”It’s not your fault”
…said the sign I completely ignored.
Just been swimming in this. (yes those are my hands haha.)
I’m off on one of my adventures again. This time it’s the states. Boston, Brooklyn, The Berkshires, and New York. 4 weeks, with friends meeting us along the route from all previous trips from 2012 to now. It’s been planned since Christmas, and I couldn’t be more ready for it.
I came to realize that after everything some time away from work and the local area might be prudent anyway. After trying to continue as normal for a month or so, I just took the week leading up to my trip away off, so I would have time to process, do some packing, and get in some quality time with my therapist. I was feeling exhausted, emotionally drained, and unable to continue my work, without even counting the trauma impact that is a daily struggle in itself. I need recharging of the highest order.
I don’t have to be back to work until September.
I’ll be blogging while I’m away, and taking plenty of pictures as per usual. This new page (with old posts) already feels very positive for me. I feel like I can grow to be comfortable here again.
over & out, yo.
Through the nastiness and corruption of the last few months, someone never gave up on me. Waited patiently for me to come through for them, let me make my own decisions, and welcomed me with open arms when I finally saw everything clearly enough to put my foot down. He’s been my anchor.
I don’t know what I would have done without this one these past few months. He makes me so happy, after everything that’s happened I feel hopeful for the future again. I wish everyone who made it through what I did could have someone like him on the other side.
I found the best one.
I’m a girlfriend again, for the first time in a long time, and I couldn’t be happier.
Okay. In this post I’m going to collect some information, to share. For myself, and for you if you find it useful. It’s going to be a dumping ground for the past few weeks in therapy. Snippets, information, anything that helps me when I need it to.
In black and white, I’ve been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The reality of that is much more grey and foggy than simple words on a screen. There’s going to be lots of research and background info for me to come to terms with understanding what’s physically happening to my brain. I’ve worked out that if I understand the theory behind what’s happening to me, it enables me to process it and take control of it.
Pull up a chair if you so wish, or scroll past this one altogether if you don’t find it interesting or helpful. This post may be triggering.
‘A trauma bond is characterized by betrayal that is so purposeful and self-serving it moves to the realm of trauma. Trauma bonds create chains of trust that link a person to someone who is exploitive, dangerous, abusive and or toxic. A person in a trauma bond feels very confused about their relationship, yet they are unable to break free from it. (1)’
‘The victim engages in denial of the abuse for emotional self- protection. In severe abuse (this can be psychological or physical), one form of psychological protection strategy is dissociation. Dissociative states allow the victim to compartmentalize the abusive aspects of the relationship in order to focus on the positive aspects. (2)’
“Ultimately, trying to understand stuff like this is like Nietzsche says: “if you stare long enough into the Abyss, the Abyss stares also into you.” It literally made me insane. I had to learn that I was not how other people constructed me…I was and am in charge of my own identity, who I am, and why I do things. This is basic for most people I guess, but it has been a real task for me. I had to come to an understanding that what had been done was abusive, because in the manner of good psychopaths, they made everything look normal on the outside, that it was me with the problem. And so it was: their lives weren’t being torn up, mine was.” (3)
“It’s important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it’s easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.”
“Bonding is a biological and emotional process that makes people more important to each other over time. Unlike love, trust, or attraction, bonding is not something that can be lost. It is cumulative and only gets greater, never smaller. Bonding grows with spending time together, living together, eating together, making love together, having children together, and being together during stress or difficulty. Bad times bond people as strongly as good times, perhaps more so. Bonding makes it hard to enforce boundaries, because it is much harder to keep away from people to whom we have bonded.
Moreover, experiencing together extreme situations and extreme feelings tends to bond people in a special way.. Trauma bonding, a term developed by Patrick Carnes, is the misuse of fear, excitement, sexual feelings, and sexual physiology to entangle another person.
The survivor can come to find that it can be almost impossible to relate to anyone, even family or old friends, except superficially. There is a biological craving for intensity that no normal relationship will satisfy. This provides a feeling of being totally alone, and totally empty. At first, only going back to the primary aggressor can overcome it.” (4)
Reading back on my last blog, I see improvement. Which is always a good thing. I did go back to see that therapist after all. My second session with her was much more effective than the first one. She has started to help me to understand and unravel why certain things have happened, and she has helped me accept that nothing that DID happen was my fault. Which I thought I believed, but apparently it turns out I was kidding myself. I had been carrying a lot of self blame for what had happened over the past few months.
I went back and de-privatized a bit of venting/writing/prose I posted about Shifty and what happened. It’s entitled (caught//capturedcaught). It’s heavy. I recommend if you might find it triggering that you don’t look back to read it. I publicised it because now I need to be brave. It doesn’t go into deep detail, I don’t think I’ll ever truly write about what happened in specifics. I relive that night, those days and months, too much as it is. I won’t ever move on from it properly if I keep pouring salt into the wound. But I need to throw it out there into the universe I think. If you did want to read it, you can access the post with the password ‘shifty’.
I was talking the other day, in mid flow of a totally unrelated conversation, and suddenly it dawned on me just how much the entire situation should never even of happened at all.
It’s like my life follows a path, and then I met someone whom I should never have met, and they split off this separate divergent path without me realizing it. All the time I was involved with them, following them, the path just kept winding further away from where I thought I was. By the time I realized what had happened, and who this person really was I was following, I was so far away from where my life should be, I couldn’t even begin to process it or know how to get back.
Nothing of this magnitude should ever happen to anybody.
I’m finding my way back now, but there’s still this pull to go back to that twisted path, just this kind of sick intrigue, trained into me which I can’t shake.
But as I said, improvement is occurring. I’m working my way back. Little things are bringing my life back together again, and I find myself laughing naturally rather than forcefully, genuinely smiling at people rather than painting on a face, and although it’s taking me every bit of strength I have to get up in the morning, I’m somehow managing it. And I feel stronger for it every day. I do.
I am a little more damaged than before. And there’s no harm in admitting that. It’s okay right now that I need someone to stand in the bathroom and talk to me when I shower because I hate being alone. And it’s okay to wake up in the night kicking and sobbing. It’s okay to get annoyed, pissed off, angry, and out of sorts sometimes. It’s okay to be blank, unsure of what to think or feel. And it’s just fine to sob my heart out too. These things will pass.
I didn’t allow myself these things before. And now I give myself permission to. I am not weak. I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
I give myself permission to feel every inch of this along the way, feel it, expel it, and heal.
That path divergence…maybe I’ll never be the same. Maybe I can’t get back to the path I was originally on. Maybe I’m not supposed to. But I’ll make my own path. My own fucking yellow brick road. And the first stop along that road, is Cornwall.
I want nothing more than to blog, the way I always have. But I’m so restricted in what I can say, it makes things so difficult, I can’t write freely, for the first time since…well, ever. I don’t like it. I have written posts about it, more vague posts, but I don’t feel safe in posting them. Not yet. Which is why it seems that I’ve been very very quiet.
The honest sum of things, is that I’m not coping very well right now. I’m continuing with my day to day activities, keeping busy, exercising, all of that stuff. Appearing pretty normal. As long as I keep pushing everything to the back of my mind, I’m okay. The second I’m alone, it changes. I headed over to a therapist last week, just because I felt like I needed a second opinion on my mental health, and I didn’t much fancy opting straight for medication again after only just coming off of the last lot. (And doing so freaking well ffs…) She was…nice. I guess. Sometimes the way therapists talk annoys me. All soft approach. Trying to appeal to your better nature.
It was a reasonably useful session. Her (professional) opinion is that I’m traumatized by recent events. As a result of the trauma, I’m dissociating from the entire situation to protect myself, and enable myself to function. I’m relating to it like a book or a film, not like it’s actually happening to me. I can talk about it with a deadpan face, I can speak and answer questions and relate events without crying or crumpling up into the fetal position. As most people in my position would.
She wants me to keep going back, have regular sessions, but I’m not sure. Therapy is a funny thing, and it’s only effective with the right relationship. I don’t think I want to see her again, and with the added cost of her sessions (which is insanely expensive), I don’t think I could for very long anyway even if I did want to, not if I’m gonna be purchasing a car asap. And going to America soon…
I need to find an alternative.
I’ve always had the fantastic ability to heal my own mind, even if it takes a little time. I can usually sift things through and sort them out, even if it’s grain by tiny grain. This feels more like having to lift boulders and throw them to the other side of the room. Maybe I do need some help. I suppose it takes strength to admit that.