A Clean Break

It was going so well, and then I fell…..

I remembered that my brother used to use this phrase, but it was usually injected with humour after he had done something on a night out, when he had been foolish and got drunk and got caught out in his actions.
I haven’t done anything involving alcohol for a while now or which would apply in this scenario.

However I feel this morning that this saying applies to me.

You see in all of what happened during last year, In August I was referred back for counselling and have been trying to get through everything with the loving support of my family and friends. Sometimes barely holding it together but somehow scraping through. I have been on a list and in the past couple of weeks have been questioning whether I actually need that counselling when my turn comes. I thought that I have been able to heal from last year and had made progress especially since the arrival of furry son #2, otherwise known as the care bear. After all I can now leave the house without fear or panic although I am still watching my back. I have been able to go visiting friends and family and get the shopping again and keep the small quantity of appointments that have been made. I even got and made it through a job interview which was real progress. With legs that felt like lead I walked to it, lightheaded and feeling nausea coming over in waves as I tried it o remember to breathe in full blown panic. I cannot recall what I said to myself to calm me down before I went inside other than, they are only human and if it’s meant to be. Then it’s meant to be.

I came out of there feeling that it had gone well, I was told that I interviewed well and the woman spoke about two jobs that she felt I would be right for. I said that of the two, personally I felt I would be better suited to one of them and she said she would let me know. It was a little over a week before Christmas. I heard nothing. After Christmas I contacted the person who had called me for interview to see if she had any news. She chased up the interviewer and came back to me with apologies for the delay but I did not get either job. Fair enough it clearly wasn’t meant to be but it was a setback.
[However the job search continued and I apply for anything that I feel I can do, old want to do. You see I do not have an industry. I want to find new things. I had a thirst for new experiences and knowledge. I have worked in several industries and yes, there are some I would be happy to return to and other’s I was glad when that episode of my life ended. ]
Meanwhile I have been bonding with our adopted dog and here for my partner who has been unwell. We have spent this valuable time together and both feel that it has been essential to our healing. We have talked openly about depression in both of us and the physical care that he now needs on a daily basis due to his health issues. I am that care giver. I wondered out loud last week how he would cope if I were not. It didn’t please him I should have kept my thoughts inside. We have talked about our escape from this place and the situation which has left us feeling so melancholy and the fact that the authorities are powerless to stop the man who is still running wild and free having threatened our very existence for several months of last year. Life is not the same for us. Our loss and grief continues to marr what could be such a good life and threatens our happiness on a daily basis. Thoughts of our beloved dog and how sick he became due to the actions of that person. My partner and I have also become sick through it all both physically and mentally we have struggled through it and we are not out the other side yet.

Yes I am angry. Not in a twisted way or hellbent on revenge as some might be. I am trying to forgive but I am unable to do that yet. I feel as though the only way that will happen is when I no longer see his evil smile. It is not a kind, happy smile which welcomes you. It is an angry sneer belittling everything you do or feeling that you have whilst he is planning his next move. I can do nothing but watch and wait anticipation it before it happens and trying to diffuse the anger that builds since he is getting away with it. Treating the authorities and the people who look after him, despite the fact he is more than capable of looking after himself, with utter contempt and disdain. He is pulling the wool over their eyes an accomplished actor donning many disguises to play the parts. He has them fooled, he can even do meek and mild and quietly reserved until they bring him back and his champion of the world kicks back in to rule with an iron fist and all the time he knows exactly what he is doing, the consequences of his actions and the mayhem and upset that he wreaks.

I thought that I was coping with it all but I am dogged with a voice two octaves lower than it should be. A gravelly throat with visible lumps inside it and a persistent cough which chokes me at night. This is not a metaphor but it so easily could be. It is the reality and I am stifled. The police told me that I could not say these things about him. That it may incite violence or ill feeling towards him and that he is vulnerable. So for months now I have felt stifled and unable to speak. At times I have almost lost my voice, literally hoarse from a condition which My doctor told me was brought on by stress. The lumps come and go Antibiotics have no effect upon them. I wonder if there is any physiological reason for it. Is it connected to the pain and temporary deafness which comes and goes. My referral to the ENT department cannot come soon enough. But I cannot help wondering if it all stems from this trauma which continues to play with everything I do or think.

I thought I may not need the counselling that there is someone out there who may be more deserving of it. A letter arrived this week asking me if I still required it. I wasn’t sure. My partner was very matter of fact he told me to get on the phone. There are things that you sometimes feel you want to talk about with others. We can talk about anything but as he has figured from my past experience with the counselling, we need to go and do it and get that other perspective. From someone who is outside of the situation and whose judgement is not clouded by knowing how you think. I have requested the same counsellor since the barriers of getting to know someone even in that controlled environment have already been broken down. She was like a new friend to me. I appreciate everything she told me, both personal and professionally in our sessions and it would be nice to see her again as she knows my history to an extent.

I have realised in the past two days that I have a long way to go before I have recovered from this trauma and ordeal. I have been trying to kid myself that it was over and I could move on but it isn’t. The realisation that the creature over the road has been biding his time, waiting for the fuss to die down so that he can start all over again has been tough to stomach. With the arrival of mysterious foodstuffs placed in sections of the garden in places the dog could find have made me realise he is up to his old tricks again. My partner called him on it and other neighbours have seen him throwing food into our garden. We have picked it up and inspected it, but poisons can be unscented but when food is spoiled it does change consistency and colour. So far we have not seen any sickness but when the pup is off his food with a hot nose we worry that we may have missed something and he has found it. But I will not let the creature rule this year. I will not live in fear again whilst he flaunts his carefree existence. He will not tie us up in knots day after day worrying, but he already is, the sickness I feel in the stomach is already there with a gut feeling that knows he has already got to us so I must learn to stop that. There has been a distinct shift in our moods since the arrival of the odd food in the garden and we check for more before we let the dog out there. Every time and thoroughly.

I know that to get out of the situation here would be a new start, a clean break would be a positive thing for us and I am trying to make that happen but I need help. A new job, a new home should be a positive thing, but why does it feel that we are giving up and running away. Why should we be chased off by a situation we cannot fix? We have spent six months trying to think of another way, trying to make it work here and get on with our lives. Our lives have been on hold, waiting for the problem to be dealt with by the authorities and we are no nearer a resolution. I cannot sit and wait, I do not want our time to run out, or be cut short by someone who feels that their actions will never be accountable. He has no fear, a whole lot of other problems maybe but no fear.

I need to move us on from this, to stop it eating away at us to reboot our onboard thinking we are not running away, but are making a break for freedom from this. Life has dealt us some blows, thrown a few bricks at us. It is time we begin to build new things with them.

The Daily Post – Clean

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To Those Who Are Getting Help. 

This is a bit of a follow on Post from the other day about CBT When Those Three Letters Mean Totally Different Things and when it’s just time to Breathe!

Someone very dear to me and whom I haven’t seen for some time had told me that they are getting help to work through their issues. I am so happy for them since although I love them it has been really hard for me to stay away but I had to for my own good. I didn’t want to be hurt again. So this is kind of like an open letter to them and others seeking some answers from within who have decided to speak to a professional.

First of all, I am proud of you. Now if you don’t know me personally then you might say, so what! But, down the line if you get to thinking have I done the right thing? Trust me if anyone is proud of you then it helps. The first step is to recognise that there is something you need to sort out and by seeing a counsellor then you may find that you understand better and can help control the emotions that wreak havoc.

Secondly, if you get past the group therapy of a CBT course and feel you need to see a counsellor one to one you are going to feel emotionally exhausted once you start talking. The process of opening up and talking about your innermost thoughts is going to hurt like hell so you are going to need some pretty tough people around you as you act like a child from time to time and let it all out, which is totally normal and part of your healing from whatever you are going through. You will release whatever is inside and the way it comes out may surprise you. Leaving you thinking Who is this person I fail to recognise? 

After your sessions, take a walk on your own. Sit in the car for a while, take some time for yourself to calm down before you drive home. If you like me felt sensory overload then you might also want to escape afterwards. But although you may want to flee the scene, for goodness sake do not drive when you are emotional if you can avoid that since you are most likely to lose concentration which could cause an accident. I used to sit in the car for about half an hour, do something like check my Facebook or text my friends and family or call them before heading off and then I used to just drive.  Go and find something beautiful to look at somewhere, or feel the wind on your face for a while.

I was also advised to Do something for yourself, just you every week, then every day. Just one small thing can make a huge difference when you are running around after everyone else. For me it was to become creative again and write whenever I can. I still come up against obstacles when someone would rather that I did something else. But I am hanging on to this one thing for me although it began as a small part of my therapy. It has become so much more.

At the end of it all you may feel a bit lost and wary of people since you have opened your heart and mind to a relative stranger and are still pretty raw. So take time to heal your mind, body and soul. If you can, during this time try to avoid getting drunk or high (if either of those are your thing) since you may feel differently to how you were before and may not actually recognise the person you are becoming.

It will take time so allow yourself that. Good Luck on your journey and when change begins to happen for you, however hard this might be, embrace it. You never know what might happen. Remember that there is a future out there and you have a part in it.

Abuse, Trauma and Trust Misplaced

Before you assume that I am very gullible and naïve please, let me shout from my corner with my explanation. I was brought up to speak the truth, to be good. To respect my elders and follow their advice and do as I was told. As time went on following these rules I was about to become very unstuck! The very people who were supposed to teach, protect and you can learn from, abused their positions, my trust and Yes, they definitely taught me Lessons in Life that I would rather not have learned. Things that would shape me in years to come, tormenting my mind and sabotaging my thoughts, whilst haunting my dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware that Life could have been so much worse. I am Thankful each and every day that over the years, the experiences stopped. They were usually one off’s and once I had removed myself from the offenders then that would be it, until the next time. Until someone new decided to take an opportunity which wasn’t there, to overstep the line once again. I am thankful every day that I did not have to suffer an endless onslaught of abuse lasting years. At least that gave me the chance to rebuild myself in between. There are different levels of abuse all wrong and all leaving scars which may or may not ever heal. I pushed each time to the back of my mind, hoping that if I left it there and forgot about it, then it would be gone. Little did I know that it would merely lay dormant until some other trauma brought it out again, all right back and threw it back in my face. I got angry with myself, and over time I was more angry at having been so gullible as to be fooled over and again than I was over the perpetrators. How could I be so stupid and how could I have trusted them? I must have been doing something wrong for it to keep happening to me… and generally beating myself up mentally about my misfortune.

Did I wear my heart on my sleeve? Kind of… Did people around me know the things that I had gone through? Very few did. Some are delightfully clueless, whilst others’ like me chose to bury and forget what they did know. I dealt with it alone preferring not to speak of it and thought that was working well for me right up until yet more trauma arrived and opened up Pandora’s box once again.

I thought that it was strange when I woke yesterday morning and felt compelled to write down on paper the episodes. It started out as a list of where my trust had been misplaced (Hmm, a little of that self blame creeping back in there!) then it somehow grew into a list of childhood and teenage sexual abuse that I had experienced.

Now why on earth would anyone want to write a list, that list? I cannot answer that, I have found out that over the past few months that writing is a major part of my own healing process and it sometimes catches me unawares but when I write it down, things get better. It enabled me to write down how I actually felt about things. Last year I discussed several of these episodes with a counsellor for the first time ever. I had been referred having been diagnosed with PTSD following the trauma of an accident. As the sessions went on I had a feeling that the time was right to talk about some of the other things that had happened in my life, which had suddenly all come back to me since the accident, sometimes reliving the nightmares, quite literally I was not sleeping and had no confidence after the accident. It had had all been brought back by the trauma I had suffered recently. But in these sessions, she told me something of great importance which was a turning point for me and for which I am eternally grateful.

For anyone who has suffered childhood abuse and asked why it happened to them, I will pass on what she said to me.

“It’s not you, It IS them. You did not DO anything to encourage this behaviour towards you and YES, you should have been protected from it by the adults around you time and time again.”

Some 33 years after I was abused for the first time as a child . I had summoned the courage to speak about it stating that the abusers were either dead or long gone, they could not harm me for speaking about it now. Someone finally told me that I did not bring it upon myself and that I did not deserve it. If it had not been me, then it would have been someone else, If I had not thought so quickly as to how I could escape, things could have been much, much worse. No-one had thought to tell me that previously. It was such a relief to hear those words and I bawled my eyes out. Thanking her profusely. The release was immense. I eventually left the car park some time after my session and drove for about 2 hours, just wanting to be on the open road.

Am I healed? I actually doubt that yet. But I do believe I am getting over the damage it did for so long. I am no longer waving that Victim flag saying “Come and Get Me, have another go, see if you can break me this time” Instead I am now brandishing my sword with the war cry of “Don’t you Dare” Dressed in my armour, complete with chinks in it, battered and scarred but still fighting. I am surviving and at times I have been a mess and barely winning, sometimes not knowing how to carry on, but feeling that I have to and I pick myself up.
They say that What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… It is certainly true for me, By becoming strong, therefore I AM. My positive thinking is a part of my armour which protects me and as my anthem goes.

Something inside so strong.
I know that I can make it,
But you’re doing me wrong.
So wrong.
Thought that my pride was gone, Oh No!
Something inside so strong…

Sending shivers down my spine as I write those words down and spurring me onwards toward Victory.

After writing my list, I felt very uneasy as though something awful was going to happen. In retrospect I think it was just the aftermath of all those emotions being given head room again. I had a sense of doom all day, so I stayed indoors the safety of my home, I found things to do and ventured in to the loft yesterday afternoon, on a search for something entirely different. In doing so I found a carrier bag, it was full of old things, recipes, poems, coursework, drawings and letters and photographs and so much more. I have not yet read all that was in there. I knew that I had written out poems years ago and kept them in a book, which I had decided I must find, but I came across it quite by accident. What was a shock to me was to find a notepad. I did not recall writing in such detail my abusive experiences 23 years ago on paper. Back then I often wrote things down to get them out of my head rather the same way as I do today, but I had no recollection of having done this before, when I wrote them out earlier that morning. I am shocked at the matter of fact way I explain what happened way back then. That I had kept it and also that it has been with me in the several house moves since then, hidden away in the loft as well as the back of my mind. If only I had been given the opportunity to speak to someone about it back then, it might have made such a difference and I have been literally carrying it around with me for years.

Later, I ventured out with my family walking the dog in the evening. Nothing awful happened, it turned out OK. My partner brought Hope out of the Garage for me, for the first time in months. She is sitting outside the house in the road, with fuel, taxed and ready to drive out she needs a good run after her rest. Away for months, under wraps it is wonderful to see the bright blue shining outside the window despite the rainy day and a smile returned to my face. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but unable to rest until the early hours, again passing the 3am threshold before sleep took a hold of me but Today we will drive.

Hope is what it represents. & Hope is Waiting

The Daily Post – Angry