Rest Without Getting Depressed

During my childhood living in the cult we children were required to always be kept busy to the point we were often in sleep deprivation mode.  It was so ingrained into my head that now, in adulthood, I have struggled with being okay with just simply resting.  My inner talk would begin, saying things like “You’re being lazy.” or “You should be doing SOMETHING.”

This conditioning of always having to be working as a child has followed me deeply into my adulthood.   At the same time, exhaustion sets in when one has worked since such a young age.  Where typically I should have a zest for working at this current point in my life, I often find myself feeling an aversion towards it, become exhausted even at the thought of having to keep a regular schedule without knowing how my body/mind/spirit will feel.

I dealt with a trigger toward the end of the week and found myself exhausting very quickly, body wanting to sleep, and I listened to it, getting hours of rest.   I had some thoughts I wanted to share afterwards about the difference between sleeping off a trigger, resting the body and letting it heal as opposed to being depressed.  For me, at least, there is a difference, and I’ve had to learn how to differentiate between the two.   I talk more about this in the below video.

The Hiding Place (“Cult Child” excerpt)

     “Brother Coblin announces at service one night that we’re all going to get to watch a movie called The Hiding Place. It’s about a woman named Corrie Ten Boom, a Jew who was in the concentration camps during World War II. I’m excited to get to watch a real life movie. I think about Anna telling Mama the stories about the same war.

But The Hiding Place just rips my heart out. I fight tears during almost the whole movie. Jess Carter laughs at me for crying, and I lie saying I sneezed and it made my eyes water. Corrie Ten Boom huddles on a bunk with her sister eating bread she’d stolen so they wouldn’t starve. Her head is shaved and she watches as people are marched to the gas chambers to die.

I will have night terrors when I get older; dreams filled with women in white gowns walking single file on a path carved inside a wall of snow. They will march towards the potato dugout gas chamber, and they be holding bloody babies in their arms.

Brother Coblin says when the Communists come they’ll do the same to us that Hitler did to the Jews. We’ll be persecuted for believing in Jesus, just like the Jews were tortured for what they believed in.

     The Hiding Place just leaves me with more bad dreams where I see myself standing in lines waiting to go into the chambers and die. I have a shaved head and black dust on my face. There are only children in the line with me. We have sad, hopeless faces with dark, hollow eyes crying tears that leave trails down our cheeks. Brother Ray stands smiling in the doorway of the gas chamber. He is holding a tin of cookies out to me. I start awake then shove my head under the covers, afraid of the demons that might be lurking in the dark corners of my room.”

“Cult Child” is available on Amazon.com (paperback / Kindle (unlimited/lending) http://www.amazon.com/Cult-Child-Vennie-Kocsis/dp/0692235647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421028994&sr=8-1&keywords=cult+child

The Masks We Wear

Are we not beautiful?
Even beneath our masks,
Gifting our hearts and hiding the fear?
Are we not vulnerable and capable?

Giving

 Do you see they bring smiles
to hide the pain?

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and yet we cry
like rivers
swirling us
to the deep blue sea
as we weep
weep
weep

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Never cry more tears than you could hold in your hands. When all the world’s airbrushed it’s a sacred bond of trust.

Sometime I see right through the scenery. The first place that’s on my mind, the last place I find each time. Sometimes I swim beyond scenery. Sea moves as mercury to break its perfect skin, to dare to die from within.

Sometimes I see much more than’s good for me. The first thing that’s on my mind the last place I look each time. Sometimes I slip inside imagery, and the last thing that’s on my mind’s the first thing I’ll do each time.

Stars racing to burn out. A storm beginning to break, trees standing black against the sky. This was inevitable.

Sometimes we can see beyond our history the last place you hope to find, the one that’s been there all the time.”

Beth Orton

Broken Until Spoken

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This was not an easy photo for me to do this morning. I cried. It hurt to take. I was swept back to being a five year old child, mouth taped so often to train me to be silent, just like this, except it was white packing tape, so even more humiliating as I couldn’t hide my cracked, dry lips. For those who have read the novel, Cult Child, you may recall me describing this practice.

I forged forward today and took this photo in support of Broken Until Spoken because I was most definitely broken until I could finally get it out, talk about it, and allow the telling of my truth to be my strength.

My fellow abuse survivors and thrivers, these are the times for us to speak and tell our truths. If you are comfortable, please participate in this project.

WE! As in You and I, Need YOUR SELFIE!!

The Night Stabbing

Stabbing

Night terrors.  They always come to me in the waking hours as I move from REM to lucid.  They are like earthquakes that hit in the night, leaving the day shaken up.  This one brought a sadness that sat inside a lump in my throat all day.

The dream:

There I am walking down a hallway toward a public restroom.  It feels like I may be in a mall.  The hallway is shaped like an L, with the smaller part being the entrance, then the hallway, with first the men’s door to the left, then the woman’s door at the end.

There is a man walking down the hallway behind me. I can see him, even though I have not turned my head.  He appears quite a distance and average in size.  I assume he is heading to the men’s bathroom, and I think nothing of it.  I continue walking toward the woman’s bathroom door.

As I begin to enter the women’s restroom, I turn to see that he has walked past the entrance of the men’s restroom and is swiftly coming directly toward me.  My eye immediately sees that the man has a 12 inch hunting knife in his right hand.

I panic, flying into the bathroom and slamming the door as hard as I can so he can’t get in.  I push the full weight of my body against the door. I am trying to gain leverage, but my tennis shoes are slipping on the tile floor. I can hear the sounds of someone inside another stall.

I am pushing so hard against the door I have no strength to cry out, and I am quickly no match for him.  He is at least six foot four, two hundred and eighty pounds of solid man. I am lucky to hold the door against him for thirty seconds before he plows over me, ripping the door right off the hinges.  In the process, I am slammed to the floor between the bathroom stalls.

I scramble to get up, but he holds his hand over my mouth, pushing my head against the floor. He  immediately begins to stab me in an upwards motion beneath my breast plate.  He is stabbing me so quick and so deep I cannot even count them.

I also cannot feel a thing.  Because he has me flat on my back, all my eyes can view is his hand swiftly moving in and out as he stabs me in the chest over and over.

There is no pain. I know that I am dying, but I feel nothing. I see no blood flying.  There isn’t even any on the knife. It leaves my body shining, clean silver, and I am left saddened because of its size.  I am completely aware that I am dying right now.  There is no way I am taking this many stabs with this large of a knife and living.

I use my left hand to pry his fingers from over my mouth.

“Please stop stabbing me!” I begin to beg him.

He has no emotion.  There is nothing.  He is flat and hollow.  He doesn’t even hear me or glance toward my face.  He just smashes his hand down harder on my mouth continuing to stab me.  It seems there must be hundreds; so many that I don’t understand why I am not dead yet.  To him I am not a person.  He feels predatory.  Completely void of soul or reason.  I am merely another woman slain.  When he has had enough of me or I die, whichever comes first, he will move on to another girl.

Suddenly the other person opens the bathroom stall door. He immediately ceases the stabbing as he has been unaware there was anyone else in the bathroom. I don’t understand why she has not heard this whole time what was going on.  His hand is still over my mouth as he looks up towards her. I think, no, don’t kill her.  Please.  But I know she’s next.  He is done with me. I am already dead.  She is next. I lay dying, and then I wake up.

Night terrors leave me with the full emotion of the scene.  I woke up grieving my own death today; feeling a loss, physically exhausted.  I had to write this out so I could give it away and go sleep.  Coupled with the emotion, it takes time for images to fade, but even so, I shan’t let emotion make me fear the Dreamscape.

The Sadists Come Like Lightening Bolts

The sadists come like lightening bolts, Sila!” Madge exclaims, a warning glistening from her eyes.

Shut the fuck up, Madge.” Maude orders. “Leave her alone.”

But Sila knows. They are like lightening bolts, and they will flood her with their electricity, then leave her depleted. They will strip her skin, extract her emotions and bottle her love. She is open prey for the wild no matter where she is.

It’s Angie.” Vennie says. “She attracts them like a moth to light. They become friend, then foe, lover, then liar, laughter then leaving. And we are ALL here to clean up the aftermath.”

the blame

Angie’s fragments
Sila a curled up caterpillar
Madge taunting
Maude doing damage control
Vennie writing it out
Knowing quietly observing

silence

long, long silence

Sometimes,” Knowing says softly, “lightening strikes and splits open things that could never be split open if not for the power of the electricity. Sometimes what’s inside the open spaces revealed, is a treasure that would have been hidden forever. Thank the lightening when it strikes.  It is opening your caves.

And so we do. We thank those who have become our lightening bolts, striking us, devious, mischievous, and as the smoke rises from our skin, it hurts yet through the process of healing the burns, we learn.

“Victim Speaks Out, While Cult Leader Awaits Trial”

“Told in a restrained but highly effective style, reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro’s brilliantly understated bestseller “Never Let Me Go”, “Cult Child” provides frightening insights into the methods and after-effects of religious coercion. Her fortress is no bigger than the space between her ears; but through quiet internal resistance, Sila halts her opponents and outlasts their ten year siege.”

Read more:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2014/10/victim-speaks-out-while-cult-leader-awaits-trial/

M. Dolon Hickmon is a freelance columnist for The Freethinker and OnFaith. He explores the intersections of religion and child abuse in essays published around the web, as well as in the pages of his critically acclaimed novel, 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession. You can follow his writing on Twitter @TVOS1324.