Day 123 – Is it better?

Over the past few nights I have had some weird and scarey dreams.

When I have an unsettling night, it makes me not want to go to bed the following night.

Last night I slept about an hour and a half, fully dressed and with the lights on.

Staying dressed feels safe. And if I have a bad dream, and the light is on, it’s much easier to recognize it as a nightmare and not occuring at that moment.

When I get up to go on with my day, I’m ashamed of myself for behaving like a child. My parents used to get mad at me for wanting a light on during the night. I was always scared of the dark, because many times I would see someone standing beside my bed. Sometimes, I would run into their bedroom begging them to help me and telling them someone was in my room.

Most of the time they either chuckled or said I was being silly. Is this normal for a 13 or 14 year old? As a parent, would you not see a giant red flag?

So many things about my abuse were so obvious. I just don’t understand how no one got it.

So as I’m discussing with Mrs. A my bedtime frustrations, she asked me if I could tell her if anything was better.

I didn’t know what to say. The bad nights seem to screw up any glimpse of good days. Im always exhausted but never happy to go back to bed.

We discussed a few things that have changed and my confusion over both good and bad emotions. Even when I’m happy, I have to think about if it’s appropriate and I tell myself to remember that happiness is temporary.

I hate that I can’t process emotions like a normal person. It really makes me more ashamed of who I am.

So I’ve been thinking about the overall healing process since I left my appointment.

Yes, some things are better. The biggest thing is that I dont think about dying or my purpose every single day. Some days now, I’m just living.

I’m so ready to get beyond the “just living” stage and really start to love my life and who I am.

So, in some ways I’m better but the nightmares and flashbacks are no joke.

Is it better? Yes. Do I want more out of life, Yes yes yes.

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

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Day 122 – Wake up People

A few days ago, two ladies in my office were having a discussion regarding child abuse. I overheard, as their office is very close to mine.

The one lady is discussing a teen (15) that ran off with a man three times her age. She said, “What teenager is dumb enough to run off with a guy that old?” “She’s just being a bad kid”.

I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tell her that this girl was not to blame. I wanted to tell her that maybe she wasn’t cared for at home? Maybe she was sexually abused at a younger age? Who knows. The point is that the adult didn’t behave as an adult or obey the law.

Then to make matters worse, they start discussing people who don’t tell until later in life. The comment was made that why would someone try to ruin another person’s life after all those years.

I was just dumbfounded at how uneducated our society is regarding child sexual abuse. And I would say that a good part of it is denial.

But the fact that we still continue to blame the children, just breaks my heart.

Most adults never ever want to share the secrets of their abuse. But like me, their world is not the same as someone who wasn’t abused. We are haunted on a daily bases by the memories. Our brains are not even developed the same. These are proven scientific facts.

Childhood sexual abuse is real. It’s still happening and it’s more prevalent than ever. It’s in every country in the world.

It’s not the child’s fault. It happened because we were not given a choice! It happened because no one protected us! No one wants this to be their story!

That day my insides were screaming, “Wake up people”.

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

PS – If you or someone you love has survived child sexual abuse, please check out NAASCA.org for education and help for healing and recovery. There are many many resouces published including phone numbers for additional help.

Let’s all protect the children. And pray for the recovering adults.

Day 121 – No Comment

Last week I was sharing with Mrs. A about a particular guy I dated. She then wanted to talk about other relationships that I had been in.

She already knew I had two failed marriages. Then I told her about three boyfriends I had that weren’t my best decisions.

The whole time, I’m sort of laughing at how stupid I am and I should have known, etc.

As the session is ending, I’m sort of overwhelmed. In her usual therapeutic way she says, “How are you feeling right now?” I responded with the following two sentences – “Like shxx”, “My life has been such an fuxxing disaster”.

Then what she said in response sent me into a tail spin. So what she said is this – absolutely nothing.

I wanted and needed her encouragement and I got nothing. She handed me a paper with a homework assignment and we stood up and walked out.

I hated myself more at that moment than I ever had in my life.

I got in my car and sent Mrs. A an email. What she responded is that since I have never shown anger, she wanted me to sit with it and figure out what to do with it.

It felt as if she had abandoned me at the worst time. There was no pep talk. No advice. Nothing. All I could think was that she was over me and my issues and couldn’t wait for me to leave.

It is so hard to trust myself with her. I spend a good portion of our sessions trying to figure out what she is thinking. When I’m the only one expressing emotions, it’s scarey. And it really makes me feel like a child. Like I’m out of control or behaving badly.

After a few hours, I was able to pull myself together enough to understand where she was coming from. She would never do anything to hurt or harm me. Now I just have to believe it.

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

Day 120 – Should I?

As I mentioned before, I frequently participate in a internet radio show for adult survivors of child abuse. Last night someone mentioned that she has to comfort that little girl when she is triggered by something or having a memory that is painful.

It really hit home because, I actually get really embarrassed by a trigger or feeling child-like.

I am 54 now and I fight that inner child because I should be behaving like an adult. I shouldn’t have to tell myself that it’s all going to be ok.

When I go to therapy, it almost always feels like my 5 year old walks thru the door. I immediately feel powerless and uneducated.

Mrs. A does everything possible to give me my voice and make me feel powerful. And still, I have times where I can’t speak.

Of course, she tells me to be patient with myself, and that I’m really doing so much better, etc.

I typically leave her office with a dissappoinment in myself for not saying this or that.

Back to the radio show, as the panel is having this discussion about comforting their inner child, I made the comment that I spend a lot of time quieting that little girl and maybe I should be embracing her and maybe thats the part I’m missing in this recovery journey.

The host spoke up and said, “Let’s remove “should” from our healing vocabulary. He says we are where we are in our healing and because something works for one person doesn’t mean we “should” do it also. Or it doesn’t mean that we should be at the same stage in the healing process.

Wow. How many times do I say that I should be in a different place. Instead of working on healing where I’m at, I’m always trying to go to a more advanced place. As if there is such a thing.

So for today, I’m going to be grateful for where I’m at and the progress I’ve made and just try to accept me.

Is it ok to stop saying should I? Just for today?

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

Day 119 – The Spa

Last night I went to bed struggling with some thoughts. I was rehearsing, in my head, what to say to Mrs. A today in therapy. I knew exactly what I should talk about.

We recently changed our focus in therapy to just one abuser at a time while talking about memories, so that I could stay focused and not get so overwhelmed that I have to dissociate.

So as I’m thinking about what to say, the memories are just popping up like a whack-a-mole game.

I have on spa music, aromatherapy, lotion, a candle, a beach waves video on TV and my weighted blanket.

I should have been just fine. But I tossed and turned,and yelled out in my sleep, all night. It was awful.

Needless to say, when I got in with Mrs. A today, I couldn’t say what I had set out to say. I ended up leaving with a lot of negative self talk and the feeling of being so childlike and immature.

So tonight, I’m going to just try to sleep. No obsessive thoughts and no worry. Truthfully I am exhausted. I need to let my self -expections go and just rest.

I hope tonight is the night!!

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

Day 118 – I was watching a 5 Year Old.

So I’ve been babysitting the last few weeks and it’s been fun.

One of the girls is 5 years old. Tonight I really watched her.

I watched her laugh. I watched her get angry. I watched her eat. I watched how she watched TV. I watched her play with a dog. I watched her twirl around in her dress.

And then it hit me. This is how a 5 year old should act. This how a child with no trauma in her life behaves.

This is what I was suppossed to be. It was sad. And enlightening at the same time.

She seemed so innocent and pure and happy.

I was thinking that this child would not know what to do if a traumatic situation happened. Everyone has protected her. She’s been hidden from evil. And so I had no choice but to feel sorry for 5 year old me. I had no choice but to wonder if I was ever that safe and happy.

It was sad and I was grateful for her at the same time. We were watching a movie together and her little hand held mine. At one point she jumped up in my lap and put my hands around her as if to say, “hold on to me”. I try to take in some of her joy and peace.

Since God is constantly putting me in healing situations in this journey, I was not surprised that 100 emotions were swirling around in my mind and in my heart.

When she said good-night, I watched her tiny body walk away. Carefree and giggly.

Thank you God and this little girl for helping me see what I was suppossed to be. I’m sorry little me, you did the best you could. It’s not your fault.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 117 – Same Feeling – Different Day

As I shared earlier, the last couple of weeks in therapy have been me telling Mrs. A my life long secrets. A few weeks ago we decided to start talking about one abuser at a time, instead of a little bit of each one here and there.

The good thing about this process has been the more focused sessions. Although, a few of them were incredibly difficult and made me feel like giving up.

But, I am determined to share every memory that comes up regarding this person, and try to leave no stone unturned.

Since this abuse was in my later teenage years, I always blamed myself and never ever told anyone.

Mrs. A is helping me to make sense of the guilt of thinking that I allowed these things to happen.

The truth is that I did allow these things because I was trying to survive. And because there had already been several other abusers, I thought this was just why I was born. I thought since I was such an awful person, I thought I deserved the unspeakable.

Anyway, as I’m recalling these events, more come to my mind. This particular person was in my life for about 1 year, so there are plenty of events.

But the weirdest thing is happening and it’s so frustrating.

I can feel the same feelings I felt in my body during those times. Stomach ache, heart racing, adrenaline, tears welling up and trying to swallow that lump in my throat.

If you have ever been almost in a car accident or really scared by someone coming up behind you, then you know what I’m talking about.

But now, every night when I get in my bed, I feel sick to my stomach. Literally. It’s the worst kind of PTSD because it’s just there. I don’t go to bed thinking negative thoughts but my body does.

I’m super frustrated but keep trying to remind myself that I’m doing the right thing by talking about it.

Am I doing the right thing? I feel almost stuck now. Like I have opened Pandora’s box and now I don’t know how to close it, or make it all fit back inside.

Have you ever seen those space bags for storage? It’s like that. If you let the air in, what’s inside becomes huge and will no longer fit in the bag.

So I’ll go back tomorrow and share a little more. As painful as it will be. But I can’t put it away now. It’s too late. It’s too big.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.