Becoming unstuck

Please note that this may trigger.

It feels like I’m falling into a black hole…

Over the weekend, the dissociative fog was still hanging over me… everything very detached and unreal… Then, in acts of what I can only consider self-sabotage and self-injury, I sought out ways to break through the fog.  It wasn’t smart, it wasn’t pretty, and if it hadn’t been for a good friend, it probably would have led to some seriously stupid actions on my part.

It started off in the morning by going to the shops and buying some L&P, Salt and Vinegar chips and lollie cake… otherwise known as food triggers from my childhood.  I didn’t consciously buy these things, but they were amongst my groceries when I got home.  This stirred things up internally, but I didn’t really think much of it… the dissociative fog was still keeping everything very separate and numb.

Then, in actions that were so stupid, they’re ridiculous… I read an article about ACC’s mishandling of a clients psychological reports… I watched a 20/20 special on CSA… then one on a religious sect in America… then, to top it off, I read several blogs that talked about either consensual sex, or CSA…

Stupid, totally stupid…  That whole concept of telling others to take care and look after themselves… totally lost on me.

After reading a blog about consensual sex, I lost it…  Flashbacks came through like a freight train…  Sounds filled my head… and the smells… the smells… stomach churning, repulsive smells.

I have no idea which young one it was who carried the memories, but she was hurting so much…  The blind panic, the inability to breathe, the need to run…  The overwhelming confusion, the pain…

Too much… just too much.

What does my head in about the memories, is why didn’t I say anything about what was happening?  Why wasn’t my behaviour picked up as being odd by my teachers or doctors?  Was I that good at hiding it all?  Maybe I was, I don’t know… Maybe being part of a white middle class family meant that those sorts of things weren’t meant to happen to me?

Yesterday I remembered a new piece in the puzzle as to why I didn’t tell…  At the rugby club where the father was manager, they had regular raffles.  Each of those raffles had to be drawn in the presence of the Police.  Each time there was a draw, the father used to take me to the Police Station.  I remember that the Police used to joke with me that if I was bad, they’d have to lock me up.  They showed me the cells.  Put me in them and closed the door, so I’d know what it was like.  I know they did this in jest and teasing.  It wasn’t meant to be abusive.  The always laughed and teased the blonde haired girl tagging along with her father.

This is why I believed the implied threats that I would be locked up if I ever told.  That I wouldn’t be believed.  That I was the bad one in the equation…

We went into see Allison today, hoping to talk about all of this.  But we talked about a safety contract instead.  I know safety is important, but I’m scared… I could feel the resentment and resistance to the idea of a contract and our behaviour being “controlled” through reward and consequences.  I worry about what the backlash against the contract is going to be.  Allison says she’s expecting a reaction… which is fine for her, she won’t be the one experiencing it.

I feel like an open wound…  I feel like this…  If you close your eyes and listen, it takes you places…

—————-
Now playing: Wilhelm Kempff plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
via FoxyTunes

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47 thoughts on “Becoming unstuck

  1. Hi there – I dropped by because you linked to my lolly cake page.

    I’m sorry to hear it was part of a difficult episode, triggering things so hard to deal with. I’ve not been affected personally by sexual abuse, and I can only dimly imagine what DID is like, but I can say from reading your blog that you (I’ll use the singular, since you do so in this post) come across as a very strong person. Whether you feel it right now or not, it’s very impressive to see you confronting and analysing these things, and I’m sure it’s a great help to others as well as to yourself.

    Best wishes, and kia kaha.

    • Hi Isaac,

      You have no idea how much it has affected me to recieve your comment. I’ve been hurt by men in New Zealand to the point where I sometimes forget that there are nice ones out there too… Thank you for reminding me.

      I linked to your post because many of the readers who stumble across my blog wouldn’t know what is meant by the kiwi terms. I particularly liked your comment about needing to sing God Defend New Zealand as part of the preparation 🙂

      Kia kaha
      Tēnā rāwā atu koe
      CG

      • Thank you for reminding me.

        No problem.

        I particularly liked your comment about needing to sing God Defend New Zealand

        I have a special hat to wear while I’m singing, with the New Zealand flag on it.

        I actually don’t make or eat nearly as much lolly cake as I used to, and it’s been something of a comfort food for me too at difficult times. But I still find joy in just knowing such a silly food exists.

  2. I’m so sorry you got triggered like this. You are right – a little more self-care in what you read wouldn’t go astray, but we do what we do and what we can. I agree with Isaac that it’s impressive you are confronting this. You are so strong and so courageous!

    I’m going to tell you a little story, from my favourite TV show, in which one character has just been diagnosed with PTSD after getting shot. His boss says to him:

    “This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’”

    I love that story. You have helped me countless times and if I can ever do anything to help you, I’m here.

    I love the Moonlight Sonata.

    Please take care.

    • You helped yesterday Kerro… Thank you.

      What’s the way out?

      I once joked that the hole I was in was so comfortable that it was carpet lined, air conditioned and had a full entertainment system… Now it’s not so pretty. Well it never was comfortable, or else I wouldn’t have started on this healing journey. It’s just that at the moment it’s feeling particularly “yucky”.

      Yesterday the 1st Movement of the Sonata that spoke to me, today it’s the 3rd… But then things got stirred up again in therapy this morning.

      One moment at a time, right?

      Take care,
      CG

      • You’re welcome Castorgirl. Anytime. As I said, you have helped me too many times to count now.

        Right now, the way out is moment by moment. I will hang on if you will.

        I read something on the interwebs just now that had two suggestions – actually it had heaps but these two helped calm me:

        “Rather than trying to stop your upsetting thoughts and feelings, try to acknowledge and accept them without judging them. Also know that you experience a range of thoughts and feelings beyond those you are having now – each state is temporary and will pass.

        Spend some time thinking of a place, real or imaginary, where you would feel safe, relaxed and comfortable.”

        By the way, that lollie cake… man, no wonder you need to sing God Defend New Zealand. Not even Waltzing Matilda could get me to eat that! Perky Nannas on the other hand…

      • I remember once trying to explain to someone who hadn’t seen any of The West Wing why that particular scene was so affecting. In the hands of a lesser writer it could have been trite, but it became something extraordinary in the context of the particular characters. Josh’s fragile bravado and constant fear of letting down anyone who reminded him of his father was always the dramatic centre of that show for me.

        Leo’s way out of his own hole was a twelve-step programme, and while Josh’s problems weren’t as easy to name as substance addiction, he knew a rock-bottom moment when he saw it. The way I took it, the path he suggested to Josh was to keep his job and keep trying instead of handing in his resignation and beating himself up over an honest human mistake for the rest of his life.

        I’m certainly no therapist, so I can only speculate that a comfortable carpet-lined hole is like a plaster cast on a broken arm. It’s the right thing at a certain stage of healing, and needs to be carefully taken off later in the process. You come out with weak muscles, but strong bones that wouldn’t have healed right without the protection of the cast.

        Homilies are a little easier than real life, of course.

        • Isaac, I’m impressed! Clearly you are a true fan knowing this quote without me mentioning the show. I think you’re right, in the hands of a lesser writer much of that show would seem trite (or just trash).

          A carpet-lined hole is definitely good for some stages of healing, though unlike a plaster cast, sometimes you need the carpet-lining more often for self-nurturing and self-care.

          Can I swap my life for your homilies?

  3. I’m sorry CG you have these hard time. It’s always like this when new flashbacks are coming. I know this well. The pain, the hurt, all these feelings… I’m glad you had Kerro which helps you through.
    You asked, why you haven’t say anything… I don’t believe that the young one was in front after the abuse happened. YOU knew nothing about, till now and the young one…. threatend, scared, forced to be silent. And the teachers and doctors… in my childhood I was in hospital several times because of my injuries which had to be supplied… Nobody cared about how I got these injuries… They said, I was a lively child….
    Today the teacher and the doctors are trained better to recognize an abuse. Maybe, but only maybe, they would take steps to care about a child which shows odd behaviour or has injuries. But not at that time.
    You are incredible strong to handle all this horrible stuff and still be able to go to work. I admire you. A lot.
    Take good care and (((()))) if ok.

    • You’re right LSC, the dissociative walls were there to protect me. They hid so much, but yet, I know there were incidents that should have raised flags…

      I’m so sorry your injuries were so easily dismissed. That was just wrong. Even if you were a lively child, there is no way you could have sustained the injuries in any “usual” play.

      I hope you’re right about the doctors, teachers and others involved in looking after our children being better able to spot the warning signs. I really do. When I read the news about another child lost to abuse, I fear we’re not doing enough.

      Please take care and (((warm safe hugs))) if they are wanted,
      CG

      • No, we’re not doing enough. At the moment my country is shaken by an awful abuse which happened in a children-leisure camp. The children have asked the responsible persons for help and nothing happened, they haven’t helped (the abuser were youngsters)….. Now, the public prosecutor’s office determines, but it’s too late. When I read such news it’s a bad trigger for me.

        • Oh no… I hope they help the children and do everything possible to heal the hurt.

          Please go gently on yourself with what you read. I talked about how I read certain things this weekend, almost as self-injury… It’s easy to do, but if the news stories trigger you, please don’t read them.

          Take care,
          CG

          • Thank you CG, ah.. and I forgot. A little tip against the smell after flashbacks…
            I have made a mixture of some sorts of resin for me. This helps me a lot to ground me and to get rid off the awful smell. Sometimes the smell seems to last hours after the flashbacks 😦

            • I cover myself in perfume and eat Asian food. Usually that helps.

              I’m not sure what to say since I’m having a similar experience. I hope today is banal, boring, and trigger-free.

  4. Hi CG, sorry you are having a hard time with memories / flashbacks recently. And at the same time you remain strong and insightful. You are truly an amazing woman. You have been so supportive to me in recent weeks and now I feel stronger I can jump in the hole with you and help show the way out. The suggestion about accepting the difficult stuff without judging it is one I used last week and it helped. I finally decided to listen to myself (my alters, the pain) instead of rejecting it all and that made a huge difference.

    Is it time to start climbing out now, or shall we sit a while longer in the carpet-lined hole? Staying with you,

    Dawn

    • Hi Dawn,

      Whenever I receive words of support, I’m always stunned. I also never quite know what to do, so I flounder a bit 🙂

      I know I have to tear up the carpet and move on. I know that acceptance is the key. I know I have to get out of my “But…” responses with all of this.

      Thank you for your support and offer, it means a great deal to me.

      Take care,
      CG

  5. dear castor, i’m so sorry you are struggling right now, but i’m glad for you that you are able to understand what is happening and that you have more pieces to the puzzle, though they are painful pieces that no child should have to live through. i’m so sorry no one recognized what was happening to you as a child.

    i’m so glad you’re speaking out today and learning so many ways you can care for yourself. the essential oils sound like a good idea.

    sometimes i will find myself watching or reading something that triggers me. and even once i realize i’m getting upset, i won’t turn my eyes away. i think in part this is due to a destructive curiosity in some part of me, like what makes people want to look at a car crash on the road. i think another thing that happens is there is still too much internal denial of my feelings going on. like getting upset doesn’t matter enough.

    i am so sorry you ended up triggered in so many ways. but i agree with the others, you are so strong and brave.

    i’ll be wishing you well and sending safe hugs if you want any~~~

    • Hi katie,

      Yes, its a destructive curiosity… I know I need to be more aware of what I’m reading, and try to limit the risk of triggers. It so easily leads to a downward spiral.

      You mention the denial of feelings associated with the triggers, and I think this is the key. In some ways, for me, it feels like I’m recapturing the past experiences of hopelessness about being unable to stop the abuse. It feels like a mirror experience of entering a situation that causes inner turmoil, and not knowing how to cope with it. It feels like a part of my brain is so used to that, that now I’m not experiencing it on a regular basis, I have to look for it. That may sound very mixed up, but that is what much of my self-injury is about…

      Essential oils are amazing 🙂 I often use the calming oils to try to ease out of the dissociation… smells are one of the best triggers for good (as well as bad) memories or experiences.

      Thank you for the hugs… (((warm safe))) ones in return, if wanted.

      Take care,
      CG

  6. I’m sorry that being unstuck had to come in this way. And there’s the silver lining. I don’t think it was stupid that you read these things. I think it was deliberate, but maybe for a good cause, to break free of being stuck.

    So, the triggers, and the pieces of the puzzles are becoming more known to you. That’s all progress.

    As far as a contract, I think it’s about time. Good for you and Allison for doing this hard piece.

    Paul

    p.s. Thanks for the Moonlight. Someday I’ll share with you how I play it. It’s very unusual. A lot slower and I do huge changes in tempo. It’s probably jarring for some, but it’s how I always played it. My teacher hated me for it. But I was a stubborn one… I didn’t let him let me play it like everyone else does.

    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, I recognise it now as being deliberate over the weekend… either to break through the dissociative fog, or because the ones that were fronting were so caught in the past that the abuse is all they know.

      I had a feeling you’d be supportive of the contract idea 🙂 S was sort of hoping that you might come around to her way of thinking… that contracts are all about childish behaviour modification, and therefore meaningless and counter productive. I’m honestly terrified of the response to the contract… I have an awful feeling that the systems response will not be pleasant, and they will test mine and Allison’s commitment to it – especially the consequences.

      I’d love to hear your interpretation of Moonlight, if you ever want to share it. It’s an emotive piece, so I can understand why you would adapt it so that the meaning was special for you all. I can also understand that this special meaning is why you would be reluctant to share it with others. You, stubborn? Never… 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

      • Well, I myself have not been so successful with contracts. But, there are contracts, and there are contracts. My personal belief, and I will need to write about this, is that contracts are meant to be an ideal that all of us inside sign onto. So, when I made my contract in December, it was something that was really a step forward for all of us. Did we keep to it? No, not by the letter. But in theory we still hold onto it. It’s like a living and breathing document, like a constitution…

        • My fear is that the system are seeing the contract with Allison as an attempt to control. I know that is not her intention… she was very conscious on Monday of trying to check in about the wording, as well as the potential rewards and consequences. But, I could feel the rebellion building internally. I know that some are looking for Allison’s weaknesses and are wanting to lash out at her for trying to impose control. My fear is that I’ll become some out of control train wreck, all to prove the point that no one can control us.

          I also know that I should have had agreements about safety and healing years ago.

          I liked the pieces that you shared of your contract. If it’s alright, can I send the links you placed on your blog about your contract through to Allison to read?

          • I think therapists have to be careful about this, and so do you. I was ALWAYS stuck by those cast in stone contracts. That’s just not feasible. I think it’s far better to state principles and try to live UP to a contract instead of having to abide by it. Those are two different things. Until I did mine, I didn’t appreciate that. Now, that said, I think you are better off having all of you inside write the contract instead of Allison being a “co-author”. I agree with you, it sends the wrong messages inside. She can coach, but you really have to come to some agreement inside on what it’s going to say.

            Sure, I’d be honored if you shared what I wrote. I’ll write you offline about it.

            • I haven’t had a contract like this, not in a formal sense, though I have informal agreements with the Wonder Therapist about what I’ll do and when.

              Having said that, Paul, this sounds like very sage advice. You need to be the lead author on this; you need to own it and commit to it. Hell, any therapist can write something for someone else to sign – that’s not what it’s about.

            • As an indication of what my sub-conscious is thinking of the contract – I used the word “control” four times in one paragraph of my response to you… so issues, I have ’em!

              I think I need to do something similar to what you did – agreement to live up to, rather than a contract that we’ll look for ways to break.

              Allison was trying to act as secretary on Monday, and give us control, but it didn’t work well. There was too much confusion and resistence. Some of us also felt she was angry at us… I know that is our sensitivity. We often interpret someone being firm with us, as them being angry at us.

              Thanks for the offer of help with this… I know I need to get safety established. We have an ACC assessment in less than a month, and last time we had one of those, it wasn’t pretty.

            • Hi Kerro,

              Allison was trying to act as a guide for the contract… she was actively seeking the entire systems input. But it didn’t work very well. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that it is the first formal contract that she’s created with a client. So, I think it’s a bit of a learning experience for both of us.

              I’m going to find Paul’s entry’s about his contract and send those through to Allison. That might help us move forward without parts lashing out against the percieved control. I’m not sure what I’ll do if that doesn’t work… I’ll think of something, I always do 🙂

              Take care,
              CG

  7. Wow this posting and all the comments are…
    w-o-w. There is an incredible network of support here that is truly beautiful. CG I’m going to back up what others have said about the adults missing what was happening to you. I think that there was a time, and that “time” changed depending on where a person lived and what people in the area had been exposed to, but I think there was a time when adults just didn’t get it. They didn’t see. They didn’t question. They just…didn’t. They didn’t do anything. I think some people see what they want to see and they ignore what they don’t want to see. Of course those actions result in people like us dealing with our current situation. I really do believe that on a larger scale, people today, adults especially are much more alert to signs of abuse. Things that have happened in the world and things that people read about or see in the news have made our society as a whole more vigilant, at least I believe it has. Maybe that’s just me. I wonder if a part of you wanted you to remember what had happened and that’s why you kept reading? All I know is that you are incredible and very, very special and obviously people here really care about you. Fantastic! Sending positive thoughts… 🙂

    • Hi tai,

      I’m incredibly lucky with the amazing people that visit my blog… The comments and support I receive here, have helped to pull me through some pretty dark and scary places. This is the great thing about blogging… that interaction and validation you receive from others who have an idea of what you’re going through.

      If you get a chance, read Paul’s latest blog entry – Societal denial and our role. It’s a good summary into how attitudes towards CSA have changed over the years. I still think we have a long way to go, but I think there’s hope… I have to believe there is hope.

      Yes, I think I kept on reading as a way to force the memories and to force me out of the dissociative fog. It would have been good to do it in a gentler way, but it happened as it did, so I have to learn and move on from it.

      Sending positive thoughts your way 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  8. Hey you.
    Just finished reading your blog posts for the last week. Gee gal you’ve had a rough time of it lately.

    I just want to say, I think you are amazing. You have been so helpful to me over the last month with researching stuff and all the while I had no idea what was going on for you! So thank you again, you are a good friend. Please know if you ever need to you can contact me anytime.

    Be kind to you!! xxx

    • Hi Lisa,

      But I love researching and helping people 🙂 Besides, we have got to do something about that woman and her influence! If I can help in any way to expose her ideologies and show how they have influenced policy, then I’ll do it gladly. It just means that over the last week or so, I may have been a little slower to respond that I usually would be.

      Thanks for the offer… same goes for you.

      Take care of you and yours,
      CG

  9. Oh, I see what you meant about doing the same thing. Maybe I got this idea to self-destruct from you 😉

    Wonderful comments, too. I trust you heeded their wisdom…

    Thanks.

    Lisa

    • I hope not Lisa. I wouldn’t want to influence anyone negatively, or be responsible for causing pain like that to anyone.

      Take care,
      CG

      • I was just joshin’ you. I think it’s some weird cosmic thingie, maybe involving ley lines or something.

        I’m feeling a little better and I hope you are, too.

        Lisa

        • Hi Lisa,

          I realise you were joking, it was a case of bad timing. Things got out of control over the last week for me, so anything I could misunderstand, I did.

          I’m glad things are a bit better for you… Really glad!

          Sending mushy thoughts and girl scouts singing kumbaya around a camp fire… Hmmm hoping that joke is not just a NZ/Aussie thing 🙂

          Take care,
          CG

          • I think you forgot the kookabuura song. We sang those in grade school and Girl Scouts. They don’t teach them in school anymore 😦

            Thanks for the mushy thoughts! Therapy is this morning and we’re not looking forward to it.

            Lisa

  10. Pingback: Locked up | Scattered pieces

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