Something monumental.

Possible TW- miscarriage mentioned, abusive relationship, sex briefly mentioned.

 

Well, something monumental has just happened.

 

So, as some of you know, PTSD is responsible for messing up timelines, and DID doesn’t help (the dissociative element screws with time, too!). Also, as some of you also know, we have been dreading July because we thought that is when, at age 21, we lost a baby we weren’t even aware we were carrying. We had broken up with the abusive ex-boyfriend we’d been dating for 6 years, and the stress made us stop taking our contraceptive pill, along with the fact that we had goodbye sex (one of the times we actually wanted to have sex) and didn’t use any other protection. As a result, we must have been pregnant for a while, but lost the baby.

 

Something Dr K mentioned in therapy today- about did we have a date for the miscarriage- rang a bell. We realised that we all WANTED a date. We wanted to remember the baby properly, as a real little human being who would, by now, be four years old and proud of it. So we went home and began trawling through emails, Facebook timelines and messages, and trying to piece a jagged puzzle together.

 

We worked out that the audition we went to take when we stayed with the ex was on the 15th June. We stayed with him possibly for about five days or so, during which he told us he couldn’t be with us any more. We had, ironically, the best few days of our relationship whilst we were together, and then on the day we headed home, he left us crying on the underground after one last kiss goodbye. After that found emails from us to a teacher talking about arriving in Paris to perform as if nothing was wrong, dated 3rd July. We stayed in Paris to perform until the 10th July, when we went home again.

 

We had always thought it was July where we lost the baby because there’s a poem we wrote, partially about breaking up with him and partially about losing the baby. That’s dated the 21st June 2011. We thought it meant that we had miscarried about then, but that, we have realised, doesn’t seem to be the case.

 

We realised, whilst talking to the Dutchman tonight, and whilst reading the journal that 26 wrote back when she was 23, that actually we miscarried right before we flew out to dance in Paris. We miscarried in June and pretended everything was completely fine in Paris, and grieved like hell all July. We left Facebook for a few months, only returning in September, but we saw various posts on our timeline in June and July. They’re all wondering where we were.

 

We were grieving, trapped in our minds and wrestling with the fact that there had been a baby in our womb and now there was nothing. We were probably anaemic, we were exhausted, we were running purely on adrenaline in Paris. We pushed the grief aside, loved our stay there, then returned to the horror that waited at home- grief denied, held back, becomes at least twice as strong.

 

We talked all of this out loud and the Dutchman listened. We cried, a lot. We realised that our timelines have been upset because trauma does that to you, so it is in fact this month where we lost her.

 

Yes, her. We think our baby would have been a girl.

 

A few months back, when we were fit and well at the Gym, we had befriended a cleaning lady. She was absolutely lovely, and had found a ring we lost. She knew that the Dutchman was the right person for us because she said she “had a good feeling”about him, and that he was lovely- not that he looked lovely, that he was. It was just as we were about to leave that day that she said, “Stark, do you have kids?”

“No,” we replied, puzzled, “why?”

She said, “Well, I’ve got the second sight, me. I’ve always seen things that aren’t there. I just asked ‘coz every time I see you, I also see a little blonde-haired girl with you. She’s about four, and she’s got blue eyes and she’s wearing a pink dress.”

We were, of course, floored. Nobody knows about the miscarriage but a tiny handful of people. This lady is an acquaintance we have met at the gym. She knew next to nothing about us, but yet…

We let her know that it was lovely, and we hoped it was a future child she saw, when all of us just knew that she was seeing the child we lost.

 

We told the Dutchman this story too and his jaw dropped for a couple of seconds. He seemed both pleased and shocked. He asked us if we had a name for her, and we said we never gave her one. I think that’s because 19 and I have locked the hurt away in us for such a long time that we didn’t want to let it out again, because the grief we feel when we think about our baby is wild and untameable and will ravage us if we let it. We have always kept the fierce love and the grief that goes with it locked up. Fourteen and Fifteen are different, they’ve always talked about their desire for children and how much they love them. The two of us thought that it was too painful- we all dealt differently.

 

We also let the Dutchman know all of this, and also that we probably would have had a set of names that we would have chosen from once she was born. We thought we would have three names, maybe, and choose the one that suited her best. He has been experimenting with hypnosis with us for a while, because it eases our anxiety (and helps with other things too) so he asked us if, using hypnosis, we would like to see her face and try and name her. We readily agreed, through our tears.

 

The Dutchman put us under, a sensation that’s pleasant and calming in equal measure. We began to stop crying, and breathe deeply. He talked to us until we were far enough under that he could begin to ask our subconscious mind to imagine that there was someone else in the room: our daughter. Not only our daughter, but a four-year-old version of her.

 

Immediately we were in floods of tears again. We described her to him. She had strawberry blonde hair, and thank gods, she’d turned out with hazel eyes and not the ex’s brown. She had freckles, a few on her cheeks, and thick dark lashes- also his, but more than that, it didn’t matter. She was ours.The minute we saw that cheeky face, we knew her name.

 

Fay Alice.

 

The Dutchman got us to imagine that our little Fay climbed up onto the bed to cuddle her mummy- us!- and then, she had to go. It wasn’t too awful to let her go. We had a potential date now, for when we lost her, and now she has a gender and a name. We have decided to celebrate her life when Monday night next week comes around. The Dutchman told us he was so proud of us, and he was incredibly honoured that we seemed to be able to take huge steps like this, based on the foundation of the relationship that we have with him. He’s not wrong. He makes us feel incredibly strong and powerful, as if we can achieve anything because he will always support us.

 

Nineteen and I have been moved by this. The younger two are thrilled- because, it seems, Nineteen and I have reached a decision.

 

We had been trying to decide between the five of us whether we were going to have kids or not. Nineteen and I had been trying to draw up a rational explanation for having kids, and one for not having them. We thought that if we had a morally correct reason for having children, we would be ok and we could have them.

 

What we both forgot was that behind the locked door with the grief and pain was intense, overwhelming love that literally obliterates any obstacle. We adore that child that never was, our Fay. We love her so much it would burn stars to black holes. That would be the last thing in the equation- we would love her so goddamn much. Having kids IS irrational, it’s the best kind of irrational. That irrationally strong love for her will guide us through.

 

The Dutchman said that if she had made it, he would have loved her too, and helped to raise her.

 

That settled it for the two of us. Nineteen near broke us all (in the best way) when she told the Dutchman we could at least try to have kids.

 

Fourteen and Fifteen haven’t been this excited for such a long time. We were all in floods of tears of happiness, they were too, whilst jumping up and down and being insanely happy. They just have always wanted to be a mum. The Dutchman cried. He told us that we keep making him cry, but that it’s a good thing because it helps him feel the depth of his love for us. At this moment, though, he was crying because he was thrilled to bits. He has also always wanted kids.

 

So, my little Fay, you are precious and special. You have a name. You are a human being that we got to have in our lives for the smallest amount of time, but you have made a huge impact on your grieving mothers. We saw you in our mind’s eye, and you have made us remember the incredibly overpowering love we have for you. We wanted to watch you learn to walk. We wanted to sigh, wipe banana from our clothes and try again. We wanted to brush your hair and kiss your little head and post you through the school gates, trying not to cry. We wanted to see your first tooth, your smiles as you watched that video you liked again and again and again and again. We wanted to count your toes, read you bedtime stories, prepare you for life… and, even though you’re not here, we have realised that we can have all that. It may not be with you, darling, but we will remember you if you have a little brother or sister. We will see you in them.

 

Thank you, little Fay, my ethereal Will-o-the-Wisp. You are so incredible. Mummy loves you very much- mummy 14, mummy 15, mummy 19 and mummy 26.

Troubled waters. (TW: stalking)

Unfortunately that weird guy A has struck again. The only place left for him to try to get to me is my Facebook profile, so he’s messaged me on that again.

I’m pretty sure he knows what sort of an impact that has on me.

We are all frightened. This guy found our address from nowhere and managed to send us a letter. We used to be bombarded by calls, texts, emails and IMs from him. Now he sends us one message, and I’m left dealing with all the fallout.

Fourteen is scared. She wants the Dutchman, she wants safety, and she wants to never hear from him again. Fifteen is having trouble concentrating and she’s feeling panicky a lot- she had a stalker who threatened all sorts of horrible things on her, so she’s feeling pretty frightened. Nineteen wants to go after him with a sledgehammer and make him regret scaring the younger ones, and I?

I’m kind of swimming in all these feelings, plus a general feeling of deep  unease.

I thought that messaging his girlfriend and telling her what was going on would stop all of this, but she is as unconcerned and reactionless as you could imagine. She is so beaten down by his constant straying, his petty cruelties and his lack of kindness, that she genuinely doesn’t seem to be able to bring herself to feel scared or upset. The thing that raised eyebrows with us is the fact that she would only be hurt if he left her.

 

I said those words about my abusive ex all the time.

 

So now I have confirmation, at least in my eyes, that she is also being abused. I told her that she had no reason to justify his bad behaviour, and that none of it was on her. I hope she realises that he is hurting her and manages to leave.

At any rate, if I do get another message… I am hot-footing it to the police. I have copies of what he’s said to me, so hopefully I will have a case.

That is, if the police in my area have any money left to do anything.

Gaslighting- an article I’ve found that all should read.

Gaslighting is what makes psychiatrists diagnose wrong, makes victims continue to believe that the abuse was caused by them, and that they are the evil ones. Society does a pretty twisted job of re-inforcing this, because the words, “There are two sides to every story,” are often used thoughtlessly and indiscriminately. I’ve been on the receiving end of disbelief over the gaslighting that happened to me, but this article explains what used to happen to me on a daily basis very well indeed.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/gaslighting-the-mind-game-everyone-should-know-about/

That phonecall I actually made, and its aftermath…

I went into therapy feeling really really spacey. I had a head floating away into the clouds, a mind that retreated away somewhere safe.

Dr K noticed it straight away and asked what the problem was. I told her I had psyched myself up to call the sexual assault referral place, and she made sure with me that I was ok to do this seeing as we aren’t able to see each other next week (she’s on holiday). I said that the longer I left it, the worse my anxieties would get.

She sat with me whilst I dialled, encouraging me and helping me just by her presence. My fear was there but I pushed on through it and spoke to two separate people about my confusion and worry.

The receptionist and the doctor who talked to me both agreed that I need to talk to my GP about the problems with the pain and bleeding I’m still getting, but the doctor also said that she would get an independent sexual assault advisor to contact me and help me out if I decide to report what happened to me. They were both so kind and respectful, and believed me without question. The doctor also told me to contact them again if I felt upset or needed any more information.

Dr K was so proud of me and all of my fractured jigsaw-piece parts. The younger parts, fourteen and fifteen year old me, were both upset but ok with the fact that I was trying to get help and also that they were believed through me. I floated out of therapy feeling like I’d achieved something but wanting to curl up and sleep.

Tomorrow I travel along the country to teach. I have a train journey to master, two classes to teach, socialising and responsibility for myself in a station I’ve only recently had a panic attack in. I think I can do this. I will just be careful with myself, take a puzzle book, and try to sleep well when I’m there.

I feel scrambled still but I hope that I will feel more with it tomorrow. I am so proud of myself, but I’m tired too.

Thank you for supporting me today.

TW: little one.

I barely have words for this.

I’ve been doing better- dissociative, absent-minded maybe, but better. And now it’s nearly July and I had my miscarriage then, and I am currently bleeding because I forgot to take a pill two days ago.

It’s bringing back memories of the horror of realising I was pregnant and pretty much immediately after that realising my marble was dead, my baby was gone. I have that hollow emptiness between my hipbones again where life should have grown. I am not cradling a three year old girl or boy in my arms, soothing my little one to sleep. I’m ragged and in pain, bleeding just like I did then.

I thought I had managed to put this aside a bit better than this, but I think that my body has not finished grieving yet. It’s still grieving for all the sorrows, crying out for all the times it was hurt and couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I hope I stop bleeding soon. I keep thinking that there’s something wrong, but what’s really wrong is that someone once put me through so much emotional pain that I lost my child.

I think I will have to ring the phone number the doctor gave me for the rape crisis centre near me. I think it’s time to find out what’s happening with my body, and to let myself continue to grieve for a dream that never happened.

Mayday warnings. (Guess what, TW. Stay safe folks.)

Hello again all…

I am so sorry I managed to, yet again, vanish off the face of the earth. I’ve been having a pretty hard time. I haven’t even been keeping up with my journal.

I’ve realised why my voices have wanted me to kill myself in May.

Big step forward, I hear you say, and yes it is… a huge step. It all started when I took my puppy for a walk and began to have a conversation with the ‘it’ voice of the dark passenger.

We sat on a tuft of dry grass, I threw handfuls of it for the puppy which she chased. The it voice wasn’t screaming its usual deluge of vitirol. Instead, I was having a conversation with something that was acting like a scared, naughty child and then BOOM-

I’m eight years old or thereabouts. I’m sitting at a table with three naughty boys, the worst in the class. They pinch my belongings and hide them, empty pencil shavings in my hair and on my work, they call me names and hide my precious glasses, without which everything becomes a blur.

The teacher watches and laughs and blames me for their behaviour. I’m only rescued from that table when my mother, mortified that nothing is being done to protect me, goes round to her classroom after school ends. She’s met with indifference from my uncaring teacher, and a justification for splitting me up from my friends and putting me with the class bullies: she’s weird, she deserves it.

The it voice then chose that moment to point out that it had been born on that table with those three horrible boys.

I’m not surprised, then, that quite often I felt like I was dealing with a naughty upset child… because I was. I think I was dealing with soundbites from three nasty little boys that my traumatised brain had classed as a voice. Now I know what it is, I’ve learned to treat it firmly but gently. It’s pretty much vanished now. It’s dormant and quiet and sleepy, benign and un-frightening now. I did an interview with a girl who was training to be a psychologist, and explained what I’d done with the it voice and how much the voice had changed since I engaged it and started asking it questions like that. She was amazed and pleased for me, as was Dr K, and I felt the glow of pride there for myself, too.

The next big event that has happened is working my timeline out and understanding why May is so hard. It’s a trauma anniversary, but I’m sure I’ve wondered about that somewhere in my journal, then dismissed it as I couldn’t think of anything bad that had ever happened to me then.

Whilst with Dr K at therapy, I let her know about the it voice and about my continuing manicy feelings. I said I was feeling anxious a lot and frightened, and that I didn’t know why. Dr K asked me about May again. She reminded me that I was very ill last May but I was ok now, doing a lot better, able to do more and see further into my future than this time last year. She’s right, that’s true. Last year, I was only able to to a thing a day and to keep my schedule for living that the hospital had given me.

I’d been wondering about something all week though, and wanted to know why I was fixating on it so much. I was wondering about the boyfriend I’d picked up at Spring Harvest, an Eastertide Christian event I used to go to when I was younger. I hallucinated pretty badly there, seeing Jesus and angels and all manner of things that should have been reported to a mental health worker. I even heard the ‘Voice of God’- pretty sure now that it was a mania-induced hallucination. Anyway…

Dr K mentioned something about Spring Harvest and my anxious, manic feelings and suddenly something clicked.

I was fourteen when I met Ash. I was on the rebound from my first ever, fairly fantastic boyfriend, and I was so lonely and feeling so unloved that when Ash asked me out I said yes. I went to visit him a little while after we’d gone home from Spring Harvest- he came to visit me first, behaving and sounding like the perfect boyfriend, telling me that I was special and that I needed his love to feel better from my previous boyfriend. So, going to visit Ash at his house was exciting and I was so, so hoping that I would, at last, feel like I was moving on.

What happened was very different.

I was going to bed, after a day of meeting Ash’s friends, seeing the church he went to, meeting his bandmates and his parents. I was pleased with how it had all gone and how happy I was and just, really, the fact that he was so nice. I supposed that kindness was a whole Christian thing- maybe I was lucky now. My old boyfriend had supposedly been a Christian, but I thought maybe he wasn’t so Christian as he would question his faith and try new things. He would push the boundaries- but I liked it. Maybe, this new relationship would become like that…

I was snuggling down in bed but my insides were jumping with excitement. I knew he was across the hall and I knew he could just come over to my room any time, and I wasn’t above a bit of fun before we slept. Actually though, what I wanted most in the world was for me to go to sleep in the arms of the man I loved.

Suddenly the door opened and Ash was standing there. I looked up in surprise. He sneaked in, locked the door, and my feeling of excitement drained into a clump of something else in my stomach. I asked him in a whisper what he was doing there, and he said he wasn’t happy we were apart and he would stay with me. I relaxed a bit. Clearly he just wanted that hug, the same as I did.

The problem was, he didn’t.

The problem was, he started kissing me and trying to move my hands and I wasn’t happy about that, but then he shoved his hands into my pyjama pants and it was hurting and I was asking him to stop and my hands were up against his chest-

I heard footsteps up the stairs and I was so afraid they’d come in and find me and I wanted him to stop so so bad-

He got out of bed in a hurry and there was a knock on the door. He went to open it. I felt so so embarrassed, so ashamed, so upset and revolting. His mother was there, asking him to leave the room. He wouldn’t go.

So of course, she brought his father up and he still wouldn’t leave the room. Two grown adults could not make one teenage boy leave the room, and they had the door open the whole time I was sitting in bed, covers up round my neck, legs pulled into my body as tightly as possible. I was obviously to blame here. They hadn’t addressed a word to me since they had come upstairs. Clearly they were disgusted with me.

The next day, my mother and father had somehow found out about Ash coming into my bedroom, and I was absolutely mortified. I was upset, too, because I didn’t have a clue what had happened the night before and I felt dirty and bad. I had clearly sinned. God was clearly punishing me. Because men always need reining in and the women have to be responsible for that and I hadn’t stopped him, it was my fault I was hurt. I was also at fault for sacrificing more of my purity- who wants to marry a whore?

What I understood in that flash of memory, whilst telling Dr K, was that it was at May half-term that I went to see Ash.

MAY HALF-TERM.

I was so unhappy for all these years in May because I was violated for the first time ever in May half-term.

This week is May half-term.

That’s not been the only thing that’s been the problem.

I had three voices- he, she, and it. It  has become an ally, something gentle and quiet and sleepy. He and She were still angry and volatile… until last session with Dr K.

We learned that my She voice is actually angry, frightened, upset fourteen-year-old me, trapped in my own head and screaming for Ash to stop hurting her.

Dr K and I got her out of her little hiding-place in my head. I felt strange, like I was having a flashback, and then suddenly my arm was moving of its own accord- like it used to do once long ago when I would self-harm and not feel like I was in control of my own body. My arm started to write words, and Dr K and I watched it as it spelled out:

STOP IT.

Then:

THANK YOU.

I was shocked. Dr K asked what needed to stop, and then suddenly my arm reached out again:

HE HAS TO STOP TOUCHING ME.

We were both shocked, I think, but she kept writing, and she told us the story of that night when I lost trust in men and started to believe that I was sullied and revolting and that God hated me.

Dr K told me and her that we are not to blame for the adults blaming us, for the horrible boy who sexually assaulted us, for the fact that for years I was uncomfortable with what happened but still, STILL blamed myself.

I was exhausted and sleepy after the she voice had her say. Dr K was so proud of me, and worried that I had to teach later on.

I’m a mixture of everything. I still don’t want to admit that the she voice is me, but since I confronted her, she’s quiet and sad, but not that flaming ball of anger that she once was. She’s me now, and that weird schism in my brain has mended. I can feel it there. The wall is torn down, the split gone. Maybe now I can heal better, knowing that two of my voices are actually hurting parts of me that need just as much love as the rest of me.

I am also disturbed that I didn’t recognise that two of my voices were actually parts of me. Also, the arm moving by itself, the writing alone… That’s DID symptoms right there, and I’ve been thinking to myself that I definitely didn’t have DID. Has anyone got any advice for me here? I’m so confused and I would love to know what’s been going on.

At least I am more whole now… although…

Maybe I have been more fractured than I thought.

Therapy is not for the faint hearted- part two. TW- stuff gets intense.

Last week, I went into therapy with my head packed full of thoughts again, singing, buzzing, my heart pounding and my nerves zinging. I let Dr K know I felt weird the minute I got in- before I’d entered her office, I had been flittery-minded and really cheerful, but during the wait to come in my head had started to play games with me again. Dr K immediately saw that there was something wrong and I let her know that my head was doing that panicky thing, where I can’t focus and the panic forces my heart to thunder in my chest.

She let me know that I was safe, and asked whether I would like to talk about what was wrong.

I explained that the mania, I think, stops me really taking in what happened and that I’m frightened that it isn’t processing properly. I explained that I thought there was more that I wanted to talk about from last week, but also that I was feeling so jittery and on edge that I was having a hard time concentrating.

We spent a little time concentrating on calming me down. Dr K helped me visualise my thoughts, swirling as if in a hurricane, and asked me to immobilise it. I pictured a freezing spell from Harry Potter (I love to read, and Potter novels helped shape who I am. I idolised Hermione Granger!) and trapped my thoughts still, so I could organise them into a timeline. Dr K seemed pleased by my quick thinking, and happy that I had managed to control the raging whirlwind in my mind.

She asked me if I would like to try something new today, once my raging panic and my hideous anxiety were manageable enough for me to concentrate. Dr K had said a while ago that she thought it might be beneficial if we tried EMDR, to try and put the shadowy fiends in my head to rest. I’ve read up on EMDR before, trying to understand what I would be in store for, and have found the idea to be a good thing- who doesn’t want to lay these howling, screaming demons low?

I agreed. We moved our chairs to face each other so that I was dead opposite her. Dr K explained what would happen. She said that she would use her fingers to set a steady pace, moving them side to side so that I could follow them, and let me know that whatever I experienced there with her, I would still be safe, and to just let the images or memories come.

I let her know it was ok, and that I was hoping that my torrent of thoughts would calm down afterwards. I wanted the acute anxiety I was feeling to go, and for the reason behind it to be confronted and laid to rest.

Dr K started to trace her fingers through the air, and I found myself falling back into dissociation, watching the fingers in front of me move through the air with solid repetition. I found myself suddenly seeing flashes of things. A shaft of sunlight across my face, a hollow feeling in my gut, a leaden weight in my arms. A feeling suddenly happened on me- suffocation, my face pushed into a pillow, my lungs straining for air…

And then, boom.

Flashback.

(Here’s where the trigger warning comes in. This happened to me and I had no idea it was wrong, because a sociopath convinced me it was normal.)

I was in my ex’s university halls of residence. It was sunny- his grandparents had helped us move all his stuff in and had left us alone to unpack. I was naked, lying on his unmade bed on a heap of clothes or something. There was a shaft of sunlight falling down onto my face, and I felt leaden. I felt dead. I felt like I was being devoured.

I heard myself narrating what was happening to Dr K, and somehow I was aware of her being there too. I stared at the wall opposite me, seeing things that didn’t make sense. I was trapped between two worlds, helpless to escape but able to explain in a detached way what was happening to me.

The sunlight was really uncomfortable, quite hot. I was leaden. My legs were just immobile. My head was as far out of the room as it could be, detached from what was happening below my waist, detached from the man that was holding my wrists to the bed. I wanted to fly out of the window into the sunlight, fly above my body. I was terrified that someone would knock on the door, but I also really wanted them to. That way, the man would stop and suddenly become my boyfriend again-

His face was a blank nothing. It was a face that was basically devoid of emotion, a face with an agenda. That agenda was not love. That agenda was not pleasure. He had set out to devour me, and that’s what he was doing. I was lying there being eaten alive by something that was supposed to be my boyfriend but had turned into a demon when my clothes had come off.

Suddenly I was on my stomach, kneeling on the floor, my head forced down into the pillow and a hand on the back of my neck. My body suddenly burned. It was on fire. My stomach was cramping and I wanted to scream to stop it all, but my throat felt funny. It didn’t work any more. My tongue was forming words in a dry mouth that would never be spoken. I was gasping for breath, my chest felt like there was a hole in it, and I realised I was without any options.

I started to ask to get out of the room. I was not having sex for the first time with my boyfriend- his body was there but he was not, and he was some sort of soulless shell with defilement as his aim. I was panicking, I didn’t want to be there any more- and Dr K was suddenly talking to me, reassuring me, explaining that I was safe and I was ok, and that all I needed to to was try and think of some way to get out and I would.

I started sobbing: J burst in through the door. He pulled my ex off me, wrapping me in a blanket and scooping me up into his arms. He told my ex that he should never lay hands on me like that again, and I saw in the doorway there my parents and sister. R appeared, looking just as she had done when I was 18, and she had an icicle in her hand. This icicle meant business- it was there to go straight through my ex, to gore him in what passed for a heart.

I let them take me away, persuading R not to stab him, because I wanted to lock the door and leave him in there to starve and die and blow into dust. I was handed the key, and I asked J to melt it into a blob for me, so that I would never have to worry about that bastard getting free again.

Dr K slowly brought me back into the room, helping me remember who I was, what age I was, where I was. I was shaken. I had remembered the first time my ex and I slept together before, but I’d not really made the link between how I felt and my assumption that that’s how sex was. I have said before that I was shocked to discover that sex didn’t hurt, that it was how they said it was supposed to be in film, but now I truly understood why. I had been raped that day.

Dr K and I discussed how horrible it was to have my ex change the way he did in front of me. That face that usually smiled when he saw me had been devoid of any feelings and had become this soulless, evil-looking thing. He didn’t look human. He looked like some sort of nightmare figure, something pretending to be the man I cared about that had suddenly revealed itself to be terrifying- a true monster. No wonder I’ve had nightmares of being devoured by an evil, giant male creature, taking my internal organs for its food and devouring them all into some hollow, cavernous mouth. No wonder I drew the he voice with this giant, sucking maw: that’s what I saw that day in the man who was supposed to love me.

I understand now that he was the evil one. He used my trust and dropped the sociopath’s easygoing, seductive, charming mask and played on my innermost fears. He ate me alive and spat out my bones, wearing the real face inside- the sociopath face, the face that never gets revealed because it literally gives people nightmares. He let the Church tell me I was evil for wanting sex and used that against me in so many ways. He hurt me so badly that day, I’m surprised I didn’t run from the room naked as I was and screaming. I’m pretty sure I bled.

Dr K and I probably have more things to work on using EMDR. It’s not for someone who doesn’t have something they can cling to in order to pull them out of a flashback. I have J and my family and R, and they pulled me out and helped me slam the monster in a room to die. I told him in my memory I wanted him to die. I wanted him to be gone forever and never return.

I think that I’m finding the connections between things that I previously split apart, things that I pushed into separate corners of my mind because it was all too much to deal with. Now I have started to make the connections, I’m seeing things that I wasn’t safe enough to be able to see before.

What I learned from that EMDR session is that my ex probably dropped his mask that day on purpose and let me see the scavenger within, the thing that hungered to split me in two, raid my body for my bones and drink down my life. I saw a real monster in that room. I saw a sociopath unmasked, without pretences or airs and graces, without the lies and the charisma and the front. I saw the truth, and it terrified me. However…

He has not won and I was able to beat him quite easily. I added into the memory of that horrible afternoon something that will always help me remember that I got away, I left him, I am in control now and there are some wonderful people here to help me. I will never forget the gratitude of being rescued. I know logically that they never entered that room, but I see that wonderful rescue party now as if they really did… and, in a sense, they were there. Had they all known that little eighteen-year-old me was being completely torn apart in that room, they would have been there. J has wrapped me in his arms to comfort me- it makes sense that he would wrap me in a blanket. My parents, tough though my relationship with my mother can sometimes be, have never let me down and have always stood up for me. My sister has never left my side and pines for me if I’m away. R will never leave me- she’s essentially another sister.

I am so amazed by the power of the EMDR session we did. It found a dark secret, let it out into the light, and I can now see it without the terror being quite so present. It is, thank the gods, nothing more than a bad memory now.

A bad memory with a shaft of light running through it.

A shaft of light that pulled me out of the void.