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
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
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
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.
Sexual assault has permeated my entire life I am so weary So tired So hurting So incredibly sad and so very very angry
Just to be clear completely clarify To ensure you are hearing me I will say it again I AM SO FUCKING ANGRY RIGHT NOW I have spent the best part of my life surviving The best part 55 years of my life surviving 10 years of childhood sexual assault I have spent the past 10 years healing As I have healed and become more vocal, open, I have had countless approaches from other victims from families of victims asking for help, understanding, a shoulder, an ear
Every persons story is different But every story is the same Violation Betrayal Guilt Shame Self blame
When you are a victim of sexual assault It takes every ounce of your energy every day every single fucking day to stay alive
We all know well those of us that have are damaged understand the diagnosable obvious recognisable resulting behaviours depression anxiety suicidal ideation post-traumatic stress self harm aggression impulsiveness delinquency hyperactivity substance abuse and these are just the obvious, the most common there is so so much more….
But lets really get very real here folks Sexual assault tortures It tortures the soul of you It exhausts you
But ultimately Sexual assault kills It kills communication It kills conversation It kills your spirit It kills your soul It kills your mind It kills relationships It kills families It kills people It Kills!
And to my friend I just want to say I really really do hear you I understand you I understand your pain I don’t need to hear your story I know I also know how so important it is for you to tell your story To Get It Out And to be heard I am so very sorry you couldn’t hear me I am so very sorry I couldn’t hear you We are both damaged wounded souls And I pray you will be heard by others who can hear you better than I was able
Words swirl in my brain Sentences form The need to jot them down becomes Overwhelmed by body busyness They get forgotten Left to mull in the recesses of my brain Then when opportunity arises They fail to appear in any form of sensical reason
Words have always been my love my escape my weapons Words feed my soul I am a word devourer A word fanaticist And when words escape me….
I need words to convey myself me my heart who I am To you
To you the reader of my ramblings And when I lose my words I am lost frustrated scared embarrassed unsettled
Today I began to write what was in my heart but my mind wouldn’t cooperate so I spill myself out using words that I never intended because the ones I want elude me
I will endeavour to slow myself to breathe and focus and bring myself back
I never recognised depression or anxiety within myself for many many years My perceived strength didn’t allow me the grace to recognise or acknowledge them I was too strong I had to be strong to survive Along the way there were times When I cracked just a little bit But not enough for me to acknowledge the causes or the effects It took me a very long time to completely break But in breaking I then began learning about myself Learning that my strength was what protected me Helped me endure Helped me cope through all the traumas But even the strongest things become brittle over time And brittle breaks
And despite all the therapy over the past 8 years all the self learning all of the self care I am allowing myself Yes – I still have to negotiate in my head that I need and deserve to love myself enough to care about myself that I deserve to put me first I still break But each time it is a less substantial break
I give so much of myself I still put myself last I still struggle to stand up and speak out for me I am so good at standing for others speaking up for others advocating for others But I am total shit about advocating for myself
And that is classic victim mentality Damnit!
On the home front here in New Zealand Sexual abuse victims are able to access therapy via ACC sensitive claims Part of this involves undergoing psychological assessments to ascertain authenticity and then ongoing treatment / well-being plans Some fight this process They perceive a stigma attached with mental health diagnosis I don’t have an issue with it If my legs were broken or paralysed I would accept help So if my inner being is damaged I also need to accept help
Since I broke eight years ago I have undergone two assessments I got to a place where I was so broken I needed to accept help No matter where it came from And no matter what strings they attached I was initially diagnosed with PTSD that’s an easy one yeah, well not so easy really It’s actually a bloody nightmare to live with but I’ve managed to wrap my head around that over the past 8 years and I’ve been learning to understand myself within it But during my recent assessment there was an added diagnosis Recurrant Depressive Disorder Great! Another official stamp I so hate being put into boxes But officialdom decrees that to fund my ongoing healthcare I have to tick boxes So anyways… Combine these two along with the constant sleep disorder that delights in being part of the party And the results are at times not pretty
Several weeks ago the tears began The sleeplessness revved up I was breaking Life was attacking me from so many quarters It is like I have 69 different people demanding from me all at the same time But each of those 69 do not realise that there are 68 others It is like a relentless attack on my brain My nervous system goes into hypervigilance I become incredibly anxious My sleep becomes fitful exhaustion, migraines, physical pain, irritibilty, all increase I become hyper alert, hyper aroused, anxious, fearful, And the tears just wont stop
I know that living with me is hard but Living with my self is nigh impossible
I am becoming more aware now though And trying to be more proactive when I feel myself breaking Recently I just had to shut down I allowed myself to Take time Pull back Unload Accept help Increase self care And, the biggest hurdle of all Ask for help Sometimes talking with my therapist is not quite enough to get through these patches This time I have started taking natural ‘meds’ Personally I struggle with taking medication I have fought it for years But now, after a consultation, I am taking 5htp, B6 plus some extra strength multi vitamins They seem to be helping I am feeling changes A few days in and I realised I was smiling again
I am also making a resolved choice to pull myself out of this current hole I’m not out of it yet But I sure as hell am a heap better than I was several weeks ago
And I sure as hell am so grateful for my BFF’s who carry me through these dark days in their own special ways
and to my incredibly supportive fiancé who holds the umbrella during my storms, he not only encourages me to go lion buying – he goes with me 🙂
Victim Survivor Choices Struggles It is never ending I didn’t want I don’t want to be a victim I never chose to be a victim But when my innocence was taken my choice was stolen from me I was too small my voice was too small unknowingly but yet with overwhelming knowingness I knew if I did use my voice I would lose family I knew I didn’t have a community I knew I would lose Everything
So I buried the pain deep so deep way down in my depths pushed the memories back way way back and I lived the best way I knew how I lived I loved I laughed
But Constantly Naggingly there was always The Secret The Unspoken The Truth causing The Pain to fester in the core of my very being rotting my soul
Decades later It began oozing with the intense stench of depression flashbacks nightmares anger stress unstoppable tears
One day the burden of The Pain became absolutely unbearable I was forced to take a knife and cut open the wound and slowly began to allow the poison to escape The surgery was long and painful But this time I wasn’t small anymore my voice grew louder and Louder and LOUDER
Until I was heard My knowingness had been right I did lose family but this time I have gained Community
My Community understands me hears me holds me and most importantly Loves me
My Choice I Am A Survivor
Months ago I read Jessica’s statement below and it really resonated with me, she encouraged me to dig deep and write my story above.
I can still struggle with the wish that I could have stood up sooner, been stronger, saved myself and my family in the way that was desperately needed for so long. But I have learned that I did the best I could at the times when it felt like there was no choice. I didn’t know until I finally knew, I couldn’t stand until I finally stood. There is no shame in finally being strong. I am a survivor.
Recent events in Aotearoa / New Zealand stunned our nation – again A young English backpacker was murdered here just before Christmas. We were devastated – again
Standing amongst the Nelson crowd All of us mourning this young woman Each one of us there for different reasons but for the same reason Sadness Grief Anger This should not happen This should not keep on happening Not here Not anywhere
People were speaking out against violence against women across the nation Naming and remembering the women killed by the hands of another person here in Aotearoa Giving these women back their mana Not mentioning the names of their murderers We will not give them that power Statistics say at least 13 women and 10 men will lose their lives to domestic abuse every year here in Aotearoa 14 women this past year Countless women over the decades….
Yes, we have to stand up and speak out and stop this violence
But my inner heart was screaming… It is not just about women It is about inhumanity towards fellow humans It is about respect – or lack of it It is about responsibility towards each other It is about Love
Since this heinous violent act was committed we have seen many more here in NZ So much tūkino So much whakarekereke Too much whakarekereke ā-whare Violence against our wāhine Violence against our tamariki
We need Aroha Where is our respect? Where is our kindness? Where is our love?
In memory of these young visitors who did not receive the Manaakitanga they deserved in our land Grace Millane, 22 Kayo Matsuzawa, 29 Birgit Bauer, 28 Karen Aim, 27 Dagmar Pytlickova, 31 Margery Hopegood, 32 Jae Hyeon Kim, 25 Urban Hoglin, 23 Heidi Paakkonen, 21 Monica Cantwell, 24