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.

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?

Mystery Baby…

I’ve been in a highly triggered state recently. Like a constant high state of trigger. It feels intentional. When I vocalize that I am feeling this it seems to get worse. I’m having a really hard time fighting it and getting out and stable. I’m not sure I know how to fight what’s happening to me.

I think I’ve remembered something. I had two voluntary abortions in my early twenty’s, during a time in my life when I thought I was just making bad choices with my boyfriend (now husband) and did not have any conscious memory of my abuse. But the memory of one of these abortions has surfaced today. I’ve always known/thought these babies to have the same father. I wasn’t a promiscuous person. Sex between my boyfriend and I was not frequent. We lived 4 hours away from each other at the time. However, I remember when I went in for the procedure, the nurse told me I was 13 weeks along after performing an ultrasound. I remember being very surprised/shocked by this, as I felt like I knew when this conception took place…8 weeks prior.

I’m wondering now. Was this his baby? Or was it one of the others? This is heavy on my heart. Did I discover a pregnancy before they were able to claim it and use the baby? I feel like such an evil, disgusting, dirty person. I don’t even know the extent of how sexually active my body has been in it’s lifetime. Imagine that. How many more babies are there that I might not remember? Are any of them still alive? Can I save them? I don’t even know how to comprehend and process this…

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.