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.

Still worrying, still wondering.

I’m going to go to therapy tomorrow and talk to Dr K about the last post I wrote. I still feel like there’s more to talk about with it. I think it’s still bothering me because I feel like the mania is clouding my real feelings. I want to cry but I can’t. I want to get upset and hide in a ball but I can’t, because I get distracted and suddenly I’m laughing for no reason and feeling cheerful, but it isn’t real cheerfulness. It’s some sort of bubbled effervescent fizz, tasty but short-lived, and there’s the speeded-up-ness and the irritation to contend with. I get worried when I’m like this because it’s dangerous. If something catastrophic was to happen I would be energetic and capable enough to do something drastic. I don’t want to not be happy, I just want to not be this frenetically speeded-up.

The thing that’s been bothering me today, apart from my mania and the thing I wrote about last time, is my scars. I know that compared to others, they are not big. I know that the ones on my legs and hips are pretty small compared to some. The problem is, the UK has been experiencing a lot of warm weather recently and I’ve been peeling off my customary, long-sleeved layers. I am seeing more of my scars, and I still can’t like or accept them. I know that J calls them my battle scars, that Dr K says that they’re not big or visible, and that scars are good things in some cultures. I want to believe that they are acceptable and that I am not this shredded mess. The scars on my hips actually disgust me still. I hate them.

J has never criticised my scars. He has never criticised anything about my body. He is always lovely and sweet about me, and he would never make me feel uncomfortable- so why am I making myself feel this way?

I’ll start again on the vitamin E oil again, and I am going to talk to Dr K about these feelings too. My mum might have hit the nail on the head- she said the reason I might feel so bad about my scars is because I have a lot of horrible memories that surface whenever I see them. The ones on my arm remind me of that time I wrote about here: https://battybeth108.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/bad-day/ That day, I wound up in A & E because of my self harm. The ones on my hips remind me of the early days of my depression, of the later days just before I met J, and the later days than that just before I went into hospital. The faint ones left on my calves remind me of being thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. I hate the fact that each set of scars throws my mind back in time to when I was at my worst. I hate how they look and what they make me feel.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to help myself come to terms with what I’ve done to my skin, and maybe some help as to trying to reduce the appearance of my scars, it would be welcome. I feel so guilty and upset when I think of them- and then, worse still, I get distracted all over again and when I next think of them, I haven’t dealt with what I’m feeling so I go back into those feelings again.

Apologies if some of this makes no sense, but I’ve taken over an hour to write this because I’m just so distractible and my head is everywhere. This is what I hate about mania- can’t concentrate for five minutes solid.

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.

Dissociated parts-quite a shock.

I have been thinking hard about why some days I wake up feeling frightened, or upset, or lethargic. Sometimes, I start off being capable, logical, feeling my age and acting it… to a frightened little rabbit-creature that can’t deal with life and needs to hide.

It bothers me and upsets me so much that I can be plunged into feeling terrible so quickly, and that I am permanently on guard to spot triggers and potential upsets. I managed to mention this to my therapist, Dr K, and the results of this shocked me.

Last week in therapy, I walked in feeling fragile, upsettable and dissociative. Dr K noticed this and asked me what was the problem. I let her know how bad I was feeling and she gradually worked out why.

During the session we got talking about what happened with my ex again, and I started to cry. Tears flowed down my face. I felt, suddenly, like a vulnerable eighteen year old who had no clue why these things were happening and felt guilty that she couldn’t stop them.

In the safe space provided by Dr K, she let me know that I was safe and that I was here in the hospital, and I was my current age. This is where things have always felt a little bizarre- there is a rational part of me, the grown up, adult part, that knows what is happening and why I feel how I feel. What Dr K was talking to in there was not that part of me. She was talking to a frightened and guilty eighteen or nineteen year old.

She explained to me later, once my adult part was active, that there were frightened parts inside of me that needed to be brought into the future and helped out. In other words, there are split parts of me that are locked inside me, protecting adult me from the worst of the trauma. This was a terrifying thought- I scanned back over what I know of DID. I wasn’t blacking out for long minutes or hours, coming round and finding that I had been doing something different and had no memory. None of that is happening. So then, what was going on?

Dr K wasn’t telling me I have DID, but she was letting me know that the way I feel -helpless and powerless, out of control and terrified- is as a result of a younger self being triggered. These younger parts don’t speak or say anything-rather, I feel all their emotions and flashbacks are much more common when I feel that way. In fact, I had one in the therapy room- it was scary, considering I’d never been that vulnerable in front of anyone but the mental health ward staff before.

Of course, Dr K has taken all this in her stride, and I suspect that under her careful help, these parts will eventually dissipate and be put to rest. I will still have the knowledge they held, but already I know that my eighteen year old self is calmer and less terrified.

Therapy is tomorrow. I’m going to tell Dr K what I think and see what she has to say. In the meantime, any of you DIDers out there are all welcome to comment on this- let me know what you think. It was quite a shock for me to realise this, and I would like some help for when I start regressing and a younger part takes hold. Thank you.

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…”

 

 

Interlude- Crawling feelings of shame, scars, intense self-loathing and suddenly a ray of bright hope.

My skin was crawling. I wanted to scrub my skin raw- so I did. I stung a little in the shower, sun burn on my back smarting against the bath sponge. Still the crawling. Was I unwell?

But there was no crawling during the day. The crawling started the minute I lay in bed.

I still sleep in the same room I was in when my ex insisted, as there was nobody in, that we had sex on the floor. I remember feeling completely uncomfortable with it and hating the fact that he picked then and there, on MY floor in MY room in my PARENTS’ house. And now, as I lay there, I realised- the crawling was body memories.

Now there is no more crawling, but I’ve had a very heavy period that’s sucked the energy out of me. I realised that I was suffering because I once had sex in a room that was meant to be my sanctuary- well, not for him. He ruined it.

But I am taking it back.

Soon, there will be a new bed. Soft and wide and inviting. There will be new cupboards, wardrobes, new storage spaces. Places for me to put my shoes so I see them properly. I’m finally having my room redone, and I will soon feel totally at home in my new, calm place, just for me.

I was looking in a mirror last week. Standing there, hurting so badly it made me want to cry. Instead of the usual muscular slim girl I see, I saw a fat scarred freak in a bikini she didn’t suit. The red scars on my legs gleamed, mocking me. My body, in the dim lights of the chop changing room, looked huge. I placed my hands over my eyes and I tried to ignore the dark passenger. That day, I had to take an extra dose of promazine to shut them up.

The upside?

I tried on the bikini at home and loved it. There was that muscular shape I’ve always known, and the bikini looked lovely. I was pleased that I had bought it and hadn’t freaked out. I vowed to myself to never call myself fat again, when I’m not. Most people call my skinny, if anything. I rarely get comments on my lack-of-weight now. I used to be teased about my stick-thin legs, frizzy hair and glasses. Now, I’m proud of the body I’ve honed through hard work.

I talked to Dr K today about all of this. She was concerned that the shame of the rape is still affecting me this way, and that I still suffer body memories. She was also saddened about my hatred of my scars. She has been polite and professional about them, and also very reassuring. I am not scarred badly- my skin heals lightning fast – but I can still see those telltale white lines that point out my fading addiction. I talked to her today about the nature of my self-harm: repress all emotion, it is all too overwhelming. Feed the dark passenger. Kill yourself.

Right now, I’m ecstatic because I am FINALLY going back to America to be with J, for nearly a month! I decided to book the flights and not give a damn what anyone else thought. I have the issues I’ve just written about, it’s true, but I am ok. I am getting through this. I have J to see and look forward to. I am going to see him for the first time since February! I can’t wait to hold him close again. He has to know I love him, and one day I will manage to say it properly. Not a scared little whisper, but I want to look into his eyes to tell him. He deserves that.

The voices? Right now, the dark passenger is drugged up, sedated. I am too, I’m very tired. I am staying in a different room in the house whilst I’m having my room done and I can’t wait to feel safe again.