Day 99 – Harvey Changed My Life.

August 2017. Hurricane Harvey. Houston Texas. Suppossed to be a birthday celebration.

Instead, it was a life-changing event. It was the beginning of the end of the old me. It was the end of life as I knew it.

Yes, There was some fear, but I was safe. So many around us lost everything. I was chosen to be safe. For some reason, I was spared.

That in itself comes with guilt. Coming back to Florida after and not being able to volunteer was awful. Overwhelming sadness for those left behind.

But the PTSD unlocked memories that I had long since put away.

The flood was now in my mind. It was a flood of memories and flashbacks.

Why? What does being stranded in a flood have to do with child abuse memories.

How does my whole nightmare of a childhood come flooding back without even being invited?

More than a year later and I’m still puzzled. More than a year later and I’m still in therapy. More than a year later and I’m still screaming or yelling, or crying in my sleep. More than a year later and I still feel like I’m drowning.

I never ever thought I would be an emotional disaster at 54 years old.

Some days I can feel the old me coming back. But the old me can’t process memories. The old me can’t trust anyone. The old me can’t be vulnerable.

It’s a war of the mind. I want to process the memories and move past it. And at the same time, I want to go back to pre-Harvey days.

I’m tired. Tired of the flood. Tired of wading. Tired of trying to keep my head above the water.

But in order to get out of the flood I have to keep trying to get on dry land.

Hey God, could you throw me a life raft? Or even just a life jacket so I can stop having to get water in my lungs? I can’t breathe.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

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Day 98 – Press On!

I’ve been in South Dakota on business. I’m going home in two days. My emotions are all over the place.

I have definitly missed my son and granddaughter. I’ve definitly missed my co-workers and employees. I’ve missed my super supportive friends.

I’ve made some new friends here but at the same time, I’ve been anonymous.

Usually when I travel, I don’t have nightmares and flashbacks. But this time was different. I’ve had quite a few sleepless nights. I’ve had nightmares that weren’t scarey. But they were of me being so angry. Screaming and yelling. What the heck? How can a dream be angry? This is totally new to me.

Anyway, I leave in about 36 hours. In some ways I feel sad. I’ll miss my space. I’ll miss my anonymity. I’ll miss the refreshing sense of being away.

I had a phone session with Mrs A on Monday night and told her all of these things. I don’t think she was surprised. But she said I’ve had my time away and now it’s time to get back to business.

This healing thing is no joke. It’s not for the weak. It’s not an overnight transition. It’s not always moving forward.

The part I hate about it is taking the backward steps. It’s so discouraging. It’s so defeating.

Each time, I somehow find my way back. It’s like I have now awakened a part of me that I can’t put back to sleep. Oh how I have prayed to go back to the old numb, aimless, me. It felt so good to be on auto-pilot.

Now I have to think and feel about everything I do. Now I have to have relationships. Now I have to do something besides work. Now I have to feel joy and hurt. Now I have to be scared and brave.

My guess is that most people do these things without much thought.

I analyze every thought and feeling. I spend most of my awake hours trying to control life. Mrs A says that this is the reason that my nights are hell. I spend so much time trying to avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings so they are manifested in my dreams.

Anyway, I’m pep talking myself and gearing home for a fresh start. I’m going to push forward.

I’m going to keep blogging. I’m going to finish developing my website. I’m going to continue to work with non-profits that bring awareness. I’m going to continue to pursue public speaking and telling my story where ever possible. I’m going to continue to be available to others who are in recovery.

I want to succeed at healing. I want to stop trying to quit. I want to keep fighting the darkness. I want to press on.

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

Day 97 – I stopped writing.

I haven’t felt like blogging. I felt exposed. I felt like I bared my soul and suddenly felt so vulnerable.

I interrupted my journey. I interrupted my recovery. I lost my direction.

This past week, someone shared their story with me. I could feel the desperation in her voice. I felt all of her pain.

It made me stop in my tracks. It made me see that my purpose hasn’t changed. I just failed to acknowledge it.

One particular memory that I shared with Mrs. A three weeks ago has stopped me in my tracks. I had never told anyone this event.

Again, I feel exposed. Again, I feel re-traumatized. But instead of processing the pain, I went into Super Girl mode. I’m so good at it.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been. I want to come back but I don’t know how to let go of what has me locked. Maybe it’s grief? Maybe it’s anger? Maybe I don’t know what to call it.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 96 – Home Sweet Home – or Not!

I just returned to Florida from a South Dakota Business trip. I was so excited to come back to the warm weather and to the familiarity of home.

My first night in my bed was the usual bad dreams, crying out, and feeling so alone.

Why does being away from my own bed, bring me comfort? How did I stay in a hotel for 5 nights and never have a bad dream.

It’s totally backward. I should feel safe at home. I should have peace in my own bed. What is wrong with me?

I guess I already know the answer to that question. But does this struggle ever end?

Being away has a certain sense of comfort. It’s like I’m hiding from the evil people and they can never find me. It’s also like I’m invisible when I’m in a city where no one knows me. They don’t know my secrets. They can’t feel my pain. They can’t identify me as good or bad.

I’m struggling today to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m struggling to find the smile that I had on for the last week.

The reality is that when I come to this place that I call home, it’s foreign to me.

This is not home sweet home. This is another dose of reality. And today I don’t want to feel it!

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 95 – I Have No Words

I’m at a loss of words. I can’t describe where I’m at in my journey. Some things have changed in the way I think. Some of the sadness seems to have disappeared.

In some ways, I have been avoiding putting my feelings into words. There are still memories to share. There are still skeletons. But it’s so much easier not to name them.

It’s easier to leave the skeletons in the closet. If I can’t see or feel them then they don’t exist, right?

A few nights this week have been pretty rough. In spite of that, I have managed to maintain a relatively ok daytime attitude.

I remember as a teenager, after several nights of abuse, I would be so tired and irritable. By Monday, I would go to school totally dissociated and longing for the freedom and peace that I had at school. At least there, no one expected a physical sacrifice.

The teachers seemed to love me. In retrospect, they felt sorry for me. They knew I was sad but didn’t know why. Most would always give me extra attention which I craved so badly.

It truly was two different lives. I got so used to wearing the mask during the day. At night there was no hiding. Much like my days now.

The sunrise is such a relief to the terrors of the night.

I can walk out, leave my bedroom and skeletons behind and the night has no power over me.

But when the sun sets, all I can think is, here we go again.

There is still much to share with Mrs. A. I’m starting to crave the release. But I still have such a hard time telling about the actual abuse. I can talk all around it. I still feel shame with every disclosure.

Next week, I’m going on a business trip. In one way, I’m looking forward to the break from therapy. But at the same time, I’m panicked. What if I need to talk? I’m pretty sure Mrs. A could use a break from me. She has to be tired of hearing my pain.

I’m hoping to come back ready to push forward and continue to take the skeletons out of the huge closet I’ve built over the years.

What I want to share and what I actually am able to share are worlds apart. It’s like carrying a tractor tire on your back. You’re slumped over and in pain, but dropping the tire is not an option.

A literal strong man competition with myself. My strength is keeping the secrets. My weakness is dropping the 1000 pounds and admitting that I can’t carry it anymore. It feels like I have to lose myself to find myself.

I can’t put the memories part of this journey into words. The memories snowball if you allow even one to come to the surface. It’s a flood of heart pain that suffocates you.

So for tonight, I have no words. But my skeletons want to talk. They want to be known. They want to be a part of me and no longer locked away.

God help me find the words to unlock the secrets.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 94 – Walk and Talk

It’s been a while since I have been able to post on here. Two reasons really. One – I was taking a break from my brain. I need to quiet down the storm.

And Two – I don’t really know where I’m at mentally. It was kinda feeling like the Space Mountain ride at Disney. It felt like an unlit path with huge ups and downs. And not really knowing which would be next.

While I’m working on trying to own my story, I find myself still needing to have secrets. No one will believe the whole story. I don’t even believe it. So I waiver between giving up and fighting harder.

The truth is that everyone has something in their past that the wrestle with. We all are so busy keeping on our fixed face, that we can’t let anyone know that we have areas we struggle with.

Ms. A has does a type of therapy that is called “Walk and Talk”. I was very resistant to it because I felt like I had a hard enough time focusing in the office.

But last week she suggested that we go for a walk. And for some reason, I was open to it.

We talked about my feeling about myself and how I continually keep putting the “bad” label on myself.

I definitely don’t feel worthy of the awesome friendships I’ve formed and I don’t feel worthy of being happy.

Happiness has always seemed so temporary, followed by brokenness. So I just learned that it’s better to not give in to the happiness.

Probably sounds crazy to the average person. But sometimes my Mom would be angry at me for being happy when she was not happy. I should have felt more compassionate. I should have felt really bad because she did.

I was always having to parent her. I was always responsible for her sadness. I was always the “cause” of her pain.

After I left the “resort”, my parents moved away. The reason, they said, was because they couldn’t handle my problems anymore. I was about to go into my senior year of high school parentless. I was left to live with my brother who had substance abuse issues and did not care if I was coming or going.

During that year I made the worst decisions. But it was ok since no one knew what I was doing.

I had to keep secrets since I was 5 years old. And to this day, my life is very compartmentalized.

No one knows everything. Not even Ms. A. But how could she respect me if she knew? How could she look at me week after week and not despise me?

So all my life, I’ve tried to keep the flaws hidden. It’s so much work. It’s exhausting. But it has to be done. Who could love all of me? Who could look past my flaws? No one but God right? And maybe even God is dissappointed? Even though he created me.

You’re probably shaking your head in disbelief that one’s thinking could be so skewed. But as a survivor of child sexual abuse, it’s so hard to love who you are. Good or bad. Happy or sad. It’s all in there. Just neatly wrapped and put away. I need to unpack some day and be the person that I’m called to be. Only then can I walk and talk about my journey to a world full of people who have hidden hurts.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 93 – Please Stop the Dreams

For one week, I had a reprieve from the nightmares. I thought to myself that this has to be a turning point. But then again, that has happened before.

Each time I feel like I’ve really got this thing conquered and I’m now going to join the rest of the normal sleeping world.

In my mind, I am the only one who has nightmares and then stay up for days to avoid having another one.

Night before last I had the spookiest dream that was like a horror movie. It was simple and fast but repeated all night. I suffered all day yesterday with a migraine and got in bed last night around 6:30pm hoping for another reprieve.

Last night’s dream was unusual because I actually dreamed of one of my perpetrators molesting me. The dream was in full color and detail. In the dream I am an adult.

I woke up trying to figure out why I dreamed this and why would I allow him to do that again as an adult.

Sometimes I get angry because I can’t figure out why I can’t take control in my dreams. I should be able to. I should be stronger than these memories.

For some reason, I’m still taking the blame. Even in my dreams.

I still have the migraine and now Im tearful again because I’ve seen this person that I hate doing something to me that I hate, and now I have to go to work.

Is this a punishment? Why God?

Please God. Please stop the dreams. It’s been 16 months of hell. I’ve paid my dues right??

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.