So many warnings for this post – TL;DR, various triggers, and most of all it’s a sooky-lala poor ol’ me whinge. Because sometimes even the most positive of people need to have a cry!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted – things have been quite rocky here. October is a month with a lot of anniversaries – deaths and birthdays and all the events around them – and so the hardest month of the year for me apart from December with Christmas and all the feelings that evokes.
It’s a few weeks into actually starting trauma therapy, and we are still in the beginning stages. I’m panicking because despite some good advice that gives me hope about being able to access more of it, we are halfway through the sessions that I can access per year (10 per year all up with the extension) and there’s a lifetime of stuff to cover.
I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’ve been sitting here today shaking my head. I don’t know when I became so outspoken and mean. I don’t know when I became so unable to trust people. Okay. I DO know. I’ve had so many people lie to me. I’ve discovered so many people were not who they pretended to be. People who pretended to be good people, friends, people who ‘cared’ – and it turned out they were fake all along. And that’s just in real life. People like an ex friend of years, the one who was talking to my little sister behind my back and convincing her that my dad dying from cancer – melanoma – was my fault, because I had anorexia and that had obviously stressed him to death. That my eating disorder was to punish them, and that if I really loved them, I’d not do it. And then coming in to visit me in hospital and trying to force me to plan my own freaking funeral.
Online? It seems we are surrounded by fakes. Surrounded by people pretending to have anorexia or cancer or cystic fibrosis or whatever. They are everywhere. I’ve had a facebook friend ‘die’, cried for her, watched as our friends poured out tributes for her, only to discover she was alive the whole time. Then be tipped off by someone else that there were sites where she had, several times, pretended to be sick and then die – of cancer, of cystic fibrosis, of anorexia. Can you imagine how I felt? And that’s just one, of quite a few.
And then you have my own mother, the queen of lies. She’s had a brain tumor. She’s had Ross River Virus. She’s been to cancer support groups despite never having cancer. She was going to be completely blind and spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. I could go on and on. But they were all imagined illnesses. I learnt early that a grain of salt with everything was my best friend.
I need to choose my friends better. But the main thing here is that, how do you trust faceless people online? Do you just ignore any red flags that go up? Do you after being hurt so much, ignore those gut feelings? How do you choose to believe one person over another, apart from things like being able to ‘see’ them and ‘hear’ the sincerity in their words?
I’m torn in so many directions. On the one hand, I cry reading the blogs and facebooks and other sites of so many people online – people who have been hurt and broken and are struggling to survive, or bravely fighting back. On the other hand, I constantly question how real some of them are, because… I don’t want to be sucked in again. Among so many other things.
And then.. there’s what’s happening inside. I’m not coping really. I pretend that I am, as usual. But lately – sheesh. Where to begin? Okay. I’ve never, ever been free of any of what happened to me. The constant unrelenting abuse for my entire life, from as young as I remember, til I fled there at the earliest that I was able to break free mentally from that emotionally controlled environment – I’ve never had any peace from that stuff. It also took my adored cat being killed to allow me to leave – my only friend, I couldn’t leave her behind in that nest of vipers to be mistreated even more. And I knew there was no way I’d be able to take her with me.
(I often ask myself WHY didn’t you say to the people – teachers for eg – who constantly asked you throughout childhood, what’s happening at home? Is everything okay? Why did I lie to them constantly and tell them it was all fine? WHY didn’t those docs workers insist on coming in past the padlocked gate and scary dogs? WHO reported us? WHY didn’t I even just run away earlier? And I couldn’t. Because I was as trapped emotionally as I was physically in that place.)
And while all this was happening, I faced bullying at school. It was a tiny, elite school for the ‘cream of the crop’ from around the country – the dancing school, where we danced most of the day and caught up with our education in the afternoons. Our classes were small – less than 25 people per class, adding up to less than 50 students – mostly girls – in the entire school. Add that they were affluent girls – you had to be to afford over $7500 a term – and I was the lone scholarship/ sponsorship/ wrong side of the tracks/ neglected/ dirty/ scruffy kid – OUCH. Imagine being the hated kid in a school where there aren’t little groups of friends – there is just one big cliche – and it’s them against you.
(I guess it still affects me strongly today. Everything I do is seen by me through the filter of “Fiona is a loser, Fiona is a failure, Fiona is dirty, Fiona is an imbecile…we always knew Fiona wouldn’t amount to anything..” There are so many things I wish I could go back and do differently, not that I know if they would have made a difference.)
I didn’t have a chance, even when I fled. Being abducted, assaulted, raped for a whole long afternoon and evening continuously, then having the man control you, stalk you, and come back to rape and abuse you horribly over and over again for the next few years – I felt like I just left one hell for another.
(and I ask myself why, for this too. Why did I never report him to the police? Sure he always forced me to wash the evidence of rape away afterwards, sure he threatened me. But they would have stopped him wouldn’t they have? I couldn’t keep him from breaking in or picking me up off the street again if I didn’t let him in. But they could have stopped him?)
All this is stuff I’ve been reliving, constantly, that’s never gone away, never left me in peace. How do people deal with this sort of stuff? How do you go on and just live? There are the ignoramuses who say ‘Get over it’… I wish. Every day, I spend a lot of it dissociated, or trapped in flashbacks – and I battle to function despite that.
Trauma therapy only just beginning, has given me a LOT of hope. I just felt like I clicked with this therapist, I feel safe with her, and I also sense she has strong boundaries (having been coaxed into a ‘hugging/cuddling’ “I love you”-saying relationship with a counsellor years ago, then being badly hurt by it, boundaries are important.) This therapist has told me a few things she can do to help me. How we can work to take away some of the power of the flashbacks, how she can teach me to separate myself from them emotionally, and I hope so much that we get a chance to work in depth with everything I need to. How long does it take in therapy to work on a lifetime’s stuff? Another lifetime? I don’t feel like I have another lifetime.
I’m aware that I’ve gone off on a major tangent here. Please bear with me. My point is (I think!) that I’ve been a complete utter mess emotionally and I don’t even know whether I’m coming or going lately. I’ve been so depressed, so anxious, and so haunted. And so nasty. Not even sure of my true feelings on so many things, quick to jump on the bandwagon if other people are doubting someone, and yes – again – nasty.
I’m truly sorry and ashamed of myself, for hurting another blogger publicly saying I doubted whether they were real or not. I’ve followed them for quite a while and left a few comments here or there. What she goes through calls to me because I know that hurt, I know that brokenness. But she’s faceless, and there are many places round the net where I hear things, other people saying things, that plant seeds of doubt that just keep growing. Add to that feeling invalidated in many ways – and reowr. Anger/nasty/something horrible that I hate to have exist in me – strikes. It scares me that I have this in me, the ability to be so upfront and unkind. I truly meant every word I commented on LT’s blog. And apart from a comment the other day, people’s views do change over time – what I felt a month or two ago is not going to be what I feel today – and my comments reflect that. It’s not two faced to feel differently and express that.
I deeply regret that I made my doubts public on GOMI – but I also find myself asking – is it so wrong, so terrible of people to have doubts? In this day and age when scammers, fakers, con artists are everywhere? When I have a history of getting sucked in and hurt? And is it forbidden, when you see someone publicly expressing the same doubts, to go and join them, because they are thinking something you had begun to think? Because you aren’t alone in your thoughts and maybe together you can work out what the reality is. I guess my mistake was a very very HUMAN thing to do. Another mistake was daring to post those doubts as myself. Maybe I should have just separated myself from them completely. I forgot that there is no such thing as freedom to speak your mind online.
I’m feeling a bit WTF about blogging communities where you aren’t allowed to dissent, aren’t allowed to question, aren’t allowed to think for yourself. Where it starts to feel like a shared idolisation of the blogger by the blog community and anyone who dares to say differently, beware, because you will get torn to bits by an angry pack of sheeple. I’m also WTF’ing commenters who ARE two faced in that they sing the blogger’s praises to them on their blog, but are even MORE anonymously posting in places like GOMI, tipping people off about their own doubts etc. Everyone knows who I am on GOMI. But there are obviously quite a few commenters on this particular blog who are singing along there, and singing something different elsewhere.
Anyway…. I just regret that I hurt someone. Hurt LT. And wish I kept my head pulled in.
I can’t go back and change the past few days unfortunately. Can’t undo anything that’s been done, any more than I can go back years and do things differently in the hope that I might have escaped some of that torment.
(because hindsight doesn’t exist in that way. We can’t take hindsight back with us and use it in that past.. that doesn’t even make sense. Truth is, we were doing the best that we could, with what we knew, the resources we had, and the situation we were in at the time. All of us need to remember this, when we beat ourselves up for not doing things differently in the past – we didn’t know what we know now then, and we were just doing the best we could to survive.)
What am I doing to try and survive right now? I’ve been really enjoying volunteer work. The anxiety and fear before going is still HUGE – but I’m managing to get there and once I get there – I’m fine. The people are lovely – accepting, kind – and I feel needed, useful, and like I’m giving back in some small way. It’s also a really lovely feeling to see clients come in, perhaps not feeling great, and leave looking spruced up, confident, and even a bit excited! I find myself hoping they get the job, that things improve for them, and that we hear from them. (If a client is successful, they get to come back and choose another work outfit, to help them have things to wear at their new job.)
I had to take a few weeks off ballet classes – after being unwell and having a bit of a set back, I was beginning to struggle more and I realised the last thing I needed was to be exercising more. But going back to ballet has been one of the most precious gifts I have received in my life. I had forgotten how much I love it, and it truly feels like breathing after being unable to for so long. Ballet is the closest I will probably ever get to being able to fly. (because I doubt I’m going to sprout wings or develop a superpower any time soon!) Ballet just is essential to me, to LIVE. I’m going back on Thursday, and as usual the fear and anxiety is there already – but I know it’s so worth pushing through that to get there.
Shalimar is being, as usual, her sweet, affectionate self. She’s finished eating my climbing bean plants, and eaten all the grass we can find – it’s been terribly hot recently so there seems to be more bare dirt and weeds than grass – so I’m madly trying to grow her some more. She’s been catching huge lizards, 20 cm in length!! (Arrrgh!!) and just generally enjoying hanging out. She never lets me out of her sight – and I truly don’t think I would be able to keep living without her. I don’t know how I managed before I adopted her, nine years ago.
And my friends – they truly make life worth living. I often wonder at how different I am now, to how I was back then, when I was an abused, bullied mouse. There were two years in adolescence where I didn’t even talk more than one or two words a DAY – usually “sorry”, apologising for existing – it was the first thing that popped out of my mouth if someone hurt me, or I got in the way or whatever. I used to retreat from people, and prefer to be alone. Now, I can’t live without the amazing people I’ve been so blessed to meet and get to know.
And I think that’s the way we are meant to be. Humans aren’t meant to be solitary creatures – we are made to share and to love one another.
Thank you for reading. I know this is a super-confusing, messed up post, and it probably doesn’t even make sense. I’m a tired, drained mess at the moment and you are reading the product of a confused, cognitively impaired and exhausted mind. I don’t even know what else to say or do - except, I guess, press publish, then go and cuddle with Shalimar – who is at this moment, splayed out on the couch with her feet in the air!!
I love her