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.

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Crashing down.

So the inevitable crash came. I’m sorry I didn’t blog properly in so long- truth be told, I’ve been struggling since before the new year began and I’m so exhausted. Nightmares or lucid dreams plague me and I toss and turn, and wake up almost every hour to check if the door is still shut and he’s not bursting through it.

I went to therapy yesterday still trying to pretend to myself I was ok, when my Moodscope scores have been saying the opposite for a while. No scores have been above 50 this whole month. I’m drained and I need rest. Dr K has been concerned about me for the past three weeks and she let me just cry yesterday in her office. I sobbed almost the whole time I was with her and that hasn’t happened since the early days of therapy when all I could do was cry. I felt so dissociative and I told her so, and I told her that I felt a lot of the time like I was pretending again. I read a blog post recently from Shedding Light on Darkness (thank you so much for writing that) that said something about lying to yourself. I’d been telling myself that I was fine with working straight after therapy on a Thursday and that I was processing it all, when really it comes out in dreams and I saw one of the weird shadows again, plus I hear the voics more regularly at the minute. I was falling down out of the sky with no parachute and trying to pretend I was flying.

It’s like all the stuff I’ve been trying to work on, to process through my system, has been being neatly unpackaged for an hour a week, given some thought, and then I’ve tried to stick it back into the box and leave therapy. Problem is, the minute you give memories and feelings like those any attention, they gain a life of their own and come crashing through your system, so I’ve had some horrible dreams recently, some horrible bad day, thoughts of self harm and suicide. I’m rambling in my speech again, and I can’t always think of the word I need to describe something important. I called the hall table the ‘ front desk’ the other day. Nobody thought it was a warning sign, they thought it was funny.

This is still a huge problem. I wrote a ‘How to Handle your PTSD-stricken daughter’ letter to my parents. I think Dad is getting it but the problem is he works a long way away from home all day, so basically it’s mum who takes care of me and she has no clue what she’s doing. Despite that letter, despite all the things I tell her on a day to day basis about PTSD and abusive relationships, despite the sliding scale I drew of my moods…

Yesterday after therapy, Dr K and I were drawing up a plan of action. She was worried about how unwell I was and how thin and gaunt I’d become. She wanted me to have a rest, but I knew how that would go down (and in fact, how it has gone down,) with my mum. When I left therapy I was daunted by the size of the task ahead: tell my mum and sister just how bad things were, ask for a week off, try and get a lock put on my door.

I told mum how bad I felt in a heartfelt cry for help, tears running down my cheeks and a huge pain in my chest. She blinked, looked at me, and said, “well I’m teaching now, and you will have to teach your second class.”

Then she walked off.

She wasn’t even going to bring it up that evening. She was going to try to jolly me along and make me smile again so I could go back to being the smiley smiley girl everyone wants to see.

I couldn’t deal with that. So me, my dad and her had a conversation about what the problem was, and I’m still getting nowhere with her.

It’s the same sort of stuff all over again. “Working makes you happy. Working gives you a purpose. Not working makes you depressed. Work is a distraction. Work is not what made you crash last time. Believe in yourself.”

So many problems with all that.

Working like I am doing at the minute does not make me happy. I hate it. I hate Mondays with a passion. I hate Tuesdays more. I drag myself through the working week like I have no legs and I can’t walk. I don’t sleep well Wednesday nights then I’m forced to get up on Thursday to get to therapy, which is the only highlight, and then basically I’m slamming all the tough emotions and feeling straight back into the box to teach again.

I don’t really want to teach for life. I’m not interested in examining dance any more, and I want to write as a career now, more than anything. I’m done with teaching already but I need it to be able to fund the set-up of a life with J maybe, or the start of my massage business. Not working does not make me depressed- I feel that actually having time to process all the tough emotions that happen to emerge after therapy HELPS. I’m more productive afterwards if I’m able to feel bad and curl up in a ball with the dog. Work is a huge distraction- so big that it takes up my whole fucking life and leave me with nothing else at the end of the day. I still have a limited amount of energy, and it’s all wasted on work and not on self-care. I’m so drained at the end of a day that I can barely muster the energy to call J.

Work is precisely what made me crash last time. I am so on edge and exhausted, and I feel like working has heaped strain on my head harder than not doing so would. I don’t mind if my mum used work as an escape, but I don’t want to do that any more because that’s what sent me into hospital last time. I’ll be there again soon if I don’t do something about it.

All the self-belief in the world will not help if I commit suicide (or attempt again) because I am simply doing too much to process what I’m digging up in therapy. I’m not going to lie to myself any more and pretend I can compromise and just nod my head and go along with whatever anyone says other than me because that’s what I did with him. Now look where I am. Mired in severe PTSD, exhausted, and nearly without options.

I want to be with J more than anything. I miss him so much, and I need his reassuring presence. Even just having him in the room with me sometimes improves my mood. I want sleep that heals, not that fills me full of nightmares. I want no voices in my head any more, they’re scaring me again. I also want to be listened to- still not having the lock put on my door because I self-harmed in the past, and regardless of the fact that several times I actually self-harmed in public with no locked doors, I still don’t get my wishes respected. I need a lock. I need to feel safe. I hate having to change in my room because there is no lock on the door and I feel vulnerable, and it doesn’t matter how many times I ask mum to knock, she will still barge in uninvited and pretend she is surprised when I’m literally just out of the shower in a towel. I have no fucking privacy- I hide all my old journals, because she’d read them without a second thought despite the fact I’m an adult woman.

This all needs to change or I will keep crashing down and someday I’ll burn out, and there will just be a shell left of me.

Dr K and I are working on all this and I think that we need to have a meeting with my mum at some point. She’s scared and cynical of Dr K. She says Dr K is planting the idea that I should never work in my head. Mum actively tried to get me some work last night with MY massage business that I haven’t even set up yet!! She was trying to book me an appointment to massage somebody on Saturday at two! I teach all day on a Saturday, and the massage business is MY business, not hers. I am so tired of trying to do what I want only for it to get subverted by my mum. The lock is a sticking point and so is this. I told her I couldn’t deal with any more work, yet here she is trying to set up more. It’s not just to build a future for me, it’s so I don’t feel any messy emotion near her and I’m that happy smiley FAKE girl ALL THE TIME. JUST LIKE HE WANTED.

Enough is enough. I’m taking the week off this week or I will end up in hospital. I’m exhausted and just need space, and I need to be understood.

Otherwise, I’ll end up back on the mental health ward again and it will be another three weeks before I’m allowed out.

These hours are dragging.

So I got a call from my Psychologist, after having a breakdown today in front of my mum. She suggested I ring her, but when I did she was in a meeting. Dr K rang me back, but I was in the car with both my mum and my Gran. Gran doesn’t know much apart from that I am depressed, and she sure as hell doesn’t know about the voices of the dark passenger. So I was limited in what I could convey to Dr K, and I must have sounded cagy and desperate. She somehow thought I wasn’t coming to my appointment tomorrow, but I told her I certainly was coming. She said I should write down everything the voices are saying and bring it tomorrow to our appointment.

I wanted to cry after the short conversation. I felt like it had gone totally wrong. What about the fact that the voices are STILL telling me to go and find the steak knives/bleach/ibuprofen and kill myself? What about that I am self-harming again, that my mum saw all my cuts today, that I still hear the voices telling me to go get the steak knife and do much worse damage?

I’m so fucking tired of it all. I want to sleep and dream, not of some awful man forcing himself on me again, but of nothing. Maybe a couple of mad dreams about talking dogs or flying would be great, but I don’t want any more nightmares where I am pressed against a wall and choking on aftershave, a hard bulge pressing threateningly into my hip? I don’t want this any more!

At least there is tomorrow. Mum is staying with me tonight so that I have someone to wake if the voices get bad again.

I’m so tired, everyone. I’m just so tired.

Giving up.

It’s happened. I am back where I was in August last year.

I am numb and apaaathetic. I want to shut my eyes and wink out of existence. The voices want me to cut and I can’t think of a single reason left not to. Self harm might keep me alive or it might not. The dark passenger is thirsty for my life and wants to drink it all down.

J is depressed so I can’t talk to him. My family think that this morning I am fine. My friends don’t need this shit so I won’t be telling them either.

Ok, so when I do die, I’m leaving the earth with nothing good behind me name and a string of failures to my name. The dark passenger is ravenous. I lose my appetite, it gains weight and strength feeding off my pain.

I hate this. I hate being here and giving in, but it’s the only option left. I’ve tried everything else.

Mum and dad, sis, J- I love you, and I’m sorry. Bear that in mind when I die.

Suicide is taking over my head again.

Yeah, I was doing better today and then this evening hit and I am drained. Drained and tired. I do feel weak, and I wonder which one of the pantheon is currently fucking with my life. It’s very strange- I’m tired, physically pretty exhausted, but I know that mentally I am on fire.

I self harmed in a small way two days ago. I took a pencil sharpener blade to my ankle. 8 fucking months of recovery down the drain, and although the cuts are in no way deep, they are definitely there. Real. Solid. Unlike me.

Why am I doing this loop of feeling again? I am permanently stuck here, these cycling thoughts trotting through my head in relentless torrents. Then, of course, there are the voices of the dark passenger, which is demanding I kill myself in May.

I have a puppy to look after. She is nearly six months old. I have J, who is stressed out but still with me and planning to see me in August. I have a family that loves me, I have friends that are proving they care by talking about the voices with me (thanks, Mr Robot. You’re a star,) and I have my gran and uncle from down south coming to visit soon. I have things planned for the future- a massage course in May (huh, fucking irony) and I want to get back to America as soon as I can.

Problem is, on evenings like this, every fucking one of these things is nothing to the dark passenger and its voices will shred each one to pieces. I am seriously worried that I am going to do something awful soon. I don’t want to end up in hospital again, where they tell you that they can’t help you and then shove a self-help leaflet at you or drugs that give you crippling headaches down your throat. Then they accuse you of being the reason your ex abused you, telling you that you will never get better, giving you a bullshit, outdated, chauvinistic “diagnosis” of BPD (remember, folks, it is PTSD misdiagnosed and should not even exist) and shove you into the “fucked-up crazy bitch” pile.

Next comes the promises of help. Ah, what, you mean the help I have been denied for A MOTHERFUCKING YEAR?! Try that on for size. I have fucking PTSD and it took you A FUCKING YEAR to diagnose this shit when I had been suspecting it back when I started this blog?!!

Then what about the Promazine? Yeah, that shit you told me was supposed to be a sedative? Balls, it’s a strong antipsychotic that would turn me into a fucking zombie. Worse, a zombie with a godawful headache cause of the stupid fucking Citalopram… No more drugs for me, thanks. I have stopped taking the Citalopram and I never even cashed in the prescription for the Promazine. No way. Stop trying to sedate me. I wanted help, not sedation.

The problem is that now I think it’s too late. I am really stuck in the PTSD patterns of waiting for the next blow and feeling unreal and detached. I permanently look for him in the street. I sleep and I dream of him. I try and pull myself up time and again and it all goes to shit because I can’t do it, because when I asked for help LAST FUCKING MAY I never got it. I have been waiting and waiting and basically now I am unfixable, and the voices are aware of that and love to let me know that I am broken forever.

I hate the way I think at the moment. I miss the me I was when I was with J in America. I loved the feeling of freedom from my PTSD bullshit.

Now I just have a life that I can’t control. I am broken and limping on towards a finish line that doesn’t exist, tattered heart and lungs rotting and dripping from my open chest cavity to the ground. I don’t have a choice.

I probably will die in May. It’s looking likely that I will do it. I tied a fucking ligature round my neck the other day. I am tired of life.

I am sorry I am throwing you away, J. I can’t tell you how I feel because programming and the dark passenger gag me, shutting my mouth so tight I can only let out the blandest of sentences. I am a wreck, and I wish I wasn’t, so then maybe I could care for you better. I can’t even say those three words because my ex fucked them up for me. How could I have loved my ex when he manipulated me into it? How could he have loved me if he raped me?

The answer is he never did, and the other sad fact of this is that I should tell you, J, how much I do L word you. I do. I have since I saw your face in Florida for the first time. Problem is, I am broken and I am breaking more, and one day I will collapse.

Apparently that day will come in May.

I don’t want to die, but how can I live with all this shit stacked against me? PTSD is a demon.

I’m alone at three in the morning. I haven’t rung J to let him know I am feeling awful: too much programming in the way. I’ve lied to my mother about feeling “ok” now, and that I will get up in the morning and “face the day”. I have been on an online counselling service, which wasn’t great.

I am out of options.

What can I do next? I don’t have a clue. My usual method of writing hasn’t worked. My efforts to calm myself down haven’t worked. I don’t want to wake up my flatmates, because they have enough on their plates already.

I am feeling very unsafe.

I want to do something really stupid. I want to neck a whole bottle of alcohol, or slice my arms and legs with the sharpest knife I can find, sitting in the bath, until I can’t lift the knife. I want to cry again but all my tears are gone.

I want to die again.

I don’t want to die…. because I should be here for my friends and family and for J. However, today I am not me. I am in pain. I am programmed, I am listening to my stupid fucking dark passenger, and I want to cut.

I don’t know what to do to feel better. I don’t want to relapse. I want to sleep and forget and not have nightmares or paranoia or flashbacks any more.

I am exhausted but there is no chance of me sleeping.

What if I just cut a little?

That’s cheating. I am four and a half months clean. I would break my record.

Who am I keeping it for? Me? J? My family?

Tonight I don’t know. Tonight I feel unreal.

I just want to know everything will be ok. I suppose right now it isn’t, and it never will be.

Therapy in four months? I could be worse by then, or dead or something. I feel emotionless typing that. The only thing I feel is the guilt and unease that my ex used to cause when I couldn’t contact him: that saving up of anger for the big storm.

I’m getting sick again, and I want to be how I was in America with J.

Apparently I’m not allowed that. All I am allowed is pain and death and anxiety and paranoia and hallucinations and PTSD and whatever mood disorder I have on top of that and the fucking voices and memories of abuse that go on and on and on and never let me rest.

I am sick of life like this. I just want to be better. Is that too much to ask?

 

Life optional.

Dear brain,

Please do not do this to me. Please stop giving me days where all I can do is hide in the house and flinch whenever anyone passes the window or door. Please do not give me the world’s shortest attention span. Please stop your constant guilt-tripping, your self-hatred. Please, please stop it.

I am sick of having all my plans derailed by panic attack. I hate the paranoia. I cannot stand hearing the voices of the dark passenger say all that hateful shit to me. I don’t want to live through another day where I feel like a little girl, terrified and alone and wanting the bad dream to end.

Today was that day. I lived in a nightmare all day. I waited for it to go or for me to wake up, but I couldn’t do it. I have been in my onesie, huddled up on the sofa, the tingling of my skin reminding me that yes, I did take a shower, but the disgust inside still claiming I am dirty.

I had to tell my mum I couldn’t do class because I was terrified to step outside the front door. She STILL doesn’t quite get why I couldn’t. She is angry with my ex for intimidating me, but tells me to go to class anyway, because I will beat him that way. I wish she was right. I wanted to scream on the way home from the tube this morning. I was convinced he was going to be waiting for me, in a dark little flat in London. Thank gods my mum doesn’t get it, though. At least that means she is safe from all this bullshit that invades my head on a daily basis.

Brain, do me a favour. Let me not feel this socially and emotionally inadequate. I am so tired of the endless guilt! I left my mum with the impression I am ok now, and she told me I had to tell her when I am feeling bad. I can’t. I am so conditioned to rely on myself, I don’t even want to ring up J and let him know. He is close to me, and I don’t want to bring him down either.

One day, you tell me, I will whinge so much that both my family and J will tell me to shut up.

On that day, you tell me, this little dream of “it’ll all be ok” will end forever, and back will come the self-harm, the pain, the suicidal intentions and of course, the dark passenger will break down the door in my mind. Already smoky, threatening tendrils are creeping from underneath it and tapping me on the shoulder again.

On days like this, brain, you make me believe that there is nothing left for me. You pull me to my knees with a barbed wire noose around my throat. I hurt everywhere, and I think you secretly enjoy it.

I want to sleep and forget, but you even make my dreams hell. Where is there to run now, what with your constant abuse making every safe haven another lie?

I don’t know what to do. I want help now, but it’s four months down the line.

I knew this would happen once I left J and my family. Today, I wanted to get on the first plane out of the country and be back with him, taking my family too, but instead I was trapped in my living room, feeling useless.

Thanks, brain. Seeing him everywhere I go is a real treat… not. That, and seeing people who don’t exist; reliving anniversaries of arguments and trauma in flashbacks (emotional, mental or physical); de-realisation; dissociation; and of course, depression.

I feel so fragile, and it is all your fault.

 

Oh no, wait, it isn’t.

 

 

It’s his.