Another May Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something monumental.

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

 

Well, something monumental has just happened.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

“No,” we replied, puzzled, “why?”

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fay Alice.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

TW: Hospital.

Hi all- massive TW for this post. We discuss hospitals and various traumatic things that happened there. Shout out to the nurses, who were wonderful in every way.

Monday the 9th May. We are in the gym, feeling happier than we have done for a long time. I’m on the leg curl machine, and pull myself up higher on the machine- there’s a sharp pain on the right hand side of my lower abdomen, and suddenly a gush of blood. We freeze. What. The. Fuck.

The pain is too bad to do another set. We are upset as we climb off it, and head for the chest fly machine instead. We do a couple of sets before the pain gets even worse, and then realise we aren’t well enough to keep going. We finish up, go home, and try to deal with the pain. We go and teach, too.

Tuesday 10th May. The bleeding and pain is worse. We feel awful, and triggered, and the younger ones have realised that we are not on our period. What the hell is happening, they want to know? I explain to them that it’s the ovarian cysts that caused us so much pain last August, and they are still scared but get it. Nineteen is feeling upset and unable to eat. We still go teaching, in awful pain, but we feel like it might just go away by itself… We hope.

Wednesday and Thursday, 11th and 12th May. The pain is pretty much unbearable. 19 has her flip out and we are all exhausted, in pain, wrung out and needing rest.

Friday 13th May. It gets so bad, we call the NHS non-emergency number. They are concerned by our symptoms and try and get an ambulance out, but we end up going to hospital driven by our Mum. We’re all scared at this point. The Dutchman arrives, and we spend the whole time after mum has to leave in his arms. Sadly, we are discharged with painkillers and sent home to book another ultrasound scan.

Saturday and Sunday, 14th and 15th May. We exist in a haze of pain. Making breakfast on Saturday, we pass out and the Dutchman carries us to the sofa. He continues to care for us in every way over the weekend, taking our minds off the horror that’s going on in our own body.

Monday 16th May. We end up at the GPs, and she’s so concerned that she sends us to the hospital. We have to go through an internal exam. It’s one of the worst things we have ever experienced. The Dutchman kneels beside our head, squeezing our hands and telling us it’s ok, we are safe. It hurts. He tells us he’s still there and he loves us, and he isn’t going to go away. We are admitted and they arrange an ultrasound scan for the next day. The Dutchman has to leave, but he Skypes us when he gets home to make sure we are ok.

Tuesday 17th May. The ultrasound shows a golf-ball-sized cyst on our right ovary, just like we predicted there would be. We knew there was a cyst. We have all been feeling unable to eat, and the pain is on the one side. However, we have a sinking feeling about this. Although there’s no cancer detected, we suspect that it is probably not going to make the doctors do anything. Later on, we try to get out of bed because we think we’re going to throw up, and pass out entirely. When we come to, there’s a concerned team of people present and a doctor there, and a drip and cannula in one hand. The younger ones hate that. It hurt for them to get it in because our hands are so bony. Nobody knows what to do about the cyst, nobody has any information or advice for us. We are point blank told that there’s no way to prevent cysts and that it’s not being drained.
Wednesday 18th May. We realise the only way to get any advice is to ask for it. There’s an amazing nurse who eventually comes to talk to us and give us options to help prevent the cysts from coming back. We are released with a handful of painkillers again, and told not to worry, all women get cysts due to their monthly cycle and sometimes, some women’s hurt a bit. This is past that, though. There’s a golf ball sized cyst sitting inside us and refusing to budge. It’s been there over a week. We are all scared and hurt and upset, nineteen is fuming, we all are at our wits end.
Thursday 19th May. A week since nineteen had her meltdown. The cyst is still there. We are glad to be home, but the full horror of hospital has started to sink in and we’re terrified of what we remember. We all continually flash back to the internal exam. It was horrendous. For any person who hasn’t been through trauma, it would have just been embarrassing and uncomfortable, which is bad enough. For us, it was torture.
Friday 20th May, today. We are sent a letter informing us that due to the fact we had been in Accident and Emergency and were prescribed medicine, we are to be charged for this. £8.40, “as you would be if you had visited your GP.”
The callousness of this hurts us. We were in A and E because we were really ill, not swanning in complaining of a common cold. We don’t mind paying, but there was no expression of sadness for us having to be in A and E, and the letter is callous in its tone. Moreover, we are scheduled another scan and an appointment for something not mentioned in the letter in June. JUNE. That’s a long bloody time to be left in pain. There’s a little unconcerned light-hearted statement about having an internal scan, and the probe would be, “about the size of a tampon. I don’t care. None of us do. We are not having anything like that happen again. They saw the cyst on a normal ultrasound, that internal one is unnecessary and downright abusive.
We can’t handle this. We have been thoroughly retraumatised by the whole experience. The Dutchman has offered to ring them for us and find out why there are two dates on the letters, and to explain that there may be adverse reactions to demanding inappropriate scan techniques. The letter mentions the normal way of scanning first, which we are fine with. Why is there the need to be so flippant about the internal scan?

 

We’re all really struggling and upset still. On Sunday we are supposed to be flying out to see the Dutchman. We hope that it works out ok, if the cyst bursts in mid-air we will be in trouble.

 

The only thing that’s comforting us right now is the thought that in two days, we get to be with him again. There’s our dog curled up with us, and our family have been very supportive. We are just praying that the pain gets no worse.

Little Red Riding Hood. (TW: body stuff)

Trigger Warning guys- I talk about a triggering memory, body issues, and my feelings on all of that. Stay safe. x

This could well be a bunch of my random musings. I’m feeling a little distractible and dissociative today, floating on my after-therapy cloud. I feel like I’m hiding inside my own head, letting my body take over and do adult things so that I can just hide and not have to face anything tougher than ordering a coffee.

I feel like today’s session was a rest. I am so tired with all the frantic busyness of the week before but the late sunsets make it very difficult to sleep. I lie awake, hyper-aware of my body, telling myself it will all be ok soon. I hope.

What struck me about today was that I’m realising that connections I could have made years ago are only now being made due to how much I’m actually able to face them. Certain memories that have always haunted me and made me uncomfortable are actually not the stand alone events I thought they once were.

I have a lot of uncomfortable feelings about my body and sexuality, and I believe that quite a lot of that stems from a memory which has always been difficult for me to remember. As I was writing in my journal today, I had what was pretty much a flashback.

I’m fifteen. I’m going to my new boyfriend’s house- well, the place he stays during the week with his grandparents so he can get to school easier. I’m excited and nervous. I’m going out with someone who says God has given us both a special purpose, that we’re angels in human form, that we will defeat the antichrist and save the world. I lap it up eagerly, mania helping me to swallow the lies.

He gets handsy, but I’m ok with that. In fact, when his hand slips down the front of my jeans I’m not worried, I’m excited. So excited I have my first proper orgasm and my jeans and knickers are soaked.

I’m confused. I knew I could get excited but this is new. He seems to find it exciting too and I’m pleased that he finds me attractive.

Problem is, once he’s finished, we head back to his and I’m left sitting in my soaked clothing.

There’s no offer of help, no jointly-concocted lie about me sitting in a puddle on a park bench. I’m just left wet and embarrassed and uncomfortable, and I’m so embarrassed when my mother asks me about the “funny-smelling” jeans and underwear I threw in the wash.

Clearly that means I’m dirty. I’m ashamed of how excited I got and guilty. I lie to my mother a few days later about sitting in a puddle on a park bench, and when I start bleeding whist passing water, I know I’m being punished for what I did. I’m a dirty whore, clearly.

Antibiotics cleared the infection but my sense of cleanliness altered. I felt ashamed and dirty a lot. Clearly, this incident connects to much of my bad feelings about my body today- my horror of myself, my suspicions that I’m infected by him, that somewhere in my psyche he planted a warped seed and laughed at me as it grew. I always feel dirty. I’ve scrubbed my skin raw today in the shower, as I do often, and I’m paranoid about infections or illnesses very often. I tell myself that I’m anxious, that eventually these symptoms will fade, and they do.

I felt like little red riding hood in town on the way home today, lost in the forest and worried about her family. I got off the bus and stumbled across the path of a real live wolf… Except this one didn’t have his teeth bared at me.

I have known Wolf from seeing him at the hospital where I go for therapy with Dr K. He’s tall, well-muscled, close to fifty and tattooed everywhere. Even his lips are tattooed. However, despite his fearsome appearance, he’s a loyal and gentle friend. We talked today, and instead of blowing the house down, he offered me a cool lemonade at my favourite coffee shop.

This wolf believes in the choices others make. He says that although he also came from a background of abuse, he chose the path of righteousness- he patrols the town centre 7 hours a day because he wants to keep others safe. I always count myself lucky that I didn’t meet one of those wolves that will rip you apart, and that I met a wolf that isn’t what the hunters make him out to be.

When I left him today, he gave me a little gift. An angel pin, the head of it a pearl. He’s told me before that my name is in the city of angels, only one letter different from its earthly form. Although I don’t know what to believe, I like that he thought of me and that he’s smart, understanding, generous and kind.

There are a lot of wolves out there, and some like to rip you apart for liking the colour red. My ex and his grandad were like that- terrible, starving, vicious monsters craving my destruction. Wolf himself hates people like that, having been surrounded by them in his life once.

J is a wolf too I think, but more often than not, he’s the wolf that would fight any threat to protect me and is constantly, neverendingly loyal to me as his partner. He’s helped me lick my wounds and curled his body round mine when I’ve felt as dirty and nauseated as I have been feeling right now.

Little red riding hood and the wolf doesn’t end with a human slicing open the stomach of the beast, pulling the girl out of the darkness. It takes a cunning beast to catch a monster, and a wild heart to love a damaged girl once trapped in the belly of the monster that swallowed her whole.

It’s a good job there are only a few rogue wolves out there, and that the rest of the pack takes care of the weaker ones. I may be injured, but the other wolves I know will not stop growling at the darkness until it goes away.

I will keep wearing my red cape without any shame, bloodstains and all. I don’t need to be ashamed- I never asked the monster to eat me after all.

Hard Times.

I’m so sorry I’ve been AWOL recently. This latest discovery in therapy has rocked me to the core. I am now a person abused in childhood, someone I always felt sorry for but rationalised that I never was that person. I knew what I was doing. It was my fault.

 

Now, I’m realising that it was not my fault, that I was fourteen, a child. I teach children who are fourteen. I don’t want them hurt, and I certainly wouldn’t blame them if someone cruel took advantage of them. Why have I been blaming me?

I’m so tired and fragile at the minute- the smallest thing sets me off. I cry at things that wouldn’t bother normal people. I was sent the third smear test reminder letter in a row today, and it floored me- I was so upset at its callous tone, it’s schoolteacher-style nagging, its overtone of disappointment. I’m fighting a battle with trauma here, and I’m struggling to cope. I’m not having it done- I’m sending the smear test refusal letter back to them. Yet another moment when someone else wants me to do something I’m not comfortable with and doesn’t understand how much pain they’re causing.

I pretty much cried all session with Dr K today. The very hurt fourteen year old was out and upset, and didn’t want to talk but just wanted to cry. I sat there, feeling very small and very afraid, and also very shameful and dirty. Dr K spent the whole session trying to calm me down and to stop me from feeling so horrific. The fourteen year old inside me wanted suicide,self harm, an end to her pain and an escape into the dark. Twenty five year old me wants peace and J and just to curl up on his chest and let him hold me. The only person allowed that close to me is him. I brook no trespass from doctors thinking they can swab me and expect me to be fine. I won’t be.

The doctor at my local surgery is the one who pointed out to me that I’m officially a person abused in childhood. She’s trying her best to help me. I’m terrified of the pain I end up in after sex, or even just when I’ve over-exercised, and she wants to help me find out what it is. She also wants to help me to report the abuse, and for that, I need an examination. I’m terrified of that too, but that one less so- that’s something I can choose to opt in or out of, to be able to tell them I can’t and leave or to be brave and do it. I have the control there. I’m just terrified that they’ll find that he scarred me and that I’m broken, or that maybe there’ll be nothing there and I will be told I’m making it all up. I’m not: I know what happened to me.

I became childlike again today, drawing on the paper Dr K had in her office, explaining all the pain and hurt in pictures. She believes that I’ve done some good today with them, that I’ve made progress and been able to explain what’s wrong and how she can help. I feel like we made progress there too. The drawings I did two weeks ago were just as powerful, the things I wrote from fourteen year old me. I’m so tired now, and all I want to do is curl up in bed and watch something pleasant.

If anyone has any advice for me over all this, I would love some. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this and what it really means that I have parts of me. I dissociate, floating away, but I remember it all and I know that I’m there. Is this DID? I don’t know.

I need hugs, sleep, and a rest from everything. I’m so tired, everyone.

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.

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.