Another May Day.

Today is the ninth of May. It won’t really matter too much to many people out there- just another ordinary Tuesday. The only reason it might matter at all is if, perhaps, you have an anniversary today. Maybe you got married today, a child was born, you got that incredible job or you met someone you knew was going to be a friend forever. Maybe you travelled on the holiday of a lifetime. Whatever it was, I hope it was pleasant… Because, sadly, not all anniversaries are.
For many people who have been traumatised, specific dates and months are fraught with difficulty and upset. Ask anyone who was in London on 7/7, but not actively involved, where they were at the time of the attacks and they will, most likely, tell you where they were, what time it was, when they saw the news. It’s the same with any trauma, unless you happened to be the one suffering through it.

I’ve noticed that trauma survivors are able to tell you what happened to them, but sometimes they are super hazy on exactly when it was. Others can give you a clinical description of exactly what date and time it was when their trauma happened, but have little to no idea what happened. I’ve also noticed that victims of repeated trauma are super confused about timelines, which is even more impaired when you realise that a lot of repeat trauma survivors tend to have an identity disorder, an anxiety disorder, PTSD or some hellish combination of all three. These disorders play havoc with your internal clock and quite often, you have no hope of figuring out what’s going on.

My observations have told me that those who have had repeated trauma happen to them can’t frame timelines well, whereas people who have had a single trauma happen to them mostly can tell you exact details about what time, date and place they were at or in when it happened. Of course, there are exceptions, but psychological studies tend to theorise that having a single trauma usually timestamps itself on someone’s brain. Repeat trauma generally impairs this ability.
I am a combination of both.
The younger alters in my system kept my secrets for years, not telling me when bad things had happened because they were trying to protect me. Timelines have been hazily bashed out as we have learned to communicate as a system, so we all roughly know how old we were and what happened when. Sometimes we still get confused. However, weirdly enough, exact traumas still have dates attached to them… Dates like the 10th September and the 9th May.

We broke our back on the 10th September, and the ninth of May marks a whole year of suffering from chronic pain. 

It’s true we have been in pain in some way for most of our lives, but this affected me really badly. I think it’s cause I fronted whilst the trauma was happening. Being told countless times that I was imagining my pain was soul-destroying, especially after having fought so hard for my health in various other ways. I wanted to protect my system against what was happening, especially 19, because she’s fought so hard for us before. I wanted to spare the younger ones the trauma. Sadly, I traumatised myself instead.

I am seeing the doctor here tomorrow, and there’s so many things writhing around in my head I just don’t know how to begin to list them. What happens if I’m dismissed without any real answers again? What happens if even the Dutchman can’t get them to see reason? I have faith that he will do his absolute best to help us, but I worry that it’s not going to be quite enough. 

The Dutchman tells me that actually, in the Netherlands, things happen far quicker than they do in the UK. There’s much less waiting and more time spent being treated, people in the profession are less likely to be condescending, and things are overall much less stressful. I want to trust that he’s right. I know he would never mislead any of us or lead us astray. I just want his experience to be because he lives here and not just because he’s a man.

Wish us luck. This is a horrible anniversary today, and we want to make it through as unscathed as possible, especially me. 
Love, 27 x

The Valentines Day Bust-Up

I have only ever felt this way once before- that was in 2011. The Valentines Day Bust-Up had happened, I was at home in my flat in London, and I didn’t leave the flat for at least three days. I locked myself away, pretended I had a flu virus to my concerned family on the phone, bit my nails to the quick and cried. I thought I was going crazy, and, in retrospect, I was. He had made me this way. Was he proud?

Now, I am feeling similar. I can’t leave the flat where my friends are because I go into meltdown, flinching and terrified and positive I have seen him wherever I look. My friends, Z and N, have looked after me so well. N took me out for a walk so I wouldn’t get freaked out, and Z has listened to me talk about the stupidity that is this illness for hours on end.

After a while, I worked out that I am experiencing an emotional flashback. He impacted me so badly that Valentines Day that I am re-living it, emotionally. I am feeling the emotions I felt then in response to being aware that it was Valentines Day a few days ago, that back then I couldn’t deal with it because I was still under his thumb.

I’m actually feeling less guilty now about not making it outside to take a ballet class. Now I’ve worked out just why I have been feeling so awful, it actually makes sense that I should feel this way and that I should want to hide from the world and feel what I wasn’t allowed to feel back then.

Maybe with a brief visit back home this weekend, life will get better.

anniversary. no, not in a good way.

The topic of anniversaries came up in a blog I have begun to follow – http://en.wordpress.com/read/blog/id/52332387/ – and I felt dreadful whilst reading it. Who would want to treat a child so? How could anyone do that to another human being? I also felt sad for her, as I love Halloween and Bonfire Night, and for her those festivals are tainted and hellish. I left a comment for her in the hopes she might take a little comfort from it.

I was completely unaware of the bad mood that was creeping up on me yesterday, and it only got worse today when I suddenly realised the heart-clogging despair was back and I was beginning to talk back to the voices of the dark passenger again. I found myself wondering what the hell I was doing, moving back to the Company, and I started to think of the knife blade against my skin-

I had to talk to myself and go and do something to make myself feel more balanced. I checked on the dog (he had a pain-attack last night, bless him), did some laundry, and did some jobs I’d meant to for a while.

I went dancing, as usual, and when I got home the dog was feeling that much better that he was begging for a walk. So, I took him, despite hating being out in the dark alone. I felt twitchy, had to cross the road when a lone jogger ran past, and was watching every shadow for unseen attackers.

I was on the way home, trying to persuade the dog that walking through all the wet leaf mulch was NOT a good idea, and I was thinking about the post I had read about anniversaries of trauma. I was wondering how it must feel to feel even more terrified, distressed, lonely and isolated than this, when it hit me.

Today and yesterday are one big fucking anniversary. I ran away at 16 years old around bonfire night, and the trauma associated was obviously rearing its ugly head.

Now everything made sense- my irritability, my crankiness, my fear and tension and upset. I was having a throwback, emotionally, to the day that marks the start of serious problems. I was a mess that day. Both wrists were bleeding, I had hands so cold I could barely feel to open the car door. I was so cold it sat in my bones for a week and I did get a cold, to add insult to injury. The people I lived with stared. I only remember few snippets, but it’s not something I want to remember.

Once I’d picked over what I can remember, and thought about it, I felt suddenly calmer. I still felt sad, but knowing why relieved the tension and walking-on-eggshells feeling I’d had all day. It was only remembered pain- it was not something to panic about.

So I want to thank you, ISurvivor, for writing what you wrote. It has made me understand that at certain times of the year, I am probably going to have some really shitty days- the worst of it being in Summer. However, know I know what it happening, I can try and fight it, and hopefully win.