To The Man Who Raised Me

It feels like I’ll never get rid of you.
I constantly feel you inside me.
Like a second layer of skin.
I see you when I look in the mirror.
And I hate what I see.

You’re putting a roof over my head.
But you’re not doing it because you love me.
You don’t know how to love anyone but yourself.
You’re just doing it to keep control over me.
To show the world what a good man you are.

But you’re not a man.
You’re a monster.

I asked you to stop doing something.
You got mad, and still just keep doing it.
“That’s what family does. At least our family”.
But I don’t want to be part of that “family”.
I cringe and feel nauseous every time, but bite my tongue.

I was never your little girl.
I was just an object for you. Someone to control.
Just like you did with the rest of them.
You make me question my memories, my sanity.
My beliefs. Myself. Who am I?

I am who you say I am.
Isn’t that right?

You’re giving me so much right now.
Except that which I’ve always needed.
But you’ve taken away even more.
I wish I wasn’t yours.
But I can’t cut you out of my life.

I can’t stand the sight of you most days.
When I look at your face, I want to scream.
Memories flash on the screen of my mind.
Your voice sickens me.
Your touch destroys me little by little.

You broke what was shiny and new.
And have the audacity to say it was them that ruined me.
It’s never you, is it? It’s always everyone else.
You can do no wrong.
Your worldview is sick and twisted. Just like you.

I should have just let you die those times.
I shouldn’t have intervened.
Just go to my room and pretend I didn’t know.
Let others find you on the floor.
She says I did what I thought was right. But was it?

You think you’re a god, sitting on your throne.
Everyone must bow down and and worship you
Or face the consequences of your rage.
It works, because we’re so fucking scared of you.

I can’t escape. I’m trying so hard to find a way.
But I fail time and time again. I’m a failure.
I’m letting go of the hope that you’ll change.
That you’ll be the father I’ve always wanted.
I wish I could get you off me and out of me.

Will it ever end?

I can’t get away from you.
I’m helpless. Trapped.
“Get out” they say.
I’ve tried. I’m still trying.

And it hurts. It fucking hurts.
because even though I hate you,
I love you.

Going Out Of My Mind

I haven’t been in a good place. Hell, I feel like I’m barely hanging on.

I’ve been dealing with so many flashbacks, and so many things are triggering me. I’ve discovered even more triggers. They’re fucking everywhere lately!

In group on Tuesday, I skipped the first half, which is usually just the check-in anyway. I saw my OT before group and told her that I’m going home (we didn’t have a session that day). She encouraged me to stay, but I felt like I just couldn’t. I was walking to my car when panic set in, and I realized I didn’t want to go back to the house. I’m walking out of my safe place, only to go to a place I desperately want to get away from. I went back, but sat outside in the coffee shop for the first hour. I just needed to be alone in that moment, while being in a secure, comfortable environment.

One of the psychiatrists at the clinic led the group on Tuesday. I don’t really like it when he runs it, because he’s so clinical, and it feels more like school, sitting in a boring class. I like it when the OT’s run the groups, as they make it fun and interactive.

During the break, my OT wanted to talk to me. She asked me what was going on. I told her that I didn’t want to sit in on the check-in’s, because firstly, it was a big group that night, and secondly I didn’t want to talk. (There was something that had happened that day before the group, but I didn’t want to talk about it. And I still don’t. At least not in the near future). OT said that I didn’t have to talk, but that it’s good to be there and just listen to other’s, because it helps with not feeling alone with our struggles/problems. She’s right of course. But what I didn’t tell her was that I was terrified that if someone said or spoke about something that was triggering, it would send me into full-blown panic attack mode (I didn’t have my Ativan with me, as I had forgotten my bag at home).

I just didn’t feel like talking that day. I barely spoke to my friends who also attend the group. One of them asked me why I’m so quiet and distant. I told her that I’m just tired. I wish it was just that.

I’ve been advertising my photography business, posted adverts on bulletin boards in the shops, but nothing has come from it. I feel like I’ll never get out of this situation I’m in. I’m trying so many different things, and I’m just so tired of problem solving when nothing seems to be working. I’m tired of fighting. I feel like I’ll be stuck forever. I don’t see any hope for my future right now. Everything feels hopeless and pointless. I feel useless.

To add insult to injury, I had a wisdom tooth removed two weeks ago, and developed “dry socket” recently. Look it up on Google if you don’t know what that is. The pain is excruciating. I wake up a few times during the night to radiating pain that just doesn’t stop, and keeps me awake for another hour or two. Prescription pain killers barely work. Give me Morphine please! This is the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. It’s a little better today, and I only woke up once last night, so I’m hoping that’s a sign that it’s finally healing.

Having two of my other wisdom teeth removed a couple of years ago was traumatic enough, but this is so much worse. That was a walk in the park compared to this time. I never want to see a dentist again in my life! I had to go back to her yesterday so that she could pack the socket, but she first had to clean it out, and that hurt! She told me that unfortunately she couldn’t do anything about the pain while doing that. Before I went in to go see her, I took a double dose of one of my benzo’s (not the Ativan), and I was still terrified. She told me I might have to come back, and have it done again, as it’s just palliative treatment and not a “cure”. Afterward, I was so light-headed and nauseous from the stress and anxiety that I almost passed out, and had to lie down on the waiting room’s couch for about 20 minutes. In that moment I didn’t care what anyone else might have thought. Any other time, I would have.

I told my dad last night that I’m not coming into work today, as I’m exhausted and need to try sleep a little and I couldn’t concentrate with the pain. He told me it’s fine (thankfully), but then said that I’m making the pain worse for myself. “Stop thinking about it”, were his words. Stop thinking about it? Are you fucking kidding me? It feels like my face is going to explode at any minute, but I mustn’t think about the pain. I would give anything to be able to not think about it.

Emotional pain and physical pain don’t mix. Physical pain already makes a person feel miserable. Add in depression and anxiety, and it’s a disaster.

I have no appetite. I have to force myself to eat, and then it takes me an hour. I dread breakfast, lunch and dinner time. I feel like crying when it comes time to eat. Which seems overly dramatic, and it probably is. But that’s how it is for me at the moment.

Talking about crying. When I think about tomorrow, the weekend, the week after, etc, I just want to cry. I don’t feel like there’s anything to look forward to. I wish I could cry. But I just can’t. I never know what’s worse. Crying so much and being tearful the entire day, with the smallest little thing setting it off again, or not being able to cry, even though I desperately want and need to. I guess it depends on which state I’m in at that moment. This time I really want to cry.

During hard times, I usually think “I could really use (therapist) right about now. I need her.” But this time is different (and a first). While I would like to see her now, I think I want/need a friend more.

I’m struggling so much, and I don’t know where to turn. Or who to turn to.

But I just want to die.

This has been a long post, but I needed to get all this out.

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Protection And Running Away

This is a follow up from my previous post.

After I had written it, and gone to sleep, I had a nightmare.

Before I get into the dream, it needs to be said that most of my dreams over the years have followed a similar theme. They all involve me protecting others (or myself and even baby animals). Running away from someone, a group of people, or something (like a natural disaster).

In this dream, that person was my step-father. He was hurting my youngest little sister, and throwing her around the room. She was so tiny. Just a little toddler. It broke me seeing what he was doing to her. So I picked her up and ran. Suddenly there were other people with us who I was also trying to lead to safety. We climbed and jumped over walls and roofs, and crawled through barbed wire fences. Trying to stay out of sight of the monster who was hunting us. There were security camera’s, so it was even more important for us to avoid being seen. There were wide open spaces, which made us especially vulnerable. Other spaces were difficult to get through, as there were plants and trees surrounding us. We came across a house here and there, but I knew they weren’t safe to run into. That the people who lived there were in on it with my step-father. Every time I thought we were in the clear, I’d find that it wasn’t over, and he was catching up to us.

Suddenly a SWAT team appeared. They were helping us escape. But then we understood that they weren’t there to help us at all. They had their own agenda. Now there were more people after us. One of the guys running with us, picked up a dead snake, and told us that the SWAT team had been fooling us. Why a dead snake, and what that has to do with anything, I have no idea (some of my dreams have featured snakes- I don’t know what that represents). At the end of the dream, when I finally thought we were really safe this time, as there were normal people walking around, I realized that we were still in danger. I felt trapped.

I woke up crying. And I realized just how much my past has affected me, and shaped my life. For the first time, I can acknowledge that I haven’t yet fully dealt with it. I always tried to run away from my past. Pretending that it didn’t affect me. But now I realize just how much it actually did.

Once I was fully awake, I felt a combination of anger and deep hurt. I’ve always tried to be the protector to everyone. To take care of others. I took on that role. But who protects me? Who protected that little girl? The people who were supposed to protect her, didn’t, or couldn’t. And for the first time, I’m feeling the extent of that pain.

I could never truly connect to that part of myself until now. I’m grieving for that sad, lonely, and scared little girl. For the teen who had to deal with so much.

Those uncried tears, are finally being released. The hurt with nowhere to go, is being experienced and channeled. The secrets with no one to tell, are now being told.

It’s too painful to feel all at once. But the door has been opened, so I can begin to walk through it.

Letter To The 14 Year Old

Every now and then I go through my computer and delete everything I don’t want or need anymore. Those things that I won’t need soon, but still want access to, I put on my external HDD. I don’t like clutter. Not even on my computer. Everything needs to be named properly and be in neat folders.

Today was my clearing day. I came across a letter I had written in December. I don’t want it on my computer anymore, neither on my external. So I’m posting it here instead.

This is the letter I referred to in my post “The Inner Child & Teen“.

Letter To The 14 Year Old

Dear (Me),

Today I heard you.
I heard your silent screams.
Today I felt your pain.
I cried your tears.
I’ve never allowed you in before.
But today I stayed with you.
And I was you back there again.

Disorientated and confused as you lay your head down.
Not sure what had just happened. Nothing seeming real.
“Help me”, those words spinning round and round your head.
Could anyone hear you? Did anyone know? Could anyone see?

Even within the darkness, unable to see everything…
I feel. I feel your pain and despair. The hopelessness.
The all consuming loneliness.
You just wanted someone to hold you, didn’t you?
The soothing sound of a heart beat, not yours.

Fear. Confusion. Shame. Pain. So much pain.

I wish I could tell you it all works out.
I wish I could tell you the wounds fade quickly.
But I can’t tell you this. You wouldn’t believe me anyway.

It hurts to listen to you. It hurts to be you.
But I’ll try to not leave you alone again.

Female Attachments

Having written about attachments these past few weeks, I got to thinking about my tendency to get attached to women. This is an emotional and deeply personal post which I’m a little nervous to write.

My parents got divorced when I was between the ages of 3/4.

I have no memory of anything that happened between them before they got divorced. But I remember the moment my dad took me from my mom. I was screaming and crying, but my mother was a shell. She was emotionless. She wouldn’t help me, and just stood there. My dad wasn’t exactly gentle with me during that moment. He didn’t care that he was hurting me physically and emotionally, as long as he got what he wanted. I blocked this memory, or to be more exact, I suppressed it. It would surface every few years, then the process would begin again. After that moment, everything goes blank.

The next thing I remember is being in a new house, with a new “mother” and baby sister (my now ex-stepsister). We were in a new city, far from my hometown. My biological mother was then also living in the area, just across the street, with her new boyfriend. My first memory of him is also during this time. I remember running to my mom’s place one day, and her telling me that I couldn’t stay there. I had to go back to my dad’s house. I didn’t want to. But she took me back anyway.

I don’t know how long we stayed in that area. We moved a lot throughout my childhood and early teen years, with every move taking me further and further away from my mother. I don’t remember much from my childhood. Just scattered pieces here and there. I know I went to my mom every second weekend, and I remember instances of my dad and stepmom telling me that my mother gave me up, that she didn’t want me, and them using that as justification to get me to not go to her for the weekend. But even with all of that, I wanted to see her. So growing up, I believed my mother didn’t want me. That she gave up on me. That she didn’t really love me. That’s what they wanted me to believe. But when I was with her, she wasn’t like the woman they painted as a monster. She wasn’t the most attentive mother. It was almost like she was afraid to bond with me, but I have a few memories of her playing with me. Then, when I was 8 years old, my first little sister was born (half-sister). I’d see her with my sister and she was so gentle and loving toward her. I instantly loved my baby sister, and loved taking care of her when I was at my mom on her weekends. But it still felt like I wasn’t connected to my mother. She still felt like a stranger in a way, and even more so when my sisters were born.

I didn’t want to be at home with my dad and stepmom. There was shit happening there that I’m not going to get into. But I also didn’t want to be at my mother’s place with my stepdad. He was abusive towards my mother, and even (very rarely though) my sisters. I think he was too afraid of my dad to hurt me. He did hurt me emotionally of course, with how he treated my mom. He’d even hit her when we were in the car, driving somewhere. When he was angry, he’d put his foot down on the accelerator, and speed past all the other cars, taking corners at a frightening speed. Threatening to kill us all. My dad did the same thing (my mom sure knows how to pick them). So I didn’t feel safe anywhere. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Like I didn’t have a home.

It would only be much later (in my late teen years) that I would learn the truth about what my dad did (and threatened to do) if my mother didn’t let me go with him. And when I found this out, through my mother, and two other family members (not just from her side of the family), my mother’s reaction the day I was taken from her, made sense. My connection to my biological mom is one of friendship. I do love her though. I just don’t feel that mother-daughter bond with her.

My stepmom was a cruel woman. She didn’t care about anyone but herself and her daughter. But then again my dad preferred my stepsister too, which was made evident time and time again. I was always the odd one out. They would go to her sports matches, but were always “too busy” to come to any of mine. I was good at most sports, but I gave them up quickly, because I didn’t see the point when I didn’t have anyone cheering me on. I guess I shot myself in the foot with that one. I should have carried on without needing their support. I should have been able to be my own cheerleader.

I used to pretend that I was switched at birth, and daydream for hours on end about getting found and rescued by my birth mother. I would always use actresses that I saw on TV, to take on that role in my imaginary world. It seemed safer that way. They would never leave me. I searched for a mother figure in everyone who showed me the least bit of attention. But I’m not looking for a mother figure anymore. I know, and have accepted, that I’m never going to have that. I have a mother, and even though it’s in a different capacity, she’s still my mother. All I want now are stable, healthy relationships. Relationships that will help heal the trauma and abandonment, and the patterns that have resulted from it.

So my experiences with men, starting with my dad, have limited my need for them. I don’t need a father figure, I don’t even want one. In this situation, some people would also look for a father figure in the men they date, but it didn’t happen that way for me. I don’t want a replacement. I have what I have, and life carries on.

In light of all of this, I now understand myself, and my patterns, better. I can see why it’s so easy for me to get attached to women. Even though it’s not with everyone, and it’s rare that I do get attached, it still happens. Now I’m left with a few questions. Will it always be this way, or is there a way to release myself from all of this? And most important of all… should I do away with all attachment? What’s healthy, and what’s not? I don’t know how to navigate this.

I Am Not

I am not my past. The past represents those things we have been through. It’s external. Yes, it may leave imprints. It may have changed me. But it’s not who I am deep down inside.

I am not my mental illness, anymore than someone with a physical illness is that illness. It’s the deepest parts of our soul that make us who we are.

I also have a dark side. We need both the shadow and the light. This shadow side doesn’t make me a bad person. It balances me.

I will always just be me. Whoever that may be. Day by day, I’m learning who “me” is.

Never Thought I’d Be Here – Part One

On Thursday morning I was reading something on the internet, when I started to feel uncomfortable. All of a sudden, that feeling erupted in a full on trigger. I immediately turned into a mess. I became that 14-year-old who had just been broken by someone she had looked up to and trusted. Images and emotions consumed my mind and my body. The emotions were far more powerful and painful than the images themselves. I felt like I was dying.

I wanted to phone my therapist right then and there. There was a huge battle going on inside me. Trying my hardest not to give into that desire to call her. We only had an appointment for Tuesday (yesterday). Then, I don’t know why, but the thought came into my head to phone a psychiatrist (I’ve been wanting to go to one for a while now). So I picked one of the two that was recommended, and phoned her office in a state. I couldn’t stop crying. I knew I couldn’t afford to see a psychiatrist, so why I felt the need in that moment to call her, I can’t tell you. She was so nice to me. I wanted to find out what her fees were, and instead she asked me whether I was on a medical aid. I am, so she suggested that I book myself into the psychiatric clinic where she works, and then I won’t have to worry about paying anything. I could see her first thing in the morning. I was so upset that I agreed. Psychiatrist had to keep reminding me to breathe.

So early the next morning, I packed my bag and made my way to the clinic. I can’t remember much about that morning. I remember seeing my psychiatrist, and being a nervous wreck.  All I know is that I was so scared. Not even scared. Terrified.

I’d never been in a psychiatric ward before. Later that day, I would feel ashamed that at my age, after having avoided it for all this time, I was now in the very place that I never thought I’d find myself. But shit happens, and now, in hindsight, I’m glad I went in. I was in the general ward, so it was voluntary and I could be discharged whenever I wanted to. But Psychiatrist recommended that I at least stay a few days.

The next thing I remember is lying on the bed in the room I would be sharing with two other women during my time there. I don’t even remember how I ended up in the room. I have no memory between sitting with Psychiatrist (even that is a blur), and finding myself on my bed. I had even unpacked my bag during that time. What the hell? Dissociation, that’s what the hell. I was curled up like a baby, unable to stop crying. Feeling disoriented, confused, and terrified. I didn’t know what was going on. Could I leave? Or was I trapped there forever?

Lying on that bed, I just wanted Therapist. I felt like a five-year old wanting her mommy after waking up from a horrible nightmare. As I mentioned earlier, I had fought against the desire to call her on Thursday, and plenty of times in the course of our relationship. But this time I couldn’t fight it. I wasn’t in touch with reality. I phoned her. So you must know the extent of my distress for me to have done that. The phone call is a blur as well. I can’t really remember what I told her, and what she said. But I can remember the feelings. How soothing and comforting her voice was. It felt like she was holding me. After our call, I continued crying. Partly because I felt like Therapist really cares, and I could feel that care. I guess it was tears of relief? I don’t actually know what it was. I was also still crying from the overwhelming feelings I had been having since going in that morning, and the day before. A little while after that, I started to feel more calm. Slowly coming back to reality.

This might sound really strange… Even though I am glad I had gone in and my experience had been pretty good, I still feel traumatized from Friday. I’m not even sure why. But I know that speaking to Therapist that day, made it a little less traumatic.

In the next post I’ll write about my experiences in the clinic, and what I’ve learned from it.