I am working on overcoming my abusive childhood and young adulthood. I’m working my ass off to rise above it and see that it is over. It is over. Nobody can ever do that stuff to me again. If they try, i will hit them, kick them, and call the police. Oh, yeah, but wait a minute. If it’s my almost 11 year old son doing the same abusive, disgustingusting stuff to me, it’s abuse if i kick him or hit him to get him to stop. And if the police do answer my calls, they are not going to arrest him or remove him. So, why am I working so hard to recover?
It’s not over. The abuse continues from a little boy I cannot stop.
I feel hopeless. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Somedays, i feel so worn down by my childhood and young adulthood. The flashbacks and nightmares seem to rule my life. I have plenty of present day stuff to stress me so i would love for the C-PTSD stuff to cease. I often feel weakened by my past. It seems that my past will never abandon me. My past will never stop haunting me and making me relive it day after day.
But, the thing is, I’m not really weakened by my past. I need to recall that my past has actually proven to me that I am strong. That i am stronger than i am broken. That i survived the attempts by terrifying monsters to dehumanize me and turn me into a quivering pile of repulsive mush.
Don’t get me wrong. I know i am plenty broken. My heart has been broken, my body has been broken, and my mind has been broken. But i am working on healing my heart, body, and mind. Only the strong can heal. Hopefully, i am layering gold into my broken parts, so i will be stronger at my broken parts, and i will be most dazzling at my broken parts.
I was strong all my life. Even when i was a small child, I was strong. I was cute. My mother made me adorable clothing. I was smart. I found people to love me. There were always teachers in school who loved me. There were always nuns at Church who loved me. I had friends. Lots and lots of friends with parents who had me spend nights and days at their houses.
When i was older, And not so cute, And socially awkward, i was lucky to have camp counselors who loved me despite my awkwardness, and stayed connected to me throughout the year. God watched over me by having one of these women live in my town the year i was a senior in high school. She came to every school and extracurricular event. She made me dinner. She made me take naps. She asked no questions that i could not answer, as she was afraid I would never show up at her door again. She knew something was terribly wrong, and that the best thing she could do was not make me have to talk about it. I was strong enough to trust her love and caring for me. Strong enough to understand that she did not care how fat i was, or that i often stunk. Or that my clothes were i fitting. Strong enough to understand the love she showed me had no strings.
I was strong enough in my life that i did not die, either at the hands of the monsters or at my own hands. I was strong enough, that my mind stayed mostly intact. I was strong enough to do what i was told, strong enough to know that i needed these monsters to continue to provide for me. I was strong enough to go to school and get decent grades and to excel in college. I was strong enough to make my own money and have jobs. I was strong enough to come out as gay, marry my wife, foster and adopt kids, lose 200 lbs, and rehab a knee replacement. I am strong enough to love even when it scares the living daylights out of me. I was strong enough while i was in the hospital to go to the bathroom on a commode with other people in the room. I’m strong enough to look after my own health. I’m strong enough to maintain good relationships. Im strong enough to know what i need in therapy.
I am strong enough to know when i need to rest from the battles in my life and to know that i will always need to pick up my sword and shield again. And carry on. I am a warrior. I’ve always been and always will be a warrior.
Maybe i have flashbacks and nightmares because i am a wartior and they are my guide as to what needs to be healed now.
That doesn’t really make it easier to have these intrusions in my daily life, but it helps me to have some hope that these things will end when they end. Don’t ask me to own up to that statement on a bad day, and don’t throw it in my face. I am not always strong enough to make that statement. That is also a part of being a warrior…understanding uour strengths and weaknesses. My clarity right now may become smudged in the future. But i will be strong enough to withstand the loss of hope.
Why? Why does my brain keep flashing back to that time? What is triggering these flashbacks? I have no idea. There is nothing remotely like that time happening in my life now. Why the nightmares? Why do I need to keep waking up thinking that incident is happening again?
I am nowhere…
My skin feels nothing,
Not even air.
I’m not me.
Nobody can see
That I’m not the person I
Used to be.
I feel nothing,
Yet there is pain.
Pain that does not wane.
Pain that feels like a chain.
Pulling me down.
Pain that feels like thorns made into a crown.
Pain I cannot explain.
Pain that i would die
To be free from.
Pain that feels like the air
That i breathe.
Pain that runs down my face
And through my eyes
Like the blood from thorns
Made into a crown.
Pain that makes me not be
The me i used to be…
The me i was when i was born
The me i am in my dreams
The me i know I can be
When the air i breathe is not made from pain.
I’ve shared before, I think, that my wife and I have a son with issues that cause out of control behavior on a regular basis. His out of control behavior gets more and more uncontrollable as he gets older. He is now 10 years old. Yesterday, was one of those uncontrollable days. He hit me, kicked me in the knees (yes, the newly replaced one, too), dumped laundry detergent all over the place (not good for a mama with wobbly knees), broke off a post in the basement, and ran outside and tore off a section of our picket fence. The emotional and physical stress of that attack caused a fibromyalgia flare, I think. My whole body aches today. My new knee and that leg was particularly painful and swollen today. And I was exhausted beyond belief. I had physical therapy for my knee today, and we mostly did treatment…TENS, ice, massage, range of motion, gentle stretching. I think my PTSD became even more intense today…flashbacks, hypervigilance. Once the kids were in bed, and wifey had gone to bed to watch tv, i sat on the couch, in the dark, with my favorite soothing music, and my electric blanket, and my 2 cats in my lap. I reminded myself that I’m okay. I reminded the child parts of me that this was not the same as my childhood abuse. I enjoyed my solitude and my cats. (I read not too long ago that cats absorb negative energy without harming themselves). I relaxed and felt at peace for awhile. I feel taken care of and soothed. I took care of me. I need to remember how good this felt.
About 2.5 years ago, I had bariatric surgery and over the next 20 months lost about 220 lbs. I believe I had become morbidly obese by eating to attempt to deal with the severe abuse I experienced from the time I was a young child until I was a young adult. I had bariatric surgery when I did because I felt that I had come far enough in therapy that I could deal with my eating disorder and memories and still be successful and happy with losing weight. It went really well for about 26 months. Then in the last couple of months, I’ve gained 20 lbs. I still can’t eat much at one time, but i started eating way more often and substituting junk food for tbe healthy food. I’ve been dealing with some flashbacks that involve taste and i think I’ve been eating to try to cover up the odious taste in my mouth and to try to shut up the part of me that wants me to look at this stuff. A few days ago, i hit the +20 lbs and thought, nope, not doing this, and started tracking all I put in my mouth, increased my protein intake (a bariatric necessity), and said no more junk food. It was all good until tonight. I ate a snack of carrots and a tablespoon of ranch dressing. Then I ate another snack of blackberries. I already hit a great number of protein grams and a decent amount of calories, and I really wanted to leave things where they were. I was running through my list of possible snacks, when it hit me that i should commit to doing something for 10 minutes before deciding to eat. I saw a book about Zentangling on my shelf. I never realky opened it before, but I thought, well, i could try it for 10 minutes. I didn’t get far, but 20 minutes later, i was pleased with what i started. I think that I’ve come up with a new and healthier way of calming the turmoil within me.