been actually having proper sex with my ex for nearly a year and I was confused as hell about why it didn’t feel like all the films said it should.

I was confused by how it used to happen, too. I thought it was attractive to the guy you were with if you crawled into his lap asking for sex. I thought that it was a good indication that you were really interested in him and you thought he was sexy. Apparently, to my ex, it just meant you were a whore. I cannot count the amount of times I was pushed away by him, only for him to re-initiate at least twenty minutes later, once my drive was well and truly off. Then, he would expect a show and I would perform like some sort of whore. At least, that’s what I thought it was like to be a whore. Surely sex was like this for everyone, then, and all the films and movies were lying?

Talking to Dr K about this has thrown up my poor fractured sense of ‘normal/healthy’ again. I told her all of this, and she said it wasn’t right that every time I wanted sex it was thrown back in my face. This reminded me of something that happened between J and I, something that’s hopefully re-wiring how I see approaching J for sex.

So we were pretty tired for about a week whilst I was staying with him, mostly because of the sweaty, baking weather. I was, inexplicably, about as turned on as you can get and had not a clue about how to ask J to help me out with it. Of course, you’re not meant to ask the person you’re with for sex, so I had to just hint and hope. When that didn’t work, I resorted to just pushing all those feelings away, resulting in a horrible depression for at least three days.

J saw there was something wrong and asked me every day, but I couldn’t tell him. I must be warped to want sex this much, it must be programming from my ex to perform, so I just told him I was feeling bad but not why. Eventually though, he decided that it was bad enough to keep pushing me about it. When I did tell him, there was a huge sense of relief.

J did not push me away, reject me, or call me a whore. He was amused that I was that horny and actually very flattered, and told me outright that asking him for sex was really attractive and a huge turn-on for him. I felt suddenly very appreciated, and very relieved. He let me know that of course I wasn’t warped (and so did Dr K as I related this story to her) and that being young and with someone I care about that much will of course make me tick over like a well-oiled engine!

All of this is flies directly in the face of what my ex forced on me. I used to feel so dirty a lot of the time with him, and I’m trying to shake that feeling and re-work my head to accept that what J is telling me is what most people think.

I haven’t mentioned this to Dr K yet, but one of the other things I really struggle with is – gah, I can’t type it without feeling like a fucking whore – masturbation.

Ugh, I remember feeling guilty and wrong and sick over it ever since being really small. I hate guilt. It kills whatever drive I have and gets rid of it faster than a blink. I know logically that it’s not wrong, but I feel horrible for even thinking about it sometimes. In my more manic moments, I literally don’t care, but I am not manic right now and it actually scares and angers me in equal measure that I just can’t process it properly.

J’s helped me a lot. He’s told me so many times it’s good for me, and that I’ll feel less stressed and anxious- after all, after a good orgasm, it’s almost impossible to feel horrible. What I struggle with it that the Church is so condemnatory of any and all sexual feelings and behaviour that I am still conditioned to believe I’m a proper Jezebel, a total whore, for feeling like J is the hottest man on the planet and remembering all the lovely times we’ve spent together in bed. I wish that I’d never been brought up in the Church. It’s responsible for so much of the damage to my psyche.

I’ve also read on various sexual healing sites (like Aphrodite Wounded) that masturbation is actually good for survivors of sexual violence and that it can help you feel less dissociative, and more in touch with your body. I didn’t realise it, but I actually spend a lot of time out of my body, not feeling its aches, pains or pleasures. I’m always fully present when I’m with J, out of necessity, because I don’t want a flashback ruining my mojo! I also don’t want to be trapped in the ether forever, and feeling that safe with J is a great help.

I just wish I was less conflicted about all of this. It’s really hard to actually relax about all of this, what with my ex’s abusive ways and the Church’s abusive sayings floating around in my head. The nineteen-year-old part of me that I talked about before is horribly conflicted. Her view on things pretty much sums it up- want it, shouldn’t want it. Dirty whore.

J would never call me a whore. He thinks my every move is brave, and has been gentle and patient with me since day one. This also brings me to something else that has been conflicting my poor head, something that I know is slowly feeling less weird but is also still a little anxiety-provoking.

I was with J for the first time since Florida last year, in January and February. I remember feeling excited and nervous and a bit frightened of sleeping with him, even though I desperately wanted to. I didn’t want to have a flashback or see my ex where J should be. As you’ve read, I managed to, and I actually enjoyed it, and cried in happiness when it was over. J was lovely with me, held me tight, kissing me and then making me laugh.

What happened a couple of days after was really strange.

My ex used to lash me with a belt, metal side to skin. He would tie me to the bed with handcuffs and leave me there for a while. He would force his hands round my throat and choke me whilst having sex with me, and I’d just lie there and take it all. He called it BDSM. Dr K calls it abuse, and she’s right, it is. Real BDSM can have all those components, but both parties involved agree it’s what fries their chips and gets them off, and they usually sign a contract and also have a safe word AND aftercare when the scene is done. I had none of that.

I was writing something on J’s kitchen table, bent over, and he came up behind me.

“What are you writing, babe?”

“Just a shopping list so we don’t forget anything when we go out.”

“Ok,” he said, and lightly slapped me on the ass.

I froze. That did not feel anything like the awful spankings I would endure under my ex. That… that felt good.

He saw my eyes widen and the pen fall from my hand. “Are you ok?” he asked, and spanked me again lightly.

I shivered. “Y-yes,” I said, and he grinned and spanked me again.

Through clothes, the sensation was incredible. I didn’t get why I was enjoying it, but a few well-placed slaps later and my elbows and knees buckled. J grinned, and helped me upright. I was shaking with pleasure and I’m pretty sure I had a grin plastered on my face.

“That… what was that!?” I asked him. He laughed and kissed me on the forehead.

“So you liked that, did you? More of that later. We have to get to the grocery store now. Can you walk? Are you ok?”

I smiled back and said I could, but he might have to hold onto my until my legs felt less jelly-like. He laughed and stayed there til I trusted my knees enough to walk again.

Since then we’ve explored more with spanking. I told Dr K that I felt really weird about it- on one hand loving it and actually feeling good when we did it, and one the other terrified that my ex’s violent ways had warped me and twisted me, forcing me to re-live my abuse in a different way. She explained to me that this is not the case, that many people enjoy it and it’s not even at the scary end of the scale. All of this made the nineteen-year-old inside me feel a little less freaked out.

Dr K also explained that I am not re-living my abuse because I am actually enjoying myself about it. It’s true- I never thought it was possible to enjoy it, but I am boneless when he’s finished and usually ask him not to stop. J always respects my wishes, and the whole thing is done safely- something that Dr K has pointed out to me. I do feel a little better now writing about it, and I feel a lot more like I am moving on with some aspects of feeling weird and fucked-up and guilty.

What I really want out of my stupid roiling mass of feelings over sex is some true clarity, and not to feel so triggered or have so many intrusive thoughts when I’m alone and thinking about sex. Has anyone out there got any advice over this? I would really love a bit of extra help. I feel like even posting this will take a huge amount of courage, because it was so hard to write this, but I would like a bit of advice about how to heal from what my ex has done to me and to be able to express myself better (sexually that is) to J. Dr K is helping as much as she can, but I only see her once a week.

If there’s one thing I’m learning about sex, it’s that it is not what I thought it was- it’s much more exciting than I thought, and that what I had before was just pain.