Seven weeks

I’ve made it seven weeks now.

I’m bruised.  I’m broken.  This time, though, it wasn’t at the hands of my mother; it was caused by the hard cement of the sidewalk I fell into Wednesday morning.  I refuse to let another person ever break me like that again.  The sidewalk and I will need to have a discussion, too, because this can’t happen again.

Despite my fractured foot, I’ve been going to work.  I wake up 40 minutes earlier  because it takes me 40 minutes to walk to the bus stop.  I leave my house in the night and end up getting to the bus stop at dawn.  But it’s what I have to do.  Broken bones don’t pay the bills.  I leave my crutches in the break room at work and shuffle around and get my job done – a little slower, for sure, but the work still gets done.  I can’t not work.  I don’t have time to be disabled.  I’m exhausted by the end of the day, but maybe that’s a good thing.  That means there’s less energy available to screw other shit up.  Most nights, I just want to lay in bed and cry; but that doesn’t make the pain go away.  It just gives me horrible cry face.

I got my first paycheck today.  It wasn’t much, but it just feels a little better getting some sort of income in.  I still need another job or two.  Or a rich a husband.  I’m okay with either scenario.

I’ve been socializing so much more than what is normal for me.  It’s still difficult for me.  I still find myself struggling to respond.  But I am trying.  For some reason, people are naturally drawn to me.  That is the worst for someone who is socially anxious.  It’s a process.  It is also difficult for me to understand why someone would want to like me enough to talk to me (I know, a lot of childhood brainwashing there).  It’s something I’m slowly overcoming.  The other day, I exchanged jokes with a bus driver, which turned into a short, but polite conversation.  Yesterday, I engaged in a conversation over broken bones with an older gentleman who had more metal in him than bone.  And today, another bus driver and I talked about which place had the best cappuccino.  I still let the other side do most of the talking, but for me, it’s progress.  I’m doing a lot better considering where I was before.  It’s almost as if the simple lack of my mother’s presence has been enough to lift some of the fears and anxieties I had in speaking with other people.

On another good note, I finally received feedback for my thesis.  My grade: 99.  I have been obsessively checking all week, as if I were afraid I was going to fail the paper.  I didn’t expect to get a 99.  One grammatical error.  One point away from perfection.  In a way, it relates so much to my life.  As much as I strive to be perfect, my life will never be perfect.  But if I work hard enough, it can be damn near close enough to perfect.

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.

Five Weeks

As I typed in the title of this post, I wondered when (and if) I would ever stop labeling the weeks of my life based off of the time I escaped my ‘old’ life.  I’m sure there may come a point in the future when I will be so occupied with my new life that I will no longer need to base it off of the old.  For now, I feel that each week that goes by is an accomplishment.  I came here expecting very little of myself.   I’m not even sure I expected to make it one week.  Now I’ve made it five weeks.  So what’s stopping me from making it six, seven, eight weeks?

I probably shouldn’t even be writing this blog post right now.  I have a thesis that is not writing itself.  Chapter 5 was due last Sunday while I was hospitalized and I have yet to hand it in.  Honestly, I haven’t even started it.  I’ve been so preoccupied with work, so exhausted with adjusting to a new schedule, and so many things on my mind that I just haven’t been able to sit down and focus.  It will get done today, I promise..right after I finish this post.

I can’t believe I have one more week of school left.  One. More. Week.  I have to give myself credit.  In five weeks, I have moved/escaped, got a new job, started therapy, gotten hospitalized, and still managed to write 60 pages of a thesis on a topic that I unfortunately live with every day.  And in one more week, I’ll have my 120 credits (121 actually) for my BA in Psychology.  I don’t know that many others would have been able to do what I’ve done.  I have fallen, but I’ve also gotten right back up.

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned the possibility of a DID diagnosis.  For me, it was hard to swallow.  That whole experience was hard to swallow.  I was dissociating so badly, it was out of control.  I could have been hospitalized again.  The other therapist brought up the possibility of putting me in IOP and my heart sank.  For me, I see that as a failure.  I am in no way saying those that go to IOP are failures, I am saying for me personally, it is a failure.  I want to be as normal as possible.  I want to be able to go to work every day.  I want to function.  I feel like IOP takes that away from me.

At the same time I understood where she was coming from.  I can’t put them in a position where I am a danger and it comes back on them.  They are only equipped to do so much.  I told them I didn’t want to do IOP.  I’ll do whatever it takes not to do IOP.  But to do that, I need to accept that I have a dissociative disorder and focus my treatment on that, instead of trying to cover up my symptoms and having it blow up in my face like it did in therapy on Thursday.

I think hearing those words hurt more because I knew deep down that I had a problem with dissociation.  I was familiar with DID from my courses in psychology and through meeting people with DID through trauma support groups.  I always felt that so many of the symptoms rang true for me.  But I didn’t want them to.  No one wants DID.  No one wants a lifetime of therapy, a lifetime of misunderstanding from others (although I sort of have that already).  There’s no cure.  DID won’t go away with a pill.  A lot of therapists won’t even acknowledge its existence and therefore won’t treat it.  It’s a complicated diagnosis.  It’s a complicated disorder.  I don’t need any more complications.  Why can’t life be simple?

Maybe I am just overwhelmed right now.  I’ve always wanted answers, and now that I have them, I am pushing them away because they are not the answers I want.  Why is it that now that I have escaped the horrible abuses my mother had been committing against me for so so long, that I am still being affected?  Why couldn’t everything just become normal once I left?  Why do I still have to suffer? She should be the one in the hospital (or better yet, in prison).  She should be the one in therapy trying to figure out why she does the fucked up shit she does.  She should be hurting.

Instead she’s living her life day in and day out like it’s nothing, like everything is okay.   Yet here I am, physically and emotionally in pain.  Here I am paying for therapy instead of groceries because my mind is going to kill me before hunger does.  And here I am struggling day in and day out trying to keep it together, not only for myself, but for those out there (my friends, my readers, my therapists) who are pulling for me.  This shit is backwards.

There is a part of me that is strong, that knows I can overcome anything and do great things.  Unfortunately, a lot of times, that part goes into hiding and I am left with my fearful, anxious self.  The self that doesn’t want to get out of bed.  The self that is so scared just to take a shower.  The self that fears mother is coming to hurt me.  I almost enjoy when I’m not myself because it gives me a break from living in fear for a while.  Or maybe it’s not even myself.  Maybe it’s another part of me entirely.  How do I even know?

Maybe I understand myself a little more than I like to acknowledge.

Hitting too close to home

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I am in my last semester of college.  At my school, students in certain degree programs are required to complete an undergraduate thesis in order to graduate.  You are encouraged to choose a topic that relates to your projected career path, conduct research, and write a five chapter thesis on that topic.  I had thought about a few different topics I would possibly write about: the lack of adequate mental health care for the elderly population, the complexities of PTSD, or the legitimacy of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

In addition to those topics, I also considered writing about mother-daughter sexual abuse.  This topic had a lot of pros and cons.  It was a topic I had experience with, so there was the benefit of familiarity.  I already knew where to look to find information and research.  I had direct access to reputable sources.  On the negative side, this was a topic I had experience with.  Would I be able to handle it emotionally?  Would I be able to separate my own experiences from the facts and approach the project without bias? Would I be able to find enough information on a topic that is still very much kept quiet about?

Ultimately, I ended up choosing MDSA as my topic.  I started my thesis the second week of June.  Six weeks later and more than half done with my thesis, I am hitting a mental roadblock.  I need a break.  I’ve been able to write three chapters with much success.  But now, I think I am mentally exhausted.  I am working on my own recovery of MDSA and then researching and writing about MDSA; my days consist of MDSA and not much else.  I don’t have much time to think about or focus on anything else.  It has taken a toll on me.  It’s too late to change my topic now, as I have less than one month before the thesis has to be handed in.  I just have to figure out a way to get over it.

I’m sure a lot of you would ask me why I even chose this topic, considering everything that’s happened.  I felt like I needed to write it for personal reasons and for a larger purpose.  I feel like in learning about the topic, I can learn more about myself, and help myself in some way.  I also want others to learn that MDSA does happen.  In the last 27 years, only 10 books have been written exclusively about MDSA, and most were written within the last 10 years.  I’ve read a few of them, and while I can say they were great books, they are also lacking in a lot of areas.  How can we increase awareness of the topic if people are refusing to even write about it?  I want to write about it.  I need to write about it.

I’ve always been told I had a gift for writing.  I never thought I was all that great, but whatever.  I’ve also been told by several people that I should write a book about my experiences someday.  I don’t know if that will ever happen.  I can barely get myself through this thesis.  But maybe that is because I am still working on myself.  I want to get to a point where I can help others, through counseling and through my writing.  I guess this blog is a start.