Recovery Time for Trauma Survivors

You’ve planned all week for Friday’s dinner. You don’t get out much. Hyperawareness keeps you home most times. There are the buzzing hive sounds of every patron’s voice. There is the echo of the hustle and bustle. Surely, everyone in the establishment is looking at you, confirmed by the moments your eyes coincidentally meet more than one strangers’. See? They ARE looking at you!

But you’re gonna do it. You’re gonna push yourself, get out into the public and socialize. This will be great. You’ve already planned your outfit by Wednesday, maybe even trying it on to be sure. Pre-planning is finished with no Thursday worries except hoping that Friday you actually come through and show up.

Friday mornin you are ready. You are looking forward to it, actually. Friday afternoon you get a call. Change of plans. Dinner has been rescheduled for Saturday. Everyone else is cool with it, and so you say you are too.

but FUCK!

Saturday you’d planned to stay home and relax, watch a movie, have you time and anyways you’d been planning all week for Friday!

The glass bottom has just dropped out. You won’t make Saturday’s dinner. You’ll make an excuse that you already had other plans, which you did, even if they were with yourself, and you’ll grieve the lost chance to actually get out. You might feel like it Saturday, but doubtful.

Because it’ll be a while before you brave the human maze again. These moments are like rare sightings.

and that’s part of what it feels like to carry social anxiety and agoraphobia all the while smiling beautifully through your glowy mask. Too much change, even the slightest, can make some boats head back to shore for good.

Sea Angel

This video of “Sea Angel” is an audio poem from my poetry book and accompanying spoken word cd, “Dusted Shelves”, which I published in 2011. This particular poem was written during a time when I was deeply depressed. I was in the cusp of writing out childhood trauma in “Cult Child”, my memoir. I listen to this piece now and what strikes me is that my suffering was so debilitating, the thought of being taken under by the sea felt like a comfort to me. Yet, life and hope have always called, and so the emotion became this piece instead. To those who suffer with depression, PTSD, anxiety and more, keep fighting. I remember you daily.

I Received a Beautiful Award!

Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award

Award

I’m really honored to be payed forward the “Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award“. Thank you so much, Darque Thoughts

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my emotional vomiting. If one reader feels less alone, then all the retching is worth it. Thank you guys!

I was asked these five questions as a part of this award and have passed this award forward to five more survivors below.

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

Writing therapy is a great way to clear the mind. Instead of bottling up the pain, flashbacks, nightmares and myriad of emotions, we are able to give it to the virtual page. That is a great clearing for me. I call it “language letting”.

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

Blogging has been both a great outlet for me to write my emotions, document my moments as well as connect with others who have experienced trauma and came out on the other side surviving, just like me.

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

I’ve been blogging for a while. I started in the days of Live Journal, then to MySpace, and now, with WordPress, since 2012. WordPress has afforded me a great connection with like minds, and I happen to dig their mobile app. What motivates me to write the most is the knowing that I cannot hold all of this inside of me.  It’s constantly pushing it’s way out of my fingertips in some fashion, be it poetry, stories, essays or whatever else comes out. I don’t often blog for the sake of anyone else or with readers in mind. I write to get it out. If someone reads and relates, then that is a great added bonus. If no one reads, I got it out. Either way, I come out ahead.

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

Learn the skills of coping and soothing. Don’t try and erase the moments that feel overwhelming. Face them head on, and understand that it is okay to cry, to feel, to hurt, to grieve and to know that afterwards you’ll still be able to find that laughter; that some days are really awesome and others really fucking suck, yet what makes us survivors is that we come through. Reach out to others like you; who can understand your pain and don’t let your pain define who you are. You are in control now. Your abusers are no longer running the show. You get to choose what feels right and good for you. Lastly, never, ever, silently suffer for anyone.  Seriously, tell anyone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind, or who doesn’t care about your needs, to take a hike.  It is OKAY to say no now. 

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favorite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

My greatest personal writing accomplishment is my novel, Cult Child. I’m equally proud of the other publications I’ve published. My favorite moments are always, without a doubt, when someone tells me they’ve read something I’ve written and it made them know they’re not alone. That is the beautiful side of this internet blogging world. Knowing I have touched a heart is very rewarding. Sharing our trauma experiences is an intricate part of our healing process.

Aside from the one who payed this Award forward, here are five amazing survivors I read; who make me feel understood and whom I believe are equal candidates for this Survivor Award.

1. Refractory Ramblings From the Darkside
2. The Not-So Secret Life Of a Manic Depressant
3. Leaving Fundamentalism
4. Healing From Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD
5. Survivorship – for survivors of ritualistic abuse
You may pass this Award forward. Below are the four steps to do so.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Nominate your own bloggers to pass the award to
3. Post the 5 questions below for your nominees to answer (also answer them yourself)
4. Inform your nominees and post a comment in their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated

The questions:

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favourite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

Paying forward our Survivorship is a wonderfully uplifting circle. Thank you again, Darque!

Invisible Diagnoses

There are many of us who carry invisible diagnoses.  Because others cannot visually see them, we are often cast aside.  This is on my mind as I share these vlog thoughts to shed light.

She Died Today

Exactly eight years ago today she died.  I was at work when I got the phone call.  It was expected.  She guilted and ate herself into diabetes and an early death.  She was only 65.  I used to call her Mom, then Mother, and now I call her by her first name.   Maybe it’s my way of disconnecting in the hopes I can get through the rest of this writing journey to expel the rest of the pain.   I woke up this morning feeling tearful, raw, alone inside my soul, and so I start this journey of being blatantly vulnerable through the fear of mockery and judgment.  I wade through this mist splayed open to this journey of vlogging through The Rise.

Dissociative identity disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is defined in the DSM-IV-TR as the presence of two or more personality states or distinct identities that repeatedly take control of one’s behavior. The patient has an inability to recall personal information. The extent of this lack of recall is too great to be explained by normal forgetfulness. The disorder cannot be due to the direct physical effects of a general medical condition or substance.[1]

DID entails a failure to integrate certain aspects of memory, consciousness and identity. Patients experience frequent gaps in their memory for their personal history, past and present. Patients with DID report having severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during childhood. The reports of patients with DID are often validated by objective evidence.[1]

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Yesterday Was Her Birthday, and It Never Crossed My Mind

I knew I was shut down to her when I stopped praying for her every day.” My sister said.

I’ve never prayed for her. I don’t pray period. I’m non-religious, humanist, truther, but pray to an invisible entity? Not for me. I don’t even think of her fondly like I used to. I just think of what the cult formed her to be; a hardened, judgmental, passive aggressive, Narcissistic woman we called Mother.

Yesterday was her birthday, and it never crossed mine or my sister’s minds. We are just miles from her grave and feel no urge to go and visit it. We are closed off now.  She is ashes to ashes, dust to dust, cycled back into the dark matter. Did she come from there; meant to return to the nothingness she was formed into after Sam Fife’s Move of God cult took control of her mind?

As I write the sequel to Cult Child, the reality of who my mother became boils to the surface like a volcano. Stories I once thought funny now churn with the sadness and hurt of a woman who lost her spirit to an intricate ring of religious fanatics. They starved her, then criticized her when she got fat again. They treated our family like we were infected because we had no father. They urged her to divorce my dad, then abused her for being an unmarried woman. The mind control enacted on my mother, causing her to participate in and validate horrific abuses against her children, is deeper than any ocean ever dove into. Some call it a rabbit hole. I call it a bottomless abyss.

Every once in a while an ex-cult member will exclaim how wonderful my mother was, and I shake my head silently. As most narcissistic people are she was a fake angel to those she wanted to impress or gain something from and a human of passive aggressive and manipulative behavior behind closed doors.

It’s easier to talk about it. I can keep things short and sweet, tell the story in skeleton form so the listener gets it, and move on. Writing it out is much different. I am traveling deeply into this abyss, using ankle weights to sink me as far as my lungs can manage.  I am examining every angle to see and understand how fragmented our Mother became leaving pieces of evil to follow us kids into life after the cult.  She was so fragmented that she remained friends with the wife of my sister’s rapist up until my mother died.

What kind of mother does that to a child?
What kind of intense shattering did it take for the cult leaders to convince her to let them have her children?

These answers, I’ll never know from my mother directly. She is dead. What I have is acceptance of what was and a long journey of memories still left to purge from my body.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I didn’t remember.
Yesterday was my mother’s birthday, and I don’t feel a thing. No sadness.  No angst.  It’s a flat lake of nothingness in my feeling spaces.

I cannot succumb to the ridiculous notion of honoring parents just because she hosted my birth onto this planet. I was dying in her stomach before I even arrived. Does she deserve honor? Does she deserve respect? Some might say yes, she does.

I say no. She does not. There is no forgiveness without accountability, and that is something she can never give to me now. I do not believe in the notion that forgiveness is needed in order to heal and thrive. Just acceptance that there are malevolent humans wandering soulless through this planetary plane, and one of them end up being my Mother.

This was the last photo taken of me before the cult sucked her into their claws.  I wonder if she ever thought about how small my hands were, the dimples in my fingers, or how tiny my face was inside of those curls.   I never heard fond stories of my babyhood or reminiscing of when I was small.  Maybe she stayed silent because then the questions would come; questions that spawned answers which didn’t fit into the truth of what happened to us.  I look at my face, and I weep for a little girl who only had two years of happiness before spending the rest of her childhood in hell.

and it would be a long and winding road out of it; a road my feet still travel heavily on.

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