Re-Writing my CV

We are all asked at some point in our lives to write a CV or a resume
It is actually a really tough call for many of us
Some of us who have dedicated our lives to our families
who have not ‘worked’ outside our homes for decades
Some of us don’t feel comfortable blowing our own trumpets
selling ourselves isn’t easy in this society of diminishment
to embolden ourselves is not something we are comfortable with

But try writing your life CV
Wow!
Thats another story
Where do I begin
What do I write
What do I hide
What can I say

There are some things that are on my life CV that I unfortunately can’t do anything about
Things that have damaged me
Things that have caused me trauma
Things that hold me back
Things that silence me
Things that make me angry
Things that scar me
Responses I have made
Behaviours I have inflicted
Words uttered in haste
Words delivering pain
Those things are there and only I can choose how I use them

I heard a great quote from Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl who went through far, far more than I could ever imagine but his words resound loudly

Everything in life can be taken from you except one thing 
The freedom to respond to the situation you are in
This is what determines the quality of the life we live, not our circumstances

I am learning to control my reactive emotive responses
Those damn ptsd reactions…
Trying not to respond to a situation immediately
When I do it is often with unthought out reaction
A reaction coming from my ptsd or my anxiety or my child self

I am trying to stop and breath and allow time
Time to think
Time to try and view the situation from the otherside
Time to diffuse

I am learning how to rewrite my CV
I cannot erase the pages already written
The past of damages I have lived
and damaging I have caused
Those pages have already been delivered & read
Burning my copy doesn’t erase the copies received
I cannot cancel that history
But I can begin writing new pages

The pages ahead are still clear and clean
My pencil is sharpened
I am aware and on guard
I know there will be blots on the pages
From inadvertant reactives I unleash
But I can choose
React or retaliate
or
Respond

Whatever I choose will predicate the outcome
It is my choice

Invisible wounds

Living with the results of trauma is something many of us do
Many more of us than you can imagine
Trauma response is very individual
No one can relive your trauma
No one can tell you how you ought to respond
No one can tell you what you feel
Or how you should feel
No one has the right to make you feel guilty
No one has the right to tell you to forgive


There are recognised symptoms that cover the wide variety of PTSD’s
Not all will apply to you
Or to him
Or her
They are a generic guide for diagnosis
The base though is that they are/can be your bodies response to trauma inflicted on you that you could not control
The wounds are very often externally indiscernible
But the responses are embarrassingly visible
And can often be emotionally, physically and socially crippling

For me personally I can identify with most of the above symptoms and at least half of those would be affecting me on a daily basis

Trauma changes our basic brain functionings
Thats a fact
No argument

One of my sorrowful questions has often been
What/who would I have been if I hadn’t endured 10 years of childhood sexual abuse?
Who would that little girl have become?
What would her life have been like?
Would she have been a better mother, a better wife?
Would she have had more confidence in herself?
Would her experience of sex and relationships have been more healthy?

I know I am the person I am today because of my abuse
I don’t want the abuse to define me
But in an intrinsic way it has
I had no choice in that
But I do have a choice now
I have a choice to do the best I can with who I am now
I will not let my abuser win this
I am inherently stronger because I have had to be
I had to fight from such a young age to hang on to my identity


Childhood incest inflicts such massive confusion on a child
Love
Loyalty
Respect
Trust
All things that should be an integral part of a safe normal parent/child relationship
Are confused by
Manipulation
Secrets
Emotional bullying
Passive agressiveness
Powerlessness
Conflicted loyalty
Guilt, blame & shame
Betrayal

When you finally escape you don’t know how to experience real love
You are so used to your body being used as a ‘love tool’
That you unwittingly continue that toxic behaviour


According to research
the younger the age the abuse begins,
the frequency of the abuse,
plus the longer the duration,
effects the intensity of trauma response.
The average length of incest abuse is 4 years – when I read this today it blew my mind,
I am crying as I type, I feel sick to my stomach as the reality & roots of my constant fight is hitting me…

My recollections are that I was around the age of 7-8 yrs old, the frequency was almost daily, and I wasn’t able to escape my abuser until I was 18 years old.
10 years of almost daily incestuous abuse…

No wonder I struggle to support my inner child
It is a constant
Daily
Overwhelming fight
To separate my adult self from my child self
To not be her anymore
I just want to grow strong enough to build a healthier relationship between us.



https://ct.counseling.org/2018/03/understanding-treating-survivors-incest/

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/84873517.pdf

Meltdown looks like…

Please note – below is not where I am now – it is a description of where I have been.



I was processing a very distressing time with my therapist recently when she stopped me and asked me to describe what a meltdown ‘looked like’ to me?


She stopped me in my tracks.
She knows me too well.
She knows I ‘paint with words’

But I’d never been made to actually ‘paint’ this painful picture before. 
Normally I’m a vibrant colour lover. But in times like this the only colour I see is black. So I tend to stop ‘painting’.

What does it look like for me?
And what does it look like for others looking on?

Heaven forbid! – I never stopped to think what it looks like to others. I guess I look like a total psycho mess. I hide a lot so only those closest to me see the real truth of my emotional crises. 


So describe what’s happening within me during a meltdown.
Whew! 
…well the days/months preceding I’m slowly descending into depressional darkness, at the same time (and unnoticeably I thought but now I know my closest can see what I can’t) I’m getting wound up internally like a top. And then something, (usually relatively minor but linked inextricably to a past trauma) will trigger me which snaps the now very taught rubber band and everything in my head starts spinning.

Physical agitation builds, I can’t sit still, I have an overwhelming need to run. Then my brain just implodes.
Feelings of hopelessness, fear, stupidity, anger at myself for my inability to cope… Tears which have been building below the surface erupt uncontrollably, and then are constantly there for days, sometimes weeks. 

I feel weak, hopeless, out of control, lost…



There’s usually two outcomes depending on the circumstances and the reactions of those nearest me. The length of recovery is somewhat determined by them too.

‘Before therapeutic education & understanding’ I would usually run straight into ‘fright/flight’ – retreat to the inside of my head. On the outside I now know I would appear bitchfaced, sad & angry. But inside I had just shut down because I didn’t know how to process and communicate my pain. Because of this inability my meltdown could take days or weeks to recover from. 

Definitely not pretty & much less of a reaction now. 

The second is outcome is 95.9% better and is only possible due to the past 10 years of therapy which has slowly helped me understand the how’s & whys of my traumas & responses and how to manage & communicate them. 

If/when meltdown crisis hits and those nearest me can see & embrace me in my pain, which is hard for them because like most hurting trauma sufferers I push away those trying to help me, then my reaction changes momentarily to ‘freeze’ until and I can allow myself to feel safe. Being held and not questioned is imperative. Then I collapse into fetal and rest. Rest in a quiet safe place with all stresses removed is essential at this point because I am emotionally & physically exhausted.

Recovery from a crisis meltdown is not immediate but once the dam breaks the tensions & tears lessen and the colours begin returning to my world.


PTSD is a hidden trauma inflicted disability which is exhausting to live with. It’s a constant daily fight that I have been living with for decades 🥺
But now my fight is be that victorious survivor not to just survive.

I’m so grateful for the recognition & understanding I received from my very first ACC case manager who gave me permission to take as much time as I needed when he said ‘this could take you many years to heal from’

Here’s to celebrating being this Beautiful Mess who has successfully climbed out of yet another dark hole
Thank God my sun is shining again and my colours are vividly happy today 🙂

Clarity of your own narrative never fades

Each of us has our own narrative
We can be part of the same story
But we see with clarity only our part of it

I remember my part of the story that broke us all
I remember
A day of normalcy
A day of planning ahead
We were all going to town the following morning
But Tim decided to go alone on Monday
He wanted to go help Graham pick vegetables because Graham always brought us bins & bins of seconds which he gathered up on his own and brought down for us to process to help feed our large extended family
He wanted to do his bit towards this incredibly generosity
So
He did some mussel ropes with Azzan, some boat work with Seb
I remember he raced through the shower and I helped him pack an overnight bag
He packed up the Safari
I remember we were alone at the back of the 4WD as he loaded in bins of mussels to give away
It was to be my last moments with him
But neither of us knew
I kissed him goodbye and arranged to meet him in town on Tuesday afternoon.
He took Seb & Phoebe home and left around 2pm on Monday afternoon
I was to drive out with the 3 youngest the next morning to meet him in town.

I remember relaxing with Anson & Marah before they went home
Having dinner with the kids and putting them to bed
I remember enjoying a peaceful evening

Then with incredible clarity
I remember receiving a text from Anson just before 9pm saying he’d heard there had been an accident on our road
In my mind ‘our road’ meant anywhere from Port Ligar to Rai Valley
I remember making phone calls
I called David where Tim was supposed to be staying
‘No we haven’t seen him’
I called Graham
‘No I haven’t seen him, call the police’
I phoned Ian at Okiwi Bay who was our local ambulance responder
‘No, we had a call out but were turned back because the choppers were flown in. Call the police’
So I called the police thinking I would get our local station
I remember talking to a lady who had no idea where I was
She was in Wellington
I remember her telling me she would ask and call me back
I remember the heightened fear, adamantly refusing to let her hang up
I remember the lightbulb moment whilst waiting for her return – ‘Anson heard it was on the news’!
I remember racing to my computer and typing in Stuff.co.nz
I remember seeing the news bulletin
A lone male was killed on the Port Ligar-Te Towaka Road

I knew instantly
I absolutely knew
I was hyperventilating
I was holding my breath
I remember her returning saying she would transfer me to Blenheim Police
I remember the voice of the police sergeant…
I remember his name
I will never forget his name
…confirming without compassion or hesitation that yes Tim was dead & had been taken to Nelson
I remember frantically asking him where he was and what do I do??
I remember him saying
“I don’t know. I’m going off duty now and have handed over to Picton police.”

I remember texting Anson saying Please Come Now!
I remember screaming
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


I remember the 3 little ones coming out thinking I was laughing at a movie and their confused faces in total disbelief at what I was sobbing
I remember Marah holding me
I remember Anson bravely making the worst phone calls he would ever ever have to make
Telling his siblings the worst news
I remember Seb & Phoebe coming by boat
Still numb from losing their wee one only 2 weeks earlier
I remember them sitting outside in stunned silent pain
I remember having to call Australia
I remember Jesika answering, she was so happy at her dance class
I remember the anguish of having to tell her
I remember her screams as she collapsed
I remember the pain of not being able to hold her

I remember receiving a message from a Blenheim cousin at 9:30pm saying how sorry she was and discovering she had heard it from a local person
I remember the disbelief that obviously so many others knew long before I did
I remember our neighbours Liz, Harry & Jude arriving an hour later
I remember them telling me their story
Their story confirmed how badly the sergeant had handled the whole situation
That Tim had died over 6 hours before only 20mins from home

I remember my pain was so intense that even though I was trying to be everything for everyone that night I completely failed

I have carried all my children’s pain along with my own
It has been an incredibly heavy burden
I have felt torn in so many directions
Grief is a tortuous creature
It attacks us all at different times and in different ways

I have watched each of them walk their own journeys, process their own trauma, and know they hold their own narratives of that night
Some have vocalised
Others have kept theirs hidden deep
I cannot tell their stories
Just as they can’t tell mine
But we can hold each other and listen

Embedded memories

Eight years ago
0r 96 months
0r 416 weeks
0r 2922 days

It doesn’t matter how you count
It is a long time
But it is also a very short time

The memories of that terrible, horrible, no good, bad, day
are forever embedded in my soul
the memories are implanted in my body
held fast in my very being

Grief holds no time line
It is not a considered thing
It lies in the subconscious
The effects affect and trigger when least expected

That one action
That one disaster
has torn our family into pieces
has forced us all to face emotions and pain
Such devastating pain
far far too big to know what to do with

Even eight years on
The waves of grief are still pounding
They smash on the shores of our hearts
They tear our emotions into shreds
But we hold them close
Scared to let them go
Protecting our vulnerabilities

We share special moments
Memories
We can laugh
We can talk and reminisce
But the loss we endure is ours and ours alone
Held tight
Such a private thing
And yet so known
We can share
But we can’t
It’s so hard…

She deserves to live

“Being unable to tell your story is a living death, and sometimes a literal one.”
Rebecca Solnit

For the past 10 years I have been learning how to be the adult to my broken child
The child who endured traumas no child should ever have to
The child whose trust was broken over and over
The child who was continually silenced
The child who lived a double life
In constant trauma
In fear of many fears

The adult in me continues to live that double life
Because the silencing continues
No matter how strong this adult becomes
The fear
And the hurt
And the betrayals
The repercussions of all the damage
of all the traumas
Keep reappearing when least expected
When vulnerabilities are low
When circumstances allow the cracks to widen
So the strengths gained are cruelly eroded

No matter how hard I try
The voices of the non understanding ones
The antagonists continuing the victimisation of the perpetrators
Keep penetrating the mind of the unheard child

‘keep clear of her, she’s a total fruitloop, making allegations’
Seriously?
And they were there?
No they weren’t there
And they are still not there
The ones she needed
The ones she thought she could trust
The ones she should’ve been able to trust
Were not there
Are still not here

Protecting my inner child is exhausting
It is a constant daily
Her story deserves to be heard
She deserves to live
And I will fight to my death to allow her to live

Your inner child needs to trust you as the adult in their lives.
An adult who can watch over, protect, witness, honor, guide, lead, and love you.
This relationship between adult you and little you in one of the most sacred ones there is.
Vienna Pharaon

Thankfully this adult has been blessed
With a circle of support and love
That surpasses blood
That holds me when when my anguished child breaks
For this I am truly grateful

Again…

When my words stop flowing
They begin piling up within

Silencing begins slowly
One small trigger
That stops a word
That stops a sentence
And before I know it
My words have become dammed

Before I realise
The metaphoric hand is across my mouth
Again…
My words are held captive
Racing round and round
Within my brain
Out of control
Unable to find escape
Tormenting
Damning
Shaming
Me
Again…


When my words stop flowing
They begin piling up within
Like unread books
Stacked randomly
Teetering
With constrained
Vulnerability
On an unstable shelf

Until
The shelf fails
The books fall
Pages scatter
The metaphoric is torn away
Allowing my words escape
Liberated
Flooding forth
Demanding coherance
Gaining volume
Reclaiming power
And my healing process
Continues
Again…

Until my words stop flowing
Again….

Not good enough

I feel small
not good enough
don’t measure up
inadequate
worthless

then I meet you
and you are amazing
wonderful
captivating
fascinating

and then I discover
you feel
not good enough
inconsequential
insufficient

that you think
I am amazing
wonderful
beautiful
intoxicating

it seems that none of us feel good enough
but we each cover up
our woundedness
our internal ideologies
so well
we each have found
masks

masks of
bravado
arrogance
abrasiveness
pretentiousness
cockiness
hurt
pain
extreme humility
meekness
addiction



masks we all wear
that disguise
the pain of the feelings
the pain of being
the pain of the lie
– not good enough

such sadness we unwittingly embrace
until we stumble upon
someone or something
who gives us
permission
confidence
freedom
to find the strength within
to remove the masks
to reveal our vulnerabilities
to reveal the us

then we find
the real,
the ability to really love
ourselves
and
each other

honestly
openly
completely

and that is truely freeing

Lockdown = trauma brain triggers

My brain has been all over the place during this tumultuous period of our lives
There have been so so many triggers
I have really been struggling to process them all
My emotional state has been highly disturbed and at a very low ebb


Modern technology has been both a curse and a blessing
The curse of information overload
what to believe
what to not
who to believe
who to not

I have learnt to use Zoom which has been such a blessing as the one certainty each week has been my hour with my therapist
It is the 9am appointment that I have to get out of bed and show up for
She has helped me unravel my trauma brain amongst all of this confusion
The first week was so bad
I was drowning in isolation
I did not cope
with being locked in
with being controlled
with being silenced
with living in fear

Unraveling…
Taking it back…
Processing…

As a child
I was mind controlled
I was silenced by fear
I was isolated by fear
and I was locked in by the knowledge that if I spoke up I would destroy so much
By keeping silent I was protecting everyone else
but also protecting myself
I found strength enough to hold the abuse
But I wasn’t strong enough to endure the consequences of breaking silence

My brain was fighting, struggling with being taken back down that dark trauma rabbit hole
I was drowning

Once I was able to process and identify
I spoke up
Voiced my fears
And I was heard
My friends and family heard my cry for help
And through video coffee dates and phone calls
And walks in the sunshine & lots of supportive cuddles from my love
I have made it through thus far

“My life is so blessed with some of the most amazing people. Thank you for being part of my journey.” – Unknown

Real connection needed please…

Living in lockdown
That word resonnates fear and control to me

As a victim of childhood trauma
Personal control was taken from me when I was a child
I’ve lived so much of my life
living With fear
living In fear
and in recent years
learning to conquer fears
learning how to take back control of my life
and now I’m thrust into a world of Fear
a world of totalitarian control
I’m spinning inside
My brain wont shut off
The panic buttons have been activated again
everywhere I turn there is more and more and more
Fear
triggering me like crazy

Lockdown Day 4
my emotional balance tipped off scale by a small first world problem on a cool morning
realisation that my warm clothes are all packed & stored
773 kms (480miles) away
because we were in the midst of a major life change when life as we knew it stopped
those life changes are now on hold
we are neither here nor there
and this all of a sudden became huge
a feeling of helplessness
a loss of control
the tears began

Lockdown Day 5
Unfortunately in spite of our businesses being closed
The legal and accountancy side of life continues
No holiday from the IRD etc
My emotional wellbeing is already fragile
Throw work, brain, thinking issues into the mix and I’m done
I slammed the laptop shut and buried myself in my lovers arms
Hiding until a new day forces me to face the pressures again

Lockdown Day 6
No matter how much I try
No matter how far we walk
No matter how much sun is shining
No matter how many hugs & comfort I get from the only person that is allowed to hug me
The tears wont stop
I’m exhausted

Whatever control I had on my life has been removed
Whats the point of living if we are not allowed freedom to live…

I am tired of seeing all the sunshine and roses and stupidity that is flying around the internet
I just want some reality
I want connection
I don’t want some generic video or meme
I Need Real Connection

I know others are struggling also
For the sake of honesty
Can we just be fucking real – Please?

If I’m gonna get through this
I need to know
It’s okay to cry
It’s okay to speak up
It’s okay to voice that I’m not Okay
That I will be heard

This article below is excellent
It helped me make sense of me this morning
I’m sharing it below in it’s entirety just in case the link ever gets broken

Stop Romanticizing Lockdown—It’s a Mental Health Crisis in the Making.

During this unprecedented and peculiar time of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines in place, I have seen a post doing the rounds recently.

It talks about settling in to this space to read and meditate, to sing and dance and remember how to find the sacred in the simplest of things. It talks about the world slowing down. It talks about humanity healing. It is beautiful. I believe in much of its sentiment.

Yes, of course, it is important to uplift ourselves and each other during this difficulty. Yes, of course, there is value in making the most of this unusual moment and using the time wisely. Yes, of course, there is opportunity to heal and deal with our issues as they arise through the quietness of our confinement.
But, so often in life, our obsession with staying positive—both individually and culturally—means we don’t create the space for the far more complex, real, raw human experience. We don’t create the space for people to feel both free and safe to speak their struggles. It has the potential to silence and shame those who are suffering alone inside their homes, making them feel that there is something wrong with them or their inability to emotionally cope.
I believe we need to stop romanticising lockdown, because quite simply, it is a mental health crisis in the making.

Here are some things I would like us all to have in our awareness during this time so that perhaps we can hold space for both ourselves and each other in a more complete and loving way.

The childhood traumas that many of us have suffered are largely to do with connection—or, more to the point, lack of it. The original attachments formed with our family units were unhealthy and dysfunctional, leaving us with a nagging sense of being alone—disconnected from ourselves, others, and the world around us. For many people, being physically isolated in their homes is going to be both triggering and re-traumatising.

Most of us don’t even know that we carry trauma and wounding from childhood. We might suffer with symptoms such as addictions, chronic pain, depression, low self-esteem, or anxiety. We might like our drink a little bit too much, or over-work, or be a tad too fanatic about exercise. We might travel a little too often, always on the run from reality, or socialise obsessively to fend off the loneliness that eats away at us. We may not yet have discovered the pain that lies at the root of these behaviours—because they are designed to keep us from it.