We had, up until this evening, a tree on our tree lawn. A line of severe thunderstorms flew through the greater Cleveland area earlier. When the alert came through my phone, it said winds up to 80 mph. Looking at our poor tree, I can believe it.
It could have been much, much much worse. There are a few pictures of huge trees that came down in the area. AJ Colby says more storms are in the future due to the high temperatures and humidity we’re having. Check out this segment of him talking with images of the radar and satellite from the storm. It does look like we’ll have a nice weekend, knock on wood.
I don’t have many memories from childhood. Most of them consist of what I describe as “snapshots”. It’s like a picture of sorts in my mind. Sometimes I know the context and sometimes I don’t.
Seeing the tree on the ground brought back one of these snapshots. It’s me standing in a garden center holding onto the trunk of this (much smaller version) tree. There isn’t much more to it. I’m actually assuming it’s a garden center, because where else would you have bought a tree in the late 70s. I guess it isn’t even a picture so much. It’s more of like me looking outside from inside of me knowing I’m holding onto this tree.
For some reason, seeing the tree on the ground made me cry last night. I don’t feel particularly emotionally attached to that tree. Maybe because it’s one of the few nontraumatic memories I have? I don’t know. And at the moment, I’m overwhelmed with everything else and I don’t want to explore it. Maybe when I talk to Dr. D the week after next.
I was browsing metafilter last night and there was a post in fanfare about the movie, “Ordinary People“. That’s a movie that Dr. D (in Austin) asked me to watch. That was roughly 20 years ago (give or take a year or two)
(Gidgette just crawled up onto my lap and is sitting on my arms. It’s making typing on the laptop quite difficult.)
At the time, it was pretty impactful. I remember us talking about it for a session or two. But I don’t remember what we really talked about.
Back to last night. I decided to see if it was streaming anywhere. Turns out, yes it was, on Amazon Prime Video. As I started watching, the plot came back to me. What hit me this time was how much the mother (Mary Tylor Moore) was obsessed with keeping up appearances. It was all about how the family looked to her friends. January of last year, I talked about that idea with Dr. JD (to differentiate her from Dr. D in Austin), but I know I didn’t really explain it well. I know this because I’ve been journaling daily since 1/1/20 and it gives me on this day in history. When that came up a few weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to talk about it again. But I never knew how to broach the idea. I think I’ll send her a text to see if she’s seen it. It’ll be a good springboard for the topic.
Around the same time Dr. D asked me to watch “Ordinary People”, he asked me to watch “Good Will Hunting” as well. “Good Will Hunting” hit a lot closer to home, so to speak. I think the scene everyone probably remembers is Will (Matt Damon) and Sean (Robin Williams) in his office as Will is finishing up therapy with Sean because he’s turned 21. You can watch it on YouTube. Just hearing the words, “It’s not your fault.” over and over was hard back circa 2000.
Being a glutton for punishment, I actually bought the digital download and watched it. It surprised me how hard that same scene hit me in 2021. The tears flowed just as freely as they did 20 years ago. I actually journaled about this after watching it. The app I use, Day One (iOS and Mac only), lets me record an audio entry. One of these days, I’ll go back and listen to it. Actually, I might do that before “seeing” Dr. JD on Tuesday.
BTW: I’m writing these as sort of a record of what’s going on. It helps me keep track of changes and reactions to meds and therapy.
Today was a fairly normal visit with the psychiatrist. I’m feeling a bit better. It’s getting there a little at a time. I’m still hearing voices, but they are less frequent and less intense. Dr. W isn’t as concerned as she was earlier in the month.
A few changes today. I’m going down again on citalopram. In need to get off of it because of interactions with the Lupron. With that change, Dr. W decided to go up again on the Zoloft. The only other big change is going up on the Haldol. 11 mg at first and then 12. I’m hoping that will have to be the last dosage adjustment up.
Wow. Today was intense. It started with a discussion about Father’s Day. And all the loving posts you see on Facebook. And the whole industry we have. And how it makes me feel. Jealous. Green with envy. I don’t love my dad, or grandpas, or God father. Nope. No way. And that good old Catholic guilt and “honor thy father and thy mother”.
From there Dr. D asked about something we talked about a few weeks ago. One of the things I felt was that I lost something of myself with the use of Lupron. I lost the ability to reproduce. Not that I want to reproduce. I read somewhere (maybe on Not My Secret) about defining yourself by what society considers to be the defining traits of a woman. That post really resonated with me. So we talked a bit about other ways I could define myself. Funny. Blah Blah Blah. Dr. D said that I was smart. I couldn’t say no fast enough. Which of course lead to another whole discussion.
In the end, I said that my mother said I was smart when it suited her, when she got to brag. Any other time, I was dumb, and idiot, etc. Then I said something really significant. I said that I hated her for that. That was really significant. I had never said that word before. I didn’t know how deep it ran. That scared me. It felt overwhelming at the moment. Thank God that Dr. D was there because I was overwhelmed. I was shaking and crying. On some level it felt good to let out those emotions. On the other hand, it was really scary. I knew I had a safe place in her office.
I tend to stuff things down. Dr. D told me it was a defense mechanism. And now that I’m home, the old defenses are coming back. I don’t feel safe to experiences the anger and sadness that I felt earlier. At least I know now that I can feel without becoming overwhelmed or out of control. I was even going to write a blog post in all caps. I still may. Maybe I can do it at the library where I feel safer.
It’s amazing how seemingly innocent trains of thought can lead to breakthroughs. I see Dr. D again on Thursday (and on Mondays too). I think at this point, that’s what I need.
I’ve tried to write this out many times in the past. In fact this is the seventh time the post was titled “Pink Pajamas”. Today is Therapy Thursday and the topic took up a solid half hour. Me just sitting there trying to get the words out. Working hard to keep my head in the present. Posting this is hard even though I just talked about it. Here goes nothing.
I was 7 or 8 years old. It was Christmas Eve. We read the Bible and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. We hung up our stockings. It’s a Christmas tradition to get new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Mine were those one piece pajamas with the feet. Mine were pink.
It was time to go to bed. But I was warned that bad little girls got nothing in their stockings. And I sure that I was a bad little girl.
Later that night, my dad came in and undressed me. I remembered how cold it was. He whispered in my ear that he knew how to make me a good girl. Then he had his way with me. He didn’t dress me though. I slept all night naked.
In the morning, my mom came in to wake me up. She asked why I didn’t have my pajamas on. I told her I got hot. I put them on and followed her to the living room. I guess I was a good girl because my stocking was full and there were presents under the tree.
Dr. D pointed out that things came with strings attached. And they really did. That’s the topic for Monday. I thought in light of everything going on, I should probably see her twice a week for a little while.
This was the prompt for today. Sometimes I feel so far apart from other people. I see it in therapy. It is issues of trust still. I’ve worked hard to build trust with Dr. D. On some levels, I do trust her. On others, there are some things I’m not ready to tell her.
She has this view that things would get easier if I told my brothers. We went through this a while ago. At that time, I did everything I could do to resist her. Now, it’s not so cut and dry for me. I think it might help a little. But I’m not at that point in time yet. would
I know that they would go strait to the parental unit and ask about it. I’m not ready to deal with the fall out from that. I guess I am divided on that idea.
Sometimes I feel so separate from other people. I feel apart. I can’t explain it. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I would rather read a book than socialize. I can do the socialization thing, but it’s draining physically and emotionally.
Sometimes I feel divided from other survivors. Now this I can’t explain. I don’t know that I want to explain it right now, either.
Signing off for tonight. I baked cookies and I’m exhausted. :(
I love ER. I have since the first day it aired. Now I found in syndication and it cheers me up; at least for an hour it does.
Tonight was not one of those nights. The plot and the characters weren’t important. But seeing them examine a 6 year old to confirm sexual abuse was out of left field. I guess I should start reading the blurbs that DirecTV has.
It wasn’t the exam part. I never went through that. It was the thought of the little girl being violated that got to me. I got pretty close to that flashback spiral. It didn’t hit me so hard that I couldn’t control it. I went out to the kitchen immediately and took my PRN anxiety med. That helped. I got out of my room so I didn’t have to deal with the bedroom stuff. That helped. I turned to a mystery novel to get my head in another place. It helped.
I have a feeling that Dr. D would be proud of me. I did the right things to keep my head in the present. And that’s been hard for me all along. I can only take one day at a time. I made it through 19/20 radiation sessions with that attitude. I know this is a long trek for me and I will have bad times. Right now the bad seems to outweigh the good. But I’ve got friends who support me. I have a fluffy white kitty on my lap right now and another mutt hanging out under the blankets on my bed.
Baby steps. Just remember baby steps.
I’ve finally pulled myself together after a good 10 minute panic attack.
Dad loved to fondle me in the shower. He did call them “our showers”. Ugh.
Dad was getting ready to take his shower.
He said I’m going to take “Our Shower”.
Not a good afternoon.
So I saw Dr. D yesterday. It was tough, complete with a panic attack. She encouraged me to call Dr. W. Since I seen her earlier this week, I didn’t think it was a good idea. But Dr. D gently explained that Dr. W would be concerned that I let myself continue to suffer needlessly. So I called. I got a call back that evening, which surprised me because she’s on vacation. She asked what was going on and I told her everything. Well almost everything. I didn’t tell her how long things have been going on. She gave me hydroxyzine, which she has given me before. Dr. W said she’s hesitant to prescribe a benzo at this point. Not because she’s worried about addiction. But rather given the amount of medication I’m on. I understand her point of view, and I respect it. What it says to me is that she’s being conservative, but is willing to go with something more powerful if I need it.
Dr. D wants me to come back on Monday. I don’t really know how I feel about that. I do have somethings I want to talk about related to the physical abuse. But I’m not completely confident that I can get through it without losing myself in the flashback loop. It makes me scared just thinking about it. I’m going to copy/paste it in here so I can just read it if need be.
It was my grandfather. The summer after kindergarten, my parents made me stay there while they took my grandmother out of town. I don’t remember what I did that was so bad, but I got punished but good. He took off all of my clothes and made me lie on the bed. He put my arms over my head with my hands together and told me to stay that way. If I moved or cried, he hit me with a leather belt.
I don’t know how long I stayed in that position. It was so cold in there. He had the air conditioner on as cold as it would go. It felt like it was forever. I had almost fallen asleep when he came back into the room. I laid there while he felt my whole body, from top to bottom. He was on the bed with me. Then he left and told me not to move or I’d get it with the belt again.
I tried not to cry, but I did. As soon as he heard me, he came back and punished me for disturbing his baseball game. He told me that I better not move again. So I didn’t. I laid there and counted the cracks in the ceiling, over and over, and over again. But I couldn’t help but listen for him. I was terrified he would come into the room again.
After what seemed like forever, he came back into the room. And he got on the bed again. I was so afraid he’d get the belt out again. He wasn’t touching me anymore. He was on top of me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. He was so big and heavy. The penetration was extremely painful. I wanted to scream and yell, but I couldn’t. It hurt too bad.
All of a sudden, he jumped off of me and the bed. I put my arms down. He started to scream at me. He told me that he had said not to move. He told me I was an evil child filled with the devil. He was right. He got the belt again and told me to put my hands back up or he’d punish me again. I begged him not to, but that made him really angry. He took me by my shoulders and shook me. He kept yelling how little girls should obey their elders. He put my hands back over my head and made me stay like that.
I laid on that bed for hours. It was so cold in that room. I really had to go to the bathroom, but he told me not to move or say anything. I had to go so bad, I ended up wetting the bed. When he found out I had wet the bed, he beat me again. And then he was on top of me again. It must have gone on like that for hours. I remember watching it go from day to night.
I hurt right now just thinking about it. I think I’m going to sign off, take some hydroxyzine, and eat. Toast for breakfast and not eating anything else doesn’t cut it anymore.
What a rough time today. Going two days in a row is rough. But I didn’t expect it to be this rough. I pretty much picked up where I left off. I know Dr. D is concerned. It’s hard for me to understand why. The same goes for Dr. W. On Dr. D’s urging, I left a message for Dr. W. The panic attacks. The flashbacks. They have gotten worse lately. I think I didn’t share this with Dr. W for fear of ending up in the hospital. I bet that isn’t a rational thought. They don’t throw you butt in the hospital unless you’re a danger to yourself or others. What I know, however, isn’t working to calm down what I feel.
For the first time in however many years I’ve been going, I admitted to Dr. D about the cutting. People sometimes get the wrong idea. For me, it was to externalize the pain I was feeling. I talked about how long it’s been since I last cut. I talked about the urges and how they’re getting stronger and stronger. Dr. D took it in stride. I had expected some sort of belittling. I don’t know. Scolding maybe. But all she showed was compassion. She asked the usual questions. When did I start? What made me stop? Did I feel in danger?
Today was another day. I couldn’t cry. I thought I was going to. I pinched my leg to try and keep it under control. I hate tears. I hear my mom’s voice. “If you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about!” It usually ended up with the belt.
She asked about how structure of childhood kept me functioning (although not in those words). I was trying to respond that it was some sort of normality in life. All of a sudden I was hit with flashbacks harder than ever. I’m pretty sure I was having a panic attack too. I vaguely remember hearing my name. But I couldn’t snap out of it. It was like I was in a film on a repetitive loop. As I calmed down, I could only stare at the fish. I couldn’t look Dr. D in the eyes. We talked some about what I went through in those last 5 minutes. It was all so overwhelming. I went back to the thought of routine and only could say there was nothing normal about it. But it was sort of a loose routine. I went to bed. He came in. He molested me. He left. I went to sleep. Every single night.
I tried to hide. I don’t know why I bothered. He always got me out. Sometimes it was with extraordinary anger. He almost ripped the closet door off once or twice. I finally gave up on hiding. There was no point. There was no stopping the abuse.
All of this came out today. Dr. D asked if there were any new memories. Nope. The same old ones. The ones that still hurt so much. I need to let her know I need her to be more aggressive in trying to get me out of that loop. Like I said, I kind of heard her calling my name. But it wasn’t enough. It didn’t break though the images, sounds, feelings or panic. The one thing she did try to get me to do after I calmed down was to keep my eyes open. I totally understand that. In my history of therapy, that was something I definitely learned. It hard sometimes. I really want to block out everything. But by blocking out everything external, I get caught up in my head.
Dr. D asked me to come back on Monday morning so we can keep on top of everything. What was I going to say? I suppose I could have said no. But that didn’t seem wise. I know I need to keep working, especially through the radiation. Speaking of which, I’m almost half way done. Yay for me. So, I’ll go back on Monday. If I make it through the weekend that is. Dr. D gave me her cell phone number so I can always call or shoot her a text if need be.