Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

This blog:

If I could have written it, I would have.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Body,

I understand you have been through a lot. I completely get your need to throw temper tantrums, but right now is a very bad time. You see... we are so worn out. We need to rest. We need sleep. We do not need any more body memories, night terrors, panic attacks, etc.

I am completely willing to go through the shit you insist on putting me through, but just not tonight. Please, will you chill out for just one night??

I am glad that we have worked this out. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Sleep,

Why do you hate me so?
Every time I start to drift off... everything tenses... my muscles ache.
Head throbbing. Want to run away. Scream. Cry.
Can we come to some sort of agreement?
Meet me half way??

Oh well... never mind...
See you tomorrow??

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This moment what Joy feels like.

Horses... Mountains... Snow... Quiet... Friendship... Remembering the past... Its IN the past... Hope... Stillness... I'm different... Gratitude... The contrast... deep sorrows... healing... Peace...

There are no words. It just is.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miraculous Shit!

I have felt stuck for a very long time... This past week, so much has happened, I no longer feel stuck, I feel... a lot of other things instead.

On Wednesday, I remembered.
I have experienced flashbacks of it,. Confusion surrounding it. I thought I was crazy. Paul kept digging. Suddenly, in the afternoon, crying in the corner of the office, I knew.

Emily and Calli... Calli's dad... the shower...

The next day, it was strangely VERY IMPORTANT to not let K take advantage of me anymore. At first, I thought I was just avoiding. Still... I just went with it...

I talked to K. I talked to Paul. She was angry. I didn't back down. I felt so much better... lighter... stronger...

Friday, I woke up HAPPY! In those few seconds between sleeping and waking, I suddenly gained so much insight into me.
Emily had manipulated me for years, "If you don't do what I want, I'll tell everyone how disgusting you are. No one will want to be your friend."

Eventually, I stopped doing what she wanted, and she DID tell people, and it worked. I was shunned. I switched schools. I found some really good friends, but in the back of my mind, "If they knew, they wouldn't be my friends. I don't deserve friends like them." They never had the intention of manipulating me, but I was still manipulated into doing and being what I thought they wanted.

As I grew older, made new friends, I found many who took advantage of my eagerness to please. I had forgotten WHY I had to do everything for everyone, but I remembered I was worthless, disgusting, and if anyone knew, they wouldn't be my friend.

The friendship with K FELT the same. I HAD to do what she wanted. I lied, I kept secrets, I did so much that I didn't want to do... Standing up to her, changed everything. I was no longer a slave to anyone. I was free!
All day, I walked around feeling light as air. No guilt. (WEIRD!) It felt so good to see a world of new possibilities...

As good as I knew all of this was, I couldn't bring myself to write about it at first, so BJ did.
"It was a miracle. Months and months of incredible effort and painful enduring. One miracle."
He's right. It was a miracle, but its the kind of miracle that sucks too. Answer to my prayers? Absolutely. A step in the right direction? No doubt. Finally knowing what I am dealing with? Good... And now I gotta deal with it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Its important to me

Facebook has been a place where I don't say or do anything that might suggest life is not perfect... Its not that I am trying to hide...its just that I am trying to hide...

I use the excuse that its not the place to discuss hard things (it might not be). I use the excuse that no one wants to read about sad things. I use the excuse that its a place where everyone shares only their best side. (We don't take pictures of our family when we are fighting... We take pictures when we are happy.) I use the excuse that I don't want to be attention seeking like some people I know.

I did something a little different tonight. I posted that I signed a petition asking a columnist to apologize for blaming a victim of rape. I honestly believe she WANTED to give good advice, but she didn't. The original letter (and her response) is here.

I couldn't figure out WHY what she said bothered me so much, but it did.
I thought about friends, who still won't use the word "Rape" to describe what happened to them. I wouldn't use it until after several others had used it first. And still, I have only said it out-loud a few times... Why? Because I feel silly using such a strong word to describe what happened to me. Because people will think of me as disgusting, or they'll question what I am saying, Because it is a very scary, nasty, ugly word used to describe a very scary, nasty, ugly, horrible act. Because I don't want people to blame me. Because I don't want to be laughed at. Because it could have been so much worse... I don't deserve to use that word to describe what happened to me.

The girl in the column wrote in asking, "I guess my question is, if I wasn't kicking and fighting him off, is it still rape? I feel like calling it that is a bit extreme, but I haven't felt the same since it happened." She needed help, support, someone to tell her she wasn't alone and...

Instead, Amy STARTS her response by saying, "First, you were a victim of your own awful judgment. Getting drunk at a frat house is a hazardous choice for anyone to make because of the risk (some might say a likelihood) that you will engage in unwise or unwanted sexual contact."

No, that is NOT first. The girl admitted to making poor choices. She did NOT need to hear that she was a victim of her own awful judgment. THAT IS RIDICULOUS. And wrong.
First, she was a victim of rape. She needs help. There may come a time where she will need to take responsibility for the choices that put her at risk, but that is very, very far down the road.

This girl wrote an advice columnist feeling helpless, scared, alone, shamed, hurt, and so much more... And the advice columnist entirely missed the point. And she perpetuated a lot of crap. I don't think she is the only one with a problem, but there a lot of people that need to change the way they think. If I were responding to the letter, I would have written it like this:
Dear Victim?:
First, if you don’t consent to sex, it is rape. There is no second.

Whether you were drunk or sober is irrelevant. Although being drunk and agreeing to go to someone's room could make you feel responsible, it doesn't make what happened to you any less of a violation.

All the risk reduction measures in the world could never amount to risk prevention. In the end, the person responsible for rape is the perpetrator; he is the ONLY one who can prevent it. What he did was WRONG!

The most important thing now is for you to get whatever help you need. You know what’s best for you. I would encourage you to speak to someone you trust. I assume you wrote to Amy, because you felt afraid, uncertain, scared, maybe a little crazy, doubting yourself, questioning everything you ever thought about yourself or the world around you. Amy is naive, blind, IGNORANT. She doesn't know. Talk to someone who does... a counselor, a doctor, a church leader... and keep looking until you find someone who can help you understand what happened and heal from it.

Were you violated? Yes. And then you were revictimized by Amy Dickinson who blamed you. There will be others like her. Remember, there are others who understand, and who know better.

You have a very hard journey ahead of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Many people wrote the Tribune blasting Amy. I wish the blasting weren't so... blasting... because what is important is getting lost in the arguing. She even wrote an apology (here), but she still very much missed the point.

Just because a girl is drunk... doesn't mean anything... A man can get drunk, and he is not in danger... But... I don't think getting drunk is okay... And... the girl getting drunk has nothing to do with anything. People who are completely sober also completely freeze when they are raped. It is a way to survive the moment... It feels very confusing afterwards... Why didn't I fight harder? How could it be rape, when I just let it happen? Its actually a completely normal response. It does not make what he did okay!!!! Ever!

So, I signed the petition. And then I posted it to facebook. I didn't say I was a victim, but...

It FEELS like I did. Suddenly, I feel vulnerable... everyone is going to know how disgusting I am... And they are going to hate me and despise me... and... they are not going to respond to the post, but will think lots of horrible things about me.

I am trying to pretend like I don't care what people think when they see that, but really, I care a lot. I want people to understand and to change. And I'm afraid most will not do either.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Look what I can do!

I went riding today. I started riding Sunny. I worked on getting him to trot, then walk, trot, walk, trot, walk. It went really well, but what I really wanted to do was run.

So, when BJ was leaving, I took Bo and he took Sunny back to the barn. Bo was not so happy about running. He really didn't want to. He wanted to go back to the barn with Sunny and BJ. Every time we started running, he'd pull off the rails and turn around. Recalling what I had learned in the book, "Horses Don't Lie," I just had him go in a circle, so we were right back to where we were before he turned around.

In the past, when he did that, I continually pulled on the reins trying to get him to stay next to the fence. He would end up stopping, I'd fight with him, and eventually we would start running again. Although we always ran again, we still stopped while we fought about it. I would feel frustrated. He probably felt frustrated. Riding wasn't fun, and nothing would change. He would keep doing it.

By running him in a circle: we never stopped running; I never had to fight with him; he never got the break that he was looking for; he figured out what I wanted; and eventually, he stopped trying to turn around. It was SO COOL!

Sometimes, the solution is so much simpler than we know. Fighting with him... sucked... I didn't like it. I felt mean and domineering and I assume he didn't really like it either. I enjoyed riding him today and not fighting with him. It felt really good.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holy Guilt Batman!

I always assumed that when others talk about guilt, they feel... what I feel. It seems I was wrong.

When I talk about guilt, I mean CRUSHING, I'd rather die than feel this, I CAN'T MOVE, THINK, or FEEL anything else but GUILT, it rules my life, all consuming...

The thought I had tonight? No wonder I have tried to get rid of every possible "extra" ounce of body weight... I am carrying a ton of bricks around with me EVERYWHERE... and its exhausting. Shed a few? That will be just a little bit of weight that I won't have to carry...

Friday, December 4, 2009

I can't push the river

Someone wants me to know that I need to slow down a little...
"Sensations occur in infinite variety. It may be difficult at first to have patience to allow them to come into consciousness. their pace is much slower than the pace at which most of us live our lives. This is one of the reasons that trauma develops in the first place; we don't give our natural biological rhythms the time they need to reach completion.
A sensations will transform into something else (another sensation, image, or a feeling) as you notice all its characteristics and will do so at its own pace -- you can't push the river. Becoming attuned to them and honoring them is part of this process." (p. 83)
Sometimes, I feel like this whole recovery thing is taking so long. Sometimes, I feel like I am doing something wrong because it is taking so long. Maybe I am... Maybe I am pushing myself too damn hard. Maybe I need to slow down a little, and healing will happen faster...

Funny thing, then I picked up the book on training horses, and read about the same thing again.
"I guess sometimes we get so tangled up in trying to find ways to teach our horses to do things or in finding training techniques to help us solves our horse's problems, that we forget to take the most important factor into consideration -- the horse."
It talks about how if we just SLOW DOWN and pay attention to what the horse is trying to tell us, we'll make much faster progress than any specific technique can. I already know that's true. I have seen it with Sunny.

I also know its true with myself... When I stop trying to force healing, recovery, anything or everything, it just works. Hmmm... I guess I'll slow down a little...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Le Sigh

I had a session with Paul that didn't go so well... I suddenly understood how the idea of "false memories" could be a real thing. I was vulnerable, upset, and... well... his questions were not the helpful kind.

I met with him a few days later, and told him he couldn't ask questions like that... EVER... I told him to get the book, "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma." I got stuck in the book a few months ago... some of the assignments freaked me out, however, the philosophy behind the book seems the truest of anything I have heard. It talks about how trauma is not caused by a triggering event, but by the residual energy left over. With that definition, ANYTHING could be trauma, and therefore could cause the bizarre symptoms I experience. The book talks about releasing that energy: physically and emotionally, and becoming aware of myself enough to know what I need to heal.

I haven't read it for a while, because it is HARD, and triggering, and... I wasn't ready yet. Now, I'm ready. This is what has stuck out to me today:
"If you want to learn to use the felt sense, and especially if you want to learn to use the felt sense to resolve trauma, you must learn how to recognize the physiological manifestations that underlie your emotional reactions. Sensations come from symptoms, and symptoms come from compressed energy; that energy is what we have to work with in this process. Through sensations and the felt sense, this vast energy can gradually be decompressed and harnessed for the purpose of transforming trauma.
Again, remember to be gentle, to take it slow and easy, and don't attach any kind of interpretation or judgment to what you experience. Just let whatever you experience move you through to the next experience." (p. 76)
The first paragraph described the process I am currently IN. I am trying to recognize the sensations and the emotions and learning how to decompress the energy... and... The second paragraph is the kind of reminder I need CONSTANTLY, because I seem to forget...
"If an image of a horrifying scene shows up in your mind's eye, ever so gently notice what sensations come with it. Sometimes, when sensations are intense, images come first. The sensation is ultimately what will help you move through the trauma -- whatever it is. You may end up knowing what it is and you may not. For now, just be reassured that as you move through your reactions, the need to know whether it was real or not will loosen its grip." (p. 78)
Sometimes, with Paul's need to know what HAPPENED, I get really confused. I don't need to know WHAT happened, I just want to heal and understand how to heal.
"Be aware that the energies of trauma can be bound up in beliefs about being raped or abused. By challenging these beliefs, especially if they aren't true, some of that energy may be released. If this is the case for you, rest and give yourself plenty of time to process this new information. Stay with the sensations you experience as much as possible, and don't be alarmed if you feel tremulous or weak. Both are evidence that normal discharge is happening. Don't force yourself to do more than you can handle. If you feel tired, take a nap or go to bed early. Part of the grace of the nervous system is that it is constantly self-regulating. What you can't process today will be available to be processed some other time when you are stronger, more resourceful, and better able to do it." (p. 79)
First, I DON'T NEED TO REST! I can handle it!!!
Second, what if my body won't let me go to bed early... I mean... it continues to freak out. Do you know how hard it is to sleep while all of that is going on? And Dann moves and I suddenly feel so afraid? And even while I am sleeping... the night terrors and nightmares? What do I do then??
Third, I KNOW things happen just when they are supposed to. I feel overwhelmed, but I have rarely been overwhelmed with too much to process at once. That's really cool.
"One mistake that is made all too often is that people interpret these visual communications as reality. A traumatized individual may end up believing that he or she was raped or tortured when the actual message the organism is trying to convey is that this sensation you are experiencing FEELS like rape or torture. The actual culprit could just as easily have been a terrifying medical procedure, an automobile accident, or even childhood neglect. It could literally be anything.
Of course, some images really are memories. People who have suffered from rape or torture will draw on those experiences in producing images. It is common for children who have had these experiences not to remember them until years later. Even if the images are "true" memories, we have to understand their role in healing.
The explanation, beliefs, and interpretations connected with memories can get in the way of completely entering and deepening the felt sense. The sensations that accompany these images are immensely valuable." (p. 81)
There are a few things I know... But there are a lot of things I don't know. I like that I don't have to know. I don't have to know if the images that come are memories or just my brain's way of trying to explain how it felt. I like it. It feels reassuring and calming and... I am not as afraid of what might come.
"For now, it is more important to focus on what you experience rather than on what you think about it." (p. 81)
It is such a relief reading all of this, and I feel strangely hopeful... like...
"I can do this!"