My world is crashing in on me

My world is crashing in on me, and no one sees. That’s ok, because I am one of many.

My world is crashing in on me, and no one sees. That’s wrong, because I am a person, and people are meant to matter.

Nine years ago today I wore red as I walked out the door to get married.  My future mother-in-law could barely contain her scorn at my attire.  I didn’t wear red by deliberate choice, but when you leave the preparations for the wedding until the day before, you get what you can.

Memories of the wedding are sketchy, at best.  We had a picnic the day before the wedding with the mother and two friends.  We did this because we were expecting my future husbands family to ruin the wedding day… they did.  One thing I remember clearly, is when the small gathering threw rose petals over us after the toasts, none of the petals went into my drink; so my mother-in-law picked some up off the ground, threw them into my glass, and made a smart comment about that being better.

Many weddings are about the expectations of the bride… mine were of dread.  In many ways, the wedding was not my own… my sister-in-law has such a dominating personality, that she overshadowed everything – my hair, the photography, directing people around, etc.  The sister, whom I hadn’t communicated with in over ten years passed sarcastic comments onto the mother about her not receiving a wedding invitation… yes, there was the double whammy of her sarcasm, and the mother’s need to inform me of that sarcasm… My future in-laws played games regarding whether they were going to attend, or not.  They only came because their other son paid for the entire trip.  Then on the day, my mother decided that her outfit was too similar to my only invited friends, so I had to help her find an alternative to wear…  Many of these things are run-of-the-mill issues associated with wedding days; but, they increased my anxiety, and therefore levels of dissociation.

The drama didn’t end at the ceremony, but continued through to mix-ups with the billing of the hotel room for the wedding night… We met several very nice police that day…

Did I mention that I didn’t want to get married?  I didn’t.  The only reason the marriage happened, is because he needed to marry.  He needed that security.  Later, as the marriage was falling apart, he often said that if we separated that it would be the end of us both… that I would commit suicide, and that he would be devastated with grief as he returned to the comfort of my mother – note, that he was wanting to gain comfort from my mother, not his.  That sentiment alone indicates his level of dysfunction, pain and confusion…

Marriage was never my thing.  During school, when introduced to the concept of debating, I was on the affirmative team arguing that marriage was an outdated institution.  It was rather amusing, as we drew a picture of marriage as a physical institution… the teacher changed the wording for the debate the following year.  We did get an A though…

I’ve usually seen marriage as a tie to someone who would hurt you.  My marriage didn’t dissuade me from that opinion.  Saying that, I have seen happy marriages… marriages where a combination of compatibility, hard work, and a variety of other factors, have meant that everyone involved has grown in positive ways…  At times, I wish I had that… But, I know I’m too broken for such things.

So yes, my world in crashing in on me… I have failed to work with Eating Disorder Services because I couldn’t meet the directives they established… I have failed at creating any sort of working relationship with my new team leader, and am now building a reputation as being difficult within the workplace… My continual poor communication skills have resulted in my withdrawal from my support system, and causing hurt to those who have braved staying around… Allison is left in the dark as to the reasoning for my behaviour, as I continue to withdraw and become less communicative… Then, earlier this week, the final straw, this chain email from the mother…

I remember the cheese of my childhood,
and the bread that we cut with a knife,
when the children helped with the housework,
and the men went to work not the wife.

The cheese never needed an ice chest,
and the bread was so crusty and hot,
the children were seldom unhappy
and the wife was content with her lot.

I remember the milk from the billy,
with the yummy cream on the top,
our dinner came hot from the oven,
and not from the fridge in the shop.

The kids were a lot more contented,
they didn’t need money for kicks,
just a game with our mates in the paddock,
and sometimes the Saturday flicks.

I remember the shop on the corner,
where a pen’orth of lollies was sold
do you think I’m a bit too nostalgic,
or is it….I’m just getting old?

I remember when the loo was the dunny,
and the pan man came in the night,
it wasn’t the least bit funny
going out the back with no light.

The interesting items we perused,
from the newspapers cut into squares,
and hung on a peg in the outhouse,
it took little to keep us amused.

The clothes were boiled in the copper,
with plenty of rich foamy suds
but the ironing seemed never ending
as Mum pressed everyone’s duds

I remember the slap on my backside,
and the taste of soap if I swore
anorexia and diets weren’t heard of
and we hadn’t much choice what we wore.

Do you think that bruised our ego?
or our initiative was destroyed
we ate what was put on the table
and I think life was better enjoyed.

I realise that she is reminiscing about her childhood… But, she also knows that I experienced sexual abuse within the environment that this poem glorifies… Oh, and yeah, she knows about my eating disorder too…  The irony is that her childhood wasn’t perfect… if it was, she wouldn’t be this unaware of the potential impact of this poem on me…

So yes, my world in crashing in on me…  Oddly enough, I don’t think it’s going to hurt.

—————-
Now playing: Audioslave – Doesn’t remind me

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A breach of trust

I am an ACC Sensitive Claimant.  That means ACC, a government department, partially funds my therapy costs.  It also means that Allison has to regularly report on my progress, and sends requests for more funding.

When I first claimed for assistance under the ACC scheme, I was assured that the information provided to ACC would be kept confidential.  That the information didn’t go outside of the Sensitive Claims unit, and that only those people directly involved in my case, would access my file.

I struggle with trust issues, so needed this reassurance.

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time, will be aware of the struggles that I have had with ACC.  They have mislaid emails that I’ve sent them – emails containing incredibly sensitive information.  They have sent me incorrect letters – one told me that my therapy support was being stopped, when it wasn’t.  They regularly change my case manager without letting Allison, or I, know.  There was a long struggle over my level of impairment.  What all of this has meant, is that my faith in ACCs ability to carry out their role, is pretty minimal.  I dread the reports for further funding that Allison has to do, as it usually means that I will be sent to yet another stranger for an assessment…

Despite the significant drawbacks associated with ACC, it is the only way that I can afford therapy.  This means, that it is the only way that I have been able to maintain a job, and keep being a (productive?) member of society.  It would be questionable as to whether I would still be here if it wasn’t for this assistance.  That may sound overly dramatic, but it’s possibly closer to the truth than I would care to admit.

So, I am thankful for the assistance I get; but, am also incredibly wary of the strings that are attached to that assistance.

A couple of weeks ago, those strings became entangled beyond recognition.  It came to light that ACC had sent the details of about 9000 clients, including those of some sensitive claimants, to an ACC client.  Yes, a fellow ACC client… not any sort of health professional, but a member of the public.

Before this incident, I knew of one other incident where a fellow claimants file had been sent to people unrelated to her case. So, this sort of breach doesn’t seem to be a one off error.

Since this incident became public:

While I can understand the chain of events, much of it seems to detract from some of the core issues that this incident has raised…

  1. Why was there a document with ACC Sensitive Claims Unit client information on it, being circulated to anyone outside of the unit?
  2. What is the purpose of such a document to begin with? The cynical part of me wonders if it’s about highlighting “problem” claimants, or pitting the units against each other.
  3. How could the document be sent without basic security, such as password protection?
  4. How often does this sort of breach happen?
  5. What is being done to tighten privacy and security within ACC?
  6. Why didn’t ACC act sooner on this breach?

But, the most important question for me, is…

  1. Why should I ever trust ACC again?

ACC has files which contain some of my darkest, most shameful secrets.  How can I trust that the information won’t accidentally end up on the doorstep, in an email, or faxed; to someone who has nothing to do with my case?  I can’t.  ACC have proven that they cannot be trusted.

So, where does that leave me?  To be honest, I’m not sure.  As my ability to see Allison is dependant on ACC funding, and she must report any new information about my abuse, and it’s effects on me; she has been placed in a precarious position… I’m meant to be open and honest with her, yet if I am, that information will potentially go back to ACC.  How can I be open with Allison if she is reporting to an organisation that has proven to be untrustworthy?

There have been lots of stories about the privacy breach within the media, and many have waved the “isn’t it awful that sensitive claimant information was included” flag… but, what they don’t seem to grasp, is the devastation that this has on an already vulnerable group of people.  As sensitive claimants, our trust has already been violated in one of the most horrific ways possible, and to have that again shaken by the organisation that is meant to help, is destabilising.

I know ACC cannot be perfect, but they need to be responsible and accountable.

Boundaries

I’m not good with boundaries… I know this. When the dissociation and switching increases in frequency, my scant understanding of appropriate boundaries goes out the window. This was (yet again) evident earlier this week, when Matthew Branton asked (a perfectly legitimate question) about having a place within the blog where new readers could get an understanding of my background and the experiences that brought me to this place in my healing. This question, in conjunction with reading Matthew’s account of his past, and Faith Allen’s series of posts about her past on Blooming Lotus; meant that a part of me took this question very literally… Suddenly there were over a 1000 words on a new page within the blog which described my family and what I have been told about my childhood up until I was a toddler. There was a real drive to write this history out, but that need came from a part of me that didn’t understand the implications for the rest of the system. They are a part of me that always obeys a suggestion or request without question. The ultimate people pleaser.

You’ll see that the page is no longer on the blog, I’ve hidden it. I realise that I do need to write out my history, but I need to write it out for Allison’s eyes only. It would be too easy to piece together my history, and find out who I am in real life from the detailed account that was being generated… that just can’t happen! I would risk losing my career and being labelled with all of the negative stereotypes that those with mental health issues carry. I hate the stereotypes and misinformation about those who deal with mental health issues every day, but I’m not in a strong enough place to fight it. Also, to be blunt, librarians are a bunch of close minded, gossiping old biddies… if they discovered that I have DID, I would never get another job within New Zealand.

After talking to a friend, I realised that I can still write a summary here about my past, but I don’t have to go into so much detail. This is where I need to learn about the appropriate boundary. How much do readers of this blog really need to know about me? Does it matter that I’m the youngest child? Does it matter that I have no memory of what any of my family looked like as I was growing up? These are the questions that I need to ask myself, and take my time answering. So, I will put up a new page that carries a summary of my experiences, but it will take me some time to come to an internal agreement as to what I can reveal safely.

The other boundary issue I’ve been facing this week, is the re-decorating of my rented house. I knew that the landlords were going to re-decorate the house sometime soon, but on Monday I got a call from a painter saying he’d be starting Tuesday; so, could I leave a key to the house under the mat to allow his team access to the house. Now, I know I should be grateful that the landlords are doing the work – the wallpaper was peeling. BUT, STRANGE MEN WERE GOING TO BE IN MY HOUSE WHILE I WASN’T THERE. They were going to be moving my stuff. They were going to be walking in my house… the house that I worked so hard to try and make feel safe. It caused havoc within the system.

On Tuesday when we came home, the wallpaper had been stripped from the walls, but the house wasn’t too messy. We could cope with a great amount of deep breathing and locking all the windows and doors – then re-checking them every hour or so. But on Wednesday when we came home, they had painted the woodwork, which caused a huge mess. They’d been careless with our possessions – our cats food and water bowl were spoiled with paint dust, there was paint on our wooden dresser and they’d carelessly knocked over our things in the bathroom. We’d also had to do some teaching that day, so it was all too much… What I’m really proud of though, is that we didn’t self injure! We were in a mess, but One remembered Paul’s oil pastel artwork, so found our old pastels and got us to draw instead of injure. This is what we drew…

Swirl

Swirl

Black Red

Black Red

I’m not really aware of what happened as we were drawing these, or even what they mean.  But, I know that there was a great deal of energy used on the second one.

We were hoping that they would be finished the redecorating on Friday, but it looks like they didn’t do any work at all that day. This, in combination with a rough day at work and being the anniversary of when Sophie and R were born due to an abusive event in the past; meant that last night there was a total loss of control. I only came back to any sort of awareness late Saturday morning.

What’s interesting about this latest event, is that I’m being told “You won’t tell that b@t@h Allison about this.” I’m not sure if this is a statement of fact, a challenge, or a derisive comment on my inability to talk about the tough issues in therapy. But I know that this time, I do need to tell Allison… I need to get outside help for the dangerous dysfunction. So, that’s what this weeks therapy is going to be about… wish me luck!

This latest round of confusion and self-injury, has made me aware of how little internal communication I now have. The dissociation has ramped up several notches, and my old skills have been lost (or maybe misplaced). Trust has gone, and it feels like I’m starting from scratch again…  For some reason I was reminded of this old Telecom ad… Maybe it’s the message about communication being the first step… and maybe about communication starting with the children/young ones…  Or, as is now being suggested internally, maybe I’m just a sap 🙂

Friends

Oh, and on a positive note… I’m the lucky “god-fearing” person chosen by Miss Linda to help her money launder retrieve $22 million from her fathers estate. The poor man was poisoned by his business colleagues (nasty men), and her only hope to get the money out of the Ivory Coast, is through me. I’ll be the lucky recipient of 15% of this sum, so it’s all good… my money worries are over! This is also a much better offer than last weeks one from Mr Philip, a lawyer from England… Strange how a lawyer would track me down as a long lost relative, when I never use my real name in any of my email addresses… but then, he’s a lawyer with wicked mad skills apparently 😉

—————-
Now playing: Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play?
via FoxyTunes

Let's call her Allison

So, we have a new therapist… Let’s call her Allison.  We’ve had two therapeutic sessions with her, and one introductory session to see if there was a possibility that we could work together.  I’ve been studiously avoiding talking about her here, I think because I’m scared of jinxing the relationship.  Here’s a quick run-down of what’s happened so far…

Introductory session
We were switching like crazy, a revolving door of different ones checking her out and asking different things that we knew had been issues in the past.

M asked about what happens to her clients when she goes away – this I know is because we tend to (for want of a better term) “fall apart” over Christmas.  One previous therapist asked us to contact her if this should happen, and another had no provisions in place for a crisis over this time.  I don’t think either approach is helpful for us, as we feel like an imposition contacting a therapist out of hours – especially during their Christmas holidays; and the lack of support led to a downward spiral that ended up with us going into respite care.  Allison assured us that, if we wanted, she has another therapist who will see her clients while she is on holiday.

W asked about religion.  This is a huge issue for her, as she sees herself as inherently evil and gets very triggered by the concept of religion.  Allison was open about believing in living a spiritual life.  While this did raise flags for W, it wasn’t a show stopper.  What was interesting, is that Allison mentioned that those who are brought up within a strict religious environment, often exhibit significant signs of abuse.  This was mentioned in the context of my father, who was raised within a strict religious doctrine.  So, it was about putting life experiences into context, not meant as a comparison or justification.

The other big question was, “are you going to cope with us?”  There are huge trust issues with therapists.  I can honestly say that each of the therapists I’ve seen in the past have tried to help us, and wanted to see us live a full life, free of many of the debilitating symptoms we currently experience.  But for various reasons – their approach to DID, a lack of skills, or being out of their depth, it hasn’t worked out.  After the rupture from Liz, all the feelings of being too difficult, too much and being a trouble maker came up again.  Allison mentioned that she was one of the top therapists in our small city.  This rankled M a little, as she saw it as boasting.  But, I understand that Allison was trying to reassure us.

So, after much internal discussion, it was decided that we’d keep seeing Allison.

First session
This was mainly taken up with housekeeping type of information – brief talk about what symptoms we wanted to address first, what other support systems we have, and how we are coping.  It was a difficult session, where at one point, W was nearly sucked into a flashback.  What was interesting, was Allison’s reaction to the near flashback… she asked us to look at her in the face.  Now, we don’t look therapists in the face – yes, this may be considered rude by some people, but we can’t bring ourselves to raise our eyes above their boots.  During work, we can do eye contact no problem, so it’s just within the therapeutic relationship.  Allison kept on about us looking her in the face – to prove that our reaction to the near flashback didn’t upset her, or cause her any distress.  We had to switch to M in order for this to happen, but we managed it!  And yes, it did help.  She sat there very calmly and greeted M as if everything was fine.  Hmmm… so maybe she can cope with minor crazy… let’s see about major crazy…

At this session, we discussed having fortnightly sessions, due to monetary constraints.  Since then, we’ve realised that the crazy making between sessions is too much for us to cope with, so have gone back to weekly sessions.  Who needs money for food anyway 🙂

Second session
This was a really difficult session.  It came off the back of Mother’s Day (those of you with the password to the protected posts will see the two word feeling that some of us have towards the day), and our up-coming birthday.  It was predominantly Sophie and B throughout the session, until Mother’s Day came up.  Then woohoo… lets step on the crazy freight train.  The desire to self injure went through the roof… Allison was particularly interested in the ways the self-injury was manifesting and who was potentially holding the needs and desires to hurt.  She talked about the anger we hold as pertaining to the mother… and then “flick”, Aimee came forward.

Suddenly it was all bright and breezy, talking about the calender on the wall that hadn’t been flipped over for the new month, the old heater that was in the corner of the room and other diversionary tactics.  Allison welcomed Aimee, which was a huge relief (her type of diversion had been discouraged with some therapists).  They were chatting along nicely, until Allison, as part of the normal conversation, said the word “shadows”.  This meant an immediate hiding by Aimee… she is absolutely terrified by shadows.  Shadows within our internal house represent evil, danger and the angry ones.  So Allison’s innocent comment caused a trigger switch to a stuttering teen.  We hate it when we stutter.  It’s usually only in therapy, and it’s just awful.  Of course, the more we try not to, the worse it gets.  The stutterer explained what had happened, and assured Allison that in no way was she to blame – she had no idea that such an innocent word could have such devastating effects.

Overall, we’re not sure about Allison.  She is good with the silences… both allowing the silence, and bringing our attention to what is happening during the silence.  She’s good at slowing us down, and getting us to try and notice things.  But, we still think we’ll be too much for her.  This is not because we’re the “worst” case of DID or anything, it’s just a mix of the old messages from the childhood, being re-enforced by actions of therapists who were out of their depth.

So, we’re still fence sitting.  She has shown the most promise of the therapists we’ve seen so far…  But, it’s hard to judge things accurately because we are so dissociated from life.

If anyone has had the “joy” of a comment from us over the last week or so, it’s probably been bordering on rude, pompous or left field.  We really shouldn’t comment when we’re so dissociated.  We again had a comment not published on a therapists site, this time because of our side-ways hostility.  That’s a classic sign that we’re not communicating internally, and M is running parts of the show without input from the calming influences of B and Sophie.  I’m not sure what will get us back on track…

The big stuff

Ok… so, the big stuff… the stuff I’ve been studiously avoiding for the last probably two to three weeks… maybe even that last couple of months.  I can’t analyse or reflect on them yet, but I need to write them down so that they lessen their hold over me.

Probably the most obvious, is the therapeutic rupture with Liz.  It destabilised me.  It re-enforced all the old messages about me being too difficult to cope with, and made me feel as if I would never heal.  I still don’t think that the new therapist will cope…  She says she’s one of the top therapists in the small city where we live; but then, Bob was one of the top clinical psychologists, and that didn’t turn out well.  We’re still not sure if ACC will fund us to see her; so until funding is established, we’re seeing her fortnightly.  I know that isn’t often enough, but we can’t afford weekly therapy.

Once you get past the obvious of therapy, there’s the other given… work.  We recently had a change to our union negotiated employment agreement.  The new agreement meant that we ended up with a negative sick leave balance.  We’d used up so much sick leave in the short time we’ve been there, that we’d used the equivalent of an extra years allowance.  This basically meant that we were going to have to go for over a year, with any sick leave being unpaid.  There’s no way we could afford that.  Our union is incredibly weak and unable to fight for the rights of the worker – if you wonder why I’m in such a weak union, librarians are traditionally left wing, socialists who believe in unions, and so there’s a great deal of pressure to join.

So, ignoring the union, we researched the law and questioned work on the validity of the negative balance, when according the the Holidays Act, each employee must have five days paid sick leave per year.  We sent through an email outlining the law, and asking what that meant in regards to our negative balance.  This resulted in a meeting with HR (hence the entry about the panic attack).  The meeting was mercifully quick and resulted in HR apologising to me for any distress caused.  They also gave me five sick days immediately, and another five in six months time.

We had been expecting a written warning about our excessive sick leave.  During the negotiations, our employer had been talking about “sick leave abusers”.  When we saw that negative balance, we immediately knew that we were one of the people being targeted.  We doubted all of the work we’ve been doing.  We don’t feel as if we’ve been performing to an even half descent standard lately.  So again, all our fears and inadequacies were thrown into the spot light.

The other obvious stress has been the divorce.  We got the papers served on the ex-husband, and immediately started to get hang up phone calls.  They were at odds times of the day and lasted for a week, ending only when we picked up the phone once and asked who was there.  This led to all sorts of flashbacks and activation of parts who used to deal with the ex-husband.

Which probably leads into the other issue I’ve been facing… increasing amounts and severity of self injury.  It’s been a really tough few weeks, lots of lost time and negative coping mechanisms being used.  I know I’m going to have to tell the new therapist about this, but it’s so shame inducing that I don’t know how.  I keep thinking that I should be “strong enough” or “healed enough” not to do those old coping mechanisms… but yet fall back into them when the going gets really bad.

Then there’s the last big thing which feels so awful and… just yuck.  I’m friends with the younger of my two brothers on FaceBook.  A few months ago, a photo was added to his profile.  It’s not an awful photo, it’s actually a really good one, which shows his body language as I remember it.  The thing that sends the system into chaos however, is that the lower half of his face is almost exactly the same as the fathers.  The mouth is the same… as is the chin.  It drives some in the system crazy.  My brother is now the age that the father would have been when we were in our early teens.  As I write this, I feel the dissociation coming.  I know this is a huge trigger.  I know that sometimes one of us looks at this photo of our brother as a punishment.

Far out… that’s all I can write… sorry, I know this doesn’t make much sense.  But I needed to get it out in some way.

In all the craziness, I’m reminded of the lines from Hymn to Her…

She will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found

—————-
Now playing: The Pretenders – Hymn To Her
via FoxyTunes

The week that was…

To put the last week into context, it would help if I explained a little about the past month…  Probably 3 or 4 weeks ago, one of the young ones became convinced that she was an abuser.  We were part of peer sexual abuse from the ages of 3-10 or 12; and some of that included, what she considered to be, causing abuse towards other innocent children.  This was mentioned in session with Liz, but she dismissed it as learned behaviour from adults that was usual for a child with my history.  Our intellectual response to Liz was to agree, it made sense… but not to the young one, as she has no memory of being hurt by adults, only her peers and some teenagers.  This meant that the young one decided that we needed to die for hurting others – people often say that child abusers should be killed, so what made her any different?

Her belief that she was an abuser, was re-enforced by a recent newspaper article that stated children as young as 5 were being picked up by the police as sexual offenders…  Add on top of this, the on-going anxiety about having to go for an ACC assessment; the memories stirred up by the dissolution of the marriage; and hating our current job.  It all added up to a overwhelming mass of conflicting messages and emotions.  The end result was a suicide plan which was to take place yesterday.  On the way to this date, we ended up in the Police Station last weekend…  Sophie called the crisis line and said we were suicidal, which resulted in the Police being called out, and us ending up in a Police holding cell/interview room being assessed by a Police psychiatrist.  He was a very nice psychiatrist, and again tried to convince the young one that she wasn’t abusive, but she had the newspaper article as proof that she was evil…  To make it worse, she now had further proof of her evilness – she had been picked up by the Police…

Last Monday, we went into therapy with Liz needing to work through this belief about us being abusers and the suicide plans for the coming weekend.  Instead, Liz introduced DBT skills.  This isn’t anything against DBT, but it was like throwing a bucket of water on a forest fire… too little, too late.  Liz tried art therapy to try and get us to see that life was worth living, but she kept on hitting a brick wall because she was skirting around the issue and we needed to hit it face on.  Liz’ attempts were frustrating us both, to the point where she said “Do you want to stop therapy”.  She has said this to us on several occasions before, and each time we got the feeling that she was testing us, but this time it was the last straw…  we said “Yes” and left the office.

I know this could be seen as us lashing out with an emotional reaction, and it was in many ways.  But, there was also a feeling that Liz didn’t know what to do to help us.  This was confirmed on Wednesday when we went back for a meeting to see if the relationship could be salvaged.  Our position was that those words and actions made us feel rejected and as if we were too difficult to deal with.  Liz tried to assure us that this wasn’t the case and that she had been there for us.  But her actions and our expectations didn’t meet… that’s not to say that we were expecting 24/7 assistance from her; but many of our reasonable calls for assistance, were met with Liz passing us off onto the Crisis Team or ACC.

So, we’re no longer seeing Liz…

Due to the visit to the Police Station, the Mental Health Crisis Team have again become involved in our care.  This resulted in us having an emergency psychiatric appointment on Friday, where a very intense psychiatrist upped one of our meds and introduced another.  We’re very sensitive to medication – something I forgot to warn the psychiatrist about; so when we had the first night time dose of the new medication, we got about three hours of quite intense akathisia in the legs.  The next day we tried the daytime strength of the med and got about 3 hours of needing to rip our arms up, increased dissociation and anxiety.  The Crisis Team nurse tried to convince us that this was not tied to the medication in any way, and that we just needed to go for a walk…

So this brings us to today… the day after the young one had vowed to take an overdose.  Why are we still here?  Well, it turns out that the reason the suicide plans weren’t followed through was because of needing to fix our car.  I know it sounds silly, but all the motions were set in place for the suicide – house was cleaned, papers put into order and the final thing was to get a warrant of fitness for the car, but it failed.  Because we had to get it fixed, we ate into our savings which the young one had decided was enough for our funeral.  So now the suicide plans are put off until we can save more money for the funeral – she doesn’t want to leave any debt for others to be inconvenienced by.  I know that this is a tenuous reason to stay alive, but I’m hoping it will last us long enough to find some avenue for assistance.

So where to from here?  Well, I’m not really sure.  I see the Crisis Team psychiatrist again on Tuesday.  I was told by Liz that my ACC funding has run out, so the chances of finding a therapist who will accept a dissociative client through ACC is pretty slim.  I’m still waiting for the ACC assessment to determine what assistance I should be getting, and I just got the papers that I have to serve on the ex-husband’s parents to end the marriage.  So I’m in a fairly precarious situation and can’t really see a way out at the moment.  I’m not in any immediate danger – the fear of debt will keep the young one from acting on her plans for probably another few paydays… That gives me about a month to come up with something that will convince her that she’s not the most evil, disgusting thing on this Earth…

—————
Now playing: Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends
via FoxyTunes

Once upon a time…

Note: This post could be triggering, please read with care.

There was once a little girl who got hurt by the people who should have taken care of her.  This experience taught her about keeping secrets, packing the bad things into containers inside her head and to forget about most of the bad things altogether.  She became good at playing the parts and emotions that were acceptable to those around her.  Compartmentalisation and dissociation became her way of life.

As this girl grew, the dissociative walls became higher and more entrenched.  Her core beliefs were that she was a nuisance, stupid and ugly.  But she wasn’t a victim.  Oh no, she knew that bad stuff had happened, but she believed that it happened to every little girl, and no one else seemed to be complaining.  So when the girl became a woman and met a nice man, she didn’t tell him about the bad stuff; instead she listened to his stories of being abused by his sister when he was a boy.  She didn’t understand how that could have happened to this seemingly big, strong man.  It made him cry and she comforted him.

So began, what would become 8 years of physical, psychological and sexual abuse for that woman – me.

In many ways, the man came into the relationship more honest and open than we did.  He said he’d been abused, we didn’t. We got so caught up in his past that we didn’t say anything about ours – we didn’t really consider it that bad or worthy of talking about anyway.  Abuse was what we had come to expect.  So when he raped us for the first time, we dissociated it away and considered it normal.  Besides, he was good to us – he gave us flowers, cooked for us and treated us with a form of delicate care (when in front of other people) we’d never experienced before.

A pattern developed over time, he would have a crisis of some sort and we would save him.  He needed us to be strong, so we were.  We were hardly innocent within this scenario.  The woman at work used to feel sorry for him as we appeared to pick on him and order him around.  I can understand why they would get this impression – he needed to be saved and we needed to be a saviour.  The weaker he became within his work and mental health, the stronger we had to be, and the more he would abuse us when no one was looking.  The strength we showed to the world was one of us organising our world to gain some control.  When we got behind closed doors there would be a dissociative switch to one who enjoyed the pain that he inflicted sexually and physically.  He became good at triggering our switches, so we built the walls inside our internal house higher and stronger.

About four years into the relationship, we were in a side impact car accident.  We sustained a mild concussion.  In that one instant, our lives changed forever. Our coping mechanisms fell apart.  Suddenly we were weak.  Suddenly he had to be strong, but he wasn’t able.

He had been intermittently seeing different therapists over the years, but had never seen one for more than three sessions.  They were always useless or changing their fees or playing games…   We realised we were in trouble and started counselling again.  He began to self-injure, often in front of us or because of us.  He was fired from his job for assaulting a supervisor.  We tried to be strong, but were slowly falling apart.

He got a job as a security officer – a job where he could “get some respect”.  We also changed jobs.  But nothing fixed the things that were happening in each of our heads or in that house.  We were two people who had serious mental health issues crashing into each other.  We became suicidal and were regularly assessed for danger, always to be released back into the care of the strong man who was now our husband.

On the 9th of February 2008, we attempted suicide.  It wasn’t our most serious attempt, but it landed us in A&E and then the secure psychiatric ward.  On the 10th of February 2008, the strong man took us home.  What followed is blurry, but I know M made a smart arse remark to him about how he needed to grow up.  He then showed us how strong he was by trying to kill us.  His level of violence scared him and he called our mother, screaming that he’d done it this time and it was all over.  The mother thought he’d killed us.  When she talked to us, she asked if we wanted someone to come up to be with us.  Sophie said “yes”.  With our family there, he couldn’t cope with what had happened, so left the house on the 14th of February 2008.

Looking back, I can see how our different issues collided to cause what happened.  If he’d married someone who wasn’t dissociative, this probably wouldn’t have happened.  We were so conditioned for abuse, if it hadn’t been him, it would’ve been someone very similar.  Could we have ever made it work?  I doubt it.  He was not interested in healing.  He paid lip-service to therapy, but wasn’t prepared to invest the time and energy.  I was too defensive and in deep denial.  I wasn’t prepared to heal myself, instead I was so caught up in his problems that he was all I could see.  My life became about fixing him.  He has refused to attend the court ordered counselling as part of the Protection Order, so I don’t think he’ll ever heal.  I hope he does and proves me wrong…

The following clip is one we did a year ago to try to work through the events surrounding the marriage.  It may trigger.

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