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.

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The Compliant One…

Five days ago I was aggressively raped. I awoke to the man completely smothering my body. His arms were so tightly wrapped around me I could not move. The weight of his body crushed my lungs. He kept me tightly bound while he maneuvered himself inside of me. My body and soul died right then and there. My brain was screaming to fight…for the love of God…FIGHT!! Why aren’t you fighting?!?

I’ve been trying to process this. But I don’t know how. I am a shell of nothingness. Why does this keep happening? Will I ever be safe? I don’t know who this man was. I fell asleep while my husband was out working. And at first I thought it was him. But this body felt very different. The breathing was different. This was not like his typical middle of the night sneak attack…but it was incredibly familiar as well. I had an immediate feeling of fear and intensity I cannot even describe. But it disappeared fast as I left my body and endured. The one’s inside of me took over.

I heard his voice whisper “We have always loved you…”  This time he sounded like my husband. My brain was feeling confused. I didn’t understand what was happening to me or what he was saying to me. My body was under attack, yet I felt like I was watching it happen from afar. I was saying to myself, “get out of this!” Yet, I watched myself comply to his commands as if I was a child again. I was conscious, but I wasn’t. The little girl inside took over. And then I remember darkness…and the sound of the front door shutting.

I laid there stunned for what felt like hours, maybe it was, I don’t know. Agonizing pain pulsed through my body and my heart pounded violently out of my chest. My husband walked in to our room and silently climbed into bed. I didn’t move a muscle. Was that him? No, it wasn’t him…he wouldn’t take things that far…but he has before…but he wouldn’t now…would he? Fear filled me…what just happened to me??

Tears dripped down my cheeks until the sun came up. I am still a shell of nothingness…

Not So Secret Admirers…

Am I imagining you? Is this paranoia? Am I mentally breaking down? Am I crazy?

To the man who followed me home from my therapy appointment. I saw you. To the same man who followed me while I drove my children to school. I SAW you. To the SAME man with dark hair and glasses, driving the white Honda Pilot. I SEE you. I see you when you drive past my home. I see you in the parking lot at church. I see you everywhere you try to pretend you are not. I have dozens of pictures of you. What are you learning? What is so interesting about me? What are you doing to me as you follow me around??

To the person who calls my home and rings my phone three times and then hangs up. I hear you. To the person who calls my cell and leaves voice messages I NEVER listen to. I see you. To the person who texts me about things you know I’m researching. I SEE you too. Why are you so interested in me? What do you want to know? What are you trying to say to me??

To my husband. Stop asking me where I am. Stop trying to track my phone. Stop asking me if I arrived at my destination. Stop texting me all day long to “check in” and see what I’m doing. Stop asking me what I am typing. Stop telling me to share what I talked about in therapy. Stop finding ways to be in charge of our kids so I am trapped at home doing chores for you. STOP trying to anticipate, see, and control my every move. You do not own me.

To the voice in my head telling me to run. I am aware of you. To the other voice telling me to self destruct and self harm. I am aware of your existence too. To the voice of evil that harasses me in the night…I hear you. To the voice telling me it’s time to go home. I am fighting you. I will never go back.

To the woman who sent lily of the valley flowers to my bible study. Thank you for invading my space and triggering me. To the man who stared me down in Target and followed me out of the store. The image of your face is burned into my brain.

None of you own me. You may succeed in pacifying me. You may access and flip my progress and healing upside down. You may confuse me and renew fear inside. I must be pretty important to your game. I must know too much. Do I talk too much? Am I remembering too much? Am I too awake?? YOU WILL NOT WIN. I will kill myself first before you ever take me back. That is a guaranteed promise. You’d probably prefer that, wouldn’t you?

The Girl In A Cage…

A little girl talked to me yesterday. I was sitting on my bed deep in thought and was surprised by her presence. I wasn’t sure what to do or say so I lay there silent, with my eyes closed, and listened. She told me a story of something that happened to her. This is what she said…

“In the underground there are cages. It is dark and cold and scary there. It is sad and painful. I cried a lot. Not out loud though, because if you do, that is bad and you get in trouble. You can only lay down with your legs curled up to your stomach. You can’t talk to the others who are next to you. If you do, they will take you and do things to you. They burn you. They eat you. They cut you open. They tie you up and put things inside of you. They scream in your face. They hit you and don’t stop until you stop making noise. I don’t like it here. I can never leave. They will chase me and take me back. I have to do what they say or they will cut me. Or burn me. No one will help me. Everyone forgets about me. I try to tell them what’s happening but they all stop talking to me. They are too busy.  I don’t think they believe me “

When she was done talking, she cried.

This story took the little life that I had left out of me. It has frozen me in a way that I have not felt in a very long time. I feel stuck in that cage again. With no power and no will to fight for freedom. I can only sit there and obey. It is the safest thing to do. I want to help her but I don’t know how. I want to save her but I don’t know who she is or why she came to me. I want to talk to someone about this but no one is there.

Stop the Train…

Depression is ugly and invasive. It robs you of your sense of self. It makes you feel like a failure. It prevents you from growing and moving forward in your life. It creates feelings of distress and overwhelm. It steals your energy and motivation, leaving you exhausted and unable to move. It scrambles your thoughts, causing confusion. It tells you you are worthless, meaningless, unlovable, and unworthy of anything good. It keeps you stuck in a fog, feeling forever lost and with no hope for  escape or freedom from it’s feelings of oppression and shame.

This is me, stuck in depression. I have fought SO unbelievably hard not to get to this place. I have been here before and I never wanted to return. I have done everything I know and have learned to keep me from landing here again. But depression’s grip is STRONG. It pulls me back whenever I make a move forward. It holds me tight and will not let go of it’s grip. I can’t get free.

I sat curled up in my bathroom this morning sobbing into my knees. My daughter was 10 feet away from me on the other side of the closed door and in that moment I loathed her and her presence because I had to hide what was happening to me. I felt frantic and trapped because today I didn’t have the time or the space to feel this way. I felt confused because ten seconds earlier I was fine. I woke up to her sweet voice say “I woke up Mommy.” I smiled at her and said “Good morning! What should we do today?” I got up to get dressed and everything fell apart in an instant. I don’t know why.

A feeling of heaviness has been culminating inside of me for weeks. I’ve been inundated and flooded with memories from my childhood. I don’t even know what many of them mean or what they are. It’s just a reel of pictures and flashes, feelings and anxiety come and go and pictures of situations that are horrific, ugly, and frightening. I find them unbelievable and have fought hard to ignore and dismiss everything as an overreactive imagination.

But the fog sticks. Then anxiety joins in. And insomnia also decides to hop onto this emotionally distressing train. Full speed ahead, they barrel down the tracks of my life, tossing and turning me, scraping and mauling me as I’m dragged along, bumping and bouncing on the tracks from behind. I don’t want to be in this place anymore. But I can’t keep up, the train is too fast. I’m too tired to run and try to get ahead. I’m too damaged and bruised to move anymore. It’s like quicksand, swallowing me up. I wish the grip would release me. I feel likeI have lost control. I feel like I can’t be helped. I feel like I will never be free from this nightmare.

Moon Baby…

In the darkness of the night I stood in front of the stone table. I was led there with no clothing on, blood dripping down my legs, holding an infant. The man with no hair nodded to me and I placed the baby onto the table.  There was a fire burning underneath.

This image has reappeared over and over in my head. My body goes numb, shuts down, every time it appears. And for days after I feel sick to my stomach. I vomit. My head hurts. My heart races. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat.

Each time it returns I close my eyes in fear. Pushing it down as hard as I can, trying to avoid the unavoidable overwhelm. A voice in my head repeats over and over “She’s burning. She’s burning. She’s burning. She’s Burning…” And the glow of the fire fills my eyes and covers the image. I’ve screamed. I’ve panicked. I’ve cried and fallen to the floor praying no one finds me.

Oh God. What have I done?

…the fire burns…I am praised…I am tied…I am touched…I am used over and over for celebration…

My gaze goes up and I float into the top of the giant trees. I hide and rest in the canopy, hoping no one will find me and make me come down ever again. But they always did. Over, and over, and over, and over.

Secret Friendship…

In the underground rooms there was a young girl like me who I now know was in labor. I was in the room next to her and I heard them through the door say “she is ready.” I could hear she was in pain. I heard footsteps and a door open and close. I know they had left her alone in the room. She cried and she moaned. I got up from my bed and I peered through the door. I saw her laying there alone and afraid, wearing nothing. She rocked back and forth, side to side.

I was sad for her. I knew the pain she was in. I made a dangerous choice and walked through the doors over to her. I talked to her and held her hand. I started to cry with her and I rubbed her belly in an effort to comfort her and soothe her pain. I told her that I hated it when they touched my stomach and asked her if she hated it too and she said yes. We smiled at each other and cried together. She groaned and began to vomit.

A flurry of black and white rushed into the room towards me. I froze while I clung to her hand.  There was yelling and words I could not understand. My head whipped backwards and my body was grabbed from behind.

I can feel the fear of that moment in my throat. I can hear the grunts of my own voice as my body jerked backwards and violently shook. I don’t know what happened after that. The pictures in my head disappear. I never saw her again.

Cycling…

My body is experiencing sensory overload. It’s overwhelming. I’m forced to shut myself down and numb every last cell of my being. It works for awhile, until the images push their way to the front of my mind. Tears leak. Hands shake. My heart pounds loud and fierce. Fear and anxiety fill my soul. I fight and shut it down again. I need to forget. The cycle repeats over and over. See. Watch in Horror. Fear. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Numb. Repeat.

I watched as they laid his small naked body on the ground. His arms outstretched and wrists bound. His feet and ankles entangled in ropes that made the shape of an X around them. Eyes wide in fear, he is erected high. The knife touched his chest. He screamed and cried out. I remember how his body shook so violently, his eyes and mouth so wide. I stood, rigid, and still, frozen, watching the blood stream down his belly, his legs, to his feet. His head dropped down. They opened his stomach. They opened his legs. They opened his arms. They said he was an angel. His skin pulled to make his wings. My hair blew in the wind. My knees shook. I knew he would never come back down from there. My stomach feels sick. I do not move. I know not to move. I wonder if I will become an angel too. I wonder this to this day. When will they come for me?

My insides are full of evil. Gruesome. Unbelievable. Unimaginable. What has happened to me? When will this end? I don’t want to see this anymore. Close my eyes. Push it away. Breathe it out. Forget. I have to forget.

No. Open your eyes. Stay alert. They are coming…closing in. I cannot hide forever. I am afraid. I am overwhelmed. Stuff it down. Numb it out…

I am evil.

A Slow Suicide…

The self harm game is strong right now. It’s fighting a fierce battle to take me down. I’m spiraling. It was a subtle swirl that started a few months ago. I didn’t notice or recognize it at first. But in hindsight, I see it rearing it’s ugly head. Tightening it’s grip. And somehow, just like that, it’s programming has taken over and I am it’s prisoner trying fiercely to get free.

I had gained a lot of headway in my life last fall. I had taken control of my health. I had reversed illness that had plagued me for years almost to the point of complete body failure. My anxiety was under control. My body was the strongest it has ever been. Emotionally, I was steady and grounded. Therapy was productive and introspective, hard, but tolerable and progressively helpful. I was taking steps forward. So I thought. But somewhere in that process of healing, things went awry. My healthy habits of eating well and exercising turned compulsive and into an eating disorder with a frightening diagnosis of atypical anorexia nervosa. Exercise turned into an addictive drug and eating became a punitive practice, a means to relive past trauma in a covert way.

Feelings that had been stuffed and buried under the guise of my new leaf on life began leaking. My body is trying desperately to purge the memories, to make sense of them, to bring them to my awareness. I don’t want to see them. I’m scared of what I see. I don’t understand. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel in control. And the more I try to “be in control” the more out of control I become.

In therapy a couple months ago, I began moving my fingernails back and forth on the top of my hand. Digging deeper as the distress and memory erupting from inside intensified. I was completely shut down as I recounted what happened with my therapist and after I got into bed later that night my husband pointed out the cuts across the top of my hand. Like a perfect four lane track…bloody and raw. I had no idea I had done that. I didn’t feel it. I was still numb. And then it happened again in therapy a few weeks later. This time, my therapist caught it, but not before I had dug so deep into my skin I now have a scar to remind me daily of the turmoil that brews inside of me.

I haven’t cut myself since I was a teen…over 25 yrs ago. Now, I have to fight the automatic response to do so when I feel overwhelmed and go numb. Is it a way to try and ground myself? To feel something? A punishment I inflict on myself for telling secrets I’m not supposed to reveal? I don’t know. But I want to stop doing it.

When I was a child, food was both restricted and tightly controlled. It was also offered as a reward for compliance. Eating became a confusing practice. I was punished and food was withheld if I did not obey or if a lesson needed to be learned. But I was rewarded with food of I did obey or my training was successful. It was used as bribery to do things I did not want to do. It was used as bait to lure me into vulnerable situations where I became trapped and used. When I realized my eating was becoming an issue I sought out help and the anorexia diagnosis followed. I agreed to more therapy. And I started. But then something weird happened. I did a full 180 and self-sabotaged/self-harmed again. I stopped exercising. I stopped all self care. I stopped eating well. I stopped every “good habit” I had put in to place and went backwards. I stopped restricting and ate everything. I ate all the foods given to me to lure me into abuse. Ice cream, candy, fast food…whatever it was…things I have long avoided and refuse to even look at, I eat and relive my trauma. I also suspect now as I contemplate this, I was trying to regain control. Trying to prove there was no eating disorder, I got this, I’m not wasting away, I’m not restricting on purpose, I’m not punishing myself…

I’ve made myself sick again. I’ve spiraled down fast and furious, after I swore I would never go back to feeling that way. Every day I subconsciously look for something to do to hurt and punish myself for being so awful, for failing, for remembering, for telling my secrets. I don’t know why I do it and I don’t even know I do it sometimes. It happens automatically. Like a different person has taken over my body. I don’t feel like me anymore. I’ve lost myself. I feel so much shame and guilt. I feel like a failure. I feel small and vulnerable and afraid. I’m afraid of myself and what this might escalate to next. I’m alone in a darkness I haven’t seen in a very long time.

One Stormy Night…

Thunder is rumbling and lighting flashing outside. As a little girl, I was afraid of storms. My father came into my room one night and sat me on his lap as the winds howled and the sky flashed it’s smile of wrath. We looked out the window together as he told me an elaborate story about God and the angels bowling in the sky. As the story unfolded and the storm raged he began to rub my back to try to console my fear. His hand moved down and over onto my legs. As my heart began to pound and a lump formed in my throat, it moved back up my back and landed, cradled, around the base of my neck…the touch that I know means business…no more sound or movement.

He placed my small body back onto my bed. He kissed my forehead and moved his hand up under my nightgown. My eyes drifted up and I stared up at the corner where the pink checked wallpaper met the ceiling…I drifted away to a world of darkness where I no longer see or feel when the pain settles into my body. It’s my escape, my secret hiding place, where I become nothing.

I’ve been returning to that dark hiding place in my head often lately. My husband turns over and touches me in the middle of the night, pursuing his own release…I shut down and hide in my darkness until he’s done. Nightmares harass me and I see the horror of my life in flashes. I curl up and cover my head and think about that corner I would hide in, the safe dark place that became my refuge. I re-enter it’s familiar walls. As I remember…I sat in the chair, wrists bound, needles and wires piercing and prodding my body, I would look up to the long windows near the ceiling and drift away into the dark world of my mind. When he hits me and pins me down and threatens me for daring to try to speak up against his cruelty, the pain in my face and the warmth of the blood dripping from my nose lures me back to the dark and numb, just like the little girl in the past, who stared into the corner of the ceiling to enter the darkness and hide.

I look into the mirror and I see a stranger. It can’t be me. Who is she? She looks strange. Empty. It must be the woman who lives in the darkness of my mind…she’s been in there a long time. Hiding. Silenced. Hurting. Afraid of the storms all around her in her darkness. Nowhere is safe anymore. The storms rage everywhere. There is no escape. She shatters the mirror in shame and fear. She shuts down and slips back into the darkness of her mind, her secret hiding place, hoping the storms blow over so she can remain hidden, isolated, and silent…unbothered and free of pain…the only safety she knows.