This week, on Tuesday, I went to noon Mass on the of the moment and was expecting to hear our male priest preach. Instead, our female priest said Mass and preached. I was surprised and delighted to see her walk up onto the altar. Her homily was meant for me…so meant for me that I took a notebook out of my purse and took notes. After Mass, she greeted me with a hug, and asked how she came to be lucky enough to have me there that day. I told her that God must have sent me to hear her preach because that homily spoke directly to angst in my heart that day. The priest laughed and replied it was good that the homily was for me, because it had been choppy. I did not notice that. The priest started her homily with the above quote. It’s apparently the top highlighted quote on Amazon Kindle. And it speaks directly to my life in the the last 10 days. Things are happening and I am truly not equipped to deal with them.
Last Wednesday night, it came to light that my oldest son (he is 8) had shown a pornographic video to his younger brothers and then coerced them to reenact the video as he attempted to make a video of it on a kiddie tablet. Lots of stuff going on in there, right? So, first of all, we were aware that oldest son had most likely experienced sexual abuse before he came to live with us. He did report that this attempt at being a porn director started because of a memory he had and could not get out of his head. PTSD and flashbacks? Yup. And he is in therapy. This incident occurred while I was making dinner and talking to my wife and all three boys were playing upstairs together. This does not normally occur in out household because of the oldest son’s propensity for continuously reenacting the chaos he lived with for the first 4 years of his life. But, it was convenient at the moment. And now, it will not happen again. But the knowledge that this happened is something I was not equipped to deal with. I cried because he feels the need to reenact this stuff. Why can’t therapy work faster? He’s been in therapy for all 4 years he’s lived with us. I don’t want him sitting on a therapist’s couch when he is almost 50, crying about and feeling guilty about this kind of stuff. (It’s not fun. It’s where I am now. Much to my chagrin and shame, I hurt my younger brother when I was a teenager in much the same way my parents hurt me.) I’m also not well equipped to handle this while talking about the same kind of stuff in my own therapy. I cried for my middle son involved in this. He showed us in some big and disconcerting ways in the first couple of years he lived with us that he had experienced sexual abuse in the first three years of his life. We worked hard, and those things have left him, and have not shown up in a couple of years. And my baby, 5 year old little boy, he never had to have any of this in his life, but now he does. I was so not ready for this. I was not equipped for this.
And I was not equipped for the anger that has taken up residence in my body and soul and heart. Rage, really. Red hot, dangerous rage. My emotions are all out of whack anyway. Bariatric surgery has led to a 45 pound weight loss in 2 months. Fat melting away leads to the release of crazy amounts of hormones. And my releasing hormones mixed with my own therapy and this incident has led to an erupting volcano that gives no warning that an eruption is coming.
I want to be clear. I in no way am blaming my oldest son. I am not vilifying him. I am simply angry that this had to be like this.
I am once again inundated with flashbacks and nightmares. And nothing specific. Nothing screaming: Work on this now. Just everything. I am stressed. And this is what PTSD does. It start screaming, hey, the mind, the soul, the body is stressed and there must be danger and here, let me remind you of that danger. My body is showing this stress because my new stomach does not want food in it anymore. I was recovering nicely until this stuff started. Now, my stomach hates everything I put in it. MT (my therapist) told me today that I really am under a tremendous amount of stress and I just cried. Having it acknowledged was good and scary. My wife and I have been fighting. With the stress, my damaged (by the abuse) body parts are acting up. Stress makes me have to pee. My bladder hates stress. So the routine in our house has always been, her alarm goes off in the morning so she can get up for work and I get up and go to the bathroom. No talking. No distracting me from my full bladder. I just get up and go. In the last few days, as I’m getting up, she asks me if I’m going to the bathroom. Any distraction from my mission to get to the bathroom inevitably leads to wet pants. It embarrasses me and makes me so mad at her. What’s the issue? Why does she need to change the routine now? Just ugh. And it leads to me screaming and her telling me that I’m too dramatic and that I need to go to the doctor. This seems to be a not so great time to have to go and pee in front of somebody. And the bad feelings towards her just seem to last for the day. And she is really mad at our oldest son for hurting our baby. And that stresses me. Because I cannot be the only one being there for oldest son, but right now, that’s how it is.
So, yup, pretty much not equipped to deal with the something that has happened. But, there’s some stuff happening that is helping. MT has been amazing and so supportive. I’ve had an extra session. She’s been even more attentive during out sessions (and I would have never thought that possible). She’s helping me to figure out what services I can access for the oldest son in our community and she’s making out of the box suggestions for taking care of myself. And she’s so matter of fact about the inundation of flashbacks and nightmares. They’ve been making me feel like a failure, but she helps it to make sense. (And she made me laugh so hard this morning with an off the cuff comment about the possibility of throwing the wet underwear and pajamas at my wife) And we’ve been talking about parenting stuff…not out usual topic of conversation. And, at MT’s suggestion, I’ve been to acupuncture a couple of times, and I can feel energy not so stuck in me and I feel nurtured by the acupuncturist. I’ve been talking with my priest. She had told me she had no time for a couple of weeks, and then I texted her that I was at a crisis point and she had an hour the next morning for me. Her support is so important for me. I’ve known her for over 20 years and she is my priest, my friend, a counselor, a mother figure. All sorts of stuff rolled up into one.
And I’m surviving. And I’m a warrior. And I’m not alone. And things are hard.