A much needed return to therapy

I admit it.

I can barely handle going an entire week without a therapy session.

My wallet would certainly approve of one therapy session a week. But for right now, my life is still a little bit of a mess and I need more therapy than normal. And that’s okay.

I brought my list with me, but I ended up being able to remember most of what I wanted to discuss. We were able to tackle the most notable events of the past week. I saved a couple of topics for the next session, but they aren’t too serious so I can handle waiting a couple more days.

I told her about my experience on Black Friday that led to the panic attack and flashbacks. Even though it took hours, I managed to finally calm myself down completely. I told her how my coworkers reacted and responded to my needs. I guess I was fortunate in that way, because some people would not be understanding at all. It happens that there is another worker there with PTSD (combat-related), and people at work weren’t really knowledgeable about it. I used it as an opportunity to explain what PTSD is, what causes it, and what can happen, and I think that was helpful for all of us.

My therapist asked me if I had dissociated at all during the incident. I told her I didn’t think that I did, but I couldn’t be 100% sure because I was feeling so chaotic. She said I handled it well, that I knew what I needed to do so it wouldn’t get worse and I was able to assert my needs. I did tell her that I may have dissociated at work in the days prior. On Thursday, a few coworkers asked me if I was okay, because they said I was “out of it” and fumbling around the day before. I remember the earlier parts of my day just fine, and I remember walking to work and starting my shift. I don’t really remember anything specific after that, which makes me think that I did dissociate.

This prompted my therapist to ask if any of my coworkers know about the DID. I have one coworker that knows, only because he found my blog and read it. He doesn’t really know what DID is, and I haven’t made any wholehearted attempts to explain it to him or to anyone at work. My therapist reminded me that I was able to explain about PTSD and had positive results with that. I told her I found PTSD easier to explain than DID. I think that DID needs to be explained through a process. If you try to explain everything in one sitting, you are going to overwhelm a person. I feel like I would need to give out a few tidbits at a time and see how people react to them, and then go from there.

Disclosing and explaining DID is just not something I’m ready for yet. Oddly enough, one of the managers made a comment about her other personality coming out (which had a name) and made jokes about it the other day. I felt a little uncomfortable, but I tried to be understanding in that most people just don’t know about DID and how those comments could be offensive. With that being said, the only way they would know those comments could be offensive is if they knew the reality of DID. I just don’t want to be one of those people who are labelled as sensitive because they find everything offensive. I try to understand both sides, I really do. But I also recognize that, in my attempts at understanding, I am also perpetuating the lack of knowledge about DID by staying silent.

We moved on to discussing graduate school. I completed Monday night of last week and finalized my application that Tuesday night. I’m still stressing about how I am going to be able to handle everything, especially financially. I can use loans to help ease the financial burden, but it’s not going to be enough to live on. I will still have to work, and quite possibly get an extra job if I am cut back to part-time after the holidays. I’m pretty good at stretching a dollar. I can live on little food (one benefit of the bullshit I went through as a child), and have been managing quite well doing that. I’ve been selling some of my things for extra money. But I still know that realistically, I’m not that far away from financial hardship. It’s nearly impossible to get benefits or assistance when you are single and childless, so even if I wanted to go that route, I can’t. Maybe I just need to play the lottery.

Despite the chaos that I still see my life as being, my therapist thinks I have made so much progress, even in the last couple of months. She brought up possibly restarting the trauma-focused therapy, more specifically delving back into the mother-daughter sexual abuse…the same subject that led us to stop intense therapy more than two months ago. I wasn’t expecting her to bring it up. After thinking about it for a minute, I did agree that I was in a different place. I still don’t think I’ve made as much progress as she thinks I have, but I also know that my self-perception is a little distorted. I told her I would be okay with trying it and seeing how it affects me. If it sends me back to a bad place, then we can take another break. I don’t expect miracles. I don’t expect to be emotionless.

We’re starting next session.

This shit is hard.

Group workshop

I had a group therapy workshop today for my survivor group.

I wish I could have been fully there, but I wasn’t.

I hadn’t slept much the night before. I was fighting off the urge to self-destruct. There was so much commotion going on inside and I couldn’t quiet it down enough to sleep. Before I knew it, it was 4 AM and I had to get up for work. Then the commotion decided to quiet down. I managed to make it through the disastrous work day (everything that could go wrong, went wrong), changed my clothes, and caught the bus to make it to group just in time.

I made it through the first session okay. The next session was a mess. One of the therapists made a statement that no one is 100% evil, and that set something off. The commotion came back. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t even come up with answers. My therapist came over to check on me, but I told her I was okay. I wasn’t. I must have been drifting because she came back with a cup of water and told me to drink. I didn’t want to drink. I wanted the clusterfuck in my head to go away.

We had a break after session and the other therapist told me to stand up and walk around to help get me back to the present. I walked out to the waiting area and my therapist came out and checked on me. I told her I was fine (my default response to any question asking how I am doing). But she knew I wasn’t. She saw me struggling. I told her the voices were back and calling me evil, but that I was just going to ignore them. Then she reminded me that ignoring them hasn’t worked in the past, it only makes them worse.

My therapist didn’t think I was ready to go back to group, so I ended up missing most of the next group session talking to her one-on-one. She told me that I should tell the inside that they can be heard tomorrow during our therapy session, but that right now I had something really important I needed to focus on to help us all get better. I’m not very good at communicating with the inside. I tend to respond out of anger and frustration or ignore them because I just don’t have the energy to negotiate. I also still have trouble acknowledging that I am conversing with intangible parts that exist in my head. How does this not make me crazy?

I eventually went back to session, but my focus still wasn’t there. I was going in and out of it. I was feeling very negative overall and I didn’t want to share my negativity with the group. I couldn’t even think anymore. I just wanted some peace. I just wanted to go to sleep. All I could feel was the nausea that has become so normal for me. I couldn’t even connect to my own body. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to feel anything. I didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that my mother still affects me. I didn’t want to acknowledge that my mother broke me as a child and completely shattered me as an adult.

We ended the group with coloring. Normally I love coloring. This time, I couldn’t get myself to enjoy it. It was too mentally draining. I ended up coloring in a picture of flowers with the word HOPE in the middle. I colored it black, the least hopeful color there is. I don’t even know why I did it. The therapist noticed and asked me about the reason for my color choice, and I shrugged my shoulders. If I could, I would have colored everything black right then.

As I was making sure I had everything before I left, the therapist came out and handed me the coloring set she got for us to color with in the last session. She told me she wanted me to have it. She knew my financial situation isn’t the best. It was such a small gesture but extremely difficult for me to accept. I don’t like receiving help from anyone. That wasn’t the end of it, either. I was so overwhelmed with everything – the session, the gestures of kindness – that when the therapist gave me a hug, I just started to cry. I tried to keep it in, but I couldn’t. I stood there, crying and sniffling into her shoulder as she tried to comfort me. I tried to wipe my tears away before anyone else saw me. Then my therapist came over and asked to hug me and I lost it again. I was such an emotional mess, I was shaking. I had to let go and leave before I completely broke down.

I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t know where I wanted to go. But it was getting late and I knew it was dangerous for me to be walking around in the dark half out of it, so I walked home.

I’m still an emotional mess. I’m so tired, but I can’t sleep. I want to cry, but I’m too tired. I’m hungry, but the nausea is so bad that I can’t eat.

This is another example of how my life changes day by day. I was functioning fine yesterday. Today has been a train wreck. Now I have to see how therapy goes tomorrow. I almost considered not going because I just don’t want to deal right now. But deep down, I know avoiding will get me nowhere.

Daughter’s Day

Apparently it is National Daughter’s Day, or that’s what the internet seems to believe.  My Facebook has been inundated the last two days with pictures and posts from mothers honoring and saying beautiful things about their daughters.  I started to read some of the posts.  Then it got to be too much and I had to stop.  I’ll never have one of those posts from my mother.  I’ll never be honored on Daughter’s Day.  I am no longer a daughter.  My mother should have lost that right the first day she laid her hands on me, but she didn’t.  Instead, she lost the privilege to be my mother the day I walked out on her 11 weeks ago.

I went to the movies earlier today to try to clear my mind.  I thought seeing a kid’s movie would be a safe bet.  I was wrong.  Instead, I found myself crying five minutes into the start of the movie.  Why?  The movie began with the father standing by as his daughter got married.  I began to think of my own future wedding.  And that brought up a whole stream of thoughts about my future.

My father won’t be walking me down the aisle to give me away when I get married.  He won’t be dancing with me at my reception.  There will be no mother-of-the-bride at my wedding, no heart-to-heart conversation between mother and daughter before I take the long walk down the aisle to married life.  There will be no family to share in my happiness and excitement that day.  My side of the room will be empty.  I’m no longer a daughter.  I’m alone.

When I walk down the aisle at graduation in a couple of months to officially receive my degree, there will be no one there to cheer me on.  My father won’t be there recording the moment I shake the dean’s hand.  My mother won’t be applauding me after I make my speech.  There won’t be anyone in the audience for me; no one will be there to take my picture.  I’m no longer a daughter.  I’m alone.

When I have my first child, my mother won’t be there to help me get through those tough first weeks.  I won’t have my mother to turn to for help when I am feeling overwhelmed or have a question I am too embarrassed to ask anyone else.  My mother and father will never know the joy of holding their grandchild in their arms and seeing their grandchild’s beautiful smile. I’ll never be able to share each milestone with any of my family. My family will never be there to celebrate each birthday. I’m no longer a daughter.  I’m alone.

When I become successful, my mother and father won’t be there by my side to congratulate me.  I won’t be telling the world how I couldn’t do it without my parents’ support and guidance.  I won’t be thanking them or acknowledging their presence in my life.  They won’t be allowed to say “that’s my girl” or pat themselves on the back for a job well done.  Everything I have become and will become in the future is no thanks to them.  They deserve no recognition or honor.  They shattered me into a million pieces and took away the glue.  I’m no longer a daughter.  I’m alone.

As my children grow older and ask questions about their family, I’ll have nothing to offer them. I have no photographs. I have no happy memories, no stories to pass down to them. My children will never get to know what it’s like to be spoiled by grandma and grandpa. They will never even know that my mother and father exist. All that my children will be left with is a shell of a mother. That half of the family tree will always be empty for them.  They will be no one’s grandchildren. They’ll be alone.

When my mother and father pass away, there will be no tears or sadness from me.  I won’t be writing their obituaries or delivering any eulogies.  I won’t be attending their funerals.  I won’t be there as they are lowered into the ground, buried and left to rot.  I will never visit their graves, bring them flowers, or say any prayers for them.  I’m no longer their daughter.  They are alone.

Because of me, everyone is alone.

Letter to a friend

I recently talked about an issue I was having with a friend who was (quite literally, as my therapist put it) playing devil’s advocate with my mother.  I decided to write her a letter, since I couldn’t seem to find the words when texting her or talking with her on the phone.  I mentioned the letter to my therapist in our usual e-mail updates this past weekend and she told me I could bring the letter with me to our session today if I hadn’t already sent it.  So I did.

The letter:


Hello.  I hope you are doing well.  You haven’t really text or spoke to me much and I’m not sure if it’s because you’re busy or because of the things I said about my parents a couple of weeks ago.

I need you to know that what my mother tells you is not the truth.  It never has been; it never will be.  She is using you to get to me.  She is a dangerous person.  Please be aware of that if you choose to continue to engage with her.

I spent 29 years of my life trapped in a family that treated me in ways no person should ever be treated.  It took me years to gather the courage, the financial resources, and the strength to leave that prison.  I have escaped.  When you escape from a burning building, you don’t go back in; you’ll get burned.  If I go back home, I’m going to be hurt again.  I don’t deserve it.

I’m building a new life for myself now.  I’m no longer under my mother’s control.  I don’t have to worry about being attacked in my own home.  I am free.  I still live in fear, but hopefully that will change one day.

I need a lot of therapy and a lot of time to undo the damage that my family has done.  Talking to them, seeing them, or visiting them will only set my recovery back.  I don’t owe my family anything.  They are dead to me.  In fact, the only time I want to hear about them is when they die, so I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I just need you to understand why cutting my family out of my life is what’s best for me.  I need you to support my decision and stop advocating for my mother.  It hurts me when you do that because I feel like you are on her side.  I can’t involve myself with anyone who supports her.  I need you to feel what is in my heart.

I didn’t want to read it out loud.  I told my therapist it was horrible.  She asked me why it was horrible.  I told her “It just is.”  Then I took the letter from my bag and handed it to her.  She took her time and read it through.  She told me the letter wasn’t horrible at all.  She said it was honest and real and everything I needed to say to her.  She even got goosebumps reading one part of it.  I still insisted that it was horrible.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because everything I do is horrible.”

It was such a raw response from me.  I didn’t even think about it.  I still have it programmed in my head that everything I do ends up being wrong.  Sometimes I am able to override the programming; most times, I’m just too exhausted to bother and let the original programming run its course.  It’s also extremely unnatural for me to assert my needs in any way, and this letter was doing that.  I’ve lived my life for the last 29 years believing my needs were unimportant, because even my most basic needs were neglected.  It’s difficult for me.  People don’t realize just how hard it is to reprogram yourself when you’ve lived a certain way for so long.

We talked about what would happen once I sent the letter.  I said I didn’t think it would matter; I still don’t think my friend would understand.  I’m not emotionally ready to handle that reality yet.  I’m not ready to grieve another loss.  This woman was like a mother to me.  I told my therapist I couldn’t go through losing a mother again.  I already lost my real one (who was never there to begin with), and here I am about to lose the one I replaced her with.  What is so wrong with me that I can’t even have a mother to love me?

My therapist and I both agreed that I wasn’t ready to send the letter yet.  I don’t know when I’ll be ready.  It’s going to have to be soon, because I know the issue is going to come up again.  I can’t keep putting out fires.  It’s exhausting.  I’m not a firefighter.  I’m just a girl trying to get by.

Eight Weeks

It’s been eight weeks now.  I’m still free.  I’m still alive.

I have bad days.  I have okay days.  I never really have good days, but that’s okay; there’s still time for those.

Physically, I could be better.  I’ve lost over 30 pounds.  I know it’s from a combination of not eating enough and being sick.  It’s not that I can’t afford to lose it, because I can, but that’s a lot to lose in a short period of time.  I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat, but it’s difficult.  My roommate does her best to try to get me to eat.  She’s even tried to memorize the foods I eat and the foods I absolutely will not touch.  The other night, my roommate’s boyfriend asked if I wanted a garlic knot.  I reluctantly obliged.  He was so genuinely happy that I wanted to eat something that he shouted out in celebration.  Small steps.  I also made a promise to my therapist that I would at least start taking vitamins.  She actually found a vitamin for me that was chewable and non-fruit-flavored, so I have no excuses not to take it.

My foot is feeling a little better.  I’ve been upgraded to a space boot that goes up to my calf.  I’m supposed to wear the boot for at least two more weeks until I go back to the orthopedist again.  I’m also supposed to use crutches, but I was a little rebellious today and decided at the last second to go without.  I did fine.  I walked a lot slower than I would have if I used the crutches, but that’s okay.  But I didn’t fall.  I’m still standing.  The orthopedist mentioned I had quite a few old fractures show on x-ray.  All I could think was yea, I’m sure there are old fractures all over my body.  It’s probably why I have so many issues with bone pain now, and why I have random bone spurs throughout my body.  I guess my body wants to remind me of that pain again.

I had a bit of a meltdown last night.  I had this weekend off of work (which never happens, and will likely never happen again for a long time), so I was planning to go back and visit my very good friends back home (Is it really home?  I don’t know what to call it.).  I had mentioned it to my therapist in yesterday’s session and told her that I worked out all the possible scenarios in my head and it still seemed like it would be more of a positive thing for me.  I miss them more than anything.  Aside from my therapist and my roommate, I am alone here.  I told my friend and he seemed happy.  Then I text my other friend about it.  She said that was great, then she said “so are you visiting your parents?”  My heart sank and I became overwhelmed with emotions.  Why would I visit the very people I ran away from?  It’s not like my friend is not aware of the situation; she knows, though not in detail, what my mother has done to me.  Is that not enough of a reason for me to leave?  Does she not believe me?  I don’t understand it.  I shouldn’t have to justify why I want nothing to do with them.  I feel like she is on their side and not on mine.  I also felt, at that point, that by visiting her, I could be risking my own safety if she told my mother I was coming.

I had so much running through my head last night and couldn’t get myself together, so I e-mailed my therapist.  That in itself is a big step for me, because I rarely if ever reach out when I need it.  She e-mailed me back in the middle of the night.  I checked my e-mail around 3 AM and read her thorough response, and I knew that going back wasn’t the right thing to do.  Ultimately, she said if I had any doubt in my mind about my ability to trust these friends, that it is most important to protect myself and my new life here.  Unfortunately, when I hear/read comments like I did from my friend, my ability to trust that friend becomes damaged.  There is a disconnect somewhere and I don’t know how to fix it.  I can’t make someone understand something they are choosing not to accept.  My therapist told me I need to advocate for myself if this friend continues to play devil’s advocate; if that doesn’t work, the relationship may just not be worth the effort.  I have to put energy into my new life.  I don’t want to have to waste energy in unnecessarily deflecting dangers from my past when they can just as easily be avoided.  It’s sad.  It makes me cry just thinking about it (I’m crying as I type this damn sentence).  But I have to do what’s best for me for once.  It just bothers me that in the end, I’m once again going to look like the shitty person.

It just sucks because I feel alone as it is.  I can’t afford to lose more people.  While I have made a couple new friends, it takes a lot of time and effort to build strong relationships.  I turned down spending time with a friend today because I thought I was going to visit back home, and instead I ended up by myself.  Maybe I needed it.  Who knows.  I’m not really sure what I need.

I’m still having trouble coming to terms with my diagnosis.  I mean, I’m getting there…slowly…reluctantly.  My therapist told me that my prognosis is good.  She could have just been trying to make me feel better.  Who knows.  She said I’m intelligent and functioning; I guess that plays in my favor.  It’d just be so much easier if I didn’t dissociate.  Most ‘normal’ people don’t even understand dissociation.  How are they going to understand me?

Nothing like a little Sunday morning dissociation

I couldn’t really think of a title that appropriately summed up my Sunday.  I found it a little humorous, and honestly I have to laugh.  My life is so chaotic, yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.  As much as I am dealing with, I’m getting through it.  I’m learning more about myself, and about my illness every day.

It was 3:30-3:40 in the morning on Sunday when I was startled awake by someone pounding on the door.  I didn’t know who it was.  I only knew what time it was because I immediately looked at my phone.  Then banging got louder.  I went into panic mode, thinking either my mother finally found me, or she sent the police to come get me (she regularly threatened to call the police on me – so while not logical, it’s something that is ingrained in my head).  I don’t remember what happened after that.  What I can tell you is that somehow, I ended up in my closet, where I woke up/came back to reality/whatever you want to call it holding my blanket and my arms covered in scratches.  It was almost an hour and a half later; I heard a commotion outside.  I figured out who it was; thankfully, he was not my mother or the police.  I still felt unsafe and uneasy.  I didn’t find out until later that night that my roommate was not even home when the door-banging occurred; I was completely alone.  Thankfully some part of me had the sense to hide in the closet.

That got me thinking about what made that part of me hide in the closet.  I remember that my mother barricaded our closet doors so that we could not use them.  I always thought that was strange.  Who has closets and blocks them off completely?  Did I used to hide in there and that’s why she closed them off?  I wonder what it would have been like to have a closet.  Would I have been able to hide from her?  I’m sure she would have found me.  She always did.  Like a monster with eyes and ears all around her head, she knew where I was, what I said, what I did.  A closet wouldn’t have protected me.  That’s just silly.

Then again, it makes sense I would hide in a closet.  I still do a lot of things to protect myself that don’t really make much logical sense.  I’ve been doing them since childhood that they’ve become a part of my regular.  I always wear at least two pairs of underwear, sometimes even three pairs.  Does it make sense?  No.  That extra pair isn’t going to protect me.  But as a child, I’m sure I thought it was going to help.  I also always wear multiple layers of clothing, even in the summer, even if it makes me sweat.  Extra clothing makes me feel more protected and less vulnerable.  Maybe she won’t make me undress if it’s too much to take off.  Most embarrassing of all is my habit of stuffing myself with toilet paper.  I remember doing it as young as 8.  I thought if I could just block that whole area with toilet paper, she wouldn’t be able to touch me anymore; she wouldn’t be able to hurt me.  I created a literal barrier between her and my genitals.  It was so uncomfortable, but I wanted her to stop.  Of course it didn’t work.  She caught on.  I still did it, but not every day; only when I was feeling especially vulnerable.  Even in my adolescence and adulthood, when I had (and have) and ability to say no, I still find myself doing the same thing when I am feeling especially vulnerable or re-traumatized in some way.

As far as I’ve come, I am still very much a traumatized child living inside a traumatized adult.

Progressing in therapy

I sat here debating whether “progressing” was an appropriate word to describe my experience in therapy.  I’m still not 100% sure, but I’m going to go with it anyway.

I look forward to therapy, while at the same time have some fear about what might happen.  Sometimes our sessions are an hour.  Sometimes they are a couple of hours.  You can never really tell how it will end up.  I’m still going twice a week; that won’t change any time soon.  I also e-mail my therapist between sessions to check in; sometimes she even gives me homework (I’m making a face right now just thinking about it).  But it works for us.

My therapist is amazing.  I’m pretty sure she gets me.  Sometimes she doesn’t know whether I am being genuine or sarcastic – I consider that my talent (with anyone, not just her).  But she’s really smart and knows her shit, even when it’s random shit.  I e-mailed her last night to tell her that I had eaten a potato (it had been three days since I had eaten) and she e-mailed me back this morning comparing my choice of eating a potato to Carol Rogers’ description of human actualization, in which he compared the process to that of a potato, which will strive to grow in the most unfavorable, sunless, earthless conditions; with nourishment and sunlight, in the right environment, it can become what it is meant to be.  While some people might think that was weird, I quite adore Carl Rogers and I am a psychology nerd, so I enjoy random facts like that.  It made my day.  She’s also very in tune with my needs and knows my limits.  And she gives me a hug after every session and tells me all the positive things I’m doing, even though I don’t believe all of them.

Therapy has been a little slow because I’ve had so many issues come up that we haven’t had much time to begin to process the MDSA.  Yesterday was the first time we actually started.  It wasn’t much; we watched the first part of a documentary (less than 10 minutes) and then stopped it to discuss.  Before we watched it, my therapist prepared me for how we should deal with whatever would happen.  If I needed to take a break, to tell her I needed a break.  Then she asked me if I were to dissociate, did I want her to bring me back right away or could she keep me in that state?  My mind just went blank.  I’ve spent years learning about DID and dissociative disorders.  I never once thought I would have to be making these decisions for myself.  Everything is different when it’s something you experience.

The documentary part wasn’t anything tremendously difficult.  What stood out to me the most was one of the women in the documentary saying how her mother made her out to be the crazy one.  That was just…exactly my life.  Then talking about that progressed into my use of the word crazy, and how my mother liked to use that word to describe me to everybody…and here I was using it myself.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

I’m not entirely clear on how the rest of therapy went.  I remember my financial issues being brought up again.  I remember mentioning how I didn’t want to turn into my parents, depending on others for support.  I really don’t remember much else.  I came back from a long dissociation wrapped in a blanket, holding a stuffed lion, with my arm red and bleeding.  I don’t even know how I ended up there, or what happened while I was out.  She just told me I was hurting myself.  All I could do was apologize.  Why can’t I have happy dissociations that are all about sunshine and rainbows instead of bouts of self-destruction?  It also sucks that I can’t remember.  I just want to remember.  My therapist insists that I’m making progress and taking steps forward.  I just don’t know.  I see dissociating as a failure.  I guess I got by before because I wasn’t so acutely aware of it as I am now because now I have someone pointing it out.

I was feeling a little down about what happened in therapy.  I feel like we hugged forever because I didn’t want to let go.  As I was writing her the check, I asked what the date was (I am horrible about keeping track of the date).  When she told me, I remembered that the date was also my parents’ anniversary.  Without thinking, I said “Oh, that’s my parents’ anniversary.  I hope they die in a fire.”  I realized what came out of my mouth, but before I could feel bad about it, my therapist actually validated what I said.  She didn’t tell me what a horrible thing it was to think or say; she sort of, indirectly, agreed.  What a great feeling that was.  For once, I didn’t feel bad about wanting those evil people to die.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they died in a fire.  Yet.  There’s still time.

When I got home last night and melted into my bed, I looked at my arm where I had scratched myself hours before.  Then I realized something.  This was something I had done before.  I remember as a child, I would scratch my skin raw.  I had to go to the doctor to make sure it wasn’t a contagious disease; it wasn’t contagious…it wasn’t an obvious allergy…the doctors weren’t really sure what caused it.  It happened regularly throughout my childhood and even as a teenager and occasionally as an adult.  Sometimes I would wake up with my skin like that, so I assumed I would scratch in my sleep.  No one ever really made an issue out of it.  And now I’m sitting here wondering if there is a connection.  Could I have dissociated that young?  And why the hell would I scratch my skin off?  What is wrong with me?

How my mother portrays “reality” versus actual reality

Sunday afternoon, I received a text message from a friend back from my old life (one of only two that I remain in contact with).  At the end of the text, she asked me if I had called my father.  Apparently my mother had told my friend how my father was oh so worried about me, oh so concerned, and how he was counting the weeks and worried that I wasn’t going to be coming back home.

There were so many things wrong with this situation.  In fact, let me use bullet points.

  • Why is my mother mentioning my father’s worry and concern and not hers? Answer: Because my mother knows that I know she doesn’t have feelings.
  • If my father was so worried and concerned, wouldn’t he have reached out? Answer: He has my cell phone number.  I haven’t blocked him.  I have not once received one phone call or one text message from him in the six weeks I’ve been gone.
  • Why is my mother telling this person this? Answer: Because this is the one person she has continued to manipulate, despite my efforts to show this person my mother’s true colors.  My mother also more than likely knows that this person keeps in contact with me, and knows it’s her only way to get through to me to try to manipulate me still.  Even a distance away, this woman will still try to fuck with my life.  She knows what she is doing.  She has been doing this for 29 years of my life.  She lives and breathes manipulation likes it’s necessary for survival.  My friend is just an unfortunate pawn in my mother’s game.

I immediately became overwhelmed with feelings upon reading the text.  I responded that my father had my number and had not made an effort to reach out, so I doubt that there was any genuine concern for me.  I continued to tell her that I do not trust anyone in my family, that they haven’t cared about me for the last 29 years so why would they start now?  Her response showed me that she didn’t understand where I was coming from at all.  My heart sank.  I responded “they can find someone else to abuse” and I just stopped responding after that.  Now I’m left questioning whether the relationship is worth fighting for.  As much as I love her, she doesn’t see my mother for the monster she really is; she still falls for my mother’s manipulation.  I can’t risk all the progress I’ve made on a relationship that may put that in jeopardy.

It’s not like I blame my friend.  My mother is great at portraying her own version of reality versus what reality actually is.  To be clear, for my own sanity, I decided to verify with someone who had some inner knowledge if my father was indeed concerned or worried about me.  My suspicions of a complete lack of concern were confirmed.  The only thing my father is worried about is getting rid of my stuff.  So much concern, right?  It doesn’t sound at all like the father my mother was portraying in her story to my friend.  Maybe she just forgot to leave out a few (thousand) details.

My mother always has a story for everything.  When outsiders would question why I seemed so distant and unresponsive, my mother would tell them “oh, she’s just sensitive” or “fragile.”  The reality: I was a broken child, trained not to speak to outsiders and living in fear of nearly everyone and everything.  When doctors questioned why I had so many UTIs, she ‘d make up these elaborate stories.  The reality: things were in my vagina that should not have been there.  To add on to that, she’d also often switch doctors, to which she’d blame on insurance problems, yet I was the only one who had to change doctors so much.  In my adulthood, my mother would tell people I was Bipolar and had a lying disorder.  The reality: I was struggling with PTSD and beginning to open up about the CSA and MDSA, and she felt threatened.  By saying that I had a lying disorder, she protected herself by creating a veil of doubt over anything I said.

The scariest part is that she has always been so convincing.  Sometimes I wonder if she believes her stories are real.  She’s that good.  I can see why so many fall for her lies.  I think many in my own family have.  It’s unfortunate, but what can I do?  I guess the most important thing is that I know what reality REALLY is, and it’s NOT her reality.

Six Weeks

It has now been six weeks since my escape.  I’ve made it six weeks.  In some ways, it feels like time is rushing by me.  Six weeks?  I just got down here!  Where has the time gone?  I should be further along by now.  What am I waiting for?  But then, when I really sit back and think about it, I’ve done a lot in six weeks.  I’ve managed to keep a job for the past two weeks.  I managed to meet a few people and possibly make a few friends.  Yes, I ended up being hospitalized, and yes, I had a breakdown on a bus in the middle of the day.  But I came back.  Both times.  You can’t choose when and where your PTSD will affect you.  I can’t wake up in the morning and say “You know what, PTSD ain’t gonna bother me today!”  That’s not how it works.  The day can be going great and BOOM.  Flashback.  It just happens.  That is life with PTSD.

It has also now been five weeks since I started this blog.  I started this blog not really knowing what to expect.  I wanted to write about my journey, about my escape from a life of pain into a life without hurt.  I also wanted to give others a glimpse into the world of mother-daughter sexual abuse and how it has affected not only my past, but my present and my future as well.  So many people are afraid to speak up about it.  I was afraid, too.  But I’m not anymore.  As much as I want to spread awareness of MDSA, I cannot expect people to understand an issue if there’s no one there to speak up about it.  I need to be one of those people.  And I will be.

I did not go into this expecting my blog to reach so many people in such a short amount of time.  Within five weeks, I have over had over 200 visitors, and over 1,000 views.  It means a lot to me.  Even if someone has only read part of my story, I hope that part has stayed with them.  I am especially grateful for those that have continued to follow my story, and those that take time out to comment, even when I may not respond back.

I have also noticed, in the little over a week that I have been writing about my battle with a dissociative disorder, my followers have more than doubled and my visitors have increased significantly.  While I went into this originally planning to focus on MDSA, I also plan to write more on my journey with DID.  I believe this blog will be changing, just as I am.  And it’s for the better.

I also noticed, in reading over some of the comments and going over my recent posts, that I’ve let my recent issue with dissociation overtake my emotions.  I intended this blog to be hopeful for others, and instead it became the opposite.  I lost the sense of hope I had before.  A DID diagnosis isn’t going to change who I am.  I can’t let it change who I hope to be; that isn’t going to help others.  For all of the shit I’ve been through, a diagnosis will not change me.  I let a label define who I was and who I would be.  For that, I apologize.

To end on a good note, tomorrow marks the final day of my undergraduate career.  I have two papers due, one of them being my thesis.  I haven’t really worked on them much (procrastination seems to be a characteristic of any college student regardless of age), but I have actually passed the classes even without the last assignments.  All of these years, I have always been about perfection.  This last year, I have been on academic survival mode, doing whatever I can to get by and graduate.  I’ve been hospitalized five times (four for psychiatric, one for pneumonia) in the last year, I’ve juggled multiple jobs, and managed to plan my escape AND move all while continuing to go to school year-round.  And you know what?  Through it all, I still managed to get a 3.9 GPA.  I will be graduating with honors.  I did it.