Thursday, April 30, 2009

Asking the right questions

1. How long have you suffered from this problem? (The physical pain, emotions, feelings and sensations)

2. What was happening in your life before or during the time of diagnosis, or when you noticed this problem arise?

3. Who else in your family history has suffered from this?

4. What would you be focusing on if you didn't spend time worrying about this issue?

5. How would you be spending your time if you weren't taking care of or managing this problem?

6. How would you feel if you didn't have this in your life?

7. What is the downside of getting rid of this problem?

8. What is the upside of holding onto this problem? How does holding onto this problem help you or give you something positive?

9. What is YOUR theory about why you haven't yet resolved this dilemma, cleared this issue, neutralized this conflict?

10. What happened the last time you were at your best? Reached your goal? Got promoted? Won the award? Announced how happy you were in the new relationship? Looked fabulous? Said "no" to someone who was asking too much of you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A new day has come (Celine Dion)

Today, listening to music, the following words jumped out at me. I look forward to this New Day... it is coming!

A new day has come (Celine Dion)
Where it was dark, now there's light
Where there was pain, now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So much more than good enough

I've been thinking more about what recovery means to me. I used to think it was finally feeling like I was good enough. Its so much more than that.

I am just me. I am not good enough, because I don't have to be good enough. I am Jen. I am beautiful. I am strong. I work hard. I play hard. I love people. I laugh easily. I like to smile. I get angry. I cry. I want to be loved. I like my clothes to match. I love my Heavenly Father. I hate church. I love music. I love my husband. I care deeply for people and notice things other people don't always see. I am late a lot. I love to be outside. I like to dance. I enjoy learning new things. I like fish tacos. I have a lot of questions. I hate secrets and I don't really like surprises. I love fireworks. I care deeply for my friends. I am passionate. I am rebellious. I want to be heard. I want to help other people. I am impatient.

I don't HAVE to be any of these things. If tomorrow, I change - I'm still Jen.

I wish I had words to describe what I am beginning to feel. Its not that Jen is good enough... its that it just doesn't matter whether Jen is good enough or not. Jen is Jen... and that is so much more than good enough!

Wash Away Those Years by Creed

I'm not sure how I found this song... but the words express the process I am going through very well. I've tried so many times to tell someone what happened, but I whispered so softly, no one could hear. So I just carried on... closed my eyes and imagined everything was alright.

Now, my anger is violent... and I'm trying to beat the silence. I am not alone. There are so many others who have been through what I am going through and come out. There are so many people who love me who are fighting with me. I have angels on both sides of the veil helping me find my way.

And then, I will imagine everything is alright, and it will become alright. I will be able to imagine the life I was meant to have. I won't hide the tears... they will wash away the pain from the years past.

"Wash Away Those Years"
She came calling
One early morning
She showed her crown of thorns
She whispered softly
To tell a story
About how she had been wronged
As she lay lifeless
He stole her innocence
And this is how she carried on
This is how she carried on

Well I guess she closed her eyes
And just imagined everything's alright
But she could not hide her tears
'Cause they were sent to wash away those years
They were sent to wash away those years

My anger's violent
But still I'm silent
When tragedy strikes at home
I know this decadence Is shared by millions
Remember you're not alone
Remember you're not alone

Well if you just close your eyes
And just imagine everything's alright
But do not hide your tears
'Cause they were sent to wash away those years
Well if you just close your eyes
And just imagine everything's alright
But do not hide your tears
'Cause they were sent to wash away those years
They were sent to wash away those years
Maybe we can wash away those years

For we have crossed many oceans
And we labor in between
In life there are many quotients
And I hope I find the mean
the mean, the mean

Well if you just close your eyes
And just imagine everything's alright
But do not hide your tears
'Cause they were sent to wash away those years
Well if you just close your eyes
And just imagine everything's alright
But do not hide your tears
'Cause they were sent to wash away those years
Maybe we can wash away those years
I hope that you can wash away those years

Facing Fear

I laid down. I turned on the holosync to try to relax.

It took about 30 seconds for me to be overcome with the sadness, the fear, the pain of the memories of Larry. I didn't try to hold back at all. I felt like I needed to cry about it, and I was ready to go through all that I needed to go through.

Bishop Johnson heard my cries, and came to check on me. When I calmed down a little, I told him I needed to go through this on my own. He can't keep rushing in to rescue me. At the same time that I knew I needed to go through it on my own - I didn't want to.

He said because he cared, he would leave.

Fear took over. I was stuck helpless and filled with panic. It was the same flashback I had been experiencing just a few minutes earlier only it was completely out of my control. Where just moments before I was willing to let myself cry and go through what I needed to. Now I had no choice.

He looked helpless for a moment, and then asked me if I was grounded. As my mind tried to figure out what he meant - I remembered Amanda's suggestions. I began moving my hands and my feet. I felt his hands and knew I was here in this house. I was safe. I was strong.

I let go of my death grip on his hands and let him go. Whatever I need to go through, I can go through it. I feel safe and comforted knowing he is just in the other room, but I don't need him here with me.

As soon as I had something to DO, I was able to take back control. But in the absence of an action, Fear took over. I was helpless against it. I am still a little nervous about being alone. I would much rather stay up and talk than sleep, but I am not going to die if I lay in this bed by myself. Fear would have me believe that I wouldn't survive alone.

He said he wasn't sure if he should have come in or not. Generally speaking, I would say, let me ask for help. Wait until I come to you. However, I did learn a little bit about myself and Fear tonight. I also feel stronger knowing that I told him what I needed, and then I chose to let him go. I knew it would be hard, and I knew it would be okay. I am grateful for the experience I just had. So, I trust that whatever you choose will work for my good.

I feel trusting. I feel strong. I feel alive!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today has been a really good day

I have felt more like ME... I felt like smiling. I felt like I was more genuinely happy. I didn't feel as anxious or afraid.

Its hard to describe the day, because I guess there was nothing special about it. It was just more normal... It didn't hurt like I am used to hurting. I didn't have to run from myself or my feelings... I could just be me and be ok.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Last night was an incredibly rough night... probably one of the toughest ones I have had yet. It made me start thinking about how to keep myself safe, how to get sleep at night, and how to start gaining some independence.

My first thought was about eating disorder recovery. I had to protect mealtime, and almost make it a sacred time. There were no arguments allowed. No conflicts. No emotions around the food. I could eat, I could have pleasant conversation, but I wouldn't play with recovery by trying to mix emotions and eating.

I thought of sleep. I have a lot of strange attitudes towards sleep just like I do food. I don't believe I deserve to sleep. I believe if I sleep at all, I am lazy. I feel like I am a better and stronger person if I don't sleep. Those crappy beliefs coupled with the flashbacks, nightmares, and night terrors have done a number on me.

Somehow, I have to protect my sleep time like I have protected mealtimes. I need to force myself to go to bed. I need to do my best to ground myself and make myself feel safe before getting into bed. In bed, I need to make it a positive atmosphere. I don't know how to do all this, but I am trying to remember how CFC helped us. I know they were careful to have a calm schedule from 8 until we went to bed at 10. We also took meds at 9 - which I could do. Lights out at 10:30 - no matter what. I don't know...

I don't have a plan yet, but I will learn to protect my sleep as carefully as I protect my eating.
(UGH!) I feel like such a loser! I don't need sleep. I am being silly. I can handle staying up late. I can handle not sleeping. I can handle whatever it is. I haven't had a bedtime since I was like 8... except for when I was at CFC... and now I am thinking of imposing one on myself?!? (BLAH!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

My options for tonight

I am freaking out. So panicked about the night time...

One thing I can do to help myself at this moment is to come up with a plan of action... Having the Johnson's home has made it so I can function through out the day. Not having it has caused me to lose my mind! But, that is not the only option.

So, tonight if I don't want to stay in my house, I don't have to:

I can go for a walk.
I can go to the office.
I can get a hotel.
I can stay in the church.
I can sleep in my car. Or Dann's car. Or the Kia.
I can go to the hospital and tell them I am suicidal.
I can go to a 24 hour gym.
I can sneak into the Johnson's home and sneak out early in the morning.
I can sneak into anyone's home.
I can go to BYU and sleep in the bathroom on a couch.
I can sleep in a park.
I can go to Denny's and sit there all night long.
I can call Bishop Campbell and see what he suggests.
I can go to Grandma's house.
I can call Mellen and crash at her house.
I can crash at the parent's house.
I can call President Davis and see what he suggests.
I can go to Dann's parents.
I can break into Grandma Connie's house.
I can go to the First Ward building.
I can go sleep in our basement.
I can sleep on someone else's lawn.
I can sleep at a seminary building.
I can go to Dann's office.
I can go to Dann's gym.
I can send Dann away.
I can go to Jeff and Robyn's house.
I can sleep on the D'Angelo's couch.
I can sleep at the neighbor's house.
I can go knocking on door's until someone lets me stay.
I can get arrested and stay in the jail.
I can go to a 24 hour grocery store and wander the aisles all night - or even sleep in the produce section.
I can run away to the mountains. I can take a tent. Or sleep under the stars.
I can go to St. George.
I can go to a bar.

Obviously some of these are better than others... But look at all of the options I have!

Flashbacks are changing

Last night's flashbacks were different. I don't know how to use words to describe it. Most nights, I lay there full of pain and feel completely helpless against what is happening. I still felt helpless, but I felt something inside me beginning to fight back.

I saw myself laying on the bed stiff as board and panicked with my ex-husband on top of me. And then my mind said, I don't HAVE to do that. You deserve better than that. THAT is not sex or love - that is RAPE, and it is NOT OK!

Then I saw myself standing in the kitchen begging him not to go - trying to convince him that he was right, I was wrong, and that I could change. Again, my mind said, That's not right! You are lying. It is not ok that he just did that to you. He should be ashamed - not you. I felt compassion for the woman standing there looking and feeling so desperate. I felt sad for her, and I just wanted to put my arms around her and let her know she deserved better than that.

I saw myself sleeping in bed. The Ex reached for me, started touching and humping me. In my mind, I pushed him away and told him NO! Leave me alone! You can't have me. This is my body, and my choice. Get away!

The memories haven't changed. They still hurt. They still leave me feeling disgusting, gross, helpless, guilty, and ashamed. But there are new thoughts associated with the memories. They leave me feeling stronger, triumphant, beautiful, and like I am an amazing woman. That is a lot of conflicting things for one brain to handle.

Then tonight, Melissa was talking about her friend Brianne, and Brianne's abusive father. She told a story of one time Brianne's dad nearly killer her brother. For one brief instant, I felt the fear, the guilt, the anger, and the confusion that I felt that night when I was fourteen. Then, the memory passed and I was grateful things weren't like that anymore.

I imagine all of these flashbacks will be like that one day. It might hurt for a second, but then it will pass just as quickly. All of this will be just memories, and nothing more. It is all changing, and it is exciting!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors

By Thomas V. Maguire, Ph.D.
Copyright 1995-97 Thomas V. Maguire, Ph.D. Ver. 3.0 (04/97)
All rights reserved, except that permission is hereby granted to freely reproduce and distribute this document, provided the text is reproduced unaltered and entire (including this notice) and is distributed free of charge.

By Virtue of Your Personal Authority
You Have the Right to . . .
  • Manage your life according to your own values and judgment.
  • Direct your recovery, answerable to no one for your goals or progress.
  • Gather information to make intelligent decisions about your recovery.
  • Seek help from many sources, unhindered by demands for exclusivity.
  • Decline help from anyone without having to justify the decision.
  • Believe in your ability to heal and seek allies who share your faith.
  • Trust allies in healing so far as one human can trust another.
  • Be afraid and avoid what frightens you.
  • Decide for yourself whether, when, and where to confront fear.
  • Learn by experimenting, that is, make mistakes.

To Guard Your Personal Boundaries
You Have the Right to . . .

  • Be touched only with, and within the limits of, your consent.
  • Speak or remain silent, about any topic and at any time, as you wish.
  • Choose to accept or decline feedback, suggestions, or interpretations.
  • Ask for help in healing, without having to accept help with everything.
  • Challenge any crossing of your boundaries.
  • Take action to stop a trespass that does not cease when challenged.

For the Integrity of Your Personal Communication
You Have the Right to . . .
  • Ask for explanation of communications you do not understand.
  • Express a contrary view when you do understand and you disagree.
  • Acknowledge your feelings, without having to justify them.
  • Ask for changes when your needs are not being met.
  • Speak of your experience, without apology for your uncertainties.
  • Resolve doubt without deferring to the views or wishes of anyone.

For Safety in Your Personal Dependency in Therapy
You Have the Right to . . .

  • Hire a therapist or counselor as coach, not boss, of your recovery.
  • Receive expert and faithful assistance in healing from your therapist.
  • Know that your therapist will never have any other relationship with you— business, social, or sexual.
  • Be secure against any disclosure by your therapist, except with your consent or under court order.
  • Hold your therapist's undivided loyalty in relation to all abusers.
  • Obtain informative answers to questions about your condition, your therapist's qualifications, and any proposed treatment.
  • Have your safety given priority by your therapist, to the point of readiness to use all lawful means to neutralize an imminent threat to your life or that of someone else.
  • Receive a commitment from your therapist that is not conditional on your "good behavior" (habitual crime and endangerment excepted).
  • Make clear and reliable agreements about the times of sessions and of your therapist's availability.
  • Telephone your therapist between scheduled sessions, in urgent need, and receive a return call within a reasonable time.
  • Be taught skills that lessen the risk of re-traumatization: containment (boundaries for recovery work); control of attention and mental imagery; systematic relaxation.
  • Enjoy reasonable physical comfort during sessions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tao of Equus - The author's description of her first marriage

I was not expecting anything like what I got from this book. I was expecting a book about horses and healing. I did not expect that the author would understand what I have been through in my life.
"My husband had been taught to dominate, not collaborate. Whenever I asserted m own will and vision, my own creativity and passion, he saw this as a dangerous bid to dis empower him. His criticisms of my body and soul weren't designed to be constructive, they were intended to whittle away my confidence and rein me in. People use ropes, whips and spurs to keep their horses in line, but they often find that words are just as effective in subduing members of their own species. Though he possessed a keen intellect, an acrobatic wit, and a gift for public speaking, My husband had no idea how to express his conflicting feelings or discuss his deepest fears in private. Whenever he felt threatened he would use verbal intimidation and sex to enforce his position. Without warning, a romantic evening would turn int a nightmare. The man would make fun of my figure, insisting that my anorexic physique was still too fat, the insults escalating until I was reduced to tears. An hour after I retreated to the bedroom alone, he would slip under the covers, turn my face away from him, and ride me like a beaten-down horse. For days and sometimes weeks afterward, I would feel dead inside, my heart and spirit broken. From my husband's point of view, however, I was operating at a level of self-esteem he could manage, and our marriage was once again harmonious."
(p. 12)
The first time I read this paragraph, I nearly had a panic attack. How could anyone know what it was like to live with Larry? How could she have described it so well?

She went on to say,
"For millennia, wedding vows obliged wives to pledge their obedience, and the majority of men raised as late as the 1960's were taught to expect it. The fact that my husband and I expunged that line form our own vows ultimately didn't hold any weight. on the surface, we were committed to creating a relationship of equals, yet neither one of us had been given the tools to bring this nice idea into form. His conditioning made it impossible for him to accept my growing creativity and self-actualization as anything but a challenge. He had been taught to dominate. Had been taught to submit. Our life together was ruled by old-world values that crept int our relationship and ultimately destroyed our marriage."
(p. 13)
That also sounded so much like my life with Larry. We talked about being equals. He wanted us to be equals, and in every way except one, we were. But in the bedroom... he became completely and totally dominant. When it came to sex and my body - I was no one, nothing but a plaything.

I believe he didn't want to be like that. I believe he wanted something different. We weren't able to have what both of us wanted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

There's something about riding bareback...

I spent a few hours today with Bishop Johnson and Sunny.

BJ has been worried that Sunny is too much work, and maybe he should sell him and get a different horse. When he told me that today, my insides lurched. I feel a strange bond to Sunny. I don't fully understand it. I just feel like I understand him, and I relate to him. I don't know why - I just do.

When BJ talked about how much work Sunny was going to take - inside I felt like he was saying I was too much work, and maybe he should just move on. I wasn't worth the time it was taking to make me into a worthwhile person. (I logically know he was talking about a horse, but it didn't feel like he was talking about the horse!)

BJ reassured me he wouldn't sell Sunny unless he hurt somebody. We got Sunny out of his stall, and BJ worked with him in the round pen. I just sat and watched. I was grateful to be outside, but I was full of sadness.

Sunny and BJ went for a walk, and I followed them. I just felt too sad - I eventually sat down on a stump and just cried. BJ brought Sunny over and asked if I wanted to ride him bareback.


I don't know why, but that is exactly what I want to do. It seemed somewhat counterintuitive to me. My body (and specifically one part of my body) was in immense pain. Sitting on a horse without a saddle is not very comfortable. But somehow, just sitting on Sunny helped me to calm down.

I felt his body shudder when he got afraid. I could feel his heart racing when a dog barked. I could feel him tense up when he wasn't sure about something. Somehow feeling how his body reacted to the stimuli around him, made me feel more safe.

I am not even sure what it was about riding Sunny bareback, but I felt so much better afterwards. I actually wanted to go home to Dann. I wanted to go have dinner. I just wanted to do what I needed to do. I didn't feel like I HAD to anymore. I didn't feel as alone. I didn't feel as lost. After riding Sunny - even for just twenty minutes - I felt like me again. I know I am on the right path. I am excited to get through all of this, and I feel anxious to get to and then over the next hurdle.

I am also excited to continue working with Sunny. He and I will be jumping hurdles together one day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baby shower... triggering?

I went to Jen's baby shower with Mom and Mellen tonight. I really didn't want to go, but I knew mom wanted me to. I love her - I knew it would mean a lot to her if I went. I also knew if I went, Mellen would go. I chose to go.

The whole time I was there, my body was in pain, and I felt the sensations of being raped. I felt sick to my stomach, and I just wanted to get away.

I realized that whenever I do even the smallest thing that I don't want, but that will make someone else happy, I experience the pains. Even something as stupid as a baby shower feels like I am being raped if I don't want to be there.

I know that sometimes it is completely ok to choose to do something I don't want, because it will make someone else feel happy, or loved, or whatever. I guess I am not there yet.

How do I get to the point that I can take care of me, and love others? How do I do things for them, without feeling like I am being taken advantage of? How can I change this??

I can trust me... I can protect myself

I am currently struggling with the idea that I can't take care of myself. I can't trust me to keep me safe. I know I can... I have done it many times:
  • I asked to come to BJ's home, because it made me feel safe.
  • I eat meals and snacks without the prompting of others most of the time.
  • I call and ask for help when I am really struggling.
  • I let myself cry when I need to.
  • When I was feeling suicidal, I put myself in safer situations. (I surrounded myself with people, I didn't go to the office, I went home to Dann, I asked BJ to hold my pills for me, etc.)
This is not working quite the way I wanted. I currently feel so guilty and ashamed that I have done any of these things... I am supposed to feel better, because I can trust me. I don't!!

Argh! I just feel yucky...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Testing you... do you really trust me?

Today has been a crazy hard day all day. I have felt like I was going crazy. I wanted to get away from BJ - I never wanted to see him again. I wanted to give him what he wanted (which was for me to disappear). At the same time, I felt like I couldn't.

I left and went for a walk. I walked for two hours. I skipped lunch.

He said he would trust me. I didn't recognize it at the time, but I was testing his limits. How much would he really trust me? Would he really let me do what I wanted to do? Or would he force me to eat?

When he asked me to eat lunch - I just wanted to scream at him, "My body! My choice!"

I was too scared to. I was afraid he would tell me to go away forever. Instead, I ate.

I recognize eating is a good thing, and in some ways I did feel better after. In others, I felt like I had given in to him. I had let him take control of me. I felt like I had given up what I wanted for what he wanted. I felt used and frustrated. I wanted to scream at him, but instead, I sat there peacefully having a conversation about whatever we talked about...


Music has always played a very important part of my life. Until this past year, I didn't realize how important, though.

When we started building our business, I mostly quit listening to music. Instead, I listened to teaching tapes. Some were very inspirational, but still did nothing for me compared to what music does.

There have been so many times when I couldn't put words to what I was feeling when the words to a song would come to mind, such as
"I feel like I'm losing my best friend. I can't believe this could be the end." (No Doubt, Don't Speak)
"I'm still mad as hell and not ready to do what it is you think I should." (Dixie Chicks, Not Ready to Make Nice)
"My whole world is the pain inside me, the best I can do is just get through the day." (Superchick, Beauty from Pain)

And so on.

Lately, the song that has been playing constantly in my head is:
"What you've got to do is finish what you have begun.
I don't know just how, but its not over til you've won!"
(Martha from Secret Garden, Hold On)

It's like a constant reminder of what I already know. There is a victory waiting for me!

Words to songs also come to me as answers to prayers, like the other night when I was feeling so discouraged and I didn't know what I was going to do. I heard the words, "Hold on, there's angels on their way." (Hold On) And then I felt the angels around me. I knew it would be ok.

Tonight, as Bishop Johnson was praying, he said something about help Jen to understand why. (Because I had asked him, "Why?") And then I heard the words,

"I've let go my need to know why.
I'll take what answers you supply...
You know better than I."
(Joseph from King of Dreams, You Know Better than I)

And although, that was not the answer I really wanted, I felt comforted by it. I knew that was the answer I needed. (At this moment, I remember Ashley shaking her fists at the heavens, and I echo the sentiment a little.)

I am so grateful for music! There are so many songs in so many genres that have helped me through a tough moment. The words have echoed the feeling in my heart, and knowing that someone else wrote them helped me feel like I wasn't so alone. Also, it gave me strength to express the things in my heart.

I also have been able to share myself with others through music. I have shared the songs I love just by letting others listen to them. And now, I am learning to sing as well. I can share through my own voice.

"The voice is no longer hidden in me!
I've let go. Now, I am free!!"
(CFC Choir, The Voice in Me)

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Congrats to me! I have the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

I got off the phone with Paul this morning feeling very sad and discouraged. Although I have told Paul in the past, "I don't care what the diagnosis is. I will accept anything... just help me!"

I meant it - if diagnosing the problem helps us know how to solve the problem, then I am all for it.

However, I know that a problem like DID takes a lot of work to overcome. I have come a long ways, and I have made incredible progress. It just made me see how far I still have to do. That was very discouraging.

After meeting with Paul, I felt a little better. I don't completely fit DID, because I don't have different personalities. I just have emotions that take over completely.

Even Jenni - the seven year old girl - was just a part of me. She was innocent, loving, and she just wanted to be loved and protected. She was a little easier to let out than the angry Jen. It was easy to let her become part of me. I wanted to be more childlike. I wanted to be more loved. Angry Jen... I don't like her as much. She frightens me. She frightens the other part of me too.

I think Angry Jen tries to come out a lot, and that is why I end up crying on the floor. The other fragment of me becomes terrified of the anger, and curls up in a ball and cries.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. I am just trying to get my thoughts out coherently. I don't think its working.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today's Quotes

"Fall seven times, get up eight." - Japanese Proverb

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." - Chinese Proverb

"Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never." - Winston Churchill

"Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance." - Samuel Johnson

"Two steps forward, one step back is still moving forward!"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here I stand

Again, it washes over me.
Again, I feel the pain.
I want to run.
Instead, Here I stand.

Here I stand and face him.
Here I stand and fight him.
Here I stand and know, He is with me.

Letter of hope

I have come a very long ways. I have gone through things and experienced things that I couldn't have ever imagined. When I walked into CFC, I knew that I could change my behaviors and stop acting out on the eating disorder. I hoped I could find healing and recovery from not only the eating disorder but from the trauma I had experienced earlier in my life.

I chose to go to CFC, because I knew I couldn't go on living with those things constantly hanging over my head. I also knew that I didn't know enough to overcome it on my own.

The timing was perfect. I was afraid going in that I would be surrounded by people who wanted to cling to their eating disorders. I was amazed at the women that were there with me. Every one of them were fighting hard to overcome, they were open and honest, and I am so grateful that I got to know all of those amazing women.

I was willing to work hard. I thought that if I just worked hard for 3-6 months, I would be completely healed. I wouldn't have flashbacks, pains, anxieties, or the eating disorder. I was very wrong. That was incredibly hard for me to face.

When I left CFC, and I wasn't "recovered" yet, I was scared and worried. Somehow, I kept fighting. I kept working at overcoming the things from my past. I wanted to be free from the power those things had over me, and I wanted true healing.

Since leaving CFC, I have researched different healing and therapies that I can do both with professionals and on my own. It has amazed me that every single thing I have found, I have had at least a little experience with at CFC. They truly taught me everything I needed to know, and I just had to bring that knowledge out to the real world.

I am grateful for the experiences I had at CFC. I am so blessed and so lucky to have had the opportunity! I am so grateful that now I have the opportunity to keep learning and growing on my own too.

The future is bright. I don't know how long it will take, and I am not sure what it will take, but I know I will find complete healing and recovery. The things that I have learned in the past year have changed me and made me into a better, stronger woman.

The changes have all been very gradual. I had hoped that I would wakeup and be "recovered" Instead, it has come little by little, and at the perfect pace. (Although, I must admit no tempo would really be fast enough for me!) I have talked about things that I have never been willing to talk about before. I have felt fears and anxieties, and decided to go forward through them. I have learned to relax and enjoy myself without doing anything. I have made friends that truly know ME. I have developed a deeper more loving relationship with my husband. I am learning to trust myself.

I fear that this letter does not have the hope I want to share. I want to share what I know. I KNOW there is a reason for me to keep fighting. I KNOW there are amazing things waiting for me, and I have experienced many of them so far. I KNOW I am finding my way out of the depths I have lived in my entire life. I KNOW it will come, and it will be better than I can even imagine right now. I KNOW that the Lord has a plan for me. I KNOW He knows me so well, and loves me so much, He already knows what I need before I need it. He has a plan in place, and I will follow that plan. He wants me to be happy, so I know I will be. He wants me to feel joy and peace in my life, and so I know I will.

I have come so far already, and I know there is much more journey ahead of me.

I am excited to see what comes next.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's not about the horse... part 2

Thursday, we went horseback riding in the mountains.

Thursday evening, I got home and started reading the book, "It's not about the horse." One of the things the book talked about is that we treat the horse the way we have learned to treat people.

I started thinking, and realized how true that was. With Bo, I really wanted to run, but I couldn't tell him. I wouldn't yell, I wouldn't even barely whisper it to him. I did give him a kick, but I'm sure he felt the hesitation.

I struggled to tell Bo what I really wanted. I hate telling Bo what to do at all. I am afraid of hurting him. I am afraid of being too bossy. I am afraid of being too needy. I am afraid I don't deserve it. I'm afraid he won't do what I ask him to anyways.

I struggle to tell anyone what I really want. I hate admitting to myself that I want anything.

I have improved a lot, and I know riding has helped. I am getting better with the horses. At the beginning, I would barely even touch the reigns. I just let him walk wherever he wanted, or I let BJ lead him. I WANTED the reigns. I wanted to take control. I wanted to be the leader, and I didn't like BJ leading him. At the same time, I wouldn't do it. Now, I go out on my own. I will give the horses a kick, and sometimes they listen. I will ask for help from people more. I will talk about myself more. Things are definitely improving.

It's not about the horse

This morning, I decided that Sunny and I needed to hang out. Before I even went over there, I planned on grooming Sunny, maybe putting the saddle on him and staying close to the barn. I knew we weren't ready to go to the arena or the equestrian park yet. I knew we needed to get to know each other and learn to trust each other first.

I was also trying to pay attention to everything I was thinking and feeling and also to how Sunny reacted to me.

I really wanted the experiences described in the book, "It's not about the horse." The book described amazing changes, insights, and hope. I wanted to feel those things. I also knew that it probably wouldn't be anything super amazing, but I would learn something about myself.

We did great together at first. He came very willingly. I groomed him. He let me pick his hooves. Although, while doing his feet, I started to feel very dizzy. When I started to feel dizzy - he would pull his feet away from me. When I asked him to lift them up again, he wouldn't do it until after I rested for a second.

I put the saddle on him and the bit in. Both went relatively easy. (I admit every time I try to lift that saddle, I get worn out and dizzy, but it always passes eventually.) I rode him around the barn and up into the orchard. It was going really well, so I decided we could handle the arena.

We started to walk over, and as we approached the road, he started to get really antsy. I remembered that I hadn't planned to go to the arena, but quickly pushed that thought aside and kept going. We got across the street, and he got more anxious. As we rounded the fence, he seemed to be absolutely terrified.

At this moment, I was still determined. I refused to let myself be afraid, and even if I was afraid, that was no reason to go back. I got down off his back and tried to lead him. He walked with me for about three steps, then yanked back. At that moment, I felt fear for maybe the third time ever with the horse. I was afraid Sunny would run away and get hurt or lost. I was afraid I would get hurt or lost. I was afraid that someone else would see me struggling and think I was stupid. I was afraid.

And again, I remembered that Sunny and I weren't ready for the arena yet.

I was embarrassed to turn him around and take him back. I felt like I had let fear win. I felt weak. I was angry at myself. Those emotions only lasted for a few seconds, because as I turned him, he calmed down almost immediately.

I climbed back up on his back, walked back to the barn and took off the saddle.

How many times have I known something wasn't quite right, and yet I forced it anyways? How many times have I "pushed through" only to find myself in trouble? How many times have I tried to skip steps? How many times have I taken unnecessary risks, because I want to look like I have it all together?

The answers to all of those questions is a lot. And even now, there is a part of me that says, "What's wrong with that? If you can push through it, that's good right? Why be patient... if you wait for good things to come to you, you'll be waiting for very long time! We're supposed to take risks, right?"

Sunny knew we weren't ready for the arena. But don't worry, we will be someday.

What does it mean to heal?

I sleep at night. I'm present in the "now" and not always dissociating and flashing back to "then". I can laugh, really laugh, without feeling the deep ache in my chest. I don't feel dirty all of the time. I can do things "normal" people do: go to church, go to work, anything. I taste something other than tears, and feel something other than pain. I can let Dann hold me, and not even think about it. I can feel loved and not feel ashamed. I can eat without wishing that I wasn't. I want to get out of bed more days than I don't want to. I don't feel afraid to sleep. I don't feel afraid all of the time. I can think about something besides sex, rape, pain, etc. I am independent and don't need people like I do now. I am not a burden. I am not constantly fighting the desire to give up and die. I want to live.

I long to forget, but I am pretty sure that will never happen. I long to be innocent and naive and that won't happen either. Instead, I guess I just want it to go back to the past where it belongs, and I want it to stay there...