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.

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Flashback and dissociation- TRIGGER WARNING. Please ONLY read if you feel safe.

I had a flashback in therapy yesterday.

It was the worst one I’ve ever had. I was not expecting it- there were none of the usual signs, like seeing hallucinations of my ex or constantly jumping at loud noises. I had been feeling dissociative all week (since I last wrote, Crisis Team have been seeing me daily) and I’d been squeezing onto a worry stone I was given by H to try and ground me, to keep me in the present. I didn’t know that was a sign for a flashback, but apparently therapy is tapping into places in my head where I can’t remember what happened consciously, but my subconscious knows all too fucking well and it poured out.

I came into therapy feeling jumpy and shot through with adrenaline so I tried to calm myself with the little buddha garden they have in reception. I stroked the rake through the sand, watching the grains trickle by, and started feeling a little better. Then Dr K came for me and we went to her office, only I’m not sure what she was saying and I can’t really remember how we started out conversation and it scares me because normally if I dissociate, some little part of me knows where I am and what’s happening. I just feel like I’m floating away and I’m outside my body, watching my life happen, but this has been different recently and I have been unable to remember huge chunks of my day.

Dr K asked me if I was ok because I looked like I was going to have a migraine, and I remember asking her to turn the light off, and then suddenly it was off, and the heater was going, the noise started to swirl and I couldn’t hear Dr K’s voice any more properly and I was being sucked through the back of my chair into a vortex. Dr K started asking me what was happening and I told her that I felt like I was travelling back in time. She asked me to hold my hand, my younger self’s hand, or maybe take J with me. I did both- J on one side, me on the other, and I travelled in this light place with images and scenes from my life flashing all around.

Suddenly I was sitting in my old flat in London. I was in the corner of my bed, that rickety thing that would squeak even if you rolled over. The curtains were drawn, the light dim, and there were clothes everywhere. His coat was on the computer chair, his shoes under it. His shirt hanging over his back on the foot of the bed.

I was terrified. The covers were all over. The blanket was neatly folded on the floor and the two toys I treasured the most from my childhood were lying on the floor on top of it. I was chilled, numb, shaking, in pain. I was naked from the waist down, knees drawn up to my chin, feet crossed, head buried in my knees. I pulled the covers over me, wrapping myself in a nest. The bedding was my parents’, and even that wasn’t helping me to feel safe.

The back of my neck hurt like hell, ached like I’d been trying to hold it up. My lower stomach was creased in agony. There was blood on the bedsheets. Lower still, I smarted and stung and throbbed. I wanted to get the pyjama bottoms that were on the floor, I wanted to reach out and hold my two toys close to me. I wanted to run out of the door, even dressed how I was, but I couldn;t because he was suddenly in the doorway.

Dr K’s voice guided me, asked about what I could see, asked me how I felt, asked what was happening. I knew he wanted to start again. He was asking why I had wrapped the duvet round me. He wanted to know why I wasn’t waiting for him. He put his hands on the back of my neck and I pushed them away under Dr K’s guidance.

I knew what he wanted- sex, again, until he had had enough. It didn’t matter what I wanted. I had no right to say no. I felt sick, shaking, dreading the next thing, but numb on top of all that so he couldn’t see.

Dr K asked me to push him away, out of the doorway of my room, so I did- he fell, down a huge black gaping tunnel, and I resurfaced, crying and shaking and panting for air and scrambling for words.

I kept asking her if what I had just been through was real. I wanted to know if I was still there but also if this was a real memory, if I really had seen what happened after that time that I was in pain having sex and asked him to stop and he just carried on. I documented that here, in a post called the worst thing. Dr K said that she thought so, and she thought I was brave, and that I was safe and I was with her in hospital and I didn’t need to feel afraid any more.

I spent the rest of the session recovering. I hurt still, and Dr K explained that I had felt the pain then but blocked it off, and I was feeling it now. I had to just remember I was safe and he could never touch me like that again. She said to go home and curl up maybe, sleep, wrap myself up and remember I could look after myself however I wanted.

I did. I had an hour before teaching to recover where I just read, wrote in my journal, and taught in a determinedly present way, then went home and slept and cuddled my puppy dog. She slept curled up in my legs again, soft little head resting in the crook of my bent knees.

That was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, apart from one other thing. I wrote about my awful flashback on my wall on my social media account as part of the take five day.

I have received so many positive comments and so many messages of support over my post, even though it was much less detailed than this. So many of my friends and best friends have supported me by commenting on what I wrote. Their words were incredibly loving and welcome, and I had tears in my eyes, reading them all.

Best of all? J and I have just finished a long Skype conversation where quite a while was spent with me explaining what I’d been through, and him trying to understand, but still accepting it and loving me for who I am. He was there with me in therapy, and he was there with me tonight as I scrambled to make sense of it all, and to explain it to him- someone I truly love. It’s the one thing that will help me sleep tonight as I pick my way through my shattered, broken memories. I know he is holding my hand.

Home again, emotional flashbacks, and holiday withdrawal.

Oh GOD I miss J. Seriously, like a hole inside. If not for my puppy I’d be a lot worse than I am right now- I’d be a crying wreck! He’s so calm and logical- after my last post, I went outside to the pool where J and my mum were. J was already in the pool, cooling off, and mum was enjoying a nice beer.

I had a panic attack trying to get in through the door where my dad had installed a very loud alarm- my brain entered that flight state and I started shaking and crying immediately. All that rage and terror came out in tears, but mum and J were there being awesome immediately. Mum came over took me away from the doors and hugged me til I felt better. J was there, shocked, but calm enough to tell me everything was ok, baby, and to put on my bikini and come in the pool with him to relax. Mum agreed, so I did. It worked. Tears faded, shaking stopped, and within FIFTEEN MINUTES (gotta be a new record there!) I was completely fine again, calm, and making jokes with the family and cuddling J in the cool water.

J can spot my mania immediately, and it’s impressive. Bradley has given me a great tip to manage it now I’m home again (boo, being home is not as nice as being out there with J and my family) and I’m going to start it tomorrow. I’ll set alarms on my phone that will remind me to check in with myself, and to stay calm.

So far, I’ve had a tough ride already. I’m aware that I drank too much whilst I was on holiday, so alcohol consumption has gone down a lot. Tonight, I had a cup of tea (fruit tea, orange smoothie tea!) and a glass of water as my beverages of choice. I’m doing this because when I’m manic, as I suspect I’m heading that way now, I do have poor impulse control and drink is usually the first sign of it. I’ve already had some very depressed moments, but that’s not the bipolar speaking.

That’s something else.

I’m in the midst of a bastard of an emotional flashback right now. For the past few days, I’ve felt unreal and dissociated, and horribly depressed, but the depression waned in the evening. Today it got so bad that I began acting unlike myself- snappy, withdrawn, moody, and exhausted. I even yelled at the puppy- at this point, I’m glad she’s deaf! A long sleep this afternoon fixed a lot of that, and I emerged with a better take on the world. I still didn’t understand why I was feeling like shit, but I was ready to give my day another try.

Dancing was fun and went well, and when I got home, I went upstairs to get changed. Pulling my favourite pyjama/lounge type pants on, something in my head suddenly shifted into place and I got it.

I understood that when I was with my ex, I was used as a fix. Because he was jealous of my family spending an unadulterated two weeks with me, I was often subject to derision and scorn when I got home. He’d cold shoulder me, blank me, and finally fix up a meeting with him sometime or place that was impossible for me. I’d inevitably cancel, he’d throw a fit, and then break up with me. I’d be alone, blaming myself and hating myself for nearly two months, and then he’d need his fix again. He’d pretend to relent, he’d tell me he ‘forgave me’ (er, bullshit sir, I believe you finished with me for no good reason) and we’d be back in the honeymoon phase again. Lovely.

So naturally my poor beleaguered brain still think I’m in for some horrible punishment for having fun. I’m reacting like a beaten puppy and I’m shaking in anticipation of a blow that will never fall.

J’s already been on Skype, commending me for my smarts in realising this. I’m pretty chuffed too… BUT GOD I miss him!!! He knows that, of course.

Another remarkable milestone I’ve achieved whilst away is that I’m better able to do real couple things now. I hold hands with J a lot, I’ll go for a cuddle when I fancy one, and, best of all- I was so tired one night I felt drunk, and slipping off into sleep I told J twice that I loved him. He said it back, and I heard the tenderness in his voice alongside the amused chuckle at how sleepy I was. When I asked him about it the next morning, he said I had indeed said I loved him twice and he hoped I remembered that he said it back to me.

Of course I had.

Stuff will be hard now I’m home. I’m trying to take more responsibilities this year, and I’m hoping I don’t overload myself- apparently, therapy this week with Dr K will be the start of lots of tough things for me. I am very aware there are still big issues I need to face. For instance, whilst I was in America, I had night after night of nightmares and J had to hold me to calm me down one night after I told him I was frightened to sleep. Hopefully, I will get these discussed with Dr K and she will help me become less afraid.

There are bonuses, though. I’m taking on more work so I can fund myself to get to America to see J quicker (I hope), I’m finally meeting a good friend I’ve talked to for a long while, I have a snoring puppy next to me and I’m planning dance numbers for a show. There are definite goals to achieve.

Fingers crossed that this year is the year that I get stuff solved, and not another year where I wrestle incessantly with the contents of my own head.

USA, J. Happiness.

The skies here were grey when I arrived, as they were back home. Stumbling from the plane, I breathed in terra incognita and remembered the time before.

Passports were looked at, anxiety mounted. Will they let me in? Will they let me see him? The kind girl on the plane was brazenly at the front of her queue, telling someone about her fiance… I opened my mouth and told them I was here for him, and he joked I could stay as he let me into the USA proper.

The gate soon behind me- the future beckoned.

J was there, phone up, snapped a picture of me as I ran to him. Flinging my suitcase aside, I wrapped hungry arms around him and knew contentment… He wrapped his hands round my waist, held me despite the barrier. When we let go, it was only for me to go round the other side, press my body to the line of his and remember how safe I felt with him before. That same safety enveloped me. I was content, at last.

 

The skies melted away, there was rain, but only a little. He laughed and joked and let me rest my hand on his on the gearstick, smiling at my sudden show of affection.

I told him that I was the happiest I’d been since the last I’d seen him. It’s true. He makes me content like nothing else. I keep using that word because that’s the uncomplicated happiness I feel here.

His friends were excited to see us. The fireflies danced, flirting with me, and he laughed at my wonder as we set off to see his friends. The stars flickered as we all sat in the hot tub, and his arm slid round me. I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to keep this feeling forever.

He treats me like I’m made of glass. He lets me pull myself out of the voices, who have started yelling at me again to let me know I’m a slut. Yeah, right guys. You’re nothing but thoughts anyway.

He admires my courage, and cheers me up with his goofiness if something is bad. I had a flashback but he got me laughing and the pain and horror faded away.

I apologised to him this morning because I keep expecting to hear derision, or an argument. I broke a glass and he didn’t really mind too much, whereas that would have been the catalyst for a huge argument between the ex and I. He said simply, in that wonderful warm drawl, “Shit happens.” I laughed- it’s true, shit does happen. No need to wait for the blow.

He was upset and stressed out in the car on the way to the city, but he apologised for his behaviour. I’m not used to this. He told me again he would never hurt me, and I believe him. He won’t. All I know with him is his gentleness towards me, and he proved that in the art museum as we wandered and he fell in love with the Dutch Masters that I love, too.

He is someone who does not ask for anything, but accepts what I give without question. He never seems like he is annoyed with me, he just wants me to smile and to be happy.

I went to him in the kitchen, asked him to put down the plate of short ribs he was holding, which he did, and I took his face in my hands and kissed him gently. He grinned as I pulled away and he asked, amusedly, “What was that for?”

I smiled and said, “Just wanted a kiss, that’s all.”

That wasn’t totally why. Later on, in bed, tears choked my voice as I told him that I kissed him because I was so fucking grateful that he was not my ex.

“Of course not, baby,” he replied, and I shut my eyes. Within minutes, we were sleeping.

Interlude- What she said.

I saw my friend Hermione yesterday. I call her this because she reminds me of the Harry Potter character- brave, smart, stands up for what’s right and is a loyal friend. It was a gamble, a massive one.

Why?

Well, she went to a different school after primary school, and she ended up meeting my ex there and becoming his friend.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve tried not to say anything really too revealing on Facebook for fear he might still be friends with her and see it. I have been frightened that he could spy on me through her.

When I posted on Facebook that I had been in an abusive relationship and that it had put me in hospital, so many people commented and told me I was brave. I felt it, and I suddenly noticed I had a message. It was my friend Hermione, asking me if I was ok, that she felt awful that I’d gone through what I had, and that was it the person she thought it was.

Yes. Yes it was.

I told her I was sorry for not being able to talk to her properly for so long, as he’d been there interfering and making life that much harder. She said it was fine, it didn’t matter, and could we meet up? I was so pleased. I said yes, and I met her yesterday outside a building I used to sing in with primary school.

One of the first things out of her mouth was, “I can’t believe he tricked us all like this. His best friend is going to go crazy.”

There it was. He hurt and manipulated me so badly I was convinced that no-one would believe me: yet, here she was, someone who had called herself his friend, on MY side and telling me that she believed me. I’d not given a scrap of evidence to her, hadn’t begun to tell her of the horrors I’d gone through, but she BELIEVED ME.

I can’t get over how I feel about that. I feel more powerful. I feel supported in a way I never thought I’d have again. She was so angry that he’d lied to her like that, and the other two he used to call his friends. I realised that I still have the power of the truth with me and that I am believable.

We discussed his lying, his smear campaign that I only just realised existed that he mounted against me without my knowledge. We talked about how long his front of an innocent victim had lasted, and how long I’d been split from all the things and people I love. She was one step ahead of my desperate words, understanding and believing and just being there. The forthright ten-year-old shone through and I realised she had seen through his lies.

However, she sparked a memory in me that I’m going to have to process slowly because it still disturbs me, and I don’t know what happened next. Hermione said that she saw me and my ex walking down the road near my mum’s dance school handcuffed together.

I’d forgotten all about that and it frightened me to remember it. I wanted to erase it again, because I remember being frightened by his insistence that we do it and frightened in case the cuffs didn’t come off and humiliated. It was still when all my schoolfriends were in or around my home town, so any of them could have seen. As it happened, it was Hermione and her mum who saw. She said she knew that it wasn’t something I’d do, and she apologised for frightening me. She’s kind like that.

I told my therapist today about it. Dr K was concerned about that, and she was concerned about me telling her about the weird cult-like thing the ex made to trap me and my friend B. She said he sounded dangerous, that he was like Charles Manson in a way because of his controlling and his charisma. He’d bewitched the teachers at his school and he bewitched me, too. She said if I feel bad at any point, I should call her and we can fit in another session before I go and see J.

I also told Dr K of the fear that I have other things like that hidden in my head that I have blanked out. She said she was worried about that too, and that it was also a very brave thing of me to go and see Hermione like that. Dr K asked me whether I still felt frightened of him, and I said yes. I am still frightened, because I met a man who could lie his way out of any situation where he was guilty but still have everyone believe him. As J says, and wisely so, sociopaths use a tiny grain of truth to base their lies upon, so that they sound believable. Dr K agrees with this. She says it’s a common tactic amongst abusers.

She also thinks that I can bring a case against him. She’s not the first to do so- the other person was a man in the RAID team who took all of my ex’s details down and told me that because of the nature of what I had disclosed to him, he was going to have to pass it on to the appropriate channels. Good. That means that if he does anything else, it will appear on the system. Anyway…

Dr K said that I could ring the Domestic Violence hotline and talk to them to see if I could bring a case against him, and I went home and found the leaflets. I want to ring the DV hotline as soon as I can. I want to keep talking. My silence is broken.

“It’s not over til it’s over, and it’s never over…”

 

 

Admitted Part Ten- more journal.

I felt like my journal was a lifeline in hospital. TRIGGER WARNING- I had a flashback and I write about certain things that might upset fellow PTSD-ers.

 

25th/26th April, 00:34

Updates on life! I haven’t written in a little while.

So last night at 10:00 pm, (meds time), I got restless and upset. The dark passenger was on at me to bash my head against a brick wall until I lost consciousness, and they were angry that I had no blade to hurt myself with. They told me I wasn’t allowed to sleep, and they made me pace up and down until Matron spotted me. Rocker stopped to help first, then Matron came to sort me out along with Sunbeam and Foxglove, two of the other patients. I had to wait for what felt like ages with my brain on fire whilst Matron finished off what she was doing, then took me into the ladies’ lounge.

I felt like I was going crazy again. My head was burning with the weight of the three voices. I was strung-out and exhausted, ready to flip. I did cry, I did shake, but Matron explained she was going to give me some promazine. I freaked a bit, seeing as that stupid psych tried to stick me on it before. Thing is, when you get explained what the drug does, what the rare side effects might be, and you need help, you swallow that shit down and chase it with water, then wait and hope.

Oh god. Best night’s sleep EVER. Like since America sort of good. As if my J was lying beside me. In fact, J called and we had a great chat, and he laughed when I said I felt tipsy! It was great to hear him feeling better. Also, Mr Robot called whilst drunk to tell me I was awesome, and to please survive. I promised him I would. I told R all about my day when she rang, too. R called first, then Mr Robot, then J, then I crashed.

This morning, I felt brave and calm when I woke up and I talked to Rita the Coach Driver about what my ex did to me, but I think I pushed myself a bit too much. I had this terrible, terrible panic attack/flashback in the shower. I felt hands all over me again, was waiting to hear his voice, and the voices told me I would never be clean again after this. I scratched my skin so hard I left marks, and I had to run from the shower room back to mine. I was terrified and sobbing. I didn’t want the men on the ward to come anywhere near me, when usually I’m kind of ok with it.

One of the nurses came doing a check (they do them every hour) and she asked if I was ok. I told her what had happened and she said to get dressed adn come out of my room to try and calm down.

I threw my clothes on super fast and got out, and ended up talking to one of the nurses. She’s so sweet. I think she is either from Botswana or Nigeria, cause her voice reminds me of Ma Ramotswe. I let her know how freaked out and upset I was, and she talked to me until I felt calmer.

The rest of the day was spent with Pixie doing art, my amazing family (still doing art and they joined in) and I saw my friend Sunbeam again. Vincent Van Gogh had a flip-out at midday and it frightened me- we were all in the garden and he got loud and argumentative over Sunbeam’s phone, and I dropped my trowel and ran. PTSD is sometimes useful, it stopped me from being in a bad situation, but I was still frightened. I got better though by doing more art- Pixie came and let me know I could just keep going.

Tonight, I heard the dark passenger again. They’re pissed beyond reason that I asked for help like this. They still want me dead, adn I am still frightened about the future. Thing is, I have a lot of people rooting for me. J called tonight and said he was PROUD of me for being in hospital, because it’s the right place for me to be whilst I’m still struggling with all of this.

I also handed a pin back to its owner- a badge Van Gogh gave me. I gave it to the guy who owned it and he was pleased and surprised to have it back.

I am still worried. The dark passenger is still awake and I am too. I just want to cling to what J said tonight and the way he makes me feel. He filled me with happiness and made all my skin buzz with excitement. He makes me feel human, not like a frightened rabbit.

Ugh. Still not tired. Thanks, dark passenger.

I have a new journal after this dies out- there are so few pages! I can’t get over how much I have written.

OK, I’m going to try to sleep. I need it, but not sure I can. Gonna try and wind down with my other journal.