Overwhelm…

I want to divorce my husband. But I don’t know how. I hate him. I hate him to my core. I hate that he’s cheated on me 100’s of times. I hate that he controls me. I hate that he demeans me, manipulates me, and gaslights me. I hate that he rapes me. I hate that he lies to me. I hate when he says he loves me. I hate when he pulls my hair. I hate when he holds me down by my wrists. I hate when he traps me and I can’t get away. I hate that he makes me look unstable and crazy in front of our children. I hate that he makes me look like the monster. I hate that I feel hate.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who I want to be. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know how I will support myself or my children. I don’t know if my children would hate me if I left him. I don’t know how to change. I don’t know how to be brave. I don’t know how to have courage. I don’t know how to leave. I don’t know what the future looks like. I don’t know how to know.

I want to forget about my past. I want to forget about the drugs. I want to forget about the needles. I want to forget about the babies. I want to forget about the trees. I want to forget about the cages. And the fires. And the chains. And the cutting. And the screaming. And the crying. And the knives. And the wires. And the lights. I want to forget about the tunnels. I want to forget about the burns. I want to forget about the cold, dark dungeons. I want to forget about the men. And the games. And the tests. And the loneliness. And the tears. And the fear. And the blood. I want to forget about the sex. I want to forget about the touching. I want to forget about the demands. The ropes that tied me up. The things and hands that beat me. I want to forget about the glass. The objects in my body. The machines. The water. I want to forget about what I have done. I want to forget the pain.

How do I escape? Where do I find peace? Who can I trust? When does freedom come? Why can’t I figure this out? What more do I have to do? Where are you God? Why are you silent? Why am I stuck here? What did I do? Is this it for me? A life of control and defeat? I call for you and cry. Nothing. I ask and beg for wisdom. Nothing. I turn to you over and over and over and over again. Yet here I still am. Alone. Confused. Afraid. Still used. Still controlled. Still beaten. Still silenced. Still defeated. Still…me. Nothing.

Early Winter…

We had our first snow last weekend and it hasn’t really stopped since. Mosts days, we have had pockets of flurries move through, nothing too significant, but much memory flooding has happened for me since it has begun. Each day, when the flakes start falling, I find myself staring out the windows of my room or my car, and as I watch the snow fall to the ground, the real world melts away and my thoughts shift me into my past.

I’ve had several dreams over the years involving my husband’s family. Weird dreams. None of them make much sense to me. But I never forgot any of them as you sometimes do. I was reminded earlier this week of one of those dreams as I was riding in the car with my husband. As he was driving through a snowy intersection, something about the way he turned brought me back to a dream I’ve had more than once. I was a young teenager and in a car at night with his mother and a group of men. The roads were covered in snow except for the lines where cars had been driving and you could see the trail of black road where tires had worn through the snow on the ground. I remember the car stopped at a traffic light and then quickly turning as the light turned green. They drove me to a home with a brick fireplace and hearth. The room was dark, lit only by candlelight in the corner. In this room I was surrounded by all the men. The were laughing and the room was swirling in circles all around me as I was laying on the carpet. The dream stops here and I wake up feeling very scared and disoriented.

When I was growing up, one of the jobs my father had was a high school basketball referee. Sometimes I would tag along to the games with him and hang out in the gym and watch while he officiated. After one of the games I remember sitting on the bleachers watching as someone swept the gym floor while waiting for him to emerge from the locker room after the game had ended. As we walked out of the high school, I remember he put his hand on my head and guided me out of the building. It had started snowing during the game and there was a blanket of snow covering the parking lot and I remember watching the fat, white flakes falling softly under the glow of the lot light posts. Once in the car, my father wrapped his hand around the back of my neck. My body stiffened and he proceeded to take off my coat. His hand moved to my cheek and his fingers through my hair. He laid me down on the cold vinyl front seat and pulled down my pants and began touching me. As the top of my head was pushed up against the cold metal door handle of the passenger side door, I looked out the window and above me into the glow of the light post. I escaped into the beauty of the falling snow. I don’t remember much more after that except sitting in the front seat and looking down at my white tennis shoes listening to his music as he drove us home in the dark.

Today as I watched the snow fall, my brain had an extreme reaction. I stood frozen as I heard a little girl screaming in my head. Then I saw her. She was being carried from a cold, dark room. She kicked and screamed and fought but could not get away. She cried and cried and screamed. The screaming. It was as if I was in the room with her. It pierced my ears and sent chills up my spine. They walked with her through the double doors, which had glass on the top half filled with tiny wires in the shape of a diamond trellis. Her head hung backwards and her hair swung wildly side to side as she struggled to be free. The screaming faded as she disappeared down the dim hallway and I found myself back in my room, feeling her warm tears falling down my own cheeks.

The Air That He Breathes…

All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you…

I’m currently living in a hotel. This is not ideal for me. I’ve been drugged in hotels. I’ve been abused in hotels. I’ve been raped by many men, including my own father and husband, in hotels. Hotels bring me to places in my head I do not want to go. And yet, I now have nowhere to go…except here.

My father liked to travel. I have memories of many hotels. He fondled me in hotels. He raped me in hotels. He secretly climbed into my bed in hotels. He rubbed my body, he kissed my head. He told me to be quiet. He hurt me. Sometimes we were alone. Sometimes we were all together as a family.

“Peace came upon me, and it leaves me weak…”

My father liked to drive. He would often take me with him. After our “adventures,” he would put me back in the car and play music as we drove back home. He would woo me. He would put his hand on my thigh and caress it, in an effort to sooth and comfort me, to win me over. He would place his hand on the back of my neck and methodically rub beneath my hair…the signal for all things to be kept secret. And then the music played.

The music. The brainwashing. The markers for all that happened. It’s all memorized. Every word. Engrained in my head to forever be reminded when it plays that I can say no words or reveal our special secrets.

“So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep…”

Weapons of Silence…

I’ve been very cautious with my words lately. It is frightening to speak, and to write. It seems when I do, something happens to silence me. But I’m beginning to feel a pressure build up. My head is too full. My feelings too strong. I’ve lost the ability to fully dissociate and pack things away for long lengths of time. It’s exhausting. The voices inside my head are loud and other parts of me are taking over more and more, intruding into my life, wanting to be seen and heard. I push back hard, attempting to silence them. I feel like I’m losing control.

The other day an image from my childhood came to me. I feel much like the pheasant being hunted in the Disney movie, Bambi. She is hiding in the grass, knowing the hunter is getting closer and closer. She feels terror and can’t stay still. It’s too much. Other birds tell her…don’t fly…don’t fly…but she can’t take the pressure and she flies out of the grass and she exposes herself and is shot and dies. That is what I feel and fear will happen to me.

I’ve had many warnings when I have tried to “fly.” I have learned not to speak. Not to expose. Not to tell the secrets of my soul. They have mostly worked, as well. I felt strong and brave once. Not anymore. So, I don’t speak. I don’t know how long I can do this, though. I’m restless. I’m scared. But I can’t take it much longer. I feel it in my bones. I know they’ll come after me. I know it will hurt. But…the pressure…

Truth. Exposure. I must fly. I don’t think I care anymore if I die.

Twilight…

The sky beyond the forest was an eerie color of turquoise-green. The trees were black, like shadows. I could hear the men arguing. They wrestled and fought as I watched. He pulled out his knife and stabbed him. Over and over. I watched as he screamed in pain and fell over. They stood over him, and talked. My small body began shaking and strong hands grabbed me and I was taken away.

I remembered this incident as I recently walked out of a store at dusk. The wind was blowing, just like that night, and the sky was blue-green in the distance. As I stared at it, the pictures flooded into my head and took my breath away. I stood there frozen. My husband pulled my arm and led me to the car.  I have not been able to stop seeing this and the pictures become clearer each time it cycles through my thoughts.

Rainbows and Butterflies…

I was walking outside yesterday and started listening to a podcast. Lavar Burton, a famous actor, was being interviewed. I was thinking as I listened it was weird that I didn’t recognize his name given the amount of accolades this man has earned in the television and Hollywood worlds and his connection to shows that were a large part of my childhood. I didn’t get very far in the interview, however, before I reached my home and shut it off.

Later in the day, I was sitting in my car waiting to pick my daughter up from school. It had been over a week since I had spent any time online reading news updates. I surfed around and eventually opened twitter. The first thing in my feed is a long thread about…Lavar Burton. This was a very weird coincidence seeing this man’s name twice in only a few hours when I had zero recollection of ever hearing about him before. This immediately peaked my interest…because I know, when these types of things happen, they are not really coincidences.

As I read through the thread, tears started flowing. My heart raced, and pictures of torture flashed through my head. I was chained to a bed. I was strapped to a chair. Lights flashed as my body seared in shock and pain. Bright lights flashed around me. I was naked and running. I was holding a bleeding baby…and then the music started playing through my head…

“Butterfly in the sky…I can go twice as high…”

…Images of blue butterflies, rainbows, and swirling black lines spinning in a spiral danced in my brain. I saw images flash of a woman with long, straight, dark hair sitting in a chair across from me. She quizzed me and punished me if I didn’t respond the way she wanted me too.  I had to repeat numbers, listen to ring tones, repeat phrases in a language I can hear in my head but do not understand today. Command after command after command…

I don’t know what any of this means. The things I see in my head are so out of this world sometimes but also so familiar and command so much attention. Once the images arrive, they never go away. I see them continuously. I sift through them as my days go on trying to understand what my brain is showing me. I don’t know what to think about myself anymore. I can’t put together a full picture or event, which just leaves me more confused and scared. I’m tired. I want to understand what I am feeling and seeing. I don”t know how.

Healing Obstruction…

Over a year ago, last spring, I realized I was seriously struggling with an eating disorder. I had discovered and learned enough about my self that I could finally, clearly see the patterns of triggers I was experiencing and my reactions to them. I struggled with how I wanted to handle it, but I knew it needed to be addressed and sought additional therapy outside of the current therapist I was/continue to work with.

I researched extensively options in my city for programs/therapy that specifically addressed and treated only eating disorders. I knew I had potential to be a complicated situation with my abuse background and the current patterns I was seeing in myself. It wasn’t textbook behavior where one could look at my patterns and say “oh yes…you are struggling with bulimia, food avoidance, or binge eating…here is the perfect treatment program for you,” at least not from what I could discern from my own research into eating disorders. It turns out, my hunch was correct.

I mustered the courage to seek an evaluation. This was hard for me. I felt like a complete failure. I went to the appointment and spent three hours filling out questionnaire’s, answering question after question, and telling my story of abuse from my childhood and also currently in my marriage. The intake therapist seemed overwhelmed. She even said “you have so much you are dealing with…wow…” which was validating, but also overwhelmed me again. She admitted she didn’t know how to diagnose me on a clinical level, as I fall into many categories of disorders, but she settled on Anorexia Nervosa, not because I am underweight, because I’m not, but mostly because of my exercise patterns at the time…which she considered excessive and of a “purging” nature. This only created more confusion inside of me, as I thought this was the one thing I was doing well for myself and my healing, an attempt to take care of myself.

I agreed to continue in the program and meet her recommended therapists for me. Yes, I said therapists…plural. So now I had three therapists I would be working with…and a full time group therapy recommendation as well (which would add another therapist, or more) that I could do as inpatient or outpatient. She was recommending inpatient. I immediately said no. This frustrated her, which frustrated me, but I stood my ground so she put me on the waiting list for the outpatient group program and told me we could continue to discuss the inpatient option as we got started and I would probably begin to see the value in it. I thought I already said no…??? I began to feel like maybe this wasn’t what I needed in the moment, it felt too controlling, but I told myself to keep going and give it a chance, I’m not the professional, so I did.

I met my first therapist. She seemed ok. She asked about my story and my past. I told her what I could without losing my composure. She asked for a lot of details in her follow up questions that were very hard to answer to someone I had just met and had no idea if she could be trusted or not. I left the appointment triggered, upset, and with no plan or treatment goals or idea of what was coming next. But I trusted the process and went back the next week. When I arrived, she picked right back up where we left off…asking more questions and again pushing the inpatient program, which I declined again. The session was about to end and she then told me she is referring me to a new therapist (what?!) because she is starting a new job somewhere else.

This news was frustrating to say the least. I was angry they assigned me to a therapist that they knew would be leaving. And I considered leaving the program at that point because the thought of having to share my story again was just too much. But I felt like I needed the help, and hadn’t really connected with or fully trusted her so I went back the next week to meet the next therapist taking me over.

I went through the same routine with this new therapist. Told my story, received the same “wow…that’s a lot” reaction, and uncertainty of how to “handle” me since I refused to go through the inpatient programming…again. But I know it takes time to settle into therapy and build trust so I continued to see her. But things quickly fell apart again. I would show up for appointments and she would not. I would reschedule and then they would get cancelled. I would finally see her and she would change the programming, adding in new diagnoses to my my file for depression and anxiety (duh…I thought that was basically a given at this point in my life) that then complicated my treatment plan, somehow, which seemed weird to me since these issues often accompany eating disorders. After weeks of missed/cancelled/inconsistent appointments, I was internalizing the chaos and beginning to feel like a burden. I expressed frustration and was told again, she was transitioning to a new position within the organization and they would be recommending me to yet another new therapist.

At that point I asked for an appointment with the program director, which they obliged. I met with her and told her how maddening my experience had been and how negatively it had impacted me. She asked me again for my background and I found myself divulging my abuse story again…which I hate telling and talking about, or thinking about, for that matter, and was wondering why this was something she needed to know. Having reached the end of myself, I tearfully told her that if I was going to move forward with the programming, I needed a therapist that could handle the complexities of my situation. Someone who was well versed in the abuse I had experienced in my childhood and marriage and how that was contributing to my current struggles and my desire to not be assigned to a “new/baby” therapist. I needed someone with solid therapeutic experience. I was no longer willing to be a “this will be great learning experience for a new therapist” case. She said that my request was completely fair and that there was a new therapist coming on board in a few weeks that would be a good fit for me if I was willing to wait…but in the meantime, I could work with another new therapist joining the program as well and in the end I could choose which one I wanted to stick with. This seemed like a lot of work for me…and more storytelling, which I was not interested in. But I agreed anyway and she set up my appointments.

The transition therapist was completely new to the profession. Not even licensed yet. She had no clue what to say or do. She did not read any of my file before meeting me. The exact opposite of what I requested. I left the appointment completely defeated and never returned back to the center. The damage that was done to me emotionally during those three months of trying to seek help was huge. I know I still haven’t recovered from it and as I continue to struggle and process I’m beginning to wonder if there was more to it than I was previously realizing.

Something I recently remembered was a persistent request by all of the therapists I saw (five total, plus the program director) to have access to my current therapist. Something inside told me not to disclose this information, so I did not, and said I was not interested in coordinating therapy between them and him and that I would handle communicating any information I thought he needed to know, was recommended to disclose, or I thought was important to my process with him.  Immediately with the first therapist there was a lack of respect for my decision…just as there was for not wanting to be admitted to a hospital for treatment long term. And each subsequent therapist also asked for the same access and told me that they would need to coordinate treatment with him. I refused each time they asked for any information they could try to get out of me about who he was.

Why was this so necessary? I get the concept of it…which is not what they presented when asking for the information…that all therapists treating me could be aware of what was happening and coordinate and share information. But that wasn’t their stated goals. They “needed” to speak with him and know who he was and direct him in treatment on his end that would compliment theirs. I’m wondering now what exactly this was all about.

I have read in my research about trauma and abuse, and have heard many personal accounts, that victims beginning to remember and exposing their abuse publicly are targeted to intimidate and silence them. I am beginning to realize that many things that have happened, and I have experienced, is opposition to my disclosures. I have been belittled, threatened, and abandoned by family. I am followed. I am called on the phone. I am texted. Strange and triggering items just happen to appear in environments that have no previous connection to my experiences. I have been approached on the street. My home has been broken into. I have been assaulted. My email has been hacked and YEARS of email communications have been deleted and removed from my account. My blog was deleted and temporarily shut down and it took a tremendous amount of work to get it restored. My husband constantly needs to know where I am and will full on stalk me if I do not respond to his calls or texts until he hears from me. I feel like I am watched 24/7 and have just completely accepted this as normal…this is my life.

It does not seem out of the realm of possibility that my seeking help to heal and break abuse programming gets obstructed. I literally get followed by a car that matches my therapist’s…sometimes by a man who looks like my therapist. This probably means something that I haven’t figured out yet. Or maybe I have. Maybe I am supposed to be afraid of him too? I have thought of that. And I have panicked MANY times about my time with him, the information I have shared, and if he is trustworthy. What if he is obstructing my healing as well? What if he keeps me stuck? What if our sessions are monitored? So many questions…

After years of weird experiences, I could be putting two and two together…or continuing to be crazy and paranoid…

Stranger in the Dark…

I feel like I’m being controlled. I don’t feel like myself. I cannot fall asleep even though my body is desperate for it. And if I do fall asleep, I do not stay there. When I was a child, I was purposefully sleep deprived. I have wondered if this has affected my sleep now as an adult. But this feels different. Like I’m once again being deprived of the rest and sleep I need as some sort of punishment.

My brain wants to do certain things to bring my body back to a place of health. But another part of my brain prevents me from action. It’s instructive and serious in tone. I am not “allowed” to pursue good for myself. I crave healthy food. But when I reach for it, I immediately switch to rejecting it. So now I rarely eat. I try, but it doesn’t go down. But foods that will go down are components of past abuse…foods used to lure, persuade, and traumatize. I don’t even want them. But sometimes, they are all my body will accept.

I crave movement and nature. But fear keeps me inside. Exhaustion keeps me still. If I push against the resistance and go out and move, my body aches for days afterwards, a punishment for trying to forge my own way. It’s little incentive to keep pushing. But my body needs the strength. It’s deteriorating.

My ears are ringing and swooshing constantly. My head pulses in pain for days and my eyes itch. I have had these symptoms before…long ago. Why are they back now? What do they mean? My muscles ache. My joints hurt. My energy is non existent. I try to find things to help. Nothing works. My body resists good.

I don’t know exactly when, but I switched. Like a light switch on the wall flipped off. Everything is dark again. No matter how much I want to do and be different, I cant. The force against me is strong. Maybe it’s depression rearing it’s ugly head in a way I have not yet experienced. But it feels different. It doesn’t feel like me…not even depressed me. I know me. Right now, this is not me. I don’t know who I am or who is in control.

Speak Little Ones…

C’mon baby girl…just cry.

C’mon little one…it’s ok.

C’mon sweet child…hold my hand.

C’mon teenager…you can be brave.

C’mon young adult…fight through the fog.

C’mon beautiful, strong woman…you can do hard things.

I know you feel stuck, because I do too. I know you have so much to say but are too scared. I’m scared too. But I want to know our story. We can do this. We can get through this. We can find safety and be free. Tell me what I need to know. Help me put the puzzle pieces together. Show me everything. I don’t want to be confused anymore. We can do hard things together. We can write a new story for ourselves. We can be free. Don’t be afraid. Just speak.

I’ve Had Enough…

This past week has been very hard. My body is worn and hurting, as is my emotional and mental state. I am trying to calm myself down as best as I know how, but also allow myself to feel what needs to be felt. I am still numb and feel like I’m just a shell of nothing. I feel disrupted and off balance inside and the voices in my mind have decided to share with me more things that have happened in my past. I’ve resisted listening and accepting for the most part, and have forced myself out into the sunshine daily, to the gym, and the pool with my kids as distractions. It has helped some, but the event of last week still stings.

I was walking today and was approached by a man who appeared to be in his 60’s, driving a dark blue, mid sized SUV. I didn’t recognize him and thought maybe he was a neighbor until he rolled down his window and said “I’ve been watching you walk around. I have a message for you…” Instinct kicked in immediately and I knew this was a bad situation. I looked straight into his eyes and said fiercely, “I do not consent to anything. I refuse to comply with any command you attempt to give me. If you don’t leave me alone, or follow me again, I will use every power and resource I have to blow the roof off of this bullshit operation and will start publicly naming names.” I spun around and walked away. I don’t know what happened to him or where he went. I never turned around to see. I was too afraid of what might come next so I just kept my eyes focused straight ahead and went home and locked all the doors.

My entire body burned with anger…BURNED. I am tired of the pursuits. The assaults. The  manipulating attempts by my family, my husband, and whoever these people are, to scare me into submission and silence. I am done. DONE. I want my life back…I want my life! I want freedom and safety and calm. The assault in my home last week has been eating at me, and this and that experience have really opened the floodgates of emotion and rebellion inside of me. I do not want to live in this fear anymore. I do not want to be controlled. I have to escape all of this. Somehow.

I wish I had engaged a little more…because now, in hindsight, I’m curious about what he was going to say to me. But deep down I know that would have been playing with fire. I know in my childhood, I was taught to behave certain ways on command. I know I was trained to do things I did not want to do. I know I am still  accessed and triggered today to self harm, comply, react, and recoil into silence. I’ve accepted it and haven’t really fought it. I’ve felt that I could never win or get away. I tried so many times in my past only to be chased and reigned back in.

I’m not going to shut this blog down. I’m not going to stop talking about what my body is revealing to me. I am not going to shrink into a ball (as much) anymore and bury things deep down inside. At one time I could. It was immediate and natural. Now my body fights me when I do. It doesn’t stay quiet. Even when I desperately want it all to just go away, it refuses.

I feel the need to say I am not suicidal. I am not willingly or purposefully acting in self destructive ways. I am not planning to run away or disappear. I love my children and will not intentionally leave them or abandon them. If I disappear or go missing, it is not on purpose and should immediately be considered suspicious. I need all of this to end. I need to heal and find health and freedom and safety. I need to figure out how to get away from this evil.