Thursday, April 30, 2009

The rivers of denial run deep

I'm a hurting pup today. Emotional pain, that is, but with that comes physical symptoms --my nose is running again (and no, it's not allergies), my head is disconnected (feeling very lightheaded and detached), a strangeness to my hearing (there's a numbing quality to what I hear, like it's not really in my ears). I keep trying to do my SE exercises -- find a place in my body that feels calm or feels nothing (but not numbness) and hang out there. And it works for a moment or two before I lose my focus. I have to practice more.

My neck aches. I now have a neurotic fear that I have osteo-arthritis or some such other progressively debilitating disease. I went out and purchased calcium supplements last night and black cohosh for my hot flashes. On top of everything I go through that is emotionally driven - I have menopause symptoms. So, I really don't sleep and I have extra anxiety in addition to my stress, and fogginess, and teariness. How do I know what is menopause and what is therapy? It doesn't matter. It's both, always. The menopause symptoms just amplify my emotional state.

I am very terrified to retrieve any memories that may confirm sexual abuse in my past. I have worked so hard all my life to convince myself that I am just a loser, a lazy, not-so-smart, not-so-successfull, waste of a human being. Oh, but that's not true. Just ask anyone. What an awful thing to write about myself. I'm not feeling well today and I don't think that at all. It's just -- well, what is the alternative? Maybe the alternative is that abandonment and physical abuse could really mess someone up, especially a child. But was I abandoned? Neither parent died. Maybe that would make it easier. They just chose not to take care of us anymore -- move out, live their own lives. They couldn't completely disown us but they did pretty darn good at letting us know that we were bothersome -- that we were trouble and some of us actually were. I was.

They did the best they could. But did they? I doubt that although I am quite sure my mother was traumatized by the whole divorce thing. She, however, denies it adamantly. And she still loves that bastard of a father of mine. It's the family dynamic of deny, deny, deny. The denial runs deeps; the wounds even deeper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shift happens

Those were the parting words of Dr. B as I left my session. She wasn't being funny. She was talking about sonamic experiencing and what was happening within me. A shift was occuring and something was being discharged. What? I'm not exactly sure. A transition had occurred over the weekend with my "illness" prompting my desire this morning to talk about sex. Yes, it hurts but it was a good thing, she assured me.

I walked into my therapy tonight and immediately explained to her my mysterious (but not so much) illness over the weekend. High body temp, chills, hot flashes, ice in my veins, headaches, muscle aches, very stuffy non-stop runny nose. I was miserable and weak and helpless and sleepless - Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. I woke up Monday morning feeling a little bit better but by the mid-morning I had not a single symptom remaining.

On Sunday I watched the "Three Faces of Eve." I couldn't get the movie out of my head - how Eve White had no memory of what traumatized her and the personality that experienced most of her life responded to it like a zombie - disconnected, unfeeling, dead. She was unhappy in an abusive relationship and just accepted her fate. Eve White felt nothing. I could relate. Eve Black was rebellious. I could relate. I digress. I want to write about therapy and sex.

I woke up this morning and decided I needed to take action in therapy -- try to move things along. That's when I decided "sex" needed to be the topic.

So, I walked into therapy, briefly narrated my illness, and then told her I needed to begin a discussion about sex. She said, sex, okay. Is that a problem for you? Well, yes and no. I told her how anxious I was all day about coming to therapy with the intent to discuss sex. I had a headache and she could feel the tension. She started the discussion by asking me what I was feeling right then while I was gearing up for the conversation. I felt numb and I felt scared. My throat felt thick.

I immediately fell into a confusing monologue about whether or not I was sexually molested as a child. Why I suspected I was -- all the evidence, everything I read, my classic symptoms. Then I told her I thought it was all in my head. And she stopped me, and said "it's not in your head - you have physical symptoms, you were sick this weekend, you have pain right now talking about it. You've a lifetime of physical ailments. It's not in your head." OK, that's true.

I wanted to cry. I just slumped back into the couch and stared at the floor. Do you want to talk about sex with the LOYL? No, yes, maybe. I told her that our sex life had been changing - that I was feeling things I never felt before. It was a little scary but it was good. What is that you feel? I feel his touch, I feel emotions, I feel intimacy, I feel connection, I feel pleasure, I feel satisfaction, I feel so much more than just the raw sexual attraction. Your sex has many layers now. Yes. It does. I started to cry just a bit. I told her briefly about times in our past when I thought I was suffocating or on the verge of a panic attack and how sometimes being on the verge of a panic attack during sex made me more sexually aggressive. I needed to push through the fear.

I don't remember sex with other men. I don't remember sex with my first husband and I don't remember sex with my second husband. I remember being raped, sort of. I remember the fear more than I remember the acts. I remember the anger (at myself) more than the violent act perpetrated against me. But we didn't really discuss this.

You were traumatized. We know for a fact that you were traumatized. We have proof from your sister and brother that your ex-husband knocked your teeth out. We can surmise that you took a strong blow to the head when that happened. We know that you were traumatized when your parents abandoned you. We know that those traumas alone are enough to cause all kinds of problems. Now we need to explore the sexual fears and apprehensions.

As things started to heat up, it was time to cool things down. 45 minutes go by quickly but I'm not so sure I could have handled any more. It's intense and I'm tired now. I'll finish this posting tomorrow.

sex on my mind

I am going to see Dr. B this afternoon and I think it is time for me to broach that subject I so fervently avoid - sex. I tiptoe around the issue. A little crack here and there but I have become quite the pro at changing the topic at a moment's notice. Dr. B actually lets it slide away because she only pushes so much. She doesn't want me to take a nosedive into territories that will re-traumatize me. We work slowly. Sometimes it seems so agonizingly slow that today I am going to attempt a little bravery. I don't know what I'll say or where or how I'll begin. Maybe I'll just say, "I want to talk about sex. I think sex is the key to unlocking my past." She'll ask me why and maybe a revealing dialogue will ensue or maybe I'll go numb and then we'll do some SE work to bring me back and attempt to continue our exploration into my trauma. Phew... It's too much to think about so I'm not going there anymore (this morning, that is).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

bad things happened to me...

It's been a long time since I last posted, almost four months, and I've been, what? I've been hurting from a long list of realizations. I was in too much pain to write. I know, it's when I should have been writing but that would have been unequivocally admitting to the many truths I spent a lifetime denying. It's not like I wasn't suffering, however. I was, mightily, and just as mightily I worked to pretend it wasn't quite as bad as I imagined. It was worse.

I haven't been writing. I haven't been sharing my thoughts with the LOML. I talk with Dr. B. And I cry, all the time, and I don't sleep, and my body goes numb, and I cry some more. I miss talking with the LOML but somehow I convinced myself that if I didn't share all my difficulties with him, I would spare him my miseries. My traumas have traumatized him and I feel guilty. I didn't want to pile on any more guilt than I already carry. But it doesn't work. I miss him. I miss sharing my discoveries and realizations and moments of clarity with him. He understands. Dr. B understands. No one else does. No one else really knows.

Dr. B reminded me of something that Peter Levine wrote - trauma robs you of your soul. The LOML has uttered similar words to me for years but I fought him with every logical piece of denial I could summon. No, no, I cry, it's not true. I had parts of my soul retrieved back in the fall - parts that were robbed from me and yet, I still deny it. I wish I had the words to explain the hurt and anger. It's not hurt and anger...it's so much greater than those two words can convey. My life was stolen from me and what was I given? Uck. What was I given? What did I make of my life? I was talking to Dr. B about a dream I had just before my trip to Nevada.

I was ill the night before I left. The LOML left me lying on my bed that evening praying for salvation. He wasn't happy with me. I was tossing and turning all night, burning up with a fever, anxious in my semi-conscious state of delirium, how I was ever going to manage to get up at 4:45 am and fly to Las Vegas. I was drenched in sweat, dying of thirst but afraid to drink. I wanted to die and yet, cancellation was not an alternative in my mind. So I dreamed about getting fixed.

I had to keep going across the river to replace my sick body parts with healthy ones. But I could only replace them one piece at a time and each time I had to run across the bridge to the house I grew up in, make the exchange, and race back over the bridge to my bed. Then I did it all over again and again and again to exchange another piece of me. I was worried that the night would end before I replaced all the bad parts or that I would collapse in exhaustion before I was done.

I woke up many times between the exchanges but each time I fell back into a feverish sleep and exchanged another part of me.

At 4:45 the alarm went off. I dragged myself out of bed in tears, brushed my teeth, grabbed my bottle of water and a tube of saltine crackers (just in case I could eat), woke my children and headed to the airport. I guess I had replaced enough parts in my sleep to set out to adventures unknown.

When I spoke to Dr. B about my dream, she asked me why I went back to the house I grew up in for new healthy parts of me. Because that was where I was before bad things happened to me. YES, she said, that is the first time you have admitted to me that bad things happened to you. Yes, bad things happened to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two weeks ago I broke

I didn't break down. I broke. The well-crafted defenses I perfected (or so I thought) over the last five decades broke and failed me. Yes, they have failed me in the past but I never knew they were failing. That's true denial. Two weeks ago I wound up in the emergency room, curled up on my side on a gurney, insides churning, nauseous, shivering, head throbbing, right arm numb. But the test results (blood tests, EKG, cat scan of my brain) were normal and the ER doc, after giving me two tylenols, told me I could leave. The LOML arrived to take me home.

I haven't written in my blog in months. I couldn't.

It just hurts too much.